Saturday, January 29, 2011

Candy Airplane Valentine Craft - "Love, Ruby Valentine" by Laurie Friedman

While looking for cute Valentine's Day ideas I came across directions for a candy airplane valentine on the Family Fun website. I remember making similar airplanes when I was a kid and, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe that I first learned to make them in Girl Scouts.


The candy airplanes are made out of a roll of Smarties, a couple sticks of gum, and two Life-Saver candies for the wheels. A rubber band holds all the pieces of candy together to form an airplane. (Visit Family Fun for instructions on how to assemble.)

I created and printed a special heart Valentine themed gum wrapper cover like the one shown on the Family Fun site to add to our airplanes (click on the image to see the jpg and print). I think the decorated wrapper helps the airplane look prettier for Valentine's Day. The airplane is a little tricky to assemble and is probably a project suited more for older kids, but my kids enjoyed watching me make them and they really, really had a blast playing with them! I think I'll make a few more so my son can give them to his friends for Valentine's Day.

Some of the variations of this craft show it with a little message on a banner attached to the back of the plane. Here are a few cute Valentine airplane themed sayings:
It's plane to see - I want you for my Valentine.
Up, up and away! Happy Valentine's Day!
Above all, I want you for My Valentine.
You're just plane cool!
Have a high flying Valentine's Day!
Love is in the air!
Valentine, my heart soars for you!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We started reading several Valentine's Day books last week. One of my daughter's favorite books from library included an illustration of the main character in an airplane spreading Valentine cheer. How fun is that?

Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie Friedman, illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath. Carolrhoda Books (June 2006); ISBN 978-1575058993; 32 pages
Book Source: Copy from our local library

"Deep in the heart of Heartland,
in a house of oak and pine,
with her feathered friend named Lovebird,
lived Ruby Valentine."


Ruby Valentine spends her time counting down to Valentine's Day by making Valentines (along with some help from her pet bird, Lovebird). Cards, cookies and treats -- Ruby Valentine is the queen of Valentine's Day. She loves to spread Valentine's Day cheer by bringing Valentines to the people in a nearby town. Exhausted from all her hard work, she falls asleep and misses Valentine's Day. Lovebird helps her realize that she doesn't have to wait for the next Valentine's Day to share the love.

This book has a very sweet message that I think all kids and parents need to remember: "Saying, `I love you!' doesn't have to wait 'til Valentine's, any day will do." The story, told in rhyme, is extraordinarily cute, and the cheerful illustrations will make you want to get out your crafting supplies, create a wagon-load of valentines and throw them from an airplane, just like Ruby Valentine.

Related links:
Ruby Valentine Create Your Own Valentine Card [pdf]
Lynne Avril Cravath - Illustrator Website
Laurie Friedman Blog


Do you know of any other Valentine picture books that show an illustration of an airplane? We ran across another cute one today with an airplane - The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson, illustrated by Tricia Tusa.


I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Circle C Beginnings Series by Susan K. Marlow - Review and Book Giveaway

Right around this time last year, we spent several weeks reading Little House on the Prairie books together. Now my daughter and I are revisiting the late 1800's with a new beginning reader chapter book series, Circle C Beginnings. Goodbye prairie -- howdy Wild West!

The recently released Circle C Beginnings series tells the fictional story of a little girl named Andi who lives on a ranch in California in the 1870's. Andi is nearly six years old, a bit of a troublemaker and tomboy, and she wears overalls on the ranch instead of dresses. Her headstrong ways lead her into all sorts of problematic situations.

Andi's Pony Trouble (Circle C Beginnings #1) by Susan K. Marlow, illustrated by Leslie Gammelgaard. Kregel Publications (October 2010); ISBN 9780825441813; 80 pages; paperback
Book Source: Review copy provided by author/publisher

In Andi's Pony Trouble, the first book in the series, Andi desperately wants her very own horse. She's all set to celebrate her sixth birthday and she's tired of riding Coco, the family's "old, slow, worn-out pony." Her mother tells her she's not ready for to care for a horse of her own and remarks that Andi needs to take better care of Coco. Feeling sorry for herself, Andi goes about her day and nothing goes her way. She breaks the eggs when the mean rooster chases her. When a horse ride in the meadow with her friend Riley goes awry, Andi begins to appreciate Coco and learns a valuable lesson.

