Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: August 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Week of Preschool - Messy Play and Fun!

I survived the first week of preschool and it was lots of fun for me and the cute kiddos in my class. I thought I'd share a few photos of the messy fun and play that went on in my classroom last week.

Our Theme - School is FUN!

We played with water beads
Everyone was amazed at how much they grew over time.
This activity has been such a HUGE HIT!
The kids beg me to open our sensory table first thing in the morning.

The kids had a great time exploring shaving cream,

painting on the easel

and doing lots of finger painting.

My class loves play dough.
They really like the sweet fruity scented play dough.

We made marble paint bees for our outside wall display.
I used photos of the children as the bees faces
& they turned out so cute.
I also cut hexagon shapes and let the kids each decorate one.
Then I used them all to make a large honeycomb.

There was lots of dress-up play, block building, 
story time and playground fun.
The kids sure do know how to have fun on the playground.
Between the sand, water, slides and trikes
they are busy, busy, busy.

What a great week.
I can't wait to share our current week with you -
Theme - I Am Special!
Check back next Wednesday for a peek at what we did.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School No Cook Kool Aid Play Dough Student Gift

Looking for an easy and fun back to school gift for your kids, their classmates or your students? You simply can not go wrong with homemade play dough. I whipped up a few batches of yummy Kool Aid scented play dough before the first day of school. For the gift I gave each student a chunk of play dough added a cookie cutter, a little poem I wrote and a copy of the recipe and voila - I had a gift for my students that was very well received.

Kids love play dough and giving it a fun fruity scent is always a big hit. The Lil Divas helped me mix up the various batches of Kool Aid play dough (cherry, grape, orange, tropical punch and pink lemonade)  and they just had to keep a chunk of each for themselves. They have been happily playing with it ever since.

Here's the basic No Cook Kool Aid Play Dough recipe I use:
(this gives a nice soft and pliable dough) 
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup salt
2 packets kool aid
2 tbsp. cream of tarter
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir.
Add oil and boiling water.
Mix well until dough begins to form.
Let cool for a few minutes.
Remove from bowl and place onto wax paper, 
aluminum foil or other work surface.
Knead until you reach desired consistency.  
Add a little more flour if dough is too sticky. 

This is the poem I included:
This little ball of play dough
I made just for you.
So mold it, roll it and stretch it too
because with a little imagination
it can be anything you want it to.

 Tip - I am always on the look out for marked down Kool Aid packets at the store. It's a great way to stock up for when you need to make large batches like this. Kids really enjoy the scented dough.

What other back to school gift ideas do you have?


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School Shopping with The Children's Place

We were recently invited to The Children's Place to do some Back to School shopping at a blogger event. The Lil Divas are at that age where they have very definite ideas about what they like and what they don't like. Thankfully, they always seem to like the styles at TCP so we were all excited to attend this event and do some shopping.

As soon as we walked in the Littlest Diva was giddy. This season TCP is all about sequins, glitter, sparkle, color and animal prints - her favorite things.  Even their uniform staples can be glammed up with fun sequin sweaters and sparkly shoes. It really is awesome to have such cute options for Back to School. Unfortunately, the Lil Divas have a "required" uniform to wear to school so we decided to do some after school and weekend wear shopping with our provided gift card.

Here's what the Lil Divas chose:

Outfit #3 - Denim Pleated Skort,

I love that their personal style shines through in their clothing choices. Can you tell who is my girly girl? What I really like about TCP is that it's quality clothing, there is always something that suits both girls sense of style and it won't break the bank. 

If you are looking to do some Back to School shopping and have children wearing sizes newborn to 14 be sure to stop by The Children's Place

So, where do you do your children's back to School clothes shopping?  Which are your favorite kids clothing stores or websites?

Disclosure: I received a promotional giftcard to facilitate this review but all opinions are 100% mine. Yours may differ. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Sunday Showcase - Back to School Tips, Activities and Celebrations!

