Sunday, June 28, 2009

blog break

I am taking a blog break..too many
tech. difficulties right now.
Be well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Book Club Week 2

Sorry Gals...I am having trouble with my DSL
due to wet weather here in the Garden State.
Very high winds and hail didn't help.
The book for this week, will be
Sea Turtles by Gail Gibbons
and Turtle Tide The Ways of Sea Turtles by Stephen R. Swinburne

I am hoping with two titles to choose from people will have better luck getting the books
in hand. I will post links and the whole she-bang tomorrow..My service light is flickering.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Great American Backyard Camp Out

This Saturday, June 27th is The Great American Backyard Camp Out!
Will you join us? Farmer Dad and I will be putting up the tent again this year
here in our little corner of the Garden State. I am not sure what the weather will
be like, but it has been raining. If it is too stormy, we will camp out in the living room.
There will be s'mores...and lots of fun games...we are hoping for lots more fireflies than
mosquitoes and star gazing galore.
The following day is our 25th Anniversary...hopefully the weather will be fine enough
for us to have some family fun. There are plenty of activities this weekend in our area.
Don't forget to stop in on Friday for this week's Book Club selection.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Book, A Craft and a Plate with Kate

Welcome to the first official Homeschooling in the Garden State Summer Book Club!
We're calling it...A Book, A Craft, and a Plate with Kate.
This week the book we chose was Summertime.
The craft, making this Summer Book Club Scrapbook.
This is the front cover. I just put the supplies on the table, and Princess picked
what she wanted and used them as she wanted. I do not ever control the creative process.
That is just how I roll. Some children like to be shown how to do it, and so you may need to be more "hands on" if your child is like that, or is younger.Inside we put 3 hole punch paper so she can write about the book, and paste in photos
or draw pictures as she wants.The back cover..
We had these folders left over from when my nieces were in school, and the paper,
and stickers were all from Freecycle at one time or another. I love picking up raw supplies
like this for future crafty days. ;-)
The plate (or snack) were Popsicles we made like in the book..

Word to the Moms with younger children, make a couple up ahead of time

if you plan on doing this with your kids...sometimes they need instant gratification. ;-)

Doesn't it look yummy? That wasn't hard was it? Did you enjoy this book? I thought it was a nice way to start off our Summer Book Club, especially for

the younger set.Now that you have seen how it looked in our little corner
of the Garden State, care to link below, and show us how it looked
wherever you are? Be sure to check in with all the participants
to see what they got up to.Remember, this is about sharing ideas,
not competition. I hope you all participated this one way or another.
Remember, if you have a book you would like me to use in an upcoming week,
just tell me the title and author. I'll do my best.Come back this Friday for our
next selection..I'm working on something special. (If my use of Mr Linky does not work, please leave your link in the comments..I'll add them here myself)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Summer Reads for Kids

Happy Tuesday!

Here are a few good summer reads according to my Princess. First, a couple of seasonally appropriate choices..

Princess picked out this book at the library, she thought it
would be a good Summer read. The illustrations delighted her.
Have you ever wondered how the Mermaids celebrate the Summer Solstice?
This book tells the tale.Princess enjoyed it, however she was a bit disturbed
that they show the Mermaids preparing fish for their feast.In her mind, they are,
and I quote.."sort of like cousins..I don't think they would eat them."She loved the idea
of all the creatures coming together to celebrate the Solstice however and this was
visually stimulating, so I am sure we will be drawing swirling,twirling Mermaids for weeks.
In honor of Fathers Day we read this truly delightful book..

The BEST Father's Day Present EVER

I have to say, this is going on the list of our must read for the holiday list. I really like the message here. If I had this one in my hands for the start of the book club,it probably would have been the starting book.Langley Snail is trying to decide what to buy his Dad for Father's Day , he never thought the gifts he made his Dad were good enough, (fair warning..he says he felt dumb) now that he is old enough to have an allowance, he has decided to buy his Dad something really special. He heads to the store with all his friends,but being a snail he cannot keep up, and meets each one on the way home with the various contraptions they purchased for their Dads. By the time he gets there, the store is closed. Langley feels upset as he heads home, but comes across a round rock and remembers how his Dad calls them "good luck", then he finds a cupped leaf filled with water that reflects the sky,a nest filled with baby birds, and a wonderful spider web. He suddenly realizes what he'll give his Dad the next day. The note wrapped around the rock reads...

You are invited to a special walk at 1 o'clock today

Langley Snail treasure hunter and finder

PS bring your camera

Naturally, Langley's Dad thinks this is The Best Fathers Day Present Ever.

Now, a little something for all my Thrifty Mom friends out there...

