Then and Now: Deep Questions To Ask Your Kids.

So about this time four years ago I asked the kids a bunch of super deep questions about life and shared them with you. I thought I’d ask the kids the same questions today and see how their answers changed and share my findings.

2013 | 2017

Back in 2013 the kids were about 3 1/2 and 7. Those responses are on the left just like the picture above.


Right now the kids are 7 1/2 and 11. Their responses today are on the right hand side, again, like the picture above. Got it?

What is the meaning of life?

BB: um, a sun.
MM: I don’t know, I really don’t know, ok?

BB: hmmm let’s see… god created us and wants us to be saved.
MM: What? I don’t know.

MM still has no idea and no desire to pretend he knows. He’s a realist. BB wanted to tell you GOODDDDD for just about every question but after like the fourth question I told her she needed more variety in life.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

BB: Cinderella
MM: an actor of Doctor Who

BB: I want to be a jewelry maker.
MM: um a video game tester

I’m not sure either kid has career aspirations that will allow me to live in the comfort that I’d like to become accustomed to. Oh well.

What brings you the most happiness?

BB: my brother
MM: well, my favorite thing is Doctor Who, so that’s what I would say.

BB: you (while hugging me)
MM: Skyrim

These answers pretty much sum up my life right now.

When do you feel the most loved?

BB: Sunday
MM: when I’m with everybody.

BB: Really, I ALWAYS feel the most loved.
MM: when you hug me

I’m happy to hear that my daughter feels loved on ALL the days of the week now. Also awww.

What are you afraid of?

BB: those scary birds, the scary ones and they were black…
MM: nothing really. At least I don’t think I’m afraid of anything.

BB: The dark
MM: a world without books

MM is a boy after my own heart. BB has forgotten all about the birds.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

BB: um, a telephone.
MM: Doctor Who to be real.

BB: That the pool in swimming lessons would be much warmer than it is.
MM: longer days

We leave for swim lessons like any minute now and clearly BB is hoping for warmer water. MM just wants a later bed time or more time to play video games. Priorities.

What is the funniest word?

BB: button… button.
MM: I don’t know…. plethora – it means a lot of something.

BB: The word “who” because sometimes it’s “who” and sometimes it’s “hoo”
MM: abdomen, I think it’s kind of funny

My kids still have no idea what funny means.

What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?

BB: a present giving up / getting excited.
MM: to make a tent upstairs / to read a chapter book

BB: swim / use my kindle
MM: social studies / creative mode minecraft

These answers are boring but accurate.

What is the best/worst thing in the world?

BB: a present with a doll in it / um… a ring.
MM: The best thing in the world? Wow – sun. / I think that is rain.

BB: my BFFs / my enemies I guess?
MM: YOU! / I don’t know.

I have no idea who my daughters enemies are but apparently they are the worst thing in the world. MM has never encountered the worst thing in the world but I guess it isn’t rain anymore.

What makes you mad?

BB: a computer (I swear she’s just looking around the office and naming things)
MM: sometimes when I don’t get my way, that’s one thing.

BB: when something is really hard and frustrating
MM: sometimes my sister storms out of the room.

I think my kids only understand anger when they are feeling it. They were totally at a loss here.

What is the meaning of love?

BB: a heart
MM: well, it means that you really like something.

BB: hope
MM: happiness

This. All of this.

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?

BB: I would… buy something.
MM: Huh… I would buy a lot of things…

BB: I would buy jewelry and a bunch of dress up clothes that I love.
MM: Like infinite money?? I would buy a lot of stuff, I would buy a mansion and a dog that does not bark. I would become Tony Stark and I would have a lot of nice food.

Neither of them offered to buy me anything. I don’t know how I feel about that.

Let me know if you and your kids play along!

5 Science Experiments and Videos to share with your kids!

My kids are officially on summer vacation and to prevent screen time overload brain mushiness, I nerded my heart out last month and concocted a summer plan of learning. It’s more of an outline than an actual concrete plan. Because each day and week of our summer will look different than the one before, I simply came up with a list of themes that will shape each week.

To decide on the themes that would most interest the kids, I had them write down things they wanted to learn more about on the whiteboard in our dining room. I noticed a lot of countries and landmarks written down with a few other topics like science experiments and astronomy. So the majority of our weeks will revolve around the wanderlust my kids seemed to inherit from me but THIS week we are learning about SCIENCE.

