Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Just Have to Say...

Thank you too all those who have passed awards on to me in the last few months! I'm afraid I have missed the opportunity to pass several of them along, and now I can't remember who gave me what and it would be hard to scroll through the comments and figure it out because I have several that I really dropped the ball on (or multiple people giving me the same award). BUT, I am so honored that people are enjoying my blog, and would think to pass an award on to me. I'm so sorry I haven't been able to pass them along lately. But, thank you!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Believe It Or Not, Miss O is Learning to Read!

Yes, shocking, I know. She still seems like my little baby in so many ways. Recently I switched Little Bean over to The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading after having finished about 80 percent of 100 Easy Lessons (that switch is a topic for a whole other post!). This was after much fighting on his part during the reading lessons from 100 Lessons. I finally just decided to bite the bullet (aka, shell out the money for OPG) and try a different approach. He has really taken to OPG, so I am happy about that. But that's not what this post is about--I will have to do a comparison post in the near future. :)

When I decided to switch Little Bean over, I was looking back at the lessons in 100 Lessons and just seeing what he knew and where he had come from so that I could figure out where to start him in OPG. I realized that some of the really early lessons in 100 EZ were easy enough for Miss O, and just on a whim decided to do one with her one day. Well, she liked it--a lot! So, we have started making our way through 100 Lessons, and she is already on lesson 21 (it's been about a month now). I really can't believe it myself, because I had such a hard time with this book with Little Bean. I really wasn't planning to even think about starting her until she turns four, if then, but she really has taken to the format, so I am going to continue with her as long as she is enjoying it.

Maybe it has to do with having Little Bean as a role model too. He reads us a BOB Book or a Now I'm Reading Primer each night at bedtime, and since starting her lessons, Miss O has asked if SHE could read a BOB book at bedtime! I had her do Book 2 in set one, "Sam" tonight, and she actually did really well! She is just getting the hang of blending, but she is moving right along! I'm so pleased, and hoping this will be a much easier experience for her than it was with Little Bean.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not Homeschool Related, But...

This post is totally unrelated to homeschooling, but while we are being honest, I thought I'd share a piece of my life that so far I haven't shared with many of my readers. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but so far I've been reticent to share about this on my blog just because it is controversial to some people, and I know not everyone will understand or agree with it. BUT, it's a huge part of who I am, and how our family has operated over the last two years. So here it is: I'm a surrogate mom!

When Miss O was still a tiny baby, my dh and I were attending a couples Bible study and one of the couples shared with our group about their struggles with infertility. They had tried IVF several times, but couldn't get pregnant. We had known this couple for a long while, but because they didn't have kids, we weren't as close as we were to some of the other couples. We were just at different life stages.

I honestly felt they were selfish for being so persistant about the fertility treatments. I thought, "Why don't they JUST adopt!?". I'm ashamed now to think of my judgemental heart, but it came from never having struggled to have kids, from ignorance about the pain of infertility. Obviously there is nothing wrong with adoption at all, BUT it is a personal choice, and who am I to say whether it is right or not for any particular couple?? Thankfully, I kept my terrible thoughts to myself, so at least I didn't hurt them by saying something so awful to their faces. Needless to say, over a period of months, God broke my heart for this couple, and for their situation. I finally came to the conclusion that my fertility was a huge gift, that my kids themselves were a gift beyond comprehension, and if I could help this couple in any way, that I wanted to do that. I did some research on gestational surrogacy and spoke with my husband. Then I offered undergo in-vitro fertilization for the purpose of carrying their genetic child and handing it over upon its' birth; this is called gestational surrogacy.

Long story short, after spending about 9 months talking and preparing, we cycled once and it worked on the first try. I gave birth to their beautiful boy/girl twins in December of 2008, just before I started this blog! They are just over a year now, and a joy to behold! Through this amazing couple, I met yet another couple going through infertility issues, who now also go to our Bible study!

I never thought I'd do another surrogacy, but just 4 months after delivering the twins, I again felt the tug on my heart to work with this new couple. They already had two children from adoption, but desired a large family. Surrogacy was one way that they could do that. We cycled in August of 2009 and it failed. We cycled again in December of 2009 (yes, just last month!), and guess what?!? It worked! I am 8 weeks pregnant with one little baby!

