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Getting a three year old and four year old to sit down to practice writing is hit and miss. Sometimes writing time ends up as doodling time or arts and crafts. Getting a three year old and four year old to use their imagination, however, is no challenge at all. The girls and I recently had a little fun with a new learning tool that sparks creativity in writing and story-telling, Mama May I Story Starters.
The Mama May I Story Starters kit inspires children of all ages to use their imagination and create awesome stories. The kit comes in a tin box which includes:
- 4 six-sided topic wooden dice
- a Moleskin notebook for writing a story
- a pen
- symbol key
- play instructions and suggestions
How We Used the Story Starters
Mama May I includes several suggestions on how to use the Story Starters. However you choose to use them will most likely result in building skills such as improv, public speaking, problem-solving, greater vocabulary and imaginative thinking.
I intended to use the kit by rolling the dice and having my daughters share a story aloud while I wrote it all down; however, with preschoolers you often have to go with the flow and allow them to lead the learning time. We rolled the dice and landed on the images representing a party, a boy, the sun, and signs. As I prepared to write, my oldest daughter said she wanted to draw the story. It took me zero seconds to realize that was a brilliant idea. So, we got out our drawing supplies and created a story through art about a boy’s birthday party that started out with lots of sunshine and turned into a snowy party. The activity was a great way to spend 30 minutes of our morning together and added some cute art to our cork board.
Other Ways to Use the Story Starters
In a Classroom: Divide students into groups. Have each group roll dice to see what prompts they will use to create a story. Have each group write their stories and share with the class.
While Traveling: Road trips without activities for little ones can be challenging. Roll the Story Starters dice and have each person in the car share a story that includes each object or idea that the roll decided.
Family Time: Create your own bedtime story with the Story Starters. Your family will never hear the same bedtime story twice. Take turns and allow both the parents and kids to share stories.
What’s great about this resource is it can be used for many years. The quality of the hand-stamped images on each die, topic suggestions and tin box makes the Mama May I Story Starters capable of encouraging creative writing from preschool years all the way to high school.
You can find this Mama May I resource and MANY others at Educents.com.
Other Writing Tools on Educents
Writing Poetry With Children– Step-by-step directions lead students through writing couplets, cinquains, haikus, and limericks.
The Essential Homeschool Writing Tool– Kids of all ages follow WriteWell’s self-directed instructions to compose a full essay.
Cursive Writing Hero Worksheets– Meet the Educents Heroes! They’re here to help your child learn cursive upper and lower alphabet letters with 53 pages of FREE writing worksheets!
I received this product for review purposes. All thoughts expressed are 100% my own.
What are your favorite writing resources for children?
According to the CCBC, in 2014 over 5,000 children’s books were published. Only 13% of those books were about people of color and of that 13%, only 17% were written by authors of color. These statistics say two things: 1. There’s a need for authors of color and 2. There’s a huge need for multicultural books. So when I discover a new multicultural children’s book or new authors of color I am eager to share it with my family and friends. This year I was introduced to a few new multicultural children’s authors, books and programs that are just as excited about providing children with literature that is both entertaining and a reflection of themselves.
Multicultural Books By Multicultural Authors & Products to Add to Your Young Reader’s Holiday List
Beautiful Beautiful Me by Ashley Sirah Hinton
Every shade and ethnicity is represented in this multicultural book. Children are encouraged to be accepting of themselves and others, seeing all skin as beautiful. You can see the gorgeous illustrations inside the book here.
Curiously Coiled by Fila Antwine
Naturally curly hair is being embraced by more people and cultures than ever. If you have little curlies in your home, this book is great for helping them to appreciate and love their curls. It may even cause you to want curls too! Learn more about Curiously Coiled here.
I Am Amazing/You Are Amazing by Ty Allan Jackson
A little encouragement goes a long way, whether your an adult or child. Pictures of real children and words that empower youngsters can be found on every page of I Am Amazing/You Are Amazing. This work by Ty Allan Jackson is also two books in one! Click here for all the details.
When I Close My Eyes by Ty Allan Jackson
Great illustrations are key to grabbing the attention of young readers and When I Close My Eyes has them. If your kiddo enjoys using their imagination and is a big dreamer, they will love this picture book. Take a peek inside the book.
Bee Me Bookshelf, Created by Nina Candia
I discovered Bee Me Bookshelf on Instagram. They are on my list of black businesses to support which is why I’m including them in this gift guide. Bee Me Bookshelf is a monthly subscription where children receive age appropriate books. They currently offer subscription packages for two groups, ages 0-3 and ages 4-8. The mission of this company is simple. They are “.. committed to providing access to important books that reflect our diverse world, and a robust curriculum to help children think through and understand the words they are reading.” Visit their website to find out how you can subscribe.
