Sunday, May 31, 2020

I can do better

I want to share some things that I’m not proud of. Right now, at 3am this is heavy on my heart. This might make you upset, or think I’m a bad person, or that I’m just stupid. But just hear me out. If you get through this whole thing, 👏👏 to you.

I was taught my whole life that we are all equal. Im no better because my skin is white. I was taught that all people matter and all voices should be heard. I was taught to be a good person, to care for others, to put others before myself, to help those in need, that there is always an extra seat at the table and an extra bed when needed. All good things.

I also grew up in a predominantly white area, attended predominantly white schools, had predominantly white friends. Married a white guy, had white babies. It’s incredibly easy “not to see color” when all you see are white people who look like you. It’s easy to be “understanding of different cultures” when all you know is your own. I thought I was a good person, who wasn’t racist, who would help anyone in need. Sure, I have white privilege, but it isn’t my fault. I didn’t ask to be born white. I was in a bubble and I had no idea. My bubble was all I had ever known.

I had gone all these years thinking I was in the right, I wasn’t part of the problem. I’m a good person. I would never be racist. It’s disgusting and wrong.

Then, in 2014, the shooting of Michael Brown happened, followed by the uprising of the black community in Ferguson (and all over the city). As I watched all of this unfold, I thought, “Well, he brought it on himself. Great, now they’re terrorizing our city for no reason just because some thug robbed a convenience store and got himself shot fighting with a cop.” I was angry that this was happening. I was furious that they were shutting down highways, vandalizing, tearing apart the city. But I wasn’t furious for THEM. I was upset for ME and the inconvenience this was causing to ME and my bubble community. I was angry that this had to affect ME. I was upset that friends I respected were being ridiculous and taking a stand for the black community during all of this. Couldn’t they see that they were in the wrong? They were burning down our city! Over what? Some stupid kid who didn’t listen to a cop. I wanted to shut these friends out. “Clearly they just wanted to spout off and make white people feel bad for being white. Like we caused this. I can’t help what that cop did. He isn’t me.”

I love my friends though and sincerely value their opinions and (after awhile), I decided I wanted to understand the other side. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I am missing something. Someone posted this article and I clicked on it.
I expected it to be something telling me why I’m terrible for being white, but it isn’t. If you haven’t read this, I hope you will. It made me think. Especially this part: “The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You’re wrong, I’m not racist at all. I don’t even see any racism.” My aunt’s immediate response is not “that is wrong, we should do better.” No, her response is self-protection: “That’s not my fault, I didn’t do anything. You are wrong.”” Wow. That struck a familiar chord.

I wanted to read more because for whatever reason, that article spoke to me and opened my eyes that maybe I had work to do. I could do better. I could teach my kids better too. Maybe I am not seeing things for what they are because I am seeing them through my own privilege-tinted glasses. Since then, I have strived to learn more, to understand better, and to listen with an open heart. There are so many amazing resources and opportunities to have conversations and learn more. In time, I began to realize my true privilege. I began to understand why Black Lives Matter is so necessary and why saying All Lives Matter in response causes pain and bewilderment. I recognized I had inherent racism. I see it so clearly now and I am so ashamed of my previous thoughts and reactions.

I’ve learned a lot in the past 6 years and I am still learning every day. The things I’ve written above are difficult and painful to write and to admit today. I know now how blind and deaf I was to what is truly happening in our society. I know that I still have so much to learn and that I will never truly understand, but now I can see and I can hear. I know that I was born with privilege and I can use that privilege to fight for change. I want to be an ally, raise children that are allies, and do my part to create change. I will not be silent. I will have the hard conversations. I will do the work.

