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Dinosaurs, Geocaching, Craft and Books

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My kids love their dinosaur books. We have a whole book bin full of just dinosaur books.  I like reading the picture books with them and my older son loves exploring the non-fiction encyclopedia style books to learn all their scientific names and facts.
We recently visited Dinosaur Land (otherwise known as Vernal, Utah). It was a perfect time to pull out the books and do a simple dinosaur craft.
IMG_5947 Dinosaur Pencil Craft
We saw this idea at the Natural History Museum in Vernal.  They had one to use at the front desk so my kids asked to make our own at home. 
We made these dinosaur pencils quickly by wrapping a rubber band around the tiny toy dinosaurs.  This was easy enough for my kids to do by themselves. They tried to find matching color rubber bands and pencils. This herd of dinosaurs looks really cool in our homework caddy.  I love that the kids can still take the toys off to play with.
Dinosar Pencil Craft_obSEUSSed_a 
Try making some of your own. Just grab a bag of toy dinosaurs, some rubber bands and pencils and band them together.
Dinosar Pencil Craft_obSEUSSed_b
DINOSAUR BOOKS
Here are a few Dinosaur books my kids like.
(*Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you purchase items from the links below I receive a small percentage of the sale. I always recommend finding books at your library to check them out, then if you’d like to buy them, Amazon is one option. I appreciate any purchases through these links.)

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is one my daughter brought home from her school library. It is a fun version by Mo Willems. He is one of our favorite authors lately.  And another vintage favorite from my childhood is Danny and the Dinosuar by Syd Hoff.
GEOCACHING 
Our family has been Geocaching for the past year.  We found a few in Dinosaur Land (Vernal, Utah).  The Utah Field House of Natural History Museum had one of our favorite Geocaches we’ve ever found.  The coordinates led us to a series of clues we needed to find in each exhibit then we took the answers to the front desk for a final clue leading us to the treasure box cache filled with fun Utah souvenirs.
Geocaching_Dinosaur_land_utah_obSEUSSed
Geocaching Books
My daughter loves the Box Car Children series and #131, The Box that Watch Found, is about them finding a geocache and joining a geocache club then solving the mystery of disappearing geocaches.  Ben and the Geocache Treasure is a great picture book to introduce younger kids to geocaching.
There is an official Geocaching app for phones that will help you locate geocaches around town, but for hiking we decided to get an official satellite based GPS (hand held, not for car dashes) that can be used in areas without phone service.  We plugged it into our computer and downloaded a list of caches from Geocaching.com.  We purchased this Magellan GPS from Amazon. 
Remember to take little prizes or tokens to trade if the geocache has items for that.  We like to leave little Dr. Seuss prizes (erasers, ornaments, pencils and more).  We will share more of our geocaching adventures in the future.
Do any of you geocache or have kids who love dinosaurs?

Family Read-Aloud Books Summer Bucket List

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our family always has a read-aloud book in the works throughout the year but we have a bucket list we’d like to finish during the summer.

My criteria for choosing a family read-aloud:
  1. The book needs to be fun to read aloud (plenty of visual details, dialogue and action).
  2. The book needs to be of interest and age appropriate to my children.
  3. The book should be related to an activity we are already doing, or we should plan an activity related to the book to explore it more.
  4. Is this a book my children can help take turns reading aloud?
  5. If there is a movie adaptation, we can watch the movie when we finish the book.
Here are the books we will be working on reading aloud as a family this summer.
Family_Read_Aloud_Summer_Bucket_List_obSEUSSed
A HATFUL OF SEUSS, Five Favorite Dr. Seuss Stories
These take a little longer to read than his shorter books but can still be finished in one sitting. Perfect for the younger kids in the family but fun for older children as well.  We can go to the zoo when we read “If I Ran the Zoo.”
HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
We have finally introduced our children to the magical world of Harry Potter over the past two weeks.  It was a little dark and crazy at the end but overall the magical world captured their attention and they kept asking to read more. Even our three year old picked up on the magic wands and found one on our walk through the park.  They also liked watching the movie after we finished.
IMG_3676
This week we started reading THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD, by Lynne Banks.
My kids already want to build a long house in our backyard (not a teepee, if you’ve read the book you might remember why). I’ve kept the movie on video all these years just to show my kids once we read the book.
Next up is Mary Poppins Comes Back, by P. L. Travers
I have been collecting this beautiful hard-back set of Mary Poppins books and we are ready to read Mary Poppins Comes Back in preparation to see the play at our local theater this summer.  This is a great way to get the kids prepped and ready to see the show. The books are more like the theater production than the Disney movie.  You really get to know Mary Poppins’ mysterious character much better through the books.
Then we plan to read CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY & CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR, by Roald Dahl
These are Roald Dahl classics. Then we can watch the movie and take a tour of our local candy factory to go along with our reading experience.  We also enjoyed James and the Giant Peach and The Fantastic Mr. Fox as a family and watched the movies after we finished to compare them. My daughter is reading The Witches as part of her school book club for the summer (and she also loved Matilda).
The entire Roald Dahl collection would be a great set to work through as a family.
We also plan to read FARMER BOY, by Laura Ingles Wilder
We enjoy reading the Little House series together at our little family cabin. We like to call it our  ‘little house in the big woods’.  I think my 8-year-old son will love Farmer Boy.
obSEUSSed Cabin Reading Little House in Big Woods
At-A-Glance, Our Family Summer Reading List:
  • Harry Potter
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back (Mary Poppins series)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Farmer Boy (keep working on the Little House Series)
As an Amazon Affiliate, I  make a small portion of sales made through this link but you can always look for books at your local library then decide if you want to purchase books to add to your collection.
Here are some more books on our family list for the future:
  • Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) I started it with my daughter a last year but want to keep going.
  • Bud Not Buddy (Christopher Paul Curtis)
  • Fablehaven series (Brandon Mull)
  • Chronicles of Narnia series (C.S. Lewis)
  • Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Sachar & Brinckloe)
  • The Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum)
  • Days “at the Castle” series (Jessica Day George) My daughter has been reading them.
  • The Candy Makers (Wendy Mass)
  • 39 Clues series  (Rick Riordan)
  • Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan)
  • Swiss Family Robinson (Johann Wyss)

