Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 2012 Christmas Books and Craft

Christmas Books For Kids:

Old Favorites
Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
Charlie Brown's Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
Home For Christmas by Jan Brett

Some You May Not Know
Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M Scarry
Most Mizerable Christmas by Mick Foley
The Life and Adventure of Santa Claus by L Frank Baum
The North Pole Dog Division by Stacy Bardsley

Ornament Craft
This one is easy and very inexpensive! I purchased cookie cutters from my local dollar store. I got three in the set. I traced them onto scraps of Christmas paper that were purchased for scrapbooking. I cut them out and helped my granddaughter tie some silver string through the cookie cutter and then glue the paper onto the edge. She made cute ornaments in just a few minutes. Since cookie cutters come in so many different designs, the possibilities are enormous. To change it up, you can use fabric which an older child can cut, or even scraps of wrapping paper. The name and date can be added if the ornaments are to be used as gifts for teachers or others that care for your children. Have fun!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dangers of Magnetic Toys

They look like fun and can be easy for little ones to handle, but magnets can be deadly for kids. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Safety Recall Nov. 2012

Here's the list...I'm checkin' it twice. Gonna' find if it's unsafe or nice!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Buying Guide 2012

Since I taught elementary school for many years, I often have parents ask what they should look for when buying holiday gifts for young children. I have some guidinglines to help you choose wisely.

For Babies and Toddlers:
When buying books, look for board books or washable cloth since they will take a beating. Images should be colorful and not crowded on the page. Simple images are the best and flap book where kids can lift to peek are really fun. Toys should let kids explore colors, shapes and music. Foam blocks and simple puzzles are also great.

Kids like stories that tell about the things they see every day, both in the home and in their neighborhoods. Animal stories are very appealing and kids are starting to enjoy humor as well. Toys are this age are starting to have more than 1 piece, often using cause and effect motions. Simple games are fun, especially if they foster cooperative rather than competitive play. Beginning art materials are appropriate now also, especially washable markers and lots of big pieces of paper, window and bath crayons, and soft clay.

Kindergartners and First Graders:
Beginning readers are easily found for kids this age. Children learn a lot about reading while watching you run your finger under the words as you read, and seeing you read top to bottom and when you turn pages. Now they can predict what will happen, and talk about their favorite character or favorite part of the story.
Non fiction books are especially helpful, since the children can more easily predict the words they might see and what facts the story will be teaching. Toys at this age should follow their interests. Many of them will require multiple steps and following directions. Games will require taking turns and some memory skills. At this stage, children will need to recognize numbers, letters and symbols to play. Don't forget to look for games on-line as well. Continue with arts and craft activities, introducing safety scissors, washable glue and watercolor paints.

As always, don't forget to follow the safety age recommendations required to be listed on all games and toys.
They are there for a reason...and you risk harm to children by letting them play with toys that have small or moving parts that are recommended for older children.
Check here every month for products that have been recalled.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Back to Sleep Campaign Still Going Strong

Review the current facts and research on the benfits of laying infants on their backs in their own empty cribs for safe sleep here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Books and Craft

Books for you to enjoy:
For younger children- The First Thanksgiving by Sarah Treu
                                  Thanksgiving Is... by Gail Gibbons
                                   My First Thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola
                                   Pilgrims by Mary pope Osborne (non-fiction)

For older children- Thanks You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie     Halse Anderson
                             Squanto's Journey by Joseph Bruchac
                             1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O'Neill Grace

Craft- Coffee Filter Turkey:
Supplies- coffee filter
card stock or construction paper in brown and yellow
wiggle eyes (optional)
First, lay one coffee filter flat. See first photo
Second, color the center and edges randomly with water based markers. Photo 2
Third, fold into a pie shape. Photo 3
Fourth, dip the point and edge into water
Fifth, wait until the water has absorbed into the entire filter, mixing the colors.
Sixth, after the filter has completely dried, draw shape of a turkey head and body, legs and beak from construction paper and use glue to adhere. Eyes can be draw and added or use wiggle eyes. Photo 4

