Teaching My Baby To Read

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Measuring with apples

How tall are you in apples?

How tall are you in apples?

Full confession: I totally stole this idea from Jen-tilla the Mum. Her pictures are cuter than mine too, because she show’s her kids’ faces.  All you get to see are my ugly purple tights.  (They looked a lot cuter when I was wearing boots.  You’ve got to trust me on this one.)

Mommy gets measured.

Mommy gets measured.

Measuring with apples is a classic example of non-standard measurement.


Non-standard measurement is how Kindergarten teachers used to introduce the concept of measurement to young children before standardized testing made everything serious.  Now you’ve got to hope an activity like this is in the textbook, or that your child’s teacher is willing to be brave.

But don’t let the juicy yumminess of apples fool you.  There is a lot of learning in this activity:

  • Counting
  • Estimating
  • Measuring
  • Investigating
  • Pattern work (optional)

P.S. Don’t forget to wash your math manipulatives before they go back into the fruit bowl!

Chore Chart Adds Up

Purchased from "More Thank a Memory"

Purchased from “More Thank a Memory”

Is housecleaning getting you down? Do you wish your kids pitched in more? Have you tried and failed at implementing a traditional allowance system with your kids?

My answer would be yes to all three questions.

So a couple of weeks ago I scoured Etsy for a new plan. More Than a Memory caught my interest. You choose the chores, set the prices, and get one board for each child.

Probably you could make this yourself at home, but I was feeling very low on time and inspiration at the moment.  Luckily, I had some money in my Pay Pal account, so I was all set to let More Than a Memory be creative for me.


Our new chore chart came on Friday and we’ve had fun with it all weekend.

(In real life, the two side boards have Bruce and Jenna’s real names on them, but I flipped the boards over for the purpose of privacy. )

When they each reach the $5 mark, they get paid.  That keeps me from dolling out a quarter here, a quarter there.


The hard part was figuring out how much to pay for each job.  I might have made some key  mistakes, I’m not sure yet.  I posted this on my personal Facebook wall, and my friends kept joking “Send your kids over to me.  I’ll pay them $5.50 to clean my whole house!”

For more ideas on kids and money, please check out my Pinterest board.


Germs are everywhere!


Were those hands washed?


My “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Daily Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131006/BLOG5205/710069989/A-mom%26%238217s-job-has-benefits-sick-leave-isn%26%238217t-one-of-them

Bob Books and Fingernail Polish

A special treat...and a captive audience!

A special treat…and a captive audience!

My four-year-old daughter Jenna is on the very last book in Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers.

She had been cranking away at Bob Books, and filling up her chart, but then she decided to take a break, and I honored that.

But today we cut a deal.  She’d work on the last Bob Book if I brought out the nail polish.

Jenna loves having her fingernails painted, but I’m not a fan, even though we have the supposedly eco-friendly polish.  Sitting around and waiting for fingernail polish to dry is the worst…but it also presents a very captive audience!

Next time I think I might have her Kindle charged, for a special showing of Meet the Phonics – Blends.

Sweet Olive, by Judy Christie

Sweet Olive, by Judy Christie, is as close to “a Mitford” book as I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by Jan Karon.  Christie manages to capture a cozy, small town feel, but she sets her story in Louisiana and includes more young people.

The hook of Sweet Olive is that a community of artists is fighting to protect the history and charm of their town from an oil company that wants to put up wells everywhere. Camille Gardner, the landman for the oil company, gets caught in the middle.

Christie did an exceptionally good job balancing  “liberal versus conservative” debate about oil drilling, with concern for God’s creation.

This was a gentle and enjoyable story.  It was also a book that was solidly rooted in the South.

I could tell that Christie was coming from a “red” state, but at no point did she ever offend my “blue” state sensibilities.  She threw in a quick quip about a silent cathedral in Seattle, but I thought that was funny.  (Although, side note to Christie, come to Edmonds United Methodist Church and we’ll show you a packed house right here in the Pacific Northwest!)

I wish more people could talk about big things like God, art, oil, the environment, and money in the kind and measured way that Judy Christie writes.  She makes me think “Louisiana?  I really want to go there!”

P.S. I got a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest options and review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Another hard day at the office


Putting your preschooler to work

Do you need a cheap and easy idea for a rainy day at home with your preschooler?  Give them their own “office”.  This activity is good for at least twenty minutes of play.  Maybe you’ll even have time to fold laundry!

All you need is a little desk (a coffee table would work too), and some office supplies. Here are some suggested items to get your started:

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Stapler
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Hole punch
  • envelopes
  • Scissors
  • Flowers
  • A cup of “coffee”
  • A toy computer

If you’re working over white carpet, I’d advise not to include a pencil sharpener.  I learned that the hard way.


Here’s another arrangement from the archives.  Nobody but me knows it, but that Bob the Builder computer went to Goodwill a long time ago.  Shhhh!  It’s a secret.