Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Check It Out

Likely my favorite book blog, Reading to Know, is hosting a great April Fool's giveaway tomorrow with giveaways of some of her favorite, worthwhile books!  Carrie has recommended many great books that we have enjoyed in our home-for both the kids and me!  I would encourage you to head over and check out her giveaways tomorrow!

Read Alouds

We have been reading plenty, but I can only think of a couple of books that the kids have really been loving this week.

E, age 2, requests The Hungry Giant's Baby often.  This is written by Joy Cowley and is adorable.  A group of humans babysit the Hungry Giant's baby, Bubba while he goes away for a bit.  It's cute to see how they brainstorm how to keep the baby happy.  First they try milk.  Bubba sleeps for a bit, then she is unhappy.  They take Bubba for a ride in the back of a truck, but she's so big, the wheels fall off.  And on and on it goes!  My little guy likes to cry, "Wah!  Wah!" and coo, "Goo!  Goo!" for the baby at the appropriate times.
Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct
M, age 4 has enjoyed Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Exinct.   Edwina is loved by all in her town except a smarty-pants boy, Reginald.  He knows dinosaurs are extinct, but no one will listen to him until Edwina, in her kindness does.  It's another hit by Mo Willems.

We actually read a couple chapter books by Arnold Lobel that I didn't love.  One was Uncle Elephant.  For my four year old, I didn't care for the book using the word "darn."  I just don't think it is needed.  Grasshopper on the Road used some negative words in name calling that I didn't care for.  These were words such as "stupid."  Mild, but once again, unnecessary.

Little Town on the Prairie (Little House)We did listen to Little Town on the Prairie in the car, and I have to say, it may be my favorite Little House book!  I just loved it!  (I also really enjoyed Laura's ignorance at age 15, as she wondered why Almanzo Wilder would want to walk her home from the literary meeting when her mother and father were there to see her home.  She was truly clueless that he could be interested in her!)  This book was a bit sad since Mary goes away to a college for the blind, but Laura's commitment to earn money to help is commendable!  I am so not ready for this series to end!!  Only two more books!

To see what others are reading, check out these link ups!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Incentive!

Our 4 year old has been wanting her toenails painted for a long time.  It's not something that I do much, nor do I want her to grow up too soon.
However, M got her toenails painted as an incentive for being dry three times in a row (2 naps, 1 nighttime).  
Since then, we have seen many more dry naps and even nighttime pull ups.  Yay!  (I know many would find it strange that a 4 year old would not stay dry during a nap, but her naps tend to be several hours long.  She does sometimes skip a nap, too.)

Next, if she gets a sticker for each of her toes (shown below), then she will get her own bottle of nail polish.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Night, Little Sea Otter (Giveaway)

Good Night, Little Sea OtterAdorable and informative.  That is how I would describe Good Night, Little Sea Otter.  We love picture books that we can learn from, and author Janet Halfmann has written another great book about animals!  (We really enjoyed Fur and Feathers, too, and it's linked to our review.)

As you might imagine, Good Night, Little Sea Otter is about Little Sea Otter who just is not ready for bed!  He just has to say good night to all of the creatures in and around the kelp forest where Little Sea Otter sleeps.  Personally, I enjoyed reading about how baby sea otters sleep on their mamas' chests.  Not only that, they wrap themselves in kelp as they sleep on top of the water so that they do not drift away.  My children both enjoyed pointing to all the different sea creatures that illustrator Wish Williams shared through the pictures.  Good Night, Little Sea Otter is more than just about sea otters.  It's about the community of sea life!  Seagulls, sea lions, star fish, and snails are all included in this tale of a little guy who just doesn't want to go to sleep.  I think many children can relate to that!  Though this book introduces children to many sea creatures, it really can be just a "fun" read.

Upon completing this book, my daughter promptly said, "Let's play Little Sea Otter.  You be Mama.  I'll be Little Sea Otter."  I clarified that our son also needed to be a baby sea otter.  To continue this imaginative play, I promptly told the Little Sea Otter that it was time for bed, just like the book began.  Without missing a beat, my four year old told me she wasn't ready for sleep and she needed to say good night to her friends.  This cracked me up!  We don't often act out stories, and she did this all on her own!

We actually have had this book for quite some time, but after our initial reading, my daughter claimed it for her own, and she took it to her bedroom!  Once I reclaimed it as a family book, we have all had the opportunity to enjoy it more!  If your little ones are interested in sea life, I definitely recommend this book.

I have some great news for you, readers!  Star Bright Books is offering an autographed paperback copy of Good Night, Little Sea Otter to a Live, Learn, Love reader!
To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below.  (Be sure I have a way to contact you through your profile or leave an email address.)  If you are a follower of Live, Learn, Love through GFC or email, leave a second comment telling me so for an extra entry.  This giveaway is restricted to mailing addresses in the USA.