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween 2012 Books and Craft

Great Books:
Ages 3-5
Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
Happy Halloween, Mittens by Lola Schaefer
Clifford's Halloween by Norman Bridwell
Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray
Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Ages 6-8
Violet's Halloween by Georgie Hackford
103 Hilarious Halloween Jokes by Scott Allen
Haunted Halloween by Alex Willis (chapter book)

Bathroom Tissue Pumpkin Craft
You will need:
1 roll of bathroom tissue
orange and green tissue paper
black construction paper


1-Lay the roll of tissue on it's side on several layers of orange tissue paper. Roll in one complete turn to measure how much paper you will need to cover the roll completely. Cut out the piece allowing at least two inches on either side.
2-Cover the roll and tape the ends down. Fold over the sides of the tissue, pressing the edges into the cardboard tube at both ends.
3-Cut several pieces of green tissue in rectangle shape. Choose one end and cut into a point. Twist a few pieces together at the blunt end and tape then into one end of the roll. Leave the pointed end sticking out to form leaves.
4-Cut eyes, mouth and any other features you desire out of black construction paper. Use tape to place on the "pumpkin."
5-Make several with different faces and use them to decorate your mantel, windowsills or table. They are cute, nonbreakable and can be disassembled and put back to bathroom use when the holiday is passed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

September 2012 Product Safety Recalls

Follow this link to see what items have been recalled.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October is Fire Safety Month

Now is the time to discuss fire safety with the kids in your household. Despite the obvious rule of never playing with lighters and matches, fires are started every year by unsupervised kids playing with these items, often with tragic results. Even though adults know these dangerous things should be kept out the reach of children, they often are not, so take time to warn kids about the hazards. Remind them of the dangers of hot items on the stove and in the oven. If  indoor ceramic heaters are used, tell them about the dangers of keeping things too close to them. Candles are so attractive, but they are so very dangerous. Make sure children know never to touch them or put other objects close to them. Along with this, don't forget to review what to do if they see a fire or hear the smoke detector go off, especially at night. Practice the "get low and go" rule by crawling to the door, in order to avoid deadly smoke as well as "stop, drop and roll" if ever their clothes should catch fire. Have a designated meeting place outside in a safe place away from the house and remind them NEVER to reenter the house to retreive any item or pet. Let them practice making a 911 emergency call on a play telephone and show them where it is on your cell phone. Make sure they know their address and ask them to repeat it throughout the year to practice. If possible, have a few neighbors houses designated as places to go to make the 911 calls if no cell phone is available. All these things take only a few minutes of your time, but can make the difference between life and death. 
Here are a few websites for more information and games for kids to play to help them learn fire safety.
Fire Safety for Kids, and the United States Fire Administration.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September Craft and Books

Good September books:

Fall Leaves by Martha Rustad
Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro
Fall Leaves Change Color by Kathleen Weidner
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins

Falling Leaves Project:
You will need one sandwich size zipper type plastic bag
various colors of construction paper
glue or tape scissors
leaf punch (optional)
Using the picture (bottom of these directions) and your plastic bag as a size guide, cut one strip of brown construction paper two inches wide and the width of the bag as the ground. Glue or tape on the bag.
Cut two one inch strips to be the tree trunks and glue onto each side of the bag. (Make the sides taper a big to give a realistic look).
Cut a 2 inch strip to go across the top of the bag and glue or tape overhanging the very top of the bag by a half inch.
By cutting fall colored construction paper into half inch squares (or using a leaf punch) make lots of pieces and glue them to the brown strip at the top of the bag. Over lap them and mix the colors too! (If the kids are able they can also draw leaves and cut them out).
Add a few more leaves on the "ground" as well as some tufts of grass or animals if desired. Fall themed stickers are helpful here too.
Cut one large square of light blue paper to cover the entire bag and glue or tape that to the BACK of the bag to look like sky.
Fill the bag with more leaves and then close the bag securely.
Tip the bag upside down to get all the leaves to the top. Then turn right side up and give it a shake. Watch all the leaves fall.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Are You Making Wise Choices About Fast Food?

