Back to School Fashion: First Grade Chic

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Click to view the collection on polyvore.com and find links to all the products.

BB will be the first to tell you that some things are fancy and fashionable and other things just are not.

She’ll definitely be the first to tell me these things as we’re wandering the aisles of Target or H&M in search of the perfect Back to School Look. We tried not to go crazy with our back to school shopping this year – focusing on the things that the kids need and not just the things they might like – so that image above there? Yeah, we didn’t get all of those things.

But I thought I’d put together a little collage on Polyvore that shows off a couple of things we did get along with some fun bling and pretties that would round off the look nicely. Things that BB would rock with her looks if she had a little extra fun money.

Everything in this collage can be found at H&M except the back pack. The reason for all the H&M love is two fold:

  1. H&M totally gets my daughter and her love for all things glitz and glam. I looked at a few stores online before confirming what I already knew. I could buy her entire wardrobe here.
  2. There are some bargains to be found at H&M. Most of the tops and dresses we buy here are $5 each and they are super dreamy, comfortable soft cotton tops that seem to stand up well to the test of time. I buy the dresses a little on the large side for my long-limbed daughter and tend to get a lot of mileage out of them.

The backpack is from LL Bean – we don’t have this pattern because we bought ours last year and now they have all new patterns – the purple one above is right up BB’s fashion alley but she’ll have to wait until she outgrows her bag because these suckers are durable and LL Bean swears by their 100% guarantee.

We got BB the adorable (if slightly creepy perhaps?) top in the collage above along with two other super cute tops and a skirt that is very similar to the one above but apparently not online. The shoes, sunnies, hair clips and clam shell purse are not hers yet but would make excellent belated birthday or early Christmas presents if you find yourself saying, “I really want to spend money on that six year old cutie today.” Or if your daughter said to you the other day, “Man, I wish I dressed more like BB. How can I attain her style sensibilities?” DONE.

Book Review: A Knight in Sticky Armor (Doc McStuffins)

Continuing my new video book review series (or: in an attempt to be fair to my children), here is a review for a book that my daughter, five year old BB, read recently. She would like to tell you more about:

13642690A Knight in Sticky Armor (Disney Junior: Doc McStuffins) by Andrea Posner-Sanchez, Mike Wall(Illustrator)

BB thinks this book is hilarious because every time something touched the sticky part of the titular knight, said thing got stuck to him and it was “really funny.”

Savvy parents will notice that this is a story straight out of the Doc McStuffins tv show series so if you have been forced to watch the series, you probably already know who Doc is and what she’s all about.

For the rest of you, a brief description from Amazon:

Doc McStuffins doesn’t just play with her toys—she heals them! Girls ages 2-5 will love getting to know this super-smart six-year-old doctor with her own backyard clinic. This Little Golden Book is based on the new Disney Junior show, Doc McStuffins.

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for, Miss BB’s review:

In summary: You’re guess is as good as mine.

Have you read this book (or seen the tv show)? What did you think?

Book Review: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

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When my son, currently eight years old, requested that I read the first book in The Underland Chronicles, a series by Suzanne Collins (yes, that Suzanne Collins), I couldn’t resist. He has become something of a Fan Boy where this series is concerned and pretty much eats, sleeps and breathes it. A kid after my own heart.

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FEELS: liked, good role models, obsessable

Gregor the Overlander tells the story of eleven year old Gregor who  falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building in an attempt to rescue his 2 year old sister, Boots, who had crawled inside.

When I say ‘fall’ I mean they both literally ‘fell’ into another world called The Underland which exists directly below our world. In this world there is no sunlight, no moonlight. No real communication with the upside world, except for the occasional overlander that might fall through – a fall that most wouldn’t survive.

Gregor and Boots luckily do survive, only to meet a host of giant versions of pests and creepy crawlers that would make most grown men tremble. Gregor doesn’t love the huge talking rats, cockroaches, bats and spiders initially – nor the human village that has been thriving in the Underland for years – but thanks to his diplomatic two year old sister, an ancient prophecy and a lot of luck, he finds his courage and goes on an epic adventure to help save the Underland from war and get him and his sister back to his family in New York City.

