Hucklebaby Book Club – Fred Friday

Hucklebaby is really into “monsters” at the moment. So anything that looks like a monster (friendly kind) he wants to see…talk about…look at…

Another weird reason I love this book…is my grandfather’s name was Fred. It’s such a simple name, but to me it is filled with an amazing amount of love.

Fred is able to see things no one else can. His world is surrounded by creatures that help humans without them knowing. You know…the strange things that may happen that as adults we never think about. Well… we are being helped by these beings.

Isn’t that such a cool thought? That we are surrounded by creatures that help us all the time? I kinda hope I have a purple one.

Hucklebaby loved telling me about the monsters and what they were all doing. He was very concerned they were in the street though… this kid…     

No one else can see them but Fred. But like everything else…that changed as he got older. He got busy.

Oh, Fred… Oh, Fred getting old…

Have you ever had those moments where you just stop and wonder…??? This book gets deep. :) OK…maybe I’m just having a moment, but honestly this book was very touching.

Fred realized that he had forgotten so many things that once made him who he was, and once he got back to himself, his friends were there again. But they had always been there helping him, he just couldn’t see it…  (insert weepy sound effect here). 

Peter Pauper Publishing is hosting a MEGA FRED FRIDAY GIVEAWAY from May 1st – May 29th for a COMPLETE SET of all TEN of thier critically acclaimed picture booksFred by Kaila Eunhye Seo, and EARLY COPY of All the Lost Things by Kelly Canby, Elephantastic by Michael Engler, The Zoo Is Closed Today! by Evelyn Beilenson, Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep! by Bruce Arant, Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley, Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley, Celia by Cristelle Vallat, Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth, and Digby Differs by Miriam Koch!


For your chance to win a copy of your own Fred by Kaila Eunhye Seo here’s a Rafflecopter giveaway. Free Fred. :) Good Luck…

Literacy on the Water – Toddler Style

I love looking at mom pages on Facebook for different weekend events…and not too long I saw this one. I usually screen shot them and when Saturday rolls around I can flip through the pictures and see all of the events I was interested in throughout the week, instead of searching through all of the groups and pages again. If I don’t screen shot it when I see it..I will never remember it or be able to find it again.

I wasn’t too sure what it would be…but we got there early before it got too hot.

It wasn’t overly crowded either. Yes. It was on the water…and it was a gorgeous day. I know, I know..It is something that I know we are spoiled with. Most of the events we attend have a beautiful Florida backdrop.


Each business that participated chose a children’s book and built a craftivity around it.

I’m not sure if they had to tell the craft to the planners because there were a few crafts that were exactly alike. Hucklebaby didn’t notice though.


Pinkalicious wands… well, Billiam wasn’t around so we made one…. hehehe…






So this one table had no books…no crafts…but they had bandaids and toothbrushes. Holy Moly. This is toddler jackpot. I can’t even explain the fascination Hucklebaby has right now with toothbrushes and bandaids.





The park where the event was, was located directly beside a railroad track… this was the closest we had ever been to a moving train. This conductor saw a park of kids and kept that horn going. He knew what he was doing.  Hucklebaby couldn’t take his eyes off of it. He couldn’t decide if he liked it or needed to get in the car immediately. Once it passed he begged for it to come back… :)





George was there!!! Yes, our first celebrity run in. 

Free crafts, books, trains and George. It was a great day. Thanks ELC!

After Testing Fun – Peeps and Eggs

State testing…who doesn’t love it?

After the kiddos sit for hours in silence doing their absolute best on state tests (hopefully)…I like doing something fun and a little out if the ordinary with them. Last week we were gearing up for Easter and as soon as I pulled out Peeps, I had their attention. 

I found really cool S.T.E.M. challenges on Teachers Pay Teachers to use with the Peeps. I decided on the Peep Rafts and the Peep Catapults. You see those Sour Watermelon Peeps? Um…hello? Amazing.

I placed the kids in partners and made them sketch out what the catapults should look like. I absolutely loved listening to what they were coming up with. They had to sketch it out and then explain to me what each part was doing and why.   

Please forgive the bare walls and rows of desks…remember we were testing so everything had to be covered or taken down. This is what team work looks like.

When the catapults were ready, they lined up behind the carpet. Some actually went quite far, while others…um…didn’t. Some of them tried to convince me that their Peep would go further if they could eat the ears…wink, wink…

What did the winners get?? Why their own pack of Peeps. I have to brag though, because they all shared with each other. The catapults turned out much better than the rafts. ;)


The goal was to keep their Peep on the longest without getting wet. I almost feel like everyone was holding their breath watching the Peeps. There was an actual person on “Peep Patrol”. It was their job to monitor the Peeps and let us know when they hit the water. Some were quick and others had strong rafts.