Although Andi is overly whiny and gloomy (hmm...sounds familiar) in the beginning part of the book, she experiences a change of heart at the end. My daughter liked learning about the jobs involved in taking care of a horse. The book includes several horse-related terms like lope ("faster than a trot but slower than a gallop).

Andi's Indian Summer (Circle C Beginnings #2) Susan K. Marlow, illustrated by Leslie Gammelgaard. Kregel Publications (October 2010); ISBN 9780825441820; 80 pages; paperback
Book Source: Review copy provided by author/publisher

Andi and her friend Riley encounter members of the Yokut tribe in the second book of the series, Andi's Indian Summer. They lose their way while riding their horses on the ranch and meet two young Yokut children. At first Andi is frightened when she first meets the tribe members. Her perspective is tainted by a scary dime story novel she read earlier with Riley. Andi and Riley end up staying the night with the Yokut Indians and learn about their culture.

Andi's Indian Summer deals with stereotypes and provides a nice starting point for discussing inaccurate portrayals of Native Americans. Marlow even includes a short, informative author's note called "A Peek into the Past" at the end of the story. After reading the book, kids might want to learn more about the Yokut Indians. However, since the book is meant for young children, I think it would have also been helpful if Marlow would have, in her author's note, explained how she used the word "Indian" in context to the historical setting of the book.

Andi is illustrated wearing boy's clothes this book series. She wears overalls, not typical attire for a girl living in the 1870's. I asked Susan Marlow to remark on Andi's clothes and here is her response:
"Honestly, I’m amazed that nobody has brought this up. It brushed the back of my mind, for sure. But I had to keep Andi in overalls, because the series is a spin-off from the older kids’ books [the Circle C Adventures series for ages 9-14], where Andi is 12 and yes, she wears her brothers’ old overalls. The attire out West was pretty varied. True, I did take some literary license for the Circle C Adventures, because a rich rancher’s kid would not likely be allowed to get away with wearing boys’ clothes. However, I balanced it by restricting the attire to the ranch only. And I made a point of it in the first book, Long Ride Home."
The Circle C Beginnings Series is an interesting and fun beginning chapter book series for young children (ages 6-8), especially those who enjoy reading about life the late 1800s. The books also won't break your budget at only $4.99 each. The series is ever so slightly religious as both books briefly mention God and prayer. I really like that kids can grow with Andi and the series and transition into the Circle C Adventure series after they finish the beginning reader Circle C Beginnings books. My daughter was pleasantly surprised at how many words she was able to read in the books, and I'm sure that within the next year she'll be able to read them to herself. She enjoyed all of Andi's adventures and has decided that she wants a horse of her own, too. I'm afraid she'll have to be content with the little play horse set that Santa brought for now.

The third and fourth books in the series, Andi's Fair Surprise and Andi's Scary School Days are set to release soon in March 2011. The Circle C Beginnings website contains information on all the books. The website also offers several coloring pages and wonderful educational activity packs that correspond with each book title.


Author Susan Marlow has graciously offered to give away a set of the first two books in the Circle C Beginnings Series to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter this contest, leave a comment relevant to this post. Do you or your kids like horse themed books or historical fiction?
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US
• Contest ends on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara & Epson Salt Frost Paintings Craft

There's something magical about the crystal patterns on a frosted windowpane. The fern-like, random artwork by nature is one of the miracles of winter. Some say the art is the work of the legendary Jack Frost. We recently purchased and read a cute winter book about a boy who meets and plays outside with Jack Frost. (It's currently available as a bargain book on Amazon.)

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara. Roaring Brook Press (October 2009); ISBN: 9781596434424; 32 pages
Book Source: Our personal library
'"Who are you?" asked the boy.
"I'm Jack Frost!" replied the figure, and he ran into the woods.'

A lonely little boy sulks about inside his house during a cold, gray winter until one morning he notices patterns on the window. When he looks outside he sees a pointy white, elfish figure, the character responsible for the patterns. The boy befriends the figure, Jack Frost, and they play together all winter long, sledding, throwing snowballs and building snowmen against a brilliant blue sky.

Kazuno Kohara's stark white linocut images dance against the blue backgrounds, beautifully conveying the the wondrous bluish hues of winter. Even though she uses limited colors, Kohara still manages to add a special vivacity to her pictures. Kohara uses a similar illustration style in her Halloween themed book, Ghosts in the House! While the newer book, Here Comes Jack Frost isn't as humorous as the ghost book, it is a lovely, playful and fun winter read and a good, simple introduction to the character of Jack Frost.



