Friday, July 24, 2009

School Clothes Shopping

I am not a fan of shopping. It wears me out, and isn't much fun. I usually know just what I want, get it, and leave! But school shopping is not always easy. But I have found out how to make it fun for me......find awesome deals! I get such a rush off of saving money! I tend to buy things all year long when I find them on sale. My favorite places for clearance items are ShopKo and Target. Mervyns used to be my absolute fave, too bad they went out of business!

Anyhow, My daughter is in year round school and starts first grade on Tuesday, so I needed a few more things to finish things up. My son will be starting his second year of preschool in September. My daughter needed some long shorts, which are very hard to come by, but short shorts do not work in school, and I am trying to teach her some modesty while she is young. *wink* I also had lots of long sleeved shirts, but not too many short sleeved ones. So today we headed off to some not so local outlets to finish up.

I came back quite proud of myself. Then I grabbed what I already had in the closet for each of them, and well... it was a lot more than I thought, especially for my daughter! She is set for the year (well, besides her constantly growing out of shoes)!! My son did not need quite as many things, because he only has school a few times a week, and he also recently received a HUGE amount of barely used hand me downs from a family friend.

Anyhow, I thought I would share my spoils!!

This is my son's stash

This includes
(3) long sleeved shirts
(6) short sleeved shirts
(2) pairs of pants (jeans and athletic)
Reversible coat

14 items pictured. This does not include 2 pairs of shorts and 2 more short sleeved shirts he got early because he was low on summer things.

The retail item for all the above was: $217.91
The grand total I paid for all of the above: $67.71!!!

14 things (including a reversible winter coat) for under $70! Yehaw!!

My daughter is going to look quite spoiled now, but anyone that has kids knows that the older the get, the harder their clothes get worn. I always thought it was the opposite, that they got older and took care of things better, but not what I have found to be true. We also receive less and less hand me downs these days (though I recently got quite the stash from her 11 year old aunt!)

Here is my daughter's take:

(had to break it into two shots so you could see it better)

Her loot included:
(10) short sleeved shirts
(6) long sleeved shirts
(4) under skirt leggings
(3) pair of shorts
(2) pairs of jeans

so 27 items.

The retail on her clothing: $406.78
The grand total I paid: $157.65!!!

I got 27 items (maybe 28 if you count the removable vest that can be worn with other things) for about $150 smackers!

The leggings were the only things that were not on clearance, so they ran the price up a bit, at $9 each, which seems crazy to me for stretchy cotton stuff, but my daughter LOVES to wear skirts, and wearing skirts to school and also loving the monkey bars is not always a good combination, so leggings are a requirement! And she wore the ones we bought last year a ton, so a good investment nonetheless!

I did not pay over $10 for anything pictured above, I even paid $1.48 for one shirt, and a few others were under $3 each. We bought things from Old Navy, The Children's Place, Osh Kosh, Target, and ShopKo.

I do have to say that boys items are much harder to find on clearance. The racks tend to have a lot less on them, and finding clearance items in the size you need is not always easy. It is easier now that my kids are a bit older, because I can usually guesstimate fairly well what size they will be for what season and what not.

I now have a headache from all this math, but the high of getting a great deal is still lingering, and probably will continue to do so as I see them wearing all the cute and cool stuff we got!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nursery Rhymes

This post is a long time coming. I have more than a few to catch up on.

I had the Nursery Rhyme theme a few months ago for preschool. I think this was one of the most fun units I have ever done! There is so much to do, it was really hard to narrow it down!

We finished the alphabet, so we had been doing numbers, and we happened to be on numbers 13 and 14 that week. So I made worksheets to match that.

First day:

As the kids arrived I had a little activity set out for them (got the idea here: There were two bowls set out, one filled with oatmeal (Little Miss Muffet's curds and whey) with plastic spiders hiding in it. They were to spoon out one spoonful at a time into the bowl on the right. They were supposed to work around the spiders. The kids actually did really well at this, and thought it was great fun, asked to do it over and over. It is supposed to help them with directional reading, but also just a great hand/eye coordination activity!

Little Bo Peep Paper (The kids had to color her sheep, so they would be easier to find)

Then we did a Put Humpty Together Again craft. I provided the background paper, a red (brick) square, and a white oval, cut for them to fit together. It was up to them how to arrange it on the paper, and add Humpty's little extras.