This post is a part of the 2015 Mom’s Guide to All Things Holiday Blogger Collaboration. Scroll down to see what fellow bloggers are talking about this week!
Monday: Gift Guide & Shopping Tips
Kat of Type 4 Naturals
Danielle of Mamademics
Tuesday: Holiday Family Activities & Traditions
Toya of Mrs. Toya Carter
Cynthia of Mrs. Wright Writes
Jennifer of Baby Making Machine
Wednesday: Holiday DIY and/or Home Decor
Sheena of Sophistishe
Bee of Bee So Simple
Erin of Live Pretty on a Penny
Britney Britney Dearest
Thursday: Holiday Recipe
Shanna of Ms. Naturally Random
Arnitris of Blessed Be the Tie
La Dale of Johanna’s Mama
Friday: Holiday Fashion
Tamara of Simply T Nicole
Diedre Anthony of Are Those Your KidsTroy Cooke of Thriftanista in the City
I received admission to the LEGO Creativity Tour in exchange for my review through U.S. Family Guide.
Over the weekend my family and I enjoyed some much needed time together outside the house at the LEGO Kid’s Fest at the Columbus Convention Center. This event is a part of the LEGO Creativity Tour that makes stops across the country, giving kids and their families a chance to create, build, and celebrate LEGOs®. Each session was three hours long, which was plenty of time to see the available stations in the exhibit hall; however, there was so much to do! There were many areas for kids to build a small set, show the event’s staff and receive free kits. (I did not expect to get freebies.)
My family especially enjoyed taking pics with the collection of statues made of LEGOs®. You could find everything from animals to princesses to superheroes taller than most adults. Other cool features of the event were the huge piles of LEGOs® for kids to build whatever they could imagine, a photo booth to capture the moment, plus a LEGO® Friends™ kit.
The activities in the room were divided by age, sometimes gender, which helped to keep the smaller children from getting trampled by bigger (excited) kids. The LEGO® Creativity Tour is fun for all ages and is a great way to spend quality time together.
Have you ever attended a LEGO event? What’s your favorite LEGO set?
In recent news we have seen nothing but turmoil and evil acts. Violence and immoral activity is happening world-wide; however I know that what the world needs in order to eliminate the hate and cruelty is men. We don’t need just any group of men, but men who are strong physically, mentally and spiritually. The most important characteristic of the type of man needed to bring change to the world is being a lover of God. Women can help make this happen
Women are no doubt world changers, however, I want us to think of the ways you can strengthen our husbands so he can be the lover of God and world changer that he’s been called to be. When I want my husband to make a change or to come to a realization of anything, I tend to talk. By talk I mean repeatedly reminding him, in an attempt to drill it into his mind. This is the tendency of most women. Face it, we like to talk. I’ve heard that women speak about 20,000 words per day compared to a man’s 7,000. (Those numbers make me want to count my words to see if it’s true.) Needless to say, women are just wired to talk and express themselves. Since men are of fewer words, the amount of words they want to hear are probably even smaller, which is why the words that we choose to speak to our mates should be meaningful.
Strengthen Your Husband
Be An Encourager
When those “I told you so” moments come up, fight the urge to rub it in his face. And when he makes a bad decision, beating him up about it will do nothing but kill his spirit. Stop and find the good and encourage him in a way you would want to be encouraged. Let him know you have his back, help him fix the problem if he’s open to it and remind him of his strengths.
Depend on the Holy Spirit
Everything isn’t worth talking about. Most things are better off being given to God. Allow Him to work on your behalf by speaking to your husband Himself. By being quiet you are giving your husband the opportunity to hear from the One that matters most.
Give Him Resources
An understanding of who he is will cause the most growth in his character and spirituality. Give him books, music, and a Bible that reinforces the messages of strength he needs most.
ESV (English Standard Version) Men’s Devotional Bible
I have read many versions of the Bible. I grew up reading out of the King James version and it wasn’t until recent years that I began exploring other versions. The English Standard Version is easy to read and understand, which makes me want to continue reading passages. This beautifully bound Crossway publication was specifically designed for me and includes features that will facilitate a true understanding of God’s word.
Features of the Crossway ESV Men’s Devotional Bible
- 365 Devotions
- Book Introductions
- 14 Articles
- Dictionary of Key Terms
- Ribbon Marker
- Smyth-Sewn Binding
- Lifetime Guarantee
A strong man will build his faith and trust on The Rock, will raise up a family of Believers who exhibit God’s love to all. God’s love is the answer to all the issues we have in this world. We simply need people to receive that revelation.