❖❖❖❖❖❖ stArt Craft - Epson Salt Frost Paintings ❖❖❖❖❖❖

Obviously some sort of printmaking craft would be the perfect activity to accompany this Here Comes Jack Frost. But we've already tried two different printmaking techniques in January so we thought instead we'd pretend to be Jack Frost by making frost paintings using a special Epson salt solution.

I first saw instructions for the Epson salt paint on Homemade Mamas. The recipe is simple - you combine 1/4 cup boiling water with 1/4 cup Epson salt. Then you stir until the crystals dissolve and let the solution cool slightly (a few minutes). The kids dip their paintbrush in the solution and cover the page with the liquid. As the paint dries, it crystallizes and forms interesting, sparkly patterns. Unplug Your Kids also offers a detailed and interesting post about Salt Crystal Paint.

In our experience, Epson salt paint is a rather unpredictable product. Sometimes it dries and lovely crystalline patterns form and other times all you get is an even layer of powdery white frost. If you supersaturate the solution by adding more Espon salt than water, you'll end up with really thick, crusty white coverage. It's fun to experiment, but it can also be rather frustrating for the kids if they want to see fun crystal patterns in their salt paint.

We tried making two different pictures, one using crayons and another using paints. The wax in the crayon pictures seems to help break up the layer of paint and causes more puddling - thus more crystal patterns. My daughter crumpled her crayon drawing a bit before adding the paint, so that the solution could settle on an uneven surface. This also helped encourage crystal patterns and helped stop the picture from curling up as it dried.


Salt paint on my daughter's crayon picture - interesting, large crystal patterns




Salt Paint on painted picture - general frosted look



Crystal formation on my son's crayon picture



For an alternate craft to correspond with this book, visit Superheroes and Princesses. They created winter tree art using masking tape and paint.


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A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Show off your ideas at ABC & 123 Show and Tell.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordful Wednesday - Potty Training Woes




Diapers, goodbye! Potty training has commenced!

Up until last week, my toddler son had successfully avoided anything to do with the potty. Like many toddlers, he stubbornly refused to use it, or in his case go anywhere near it. He had the mindset that if he ignored the potty, it might just go away.

Then, there was the insistence that we had the wrong potty at home. The little Pooh potty that his sister used when she trained was not good enough for him. He had, unfortunately, noticed a Cars potty one time when we were purchasing diapers. That's the potty he wanted. No Cars potty - no deal.

I avoided buying the Disney Pixar Cars Rev and Go Potty for as long as possible. The potty has a number of negative reviews online, and, being a reviewer myself, I didn't want to spend our money on a piece of junk. We tried to convince him to use the big potty or try the little one we already owned. But, nothing worked. Once again, No Cars potty, no potty period.

We finally broke down and bought the thing. With the help of a few Matchbox car incentives, my son used it and now wears his big boy underpants. Potty training success - both #1 & #2. The problem is the urine puddles. I'm sick and tired of cleaning up the mess from this poorly designed potty. The engineer in me wonders how it made it through quality control. Did they even test the potty out with little boys? It's a Cars potty, a product that is mostly marketed toward boys, and yet there's really no splash guard to speak of and the potty leaks something fierce. My son is pretty careful holding and aiming (for a two-year-old) and if he sprays anywhere near the top of the seat, the urine leaks down in between the cushioned seat and the removable basin right onto the floor. Urine also collects in a shallow rim around the edge of the potty. Puddles all over the floor, wet socks -- POTTY NIGHTMARE!



Obviously, the idea of a Cars potty appeals to kids. It's fun, colorful and has a neat-o pretend flush shifter handle that makes race car noises. While it's nice that the top part can be removed and snapped on top of an adult potty as a trainer, that part of the design isn't helpful if it causes the main potty to leak. As frustrating as it is for me, my son loves the potty, so it looks like we're stuck with it for a few more months until I can convince him to use the adult potty.

Do you have any potty training woe stories?

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Science Fair - Science for Kids Activities, Links and Resources

I'm helping coordinate our local school's science fair and thought I'd share some of my favorite online resources.