For snack we made muffins, while singing, "Do You Know the Muffin Man" over and over and over.

Once we got the muffins in the oven to cook we did a messy craft (great thing to do right before snack, because they have to wash up before eating!)

We made a sheep black for Baa Baa Black Sheep. (The below pic is not a true reflection, it was an extra and got a little paint on it, the kids COVERED their's so much you could not see a sheep on it!)

Then we made a Hickory Dickory Dock clock. I bought foam numbers, and gave them a clock to look at, but mostly left it up to them on how to put the numbers on. The raindrop shaped mouse was attached on some yarn so that the kids could move him up and down the clock.

For our songs and movement we did a Jack and Jill Spill. I had a bucket filled with large blue poms poms. We let the kids take turns (2 at a time) being Jack and Jill. We would recite the poem, and when we got to the last line dump the bucket on the kids as they "fell" down, they LOVED it! (Got the idea here!

Then we had some candlesticks (toilet paper and paper towel tubes in various sizes with a paper flame) for the kids to jump over. This gave us an opportunity to talk about fire safety. We had some great jumpers in our class!

We also had to find Little Bo Peeps sheep. I had paper sheep hidden around the room for them to find.

And lastly we used a Nursery Rhyme dice. Each side had a nursery rhyme pic on it (got my pictures from my Story Time Felts Nursery Rhyme Set!), such as Ring Around the Rosies, Humpty Dumpty, etc. Each child had a chance to roll and we would sing whichever landed on the up side.


I had even more planned, crazily enough, there was just so many fun things to do. But we did manage to get all that done in two hours! I'll post our second day tomorrow! I made sure to put the words to each nursery rhyme on the front or back of each paper, so that us parents can remember them too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not so informative commercials

I shared this on my personal blog, but I wanted to share it here also! :)

With the switchover to digital TV we get a few new channels. Qubo is one of them that is great! My kids love it, cartoons at any time of day (not that we watch all day). Many of the cartoons are older ones, or from Canada or the UK. The shows themself are GREAT! The commercials inbetween leave something to be desired. Add in the fact that you see the same commercial probably 6 times in a one hour time period.

I am realizing the kids may be watching too much television.

Yesterday my son told me, "Mommy, did you know if you have Bendaroos you can turn a bottle into a fashion model?!"

As far as I know my four year old has no idea what a fashion model is, but he was sure excited about the possibility. In Bendaroos defense, the kids played with them at a relatives house and they were quite fun!

And then today, while we were walking my daughter to school, my dear son says to me, "Mommy, do we need an Awesome Auger? I was thinking, how does my son know what an auger even is??? I asked him what it was, and my six year old said, "You know, from TV." Aahh, yes, I remember, they have both been telling me how it makes your dirt soft. I've been also trying to explain how things on TV do not always work the same as they show them.

Then my daughter ask, "Do you know what a Topsy Turvy is? I thought she was talking about the "cool" hair thing we saw the other day, Bumpits. (Oh my, their website is bighippiehair!). I asked her, "Is it a hair thing?" and she tells me, excitedly, "No, you can grow your tomatoes upside down!" I told her that one of her grandma's has one! :)

And then there is My Gold Envelope. My daughter saw this one and thought they turned your gold into actual money, and then mailed the money they made back to you. It took a little bit of explaining.

And to further illustrate this point, as I have been making this post and trying to find the names for all these products, I asked the kids, "What the hair thing called?" and "What is the name of the Gold one?" And they could supply each one!

Oh my! I thought it was silly that they had such adult commercials during kid shows, but apprently they know what they are doing. Repetition, repetition, repetition! So how come me always telling them to clean their room and such doesn't work? Maybe I need to get a tape recording of Billy Mays saying, "You too can have a clean room! All it takes is this nifty thing on the end of your arm! It does all the work for you!"

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We had preschool at our house this week. The theme was Bugs and Insects. As a kid I LOVED LOVED LOVED bugs! :) I spent most of my summers looking for bugs under bricks, stones, wood, anywhere! Anyhow, I was quite excited to teach this subject to the kids. We have made it through the alphabet (a letter a week) so now we are also teaching numbers. I had numbers 5 and 6, which worked great, we had ladybugs with 5 spots, egg carton caterpillars with 5 humps, and then of course insects has 6 legs. :)

Anyhow, I'll just share some of the activities that I think worked well. Bear in mind, the kids are all four years old.