I know this post was not well-written and it’s long and if you’ve gotten this far, I also know you value what I have to say. So thank you for that. 💕 I want to share because my friends shared 6 years ago and continue to share. Maybe my story can speak to someone like their stories continue to speak to me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Classroom Valentine's Ideas!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner! Here is a fun and original idea for your kids' class parties - AND it's allergen-free! Put together 3 of our double-sided wipe-clean cards with a valentine and a dry-erase marker! Our wipe-clean cards come in packs of 50 for just $9.99 - that's 16 Valentines per pack (only $.62/Valentine!) Each set of cards include a dry erase marker, lots of puzzles to solve, pictures to draw and things to spot. The best part is that wipe-clean cards can be used again and again. Here are the card packs we have to choose from. Just click the image below for more info! 

*TIP: Dollar Tree sells 4-packs of dry-erase markers!


Another fun, original, and inexpensive Valentine idea is to use our Fold & Fly books to create paper plane Valentines! We have several different titles in our Fold & Fly series for just $7.99/each! Each book contains 100 (or more) Fold & Fly planes, spaceships, bugs, etc. and that's just $.08/per Valentine! Here are the fold & fly books we have to choose from. Just click the image below for more info! PLUS I'm going to give you TWO free printables of the Valentine's Cards - a set for the Wipe-Clean cards AND a set for the Paper Plane Valentines! Just click the button below to grab yours!


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Monday, January 14, 2019

Resolve to Read in 2019

EEEK! It's January and that means our 2019 January - June Catalog is officially out and with it are TONS of brand new titles! You can view the online catalog here! Have you made any "READolutions" for the new year? "READolutions" are goals that encourage a love of books and reading! And they are much more fun than your typical new year, new you resolutions, I promise! Plus there is the added bonus of helping your favorite readers fall in love with books- there are infinite benefits to having enthusiastic readers. Here are a few "READolutions" ideas to kick off 2019: 

  • Read to children a minimum of three times per week. Studies show that reading to children increases their vocabulary.
  • Add 5 minutes of reading time each night. Reading to children can strengthen your bond with them.
  • Encourage your reader to research and read more about what intereststhem. Children often take a liking to reading when they can read about topics/subjects that spark their attention.
  • Start a Book Club within the family or branch out and invite friends to join too! Book clubs are a great way to encourage reading and accountability. Plus they're FUN!
  • Read together as a family. Reading together can create an environment of unity, oneness, and closer bonds.
Here's an awesome printable reading challenge from Brightly to keep your READolutions on track! 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Snowshoe Dino Tracks!

Here’s a fun idea! Print this Dino track out and trace it onto some cardboard. Make sure the size is big enough to fit your child’s shoe. Cut a few slits in the middle to tie some yarn through to tie the foot print to the shoe! Now you have Dino Track Snowshoes! Go outside and make BIG tracks!! 

Print your Dino Track here!

Friday, January 4, 2019

How We Made Our Fairy & Dinosaur Gardens

Gardening for BeginnersThe holidays are over and we are READY for spring! Unfortunately for us we still have to wait a few months, so we decided to do a spring-y craft instead. We've been wanting to make fairy and dinosaur gardens for a long time, so when I came across these Fairy Garden accessories at Dollar Tree the other day, I loaded my basket! We already had two planter pots full of soil on our back porch that needed something so I designated one of them a fairy pot and the other a dino pot. I am only mildly "crafty", so I was winging it for the most part. I got out my trusty (and yet rarely used) hot glue gun and created a little picket fence for the fairy garden and a wooden pathway for the dinosaur garden out of popsicle sticks AND I only burnt myself once! I really wanted the kids to own their gardens, so I let them design them their own way and just helped with the trickier parts. We used materials we already had on hand (popsicle sticks, beads for Darby's "colorful road", glass marble beads, little dinosaurs, some old Jurassic Park cake toppers, a little paint and glitter...) and made our creations! I think they turned out pretty good! We still need to add some moss and a few plants. Dollar Tree actually had some fake moss with the fairy garden stuff but I would rather have the real thing. We used our Usborne Gardening for Beginners book to choose the plants we like best. We also plan to add in some fairy lights to top it off! Aven thought red glitter might look like lava on the volcano. I'll update with more pics when we've finished them up! Have you made a fairy garden or dino garden? What would you add?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What if... You Won FREE BOOKS for a YEAR?!