If you are like me, you find yourself thinking about drive through meals for the kids when you have tons of errands to run. Well, this article I found will help you make smarter decisions about fast foods.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time For Breakfast

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day since it fuels your empty body with the necessary energy to get it all going. For kids headed off to a long day at daycare or school, breakfast can mean the difference between learning or inattention. As important as it is, there is little time in the morning for cooking. We often turn to a quick bowl of cereal so here's some criteria for picking out a healthy one. Copy down the numbers and take it with you the next time you shop and see what you can find.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 2012 Art Activity

I am having fun reading The Happy Hippopotami by Bill Martin Jr. to my grandkids this week. Can you imagine hippos on the beach?

Texture Rubbings

The kids can make a wonderful picture out of texture rubbings. Use lightweight paper, such as copy paper. Cut a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet into fourths. Using crayons, lay the paper on any object with an interesting texture and rub away! You can use shades within a color family or choose lots of different colors. Layer each one with a piece of card stock. When you get a few finished, arrange them to make a large picture or wall hanging. Use objects from nature like tree bark, leaves or sea shells. Use kitchen tools such as strainers or slotted spoons. Don't forget to use chairs backs or plates with raised decorations. You will find textures everywhere. Have fun!

Monday, August 6, 2012

All About Insect Bites and Stings

Is summer driving you buggy? All joking aside, insects can cause you and the kids in your life lots of problems. Here is a informative article that gives you the facts about bites, stings, allergic reactions and repellents.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Do you use timeout as a displine tool? Lots of adults do. Here are some things to consider to use it effectively.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Have a Sweet But Healthy Breakfast

Does that sound impossible? I thought so too, but here are some great recipes for guilt free breakfasts for kids that have a real sweet tooth!

Is It Bad Behavior or Hyperactivity?

As a teacher, I was asked that question often by parents. This helpful article helps you identify the difference.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

June 2012 Safety Recalls

Here's the list for June. Check it out.

Top 5 Healthy Habits For Children

Teaching healthy habits to children starts them down the road of independence. But which ones are the most important for them to learn and practice regularly? Check out this list.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Infant Sleep Positioners Pose Suffocation Risk

Parents and caregivers often opt for those adorable bedding items and sleep positioners for infants. After reading this article, you will change your mind.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tips About Sunscreen

Read what this dermatologist has to say.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Father's Day gifts

Here are two ideas for you and the kids to make some father's day gifts. Both are recipes. One is for great and easy cookies. The other is for home made finger paint which the kids can use to make a card or a painting. Choose one or both to make. The kids will have so much fun. BOTH RECIPES REQUIRE ADULT SUPERVISION SINCE YOU MUST USE THE STOVE.

Finger Paint:
I envelope of unflavored gelatin
cold water
1/2 cup cornstarch
4 Tbsp dishwashing liquid
food coloring clean jars

1-Stir gelatin into 1/3 cup of cold water. Stir well. Set aside.
2-Add cornstarch to 2 1/2 cups of cold water. Stir until dissolved. Simmer until it starts to thicken.
3-Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture and the dishwashing liquid.
4-Allow mixture to cool, then spoon it into jars.
5-Stir in a generous amount of food coloring.
6-Store at room temperature in airtight containers.

Amazing Cookies-makes 3 doz
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 jar of peanut butter (I prefer creamy but you choose)
6 cups of corn flakes
3 oz chocolate for melting

1-Combine sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium-high heat. Stir until it reaches a full boil.
2-Stir in peanut butter and mix well.
3-Add cornflakes and mix well
4-Scoop out dough and form into 1-2 inch balls
5-Place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.
6-Melt the chocolate for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until smooth
7-Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.
8-Serve them to Dad with kisses and hugs

May 2012 Safety Recalls

Here's the list. Check it carefully and share it with friends and neighbors.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Washing Machine Dangers!