As I mentioned before we made egg carton caterpillars. The kids donned paint shirts and went to town. I pulled one child aside at a time and gave them a coffee filter, water color paints, and an old medicine dropper. I did not tell them what this was for, but they just enjoyed without asking questions. :) I told them they could not take their caterpillars home because they needed to dry. When they came back two days later they caterpillars had climbed in paper bag cocoons. I had attached the coffee filter wings as well. They were very excited. The filters are not wing shapes, but they flap up and down very well when you make your caterpillar fly!!


I also made these worksheets myself. The graphic of the ladybug I got from another website, but the rest I made myself. :) If you would like a file of it, let me know and I could probably email it to you.



I taught them a bit about spiders. To teach them how spiders do not stick to their own webs, try this: Insects get stuck in a spider's web because the spider's web is sticky, but a spider does not because it's legs are oily. We experiment with this idea by taping two squares of contact paper to the table, sticky side up. We pretend our hand is a bug, with our legs (fingers) sticking to the web. Using the other square of contact paper, we pretend to be a spider, dipping our legs (fingers) into cooking oil first, then walking across the sticky "web". (from The kids loved this.

For story time we read:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Great children's story. I have not met anyone that did not like this book!

View all my reviews.

and then made a hungry caterpillar from a pipe cleaner. I found various free graphics on the net and printed them all on one page. The kids colored and cut out, and I punched a whole in the middle.

We made a very cute ladybug snack, that I neglected to get a picture of. Slice an apple in half lengthwise, and lay with cut side down on a plate. The ladybugs' spots are raisins, put on with a dot of peanut butter. The head is a grape attached with a toothpick. (from here: I used what I had on hand, so our ladybugs were green, with 5 chocolate chip spots, and no grape head. The kids liked it anyhow, though they did ask why it was green. :)

I found a "New Itsy Bitsy Spider here:
The kids LOVED this!
"A New Itsy-Bitsy Spider"
The itsty-bitsy spider
Crawled up on (Name)'s head.
He crawled all around, then used it for a bed.
He crawled down (his/her) back
and jumped down to the floor.
Then the itsy-bitsy spider
Crawled underneath the door.

I also learned about the Tarantella, I have heard this song many times over the years, but did not know its name. Apparently one would dance to this song to keep the mania from taking over if you were bitten by a tarantula ( My son wanted to hear this song over and over and over again!

Thursday our snack was these cute butterflies

We served snacks both days with nectar juice (any kind of juice, served with a straw through a paper flower)

This may look like a bunch of scribbles, but its not
I gave the kids brown paper (color of the month) and told them to use a yellow crayon, since bumblebees are yellow, and I played, "Flight of the Bumblebee" and told them to draw to the music. I did this same activity a few years ago, and the kids always seem to like it. Unstructured art is great for small kids, no frustration when it doesn't turn out like the model.

We also played this little game: Sleeping Caterpillars: Bring in sleeping bag to use as a chrysalis and place it on floor. Let one child at a time pretend to be a caterpillar and crawl inside sleeping bag. Then have everyone sing the first verse of the song below. When child crawls out of the sleeping bag, have everyone sing the second verse (also from Hummingbirded)
Sung to "Goodnight Ladies"
Goodnight caterpillar,
Goodnight caterpillar,
Goodnight caterpillar,
You'll be a butterfly.
Merrily you fly away,
Fly away, fly away.
Merrily you fly away,
Pretty butterfly.
We did this a few times each. :)

Some other great books we read were:
Little Miss Spider (Sunny Patch Library) Little Miss Spider by David Kirk

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cute story!

View all my reviews.

The Very Lonely Firefly The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews.

Clara Caterpillar Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
cute story, filled with lots of C words!

View all my reviews.

Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright (Carolrhoda Picture Books) Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright by Mia Posada

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a great factual book about ladybugs, but set in a cute rhyme to keep it interesting for the littles.

View all my reviews.

Slugs in Love Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Cute little rhyme-y story.

View all my reviews.

(I just love my local library!)

We also played with lots of felt from Story Time Felts (I just love their stuff, which is why I sell it)

We had this out to play with before we started

We played with this felt as we read the book by Iza Trapani

and we sang this more than a few times both days, I love this set!

