Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fave Museum Art Storybooks for Kids

My children absolutely love recognizing famous works of art in their picture books. There are great kid's story books with museum art (I specify because most picture books have art- their illustrations)! I noticed that we really seem to gravitate towards a few favorite titles in this category, and I want to share them with yall.

Remember, books are free (or almost free, depending on where you live) with your amazing, magical library card. 

Lucy Micklethwait books are wonderful. She has numerous art books, but these rhyme and are so cute! My toddler and my 5 year old like them.

My older child LOVES the wordless books by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman. I think we are definitely going to have to buy these, because we keep checking them out from the library. I love the detailed lists of artwork featured in the back of the books.

Olivia features Jackson Pollock and Edgar Degas paintings inside. Reading this book to my son is when I first realized he recognized art from book to book. Our local museum has a Degas sculpture and its fun to point it out to the kids now that we are familiar with the artist.

Do you have any favorite books that feature famous works of art? Share them in the comments.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kid's Backyard Playhouse Decor for Cheap

I was given a $25 gift card to Goodwill San Antonio for this post

Today I am going to highlight a few things in the playhouse and where I found them. More details to come in an upcoming post.

I am absolutely obsessed with our backyard playhouse. We were lucky to have it given to us by our new neighbors, who had no use for it.
First, I painted the walls. I believe the paint is Revere Pewter in the Natura (non VOC) line from Benjamin Moore. I also painted the inside of the door in chalkboard paint.
This special space is beautiful, cozy and is where we like to curl up with books. The house has gone through a few transformations in the year that we have had it. I kept trying to put furniture and toys that were big and we ended up avoiding the playhouse because it felt crowded. Lately, I have been scouring Goodwill for items especially for the playhouse and I have not been disappointed.
The space is 7x8 feet with a 4 foot wide porch on the front. The peaked roof is 9 feet at the highest point, and the house has a loft (which we avoid, because the kids haven't mastered the rolling ladder or getting themselves down).

The two chairs were $3.99 each, wall shelf was $7.99, floor pillows were $2.99 each. All from Goodwill here in San Antonio.

Framed Picasso print $7.99, folding tray table $2.99, small chair $5.99, all from Goodwill.

See the quilts hanging on the ladder? This helps deter climbing and is great storage. 

My daugther has her own Hunter boots, courtesy of Goodwill. They were $2.99!!

 My favorite corner of the playhouse is the "kitchen". Van Gogh print was $4.99, mirror was $4.99, milk glass vase and play kitchen previously found at Goodwill.

Here is the floor cushion area...revised. I found the standard pillow sham (Barbara Barry! for $1.99) and sewed a temporary cover for one of the floor cushions from a thrifted sheet. The Gund dinosaur was 99 cents and in perfect condition. My plan is to eventually find XL men's shirts to sew cushion covers out of. I will be looking for red and chambray.

 Here is a view from the loft.

I am so excited that I am able to decorate this awesome kid's space for cheap, cheap, cheap! I can't wait to share more details of the playhouse next week, stay tuned!
This post linked up at my favorite Thrifty Thursday linkup!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ConKerr Cancer San Antonio

This past weekend I met a wonderful group of ladies who sew pillowcases for children. These pillowcases are very special, as the recipients are children who are in the hospital. The organization was started by a mom, Cindy Kerr, when her son was diagnosed with cancer, and she made fun pillowcases to brighten stark hospital rooms.
From the ConKerr website :
 Thousands of ConKerr Cancer volunteers in over 120 cities dedicate themselves to brightening these children’s lives through the simple act of sewing a bright, cheery pillowcase. As a result of their love and generosity, ConKerr Cancer has delivered more than 950,000 pillowcases in just seven years to 250 hospitals throughout the country, creating ‘miles of pillowcase smiles’ for the children and their parents.
This San Antonio branch of ConKerr Cancer started in September 2014 and has already made and donated 300 pillowcases...all with just 3 very active members! Right now, the main recipient is Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

The group is new, so it can really use your donations, and here are the many ways to do so:
    If you have any questions, please contact Sandi at
Drop off locations for pillowcases and items are:
Main Church Office at Shepherd of the Hills Church (on Wurzbach Parkway)
Sew Little Time in New Braunfels

The goal is to grow ConKerr Cancer San Antonio chapter to be able to reach more kids in more hospitals all over town. Thanks in advance for your help, San Antonio!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Real Life With Books: Twaddle

I have a real love/hate relationship with "twaddle". If you don't know what I am referring to, it basically means junk food books. Books that go nowhere. Books with ridiculous computer generated illustrations. They most often have LICENSED characters or subject matter. They are annoying to read aloud.

I try and make sure the books that come home from the library for my children are quality and not a lot of twaddle. Because my children are really young and most books we borrow are read aloud it is important that we don't get books that are a waste of time. It is also important that I don't crush my kid's confidence and spirit by not letting any of their twaddle selections make it into the house. I do weed out certain books before we check out from the library, but the kids have always been ok with this (who knows how long this will last). I also don't volunteer to read these certain books aloud, and the kids are happy to look at them during their quiet time, etc.

