CSN Store Giveaway!

In honor of Princess’ birthday I’m hosting a CSN store Giveaway.  Going to their sites is like digging through my bathroom cabinets, you can find almost anything.

This is for a $65 gift certificate to their stores, and there are more stores than you can shake a stick at.

To enter:  visit their sites and find something you think Princess might like as a birthday present.

For extra entries:

1.  tell me about your favorite birthday memory
2.  be a follower or subscriber.
3.  like me on FB.
4.   get my blog by email.
5.  extra entry for being a regular commenter

Well that gives you her age plus two in possible entries.  Stay tuned next week to see all of the cool stuff we did to get ready for this EPIC party!

Oops, neccessary stuff:

Winner will be announced on December 1, approximately, make sure I have a way to contact you.

Only open to US and Canada residents

Princess, you are one of a kind…..

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Sorry, for they’re being dark, but I only had my cell phone.

I love these, it’s so her.  She’s all set to go in her Princess gloves, bathing suit, hat, and shoes.

You’re one of a kind girl.




You have such a fun spirit.  You love to sing.  All THE TIME.  You invent little songs.  Most of them are praise songs to Jesus, which so warms my heart.  I love listening to them as I drive the car.


You are so strong willed, which later on will be a good thing.  Right now it’s a bit of a challenge at times.  But, I wouldn’t change a thing about you.



You absolutely adore your brothers and are determined to do everything they do.  You don’t want to be called Princess now, you’re Batman, or maybe Aurora, or a pony, or a Mommy.  It’s so much fun to see you grow and mature.




Here you are one year ago, and you’ve changed in many ways, and in some you’re the same.  You’re still a mop top.  I’m doing good to get you to stay still long enough to brush your hair most days.


Sigh, you still take your clothes off at the drop of a hat.  Really, your clothes were not wet, no matter how much you think they are.




Here you are at two, your hair is still in your eyes.  I think it’s an inherited trait.  If you look at all of the pictures of me as a little girl I look exactly the same.


To the point that you saw a picture of me when we brought my brother home and exclaimed “That’s Princess!”




At one you were quite determined to keep up with your brothers.  Nevermind they’re almost two year older than you, and you still have that same determination.





Oh, and your ability to make an incredible mess with very little has not changed in the three years since I took this picture.


That was ONE M&M.

stART: space, the final frontier

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  Her five year mission, to explore brave new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!

Bother, can’t find the video I want, curses foiled by laziness, and wanting to keep to a time schedule.

Supplies needed: 2 liter bottle, white acrylic paint, knife, sharpies, foam core board or cardboard


1.  Paint the outside of your soda bottle (by the way thanks to our MOPS group for drinking large amounts of soda, and letting me take these home, saved me shoving large amounts of soda down my kids’ throats).
PS: in theory this could be really cool looking swirling around paint on the inside.


2.  Cut a hole in your bottle (McDonald’s toy optional).  If your kid desires you can then tape the door back on to make a hinge.

Then of course, your kid can decide he needs to randomly put some tape on their space shuttle…….


3.  Decorate it with the sharpies.

Meanwhile at some point while the kids are distracted or because the kids won’t leave you alone until their rockets have wings.  Cut a wing shape out of the foam core board or cardboard.


4.  Glue the wings on using a hot glue gun because the kids do not have patience for regular glue to dry.

The kids have been very excitedly playing with them ever since we finished them.

Problem I’ve got is Batman desperately wants to shoot his rocket up in the air.  You know like a real spaceship, with fire and all……..

Books inspiring this:
Astronuats, Launch Day,

Okay, so opinion question ya’ll.  I’m having a moral quandry.  I’ve read several different articles talking about Amazon carrying books and images that encourage pedophilia (this one they removed), but I read another article that says there is still some on their site.  But, the second article I’m having a harder time finding evidence for.  So, has anyone seen any further information on this?

I don’t want to use Amazon or provide links to it, until I’m sure this is resolved (and yes I know there is a “free speech” issue here, but there is also a moral issue of not exploiting children that to my mind trumps free speech).

