Monday, July 23, 2012

book pick: Rhyming Dust Bunnies

book. cook. rook. Jan Thomas!

Rhyming Dust Bunnies is a 2009 title that we only recently discovered at our local library. after explaining to my children what a dust bunny is exactly (unfortunately our home does not lack for examples) we read this simple, colorful and humorous story about three dust bunny friends who rhyme ("all the time") and one little friend who doesn't (but for good reason).

this is a good book for early readers. and the simple drama keeps a toddler's attention too. you'll be prompted to come up with your own silly rhymes, and the author's website offers a printable for just such an activity. there's also a sequel, Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny!

fine print: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. learn more here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 things to do with... bubbles

bubbles are such a simple pleasure which – like their cardboard-box cousins – might be why they're so good at eliciting smiles. here are five ideas for extending the fun:

1 make your own. if you don't already do this, start today. after my daughter spilled bubble solution on the ground for the umpteenth time, i decided enough was enough. there are plenty of recipes online; this recipe is a simple one that we've used in the past and uses a common bubble strengthener: sugar. other strengtheners include corn syrup and glycerin. however, you can quite successfully use just soap and water, which is what we do. simply cover the bottom of a bubble blower bottle with liquid dish soap (Palmolive works for us), add water, shake it up to mix, and bada-bing-bada-bubble, baby. works every time.

how to put your kids in a bubble

this was an activity on our summer bucket list, one of the surprise activities i slipped in there for the girls. it took a short time to get the proportions and technique just right, and it was pretty darn cool once we got the hang of it. when i first heard about this idea, i had images in my head of my daughter floating into the sky, encased in a gigantic balloon-like bubble. it's not nearly that dramatic. but this is a fun summer outdoor activity, nonetheless. ... and we've done some of the trial-and-error for you!

word of the month: excursion

we had a bit of luck with forlorn, due to its suitably dramatic character. but so far we've had the best kid-approved adoption of a new word with this month's selection, thanks once again to our summer bucket lists. one of our summer activity cups is labeled "excursions" and now my 5-year-old longingly eyes it, asking almost daily, "Mommy? can we go on a 'cursion today?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

book pick: Take Me Out of the Bathtub

these "silly dilly songs" are anthems for the harried American family, the one for which late-night tv, messy rooms, stinky diapers and general mayhem are the rule rather than the exception. Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs is by Alan Katz, whose online introduction alone is hilarious:

When a six-year old boy thinks like a grown man, they call him a child prodigy.
But what’s the best way to describe a grown man who thinks like a six-year old boy?
That’s the problem my wife faces every time she has to introduce me.
Hi, I'm Alan Katz

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

shout-out: 'Star Wars' edition

it's time to give a shout-out to a couple bloggers i admire and follow the cinematic tangent on which they lead me.

this all started with Jennifer Bardsley who makes me laugh every time i read her I Brake For Moms blog. but the one i'm still giggling over is her "I brake for Wookiees" post. Jennifer writes about the lack of maternal role models in the popular movies. "Maybe the reason that boys love 'Star Wars' so much is because George Lucas has imagined a universe where mothers are not necessary," she writes. but if you had to pick a galactic mommy, who would it be?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

book pick: The Three Little Wolves...

folktales are classics that beg to be tampered with. and this week's silly book selection – The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury – puts more twists into the familiar folktale than inverting who's good and who's bad (for another hilarious take on that angle, read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, as told to the famous Jon Scieszka, and illustrated by Lane Smith).

the Trivizas version is one all the daddies will love. there's a pneumatic drill, reinforced steel chains, a video entrance phone and a life-threatening explosion. but not to worry. all turns out well in the end – for the pig, too. (positively ambrosial flowers are involved.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

happy times with angry birds

as promised, here's my half-baked version of a DIY "Angry Birds" game. these are more guideposts than actual steps – ideas to get your own creative juices flowing. and the materials are simple: probably what you already have knocking around your place.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

this week's silly book recommendation: Hairdo!

Hairdo: What We Do and Did to Our Hair (2002, Holiday House) is the second Ruth Freeman Swain book we've received as a gift (the first was Bedtime!). an aunt knows the author from her school days. and we feel fortunate to benefit from that connection. we love these books!

Freeman Swain writes in a kid-friendly way about the history of hairstyles, from ancient Egyptian partygoers to protesting 1960s hippies. Cat Bowman Smith's humorous illustrations mesh well with the words.

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