Does your home have a soon to be big sister(s) in it? Do you know a very special little girl who will be expecting a new little brother or sister? There is nothing more amazing than bringing a new baby into your family. But as beautiful as it is, it can create a big shift in the dynamics of your family. That is especially true if you already have a first child at home. If you’ve birthed- or adopted- more than one child, then you already know from firsthand experience the fear that parents can have about welcoming a new baby as a sibling.
If you are a mom, dad, aunt, uncle, godparent, grandparent, older sibling or simply just friends with a younger child, you probably know how incredibly difficult it is to connect with them in this day and age. With all of the tv shows, ipads, ipods, iphones, computers… it’s rare to get your children to want to put down the electronics and spend some quality screen free time with you. A good way to connect is to start and finish a project together. We have compiled some reading nook ideas for you to create with the child in your life!
It seems to fly by faster each year our children get older. A friend once said to me, “Long days, short years” when describing raising children. She was spot on. We have the same 24 hours in a day as we did when our kids came into this world, but why does it feel like so much less?
In talking with other parents about time, there is a common theme:
There isn’t enough of it.
Between the demands of work, logistics of getting children to and from activities, caring for our homes, feeding our family, paying the bills, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
And the REALLY important stuff we want to make time for can get pushed to the side. Important stuff like connecting with our children.
It’s easy to say we’ll do better tomorrow, but tomorrow becomes the next day and the next day and so forth.
Since we can’t magically add minutes to our day, we’ve had to be creative in the ways we connect with our three sons.
Finding only 15 minutes a day can be all it takes to keep everyone centered and happy.
Below are the top 10 ways we connect with our kids:
This has been our favorite activity to do with our kids since they were wee ones. Reading with them on our laps, bedtime reading, somehow fitting into their forts for ‘undercover’ reading or simply sitting in our family room on the couch, this special time of bonding through a shared book is a cherished activity. Even our 11-year old still likes to hear us read a picture book to our youngest. More…
We recently released a brand spankin’ new personalized children’s book, called Every Hero Needs a Sidekick! This big brother / big sister book follows the adventure of your little superhero as they find out they’re getting a sidekick: a new baby brother or sister.
We’ve turned up the volume on personalization again – this time showing images of the big sister or big brother throughout the book. So you’ll get the chance to choose skin and hair color when creating your book.
Martin Luther King Jr. | Illustration by Brad Sneed
Growing up on the plains in a mostly white neighborhood in a mostly white town in a mostly white state, I remember my 3rd grade teacher showing films about Martin Luther King Jr. and how his nonviolent protests shaped American history. As a parent, though, I’ve often sometimes wondered how to best to share Martin Luther King Jr. with my own young children. I’ve wondered: “How young is too young?” or “Will sharing the shameful side of American history hurt my kids?”
But like most important topics, we’ve resolved to err on the side of sharing. We know that if we’re not having lots of small-but-important conversations with our kids about topics that matter, their friends will. So over the past few years, here are a few of the ways we’ve tried to share the life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. with our kids.
Of course, one of our favorite ways to share ideas with kids is through picture books. Leading up to Martin Luther King day, your public library will likely feature a special display featuring books about Martin Luther King Jr. Check out this post for a list of picture books that are appropriate for your children.
Or if you can’t make it to the library, this video features David Adler’s A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Each year on Martin Luther King day, you’ll hear and see lots of people speaking on his behalf. But guess what: he’s better at it! Here are a couple of our favorite short videos featuring the Reverend:
“I Have a Dream Speech”
August 26th, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:
A 5 minute biography
A great primer on King’s life and legacy.
One of the best ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. is to make his holiday a Day-On rather than a day-off. There are lots of family-oriented service opportunities. Here are a few of our favorites:
Make ‘blessing bags‘, survival kits of non-perishable food, water and essentials to keep in the car for the moments when you see people in need around your city.
Serve in a shelter or food bank. Be sure to call ahead to learn what age-appropriate service activities are available.
Late last year we received an email from Ashley Tisdale, a second-grade teacher in North Carolina, saying she had fallen in love with our personalized Christmas book, ‘Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas. She said she wanted to buy a copy for each student in her class… all 18 of them!
I was travelling at the time, but hastily typed back a reply on my phone: (1) we will gladly cut you a break on price and (2) what a generous gesture…how can I enroll my own second-grader in your classroom?!?
Ashley graciously offered to let us share in the joy of her gift with some pictures and a short Q&A:
What’s your passion? What makes you tick?
I am a self-proclaimed DIY rockstar, travel junky, and lifelong learner.
Tell us about your students.
I teach second grade at a Title One school in North Carolina. Most of my students read below grade level but they do show an enjoyment for reading. Watching them grow from the beginning of the year to this point has been inspiring.
What made you decide this was the gift you wanted to give your students?
Instilling a lifelong passion for reading is so important to me so I knew immediately that I wanted to give the students a literacy related gift. I was sorting through my personal library when I came across a personalized Christmas book my mom had made for me when I was four years old. I started searching the internet for customizable Christmas books when I discovered several blogs that mentioned ‘Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas. I was so pleased with the reviews, pictures, story, and overall quality that I knew that was what I wanted for my class.
Can you tell us about the kids’ reaction?
They were ecstatic! As soon as they saw the books on their desks, the gasps and busy words of excitement filled the room. Most of them were so happy to have received a gift, they initially didn’t notice that they were personalized. Once they realized their names were in the stories, they went nuts! Their joy was worth every penny.
Postscript: Thank you, Ms. Tisdale, for letting us share in your wonderful gift. And thank you for reaffirming our belief in the power of education and literacy. Something tells me you’ll be remembered as “my favorite teacher” by lots and lots of kids that get lucky enough to pass through your classroom.
This personalized book for Christmas spins the classic Christmas poem around your child’s name. When a daring mouse accidentally rips your child’s name from Santa’s list, she must avoid Santa’s cat, Fritz, and fix things before Christmas!
Christmas is right around the corner! Order a copy now so you can read it with your favorite kiddo throughout the month of December!
Check out this beautiful time-lapse film of our awesome planet Earth. The footage was captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and made available to the public. Then a generous filmographer came along and cleaned it up for us. This little spinning orb we call home is truly awe-inspiring.
A few interesting tidbits:
The ISS orbits the planet about once every 90 mins.
It has circled Earth over 57,000 times (traveling more than 1.5 billion miles — the equivalent of eight round trips to the Sun.
The yellow/greenish line that you see over the earth is Airglow.