Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shapes in Math, Science and Nature: Squares, Triangles and Circles by Catherine Sheldrick Ross, A Review

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Amazon          Goodreads

I received an eARC copy of this book via NetGalley to review. Here are my honest thoughts.

As a preschool director, teaching shapes is one of the core components of our curriculum. This text is too advanced for a young child. It is however, a wonderful book! Despite the book not being for young children, I do think a preschool teacher would find this a valuable resource tool as they teach about shapes. My favorite thing about the book are the experiments that it includes. I can see many of them working very well in a preschool setting (square bubbles would fascinate young children.

My first grader would love this book and I am putting it on our book wish list. As the other reviewer stated, this book is great for elementary students as they learn more about shapes and how they work. As a teacher and parent, I appreciate that the 3 volumes have been combined into one.

I also recommend this book to parents and grandparents of children who like math.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
 
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore, A Review

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Amazon          Goodreads

I was provided an eARC copy by the publisher. Here is my honest review.

When I first started reading this book, it struck me as being very "Downton Abbey"; so much so that it lacked the magic of the series.  I wasn't even sure that I would finish it.  Then came Chapter 3 and I was compelled to keep reading.  Bits of the story seemed very rushed which lead me to wonder if this is a self-contained story or if it is intended to be part of a serial.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it     ★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Starring Me and You by Genevieve Cote, A Review


I was provided an eARC copy by the publisher. Here is my honest review.

I adored this book!
Genevieve Cote wrote such a sweet story in easy to understand language that is perfect for preschoolers. Starring Me and You features a precious bunny and an adorable pig who are going to put on a play. Cote does an excellent job illustrating a variety of emotions and how we all feel the same emotions even though we may present them in different ways. The book ends with a great example on how to work out differences and compromise. 

The beautiful watercolor illustrations are lovely as well. I would recommend this book for any preschool classroom!

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it     ★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, A Review


I was provided an eARC copy of this book by the publisher. Here is my honest review.

Ashley Spires created a magnificent book! I adored this book not only for the sweet illustrations, but the positive message found within the story. Whatever our age, sometimes the first attempt doesn't meet our expectations. Spires shows the value in trying again. The meltdown in the middle of the book is a true representation of what most of us experience and she shows how to recover from the frustration. I believe that this is a valuable message for young children to hear. 


I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it     ★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

The Little Moose Who Couldn't Go to Sleep by Willy Claflin, A Review

The Little Moose Who Couldn't Go To Sleep by Willy Claflin. 

As a preschool director, I am always on the lookout for wonderful new books to add to our library. I received an eARC copy of this book to review and was really looking forward to reading it as many young children struggle with being able to go to sleep at times. Upon first opening the book, I realized that this was a story that I would not be able to share with my preschoolers based on the fact that it has too many words on a page; their attention span would not last through this entire book. Kindergarten students would be able to sit through this book with a master storyteller and certainly it is appropriate for grades 2 and up.

Mother Moose is a clever twist on Mother Goose and included an original nursery rhyme. The illustrations by James Stimson are delightful; he creates a soft, lovely world populated by friendly forest creatures. This is the element that I enjoyed the most.

While the story Claftin weaves is good, I could not get past the mechanics/prose that he chose to use. The book disregards proper grammar and is written in baby talk throughout. Even the adult characters speak incorrectly. As an educator, I just cannot imagine ever reading this book to children. Young children learn how to speak with proper grammar by adults modeling it correctly in daily conversation. Nor can I really get excited about the author's applying new meaning to words in the provided Moose Dictionary.

All that being said, I do feel that this book lends itself to audience participation. For instance, there are many times when sound effects are used in the book, and it would be fun to assign students to respond in some way to that. For instance, having a student ring a bell for "CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!" when read. I also think that Claflin told a story with a great deal of imagination - an I believe it is so important to expose our young children to imagination and encourage that in them. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it     ★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Monday, February 17, 2014

2014 Parenting Reading Challenge


Julie @ Books Are Portable Magic is hosting a reading challenge this year. It is all about parenting; "books may be novels, mom lit, parenting advice and how to, inspirational such as the Chicken Soup books or Mom devotionals, parenting memoirs, or parenting humor".
Julie did request that we select a level and since I work with preschoolers, I thought that would be a good starting place - so that means my goal is to nine to twelve books this year. Completely doable!

