Marshmallow Mondays

Book Storage
03.18.13, 8:32 AM
Filed under: Childrens' Books | Tags: , ,

How do you organize your kids’ library?

Rydan and Lily both have quite the collection of books, but when it comes to organization, they both need some help.  They each have a basket in their bedroom which is overflowing with books.  Lily’s in particular is difficult to manage due to the fact that we read so many books each night before she goes to sleep.  Rummaging through her basket every night for the book that she wants is not always convenient, especially since she digs through the basket throughout the day.

Since we are just renting our house right now, I’m not overly concerned with finding a solution at the moment.  But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been searching for ideas.

Enter Pinterest.  Anytime I’m looking for creative inspiration, this is where I turn.  Who knew there were so many cool looking DIY libraries for your kids’ bedrooms? Today I am featuring some of my favorites.

First, is this book wagon.  I had this very same wagon as a child, and now those removable wooden sides make perfect sense.  Simply remove the two long sides, and ta-da!  Instant book storage.

book wagon

Next, is the “great wall of books.”  I love this for so many reasons.  The bottom shelves can hold books that your child currently likes to read, making it easy for he or she to select a book, while the top shelves can hold books that are a bit older.  Being able to rotate the books adds variety for your child too.  Besides the ease of display, I just really like how this looks.  It’s bright, inviting, colorful, and keeps books off of the floor.

wall of books

Another easy solution for keeping books off of the floor, are book crates.  Simply paint a crate, cut it in half and hang it on the wall.  Use as many as you need and hang them at an appropriate height for your child.

book crates

This book shelf tower seems very fitting for your middle school or high school child.  What an easy way to organize and store text books, magazines, journals, and various other types of reference books.  I particularly like the teal color too!

book tower

If you have your own DIY book storage, please share it!  I would love to see it.


Presidents’ Day Books For Kids
02.18.13, 7:57 AM
Filed under: Childrens' Books, Holidays | Tags: ,

It’s Presidents’ Day, which means I have not one, but two marshmallows at home with me today.  It is on these winter no school days that I REALLY miss the warm weather of spring and summer.  Finding indoor activities to keep a two-year-old and an eight-year-old equally interested for a decent period of time is a challenge.  While one enjoys legoes, video games and WWE, the other enjoys Elmo, horses and her play kitchen.  One thing they do have in common, though, is books.

So in honor of Presidents’ Day, here are a few book suggestions to share with your little bookworms.  Simply click on each book image to be redirected to, where you can read more about each title.

presidents are made of

What Presidents Are Made Of, Ages 6 & Up.

If I Ran For President, Ages 6 & Up.

If I Ran For President, Ages 6 & Up.

Madam President, Ages 4 & Up.

Madam President, Ages 4 & Up.

So You Want To Be President?, Ages 6 & Up.

So You Want To Be President?, Ages 6 & Up.

Presidents' Day, Ages 4 & Up.

Presidents’ Day, Ages 4 & Up.

Smart About The Presidents, Ages 5 & Up.

Smart About The Presidents, Ages 5 & Up.

If I Were President, Ages 4 & Up.

If I Were President, Ages 4 & Up.

V-Day Favorites
01.28.13, 8:13 AM
Filed under: Childrens' Books, Holidays | Tags: ,

Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly!  Today I am featuring my personal favorites to share with your little love bugs this Valentine’s Day.  The list could truly go on and on, so if you have a favorite that you’d like to share, please do leave a comment.

For more info about any of the books below, simply click on the book image and you’ll be redirected to  In no particular order, here are my top ten Valentine’s Day children’s books.

In honor of my little Elmo lover, I have to begin our list with this one.  Ages 3 & up.

My Fuzzy Valentine

Because everybody loves Amelia Bedelia.  Ages 4 & up.


One of my favorites, and not just because of the main character’s name.  Ages 4 & up.


For the older readers.  Ages 6 & up.

junie b jones

If you haven’t read any of the Splat The Cat books, make sure to check them out.  Ages 4 & up.

love splat

Because I LOVE the Berenstain Bears, even after reading my childhood collection to Rydan when he was younger, each book about a billion times.  Ages 4 & up.

berenstain bears

A fun alternative to regular valentines.  Ages 8 & up.


For the Thomas fan.  Ages 3 & up.


