Sunday, February 28, 2010

February: 100 Books-a-Month Challenge

Here's our list of books read this month.  The ones from the library are from the A's and B's and go towards the Reading My Library Challenge.  As I shared before, we read more books from our personal library this month due to all the snow!

Library Books:
1. The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold
2. Barnyard Lullaby by Frank Asch
3. Oats and Wild Apples by Frank Asch
4. Just Another Morning by Linda Ashman
5. Babies by Ros Asquith
6. Five Little Ducks by Ivan Bates
7. One Brown Bunny by Marion Dane Bauer
8. Five Little Ducks by Ian Beck
9. Maxwell's Mountain by Shari Becker
10. Emily by Michael Bedard
11. Catch That Cat! A Picture Book of Rhymes and Puzzles by Monika Beisner
12. Sputter, Sputter, Sput! by Babs Bell
13. Sock Monkey Rides Again by Cece Bell
14. Beauty, Her Basket by Sandra Belton
15. Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans
16. Madeline In London by Ludwig Bemelmans
17. Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
18. Snore, Dinosaur, Snore! by John Bendall-Brunello
19. The Preposterous Rhinoceros or Alvin's Beastly Birthday by Robert Bender
20. The Colors of the Chameleon by Alberto Benevelli
21. Little Penguin by Patrick Benson
22. Shark in the Dark by Peter Bently
23. I Heard Said the Bird by Polly Berrien Berends
24. Snip Snap! What's That? by Mara Bergman
25. Yum Yum! What Fun! by Mara Bergman
26. Bravo, Maurice! by Rebecca Bond
27. Mama Went Walking by Maria Cristina Brusca

Personal Library Books:
28. Anansi does the Impossible! An Ashanti Tale retold by Verna Aardema
29. Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
30. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema
31. Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
32. Singing with Momma Lou by Linda Jacobs Altman
33. Click! Flash! by Barbara Applin
34. Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
35. I Love You Because You're You by Liza Baker
36. Momma, Where Are You From? by Marie Bradby
37. The Dancing Granny retold by Ashley Bryan
38. My First Trip to Africa by Atlantis Tye Browder
39. Grandfather and I by Helen E. Buckley
40. Grandmother and I by Helen E. Buckley
41. Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
42. Spider and the Sky God an Akan Legend retold by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate
43. Talk, Talk An Ashanti Legen retold by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate
44. Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton
45. The Best Way to Play by Bill Cosby
46. Shipwreck Saturday by Bill Cosby
47. Two Ways to Count to Ten: A Liberian Folktale retold by Ruby Dee
48. City Green by Dyanne DiSaalvo-Ryan
49. Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book by Muriel Feelings
50. Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings
51. Daydreamers by Tom Feelings
52. Something On My Mind by Tom Feelings words by Nikki Grimes
53. Tembo Takes Charge by Thea Feldman
54. I Want to be A Veterinarian by Catherin O'Neill Grace
55. Africa Dream by Eloise Greenfield
56. A Story, A Story retold by Gail E. Haley
57. Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes
58. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
59. Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
60. Great Black Heros: Five Brave Explorers by Wade Hudson
61. Great Black Heros: Five Notable Inventors by Wade Hudson
62. Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children selected by Wade Hudson
63. The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
64. At the Crossroads by Rachel Isadora
65. Ben's Trumpet by Rachel Isadora
66. Now Let Me Fly: The Story of a Slave Family by Dolores Johnson
67. The Creation : A Poem by James Weldon Johnson
68. Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
69. John Hentry An American Legend by Ezra Jack Keats
70. The Good Samaritan by Janice Kramer
71. Hats Off to Hair! by Virginia Kroll
72. Masai and I by Virginia Kroll
73. Sweet Magnolia by Virginia Kroll
74. Wood-Hoopoe Willie by Virginia Kroll
75. What a Truly Cool World by Julius Lester
76. The Woman Who Outshone the Sun from the poem by Alejandro Cruz Martinez77. Anansi the Spider a tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
78. "Wanted DEAD or ALIVE" The True Story of Harriet Tubman by Ann McGovern
79. Snug in Mama's Arms by Angela Shelf Medearis
80. Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree by William Miller
81. Big Boy by Tololwa M. Mollel
82. I Want to Be by Thylias Moss
83. Anansi and the Pot of Beans told by Bobby & Sherry Norfolk84. Duke Ellington by Andra Davis Pinkney
85. Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney
86. Shades of Black: A celebration of our children by Sandra L. Pinkney
87. Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
88. My Shoelaces Are Hard to Tie! by Karla Roberson
89. Girls Hold Up This World by Jada Pinkett Smith
90. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
91. Mommy Promises by Julie Stiegemeyer
92. Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera B. Williams
93. Max Paints the House by Ken Wilson-Max
94. Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
95. Old Turtle by Douglas Wood
96. We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past by Jacqueline Woodson
97. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Books on Tape/CD
98. Mercy Watson: Collection 3 by Kate DiCamillo
99. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
100. Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
101. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
102. Clementine's Letter by Sara Pennypacker
103. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
104. Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Now, we must head to the library to get another stack of books for March.  How are things coming for each of you?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