Experiments and Activities from Television Shows
PBS.org FETCH! Science Activities
PBS.org ZOOM Science Activities
PBS.org Dinosaur Train Activities
PBS.org Dinosaur Train Lesson Plans
PBS Kids Sid the Science Kid Activities
PBSkids.org DragonflyTV Science Fair
Scholastic Magic School Bus Science Experiments
PEEP and the Big Wide World Activities
The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That Activities

Other Science Experiments and Activities Websites

TryScience.org
Education.com Science Fair Project Ideas
ACS Science for Kids
Science Buddies
Discovery Education Science Fair Central
Science in Action - HighlightsKids.com
YES Mag
How to Smile

Science Personalities
Science Bob
Steve Spangler Science
Bill Nye the Science Guy

Authors and Books

Janice VanCleave
Vicki Cobb
NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students Lists

Informative Websites
The Exploratorium, San Francisco
The Why Files
The Yuckiest Site on the Internet

Don't forget the science related link-up at Adventures in Mommydom. Lots of great ideas!

Science Sunday


And lastly ... (sorry, couldn't resist)
Prepare for the Super Bowl with The Science of NFL Football


Any suggestions of other quality science for kids websites? What did I miss?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (1/21/11)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!


My Book Giveaway(s):
Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton Book Giveaway - Ends 1/31
Shoe-La-La! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Leuyen Pham Book Giveaway - Ends 1/31

Book giveaways:

My Fairy Tale Books - Book Giveaway Ends 2/28
My Peek A Book Cloth Book
Adventures of a Thrify Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 1/31
Busy with Bugs, 160 Extremely Interesting Things to Do with Bugs
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 1/25
set of Chuggington Books
Live Learn Love - Book Giveaway Ends 1/25
two sets of BOB Books
Two of a Kind Working on a Full House - Book Giveaway Ends 2/7
set of Chuggington Books
From the Mixed Up Files... - Book Giveaway Ends 1/25
ARC of VANISHED by Sheela Chari (middle grade)
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports - Book Giveaway Ends 2/5
Precious Moments Storybook Bible
Babycenter Momformation Blog - Book Giveaway Ends 1/22
Full collection of the Madeline books and a copy of the new Madeline at the White House board game
Vintage Kids' Book My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 1/23
Mercer Mayer's One Monster After Another
Becoming Sarah - Book Giveaway Ends 1/23
Ruth Ohi’s Chicken, Pig, Cow
On a High Hill - Book Giveaway Ends 1/31
The Story of St. Valentine, More than Cards and Candied Hearts written by The Voice of the Martyrs with Cheryl Odden and illustrated by R.F. Palavicini
The Not So Blog's Experimental Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 1/31
Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano
The Daily Dribbles - Book Giveaway Ends 1/24
ABC is for Circus
Giveaways for Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 1/29
Little Green Books
Mom Colored Glasses - Book Giveaway Ends 1/31
A isn’t for Fox: An Isn’t Alphabet by Wendy Ulmer
Book Aunt - Book Giveaway Ends 1/17
The Secret-Keeper by Kate Coombs
The Fourth Musketeer - Book Giveaway Ends 1/23
Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang (YA)
The B Keeps Us Honest - Book Giveaway Ends 2/3
Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton
I Am a Reader Not a Writer - Book Giveaway Ends 1/28
Bellyache by Crystal Marcos
Chronicle Books Blog - Book Giveaway Ends 1/27
autographed copy of Chicken Big by Keith Graves
Toddler Tales by Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 1/22
The Toddler Tools Series Kit
Toddler Tales by Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 1/22
Zonderkidz set of books
Rat Chat Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends ??
Tea Time, Pirates and Princesses by Karen Rostoker-Gruber
2 Boys + 1 Girl... - Book Giveaway Ends 2/2
Busy with Bugs written by Toni Albert and Illustrated by Margaret Brandt
The Children's Book Review - Book Giveaway Ends 2/17
What Does Cow Say? written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Jannie Ho

Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD Giveaways:
A Mom After God's Own Heart - Ends 1/28


Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer also has a new book giveaway linky http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com with lots of YA and some other kid's books.
She's also currently hosting a Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop! (January 14-17)

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai - Book Review and Soup Collage

The weather forecast for our area tomorrow includes the words "bitterly cold." UGH! I'm not looking forward to wind chills of -15 to -30. All this cold weather calls for some hot soup. Nothing hits the spot on a cold day like a steaming bowl of soup. No wonder January is National Soup Month -- it seems every day lately is a great day for a soup day!

