Wednesday, March 31, 2010

100 Books-a-Month Challenge::March

Here's our list for March 2010.  We read a lot of books from the 'B', 'C' and 'D' section of our library.  During our second trip the children just wanted to pick books instead of me getting from the next section--so I only grab a few from the 'F' section and allowed them to get what drew them (several were books we've read before).  I'm flexible! :D  My oldest is reading now so you'll see her first list of books included in our total.  I'm so excited about this--perhaps more than she is, but I'm trying to keep it to a minimum so I won't spoil any of her own excitement!  Here goes.....

  1. Meet Thomas the Tank engine and His Friends based on series by Rev. W. Awdry
  2. Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth
  3. The Memory Box by Mary Bahr
  4. Tumble Me Tumbily by Karen Baicker
  5. Little Polar Bear and the Brave Little Hare by Hans de Beer
  6. It's Spring! by Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko
  7. The Berenstain Bears and the Excuse Note by Stan & Jan Berenstain
  8. The Wonder Shoes by Eva Bernatova'
  9. Peter's Old House by Elsa Beskow
  10. How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle
  11. Big and Small, Room for All by Jo Ellen Bogart
  12. Madoulina: A Girl Who Wanted to Go to School by Joel Eboueme Bognomo
  13. The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall
  14. Franklin's Blanket by Paulette Bourgeois
  15. Franklin's Class Trip by Paulette Bourgeois 
  16. Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Paulette Bourgeois
  17. Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois
  18. Adventures of Ranger Rick: Operation Beaver adapted by Doe Boyle
  19. Aunt Nina's Visit by Franz Brandenberg
  20. What's Wrong with a Van by Franz Brandenberg
  21. Little Pig Figwort Can't Get to Sleep by Henrietta Branford
  22. I Love My Daddy by Sabastien Braun
  23. Shawn's Red Bike by Petronella Breinburg
  24. Flannel Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan
  25. On Noah's Ark by Jan Brett
  26. The First Dog by Jan Brett
  27. Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett
  28. If I Were Your Mother by Margaret Park Bridges
  29. Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges
  30. Clifford's Happy Easter by Norman Bridwell 
  31. What's the Time, Grandma Wolf? by Ken Brown
  32. How To Be by Lisa Brown
  33. Arthur Goes to Camp by Marc Brown
  34. Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Brown
  35. Arthur's Halloween by Marc Brown 
  36. D.W. Flips! by Marc Brown
  37. The Big Sneeze by Ruth Brown
  38. A Bear and His Boy by Sean Bryan
  39. Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
  40. A Perfect Father's Day by Eve Bunting
  41. A Picnic in October by Eve Bunting
  42. Can You Do This Old Badger? by Eve Bunting
  43. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
  44. Red Fox Running by Eve Bunting
  45. So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting
  46. Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
  47. Swan in Love by Eve Bunting
  48. The Wall by Eve Bunting
  49. The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting
  50. Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting
  51. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  52. If You See a Kitten by John Butler
  53. Otis by Janie Bynum
  54. Window Wishing by Jeannette Caines
  55. The Mother's Day Mice by Eve BuntingCrickwing by Janell Cannon
  56. Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle
  57. I See a Song by Eric Carle
  58. Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
  59. Sisters by Judith Caseley
  60. The Cousins by Judith Caseley
  61. One Day at Wood Green Animal Shelter by Patricia Casey
  62. Moonstruck: The True Story of the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon by Gennifer Choldenko
  63. How Many Days to my Birthday? by Gus Clarke
  64. Bony-Legs by Joanna Cole
  65. The Clown-Arounds go on Vacation by Joanna Cole
  66. Money Troubles by Bill Cosby
  67. Tinkling by Stephen Cosgrove
  68. The Wishing of Biddy Malone by Joy Cowley
  69. I Need a Lunch Box by Pat Cummings
  70. The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy
  71. Meet the Barkers by Tomie dePaola
  72. Dinosaur Garden by Liza Donnelly
  73. Louise May & Mr. Thoreau's Flute by Julie Dunlap & Marybeth Lorbiecki
  74. Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar
  75. The Spring Rabbit by Joyce Dunbar
  76. You Can't Milk a Dancing Cow by Tom Dunsmuir 
  77. No Bows! by Shirley Smith Duke 
  78. A Perfect Day for It by Jan Fearnley
  79. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  80. Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson The Duchess of York
  81. Sophie and the Seagull by Petra Fietzek
  82. Halloween by Dennis Brindell Fradin
  83. Winnie & Ernst by Gina Freschet 
  84. Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke
  85. Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke
  86. Mama, Across the Sea by Alex Godard 
  87. Rosie's Ballet Slippers by Susan Hampshire
  88. Dog Eared by Amanda Harvey 
  89. Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat by Naomi Howland
  90. Johnny Appleseed retold by Steven Kellogg
  91. Fluffy's Lucky Day by Kate McMullan 
  92. Nomi and the Magic Fish: A Story from Africa by Phumla
  93. Holly Claus: The Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan 
  94. The Enchanted Storks by Aaron Shephard

