Today’s art project is practical in nature. Reusable in the future. Cost less than $2 per person.
Do you know what it is?
Here is a hint:
Another hint: they can be used tomorrow.
Most of the ebook links are for Kindle versions from Amazon. These are NOT affiliate links. Just trying to be helpful.
The ebooks were free at the time I found them. Please check before ‘purchasing’ them as things change quickly. Also, I have not downloaded all the books so can not vouch for the quality of them all.
This is another “I wrote it but forgot to publish it” post. It is still very relevant, only now we are a few years past this point. This list began as a way for me to keep track of the online resources we were using.
Here are several books I am reading with Jack, following Ambleside Online’s Year 1 curriculum. I have most of these either in audio version or borrowed from the library. My thinking was that I would see if we liked the books before actually buying them. I am also continuing to look for the ones we will use the full term on ebay and at local library sales, as a few dollars for a book is cheaper than potential library fees. It would also save on the hassle of having to return books only to then request them again. But mainly, it was because when I started planning for the year, I was not looking to spend a whole lot of money.
I have not downloaded this book, but there may be no photos to accompany the wonderful text.
Here is a LibriVox recording of the book.
The Aesop for Children with pictures by Milo Winter (but without pictures)
Project Gutenberg – has pictures but I am not sure if you can put it on an ereader.
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Project Gutenberg version.
Project Gutenberg version.
Project Gutenberg version.
With summer looming very close in front of us, one of the items on my non-gardening to-do list involves signing up for various summer reading programs. This is also a great reminder to keep participating in other reading programs that are not season oriented.
Participation in summer reading challenges is one of the ways we use to hopefully create kids who turn into young adults who love to read. My thinking is that if they can read, they can learn anything. They can also travel to places otherwise unavailable to them.
In addition to your local library’s reading program, here are a few more you can check out. (Pun intended.)
Meatheads Burgers currently offers the Voracious Readers reading program during all seasons. There is no guarantee that this program will continue, so make use of it while it is here. The kids love being able to order their own burgers and ‘pay’ for them with the certificate they earned by reading books.
From the website:
The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:
2. Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. Find a Store
3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.
My kids are excited about being able to choose from the books and have already selected the ones they want to work towards. I love the fact that they are excited to be reading.
Books-a-million’s 2017 Summer Reading Program runs now through August 16th. As the image above shows, read 4 books from their Reading Challenge secelction, fill out the form and return to receive a free Maze Runner series water bottle. Click here to find a store near you.
There are book selection for both kids and teens. The Kids’ selections online are not easy readers, so you may have to help your young reader choose something appropriate (or maybe read aloud to them).
Half Price Books’ summer reading program for kids 14 (or 8th grade) and under is for June and July.
Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed log to earn HPB Bookworm Bucks. By August 31, cash in your HPB Bookworm Bucks in store for books, music, movies & games.- Half Price Books bookmark
While 300 minutes may seem like a large amount, it works out to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days.
If you need ideas for young ones, they have put together a list of Alphabet books as well as books for even younger ones. You are encouraged to read aloud to your kids if needed.
Join us on our 2017 Summer Reading Quest with Bibleman, June 1 to Aug. 31. We want to help you and your family promote the love of reading in your home as well as encouraging the love of God’s Word through reading His Scripture. This program is geared toward grades 1 through 6, but all are welcome to join in the adventure.
Join them in-store for a Kickoff Party May 26-27 to receive your FREE Summer Reading Program Journal, Bookmark and Pencil. At that time you will also be able to purchase books from the recommended reading list at 40% off!
Turn in your reading journals by August 31, 2017
For every 10 books you read, we’ll give you one free*. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling us: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and we’ll reward you with a free book for all that hard work. – Bookman’s Programs Page
Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has locations in Arizona. While many of you may not live or visit these areas, it is a great example of finding a reading program at a location you may not have thought to look. We visited a Bookman’s a few years ago, while in the Tuscon area on vacation, and loved it. The initial reason for going was to attend their story time, as we were looking for things to do with 4 little boys under 4 (we had nephews along with us). While the kids were listening to the story, I got to indulge myself (my husband was with the kids) and look through a large selection of used books. We came away with several classics for a very reasonable price. I probably would have bought more, but we were flying home, so space was limited.
There is also a Kid’s Club, which offers enrolled kids a discount on books, as well as sending them a gift certificate on their birthday.
