Hello! I’m still alive!

Hi, friends!
I just wanted to jump in and explain my sporadic posting and long absences these past several months. First, you should know that we are all fine–just in a time of transition, so it’s made posting regularly hard for me.
We put our house up for sale in the spring and finally sold it in October. However, in between selling our old house and finding a new one to live in–we have been living in a friend’s basement for the past month–it is a very nice basement, but we are sort of our of our routine and without all our books and things–we just packed a suitcase and have been living out of them for a month!
It was warm when we moved and now it is cold–so that has been a challenge. But we only have one week left till we move into our new-to-us house, so we think we can hang in there without our winter coats till then!
What have we been up to? Just the usual school and library trips, but I have not had a lot of time or space to hang out on the internet.
With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and unpacking and organizing a new home, I”m not sure that I”ll be having much time in the next few months either, but I promise, I’ll be back at some point!
Sorry for the silence–if you have any requests for types of posts you’d like to see–please let me know in the comments. I’ll have lots of time to brainstorm over the next few months and hopefully have some good library lists to share in January/February.And yeah, the good news is that I have decided to expand the horizon of the books I will be discussing. Fairytales and folktales do not make our day always. We need a breath of fresh air to keep the momentum going.

Since I have just gone past two real estate deals, which involved a lot of finance, geography, home science and psychology, I am now interested to learn more about these topics. In my free strolling of the libraries, I often came across these sections and was amused at the coverage of the subjects. The books are written with all age groups in mind. Take a book for children explaining terms and facts in geography, you will be mesmerized with the high definition illustrations and simple scientific language. I have given a link below on this page and you can see some pictures of the new books if you click here.

The picture is one Juliet drew today at school–it’s her and Lucia in our new home–she is ready to get her bed and books and toys back and our lives back to “normal”!
Hope you all are well and that you are reading lots of great books!

Russia books for kids

We went to Russia last week. Here are the books that took us there:

Babushka: An Old Russian Folktale

The Little Snowgirl

AT THE WISH OF A FISH: A Russian Folktale

Russian Girl: Life in an Old Russian Town

 

I have the tendency to check out 15 books for these lessons, but I find that we never get to them all. This number (4) was just perfect. We read all of them and enjoyed them all. I noticed that there are so many Russian folktales out there in the children’s book world, so your library may have others that are worth reading as well.The library is so massive and you will find books wherever you look. Finding a particular book or even a book belonging to a specific genre will take ages in this way. That is why the librarian is a separate job and is a very responsible one. The books are systematically arranged into sections, with labels on the shelf specifying the genre to which that section of books belongs. For example, you will see a mystery section, a children’s book section, sci-fi, general knowledge, business etc.

Even within the children’s section, further divisions can be seen in this library, like fantasies, fairy tales, picture books, poetry, folktales from around the world etc. From here, I came across the Russian folktale books, arranged in the alphabetical order. Each book seemed so interesting from their covers and content list, but I could not lend all of them. The membership limited the number of books you can take home at a time. So, I had to stringently choose among them.

I imagined the favorite topics for the reading of each of the family members who will be going through these books. They may be meant for children, but we adults do not miss a chance to at least make a quick, rough reading whenever we can sneak some time. In addition to that, I had made a habit of reading any article first, before giving it to my child, so that I can ensure the appropriateness and language level of the content in it.

 

We made honey cookies and they turned out delicious. They have cinnamon and cloves in them, so Juliet said they “smelled like Christmas.”
Baking is not my strength, but these were easy and fun for the kids.

cinderella’s carriage diy

My Lucia is just getting a year older. It is a time to celebrate and rejoice for all of us, no element of doubt in it. However, with every upcoming birthday of Lucia, I become face-to-face with the biggest challenge to please a princess. Yes, I am the one who is always given and ideally, should be given the responsibility of bringing up new themes and ideas every year. No idea should be repeated, and no idea should be copied from the birthday parties of her friends. After all, the main aim is to make her day the most special and memorable. She should feel like a real princess amongst her friends.

I should say, the most versatile and the most resourceful birthday themes come from our fairy tales, and this time our very old Cinderella came to my rescue. The dress, the crown, the royal jewelry, all are well-known like an official website content and can be arranged very easily. So, I was not really concerned about all those. Actually, these items found their place towards the end of my to-do list.

There was one thing which required special attention, and that was a characteristic and most unique pair of shoes for my Lucia. An innovation struck me. I am now planning to make a game around these shoes, resembling the original fairy tale. I know my daughter’s feet size and with that, I will make her a special pair, hide the shoes among the big crowd of shoes belonging to the guests.