Giveaway ends Sunday, April 3rd.  I will email the winner and post the winners name on this post.

Giveaway is now closed.  Comment #9, Janice, is the winner!!  Congratulations!  An email has been sent!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Keeping Children Hydrated

Our kids have been rather ill for the past two weeks.

Our daughter, especially, didn't have an appetite.  That's no surprise for a sick child.  Much more important is keeping them hydrated when they are ill.
An easy way to do this is by having a tea party!  My children had four or five pitchers of water during their tea party, and most of it was drank by my sick daughter.  (E wasn't sick at that point.)

We love our little pitcher set from Tupperware.  It's perfect size for young children to pour themselves and was great for E when he was first learning to drink from a cup.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black History

Black history month may be over, but the fact that we all need to educate ourselves and children never ends.  Some say that we shouldn't need a month devoted to such things as "black history" because the history should be widely known and understood.  Sharing a book like the one below can ensure a basic foundation of black history here in the USA.

I See the Rhythm of GospelThere is a new book put out by Zonderkidz called I See the Rhythm of Gospel written by Toyomi Igus and illustrated by Michele Wood.  Personally, I think this book is great and filled with tons of facts-including a timeline from 1485 to 1998.  This book teaches children about some of American history as inspired by gospel music.  It discusses more than just slavery and Civil Rights.  Each page has a poem that begins, "I See the Rhythm of ...)  Each page focuses on a certain period such as Our Hope (hoping for freedom through the Underground Railroad) and Gospel Quartets.  Each page has a few dates and facts included too, for the time line.  The illustrations are vibrant and bold.  (I do prefer the illustrations inside the book to the cover art.)  The poems are much too complicated for a child under 6 to understand, in my opinion.  I See the Rhythm of Gospel includes a five song CD, too.  (I did not get the CD for review.)  According to Amazon, this book is for children ages 4-8; however I think it is much more suitable for ages 6-10.  It certainly would be an asset for a teacher and family to use for children of that age.  I would spend much time discussing it even with a 6-8 year old.
If I Were a Mouse
Zonderkidz publishes plenty of lighthearted books, too!  If I Were a Mouse is the perfect example.  This book is not about mice.  It's about a child's imagination!  A child's adventure unfolds as he pretends.  He considers what would happen if he were  a mouse, owl, squirrel, chickadee, and cat.  In the end he is thankful and knows that God made him, and nothing could be better than being "me."  Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Marsela Hajdinjak-Krec, it is a very cute book with a good message.  I think children with vivid imaginations would appreciate a book like this that they could relate to, while others would be encouraged to imagine just a bit more.

I thank Zonderkidz for sending these ARCs for review purposes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Epilepsy Awareness


Bookscoops encouraged others to read books about epilepsy or to share their own story today.  I first learned about this post from Good Clean Reads.  So here I am.

My son may not officially have epilepsy, but he is treated, medically, as if he does.

A person is considered to have epilepsy when they have two or more unprovoked seizures. (Read more at the Epilepsy Foundation.)  E has had one, but extremely severe.

My daughter had two febrile seizures.  Scary?  Terrifying!  However, febrile seizures do not act like unprovoked seizures-seizures that have no known cause.  My son had a three hour seizure.  At first I thought it was just a febrile seizure.  But it wouldn't stop.  Not even an hour later after we had arrived at the "local" children's hospital.

The seizure went on and on, though it changed in how it looked.  Initially it looked like he was convulsing, which just means that his muscles would tighten and relax.  After a while he stopped, and had the empty stare and his legs would "bicycle."

Eventually he came out of it.  He spent his first birthday in the hospital, barely able to hold his head up.  (You can read more about this by scrolling through the health label.) 1 1/2 years later he has not had another seizure!  He takes Keppra (an anti-seizure med) twice a day.  We don't know if the medicine works or if he is no longer prone to a seizure.  In a few more months (as long as he remains seizure-free) he will begin to slowly wean from his medication.

Amazingly, God gave us two children who were both in life threatening situations because of their own bodies.  You can read more here if you wish.   Also amazingly, both children's health problems were able to be controlled with medication.  Each of us, no matter what, is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Thank you, God!

Seizures come in many different forms (including staring off into "space").  If someone around you ever experiences a seizure, make sure that he is on his side, and then call 911.  Do not put anything in his mouth or try to restrain him.

In my son's case-and most who have a history of seizures-we have a medication called Diastat (a suppository-even for adults) to give to him if the seizure lasts for more than 3 minutes.  With seizures, they are rarely life threatening, but they can cause brain damage and sometimes the person can stop breathing when they last for a long time.  It's actually only by God's grace that our son did not experience brain damage.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When to Give Books?

Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books)So I'm looking for some opinions here.  M turns five years old in October.  I adore the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.  She will not be capable of reading Betsy-Tacy yet, but the girls are also 5.  Would you give it when she can read it independently or when it can be a read aloud?
The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set
I have the same question for the box set of Little House on the Prairie.  She loves this series, but is familiar with them because we listen to audio CD's in the car.

My initial thought is to hold off on Little House, but to go ahead with Betsy-Tacy...and then give her one book each year.  Of course, this could backfire a bit if we were to have another little girl in the future.  Most of our books are considered to belong to the family, though each child has many books in their bedroom.

What would you do and why?  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Caterpillar Name Craft

This is a Rainbow-Caterpillar-Name-Craft.  And I love it!  I really like to do a lot with children's names so they can recognize their names, and eventually spell and write their names at an early age.  We have given personalized name pillows and personalized wall hangings as gifts.  We made the name snowmen this past winter.  Last week I needed to think about removing the lovely name snowmen from our front door.  I knew it would devastate a certain four year old unless we had something to replace them.

I looked around online but didn't really find much for name crafts, let alone a spring name craft.  Using the circle idea from the name snowman, I came up with this little caterpillar name craft.  Being spring, I thought it was time to talk to my daughter about the colors of the rainbow, too.

I used scrapbooking paper for the background, though a solid color may look nicer.  I used a biscuit cutter to trace the circles.  (I cut the circles pictured, but had my 4 year old cut most of hers herself.)  After cutting, we arranged in ROY G. BIV order, and glued them to the paper.  We made a face and added a pipe cleaner antenna.  Then we used some of our foam letters to add some extra color to the caterpillar, though this would be great name-writing practice, too!  (Obviously, I took this photo before we actually put the stickers on the caterpillar.)

This craft goes great with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and My Promise RainbowVery Hungry CaterpillarMy Promise Rainbow: And the Story of Noah's Ark (Baby Blessings)
What other books would you recommend for rainbows and caterpillars??  
You may also be interested in this simple rainbow craft or this rainbow dessert.
I'm linking up today at
Shibley Smiles

abc button

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rainbow Dessert

As yesterday was the first day of spring, and my husband was away on business, I decided to give my kids something to enjoy since they have been miserably sick for a full week.

(M's chest infection has much improved.  E however has a horrific cold-but just a cold at this point.  I don't mean to be pessimistic, but in all likelihood it will become an ear infection since he currently has fluid in his ear.)

Offering Hospitality had a Spring Party Hospitality Challenge.  The best I could do for our "party" was make rainbow pudding!  I had wanted to use vanilla yogurt to keep it healthier and keep the colors true, but as it turns out, this was tons of fun, and we were able to eat it for dessert.  I also do not care for vanilla yogurt-not even if it's pretty.

First, I made instant vanilla pudding during nap time.  Once M (but not E) was awake, we turned that pudding (divided into several bowls-but left out indigo) into a rainbow by adding food coloring and mixing well.  I added the color and M mixed.  We did not add food coloring for yellow.

M told me what color to make each time by looking at a recent rainbow project.  Though she loves to mix marker colors to create new colors, she needed some help remembering how to mix colors.
After all the colors were looking so pretty, we created rainbows in clear plastic cups.  I let M decided if she wanted to begin with red or purple, and she started with purple.

I wish I had started with more pudding in each individual bowl.  We were a little shy on making the pudding stretch to the sides, but for a certain four year old, it did not matter one bit!  (And I didn't mind giving the 2 year old a little less.)

I filled E's cup and my own.  M then used the remaining pudding to fill her cup.  She loved this process so much.  If she does indeed have a rainbow birthday party in October, we may revisit this as rainbow yogurt (along with these rainbow party ideas), even if the party is just for our family.

As I expected, M was not able to finish her pudding in one sitting.  E was too sick to want to even try it.  Yep, that is sick!
In case you haven't experienced this, explaining that spring has arrived to a 4 year old isn't as easy as it seems since it could still snow!

If you are interested, we have a simple rainbow craft you can check out.  You can also return tomorrow to see our newest name rainbow craft!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring and Easter Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers

Happy spring!!  We have a few spring crafts from the past that I thought I would share with you now that I have all of our snow crafts shared!

We love the Resurrection Eggs that we made!  Included is also a printable for you!  (Also available for purchase, but we enjoyed making them.)  Last year M was 3 and was able to use the eggs to tell the story of Jesus death and resurrection.
A simple preschool rainbow craft, or you can take it a step further by including God's promises on each strip like discussed here.  In fact, we may do this activity again this year and include God's promises.  (We didn't previously when M was three years old.)  I was also thinking this could be turned into a name craft.
Colored pasta necklaces would be great gift for Mother's Day!
Button eggs are fun!  For a younger child you may want to leave off the ric rac stripes.

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