*The free book come in the form of a $10 certificate to be used in the store. I could not find the information online, but a call to one of their stores confirmed they are still doing this program
Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant I did not grow up living near. However, there was a time or two that we went for a party and I always had fun going. With George and Jack being on the young side, and easily overwhelmed, we have not gone before.
I was surprised to find that they offer a very diverse reward program. Fill out one of the calendars, bring it in, and earn 10 free tokens. Their calendars are one that will help you form good habits in your kids and include the following calendars: reading, picking up your room, doing homework first, no picking your nose, daily chores, and more. In all, they have 15 different calendars to choose from. Additionally they have other awards you can earn and redeem for 10 free tokens.
A food purchase may be required to receive your tokens.
“Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.” – Book Adventure website
We have yet to participate in Book Adventure, as our kids have been too young previously. Their prizes page does include some unique items that the kids can earn points toward. Teachers can also set prizes for their classes.
“The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!” – Scholastic Reading Challenge
Scholastic’s 2017 Summer Reading Challenge begins May 8 and ends September 8.
“During the summer months, DoD-MWR Libraries around the world will host a range of free activities for children, teens, and adults that encourage and support a love of reading. Participants also can earn incentives by reaching their reading goals.”
If you do not live near a base or libray on base, there is also a Virtual Summer Reading Program available.
TD Bank had a summer reading program in 2016, which rewarded readers with money in their bank accounts for reading so many books. They have not said yet whether they will do it again in 2017.
Recently I took the longest Sunday drive I had ever taken. The view out the side windows was nice, or at least the part I could take my eyes off the road to look at was nice. The view out the front? Well, it was nice part of the time, but over 8 hours of being reminded that beautiful things do not last is hard. The view may have become a bit blurry a few times, which was quickly remedied by a tissue.
Due to a job change, we moved. This was not an “across town move”, but different zip code, different state, different growing zone move.
No longer are we residence of Zone 5, but now get to experience gardening (and living) in Zone 7. Actually, my husband moved a few months ago, though I did not want to advertise that fact. I am sure you can understand why.
This particular Sunday Drive was so the kids and I could join him. After a few months of parenting solo, finishing up on home remodel and regular home improvement items, decluttering, and putting our house on the market, moving to a rental house sounded like a vacation. Well, sort of.
Reading the post I linked above, something I posted just over a year ago, reminds me very clearly about how much we have done this past year concerning our house. When we started that project, we did not think it would take as long as it did. My thoughts were along the lines of 6 months, not 2 years. As it turned out, the only reason my husband even saw the hand rails on the stairs was that he came back to help drive the moving truck.
While we saved money (thousands of dollars) in the overall home remodel project by not having someone else act as a general contractor or do all the work within one company, the trade-off was time. It took longer as we did not have the connections to electricians, drywall installers, insulation installers, etc. The last step alone took about 6 months to finish as the carpenter was working on other jobs. Once he was able to focus on our house it was finished in just a few weeks.
No, we did not foresee a move coming when it did, or else we would not have taken on such a large change to our house. If only we all had a magic ball that could see into the future …. Since we do not, we make decisions with the best information we have at the time. That is all any of us can do.
“The best information we have at the time”, that is also one of the prompts for the move. My husband graduated with his Masters, after 2.5 years of night classes while working full time, back in May. While I was looking forward to a year of calm, time where we could spend as a family reconnecting and reassuring, it was not to be so. At least, it is not going to look like I thought it would.
There were some changes coming down the line at his work, something he had picked up on but which had not been announced by the higher-ups. In June, his work officially announced the changes. The majority of workers were surprised, being unsure of what this meant for the future. Thankfully we had talked about these possibilities, looking at our options and talking through what-ifs. While things could have turned out better for us, they could have stayed the same or gone worse. It was a huge unknown with no guarantees.
Even with that emotional preparation on our part, having news like this become ‘official’ makes it all the more real.
Going ahead with a job search, moving to a new state and out of Small Town, moving again to where we do not have family or a support network was not easy decision or task. We have done it before, though this time we have the added challenge of two kids. Two kids who do not handle changes in routines very well. Two kids who still struggle with feeling secure some days. Yes, we took that into account. We kept coming back to “we can either move now, or wait and potentially have the timing decided for us at some unknown point in the future.”
