Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Power to Shape Young Lives

"Every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives." ~ Michelle Obama ~

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Only Gift-Giving Guide You'll Use from Now On

Setting Sensible Limits

I recently shared an article from the Washington Post titled "My kids have too much stuff." It echoes the problems that are depicted in the picture book by David Shannon called "Too Many Toys." While parents recognize the problem and do their best to limit what they buy for their own children and the children of their friends, the constant influx of gifts from generous people who want to "spoil" their grandchildren, nieces and nephews is a real challenge for many people. In fact, a fan said as much and asked me for some guidance. This is my response to the question, "what about the gifts?"

My recommendation is to set limits for the gift-givers. As much as I would like to say, "Please just buy ONE thing for my child," I don't think it would fly. So I expanded to Four Things:

 One Thing They Want
One Thing They Need
One Place To Go
One Thing to Read

My hope is that this guide helps everyone strike a balance with enthusiasm for giving with sensible limits. Within each of these categories, the possibilities are endless. See...

One Thing They Want

I rarely meet a child who doesn't have one thing they covet: a specific toy they've played with at a friend's house or a special book they always want from the library.

Just Ask the Child!

Many young children have ideas of things they want that they have seen in the store or at a friend's house.

Sometimes the child just wants "something new" but couldn't name it if they tried. In that case, I recommend looking through my lists of STEAM toys and picking something that you think would appeal to the special small person in your life.

My Gift Guides

My Gift Guides include themed lists as well as age-appropriate STEAM gifts.

One Thing They Need

Children get messy. They stain their clothes with grass, paint, mud, and food. Between the rough and tumble lifestyle of toddlers and preschoolers (and children in general) and the fact that they continually outgrow stuff, it seems like they are always in need of clothes and shoes.


Find something that is as equally practical as it is fun like a Bobcat shirt from Jeff and Paige or a dress for everyday play from Princess Awesome.


Pediped shoes are the greatest shoes. In fact, when a new pair arrives in the mail my children exclaim, "oh! the good shoes." Pediped has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for creating shoes that promote healthy foot development. You can find them for discounted prices at the Pediped sister site


 Depending on the child, clothing might be the least exciting gift. My daughter LOVES to receive new clothing. However, my son isn't excited to get clothes as a gift. Special sheets/blankets/towels on the other hand seem to appeal to him more. So how about getting some flannel robot sheets or character towels for your preschool engineer.

  • Bedding. Maybe it is super soft. Maybe it has images of his or her favorite thing on it (robots, trucks, flowers, character). One way or another a set of sheets can go a surprisingly long way to make a child feel safe and happy in his or her own room.
  • Fun Towels. Hooded towels come in every size and shape. Find one that seems like the perfect color, shape, and size.

Musical Instrument

I keep thinking about music lessons for my kids and feel grateful that we have instruments around for them to experiment with. However, perhaps having an instrument in the house is a roadblock for parents who have to make choices about how to spend their money. In order to learn to play a musical instrument, a child NEEDS an instrument on which to play. Think about getting one that sounds beautiful, not merely a child's toy.

One Place To Go

Ah, the gift of experience. It is exactly what every child wants but doesn't know how to ask for it. The most special gift is one where you give them your undivided attention.

A Day with Auntie! (Or Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa, etc.)

Give a fancy "certificate" and tell the child that you want to spend time with them. What will you do? Here are some ideas:

  • Cook something together.
  • Go somewhere together like a playground, the zoo, a state park, or children's museum.
  • Go to a cultural event together (play, dance performance, music concert, etc..)
  • Shopping "spree" at his or her choice of stores with you buying. First, set your limit. Second, decide who chooses the store. Do you want to go to a toy store? an arts/crafts store? a garage sale? I realize that this gift might be a sneaky way to get around the limit of four things (my daughter recently bought four things just on her spree with her grandma), but the value of spending the morning shopping with Nana was worth the extra stuff.

