Sit still before Mommy screams!

Back in October, Max and I received and reviewed two books in the Mini Myths series by Joan Holub, illustrated by Leslie Patricelli (and gave them both 5 snacks!). One was about Hercules and being gentle, especially with little kids, which is an excellent lesson for a new big brother like Max. The other was about Pandora and being patient, which is an excellent lesson for … pretty much any preschooler, including Max!

We were lucky to recently receive the two new additions to the Mini Myths series from the author in exchange for an honest review: Brush Your Hair, Medusa! and Make a Wish, Midas!

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.10.23 AMMake a Wish, Midas! equates the king of myth with a little boy who can’t get enough of the color yellow. When Mommy picks out a blue shirt and jeans, he finds his own yellow t-shirt and pants. He draws a yellow sun, a yellow house, and even a yellow Mommy! Midas’ best friend is a green dinosaur, which is a problem. He wants to be surrounded by yellow! He figures out a way to turn Dinoboo yellow, but it doesn’t work out how he thought it would, and Midas is sad.

Luckily, Mommy is able to fix Dinoboo, and Midas learns to appreciate what he has rather than wishing for something else. Great lesson in our world full of materialism!

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.10.09 AMIn Holub’s other tale, Brush Your Hair, Medusa!, Medusa is a little girl with crazy hair. Her curls stick out in a wild wave around her head, and she puts off using her hairbrush anyway she can. (Can’t really blame her: I wouldn’t want to try to get a brush through those tangles either.)

I struggled with finding a lesson out of this story. I would say that Medusa learned to listen to grownups, but at the end you can tell from her mischievous grin (which is super adorable) that she didn’t plan on letting Dad brush her teeth anymore than she allowed him to brush her hair. What I finally landed on was using Medusa’s experience to explain consequences for not doing what parents ask you to do:

Because Medusa wouldn’t let her daddy brush her hair, they had to cut it off!

Make a Wish, Midas! deserves 5 snacks for the beautiful illustrations that elicit so much emotion from the characters and the lesson to appreciate what you have.

Snacks for Max 5 snacks

Brush Your Hair, Medusa! deserves 4 snacks for the cute depiction of a well-known myth.

Snacks, Gerber

Saving, spending, giving – for kids!

An author I’ve worked with in the past reached out to me recently about her new children’s book, “Nana’s 3 Jars“, so I was thrilled to accept a copy for review. Carol Round’s previous book I’d worked with her on was “Journaling with Jesus” about prayer journaling for adults. I took part in her challenge – journaling daily during Lent – and saw a huge difference in my thinking as I did so. So, when Carol asked me to read her book with my boys, I was happy to do it!

3 jarsEven before we opened the book, Max was excited. “It’s for 3 year olds!” he said (because of the 3 on the cover). Once we opened it and started reading, he immediately related to the boy and girl in the story who were on their way to Nana’s house to spend the day. Our boys spent two nights with my parents recently and did all sorts of fun things – including playing with all the big kids at church who my parents teach in Sunday school. Max loved it. (Mason is happy anytime people smile at him, talk to him, or hold him, at this point, which means he’s a very happy baby!)

In the story, the sister and brother learn from Nana what it means to set apart money for spending, for saving, and for giving. This financial lesson is one that I’m convinced we all need. I love the idea of teaching it right from the beginning of a child’s understanding about money. One way the children in the story internalize the lesson is by using some of the giving money to buy ingredients and make cookies, which they then take to share with veterans.

One of Max’s favorite things to do is help make dishes in the kitchen. We’ve been on a waffle kick lately, since my waffle maker is so easy to use. He loves pouring in each ingredient, stirring, and watching the ingredients become a meal or a “dessert item” as he calls them. That has to come from the babysitter 🙂 Carol includes a chocolate chip cookies recipe that I’m dying to try!

For the financial lesson and the recipe especially, “Nana’s 3 Jars” deserves 4 snacks:

Snacks, Gerber

A Good (and Bad) look at Washington DC for kids

One of the books Max will open for his third birthday tonight is That’s Good! That’s Bad! In Washington, DC by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Michael Garland. I picked it up for both the fun illustrations and the look into our nation’s capitol.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 8.23.01 AM The story follows its main character The Little Boy on his class trip to the capitol and plots out his adventures in the city, giving kids a fun view of the city and all there is to do there.

