When Dinosaurs Came With Everything…

download (22)

When a young boy discovers that today dinosaurs come with everything, errands with his mom transform from dull to “best day ever.”  The illustrations are cute and the story is so much fun.  My boys continue to ask me to read it to them over and over and over again – which is awesome because I have fallen in love with the book too.

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything by Elise Broach is a book you are going to want to pick up and try for yourself.

And then maybe when you are done reading When Dinosaurs Came With Everything, you will need to line up all your own dinosaurs to teach them the rules of the house.  They won’t mind, it will just mean that they are part of the family too.



**Homeschool Notes:  This book encouraged discussions about family rules – the younger boys modeling the rules to their dinosaurs.  Talked  about what it means to buy a “dozen” of something.  Emphasized the importance of everyone helping around the house.  Creative writing entailed what it would be like to have a pet dinosaur and what rules they would create.


Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

imagesWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is an incredible story of a a young daughter named Minli and her quest to change her family’s fortune.  Traveling along the Fruitless Mountain, Minli comes in contact with dragons, goldfish, a buffalo boy, and a ruler of great city.

Minli’s quest magnifies the importance of her family. What appeared to be scarce and “not enough” became “plentiful and bountiful” the further she traveled away from her loving parents.  When the heart-breaking decision comes to for Minli to help her family or help a friend, Minli doesn’t have to think for too long.

Rich with imagination, heart, and love – this book is incredible.

And the pictures included in this book are inspiring to the imagination.


The boys and I enjoyed this book very much and the depth to the stories and fables has left an impact on my heart.  This journeys and adventures within the pages of this book would be an incredible gift to give to a loved one – adults included.

Homeschool Notes:

While reading this book we located various rivers on the globe, studied the phases of the moon with oreos, made our own dragon symmetry art with string, studied Henri Matisse, and made our own goldfish paintings.

The book stimulated a lot of discussions about what it means to “have enough” and the power of gratitude.  In the book, Minli comes in contact with a boy and girl that do not wish to change their fortune.  They are content and grateful with what they have and do not wish for more.  Creative writing assignments were completed with the idea of “what if I had everything I wanted?” and “what if I stopped looking for more?”

And finally, we began the family practice of listing what we are grateful for during dinner every night.

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

I need a bigger library bag.

One with some serious wheels.

I can never tear myself away from the sanctuary of books without thirty (or more) books crammed inside my bag and twenty more stacked against my arms.  As a general rule, my kids come to keep me under control.  I can’t very well chase my kids around while transporting sixty books in my two arms – can I?

I wish I could.


Beverly Cleary’s book Henry Huggins found it’s way into my bag last week.  And I am so glad that it did.  It was amazing.

Henry’s life transforms from dull to exciting when a strange dog begins begging for his ice cream.  Together they raise a million gupies, ride in a police car, catch 1,300+ worms, and develop a friendship that is true. They learn how to handle arguments with the girls and boys on their street, solve problems, and create a little mischief along the way.

We don’t own this book yet, but I have a feeling that we will soon.





Little Pear by Eleanor Francis Lattimore

BA15-lIf you judge a book by it’s cover, you have no time to love it.  I am embarrassed to admit that I almost judged Little Pear by Eleanor Francis Lattimore.  One look at the cover made me believe that my boys wouldn’t like this book.  

News flash – my boys LOVED Little Pear!

And I did too.

Little Pear is a compilation of stories about a five-year-old Chinese boy and his adventures.  He learns the importance of communicating with his family, not wandering off, and problem solving with his friends.

Some children’s books fail to communicate the consequences of lying, running away from home, and stealing.  This isn’t one of the books.  Like the book Ping, this book creatively teaches values and introduces vital conversations between parent and child.

I don’t own this book yet, but it is on my ever-growing-list of books to buy.  I love owning books with values and goodness in my house for little hands and growing minds to explore.

Mathematicians are People Too – Volume 1

51P4BWJW2FL._SY300_ My kids seriously love this book.  Mathematicians are People Too – Volume 1 is all about the famous mathematicians and scientists that made math what it is today.

Archimedes was found running down the street naked while yelling “Eureka!”  He had been stewing over a math problem while in the bath and was so excited he forgot to get dressed before running back home to write it down.