Don't Live Nearby? Sponsor the Family 

If you don't live nearby your preschool engineer, then maybe you could sponsor a fun day for his or her family to enjoy. My four year old daughter always exclaims when she sees posters for ballet performances. My son would go bananas for a trip to an amusement park to ride his first 'coaster or drive some go-carts or bumper cars.

A Single Special Show
Pay for the child and his or her family to spend a day at an amusement park or to attend a cultural event like:

  • Music Concert, 
  • Play, or 
  • Dance Performance (think "Nutcracker").

The Gift that Keeps On Giving...Memberships
Oftentimes a family membership to a zoo, museum, or national park will pay for itself after two trips. Peruse the websites below to find a cultural attraction near you.

  • Zoo or AquariumLook for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. Find the great zoo or aquarium near you by searching by the states or countries listed below.
  • Children's MuseumUse the Search Form Tool below to locate an ACM member museum. Refine your search with the available filters. 
  • National Parks PassA pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

Child Experiences
Consider paying for lessons for the child. It could be anything from single lessons like cooking at the local children's museum to ongoing weekly sports or arts classes.

One Thing to Read

Our house is busting at the seams with great books. In addition, we have regular trips to the library to borrow new ones (or old favorites). And we love to get books chosen especially for us as gifts. However, in an effort to minimize things, avoid getting full collections of books, let's just say "One Thing to Read."

One Great Book

Choose from a great list like the Association for Library Service to Children, or I have written a few: Favorite Audio Stories24 Books for Preschool Engineers and Favorite Truck Books.

A Sneaky Subscription

Here is a sneaky way to give more than one book. Consider giving a subscription to audio stories:

  • Subscription to Audible: Includes one audiobook per month plus 30% discount off additional books.
  • Subscription to Sparkle StoriesSparkle Stories is an independent media company based in Austin, Texas and Vermont. We produce original audio stories for children, enjoyed by families around the world. Started in 2010, Sparkle has built a community of subscribers from the U.S. to Europe and Australia. Featuring the work of storyteller and teacher David Sewell McCann, Sparkle has been recognized for our simple yet highly-engaging stories. The Sparkle Stories Podcast was awarded the iTunes “Best of 2013” award in the "New and Noteworthy" category. Sparkle offers over 875 original audio stories - along with hundreds of recipes, crafts and parenting tutorials.

True Generosity is Unselfish

The psychology of gift giving suggests that, "the biggest effect of gift giving may be on ourselves. Giving to others reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel effective and caring." But true generosity is, by definition, unselfish. Giving gifts in the spirit of selflessness means to show restraint and to consider how overwhelming gift-giving holidays can be for children

That is why this is The Only Gift-Giving Guide You'll Use from Now On. It provides a framework to help you show true generosity. Now it is up to you to be the thoughtful and selfless person your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews can admire.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blow Your Children Out of the Water with these Coloring Books

Foot-Dragging Frustrations

My son was never interested in coloring. It was probably a combination of his vision problems and his sensory processing disorder. But over the years we have done plenty of occupational therapy to help him develop his fine motor skills so he could participate in the world - be more comfortable and more confident in himself. And once we addressed his self-esteem issues that surrounded being a young artist, the floodgates opened.

Turning the Corner

Nowadays he has embraced writing and coloring and drawing. I love to see the stuff he brings home, the gifts he makes for himself and the people he loves. And since his interest has grown, we all have had more opportunities to do art together, especially coloring. What I didn't see coming was how much my kids would LOVE "adult" coloring books.

Like Moths to a Flame

We have perpetually had character coloring books around the house, typically untouched. Strawberry shortcake, teenage mutant ninja turtles, Disney princesses...all of them partially used before being set aside for something "more interesting." When I got an "adult" coloring book for Christmas, my kids flocked to it, and to me, like moths to a flame. They exclaimed that the pictures were so interesting and begged to either help me with my coloring page or have one of their own.

