Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

A GoodNCrazy Halloween

November 11, 2009

I’m late I know..
But I had sooo much fun creating these collages!
Even better, I located some free collage making actions from CoffeeShop!
I had been making these kinds of things myself…
and I never got everything lined up perfectly..
Now I don’t have to!


children kids halloween costumes

goodncrazy blue dots

Halloween Party Costumes

I hope yours was as fun as ours… and warm?
I’ve never seen it so warm on Halloween!

What Is Your Kid’s Favorite Book?

September 11, 2009
Otto Grows Down

Author: Michael Sussman
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Children’s Storybook

Imagine a little boy who is an only child for nearly 6 years. Then WHAM! His world is turned upside down by a smelly little baby. She’s little. And she cries a lot. And dang it, everyone pays more attention to her than him… and to make it worse? Today’s his birthday and everyone seems more interested in her!

It’s time to blow out his Six birthday candles and… oh no.. she’s crying again, just when he thinks it can’t get any worse… they pull out his old rattle. HIS rattle, his very favorite rattle… and they give it to her! He can’t help it. When he blows out those candles… he wishes she was never born…

And so starts the Picture Book by Michael Sussman.

Otto Grows Down

Little Otto not only finds out what life is like without his little sister… he finds out what it’s like to live life in reverse!

From bringing the trash back IN the house, to having the barber grow his hair back ON! Plus Sliding UP the slide and other crazy stuff… {oh boy, the bathroom pages make my kids especially laugh}. TK rips the book out of my hands at that point so he can ‘read’ those pages ‘allbymyselfmommy’!

I hope I can say this clear enough. My little boy LOVES this book.
No. That was pathetic. Let me try again.

  • He sprinkles this book on his cereal for breakfast.
  • He sleeps with it.
  • His older sister likes it just as much and often BEGS to read it to him!
  • I’m not exaggerating.
    He would forgo a trip to the park, for an extra reading of Otto Grows Down.
  • It travels on vacation with us.
  • he plans to name his firstborn child otto, regardless of gender.

It’s not an option. We READ this book EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
The end. Don’t even suggest Cat In The Hat, or you’ll end up… Mom in the Can.

If you’re thinking about scoping out Amazon for this book, please understand the commitment you’ll be getting into. If you think little league is relentless? Cub Scouts? A Puppy! Oh no. If you let Otto into your home… you too will find out what it’s like to grow down. (Night after Night after Night after…)

Otto found out: “Without words … [I can’t] make a wish?”

And now my little boy kind of gives this little boy sigh as he contemplates what Otto means when he says: “I’d rather grow up with Anna… than grow down without her.”

Really a totally sweet book. And funny. And creative. And addictive… And don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ages? All ages of course. Honestly I maybe sorta kinda enjoy this book a teensy weensy bit more than the kids! (But don’t tell them.)

PS. My 8yrold thinks that Mr. Sussman should write a second book. (Oh please, Oh please write another one!) She asks that it be about a girl wishing she didn’t have a brother… hmmm.. where do we think THAT comes from!?

All Day Kindergarten.. or Not

September 7, 2009
My youngest is in Kindergarten!

He’s amazing. He can nearly read. He can count to 100… and often does in the van (!). He can tell you what 7 plus 4 is (after counting it out on his hands.. but still)! He understands time, up to a point (every morning this summer he would run into my room very early and tell me it was past the ‘6’ number and could he get up now)!?

And maybe I’m crazy, but I’m super excited that our school has all day Kindergarten. Yippee! We dreamed of this for the older kids, but it was always the school district next door, or we moved just after our school was about to get it…

On TK’s first day of school both the Dad and I picked him up after the parent meeting. When we walked out of the building this conversation followed:

TK: Hey? It’s still light outside?

Me: Huh? Yeah…and…?

TK: I thought it was ALL DAY Kindergarten?

Us: Oh? Hahahahaha… Kindergarten gets out at 2:45, still Day Time!

The thing is, at that parent meeting I mentioned? They told us that the all day thing was in jeopardy. That the funding grant that had allowed all day in the first place had been lost/taken away… blah blah blah.. you know how it is.

Here’s what they’ve been able to cobble together (and I really praise them for the effort and pains they clearly went through to save this program). They located a set of funds to get the kids to 1:15PM. Leaving 1.5 hours left til the end of the school day. I have no idea how they can work like that— in hour and bit increments, but anyway.

It turns out the school we attend has this year has become a Title I school (meaning there is a magic number percent of kids on free lunch, etc.). Therefore the administrators were able to also tap into additional Title 1 funds to extend the school day that extra bit for Kindergartners… but there’s a catch.

Due to some sort of ‘your school is new to the Title 1 thing’, and other stuff I don’t understand… not every kid will qualify for this ‘extended’ day. Every kid will need to be ‘tested and assessed’ and after judging their Kindergarten skills or lack thereof, they will receive a recommendation: either they are in the program (need additional skills) or they will need to be picked up earlier than the other kids in the same class (show sufficient Kindergartner skills).

