Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Baby Girl Is Here!

Annalisa Mary arrived at 8:35 am on Monday, October 19. She was 7 pounds, 14 ounces, 21 inches long. We came home Tuesday and are doing well. The birth story will follow ... someday.

Don't take my baby away!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Favorite Usborne Titles

In August, I signed up to be an Usborne Books Consultant. I didn't do it because I like to sell things (I don't.) or because I needed another activity to fill my days. (They are already full!) I just love the books and wanted to take advantage of the great discount I can get on purchases for my family.

To pass some of those savings on to my friends, I am running a little Christmas special. You can browse my website to find books and other educational products for the kids on your Christmas list, but I always love personal recommendations, so I thought a list of my own kids' favorites would be fun.

Jonah (21 months) loves Rog, better known as That's Not My Frog. It's one of a whole series of touchy-feely board books, including some fun seasonal titles (That's Not My Angel, Snowman, Reindeer, Penguin, etc.)

My 3 1/2 year old's favorite is Under the Sea, from the Beginner's Reading Series. J.D asks me to read the page about the puffer fish over and over. I can't believe that these high-quality, 32-page hardcover books with beautiful illustrations and photographs are only $4.99 each!

Ali (age 6 1/2) looks forward to finishing her school work each day so she can work in her Sticker Dolly Dressing Dolls book. The series has several other titles (Princesses, Fairies, Bridesmaids, and Ballerinas), but she has decided she would like Sticker Dolly Dressing on Vacation next. Again I am impressed by the high quality of this book. The pages are extra sturdy, and stickers are easy for six-year-old hands to manipulate; even the more delicate ones peel off without ripping.

Jair (age 5) and I share special times together with his Big Book of Things to Spot. He loves to find and count the items hidden in each two-page spread, and I love that he is sharpening his visual perception skills, learning about animal habitats and other times, cultures and places, and increasing his vocabulary all at once! The book combines four titles from the 1001 Things to Spot Series. The series has a new seasonal title, 1001 Things to Spot at Christmas.

One of the kids' favorite school books this year is Things People Do. We are using it for Social Studies to learn all about the different jobs people hold in a community. The kids love the humorous illustrations and the little yellow duck hiding on every page (a fun feature of several Usborne titles).

A highlight of our week is "Friday Art Day," when we choose a card from 50 Things to Draw and Paint. One side of the card shows a finished project, and the other side has step-by-step instructions for completing it. On a recent all-day trip, Ali and Jair stayed busy with another item from the Activity Cards Series, 100 Things for Little Children to Do on a Trip. That particular pack also comes with a dry erase marker and has come in handy for keeping little children quiet during church, too!

Some of the other Usborne titles featured in the Sonlight program we're using this year are Stories from Around the World, Why Do Tigers Have Stripes?, What's Under the Sea?, and First Thousand Words. (First Thousand Words comes in several languages; the Polish version will probably show up under our Christmas tree!)

Here are few Usborne books we have enjoyed for several years:
Ted & Friends has four easy-to-read stories with cute illustrations and a yellow duck to find on every page.
Flip-Flap Body Book combines three titles in one volume: What happens to your food?, How do your senses work?, and How are babies made? The text is age-appropriate and the fun illustrations and fold-out flaps have made the concepts easy for my kids to grasp and retain.

and a few titles I have tucked away for Christmas:
How High is the Sky?, part of an adorable series about a penguin who is always asking deep questions, and
Why?, a hilarious book full of questions like "Why do rhinos have horn on their noses?," with goofy and serious answers.