Monday, January 9

Book Club Monday : What Makes It Rain?

I am so excited to start a weekly Usborne Books & More Book Club!  Today's book is What Makes It Rain.  It's a wonderful book about the weather that is perfect for inquisitive preschoolers!

My son loves the flaps and it literally answers so many of their endless questions which is great!  If you are a mom of a kid who can talk, you know what I'm talking about.  What, Why, When, How, Where.  It is NEVER ending. Don't get me wrong, I love that kids are so interested in learning and most of the time I am excited to answer but when it's 5 am and you haven't had breakfast... just stop.  Am I right?

Anyways! Let's talk about the book.
Here are FOUR great activities you can do that explore the concepts in the book. 

TOP LEFT: The first one is a snowy tree farm sensory bin.  We used fake snow in a can but you could use flour, real snow, or even playdough.  Then we talked about snow, read the page about snow from the book and let our imaginations run wild.

TOP RIGHT: The second activity is a rain sound sensory bin. I gathered up a bin, some jars, a raining bath toy, and a funnel. We got to work pouring and talking about the sound that rain makes.  We also talked about how rain feels, and read the rain page from the book.

BOTTOM LEFT: The third activity is a bit messy but so much fun!  We made clouds with shaving cream and a paint brush.  I added blue food coloring and then we made prints by smooshing a piece of paper on top and letting it dry.  The end result is cloud art that smells like clean shaving cream!  ;) You can add snowflakes, rain drops, a rainbow - whatever your child is interested in learning more about after the shaving cream dries.  We added snowflake stickers.

BOTTOM RIGHT: The last activity is a science lesson.  We read the rain page in the book and talked about clouds and precipitation.  Then I put a little bit of shaving cream on top of water and added drops of blue food coloring.  Don't put too much shaving cream or it will take FOREVER.  As the "clouds" become heavy with water droplets, they begin to "rain". This was really interesting and fun to explore and discuss.

What other weather activities can you think of to go with the book?  I would love to see!  Enjoy the activities and the questions and conversations that follow.  

To purchase the book, click here.
To follow along on instagram and see more great books find me @buildingliteracywithbooks

Wednesday, January 4

Usborne Books & More Book Club Monday

Starting Monday, we will be doing "Book Club Monday" over on my instagram account (@buildingliteracywithbooks) and my facebook page.  Join us on the 9th at 9:30 am MST for a fun activity and craft for your preschooler.  

This week we will be reading What Makes it Rain, one of our favorites!

My son loves learning about the weather!  This book is great for preschool and kindergarten and beyond.  Tons of flaps to lift and lots of questions about the weather are answered!

Friday, December 23

Construction Themed Birthday

We threw Arlo a construction themed birthday party when he turned 2 and I just realized I never shared the pictures!  It was such a fun party and he really loved all the trucks and construction themed things.  

I hung up construction signs through the house and a little board that summarized Arlo's favorite things.  We had just taken pictures for his birthday so it worked out great to print a few and hang them up as well.

Here is a spread of the food and main decorations.  I found a truck table cloth that I knew Arlo would love to tie it all together.  I made the signs with big stickers that I got on amazon and mounted them onto yellow and black paper to look like traffic/construction signs.  I also got CAUTION tape and made a few decorations with that as well.

I bought little construction toys for the cake decorations.  My son was really excited about these and wanted them the moment he saw them on the cake.

I made a chocolate cake and topped it with crushed chocolate cake to look like dirt.  The little cupcakes were piped with a "grass" tip to look like landscaping around the site.

I made half of the little cupcake toppers with stickers and I wrote on the other half.

Monday, December 19

True Life of a BOY Mom

When I found out I was having another boy last year, I was so excited and a little sad at the same time about all the things I would never get to do with a little girl.  The disappointment was fleeting and was quickly replaced by happiness, I love being a boy mom!  Two wild boys make the days fly by and my house is NEVER clean.

It has been so much fun to watch my two boys enjoy each others company, entertain each other, and discover new things together. When I hear endless giggles from the other room, it makes me so happy that these two boys are the light in my life.

We had these photos taken a few months ago when my youngest was around 6 months old.  Things were tough for a while with my oldest being rough on the little one, sibling jealousy, and just pure exhaustion.  The best part about being a mom is knowing that "this too shall pass" and another wonderful moment will arrive.

