Thursday, September 18, 2014

Goodnight, Ark {Review}

This cute picture book follows what it might have been like if the animals were startled on Noah's Ark.  First one then another of the animals are afraid of the rain and the thunder till eventually they all end up in Noah's bed.   The ark starts to tip and Noah finds himself tucking his new friends in for the night.

This book by Laura Sassi is cute, adorable, and a lot of fun to read.  It reminds me a lot of Goodnight, Moon and Goodnight, Construction Site by other authors.  The rhyme flows over the pages and moves the story.  Not only did my kids love it, but I also found myself chuckling along as we read.

This book is a great imaginative look at what life might have been like for 40 days and 40 night.  I'm sure it certainly wasn't quiet and peaceful the whole time.  What a fun way to bring it all to life for your little ones!

*Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge for review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Kids and Technology

As we all know, kids are naturally curious creatures.  They want to know about everything.  The amount of questions I get asked in a typical day is overwhelming.  And if I don't answer those questions to their satisfaction, they're going to find the answers themselves.  So it doesn't surprise me at all when they start asking to use the computer.  After all, they see me blogging throughout the day and their dad organizing on his iPad for Sunday morning.  Why wouldn't they be curious?

Technology is a double edged sword in my mind.  On one hand, it's changing quicker than ever before and has become such an integrated part of our society that our kids will need to understand it for their futures.  On the other hand, access to so much information can be both inappropriate and addicting.  And it has become a cheap substitute for face to face interactions.

So how can we help our children (and ourselves) navigate through technology?

*First of all, realize that because of their natural curiousity, children will figure out how to use the computer.  It amazes me time and again, how my two oldest children have worked their way from one website to another in a matter of seconds.  Search bar?  No problem.  Bookmarks?  Got it.  They're not afraid to play around with the tool bar 'cause it's all fun for them.

*Don't be afraid of parental controls.  I know sometimes we want to let our kids just follow their curiousity.  But left unchecked, this could lead to some very scary realities.  And don't think your child is too young.  A curious child can be lead to all sorts of dangers on the internet.  Don't let your child (or their minds) become the internet's next victim.

*Establish clear time limits.  In our house, the kids read every day for 30 min in exchange for 20 min of computer time.  Computer time is not to be redeemed until all school work is complete to Mom's satisfactory.  Sometimes we allow for more computer time, but that's a rare exception and usually focuses on homework or something that the family can do together.

Technology is a great tool.  I have been incredibly blessed by the friends I've made through blogging and social media.  And there's a whole world to explore right at our fingertips.  With a little planning, parental influence, and clear limits, our kids can flourish in the world of technology.

*Linked to these Parties

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Peek Into Our Homeschool Week--Sept 8-12, 2014

Homeschool Week 4 #1 photo IMG_3249_zpsf3f382f9.jpg

Little Man working on the Letter D

Homeschool Week 4 #2 photo IMG_3250_zpsbabedc8a.jpg

Noah and Lydia working on a food web 

Homeschool Week 4 #3 photo IMG_3252_zpse78d849c.jpg

Noah labeling his food web

Homeschool Week 4 #4 photo IMG_3253_zpse6ec02aa.jpg

More food web work

Homeschool Week 4 #5 photo IMG_3254_zpsb6f25397.jpg

The finished project

Homeschool Week 4 #6 photo IMG_3289_zpsca786e9b.jpg

Learning state birds

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dinners of the Week--Sept 8-14, 2014

A Dolphin Tale 2 {A Mom's Review}

Friday was my three year old's birthday!  Three years... my how time flies!  Grandma was in town, birthday boy was in a good mood, so we decided to make it a full celebration and see a movie.  Grandma offered to treat us so we looked up what was playing and decided to go see Dolphin Tale 2.

Now if you're not familiar with Dolphin Tale, the first movie follows Winter's story, a juvenile female dolphin found tangled in some crab nets.  As time goes on, Winter regains her health, but looses her tale due to lack of circulation.  Without her tale, she's unable to survive in the wild and her future hangs in the balance.  But through her friendship with Sawyer, Hazel, and the staff at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Winter receives a prothetic tail and learns to swim on her own again.

In this sequel, Winter's long time companion dies of old age and Winter goes into a deep depression.  Being a social animal, she's lost without Panama's friendship and withdraws, even lashing out again Sawyer, her constant friend.  To make matters worse, regulations require her to find a suitable replacement within weeks.  But can the staff find a dolphin to befriend Winter?  And will the two dolphins connect with each other?

Back to us at the theater...

It's rare to find a movie that we all enjoy.  And rarer still a movie that doesn't chip away at our family values.  So I've been watching this sequel with anticipation since I heard it was being made earlier this year.  Still I had to wonder if there wouldn't be something in the movie.  This is Hollywood after all.  So I waited, and watched, looking for the inevitable innocent plot elements: typical teenage attitude, the oblivious parent, mild language, perhaps a kiss on the cheek between two of the main characters.  And you know what I got?  Nothin'!  Absolutely nothin'.

And what did the kids think?

Two thumbs up across the board.  My eight and six year olds both loved learning about the animals and the fact that Winter found her friend in the end.  They've been talking about the movie all weekend and I'm sure it will bring up more conversation in the future.  And the three year old?  Well, he loved seeing the dolphins swim... oh, and the popcorn.

While Dolphin Tale 2 isn't a nail biting action film, it's one that kept our whole family entertained, without my husband and I cringing at the character's behavior.  It was a reminder that we can all over come if faced with insurmountable odds.  And that growing up doesn't have to mean growing wild.

All in all, I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie.  It's perhaps the best movie we've seen all year!

If you or your family has seen the movie, 
tell us what you think.
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