I've wanted to do this for SO long - I'm so excited to announce that I get to do the most EPIC giveaway EVER!! I am giving away FREE BOOKS FOR A YEAR to one lucky winner! Every month in 2019, I will send YOU books at no cost to you, that are perfect for your favorite reader/s!
WHY? My goal is to kick-start 2019 by sharing these books with as many families as possible! I LOVE books and I LOVE getting families excited to read together!
HOW? Between now and December 31, 2018 at 10PM (Central) if you book a January "READ"olutions event (party/storytime/Mom's Night In/etc.), you will be entered into a raffle for a YEAR of FREE books!
To unlock the year of free books to give away, I have to book (and hold) at least 8 events in January! Let's get together on FB or in-person (St. Louis-area only) any time in January to share the new titles with your friends and family! You get the host rewards AND you get entered into my Free Books for a Year drawing! There will be ways to earn additional entries too! Message me on Facebook or send me an email to get your date set! 

*Drawing will be held after 8 events are held. 

Exciting news! Usborne Books & More is now offering book box subscriptions

A book box subscription is a wonderfully convenient way to gift the child in your life with books that he or she will love! The child will receive three shipments of books that each will include 4 age-appropriate new titles and a bonus gift. Overall value of the box is $130+. 
While customization is not available, the titles included are gender neutral, age-appropriate, and sure to be well-loved treasures by your favorite readers! There are 4 age groups to choose from: 0-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Such a PERFECT birthday gift idea or winter boredom buster! Order by 12/31/2018 to receive shipments in January, February, and March 2019!

Last, but certainly not least -- NEW TITLES are hitting the website NOW! Our 2019 releases are overflowing and have already started appearing online! Browse what's new, make a wish list, or get a jump start on your reader's 2019 book list! 

Here are a just a few of my FAVORITE new releases, but there are MANY more! I'd love to hear what your favorites are!
This series is PERFECT for teaching young children the importance of self-care! will love following the adventures of two friends, Max and Millie. Through easy and enjoyable stories, Max and Millie learn about going to bed on time, brushing their teeth and other activities, so children can learn from their example. $39.99

NEW from the creator of All Better and Little Bear Needs Glasses, Kisses, Cuddles, and Good Night is SURE to be an immediate favorite! Dog, Mouse, Pig, Chick, and Cow have been busy playing all day, but now it’s time to go to bed. They need kisses, cuddles… and a very special friend before they can say, “good night!” Little readers will love helping the friends pick out the perfect stuffed animal for bedtime using the 5 repositionable, reusable stickers. $12.99

Our favorite book chomper is back in a brand new story! In Nibbles Numbers, the book monster has munched his way through this book of numbers! Count along with him as he chomps his way from one to ten… but wherever will he go next? $11.99

And don't miss our brand new series like Boy Band of the Apocalypse where Sam, even though he’s a disaster at singing and dancing, it’s up to Sam, with help from his best friend, Milo, to infiltrate the band and save the world from Armageddon. $6.99

Or The Book of Secretswhere a dying man hands orphan Gabe a coded manuscript, he’s hurled into a quest that takes him far beyond his monastery home. With new, unexpected friends, Gabe sets out to uncover the book’s secrets and finds himself questioning everything he knows about right and wrong and wondering if he'll ever find a way back home? $5.99

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#WishListWednesday: Words of Wisdom - Inspirational Quotes

What a gorgeous spring day here in St. Louis! Perfect for some coloring (and working) on the porch while the kids play outside! I LOVE this Words of Wisdom coloring book set from @kanemillerbooks so much!! Each page has beautiful detailed images that are fun to color and get creative with. There are examples of each page colored on the back of each book for idea inspiration, too. Today I'm working on Inspirational Quotes, but this collection also includes Literary Quotes, Quotes from Shakespeare, and Proverbs from Around the World. Grab the collection for $24.99 or get them individually for $6.99/each!

📚Words of Wisdom: Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational Quotes
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." - Maya Angelou

Pin it!