Hello & welcome to the
  The Sunday Showcase -
are the STARS of the show!

The Sunday Showcase

The Sunday Showcase is hosted on FIVE blogs!

Each blog showcases their own features (from the previous week's linky) so be sure to check them all out!

If you are here for the first time please read this informational post for the full details. Anything kid friendly and/or child centered is welcome! You are welcome to share more than one post, but we don't accept links for giveaways,  shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. They will be deleted.

If you're linking up we encourage you to visit some of the other links! Everyone appreciates comments, encouragement, feedback, etc. One of the co-hosts will visit your link & spread some comment love. We also share some on Facebook, Twitter & now we will be adding our features and faves to our Pinterest board!  Yes, you read that correctly! The Sunday Showcase also has a Pinterest board devoted to sharing YOUR posts!

Please note that by linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section and on our Pinterest board!  If you prefer not to be featured simply comment below or e-mail me to let us know.

The Showcase Features:
Back to School

We just completed our first week back at school. Everyone did great but we definitely need to find our groove/routine. In order to celebrate the kids going back to school I thought I would feature some Back to School themed posts that really stood out to me this week!

Mommy and Me Book Club shared their Kindergarten is Fin-tastic Party 
Living Montessori Now shared some great
Playdough to Plato gave us tips on how to

What's your favorite way to get your kids 
playing and exploring math fun?

If you have been featured, grab a button you deserve it!


From your Hostess:

Thank You for sharing your child centered ideas with us!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kevin Henkes Book Giveaway - Penny and Her Song

Did you get to read this month's post for the Virtual Book Club for Kids? We had lots of fun with Kevin Henkes book, Penny and Her Song so I am super excited that the folks over at Harper Collins are giving us a (free) copy of the book to giveaway to one of our US readers.

Yay! I know your children will enjoy this book so let's get right to the giveaway details.

Giveaway is open to US residents and will run until midnight on August 30, 2012.

To enter simply use the rafflecopter entry below and leave a comment about which is your favorite Kevin Henkes book. Be sure to leave us your email so we can contact you if you win.

For extra entries -
1. Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and leave me a link.
2. Tell us what author you would like to see us cover on the Virtual Book Club for kids.

Good Luck!

Disclosure - Harper Collins Publishing is providing a free copy of Penny and Her Song to giveaway. This is not a paid or sponsored post.

Other blogs participating in Kevin Henkes Giveaways this week!
Chester's Way - Toddler Approved
Sheila Rae the Brave- Juggling with Kids
Lily's Purple Plastic Purse- Mommy and Me Book Club
Chrysanthemum- Teach Preschool
Old Bear- No Twiddle Twaddle
My Garden- Crafty Moms Share
Chrysanthemum- Ready.Set.Read!
A Good Day- Adventures in Reading
Old Bear- Reading Confetti
Wemberly Worried - The Eductors' Spin On It
Jessica - Crayon Freckles
Owen - Royal Baloo

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Learning With Books - Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes

This month the summer virtual book club was exploring author Kevin Henkes. There are so many wonderful books to choose from but I wanted to share Penny and Her Song with the Lil Divas.  I thought it would be the perfect book for my performance loving girls and I was correct. They enjoyed both the book and our activities.

If you've never read Penny and Her Song - it's a Level 1 "I Can Read" book and it recently came out in paperback which is fabulous because now you can get the book for a great low price. 

The Oldest Diva read the book to us and we took some time to discuss the story elements - characters and plot (beginning, middle & end and problem/solution) and how Penny and the Lil Divas were similar and different. 

The book could not have come at a better time. Now that the Lil Divas come out of school at the same time - they are very competitive over who gets to talk about their day first. This book opened up some great discussion about how sometimes we have to wait to share something we think is special with our parents.

Once we were done reading we moved on to some FUN - our very own performances of course! I have to admit that this not uncommon in our home.  Singing and dancing are usually part of our every day but the Lil Divas were inspired by the book to get dressed up, come up with their own song lyrics and put on a show like Penny did with her family.

