Thursday, December 22, 2011

Five Days of Worth The Read Christmas Books: Day Two, Vivian Walsh's Olive, the Other Reindeer

If you've ever sung the wrong lyrics to a song, or have seen the VW Rocket Man commercial, you know that song lyrics, however melodious, can be seriously misheard by the human ear. And that is what the story of Olive, the Other Reindeer is all about.

Olive is going about her business doing normal dog things, taking walks, wrapping presents, and listening to the radio when the holiday classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer comes on. True to the song, the lyrics "All of the other reindeer" waft over the airwaves, but what Olive hears is "Olive, the OTHER reindeer". When Olive hears this song, she no longer believes she is a dog, but a reindeer.

Olive sets out on a trek for the North Pole to meet Santa, and to become part of his flying reindeer team. She encounters many obstacles along the way, but the story ends in the most perfect way.

The book's title, with it's subtle humorous play on words carries throughout the book, creating a lovable character that children are sure to love as well as keeping parents intrigued with humor that would otherwise he over the heads of their children.

This books is worth the read for many reasons, the cute illustrations, the humor throughout, and because in 1999 Olive, the Other Reindeer, the movie, became a prime time sensation. That means it's got to be good, right? Pick this one up and you won't be disappointed. You might be able to catch the movie on TV, check your local listings.

Salt Dough Ornaments, Part One

Today I set out to have a "crafty" day with Lil Man, I was quite ambitious in thinking that we could make salt dough ornaments AND decorate a gingerbread house. Apparently, 20 month olds don't craft quite as fast as 25 year olds. :) Needless to say, today we only made it to half of the salt dough ornaments.

The Paper Mama sucked me in with her 50 DIY Christmas Crafts Salt Dough Ornaments. I love the folk art feel of salt dough crafts, and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to share my love with Lil Man. So while he was napping I prepped the dough, as directed in The Paper Mama's post. Then after he woke up we set off to make some ornaments! Lil Man LOVED it!

Some of the creations... we did use a straw at the end to put holes in the top

Lil Man making a star ornament

Super excited about his accomplishment!
During our time crafting the ornaments, we spent time talking about the different shapes of the cookie cutters, working on enunciation of words, and talking about different textures, turning the ornament making process into an early-literacy experience! I don't think Lil Man knew he was learning at all. :)

You'll notice that there aren't any pictures of the finished product in this post, that's because the ornaments have to bake for almost 5 hours. So, they are baking away in the oven right now. They won't even be out until after Lil Man is in bed. So stay tuned....there's more to come!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday -- Celebrating Hanukkah As Christians

Call me crazy, or whatever you want, but I'm a Christian that celebrates Jewish holidays in conjunction with Christian holidays. It is my personal belief that Jesus came and amended the laws of the Old Testament, not threw them into the fire. Therefore, since Jesus was Jewish, I celebrate the Jewish holidays as well as the Christian ones. In our home, celebrating both sets of holidays promotes tolerance. Not to mention, I'll take any excuse to eat a latke or some sufganiot! So this WW, I wish all of my true Jewish friends, and those like me who celebrate anyway, a Happy Hanukkah!

The perfects.....and the defects....

Tasting a piece of Latke

Not the clearest shot, but Little Man decided he's a Latke Monster!

Learning about Hanukkah, this is now one of our favorites! Dogs in a "lift the flap" book, nothing could be better! ......except......

Playing Dreidel!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Five Days of Worth-The-Read Christmas Books: Day One, Jan Brett's Who's That Knocking on Chirstmas Eve?

For day one of "Five Days of Worth-The-Read Christmas Books", I thought I would start with the opitome Christmas authors, Jan Brett. Ms. Brett has written so many Christmas and wintertime stories, that if you miss a few of her everyday books, you would think she writes Christmas and winter books exclusively.

Most of Brett's books are riddled with folklore and fantasy, and her trademark old worldly illustrated hindsight/foresight sidebars lend an accent to those styles nicely. Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve (WTKOCE) is no different in style.

In this story, a young boy from Finmark, Norway is on his way to Oslo with his Ice Bear when he smells something delicious and stumbles upon a cabin in the woods.

Inside the cabin, a girl name Kyri is cooking Christmas Eve dinner for her family and is startled by every sound she hears. She's had trouble with Trolls invading and eating her Christmas Eve dinners in the past, and she's afraid they'll be back for more this year. Deciding that the young boy's knock was polite enough, she lets him and his Ice Bear inside to warm up. Soon, they are invaded by trolls.

