Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tot School (and a giveaway to check out!)

First up, I wanted to share a great link where you can download some free books to help with beginning reading.  Looking at them, they are more than just for reading - you can use them with the beginner talkers to help them identify objects and learn new words.  Right now both of my boys love to imitate things - Nate does more sounds and Josh does more words but either way they both are learning from all of the things we say!  So, check out this link and download the free books :-)  Check out All about spelling for these free downloads.
This is just one of the two stories you can download.
Second, I wanted to share a few things from our week.  I don't have pictures of us playing anything only because I keep forgetting to get the camera out in the middle of our stuff.  I do have pictures of our stuff though :-)

This was my first time making a Tot Book.  I had to studied the picture 1+1+1=1 for quite awhile trying to figure out exactly how she made that lap book.  The pictures made it look bigger than it really was but after reading the instructions, staring at the picture for what seemed like forever, and just using my brain, I figured it out :-)  I thought I would share some pictures of what I did and also what I learned for next time.  The first Lap Book that I made was based on Nemo.
 This first step was the hardest for me - I finally figured out that you had to cut a regular letter size file folder in half.  (See how that 1/2 looks almost like a whole file folder - or is it just me???)
 Than, I overlapped them and used packing tape to hook them together.  By doing this, the outside flaps will fold over each other.
 You can get all of the printouts shown here from the 1+1+1=1.  I printed out each of the pages on card stock and laminated them.  Above are the Numbers with Nemo pages.  I stapled them together on the edges and than used packing tape to adhere the back page to the file folder.
 This is my finished book - I just printed that picture from Google Images. 
 Now, I put my two file folders backwards so it opens to the right first . .. oops!  The Names I did slightly different than pictured on the above mentioned site.  She had stapled them together but my weak stapler could not handle that much thickness so instead I used my trusty key rings and hooked the pages together that way.  I actually used Velcro on the last page to adhere it to the file folder that way we can actually pull it out of the book if we want to. 
 The left side has Nemo's Colors and Nemo's ABC's.  I love the accordion style folder. 
The finished "Numbers with Nemo" section.

The biggest thing I learned was that I should print the pages on standard typing paper, not card stock.  The lamination makes them strong enough to handle but not so thick for the items that need to be folded.  Also, double sided tape is a MUST for these books.  It holds things together well without folding tape over.  I did wonder if Rubber cement might hold the books to the file folder better  . . .so I might pick some up and experiment with it just to see how it works.

I love these little lap books because there are so many things for little eyes to look at!  Josh was very interested in this as I was putting it together and he recognized the characters from his favorite movie :-)

This is another activity that Josh has enjoyed - he loves to say the letters.  These come from the St Patrick's Day packet from Musings of Me.  I love that the cards are the size of 1/2 sheet of a paper.  I think I'm going to pick up some small Velcro circles so that Josh can match the shamrocks to the cards and stick them on.  He likes Velcro :-)

I also put this file folder game together that you can find at Christian Preschool Printables.  The true purpose of this game, matching odd and even numbers, is something that my kids are quite ready yet but, I like that he can do number recognition.  These games are awesome because they are so easy to put together.  Just print the pages from the site. I than laminated them and adhered them to the file folder with double-sided tape.

I used a snack size baggy adhered with Velcro to hold the gold coins.  I think I may print a second set of coins so that he can match numbers to numbers for now but we'll see :-) 

So, that's what we are working on so far.  As I knew would happen we haven't gotten through a lot this week due to being gone one day and the flu hitting my little guy on Wednesday but he has enjoyed some time with these activities.  I will try to do better with getting some "action" photos next week!!

Also, one of my favorite blogs, Musings of Me is hosting a CSN store giveaway for a gift certificate!  I've checked out the stores and there is a ton of things that you could get :-)  So check out her site and add your comments for a chance to win (Notice I put this at the end of my post . . .I hate making my odds go down LOL)   Really, check out her site - it is awesome!!

One last misc piece of info - did you know that the ABC song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same melody?  Go ahead, sing them, you know you want to? LOL Seriously - I did not know that until today; to make it worse - Mr. Music aka as my husband didn't believe me when I told him so we each had to sing one of the songs at the same time. . .. hahahaha

What I'm Reading

What I'm Reading!

Well, I'm a little behind on posting what I've been reading so I thought I had best get this post up now since I'll have another to post soon! 