See... Sharing IS Fun

I am very happy to have coloring together as a regular activity in the house. We often find ourselves sitting together after dinner has been eaten and the kitchen cleaned. We listen to a book on tape and take turns with markers or colored pencils. Sometimes we take turns with the page on which we are working. It turns out that adult coloring books are not just for adults. Preschoolers enjoy them, too!

Find One that Suits You (I Mean Them)

Here is a list of the different "adult" coloring books that my four year old and six year old enjoy:



Patterns of the Universe

And some adult activity books:

Mosaics - Something for the older child who knows his or her numbers and letters.

Extreme Dot to Dot (there are a lot of themes but for the Iggy Peck fans I'm showing you the "Around the World" one)

Monday, July 11, 2016

4 New Musical Selections for Preschool Engineers

What excitement is generated when we hear songs that feature science, technology, engineering, and math topics! Since I wrote our Top 5 Songs for Preschool Engineers, we have discovered two new musical groups who sing about STEM topics. Check out Jeff & Paige and the Laurie Berkner Band! Plus, Rob Gardner has two new albums of Truck Tunes!

21st Century Energy Superheroes by Jeff & Paige
Tired of eco-doom and gloom? "21st Century Energy Superheroes" is an educational & solutions focused journey into climate change and energy conservation. The songs, woven together by a story, will keep the whole family captivated from start to finish! 

Rocketship Run by The Laurie Berkner Band
The story woven through the CD isn't as good as Jeff & Paige musical stories but the first couple songs on this album are loved by both of my young children: Rocketship Run and Mouse in my Toolbox.

The Marvelous Toy performed by Peter, Paul and Mary
"It only made sense when Peter, Paul & Mary released this "kiddies" LP in 1969, beginning a trend they've returned to throughout their career. Mary Travers had indeed recently become a "mommy," and the trio celebrate here not only with a new version of their classic tune and the traditional "Mockingbird," but clever children's songs from the likes of Tom Paxton, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Shel Silverstein." 

The Marvelous Toy is a perfect and compelling description of a mechanically interesting toy.

Truck Tunes by Rob Gardner
Sing along with ten cool original songs as you follow these tough construction and timber trucks at work. Dig a deep hole with an Excavator. Scoop dirt with a Front End Loader. Smash up asphalt and concrete with an Impact Hammer. Written and performed by award-winning artist Rob Gardner, these irresistible songs will have you laughing and singing along. Songs include, That's What an Excavator Does, Dozer for Short, The Forklift Boogie, D is for Delimber and many more. There is something for kids of all ages here. We dare you to try and find a better way to spend 34.5 minutes than Truck Tunes. Your truck education continues with Truck Tunes 2 and Truck Tunes 3! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

That's Not the Way

"That's Not the Way" was produced as part of the Mighty Wolf album by Jeff and Paige and has spurred some important conversations in our household. In short, it is Jeff and Paige's take on the same story Dr. Seuss told in the story "The Lorax." A king in search of making the world a better place for his people begins to invent ways to "beat biology" and eventually sees how his processes begin to wreak havoc on the natural environment. But the most compelling question is about ownership and humankind's role of coexisting on earth with other creatures:

Does the world belong to people?
Or do we belong to the world?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

66 Audio Stories for Little Kids

We are in the final throes of the school year and everyone is antsy. We are getting sick and tired of the time spent in the car. With no local preschool, we have to spend 30 minutes a day together commuting to Anna's school. And although they have minimal extracurricular activities, we still have Mikey's therapeutic interventions and Anna's ballet. Putting us in the car together for more hours than I like to admit.

The only way to keep us going is to have a great selection of audio books. I first thought of using audio books for big roadtrips - either buying some or making your own.  Now we have a lot more experience with audio stories and I wanted to give you a list of our favorites.

First, we all love the musicals that Jeff & Paige produced, all of which have won awards. Each of three albums tells a story of two kids who go on an outdoor adventure. On their adventure they learn about environmental science topics that range from entomology to ecology, outdoor safety to sustainability.