Surrogacy is a huge part of my life, or at least it has been for the last two years. I know it's different, it's not "normal", and not everyone will understand or agree with it. But until you've given yourself a chance to understand and research it, please, don't pass a judgement. Only God can change a human heart, and I was once the one judging my friends, wondering why they didn't "just adopt" (FTR, I don't have ANY problem at all with adoption! Obviously adoption isn't a way that I can help an infertile couple though, is it?).

While I was pregnant with the twins, I got loads of questions, concerns and judgements from others. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me, and I understand a little more now how alienated a couple can feel when others don't understand their struggle to start or grow a family. I can't thank God enough for opening my eyes to this, for helping me to see these people with a fresh outlook, for allowing me to be of some help to them. I'm not sharing this to give myself a big pat on the back, but because I am pregnant again, and hope and pray for your prayers and support through this next surrogate pregancy, for the continued health of the baby that I am carrying. Also, since it is a big part of my life, especially now, while I'm in the midst of another journey, I just felt it'd be easier to share with all of you what's going on with me! I am more than happy to answer any and all questions that you may have, but will delete any inappropriate comments.

I have never uploaded a video on my blog before, so I hope this works! This is a surrogacy video I made after I delivered the twins. It kind of answers some of the questions people were always asking me about concerning surrogacy. If you want to watch, fyi, there is sound, so feel free to take advantage of that! I hope you enjoy it! FYI, most of the pictures are of the parents holding their babies (don't think I look that great after having just delivered twins, lol. It's their mommy who is so pretty! ;) ). I'm the one with the glasses in a few of the pics. And, yes,you'll notice twin B was in the NICU in some of the pictures. She had complications due to the C-section, but is fine now. Twin A came out healthy as can be!



Saturday, January 23, 2010

Confessions

There have been a ton of confession posts on my reader lately. There was even a huge thread on one of my boards where people were confessing some of the "bad mom" things that they do. I have resisted jumping on the train for a couple reasons: 1)I don't like doing something just because that's what other people like, want or expect the "cool" blogging moms to do, and 2) I don't like confessing all the things I don't do well, lol!

I'm going to do one though, because in reading some of the comments people have made on other blogs in response to a confession post, it seems that some readers form this picture in their minds of how "perfect" this person looks or seems, and some commenters I've seen have even said that they've stopped reading a particular blog because they just got depressed thinking they weren't as "good" as the mom whose blog they were reading. I never want my readers to feel or think that I'm perfect, I'm just a normal person like anyone else. Actually I get that comment a lot, even from real-life friends, so I'm not sure if I put of a "perfect" aura or what, but I'm doing this post to reassure you all that I am just a normal mom, like anyone else and by no means perfect. :) Nor do I want people who read my blog to feel intimidated or think that I have it all together. I do my best, but certainly am still learning as each day goes by.

So here are my confessions.

--My kids get up no earlier than 7am and go to bed no later than 7pm. They have had this same schedule since they were infants, and I will hold onto it as long as I can. I really like my sleep in the am, and don't want to see them before the sun is out. And by the time 7pm rolls around, I am READY for them to be in bed. My mom thinks I'm nuts for making my almost 5 year old go to bed before the sun sets!

--My kids fight--A LOT. They are best friends, don't get me wrong, but it's not uncommon at all to hear comments from them like, "You are the meanest boy in the world, I do not like you" or "Give me that toy or I'm not going to talk to you for a week!". That's not even mentioning the constant tattling, name-calling and sometimes-gasp--violence that ensues between them. I hate that they fight, but I am powerless to stop them. No matter how many heart-to-hearts we have, no matter how many time outs or punishments, things just don't change between them.

--I lose my temper with them often. Every night when I pray for them, I have to pray for myself because they do grate on my nerves and often that leads to me saying something to them out of anger or expressing myself with words that aren't meant to teach, but are spoken purely out of frustration.

--If I don't feel like schooling them one day, even if it's just out of sheer laziness, I just don't. Actually, I don't really mind this about myself, but some people may think that I have this perfect schedule with their schooling and may wonder how I keep it all together. My point is, I don't. If I'm not feeling it, I just don't do it.

--I don't constantly play with my kids. Sometimes I DO hop on my computer when they are playing together, and just let them entertain each other. If I'm overly tired, sometimes I just lay down and rest in a half-sleep while they play. They are getting old enough that I can trust them without complete supervision.