These little girls put on a fabulous show. I love to sit back and watch them in action. I know these moments are fleeting so I am soaking them up. Aren't they adorable? I might be a bit partial because I am their Mom but they take their future pop stardom very seriously and it shows, hehe.

In the story Penny's song is all about numbers 1 thru 10. I thought this offered a good excuse to practice number writing with the Littlest Diva. It is an area that we haven;t worked too much on and I noticed that she needed some additional practice on some numbers (2, 6 & 8 especially). Using our dry erase board and markers I demonstrated how to write numbers 2 thru 8, helped her write them by guiding her hand and then let her write them independently.

With just 15-20 minutes of focused practice she made such marked progress. She was super excited about being able to write the numbers like a big girl and I was impressed with how well she was writing.

We had a lot of fun with Kevin Henkes book Penny and Her Song and I am super excited to announce that Harper Collins is generously sponsoring a giveaway for the book here on the blog. How awesome is that!? Please check back tomorrow for all the details and to enter using our easy rafflecopter giveaway.

Do you have a favorite Kevin Henkes book? I'd love for you to share your favorites and to join the blog hop for Kevin Henkes book inspired posts/ideas. 



Exploring Back to School Feelings with a BabbaCo Box

Back to school is a time of emotional upheaval. Kids are nervous about not being in the same class as their friends, meeting new teachers, learning new things, adjusting to a new environment, leaving the carefree days of summer behind and so on. With a kindergartener and a first grader in my house, this new school year brought lots of fears, angst and of course a touch of excitement.  That's a lot of different emotions and feelings for children (and parents) to digest. How do you calm their fears? How can you help relieve their angst? As parents how can we nurture and encourage their excitement? These are all things I was struggling with as a mom. I myself was feeling very emotional about having both my babies in school full time, returning to work and letting go of this chapter of our lives and embracing the next phase we have entered into. 

As soon as our BabbaCo box arrived in the mail I knew that it would be perfect to use during back to school time. Why? It was a "The Way I Feel" box so I thought it would provide me with some fun ways to help the Lil Divas express what they were feeling and open up communication amongst all of us.
I was really impressed with the contents of the box. It was chock full of goodies and  there was so much to do. This particular feelings box came with various activities -  sock puppets, feelings faces magnets, a feelings book and spy glasses that could be used as feelings finders. On top of all the activities it also included suggestions for digital downloads and more online fun and a bonus parent massager/de-stresser. I honestly couldn't believe how much stuff was in this box.

I loved that everything we would need was right there in the box including glue and scissors. All the prep work was done for me. I can't begin to tell you how that came in handy this week when I had zero time to devote to anything except getting prepped for my own classroom's back to school and getting the girls back into a formal school routine after our relaxed summer schedule. 

The first thing we did was to work on the Feelings Faces Magnets. I wanted to have this ready to use for the first week of school so that the Lil Divas could easily share how they were feeling both before they went to school and once they returned home. It was a great conversation starter and the Lil Divas really got into changing out the faces to match their moods. For example, on the morning of the first day of school our magnet had a nervous face but after a great first day at school they replaced it with a happy face.

Our Feelings magnets are proudly displayed on our refrigerator and have been getting lots of use this week.

The next activity we enjoyed was the enclosed feelings book which the Oldest Diva read to her Little Sister. How it warms my heart to watch them reading like this together. The book is about caring for others and opened up some great dialogue between the Lil Divas and I about the things we can do to show our family and friends we care about them. 

With both Lil Divas in classrooms where they didn't know anyone, it was nice to take some time to discuss what it means to be a good and caring friend and family member. The story was short, simple and to the point and a great starting point for discussion.

Next we explored the sock puppets which I must say was one of their favorite activities from the box. I love that there were 2 socks so that both girls could make their own puppet. The bag included fuzzy socks, yarn, wiggly eyes, felt, card stock and glue - all that had to be added was imagination.

