Posts Tagged “American History”

Little House On The Prairie – Laura Ingalls Doll Review

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This gorgeous Laura Ingalls doll from The Little House on the Prairie comes with delicate detail of facial features, clothing and packaging. Designed with many accompanying accessories, you can purchase her at or for $99.99. #Sponsored

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Cozy Up With a Fantastic Story of the Seasons

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This is a #sponsored post whereby we were offered a sample copy of Cozy Light, Cozy Night book as a review. This post may contain affiliate links. The opinions expressed within are strictly my own.

Cozy Light, Cozy Night 2Pic

There’s something very cozy about Cozy Light, Cozy Night by Elisa Kleven in that the illustrations have so much texture. Scene by scene, you are really drawn into the season. The rhyming text flows so nicely from page to page, allowing you to pause as needed to take in the scenes. We read this aloud… it’s one of THOSE kind of books.

It’s a grandmother’s lap, kinda book… where you want to snuggle up and listen aloud as the seasons change in rhyme.

Cozy Light, Cozy Night Pic

Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall… the colors of the pictures are all the same but the technique really make each season its own. It is very interesting actually because my books about seasons uses more whites in the winter and jeweled tones for autumn… but here every page just flows into the next and the season blend as they do in the real world. The textured techniques really caught my eye as well, for instance the lacy pattern on the winter snow was so delicate but not to be missed. And of course, I loved seeing the Singer Sewing machine in the Summer scene being an antique collector of sewing machines.

Cozy Light, Cozy Night winter

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Celebrating Presidents' Day Weekend With Fun Facts

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Entertain your youngsters this Presidents’ Day weekend with some trivia-filled fun. Kids love pets, so what better way to help them relate to our current and former Commander in Chiefs, than to expose them to some of the adorable (and in some case most unexpected) pets of the White House. Here are six crazy tales of White House animal dominance:

1. Theodore Roosevelt’s son and daughter had a liking for snakes. His daughter would carry her snake “Emily Spinach” in her purse during formal parties. One day Miss Emily Spinach got into a rather large spat with the other snakes in the Oval Office. What a sight!
2. After Abraham Lincoln was gifted a live turkey for a Thanksgiving Feast, his son befriended the feathered creature and the family kept it as a pet.
3. John Quincy Adams had a two-month long visiting pet alligator that resided in the East Room of the White House. More than a few wandering guests were greeted by this toothy visitors.
4. With having over 40 pets, it is no surprise that the Roosevelt family made our list twice. In an attempt to cheer a sick sibling, the Roosevelt brothers sneaked in a pet pony through the White House mirrored elevator, only to find that the beloved pony fell in love with his own reflection. It took quite a doing to pull him out of the elevator.
5. Rebecca, Calvin Coolidge’s pet raccoon had free roam for the White House and in fact found a hobby in unscrewing light bulbs. She was another intended Thanksgiving meal whose fate was forever changed.
6. Former President Thomas Jefferson was gifted two grizzly bear cubs by explorers Lewis and Clark. Jefferson built them an outdoor cage and often walked them around the White House garden. He also had a favorite mockingbird “Dicky” who was free to fly about the President’s office.

For more stories on the wildest and funniest pets that have roamed the White House, be sure to check out Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis. The examples above came from this delightful book. Learn stories about mice, Zsa Zsa the trumpet playing rabbit, Billy the opossum, goats, cows and of course lots of Presidential cats and dogs.

Yes, it’s true that a lot of kids are super picky eaters – but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy learning of our Presidents’ favorite bites. Take Franklin Roosevelt for instance – his all time favorite was Grilled Cheese – what kids couldn’t relate to that? Not to mention his love for scrambled eggs and hot dogs. For more White House favorites check out this Food & Wine article: “Presidential Food Obsessions“. Before you go… guess which former President enjoyed ketchup and cottage cheese – oh yum!

Silliness is an excellent learning tool. So I wanted to include another favorite book on Presidents – that definitely appeals to the school-aged group. What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven is a personal favorite of mine with amazing illustrations. It’s kinda part puzzle, part abstract art whereby the pictures are portrait compilations of everyday items. Take a look below – I love this book. Each President is featured with a title, a portrait and then just enough wording to briefly summarize. It’s a fun, quick read to keep learning light and easy.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are strictly mine. I was not compensated in any way for this post or material.

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Honoring Black History Month at Home

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Black History Month (February) is highlighted and taught in schools across the country – but as parents we can take advantage of this nation-wide theme to include lessons on love, acceptance, patience and diversity. We can also introduce our children to African American role models and influence that perhaps aren’t emphasized in school. As much as it is important to tell the stories of Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks – there are so many others worthy of an honorable mention as well.

Consider these four amazing African Americans from our culture. They offer inspiration and positive influence with their diverse backgrounds, accomplishments and passions.