What a beautiful surprise!  I received a note last night from Rana, of Free to Learn an Lovin It, letting me know that she's giving me a Beautiful Blogger Award. After a day like yesterday, this really warmed my heart!

Thank you so much Rana for giving this to me.  I appreciate you for joining me here and actively participating through comments and words of encouragement!  I am honored that you have found something 'beautiful' @ home-grown love! ;D

The requirements for accepting this award are as follows:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Pass this award along to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic!
3. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.
4. Share seven (7) things about yourself.

My Seven Things
1. I'm an amateur photographer.
2. Reading is a favorite pass time and listening to books on tape/CD.
3. I had perfect attendance in elementary school for 3 consecutive years. (wow, right? lol)
4. I've visited all New England, Southern and Central States plus TX and CA. Mostly during my high school years. Have also visited Canada and Mexico.
5. I enjoy baking although I don't have as much time to do it on the regular. Bread is a favorite!!
6. I am a great friend!
7. I play several instruments: piano, flute, violin (a little) and hope to learn the cello soon!

15 Bloggers I've recently discovered and who add to my experience (in no particular order).

The Loving Path

A Lifetime of Days
Handmade Homeschool
The Fittest Survive
Homegrown Mosaic
Living Life Without Limits
Under the Big Blue Sky
Getting Back to Basics
A Hundred Happy Things
Secular Nature Homeschool
Living, Loving, Laughing
Ragamuffin Diva
Run For It!
Huckleberry Stew
Circling the Square Table

If you haven't yet come across them, I invite you to stop by their blogs.  Each has a story to tell, a thought to share, positive energy to pass along.  I think you'll enjoy them almost as much as I do!

Now I'm off to let each of them know.
Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Sharing Monday

Good Morning Everyone!

Today we'd like to share this book with you: 

Girls Hold Up This World 
by Jada Pinkett Smith.  
The beautiful photographs throughout the book were taken by Donyell Kennedy-McCullough.  


It's a simple verse about how power girls are and how they (we) can change the world. I think it a great read for girls, as well as boys!  Enjoy it!

Want to participate? Check out Serendipity Home School.

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 19, 2010

February Update: 100 Books-a-Month Challenge

I will begin by saying that with all the snow (and being snowed in) we haven't gotten as many books from our library as we've done in the previous months.  The libraries have been closed.  But, we've still been reading, from our personal library, and listening to books on CD/Tape.

As I shared during the month of December, I'm not sure where things will land once I officially type out our list, but I'm again thankful for our reading time.  We've definitely read books we've never read before, we're still in the 'A' section of our library (it's a rather big one!).

How are things coming with each of you who are participating?  I'm planning to stop by each of your blogs to check in with you in the next few days.  Now that I have a beginner reader, perhaps we'll get a bit more read over the next week or so!  We'll see.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Progress: Phonics, Reading & Writing

We have been consistent with the phonics lessons, although I have added my own activities and words (to expand what is given in the Saxon Phonics lessons & to relieve us, both, of the standardization of things). Primarily, we've added a list of sight words, pronouns and family names (I, me, you, he, she, and, the, it of, on for. said, Mommy, Daddy, Aunt, Uncle, etc.).  We've practiced reading them as well as writing them (reading & writing to hand in hand).