Finding the pair among the heap will be a surprise game and also a cute gift to her. The topmost priority in the list was something else, the carriage for Cinderella. Lucia is to make a grand entry into the celebration venue in that carriage or at least imagined to be so. The shape is of course, a pumpkin, even though made of thick paperboard. And that was my plan too. I collected good quality white paperboards and sharp pencils for making the pumpkin shape.

I began work on the Cinderella’s carriage for Lucia’s upcoming birthday party….
So far, I have a pumpkin shape with a window. We’ll see if I can actually get it to stay on the wagon….
Hope you are having a good week! I”ll update more on our party as we go along!
(Notice the kitchen knife? I don’t think it will ever be the same after this….)

cinderella carriage for kids

Sorry for my recent absence around here–we are pretty busy these days!

We are having fun planning a 3rd birthday party for Lucia. She has requested a cinderella party, so I am scouring the internet for cute ideas.

The name itself creates an atmosphere of cuteness in it as we imagine our little princess in a flowing gown. We knew her favorite color and the only effort here was to take her measurements for the silk, satin and net gown.

Her attires were next on the list, with the crown, chain, bracelets, anklets, and of course, the most adorable pair of shoes. She goes to the nursery now, which means we will have a huge guest list dominated by her friends. She will be hoping not only to make them happy with the celebration but also marvel at the beauty of the party including herself.

Once Lucia’s Cinderella was decided, we turned towards the decoration and the hosting place. The color of the decor was decided to match with her gown and the toys included the cutest and softest we could find from the stores. The lights were of pulpy luminescence and arranged around the decor.

Now came our biggest challenge! Cinderella’s wagon. It should definitely look cute, but at the same time safely and easily mobile and resemble the fairy tale wagon to the possible extent. The image in the storybook was completely imprinted in our mind, but that was not enough. We needed the techniques to keep it as original as it can.

We started our exploration of that one design which combines cuteness and uniqueness, for didn’t want Lucia to get concerned about repetition. The internet and the local stored opened before us a lot of options, but each had one issue or the other as a mismatch to the picture we had in our mind.

Finally, our luck hit us and we didn’t have to search for long. We got our catch like an ultimate ray of hope here.

Stumbled across this cute wagon from MiniWagons on Etsy. They have a lot of beautiful wagons and carriages in this Cinderella style.

We are using  a vintage disney CINDERELLA  book (the one I read as a kid) as our inspiration for the party because we love the colors and the kids are most familiar and fond of this version.

However, there are so many amazing other illustrated versions that would be fun to use as inspiration. I think  Marcia Brown’s Cinderella is also gorgeous and would be perfect for a party theme as well.

What are you up to? What are you reading?

what we’re reading this week

It’s always fun to receive a package of review books from Owl Kids Books. Last week we received some new releases and I wanted to share them with you here.

The Long, Long Line was Lucia’s favorite. She requested that we read this one over and over again. The animals are waiting in line for something REALLY fun. I won’t ruin the surprise by telling you what it is, but you are going to like it. Trust me.

You know we love birds around here, and Is This Panama?: A Migration Story was a good mix of birds and other migrating animals. This was more on Juliet’s level as there was a lot of text and some good scientific information at the back of the book.

Oddrey and the New Kid  was another of Lucia’s favorites. It’s a fun story about Oddrey and a tall-tale-telling new kid.

The sheep and wolf are always pitted against each other in children’s books, so this was a fun new take on their relationship–they work together to make a flying machine and prove that “anything is possible.” Anything Is Possible

Have you read any of these? What do you think?

Thanks again to Owl Kids Books for the review copies! All opinions expressed are my own. 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Some of the links will take you other reviews written by me about the books I read and the ones I selected for my kids. More than the books we read, I believe that we should be more thorough about the books we give our children for these beginning reads can lead them to have a good or a bad reading habit. Their following reading preference may be based on this initial picture created on their minds, for which we are responsible. So do not forget to read the reviews and also contribute to your comments for the discussion to become interactive.

Some of the remaining links will take you to reliable ideas for making an extra source of income, simply by sitting at home and playing with a software. You do not have to be a software expert for this. Read about them with the same seriousness with which you read your favorite book and arrive at your choices to try your luck of wealth. Who know! You may strike gold with a Q Profit System in a matter of a few minutes and your reading horizon will be expanded.See disclosure policy for more details.

first grade reading list: books for first graders part 1

It is our habit to go the library and check out about 30 books a week just for our personal reading pleasure, but this year, I thought it would be good to make a list and try to go through it. Not because we don’t read enough, but just to give us a bit of a guide.Guidance may be about anything and everything. It may be on setting up the biological rhythm of your baby or the quick ideas to make your kid learn alphabets, numbers, and colors easily. I have even come across books which were a practical guide to start to earn early and safely, which also included a comprehensive review of such reliable options.

