Doing More With Less Since 1972

Tag: christmas

December Giveway…Straight Off Our Wish List!

Back by popular demand (and because some people are signing up for last year’s) we’re excited to announce this year’s giveaway. Last year’s giveaway was really popular, but we realized that we sort of limited the scope of it since it was a toy for a specific skill level. So this year we’re going to do something a little different…we’ll let the winner choose the prize.

This year’s choices are coming straight off our own shopping list for our girls, so you’ll know they’ve are Ana-approved!

Just as a side note…please don’t think limit our kids to reading and literacy toys. We’re only including those here because this is a reading site. They also love to play with craft toys, crayons/paint/chalk, counting and math games (that could be a whole different site), and anything with a Disney Princess on it. Now…let’s get to the choices!!!

Pop for Letters Game

We can’t wait to get this toy! There are so many fun things you can do with this! Memory match games for capital and lower case letters, shuttle runs (quickly becoming a favorite activity at our house) matching cases or sounds to letters, changing the first letter of a word to make a new word, etc. The possibilities are literally endless. Yeah…you could do the same thing with a few pieces of paper, but the fact that this is popcorn themed makes it way more fun and inviting for the kids.

Pop for Sight Words Game

Just like the Pop Letters game, but with sight words–endless possibilities! “Quiz games” with multiple kids to see who can read the word first, putting words together to make sentences, and once the kids can read all of these words you can play games for parts of speech sorting and spelling bees. You can even use the Pop Letter Game with this toy to create prefixes and suffixes for the sight words!

Pretend and Play School Set

Not necessarily a literacy game, but our girls love to play school, and the Pea just happens to teach Bug letters and sounds in almost every class since reading is her favorite subject. It really has helped drive home all the things Bug is learning, and we’re so excited the baby will hopefully have two teachers when it’s her turn to start school!

Silly Sentences

I remember Ana taking a long time to prepare for centers when she was a teacher so the kids in her class could play this exact game! It’s so convenient to have it made for you, and even better that the kids can go grab this game and play any time they want. Some ideas for extension activities are to have the kids draw a picture of the silly sentences they make or create entire stories based on the sentences.

How to Enter

That would be useful information, huh? Just like last year, all you have to do to be eligible to enter the contest is like us on Facebook. That means like us on our Fan Page, not like this post (although you’re welcomed to do that as well). We’ll randomly choose one of our fans at midnight on December 13, 2011 and contact the winner through Facebook to find out what prize they’d like to receive.

Thanks for your continued support this year. Merry Christmas!

I’m reading– December 22nd through December 29th

10 Things We Learned in 2010 – Thanks to Mr. Dave Ramsey, I learned these things in the early 1990s. Almost 20 years ahead of the curve! Matters not…most people will forget this stuff in 5 or 6 years.

Track flight prices and check for airline refunds – Who was I talking to about doing something like this a while back? Oh yeah…emailing this to him immediately.

Will 2011 See App Makers Thinking Android-First? – Now I don't feel like as much of an idiot sitting here at Android 2.1 waiting for a Honeycomb phone to surface.

When the Diagnosis Is ‘Dead Butt Syndrome’ – Wait…so the contrapositive of this argument is that if I don't run I don't have to cross-train either, right? FTW!

How New Entrepreneurs Are Taking Advantage of the Great Reset – In front of and behind the firewall I might add.

Payday Lending Booms as Credit Cards Become Less Available – Two not-so-bold predictions. (1) Politicians will "do something" about this, probably at the state level. (2) As a result, payday lenders will be hurt, and lone-sharking at the street level will become a booming industry.

People always have and always will borrow money with outrageous terms. It's just a matter of whether they are going to lose their car title or the use of their thumbs when they don't pay.

If the market exists…

Creating a Reading Christmas Tradition

Ana and I were discussing how cool the idea of a Book on Every Bed idea is last night, and came up with another idea. Now, we come up with all kinds of crazy ideas–some pan out, and some don’t–but this is one we hope we are able to establish in our family.

We will definitely be doing Book on Every Bed while our kids are small, but we hope we are able to continue a variation of that idea long after our children are grown. We’re going to start this year with one another. Here’s the idea:

Give every member of your family a book at Christmas. This isn’t their Christmas gift(s), just a little added something. It can be a book that you’ve read over the past year and enjoyed, a book you think they’d like, a book you want to read at the same time they read it so you can discuss…whatever reason you want. And it doesn’t have to be a freshly purchased book from the bookstore. Buy a used book. Give them a book you’ve finished. You can even check out books for them at the library. When you’re living in the same house together, you can just pull one right off the bookshelf and wrap it up!

Sure, it’s for the kids, right? Well, yeah. But I also want to learn the things they are learning as they grow up, and I want to continue to glean knowledge off of them when they are adults. So while they will definitely benefit, I really want to start this tradition for completely selfish reasons! 😛

Hosting a Kid’s Christmas Party? Include a Book Swap!

If you are hosting or attending a Christmas party geared towards kids this year, consider having them do a book exchange as gifts. You can set a limit on the cost of the books, or even make it a “used only” swap that let’s the kids exchange books they’ve either read the requisite 1,000,000 times or haven’t been that interested in. You can do this with several variations.

For mixed ages, you can do a name draw beforehand and let them exchange books “Secret Santa” style, making sure each child gets an age appropriate book they’ll be interested in. If all the kids are older (i.e. mature enough to handle it) you can even do a White Elephant gift exchange, allowing gifts to be stolen as the game progresses.

