Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley


Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." 
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Owl craft and keepsake

This is a cute owl craft that uses the child's handprints for the wings.

I started with large google eyes, the bigger the better! I cut out circles from white paper to make the eyes look even bigger. Then grab some orange paper  and cut a diamond shape for the beak. Fold it in half so you have a 3D beak. The owl body is cut out of brown construction paper. I don't have a pdf template, but you can see from the pick it's a simple enough shape and use crimping scissors on the sides. Just have the kids glue on the eyes and beak and then some feathers. Finally paint the child's hands in brown paint and use the handprint for wings. A cute fall keepsake!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Latest from Magic Treehouse

My rising second grader is really into Magic Treehouse right now and with the World Cup this summer Soccer on Sunday is the perfect read.

From Amazon:
Just in time for the 2014 Fifa World Cup, Magic Tree House #52: Soccer on Sunday will take Jack and Annie to a soccer field in Mexico where they must find the final secret of greatness for Merlin. On the field, they'll meet a young soccer player who dreams of one day playing in the World Cup just like his hero, the great Brazilian soccer player, PelĂ©!

Here he is reading Night of the Ninjas.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Frozen Small World

I lucked out at Target today with two small Elsa and Anna dolls. Miss Independant is in her second week of summer vacation and feeling a little lost on how to fill the free time, which is a good thing right? Anyway I needed something quick she could haul out and play on her own for a while and this definitely fits the bill.

I just pulled out a clear plastic shoe box and put in some blue decorator stones from the dollar store and some left over snowflake stickers you could also use insta snow or cotton balls or ice!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stella's Starliner by Rosemary Wells

Are you of fan of airstreams? How about Rosemary Wells? If so you will fall in love with Stella's Starliner -- the latest picture book from Wells. This book is so beauitfully illustrated I would have bought it just for the pictures, but of course the story is also good hearted.

The tale is a gentle lesson on perspective. Stella loves her shiny silver home, pancakes, fishing and the weekly visit from the bookmobile. But some mean spirited weasles come along and tell Stella she lives in a tin can and is poor. Despite the stinging words, Stella realizes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and others share her precious view too -- that her Starliner is a sterling silver palace.

A lovely lesson on tolerance, diversity and being grateful for what we have. I hope you get to read this little gem.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The High Rise-Private Eyes Series by Cynthia Rylant

I love finding great series in children's literature because it promises lots of great reading experiences for your child. My son a rising 2nd grader is really enjoying The High-Rise Private Eyes series by Cynthia Rylant.

There are eight books in the series and I'm pretty sure almost any library will have them. Our library has 10 or more copies per book. They are recommended for grades K-3. These are funny, mysteries for the begining chapter book reader with lots of great illustraions by G. Brian Karas. Check them out at your local library for some fun summer reading!

The High Rise Private Eyes
  • The High Rise Private Eyes #1: The Case of the Missing Monkey
  • The High Rise Private Eyes #2: The Case of the Climbing Cat
  • The High Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Puzzling Possum
  • The High Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Troublesome Turtle
  • The High Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Sleepy Sloth
  • The High Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Fidgety Fox
  • The High Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Baffled Bear
  • The High Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Desperate Duck

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kindergarten - Grade 3 Summer Reading List!

This list was complied by the media specialist at my children's school for the summer. Here's a link to her blog.

Picture Book Suggestions by Author
These are books with illustrations but the reading levels can vary from kindergarten up through fifth grade, or even higher.
Mac Barnett –
Peter Brown

Bill Peet
Margie Palatini – Sweet Tooth, Bad Boys, and others David Wiesner
Lauren Child
Henry Cole
Tomie dePaola
William Steig
Lisa Campbell Ernst (Sylvia Jean)
Jules Feiffer
Aaron Reynolds
Mac Barnett
James Marshall
Kevin Henkes
Mem Fox
Cynthia Rylant

Chapter Books – lower level; some are series
Puppy Place by Ellen Miles
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
George Brown, Class Clown
Cam Jansen by David Adler
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant
E.B. White – Trumpet of the Swan (lesser known title by this famous author)
Dan Gutman - Weird School series and others
The Buddy Files by Dori Hillestad Butler
Mary Pope Osborne - Magic Treehouse and other series
Judy Moody by Megan McDonald or Stink (Judy’s brother) by Megan McDonald Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
A – Z Mysteries(series) and Calendar Mysteries by Ron Roy
Field Trip Mysteries

Chapter Books – higher level 
Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson series plus his new series starting with “The Red Pyramid”
Warriors (series) by Erin Hunter
The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors
Emily Winsnap series by Liz Kessler
The Invention of Hugo Cabaret by Brian Selznick
Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
The Magic Thief (trilogy) by Sarah Prineas
Charlie Bone(series) by Jenny Nimmo – similar to Harry Potter but not as long or scary Dan Gutman – many books on different topics and at a variety of levels
The Fog Mound Trilogy by Susan Schade and Jon Buller
Any title by Kate DiCamillo
The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
Sister’s Grimm by Amulet Books
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Mallory series by Laurie Freedman
Daisy Dawson by Steve Voake
Franny K. Stine: Mad Scientist by Jim Benton
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo by Nancy E. Krulik
Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler 

The Measured Mom website came up with a list of 100 places to read a book challenge and checklist that is super creative and fun!