These are really cute activities to do as the end of the school year rounds down too. Make sure to grab a few boxes and save them for a rainy day. Or after testing to get the kids focused on something fun.

I had the Peeps for science, but I still wanted to get a bit of math review in. For some reason my kids can’t remember to regroup until a few problems in. This should be something that is second nature to them by now, so I came up with a reverse egg search.

Each egg had a number on it. The kids had to find an egg (they weren’t really hidden) and then come back and match it with an equation. When they found the matching equation they could put the post-it and egg in their basket. Each egg had a random point number in it. So the person with the most points won, not the person with the most eggs. This encouraged my kids to take their time and make sure they were correct in their addition and subtraction. 

The post-its were easy to pull off of the board and on to the class white board for review. 

Some students solved all of the problems and then went out searching for specific numbers and some found the numbers first and used estimation to narrow down which equations to solve. It was interesting to see their mind work and how many different ways there were to place eggs with equations. 

If they matched the egg and equation correctly, they received the points inside the egg (from 1-10), if they got the egg and equation wrong…either because they were rushing and just trying to get the most eggs, or didn’t regroup….they lost the points. Yep, I’m mean like that. :) 

They loved it!!! I loved that my kids that took their time and used their strategies were the ones that did the best. Look how colorful the board is…I wish it always looked like that.

I’m so glad our testing is over for the year… I hope your kiddos did great on theirs too. :)

An Almost Sugar Free Easter Basket 

I can’t do an Easter basket of candy. I can’t. I’m afraid Hucklebaby has my love of sugar. One bite and he won’t stop until all of the candy is gone. I promise you this, if he doesn’t eat it all I will. Quickly. That’s the last thing either of us need. 

So I’ve told myself the same thing about Easter baskets and Christmas stockings. Little to no candy. My only Easter exception is Peeps. They are an Easter tradition around these parts.    

There is no candy on the inside of the basket. Just things and activities he already enjoys doing. I don’t go crazy. Most of the items are random things I grab throughout the year when they are on sale or in the Target dollar section. I would rather spend a few dollars on something we can do together than sweets that are only that. 

I’ve said before, I’m enjoying the creative time we have together and right now most of the things the Easter Bunny brought him are along these lines. He’s such a good bunny.   

Coloring books and sticker books are a hit right now. Hucklebaby has also started loving dry erase markers and tracing letters and numbers so luckily enough the bunny brought a few of those books.   

Even though painting is always a mess….I still love it. A little stepping stone with a frog on it and wooden reptiles to paint. I’m hoping he likes this little Melissa and Doug stamp set too.   

How cute is the Crayola toothbrush??? We still go through a toothbrush every week or so. Hopefully this one will last longer. The Mr. Bubbles are a go to. He goes through them so fast and is still excited when he gets new ones. 

And of course…we have to round out the basket with an Easter/Spring book.  

I’m thinking about grabbing him a personalized Easter basket if they go on sale this year. It’s about time I go ahead and get that done before he gets too old and cool for it. 😝

Easy Easter Teacher Gifts – “Pin-spiration”

Hucklebaby has six different teachers, so I can’t go crazy each holiday…

I loved this idea from The EveryDaySavy. She had it listed as Valentine’s Ideas but I think it’s perfect for Spring too.

I changed mine a little bit… and let me tell you why…

Instead of opening each package and sticking it through the middle (which I admit, is MUCH more adorable) I opted to tape my sealed lip balms to the back.

If someone sent an OPEN lip balm to me…I’m pretty sure, no matter how cute it was, it would end up in the trash before my lips. I’m just sayin’.

In my mind I would rather lose cute points and have his teachers actually keep and use the EOS. These are headed to school tomorrow… :)

Want to do it too??? Grab your free printable here. 

Getting Ready For Easter – Plus an Awesome GIVEAWAY!!! 

We decorated for Easter the day after St. Patty’s day and I have learned in the past year or so that if I want to add on to my decorations, they must be Hucklebaby friendly.

I am loving anything that uses his fine motor skills at the moment, I’m sure that won’t change…and so when I see projects we can do together, that I can store away and bring out year after year…I grab them.

Thank you Target for providing a huge blue egg that was Hucklebaby level, that he carried around the store. Honestly watching him carry two of these at the same time was quite amusing. First project – around $5.