Knowing that raising of our kids is our responsibility is why we have taken classes, read books, worked as a family to find things that work for us. We have tried to grow and become the parents they need us to be. We have tried to find ways to help them grow as people, to become contributing, well balanced adults in the future. Are we perfect at it? Oh, gosh, no! I fail just as much as anyone. Also, I hold myself to a higher standard now, which makes my introverted self-analyzing all the more intense. However, sometimes I get it right, and we all get to take two steps forward.
So, we have moved. All the blog posts flying through my head, all the possible things I have wanted to share, all the wonderful fall ideas I have taken pictures of to show you and spring-board your inspiration for autumn porch decorating ideas or garden improvements have had to take a back to seat to the knowledge that every day I chose to do something else meant a day longer of parenting by myself, of having my husband live the life of a bachelor in a new place with no supports.
I feel as if I have made this excuse before, but really, is this not the story of all of our lives. None of us can do it all, there is only so much time in the day. There are things you need to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to others.
We now live in the equivalent of former Big Town. It is not a Huge City, but large enough to make me uncomfortable and feeling crowded after our years in Small Town and having grown up in the country where you could not see your neighbors due to the hills and trees. It has taken me time to start feeling upbeat about this move, to be honest. From former moves, I know that I can live in a Huge City and still survive. I have already started mental lists about all the positives of our new location, which helps begin to see the beauty of the place. This always helps with attitudes of gratefulness rather than murmuring and strife.
Thank you all for sticking with me through these odd times, where I would post for a week, then disappear. Or where gardening posts were sparse while other things were on my mind. I hope you continue to stop by and see what this new adventure brings for our family, and my (hopefully) beautiful garden.
This post contains affiliate links.
My mom gave this bird feeder to me for Christmas*. I liked it. I was very surprised when she gave it to me, because it was awesome because I like birds.
It was not put together, because it was a kit. It was hard to put together. We needed a screwdriver because it had a lot of screws. The hood and the back and all the wheels are kept on by screws.
Since it was already built at Christmas time with Grandpa and Dad, we had to take it apart again. It was easier to take apart than it was to put together, because I had help from my mom. We had to take it apart because my mom did not want to paint over the screws. (Actually, it was so that we could get all the parts painted on all sides.)
I used a pink spray paint (Watermelon Splash) on everything first. It was easier to paint the whole thing one color first. When the first two coast were dry I picked some pieces to paint blue.
The bird feed came with my bird feeder. (It was part of his Christmas gift.) After we hung it up, we used a cup to put it in my bird feeder.
One day mom saw a European starling at the feeder. I saw a blue jay flying past another day.
*I found this bird feeder at a consignment store, in a box, looking almost brand new. In case you are wondering, it came in at less that $10.
Text written in italics were comments made by me to help clarify what he was trying to say.
Received as a Christmas gift, Crayola’s Chalk Grab ‘n Go Games Foot Hockey sat way too long in our basement because “we do not have a large area in which to play.” As it turns out, that was a bad excuse which kept the kids from playing this fun game all summer long.
One day, as I was clearing out the basement and garage, I came across the game again. This time I decided to go for it, to play it in the setting we had – the width of a sidewalk that is about 80 feet long. I was greatly relieved to find all the items needed were included in the game – instruction with illustrations, sidewalk chalk, and a puck. So far, it was turning out to be my kind of game.
Unfortunately for my “you do not need directions, they take too long” kid, this mama loves to read directions before beginning anything new. However, toward the end, I summarized the rules, adjusted them to our narrow setting, and off we went.
There was not a lot we had to alter in the rules, though we added a few of our own – the grass was out of bounds, though only after so long. Also, you had to ‘hit’ the puck into the rectangle marked as the goal; if it went around it then an out-of-bounds was called. Also, you had to stand back two squared when someone got to kick it back into play.
After the first trial run with Jack during a brain break (i.e. PE time), I was not sure how taken he was with it. He seemed to think there were too many rules … he wanted to be able to kick it into the street.
When George got home, my doubts were proven wrong. The first thing Jack wanted to do was to show George the new Foot Hockey game, explain the rules, and play! They played multiple games that day, trying to work out the kinks in how each thought the other should play the game. 🙂
Since that time they have gotten out the materials on their own several times, drawn their own field, clarified our family’s version of the rules and played! with limited disagreements. The kids like having a ‘real’ puck, which has held up well to kicks and being thrown, as well as getting to create their own field/court.
I liked the ease in setting up the game; an adult is not needed. The ability to adapt the game to almost any setting makes it a much more flexible game, meaning it is more likely to be played. One of the aspects I believe could be worked in is the softness of the chalk. The first color we used was to make the goals and middle markings; by the third game it was used up and colors were switched.
This games seems to do well with a couple of people. I believe that if there were a lot of kids playing this would either get out of hand, or you would end up with several of the kids being bored.
A gift which I was unsure of, has turned out to be a great addition to our outdoor games and activities.
All opinions are my own. I did not receive this item for review or at a discount; this is a game we received as a gift from someone in our lives.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for helping support this blog.
This post contains affiliate links.
When looking something to add to our school day, Me: A Compendium: A Fill-in Journal For Kids caught my attention. It looked fun, the picture on the cover intrigued me, and the idea seemed silly enough to hold the attention of my kids.
George has several variations of books such as this one, he tends towards the artistic thinking. Jack, however, does not have any such books. He is usually a black and white thinker, taking to artistic things only if it suits his fancy. I was not sure how he would react to this book, though was hoping for something unexpected that he could do during the day when he was bored. It would also act as a journal of his life at this point in time.
Me: A Compendium was picked with Jack in mind.
When the book came, I called him into the living room, handing him the book without saying anything. The look in his eye was one of excitement, “Is this for me?!” Seems it was going to be a hit with my practical child. (George was a bit jealous, till I reminded him that he already had two books like this. He still wanted to ‘help’ fill in some of the pages.)
As with any new book, I encouraged Jack to get to know the book before doing anything with it. Starting at the most obvious place, the cover, he asked why it was blank. “That is for you to fill in. You write your name in the blank rectangle, either only your first or any combination of your names you choose. This is your book.”
Turning it over to the back cover, the questions continue. The child is asked for favorites, descriptions of various body parts, and other information about likes/dislikes.
The biggest surprise, though, was the inside of the cover. “Super Secret Stuff” was a hit with this 7 year old. He did not even want me to tell George or Dad about it. “Mom, it is secret! That is what secret means; others do not know about it.” We had not even cracked the cover yet and he was already smitten with the book and the notion of filling it in as he saw fit.
Several pages were filled in the first day. One of them surprised me, “This is what I’ll be doing when I grow up…” Up till this point, he has always wanted to be a construction worker, or a constructions worker who works part time as a policeman. This was the first time he said he wanted to, solely, be a policeman, “to help keep people safe”. Being safe is a common thing he worries about, so this was not so surprising.
“As long as you do not want to be the person the police are chasing, I think it is a great idea”, a comment of mine that resulted in the oh so cute, “Mooooommmm” with the accompanying eye roll.
The second picture took a bit of interpretation on his part before I understood what was going on – playing Frisbee with Dad. Again, not a surprise, as this was drawn at a time where my husband was busy and not able to play with them as much as he, and they, would have liked.
Knowing Jack is not a huge drawer, I was very surprised and pleased to see how quickly he wanted to pick up drawing utensil and get to work filling in the paper pages. If this is what it takes for my fine-motor activity adverse kid to draw, I will buy these books all day long.
I have no doubt Me: A Compendium will last us quite a while. The cover is hard back and the pages are a heavy paper. The drawing and fill-in-the-blank prompts are diverse, helping keep it interesting through the whole book.
Since drawing in it the first time, Jack has asked several times where this book was, as he wanted to work on it more. This fact alone makes it a five-star book in my opinion, especially as it is not a particular cartoon construction worker and his builders, nor an alien race that can morph into various vehicle forms to fight other bad mechanical alien here on Earth. This is a book that makes him stop or slow down, think, and transfer those thoughts to something outside of himself. There are no right or wrong answers, and no grades. So, if your police car looks more like a lump of coal, that is okay. 😉
I thought I would give Jack a chance to share his thoughts, in his own words. Here is what I got:
Me: Jack, what did you think of this book?
Jack: (glancing over, sees the book on the screen, and gives a sly, shy smile, goes back to building his Lego creation.)
Me: Well, what did you think?
Jack: I don’t know. I haven’t finished it yet. I can’t tell you what I think of it till I finish it.