What does that actually mean? Well first I went to Pinterest and rounded up a handful of science experiments that I can do with the kids that are basically free and not so messy or complicated that it will end with me crying into a pile of paper towels. Things like:

mixing oil and water, making gummy worms dance, the disappearing egg shell, turning milk into plastic and making a fidget spinner using cardboard and pennies

Next I went to youtube and searched for videos of cool science experiments, creating my own playlist so that I could easily keep all my good finds organized. You can find my entire playlist here. Some of my kids’ favorites were:

My seven year old is officially hooked on the SciShow Kids video series. This video about cleaning a penny with things like ketchup or soda fascinated her.

Incredible Science is a good bet for older kids. We watched several of his videos and they have the shock and awe factor down and plenty of cool things to learn, too. My kids were particularly impressed with the shaving cream / food coloring rainstorm in a bottle.

I love the SloMo Guys – gorgeous videos that will appeal to fans of science, fans of filmography or even just fans of things blowing up in slow motion i.e. all of us. Watching a CD shatter at 170,000FPS was enjoyed by all.

So we love watching things spin and explode and since we have two young kids in the house we know all about the fidget spinner craze. What could be more cathartic than watching fidget spinners explode? This was a fun video although we had a tough time understanding their awesome accents sometimes, the video speaks for itself.

Maybe you’ve already seen this awesome video of Station Commander Chris Hadfield sharing science in space. If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a watch. Hadfield is a pretty awesome guy and his videos are always amusing. Plus now we get to combine science and space in one video! Extra credit, right?

So how else will we round out our week of science fun? Well we’re looking for science books, tv shows and movies when we indulge in some R&R and just generally being inquisitive as we go about our days. I think you’ll find that anytime you spend a good amount of time thinking about any topic, you will find that it pops up everywhere you go.

Any other favorite science videos or experiments that we should add to our list?

Here’s What 1st & 2nd Graders Are Reading.

1st2ndreadingSomething you might not know about me: I’ve been volunteering at my kids’ school this year as the 1st / 2nd Grade Librarian. Woah, I know. That sounds like a big job. Don’t worry, it’s a tiny private school so we’re talking about 16 children.

Something you probably do know about me: I love reading and I have a tendency to recommend books to everyone. It breaks my heart when my kids ignore a book recommendation because “Ew, mom recommended it. It’s probably lame.” When everyone knows I have excellent taste in books and I put a lot of thought into my recommendations.

But I get it. I was a kid once, too. I ignored book recommendations all the time because I was terribly busy consuming every Babysitter’s Club book ever written (and boy were there a lot of them!)

Anyway, every Monday I read the kids a story and then help them find a book to bring home. Sometimes they want my help, sometimes they don’t. After about a year of hanging out in the school library, I’ve gotten to notice some trends – a lot of the same series of books pop up over and over. I thought I’d take note and share my findings with you in case you have a 1st or 2nd grader of your own that needs a good book to read.

These are the books that consistently get checked out and devoured by the 1st and 2nd graders at our school:

51dXn5iTpvLThe Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure Series (i.e. THEY HAVE MINECRAFT BOOKS!?!?): We just got these in this year and the kids are obsessed with them. These are a good bet for any kid reading small chapter books – and older kids that love Minecraft will probably enjoy them, too. These aren’t the Minecraft tutorial books, but actual stories written within the Minecraft universe. And there are several variations on this idea – go into any book store or book aisle and you’ll find some.

61dDfZUlpuL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_Geronimo Stilton: You’ve probably heard of these books, at least in passing. It’s a cute series great for kids just getting into chapter books. The kids I read to love books about animals – some other great options include the Animal Ark series, The Puppy Place series and the Mercy Watson books.

51ttDHumHHL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_The Rainbow Magic series is massive and insanely popular at our school. There are a bazillion different types of fairies and the girls love looking for a fairy with their name or a name of someone they know. It’s a very time consuming search. These are great for your kids just dipping their toe into the chapter book universe.

61JEW68FtyL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_When your kiddo is ready to try something a little longer, check out the American Girl books and The Babysitter’s Club which is making a comeback thanks to the Graphic Novel versions of some of the first few books in the series. (If your kiddo is interested in these books but having a hard time with the size, try the BSC Little Sister series or the new Wellie Wishers American Girl series.)

51se0cN2C4LFor the kids that are really into the graphic novel / lots of illustrations book life: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate and Captain Underpants continue to be a force to be reckoned with. They also love pouring over old Calvin and Hobbes books.

