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Product DetailsBook Review:  Knuffle Bunny Too:  A Case of Mistaken Identity
By Mo Willems, published by Hyperion 2007

My son and I heard a funny story at the library–Knuffle Bunny Too. I knew it would be  good when I saw Mo Willem’s name. Most children have something they just HAVE to sleep with–a blankie, stuffed animal, or doll. Trixie brought her Knuffle Bunny to school for show-and-tell. She was devastated when she saw that Sonja had the same Knuffle Bunny. All morning the girls fought, and finally the teacher took the Knuffle Bunnies away. They are returned, and the girls happily go home. However at 2:30 in the morning, a realization happens. Trixie is not sleeping with her Knuffle Bunny. In order to get peaceful sleep, the fathers do an exchange in the middle of the night. Trixie and Sonja end up being best friends. The pictures are fun with speech bubbles along with written text. Cartoon characters are set into a photographed background.

Young children will love this because they can relate! Most parents will love this, too, because they’ve been there! If you like Mo’s books, you’ll also want to read the first book, Knuffle Bunny. What happens when daddy FORGETS Knuffle Bunny?

garden.gif - 24.2 KWhen I looked into my bag of potatoes in my pantry closet, I noticed some of the potatoes had grown eyes. I showed them to my children and explained that this was how a potato grew. “Can we plant it?” they asked. I thought, sure, this is a great lesson teaching the kids how to grow their own vegetables. We have two tiny strips of “garden” along our patio. I planted flowers along one strip. Anna planted the potato, and now it has grown quite big. She also planted a growing garlic that I had in the fridge. I know you’re probably thinking I need to cook more! However, the garlic hasn’t grown much. We also planted a 3rd generation sunflower seed that we saved from last year’s flower. It’s getting tall. And last, we just bought some zucchini seeds from the store. The kids planted a few last week.

Having the kids do all the work teaches responsibility and how to grow vegetables. The kids water the plants and seeds each day. I can’t wait until they can harvest and cook with their new foods. Plus, it’s healthy eating that they produced themselves.

You can plant a healthy garden, too. You can raid your fridge and pantry for any “live” vegetables to plant or pick up seeds from the dollar store. If you don’t have any yard space, plant your seeds in a pot. Happy Growing!

Product DetailsBook Review:  Princess Pigtoria and the Pea,
by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Orchard Books, 2010

Here is a unique twist on a classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. Princess Pigtoria’s castle is looking like a pigsty, and she has no money to fix it up. She finds an ad that Prince Proudfoot of Porksville is needing a princess. That night she pigs out on lots of food and is unable to sleep. From all her tossing and turning, the pea bounces out from under the mattresses and rolls down a hole. When the prince reveals his news about the pea, Pigtoria is angry at such a “pompous prince.” Instead she ends up marrying the pizza delivery pig, and together they open pizza restaurants. With the money, they fix up her palace. The pea ends up as pea soup for some mice.

This picture book is filled with words that start with p. Youngsters who are learning this sound will definitely pick it up as they enjoy the bright watercolored illustrations.

Mother Duck.

Mothers Day Clipart by Mothers Day Central

From the heart of a former teacher and mom…

Right now I love writing at home and being available for my children. It hadn’t always been this way. In the past I was an elementary teacher, and during the baby years, my kids got stuck with a babysitter/day care. I felt so guilty for not spending time with them that on Sundays I kept my baby with me in church instead of sending her to the nursery!  Bascially, someone else was spending more time with my children. I’m so glad God changed my career because now I love being home with my kids, taking care of their needs, and supervising their education.

Ultimately, we are responsible to God for how we raise them. In the Bible, it says the women are to manage their households well. How can I manage it, if I’m not in it? Whether you stay-at-home or work outside the home, the best gift you can give your children is quantity time. I heard a news report the other day that children were suffering because they lacked quantity time (not quality time)  spent with their parents. Below are some fun activities that my kids, husband, & I like to do that are either free or inexpensive. I hope you get the opportunity to spend quantity time with your children! In the end, THEY are what matters most.

Inexpensive or free activities

1. park
2. picnic
3. bike ride
4. spring nature walk
5. ice cream/frozen yogurt run
6. library/read together
7. children’s museum
8. board games
9. dollar theater
10. exercise together/sports
11. cook together
12. beach
13. pray together

Product DetailsBook Review:  Panda Kindergarten by Joanne Ryder, photos by Dr. Katherine Feng, published by Harper Collins, 2009

As a former kindergarten teacher, this book just begged me to read it! Plus, I love watching pandas. It’s almost time for kindergarten at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China. Sixteen adorable pandas who were born there and cared for by their panda moms and nature reserve workers are ready to explore. Just like our own children, these panda cubs love to play and climb on their playground, eat lunch, and nap. They spend one year in kindergarten before moving on. Some will stay at Wolong for breeding, and some will go to bamboo forests.

Beautiful full-page photographs will capture the attention of all readers, young and small. In the back of the book are fast facts about giant pandas. My favorite fact listed says, “A newborn giant panda is the size of a stick of butter and weighs four ounces.”

You can integrate this book into a unit for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month by talking about China and its indigeneous animals, such as the panda.

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Activities and Book Reviews