The further along in the book I got as I flipped through it, the more I knew Max would enjoy it while learning a lot about this powerful city. The main reason? The Little Boy reminds me a lot of Curious George! He accidentally gets himself into scrapes, just like the little monkey we all know and love. Continue reading

Thanksgiving snacks and Christmas trees

This year marks the first time I’ll hold Thanksgiving at my house, which is somewhat daunting. My maternal grandparents always used to host until that side of the family grew so much that we couldn’t fit in two rooms of their house. For the past decade, my uncle has had the whole clan over to his house for the holiday. This year, we’re having a day-after-Thanksgiving feast at my house, which is the most central location to a family whose members span three states.

the divine pineFor now, my dilemma is decorating (we’ll worry about the food later on!); do I use fall decor or do I go tree shopping now? I’m leaning toward the tree, since my aunt generally has hers up at this gathering and we have way more Christmas decorations than fall ones. As I was thinking about Christmas trees, The Divine Pine by Tracy M. Novembre caught my eye. Continue reading

The SockKids Meet Lincoln Blog Tour

The SockKids Meet Lincoln by Michael John Sullivan and Susan Petrone

Welcome to the blog tour for The SockKids Meet Lincoln, by Michael John Sullivan and Susan Petrone! Max and I truly enjoyed the story and are excited that it is just one of many SockKids stories.

Scroll down to read a summary of the book, our review, the buzz, and information about the authors. Also, scroll ALL the way to the bottom to enter to win the blog tour giveaway. You could win a Grand Prize consisting of a $25 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash) + a SockKids t-shirt. There will also be four secondary prizes consisting of a SockKids t-shirt. Once you’ve entered, visit the other blog tour links to find even more reviews about The SockKids Meet Lincoln! Continue reading

Tippy the Raindrop must live near Indiana

Yesterday, Max turned 2! We celebrated over the weekend, with a birthday party at our house. Max’s cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and friends joined us for his Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party.

Max stood on the pool table to open his presents; giggled like crazy throwing crumpled balls of wrapping paper at Great-Grandpa Lewis; cried when everyone sang him happy birthday over his Caterpillar ice cream cake; and acted like a baseball player throwing snowballs from a mound of as-yet-unmelted snow near our driveway. Continue reading

You’ve got a friend in me

Max is almost finished with his first round of Mom & Tot gymnastics lessons that I got for my birthday

toddler gymnastics, Momy and Me

Max and Pawpaw at gymnastics

He has had a blast zooming down slides, tossing foam cubes, and learning to spread peanut butter and jelly all over his arms, legs and hair. (It’s pretend PB&J: the coach’s “recipe” for stretching at the beginning of class.)

The coach says at least once each week that he can teach any kid how to do a handstand or a cartwheel, but sharing is the real test. This usually comes up when one kid takes another kid’s foam cube or hula hoop or cuts in the line for the slide. Continue reading

Review, Interview, Giveaway: The Night the Moon Ate My Room!

Max and I were honored to be invited to participate in the Blog Tour for Jesse Wilson’s The Night the Moon Ate My Room! Not only will you find our review below the synopsis of the story, but you’ll also find our interview with the author followed by a Rafflecopter giveaway. Enter to win a signed paperback copy of The Night the Moon Ate My Room! along with an “11 x 15” custom illustration!
The Night the Moon Ate My Room Blog Tour

Continue reading

Anybody have some crayons?

Max received not one, not two, not three, but TWELVE coloring books for Christmas. (I’m not complaining, only observing with emphasis!) We only had two to begin with, and I bought him three of the twelve. At least we won’t run out of pictures anytime soon, and this frame he opened for Christmas should always be filled.

The two coloring books we already had were these two from Warner Press:away in a manger E4638 Cover.indd

TJanuary 2012he president of the publisher happens to be a customer of my husband’s, and when he discovered that his favorite phone guy had a toddler at home, he retrieved the two coloring books, as well as an Egermeier’s Bible Storybook for Beginners out of his trunk. He immediately became our favorite of daddy’s customers!

My favorite part of the Warner Press coloring books is that they aren’t just pictures; they’re also stories. Continue reading

Pinterest Scavenger Hunt: Day 28

Are monsters too scary for not-quite-2 year olds? Max and I would say no, at least if we’re talking about the monsters in Ed Heck’s Many Marvelous Monsters.

Many Marvelous Monsters by Ed Heck

This book is perfect for little ones trying to get into the Halloween spirit. Continue reading