Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine's Day Chapter Books for Kids

The Lil Divas and I  LOVE reading books together and I'm enjoying sharing book lists with you of our favorite reads. Today, I have some chapter books for you to enjoy that are just in time for Valentine's Day.

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #12: Valentine's Day Secret - Nancy's best friends Bess and George are mad at each other. When the girls are making their own stuffed animals someone slips a mean valentine into Bess' animal's pocket and she blames George. The girls uncover who the valentine came from and end up making up. This was a fun read for my daughter who is usually in a squabble of some sort with her sister.

Cam Jansen #25: The Valentine Baby Mystery - Cam's mom is about to give birth so Cam, her best friend Eric and his mom rush to the hospital. Of course a mystery presents itself when Eric's mother finds her purse missing. The Oldest Diva enjoyed Cam's baby brother and sister being born in this book. We are huge Cam fans so it was nice to learn more about her family.

Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine - Here's one that will appeal to the boys (and the girls)! The Oldest Diva enjoys the color illustrations in these books and they are quick, easy reads that are perfect for those just getting into chapter books. In this book, Nate's dog Sludge gets a secret valentine and Nate sets out to uncover who it's from. My daughter enjoys trying to figure out the mysteries before Nate does. There is always just enough twists that it's not completely obvious but if you pay attention to the clues - you can figure it out.

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer - We have been Fancy Nancy fans for years and it's wonderful that the series is growing with my daughters! We are so excited about these chapter books. This is the 2nd one starring an older Nancy Clancy. In this book, Nancy plots to have her baby sitter and guitar teacher fall in love. The adventure here is cute as Nancy learns that matchmaking is hard and things don't always work out as planned.

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine - Junie B. gets a valentine from a secret admirer and is determined to find out who it's from. Junie B. is her usual entertaining self - my daughter gets a kick out of her antics and thoughts. Maybe because Junie B. gets to do and say things she isn't allowed to? This was a fun read and Junie is pretty funny as she tries to figure out which boy left her the valentine. She does finally uncover who her secret valentine is - my lips are sealed.

Sophie the Sweetheart - Sophie was new to us but I decided to pick up this book and was glad I did. Sophie is quirky and apparently always in search of the "perfect" nickname. In this book, she decides that Sophie the Sweetheart just might be it. In order to be a sweetheart she has to be super nice even to those that aren't so nice to her. This wasn't a typical Valentine's Day themed read but it was sweet and it introduced us to a character and a series that we will surely be reading more of in the future.

Adventures of the Bailey School Kids #12: Cupid Doesn't Flip Hamburgers - This was the first book we read in this particular series. It was popular with my 3rd grade students when I was teaching that particular grade so I decided to hive it a try with the Oldest Diva. The characters aren't "typical" they may or may not be monsters, etc which makes this a different and fun read for kids. Is the cook really cupid? Strange things are happening and everyone is being overly nice to each other - even the mean kids. I won't give the book away but I will say we all enjoyed it.

Are there any early chapter books that you would add to this Valentine's Day themed reading list?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kid's Craft: Coffee Filter Heart Art for Valentine's Day

If you've read our blog before, you've probably noticed that I have a soft spot for using coffee filters in our arts and crafts. They are inexpensive and so easy to use - what's not to love? The Oldest Diva wanted to make Valentine's Day decorations for our windows. It was a spur of the moment request as I was helping the Littlest Diva with a school project. Thinking fast I grabbed our coffee filters, markers, some construction paper and our spray bottle and she set to work making some Coffee Filter Heart Art.

This is such an easy craft that children of all ages can enjoy making these hearts. Here's what you need to do -

1. Let child freely color the coffee filter using markers. The brighter the colors and the more of the coffee filter they color - the more vibrant your finished coffee filter will look.

2. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the coffee filter. A little water goes a long way. Too much water tends to dilute the colors. The Lil Divas enjoy watching the colors spread and mix as the water travels through the coffee filter.

3. Allow the coffee filters to dry.

4. Using construction paper, prepare your heart frames by cutting out a large heart and snipping out the middle.

5. Glue the construction paper to the back of your heart frame. You might want to use 2 heart frames if you are displaying these in your windows so that both sides look the same.

Don't they look great? I really like the vibrant colors the Oldest Diva chose to work with and each heart is both unique and fabulous. What fantastic window decorations for Valentine's Day.