This is just incredible. Never let young children get into washers or dryers, even if you are right there.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do You Know About Magnet Poisoning?

Follow this link to read about how to prevent your children from this horrible accident!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Additions

I have added a current list of the most popular children's books and a pool of swimming fish to feed (with a click of your mouse) at the bottom of the blog. Hope you enjoy both! Let me know.

Protect Your Child From Drowning

Keep summer fun AND safe. Read these tips to protect the children in your family and their friends.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Mother's Day Gift Idea

How about some beautiful modern bookmarks?

I made mine about 6 inches by 3 inches. Use heavy oak tag or card stock in Mom's favorite colors or a favorite theme. Cut smaller panels out of watercolor paper or thick card stock and let the kids draw items from nature like my flowers, bees or dragonfly. The panels can be mounted on patterned paper, wrapping paper. wallpaper, figure painted paper, or solid colored card stock. You can color the edges with marker or taper the corners. I added stickers with sayings to some of mine or the kids can write "Mom" or their name. I used white pre-cut flowers for the one on the far right and colored it with markers, adding a flat marble in the middle. The options are pretty much limitless. Don't forget to punch a hole at the top and add some matching ribbon. Add the date and some x's and o's and Mom will be thrilled to use it with her latest book or magazine choice.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and mothering caregivers out there!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 2012 Product Recalls

Go to Safe Kids and review this month's list.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

15 Signs Your child May Have ADHD

Follow this link to read the list that describes the behaviors.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Product Recalls for March 2012

Here is the list. Check your purchases!

Sneak Peak into a Great Blue Heron Nest!

Follow this link to visit a webcam live broadcast of a pair of Great Blue Herons as they care for their eggs. When will they be hatching? There is also one on the nest of a pair of Redtailed Hawks whose chicks should hatch in a few days!! What fun for kids and adults as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Books and Craft 2012

Here are some terrific books for the holiday:
Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Duck and Goose by Tod Hills
The Easter Egg by Jan Brett
Junie B. First Grader-Dumb Bunny by Barbara Park
Story of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing
Peepsqueak by Ann Clark

Paper Plate Bunny

You will need 2 white paper plates, a pink crayon or marker, some pom poms and a small piece of colored construction paper.
First, glue two big white pom poms next to each other in the middle of the plate. Place a small pink pom pom right above them to be the nose.
Next, draw the eyes with a crayon or marker.
Then, cut a bow tie of any color and glue at the bottom of the plate.
Finally, take the second plate and cut two ears by cutting and removing a "v" shaped piece. Color the insides pink and attach them to the back of the plate, cut sides toward the middle (see my picture for placement.

This cute bunny can hang at your door or in your window.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

February 2012 Product Recalls

Check here for children's produsts that have been recalled.

Monday, March 5, 2012

St Patrick's Day 2012

Here are some fun books to share:
Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever by Teddy Slater
Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing
Hurray for St. Patrick's Day by Joan Holub
St. Patrick's Day Countdown by Salina Yoon
Fine St. Patrick"s Day by Susan Wojciechowski
St. Patrick's Day Alphabet by Beverly Vidrine
Ashley's St Patrick's Day Treasure Hunt by Shalyn Green

Craft Idea- Leprechaun's Mask
Supplies: 1 each 8.5x11 green and orange piece of construction paper or card stock
stickers, stamps, gold glitter glue(optional)
gold metallic paper or foil (optional)
yarn or ribbon
scissors, hole punch, tape

1-Fold the green paper in half and cutting from the edge toward the fold, cut a basic hat shape. (see photo)
2-Decorate with shamrock stickers, stamps or swirls of gold glitter. Kids can also decorate by drawing any decorations they want.
Punch a hole on each side of the brim. You can add an extra piece of card stock in the back to prevent tearing. Cut some ribbon or string to tie through each hole.
3-Fold the orange paper in half and cut a U shape matching the same wide as the hat. Fringe and slightly curl the outer edge all the way around. (see photo)
4-Securely tape the orange beard to the back sides of the hat.

Now your little ones can dress up while they watch the parade go by!

