Friday, August 28, 2015

Our Favorite Story Books: 40 Fun Stories to Help Your Kids Grow

Hello Everyone!! 

As we all know reading and writing are essential to our kids.  One of the first things we are told when we become parents is to make sure that we make time to read out loud to our kids so they may develop better communication skills.  

I love reading, if I were to give you a glance of my Nook's Library, you will see a list of over 200 books.  And yes, I have read every single one of them, some I have read at least three times.  I love losing myself in the story. 

Recently our son has found a series he loves and so far he still wants to continue to read the series even though his summer reading log has been completed and turned in.  

Our daughter prefers when we read to her out loud, I think she loves this because Mommy makes all the faces an funny noises to go with the story line. 

Here is a list our favorite story books: 

I Am Series by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A Jones

*I Am Mixed (I AM Book) #1

*I Am Living in Two Homes (I AM- Book #2)

*I Am Awesome (I AM Book #3)

Princess Truly Series by Kelly Greenawalt

*Princess Truly and the Hungry Bunny Problem

*I Am Truly

*Princess Truly and the Courageous Cape Chase

How Do Dinosaurs Series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague:

*How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

*How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?

*How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?

*How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room?

Amelia Bedelia Series by Herman Parish:

Amelia Bedelia Storybook Treasury:   Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School; 
                                                                   Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip; 
                                                                   Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend; 
                                                                   Amelia Bedelia Sleeps Over; 
                                                                   Amelia Bedelia Hits the Trail

Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne:

Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, 
                                                                 The Knight at Dawn,
                                                                 Mummies in the Morning, and 
                                                                 Pirates Past Noon

Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 5-8: Night of the Ninjas, 
                                                                  Afternoon on the Amazon,
                                                                  Sunset of the Sabertooth, and
                                                                  Midnight on the Moon

Something Every Curly Child should read at least once:

*Ballerina Girl by Kirsten Hall  

*I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont

*What I Like Abot Me by Allia Zobel Nolan

*Spaghetti in A Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are

*Emi's Curly Coily Cotton Cnady Hair by Tina Olajide

The Classic Tales all children should have:

*Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

*Charlotte's Webb by EB White

*My Mother Goose: A Collection of Favorite Rhymes, Songs, and Concepts By David McPhail

*The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

*The Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman

*The Three Little Pigs by Patricia Seibert

*Goldilocks and The Three Bears by Candice Ransom

*Corduroy by Don Freeman

*The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Who can forget the Dr. Seuss' collection of stories: 

*One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

*Green Eggs and Ham

*Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

*The Cat in the Hat

Tips from our friends: 

Emily says: "Remember that reading should be fun and not be associated with "homework". 

Mari says: "Don't stop reading out loud to them even after they learn how to read by themselves"

Geraldine says: "Choose books together"

Your Admin Bill shares: "Reading stories together will develop and strengthen the bond between the two of you". 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quick Updo Style for Today!

Good Morning Everyone!! 

Ms. Bree 's style is a simple and quick Updo.   Perfect for days like this, when "time" was definitely not my friend...  

Cornrowed her bottom half ;
and smoothed her front section;
Then brought both sections together into a simple small bun.

I didn't use any Bun Shaper Foam or sock, just carefully twisted her hair into a bun;
secured it with hair pins.

This style is only for the next couple of days.  I will fix her parts and finish the style this weekend!! 

Have a wonderful day.... the week is almost over!!!   

Monday, August 24, 2015

How To Help Your Kids Get Ready For A Test

Hello Everyone!!
We would like to continue to talk about our children and their return to school!  Let us start by wishing all the little ones who will be taking their weekly tests on Friday, GOOD LUCK, YOU ARE SMART and YOU WILL DO GREAT!!

Weekly testing is now a very common event for our children, whether they are in Elementary, Primary or Secondary School.
Oh, I remember those days and I hated them.  My anxiety would always get the best of me.  I would stare at the paper and my mind would automatically go blank.   It really didn't matter how hard and how long I would study, the answers would go in my "locked box" to which I could never find the key in time to do the test.
Questions I knew the answers to, but couldn't remember single one response because of my inability to calm myself down to really think.  And if you add to that my fear that if I received a low grade, things were not going to be "good" at home.   Those two are very bad when they are combined together.
Our two children are so different, they may look like twins, but they are far from it.  My son reminds me of my younger self.  The way our son behaves usually tells me how he is feeling. 