Me: Well, up till now, what have been your thoughts?
Jack: (silence, but smiling.)
And there you have it. He liked it but was unwilling to put it into words, the normally accepted form of communication for creatures of our species, yet a form that Jack often does not like to use. Hey, at least he did not spell it out in the air, as he is inclined to do at times. That would have been harder to transcribe.
As I was writing this review, I had another thought, “This would be great for a kid in Foster Care.”
Why? It would help create a scrap book of sorts, a place to write things down and store memories at a time where other forms may not be available. At times there are gaps in a child’s photographic history or “This is Me in Grade ___” papers from school are lost. Giving them a sturdy place to record various facts from their life at this moment, a way to possibly even share them with the adults in their lives, is a great way to encourage emotional connects, a connection with their personal story, and a record of this time in their life.
Me: A Compendium does not require batteries, is gender neutral, and easy to transport. As the holiday season approaches, if you are considering being a part of a gift-giving effort, even if not for Foster Care specifically, this would be a great gift option to keep in mind.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
A new school year brings new lessons, even if it is something you have done several times before. Situations change. People change. The phase of the
mood moon changes. There is always a lesson or two waiting in to be learned. Here are a few from our first day of school(s) yesterday.
1. Do not ladle hot pudding into plastic containers. They will melt.
2. Donut holes covered in honey is a yummy breakfast.
3. The habit of a morning routine is great. No, they had not gotten it down, without reminders, all summer long even though you did it Every. Single. Morning. No, they will not miraculously suddenly start doing it just because you now have a 5-times weekly appointment to get to at 8 a.m. (any opinions on this book?)
Actual school day:
1. You do reach a point where you do not cry when leaving your child at school, for better or worse. Maybe on a day where you feel less stressed (cast iron tub issues, home remodel, kids’ trauma issues and ADHD clashing, and more anyone?) you will remember exactly what it is you have done, making up for the lack of tears. For now, though, it’s all good. Your social bug is excited/nervous to be back in the throng of so many people to talk to. Constantly. Even with a speech issue, though most do not notice it now. Boy oh boy, God sure did make this one a talker. He must have some sort of plan for him, or else this is one big double-edged thorn in his side. Love him to pieces.
2. On the way home you realize that you did yourself a favor by starting your home school year 1.5 weeks early (the first few days will be light days) and including a walk to the library on the first day of school.
3. Timers are wonderful things. You work till it goes off, then switch to the next thing.
4. Putting off the start of the school day till after the floors are swept and vacuumed makes you feel less of a failure as a homemaker when you look up between lessons.
5. Tests are not evil things. It is okay to see where your child is in order to know what you need to focus on. That does NOT have to mean bubble sheets and hour long sitting sessions. FYI: part if our tests involved markers and oral descriptions. I had to sigh at the addition of Light Sabers to the map.
6. Remember your clip boards? Yeah, remember your clip boards and get them out to use. 😉
1. (leftover) Donut holes are a great after school snack for the ever hungry kid.
2. At bedtime, kids will still be nervous for the second day of school, even if the first day went well.
3. It is okay to only mow 1/4 of the yard at a time. You do what you can when you can. However, next time, remember to put the downspouts back on so you do not have to get out of bed and run out in a downpour at 10 p.m. to put them back on. It may be said that washing you hair with rainwater is a good thing, but I really could have done without the soaking wet clothes that went along with the experience.
4. Remember the “timers are wonderful things” mentioned above? Well, that goes for setting your alarm to pick up your kid from public school as well. Especially on the first day of school when they had early release.
In all, this was a great first day of school. Even with a light school day at home I was reminded of the need for sensory input, mainly along the deep muscle and vestibular kind.
We made it on time for George in the morning. Earlier this week we had gone to the school and found his homeroom, as well as another class he will frequent, and his locker. This simple step make a world of difference to him, taking away one unneeded worry. At bedtime, he told me, in his Grown-Up-3rd-Grader voice, that I would not need to walk him in for the second day; he knew where everything was and could find it. (I think he has a fear of being lost and not knowing how to get where he is going.)
So, I will let go on this one and allow him to do it himself. Of course, on day 3/4/5/115 he might change his mind and I will be there to offer the support he needs. After all, is that not why we are here? To help them grow into confident, independent, knowledgeable adults? Well, that is our hope at least.
This post contains affiliate links.