I love the free spirit, inquiring mind, and imaginative soul that this little one is becoming.  He reminds me so much of myself each day and whenever we butt heads, it is because of our similarities.  It's worth it in the end.  Nothing is more meaningful and fulfilling to me than being a boymom to these two rascals.  I love imagining the future and what/who they will become.

I recently read a parenting book that suggested you write down the first 10 words that pop in your head when you think about the things you want your child to become/embody.  Then focus on what those words mean to you and how you can achieve/teach them.  It was an exercise in truly connecting with our lives and the impact we have on our children.  What's more important, worksheets and homework or character and compassion?
My words were
Open Minded

What would yours be for your child?

Thursday, December 15

Cystic Fibrosis Book Drive

Have you heard of Cystic Fibrosis?  Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.  Part of having the disease is living with hospitilizations, taking a cocktail of drugs to digest your food, taking insulin to treat cystic fibrosis related diabetes, and eating high a calorie diet because your body doesn't absorb nutrients well.  It's often called an "invisible disease" because most of the time, you wouldn't know that someone has the disease on the outside.

My husband has cystic fibrosis, and this past year, he spent over 6 weeks in the hospital.  He was hospitalized because he contracted the flu and could hardly move as a result.  He was hospitalized because he caught a common cold and couldn't recover without a 2 week stay and IV antibiotics. Living with CF means common illnesses aren't so common. A cold could result in a bad infection that robs you of lung function, the flu could cause irreversible damage to your already damaged lungs, and being with your family for birthdays and holidays is never a guarantee.

This year gave me a lot to reflect on and I thought a lot about other patients in the world with cystic fibrosis.  Recently I also joined Usborne Books & More because I love their educational books and use them with my children to supplement our homeschool curriculum.  One of the best things I have discovered about being with Usborne Books & More is the ability to give back by doing a book drive, or one of their other community programs.

Right now, I am running a Cystic Fibrosis Book Drive with Usborne Books & More to purchase books for the University of Iowa Cystic Fibrosis clinic where my husband was hospitalized as a child. Through their Literacy for a Lifetime program, they will match 50% of all donations.

Want to help? Donate! The goal is to raise enough money to donate over 125 books, or $750.

If we raise $750.00, Usborne Books & More will donate $375.00 in additional books.  Can you imagine over 125 new books for those little ones to enjoy?  It would be awesome if we could reach our goal and get an additional 40 or 50 books to donate from Usborne Books & More!

Please SHARE with friends and family! No donation is too small.  

During a hospitalization, patients sit throught hours of breathing treatments, IV medications, and lung function tests.  These books would be such a fun alternative to another tv show or just sitting alone.

(image credit:

The main focus of the book drive: activity books, like doodling pads, coloring and sticker books, and books that can be read again and again.  

Consider donating, just $6 is enough to provide 1 book for a child to enjoy.  

Thank you for taking the time to read about the book drive!

Tuesday, December 13

My favorite Usborne Books

I joined Usborne Books & More a month ago and my kids are already in love with so many of their books.  (Me too.) 

If you love pop up books, this book is INSANE.  The pop ups literally come off the ENTIRE page.

Arlo first heard this book at the Air and Space museum and now he lights up anytime we read it.  We got the collection of phonics readers instead of just the single book and I am so glad.  All the stories are just as silly and catch his attention.

I actually ordered this for myself but... he loves it too!  I actually think it is one of our only fairytale books!  The flaps and peek inside pages are super fun and engaging for little hands.

The weather is a constant source of conversation.  I got this book to incorporate into our homeschool lessons but I ended up pulling it out sooner to talk about snowflakes. Then later, we pulled it out to talk about lightning.  It's a great resource!

This is MY favorite.  I got it for a gift, but wish I had kept it!  So many fun cards that you can draw on and all of them are animal themed.

Nibbles is a silly picture book about a book monster!  Gets the kids giggling and grinning which is MY favorite.

This is the book Arlo brings to me to read the most.  His favorite page is the page that talks about digestion.  "It goes in my mouth, down my food pipe, into my tummy, through my intestines, then out as poop." You're welcome.

Both my boys love this one!  The bright pictures and silly alliteration catch the attention of my 10 month old and 3 1/2 year old.  We just got a jobs version that I can't wait to give them for Christmas too.