Kanga (the nickname my oldest gave herself for online usage--from Winnie the Pooh) has really run with things over the past two weeks.  This is her time.  I'm trying to balance giving her all she can handle without overwhelming her.   The teacher in my is definitely excited and wants to provide her with as many opportunities as I can to read!  The mommy in my is extremely proud and wants to let her find her way--to blossom on her own.

(Homeschooling allows me this time--this no-pressure-be-the-best-you-can-be-on-your-terms-time.)

I'm listening to her--her words, her body language--watching her attention span, her interests and making materials available for her (books, note pads, pencils, pens) so she can continue to pursue this reading (and writing) thing.  She is finding her joy in learning!

Did I mention I am extremely proud of my little Kanga??!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Sharing Monday

We have two books to share today.  The first one is by Andrea Davis Pinkney and it's entitled:  
 Let It Shine
Stories of Black Woman Freedom Fighters.  
It's illustrated by Stephen Alcorn.  The book shares the stories of these women Sojourner Truth, Biddy Mason, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Josephine Baker, Dorothy Irene Height, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer and Shirley Chisholm.  We are still reading it and are so enjoying it, my oldest, especially.  The author shares additional resources & books at the end of the book.  We are definitely learning a lot.

The second book we'd like to recommend is definitely a picture book that's great to read before bedtime.  It's Snug in Mama's Arms by Angle Shelf Medearis, illustrated by John Sandford. 

For those of you who read my other blog, this book goes great with this week's Momfulness Monday practice of making some snug time this week.  My son asks for these story several times a week.

Check out Serendipity Home School to join in with us on Book Sharing Monday!
Happy Reading!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One Small Change--Challenge

I've been reading blogs today and just found out about this challenge from Debbie's blog (thanks Debbie for sharing it)!

It's One Small Change.  You can click here to find out all the details as I'm going to summarize.  Basically between now (it started January 1st but you can join in at any time) and Earth Day, April 22, we're asked to think of one environmentally positive change your family can make each month.  We then are to blog about it on the first of each month and practice it throughout the entire month.  So by Earth Day we all will have made 4 small changes to help ourselves and our environment.

Even though I'm just joining in now, I'm happy to say that I've been making small changes for a few years now.  Two years ago we changed out all our light bulbs.  Last year we changed most all of our cleaning products out (baking soda & vinegar separately and together clean just about everything).  And in January of this year, I finally changed out our laundry detergent and fabric softener.

So, for this month, February, I'm going to use cloth napkins--daily, at every meal.  I picked up a few sets at a local thrift store.  I do have a bag of paper napkins (made from recycled paper) but want make sure that I keep these cloth napkins washed and ready to use.  This will definitely cut down on out paper usage!

Definitely consider joining in.  Each small change that we each make adds up.  Won't you join me in this challenge?  Check out the link as there is a nice list of things you can do (in the event you can't think of anything or would just like some more options).

Photo credit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's TOTALLY a Snow Day!!!

Well, it's FINALLY happened.  I think we're snowed in...literally.  We spent three hours out in it. Building three snow forts (ok. three walls).  We even got daddy out to have a snowball fight.  It was a lot of work--moving that snow, but a whole lot of fun.  We made two snow persons and several snow angels.

Due to the heavily falling snow, I left my camera inside and just gave myself to the whole "playtime."  It was wonderful!!!  Reminded me of those days gone by when I was little and it was me and my brothers and mother.  I laughed so hard during our snowball fight.  Watching the kids run around.  Throwing snowballs at their daddy.  The dogs doing their best to stay out of the way (they were not amused in the least!). Ducking behind our walls of snow.  Simple joys!  Simply joys!

We finally came in--mostly wet. Drank hot chocolate. Got warm baths.  Ate a very late lunch and are now sort of vegging out!

The girls are now beading (making necklaces and bracelets). DH is napping (of course!).  The boy keeps climbing into my lap (he's fighting to stay awake, too). I'm catching up on blogging (smile) and reading emails & your blogs, catching up with my Auntie online (that one's for you). 

