Two Multicultural Books Perfect For Children

Bowls of Happiness and What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? were given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. Both of these books provided factual information about the Chinese cultural.  They would be great to read in celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day which is on January 27th this year.

Chinese books

Bowls of Happiness

I read Bowls of Happiness to a group of children and they found humor in the child’s nickname of Piggy. Many of them could relate to silly names their parents called them. It even lead to a conversation about the meaning of their given name.

Bowls of Happiness was divided into different sections with the fictional story at the beginning. The story showed how Piggy’s mom decided to make a porcelain bowl and paint it with special symbols that depict happiness.

Towards the back of the book there was a portion of the book that discussed the meaning behind certain items on the bowls. For instance, bats symbolized happiness in the Chinese cultural while the color yellow represented the earth. I found this information interesting but do think it should have been a little shorter and to the point to keep the attention of children.

As a writing and art activity the children were eager to design their own bowls of happiness.

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?

Have you ever wondered what life was like in China’s Forbidden City?  Those particuarly interested in Chinese history would find this book fascinating.  Each page contains brief facts about a wide array of topics such as the foods the Emperor ate, schooling, military and lots of other information.

The pictures on each page and speech bubbles add to the appeal of this book.  I think a large factor on determining whether one would like this book or not depends on how interested you are in nonfiction information and the Chinese cultural.  There are many words some children wouldn’t be able to pronounce or understand, so, to get the most of out of the book it would be helpful if an adult clarified the information.

I learned new facts from both Bowls of Happiness and What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?.

Educational Bath Time

Who knew that shower/bath time could be so fun and educational? Well, it can!!!  Some of these ideas can be messy but what better place than the shower or bath tub to get dirty?  These activities will surely keep your kiddos occupied for a long time!  Educational bath time is a must!

Bath Learning

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Ninja Bunny Craft

I love that every day I get to read amazing picture books to my students and children. When I heard about Picture Book Month I knew I had to participate.  Each day in November there is assigned an author and theme.  I’ve teamed up with a great group of bloggers to share with you craft ideas that correspond to each book.  I’ll be showcasing Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Gray Olson.

Ninja Bunny

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Snowmen Clothespin Magnets

Homemade Christmas gifts are the best kinds. My kids can spend hours with their craft supplies making special gifts for all members of our family. We start the process early so we can try to avoid the holiday rush. It is fun to watch their artistic expression as they create each master piece. These Snowmen Clothespin Magnets are super easy to make!

Snowmen Clothespin

Here’s what we did:

Gathered all our craft supplies. (clothespins, paint, paint brush, permanent markers, ribbon, magnet and optional goggly eyes)

craft supplies


Paint the clothespins white and let them dry.  (For another project, we also painted blue clothespins and added glitter too them.  The white card stock I placed underneath the project actually turned out to be a nice piece of artwork.)


After the clothespins are dry we used the permanent markers to add a nose and face.  Then we tied on the ribbon. Cut a piece of magnet to the back and viola the craft is complete!

You’ll find more homemade gift ideas in this Kid-Made Gift Series hosted by Teach-Me-Mommy.

Kid Made Gifts

Christmas gifts made with love make great keepsakes.  I know our relatives will enjoy keeping their Snowmen Clothespin magnets on their refrigerators and thinking of the cute kids that made them!

Book Giveaway and Tour



PoutPoutTourFans of the New York Times Bestselling picture books series Pout-Pout fish will be excited to know a holiday book called The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish has been released.  The author, Deborah Diesen and the illustrator, Dan Hanna are going on a Book Tour across the United States.  Dan Hanna is coming to Columbus, Ohio (yep, that’s my hometown) on Wednesday, November 18th from 4:30-6:00 pm.  He will be coming to Cover To Cover in Clintonville.  Find the dates and locations of the entire book tour below:

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One lucky reader will receive a FREE copy of the book.  Use the link below to enter for a chance to win.  Deadline for entry is 12:00 EST on November 24, 2015.  Update: Sandra W. was the random winner and she has claimed the prize. Thanks for participating!

You can buy a copy of this adorable book using my affiliate link below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ve received a copy of The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish so I will be posting my review soon!

Great Thanksgiving Picture Books

Are you looking for some exciting and kid friendly books to read as we prepare for Thanksgiving? If so, check out some of my favorite Thanksgiving books for children.


‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by: Dav Pilkey

The classic Christmas poem has been adapted to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit. It’s an entertaining book with humor, great pictures and causes you to think about the turkey’s perspective at Thanksgiving.

'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

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Apple Fractions and Tasty Snack

Apples are one food my kids can always agree on eating. Today I decided to put an educational spin on snack time today and talk about fractions with my kids. Keep in mind that my oldest just started kindergarten and my youngest is in preschool. This is a topic they both were eager to learn about because I told them that we’d be making a tasty treat with the apples once we were done using them to learn.

leads to

Apple Fractions

This lesson was easy, easy, easy!!!!

  • First, I showed my kids a whole apple.
  • After that, I cut the apple in half and talked about that two halves make one whole. They thought it was really cool to put both of the halves back together.DSC_3513
  • Next up was fourths. I cut another apple in half and then cut the halves in half again. Here they discovered that two of the fourths were the same size as one half.
  • I used an apple cutter to slice the apple into eight pieces. My kids realized that the pieces of these apples were smaller. I explained that the more pieces the apple is cut into that the smaller the pieces become.DSC_3512

Appleseed Math

Using the center of the apple left over from the pieces cut into eighths, I had my children make a prediction about how many seeds were in an apple. My daughter thought one seed (which seems appropriate because many fruits have one seed) and my son predicted five. I broke open the apple and we counted the seeds. We discovered that the apple we used had six seeds.


