Friday’s Top Five Finds from the Library (4/17)

Okay, so today is not Friday but I really wanted to share my finds from the Library this week. One find in particular has pulled at my heart strings. The state has proposed to eliminate funding our libraries and in the long run I just can’t see that being a good thing. You can read more about saving our libraries in a previous post.

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You Can’t Take a Balloon into The National Gallery by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser – A wordless picture book about the travels of a balloon around Washington D.C. Wordless picture books are great because as the parent you can make up a story and expand upon your child’s vocabulary. Also, when children “read” a wordless book they are using their imagination and thinking more about how the story unfolds. This particular book is awesome if you want to talk about Washington D.C., if you are planning a trip there, or are learning about different famous artworks.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes – If your child has ever questioned or disliked her name, this is the book to read. We first “read” this story in the Scholastic DVD stories. It is a sweet and special story.

The House Takes a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies – The kids thought this was a funny book and if they were older they would have thought it was even more funny. There were countless puns and homonyms. So if you are teaching these particular literary devices then this book will illustrate them very well for you.

There was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea by Jennifer Ward – Very fun. Kids laughed. Great use of repetition and rhyme.

Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola – The classic tale of the “Grandma witch” who warns Big Anthony to never touch the pasta pot. Well, we all know what happens when we don’t pay attention and when we don’t listen. Big trouble – and consequences. Kids always seem to be enchanted with this story.

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National Library Week! Celebrate! Reasons to Love your Library!

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Don’t you just love your library? I know I do. Just type “library” in my search box. I love that I can take my kids to not only pick out books to read and take home, but for them to socialize with the other library loving kids. I love that my children get to listen to a story teller, be entertained by a musician, see a magician, create a craft, hear a story, and learn to love books!

Reasons to love your library:

  1. Books!
  2. Community
  3. Story time
  4. Special events
  5. Movie showings for a night out with the family
  6. Book signings
  7. Meet the author
  8. Literacy programs
  9. Free place to play when it’s too cold to go outside
  10. Cool place to go when it’s too hot outside
  11. Newspapers
  12. Magazines
  13. Internet service
  14. DVD’s to check out
  15. Place to read
  16. Place to meet friends
  17. Place for a meeting (business, nonprofit, community organization)
  18. Buy books at rock bottom prices (see what we scored at our last Friends of the Library sale)
  19. They put books on hold for you so you don’t have to drag your kids out of the children’s department to find them
  20. They bring books from other libraries for you
  21. They help you find hard to find resources
  22. Museum passes for discount prices, or free!
  23. Job & Resume help
  24. Downloadable books
  25. Friendly people who love the library

Here are some real life stories of people who love their library and how it’s made a difference in their lives.

Go to your local library this week and say thank you to your library workers! Celebrate this week and share what the library helped you create. There are Unlimited Possibilities @ the Library!

And don’t forget, many of our libraries are in trouble and need your support. Sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

What is your favorite reason to love your library?

Shared at the Homeschool Mother’s Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

4 Reasons for a Morning Routine

The door is rattling, it’s 5:34am, the two year old is awake and ready to start his day. I am in bed wishing that for just one morning 6:30 would be considered an appropriate time to rise and shine. Finally, I stumble down the hall to open the bedroom door.

reasons for a morning routine

“Mama” he calls out with his arms up. This is the point where, depending on the day my mood, my heart melts at his loving cry or I feel utterly deflated. Knowing that “my time” is gone, I sometimes set him up at my desk to watch Curious George on my computer so that I can steal away a few more moments of sleep. Sometimes, I give him an applesauce cup at the table so that I can get in some time on the computer before my daughter awakens.

Before I know it, everyone is up and ready for me to make breakfast or coffee or help is needed with getting dressed. I make coffee while my hubby is the shower. I find clothes and dress my son. Then, I usually make eggs or pour cereal into bowls for breakfast for the kids and myself (hubby is not a traditional breakfast eater so I’ll make guacamole or he’ll heat up leftovers).

Back to my desk: I want to plan my day, read my Bible, prepare for lessons, and play a little bit in blog-land (reading and writing). A little while later I realize that I have spent entirely too much time at my desk… and I haven’t even showered or dressed myself. Stress and worry ensue. This is NOT how I want to begin my day.

My routine (the one that is written down, not the one that I practice) begins with making coffee, making my bed, making lunches, putting away dishes, and getting dressed by seven o’clock. Then by eight I want to have read my Bible, checked email, and finished doing what I do on the computer. At eight I can begin breakfast and finish chores such as laundry, dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom. It’s better to get all that stuff done early so I don’t have to worry about it. If this is all complete by 9:00am when I like to begin school, then I’m a happy camper.

Now that is all great, but over the last couple of months it just was not working for me anymore. I questioned why it wasn’t working and what I needed to change to make it actually feel like I am accomplishing my tasks and getting ready for the day in a reasonable amount of time – AND how to do all of this with little to zero stress.