I’ve applied to be a Barnes and Noble affiliate, but I don’t know if they’ve got an interface like amazon has.  Sigh, so much to think about.

Okay, now head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures to see more cool book and art related projects.

How to create a state study for little guys

To start I first got them familiar with the concept of different sizes of locations, to do that we read the book Me on the Map (hyperlink goes to the activities we did), which I love.

Then we started with our home state of Texas.  I firmly believe that kids are incredibly self-involved and they will remember more if you stick as much as possible to what they know.  I thought about what I think would be important for a little kid to know about Texas.  I decided I wanted them to know about our state flower, some of the local animals, and the state symbols.  If I had been able to find an age appropriate book about the Alamo I would have included that, but I couldn’t find it.

As we progressed on to different states I look at each state based on how I can get a hook in for my kids.  So, next we studied Wisconsin, because their Dad grew up there.  After that we studied California, where I grew up.  And slowly we moved to different states for different reasons (other family members, we traveled there).

Now, we’re getting to the point where we have no real tie-ins to the state we’re studying.  At this point I’m letting them look at the United States map and choose a state.  Currently we’re studying Florida.

Now, here’s a step by step of places I go, and what I want them to know about each state.

1.  I go to the state’s website and look up their state symbols and see if they have any useful printables about their state.  Here is a complete list of official state websites for kids.  While I’m there I look for interesting history bits or facts that my kids might enjoy.

2.  I check my evernote page for blog posts I’ve read about that state.  Some blogs I read that regularly have geography post about the 50 states: Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn; Just Playing Around; Superheroes and Princesses; Layers of Learning; and Great American Postcard Swap.  Often those blogs will have studied it before I have and it might give me some ideas to play around with.

3.  I look up ideas at my local library.  Anything that is related to the state.  For instance looking up Washington does not get me much about the state of Washington at my local library.  But, if I look up Mount Saint Helens I get some great books about the eruption and the volcano.   A lot of times my further activities come from those books.

74.  Then I start making any printables I want to use for that state that I haven’t found so far.  I always make a printable about the state’s symbols and one about one of the local animals.

5.  After that I see where their interests lead us.  So, when we studied California, the kids had a lot of fun with the idea of finding gold, so we did a treasure hunt with “gold.”

For those who are curious, here’s the states I’ve completed so far:

Missouri (will go back to, this is mostly from our traveling there)
New Mexico
North Carolina

Their memory of each state isn’t perfect, but they’re enjoying what we’ve learned and are having fun with it.

Arizona studies

Because that sounds much better than fun art projects.

Here’s what’s in there:
Desert Hotel– love this books, and there’s so much to do with it
How the Stars got in the Sky– seriously, the Arizona books were so good.
Possum’s Wild West Adventure– the main things the kids remembered about it was of course the gun fight, and the bad guys stole their cows, but they shot him.
And our usual:
I used the state symbols from the Gila Ben site linked below (I’m not above using someone else’s work if they’ve already done it).
Cool links I’ve found:
Arizona State Department for Kids– Great information and cute pictures.
Gila Ben– I got a bunch of printables here we used.
Mozi Esme– review of a book taking place in Arizona

I’m gonna link this up to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn and her fun Geography link, and then to help raise awareness:
GAW_Logo-A_Color copy (1)

Science Sunday, bats, and more bats


We finished up learning about bats by learning the difference between microbats and megabats.

Microbats are the smaller bats that eat insects, vampire bats are among these, and they eat blood from mammals, mostly cows and horses.

Megabats are fruit bats.  They don’t use echolocation, but instead use sight and smell.  After all fruit doesn’t move, so you’re not really needing a sensitive way of finding things.

We finished up our discussion of bats by watching the bats fly from the bridge in Round Rock.  It was amusing to me because the colony of bats in Austin is mentioned in our text book as an example of people not understanding God’s reason for creating certain animals.

