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Summer Reading Update

11 Jul

The little one didn’t read very much last week.  😦

Just a few library books and one of her favorite books from home, Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley.

We both just love that book and Camryn reads it all the time. In fact, she’s been reading it every night for the past few days. I think she has some ideas from the book marked for me to reproduce which is great because my brain is still fried from the school year.

Everyday Bento is a great book for anyone who wants to get started packing bentos but isn’t interested in anything super complicated or time-consuming.

Also, if you’ve never been to Wendy’s site, finish up this post and then go check it out!

Here’s what Camryn read last week:






Summer Reading Update

22 Jun

Hi all!

Just popping in to share what Camryn read over this past week.

She is still reading The Cabin Faced West which is the very last book on her Mensa Excellence in Reading Challenge list but since it isn’t finished, I didn’t include it here.

I’ll be so glad when she is finished with that book, it’s not a very exciting read. She has twelve pages to go so I’m hoping she finishes it up tonight so we can all move on with our lives.

Here are the eight library books that Camryn read last week:


Her favorite of this group was The Terrible Plop. She said it was pretty funny and thinks that your kids might like it too.

Summer Reading Update

16 Jun

We’ve been on summer break since June 4th, which means that we’ve been sleeping in, hanging out in stretchy pants (okay, so that’s mostly me doing that) going to various parks in our area, and having one on one lunch dates with the kids.

I haven’t made a single cutesy lunch and frankly, I’m good with it.

Towards the end of every school year I tend to get what I like to call ‘bento burn out’ and my brain  just cannot come up with one more cute thing to put into a lunch box.

Even Cam’s last day of school lunch was pretty lame to say the least. I’m pretty sure that I just tossed in whatever leftovers we had hanging out in the fridge that needed to be used up.

All that being said, I don’t have any cute lunches to share. 😦

However, as far as our reading challenge goes, I can report that so far Camryn has read the following 12 books:


In no particular order of importance

1. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

2. Horrid Henry’s Joke Book by Francesca Simon

3. My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures,  Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things by Judith Viorst

4. Leo Geo by Jon Chad

5. Ripley’s Believe It or Not Animal Antics by Ripley Publishing

6. Millions, Billions, and Trillions Understanding Big Numbers by David A. Adler

7. Really, Really Big Questions: About Life, The Universe, and Everything by Dr. Stephen Law

8. Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

9. Tib & Tumtum #2: My Amazing Dinosaur by Grimaldi

10. Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara Levine

11. Wow! I Didn’t Know That: Surprising Facts About Animals

12. The Great Lollipop Caper by Dan Krall





Her favorite books out of those 12 were: Tib & Tumtum, Open This Little Book, and Bone by Bone. She highly recommends those three.

What about your kids? Have they read any good books lately?

If so, feel free to share. We always like getting book recommendations.




Summer Reading

1 Jun

It’s almost that time.

Kids everywhere are finishing up yet another school year and looking forward to their summer vacations.

For us that means it’s time for our yearly Summer Reading Challenge.

At the end of last June, I challenged my then six-year-old daughter, to read one hundred books before the new school year started.

One hundred books between the week of June 24th and August 18th. She was already a pretty voracious reader so it wasn’t beyond her to accomplish that task.

The deal was that she could read as much or as little as she wanted as long as she finished her last book before the first day of school on August 19th. And if she did, she would get a reward of her choosing.

She rocked that challenge and read all one hundred books before the first day of school.

And because I know someone will ask: No, she did not spend all day every day reading. Yes, she got plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Some days she read nothing at all and some days she only read for five minutes.

This year I’m letting her set her own reading goal and so far her plan is to read 7-10 books each week until school starts.

She’s actually finishing up a Mensa reading challenge this week which contained 64 books so I’m interested to see if she’ll want to take a little break from reading or jump right back in to it. Honestly, I didn’t think she’d ever finish Little House on the Prairie. That one was not what you’d call a page turner.

That might seem like a lot of reading for a kid but she really does love to read. I know that’s because we started reading to her very early on. We read to her when she was teeny and she had no idea what we were saying. We read fiction and non fiction. We read about math and space and Mickey Mouse. We read cookbooks and newspapers to her. We read about everything and nothing. The point is we read, a lot.

Not only did this ignite her curiosity and encourage a love of learning, but it also taught her to sit still and pay attention which is kind of important in a classroom setting.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a perfect child. Not even close. She’s stubborn, and mouthy, and has a fit when she doesn’t get her way, and I still can’t take her shopping with me because she jacks around in the aisles, hangs all over the cart, and insists on buying ALLTHETHINGS! And she still leaves her dolls face down on the floor or against the wall (Blair Witch style) because she knows it freaks me out.

She’s quite a little punk but she’s also smart… really smart, and learning comes easy to her. I know that it’s because she’s a reader.

Children who read or are read to tend to do better in school and research continues to support this.