Reflecting upon my routine made me realize that I had not factored in a very important piece, or two important pieces who run around with wants and needs calling me Mommy. My “perfect” routine consisted of me doing desk duties, things that tend to require a little more focus, right in the middle of the morning scramble! No wonder things aren’t working.

Here are 4 reasons for a morning routine:

1. To ensure that quiet time with God happens. Every day.

2. To provide a time to shower and get dressed. Because we moms tend to spend more time on the little people in our lives. And let’s be honest, making an effort to be dressed (sweats don’t count) can really boost your confidence and make you feel super terrific.

3. To prepare and plan for my day. The day just works better when I know what’s on the agenda.

4. To complete a few key tasks. There are a few which can help keep the day moving along smoothly if they are done ahead of time.

These are things that have to happen to start the day right. And these reasons are why it’s so important for me to attain a working morning routine.

Routines don’t have to be confined to strict time limitations, but they do provide structure. This framework creates a flow or rhythm: do task one, do task two, etc. Once in place, a routine naturally gets you doing what needs to get done. You know what is first, what’s next, and what’s last. Chaos is avoided because you and your kids know the order things should go. Without a routine you never know what you’re gonna get.

Stick with me to see what changes I’ve made in my morning routine in an upcoming post.

But for now… Do you have a morning routine? How do you start your day?

Sharing at Homeschool Mother’s Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

 

A Day in the Life: Playground Hop

Our “First Day of Spring Playground Hop” celebration ended up getting postponed. Winter did not want to give up this year. Yes, the forecast for snowfall on Friday and Saturday actually occurred. So, I decided that a few days later, when the temperature was a high of 40, was when we would celebrate the first day of Spring.

playground hop

The plan was to hit four playgrounds in 3 towns, spending about an hour at each and half an hour for travel time. At 9 was park #1 which is literally down the street from our house. At ten leave and go get coffee and a beverage for the kiddos for a treat. I figured we would arrive at the next park a little before 10:30 because it is in the same town. We would head out by 11:30 and make a pit stop at Target which is on the way to the next playground. We would get to park #3 by noon and sit at the table under the pavilion for lunch. Then leave around 1:30 to get to the next park for two o’clock. Park #4 is the furthest away and highway travel is involved. I thought this would be the perfect time for a nap for the toddler. And finally I wanted to head for home by three so that we would have time to settle down for a moment before needing to start making dinner.

Here is what our Playground Hop Day actually looked like:

6:32 I am awakened by a small voice “Mommy, did you forget that today is playground hop day?” “No honey, it’s still early, we won’t be leaving for a little while.” I reply with a smile.

6:35 Out of bed and get ready for the day.

8:00 Made oatmeal for breakfast. I wanted to make sure we had full tummies for our full day of fun.

8:35 Dawdling ensued, even though we were getting ready to go to four playgrounds!

8:47 Started the car and scrambled to get out of the house.

9:06 Left the house.

9:09 Arrived at Park #1.

9:50 Left the first playground. We got to play with a friend from church. By far the coldest part of our day. The playground was still covered with snow.

10:11 Went through Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru to get hot coffee for mom and an apple juice for the kids to share.

10:18 Arrived at Park #2. We finished listening to our audio book (The Moffats) because it was so close to being finished.

10:28 Played Tag and Hide and Seek. This playground was much warmer and a lot of the snow was melted around the play areas so it was easier to run around.

11:02 Made new friends. Elle and another little girl became instant friends and were running around and giggling like crazy.

11:30 Homeschool group friends came by to play. I got to chat with homeschooling mom friend, when Finn wasn’t climbing the curved ladder meant for much older kids.

12:28 Time to move on. We headed out and I gave the kids their sandwiches to eat in the car.

12:46 Arrived at Target for a bathroom break.

1:01 Arrived at Park #3. Finn fell asleep. I stayed in car and ate my salad for lunch. Elle played for 10 minutes on playground (in my sight, in a fenced in area).

1:12 Decided to move on, so that I could give the toddler time to finish his nap.

1:20 Turned around. Missed my exit.

1:37 Turned around again. Realized I really did forget how to get to the next park. It had been since last summer. Finally typed the address in my phone for directions. Oh well, more nap time. 🙂

1:52 Arrived at Park #4. Walked to ducks. Kids got to feed ducks because a lovely older couple was there with a loaf of bread and kindly gave the kiddos a slice each.

duck pond

2:15 Walked back to playground area. Elle found two girls to play with.

3:00 Time to head home.

3:28 Arrived at home.

4:05 Served an easy dinner of chicken nuggets. It had been a while since I ran around all day, I was a little pooped.

4:20 Relaxed with a movie “night.”

6:00 Bath time and got ready for bed. (This is much earlier than normal but the kids were pooped too, this was a great way to relax before kids got cranky.) Then talked and played with the hubby.

7:00 Finn went to bed.

7:30 Elle went to bed.

9:00 I went to bed with a book and shortly after fell asleep.

Would you ever take your kids on a playground hop? Do you have any First Day of Spring traditions?