See, back in the 60s and 70s they had a panic about bats carrying rabies, so they started killing the bats in Austin.  Then they noticed a dramatic upswing in insects, and realized there was a reason for bats.  One bat eats thousands of insects an hour.

So, now Austin has one of the largest colonies of bats in the United States all roosting under the Congress Street Bridge.  It’s very cool, and once my internet is working again I’ll put the you-tube video in.

Oh and the linky, that’s what happens when you write posts with a migraine.

Aren’t the bats cool, and if you want there’s a 2 minute and a 5 minute version.  It’s the coolest thing to see them streaming out of there.

Preschool Corner: fun read aloud

Case of the Terrible T. rex cvr


Have you ever been asked to review something and you knew from the description it would be perfect for your family?


That’s what happened with this book, so I’ll admit my review is slightly biased.  You see, I’ve been searching ever since I named my son for a book with his name in it.  My other two children have lots of books with their names in them, and they always happily exclaim when it happens.  Well, my other son this has never happened before.


Until this book.  So, when I found out the names I was super excited.  Doyle and Fossey Science Detectives (incidentally, that’s not his name, those are the characters last names) fit that bill.


Now on to the book.  We’ve been using it as our first chapter book read aloud.  I shouldn’t say that.  We’ve tried a couple of other books, but none of them have worked so far.  This was quite popular, and I got requests to finish it faster than I’d planned, but I stuck to my guns.


The set-up is similar to Encyclopedia Brown, which if you read my 5 Books post over at Silly Eagle books, you’ll know I love.   In this book there are 3 cases and it takes a couple of chapters per case to set it up, give you the clues, and then in the third chapter (generally speaking) you get the solution and what happened after.


002At the back of the book for each case is an experiment listed with it.  We’ve only done an experiment so far for the first case, and we did a different one than in the book, because I don’t use dry cleaning (that would require dressing up), and because their example made me think of a tea pot.  So, we boiled water and listened to the pot whistling just like the ground was whistling in the first case.


So, all in all I like this series, and plan to get the other ones in it.  Do you have any early reader series your kids really like?  I keep meaning to try Magic Treehouse because I know those are really popular.  Any other ones?


And here’s some cool news, the author is hosting a giveaway, and all you have to do is email them.  I’m fairly use I entered it at one point before I was asked to do a review…….


Here’s the information if you’re interested:


Doyle and Fossey GiveawayAuthor Michele Torrey is hosting a giveaway of her fun Doyle and Fossey, Science Detective books! Four lucky winners will receive copies of the two newest books in the series, THE CASE OF THE TERRIBLE T.rex and THE CASE OF THE CROOKED CARNIVAL, plus a cool test tube kit!
To enter, send an e-mail to DoyleandFossey@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you’re under 13, submit a parent’s name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 11/18/10. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 11/19/10 and notified via email. Check Michele’s website after Nov 22for the list of winners!



I’m linking this up to Homeschool Creations because I love the idea of this book as a first read aloud for pre-schoolers/kindergarteners, and I’d love to hear what you guys are using for chapter book read-alouds.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this for review, I was not paid for it, but from the loud clamoring of the kids I will be buying other copies.

more pumpkin work



To follow up on the pumpkin post from Monday, here’s an update on how it’s gone so far.


I printed off 4 copies of the little book I had made, yes you read that right 4.  One for each of the kids to write their own version of the story, and one for putting in order.


I took turns sitting down with each of the kids while the other two played and had them dictate to me what was happening in the pictures.  I’m going to share with you the boys’ stories, because Princess disappeared with hers with a mad gleam in her eyes.  It disappeared into her toy shopping cart along with about 10 My Little Ponies, 5 Strawberry Shortcakes, and a miscellany of other toys.


Here are the boys’ versions, I leave it to you to guess who wrote which one.