It was hard to read this book and not be coming at it from a mother’s angle. I was often fretting over whether or not Gregor and Boots would ever get home to their poor mother. I cheered whenever Gregor showed bravery or compassion that was well beyond his years – he is a terrific brother and brave when it counts, without being foolish. I loved Boots (everyone loves Boots) and how she might have been the bravest and most impressive character in the story.

I loved the continual theme of not judging a book by it’s cover, not judging an entire race based off one member (or vice versa), on learning to walk a mile in each other’s shoes and the benefits of diplomacy over brute force. There were a lot of great lessons to be learned in this story and it’s a great introduction to fantasy and adventure for kids.

My eight year old is a pretty advanced reader and the kind of kid that will hide under the covers with a flashlight to read into the wee hours of the night so he tends to finish each book in one or two days. I read for about a half hour at night and finished it in about a week.  There are 5 books in the series that each sell for roughly $5 so it’s a decent bargain but if you have voracious readers, they’ll burn through them quickly. We’ve been letting my son get one a month to make it last a little longer.

At the end of the book there are questions with the author as well as a fun code for learning to speak like Boots and a writing exercise so kids (or adults) can create their own Underlands. I’m definitely going to encourage my son to try that out if he hasn’t already!

What is your child’s favorite book right now?

Kindergarten Looks Like: Paper Craft Extreme

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Can we talk about BB’s new craft obsession? Every day she painstakingly cuts out little shapes from bits of paper and then assembles them into pictures, coloring in all the little pieces. This is a self portrait of hers that she gave me recently and it’s just one in an ever growing collection of patchwork pictures.

Is this a common hobby? Because MM – who frequently gets lost in making intricate diagrams and charts – has not inundated me with anything similar. I mean sure he’s done his fair share of cutting and pasting different things together, but never on this level and I can’t recall having done it myself as a kid.

I don’t want to be that braggy parent that we all hate but I’m kind of blown away by this. The level of creativity, concentration and organization needed to do stuff like this? It seems like it wouldn’t be an ordinary hobby for a 5 year old but maybe I’m just underestimating all the five year olds in the world. Maybe we’re all much more brilliant than we give ourselves credit for.

Any other five year old future quilters out there? What has your kid done recently that just blew you away with Momma Pride?

A distraction: Amish ninja chic.

The internet is justifiably a sad place today. In between doing all the things one does throughout the day, I’ve been reeling over the news that one of the greatest actors, comedians and humans of our time is no longer with us. I’ve read all the articles and felt all the feels and made a mental list of all the movies I need to watch with the kids SOON to make sure they get a proper education in funny. I’ve lamented with friends and lingered too long in my thoughts and hugged my babies a little tighter.

But if we are going to truly remember this man, we need to remember what he’s taught us: Laughter is the best medicine. In the off chance that you are feeling the weight of this tragedy a little too deeply today and are in need of a distraction (me, too), let’s talk about my daughter’s fashion choices. Because obviously.

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I’m calling this look The hills are alive with the sound of ninjas.

My mother-in-law got this adorable little ensemble for BB while we were in Amish country and of course BB is obsessed. She loves nothing more than a pretty dress and if that dress can in any way seem like overkill for the occasion – well that’s even better. She’s been wearing it constantly, around the house and to MM’s karate lessons (yes, I’m apparently that mom despite my best efforts) and now she’s upping the ante with creative and irreverent accessorizing.

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I think this really shows her personality completely. She will not be pinned down by society’s expectations and always insists on doing things her way. Why wear just a traditional Amish dress when you can wear it with a Ninja Turtles mask? Why walk when you can dance? Why sit quietly when you can sing? Why eat broccoli when you can NOT eat broccoli?

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Her personality is so big, it fills the room. Her smile is contagious. She’s one of those kids that makes little old ladies in the super market stop and gush and she soaks it all in. If you have a minute, she has a little solo number to sing for you that she wrote ten seconds ago. She may well be an iconic entertainer herself one day, lord knows she entertains me from sun up to sun down.

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“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

– Robin Williams