We kept our sock puppet design simple but you can easily add your own craft items and take things up a notch. The Lil Divas used the puppets to role play feelings and play out scenarios. They enjoy putting on shows so this was fun for them and it was nice to go over reactions to feeling scared, being a friend, feeling happy, etc. 

The hit of the box was the Spy Glasses. These glasses allow you to see behind you from the sides and believe me I wish there had been 2 of them because the girls really enjoyed wearing them and spying on everything going on behind them. As you can imagine - these have been used a lot way beyond the scope of the activity for the box. 

Isn't this a great box and honestly wasn't it perfect for back to school? I truly enjoyed being able to explore this box with the Lil Divas during their first week of school.

About BabbaCo:
BabbaBox is a monthly subscription based box service that is delivered right to your home. The company was started by Jessica Kim - a mom like you and me! You don't know how much I love that. The boxes include all physical materials, directions and suggestions you will need to complete the 2-3 included activities right in the box (including things like glue and scissors).

The boxes are designed by experts and are geared for kids ages 3-6 years old. My girls are 5 and 6 years old and our box was great for their age group. TheLil Divas thoroughly enjoyed their BabbaCo box. Subscriptions start at $29.99 a month but I am super excited to be able to offer my readers a special coupon code for 20% off your first box - just use MPD20OFF at checkout. 

We also have a giveaway sponsored by BabbaCo so that one lucky reader can try out a box firsthand. Yay! I know my readers will enjoy a BabbaBox so I am excited to be able to introduce you to this great company and their service.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck,

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary BabbaBox to facilitate my review of BabbaCo's monthly subscription service and compensation for my review. ALL opinions expressed are 100% my own and based on our personal experience with the box we received and its contents. Your thoughts and opinions may differ from ours.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Combating Back to School Germs With Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes

Does Back to School = Back to Germs in your house?
This is certainly the case in my house and as a Mom I try to do everything I can to minimize the spread of germs and the resulting sickness. As a teacher, I see first hand in the classroom how often kids cough and sneeze and then proceed to touch each other and everything around them. We know that the best way to combat the spreading of germs is hand washing but realistically, it's not always possible to run to a sink and wash with soap and water. This is where Wet Ones comes in and offers a simple, easy to use alternative to hand washing.

Our family keeps a canister of Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes in the car for those on the go messy moments. I can't tell you how many times it has come in handy - rescuing us from spills, sneezes and more. 

During the school year I make it a habit to put Wet Ones Antibacterial Individually Wrapped Single Wipes in the Lil Divas backpacks and lunch boxes for those unexpected moments and/or messes. I also send in canisters of Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes to the Lil Divas classrooms. Think about how many little hands are touching all those computer keyboards, art supplies, headphones doorknobs, desk tops and more. If there is ever a place where Wet Ones are necessary it is in the classroom. Wet Ones kills 99.9% of germs and wipes away dirt. This is perfect for little hands.


I prefer Wet Ones wipes because they are hypoallergenic and contain soothing aloe. Hand sanitizers can be harsh on your skin since they contain alcohol.  The Littlest Diva suffers from eczema so I have to be very careful with what she uses or it will aggravate her condition. Wet Ones have always been gentle on her skin and that is very important to me because I want to keep her both healthy and comfortable.

How do you combat all the school germs with your kids? What tips and tricks do you utilize to keep your children as healthy and germ free as possible?

Here's an informative video on how to minimize the spreading of those school germs:

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Wet Ones and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. 

Melissa & Doug Camp - Kid's Triathlon Fun

Today, I am super excited to be over at the Melissa & Doug blog
as an Honor Counselor for Camp Sunny Patch.

We are sharing our version of Session 9's Camp Triathlon.

I'd love for you to hop over and check out how much fun 
the Lil Divas had with our Kid Friendly Triathlon.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School 2012

It's the First Day of School
and I marvel at how much they have grown.

