Archive for June 2013

Books We Liked This Week

Here are this week’s winners from the library!

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is a well known book that for some reason we haven’t read until now. The one week we had it we read it almost every day. This book is a fun one to use different voices for all the characters (mouse, fox, owl, snake, gruffalo), which is perhaps why it was such a favorite for us. This is a story about a clever mouse who gets out of being eaten by other animals by telling them that he’s friends with the gruffalo, which he believes doesn’t exist. Until of course, he meets the gruffalo! How he manages to get out of that situation is amusing.

This is one we actually have, but Curly didn’t notice it until this week. Harry hates taking a bath so much, he goes and hides the tub scrub brush. Then he goes off and plays, and comes home very dirty. He’s so dirty his family doesn’t know it’s him! He decides baths are good after all, by the end.

Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray is a fun ABC book. You can guess the premise – A, apple pie, B, bakes it, C cools it, etc. But it gets more interesting as it goes along. The dog really wants the pie. His antics to get at the pie are humorous, so it tells a story alongside teaching the ABC’s.

Press Here by Herve’ Tullet is the favorite of the week, even over Gruffalo! This is one of those rare books Curly wanted read again as soon as it was done. It’s an interactive book. It starts off with a yellow dot, and it asks the reader to push the dot. More dots appear. Rub the dots, the dots turn color. Shake the book, and the dots scatter, etc. This book is actually a good one for fine motor skills, and also for learning words like ‘gently’ and  right/left. This book also involves learning colors (touch the blue dot) and counting (tap the yellow dot 5 times). I was very impressed and Curly was entertained! Winner!!

Tea I’m Drinking Today: Iced Tazo Green Tea

Robin Eggs, ABC Cards, and (More) Painting

While out in the garden this past week I found part of a robin egg.  We talked about how the baby bird grew inside of it, and once it was big enough, hatched out. She was concerned where the baby bird was at this moment, and I had to reassure her that it was in one of the trees above us, growing big. Robin eggs are so pretty!

She's wearing a jacket because of the's nice outside but the mosquitoes this year are atrocious!

She’s wearing a jacket because of the mosquitoes…it’s nice outside but the mosquitoes this year are atrocious!


This week we did lots of activities, all initiated by Curly. (Makes my job easier, that’s for sure!) She wanted to play with an unopened packet of ABC Flashcards that came with the LeapFrog Letter Factory video we have. She went through and named them all, said their sounds, and then flipped them over and did it again. I was very impressed that when she ended she picked them all up, stacked them neatly and put them back on the shelf. I hadn’t brought them out because flashcards aren’t in my agenda of things to introduce her to at this time, but she LOVES them!

One side shows the letter from the Leapfrog Letter Factory video, and the flip side offers an activity.

One side shows the letter from the Leapfrog Letter Factory video, and the flip side offers an activity.


She also practiced tracing letters on this dry erase workbook. She was really into it – if I have a workbook loving child, it will make me so happy; I love workbooks too! I haven’t pushed workbooks at all. This is her first one.

And, of course, we painted. Would our week be complete without it?? I don’t think so! Here she is fingerpainting.

And here she is brush painting. I picked up a big bag of assorted brushes and let her pick which ones she wanted to use.


We had a good week!

Homemade Fingerpaint


The recipe we used is one I’ve seen a few times. No wonder it’s a favorite, it was super easy to make and has a great consistency for fingerpainting!

Here’s the recipe:

3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 cups cold water
food coloring

Add all ingredients except food coloring in pan and warm on low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Put into containers, and add food coloring to each container.

You will notice in the picture my fingerpaint isn’t perfectly blended with color – it’s just that Curly was ‘helping’ me and I was a little frantic to get the lids on before it all ended up on the floor! It’s easily remedied with just a little more stirring.

Tea I’m Drinking Today: 5 Year Aged Tieguanyin from Verdant Tea

Good Books We Read This Week

We usually go to the library every week. I’m going to start posting some of the good books that we find! I usually go with a list, but always come back with more, which is of course fine. We have found some treasures in the random books Curly has pulled off the shelf! Here are this week’s favorites.


Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a classic. I remember someone reading this book to me in either preschool or Kindergarten. I still vividly remember the illustrations. This book struck home for me as my name is also rather long and unique, although I’m not named after a flower like Chrysanthemum. If you don’t know this book, Chrysanthemum loves her name until she goes to school, where she gets teased because of her name. It all works in her favor at the end. I think this book is a good way to teach children how bullying and teasing makes others feel. Curly was certainly very into the story, and we had a short conversation afterward about being nice to others. She even requested we read it again! If she wants a second read, it’s a winner.

Muncha Muncha Muncha by Candace Fleming was one that Curly brought to me to put into the library bag. I’m glad she did! This book is about poor Mr. McGreely, who wants to grow a vegetable garden. But no matter what he builds around his garden, the rabbits always get in and Muncha Muncha Muncha his vegetables. This book has lots of onomatopoeia, making it fun to read and to listen to, apparently. Curly loved this one.

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham is an alphabet book, but not like one you’ve ever read! Moose is so excited to get to the page that features him that he makes a mess of most of the pages, and behaves quite badly when he finds that he’s not even supposed to be in the book at all! His friend Zebra makes up for it at the end. This one had us all giggling.

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost is a beautiful book. The text is simple and pretty poetry, encouraging you to look at the world from an insects point of view. The pictures in this book are the best part, in my opinion. High definition close up shots of bees in flight, ants on leaves, and spiders spinning webs. At the end of the book there is more information about each insect. Really well done!

And Then It’s Spring by Julia Fogliano is a book about patience. I could absolutely relate to this boy’s plight as he anxiously waits for the brown world after winter to turn green. I liked this book more than Curly; the poetic wording may not have been her cup of tea. The illustrations are full of detail, however, and just looking at those could make for enjoyable snuggle time.

This may have been my favorite book of the week. Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman is just stunning, particularly in the illustrations. The art is extremely detailed and completely absorbing. And this book also introduces spirals (obviously), so this has a science, art, and even a math aspect to it. It illustrates how a spiral grows, and gives plentiful examples of spirals in nature; everything from a spiral galaxy to unfurling ferns to a snake curled up in a den, this book covers it. At the end it gives more information about all the animals pictured. I was happy when Curly also enjoyed this book!

Overall, this was a particularly successful week in library books!

Tea I Drank Today: Big Red Robe from

Cutting and Gluing Practice

One of our favorite activities lately is cutting practice. I usually give her a piece of paper that she’s scribbled on, and then draw lines on it for her cut. She loves it, and I really love it for one particular reason – it keeps her busy. For a looong time. She brings me random shapes she cut out, shouting things like ‘Mom! I made a porcupine!’ or “Look!! a teapot!” She then cuts it all up into teeny tiny pieces. By the time she’s done, she has a huge pile of confetti. We then collect it all into baggies and keep it for the next project.

Her playroom is always a mess...

Her playroom is always a mess…

You can guess what we do with all those teeny tiny scraps of paper. We glue them onto another piece of paper, a paper plate, or something similar. She usually has an idea of what she wants to make. Lately rockets have been the favorite. If the pieces are extra small, I have her sprinkle them onto the glue already on the paper, rather than glue each individual piece. At the end, you have a mosaic!

Then, we wash glue off fingers and vacuum any remaining confetti off the floor. Ta Da!