So whether your child is a brand new reader or a more experienced independent reader, I hope you’ll join us in our reading challenge this summer. Even if your kids hate reading and you only get them to read the back of their cereal box, that counts as a win!

Be sure to share your kids’ progress and their favorite books in the comments section below. We’re always looking for good books!

Even if your kids read just a little this summer, I promise their new teachers will be grateful come fall.


If your kids just can’t get into reading:

* Check with your local library to see if they have any programs geared towards their age group. A lot of libraries offer story time, book clubs, and/or incentive programs where kids can earn rewards for reading.

* Create your own incentive program at home and still keep it cheap or free! Extra video game play time may be all it takes to get your kids to pick up a book.

*Many Barnes & Noble locations have story time for kids on the weekends. Check to see if yours is participating. Additionally, your child may be able to earn a free book just by reading any eight books and recording them in their reading journal. Click here for more info.

*Sometimes it’s not that kids don’t like to read, it’s just that they prefer being read to. So another suggestion (aside from you reading to them, obviously) is to check out audiobooks from your library along with the actual book so your kids can follow along. I do this with Cam often. She will lay in bed with headphones on and listen to a story just before bed or as she’s doing a quiet activity in her room. 

* For little ones who don’t like to sit still for very long, try reading to them while they’re in the bath or on the potty.

* Keep books in the car. If your kids know they’re there, they may be inclined to crack one open.

* Bring books to restaurants, appointments, or any situation where they may be forced to sit and wait.

* Institute DEAR time in your house this summer. DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

* Do your kids have a favorite TV or movie character? Chances are good that there’s a book at your local library that that character is in. 

* Ask your kids if they’ve read any good books lately. Have them tell you about their favorite books and what they liked about them. Do you remember reading that book as a child? What did you like about it? Discuss with your kids.

* Create a special space for reading. Is there a big shady tree in your yard or a quiet spot in your house where you can create a book nook?  Something as simple as a blanket on the ground,  or a few pillows in a quiet corner of your home can provide a special place for the two of you to read together. My husband makes a blanket fort every Saturday night for Camryn by laying blankets over our dining room table and chairs so that she can crawl underneath and hang out. I’m telling you, if you can build a fort for your kids, do it! And throw some books and a little flashlight in there too.

*And finally, crack a book open yourself and let your kids see you enjoying it. Sometimes, that little action is enough to get kids interested in reading.


Websites to Challenge Readers:

between the lions

PBS reading games

Game Goo

Word World


Games and Activities to Motivate Your Reader Here

Free E Books here, here, and here




Summer Reading Challenge: Completed!

17 Aug

She did it!

2 months. 100 books.

Here they are in no particular order:

  1. The Adventures of Daniel Boom And Loud Boy – Mac Attack
  2. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
  3. Bad Kitty Gets A Bath
  4. Stink and the Incredible Super Galactic Jawbreaker
  5. Stink – Solar System Super Hero
  6. Eency Weensey Spider
  7. World’s Weirdest Dinosaurs
  8. Dora – It’s Sharing Day
  9. Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole
  10. Captian Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs
  11. Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road
  12. Push Button
  13. Tiny Titans
  14. Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs. Voodoo Vultures From Venus
  15. Ice Cream Bear
  16. Wet Dog
  17. Storm Song
  18. Sock Monkey Rides Again
  19. Z Goes Home
  20. Black and White
  21. ABC Kids
  22. Secret of the Ninja
  23. George Brown Class Clown – Help! I’m Stuck in a Giant Nostril
  24. George Brown Class Clown – Hey! Who Stole the Toilet
  25. Pilot and Huxley – The First Adventure
  26. Pilot and Huxley – The Next Adventure
  27. Pokemon – Sapphire and Ruby Versions
  28. Pokemon – Leaf Green and Fire Red Versions
  29. The Adventures of Daniel Boom and Loud Boy
  30. The Adventures of Daniel Boom and Loud Boy – Grow Up
  31. The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow
  32. Bean Dog and Nugget
  33. Vordak the Incomprehensible – Double Trouble
  34. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
  35. George Brown Class Clown – World’s Worst Wedgie
  36. Ricky Ricotta – Uranium Unicorns From Uranus
  37. School! Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School
  38. Journey Under the Sea
  39. George Clown Class Clown – Dance Your Pants Off
  40. George Brown Class CLown – Trouble Magnet
  41. Darth Paper Strikes Back
  42. Space and Beyond
  43. Bink and Gollie – Best Friends Forever
  44. First Graders From Mars – The Problem with Pellie
  45. First Graders From Mars – Horus’ Horrible Day
  46. Itsy Mitsy Runs Away
  47. First Grade Here I Come
  48. Hans and Matilda
  49. Mars Needs Moms
  50. Chloe
  51. Toys in Space
  52. Hamster and Cheese
  53. The Horned Toad Prince
  54. Cowlick
  55. Carumba
  56. The Cloud Spinner
  57. A Giant Crush
  58. Bake Sale
  59. But Excuse Me, That is My Book
  60. The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man
  61. Ricky Ricotta – Mecha Monkeys From Mars
  62. Diary of a Killer Cat
  63. Sadie and Ratz
  64. Bad Kitty For President
  65. Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray
  66. Chowder
  67. Pokemon – Team Rocket Truce
  68. Pokemon – Celebi Rescue
  69. Pokemon – Charizard Go
  70. Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones
  71. The Trail of Lost Time
  72. Ugly Animals
  73. 10 Things You Should Know About Dinosaurs
  74. Stuck
  75. The Stinky Cheese Man
  76. We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers
  77. There’s a Nightmare in my Closet
  78. Windblown
  79. The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot
  80. Memoirs of a Goldfish
  81. Night of the Veggie Monster
  82. Nino Wrestles the World
  83. How to be a Cat
  84. There’s a Dragon Downstairs
  85. Vordak – Rule the School
  86. Amelia Rules
  87. The Adventures of Daniel Boom and Loud Boy – Game On
  88. The Dot
  89. George Brown Class Clown – Super Burp
  90. Pokemon – Grovyle Trouble
  91. Pokemon – The Power of Three
  92. How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans
  93. If You Give A Cat A Cupcake
  94. Flora and the Flamingo
  95. Raymond Saves the Day
  96. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  97. Alpha Oops – The Day Z Went First
  98. Kids’ Science Questions About People
  99. Pokemon – I Choose You
  100. Last but not least: The comic book that came with her new shoes