As I fight the tears,
my heart swells with pride
that despite a few fears
they are excited they are to go to school today.

With a hug and a kiss,
I send them on their way
but from my heart they are never far away.

This is a sad day for me as I am sure it is for many moms. It's the end of one chapter and the start of another in our lives. No more fun preschool mornings and leisure afternoons together. Now our lives will be filled with homework, rushing from here to there, bigger expectations and more time away from each other. That's the part I find the hardest - having my babies away from me for most of the day. 

I know this is how life goes. Our babies grow up but really it feels like it were a mere blink of my eyes from the time I held my newborn baby girls to today when I send you off to Kindergarten and First Grade. I can't help but think that today marks the beginning of that pull away from me. No longer will I be your whole world because your world grows bigger everyday.

I am proud - watching you so brave and excited. Yet, I am also sad because you are testing your wings. These years at home with you have been an amazing gift. I will cherish them always. 

I can't wait to see how you continue to grow, learn and develop. I know I have given you a solid foundation and I will continue to help you build upon it along the way because that's what mom's like me do. 

I will miss my girls dearly. My sweet baby girls that were all mine. Now, I have to share you.  Although I always teach you the importance of sharing - mommy is struggling with this one. It's hard to hand your children over even if only for a few hours a day to the care of someone else who will teach them, guide them and mold them. I can only hope that you will be blessed with caring teachers who want the best for you. At the end of your day, I will be waiting. Eager to hear about your adventures.

So test your wings, soar as high as you can and know that Mommy is here when you return.

Happy First Day of School to my Lil Divas
and to all those starting school today (& soon enough).

Wishing you a year filled with laughter, learning,
friendships, adventure and discovery.


Get the cute posters I used for our photos (for grades Preschool thru 12) from I Heart Naptime

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Sunday Showcase - Math Play for Little Hands

Hello & welcome to the
  The Sunday Showcase -
are the STARS of the show!

The Sunday Showcase

The Sunday Showcase is hosted on FIVE blogs!

Each blog showcases their own features 
(from the previous week's linky)
so be sure to check them all out!

If you are here for the first time please read
this informational post for the full details.
Anything kid friendly and/or child centered is welcome!
You are welcome to share more than one post,
but we don't accept links for giveaways, 
shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. They will be deleted.

If you're linking up we encourage you
to visit some of the other links!
Everyone appreciates comments, encouragement, feedback, etc.

One of the co-hosts will visit your link & spread some comment love.
We also share some on Facebook, Twitter &
now we will be adding our features and faves to our Pinterest board
Yes, you read that correctly!
The Sunday Showcase also has a Pinterest board 
devoted to sharing YOUR posts!

Please note that by linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section and on our Pinterest board!  If you prefer not to be featured simply comment below or e-mail me to let us know.

The Showcase Features:
Math Fun!

Learn with Play at Home practiced number recognition & counting 
with a Pretend Shop
Stay at Home Educator shared how stacking blocks is important
for math skills her Stacking Blocks and Mathematicians post. 
Zayit and Ziva practiced Color Sorting, Shape Learning & Counting.
Creative Kidlets 101 had fun with Fruit Loop Learning

What's your favorite way to get your kids 
playing and exploring math fun?

If you have been featured, grab a button you deserve it!


From your Hostess:

Next week the Lil Divas officially start school so I wanted to share 
some of our favorite Back to School themed books.

Thank You for sharing your child centered ideas with us!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Favorite Back to School Books for Preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade

I am fully in "Back to School" mode. Between prepping for the arrival of my preschoolers and getting my girls ready for their first day, my mind is a bit all over the place but all thoughts lead back to those first few days (and even weeks) of school.

My mind has been spinning thinking of the best way to make my preschoolers feel comfortable and happy in our classroom setting while helping them become acclimated to their new surroundings and our classroom and school procedures. Of course as a Mom, I also want this for my own girls. I want them to have a wonderful back to school experience. It sets the foundation for the entire year and honestly,  I believe that these early elementary years set the tone for all that is to come.