Purchase a Copy
Find out more about Crossway
ESV Men’s Devotional Bible
Giveaway (Now Closed)
This men’s devotional Bible makes a perfect gift for the man in your life, whether your spouse or son. You have a chance to win a copy by following these simple guidelines:
- Leave a comment below sharing who you would give this Bible to.
- For an extra entry, VISIT and LIKE the MommyWifeLife Facebook page. Return to this post and comment LIKED. If you are already a fan of the page, let me know in a separate comment stating, “Already a fan”.
- Giveaway ends November 27 at 9pm. Winner will be randomly chosen and notified through MommyWifeLife social media accounts, as well as a reply to their comment. Be sure to follow the blog on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. This post includes affiliate links.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
Besides spending time with my family, eating during the holiday season is my favorite activity. I mean, who doesn’t like to walk into a home bursting with the aroma of comfort food and desserts? If you’re headed to a holiday party, don’t show up empty handed. Holiday parties (or any party for that matter) are a drag without great food. When food at an event is lackluster, I can easily become hangry (hungry+angry). Bacon Ranch Potatoes is a great holiday appetizer or side dish for your next party.
Bacon Ranch Potatoes Recipe
I’m a meet and potatoes kind of girl, so this simple recipe is one of my new favorites! I recently made it for my daughter’s fourth birthday party and our party guests devoured them. If you have 35 minutes, you have plenty of time to cook up this dish.
Some of my favorite items are included in this dish–potatoes, cheese, bacon, and ranch. I honestly can’t say I have ever met anyone who didn’t like these foods, probably because they are found in many comfort food dishes.
I’m not a pro when it comes to cutting potatoes; luckily, the taste isn’t effected. Cook these babies, toss ranch on them and they are halfway to being a party in your mouth.
Throw the dish in the oven and in half an hour you have a delicious dish that will keep your guests in the kitchen.LOADED BACON RANCH POTATOESServes 6Write a reviewPrep Time5 minCook Time30 minTotal Time35 minINGREDIENTS
- 1 lb red potatoes
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup bacon* pieces
- 1/2 bunch green onion
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare bacon by cutting it in small pieces and cooking them in a small skillet. Drain and set aside. Wash red potatoes and cut into bite size pieces and leave skin on. Place in large pot and boil for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in large bowl. Toss and coat potatoes with ranch. Place potatoes in baking dish, making sure they are evenly placed in the pan. Cover potatoes with cheese and 3/4 of the bacon (leave some for topping later) Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle bacon and green onion on top. Serve warm.
- *I used turkey bacon.
Share Your Holiday Appetizers & Side Dishes Recipes in the Savvy Sassy Moms Holiday Blog Hop!
Week 1 Hostesses:
Teri of MommyWifeLife
Desiree of The Funny Mom Blog
Amy Gene of O’Leary Love
Rebecca of Mainley Mama
Elizabeth of Chasin’ Mason
How to Participate
Link up your favorite holiday appetizer or side dish by putting the URL and name of their blog post into the InLinkz widget below.
Visit 3-5 other blogs in the Holiday Blog Hop and leave a comment on their posts.
Share this Holiday Blog Hop with your friends and readers on social media using the #SavvySassyHoliday hashtag.
Head to Savvy Sassy Moms next week to link up for Week 2 which is all about Sweet Treats!
My daughters are 14 months a part in age. They are partners in crime and are rarely found playing without one another. They are rambunctious, are often loud, and sometimes choose to listen to directions. Most days they cry big tears, induced by not getting their way or due to a small injury that could have been avoided if only they had listened.
I get headaches, burnout and often feel incredibly frustrated at the end of our days together. I mean, why is it so hard to follow directions? Although there are moments when I would rather lock myself in my bedroom and hide under my covers, I do my best to fairly discipline the girls when they choose to be disobedient. This includes calling them names–names that will make a difference in their behavior, such as:
You are obedient.
You are a big girl.
You are a good listener.
You are brave.
You are smart kid.
You are a good sister.
These aren’t the names you expected me to say, are they? The reason I allow this type of name calling in my home is because although things seem chaotic and as though I don’t have control of my kids, I am speaking over and into my children’s lives.
The behavior that my children exhibit don’t make them bad seeds. They are typical kids and my woes are typical woes of any parent.Want your children’s behavior to improve? Allow words to come from your mouth that describe the behavior (child) you want to see, who you know your child truly is and who they were created to be. Whether you want to believe in self-fulfilling prophecies or Proverbs 18:21, speaking positively into the atmosphere has been proven over and over to be effective. Each day, little by little, the behavior of my daughters gets better. As parents, we can make a choice to use damaging words and name calling or we can choose to speak life and positivity into our children’s minds and hearts, which will in turn encourage them to make better decisions and exhibit ideal behaviors.
