December 16, 2010

Our Life Books

A few weeks ago I picked up a little book at the airport called Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. It is about a 12 year old girl in Ohio whose mother died and she was being sent to live with a great-aunt in Charleston. Her only true friend was her elderly next-door neighbor, Mrs. Odell. CeeCee was  sad when she went to tell her friend goodbye.

Mrs. Odell told her this story.

When we’re born, the Good Lord gives each of us a Life Book. Chapter by chapter, we live and learn. It’s not a book you can see or touch. It’s a book that’s held deep within your heart. It’s guarded by your spirit. When a chapter of your Life Book is complete, your spirit knows it’s time to turn the page so a new chapter can begin. Even when you’re scared or think you’re not ready, your spirit knows you are. You and I have shared a wonderful chapter, Cecelia. You’ll never know how much joy you’ve brought into my life. I love you more than I can say. There was a time when I was sad and lonely. Then, one summer morning, a page turned in my Life Book and there you were standing at my back door.

As we come to the end of this year, let’s take time to look back over the chapters of our Life Books. Is there someone who was one day standing at your back door?

Some people are written all through our books. Some just take a page or two. But, our stories are richer because of the people that weave their way into our books and into our lives.

I wonder what the next chapter of my book will bring….

I look forward to continuing many old stories and to writing a few new ones as well.

Peace and joy to you.  May your Life Books be long and your stories interesting!

November 30, 2010

Here Comes Christmas

I just finished decorating my Christmas tree with a little help from friends and family....emphasis on the LITTLE.

Imagine the tree surrounded with lots of presents wrapped in lime green with red ribbons.  The lime green and red will offer a little balance to the tree top.  There is a  reason that there are no presents at the bottom of the tree.  I have not bought one present! 

 Tomorrow is the day to begin!!!
Tomorrow begins the countdown to Christmas.

Here is an idea to keep track of the days until the arrival of a jolly fat man dressed in red when all other presents must be in place.

I put number 1 to 25 on the gingerbread men from the Holiday Cheer cutouts.  The tent is made from two pieces of sturdy foam board.  I used ribbon and the small 1" gingerbread men cutouts to decorate the edges of the foam board. Then, I connected the 25 gingerbread men with a ring-it to the foam board.  Each day a child flips over a gingerbread man to countdown to Christmas.   

This is the little poem that is at the bottom of the flip book.

I just can't wait
For that Christmas date!

Count down if you can
Using a Gingerbread man .

Flip one over every day.
Christmas Day is on the way!

 I can't wait for that Christmas date!

Tomorrow is December 1.  The countdown begins!!


November 17, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Do you need some quick and easy ideas for decorating for Thanksgiving?  Why not involve the kids in making  placemats for your Thanksgiving dinner.  Use the pumpkins from the Autumn Harvest cut outs from CTP.  I combined the three different sizes to make these placemats and cards.

For a placemat start with colored card stock or construction paper.  Add a row of ribbon or paper trimming to the bottom of the paper.  One big 10-inch pumpkin cut out and another 6-inch pumpkin finsh off the placemat.  To make placecards fold a piece of card stock in half.  Add a name and a 1-inch cut out and you are all done!

Celebrating Thanksgiving is one of the Holiday Readers.  It tells the story of Thanksgiving for young children.

You can also use the Autumn Harvest cut-outs to make your own Thanksgiving greeting cards.


Speaking of blessings.....Last weekend we spent a couple of beautiful fall days in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Autumn Harvest

We saw this big Tom Turkey prancing down the street.  I wonder if he knows what holiday is just around the corner!

Happy Thanksgiving!

October 30, 2010

I Used to be Afraid of Snails

Our local elementary school recieved a grant to re-purpose an unused classroom to make a science lab to be shared by all the K-2 classes. The grant made it possible for them to purchase "real" science lab tables and stools as well as lots of great equipment. When everything came in and it was all set up it looked real "sciencey" but it was a little short on FUN. That's where I came in! They asked if I would be able to add a little color and interest to the room. I knew the CTP science minis bulletin board sets would be a perfect solution.

Welcome to K-2 Science Lab
Go Green!
REAL lab tables and stools.
The room was decorated.  The equipment was in place.
The lab was only missing one thing-the kids.

Then, it was time for Kate's kindergarten class
to go to the science lab.
When she came home that day she announced,
"We dissected snails today!"

If you are doing dissection you need protective goggles
and magnifing glasses. 
Observing the snails...up close and personal.

Snails are look like slimy creatures from another planet.
A shell grows on a snail's back. 
As the snail gets bigger, it adds to its shell. 
The shell grows outward in a spiral. 
Each kind of snail has its own style and color of shell. 
Their bodies are soft and squishy.  Their eyes sit up on stalks.

  The kids  learned lots of things about snails. 
One thing they learned is that snail slime doesn't smell very good.

If you want to learn more about snails and other animals
check out the I Used to be Afraid Of.... series by CTP.
These books help young readers discover that
some animals only seem scary until you get to know them. 

Now, Kate's class loves snails. 

You will, too. 
Watch the video below and meet Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.
Turn up the volume.  Marcel has a very soft voice.

October 23, 2010

Making Memories Month by Month

A scrapbook full of art projects that a child makes during the school year is a perfect end of the year gift. Add a child’s writing samples, math activities, photographs, and projects, and that same memory book becomes a colorful portfolio of the child’s work.

Making Memories Month by Month (CTP 2399) will help you create a memorable keepsake that will be cherished by parents for years to come.