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai. Henry Holt and Company (September 2010); ISBN 9780805090048; 32 pages
Book Source: Advance Reader's Edition provided by publisher

On a cold, snowy winter day, a little girl and her mother visit the market to buy ingredients for a batch of vegetable soup. When they return home they make the soup together. The little girl helps out by cutting some of the vegetables with a plastic knife, and she decides to add some alphabet pasta to the soup. After a little playtime fun, the little girl happily eats her yummy soup along with her mom and dad.

Find your soup pot! Kids will want to help make their own batch of soup after reading this book. The colorful, collage illustrations and cute story perfectly depict the steps involved in preparing a batch of soup. Tailor made for little kids, the steps even involve a little counting, color and shape recognition, and pasta identification. Do you know what Pastina and Farfalle look like? -- You will! Plus, there's a recipe in the back of the book for the very same "Snowy Day Vegetable Soup" made by the mother and daughter. It's packed full of healthy veggies. There's no better way to get kids to eat their vegetables than having them help with the preparations, and it's fun to create memories in the kitchen by cooking together. All in all, it's a great cooking together book, a perfect read for a cold day. Even if you don't plan to cook a pot of soup on the stove, the heartwarming illustrations of the little girl with her steamy bowl of soup will warm you up! Isn't that a fantastic cover illustration?



Of course, we had to try out the soup recipe. Just like in the book, my kids counted and then cut the mushrooms and zucchini with a plastic knife. We even found some alphabet pasta to add to our batch. I like Iwai's suggestion to make the pasta separately. That way the kids can add as much alphabet pasta to their bowls as they want! The recipe is quite tasty (our photo does not do it justice), and we definitely plan to make more soon. The funny thing is that even though my kids cut up the mushrooms and zucchini, those are the two things they didn't want to eat in the soup! They ate everything else, though. Mmmmm ... we love soup day!




Related links:
Melissa Iwai - Author/Illustrator Website
The Hungry Artist - Melissa's cooking blog


❖❖ stArt Craft - Soup Collage ❖❖


We also made our own Soup Day Collages using the pattern provided on Melissa Iwai's website. My daughter decided she wanted to add some unusual ingredients to her soup including marshmallows and chocolate chips. Not exactly nutritious, but creative! The kids also enjoyed spelling their names with some uncooked alphabet pasta. Later they glued the pasta to their collages. Sorry no finished project pictures...I'm feeling too lazy tonight to remove the pasta names from their pictures using Photoshop!





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A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Show off your ideas at ABC & 123 Show and Tell.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)



If you'd like to try to win your own copy, several blogs have posted giveaways for Melissa Iwai's Soup Day:

Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva
- Ends 1/21
Busy Working Mama - Ends 1/29
A Mom's Balancing Act - Ends 2/4
Girl Gone Mom - Ends 1/31
She Scribes - Ends 1/25
5 Minutes for Mom - Ends 1/31
Momma in Flip Flops2 - Ends 2/3

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Relaxing the Winter Way





Put your feet up and stay awhile!


Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scholastic Mini-Books - Free Printables


When I was searching for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities this weekend I stumbled onto the Scholastic's Mini-Books website. It's a nice resource for educators and parents. The website offers a ton of printables to help kids practice reading and writing skills. Most of the printables are available through subscription, however they do offer a few free printables.

Here's a nice one I found for young kids about Martin Luther King, Jr. -
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream - Mini Book

Nearly all the Folk and Fairy Tale Readers are available for free right now. As a bonus each one also has a free corresponding Lesson Plan & Worksheet.

Titles include:
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
The Gingerbread Man
The Little Red Hen
Stone Soup
The Princess and the Pea
The Three Little Pigs
The City Mouse and the Country Mouse
The Ugly Duckling
The Nightingale
The Tortoise and the Hare
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Spider and the Beehive
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Cinderella

For a beginning math multiplication activity try this printable:
Making the Times Table Mini-Book

Plan ahead with this Earth Day Printable:
Every Day Is Earth Day

Need winter activities? This little winter themed printable is great for practicing handwriting as well as reading skills -
My Book of Winter Words: A Mini Book

Here's a simple and cute winter book about mittens:
The Mitten Book

Do you print out mini books for your kids? What online resources do you use?


On a related note ---
Giggles and Crayons is hosting a new link up called Writers World. Swing by to check out all the great ideas for little writers! I'm linking up this post.

Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne's Birthday!