Apple Counting

So simple…. I had my kids count how many apples were in the bowl. I then posed basic subtraction problems like, “If I took two apples away how many would be left?” I had them take away the apples and count how many remained.


Apple Tasty Treat

We certainly didn’t want to waste the apples so we needed to eat them. My kids were so pumped when I told them they were going to be spreading peanut butter on the apples and placing mini chocolate chips on top. Of course (before I could finish my sentence) they wanted to know if they would be allowed to eat some of the chocolate chips.

I gave each child a bowl of peanut butter, another bowl with mini chocolate chips, a butter knife and some apple slices. After they spread the peanut butter on the apple I gave them a number to count out and then place on top of the apple slices. This not only helped reinforce counting skills but they used fine motor skills to pick up the tiny pieces of chocolate.


(My kids also suggested using Nutella with white chocolate chips or caramel sauce. Looks like we will be trying that soon!)

This lesson was a hit with my kiddos. I loved that it was inexpensive, quick (I had all of the ingredients and materials in my fridge or pantry), educational and filled their bellies with a nutritious snack.

Fall is the perfect time to head to an apple orchard to go apple picking. If you live in Columbus, Ohio check out my list of local apple orchards by clicking HERE.

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Interested in other apple activities to do with your kids? Look at all of these exciting ideas by fellow bloggers for a apple mini unit perfect for kindergartners:

Apple name printable by P is for Preschooler

Apple Fingerprint Art by Kidz Activities

Fine Motor Color Matching Apple Sensory Bin by The Resourceful Mama

Fun Fall Apple Tree Reading Log by Books and Giggles

Apple Song for ESL Students

Apple Alphabet Match by Adventures of Adam

Kindergarten STEM Apple Activity {with Free Printable} by Something 2 Offer

Apple Picking Field Trip Activities by Rainy Day Mum

How To Establish A Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship

During this back to school season one of the most important things you can do is establish a positive parent-teacher relationship. It’s all about finding the balance between “helicopter parent” and uninvolved guardian. Not only will it be comforting to know who your child is spending time with it will also set your child up for a successful year.

As a mom and teacher I’ve been in both positions. Here are some quick and easy ways to make a connection with your child’s teacher.

Parent-teacher relationship

Attend Back to School Events

Make it a priority to attend any Open House or Meet the Teacher opportunities. It is always nice to be able to put a name and a face together so make sure you introduce yourself and chat for a bit.

Reach out within the First Few Weeks of School

Consider sending an email about a positive experience your child had, something memorable or funny they’ve said about their school day or thanking the teacher for working with your child. Not only will this make the teacher’s day, it will also set you apart from other parents and help to establish rapport early on.

Offer to Help

Perhaps you have an interest in helping the teacher out in the classroom. This is a nice way for you to get an inside glimpse into the classroom routine and get to know your child’s classmates. The teacher will appreciate anything you do to help and this will give the teacher more time to focus their time and attention to their true area of expertise.

If you aren’t able to come into the classroom there are lots of things you can do at home. Click HERE for a link with 19 ideas on ways to volunteer when you can’t come into the classroom.

Give a compliment

We all know how flattering it feels to be praised. Is there something hanging in the room that caught your eye or something you were impressed with? If so, make sure to mention it the next time you see them or send an email. If they really go above and beyond let the principal or superintendent know too.

Stay in the Know

DSC_0027Read teacher and school newsletters, information posted in your child’s digital portfolio, report cards and SCOUR their backpack frequently to uncover any crumbled (and probably important) tidbits of information.

Sometimes I wonder if newsletters, pictures and Tweets I send get lost in outer space or actually reach the parents. Commenting on something you read or saw not only shows the teacher that you read it but also shows you care. I can tell you first hand the more feedback I get the more time I will spend keeping parents informed.

Bonus: Give a small gift

Although not necessary, I am always pleasantly surprised and grateful when students present me with a gift. It can be homemade such as a card, tomato or flower grown from the garden or something purchased. Head on over to the The Resourceful Momma to snag this free colorful teacher gift tag that you can attach to many items.  Click HERE for the link.

School starts for me in less than a month. I’m excited to get to know a whole new group of students and their families. I plan on following my tips to establish a positive parent teacher relationship with my children’s teachers. I love feedback so feel free to comment below, use the buttons to follow me on social media and/or sign up to get an email about my new blog posts. Have a happy school year and keep reading below about how to enter into a giveaway!

Blog Hop and Giveaway

I’m thrilled to be teaming up with some blogger friends for my first Blog Hop! Below you will find links to various Back to School topics. There’s a whole lot of good information!

Blog Hop

The Resourceful Mama//Raising Little Superheros//Home Crafts by Ali//Local Busy Bees//Play Dough and Popsicles//Preschool Toolkit

Back to School Tips for a Smooth Transition

4 Ways To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten

DIY Zippered Pencil Pouch

 How to Establish a Successful Parent-Teacher Relationship

A Week Inside Our Home Preschool

What Can Little Kids Do When the Big Kids Are in School?

My Summer Bucket List

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One more day of work until my summer vacation officially starts! I’ve created my local Summer Bucket List full of exciting activities for my family. Click here: LocalBusyBeesSummerBucket2015.pptx  for a printable version of my list and a blank copy of the template so you can write in your ideas.

I’m thrilled to have been asked to guest blog on The Club Mom.  Check out my blog post at for a ton of ideas for everyone.   I have lists of outdoor activities, craft ideas, rainy day fun and more.

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Leave a comment below about what is on your Summer Bucket List. Whatever it is, I hope it is fun filled! 🙂