21st Century Energy Superheroes is arguably the album with the "hardest" science, in my opinion.
"21st Century Energy Superheroes" is an educational & solutions focused journey into climate change and energy conservation. The songs, woven together by a story, will keep the whole family captivated from start to finish! 
Get Outdoors has a bunch of great science songs that kids really "get" because they have as their topics bugs, birds, and other things that are easy to find outside.
A fun, science-based journey into nature! The songs & story combine to create a delightful nature musical for kids!

Mighty Wolf is the newest album and possibly offers the largest range of topics. Everything from mammals to insects to lightning is explored.
Ideal for little ones ages 3-8, Mighty Wolf is a music CD that is both educational and entertaining. Cheerful songs jubilantly performed by Jeff & Paige teach young children about insect migration, adaptations of arctic wildlife, lightning safety, ladybug ecology, spider anatomy, the Appalachian trail, and much more. Parents and caretakers will also enjoy these lilting, musical appreciations of the magnificent wonders of nature and science! Highly recommended. - James Cox, Midwest Book Review

Chapter Books
We spend a lot of time in the car and for safety's sake I don't want to spend a lot of time changing disks. Therefore, we look for books that might not seem appropriate for preschoolers. However, we are readers and have nice long attention spans for interesting stories. So we get to listen to long stories. The trouble with long stories is that they are written for older children. So the material is tricky. That is why I often look for advice form other parents about what they like to listen to with their young kids. However, there is also that I use, too. It is a site that reviews the content of books. Whatever source you use for book ideas (including my list below), keep in mind your own children and their limits.

These are our favorites:
Toys Go Out
Three books, 7 hours. 
Lumphy the stuffed buffalo, Stingray the stuffed stingray, and Plastic the plastic thing have many wondrous adventures and learn all about the world. But will they ever discover what kind of toy Plastic truly is?

Pippi Longstocking
2.5 hours. The beloved story of a spunky young girl and her hilarious escapades.
Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson. Whether Pippi’s scrubbing her floors, doing arithmetic, or stirring things up at a fancy tea party, her flair for the outrageous always seems to lead to another adventure.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Three books, 6 hours. Ralph is not like the other mice at the Mountain View Inn. He is always looking for adventure. It is Ralph's lucky day when a young guest named Keith arrives with a shiny miniature motorcycle. Right away, Ralph knows that the motorcycle is special—made to be ridden by an adventurous mouse. And once a mouse can ride a motorcycle . . . almost anything can happen!

Paddington Bear
2.5 hours. Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from Darkest Peru when the Brown family first met him on Paddington Station. Since then their lives have never been quite the same ... for ordinary things become quite extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.

Little House in the Big Woods
3.5 hours. Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. 
Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. 
And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story. (

The Disney Fairies Collection

12 stories, 12 hours. Listening Library recordings of ten hours (that we know of) of stories about the Disney Fairies. The stories begin with a story about Tinkerbell. But then each story thereafter focuses on a different fairy and her adventure. I've included the link for the first book but you can scroll down and see all the other audio books available.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
4 hours. Open the door and enter a new world.Narnia . . . the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter . . . a magical country waiting to be set free.
Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they've been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch's sinister spell.

Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record

Stuart Little
Stuart Little is a shy, philosophical little mouse with a big heart and a taste for adventure. In spite of his diminutive stature, barely two inches tall, 
Stuart sets forth into the world wtih some mighty big plans: to ride a Fifth Avenue bus, to win a sailboat race in Central Park, and to teach school for a day. But Stuart's greatest adventure begins when he decides to find his best friend, Margalo, a pretty little bird who once lived in a Boston fern in the Littles' house in New York City. Climbing into his tiny car, Stuart hits the open road, sure he's heading in the right direction, only to find himself in for a big surprise.
Filled with warmth, wit and wonder, Stuart Little, is a timeless tale that speaks to the heroic spirit in all of us - no matter what our size.