I had hoped to do some bug hunting with the kids, but alas, the rain and snow put a stop to that. Overall, the kids had lots of fun, and I think they learned too!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Fools

My kids are old enough that I can now play tricks on them! I am so excited! :)

For lunch I am serving faux fish sticks and peas. This was in the Family Fun magazine this month. I absolutely love this magazine, lots of fun ideas, crafts, etc!

April Fools Lunch


I decided to make these ahead of time, so there would be less chance of the kids catching on. The peas were super easy, and look awesome! The fish sticks were very easy as well, messier, but still super easy.

I am also going to serve some faux fries on the side

Faux Fries

I got as much done ahead of time as I could. The Faux Fries I knew would be better fresh, so I sent the kids to their room, telling them that I was making them a VERY SPECIAL lunch. The anticipation of what it was was absolutely killing them, and they kept peeking out.

 So when they came out, this was their initial checking-it-out, just a little super wary!

 After hearing some grunts and moans I had to explain a little about April Fool's and let them know it was not what it looked like. It did not take too much convincing for my 4 year old son, who is also a lot more of an adventurous eater.

My 6 yr old daughter was a whole other story. Just because her brother liked it, did not mean that she would, and convincing her to try anything is like pulling teeth! As this photo demonstrates!

She did eventually eat it, and get a bit happier about it as well. lol!

Should be fun. Then once I get them into the spirit of it, we'll prepare a few tricks to play on daddy when he gets home. :)

For the daddy trick, we made him a "soda". It is actually jello with a straw in it. The kids were super excited to trick him. We also played a little soap trick. We had some trick soap from the dollar store, and it was hollow with a spider on a string underneath it. I removed all other soap from the bathroom counter and hid them in the shower so he would be forced to use that tiny bar of soap, and the kids were just waiting for his reaction, so what did he do, saw the teeny bar of soap and grabbed one out of the shower instead! Stinker! Our trick kit from the $ Store also had a fake mouse/rat thing, super ugly thing. We stuck it between our screen and downstairs window and the kids pointed it out to their daddy. I think it tricked him for just a minute, but the giggles lasted much longer!

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery

Go Track a Yak by Tony Johnston

Go Track A Yak! Go Track A Yak! by Tony Johnston

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of the cutest children's books ever! My kids absolutely LOVE this book. We check it out from the library over and over and over! It is great! Must be read with lots of enthusiasm!

View all my reviews.

I absolutely LOVE this book. One of my all time faves! And the kids' too!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Robert Munsch

Someone asked me for children's books recommendations, so I thought I would do a few posts about that, some of my faves, the kids faves, and maybe authors that we love.

First up is Robert Munsch. I just love his books, his most popular is "Love You Forever" which is a great little story that makes me cry every time I read it. I bought this book for myself when I was still in highschool, just love it!

He has a whole ton of other books, and most of them are very very silly. I read on the cover of one of his books that he does not print a story until it has been told over a hundred times! His stories are very much like being told a story in person, made up as you go along (which is often how he does it). They are cute, silly, and very childlike. My kids LOVE them. We are always checking one of his books over the library, often the same ones over and over and over and over!

Here is his official website:

and the book list:

Some of our faves are:
Makeup Mess (a message about true beauty)
Stephanie's Ponytail (being original)
Something Good
Andrew's Loose Tooth
David's Father (looks can be deceiving)
I Have to Go (Ah, the joys of potty training!)
Moira's Birthday
Murmel Murmel Murmel
and Thomas' Snowsuit
Paper Bag Princess

There are many more, many of which we have not read yet, but so far, I have liked every one!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Religious Easter Ideas

My husband's cousin (and my new friend!) inspired me. She had a post on her blog about your favorite Easter memory. My mom did a great job of trying to keep Easter religious. We would usually get some small toy, but the rest would all be religious items: scriptures, books, religious pictures, scripture story dolls with cassette tapes (that I still have!), etc. We have tried to continue that with our children.

A few years ago I was trying to find religious Easter ideas for a daytime enrichment that I was in charge of. I thought I would share a few of the best ideas here!

Resurrection Cookies: I made these with my children a few years ago, as did my sister with her boys. I need to do it again, now that my children are old enough to understand more. Every ingredient is symbolic, and it was just awesome to make them. It was very hard to beat the pecans (as it is symbolic of the Savior being beaten by the soldiers). It was hard to do, but very moving as well. It sounds like they would not be overly appetizing, but they were, kind of like divinity.