--I actually don't cook all that much. I've got cleaning to where I am alright with my schedule (though my house is cluttered--both Little Bean and his dad are terrible pack rats), but I don't like cooking. Usually, I make dinner for the kids, something simple, and then dh and I either fend for ourselves, one of us will cook something super simple, or we will order in. I'll just be honest and say unless I am on some cooking kick, I generally only cook maybe twice a week.

How's that for a confession post?!? Hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Go To The Dump Math Game


Another Right Start post for you. Little Bean and I came across this game in Lesson 42 of the Right Start Level A book. Little Bean LOVED it, so I thought I'd share it with you; maybe your Kinder will enjoy it too!

Game: Go to the Dump (reminicent of Go Fish)

Purpose: to learn all the combinations that equal ten (1 + 9, 2 + 8, 3 + 7, etc)


Materials: Set of basic number cards 1 through 9 (4 or 6 of each number), abacus if needed. You can make these cards with just some index cards or pieces of paper, or just print some up.


Play: Deal out five cards to each player. The remaining cards are the "dump pile". Each player first checks their cards to make sure there are no pairs equaling ten. If there are, he lays the pairs down in front of him. The game then proceeds like Go Fish--a player asks another player if he has a particular card that he needs to make a pair that equals ten. If the other player has the desired card, he must give it over; if not, he says, "Go to the dump" and the asking player draws a card. If he draws a match that he needs, he may lay it down right then and then end his turn. If not, his turn is over. The play moves on like this until all the cards are paired. If a player runs out of cards mid-game, he simply draws 5 more at that point. The winner is the one with the most pairs that equal ten. If a player needs help finding out what he needs to finish a pair, he can enter his card on the abacus and see what card is needed. The Right Start curriculum had a few more rules (like only asking the player to the left for a pair), but this seemed simpler and accomplished the same goal.


Such a simple game, but SO helpful for Little Bean to memorize pairs that equal ten. He loved this game so much that he wanted to play it twice during math time, and then said that he wanted to play it again after he finished all his school work for the day. I didn't think he'd hold me to it, but he did! He wanted to play it twice more after school, and using more cards so that one hand would last longer! We played two more games before I finally told him I needed a break. AND--I'm pretty sure he has mostly memorized his combinations of 10 now! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Those Who Use Explode the Code

I came across this the other day--Explode the Code Online workbooks! Those same workbooks you can purchase for your child to do at home are also available as an online game. You purchase a one year subscription for your student, and the Explode the Code online game keeps track of their progress for you. Each progression of phonics questions is based on what your student has accomplished already! There is a 4 minute video explaining the game that you can watch on the website. The game looks very interactive and fun! I know Little Bean would love this a lot more than he does the workbooks!

We just finished up Book 1, which was ALL review for him, but it was good practice for him to work totally independently and for his fluency. I already have books 2 and 3, but I just may have to consider this for the rest of the levels after that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For Next Year...

Little Bean is making great progress with his Kindergarten stuff, so of course I am already drooling over different curriculums for next year! We are keeping a lot of the same stuff (Right Start, Handwriting Without Tears, 100 Lessons for Miss O, Explode the Code, etc), but I am on the lookout for science and history programs that will be fun and engaging for him for 1st grade. Right now we are not doing history at all; I just didn't think that at his age it was all that important, nor did I think he could really handle it because he is such a young Kinder. And for science, right now we are using McRuffy Science K, which is okay, but I don't love it, so I am searching to see what else is out there. I will still probably re-use McRuffy on Miss O when she is in K though.

So in my research I've come across this really fascinating literature-based program called Winter Promise. It has a somewhat Charlette Mason feel with the use of living books, narration, nature study, and notebooking. Their website has a lot of information on it, and they have an official forum so you can ask questions to people who really use their curriculum. Their catalog, which is available for download is incredible!

Winter Promise uses history as the backbone of their curriculum, and then you add on other subjects, like science and language arts. They don't have a math curriculum all their own, but that suits me fine because we love Right Start and are sticking with that for next year as well. From what I've seen browsing, Hideaways in History looks like a theme that Little Bean would love. It uses Story of the World as its' spine, and then comes with a bunch of other living books (picture books and read alouds) that you pull from each day. The student also gets to do some notebooking, creating their own history book with exclusive Winter Promise notebooking pages. Lots of pasting, coloring, cutting, crafty stuff, which I know the kids will love. And the heart of the Hideaways curriculum is just that--for each major period you study, you get to make a hideaway for pretend play, which just solidifies what you've learned as you have fun building and playing in your hideaway. I've read that you do about one hideaway per week!

