As a mom (and teacher), I strive everyday to engage, nurture, and expand the mind of my little one.
Here you will find the books, music, and activities most useful to me in my endeavors.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Feed Me Books Friday: Books You Can Sing

I am just found The Adventure of Motherhood through one of my favorites, Little Page Turners.  And it it turns out there's this great way to share books called, Feed Me Books Friday.  Sound like my kind of par-tay ;)

And this week's theme, Books You Can Sing, is just perfect because NHV is currently obsessed with two such books ... both written by Mary Ann Hoberman:

This extended version of a patriotic classic just makes us giggle!  It's a clever story of cast of characters - including Yankee Doodle and his pony, of course - who start a restaurant serving noodles, baloney, and apple strudel.  The rhymes are really interesting, and it's so easy to sing along with!

There's so much more to the spider's story!  The waterspout climbing is just the beginning.  She also hugs baby hugs, falls into a stream and gets rescued, and even goes shoe shopping!  So much fun!

The author has several other books in the series, and I would bet they are all pretty fantastic, but these are the two we love and read again and again!

*Disclosure: The book links are Amazon Affiliate links and I will receive a small percentage (4%) of the sale if you purchase one. However, I believe your benefit will be far greater than mine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birthday Greeting from afar

My toddler has many friends that live far away.  Technically, her little friends are actually the children of my friends, but you get the idea.  Those friends have birthdays ... each and every year.  I know, imagine that!  It's really hard to keep up with sending gifts, especially when you A) don't get to enjoy the party and B) don't get to watch the gift being  opened.  Where's the FUN in that?  So, I try to come up with fun and creative way to wish a little one happy birthday ... from far away ... without spending a ton on shipping.  I also want to try to involve my toddler in the process as much as possible.  To get the biggest (cutest) bang for my buck, I usually fall back on photography - I take pictures of my toddler :)

Well, my friend Debbie, who I taught with at the beginning of my career, is also mom to three of the cutest two year olds on the planet. You can find out more about Debbie and her triplets at The Growing Cunninghams.  I mentioned that her toddlers are two, but I failed to tell you that milestone is officially TODAY!  

Happy Birthday, H, M, and L!

  • The easel served as the backdrop.  Grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote a simple message.
  • Used PowerPoint to create a really large number 2 (representing the age of the birthday girls and boy).  Typed each kiddos name on the number.  Printed them out.  Cut them out.
  • My toddler sat on my lap and named the letters of each name.  I told her what "she" spelled.
  • Had Natalie choose TWO stickers to put on each one, and then we counted to figure out that 2 + 2 + 2 = 6.
  • I then attached toilet paper tubes to the back of each number to give her something to hold onto.
  • Grabbed my camera and started bribing with jelly beans and clicking like a crazy woman.
  • In the end, I had a bunch of photos to choose from and made a collage using Google's Picasa - that's what you're looking at up there :)
  • I sent the collage to a local place to be printed in an 8 x 10.  
  • Debbie and the birthday kiddos got an electronic copy emailed to them first thing this morning. 
  • The print, all three 2's, and a personal message will be sent to H, M, and L in Virginia.
How's that for a fun and easy birthday greeting?

Toilet Paper Roll Caterpillar

Earth Day has me thinking about the "waste" we produce ... which brought me to the idea of finding a toddler craft involving toilet paper tubes.  Take a second to think about that one ... hee, hee!

I found this one at

It's easy.  It's fun.  It uses some of those pesky toilet paper tubes that we seem to have so many of.

Great way for your toddler ...
  • to practice color recognition / naming
  • to practice fine motor skills - lacing the yarn through the holes
  • to retell a story using a prop
  • to talk about where a caterpillar lives, what one eats, etc.

DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Toilet Paper Roll Caterpillar

This is a simple three dimensional craft that is easy and fun for children to make and play with.   Older children can cut the toilet paper rolls in half for more "joints" in their caterpillar (this is what we did in our photo).  Younger children will want to leave the toilet paper rolls whole as it can be tough to cut them.


  • three or four toilet paper rolls (or a paper towel roll)
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • hole punch
  • string, wool or ribbon
  • Optional:  wiggly eyes


  • Optional:  Cut each toilet paper roll in half so you have twice as many, shorter tubes
  • Glue a piece of construction paper to each tube.  You can use all one color or you can make a multi colored caterpillar (good colors practice).
  • Punch a hole at the front and back (two holes) in all but two of the tubes. 
    • Those two will be the head and the tail. 
    • Punch just one hole in these two tubes
  • Thread a piece of string or wool through the holes of each tube  (like you're sewing them together). 
    • Tie off the string at the head and tail.
    • Don't make the string too tight or your caterpillar won't wiggle.
  • Decorate your caterpillar further with sticker polka dots, marker, paint, etc.
  • Cut two thin strips of construction paper from yellow paper and curl around the end of a pencil
  • Fold a small tab at the end of each and glue it onto the head (the front tube) 
  • Glue on wiggly eyes or draw eyes on with a marker
  • or cut eyes out of white construction paper and draw an eyeball in the middle of each with a black marker