The day so got away from me.  But it was wonderful to live in the moment--literally--and let things be what they will.  EMbracing (shout out to Em!) each opportunity and fully giving myself permission to just be present (not think about all the things I should be doing)!! Perhaps I'll even get some knitting in...we'll see.

How is your day going???  Hopefully, wherever you are, you're having a good one, too!

[The first photo was taken this morning about 8:30 am.  The second photo was taken about 5pm.  You can see the snow stacked up against my window.  And it's STILL snowing!]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Handmade Challenge

Hello Lovelies,

I've just joined a handmade challenge and I need YOU!
Yes, you...and you too!
Aren't you curious???
Click here to find out more!

See you soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Sharing Monday

This Monday I'm doing something a bit different.  Due to the snow we got over the weekend we were unable to get a new set of books (our library closed early so they only let me return).

I've been cleaning up a bit in our classroom, organizing the bookshelf again.  I've got some really good books--so, today I thought I'd share a few of those books.  Great for homeschooling!!

Earth Child 2000
Earth Science for Young Children
Games, Stories, Activities, and Experiments 
by Kathryn Sheehan and Mary Waidner
This is a great book! I haven't done everything, but each season I try to incorporate something else.  Here's the Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: The Circle of Day and Night
Chapter 2: Earth Celebrations Throughout the Year
Chapter 3: Wonders in a Garden
Chapter 4: Trees are Terrific!
Chapter 5: We and Wonderful
Chapter 6: Home Sweet Home
Chapter 7: Going...Going...Gone? 
Chapter 8: Hurt No Living Thing
This edition has teacher resources and lessons which makes it very user friendly! ;) 

Kids Garden!
The Anytime, Anyplace guide to Sowing & Growing Fun
by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell
I'm enjoying reading through this book and planning activities for us to do.  This book has easy to do projects for teaching children all about gardening. 

The Little Hands Art Book
Exploring Arts & Crafts with 2- to 6-Year-Olds
by Judy Press
This book has a lot of cute and fun activities for little ones.  I let my children flip through the book and choose.  They've even used some of the ideas here to come up with their own creations.

Want to join in? Interested in seeing others who regularly participate?  Head over the Serendipity Homeschool and let Alex know!

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Here are a few shots I took of the snow we got over the weekend beginning Friday night.
The kids, along with our dogs, had a blast playing in it!















 Our dog enjoyed tunneling herself in the snow!






This was better than I expected!! Although the sun is out today, there is still plenty of snow...for now.  So glad my children are getting the wonderful experience of playing the snow.  It's one of my favorite memories as a child!

Hope each of you are enjoying your Sunday, too!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Sharing Monday

It's the first day of February!! January flew by.

As I looked through my blog list this morning, I was also remind that it's Black History Month.  I have to admit that I really haven't 'celebrated' it since being a classroom teacher, almost 8 years ago now.  The reason?  Because it's high time that Black History become apart of our collective history, whether that's American History, U.S. History, World History, etc.  (and I believe this for all those we are not been accurately represented or present in our collective histories). 

Although we haven't 'celebrated' Black History in the traditional sense, we do celebrate our heritage--it's a rich one at that!  We read and learn about everyone.  It's important for children to see those like themselves in books--and the reverse is true too.  I want my children to see themselves as main characters as well as supporting characters.

So, today, we're sharing a couple good books that we've enjoyed and think that you will too!

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
This is one of our favorites.  Mary Hoffman has also written several chapter books about Grace as well.

I Want to Be by Thylias Moss
This is one of those books that any children can relate to...the age old question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan with Roselyn Jordan
This is the story of Michael Jordan.  Real stories are alway nice to read as we learn a bit more about the person than what we see covered in the media.

To Be a Kid by Maya Ajmera and John D. Ivanko
We like this book because it shows how children live around the world.  In reading and looking at the pictures it clear to see that children are children no matter where they live or what they look like.  We really have much more in common.  I like books the reiterate this point.


Want to join in? Let Alex know at Serendipity Homeschool.

Happy Reading! 


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