Easter Cookies
To be made the evening before Easter
You need:
1c. whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1c. sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon
Preheat oven to 300.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God' s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matt. 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27:65-66. GO TO BED!

Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matt. 28:1-9
(special note) Great to use for a Sunday School Class or Vacation Bible School too... Cookies can be left on a very very low 250 degrees. and be ready in a couple of hours...when surface of cookie looks dry and cracked....they are ready to eat!!!!!

Another great one is resurrection rolls, my sister and her kids liked these better, I think my daughter liked them better as well. However, not as much symbolism, but still a good object lesson.

Resurrecting Rolls
Ingredients: 3/4 cup warm water
1 large egg
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. dry milk
1-1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
24 marshmallows
Combine first 8 ingredients. Let rise till double. Divide into 24 balls and flatten. Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Dip rolls in melted margarine, then into sugar mixture. Wrap roll around a marshmallow, covering completely. Dip once more into butter, and again into sugar. Place rolls in a large greased pan and allow to rise till double. (approx. 35 min) Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, or until done. Rolls should be completely empty when the empty tomb.

I think this would be a cute neighbor type gift:
Jesus Jelly Bean Bags
Place jelly beans in a snack size ziplock bag and attach the following prayer:
Red is for the blood He gave,
Green is for the grass He made,
Yellow is for the sun so bright,
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins that were made,
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for the hour of sorrow,
Pink is for the new tomorrow.
A bag full of jelly beans,
Colorful and sweet,
Is a a Promise... Is an Easter treat!

My sister organized this activity for the kids for an Easter party about four years ago. We had her boys, some of my siblings, and a few little ones. It was more for the older kids though. She had each object in a paper sack, and we made it a scavenger hunt for the kids to find the bags. Then we had them tell about the item in the sack.

Easter Object Lesson
Buy a six inch paper mache Easter egg and collect the following items to put inside, in order , and use during the lesson. These items can be found at a dollar store or amongst household items or toys. As you hold up each item, let the children tell the story of Easter, and you can fill in any details as you wish.
1. DONKEY- reminds us of Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey.
2. SMALL PURSE OR BAG CONTAINING COINS-Judas' betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
3. SMALL ROOSTER- Peter's denial of ever knowing Jesus.
4. PIECE OF ROPE- "After they had bound him, they led Him away."
5. THORNS FROM A ROSE OR HAWTHORNE BUSH- reminds of the crown of thorns.
6. SMALL WOODEN CROSS- He carried His cross (Simon the Cyrene)
7. PIECE OF SPONGE-They gave Jesus vinegar to drink as he was dying on the cross.
8. SMALL BOX WITH GRAVEL AND ROCKS- the rocks rent and the earth quaked.
9. SOLDIER-Centurian said, "Truly this is the Son of God."
10. PIECE OF WHITE LINEN-Nicodemus and Joseph took Jesus' body down from the cross and wrapped Him in linen. 11. ANGEL- "He is not here, He is risen."
12. COTTON OR ANGEL HAIR- the ascension story, Jesus rises to Heaven in the clouds

This is a cute idea of symbolic things to put in Easter eggs, maybe for a church class or something. I know I made it for something, either a church class, or maybe when I was a missionary, I can not recall.

Scriptures and Objects to fill Easter Eggs
1: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches.
Matthew 21:1-11 Piece of palm branch

2: Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus' feet.
John 12:2-8 Small perfume sample or cloth with perfume

3: Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples.
Matthew 26:17-19 Chex cereal

4: Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Matthew 27:3 3 dimes

5: Jesus carried His own cross.
John 19:17 Popsicle stick cut and glued in a cross form

6: Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus' head.
John 19:2 Small thorny branch

7: Soldiers parted Jesus' garments and cast lots for His coat.
John 19:23 Swatch of burlap and a nail

8: Jesus was nailed to a cross and pierced in His side.
John 19:18,37 &
John 20:25-29 A nail

9: They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink.
Matthew 27:34 A small sponge

10: Spices to prepare Jesus for burial.
John 19:40 7 or 8 whole cloves

11: The stone covering Jesus' tomb was rolled away.
John 20:1 A small rock

12: The napkin around Jesus' head was lying separately from His linen clothers. He was not there. He has risen!
John 20:6-7 A scrap of linen-type fabric

Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and remember the Savior and his sacrifices for us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Games Little People Play

So I am not feeling overly creative and crafty right now. I think my brain is frozen. I did play a few games with Tucker today, so I thought for a few posts I would rate some of the children's games we have, the good, the bad, and the ugly. :)

I love playing games, always have. That is how my weekends at my dad's house were spent, playing games of all sorts. We used to have to go into a separate room to sort our handful of cards and stuff them into our little hands. :)

My advice for buying games: Go used! I love thrift stores. They always have games, and often still have instructions. The instructions will list how many and what pieces are included. I have been known to look through more than a few boxes (because there are always duplicates) and make one complete game. Then you get to try a game at a cheap price, because games get pricy. Yard sales are good too, and if you don't like going used, shop the ads. Most stores tend to run ads around Christmas and Easter time that are sales on games.

#1 Buckaroo. 5/5 Stars!

I like this game and my kids like this game. If we both like it, definitely a winner! This game is not as mindless as candyland or Chutes and Ladders where it is all to chance, and just getting the right count, but it is also easy enough for the littles to win. Basically you have to gingerplay place the pack items onto the mule and if you are not gentle enough or upset the balance he bucks. T laughs hysterically every time he bucks everything off, playing on a hard floor or table is much more fun than carpet, because you can hear everything being thrown. Ha ha! We played this over and over for a good 15-20 minutes. Normal games with my kids sometimes last less than five before they are bored. I think this game is a great way to teach kids to be gentle and careful.

#2 Don't Break the Ice 3/5 Stars
My kids really really love this game. Me, not so much. I do like it better than CandyLand, but the drawback to this game is set-up time. It takes more than a few minutes to squeeze the "icecubes" in there, and it is difficult for little fingers to do. My four year old is almost able to get them all in by himself, but not quite. When the set-up is longer than the actual game playing, I start to get annoyed. :) It is a good cause and effect game though. When I was a kid my grandma had a version of this game that used real icecubes. She just kept them stored in the freezer. It was sooo fun, however I imagine the game would not always last as long as interest allows once they start melting!More reviews to come tomorrow!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Started a new blog

I wanted to start a little blog full of ideas of things you can do with your kids. Things I have tried and know work. :) I LOVE crafty artsy kid stuff, I have cupboards full of supplies, and oodles more that don't fit in the cupboard. :)

My qualifications:

Unfortunately I do not have a degree in early childhood development, or even my child development associates, but I do have experience in working with kids. :)

I am the second of eight children. I did a lot of babysitting in my day, and organized crafts with my siblings all the time. They still tell me many things they remember making with me. (Don't worry, they remind me of all the mean things I did too lol).

I am a mom of two. I have a six year old daughter and a 4 year old son. My daughter is very artsy. She is an amazing little artist. My son is a budding artist. They both love making things.

I have babysat many kids over the years, before I had kids, and after. We have done our fair share of crafts.

I also have been in a co-op preschool group for four years in a row now. If you don't know what that is, I'll tell ya. The first year I was invited to a group organized by a mom I attended church with and lived in our neighborhood. Basically you take turns teaching, and send your kids to their house for preschool. Typically two days a week. Some people call it Joy School, but that you have to pay for their curriculum. Anyhow, I teach my child and 3-4 others about every 3-5 weeks, depending on the size of the group. This works out great for us. I am leaving my children with people I know really well that live right in our neighborhood. I only pay when it is my turn to teach, for whatever supplies I choose to buy (which I typically have most of it on hand, see above lol). Usually I end up paying maybe $5-$10 on my turn, so $10 a month for preschool is not a bad deal. We decide on the curriculum at the beginning of the year and go from there. I love my time teaching. I figure this is one of the only times I will ever be such an integral part of my child's education.

Anyhow... the ideas I post here will be things I have tried in any of the above areas. I will rate things with a star system, five stars being the best. I will also let know how what age groups it worked best with. I will try to share pics of whatever I can, though my children's faces may be distorted. I have been collecting these ideas since junior high, so I may not always credit where I got them, but I will try.

Please check out my links, I will post my fave places to go for great kids ideas, crafts, preschool, games, etc.

Thanks, hope you enjoy the ride!