Baby Photos Turned into Flipbook Keepsake

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My kids are getting older but I’ve been going through their baby photos lately and just completed a memorable photo keepsake for them.

j baby weeks cover or first

We took weekly photos of all three of our babies during their first year. We tried to do it on the same background with the same stuffed animal to compare for size.

We started this tradition 10 years ago with my daughter.  My husband mentioned, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could turn these pictures into a flipbook so we can see them all together?”  Back then, we had just started using our first digital camera and didn’t know of any resources to create a flipbook so it never happened.

What is a flipbook?
Remember those things from years ago that you flip through still photos that make it look like a cartoon moving picture? Kids and grown-ups love to flip it over and over.
Look how cute this flipbook is?



A few months ago, I saw a flipbook video on Instagram by @videotoflipbook and I immediately contacted them to see if they could help me turn my baby photos into a flip book. They normally take 15 second videos from Instagram and turn them into these fun flip books. Check out their IG feed for examples.

Since they normally turn a video into a flipbook, they sent me a special link to upload up to 60 still pics per project.  I uploaded them and they did the rest of the work creating a book.  It has a glossy print front and back cover (they can design that for you) and a little dust jacket holder, perfect for storage. It is about 2 inches tall by 3.5 inches wide. The inside photos are printed on a thinner copy paper which is easier to flip. It is all attached using a huge staple.  It came from Canada so it took about 1 week.

They gave me a discount on my books and free shipping to try them out and share my videos.  Right now their books are only $9.95 and free shipping until June 15, 2014. Such a great deal!  You can turn any short video into a flip book.

I’m already thinking these would be perfect for my son’s Lego stop-motion videos.

Our kids have loved flipping through them.  My three-year-old can even do it by himself. They are the perfect way to preserve our traditional weekly baby photos.  See our other two kids below.

My daughter had to have Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat as her side toy.


I purposely did my last son's in black and white because his background was very plain and I think it makes it more consistent to watch then I added a few pops of color.


  Contact VideoToFlipbook for more information if you’d like to create your own flipbook.

Motherhood Realized {Book Review}

Monday, March 24, 2014

 
I have been involved with the Power of Moms organization for several years now.  I meet with a group of women, who live nearby, once a month as a Learning Circle to discuss how to become more deliberate mothers.  Right now we read short articles from their book Deliberate Motherhood. These messages are so uplifting. Our discussions help us feel optimistic that we can enjoy motherhood more. We learn from each other's experiences and from the expereiences of the authors, who are also deliberate mothers.

 
I am a Power of Moms Ambassador, which means I want to share my love for the Power of Moms programs with my friends. I asked them if I can share this because I know how much it has uplifted my life and know their programs can help so many more moms.  They have an amazing online community, inspiring articles, books, podcasts and more. 

They have many free resources available but there are a few programs or books for a fee because they have put a lot of work into creating these amazing programs.              *Disclosure: I am also an affiliate for Power of Moms and receive a percentage of sales made if you buy directly from their site using the links on obSEUSSed.  I don’t really care who you buy it from, I just want more moms to know about these resources.

I’ll share more about their other programs (like their Joy of Reading program) in the future but today I wanted to let you know about a new book that will soon be out.

PRE-ORDER MOTHERHOOD REALIZED TODAY
Motherhood Realized: An Inspiring Anthology for the Hardest Job You'll Ever Love is a fabulous compilation of short stories from a variety of moms. I could relate to every chapter as they shared their inspiring and encouraging messages, like this one:

Motherhood-Realized-quote

Each chapter ends with a thoughtful question and challenge that helps encourage me to REALIZE the positive aspects of motherhood. The chapters are short and can be read in 5-10 minutes each, perfect for busy moms.