The Pink Refrigerator

Meet Dodsworth. Dodsworth's motto was "Try to do as little as possible". It's not that he does nothing. Early each morning he rides his bike over to the junkyard. He finds things that are still useful, like picture frames and dishes, and he cleans them up for sale in his thrift shop.He never sells a lot, just a little more than enough to get by.The rest of his life passes by in front of the television set, with breaks for small meals. That was his life..until one day at the junkyard, he sees an old rusty pink refrigerator with a note held up by a shiny brass globe magnet that gets his attention. He tries to remove the magnet, but it's stuck. He finally reads the note: MAKE PICTURES Out of curiosity he opens the door, inside is a beautiful assortment of paints and brushes and a little red sketchbook. His thought is "these must be worth something", and he takes them home and puts them in his shop window. To his surprise, he finds he is unwilling to sell them to a customer who asks to buy them.Unable to resist, but he takes the supplies and paints a picture.For the next week, he keeps going back to the refrigerator (it takes a couple of days for him to stop trying to remove the magnet).Each day there is another note...inside there are more "valuable" surprises. After a couple of days, he stops even putting the items in his window for sale. Finally on Friday he wakes up filled with enthusiasm, and rushes over to look for the note.The note says..KEEP EXPLORING. Hmmmm..Dodsworth can't wait to look inside the refrigerator, but inside, there is nothing. He searches the interior, and slams the door so hard in his anger, that the shiny brass magnet falls off. The note flies off on a breeze, and although he chases it, he is unable to catch it.He takes the shiny globe magnet home and ponders the meaning of the last message all night.Now, I am not going to tell you how it all ends, for I believe you should all read this one for yourselves..oh yes..and for the children. ;-)

I do hope you will all come back to see how A Book, A Craft, and a Plate with Kate works out tomorrow. Even if you don't participate in your own way.Now, go read something! ;-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Summer Solstice

Here we go...Summer. Long lazy days...reading at the beach..making sand castles..
ice cream...the garden..weeding..harvesting..watching the bunnies nap in the shade
on a sultry afternoon...trying to stay cool by playing in the shady spots in the yard..splashing at the water park..story times..crafts and science at the library.. lying in the dates and Camp Katie movies and concerts at the municipal park..
picnics..Sandy Hook..Italian Ices...fireflies..butterflies..the Community Garden plot..
canoeing at the cream sandwiches...PtPleasant..friends on
Summer vacation...swimming..washing sand out of your hair after a long day at the beach...Popsicles..
The Boardwalk..doing nothing because it's just too hot..the County Fair...slip n' slides...Corn on the Cob..iced coffee..napping on a quilt in the shade...the Splash Park...the Hammock...flip flops..
neighborhood bar-b-ques...hula hoops..fresh Jersey peaches from the farm around the corner.. fishing ...jump shells.....s'mores...frisbees...did I mention doing nothing at all?
I hope your summer is filled with all of this and more, and I hope it stops raining long enough
for us to do any of this.It only stopped briefly here today, and this is how Princess filled the time..

Splashing in a rain puddle with the little boy next door. (add that to the list)

((hugs)) KateinNJ

Friday, June 19, 2009


Are you curious? Pumpkin sure is...

Your wait is over. My big news is...a Summer Reading Club!
Did you just yawn?
Been there? Done that? O....kay.
I am calling mine....

  • Every Friday I will tell you the title of a book, along with a craft and a snack idea. (the plate)This should give you time to locate the book at your library.

  • Every Wednesday, you can come see how it looked here in our little corner of the Garden State.

  • You can link to show us how it looked wherever you are.

Sound good?


This is just to give you a starting point for a fun afternoon of reading with a

craft and snack. I do not do the crafts for Princess. If hers don't "look" like the picture

in my mind...oh well.Feel free to join in or not. I get e-mails all the time

from other Moms, homeschooling, and not, who claim to wish they could come up

with goofy ideas like I do to make learning, or just reading ,more fun

for their kids. Here's your chance.

These ideas will be easy as 1-2-3
  1. The book
  2. The Craft
  3. The Snack (or plate)

We will start today, and go straight through the Summer.The first book will be:


The Craft idea: We are going to make a summer book club scrap book.
Sound difficult? It's not. I urge you to use what you have on hand, do not
go buying a bunch of fancy supplies. (Unless you are the rare homeschooler/parent who has tons of extra cash on hand- in which case I urge you to support your local businesses when buying supplies) We will be using a left over (from my niece's school days)
folder. I will add note paper and blank construction paper. I will have Princess
write in the title, author-illustrator, and a brief sentence or two of what the book
was about and how much she liked it, or not. I will either have her paste in a photo of her craft,
or the actual craft depending on what it is. For now, we will just be making the book itself.
I think I will also paste a photo of her with the book as we go..we'll see.