Books Read By "Kanga"(this is her first list--YAY!)
Step into Reading Phonics First Steps Set 1: Books 1-8
95. Play Ball!
96. Nap Time?
98. Jig!
99. Sam and Dog
100. Hot Pot
101. That Ken!
102. Bud and Ned
103. Get That Gum!
Sight Word Readers Sets 1-3
104. That Is Funny!
105. My Dog
106. My Bear
107. Guessing Game
108. That party
109. I Did It!
110. Up and Down
111. Little and Big
112. Run!
113. Dinner

Books on Tape/CD
114. The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
115. The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis
116. The Little Princess
117. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
118. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

So how did you fair this Month?  Leave a link to your list below so I can check out your lists.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Owning Our Learning

Today has already been full.  We started with our chores, breakfast, a few more chores, bread-making, imaginative play, etc.  My husband is on Spring Break this week so the children are enjoying him being around--which he isn't as often as they'd like--so this definitely changes the flow of the day (in a good way).

Today each of my children seemed to be on their ear to "do school."  I say "do school" because I now see everything I do as part of our learning and we've spent the last month and a half not doing anything that looked like "school" (in the traditional sense).  I pointed out to Kanga (the name my 7.5yo gave herself for my blogging purposes) that she has done more on her own with regards to owning her learning during this time than ever before.

I have loved that she has been driven in this way.  As soon as she could hold a pencil she was scribbling on paper making lists for me and herself.  She has always enjoyed looking through books and reading the pictures.  We started focusing on phonics more and I even gave her a short list of Dolch Sight Words.  Now everything is coming together and she is reading!!! 

I have always done some sort of phonics with her and just formally started using Saxon Phonics two years ago now (I may only be a year and a half).  I chose it because I used it in the school system and liked how it taught the rules and codes we come across in the dictionary regularly.  But since my backing off a bit and allowing her to lead (with regards to when we do phonics) it's allowed her to take much more ownership of this whole process.  I feel less concerned about what others think or say ("She isn't reading yet?"--gasp!  "What are you all doing if you're not teaching her to read?" "Mine have been reading since they were three." etc.).  It has also made be re-evaluate exactly what I want for each of my children.  I'd rather not force-feed them or even take the enjoyment out of our home-learning experience.  I do so want them to LOVE learning....and so I'm finding myself stepping back more and more.

Now I make sure we have what we need (supplies, good books, plenty of learning opportunities, some sort of schedule, etc.) but I'm learning to allow each of them to find their place in all of it.  If that makes sense at all.  There are times our learning space is tidy and neat--everything in it's place.  There are other times when there seems to be paper everywhere! Our tables and desk areas covered with all manner of things.  Yet even in the chaotic state, there is learning happening at it's own pace.

During our last visit to the library (last week) I picked out some phonetic reading books just to see what Kanga can do.  Really, it was so she could see what she could do.  Of course she got annoyed at the library when asked to look through them and read the words she knew.  But I checked them out anyway.  Over the weekend I placed them on her desk to let her leaf through.  Sure enough, she surprised herself and shared with excitement that she could READ them by herself!  "Mommy! Listen to this!"

I am proud of that girl!!  She has a journal in which I've encouraged her to write down words she either knows or wants to learn.  In sharing with me for this week what she's working on (yeah, she's initiated this as well) she showed me several pages of sentences she's written using the words she knows.  I was impressed as I never suggested this.   She is already connecting the reading and writing aspect of communication.

I'm not sure how things will work for my Sweetie Pie (almost 5yo) and The Boy (3yo).  But I'm feeling comfortable that if I continue down this path, their learning style will emerge and they, too, will be reading at the right time for each of them!!

How are things going for you today?  If you're more structured than we are, what are you using to encourage ownership of learning?  If you're more relaxed, how are your children showing you that they're taking responsibility for what they want to know?  I must say that I LOVE to hear what others are doing.  So, please take a moment to leave a comment!  I promise I won't bite! (I've had my breakfast already! LOL!) :D

(or if you've written about this on your blog before....leave me a link!)