I'm still looking at my options for science, but Winter Promise has one that compliments Hideaways called The World Around Me that I am interested in. There are no consumables with this curriculum which is great because it means you can use it for more than one child without having to purchase more workbooks for the second child. The child keeps a science journal and does a lot of observation/recording each week. It sounds like a lot of fun, and very doable for a 1st grader.

So that's what's been on my brain lately! I know it's early, call me crazy, but I am a curriculum addict!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Homeschool?

Our weekly couples Bible study just recently started working through a series on parenting. I was struck by one of the points the study brought out--that we are the product of our relationships. The relationships that we develop as children and into adulthood with key figures in our life shape us and make us into who we are today.

The study pointed out that there are three main relationships that are important to a child's development as they grow up. The three are: relationship with God, relationship with parents, and relationship with those outside the home. As parents, so the study said, we have a chance to influence and sometimes even control the nature and quality of these three relationships.

I was so inspired by this point because it was the first time I really understood what it is inside of me that draws me to homeschooling. I've tried to explain it to be people before, and it's never come across quite how I've wanted it to, but now I think I can explain why we homeschool, and why we will continue to homeschool until I feel Little Bean and Miss O are ready to face the big world out there.

We homeschool because I value relationship with my children above certain experiences they may get at a brick and mortar school. I want them to be at home in the early years to gain wisdom and understanding from influences that I trust and that I want them to emulate. When they are at home, I can guide them much more than if they were at school the majority of their day. As parents, I believe we have a responsiblity to them to turn up the relationship dial and make our time together enriching and supportive of the growth of their little minds and hearts.

We homeschool because in doing so we can use our influence in their lives to direct them to God. Certainly those who send their children to school can do that as well. But for us, having them nearby as problems come up, we have many more oppertunities to pray with them, to direct them to God's word and to show them how the Bible would teach us to respond in tough times is so important, that it's crucial.

We homeschool because I want more control (no, I'm not afraid to admit that either), of the friends and peers who influence them. I'm not trying to comepletely shut them off from the world, but I believe a child must be ready to face the world with confidence in knowing the difference between right and wrong and why things are right and wrong. I don't believe my children can face the world alone yet. They need more guidance, more practice in the safety of our home, before they will be able to face the world and maintain their convictions. Right now, they are still building their convictions, and I want to be there to influence their minds and hearts.

Certainly, there are many more reasons we homeschool, including of course, that I like being able to choose the nature and course of their study, that I want to tailor their education to their individual needs, and that I just like being with them! But for me, these are secondary to the relationship aspect, which I find to be such and important part in shaping and guiding them in their growing up years.

Please see this post for an updated answer  to this question!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Addition and the Part-Whole Circle

The other day Little Bean and I worked on addition up to 10 using the Part-Whole circle and tally marks. This Right Start lesson called for Little Bean to visualize the tally sticks moving from circle to circle so that he could easily solve problems up to 10 in his head (without the abacus).

Here is one of our problems: an addend goes in each smaller circle and then Bean needs to find the sum. 4 + 3 is not hard if he uses the abacus, but to do it in his mind he must visualize changing the problem into something he can understand more easily. Remember how Right Start teaches the child to think in terms of "5 and"? (5 and 2 is 7, 5 and 3 is 8, etc). This comes in super handy for doing mental math.

Here is where Bean's mind went to right off the bat: 4 + 3 is the same as 5 + 2 and 5 and 2 is 7! Therefore, 4 + 3 = 7. He decided to take away one of the tally sticks from the right circle and add it to the one on the left, giving him 5 and 2 as his parts. From there, it was a matter of recalling what 5 and 2 is from the very beginnings of Right Start Level A. I was SO impressed that Little Bean could do this in his head by thinking in terms of "5 and". We did many problems like this last week, and he loved them all. It was a fun challenge for him to answer my question, "What could we change in this problem so that we can solve it without counting?" He figured it out every time.
Just in case Little Bean wasn't getting it, there was the option of using the abacus. This doesn't require such a high level of critical thinking, but it is another way to come up with the answer without counting (counting is extremely inefficient, not to mention inaccurate; Right Start does not encourage counting at all). To do 4 + 3 on the abacus, you first push over 4 beads, then leaving a finger width gap, push over 3 beads. To see the answer, you just push the two addends together. You do not need to count the beads because the child has been trained to know that there are 5 blue beads and 5 yellow beads on each rod. So when you push them together, you'll immediately see 5 blue beads and 2 yellow beads have been entered and you have your answer because the child memorizes all the "5 and" facts in the very beginning. Easy peasy! Little Bean does this sometimes when solving math problems on worksheets or doing story problems.