"On Tuesday, when it hails and snows,
The feeling on me grows and grows
That hardly anybody knows
If those are these or these are those."
- "Lines Written By a Bear of Very Little Brain" - Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne


I've loved Winnie the Pooh ever since I was a child. As a baby, I gazed at the Pooh wall hangings in my room. A friendly image of Pooh hovered above my crib, along with all of his friends. When we were little my brother and I often listened to a read and listen record of the Disney version of Pooh. Later on I read the classic. Winnie-the-Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner rank high on my list of favorite books.

My copy of The World of Pooh is proudly displayed in our bookshelves front and center. Every so often, whenever I'm in the mood or having a "bothering sort of day," I take it off the shelf. Milne's stories bring such joy! It's time to get the book off the shelf again and read it to my kids for the first time. We've read other books with the Pooh character and they've watched a few Pooh movies, but we haven't read the classic together yet. I hope they love it as much as I do. I can't think of a better day to start than today on A.A. Milne's birthday.

This summer we're also looking forward to watching Walt Disney's new Winnie the Pooh. It releases in theaters on July 15th, 2011. The hand-drawn animations look similar in style to those in Disney's The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (released in the 1970s). Another reason I'm excited for the release -- Zooey Deschanel sings a version of the “Winnie the Pooh” theme song for this film!



My daughter's kindergarten class had their very own Pooh parade and party last Friday. She dressed up in Eeyore colors and took along our plush Eeyore to carry in the parade. The class also crafted the cutest Pooh Bear art out of construction paper. Isn't it adorable?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Easy to Make Homemade Cheerleading Pom Poms

What an awesome win for the Green Bay Packers tonight! Earlier today my daughter wanted to make some cheerleader pom poms to go with her Packers cheerleading outfit. (I found the outfit earlier this summer for a bargain at a garage sale, and she loves wearing it on game day.) I searched online for a pom pom making tutorial and we decided to make the cheap and easy kind out of tissue paper. Our green and gold pom poms turned out cute and the pair only took about five minutes to make. Rather than reposting the instructions I'll refer you the Flickr site for instructions: How to make a cheerleader's pom pom




Turns out that tonight was a great night to root for the Packers. We're so excited that they won against the Falcons! Unfortunately my daughter had to go to bed before the game ended, but she cheered for most of the first half.

I also ran across some cute Pom Pom Gloves on Toddler Approved. Maybe that will have to be our project before next week's game.

Do you have any suggestions for children's picture books on the subject of football? If the Packers win the NFC Championship game next week, we might have to hold a football themed reading week before the Super Bowl! Go Pack!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shoe-la-la! by Karen Beaumont - Book Review and Giveaway

My daughter has narrow feet so she must deal with limited options when it comes to purchasing shoes. But that doesn't stop her from dreaming. She likes flashy even when it comes to sneakers. If she could somehow figure out a way to make it happen, all of her clothing and accessories would sparkle. So, when a new, sparkly book called Shoe-la-la! arrived in our mailbox last week, she snatched it up with glee. Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious and now Shoe-la-la ... her glamour girl books.

Shoe-La-La! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Leuyen Pham. Scholastic Press (January 2011); ISBN 9780545067058; picture book
Book Source: Review copy from publisher


At the corner of Hightop and Oxford streets sits a fancy shoe store called Shoe-la-la with aisles and aisles of shoes galore. Four little girls -- Emily, Ashley, Kaitlyn, Claire -- have a party to attend and need shoes to match their fancy outfits. They decide to visit the posh shoe palace, each in search of the perfect pair. A mountain of shoes piles up, and they have a splendid time as they try on pair after pair after pair, ones with leopard spots to shoes with taps. But, they never find exactly what they need and leave empty-handed, much to the frustration of their exhausted salesman. Undaunted, the children-turned-designers use their imagination and crafty talents to fashion their own fabulous party footwear.

With all the glitter on the cover and all the dress-up fun inside, this one is a not-to-miss for every little girl. Shoe-la-la! comes with a full seal of approval from my daughter. The rhyming verses make it a supremely fun read-aloud (wouldn't expect less from the brilliant Beaumont -- love Ain't Gonna Paint know More! & now love Shoe-la-la!) and the text is short and interesting enough to keep the attention of toddlers on up to early elementary. LeUyen Pham's illustrated array of shoes is dizzying! My daughter delights in picking out her favorites from all the piles. She'd be in heaven if she could try them on herself. Pham gives the four multicultural girls their own distinctive styles and personalities. And, her drawings make it easy to get swept up in the girls' enthusiasm for shoes. Even my toddler son can't resist.