What it's about: When There's Nothing Left But Memories... Andie Phelps is the envy of Santa Barbara. A devoted mother with a loving son and a successful husband, her greatest joy comes from reaching out to others... Melanie Johnston is the envy of no one. A single mom who works long hours to pay the bills, and her greatest joys relate to her teen daughter and son. Then the accident that changes everything. When opposite worlds collide, the impact reaches far beyond these mothers' personal losses. Two wounded women...Two families seeking hope...A community torn apart... How far will they go to fulfill...A Promise to Remember.

This is a 2nd read for me and well worth it.  I like the fact that you know from the beginning what the loss is for each of them and the story deals with the walk they each walk and the healing each family receives.  It is a realistic story and reminder of what true Christianity is about - the walk, not the talk.  I would recommend this book for a good read on a snowy afternoon (or on a sunny beach, soaking up the sun LOL)

Letter Perfect by Cathy marie Hake -
Ruth Caldwell has always tried to live up to her mother’s expectations of what a lady should be…often with less than impressive results. But when she’s forced to journey west to meet the father she’s never seen, Ruth hopes that this might be the place she’ll finally fit in. But her arrival brings about more mayhem than even Ruth is used to. She soon meets Josh McCain, the son of her father’s business partner, but discovers some startling news: Her father passed away years ago. And though Josh urges Ruth to claim her inheritance, he grows suspicious of something more sinister at hand when her "accidents" seem to go beyond Ruth’s normal bumbling ways and leave her very life in danger.
This is another 2nd read for me, and will be my last 2nd read for awhile - I have some new books to read, thanks to my mom!  Anyway, this is another fun read.  I will say that the 2nd half of the book gets a little "silly" and isn't as interesting of a read but the story is still cute.  Would I recommend it?  Yes, but just know that the story line does get a little silly :-)

 This is the last book I have by Cathy Marie Hake and it is another cute read.  Here is the basic overview of the book:

When Britisher Lady Sydney Hathwell's father dies, the American who planned to wed her suddenly reneges. Stranded in America and penniless, Sydney contacts a relative in Texas who, mistaking her male-sounding name, invites his "nephew" to join him on his ranch. "Big Tim" Creighton, however, is appalled when this mincing fop arrives at Forsaken. He determines he'll turn Fancy Pants Hathwell into a man before the boss returns home. From the get-go, he has "the kid" mucking stalls, clearing and plowing a field, and assisting with a difficult calving. But when Sydney's true identity is uncovered, Tim resents being deceived. Yet in time, he also finds that he doesn't like all the attention Sydney garners now that she's wearing pretty gowns...Together Sydney and Tim will discover the importance of family and what it means to be a man--and a woman--of God.

This was another second read for me (ok, so I re-read one more since it was by the same author!).  I enjoy the lightheartedness of the book even if it is a little bit far-fetched but sometimes those are the "good" reads too!

 This is a brand new book!  It is the latest book in the series "A Cape Light Novel" by Thomas Kincaid and yes, I've ready them all!  Honestly, normally, when my mom passes on the latest book in the series, I re-read the entire set - which I believe is close to 10 books now.  The books revolve around the residents of the town of Cape Light and yes, the books build on each other.  If I were you, I would check out your local library and see if they have this set! Each book is a great read and I'm already looking forward to the next one.  (And no, I did not re-read the set this time since I had just re-read it a few short months ago!)
Finally, this is one of the books for my Jan-April reading list. (You can check out the complete list here.)  I loved this book - partly because it was written by Sandy Patti, whom I so enjoy, and more so because of her theme.  This book focus' on her "recent" Lap-band surgery and road through weight loss but more than that it talks about God's forgiveness and the path that so many have to take to get to the point of accepting themselves as "enough" for God.  Have you ever thought about that?  God doesn't ask for anything spectacular from us - we are "enough" for Him, just as we are - just the way he made us with just the talents he gave us.  Pretty extraordinary, isn't it?  I've always adored Sandy Patty - her music, her "realness" (is that a word) so when I saw this book released, I just grabbed it right up without even reading a peep about it but it was far better than I imagined.  I would recommend this to anyone but especially if you really struggle with your self view - I think she has some great words to help you! 

So what am I reading now?  I'm trying to concentrate on a few more books on my list before reading any more of the "light" stuff but it's hard - I like to read at lunch time . . .and the light stuff is more fun for that LOL.  I also just went through some books to pick out some titles for my next quarter of reading (yes I know it is early but in case I need to purchase any . . .I need to plan!).  And yes, I love to read hahaha.