The Snack idea: We are going to make ice pops (just like in the story)
the day before, or maybe even today.
You need, fruit juice,an ice cube tray (or other small mold/cup),wooden sticks.
Pour juice in tray (or whatever) put stick in, place in freezer for at least 4 hours.
Remove,pop out, and this is the most important step....ENJOY!

Care to join us? Don't forget to link up here on Wednesday.
Have a book you would like us to use? Or maybe just one you would like
an idea for? Leave a comment to let me know.
My legal department (The Law Offices of Mouserman and Meowerstein),
insists that I put another disclaimer here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

KateinNJ'S Better late than never BOOK POST

The Great Fuzz Frenzy
Need a super cute and super fun picture book about Prairie Dogs?
If the answer is yes, I have found a good one for you, if not,
you should read it anyway..didn't I already tell you it was super cute and super fun?
What happens when something big,round, and fuzzy drops down into Prairie Dog town?
At first they are all scared, but one little Prairie dog gets close enough to investigate,
comes up with some fuzz stuck to his head, and what happens next, is an all out fuzz
frenzy!News of the fuzz travels to other prairie towns, and the dogs come, and see and
pick until the fuzz runs out.Fights break out, dogs wanting some fuzz, or more fuzz,
their peaceful town becomes a fuzz fiasco.They fight until they are too tired to fight anymore,
and when they wake up, the FUZZ IS GONE.Who took the fuzz? Well, you'll have to read the book if you want to know.;-) Fun,fun,fun.

Hugs on the wind

If your child has a Grandparent or another loved one who is travelling, or lives too far away

to see often, this book might be a nice comfort. Little Cottontail misses his Grandfather

who has travelled all the way across the great green meadow.As Mother Cottontail harvests

sweet red clover, and wild lettuces, they talk about what Grandfather misses about

Little Cottontail, his "snuggly hugs", and smiles...Little Cottontail decides to "send" his hugs

to Grandfather on the wind, and his smiles with the a delightful story filled with gentle watercolors that with soothe you both. Princess still really misses her Poppa, and because

of his ill health, doesn't get to see her Grandpa often either, so she enjoyed thinking about ways

to let him know she thinks of him.We read this in honor of Fathers Day I suppose, although

for my little Princess, every day is Fathers Day.

Are You Going To Be Good?

It is almost pajama time, but little Robert is not going to bed,

he is getting dressed up in his "going to a party" clothes to attend his Great Gran Sadie's

100Th Birthday party. His Mom,Dad and Big Sister all warn him to be good, and they practice their "please" and "thank yous" all during the drive.This story is adorable, giving you a child's eye view of all they have to go through and how they view our adult ideas of a "party".

Through out the evening, everyone admonishes Robert.."don't do that.."

the only one who enjoys his childlike enthusiasm is Great Gran Sadie, who kicks her shoes off

and dances with did make Princess a little sad that Great Grandma wouldn't make it to

"100", but she has high hopes for her Nana! So do we!!

Sorry this is so late, but I thought I set it up to post on Tuesday, and never came back to check it. I will be back Wednesday afternoon, with the BIG SUMMER NEWS...that I have been promising. ((hugs))KateinNJ

Monday, June 15, 2009

Are you ready for Summer?

We are getting ready here in our little corner of the Garden State.
We have been cleaning up our filled to bursting basement, so we can hang out down there
should it get too hot. We had a yard sale this weekend, only 4 hours while we weeded
and mowed the lawn etc. Made about $10.00/hour and got rid of a ton of stuff!
Stuff I didn't think would sell at all, sold. They were already in the garage, because
I had them listed on Freecycle. Nobody responded to the free offer, but people
were willing to come pay me $1.00 or $2.00 for them.LOL
Stuff I thought we should sell, didn't get a look. It all depends on your shopper.
I didn't advertise, because I didn't think we would go through with having the sale.
Next yard sale will be a whole lot of kids stuff. I will advertise in advance.
That stuff always sells.
I will also have my bro-in-law make me signs in Spanish for my next sale.
So many people that buy at my yard sales speak Spanish, it would make it easier for them.
They are my favorite customer by the way, the Spanish speaking customer. They never say.."don't you have (fill in the blank with anything you can think of)..?"
They always say "Hello" and "Please and Thank you". They never look at your stuff and say
"You don't have anything here I want!" Seriously? They do not ask if you will take less then the $1.00 you are asking
for the shirt (with tags on it marked $40.00)in their hands. They do not say, "I would never
buy dishes someone else had used already." Really? Why are you at a yard sale?
These were adorable vintage Corelle by the way..the family that scooped them up were delighted! Okay, the husband was not delighted, but he also didn't mind paying $5.00 for the huge pile of kitchen stuff his wife and Mother in law picked out. It looked to me like he subscribed to the "Happy Wife, Happy Life!" philosophy. Princess spent most of Sunday with my Sister, and our Goddaughter and her fiance. Playing and shopping and eating.
She came home tired and happy, sporting new sunglasses, and sandals, and a bag filled with
other goodies. Oh well, she brought in less than we got rid of, so I guess that is OK.
We harvested peas, and golden raspberries and I made a trip to the library. I will talk more about that Tuesday.
It was a pretty good weekend here. Hope yours was too.Need to go take care of this..