From one of my very favorite authors for toddlers.  Ages 1-3.

huggy kissy

From Karen Katz, who writes super cute lift-the-flap books.  Ages 1-3.


Fall Picks
09.10.12, 7:46 AM
Filed under: Childrens' Books | Tags: , , , ,

Now that school is back in session and Fall is just around the corner, here are our picks for some great Fall books to read with your little bookworms.

With illustrations made from actual fall leaves and die-cut pages on every spread that reveal gorgeous landscape vistas, here is a playful, whimsical, and evocative book that celebrates the natural world and the rich imaginative life of children.

Simple text explains how apples are grown, while listing various types of apples, and offers a history of this delicious and popular fruit.

Simple language and colorful cut-paper illustrations are perfectly matched to provide an engaging look at an appropriately named season. The poetic text emphasizes all of the things that “fall.”

For any kid who has heard “Get outside and play,” and for any parent who has said it. Once there, the unhappy youngster and two of his friends begin of game of trying to catch the last leaf on the tree, the “lucky leaf.”

It’s cider-making time on Grandpa’s apple farm, and the whole family helps. This book is a wonderful collection of facts about the cider-pressing process and the warmth of family cooperation.

Rhymed text follows Patty from seedtime through harvest as she grows and sells pumpkins on her farm. The larger illustrations at the top of each page introduce readers to the work and care required to produce a crop. A bird, insect, or other animal that lives in or around the patch is featured at the bottom of each page, in alphabetical order, along with the upper and lowercase letter it represents.

A father lovingly prepares a treat for his daughter in this charming story. The cumulative text begins with the apples and then moves on to the tree that grew the fruit, its roots, the rain, the clouds, the sky, the sun, and finally the world.

Follows the life of an apple throughout the year, demonstrating the cyclical patterns in nature. The youngest readers will delight in following the journey of the bright red apple—the only splash of color in the otherwise black-and-white illustrations—as it travels from tree, to harvest, to snack, to compost, and finally to sprout. A single word complements each illustration, urging early readers to reflect on each stage in the apple’s life.

Summer Suggestions

Looking for some new summer reading material for your kids, now that school is over?  Check out my suggestions below from Barefoot Books

Place an order anytime in June and receive 20 percent off of the prices listed below!  Email me at for more information.

Lull little ones to sleep with this collection of soothing rhymes–perfect for bedtime! Includes “I See the Moon,” “Brahms’ Lullab” and “Wee Willie Winkie.” For babies to 4 years. Board Book $6.99.

Count the animals from one to twenty while searching for the cat in this lively hide-and-seek selection that introduces animals like frogs, whales, monkeys, ducks, hens and elephants. Ages 1-4. Board Book $6.99.

Perfect gift for a summer birthday child. Join Bear as he celebrates his birthday in this latest addition to the bestselling Bear series. Help Bear count backwards from 10 to 0 and find out who is making his balloons disappear. Ages 2-6. Board Book $6.99.

Embark on a dreamy, nighttime jaunt with a young boy and the moon. Overcoming a fear of the dark and discovering the world at night lives at the heart of this poetic tale. Includes notes about the moon and plants and animals that thrive in the wee hours. Ages 1-7. Large Board Book $14.99.

Fly away with Granny and count with her from one to ten as she spins around the world on an unforgettable shopping trip. This colorful, rhyming story is followed by a counting page for reinforced learning. Ages 3-7. Paperback $6.99.

Ruby and Mai are camping out in the backyard. As the night draws in, all sorts of scary characters head towards their tent. Luckily, Ruby has some magical objects in her backpack, but will they be enough to keep the girls safe? Ages 3-7. Paperback $7.99.

Climb to the top of Lonesome Mountain to meet a very special boy named Rink — every full moon, he grows flowers all over his body. This heartwarming story celebrates difference and friendship, as Rink meets a girl with her own secret, and they discover ways to help each other. Ages 4-10. Hardcover $16.99.

Told from the viewpoint of a child whose Grandpa is a beekeeper, this rhyming text offers an accessible and engaging introduction to the behavior of bees, including: where they live, how honey is made, and what a beekeeper does. Children will love learning about the vital role of bees in the ecosystem, and will be delighted to find a delicious muffin recipe on the final page! Ages 5-9. Paperback $8.99.