Winnie the Pooh
[*Read by Peter Dennis]
Blackstone Audio presents (from the unabridged collection ''A.A. Milne's Pooh Classics,'') the ten stories of Winnie-the-Pooh performed by Peter Dennis. This is the only reading of these enthralling stories authorized by A.A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin, who wrote, ''Peter Dennis has made himself Pooh's Ambassador Extraordinary and no bear has ever had a more devoted friend. So if you want to meet the real Pooh, the bear I knew, the bear my father wrote about, listen to Peter.''

Beezus and Ramona
Big sister Beezus Quimby tries to be patient with her four-year-old little sister, Ramona, but it isn't easy, not when Ramona powders her nose with marshmallows and invites her nursery school class to a party without telling her family. Sometimes Beezus doesn't like Ramona, but the girls are sisters and that means they will always love each other—just not every single minute.

Of course, we have listened to many others. The kids had a hard time understanding the characters speak in Charlotte's Web and there were too many voices actors in the dramatised Winnie the many that we were all confused. I recommend listening to the version I listed above instead. And in the interest of full disclosure, as much as we all enjoy the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, my kids have taken to pretend the most annoying behaviors of the characters. So I have decided to shelf those (despite my children's protests) and look into the Magic Tree House series...

Updates October 21, 2016
We keep finding new stories. Some of them seem too mature for my four year old (e.g., A Wrinkle in Time) but the rest she has given her stamp of approval. Check publisher recommendations, or message me for advice or more details!

The Magic Treehouse Series

48 of 51 stories have been prepared as audiobooks, read by the author. Books 1-8 take 5 hours and 40 minutes to hear, so I'll ballpark that you have about 50 hours of listening ahead of you with these stories.

The Magic Tree House is an American series of children's books written by American author Mary Pope Osborne.

The series consists of two groups. The first group consists of books 1-28, in which Morgan Le Fay sends Jack and Annie, two normal children who are siblings from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, on numerous adventures and missions with a magical tree house in order to help free Morgan from a spell, solve four ancient riddles to become Master Librarians, and save four ancient stories from being lost forever. The second group, referred to as the Magic Tree House "Merlin Missions," begins with book 29, Christmas in Camelot. In the Merlin Missions, Jack and Annie have quests from the ancient wizard Merlin the Magician. (Wikipedia)

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. (Amazon)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Flemming
''Crackpot'' is what everybody calls the Pott family. So when they go to buy a new car and come back with a wreck, nobody is surprised - except for the Potts themselves. First, the car has a name, and she tells them what it is! Then they find out that she can fly . . . and swim.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a car on a mission to stop a criminal gang in its tracks - and she's taking the Potts with her. Jump into the world's most loved magical car for her first adventure. Includes an interview with David Tennant (Amazon)

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Zoe Elias has big musical dreams. As soon as she gets a glossy baby grand piano, she’ll be on her way. Trouble is, what Zoe gets is a wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag organ. The Perfectone D-60. 
How will she ever be discovered as a prodigy when her lesson book is The Hits of the Seventies? Not even a cha-cha beat can make the theme song from The Brady Bunch sound like Beethoven. If you add to that problem a mom who’s always at work, a dad who’s afraid to leave the house, and an odd boy who follows her home from school every day, Zoe’s big dreams are looking pretty lopsided. (Amazon)

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
This is the biggest stretch for young listeners. The story is very long and filled with fantastical imagery. Know your child and proceed with caution here. 

Firedrake, a young dragon, receives a frightening warning one night: Humans are planning to destroy the valley in which he lives! All the dragons must flee. Their only refuge is a place above the clouds called the Rim of Heaven -- which may not even exist. Firedrake boldly volunteers to go ahead first. As he embarks on his journey, he meets Ben, a runaway boy. Together, the boy and the dragon make their way toward the Rim of Heaven, all the while running a step ahead of Nettlebrand, a monster who will stop at nothing to hunt down Firedrake. Their quest will truly become an adventure like no other. (Amazon)

Happy Listening!!