Thanks so much!  Hope you're having a Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Sharing Monday

We have been out of the loop on this post for a few weeks now.  So much is going on.  We've been reading, though! :D

The book we're sharing today is entitled: No Bows! by Shirley Smith Duke, illustrated by Jenny Mattheson. 

It's basically about a little girl that is contrary or perhaps she just has a different perspective on how things should go.  The words are simple so the pictures really tell the story.  It's a book each of my children could identify with (and so could I).  No matter what she has or is offered, she wants something else.  But at the end of the day she does accept (and want) hugs and kisses from her parents.  It's a cute book!

Happy Reading to each of you!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homemade Play Dough

So we finally got around to do this great activity!!!  The kids had a lot of fun (and made a whole lot of mess!!!)  :D

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Our Daffodils have bloomed!
Yep, Spring is here! :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Small Change Update: Homemade Granola Bars

Our change for this month has been limited the purchasing and use of individually wrapped items--to eliminate all the waste/trash that is created by doing so.  One of the main things we purchase that falls into this category are granola bars (as well as juice boxes/pouches--which we've changed, too).

Well, we finally made some this morning before running out of the house to the library.  Each of us had a little taste--they were still a bit warm and needed to cool down.  Sweetie pie said that they tasted "very healthy!"  LOL  And they do.  We used the recipe Debbie shared on her blog, The Loving Path, with a one adjustment: omitted dates and added more raisins and cranberries.  I like them.  I think I'll add a bit of honey next time to give them a little more sweetness.

For our first time we're very happy (ok, I'm very happy) and we're looking forward to making another patch next week!  Thanks Debbie for sharing this one! :D

 All ingredient ready to be mixed.

Ready for the oven!

Cooling off.

Ready to eat.

Don't they look delicious?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The One Thing Principle

Earlier this week I found a link about the One Thing Principle on Handmade Homeschool.  In reading the excerpt Sarah shared I immediately followed this link to read more.  Basically, if you take one thing/topic/project/etc and give it full attention you will feel at thought you've accomplished more than you will if you've attempted to do several things.  The example that was shared was with regarding to homeschooling, but the truth is this can be applied to anything in your life.  By doing less you actually do more!

Many days I have ended feeling like I've not accomplished what I wanted to--this can be with regards to homeschooling or housekeeping or project completing.  I decided to consciously do it the rest of the week.  Each day I've chosen one thing that we were going to do and do it well!  I have to say that in doing so I have felt accomplished and more things have been done.

I'm hoping to be more mindful of this each day.  Especially today as there seems to be sooooooo many things that need to get done.  :D

Have a great Friday!

Photo found here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hellos & Goodbyes

Well, I am back.  We're back!

It was good to be away and leave the cleaning, cooking, entertaining children, etc. to someone else!  (My mom's the best!!)  I got two days off.  One day I milled around the little town, found a lovely artsy, handmade, inspirational, chic store (totally spoke to me!).  I also found a yarn store where I spend several hours feeling the yarn! :D  My second day I did a bit of "thrifting" and found some great finds!!  (Bread machine, storage unit/shelf thing for the boy, little cute girly purses for the girls, a few crafting tools/kits)  That same day, my mother taught me to crochet and this time I got it!  Last time I was focused on learning to knit so all the crochet one, one and a half, triple, etc. just didn't stick!  I made a scarf in less than four hours.  So much faster than knitting!

All in all, our time away was needed and I do feel refreshed!  Ready to start Spring Cleaning and getting things in order for "The Big Move" back South!

The kids got to wash dishes, bake oatmeal-raisin cookies and cinnamon buns, make and create with paper and crayons, play softball, hang out with their Uncle Fun, be totally spoiled by their grandmother, attend a cousin's birthday party, listen to several books on tape, Skype (for the first time) with their daddy, stay up late, visit a science museum and zoo, had other people read to them, play at a park, get individual baths each night, visit a local private school to "see" what other children get to do all day (more on that later), and play, play, play!  It was a win, win, WIN! :D

Today has been filled with unpacking, checking email, meal planning and starting on my To Do List.  I've clean out the "office/storage" room.  Got most things out before the folk came to pick up trash and recycling.  I am determined to stay ahead of this move.  I do not want to take any thing back with us that we don't need!!  I've pulled together three bags (so far) of things to take to Goodwill.  I'm downsizing our book collections so have two boxes full of books to give away as well.  Since I'm starting this early (we aren't planning to actually move until mid-June) I think I'll offer them first on Freecycle and then take them to Goodwill if they're not picked up.