 Our children's weekly tests are English: Spelling, Vocabulary and Math.   Our daughter who is in First Grade is also takes "Reading" tests. 
As parents we are able to help our children face any fear or pressure they may have when it comes to tests.
You don't have to study with them all the time.  While we suggest you "be there" for your child, it is also important that they learn how to study independently.  Let's be realistic, we cannot always be there.  BUT, it is important that we teach them how to study efficiently. 
While our son is learning the multiplication tables, our daughter is learning simple addition.  My husband is very strict when it comes to the subject of mathematics, the children practiced simple "math facts" during the summer therefore every day we practice "Math Drills".   
Math drills is what the teachers use in their classroom.  I suggest you ask your child's teacher which sites she uses in order for you to obtain "free printable math worksheets".   I simply start by giving them the 1 Minute Math Drills which contains 20 math problems, and then we move up to the 3 Minutes Math Drills which has 60 math problems.
It is important you remind them that "these are new problems, therefore, it is okay if they cannot complete them all", practice makes everyone perfect.   
You can find flashcards everywhere, but you can also print your own or you can even use blank index cards and write your own. 
I use the flashcards below for our son:

What I like about them is that on one side of the cards is a very simple problem but the other side has one that is a bit more difficult.   With these cards my son doesn’t feel overwhelmed at all.    
This is something that my husband and I don't see eye to eye.  While he believes in "doing problems in your head", I deeply believe in the use of a sheet of paper.  Now, encourage whatever technique works for your child.  
I always tell my son to use a blank sheet of paper and write/draw the problem out as well as to look/find and underline key words like "less than", "fewer than", "more than".  I don't think a teacher will ever deny him the ability to use a scratch paper.
I'm currently taking a different approach with our daughter with her reading, comprehending and spelling.  Ms. Bree's class is currently reading "Wizard of Oz".  I stay in touch with her teacher and she kindly tells me the chapters she is currently reading to the class.  Bree and I then read the same chapters at home, we do this every night.  We ask her questions about the story to make sure she is improving her "comprehension" skills. (i.e. "what color was the road?", and "who was OZ?", "who was the main character(s)?").
When it comes to our son, we are continuing to read "Magic Treehouse Series" (which we will tell you all about on our next post).  Google is a powerful tool and you can pretty much find anything!  In this case, I am able to find and print "Comprehensive Test" for every single book in the series.  Some of the tests are "multiple choice" while others require for him to "Describe" things in his answer.
Ms. Bree gets 10 Spelling words and 10 Sight words a week, while our son gets 20 spelling words, 5 Challenge Words. 
FLASH CARDS are great for this too!  Bree already knows her first 100 sight words, therefore, it feels like review time for her.  When it comes to her spelling words, we study 3 words per day by saying them out loud.  Then on Thursdays and Friday morning, we review all sight words and spelling words before I drop them off at school.
Little man so far has not required extra time to study his spelling words as he seems to know them all already.  However, we do spend extra time reminding him that he MUST take his time and write neatly so that his teacher won't mark his answer wrong.   It is important that they understand that they take the time to write clearly and to check their work at least two times before turning the work in.

Nevertheless, what works for our son is "repetition".  He writes the words from 3 to 5 times, we then take a "practice test" and we continue to do this throughout the week until he has them all.
At last, we pray for them… We pray for our children every day but we have a special prayer for them on Friday morning.

Dear Lord, here we are again, another Friday, another test,
We pray that you help our children do their best today,
Help them remain calm and serene so that they may
Remember all the things they have learned this week,
Help them remember that they will do great as long
As they believe in themselves.
Help them remember that Mommy and Daddy love them,
And remind them that we will always face our troubles
Together and that their efforts will be blessed by you
And celebrated by us.
Remind them to be kind, unselfish and loving to others.


We work hard and we play hard!  This is something I've learned from my husband. 

Every Friday evening, we take the kids out for ice cream (you may want to do something special, something your children would consider a treat). 

We talked about our week, about their work well done and we congratulate them for their effort.  

Even as an adult we often like to be "rewarded" or "acknowledged" for the hard work we do at our jobs.  Therefore, why not do the same with our kids.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back To School: How to Prepare Them

Hello Everyone!! 

Summer vacation is over for some of our little ones, but others have a few weeks left before their school year begins.

My kids' school year began on August 6th, 2015.   My son, who will turn 9 years old next month, is now a third grader! I can't believe how fast time passes by.  No, let me rephrase that, we all know how fast time can pass by, I just wish it didn't.  