Fan Favorites - June 2016

It's Hard for Them, Too
When they push us to the edge of our limits, let’s try to remember that we’re doing the same thing to them.

Change the Conversation for Your Daughter
"When my daughter wears her molecular orbital dress or rocket dress, adults communicate with her differently. Instead of calling her a princess or cute, the conversation expands to rockets and then my daughter talks about the moon and Jupiter. With her molecular orbital dress, she tells them that C represents carbon and she's made out of carbon and it forms bonds. Sure, she doesn't have the best grasp of any of this, but she's 3 and learning. And adults treat her more than a cute little thing which in turn strengthens her confidence."

Why Disney Princesses and "Princess Culture" is Bad for Girls, Now There's Proof
Princesses are a big part of my preschooler's life. Despite my personal feelings about the matter, I try to maintain an open dialog with her about her ideas and I focus on long-term goals re: our relationship. I want her to bring her ideas to me no matter how different they are from my own.

"Overall, the “Pretty as a Princess” study makes good use of social science methods. It validates long-standing concerns about princess culture while suggesting some positive effects for boys. It also brings much-needed attention to the importance of talking critically with kids about the media they enjoy. If we’re careless in our approach, we might unwittingly reinforce the media’s harmful messages. But if we’re careful, we can help our children become resilient — and that’s useful knowledge."

It's Here!
Ada Twist, Scientist

Evidence of Learning

Father's Day by Eric Carle

How to Boost Executive Function in children
Dear Parent – I see that you’re frustrated. And I see that your child is too. You wish your child would just listen, follow through and complete their schoolwork; stop getting so distracted and stop over-reacting when things don’t go their way.

What if I told you that what appears to be a behavior issue; something worthy of a time-out, lecture, loss of privilege or other such punishment, might actually be a cognitive issue, requiring quite a different response?

Put Down the Pitchforks
"To the mother and father who went for a walk on vacation for the last time with their little boy yesterday, I am deeply sorry that you had to experience the worst kind of tragedy possible, an accident. I grieve with you. Your baby was my baby. Your son was my son. I have nothing but love for you, love to help you get though the pain yesterday, today, and for what is gonna seem like a thousand tomorrows. I wrap my thoughts and prayers around your aching heart and soul. May the God of this universe in some miraculous way bring peace to you and your family.
That is what you say. That. And just That.
Stop the blaming.
Stop the shaming.
In their darkest hours, can we please just love other parents. Please?"

24 Books for Preschool Engineers
A list sorted into a handful of useful categories:
Trucks, Tools & Machines, Child-sized Engineers, Thinking Outside the Box, Big Ideas, and Mechanically Interesting Books

Girl Who Wore Hot Dog Costume to Princess Week is Our New Role MOdel
"In a world full of princesses, dare to be a hot dog."

Ready to Learn

Five-Year-Olds "Falling Behind"
"They are telling parents and teachers that children are "falling behind" despite the fact that every single legitimate study ever done finds that there are no long term advantages to being an early reader, just as there are no long term advantages to being early talkers or walkers. In fact, many studies have found that when formal literacy instruction begins too early, like at 5, children grow up to be less motivated readers and less capable of comprehending what they've read. That's right, if anything, this "school readiness" fear-mongering may well turn out to be outright malpractice.
But the worst thing, the unforgivable thing, is the cruelty of the assertion that five-year-olds are "falling behind.""

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Tradition - Body Paint

One of my fondest memories from my childhood summers are about body painting at parties. So in preparation for our summer potluck, I snuck up to Michael's and used my 50% coupon to by a Snazaroo Face Painting Pallet and some Paint Sticks.

The sticks are good for broad application but the pallet, complete with fine-tipped brush, are pretty great for smaller detail work. Both of my kids are happy to paint themselves, which is not new to my daughter. And I hope that we can build body painting memories for years to come!