Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Going on a Bear Hunt

Have I mentioned that I love Sunshine School? I cannot even begin to say how much it has been a blessing to me and my girls this year. We are so thankful to be a part of such a nurturing and creative environment--especially on days like today.

For our January event during our snowy, wintery focus, we had a pajama day for our cute kiddos... They wore pjs, and they brought their favorite teddy bears and flashlights.  Then the director hid the bears to set up for our hunt. Here are my little cuties before we left for school:

We began this morning in my class by making these bear lights, worn below by my Addy-belle.

Then we read our class this book:
And then after snack and music, we took our class on a bear hunt.  In the meantime, I came to Ansley's class for her bear hunt. They did a miniature version of what the big kids did, and she was most excited to find the Teddy Grahams around her Ansley-bear's neck.

We reenacted everything the book covers--going through the grass, the river, the mud, the snowstorm, the caves, and we chanted, "We can't go over it. We can't go under it. We'll have to go through it..."

Mrs. Mindy, our preschool director, lead us through the adventure.

And here is my cute class after we rescued our bears.

I really believe in having moments like this--moments that foster creativity, moments that celebrate the simple joys, moments where child-like hearts are contagious. Thank you Lord for these precious moments.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

You read the wrong books...

My post title is one of my favorite--albeit watered down here--quotes from Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. When I first heard this quote, it resonated with me. I had always considered myself a voracious reader, devouring anything I could get my hands on, but had I missed the right books somewhere along the way???

Even though I was an English major and loved writing myself out of any pickle, I often opted for the cliff notes versions of some of the classics I was assigned to read. I appreciated the imagery-rich descriptions of settings and clever dialogue and delving deep into the language to discover hidden meanings, but I much preferred the thrilling page turner with the seductive plot (Judith McNaught's Paradise was one of my all-time favorites. I know, right!?!?). As an English teacher, I have been so blessed with getting to go back and give some of these classics their due, but I always encourage my students to find something--anything--that they can sink their teeth into when they choose their own reading materials. I firmly believe that reading something is better than reading nothing (with the exception of fifty-shades-of-trash and the like).

As a child, I spent hours holed up with Little House in the Big Woods, Ramona Quimby, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, and my mom's old Nancy Drews and Boxcar Children, but I also devoured every Baby-Sitter's Club and Sweet Valley Twins book I talk my mom into ordering from Scholastic as well.

As a mom, I have tried to be intentional about what I have introduced my girls to in the literary world.  I am so, so thankful for my friend who introduced me to this book below:

It is such an inspiring book that really challenges what we are teaching our kids through what we expose them to. As a literal--and literary--person, I have always been focused on the words, the word pictures, the dialogue, and the story. This book reminded me of the power of the illustrations, and I have been introduced into a whole new world of capturing the young reader through actual visual pictures that make the words come alive.  I am reading these books with fresh eyes.  This book supplies a recommended reading list for each age group, and we have made our library lists--and our Amazon wish lists--through this resource.

Below are some of Addison's current favorites.  The Great Girl Stories collection is something that my mom picked up at a bookstore in Seattle a couple of years ago. In it is a collection of snippets of some of the classic early chapter books that I hope Addison will want to read--stories from Anne of Green Gables, Matilda, The Little Princess, Ramona, Pippi Longstocking, Heidi, Little House in the Big Woods.  We have just started reading some of those, and it thrills me to see her focused interest. I also LOVE it as well!

These are some of Ansley's current favorites. She asks for the Rainbow Fish every time we sit down, and she has named her babydoll Annabelle, and all of her stuffed monkeys are now George.
I am so thankful to have come across this book, and I would definitely recommend it!

***In my reading world, I just finished Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, and it was so, so interesting!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...

I love my friends.

Last night we had an Oprah/Pinterest-inspired "Favorite Things" party. This was a sequel to our "Pinterest" party that we had back in the early fall/late summer. There were six of us, so we each bought 5 items of something that we consider a favorite and brought them with us, and our price limit was $5. Becky made heavy hor'devours, Heather made a delicious dairy/soy free chocolate cake, and we exchanged our loot.

This cake was decadent. So yummy, HDP.

This is what I was going to bring, but I couldn't get myself together to make five of them. Brain fog from too much holiday food??? I did make Karen's though and so she just got it for a belated birthday treat. Instead, I brought my favorite winter nail polish for everyone. "Grey Area."

Here is an up close picture of the goodies: Personalized ornaments, washi tape, emi-jays, MODA lip balm, Starbucks mixes, and nail polish.
Here is an "arial" shot. And that's me in the gray boots behind the table too. :)

I am so thankful for such good girlfriends and love making these memories with them. Thanks for a great night, ladies!