I received a free copy of the e-book version for review but plan to buy the hard copy as a pre-order today.  I've already made several pages of notes and I'd rather mark up the hard copy for easy reference. I purchased the other Power of Moms book, Deliberate Motherhood, last year and keep it by my bedside to lift me up on those hard mom days. I can't wait to put this book next to it.

You can pre-order the Motherhood Realized book for a discount starting today on Amazon.
*Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small percentage of sales made through using the links on obSEUSSed.

 
 This is another great quote from the book Motherhood Realized:
“I have realized that the art of motherhood is not just for the moms who stay at home with their children in a nuclear family. It is also for the mothers who have children and/or stepchildren, the mothers who have no children but take care of yours and mine, the mothers who are working outside the home or volunteering. It is for every woman who extends her motherhood to every human who needs some mothering at any given time. While I don’t have the family I had envisioned as a child, this expanded view of motherhood assures me I am a bona fide, successful mom to all those whom I mother.”
Excerpt From: Power of Moms. “Motherhood Realized.” Familius, 2014-02-28. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.

I love how they include mothers in all different circumstances.  I also liked the part that mentions, “mothers who are working outside the home or volunteering.”  I have spent enough hours volunteering outside my home to be equivalent as a part-time job. Although it may not be typically seen as working outside the home at a particular place of employment, I am still trying to balance my time outside and inside my home like many mothers.

This book will be a great reference for me and for any mother who wants an uplifting fresh perspective on motherhood.

Dr. Seuss Clothing Giveaway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrate Dr. Seuss all year with some unique Dr. Seuss clothing. 
Sure, you come across Dr. Seuss apparel in your local stores every once in a while but you can get more unique items by shopping at TV Store Online.  I haven’t ever seen some of their items before. They sent me two items to review and a $40 credit to their store for me to giveaway to a reader of obSEUSSed (see details below). {GIVEAWAY ENDED MARCH 10, 2014}

Cat in the Hat Hoodie
Check out the Dr. Seuss hoodie! It has a built-in striped hat and front pocket.  I got this for my husband. He has been wearing it around today to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The kids love seeing him in it.  I’ve made my husband dress up in a full Cat in the Hat costume before to juggle at our school, but this is such a quick thing to throw on to turn yourself into the cat. Great for any Dr. Seuss fan, teacher or parent.
ObSEUSSed Hoodie Clothing Giveaway March10

Normally $49.95, On sale right now for $14.95. Such a great deal!

Hoodie Review: The sweatshirt is a little thin. I don’t really think it is meant to keep you warm. It is more for the costume effect. It is well made and should hold up well. The hat is sewn on so I don’t know how well it will wash although it is made of a shinier material that looks like you can hand wash it easily. The hat was very wrinkly when it arrived but it pops up well and looks a little slouchy like the real Cat’s hat.

I tried out this Abbey Road style Cat in the Hat t-shirt. My kids recognize this scene from the Beatles pictures.  They thought it was funny to see the Cat characters crossing Abbey Road.  I liked being able to show off my Dr. Seuss obsession with a little more grown-up look.




T-Shirt Review: This is a nice thick t-shirt. I liked the mid-hip length that allows for a little gathering at the waist.  It did fit a little tight. Their ordering site does warn that sizes run small. If you need a large, order XL. It is a boxy, normal cut t-shirt. It would be nice to have a girl's cut available. They do offer several other t-shirt options in girl cut.

$40 Dr. Seuss Apparel Giveaway  {Ended}
TV Store Online has adult and children’s clothing.  There are 2 pages of Dr. Seuss apparel to choose from at TV Store Online.  They offered to give a $40 credit to one of my readers.  Please check out their store to see what they offer, then come back here and tell me your favorite Dr. Seuss items and enter the giveaway using the form below.
Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. Must use $40 credit in one purchase. Winner will be selected March 10 at midnight EST. Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be selected. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I received a Cat in the Hat hoodie and Dr. Seuss Abbey Road t-shirt for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own. I selected my two favorite items from their site to try out. I received no other compensation for this review/giveaway.

DRESSING UP:
My kids wanted to dress up for Dr. Seuss’ birthday today too. We made the Truffula tree by gluing a green feather boa to card stock, then we taped it to a stick we had painted yellow. We used a black sharpie marker to draw the lines on the trunk.  My son had a plain red t-shirt so I cut out some white felt and drew the words THING 1 on the circle then pinned it on his shirt.  His hair is really fabric that I plan to create another Truffula tree with. He wanted to use it for hair for our photo.
Dr. Seuss Photo Props obSEUSSed



We stopped by Michael’s Crafts Store this weekend and found this blank stove-pipe hat prop for $1.50.  My kids helped paint it white, then we added red stripes. Again, we used a sharpie to add black accents to help it look like the art from the Cat in the Hat book.  This is a simple and quick craft to re-use for photo opportunities.
Dr-Seuss-Hat-Craft-ObSEUSSed



I hope you’ll keep celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday this week by dressing up, reading his books, creating some crafts or eating some Seuss inspired snacks. Take a look around here at obSEUSSed for more ideas.

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