Here is my sample:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great Backyard Birdcount 2012

Have some fun with the kids by counting the birds you see around your home this weekend. Follow this link to download the information. Then you can enter your numbers online and see which birds have been counted in your hometown and across the country. It also help ornithologists see the species trends. It's really fun!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine's Day Books and Craft 2012

Reading Suggestions:

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds. What happens if you plant a kiss? Read this charming book and see.

I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. This book tells the true meaning of friendship.

Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell. Is there ever a time that a hug isn't just right? I don't think so.

Never Too Little To Love by Jeanne Wells. Jules the kitten explores the world to find out if everyone regardless of age or size is too little to give love.

Snowy Valentine by David Petersen. Enjoy this story of the search for the perfect gift for Valentine's Day.

Tissue Paper Flowers

You will need:
tissue paper in different colors
chenille stems

1-Fold tissue paper so that you have a stack of at least 8 sheets. The more layers you use, the fuller your flower will be. In this picture, I used 16 sheets.
2-Cut out about a 4 inch circle through all the layers. CAREFULLY poke a small hole through the center of the stack of circles.
3-Push a stem through the back of the circles so that 4 inches extends above the circles. Slide a button onto the stem above the circles.
4-Bend the stem and go back down through the other hole in the button and back down through the circles. (the button should be snug against the tissue paper)
5- Twist the end of the stem around itself, right under the circles to hold them in place.
6- Take each layer and squeeze them up over the button. It will form petal shapes and add fullness to your flower.

Make different colored flowers or all the same. Use contrasting or matching colors for the buttons. Stems can be green to look realistic or any fun colors you wish. Place them into a vase with shredded tissue paper, Styrofoam or glass beads in the bottom. You could also tape tissue paper leaves to the stems if you wish. These easy flowers can be used to decorate a table or windowsill. Give them as a gift along with a handmade card. Happy Valentine' Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Healthy Meals For Picky Eaters

If you have a picky eater in your home, you know how frustrating it can be to find healthy meals for them. Here are a few ideas using the food kids love! How much better can that be?

Product Recalls for January 2012

Follow this link for the checklist of products that need to be avoided.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recommended Immunizations for Children

Follow this link to see the schedules for children 0-6 yrs. and 7-18yrs. They even have a handy printable for you to use to keep accurate records.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Groundhog Day 2012

Here are some fun books for kids for February 2, 2012

Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller. Who could be a good substitute for groundhog for this special holiday? Many animals try. See who is best by sharing this cute book.

Groundhog Day by Gail Gibbons. An all time favorite author does it again with this book that tells about how the holiday got started and some interesting facts about groundhogs.

Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts. Uh-oh! What happens on this day? Who can solve the problem? Read it together and see.

Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub. Who better to go to weather school than the groundhog? See how it all turns out.

Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day! by Abby Levine. Not all groundhogs are happy about popping out of the burrow to do the forecast. What happens if you're shy? See how Gretchen makes out in her new job.

Easy Art Project

For this project you need a brown paper lunch bag, a dessert size paper plate, some drawing paper, crayons and a stapler.

Cut most of the top of the paper bag away to make the "burrow." Fold down the remaining top of the bag toward the outside, making a rim. Color the outside edge of the paper plate in greens to look like grass. Cut the middle out, leaving the outside ring intact. Place the green paper ring on the paper bag rim and staple. Have the kids draw a groundhog any way they wish. You may provide some pictures from books as a reference. Cut the groundhogs out and place them in the paper bag "burrow" with the heads popping out. If the cutouts need to be higher, you can put some tissue paper in the bottom of the bag for support. You can make several and put family member's names on the bag and use as place settings if you wish. Enjoy the holiday and don't forget to share the weather forecast prediction with your child!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Follow this link to get some interesting healthy lunch ideas for the kids.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do You Read Grand Magazine?

Grand Magazine is a great online magazine for grandparents. I found this article really interesting. It's about avoiding some common food mistakes with kids. Check it out as well as the other informative articles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012