I don't want to give away the whole story, but it ends with the young boy and his bear being invited back for Christmas Eve dinners to come.

Overall, this story is well written for it's intended audience, and incorporates some of Brett's favorite themes: Winter, Bears, and Trolls. The Illustrations are stellar in classic Brett style, but my favorite illustrations in this book lie within the sidebars. Brett did a phenomenal job incorporating the troll theme into her illustrations of the northern lights and constellations, I had to go back after I finished the story itself to take in the beauty and detail of the sidebars. I was left in awe. The detail in the illustrations alone make this book "Worth The Read", but the story by itself is sure to please young readers as well. As with most of Brett's books I say, the story is for the kids, but the illustrations are for the adults. :)

Stay tuned for what Day Two brings! Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Mittens Coloring Page For Kids | Kiboomu

My good friends over at Kiboomu tweeted this this morning! With a coloring page, song, and book tie-in, it's a complete activity!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fingerplay Friday - Santa's Here!

Since I owe you a Fingerplay Friday post from last week, here's a really cute Sants fingerplay from

Image borrowed from
Santa's Here Fingerplay
Someone's peeping through my window (peek through fingers),
Tapping at my door (make knocking motions),
Sliding down my chimney (make sliding motion with hands),
Landing on the floor (stomp feet).

He's filling all the stockings (make filling motions),
And looking at the tree (turn head and widen eyes).
He has lots of presents (pretend to count on fingers),
Some for you and some for me (point at others and then at self)!

Im peeking round the doorway (peek around hand),
And OH!, what do I see (look surprised)?
The jolly face of Santa (smile),
Peeking back at me (peek through fingers)!

Fingerplay Friday - Making A Snowman

Image borrowed from
Making A Snowman
Find it, Find it, Find a pile of snow. (make searching motion, hand in a brim above eyes)
A Rolling, rolling, rolling we will go. (make rolling motion)
Pat it, pat it, face it to the south. (patting motion, like making a snowball)
Now my little snowperson's done, eyes, nose and mouth (point to each)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brilliant Educational and Homemade Crafts

During my Wordless Wednesday hopping today, I found a stellar post about different homemade, educational, and dare I say, Green toddler toys. These simple toys are sure to improve motor skills, and promote cognitive development. Be sure to stop by TMuffin and show her some love!

Tmuffin: WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: DIY Christmas Gifts#c5067924526947269751

Wordless Wednesday - Storytime at the Library

Little Man and I spent this morning at "Mommy's Work", and went to StoryTime! I played with some editing software this time around, and I kinda LOVE it. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Handwashing Awareness Week-Song One

“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”

Twinkle, twinkle little star
Look how clean my two hands are
With soap and water, wash and scrub
Got those germs off, rub-a-dub-dub
Twinkle, twinkle little star
Look how clean my two hands are!

Early Lit Tip Tuesday--Naptime As a Magical Experience

Monday, December 5, 2011

National Handwashing Awareness Week

Today marks the start of National Handwashing Awareness Week, and though it doesn't directly relate to early literacy, I wanted to be mindful of it throughout my blog this week. Since, I'm a CMA and all.... :)

As we all know, in order to stay healthy, and keep our kids healthy and learning, we need to wash our hands. Clean hands are crucial in preventing the dreaded "invinceable bug" that often times gets passed back and forth between family members.

Here are some facts from the Centers for Disease control on when you should be washing your hands, and what the proper way to wash your hands is.

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water  are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

Be sure to follow my posts this week as I post different handwashing resources; songs, books, and maybe even a coupon for soap or two.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Storyline Online-Beloved Children's Stories Read By Celebrities

Image borrowed from
One of my co-workers found this site, and after I browsed around, I just had to share it with you all, my wonderful readers.

The site is called StoryLine Online, and it is supported by the Screen Actor's Guild Foundation. So do you know what that means? You guessed it!

Image borrowed from
Your favorite celebrities reading your favorite children's books! I mean, seriously, what could be better than Betty White reading you and your children Harry the Dirty Dog? Um, NOTHING! :)

Along with the stories, there are downloadable activity guides that you can save or print off, as a way to futher the story's educational use. The activity guides are a perfect counterpart for the story whether used at home, or in school.

Just in time for the holiday season, Lou Diamond Phillips is reading one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE books, The Polar Express!
Image borrowed from

Be sure to check out this fabulous site, you won't be disappointed!