Bookshelves Under Stairs

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I’ve been addicted to pictures of bookshelves on Pinterest lately.
I think it might be due to these bookshelves that I designed and asked my husband and father-in-law to build for me four years ago. After I had them for a year we moved and I’ve been craving them ever since.
Bookshelf under stairs
I loved how I could display my Dr. Seuss Books and golden books grouped together.
They built the whole stair railing and shelves into the supporting wall. We painted the walls terra cotta color to match the stain.
Saley Entertainment Center
They also built the entire built-in entertainment center, with gliding drawers for DVDs and my office desk tucked into the corner behind doors so I could be downstairs near the kids when they played.Entertainment Saley desk
Okay, I can’t talk about it too long or look at these pictures too often because I really miss this whole area and wish we could duplicate it but it just won’t work in our new house.
I hope everyone has the opportunity to take Dr. Seuss' advice to “pile your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” My wish is for every child to have more than one book in their home. We have been blessed to have a home library.  There are bookshelves in every room of our house and I just filled our hall closet entirely with kid books too.
 Pinterest Victoria sept 11
Follow me on Pinterest for more Dr. Seuss activities and ideas and creative book storage ideas.
I’d love to see your pictures so leave a link in the comments if you have pictures posted online somewhere so I can pin it to my HOME LIBRARY pinterest board.
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Lost Stories of Dr. Seuss: Bippolo Seed Book and Seed Activities

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have you heard about the seven lost stories of Dr. Seuss to be published in a book next week?  “The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories” is a collection of short stories written by Dr. Seuss long ago and published in magazines. Now the collection will be in this book.  I can’t wait to read these stories and share them with my kids.
Watch for it on store shelves Tues. Sept. 27, 2011 or pre-order it .  I preordered mine on Amazon for $9.00. (I have Prime membership because I have a monthly subscription buying diapers so I get free 2-day shipping and great discounts on Amazon store products. Their prices change often.)


This video by Random House shows how the stories were found and compiled by Seussologist, Charles D. Cohen. (I love that title and think he deserves it, he is far beyond obSEUSSed).

The seven stories all sound Seussical with a few morals thrown in as typical Seuss style would have it.  If you want to see a quick overview of what the stories are about, check out the publisher’s description on Mr. Schu’s blog, Watch, Connect, Read

I’m not positive what the Bippolo Seed story is about, other than a feline persuading a duck to do something wrong. So I thought I’d just share some ideas for seed activities to try with your kids to get them thinking about seeds.

My daughter’s 2nd grade homework this past week was to go on a SEED SCAVENGER HUNT to collect a variety of seeds in an egg carton. Our house is filled with produce from local Farmer’s Markets and our own garden right now. Some examples we found:
  • peach pits
  • strawberry seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • dandelion seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • Watermelon seeds
  • cantaloupe seeds
  • green pepper seeds
  • tomato seeds
  • popcorn kernal
  • Mustard seeds
  • Celery SeedsSept 11 Blog1
I added the Donut seed to her carton as a joke.  Show your child a Cheerio and ask them if they think it is a real seed that could grow a donut / doughnut (I’m never sure which spelling to use). Talk to them about the difference between baked goods vs. what seeds produce.

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Jelly Bean Seeds?
Here is another fun idea that I saw at Easter time on Meet the Dubiens blog that would be fun to try while discussing seeds.  Have your child plant jelly beans in a pot, then the next morning lollipops appear. Depending on their age you will probably want to explain the reality of the magic trick.


Keep your eyes open for the new Dr. Seuss book The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories at your local bookstore or library. And have fun with some seeds this week.
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Linking this idea to the Play Academy

Stuffed Animal Activities, Toy Bag and Books

Friday, September 2, 2011

I’ll admit, I used to be a stuffed animal hater. I didn’t like them much growing up and as a parent I thought they just collected dust. But my kids have loved playing with their animals.  Here are some of the things we’ve done.

Our local library had a sleepover party for stuffed animals this past month. Kids were invited to drop off their animal Friday night and come back Saturday morning to watch a slide show of what the animals did during the night.
Too Many Toys - If you’re anything like us, stuffed animals have taken over the house.  Our Dr. Seuss characters alone filled our nightly reading spot. How could we choose which animals would go on the sleepover?
Surrounded by Dr. Seuss Stuffed Animal Toys
My kids finally picked these 3 as they lucky ones to go on the library sleepover.
Click here to see the video the library put together of photos from the sleepover. The animals got to roast s’mores, ride the elevator, read books about themselves and brush their teeth to prep for bed. The pics are so cute and the kids giggled through the whole slide show, especially when they saw their own animal featured.