What better way to discuss those first day jitters, fears of the unknown and our daily separation than by reading some relevant Back to School Books and using them as a springboard for discussions on how we are all feeling.

I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. These are books that I have personally read with my Lil Divas over and over again.

Preschool - First Grade
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn - I read this sweet book every year on the night before the first day of school.  In the morning when I drop my girls off at school for their first full day I give each of them a kiss on their palm and remind them that my love will always be with them, no matter what. We actually did some fun activities stemming from this book last year.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg - this another one of my personal favorites as both a mom and a teacher. You follow Sarah through her first day jitters only to be surprised at the end that she is the teacher. A very cute story and it's wonderful for kids to know they aren't the only ones who experience first day jitters.

How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague - this is such a fun book about how to behave at school. My girls always laugh so much when we read it and we get to discuss proper school behavior while learning about dinosaurs.

I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas - This is another beloved first day of school book perfect for preschoolers. It reassures little ones that Mommy will love them all day long - no matter where they go or what they do. The story takes you through the mishaps and triumphs little ones can face at preschool.

D.W.'s Guide to Preschool (Arthur Adventures) by Marc Brown - this one is hard to find for purchase but I get it easily from our local library and it's a great one to share with Preschoolers entering school for the first time  as it takes them step by step through a typical day in preschool with the cute and funny DW as your guide.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney - I love all the Llama books but this one is especially sweet for kids who are just going to school for the first time and are worried about separating from their Mamas.

The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing - another cute "nervous about starting school" read that shows how fun school is once the child gets there.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes - Erase some of your little ones fears away with Wemberly as she discovers that school isn't as scary as she imagined it to be. Young children might worry about starting school - it is an unknown in their lives. This book is great to show them that it is ok to worry while encouraging them to face those fears and try new things as Wemberly soon found that school was fun.

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child - we enjoy Charlie and Lola in our home and my youngest has a special fondness for Lola with all her spunk and imagination. This is one of the books we read this year as we prepare for the Littlest Diva to start kindergarten and it was a perfect addition to our back to school reading.

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing - I have read this one 2 years in a row as both Lil Divas start kindergarten and it has been a favorite of mine not only because it depicts children prepping for the first day but because it shows that parents are sad too. (Ahem, I may or may not shed tears on the first day of school for my girls.)

The Berenstain Bears Go to School (First Time Books(R)) by Stan & Jan Berenstain - share in Sister Bear's adventure (and worries) on the first day of kindergarten. I like how she overcomes her fears to find that school is fun and later she is rushing towards the bus in excitement to get to school.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes - Chrysanthemum always loved her name until she started kindergarten and the other kids laugh at her. Luckily, her music teacher comes to the rescue and pretty soon everyone thinks her name is perfect. A great reminder that each child is unique and this should be celebrated not ridiculed. I used this last year to learn about names with the Lil Divas.

First Grade
The Night Before First Grade (Reading Railroad) by Natasha Wing - I like that this isn't a picture perfect rendition of first grade. Friends made in kindergarten may be in a different class. This is a hard topic and a real fear for incoming 1st graders. The story shows that although that may happen and first grade is different from kindergarten if given the chance - it can be great too.

First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman - Hayley thinks first grade is nothing like Kindergarten and she isn't happy with the changes. In fact, she thinks first grade stinks! There is lots of humor here for kids to enjoy and of course Hayley finds that although it is different, first grade really doesn't stink after all.

Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books (Gilbert and Friends) by Diane deGroat - Gilbert is worried about what first grade will be like.  Will it be too hard? Will he have any friends? These are the fears my Oldest Diva has about starting first grade so this was a great read for us.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful back to school.
Happy Reading,

Disclosure - This post does contain affiliate links but the thoughts are my own regarding the books.