When I was working in our retail store we made a sample scrapbook. We placed a simple display of the sample and the Making Memories book on a counter. Every day we had to replace the Making Memories books. The books seemed to just disappear. The sample book was all a teacher needed to see.  The book was sold!

If you go back in my blog to November 17, 2009, you can see all the pages of the sample book.

I have taken the sample book and Making Memories to every show that I have done for CTP for the last four years. A few weeks ago I started putting things together for NAEYC which will be in Anaheim, CA, in November. I cannot find my sample book anywhere. I have literally looked all the way from Texas to California with no luck.

Finally, last Monday I decided I might as well start making a new one. Since Kate is in Kindergarten she is helping me with the projects. Here are some of the pages that we have finished.

To make the book you first bind together about 12 to 15 pages of 11" X 17" card stock to make a book.  Ring-Its are great for binding because they can be easily removed to add more pages.  The cover of the book has Kate's picture
 and the title My Year In Kindergarten.

At the top left side of each double page, place the name of the month.  Then arrange things that you have collected for the month.  The books has suggestions of poems, story frames, craft ideas, picture frames, but you can also add your own ideas.

Remember, for little ones, drawing pictures is a form of writing.
Poems and songs are included in the book.  Encourage the children to memorize the poems or sing the songs.

A digital camera is your best friend. 
Add pictures of activities from the month.

All of the art projects in the book are fun.  There is at least one hand print or foot print project for each month. 
The spider in the web is a thumb print. 
The pumpkin is a collage of orange, red, and yellow tissue paper.

Each month is a double page spread. 

Hand-print turkey.

We give thanks.  Check out our turkey.

The corn is a math activity.  You add real corn to the corn cob and count the number of kernels.  The other corn cob is a collage of fall-colored construction paper. 

I used different styles of the mini cut-outs to liven up the pages.

Making Memories Month by Month  is one of my favorite books.
At one time they tried to discontinue it, but I cried until they made it available again. It also comes as an e-book so you can order it, and use it immediately. Check it out at .

October 15, 2010

Happy Fall, Y'all !

After posting Shine on Harvest Moon I received the following comment from Bree in Indiana.

Fall is my favorite season and its arrival was perfect with September's Harvest Moon.  As our temperatures begin to drop and the leaves begin to  turn, it finally feels like fall here in Indiana.  I look forward to seeing more colors, having campfires, and sipping warm cider with friends.

Doesn't that sound delightful?  It did to me. So, I set off with Lenny and two friends, Nina and Bob, to find FALL.  What do you know! We found it in Quebec! It was everything Bree described and more!

Red and yellow,
gold and brown,

Autumn leaves are falling down.

This quaint little park was home to a very large witch.

Nina and Lenny beside a VERY LARGE WITCH!

It was laundry day.

Notice the big wash tub and her socks and underwear.

Pumpkins, cabbage, and squash decorated every corner.

I loved the little pumpkins on sticks in this garden.  

Little cafes made crepes while you watched.

Care for a BOWL of coffee?

This is graffiti Quebec style.  The scene was painted on the side of a building.   The people at the bottom are real.  It is hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.

Oops!  Pardon us.

There were musicians along each street
and art displayed outside each store.

Delightful little shops...

all windows and doors were open inviting you in.

Hotel Fontenac was our home away from home.  It felt like being a queen living in a castle long ago.

 As we toured the city I collected red maple leaves, the  symbol of Canada.  I was selective in the leaves I collected. No yellow or gold leaves for me. I pressed them in a book each night.  By the time I got home my book was full of red maple leaves.
Yesterday, I made "leaf people" from the leaves to remember by trip to Quebec.  Without a doubt we found FALL!

Now that we are back home the days have turned cooler and the weather is beautiful.  Who knows maybe we will have a little bit of fall in Texas.  Here the leaves don't turn the beautiful colors.  They just FALL.  We will have plenty of brown leaves to rake.
Happy Fall, Y'all!

September 30, 2010

May There Always Be Sunshine

This is one of my favorite pictures of Kate.  She was about 9 months old.  She seems to be truly basking in the sunshine.
It reminds me of an old newpaper cartoon called Hi and Lois.
One of the characters is a freckled, blonde baby called Trixie who loves talking to Sunbeam, a ray of sunshine.  Kate looks like she might have something to say to Sunbeam.

May There Always Be Sunshine!

May there always be sunshine.
May there always be blue skies.
May there always be children.
May there always be you.

May there always be stories.
May there always be music.
May there always be teachers
to care for you!

May there always be sunshine.
May there always be blue skies.
May there always be children
as special as you.

by Dr. Jean  

This is a class book made by a Mrs. Bailey's kindergarten in California.   Here are their favorite things. 

May there always be....

(Notice the pictures. The kids are signing the words.)

May there always be a person princess by the sea.

We always need Star Wars spaceships.

Don't forget friend Kate!

And of course we need Superman!

Kids loves all of the Dr. Jean songs and books.  CTP publishes 12 book titles in the traditional little reader size as well as in lap book size for sharing with the whole class. The CD  has all the songs just in case you need some help with the tunes.  Kids can really Sing Along and Read Along. 
Go to and search for Dr. Jean to find all of her Sing Along and Read Along products.

Sing Along and Read Along Resource Guide has sign language for
 May There Always Be Sunshine.

The new Make and Take Books contains reproducibles of all 12 of the books that students can make and share at school or at home.

May there be lots of sunshine today
in your corner of the world!