Happy heart making!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tumbling Tower Sight Word Jenga Game

You all know that I LOVE taking our games and turning them into fun learning opportunities. My Kindergartener is on a quest to "master" her sight words before anyone else in her class. I promise you this is her idea, not mine. Of course, this mama is happy to oblige her in her educational efforts, especially ones that help her in her "learning to read" journey. One of my latest play to learn tweaks on a game is taking a generic version of Jenga (I scored this on sale for super cheap before Christmas and was giddy!) and turning it into a Tumbling Tower Sight Word Game. She loves it. What kid doesn't like to play Jenga? It's fun!

Tumbling Tower Sight Word (Jenga) Game

Set up for this was super easy. I just took our target sight words and wrote them on the blocks. I opted to use 2 words per block but you can do just 1 to start with and have room for more as you go along.

Set-up the game and play as you would your typical Jenga type game. For each block that the Littlest Diva extricated from the tower, she had to correctly read the words before she could add it back to the top of the tower.

We have had lots of fun playing and learning together and the Littlest Diva is quickly mastering her sight words at the top of her class.

Have fun playing and learning!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Heart Arts and Crafts Ideas for Kids - The Sunday Showcase 1/26/13

The Sunday Showcase  
Heart Art for Kids!

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 & our Pinterest board!  

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:
Looking to make some Heart Art with the kids
in honor of Valentine's Day?
Try these fun heart inspired art activities -

Garden Trellis Heart Weaving from An Idea on Tuesday
Faux Stain Glass Hearts from Kara's Classroom
Sticker Resist Heart Painting from The Usual Mayhem via Serenity You
Heart Window Decorations from The Fairy and The Frog

Do you have a favorite Heart Art or Valentine's Day activity
Please share in the comments below.

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


From your Hostess:

Heart Themed Arts & Crafts for Kids
from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Thank You for sharing your child centered ideas with us!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Your Mom's Maytag Couldn't Do All This! #MaytagMoms

This month marks the end of my Maytag Moms journey. I have enjoyed letting you take a peek at our new kitchen and sharing how I've been getting along with all my new appliances. It's definitely been a wonderful experience. Today, I am going to give you a sneak peek into the final two appliances - my over the range microwave with stainless steel interior and our Jetclean Plus Dishwasher.

Do you recall the days where you basically had to wash your dishes by hand before putting them into the dishwasher? I do! It was my #1 reason for never using our previous dishwasher. I always felt like it was such a waste of time since I basically had to wash my dishes before loading anyway. Do you know what we used our previous dishwasher for? It was a high capacity drying rack. I even wrote about it in a post.

Now that I shared that confession with you, I know you're wondering if we ever use our new Maytag Jetclean Plus Dishwasher. The answer is - YES! We use it all the time (ok, more like a few times a week but that's HUGE for me!). The Jetclean Plus Steam cycle utilizes high pressure spray jets and increased (it's HOT!) temperatures that actually get your dishes clean. Really clean without pre-washing - clean. No scrubbing required. Your mom's (or even your own) old Maytag couldn't do that, right?

Maytag embraces new technology and they continue to innovate, making their appliances better than previous ones while still offering the same dependability that generations of users have come to expect. As a modern day Mom, it's all about making my life easier. If it doesn't help me save time or simplify my daily routine then it's not worth the effort. My new kitchen requires very little effort on my part and has definitely both saved me lots of time and made my life easier.

Take my over the range microwave with stainless steel interior for example. This isn't just a good looking machine (it is though, isn't it?!) - it is the 2nd most used appliance in our kitchen on a daily basis (the fridge is definitely #1).

This is 1,000 watts of cooking power awesomeness. I LOVE the WideGlide tray. When I first saw it, I was doubtful. I was so used to the circular rotating tray on our previous microwave. When I saw this tray moving back and forth I thought I had put it on incorrectly or that it was broken. Seriously, I had to double check the manual. We get so stuck in what we are used to that anything new seems wrong at first, doesn't it. Well, this my friends is definitely the right technology for reheating or cooking food. It allows for nice uniform cooking. No more poking your finger into your casserole and finding the middle cold while the top is piping hot. Now it all heats evenly - hooray! Honestly, it is cause for a mommy celebration. You don't know what a time saver it is not to have to keep moving your food around and adding additional minutes. With our old microwave, reheating was almost like re-cooking because I had to babysit my food - stir, turn, add another minute, repeat. I know many of you know what I mean and you can appreciate why I am so excited to have left that all behind.

My other favorite feature on the microwave is the sensor reheat for our leftovers. If I didn't know better, I'd think this appliance had a little magic to it. The sensor reheat allows you heat food without setting a time or temperature. It "senses" the food and does it for you. I was quite skeptical of this at first. I was actually feeling quite smug and waiting for the feature to fail and be wrong. It wasn't. It actually heats up the food really well. Color me surprised and quite happy about being wrong.