51N7ZWBubnLSome other oldies but goodies that go over well are the Magic Tree House (for the earlier chapter book kids) and Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events (for the big readers).

61X+b-tbMpL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_The Eyewitness Books by DK are also extremely popular. No matter what your kid is interested in, DK seems to have a giant book all about it. The kids I read to spend a lot of time pouring over these books. They are an especially nice choice for kids who have kind of outgrown picture books but don’t have the patience for chapter books yet.

What are your kids reading these days?

10 Funny Picture Books for Kids

I’m linking up for another Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new prompt. This week’s prompt is… Ten Books To Make You Laugh. I’m stealing Kate’s idea of listing 10 funny picture books because after my suggestions for tween girls and 10 year old boys, picture books seems like a natural progression. And being a mother to a six year old and ten year old, I have read a LOT of picture books. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. 415zyRA-22L._SX400_BO1,204,203,200_The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak should be breaking the rules because as the name suggests, there are no pictures. But for picture book style reading where you are curled up with your kiddo for story time, this one can’t be beat and it’s so funny that your face might turn blue and you might spit on someone. And you have the added delight of reading a picture book by that guy from The Office so you know it’s funny stuff.
  2. 51BI6F3MRlLDon’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willems and pretty much anything else by Mo Willems to be honest. His Elephant and Piggy series was another big favorite around here and is a fantastic series for early readers. This book is the classic you must read title though and makes for a fantastic read aloud.
  3. 5984611Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett is guaranteed to make your kids laugh because it comes with built in prompts to tickle your children and more importantly the build up of threatening to tickle which in my experience makes kids laugh even more.
  4. 41ZYeUkW0wL._SX396_BO1,204,203,200_Olivia by Ian Falconer is an oldie but a goodie that always makes me laugh. I love the illustrations and Olivia’s antics. Her expressions and reactions to things are great. Any of the books in the series are great but if you haven’t read any of the books yet, obviously start at the beginning.
  5. 61yGpMELl4L._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_Eloise by Kay Thompson is kind of the natural progression after mentioning Olivia. If you like Olivia, you are going to love Eloise. She’ll make you wish you could live at the Plaza Hotel and have a pet named Skipperdee. Also your own children will likely seem tame by comparison so bonus points. If not, I’m sorry.
  6. 616-hr5kSqL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka is another long time favorite that both my kids loved. I love any book that takes a well known story and turns it on its head and this one is a prime example. And honestly Scieszka can do no wrong in my eyes.
  7. 61g8cli07XL._SX425_BO1,204,203,200_The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone is a picture book that I read as a kid and had full nostalgia reading to my kids. This is iconically funny stuff and amazingly fun to read out loud. If you haven’t read this one yet, you are in for a treat.
  8. 51qqiOXCo2L._SX431_BO1,204,203,200_If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff is one of my daughter’s favorites right now. She has a big collection of these books and thinks they are pretty much the funniest thing ever. Honestly I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid who didn’t love reading or listening to this story.
  9. 51DE6fFNKLL._SX454_BO1,204,203,200_I Am Absolutely Too Small For School by Lauren Child is one of many books in the Charlie and Lola series. I love these books – funny and fantastic illustrations with excellent attention to all the little details which I think is super important for picture books where kids will pore over them multiple times. I especially like this series for kids who have a bigger sibling – they’ll definitely be able to relate to Lola.
  10. 51K6FH6+E4L._SY454_BO1,204,203,200_We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury is one of the books that I buy just about every new mother. It’s one of our all time favorite read alouds and perhaps more quietly funny than laugh out loud funny – it definitely deserves a place on this list.

What books would be on your list?

toptentuesday
Check out The Broke and The Bookish for more Top Ten lists!

 

10 Book Suggestions: For 10 year old boys

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish was to make your own Top 10 Must Reads For… your choice. Awhile back I wrote a post suggesting books for the reluctant tween reader. I had a lot of fun with that and have been meaning to write more posts like it so today I’m tackling a new list of suggestions – books for 10 year old boys (though honestly, your daughters will probably love these books, too) – based off the reading habits of my own ten year old boy.

He is a voracious reader and would probably have his own list of ten to add to this but I’m sticking to books that I have also read that I thought were excellent and can vouch for. Some are more complex than others – I tried to give you a varied list so that you can find something for your ten year olds regardless of reading level. And there aren’t any Diary of Middle School Zombies in Underpants here. You’re welcome.

  1. gregor the overlander by suzanne collinsMy son’s favorite: I couldn’t start this list with anything except my son’s self proclaimed favorite book ever. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (yes, that Suzanne Collins) was probably the first book that made him cry – the first book that he came to me somewhat distraught over because a beloved character was clearly in real danger (but ended up being ok). This series captured his heart and consumed his mind and he’d insist that your ten year old read it immediately.
  2. 3980My favorite: One of my favorite books growing up was From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. This was a hide under the covers with a flashlight book and I still think of it today. My son read this in school this year and also really loved it so I can vouch for modern day kids still enjoying it. Read it together and dream of running away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  3. Harry Potter Illustrated Book 1The Modern Classic: I shouldn’t have to tell you to read Harry Potter but if your son hasn’t read the books yet, this is a good time to dive into the series. At ten, the boys are nearly the same age as Harry who turns 11 in the first book, so the characters will be easy to relate to. This book series is coming of age meets magic and fantasy and adventure and should really be required reading.
  4. 65645The Old Classic: Another book my son read this year in school is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. (They actually read The Magician’s Nephew first which comes first chronologically but was published later. I personally think you could start with either.) He loved both books just like the rest of the world. Filled with fantasy and adventure and childhood antics, this one is a classic for a reason.
  5. 78411A shorter pick: If these are all feeling too literary or stuffy or just too long, I recommend The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. These books are both short and sweet and hilarious. These are a great introduction to a reluctant reader that are likely to turn your kids into avid readers. And if they like this, there are at least twelve more books to enjoy not including Snicket’s other books outside of the series.
  6. 83369For your budding brainiac: Be sure to check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart which is like Hogwarts for Geniuses. If your son likes brain teasers and has ever felt like he doesn’t fit in – or even if he does – he’ll enjoy this book. It’s another series that’s excellent from beginning to end. You’ll want to read this one with him, it’s that good.
  7. 16131058The surprising hit series by that kid from GleeI was so pleasantly surprised by The Land of Stories by Chris Coelfer. I was not expecting much but it was excellent. I really loved his re-imaginings of various fairy tale characters and the story as a whole. My son loved this one and is eager to read the follow up stories in the series.
  8. 394363The Slightly Less Well Known Fantasy Series: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman was excellent and despite having a terrible movie made for it it’s managed to stay somewhat under the radar. This one has gotten passed around most of the family and loved by all. It has such rich imagination and fantastical adventures. This is one to pass on to your kid when they loved all the other fantasy books I’ve already mentioned. It’s slightly lofty in writing style so maybe don’t start with this one if they aren’t already voracious readers. Instead I’d recommend trying…
  9. 769483For When You Can’t Get Enough Harry Potter: Magyk by Angie Sage and the rest of the books in the series are fantastic. There are definitely some similarities to Harry Potter but in my opinion the series holds up well on its own and has a unique premise. It also boasts six more books in the series which is awesome. I think series books are excellent for readers this age because it keeps them reading, reading, reading and gives them an obvious next title to check out.
  10. 30119For when they don’t want to read a whole book: Allow me to be the 1 millionth person to recommend Shel Silverstein to your reluctant readers. Where The Sidewalk Ends takes everything your kid thinks he knows about poetry and turns it on it’s head. Hysterical, silly and easy to read for ten minutes here and there. If he doesn’t already know about these books, it’s time to change that. Silverstein has more than one collection of poetry but this one is probably his best.

What books am I forgetting?

Share your favorite recommendations for this age range in the comments section!

toptentuesday
Check out The Broke and The Bookish for more Top Ten lists!

Weekly Geekly: 03.11.16

I’ve got a veritable stock pile of amazing things I’ve seen online that need to be shared with you so buckle your seat belts.

Did you see the new Ghostbusters trailer yet? I’m personally super excited but apparently a lot of people are upset particularly about Leslie Jones’s character in the movie. Probably the same people who were upset about the Starbucks cups. And while I understand their critique, I also think people just need something to hate on and Donald Trump must have been quiet that day.

Also: GeekMom shared a list of 5 movies that should get the Ghostbusters treatment. What would be on your list?

There’s a new kids RPG called Book Fair that is making the book nerd in me squeal with delight because I totally want to play. I mean I totally want my kids to play. Yeah. It does sound a little intricate to plan out but I think it would be awesome for a group activity for a classroom or summer camp or when your kids are bored and you’ve run out of Gilmore Girls episodes to marathon.

Do you think they should have just let Top Gear die with dignity or are you cautiously optimistic about BBC’s new cast / the original team’s new show on Amazon? I’m torn.

Ready to flex your word nerd muscles? There’s a great roundup at Real Simple of 11 weird words you’ve never known how to make plural (but probably have strong opinions about).

Geek and Sundry recently shared this infographic that will tell you what your beard says about your D&D Alignment. I’m pretty sure this makes my husband Chaotic Neutral which sounds about right.

Have you already seen Doctor Puppet? My son and I just watched all the episodes on You Tube and were kind of despondent when we realized we’d finished all the ones currently released. Watch it slower if you haven’t already. Speaking of The Doctor: What are your thoughts on these suggestions for the thirteen Doctor? We obviously need to start planning now while there are likely / hopefully years to decide.

Now that Downton Abbey is officially over ::sobs:: we can all attempt to recover from the pain by curating lists about the show like The Lazy Genius’s list of The Best Boyfriends of Downton. At first I was outraged that Matthew wasn’t number one – until I saw her pick for number one and was like – nope, you are definitely right. Never mind, carry on.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this dramatic reading from Morgan Freeman:

 

 

 

The Top 7 Books My 6 Year Old Is Reading

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My daughter brought this list to me yesterday which she had painstakingly worked on for at least an hour. I’m pretty sure it’s a list of her favorite books or possibly it’s her TBR pile? One thing is for sure – Reading Sylvie while balancing books on your head appears to equal YES and you getting lots of hair. So yeah.

Here are the books on her carefully curated list in case you have a similarly precocious six year old in your life:

4226689Sylvie by Jenifer Sattler – I just got this picture book for BB a week or two ago and she LOVES it. It tells the story of a young flamingo named Sylvie who attempts to change her appearance by eating new foods, with hilarious results. In the end, she learns it’s better to just be yourself. And eat shrimp.

5984611Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett – This is a terrific interactive read aloud which basically just results in you mercilessly tickling your children or threatening to do so. The artwork is adorable and the anticipation is pretty brutal in a fantastic kind of way.

Jesus and the Ten Sick Men is most likely a bible lesson from school, it’s definitely not a purchasable book as far as I can tell – but a quick google search tells me that it’s likely about that time Jesus healed ten lepers. A real crowd pleaser. It’s nice to see that my daughter has an eclectic taste in books.

826584If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff is an oldie but a goodie. You probably don’t need to me to describe the antics that go down in this spinoff of the If You Give a Mouse A… series. Basically, being a polite host to house guests doesn’t go well in Numeroff’s world so let that be a lesson to you children – give them nothing. According to Numeroff, “If a big hungry moose comes to visit, you might give him a muffin to make him feel at home. If you give him a muffin, he’ll want some jam to go with it. When he’s eaten all your muffins, he’ll want to go to the store to get some more muffin mix.

7123178Bree’s Fancy Glasses (A Fancy Nancy Book) by Jane O’Connor which might also be Fancy Nancy’s Spectacular Spectacles – The internet is being vague on this one but I definitely remember having an in depth conversation with my daughter about which glasses were the most fancy and this book definitely deals with Nancy’s friend Bree who wears glasses. “Nancy thinks that Bree’s new glasses are simply spectacular. After all, they are lavender. They are glittery. And best of all, they come in a silver case. So when Bree tells Nancy all about her trip to the eye doctor, Nancy can’t help but wonder if her own eyesight is perhaps getting a little blurry too…” My daughter and Nancy are definitely two peas in a pod.

18114175Who Was Milton Hershey by James Buckley Jr. is a book I picked up for BB’s brother before a trip to Hershey Pennsylvania a couple of years ago so I’m excited to see that the book has been making the rounds and found it’s way into the hands of BB also. I really like this series which seems informative but fun and my son was totally that nerdy kid on the tour bus who knew more about Hershey than the tour guide. #proudmomma

6949680LMNO Peas by Keith Baker is one of my favorite alphabet picture books and clearly BB agrees. “Featuring a range of zippy characters from Acrobat Peas to Zoologist Peas, this picture book highlights a variety of interests, hobbies, and careers; each one themed to a letter of the alphabet and gives a wonderful sense of the colorful world we live in.” I’m always a fan of alphabet books that introduce words beyond Apple, Ball and Car.

What are some of your children’s favorite books right now?