I also am making plans to get together with our family and friends who live nearby.  We are definitely getting back down to the DC area to do the National Museums and Zoo.  I'd like to see a few things in Philly too.  I got to see one of my cousins while I was away.  She said, "You always blossom wherever you are."  Initially, I was about to contradict her on that statement, but as I thought about it, it's true.  Although this time has been tough (emotionally speaking) for me, I've done my best to take advantage of this time and "get out there" and see what we can see; do what we can do!  The children are already asking me if we'll be able to go to the creek again and pick apples--all the things you've seen here.  Many of the things we will be able to do before doing.  But some things we won't.  Boy am I glad I got out there and did them.

I'm also in the process of looking for housing and putting things into place for restarting our lives there.  I'm so exciting about going 'home.'  But with my excitement, I'm also feeling a bit of apprehension.  A few of my very dear friends have lost people dear to them during our time away (who were dear to me, too).  I will have to really face their grief and loss--the pain I've been able to keep at bay because I'm not in the day to day routine of things.  I am also feeling this way about my homeschool group.  It has grown by leaps and bounds.  Two of my good friends have been leading out in my absence.  There are definitely people I know but many more that I do not.  Just wondering how being in person will go.  (I know, I should worry about that.  We'll be fine!) :D

My dh often talks about parting well--coming to the end of things and leaving them in a good place.  He's normally speaking about parting ways with regards to a job/employment.  We've had too many experiences in which things have ended badly.  He believes this is mainly because people aren't taught how to say goodbye well.  Things come to an end.  We don't have to leave hating one another.  Makes sense, right?  Well, I've been thinking about this with regards to the friends and family we'll be leaving here.  It's important to me to make time to enjoy the fact that we're so close.  I'm already dealing with a little bit of a "I-don't-want-you-to-go-but-don't-know-how-to-say-that-so-I'm-going-to-stop- communicating-with-you" attitude.  I am not surprised.  I understand those feelings.  Very well.  I am doing what I can to continue to reach out and connect so that this time isn't lost in anticipation of what's to come.  The morning we left my mother's house the boy came in her room and said, "I'm not going to marry you!" in the meanest little voice he could muster.  I said, "Are you having a hard time saying good bye?"  He looked at me with a "how did you know?" look.  So we, too, have the opportunity to practice saying goodbye well!

The kids have been re-discovering the house and their things.  They've been playing games and reading books.  I'm liking that.  I made some bread early this morning with the bread machine I found for $5.45 (yeah, it was a find!! had the manual and everything!)  The house has smelled wonderful.  Now I'm off to find some healthier recipes for some of the things we love to eat!

[DH and I watched Food, Inc and No Impact Man before we left on our trip.  We decided then that we would be officially changing how we eat!  The children are vegetarians.  I am most of the year--then there's Thanksgiving and Christmas.  DH isn't at all.  Food Inc made me really rethink the whole organic, soy, etc. food that I've been serving the kids.  I'm all for local, local, local!!  I'm reading more about it and looking for ways to make this change so we won't all be complaining. (weak smile).  No, seriously, I've rather excited about this as well.  More so because he's open to it in a way he hasn't been.]

I hope that each of you and your family has been well.  I'll be catching up with those of you who blog over the next few days.  I've missed reading blogs but the time away from the computer has been good.  I'm going to do better about this now that I'm home.  There are definitely more things I can get done if I'm not sitting here typing or reading or researching albeit for a good cause!

If you don't blog, please leave a comment letting me know how you've been!! Thanks.

Have a great evening!

p.s. If you haven't seen Food, Inc or No Impact Man, I highly recommend them!!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I cannot tell you how happy I am that I've made it through this week.  It has been challenging, but what weeks aren't? smh  We have done a lot and yet nothing really.  Perhaps it's my bad memory, I can't even remember what Monday was about.  I really went with the flow this week, Kanga chose all activies she wanted to do.  She built a little town with Legos, made her own paper dolls, created several collage-style art pieces, used her words to write sentences.  Sweetie-pie played dress up mainly, made up several new dances and enjoyed taking care of the dogs.  The boy?  Well, he built a tent and played in it most of the week.  This morning Daddy finally told him it was time to take it down and clean up his room (yep, it looked like a bomb dropped in it).  He also played dress up with Sweetie-pie and sang a lot.

I am doing my best NOT to become overwhelmed with where I am presently.  I'm on a break from my computer--have been taking time to blog and read blogs--but am leaving everything else alone for a while. I can't say I've been 'down' but yet I haven't been 'up.'  This Winter is taking it's toll.  I've been very thankful for the sunshine this week.  After all the snow and gray and blah, the sunshine and birds singing have been wonderful.  Which reminds me, I need to put seed in the bird feeders.

We're in the process of straightening up the house as we're taking a little break and going to visit some family for the next week or so.  I'm looking forward to a little 'me' time that comes with these kinds of visits.  I'm also looking forward to NOT having to cook. clean, do laundry--you know the day-to-day housekeeping.  We're taking our library books with us (those we haven't yet read) and several books on tape for the ride.  I'm taking my knitting and hopefully will have two hats to share on my blog, Knot Sew Much.

Since my One Small Change for this month is giving up all the individually wrapped items, I want to make sure I take time to plan ahead for our meals.  I normally pack a lunch and snacks.  This trip will be no different.  I've washed the cloth napkins and have washed everyone cups (for water and juice).  As we were shopping yesterday it realized jut how many things are made and wrapped individually that we are used to getting.  There a like entire isles of this stuff.  SMH.  Yeah, pre-planning is the key! :D

Upon returning I'll be getting into the 'big move' mode and doing some serious clearing out!  I refuse to move again with ALL of this stuff. (I already have two boxes full of books to give away, and that was only one bookshelf!)  I'll definitely be sharing things with friends, on Freecycle, and the Goodwill!  We haven't set an official move date, but know it will be this summer.  I am pacing myself, but don't want to procrastinate.  Our move here took place over 15 days--I do not want a repeat!!!  I also have a few things left on my list of things I want us to do before we leave the area.  I'd like to get up to NY since we're closer and definitely want to do the National Museums in DC now that the kids are older.   Then there's the local things like playing in the creek again.  The kids are on their ears about doing that again.

I do hope that each of you have had a good week!  Enjoy your weekend and if I don't stop in for a week or so, I'll touch base when we're back!

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Small Change: March

Today begins a new month and with that another small change for our lives in making our environment better.  I've been thinking all morning about just what it will be.  In the past week I've read about what others are doing (over at One Small Change) as well as the other blogs on sustainability I read.  It's really exciting to see what everyone is doing.  Each thing is simple enough.  It really only takes a change in perspective.

I was talking to my dh over the weekend, telling him about this challenge and what things specifically I'm hoping that we'll do (getting his support, mainly--he's ALL in, by the way!).  So, this month my small change is stop purchasing items that are individually wrapped.  When I think about all the wrappers and plastic containers, juice boxes, etc. that we're adding to the trash (we do our best to purchase things that can be recycled) it's amazing!  Specially, no more individually wrapped granola/break-type bars, no more snack size bags of pretzels/chips, no more individually prepared juice boxes/containers.

This will definitely require me to be more thoughtful in planning because this kind of stuff is MADE for convenience.  However, I really want to make this change.  I've also been reading about how plastic isn't the best thing for food storage.  Hmph.  I'm going to take this thing one step at a time. 

I'm planning to make my own granola bars using a few recipes, one that Debbie shared, at The Loving Path and two others I found in a cook book.  I stopped purchasing granola bars last month when I read on Debbie's post about all the trash.  I hadn't really thought about it like that.  But we really enjoy them in my house and on a monthly basis we consume several boxes.  Making them ourselves will be fun, healthy and lessen our amount of trash.  My plan for the other snacks will be to purchase larger bags and divide them into smaller containers for my children.  I'll do the same with the juice, either using some sort of reusable bottle or just carry a jug with cups.  I think we can handle that!

Have you been thinking about making some changes to better your life, your children's, our world?  Take a look at One Small Change and see what others are doing.  I invite you to join in this month.  It's just one...small...change.  We can do that! :D

Book Sharing Monday

Welcome March!!

Happy Monday to each of you.  So much is happening in my life...but let's stay focused.  It's Book Sharing Monday time.  Today we're headed to the library to get a new set of books.  But I'm sharing one that I read several times this month and laughed at each time. 

It's Just Another Morning by Linda Ashman,
Illustrated by Claudio Munoz.

It begins like this....

The day begins as many do: I find myself inside a zoo. 

I'm cornered by a savage ape--I growl and make a quick escape. 

I pass the place where giants sleep,

descend a mountain long and steep.
Behind a door, I find a feast and share it with a hairy beast.


It continues through the child's morning of imaginative play.  I love it!  My children did too.  My oldest loved pointing out what things really were--as if we couldn't tell.  Great book.  My favorite part?  When one of the "giants" prepares him lunch and gets him ready for nap.  The words just make me laugh each time.
He feed me sticks and weeds for lunch, then gives me magic sleeping punch.
I drink the stuff. I stretch and yawn. My legs are weak. My strength is gone. 

Definitely check it out if you can.  We think you will enjoy it.

Wanna participate? Join in at Serendipity Home School.

Happy Reading!!


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