1: Title: A Bat found Pumpkin and he named it George Bob


The bat found a pumpkin.  The bat carved the pumpkin.  And then he went to do Halloween.  He left him home.  His Mom and Dad stayed home and he scared the kids with his bat pumpkin.  Then they baked a pumpkin pie.  Princess got some water in her tea pot.  They are making the pumpkin pie by pouring water in with the pumpkin.  The Boogeyball family said, “Trick or treat,” to the bat family.  They baked two sets of pumpkin pie because the kids really like pumpkin pie.  The kids are scooping the pumpkin pie.  One kid tasted the pumpkin pie, but he didn’t like it that way.  Someone is pouring water in there.  Mac ate pumpkin pie when we dropped it on the floor.  One guy scooped a part of the pumpkin.  Someone mixed it, but it wasn’t a girl, it was a boy (It was a picture of Princess he was looking at).  Me mixed it until his Mom said, “stop!”  I ate a seed, but I didn’t like it.


2: Title:  ________ carving a pumpking


We are carving the pumpkin.  We are taking the icky stuff out of it.  We’re using spoons to get the icky stuff out.  Batman is putting the pumpkin piece in there.  Princess is getting water for a tea party.  Batman is pouring water on the pumpkin pieces.  We put foil on to make it cook good.  The pumpkin pieces are getting cooked.  I am scooping out the part we eat of the inside.  Batman is pouring water.  Mac eat a piece of pumpkin.  I think he liked it.  Princess is scooping more pumpkin pieces.  She is pouring water I think.  Princess is stirring it.  Batman is eating a pumpkin seed.


It was really interesting to see how they each approached it.  You could also tell the difference in age and personality.  Princess didn’t use as many descriptive words even when I tried to coax them out of her.  My more creative and original thinker of a boy went in a totally different direction than I was thinking and then added his own bat illustrations.  My thinker was able to add more details as I coaxed him through it.


All in all it was a great writing experience I look forward to them being able to write it themselves, but they all had fun.

Geography: The Country Schoolhouse


So, remember my mentioning “The Old Country Schoolhouse” on Saturday, and it was wildly popular?
<a href=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fadvenofmommy-20%2F8001%2Ff14dfb40-2113-4409-a299-555a72262578&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</a>  Basically the story is of a grandson and grandfather talking as the boy walks to school.

<img style=”display: inline; float: right” align=”right” src=”http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/ae/Oldestschool.jpg/248px-Oldestschool.jpg” />We used it to talk about the <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_Wooden_Schoolhouse” target=”_blank”>oldest wooden schoolhouse</a> in our country that is in <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine,_Florida” target=”_blank”>St. Augustine, Florida</a>.  It’s a very cool city and has many different things to study.  It has a fascinating fort, a college and lot of interesting history.  Jeff and I were lucky enough to spend a week there pre-kids, and I’m looking forward to taking the kids there someday. 
(picture from Wikipedia, I’m feeling lazy and I don’t want to look for my pictures and scan it in)

<a href=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/_RGDYPnAIl_U/TNqvYSaLpxI/AAAAAAAADNE/WVQ7OA2vnVY/s1600-h/003%5B3%5D.jpg”><img style=”background-image: none; border-bottom: 0px; border-left: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; float: left; border-top: 0px; border-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px” title=”003″ border=”0″ alt=”003″ align=”left” src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/_RGDYPnAIl_U/TNqvY52MkWI/AAAAAAAADNI/65LCU767ANY/003_thumb.jpg?imgmax=800″ width=”244″ height=”184″ /></a>

To make our project I gave the kids some strips of manila paper I’d cut into 1/2” to 1” width, and they busily colored it brown.  I also gave them a triangle to color for the roof.


Then I set them to cutting and gluing their strips on to make a house shape for the school.  And of course they made a house shape.  Really.  Honestly.


Okay, okay, you caught me.  The boys made big blobs, and drew yellow spots (more on that later).

And you know what their narration of the story consisted of?  My kids of course learned so much from this and they drew excellent conclusions.

Or, they all said the same thing: “The boys went potty in the snow.”

Yes, that’s all they could tell me about the story.  We read this story at least 6 times, and all they would tell me is the boys went potty in the snow.

For kids who might have learned something useful in their geography and history studies head on over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.