Here is the completed problem 4 +3 = 7. See how easy it is to see the sum without counting? Even if you don't purchase Right Start for your math curriculum, I highly recommend getting an AL abacus from them!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Would You Do With This?

A pastor friend of my mom's passed this Bible card set on to me thinking I may be able to use it with the kids somehow. I'm really excited to get started using it, as we don't do any Bible related stuff during our school time right now. BUT...I'm not really sure how to use these.

The Beginner's Bible cards are geared toward children ages 2 through 8, and there at least 200 or so cards (my guess). It appears to me that they are some kind of "card of the month" type thing that the church must've subscribed to but no longer need. The box contains dividers with names like plants and animals, events, miracles, daily life, and people. The cards are organized by category and then by book of the Bible.
Here's a view of the inside of the box:
Each card has two sides, a story side and a picture side. This photo is of the story side. It has the Bible reference in the top corner, and then has a "did you know" and a "life lesson" portion at the bottom:
On the front of the card is a picture that goes along with the story. There are also a few comprehension questions to ask after reading the back of the card:
Sorry the pics are so dark! Not sure what happened there! SO, how would you use these?? The kids were excited when I pulled them out today, and I let them choose a category and we read through the card. I'm not that creative, and don't know how to use them in a more exciting way. Any ideas??

Friday, January 8, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

Generally speaking, I don't do New Year's Resolutions. This year, a few of my friends were making them, and it got me to thinking about what I could improve in my life. I've come up with a resolution that means a lot to me, and that I think I can commit to.

Look at Miss O in this picture. I love watching her sleep (and yes, she really does sleep with her animals all around her like that!). I love watching both my kids sleep. They are so peaceful when they sleep and I am kind of addicted to watching them sleep. Each night, before I go to bed I check on them. They never need me, but I just like to see them sleeping so sweetly, re-adjust their covers and then leave. I don't think I'll ever stop checking on them until they start going to bed later than me!

This year though, I'm going to do something different. Instead of just taking a peek before bed, I'm going to use that time to pray over them. I pray for and with my kids all the time. We've made that a routine in our house. We pray before meals, we pray at bedtime, we pray when we are sad or hurt or angry. We pray together a lot. But our prayers are mostly focused on the here and now. I don't do a lot of praying over them. This year I'm going to do that. I'll use that time when I am checking on them to pray for them.

I'll pray for Little Bean, for his anxiety that seems to always be bubbling just under the surface. I'll pray peace into his heart and mind. I'll pray for his nightmares to go away and for God to comfort him as he sleeps. I'll pray for his Juvenile Xanthogranuloma, that he would be healed, that it would continue to be cutaneous only, that he would not be affected in any way by it's presence. I'll pray that he'll learn to love, that he'll love and respect himself, that he'll recieve and give love to others freely. I'll pray that he would always draw close to God in all circumstances, that his heart will be soft unto God. I'll pray for his future wife, that wherever she is she will grow up loving God and that she will remain pure for Little Bean, and that he too will save himself for her.

I'll pray for Miss O too. I'll pray for her to continue to discover how precious she is in Christ. I'll pray that she will always love and respect herself. I'll pray that she will grow up as a compassionate, Godly woman. I'll pray for her future husband too. I'll pray for her fertility too, that she'll never be touched by the pain of infertility or the loss of a child. I'll pray that she will learn to give of herself, and that she will find her worth in Christ alone.

And I'll pray for myself too. That I'll do right by them. That I'll be a good mom to them. That I'll focus on the important things in life and point them to Christ everyday. I'll pray for patience and more grace for them. I'll pray that my dh and I will be the best parents to them that we can be. And I'll thank God every day that I get to have them in my life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

All About Spelling

Recently, one of my readers asked me what I thought of our spelling curriculum, All About Spelling. When I was about to start Little Bean with Kinder work, I purchased All About Spelling because a few of my favorite homeschooling blog friends use it, and they seemed to give it really high praises. I looked into it, and thought I'd give it a try with Little Bean.

