Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Easter Eggs

I don't know how it worked out this way, but this was the first year we dyed Easter eggs with Monkey Georgia. We did not get around to doing it until the night before, unfortunately. This year we decorated 10 eggs.

We planned to leave the Easter Bunny a note letting him know the eggs were in the refrigerator so he could hide them in the front yard (he hides plastic filled eggs inside, but we were concerned our cat would hide the boiled ones from us inside). Before we went to bed, a huge thunderstorm hit, and we all decided that dying the eggs was enough fun. The search for them could wait for another year.

We typically stock up on Easter egg dye at after-Easter sales, but someday I think it would be fun to try natural dyes for the eggs.

I know this is old news. Someday I would like to post about things during the same week that they happen!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spencer Magnet: At Home for May

I completely forgot about sharing my Spencer Magnet articles here for the last month! I'm still thrilled to be writing for them. My year anniversary was at the beginning of May. My articles are published under the heading At Home because I write about homey topics - like food, sewing, decorating and Homemaker Clubs. A few months ago, At Home even got its own heading on the website (under features) which was a thrill.

I hope you enjoy reading!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Reading Programs 2011

I love summer reading programs. They reward what we already do (read a lot) and remind us to track what we've read. I wish I had kept lists of the books I read when I was a kid.

We always participate in our local libraries' summer reading programs. This year, I started searching for additional summer reading programs. This is the list I've come up with so far.

  • Half-Price Books: Feed Your Brain - under 14 years old. Read 600 minutes during June & July and get a $5 gift card.
  • Barnes and Noble - 1st-6th graders. Read 8 books and chose 1 book (from a list) for free.
  • Borders - 12 and under. Read any 10 books and chose 1 book (from a list) for free.
  • Pottery Barn Kids - ages 10 and under. There is a reading list of picture books (Caldecott medals and honors) or early readers that must be completed. Prize is a free book.
  • Scholastic Summer Challenge - I can't find the age range this is for.
  • PBS Kids - I'm not sure what the program is exactly. 
  • Chuck E Cheese - This one seems to require a food purchase though, for only 10 tokens.
We also get to participate in the summer reading programs for the library of the county where we live and the county where my husband works. (I have library cards in both counties. Check your local regulations. Some counties allow you to use the libraries if you work there.)

I found out on Tuesday that our county now has an adult summer reading program, which I am very excited about. I need to clarify some of the details - like are only books from that library allowed? Adults are given a bingo sheet with various genres of books to read. The requirement is to write a brief review of each book read and have a staff member sign the review. Up to 10 reviews can be submitted for the raffle. Our library's program is only for the month of June. Most of the programs run through the end of July.

Monkey Georgia has signed up for 3 reading programs so far, and completed both libraries programs. (We have not turned in our forms yet, so she has not received prizes yet.)

On Saturday, we went to the Half-Price Books summer reading kick-off. It was more low-key than some kick-off parties I have seen, but low-key is her style. She sat on the floor in front of the storyteller, coloring and enjoying their snacks and listening to the stories. Monkey Georgia sat through storytime for an hour and a half! I was blown away that she sat there that long. (The party was about 2 hours long, and people came and went as they pleased. We were a little late, or I suspect Monkey Georgia would have stayed longer.) I'm not sure if it was the stories or the free access to glue sticks that kept her attention. Maybe a little of both?

About.com's Freebies site has a list of summer reading programs also.

Do you know of any other summer reading programs available this summer?

Edited to Add: Most of the summer reading programs that I linked to here are open to children who do not read yet. The rules indicate that it is ok for parents to read to pre-literate children. If Monkey Georgia were reading to herself, I would consider letting her count the same books for each program. Since I am reading to her, we only count each book once, even if we read it more than once. These are my personal rules.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Last week, I read:

Currently reading:

Library Books from last week:
  • The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing StoriesThe Write Start by Jennifer Hallissy - Finally got my hands on this! It's about helping young kids get into writing and is the writing equivalent of How to Get Your Kids to Love Reading, from what I understand. It came out in December and I haven't been able to get a copy yet.
  • Slob by Ellen Potter - This was recommended by Abby the Librarian.
  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troop - I can't remember where I heard about this one, but it sounded interesting. The author's wife was transferred to the euquatorial pacific, and he tagged along for 2 years.
  • Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen - another one I've wanted to read for a while.
  • Teach Your Own by John Holt
  • Goodnight, Tweetheart by Teresa Merdeiros - When I used to plan booksignings at a bookstore, occasionally I would do group signings for romance authors and Teresa would always come. She is SO sweet. I recently realized that I had never actually read one of her books! (Shh! Don't tell her!)
I am linking to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Journey.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What My Child Is Reading

Some of the books we read this week:

  • Mama, Is It Summer Yet?Mama, Is it Summer Yet?Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure - I love this book! Monkey Georgia likes that "Mama, is it summer yet?" is repeated on every other page, so she can "read" that part while I read the other pages. I love the illustrations.
  • The House Takes a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies - This book is very punny. I think a lot of the puns went over Monkey Georgia's head, but she thought the story and illustrations were funny all the same.
  • Hello Sun! (Picture Books)Hello, Sun by Hans Wilhelm - We saw this displayed in the library. There's a hedgehog on the cover. Of course we brought it home!
  • The Three Pigs by David Weisner
  • How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills - This book was recommended by Reading With Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. The language in this book is very rich.
  • I Can Do It Myself!I Can Do It Myself by Diane Adams - I took this book back to the library last week, unbeknownst to Monkey Georgia who asked for it that very night and burst into tears when it wasn't there. I requested it again from the library immediately. The book is published in Atlanta, GA by Peachtree Publishers. (I grew up an hour from there.) I don't know if it is the cadence of the rhyme, or knowning that it was published at "home" but my normally non-existent Southern accent comes out in full force when I'm reading this book and it cracks me up. Also, I am still working on my novel, and Monkey Georgia asked me the other day what I was writing about. I told her it's a book about a girl. "Is it Emily Pearl?" (Emily Pearl is the girl who can do it herself.)
  • Katy Did It! By Lorinanne Siomade - Monkey Georgia saw this book on the display and grabbed it up. I guess the katydid on the cover was appealing. The story - about a katydid who gets in trouble for acting normally but finally gets to be the hero by doing what she does best - will appeal to the preschooler set as familiar territory.
  • The Dark, Dark Night by M. Christina Butler - Another Little Hedgehog book, but with a different illustrator than the rest. Monkey Georgia was fairly certain there was no monster from the beginning.
  • Joseph and His Magnificent Coat of Many Colors by Marcia Williams - Monkey Georgia didn't like this one. It is the story of Joseph told in comic book style. It's a long and strange story though, and she did not like it. (I had forgotten about the strange dreams and interpretations that Joseph has. I can understand why the story might not appeal to a 4 year old, at least told this way. It is not adapted for a preschool audience.)
  • Marshmallow KissesMarshmallow Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan - I love Brennan's homey style books. This one is such a fun reminder of all the wonderful bits of summer. I would love to be able to frame some of the illustrations too.
  • Press HerePress Here by Henre Tullet - This book and the next one were recommended by What Do We Do All Day? Monkey Georgia loved it so much that she had me read it 3 times on Friday. It is interactive without batteries or bells or whistles. Love it.
  • Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett - A sad chameleon looks for a friend. The illustrations are so much fun!
  • Where Did That Baby Come From by Debi Gliori - A random library pick. I was going to take it back to the library, but Monkey Georgia loved it. She knew the baby did not come from any of the places described, because babies come from tummies. ("Babies don't come from outer space.")
  • Come Out and Play, Little Mouse by Robert Kraus - The calico cat keeps trying to trick the mouse into coming out to play. Seriously, the cat has a calico print.
  • This Is the SunflowerThis Is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer - We loved sunflowers and grow as many as we can. The poem is bouncy and fun, and Monkey Georgia likes for me to identify the birds that eat the seeds. (There is a diagram of the birds at the back of the book.)

Library books from this week: