Categories
books & reading family fun

Read Aloud Book Rec: Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar

You know when your kid brings a book to you for story time and you have never seen it before in your life and have no earthly idea where it came from and they’re like, “Duh mom, we’ve had this forever.” Maybe this is a sign that I have #bookworm problems or that my brain is slowly melting out of my ear lobes. Who knows?

61nVbenzQtL._SX260_The other day BB brought down Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar and after getting past the “Where did this book even come from??” questions we got to reading and guys it was SOOO cute! It’s an adorable mash up of different fairy tales and kind of all about making up your own mind about people. It’s perfect for reading out loud – not too wordy and not too mind numbingly simple. It’s juuuuust right.

I still don’t know where it came from but I’m glad she brought it downstairs and it was fun reading her cute picture books again – at nine years old, she’s largely in charge of her own reading and story time tends to feature chapter books these days. This was a nice treat for both of us.

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What are you and your kids reading these days?

Categories
family fun links videos

10 Kid-Friendly YouTube Channels To Watch With Your Kids

youtubefaves

The kids and I have settled into a pretty nice summer routine and it usually begins with watching a mom-curated YouTube playlist while I drink my coffee. This is usually after breakfast and before we start whatever adventures we have planned for the day. I look through the channels we’ve subscribed to and the videos suggested based on our viewing history and add anything that looks good to my “watch it later” queue. This becomes our playlist.

You can drag and drop videos on your watch it later list so that you can watch in a specific order. So if you are Type A kinda gal, you can curate days at a time of video watching with a view videos from each of your favorite channels. Or if you are so not that mom, you can just watch in whatever random order the wind blows.

Either way, here are some of our favorite channels and playlists in case you need some viewing inspiration. I watch videos from these channels with my 8 year old and 12 year old so there is kind of a spread in targeted age here. These are not the same channels my kids would watch on their own – a lot of those would make my eyes bleed from pure boredom or annoying voices. Dan TDM is not here. Kids unwrapping LOL dolls? Not here. These are slightly more educational in variety but still entertaining for sure.

Here are 10 of our Favorite YouTube Channels to watch together.

Are We There Yet? series on National Geographic Kids

If you and your kids are basically walking wanderlust, this is the series for you. It’s just one of several dozen playlists at National Geographic Kids. It features several sibling pairs who record videos of their adventures while vacationing around the world.

Cartooning 4 Kids

My daughter launches into the next room to grab a pad of paper and pencil when these videos come on. There are drawing tutorials for just about every animated character you can think of and more basic tutorials like how to draw a better circle or how to draw a cartoon baby seal.

Crash Course 

Did you know that author John Green also has a hugely popular youtube channel that he makes with his brother Hank? They have educational videos on, basically everything. Science, literature, history, politics – they’ve got you covered.

Crash Course Kids

Same concept as above except geared towards younger kids. My 12 year old prefers the original channel. My 8 year old greatly prefers this one. I try to keep a healthy dose of both in rotation. As far as I can tell, John Green does not narrate any of these videos so if you are only there for your John Fix, this channel will probably not help you.

Space How-Tos Series from Video From Space

This is an oldie but a goodie. Astronauts from countries from around the world show you what life is like in space. Everything from how they cook food to how they brush their teeth is covered here.

SciShow Kids

My eight year old is obsessed with this channel. Any science question your kid could ask can probably be answered here. It stars the world’s perkiest red head and her robot mouse. They do science experiments and talk about various topics in science like space, animals, biology and more. They also show kids how to make pillow forts and paper airplanes.

 

HiHo Kids

This is a real treasure trove videos. They have a whole series devoted to kids trying strange foods from around the world. They also have a series where kids meet people from different professions or life circumstances (i.e. kids meet a ballerina and kids meet a guide dog for the blind).

San Diego Zoo

These days most zoos seem to have their own YouTube channel. Watch videos of adorable baby animals or learn more about animals in general. This is great for a rainy day when your plans to go out in nature have been thwarted – or to get your kids pumped for a trip to your local zoo.

The Slo Mo Guys

This is a fan favorite in our household. There’s something magically satisfying about watching things explode in slow motion. These videos walk you through the entire process of setting up the experiment, filming it and then watching it back in slow motion. We’ve watched several dozen now and it doesn’t seem to get old.

AsapSCIENCE

In general, this series is geared more towards older kids and teens. I wouldn’t personally let younger kids loose on this channel but if you do the hunting and pecking yourself, you can find some great videos for all ages. My kids especially love their music videos but they also have more educational videos (and some clearly geared towards teens and young adult videos).

Categories
family fun photography printable

Summer Vacation Begins! (plus: a free printable weekly planner)

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Today was their last day of school and honestly we couldn’t be more ready. Don’t get me wrong, we had a pretty terrific school year. The kids learned a lot and made some great memories and I hit a pretty stellar balance of being a Super Volunteer Mom without feeling like Overburdened Mom-Martyr Person. BUT.

We are ready for late mornings, lazy afternoons, no homework, video game marathons, swim lessons, no homework, summer reading, family vacation, no homework… you get the idea. Mostly it’s the sleeping in that I’m looking forward to, tbh. I bet you can guess what my kids are looking forward to most.

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I decided to dive into Summer Vacation Mode with a new weekly calendar layout:

weekly planner grid

This is how I organize our days each week and plan our dinners. I print out a copy and laminate it so I can use dry erase markers on it – and it works really well! I keep mine on my fridge for easy access. They usually last me about a year before they stop erasing well, which is about how long I can usually go before I want to redesign it anyway.

The format is intentionally pretty minimal apart from the splashy background which I found to be surprisingly easy to write over without looking too busy. Perfect for laid back summer days but I honestly feel it will be sufficient for the school year, too. Feel free to save the image and print it out for your own organizing needs.

Okay so how many days are left until summer vacation starts at your house?

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

 

Categories
books & reading family fun printable summer reading

Summer Reading 2018: Choose Your Own Adventure (Free Printable)

A couple of years ago I started making summer reading challenges for my kids because I found the programs at the library a little lacking / redundant for a family of bookworms. My kids don’t need encouragement to read in the summer so keeping track of pages and titles seemed unnecessarily tedious for us and not really a challenge tbh. No shade, I think the programs are a great idea for kids who need that encouragement, it just wasn’t my jam personally.

This was back in 2016 – I read this post at Kate’s blog and was like YES. I had to copycat and create a challenge for my own kids – and thus our Summer Reading Bingo was born. It went over really well with my kids. You can steal mine or make your own if you want – just click this link.

Last year I felt the need to simplify the challenge because of a particularly busy summer and probably just because I like change. So I made a summer reading challenge that fit on a bookmark! This was great for a busy summer and my kids loved it, too. Again, feel free to go steal that one if you need something super quick.

This year, I continue to need to shake things up because I have too much time on my hands or something. I was thinking about those Choose Your Own Adventure novels from when I was a kid  – did you love them, too? I was also thinking about how sometimes kids need to feel like they are in control – they don’t want to be told what to read or even what genres to read. We all like to make our own choices, right?

And so, I present to you our reading challenge for 2018:

I’m pretty excited and just in case you are hoping to shake up your summer reading, too – feel free to steal my idea – you can right click and save this or make your own in a word document – or picmonkey.com, my fave place to make cute graphics. (This isn’t some sneaky sponser post btw – they have no idea who I am, I’m just sharing and caring like that.)

Do you do summer reading challenges with your kids?

Categories
family fun mama kat's writers workshop photography travel

Spring Break in Florida in Photographs.

It’s Thursday so I must be linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

This week’s prompts are:

1. Write a blog post that ends with the line: maybe next time.
2. Book review!
3. Create a recipe that incorporates hard boiled eggs.
4. Tell us about the last time you saw a movie.
5. Share your favorite photo you posted on Instagram this month and give us the back story.
6. Spring Cleaning! Share a before and after photo of a room you recently tackled.

 

I really couldn’t choose just one this month because we just got back from our Spring Break vacation to Florida and there are too many good pictures to share.

We were visiting my dad in the Tampa area and in between basking in the glorious sunlight and enjoying the views from his backyard, we also visited the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the Museum of Science and Industry, Dinosaur World, and The Florida Aquarium.

It’s been a brutal winter for me in terms of sunlight, temperature and the breaking of expensive things – it was nice to escape the cold and mundane for a week and get a change of scenery and some family bonding time.

What have you been up to this month?

Categories
family fun

Reading Into The Back Of The Cereal Box

Do you remember reading the back of the cereal box when you were a kid? Or maybe you still do? I know I read the back of any box – whether it be cereal, macaroni and cheese, or cake mix – heck there isn’t much I won’t read and I always love the little details. I love companies that  go the extra mile with their packaging and really wow you with their cleverness and wit. I love, for instance, that the Trader Joe’s flyer always has cute little asides and stories – the last one I got even came with instructions on how to turn the flyer into a paper hat – which in all my twenty five years I’d never done before, until this week. My son thought it was pretty much the most awesome thing ever. We of course took pictures:

Sometimes you forget to look – who knows how many packages we throw out that had awesome little gems like that – little moments to make memories of out of ordinary minutes. If I hadn’t read every inch of that flyer, drooling over the idea of chocolate peppermint covered peppermint Joe Joes… I might have missed that and I still would never have made a paper hat before – and we wouldn’t have that cute picture, those memories.

This morning I glanced at my son’s cereal box (which I’ve always thought was kind of old man-ish cereal – I’m a bit of a kid at heart I guess and would rather see my son eating Kid’s Cereal – because it’s FUN! Just none of that super sugary junk – Kashi makes an excellent children’s cereal – Mighty Bites – but MM has been getting bored of Mighty Bites, just like you’re probably getting bored of this post) but so to cut to the point, proof that my son has been eating Old Person Cereal, here is what was on the back of his cereal box:

Helpful Household Hints

Freshen a Garbage Disposal

Sprinkle baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in the disposal. Scrub with a brush, getting under the rubber gasket and all around the inside. Rinse thoroughly with water. For a citrus smell, run some cut up lemons or limes through the disposal afterwards!

Mildew on Laundry

You can remove mildew from clothes by rubbing the affected area with half a lemon that has been dipped in salt. Then wash clothing as usual.

Make Your Own Glass Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar, spray window, then wipe clean with newspaper.

Red Wine On Carpet

Treat the stain immediately after it happens. Sprinkle salt over the wine until most of it is absorbed. Wash the area in cold water with regular detergent. If the stain persists, try dabbing some hydrogen peroxide on the stain and wash as directed above.

Remove Ink From Clothing

There are a few methods to try to remove ink from clothing. You can try dabbing rubbing alcohol on the stain to lift it right out. Hair spray can also be helpful in taking ink out of your clothing. Soaking the garment in milk is also another way to get rid of the ink.

Make Heat Marks and Water Rings Disappear

Mix equal parts of baking soda and regular white, non-gel toothpaste. Dampen the corner of a clean, soft white cloth with water and dip into the paste. With circular motion, gently buff the marks for a few minutes.

Remove Candle Wax From a Tablecloth

Candle wax can be easily removed from fabric. Simply place two pieces of paper towels on either side of the stain. Then use a warm iron to run over the paper, which should absorb the wax from the cloth.

Take Crayon Off Walls and Wallpaper

Spray wallpaper with a multipurpose lubricating oil and wipe gently, using a paper towel or clean white cloth. If the mark is not being removed with the lubricating oil, sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp sponge and gently rub in a circular motion.

I’m just wondering what kind of shenanigans they think I’ll be letting my two year old get into with wine, candles, multipurpose lubricating oil and mildew? I mean the crayons I get – but really? I think my point as been made – Stop and Shop’s Honey Crunchin’ Oats with Honey is clearly not a children’s cereal. I doubt you’d find those (admittedly clever and useful) tips on the back of a Lucky Charms box. And there wasn’t even a toy inside!

Categories
family fun photography

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas bug has officially hit me – last night I want to jump from the roof tops singing Joy To The World – I settled for putting up the tree (by myself, because dh still didn’t want to put it up at all, but when he came home and saw it up and decorated he was thrilled and fine with it) and making our very first gingerbread house.

We sang a couple Christmas carols off key, forgetting several lyrics, giggling when MM attempted to sing along but mostly babbled. I think my favorite was Oh Christmas Tree, which goes a little something like this…

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Or something. We also made several attempts to take pictures of the tree, of MM and the tree, cool close ups, and mostly just trying to figure out how to take clear crisp pictures of the tree in the dark with the lights flashing. Mostly I got either no lights flashing pictures that look like it’s broad day light OR blurry images of lights flashing that looks sort of like a Christmas Tree if you tilt your head and squint. I really should take a class or something. Anyway, here are some pictures of our festive family fun:

Merry Pictures To All and To All A Good Night…

or…

The End.

Categories
family fun memes & carnivals photography

WW: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…

For more wordless fun click here or here.

(For less wordless fun hover over each image.)

Categories
family fun photography travel

Images of Our Weekend: Weeping Willows, Family Portraits, Tractors, Grandparents & Boston in the Fall

I think we took more pictures this weekend than all year. I want to make sure I show all the good ones so I’m going to combine a few photo “sessions” and simply show you what we did this weekend through photographs – Sounds like fun right? Tomorrow I’ll do some older non-weekend photos for Wordless Wednesday (you know just my kid being generically cute) and Thursday be sure to check out my It’s Real Life post – A Day in the Life of ME – you’ll see an hour by hour photographic account of my day TODAY. If you haven’t taken your pictures yet and want to play along there’s still time!

But in the meantime, feast your eyes on our long, fabulous weekend:

Then the next day…

And then the NEXT next day…

By the way, did you know that my blog and the XKCD comics have something in common? I won’t make you sit there scratching your head all day, I’ll fill you in on my little known secret – all the pictures on my blog are WAY more fun if you hover over the photo – try it today!