Moving up a grade means he will face more challenges, high academic demands and the struggle to make new friends.   But thankfully he will not face the challenge of attending a new school like some of your kids will.

But don't worry, even if this if the first year your little ones is attending school there are many things you can do to make the transition process from home to school an easy one, not just for them but for you too.   I do the following every year.   

Meet & Greet:

Some schools are not open to the public during the summer. (If your assigned school is open, make sure you take advantage of it and visit!!)   However, most teachers are available via e-mail.  I suggest communicating with them, let them know of your situation and ask if it would possible for your child to visit the classroom before school starts.  

If such meeting is not possible, make sure you attend Open House (Orientation) and let the child spend as much time as he/she can in the classroom so that he/she can get to know the classroom, where their desk, locker, bathroom is located. etc.

I always attend Open House, it gives me an opportunity to meet the teacher face to face and see how "parent friendly" he or she is and how my child interacts around them. 

I also take the opportunity to ask questions about discipline protocol, homework assignments, best way to contact them and of course, volunteering opportunities.  

Walk with them:

If possible, walk with them to class.  Help them get settled, but do not stay any longer than you have to.  Talk to the little ones ahead of time and describe to them what the plan is once you arrive at the school.  Try not to spend too much time talking about "goodbyes" or "mommy is going to leave you", trust me, it doesn't matter what you say after that, the only words those little ears are hearing are "good bye" and "I'm going to be alone".  

Try and say things like "Once we get to class, mommy will help you place your items in your cubbie, and will show you where your lunch box needs to go, all your new friends will be there already, so as soon as we get everything where it needs to be, the class will begin....".

My kids are well into their second week of school, I no longer walk them to their classrooms. Sp, while we are sitting in car line, we go over their spelling words, we pray together and I remind them how much I love them.  

Love & Encouraging Notes:

This is another way to remind them that you are thinking of them.  I still do this, my son still loves getting "hidden messages" in his lunch box.  

Even if your child can't fluently read yet, its okay, when my daughter was in Pre-K, I would draw  tiny flowers and hearts on the sticky note and I would write "ILU" and she knew what it meant.  

Of course, now that they are older, my messages include: 

"I love you"
"Make good choices"
"Remember to be kind to others"
"Remember to use your manners"
"Don't be bossy- listen to others" (this mainly is for my son); and
"Make me Proud"
"Believe in yourself"
"Be Proud of yourself"

Let Your child express his/her feelings:

Unfortunately, my daughter was sick during the first and second day of school.  While it was the wrong way to start the year, it gave me extra time to address her fears.  

Do not dismiss their feelings, even when you know their fears are silly.   Well, they may be silly to us but to them that monster is real.

Remind you child that if any problems arises at school, they must tell the Teacher and that the Teacher will contact you.  

I truly believe that because I spent the extra time with her, reminding her that this will be a fun and exciting year, that she will get to have homework like her brother, and she will no longer have to take naps therefore giving her extra "play time"... as silly all these things sound, I believe her fears were eased.

When Monday arrived, she was more than ready to start her day and no tears were shed this year! 

Pick Up Time:

Now, I've always done the drop off and pick up so I didn't have to alter my schedule for this. 

But if your schedule is not as flexible, make plans ahead of time to leave work a bit early so that you may be able to pick them up.  At the end of their first day, the kids are eager to get home.   

I make sure I have the extra time and have a special treat with them so that I can ask them about their day.  

Now, everybody prepares their children differently, here are some Tips & Advice from other Parents:

Maria B. says: 

"Well, we normally read "who will be my teacher this year". This year it's kinda like they know what they have to do and they're good with it. Usually Joolz concern is he won't know anyone and I normally tell him, but You're awesome! So soon enough you'll know everyone! And he's good with that. I put them to sleep early enough and fix breakfast every morning to get them started right"

Yessica B. shares: 

"I find it helpful to reassure them that I will be picking them up from school or, when I was working, who was going to pick them up. We talk about how fun school will be, that they'll see old friends and meet new ones, and that they get to share time with a new teacher! I am lucky that for the most part, my kids enjoy school."