At the end of the year, it will be fun to look back and see all that we have read together, to talk about favorites and which new authors we had discovered.

I found these books in Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers and thought they sounded fantastic. I have not read any of the ones listed here, though there were some that we have already read and loved.

There are lists for preschool, 3-4 year olds, upper elementary, middle school and high school as well. The book also gives descriptions and insights as to plot and why these are good choices for children to read on their own or together with a parent.

If you read this blog, you probably don’t need to be convinced of the importance of reading or books, but I enjoyed reading Some of My Best Friends Are Books because it just reinforces what I already knew and gave me some great ideas for more books for us to explore as a family.

Here is part one of our reading list this year. I share the second part in a later post (it’s a lot of books!)

Maybe you can read along with us or tell us about any of the books you’ve read already? I am keeping my fingers crossed that our library has most of these. It not, I’ll be scouring thrift stores and hunting them down on amazon.

Feelings by Aliki

Manners by AlikiAnno’s Journey by Mitsumasa Anno

Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker

Dawn by Molly Bang

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base

The Sign of the Seahorse: A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts  by Graeme Gase

If at First You Do Not See by Ruth Brown

Daniel’s Duck (I Can Read Book 3) by Clyde Bulla

Dandelions by Eve Bunting

The Man Who Could Call Down Owls by Eve Bunting

Stay Away from Simon! by Carol Carrick

What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs? by Carol Carrick

Everett Anderson’s Friend by Lucille Clifton

Island Boy  by Barbara Cooney

Abuela (English Edition with Spanish Phrases)  by Arthur Dorros

What Are You Figuring Now?: A Story about Benjamin Banneker  by Jeri Ferris

Bears by Helen Gilks

Iktomi and the Berries: A Plains Indian Story by Paul Goble

The Legend Of the White Buffalo Woman by Paul Goble

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden

The Man Who Lived Alone by Donald Hall

Stay tuned for part II of this list!

backyard bird Egg project for kids

We’ve been keeping a list of the birds we’ve seen in our backyard this winter and decided it would be fun to do an egg identification project.
We cut out eggs from water color paper and spent an afternoon researching the different eggs an then attempting to paint  them.
After they dried, we mounted them on some black construction paper and labeled them. These were then placed in Juliet’s bird notebook.

This is not all of the eggs, but you get the idea. I think our favorite part was painting the eggs. We used Birds, Nests and Eggs  and the internet to get images of the eggs we were looking for.Not all the eggs were different from each other. Some eggs differed from each other in colors and patterns whereas some differed in their sizes. Certain birds had nests strikingly distinguishable that in a second-long glance we can identify the species.

At times, we had difficulty in taking the real-life images of the eggs since the birds were not all leaving the nests, we can be blamed for the same.

 

Do you have a backyard, a garden or a courtyard? Throw some grains and make high-pitched sounds. Soon, your place will be swarmed with pigeons or crows. We were fortunate enough to see peacocks at times, but finding their nest still remains a mystery for us. Go by the characteristic voice of peacock and you can even find them high up in fig trees.

 

Your backyard may not have these birds or there may be no birds at all. Do not get disappointed, because birds are mobile and they can fly to reach wherever they want. You must be pretty aware of the fact that many species of birds fly thousands of miles every year as a part of their lifecycle, to deal with the changing seasons. We call them migratory birds. For more info, you can visit the local bird observatory at your place or even the internet, where you can find business life to personal life to business ideas to coupling ideas.

 

When these birds can cross seas and continents, you can surely cross-boundary walls and garden. Look at your neighbor’s garden or the birds pets in your locality. If you cannot find both, try to figure out the nearest park or zoo. I can assure you that you will be successful in finding as many birds as you need to paint your eggs with a little walk. The world is our home and sharing is a feature by which we humans sustain. Your neighbor will not hesitate to share you his garden or backyard so that you can watch the birds there.

 

You can even click real life pictures of the birds and use them for your eggs to get the real feel.

kids books about New York City

My brothers live in New York City and with Hurricane Sandy about to hit them, I thought I’d share a few New York books that we’ve been enjoying lately!Reading and relaxing may not be the cup of tea for some when the danger is looming over them, and they are not to be blamed. Many of them will be hurrying around their offices and shops to take all the precautions to save their means of livelihood from the wrath of the upcoming fierce winds. The authorities can definitely predict the disaster, but how fiercely their future is going to be hit, no one can predict and sometimes the loss will all be theirs.