Ella Fitzgerald

Ms. Fitzgerald was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also awarded with 13 Grammies. Click below for a taste of Ella’s jazzy magic. Here’s the official website for fun facts and bio:

Fredrick Douglas

Mr. Douglas was a former slave, an escaped slave who’s life’s work was devoted to human rights and the abolitionist movement.  He led the first all black regiment, 54 MA Infantry, was an published in 1845, and public speaker for anti-slavery.  There’s so much more to his bravery and story.  Watch the clip below to learn more or visit

Lonnie Johnson

Mr. Johnson invented the Super Soaker.  He was influenced by another famous and important scientist and inventor, George Washington Carver.  Mr. Johnson’s story is interesting for children because of his curiosity to learn how things worked and interest in toys – his father taught him to make his own toys.  Here’s more on Lonnie Johnson’s career as an inventor:  Click here for a coloring sheet on Lonnie Johnson and other inventors.

Mae Jemison

This woman has almost done it all… a doctor, a dancer and an orbit into space.  Dr.  Mae Jemison is  former NASA astronaut and in 1992 she was part of the crew to go into orbit on Space Shuttle Endeavor. She’s held a television career and remains a large inspiration for our young generation and parents alike.  Here’s a quick bio on the never-bored, truly inspiring Dr. Jemison.

And here’s another well worth the 26 minutes… she really touches on the ways parents can influence and encourage children. She says creativity and exploration are key. “When we ask how do we get our children to find that – it’s really we have to keep them from losing it.” She speaks about ways to foster the inner scientist in our children. Attached here is an interactive coloring page for your children to enjoy and here is an informative print out coloring sheet.

Lastly check out this cool online Black History Quiz.  Enjoy celebrating diversity and some of the most amazing contributors to humanity.

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The Civil War on the Small Screen

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The Good Kind of TV – Guest Post by Mark Spalding

Our recent trip to Gettysburg has rekindled my passion for all things Civil War. If you’ve never been interested or known exactly where to start to get some good, general knowledge on what it was all about, look no further than Ken Burns’ Civil War series that aired in 1990 on PBS. I saw this series when I was 13 and it kicked off a lifetime passion for all things Civil War which has turned into a passion for all things historical. It’s an amazing tour de force documentary that encompasses as many angles as possible regarding the people, places and events that surrounded the five most bloody years in America’s history. The truly wonderful part of it is the narration, which is done by such luminaries as Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne and many others. The music is at times haunting and heartfelt. I to this day have an emotional reaction when I hear the violin solo that has become the theme for this series (Ashokan Farewell).

Right now you can see the entire 11 hour series on netflix or you can see if your local library has it to check out.

And with the coming 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, there’s no time like the present to dig in deep and really get into the spirit by watching Gettysburg. This movie encompasses the three most horrific days of the war and really gives you a sense of what the men who were involved were thinking and feeling at the time. Based off of Jeff Sharra’s novel “The Killer Angels” it takes an equal look at both sides and how they handled or mishandled the war. While the language can get pretty flowery at times (long soliloquies that I have a feeling weren’t a part of normal conversation) it adds a humaneness to the story that would otherwise be one battle after another.

Currently there is no easy way to view this one online, but again, your local library may have a copy or E-Bay or Amazon could be a possibility for a used copy.

If you’re concerned about how safe it is for children to watch, the images in the Civil War series do show men dead on the battlefield, but nothing too gruesome from what I have seen in re-watching it. Gettysburg has many battles with many men falling dead, but it was a made for tv movie in 1994 for TBS, so no blood.

There are many other options available to help you delve deeper into this most important part of our national heritage. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments and I can add some more.

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Civil War In The Post Office

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Making everyday errands count for far more… This morning I ran to my local Post Office to pick up a letter. I intended to be in/out as quickly as possible, however, a poster with the featured stamps reminded me how long it’s been since my last visit (before Thanksgiving). I inquired about the availability of several of the stamps in the poster.

The first to catch my eye was the Civil War set. Luckily, they had this in stock. You’ll see from the picture below, that the set includes a nice narrative titled “The Civil War 1861 A Nation Touched By Fire” and features 2 stamp designs (six each) of the battles of Fort Sumter and First Bull Run both 1861. The reverse side of this stamp booklet includes a black and white fort scene and several quotes of famous Generals.

While at the counter, I inquired about other historical stamps available and was surprised to find a 20 cent stamp that features our First President. As pictured below, I only bought one and intend to keep as part of my educational toolkit on President Washington.

Although a small find, I love these educational treasures found in our everyday “to-do’s”.  It excites me to find more and more ways that I can put history into my child’s hands.  Consider taking a trip to your post office to pick up the Civil War book of stamps as an enhancement to the Homeroom At Home Civil War lesson plan.  Be sure to ask what other stamp collections are available and, as I also learned today, if they can order a particular stamp or collection on your behalf.

Enjoy your errands!

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