Kiddo Board Book Haul

Monday, May 11, 2015

I'm ALWAYS buying board books for Anna. Kind of an addiction. She just loves books SO much. You can never have too many books. We are kind of running out of room, but I'm going to phase out a few that don't have the most amazing content and move those to the car to keep her occupied there. [I typically keep the dollar books finds in the car for her]. I've posted about some of my favorite books for her before. You can find that post here. You can also see how I store the books for her to easily access them here and here.

* The Chicka Chicka books pretty much run every Kindergarten classroom [I know this from teaching], so I would be mortified if my kid went to school without being introduced to these books. These books are a super fun way to teach children the letters of the alphabet and numbers as well. I pretty much hope to be turning Anna into a coconut tree someday for school with letters stuck all over her. GREAT Halloween costume idea, by the way--you're welcome. When I was teaching in Fl, we had a character parade every year around Halloween. The kiddos dressed up like characters from their favorite books and it's just the best thing ever...

* Seuss books are classic. The whimsical illustrations and story lines are sure to catch adults and kiddos alike. Anna is pretty much obsessed with The Ear Book. She brings it up to us at least twice a day to read to her. Danny and I have that whole thing memorized! The Tooth Book is next on my list. These books are great for introducing rhyme, animals, and of course for learning body parts. Really, they are just plain fun! 

* Bill Martin/Eric Carle books have some of my favorite illustrations. We have the hardcover of Brown Bear, and Anna loved it so much that I had to get the board books. Panda Bear has some more interesting animals in it, and then Polar Bear, which we still need to get, has animal sounds. Anna loves to point at all the animals when they are listed at the end of the story and I name all of them. Sometimes she switches so quickly, she seems to have made it a game to see how fast I can name them. These books are really simple and repetitive, so as a child gets older, they can easily predict what is happening in the story and it helps them to feel part of it. 

* Edamame & Edapapa / Stick and Stone are two of those books that you just see in a bookstore and go, "I need that. My kid will understand it when she is older, but I need that now." Edamame & Edapapa is a super cute book about family. Of course it is hilarious because they are beans and their dog is a sesame seed. I feel like as parents we need books like this because they just make us laugh and are fun to read. Stick and Stone is again hilarious of course because we all know the saying, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hut me.' The unlikely duo teach us all about sticking up for each other and how much friendship rocks in this book. Yes! The illustrations are great, and as a child gets older, this is definitely a great read aloud that will warm their heart!

This is one of the areas for her books. You can see more photos from the links in the opening paragraph...

I like to use board books for random daytime stories, to allow Anna to explore, and for bedtime stories. The board books I use for bedtime are the ones that have a story line, not the ones that are all like: 'ball' 'dog' 'cat.' She doesn't really want to sit there through a super long story at this point, so I find this is when the board books are great. I do have regular books that I read at bed time as well, but Anna doesn't have access to those yet because she will rip them to shreds or wind up with paper cuts galore. I keep those on a higher shelf and keep about a week's worth of books in there so I don't need to get out the step stool and go into the closet to reach the others each night [because I was doing that for a while...whhhyyy?!]

Hope these books are some that you can add to your child's collection :]

Magnetic Dry Erase Board Transformation

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I've really been wanting to add a magnetic board to Anna's play nook for a little while now and I just could not find anything that was the right size. Since we are renting an apartment, I do not EVER plan on painting the walls, so a magnetic chalkboard area was out of the question. I just wanted something that seriously did not require much work out of me [at all] and that was going to cost around $30. And TA DA, a less than $25 board:

[You can find the jumbo letter/number 100 piece set here]

I found this awesome magnetic dry erase board at AC Moore. It was $30, but I had a 50% off coupon, so boom--$15! It was super boring with just a black frame, but amazing at the same time because they normally have that awful tacky metal frame...I picked up some multi-colored washi tape at Target for a few bucks and these adorable felt flowers which were on sale at Target for around $5.50ish. I just ran the washi tape around the frame, assembled the felt flowers, used some hot glue to keep each one together and then again to secure them to the corners of the frame.

I love the fun colors! It all goes so well in her play nook and I feel like it is the perfect addition!

There are a couple of options for hanging. If you choose to hand horizontally, then there is already a way to do that, but since I wanted to go vertical, I  added my own hardware and wire to the back. I also put command strips on the inside of the bottom portion of the frame so that it stays put on the wall and doesn't swing left or right as Anna is moving around the magnets. It is definitely secure and perfectly within her reach! We've been having lots of fun with it this week!

Also, I have found that using Scotch Blue tape to secure drawing paper to Anna's table is my new best friend. Doesn't move around, doesn't mess up the table! We just switch out the paper when she fills it up. ;]

DIY Mother's Day Frames for Nana & Grandma

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Mom still loves it when I make her things, so I decided to make these really simple, yet thoughtful and adorable frames for my her and Mother-in-Law as a gift from Anna. Anna is still pretty young and doesn't really want to sit through a craft quite yet, so I figured I would go ahead and make these Mod Podge [MP] frames [tutorial here] because they are SO easy, fun, and inexpensive. I picked out the pattern for my Mom and my husband picked out the pattern for his Mom. ;] I love the idea that the photo can be updated each year and that the decor reflects their different personalities. 

I didn't include a tutorial on how to create the frames, because I just posted about it a few days ago. If you click the link in the paragraph above, it will take you to it! I did paint the frames with white craft paint prior to adding the decorative paper. Basically, I just wanted to share an idea of something that you can make for your Mom, or anyone really. It's all about how you decide to personalize it! I printed off the 'Nana & Me' and 'Grandma & Me' on white card stock and then cut with my paper cutter. I used the Martha Stewart punches to make the hearts and secured everything to the frame and sealed it using MP. 

When working with scrapbook paper [which I always have a ton handy], no matter how simple the project, you always want quality tools because it just makes your life easier. I purchased everything here [with the exception of the frames] from AC Moore because it is literally less than a 1/4 of a mile from my apartment and they offer 50% coupons off full price items ALL the time, as well as a discount for military members and their dependents. I LOVE this Fiskars paper cutter because I can fit the large 12 x 12 scrapbook paper in it. The Martha Stewart craft punches are a no brainer, this MP roller rules the world, and these huge packages of scrapbook paper are so great, especially at 50% off! I found these frames at Hobby Lobby. I like the fact that the edges are rounded and the bottom offers a larger amount of space so that I could add my personal touch to the project!

I still need to print out photos, put them in the frames, and mail them off! I think these frames turned out super cute and I sure hope my Mom and Mother-in-Law love them! :]