We are on Lesson 11 out of 24 now, and I'll just be honest, I'm still waiting for this curriculum to get exciting. The lessons are long, and Little Bean gets tired of them quickly. As a result, we are moving through this program very slowly. We do spelling twice a week, and it takes at least 4 school days to complete a lesson.

Each lesson starts with review of the different flash cards. Sometimes I include this, sometimes I don't. The only reason I don't is that because sometimes, by the time we are done reviewing the cards, Little Bean is burnt out already and doesn't want to actually spell anything! He is not a flashcard person, so that may be part of it.

Following review, usually there are a few little exercises for the child to do. This particular lesson asks the child to count syllables by clapping. Little Bean actually really enjoyed this lesson, and it was probably the first time he showed so much enthusiasm for spelling:
Next, you generally use the letter tiles to spell words. To begin, you and the student work together to alphabetize the tiles. Again, sometimes I just set this up for Bean. He gets bored when we have to spend so much time alphabetizing in order to spell a few words. He'd almost rather just write the words with a dry erase pen and board than set up those tiles! Below you can see how you alphabetize them by singing the abc song:
Next there are spelling exercises. Sometimes it's segmenting words as you pull the tiles down, sometimes it's spelling three letter words with the same vowel sound, sometimes it's filling in the missing letter, as shown below:
The activities ARE quite varied, and the use of the letter tiles is what makes this curriculum quite tactile, which are the things that drew me to it in the first place. But frankly, Little Bean already knows how to spell all his three letter words and words with consonant teams like th, sh and ch. So even though we are nearly half way through, he has yet to really be challenged to learn to spell something! This results in him just being drilled with spelling words he knows and bored much of the time. That does not make me happy.
Still, I really feel it will get better. I keep feeling that if we can just get past the lessons on short vowel sounds we will get into something more challenging/interesting for him. I'll have to update when we get there!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cloth Diapers, Need Work, Anyone Want Them??

Yes, these lovely Bum Genius diapers are for sale! My sister-in-law loves using her Bum Genius All-In-Ones on her little ones, and I don't blame her! These diapers are top of the line cloth diapers, and presumably the easiest kind of cloth diaper to use. BUT--these particular ones need new elastic in the legs. Other than that, they are in great condition (no stains, tears or rips, with some pilling on the velcro tabs). My sister in law asked me to sell them for her because she just never has the time to repair them (though it can be done!). I plan to post them on craigslist, but thought I'd post here first in case any of my readers are into cloth diapering and are a little handy with a sewing machine!

Here is the whole lot of them, 6 Mediums, 5 Large, and 19 one size diapers, plus 31 microfiber inserts (not shown): Here are the one size diapers:
And the 6 Mediums:
And here are the Large diapers:
Another of the Large size, showing the inside of the diaper (all of them are very clean like this one):

She will sell as a set or in groups, priority goes to those who purchase the most. Please use my contact button to contact me about purchasing these diapers or for more details or pictures. Shipping will depend on how many diapers are purchased. Please visit the Bum Genius website for more information on these diapers. Since I have not personally used this brand, I can't answer specifics about their use, sizing or care. These diapers do need some work repairing the elastic in the legs. When you contact me PLEASE include a price you are willing to pay for the diapers (excluding shipping) and I will get back to you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Up and My Little Wilderness Explorers

Little Bean received this nifty book from a family friend this Christmas, and has really been enjoying it. I watched Disney's Up with my husband, and let me tell you, I wouldn't let my little ones watch it. It was very suspenseful, even for me! But, the book is quite cute! It's not a story book; rather it is a Wilderness Explorer's Guide book!
Each page tells the story of how the little guy in the movie (his name escapes me) earned his badges. This page is all about the gardening badge:
And here are pages for the knot tying and sewing badges, complete with examples of different stitches and knots:
In the back, there are three pages loaded with stickers, including big round stickers with pictures that represent each badge. I cut out an old piece of butcher paper, and Little Bean enjoyed adding "badges" to his "sash". He didn't want to use up all the stickers, but later I found his open book and all the badges stuck to his paper sash!
Of course, Miss O wanted to model the sash too!

It would've been a lot of fun to try to do some of the badge requirements and add a badge each time he completed an activity, but frankly, he had already dug into the stickers by the time I thought this project up, so it was too late. He may be a little young for that yet as well, and it'd probably not be as exciting if he had to wait for each badge. It would be fun to do something like that with an older kid though. :)
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