Related links:
Leuyen Pham - Illustrator Website
Karen Beaumont - Author Website




❖❖ Design Your Own Shoe Craft ❖❖

Not to be outdone, my kids decided to fancy up some shoes of their own with this homemade slipper craft. For the sole of the shoes, I traced the shape of their feet onto pieces of craft foam paper and cut them out with a scissors. I then cut out half circle pieces of foam to use for the top of the slipper. I sewed the shoe tops and bottoms together by hand (it didn't take long and I wasn't fussy about being neat). The kids took their perfectly sized slippers and personalized them with stickers, markers and whatever else they could find in the house. The shoe project was hit and best of all, they could try on and model their designs when they were finished, just like in the book!





Scholastic has graciously offered to give away (2) copies of Shoe-la-la! Two (2) winners will each get a sparkly book about some fancy shoes!

To enter this contest, leave a comment relevant to this post. Or, let me know if you have a favorite children's book about shoes. We're in shoe mode and would love your suggestions.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US
• Contest ends on Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (1/14/11)


Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!


My Book Giveaway(s):
Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton Book Giveaway - Ends 1/31
Shoe-La-La! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Leuyen Pham Book Giveaway - Ends 1/31

Book giveaways:

JDaniel4's Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 1/14
My Peek A Book Cloth Book
Toddler Approved - Book Giveaway Ends 1/15
Birthday Prize Pack - includes Karen Katz's Where Is Baby's Birthday Cake
Spanglish Baby - Book Giveaway Ends 1/30
Bilingual Bear Book
Child in Harmony - Book Giveaway Ends 1/20
Keeping a Nature Journal
Parent to Parent (timesunion.com) - Book Giveaway Ends ??
Eric Carle book set from Kohl's Cares program
The Tuckers Take Tennessee - Book Giveaway Ends 1/17
Really Woolly Bible Stories
Busy Working Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 1/23
The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox (middle grade)
The Children's Nook - Book Giveaway Ends 1/31
Chick ‘n’ Pug by Jennifer Sattler
Life with the Lebedas - Book Giveaway Ends 1/28
Little Green Books Giveaway
Cookies and Clogs - Book Giveaway Ends 1/30
Personalized ‘Atlas of My World’ by National Geographic Kids
Ecomodern Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 1/28/11
Bob Books Sight Words Kindergarten and Sight Words First grade
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports - Book Giveaway Ends 1/22/11
Really Woolly Bible Stories
Alison's Book Marks - Book Giveaway Ends 1/28
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (middle grade)
Simply Being Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 1/22
Set of Chuggington books
Katie Talks About - Book Giveaway Ends 1/16
Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton
The Mom Buzz - Book Giveaway Ends 1/17
Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton
Piece of ME - Book Giveaway Ends 1/27
13 Words by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman Prize Pack

Shoe-la-la! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by LeUyen Pham Giveaways:
There's a Book - Ends 1/31
Real Moms, Real Views - Ends 1/25
Savvy Sassy Moms - Ends 1/18
Cafe Fashionista - Ends 1/22
Shoe Blog - Ends 1/21
Mom Generations - Ends 1/24
In Pursuit of Pretty Things - Ends 1/18
Mark it with a B - Ends 1/24
ParentSphere - Ends 1/19


The Read and Share Bible by Thomas Nelson Giveaways:
Five Minutes for Mom - Ends 1/24
Superheroes and Princesses - Ends 1/21
My Springfield Mommy - Ends 1/16
Debbie's Homeschool Corner - Ends 1/16
Two Shades of Pink - Ends 1/18
My Four Monkeys - Ends 1/24


Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano Giveaways:

Momma Findings - Ends 1/24
The Dirty Shirt - Ends 1/24
Mama Manifesto - Ends 1/15
MomStart - Ends 1/24
As They Grow Up - Ends 1/24
Mom Knows it All - Ends 1/25
Susan Heim on Parenting - Ends 1/24


Target Read to Me Giveaways:
Win a 16 GB iPad with Wi-Fi with a selection of age-appropriate books
Imagination Soup - Ends 1/20/11
Busy Mom Reviews - Ends 1/20/11


The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Sweepstakes - HarperCollins
Ends 3/9/11
Grand prize: NOOK Wi-Fi e-reader & The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Hidden Gallery e-book
First prizes: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Hidden Gallery paperback book