Tomorrow I will be unveiling a special Summer treat I'm hoping you will all enjoy!

((BIG HUGS))KateinNJ

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Got Milk?

If you have any interest in pouring an ice cold glass of milk
for your children, please pop over here and take action.
If you care about keeping Dairy Farms in the United States,
do the same.If not, feel free to ignore my maniacal urgings
and check out what we've been doing lately...Princess riding her bike in the garage
while we prepared for our yard sale.

Play date..dress updoll housewatching a movie, because it's raining again.And yes, the books in the background, are all my library books..Princess has a separate shelf for hers. Most of them have been read now, because it has been raining so much.((BIG HUGS))KateinNJ

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Books from the Library

Another Tuesday, another book post here
in our little corner of the Garden State.

The Great Texas Hamster Drive
An original Tall Tale
We loved this book, and think Amy Sue and her boys will like it too.
This original Tall Tale is about the daughter of Pecos Bill, who decides
she needs a pet just like all her brothers have.What kind of pet does she choose?
A hamster of course! Her father orders one from a catalog, only he decides two would be better,
and you can imagine how many they end up with when one of the two is discovered not to be
a Crockett or Bowie (after two of Texas's greatest heroes), but perhaps a Dinah.
A real fun read, of course we may be at the pet store buying ONE hamster this weekend.
Summer Beat
Great rhyming book about summer fun on the 4Th of July..we really enjoyed
seeing what Em and Joe were going to do next.
Makes me crave a burger and corn on the cob though....;-)
It also makes us crave all that summer fun, 3 legged races, water balloons....
so I have Princess sitting at the kitchen table to my right putting sticky notes
on all the activities she'd like to try this summer in these two books..

Wondering which ones she picked? Don't worry, we'll share them with you,
right here. Every week through out the summer.We hope you will all share your
favorite activities with us too.((hugs))KateinNJ

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday in the Garden State

Today we had plenty of Garden in our corner of the Garden State,
and there was plenty of sun in our Sunday.(Saturday too)
Here is a bit of what both Saturday and Sunday looked like around
here..we "hung" around,played horseshoes,had sack races, picnicked under the cedars.
OK, we did a little napping as well. We sung songs, and told stories and jokes,

Princess did a little dressing up...
She made a salad fresh from the garden (our neighbor gave her some cherry tomatoes

from his hanging plant) all by herself (even the cutting).We waited for

our Momma fish to have their babies (not yet).

We just watched the clouds roll by....
Princess learned how to do a little cross stitch...

what did you do? Did you learn something new? Try something you thought was "too hard"?I hope you had some sunny days.We are expecting more rain this week, so we tried to enjoy being out in the sun as much as we could. I hope you did too.((hugs))KateinNJ

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday Green Up

One of the easiest Green Up changes we have made here in our
corner of the Garden State has been to start making our own laundry detergent.
The recipe I use is:
  • 1 cup of Fels Naptha Bar Soap
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda

I make as much as I can at one time, depends on how many bars of soap are on hand.

First I cut my bars of soap in half

then I use the grater on my food processor it looks like this

then I put this in and chop it all up again

until it looks like this

then I add the borax and washing soda

After mixing it together I put it in this old pickle jar someone had left over..

And I am good to go. I use between 2 and 3 tbsp of detergent depending on how
dirty our load is.I usually toss it in a bit of hot water and switch the water to cold
to wash. I like not having my clothes "smell like something", but many people
make the liquid version (see a recipe here )
and add a scent with essential oils.I have no problem finding these ingredients
at my local supermarket, but if you can not locate them, try here.
It is one of those Green Up things that is putting more green in our wallets too.
Farmer Dad has very sensitive skin, I think there has been an improvement
in his level of dry skin and irritation too. We have also been air drying everything lately,
which has proven a challenge with the recent rain, but we never used our dryer for most
of our laundry any way, so I am not sure how much of a difference that will make.
My next goal is to find a High Efficiency Washing Machine, mine is old and uses too much water.
Do you have a goal to GREEN UP or , should I say,clean up your laundry area? ;-)

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My homeschool buddies and I are all posting pics of our "home schools" as part of our idea sharing.

Plato said...

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child's natural bent .