Meet Herb, a dragon who knows how to stay true to his values even in the stickiest of situations. When he is captured by the castle’s knights in armor, vegetarian Herb is faced with a difficult decision: will he eat meat in order to save his own life? Ages 4-10. Paperback $7.99.

In addition, check out these card decks, which offer some fun, educational, family-friendly indoor and outdoor activities.

Get outside and grow with some child-friendly fun with gardening! Kids’ Garden includes forty activities and games and an eight-page booklet that contains information on gardening tools, year-round plant care and garden safety. These step-by-step instructions are enhanced by colorful collage artwork on each double-sided card and they create a fun and easy way for budding green-thumbs to plant, investigate, learn and experiment. Ages 8 & up. Card Deck $14.99.

Try out each of the fifty poses and games in this interactive deck to feel connected to the Earth’s elements. Written by Yoga Ed., each of the cards is in line with one of the planet’s natural elements: air, earth, fire, water and space. All ages. Card Deck $14.99.

Stretch your way to a fun and healthy lifestyle with each of the fifty yoga poses in this colorful deck. Written by Yoga Ed., these cards include forward bends, back bends, partner poses, and balance poses. All ages. Card Deck $14.99.

For more information about any of these titles, or for gift suggestions for a particular age child, please email me at

How Full Is Your Bucket?

Recently, Rydan was given a new book called How Full Is Your Bucket?  The book was from one of my very thoughtful Pennsylvania friends, the same friend who I talked about in last week’s post who offered to take a red rose to my pap’s grave on Memorial Day.  She is always thinking about us in Lexington, and sent Rydan a special packge after he passed his yellow belt test in Taekwondo.  The package included lots of goodies for him, including this new book.

How Full Is Your Bucket? is about our invisible buckets.  When our buckets are full, we feel great.  When our buckets are empty, we feel awful.  The story teaches kids that every interaction in a day either fills or empties their buckets, and in turn, everything that kids say or do to others will fill or empty their buckets too.  By the end of the story, kids realize how to be good bucket fillers, while discovering that filling someone else’s bucket also fills their own.

Because my Pennsylvania friend is so thoughtful, she didn’t just send Rydan the book.  She included five buckets – a yellow one for Rydan, a pink one for Lily, an orange one for me, a blue one for Ryan, a small family bucket – and a jar of pebbles to fill the buckets.   She then wrote Rydan a special letter explaining how we, as a family, can fill each other’s buckets.  In doing so, we are all recognizing one another’s good choices, helpful actions, and important accomplishments.

If you haven’t read this book with your kids, I highly recommend it.  The story has a great message about positive and negative interactions, and gets kids to think about how the people around them feel.  Teaching kids how their words and actions affect themselves and others is not the easiest task, but this book explains the lesson in a fun, kid-friendly way.

How many buckets have YOU filled today?

Summer Reading

It’s hard to believe that Rydan has just three days left of school.  With school starting here in mid-August, kids get an earlier start to their summer than what Rydan was used to in Pennsylvania.  Today is Field Day, Tuesday is a day off, and then he’ll officially begin summer vacation on Thursday when he steps off the bus at 2:45pm.  I know he is very excited to sleep in, watch Monday Night Raw, visit the community pool, and spend time with his neighborhood friends. 

In the mix of that, I hope to keep his reading skills sharp.  That’s why today I’m sharing a few lists of recommended children’s books, so that you can keep your own bookworms reading over the summer too.

Here’s a great list to start reviewing.  It’s the Top 100 Children’s Books of All Time. How many are in your child’s library?  We have 17 of them, but I’m pretty sure we’ve read almost half of the books on the list.  Rydan brought many of them home from his school library.  This is a really helpful list if you’re looking for some old favorites that you might have forgotten about.  Our personal favorites on this list are Goodnight Moon, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Going To Bed Book, Stellaluna, The Tale Of Peter Rabbit, The Runaway Bunny, Rainbow Fish, and Miss Nelson Is Missing.

Next, it’s 75 Books That Build Character. This list is sure to have some new titles to check out, and they’re also great conversation starters about important life lessons.

And though I’m not a very big advocate for entertaining kids with technology instead of playing outside, visiting local attractions, or reading together, I realize that certain forms of technology can be very beneficial to kids.  That’s why I’m sharing this last list, The 40 Best iPad Apps For Young Learners.  As noted in the introduction to this list, “For every Angry Birds there’s an educational game out there to improve your child’s mind.”  These appps do just that.

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