Madeline at the White House Sweepstakes - Penguin Ends 1/31
Ten winners will each receive a signed copy of Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano


Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer also has a new book giveaway linky http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com with lots of YA and some other kid's books.
She's also currently hosting a Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop! (January 14-17)

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead - Book Review & Modified Woodblock Printmaking for Kids Activity

Next time I'm sick I sure hope that a menagerie from the local zoo won't come knocking at my door. The last thing I want in bed with me is a tortoise, and I seriously doubt an elephant would fit in my bedroom. The thing is though, this whole scenario makes for a delightful picture book. Heard of A Sick Day for Amos McGee? Well, you should have, considering it was just chosen this week as the 2011 Caldecott Medal winner.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead. A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Book Press (May 2010); ISBN 9781596434028; 32 pages
Book Source: Copy from public library

The humble Amos McGee lives in a simple, muted world and provides a welcoming contrast to the vibrant, glossy, eye-catching pages and bold characters so popular in today's children's literature. Amos, a faithful, elderly zookeeper, lovingly cares for his zoo animal friends day after day. He knows each and every animal personally, provides encouragement and helps them all with their problems. Then, one day, Amos spends a sick day at home. The elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros and owl immediately notice his absence and board the bus to cheer up their faithful friend. The book is illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by her husband, Philip C. Stead.

It's such a lovely story -- so very heartwarming with a quiet humor. You can't help but smile while reading about Amos and his friends. And the illustrations are full of so many little details that, at first, we didn't even notice the little bird that tags along. And, do we ever adore the red and blue sock-footed, shy penguin and his bright red balloon! Erin Stead uses an interesting woodblock printing process for making her pictures. Even Amos' pajama stripes are lovingly printed in this manner. After she prints the shapes she draws in extra details with a pencil.

Really, I could go on and on about the illustrations, but for me, what really makes this book a winner is the main character, Amos. It's not always easy to find books for children that show elderly individuals in a positive light. Even though my daughter loves her great-grandparents and sees them often, she is still a little cautious and wary when around the elderly. Partly, I blame books and TV. Those mean, scary witches almost always are depicted as elderly, humped over women. But, here we have an amiable and tender man, Amos, who loves animals and wears bunny slippers. I've never seen a more lovable, elderly character in my life.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee deserves all the attention it has recently garnered. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, please do. You won't regret it.

Related links:
Erin Stead Illustration
365 BOATS - Philip Stead Blog
Philip Christian Stead Artwork and Illustration


❖❖ stArt Craft - Modified Woodblock Printing Technique for Kids ❖❖


My daughter is fascinated with Erin Stead's blog post about the woodblock printing. After last week's successful printmaking craft, we thought we try using a faux woodblock printing technique this time. Obviously I'm not going to let my kindergarten-aged daughter carve wood with sharp blades, so we had to improvise. We still used a block of wood, but first attached a piece of craft foam paper to the top, to make carving easier. It's similar to making block prints with Styrofoam.

Materials needed:
Block of wood, size depends on size of desired image
Craft foam paper (I picked up a pack from the dollar store)
Paper on which to print image
Scissors
Double-sided tape
pen
Kitchen utensils with pointed ends like a meat thermometer or potato peeler or household objects like nails
Stamping ink pad

1. Cut craft foam to fit the wood block. Size and shape will depend of size of wood block and desired image. Securely attach craft foam to the wood block using double-sided tape.


2. Draw a simple picture lightly with pen onto the craft foam attached to the woodblock. Use a pointed object to carve or engrave the lines into the foam. My daughter used a meat thermometer and later went back and made her lines thicker with the end of a potato peeler. (To make the potato peeler a little safer to use, wrap masking tape around the sharp edges that you must grasp.)




3. Using a large stamp pad, apply ink to the foam block with a rubbing motion. Carefully place the image onto a page of paper and press firmly down.


4. Remove block and view your beautiful printed block image!



My daughter loves the little penguin in A Sick Day for Amos McGee so she chose to draw her own penguin. She stamped several homemade printed cards using her penguin "woodblock." They'll make nice thank you notes. The penguin note-card printing craft is a perfect activity for this time of the year. This week is National Letter Writing Week and Penguin Awareness Day is coming up on January 20th.





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A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Show off your ideas at ABC & 123 Show and Tell.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)