Pythagoras paid his first student to listen to him teach.  Later, he loved teaching so much that he created his own school.  People of the city were scared of his mathematical developments and set fire to the school.  It was said that his students created a human bridge in an attempt to save their teacher.  Students and teacher were all killed.

Young Newton created trouble when he decided to fly kites at night with a lantern attached.

And Thales looked for patterns in everything.  Patterns allowed him to solve his problems creatively – even with his stubborn donkey.

This fun book shares stories about Galileo, Hypatia, Pascal, and many more.  While reading the book, we learned that math didn’t always come easy for everyone but it is worth the work.  Math and numbers and science can be fun!  Love this book!

The Owl, the Grasshopper, and You…

We have been studying the story of the Owl and the Grasshopper by Aesop this week during our language arts lessons.

In the story, a grasshopper is busily making music in the middle of the day next to the home of a sleeping owl.  The owl, upon awakening, asks the grasshopper to leave.  It is day time and owls sleep during the day.

The grasshopper claims that he has rights to play and ignores the owl’s request.

The owl is a sneaky little fellow.  When the grasshopper begins to play his music, he interrupts the grasshopper with a tale about his special wine sent to him from the gods above.  Rumor has it that Apollo himself drinks the same wine.  Would the grasshopper like to share a drink?  The grasshopper quickly agrees and excitedly jumps to the home of the owl.

When – wack!  The owl pounces upon the grasshopper and eats him right up.

The moral of this story is:  Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy.

I would like to take it one step further.

Sometimes people have the tendency to look around for outside validation to support who they are and what they should be doing in their lives.  They spend their time strapped to a treadmill, counting calories, and obsessively updating their social media statuses in an attempt to win the flattery of others.  While flattery is nice to receive, it should not dictate lives.

Running around in search of kind words and the “wine of Apollo” is not a happy life to live.  Fragile, insecure, flattery-addicted-hearts are easy to “wack down” with unkind words – intentional or not.  And instead of living a life with purpose, the person looking for flattery will spend their entire life chasing around those compliments instead of fulfilling their life mission and dreams.

In the end, the desire to receive kind words gobbles up a person’s soul.  Dreams should never be sacrificed for a “wine” that doesn’t exist. Do not let flattery throw you off your guard and away from your life dreams.

The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The_Hundred_DressesWhat do you do when someone claims something you know to be false?

And what do you do when this person continues to “lie” about it?

This is the predicament found in The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes.  A girl that comes to school in the same faded blue dress, day after day, has just claimed that she owns 100 dresses.

The girls at school ruthlessly continue to tease the girl about her dress collection on the way to school, during recess, and on the way home.  The so-called-owner of the 100 dresses never sheds a tear and the girls think the teasing is okay.

Until one day…

The day of the school drawing competition proves that the girl wasn’t lying.  100 beautiful dresses painted upon sheets of paper hang around the room in all shades and styles.  The pictures, drawn by the faded-blue-dress-girl, are amazing.

The girls are ashamed when they realize that the girl did have one hundred dresses. Instead of cloth, her dresses hung on sheets of paper.

The pictures of the dresses are good, amazing, and award worthy.  The girl never comes back to school to receive her award.  Faced with the consequence of their teasing, the girls feel awful.  They try to make amends with the girl but she has moved away.

I love the discussions this book started in our home.  Contrary to the popular playground saying – sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me – our words and actions do affect the people around us.  Sometimes words hurt more than a fist.  We talked about finding the courage to stand up against people “poking fun” of others and the importance getting to know people.

The girl with the faded-blue-dress simply wanted to be accepted and loved.  She “dug deep” as Brene Brown would say, and chose to Dare Greatly.  She chose to share a part of her heart with the people – in hopes of connecting with others – and her heart was bruised with their words.  The 100 Dresses has a powerful message for young and old alike: love before you judge.

I think it is easy to believe that we can only be friends with people who are “just like us.”  In reality, we can love and connect with everyone in the world if we are willing to put down our differences and acknowledge that everyone is lonely.

In conclusion, The 100 Dresses is a beautiful book, worth the space it will take on your bookshelf and in your heart.