Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blueberries For Sal

Blueberries For Sal by Robert McCloskey - A truly charming little book about a girl named Sal and her mother who go to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries for canning. With the use of onomatopoeias, you can hear the blueberries hitting the bottom of Sal's tin pail...kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Blueberries For Sal is full of black and white illustrations that really gives this book that vintage feel. The beginning illustration brings back fond memories of my great grandmother's kitchen. I read this to my 7 year old daughter. She enjoyed it and recalls watching a film about it in Kindergarten.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Junie B. First Grader Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May)

Junie B. First Grader Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May) by Barbara Park

For our nightly ritual of reading aloud, Alexis picked this Junie B. First Grader book.  Junie B. and her classmate May just do not get along well together. They love to bicker and argue back and forth, while disrupting Mr. Scary's first grade classroom. It is the season of goodwill and Mr. Scary's first grade class must pick names for their Secret Santa gift. When Mr. Scary reaches Junie B., there is only one name left, and that name is May! Junie B. is shocked and angry because she does not want to buy a gift for that dumb old May. Mr. Scary tells Junie B. that doing good for someone you dislike is the truest form of goodwill. 

At the secret Santa Shop, Junie B. spies a Burp In A Bag on the $5 table. She really really wants to buy the Burp In A Bag for herself but she does not have enough money. Junie B.'s parent already gave her $5, but that money is just enough to buy each person in her family a gift at $1 each. Junie B. talks her grampa Miller into giving her another $5, so now she has enough to get the Burp In A Bag. But what about May's gift? She still needs $1 more but no one will give Junie B. any more money, so Junie B. decides that she will give May a piece of charcoal for her Christmas gift. 

May is getting more and more excited as Christmas approaches and cannot wait until the class exchanges their Secret Santa gifts. May tells Junie B. there is nothing she can do that will ruin this day for her. Junie B. sees how happy May is and wonders how May will react when she sees the coal in her gift bag. Is Junie B. feeling guilty? It is time to exchange gifts and Junie B. panics, has she made the right decision?

So far, this has been my favorite Junie B. story.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Invitation To Review K5 Learning

I just learned about this amazing and exciting opportunity to review K5 Learning  from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What My Child Is Reading - November 18

Yard Sale -This was a book that Alexis chose for her Read To Feed project. Spudville is a quiet neighborhood where everyone keeps to themselves. One day Mr. Flotsam has a yard sale and out of curiosity the neighbors come and buy up all of the seemingly normal goods. The next day strange things happen to all of the goods. Mr. Rotelli bought a pasta maker that didn't have an off button and his house is filled with pasta. Mrs. Applebee's telephone is ringing with calls from her ancestors. At first the towns people are upset over their purchases but come to appreciate the gifts that each purchase brings. The magical purchases unite the townspeople and as a result creates a thriving community.

The Zack Files Don't Count On Dracula - This weeks read aloud was a funny tale of a boy named Zack and his friend Spencer who enter and win a contest to have dinner with the famous actor Mella Bugosi, a horror film star with a thick Transylvanian accent. Zack notices very strange things about Mella Bugosi, he avoids sunlight, sleeps in a coffin, and has V8 Juice labeled with blood types. Is Bugosi a vampire or is it all a part of his act.

Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain - This is an African Folktale from the country of Kenya. The Kapiti Plain was beautiful and green until a long period of drought caused all of the grass to dry up and die. All of the wild animals migrated elsewhere in search for food and water. Kipat, a local herdsmen and his cattle waited daily for the looming rain cloud to produce rain. The cows mooed for the rain to fall from the sky. As each day goes by, the cows grow weaker and skinnier. One day Kipat makes an arrow, from a feather that falls near him, and shoots the rain cloud causing it to burst open and rain.  With the rain, the brown grass turned green again giving new life to the plains and all of the animals that needed it for survival. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alexis's Mad Science Birthday Party

My baby girl is growing up so fast. It is hard to believe she is now 7 years old! Where has the time gone? 

This year Alexis had a special request for her birthday, she wanted a Mad Scientist Party!  My mom and I attempted to make the cake. We used a chocolate cake mix and we bought vanilla frosting and added food coloring for our decorating. This is definitely not a professional cake but it sure was fun.

Alexis wanted to help so she drew the atom and the test tube, she also added some gummy worms and a gummy eyeball. In the Erlenmeyer flask is cool whip that we dyed green and we made it overflow the flask to look like a toxic concoction.

We made a mad scientist by decorating 2 cupcakes. We based our idea from Tasty Kitchen's example.

Here is my real mad scientist having a grand time.

This is the brain we made from a Jello mold. We used orange jello and gummy worms to make a disgustingly mad looking brain. We also served cherry jello jigglers in petri dishes for snacks. I was so busy overseeing the experiments that I didn't get any pictures of  the best part of the party...

The Experiments
Blowing up a balloon with baking soda and vinegar.
Color Changing Milk
Making Slime
Mentos Geyser

Overall it was very successful and everybody had a great time! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What We Are Reading November 10

The Bailey City Monsters Vampire Baby - The Hauntly Manor Inn has a new guest, a baby. But this is no ordinary baby, this baby has sharp eye teeth, black hair, pale skin and is sensitive to sunlight.  Ben, Annie, and Jane are suspicious of the baby and believe she may be a vampire.

Alexis loves vampires, zombies, and monsters, so we picked this for our read aloud. The Bailey City Kids series encounters lots of ghoulish characters. This series could easily become a favorite in our house.

Pigs In The Mud In The Middle Of The Rud - A family is traveling along a muddy road in a Model T Ford only to be stopped by some pigs playing in the middle of the mud in the rud. Someone's gotta shoo but who? One by one, each family member volunteers to shoo as more animals join the pigs in the mud in the rud but the animals won't budge. This book is full of silly rhymes and Alexis enjoyed reading it aloud.

Sitti's Secrets - When Mona travels from the USA to Palestine to visit her grandmother, she has to rely on her father to translate. Soon Mona and her Sitti (grandmother) develop their own language and no longer need father's help. Mona learns Sitti's customs and daily routines and forms a strong bond with her Palestinian family despite a language barrier. When Mona returns home, she writes a letter to the President of the United States with a message of peace.

Linking Up to What My Child Is Reading and Read Aloud Thursday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Read To Feed Reaching For The Goal Line

Alexis has officially began reading for Read To Feed. Her goal is to raise $100 to give a gift of livestock to a family in extreme poverty. The money will be donated to Heifer International an organization that has been around for 65 years giving those in need a hand up not a hand out. Along with the gift of livestock the family receiving this gift will also get the training needed to raise the livestock.

A gift of one flock of chickens will provide a family in need with a sustainable living. Chickens produce eggs, a good source of protein. The eggs can be used for food and they can also be taken to the market and sold, giving a family a source of income. The chicken manure can be used to create a fertile compost to add to a garden therefore yielding more produce. Adding a rooster to the flock will allow the flock to grow and empower the family to "pass on the gift." Each participant who receives a gift of livestock from Heifer also agrees to give away an offspring to a neighbor, this is what Heifer International calls "passing on the gift". Passing on the gift produces a continuing chain of giving and has the power to lift an entire village out of poverty!

Below you will find a donation button if you would like to contribute to this wonderful cause. Our average donation is $5.00/person. That is equivalent to 25¢/book and Alexis pledges to read 20 books by December 6, 2011.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What My Child Is Reading - November 5

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly We enjoyed this book. The little old lady swallowed a fly, then she swallows a spider to catch the fly, then swallows a bird to catch the spider. You can probably guess what she swallows next!  This book has colorful and fun illustrations.

Pippi In The South Seas  I loved the Pippi Longstocking movies as a kid and picked this as our read aloud this week. Pippi Longstocking is the strongest girl in the world. Her father becomes King of Kurrekurredut Island and takes Pippi and her friends Tommy and Annika to the South Seas to see his kingdom. The children have many unusual adventures throughout the book, which makes this a fun read.

This week I'm linking up to Read Aloud Thursday and What My Child Is Reading.
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