Our friend, Riley of Adventures of Riley Madison is also offering some affirmation through her new t-shirt line (pictured above), …I’m Smart, Too. We love the message the line sends which is why I’m sharing it with you.
Often, people see children and the first thing they compliment them on are their looks. Children do need to hear this, but we hope that these shirts will also remind people to affirm that they are so much more than how they look.
What names do you call your children?
Sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of La Brea Bakery
Every day is a good day to show gratitude for something or someone. The month of November is most popular for expressing thanks, especially towards family and friends and this Thanksgiving season you can say, “Thanks” in a big way!
Although each year more retailers are choosing to close their doors on Thanksgiving day to give their employees time with family, some employers do not. Some occupations require personnel to work every holiday, you know, doctors, nurses, law enforcement, firefighters, etc. La Brea Bakery is inviting you to nominate your Thanksgiving Hero–someone you know and love who often finds themselves working on Thanksgiving Day, serving others. Maybe they work in a restaurant or a retail store that requires them to work through Holidays. Bring them smiles on Thanksgiving Day by nominating them, giving them an opportunity to win a fully catered Thanksgiving meal, delivered by La Brea Bakery.
About La Brea Bakery
La Brea Bakery is the leading artisan bread in the United States, and is sold in 7,000-7,500 retail outlets nationwide. Learn more about La Brea Bakery HERE.
How to Enter the La Brea Bakery Thanksgiving Hero Contest
- Visit the La Brea Facebook Page
- Click the “Thanksgiving Heroes” tab to create your form submission
- In 100 words or less, share about your family member (Hero) that you will be unable to share Thanksgiving dinner with
- Submit at least one photograph showing both you and your family member (Hero)
- Submissions must be received by November 15th 2015.
- Finalists will be announced November 17th 2015, after which the public will have a chance to vote for their favorites through November 20th 2015.
- Five finalists will receive fully catered meals on Thanksgiving, delivered by LaBrea Bakery.
Who is your Thanksgiving Hero?
Everyone has different experiences with the families they marry into. Some have real-life horror stories when it comes to in-laws and others have great experiences, making it easy to love their new family. I can’t say I have experienced awful in-laws, but I know what it’s like to have to get used to a new family, especially during the holidays. When my husband and I got married we decided we would alternate Thanksgivings with our families. Every other year we alternate between being with my family in Indiana or here in Columbus with my husband’s family. This decision wasn’t difficult because we both enjoy being with our families, but boy did I miss (and still miss) being with my family on holidays. Getting used to new people, traditions and ways can be exciting and interesting, and for some, uncomfortable.
In recent months I have had conversations with people who are newly weds or who are soon to be married. In every conversation the topic of in-laws came up. So, for those who are apprehensive about spending the upcoming holidays with in-laws, here are tips to consider.
4 Tips, Plus a Bonus, on How to Survive Holidays with In-Laws
Tip #1: Be Yourself
What do they/will they think of me? Am I too loud am I too nice? Stop questioning who you are. You don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything that you aren’t. There’s no need to conform to be accepted. Your in-laws should love you for who you are. If they don’t, that is a their problem and they will have to get use to you being you.
Tip #2: Be Genuine & Honest
Along with being yourself, be honest. You’re allowed to express yourself and voice your opinion even if it isn’t the opinion of the majority. Genuinely engage with the family. You may not become best friends with with every member of the family (which is ok), but allowing genuine relationships to develop should be your goal. You are family and should find a way to connect.
Tip #3 Bite Your Tongue
Just like your blood relatives, in-laws can sometimes say something to you or about you that rubs you the wrong way. Although it’s ok to peacefully defend yourself, some things are simply not worth the fight. Sometimes sharing your opinion isn’t appropriate or necessary, so be wise when responding or giving your two cents.
Tip # 4: They Aren’t YOUR Family
I know, in tip #2 I told you that your in-laws are your family, but hear me out on this tip. The best advice I have received in regards to adjusting to having in-laws is, “Everyone’s family is different.” This helped me to understand that it’s ok that your in-laws have traditions you’re not used to and that everyone doesn’t have to think the same way. You and your spouse don’t always see things the same way, why? Because people’s life experiences make them who they are, you will always run into people who aren’t exactly like you. At the end of the day, do your best to accept others for who they are.
You don’t necessarily like everyone you have ever come across. You aren’t obligated to like everyone and everyone isn’t obligated to like you; however, being cordial hasn’t ever hurt anyone.
If you’re brave enough to answer, how has your experience been spending holidays with in-laws?