I read all the time and one of my goals this year is to read more non-fiction than I normally do so this is challenge will be a great accountability tool. 

I'll update this post throughout the year with books I read for this challenge as well as on my Goodreads account. Click on the banner for Julie's post!

Currently Reading: 
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1. Raising a Lady in Waiting: Parent's Guide to Helping Your Daughter Avoid A Bozo by Jackie Kendall
an e-ARC review copy

Love for Books Readathon

Reading.
Every day.
Without fail.

I participated in the February, Harry Potter read-a-long and thought this would be a good one to participate in since anything goes. Looking forward to reading this week! This post will contain updates throughout the week.

Details: Monday, February 17 - Sunday, 23
Sign up HERE if you want to join in.

Goals:
Like everyone, my life is busy and this week is even more so with at least three major projects going on. However, I do read every day so I know that I can spend at least 30 minutes reading, even if it is at bedtime.
Here is what is on my reading list this week:
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1. The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America's Future by Jonathan Cahn
A dear friend loaned this book to me and this is the second time that I am reading it. It is very interesting and intriguing; it is taking me a long time to finish it - not because it lacks anything, I am just reading and processing as a slower pace.

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2. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller. as well as the Discussion Guide. My
We are reading this in my Bible Study Home group and I have been enjoying it very much. As is usually the case, God is revealing my shortcomings and His overflowing love.

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3. Once Upon A Prince (The Royal Wedding Series #1) by Rachel Hauck
I picked this up at the library a few weeks ago and it was pushed to the bottom of the pile with the YearAThon Harry Potter read-a-long. I enjoy a Happily Ever After romance and this seems to fit the bill.

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4. Raising a Lady in Waiting: Parent's Guide to Helping Your Daughter Avoid a Bozo by Jackie Kendall
I received an e-ARC of this and have been reading it for the past several days. I don't have a daughter, but I do have a son, and I certainly want him to "be a Boaz" and pray that he finds an honorable woman one day.

Those are the books I know I will be reading this week. I have several others in my book pile and on my Kindle to read this week as well. Feel free to check back in and see how I'm doing!

Progress:
I copied the format for this from Jessi at Novel Heartbeat, one of the hostesses for this event. I'm not sure if I'll do a very good job of keeping track this way as I do not normally pay attention to how many pages I've read or keep track of the amount of time I have read. I will more than likely be a day behind my updates as I don't log on last thing at night and don't have time to do so in the mornings.

Monday 2/17
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Tuesday 2/18
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Wednesday 2/19
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Thursday 2/20
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Friday 2/21
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Saturday 2/22
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Sunday 2/23
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SUMMARY
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0

Please scroll down for updates on my progress!

Bout of Books

I have always considered myself a bookworm and there is nothing else I'd rather do than curl up with a good book! Browsing youTube recently I saw several videos talking about Bout of Books.
Here is the official blurb:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

You can find out information here if you are interested. Keep reading to see how I've challenged myself and for progress updates during the week!

My Challenge:
This is a busy week prepping for a birthday party on Saturday. I picked up 4 books at the library yesterday afternoon so my goal is to read those.

1. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
This movie is in my Netflix queue and I want to read the book first.



2. Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman

3. The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

4. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
My 1st grader has been talking about his teacher reading these books  so I thought I should find out about them. I love children's literature and completing series....so I'm sure I will end up reading them all.

I also want to participate in some of the challenges and comment on at least two blogs each day.

Progress:
Monday


Tuesday
# of books read: 1
# of books finished: 0
# of pages read: 80
Books Read: I started The Lucky One.  I discovered Bout of Books at about 10 pm on Tuesday so I am pleased with progress so far. I did finish a book on my Kindle earlier in the evening bu am not counting it in my goal or total. 

Wednesday
# of books read: 1
# of books finished: 0
# of pages read: 42
Books Read:Still working through The Lucky One. I enjoy the first person viewpoint of the three main characters. I read Safe Haven this summer and at this point I think Safe Haven was the better of the two.

Thursday
# of books read: 
# of books finished: 
# of pages read: 
Books Read:

Friday
# of books read: 
# of books finished: 
# of pages read: 
Books Read:

Saturday
# of books read: 2
# of books finished: 1
# of pages read: 
Books Read: I did a horrible job keeping track of pages read at the end of the week - I was just too busy! I did finish The Lucky One and began The Funeral Dress although I didn't read very much of it. 