The thing I have come to appreciate the most about the microwave (and ALL my Maytag appliances) is how easy it is to clean. The stainless steel interior makes clean up a cinch - with just a few quick wipes, it's sparkling like new. This comes in very handy at our house as we are known to regularly conduct experiments in our microwave that may or may not involve things like exploding soap.

If you missed any of our other Maytag Mom posts be sure to check them out, especially if you are in the market for new kitchen appliances. If you want more info you can also check out Maytag on Facebook and Twitter.


: I wrote this post participating in an Maytag Moms Dependable Kitchen Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with a Maytag kitchen appliances set, including a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and range to facilitate my posts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

12 Winter Books for Children in Kindergarten thru 2nd Grade

Now that the Lil Divas are both reading (yay!) and we have moved beyond just picture books to leveled readers and chapter books.  It's important to me to keep things interesting and at their reading level. We still enjoy reading great picture books together but each Lil Diva has books that they read daily geared towards their individual reading levels and ability. Here are some fun winter themed books that we have enjoyed for readers in K thru 2nd grade.

Kindergarten (Beginning Readers) -

Magic School Bus Lost in the Snow - Join Ms. Frizzle's class in this beginning reader book as they learn how snow is made. Simple sentences make this book great for beginning readers.

Young Cam Jansen and the Ice Skate Mystery - This series is great for transitioning readers who are reading well and nearly ready to make the move to more advanced chapter books. In this book, Cam and her friend Eric go ice skating. Eric loses the key to the locker and Cam must use her photogenic memory to help find it.

Snow -  A great book about snow for the beginning reader. Follow two kids as they play in the snow and discover all the fun that can be had. Children will delight in the rhyme and being able to read this one on their own will be a lovely confidence builder.

Curious George: A Winter's Nap - This is a level 1 reader but has some big words like hibernation that may require some help to read. Kids love to read about George's antics and this book is short and helps to teach about hibernation in a basic way that will appeal to younger readers.

Eloise and the Snowman - Little girls love Eloise's spunk and antics so these books are always a favorite. They are fun and easy to read for beginning readers. In this book, it snows in New York City and Eloise enjoys it in typical Eloise fashion. It's a fun and easy read that young Eloise fans will enjoy.

1st & 2nd Grade Readers -

Nate the Great and the Snowy Trail - These simple mysteries are fun for kids to read and try to figure out along with Nate. In this story, Rosamond loses Nate's birthday present and he and Sludge must find it in the snow. This series is full of sight words, longer sentences, color photos, fun characters and plots making them great for readers who are transitioning from easy readers into chapter books. There's lots of fun extras at the end of the book from how to make ugly cat cupcakes to funny cat jokes that kids will enjoy.

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #5: Case of the Sneaky Snowman - Nancy and her friends build a snowman only to have it disappear. Can you figure out the mystery with the Clue Crew? These books are great early chapter books because they have a certain level of difficulty without being too hard or discouraging. They are also great for practicing problem-solving skills. The Oldest Diva devours them.

Magic Tree House #12: Polar Bears Past Bedtime -  Jack and Annie travel to the frozen Arctic and get stuck on cracking ice. How does the giant polar bear help them? You have to read to find out. These early Magic Tree House books are perfect for children who have transitioned into chapter books because they still have lots of illustrations and the chapters are just the right length - not too long and not too short.

Magic Tree House #32: Winter of the Ice Wizard - The Ice Wizard has captured Morgan and Merlin and it's up to Jack and Annie to find the Ice Wizards eye to save them. Lots of mystery and danger in this one for Tree House fans.

Cam Jansen Case #24: The Snowy Day Mystery Cam Jansen finds that computers are missing from the computer lab and the only clues are footprints in the snow and a locked window. Cam must put her photographic memory to use to help catch the thieves.

Magic School Bus #13: Polar Bear Patrol -  Ms. Frizzle takes her class on an adventure through the North Pole where they come face to face with all kinds of arctic animals, ride a dog sled and even spend time in an igloo. This book offers some fun facts and information about the polar region.

Katie Kazoo Switcheroo #22: It's Snow Joke - This series is for 2nd grade and up or more advanced younger readers. Katie goes skiing during winter break for the first time and in true Katie Kazoo fashion, mishap ensues when she turns into the ski instructor. She must save the ski instructor's job before switching back. These books are fun to read because Katie switches characters with someone new in each book.

Happy Reading,