There was recently a time where I was very very anti-twaddle and checking them out from the library was stressing me out. But then I listened to the Q&A Read Aloud Revival Podcast where Sarah spoke about twaddle. She had a point when she said that it can be useful to the children for speed and accuracy when they become readers. I agree with this! Then I started thinking more about twaddle....
I was raised on twaddle.
I had exactly ONE beautiful nursery rhyme book. The limited amount of picture books I owned were all twaddle. I still have those books. Those books were my prized possessions. Hard earned money went into purchasing those books. My mother read one of those books to me every single night. There was no internet to give her recommendations, there was no example of readers in her life, and the library was 30 minutes away. She did the best with what she had, and with what she knew at the time. I didn't grow up to be a horrible reader or a terrible student. I loved books (and I think that started with being read aloud to!), and once I was in grade school I was let loose in the library for hours. Hours. Nothing I read was screened (yikes! some subject matter...I wish someone would have stopped that) which resulted in an interesting mix of books in my history. The librarians showed me where the Caldecott and other award winners were kept one day and I was so amazed.
But my point is, I am no longer going to stress out
over twaddle. Of course I would prefer the bulk of our reading to be wonderful, beautiful stories, and it will be, I am making up for lost time here! But I won't upset myself over a couple of junk books. Because as long as my children love words on a page, I will be joyful.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Real Life With Books: January 2014 Kid Lit Book List

Here is a list of what we read in January (mostly, since I am disorganized and probably left out a few). Look foward to such lists every month!

Jan 1
Maze Ways: A to Z by Roxie Munroe**Highly recommended for a maze loving kid, these books are very "boy friendly" too
Amazement Park: 12 Wild Mazes ** Same review as title above
Down on the Farm With Grover by Ray Sipherd
That's Not My Puppy Usborne
Mossy by Jan Brett

Week of January 3
Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom**recommended for the 2 year old crowd
Little Bear's Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik**
Father Bear Comes Home by Else Minarik**
How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland **I highly recommend this one
Sandra Boynton:**
Horns to Toes and In Between
The Bunny Rabbit Show
Curious George and the Ice Cream Suprise by Monica Perez
Yoko Writes Her Name by Rosemary Wells**Recommended, but there are some bunny rabbits in here that are bullies. Lightly so, and the book is wonderful. Lesson teaching.
Where is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson*Cute read
Moose Tracks by Karma Wilson

Week of January 10
Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson ** Highly recommended
Curious George and the Dinosaur
Where's My Teddy by Jez Alborough**
Detective Small In the Amazing Banana Caper by Wong Herbert Yee **
Mr. Popper's Penguins (started, is excellent)
a funny little bird  by Jennifer Yerkes

Here I started to lose track of books and dates ha! 
Hatch by Roxie Munroe
The Gunniwolf By Wilhelmina Harper Illustrated by Barbara Upton
Almost by Richard Torrey**this amazingly simple book has been very popular here, we read it over and over and over...
Fabulous Frogs by Linda Glaser **actually a really thorough prek science book. Very factual and not too long. Be aware that there is a "the frogs came together" part right before the eggs form, if you are sensitive to that for little ones.
Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh

I hope you find some books to love in this list! Please share your faves in the comments, or tag me on Instagram @SevenLovelyThings

Monday, January 26, 2015

January: Thrifting and Sewing

January has been quite an interesting month. I have thrifted like I have never thrifted before and have found some awesome things (see previous post). I found that my kids like a big thrift store over a little thrift store and they enjoy looking at kooky, old, silly stuff. Sometimes we talk about where the item might have come from, how old it is and more.
I fell into teaching sewing and realized that I absolutely love it. Since the first couple of lessons I developed a supply list and two lesson plans. This has really put sewing at a priority for me and I NEEDED that. The first lesson I taught led to me cutting out a dress pattern and fabric for my daughter, after the next lesson I stitched most of it up. I set out my sewing things like I do clothes and other important things: set it out the night before. If that happens, then its at the top of my list mentally. Doing this, sewing, sharing, benefiting from this craft has really done something for my energy level and overall creativity. It's great. So here is my encouragement to just do one thing for you talent or passion per day.
We have been reading but not as much as in the past. I feel like December threw us off for different reasons and I haven't gotten back on track. We still go to the library at least once a week (we are actually at our max for checking out books per library rules), but storytime during the day has been less. The kids still listen to audio books, and we started to read Mr. Popper's Penguins as a family read aloud (I actually want to do the FamliyDinner Book Club). I have been fine tuning our homeschool routine/schedule/tasks and its getting better each time. I scored a ton of free prek-k teaching items (posters, lessons, activities, etc) from a neighbor and the kids are enjoying it immensely.

Oh, and is it just me or is it time for some pre-Spring cleaning?

What are you doing this month? Any big plans for February?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January's Goodwill Haul Highlights

Ladies and gentlemen, JANUARY is proving to be the best month to shop at Goodwill here in San Antonio. I have found the most wonderful things! From clothing to room decor, the scores are many. If you are not a regular thrift store customer, I urge you to just give it a little try this month and you will be amazed.
Its funny, because I have been cleaning out cabinets and closets, so every time I go donate, I go shop too, but its not a bad thing.

 This is my fave find! A lace trim pleated Lilly Pulitzer skirt (and it fits!!) for $3.99.

 Lakeshore Learning Word of the Day wall NEW in package, for $3.99. We can definitely use this in our homeschool.

 We love Donald Crews books, and I found 3 of his titles! Each book was 99 cents.
 I also found a box set of Little House books (one is missing-I know I will be able to find the title on another thrift trip) for $4.99. The original retail on the box says $62. The books are in excellent condition and I don't think they have been used at all.

Petit Bateau brand shirt for my son, brand new with tags! This brand's tshirts retail for around $40 new. This was $1.99 at Goodwill.

 Jacadi Paris brand jacket for my daughter. You can see the quality and details of the tucks and pockets in the photo. Coats from this brand retail new for well over $100. This was $1.99 at Goodwill! And who doesn't love a Peter Pan collar?!

 This awesome silver plated Pottery Barn photo carousel was a splurge at $8.99 but I definitely can use it on my bookshelf!

I urge you to go see what you find! I was given a $25 gift card from Goodwill for this post. Happy Thrifting everyone!