10 Ways to Play with Stuffed Animals:
  • Librarian/Storytime – Find toys that match book characters (like the Cat in the Hat). Have your child hold the toy when you read the book. Let kids connect and play with the character during reading time. If they are old enough, let them read to the animal.
  • Zoo Keeper - Sort the animals into categories (monkeys, elephants, etc.), then kids get to take you on a tour of their zoo.
  • Tea Party – Set up all the dishes just for the animals and let the party begin. See our party here.
  • Veterinarian – Kids get to be the animal doctor and fix their toys
  • Dog Catcher – Get a butterfly net and let your kids try scooping up the toy you tell them to catch.
  • Circus – Have the lions and tigers and cats jump through hula hoops and your kids can ride on the elephants.
  • Photographer – Let your kids pose the animals doing silly things then practice taking pictures with the digital camera (great teaching opportunity with a still object, talk about lighting and the rule about not cutting off limbs - and you can always hit delete).
  • Parade – Put the animals in a wagon and take them on a walk around the block.
  • Animal Safari- Hide a few of their animals around the house and help them find them by giving them clues.
  • Puppet Shows – who says you have to be able to stick your hand inside and move their mouth? Just stick up a spring-loaded curtain rod in the hallway, pin a blanket around the top and use stuffed animals to put on a show.
Stuffed Animal Picture Buddy:
We picked a stuffed animal to be in a weekly photo series we took of each of our children. It is so fun to see how much they grew and compare their size to the stuffed animal. After doing this three times I would recommend the following:
  • Find a toy about 20 inches tall so they start out about the same size (many babies are between 18-21 inches long at birth).
  • Take your photo in the same spot or with the same backdrop each week
  • Line the animal’s feet up with your babies feet so you can see your child get taller (I really wish we would have done this).

To corral all of our stuffed animals I made these toy bean bags for my kids this past Christmas.  It has a mesh window and a drawstring opening so they can take their animals in and out. Filling it with stuffed animals makes them soft to sit on so it becomes a functional chair in their room.
See the stuffed animals peeking out of the mesh windows?
I just found my Dr. Seuss fleece fabric (I bought several years ago) and whipped up this bag in 20 minutes today, without the window.
Click here to see how to make your own bag.
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Linking Life to Literacy LO june 11 Books about Taming the Toys:
We just found The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room at the thrift store yesterday for 50 cents.

Another favorite is David Shannon’s Too Many Toys . See my post about this book here.

A funny book we love is Pigsty by Mark Teague.

What kind of things do you like to do with stuffed animals?
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How to Make a Toy Bean Bag for Stuffed Animals

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our stuffed animals were taking over our house. How do you store your stuffed toys?

AUG 11 BLOG9-1
I made huge toy bean bags to hold all our stuffed animals. I started writing about making the girl and boy bags below (that I made at Christmas time) then realized I had Dr. Seuss fabric laying around and a bunch of Dr. Seuss stuffed animals so I decided to make a bag today. Without windows it took me 20 minutes.

See the stuffed animals peeking out of the mesh windows?


This toy bag has a mesh window and a drawstring opening so kids can take their animals in and out. Filling it with stuffed animals makes them soft to sit on so it becomes a functional chair in their room.
Items needed:
1 – 1.5 yard of fleece fabric (1.5 is what I used, they are a little big, they fit so many animals they get too heavy to move so I would stick to just 1 yard (of 72” fleece) you’ll need 1 yard for each side of the bag
1/2 yard of mesh fabric – there are a variety in the sports or outdoor section at the fabric store.
1.5 yard cord or rope (often found in the ribbon area)
White thread for the sewing machine, scissors, cutting mat, cereal box, pins
Look at pictures to see how I made the toy bags. If you’d like more directions please email me with questions.
Disclosure: I’m not a great seamstress. I’ll try things that don’t require a pattern, I dislike using pins, I’ll attempt it if it has straight lines and I often have to use my seam ripper.
Toy Bags
I folded the fabric over to look like a rectangle. I placed a cereal box on top as my guide for the window, then cut around it.
Then I placed the mesh over each window and pinned it (it helps it stay in place as you sew). Then I cut off the selvage of the fleece (that is the bottom edge of the fabric – mine had text printed on it, you could just use some scrap fleece.  Place the 1 inch selvage or scrap strips along the edge of the mesh. Sew the selvage to the mesh and the bag fabric about .5 inch away from the window opening.
Toy Bags1
Then turn the bag to the other side so you can sew the outside of the window. I used a zig-zag stitch right around the edge of the window to seal the mesh and window.
See pictures of a bigger mesh I used on this blue bag. See the scrap fabric strips I used for the inside of the window? This gives it so much more support and helps so you don’t have to sew right on mesh.
Toy Bags2
After sewing both windows, sew the open edges of the bag together, leave the top open.
Now for the draw string top.  I folded the top edge over twice (about 1.5 inch thick) to give it a nice finish. Then I sewed the bottom of the folded edge to the bag while it was inside out. 
Toy Bags5
After I finished, I turned the bag right-side out and found the side seam near the top. I cut a small slit on each side of the seams to run my rope through. I used a large saftey pin on the end of the rope to insert into the hole and feed it through the top rim of the bag. once the other side was out I knotted each end of the bag then you can tie them in a bow.
110_1397_1 Click here to see more activities to do with stuffed animals.
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