We’re so proud of our girl. This was no easy feat! Most of the books listed above are chapter books.

We told her that she could pick a prize if she read all 100 books before the first day of school. She finished up her last book tonight. School starts Monday. She rocked that challenge with a day to spare.

She chose playtime at the park and maybe a little candy so we’ll be celebrating her triumph at the park tomorrow.

Maybe with a little candy. 😉


Summer Reading Challenge: Week 8

16 Aug

I’m a few days late getting this post up.

Camryn only has 2 days left to reach her goal – yikes!

She did a lot of reading over the last week though:



Also read but not pictured:

The Trail of Lost Time by R.A. Montgomery

Ugly Animals by Gilda & Melvin Berger

10 Things You Should Know About Dinosaurs by Steve Parker

That’s a total of 21 books. 7 more to go!

Summer Reading Challenge: Week 7

5 Aug

10 books read last week. She’s got 28 more to go to reach her goal of 100 books read this summer!

How are your kids doing with their summer reading?

Summer Reading Challenge: Week 6

30 Jul

Someone sure stepped up her game last week!

Camryn read a total of 26 books!

We may reach our goal of 100 books read this summer after all.

Here are the books she enjoyed reading last week:



The total of books read currently is 62. Just 38 more books to go!


*Not pictured is a book that came with a pair of shoes that we bought her for school. It contained three comics. It’s a book so I counted it.

Summer Reading Challenge: Week 5

25 Jul

Camryn read a total of 8 books during week 5 of our little challenge.

Which brings our number of total books read to 36.


We only have a little over 3 weeks to go until school starts and she still has to read 64 more books if she’s going to make her goal.

How are your kids doing with their summer reading?


Here are the books that Cam enjoyed reading last week:


Summer Reading Challenge – Weeks 3 & 4

16 Jul

I had to combine the last two weeks’ reading tally because Cam only read six books.

Six books total in two weeks.

That’s not so good.

Not when she was reading 2-3 books every afternoon.

I blame Pokemon.

Remember Pokemon… From the 90’s?

Well it’s back and it feels like I’ve time traveled back to a decade that I had no interest in revisiting.

My son was obsessed with Pokemon when he was my daughter’s age and now, against my better judgement, my daughter has become just as smitten.

My son conveniently saved all of his Pokemon cards and other paraphernalia so the two of them sit on the living room floor and battle or duel or whatever they call it in the afternoons when it’s too hot to go outside.

She spent a few afternoons last week reading the “Official Game Guide” and the “Official Strategy Guide”.

I wish I were kidding.

What’s even more ridiculous is that she remembered every detail of what she read. Have you ever flipped through one of those?

How is this game geared towards children?

There are stats to remember, attack points, damage points, types, evolution, and let’s not forget about their eleventy thousand different crazy names.

If I need more than five things from the store, I’d better have them written on a list or one of them isn’t coming home.

How are these kids remembering all of this information?!

The beauty of this situation, as much as it pains me to say that Pokemon has come back into our lives, is that it’s something my kids will actually play together.

Being ten years apart, there aren’t a lot of things that interest them both, aside from cartoons and driving me slowly insane.

So I thought about it and decided that if Pokemon can get them to get along for half an hour or so I guess I can’t be too upset about it and I made my peace with it.

My kids are happy, they’re interacting, they’re entertaining themselves, how can I be anything but happy about that?

Then my son came to me and said he wanted to teach my daughter how to play Yugioh.


Here are the six books Camryn read over the last two weeks:


Total books read: 28. 72 more to go!