Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March is Read Aloud Month

Did you know that March is Read Aloud Month, and today is World Read Aloud Day?

Read Aloud 15 MINUTES

I’m so honored to be partnering with Read Aloud 15 MINUTES to help raise awareness to the power and importance of reading aloud to our children! Throughout the month, I’ll be sharing interesting facts regarding reading aloud to our children on Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram. Today I’d also like to draw your attention to this School of You handout; you can download here, print out, and share with a parent! It’s filled with interesting facts, such as, did you know a baby’s brain doubles in size within the first year of life? There are actually a number of great downloadable handouts, posters, and even bookmarks over at


ALSO: In just a few hours Pam Allyn, founding director of LitWorld along with Dr. Perri Klass, national medical director of the nonprofit Reach Out and Read, and Maggie McGuire, vice president of Scholastic’s kids and parents websites, will take part in a conversation about the benefits of reading aloud and how it can be used to create social change, from 10 am to 11am CST, on the PBS NewsHour’s Facebook page.

Read Aloud 15 MINUTES is a non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care. When every child is read aloud to for 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school. For more information, visit: Read Aloud.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Crock Pot Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Yummy Crock Pot Glazed Pork Tenderloin from @mvemother

If you’ve been following me for very long you already know that on occasion I’m bitten by the freezer meal bug. It usually only lasts a week, or if I actually get things in the freezer, a month. On even rarer occasion, I’ll hunt down a good crockpot recipe, but forget about it until lunch and by then it’s too late in the day. So instead I pull out the trusty skillet and/or Dutch oven and it’s business as usual.

Case in point: Pork Tenderloins. The normal routine was brown it in the skillet and then transfer it all to the oven for an hour or two, basting every half hour. I knew there had to be a way to utilize the convenience of the crock without having it cook ALL DAY and I’ve finally come up with the solution.

I found a number of great recipes on Pinterest but didn’t use any of them. Sadly, I either didn’t have Granny Smith apples, wanted to add onions, and *again* it was already noon so I didn’t have eight hours for it to cook. Still, I’ve made few things in the crockpot so reading through the recipes gave me the reassurance and confidence I needed to tackle this tenderloin and go my own way with it. I used ‘cooking with pork’ staples-apples, brown sugar, and honey, bumped up the cook time, and fell in love with the sweet and savory results!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Where’s My Gold: A Seek and Find Game

This post originally appeared on Create.Craft.Love. on February 10, 2015. 

What's St. Patrick's Day without a little scavenger hunt! Where's Waldo, word finds, and even the puzzle in a Highlights magazine, I love a good seek and find game. This activity promises the chance to get crafty with the kids and go on a treasure hunt! 


You'll need the following supplies for this project and make sure to plan for drying time.
  • rocks (grab a bag of the white or clear ones from the dollar store)
  • cardboard egg carton
  • gold  and black paint
  • gold glitter
  • paint brushes
#potofgold firstlayerofpaint

To start off coat the rocks in a layer of gold paint. Be sure to flip them over and get both sides as well as all the edges. Be forewarned, you’ll probably get lots of paint on your fingers.

#potofgold sprinklingofglitter

While the paint is still wet – on one side – sprinkle on the glitter.

#potofgold secondlayerofpaint

Continuing to work with the wet paint and glitter, muddle them together with the brush just enough to create a textured effect. This also helped to make the rocks look more realistic, the little bits of the glitter coming through will shine when the light hits them!

#potofgold paintingthepot

The pots are just as easy to paint, and yes, you’re libel to get paint on your fingers with this one too! Cut out the individual egg forms from your carton and give them a coat of black paint both inside and out.

Give everything ample time to dry and then fill your pots with gold!

wheresmygoldgame #kidscrafts #kidsactivities #Stpatscrafts

That was the make portion of this project, now it’s time to turn what you’ve made into a game.
When the kids are in bed, or at school, hide the gold in a specific room. If the weather is nice you could take this game outside or if your kids are older go ahead and hide the pieces throughout the house.

Leave the empty pot somewhere they can find it along with a note that reads:

“Those pesky pixies are at it again! They’ve taken me gold and hidden it throughout the house/kitchen/yard. I’d be much obliged if ye would help me find it and I’ll show ye my gratitude with a small reward.”

Whether, and what, you offer as a reward is completely up to you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Girl Scout Cookie - Thank You Badges

ThankYouBadges #GirlScoutCookies #stampingprojectsCookies are a big deal for Girl Scouts not just because they’re our biggest fundraiser of the year, but also because they offer valuable lessons in money, from working for it, to saving and spending it wisely. Like everything in Girl Scouts, the business of selling cookies is led by the girls; they set their goals, they work towards them, and they determine the rewards. In addition, they complete age appropriate challenges to earn badges while they’re introduced to the world of commerce.

Customer service is a cornerstone of any good business and selling cookies IS a business for these ladies. So, learning the power of a heartfelt thank you, both verbal and in writing, is essential. Usually I have my daughter write little notes of gratitude but this year we made Thank You Badges for all our orders with the help of our PSA Essential Stamps.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Meme

PIPbreakmeLast week I read that an old school mate, Jake Simpson, was going to be opening for Molly Ringwald and well, I’ve had this movie stuck in my head ever since! Hmm, wonder what the kids and I will be watching tonight?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lucky Seven Bingo! Printable Game and an Announcement

Guess what? I am now a part of the 2015 PSA Stamp Camp Design Team! Like their website explains, the PSA in PSA Essentials doesn’t stand for Public Service Announcement but P-Paper, S-Stamps, and A-Accessories. In addition to custom self-inking stamps, embossers, and stationery kits, PSA Essentials holds the patent for “PEEL & STICK® technology.” I don’t even know where to begin trying to describe this concept. It’s genius and the thrifter in me loves it for its practicality and usefulness. Be sure to visit the About PSA Essentials page for all the details.


To start things off I really just wanted to play around with the stamps, practice lining them up, using the tools, and switching out the ink cartridges. Since Esther has been reviewing her seven addition facts I figured why not make a Bingo game?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Toddler Time: Pipe Cleaners and Colanders


It’s funny how quickly I’d forgotten a toddler’s need for constant stimulation. Getting school work done with the kids while simultaneously giving Des the attention he needs has become a major challenge. As I find handy antidotes I thought I’d share them with you. These are not crafts, heck they barely classify as activities! They are simply a means to occupy a toddler’s time.

First up, pipe cleaners and colanders. We cut our pipe cleaners in half to make them shorter and more manageable. Next grab a colander-or steam basket-and in case you hadn’t already found out, items from the kitchen mesmerize toddlers…I swear.  Now show your little one how to put the pipe cleaners through the holes.

It might take them a while to get it, that’s kinda the point. They might start playing with it in other ways, again, kinda the point. Des actually flipped the basket over and started putting the pipe cleaners in and out and then back in. Just let them have fun and if you’re a homeschooler take this time to help the older children how to figure out predicate nominatives.


NOTE: Des would chew on barbed wire if we gave it to him so his pacifier stays in his mouth much more than I’d like it to and definitely when we bring the pipe cleaners out. That’d be a Dr.’s visit I would NOT want to explain. Anyway, you know your kids, if they’re prone to sticking things in their mouths be careful with the pipe cleaners.


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