If you’re having a party for pre-schoolers, have each child bring a wrapped book to the party and attach letters to the packages with post-it notes as they arrive. When it’s time for the gifts to be opened, let each child draw a letter from a hat and match it to their gift. Opening all of the books at the same time instead of individually may help you avoid some meltdowns since they’ll more than likely be focused on their own book and not on what someone else has.

For a twist, have each child bring two books to the party–one for their friends and another to be donated to a local library, book drive, or other charitable organization.

A Book On Every Bed

Here’s a great idea–make sure a book is the first thing your children unwrap on Christmas morning!

The easiest way to do that is to make sure Santa leaves the book at the foot of their bed. I can’t imagine even the most anxious kid being able to pass up the opportunity to unwrap the first gift they see on Christmas morning.

Start a tradition: My hope is that other families will enjoy a tradition that revolves around reading together. I further hope that librarians, teachers, bookstore owners and literacy advocates spread this idea as far and wide as it will go, making it possible for any family that wants a child to receive a book to get one.

December Giveaway – LeapFrog Fridge Words

If your pre-schooler is like ours, they love to be with you while you’re cooking. And if you’re like us, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen over the holidays. LeapFrog’s Fridge Words Magnetic Word Builder can help! This educational toy makes your time in the kitchen more hassle-free, especially if you put it on the side of the fridge or the dishwasher, which allows you to actually open the door without interrupting play. Even if you are just starting on word groups, you can seed the toy with the word ending for your child (“_at”, “_an”, etc.) and show your child how changing the first letter can make a brand new word.

We’re giving away one of these toys in December. All you have to do to be eligible to win is become our fan on Facebook. Really, that’s it! And if you don’t have a pre-schooler, don’t worry. This makes an awesome gift for Christmas or birthdays!

We’ll be selecting a winner at midnight on December 15, which should give us plenty of time to contact the winner and have the prize delivered before Christmas. It also gives you plenty of time to spread the word!

Delicious Link Dump– December 22nd through December 28th

2009: The Year of the Failed Narratives – I love story time! I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed that none of the stuff they are trying to sell us involves dragons or unicorns. I mean, if we're going to write fiction, let's go all the way with it.

Ghetto Kool-Aid – The word "ghetto" is over-used. The word "Kool-Aid", however, is not.

The New Flight Security Rules, So Far – When you can count on showing up for a flight four hours early, not being allowed to access your carry-ons (the whole purpose for carrying things on when you have children), not being able to hold objects in your lap (try explaining that to a toddler), and not being able to go to the restroom for the last hour of the flight…why on earth would anyone fly anywhere with kids? This will definitely be changing our travel plans in the future.

Is cable worth it? – Not even if they paid you to watch the commercials

Top 10 Bad Things That Are Good For You – I don't set things on fire and put them in my mouth, so weed is out. Can I double down on the beer instead? And I won't need the LSD to counter the extra beer for a few years. I won't knock the maggots until I've tried them.

Obama, Left Behind – What he really needs to fix this is a new web site and a fresh Twitter account. They'll be back in no time.

Mortgage Applications Drop to 2-Month Low – I have to believe this is mostly due to the fact that people are hanging out waiting on short sale approval letters. *hint hint*

Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem – Shake it baby! This is the first and only shoot 'em game I ever bought, but it was pretty good. I'm not that into video games, so I didn't really keep up with the drama that was the continual delayed release of the sequel.

Stripper For Christmas – Ho Ho Ho! Yeah, that wasn't very original.

Delicious Link Dump– December 17th through December 18th

Using Google Apps? 5 Ways to Avoid Getting Hacked – I really need to get around to doing these things. Looks like you could make it happen in less than 15 minutes and save yourself a lot of heartache.

WordPress 2.9, oh so fine – Just updated, and this should force a post. The image editor and easy video embed are nice!

Common Laptop/Netbook Positions to Avoid – I'm just going to pretend I didn't see this.

Nullification: Friend of Liberty – Well Texas?

Jesus Was Cool – "Be nice to each other." Pretty simple. But wait, there's more…

Developer Resources for Android – This is on my to-do list. I swear. I even have an app idea that will be huge for a very small market.

Jerry Taylor discusses global warming on the premiere of Stossel – I missed this inaugural episode and haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but it looks to be interesting

Drunk Four Year Old Steals Christmas Presents – Shock and awe.

Delicious Link Dump– December 15th through December 17th

8 More PowerPoint Train Wrecks – I went to a great 2 day coaching clinic last weekend. About 10 minutes of the 2 days included the use of PowerPoint. Coincidence?

In Search Of Clark Griswold’s House – You have to check every single light individually.

Carbonhagen Meltdown – LOL! “…riots, madness, styrofoam cups, people eating meat, real fur coats, CFC-laden hairspray cans, it’s crazy.”

STOP!

45 Free Online Computer Science Courses | – Street Fighting Mathematics? I’m in.

In pictures: Zambia’s leading lady in the ring – My buddy I.B. sent me this. He’s an Indian guy who grew up in Zambia and has a British accent. He also wrote the first code editor I’m aware of that allowed you to highlight and comment a complete block of code.

With U.S. Opportunities Dim, Expats Return Home – That’s a relief. Now we don’t have to worry about them taking our jobs. Oh…wait a minute…

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