These are our CURRENT favorites.  We have really enjoyed discovering these books!  I earned the cost of my kit back in my first 30 days too so basically I got $100 in free books just for signing up.  Send me a message if you are interested in learning more.  It's a great way to earn a little extra money for your family and even just get a great discount on the books.

Host a party to get free books for your family!

Thursday, March 31

2 month old baby

It's hard to believe 2 months have passed since we brought home our second little man.  He is so different from big brother!  He sleeps great, eats on a 3 or 4 hour schedule, and is already cooing and bubbly.  He loves staring at Arlo and watching him play, his eyes follow him around the room.

My husband and I can't believe how fast he is growing! Did the first one get big so quick?  I think time is flying and we are so much busier than we were the first time around.

I love all the little details!  Baby feet are so teeny and sweet.

Saturday, February 6

Axel Cody's Birth Story

Contractions started around 6:30 pm.  I started timing them and after 2 hours of pretty good contractions that were only 5 minutes apart, I called the doctor and headed to the hospital.  We had gotten a ton of snow and it was still coming down so we didn't want to wait too long. 

We got checked in around 11 pm and started walking around the hospital, rocking on the birth ball, and breathing through contractions.

When things got a little rough, I asked to hop in the tub.  It was incredible!  Seriously one of the best baths I have ever had. I had my choice of essential oils, lights out, and candles everywhere.  There were even jets!  I spent about an hour in the tub and then it was time to check on baby again.

While we waited for things to progress we studied the "birth fact" wall.  Ha ha.  It had lots of images and information to keep us busy.

At 6 am my contractions stalled and we took a nap.  The nurse started discussing pitocin, breaking my water, etc.  I was really hoping to progress on my own, but after 2 hours of rest and very little contractions, we decided to start pitocin at 8 am.  By 9 things were still pretty mild so the doctor came in and broke my water.  Within about 10 minutes I was in serious labor and ready for some pain relief.  It was all I needed to be in full blown labor.  Around 10:30 I got an epidural and could finally relax.  I went from a 4 to and 8 in that short amount of time!  Yikes!

We took a little nap and rested up before I could start pushing.  Then around 2 pm I woke up with intense back pain.  The nurse checked and said we could start pushing soon but I was a little too numb so we waited until 3 to start. Axel was turned a little and causing some serious pain through my back.  I started pushing around 330 and he was born at 4:04 pm.

He was 8 pounds 6.6 ounces and 21 inches long with dark brown fuzzy hair.

We got to hold him for an entire hour before they weighed him or did anything to him.  It was awesome. 

First cuddles.

He did great and had a really good delivery. I thought it might go a little faster but really I couldn't have been happier.  He was healthy and it was over much quicker than my first!  The nurses were asking if my first had lots of black hair while I was pushing but Arlo was super bald.

My mom was in town watching my 2 1/2 year old and got to come spend the night with me in the hospital while I was there.  It was great.  She helped hold him and cuddle and kept us company.

My boys and me!  Arlo loved coming to visit and seeing the baby.  He got to hold him and hug him and check out the room.


He pretty much just slept the whole time we were in the hospital.  It was great!

This kid already loves his binky.  He loves to suck his hands too.

I am so in love with little Axel and am already dreaming of days ahead.  It's so much fun seeing all the boys together.

Monday, September 28

Three Sisters / Alderfer Hike

I have been loving Colorado hiking this year.  You could hike everyday and never see all that there is to offer here.  I LOVE IT.  I have been trying to hit new trails every week, knowing that soon I will be stuck inside and COLD.

Here are a few snapshots of the 3 sisters hike in Evergreen. It is beautiful.  We parked at the second parking lot and did a toddler hike.  It is an easy flat loop from there and perfect for little legs.  There are tons of trails so I would recommend grabbing a map and picking a general trail.  It can get pretty confusing if you just start turning and climbing.  :)

These views.  Colorado is a stunning place full of adventure and opportunity to explore!  It's awesome.  If you want a more challenging hike, park at the first lot and take a trek.  There are a few hikes on that side that are more challenging but still fun and very pretty.

Here is a snapshot of the map.

Click on the link below for the official county webpage with trail maps, directions, and more info.


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