 

With destruction everywhere and the uncertain wait for relief funds to reach them, I definitely cannot advise them to read books now. However, they can read something else, which has the power to let them live and earn with much ease and through good prediction and survive from the next second after the hurricane. The market trading is the topic of reading and reading materials are available everywhere.

Open the internet, you will be flooded with links which say click here to start trading or to find the best trading robot. What more do you need as a consoling gift during the disaster?

Next Stop Grand Central

The illustrations are fantastic and really give a good view of the city–to me, it just seems very New York. We loved this one.

What’s Up, Bear?: A Book About Opposites

This book combines a story with the concept of opposites in a way I haven’t seen done before. I love opposite books, but they generally don’t tell a story. This one really does. It also throws in a nice tour of  New York City with all the famous landmarks and sites. Because it does so much, it works for Juliet my kindergardener and my two year old Lucia. We’ve been enjoying this one a lot this week. It would be a perfect prep book before taking a trip to NYC.

This Is New York

I haven’t read this one yet (sadly, our library only has the Paris one in this series–which is wonderfully amazing), but it is on my wishlist! I love the art and the way these books are put together.

Do you have any favorite New York City books? Anyone in the hurricane’s path? Stay safe!

(I received What’s Up Bear? as a review copy. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.)

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the adventures of odysseus

The Adventures of Odysseus  by Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden, and Christina Balit

When I first discovered this book a few weeks ago, I got really excited. I read all the reviews on amazon and thought that maybe this would be something Juliet and I could read together.After looking at it, though, I think we’ll still have to wait a few years. It’s gorgeous and wonderful and does justice to the original for sure, but at the end of the day, it is still a bit too mature for a 5 year old (in my opinion–or at least for my 5 year old.)

I had convinced myself that it was fine until I got to the part where Odysseus stabs the cyclop’s eye with a burning stake and I realized, we probably needed to wait a few more years.

The fruit of patience is always sweeter, not only in this case. There are many other instances where for a particular activity, you may need more preparations and more time to reach the right time of initiation. For example, you are joining a course and you have to clear a test for the same. You have to wait for the date, for the result, and maybe for reaching the age limit.

Take another example, more financially inclined. The success of a business lies in a calculated amount of waiting to grab the best opportunity at the right time. If you are trading in a market, the Bitcoin Code software will guide you to wait for the best time to close the deal and take home maximum returns.

🙂

However, if you have older children or even high schoolers–we read the Odyssey in 9th grade when I was growing up and when I taught 9th grade, I taught it to several hundred squirrelly little freshman.

Mostly, they liked it–even if it was hard for them to understand–because it has a lot of action to keep them tuned in, but I was thinking that this book would really help those that struggled with understanding the plot.

The illustrations help tell the story, add to the details, and the text itself is easier to read than what is usually found in school textbooks.

I would definitely love to add this to our home library in a few years when my girls are ready to read it.

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thumbprint easter egg craft

thumbprint egg basket
We made these thumbprint easter egg baskets last year as fun cards to send to faraway friends. I’m thinking we should get out the inkpad and try it again this year.

Using an ink pad gives us the freedom to explore with the imprints to be created n the egg. We can print letters, stories, pictures, family members and even success mantras. Innovation keeps the interest in the activity alive and when we involve our family members in it, the occasion really becomes a bigger celebration. The idea of printed Easter eggs does add to the enthusiasm of the festival, but then we are thinking about going out of the bound with the central theme intact.

We are anyways, doing some printing on the eggs, which can be made huge also. Why stick on to the regular stars, moon, and drawings? We can create the imprint of some unconventional topic. We were in search of such themes and some of us are particularly concerned about social welfare. We are, of course, celebrating this Easter with all the pomp and splendor that we can. However, there is still a section of the society for whom celebration may mean to have at least one meal of the day.

That is how we connected the idea of social welfare into the Easter celebration theme. And now, giving away some money on a single will not really help these underprivileged sections. We need to think of something bigger, more sustainable and easily grasped by the probably uneducated individuals. Why not we give them an idea to help survive their families better through a more returning income source?? Being undernourished, away from medical attention and lack of proper resting place, these people might be low on their health status too. This easter is also the best time to start a new beginning.

Finally, we arrived at the perfect idea of sharing a method of earning and bringing quick money without any bone-breaking hard work or mammoth investments. The decision was to print trading techniques and options on the eggs and share them with the needy families. The recipients need not be professionally qualified and with the automatic platforms like Bitcoin Code automated trading system, they can fight for their better survival at the most auspicious time. What more do we need to make our eater eggs special this time?

What egg crafts and activities are you up to this season?