Sunday
# of books read: 2
# of books finished:1 
# of pages read: 
Books Read: I finished The Funeral Dress and would recommend it as a great read. So often I think new moms (regardless of their age, income or marital status) have so much pressure to be great at mothering. It is hard work and I wish more new moms knew it was okay to admit their fears, frustrations, misgivings, etc. I wish there were more women like Easter and Cora who could offer support to new moms.
I got a few pages into Chasing Hope and will finish it sometime this week.

I didn't meet my goals but that doesn't bother me. I still enjoyed some good literature and will look forward to participating in this challenge again in the future.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kitchen Refresh

Karen who hosts The Graphics Fairy is looking to update her kitchen. Mine could sure use some help as well. She has a giveaway --- $1,000 gift card to Home Depot. That would certainly make a dent in a kitchen project!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine Boxes Part II


 I wanted to share the box I made and sent to Laurie my partner in the Valentine Box Swap. She told me that she liked soft colors, very vintage and I knew she loves buttons.  
I chose some vintage style papers along with some flowers in soft colors and a cupid cut from the cover of a book. I also tucked in some little pieces of lace.
This is a shot of the side. I painted all the edges and then layered on some punched paper and some lace. I can't remember exactly where I got it....I don't think it's vintage by definition, but it is older. I didn't take interior shots of the box because I was not happy with how they turned out. At least it is on the inside. 
We were to make something to put inside our box. I decorated a spool and then it wouldn't fit in the box! This is the first "spoolie" I've made. I saw some pretty examples at Lynn's blog and wanted to try my hand at one. I chose a birdcage die cut and attempted to make it 3D. 

I also altered a spoon for Laurie with a piece of silverplate from my collection. 
It's really difficult to see, but the handle in monogrammed. I can't make it all out, but the first letter I'm pretty sure is an L.  
I packaged each of these separately in a kraft bag that I decorated on the outside but forgot to take pictures of them. 
This is the box all packed up. 
I included some of my favorite laces and little bits of flowers and such for decorating items. The pink velvet ribbon is off a vintage roll and tucked underneath is a really pretty vintage look napkin that I just love. I also included some of the brown crepe paper that I used on the spoolie.
I picked up a monogram stamp that I thought Laurie could use on artwork that she sells in her etsy shop along with an old bottle to alter and a pretty vintage dish. I was saddened to hear that it didn't arrive in one piece. I also found a pretty vintage postcard and included a modern bookmark with a vintage look.
Laurie is a Button Floozie so I included 2 packs of buttons in her box. These pretties were sealed up in a little organza bag. Some of my favorite buttons are in this set: the pink plastic pierced one, the cream with the rhinestone center and the big square pink one. It has a bit of sparkle in it. I don't know if it's very old, but I think it's pretty fun! The charm attached to the ribbon is an extra I had from another swap about a year and a half ago. In the center is a very shabby button. It's not in great shape, but I think it's so pretty. I hope Laurie likes it to either admire or use in a project. The chain on the left is a zipper pull; it has the logo of a local department store here that was the place to shop for many years. It closed in the 90s finally and many years after that I found a full box of these at an estate sale. They must have been some sort of promotional item.
I added a bit of book page and a vintage style ticket (you can get the free printable here) to this bag full of buttons and other assorted items.

A mix of vintage buttons and modern embellishments. I always like to order a few things at swap times and then spread them out over several swaps. I picked out some vintage french sequins, a plastic heart button with a rhinestone and some carved buttons  . The thick pink ones I found locally in a little button jar; they have a shape I don't see very often that I really liked. There were also two angel wings in this pack but they are very translucent and hard to see.
This was a little bag I made to hold some ephemera and vintage inspired images. The main focal piece is from one of the decorative napkins that I mentioned earlier. 
I included some printable images and a few of my favorite ephemera pieces: a game card, some tea packets and a royal mail stamp. 
A printed vintage valentine and a carved antique button. You can also see a silverplate spoon I included in case Laurie wanted to alter one. 
Another napkin, some printed banner pieces, and a Valentine from the 1930s. I found it and the carved button at my favorite antique store here. I can't remember the exact year she told me - but it was mid to late 30s. She had several beautiful pieces for sale! The rolled up paper is some paintable wallpaper I picked up back when I first started stamping at a hardware store that was going out of business.

I hope Laurie enjoyed opening up each item and that she has a few new treasures to enjoy and create with.