Yari T. shares: 

"For the last two weeks I've been trying to get them to bed earlier and up earlier to start getting them used to a schedule again. A month before school I give them Oregon Grape root, it taste horrible but I throw a gummy vitamin in their mouth right after to help a little.
Oregon grape serves as an excellent alternative; they both contain the immune-stimulating, infection-fighting, antiseptic constituent berberine. Herbs that contain berberine are scientifically proven to protect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 
When my daughter started pre k, the flu, strep throat and several colds passed through the class and even the teachers missed and my daughter never got sick. Either good luck or the stuff really works. 
We make school supply shopping a bug deal and have lots of fun to get them excited. 
Last, I continue to cover them in prayer. When school starts my prayers change a little to focus on school, peer pressure, leadership and just for them to be covered and protected. Lol OK, I'm done!!!!

Maria C. shares: 

"Night before I have my kids (preK, 2nd, 3rd grade) to get their uniform ready and they show it to me. Gives them independence on choosing their outfit. Always wish my kiddos to have a great day and lots of hugs and kisses."

Lennon Christian-Cavman shares: 

"Inform kids what personal information (social media access/phone) NOT to share with everyone- Or, crate fun "Biz Cards" for them to share with the relevant info.  Pray with them each day- even if it's in the car (eyes open) Helps them learn to meditate+focus positively.  Give them something to share.  Offering an extra snack, pencil, etc can help them break ice with new friends." 


     Gina shares:

Our friend from "Mygirlshairjourney" shares her B2S styles: 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Review: Princess Truly & The Courageous Cape Chase

Hello Everyone!

A few days ago we shared with you some amazing news from our friend and Children's Book Author, Kelly Greenawalt.

If you missed the post, you may read it here: Latest News of Princess Truly's New Book

Now we want to share our review on her latest book, "Princess Truly & The Courageous Cape Chase.  

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

Princess Truly is enjoying a beautiful fall day when out of the corner of her eye, she notices a flying red something.  Ever the curious girl, she decides to investigate and her beloved pug, Sir Noodles, follows her.  

They soon discover the flying red something belongs to a freckle-faced boy with bright red hair, Rowdy Wrigley.  Rowdy is afraid of everything.  Or at least he was until his mother sewed a special red cape for him.  With his cape on his shoulders, he isn’t afraid of anything.  Unfortunately, one day while picking apples, the cape blew off his shoulders.  Princess Truly offers to help him find it.  

The friends set off on an exciting adventure into Mysterious Forest to hunt for the cape.  Along the way, they meet a little kitty named Fiona. Despite not feeling very brave, Rowdy proves that he is when he rescues the kitty after she gets stuck in a tree.  Princess Truly and Rowdy then chase the cape into a deep, dark cave.  With a little help from Truly’s magical curls, Rowdy learns that what is in your heart is much more important than what is on your back.

Our Review:

This is Princess Truly and her faithful companion, Sir Noodles' third adventure and they are at it again!!

Please keep in mind that although this is the third book in the series, they DO NOT have to be read in chronological order, but in my personal opinion they are more enjoyable if you do read them in order. 

As always, this is an amazing story with a strong message about "believing and achieving".  If you believe in yourself enough then you can achieve anything you put your mind to.  It also teaches about kindness.

The Illustrations in this book, just like in the two books before are beautiful and well drawn.  The colorful illustrations captivate the story's details and they also seem to captivate the young audience, like my daughter.

Ms. Bree definitely enjoyed this book and she was excited to see some of the vocabulary words she is currently learning at school.  Therefore, making the reading more exciting and fun!  As a mother, I love the fact that she can relate to the main character, "big hair, brown skin and all".  The main character also teaches about being helpful to others, about self confidence, problem solving and courage.  All the things we want our children to know. 

I am gladly giving this book a 5 STAR rating, a must have book!! 

Allow me to take a minute and tell you about this amazing illustrator: 

Amariah Rauscher lives in Central Illinois with her husband, four children and beloved bulldog, Rosie.  She has a Bachelor's degree in both Psychology and Visual Arts, additionally she is pursuing a Master's Degree in Communication.  A talented artist and illustrator, her whimsical designs can be found in her Etsy Shop, The Extent of Silence and children's books.  Most notably, she is the sole illustrator of the Princess Truly book series.  She founded Lemon Starfish, a children's publishing company, in partnership with author Kelly Greenawalt. Amariah enjoys playing video games and eating vegetables.

Here are some great links to have: 
Link to the publisher’s website:
Follow publisher on twitter: @lemonstarfish
Follow publisher on Instagram: lemon_starfish
Link to the Princess Truly’s fan page:
Link to the author’s fan page:
Link to purchase the book: Princess Truly & The Courageous Cape Chase or you can order your copy by simply clicking on the image located on the right hand side of our page.