Next project…wooden eggs. In my mind, as I’m walking down the aisle, thinking what a great thing this will be, to pull the eggs out year after year and “remember”.

Oh, how I thought painting wooden eggs would be so wonderful…

It was a wonderful 4 minutes. We discovered it is much more fun painting arms and legs and what? I’m not supposed to paint my face.

Project ended.

You see that small red spot on the egg. Yep. That’s exactly what the egg still looks like. All the other ones are still bare.  I’ll pull these out again next year and see what happens.

Next project…egg stuffing.

This is Hucklebaby’s first year that he understands what he’s doing “hunting” for eggs. His school has a rule about NO CANDY…so gummies (as they are called in this house) are the next best thing right? Plus they are the only thing I could find that would fit in the eggs.

I grabbed eggs and gummies – 12 of both to be exact. Except Target only gave me 11. In the box of 12…they only put in 11. Easter Egg crisis. Come on Target? Do I have to count the gummies now? Is this how they are saving money?? Or is someone that boxes tummies laughing at all of the parents that are probably experiencing the same thing I did. Well played Target, well played.

Dear parent of the one kid that got a left over Valentine’s Fruit by the Foot in their egg… I’m sure it’s still good. :)

So after the painting and egg stuffing…a Pirate Egg is just what we need…   

I am reminding myself that things don’t need to be perfect. This is his time to be creative and find his way. They need to be his artistic choices. Yes, a toddler needs artistic choices. I’m sure it’s a thing.

Hook out of the top of the head? Perfect.

So this is what the directions look like and this is what my new Easter center piece looks like. :)

This time of year we love reading books about spring, chicks and bunnies. Want to know what our favorite spring bunny book is?

Guess How Much I Love You…A Hucklebaby Book Club Classic!

Did you know it’s 20 years old this year? To celebrate spring and Easter and just how wonderful this book is…Hucklebaby wanted to do a giveaway!

Each of 3 lucky winners will get a copy of the 20th Anniversary “Guess How Much I Love You” as well as an Event Kit with tons of kiddo activities.

Here is a link for additional activities if you already have the book in your collection.

Make Your “Own Guess How Much I Love” You Greeting Card 

 GHMILY story time set up

On winner will be selected from the blog – simply follow and post your favorite kid activity for spring.

Two winners will be selected from Instagram – follow @mariannafrances, repost the image with the #guesshowmuch and comment with your favorite kid activity for spring.

Feel free to do both for a better chance to win. Contest ends on Friday, April 3, 2015.

You get a chick…You get a chick…

There is one teacher in my school that hatches chicks every year. It’s such a cool thing for the kiddos to experience and I always wanted to do that with my kids. I finally asked her where she gets the eggs from…and I’m so mad that I waited so long to ask. Our Florida 4-H program gives you everything you need. All I had to do was contact them and they delivered it right to the room.

Today two wonderful ladies came with the incubator (it’s so much smaller than I had imagined), 7 fertilized eggs, and a daily flip chart of what the insides of our eggs look like.

I cleared off a table for the incubator because I imagined a huge thing, but this one is about the size of a basketball. It auto-rotates the eggs so we don’t have to do anything except put a few ounces of water in the center every few days. It makes a little noise before it rotates them, nothing too distracting…but all day today every one stopped to watch as the eggs rolled. I’ll admit I did too.

These are the eggs that were brought in. The initials at the top show which “mom” they came from. I’m sure it’s to keep an accurate chicken count. Maybe… I honestly have no idea…

Before they left, we were able to see the chickens that laid the eggs and where the chicks will go after they have hatched. No, we do not get to keep them forever. Although I don’t think some of my girls were listening when I said this and I predict a few tears when we have to say good bye.

The eggs are in. Only 21 more days to go. My kids think I know exactly what to do when they start hatching and were asking a million questions about it today. I had to act like I wasn’t gonna freak out as soon as I see a little beak poke through. I’m probably as excited as they are.

My only comfort at this point is that the presenters will come back in 10 days to “candle” the eggs…so we can see what is actually growing in them. I’m sure I’ll have my baby chick parenting questions fully formed by then.

I’m not sure how long the class gets to keep the chicks after they hatch… :) I think I should have asked…

I do love this chart that they left too. It reminds me of what I looked at when I was pregnant with Hucklebaby. We can all see what’s happening inside our eggs each day but I fear there will be a few parents upset when their kids swear they will no longer eat eggs after we watch what happens to the egg yoke… :)