Oh and get this. If your kid is one of the un-included ones. You have the option of paying the school to allow your kid that extra 1.5hours per day.

I have enough money to pay the extra, I promise I’m not complaining about that. (Although you should have seen the dance we did when we made the last pre-school payment!) Here’s what I really wonder, though? If my kid is rejected from all day Kindergarten because he has more skillz than the rest of the kiddos…

…shouldn’t he move up to first grade?

He NEEDS all those Kindergarten (non-testable) skillz.

  • Going to the big boy bathroom by himself.
  • Sitting still.
  • Following directions.
  • Standing in line.
  • Eating in the cafeteria.
  • PE
  • Art

Heck no he doesn’t have these things mastered.

Maybe I’m selfish, but we were looking forward (for the first time in a really long time) to picking up all the kids at the same time. And it’s one of the reasons we chose to live in this school district in the first place!

I think he will still fall into the needs-Kindergarten-therefore-qualifies-for-an-extra-hour-of-school category. We find out Friday.

How cute is this? YES that’s a cast. YES he broke his arm the weekend before Kindergarten started. YES we were on vacation and doing awesome cool things like going to Legoland and the Beach. YES he broke it climbing a friend’s tree!

To TK: Have a great year!

UPDATE: He failed. Which in this new world of Title I, blah blah blah means he ‘qualifies’ to attend the rest of the school day… YAY!!

Then and Now… Revisited

September 1, 2009
Summer’s Last Hurrah!

Two thoughts.

How is it that the first day back to school also feels like the LAST day of summer?
Do you remember your first day of Jr. High? The fear. The worries. The older girls?
I kid you not, I still have nightmares where I cannot remember my locker combination.

First Day of School ’09

I grew up in a teeny tiny town. As in.. they had to change the population sign when a family moved out. Napoleon Dynamite kind of small.
Get this… my school was so small K-12 was in the same building…
Let that sink in a bit…

THE WHOLE SCHOOL was in the same building. So moving up to Jr. High? Not a big deal, you know?

But then. My family went and MOVED to a much bigger town. One that had a grocery store that stayed open all night! (wow huh) One that had several elementary schools, a separate middle school AND Jr. High.. I was the ripe age of 13 and going into 8th grade. Which meant Jr. High in that world.

Oh my gosh, imagine all the movies about the small town kid moving to the big city (okay still small town but it FELT big)! I was a complete mess.

Yesterday watching my oldest pack her lunch, get on the bus and then come home late after school from volleyball practice. Wow.

She is amazing.

Can you remember what it was like?

For reference… this is my kids last year.. oh my…
(And boy have my photography skillz improved!)

Then and Now last year’s school post.
PS. I’ll have to do another post next week when TK starts Kindergarten..

Time Out With My Daughters

July 10, 2009

We took a 24Hour Time out during the week this week. Drove to a nearby town, hit the eye doctor for an appointment (hence the funky glasses below!), ate lunch together, went shopping a little (do you LOVE our girly purchases above), and saw a play that night. Then we stayed overnight in a hotel….

Just us girls.

What did the boys do? Who knows? Probably sat around picking navel lint and farting…

Girls Day Out!
Lunch with the girls and mom in her rockstar dilation glasses!
(Please pardon the cell phone pics!)

Time to Move Onwards and Upwards

June 11, 2009
Graduations of All Shapes and Sizes… WHA??

The 6th graders had a full blown graduation ceremony. Complete with the superintendent speaking, awards given out, class officers recognized and of course the presentation of the diplomas..



Graduating on to… Jr. High.. WhaHoo!?

I think I spent more time IN the school this past week than not. I’m not totally complaining here. But? Wow, they couldn’t possibly have gotten any work done the past two weeks!

  • Trips to the local pool, for both kids.
  • One kid’s class ‘won’ the end of the year pizza party complete with a limo ride?!
  • A talent show for the upper grades.
  • A talent show for the lower grades.
  • A baby shower during class for the student teacher (I know. Don’t ask.)
  • 6th grade graduation.
  • A family invited BBQ on the last day of school.

And DO NOT get me started about Preschool Graduation…. are they serious?


{Note: This is not my kid’s graduation. Decked out in cap & gown. Oh my.}
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Photo credit: Pasfam

Ode To That Thing We Call Little League

April 24, 2009

Sitting in the bleachers.
Watching little sluggers bat.
Watching little kids watch the pitcher pitch. Watch the catcher miss…
Ball FOUR!
Watch the slugger walk. Again.
Watch the pitcher pitch. Watch the catcher miss…
Surprise! She hit the ball?!

She runs to first! They throw the ball to first.. they miss the ball..
She runs to second! They throw the ball to second.. they miss the ball..
She runs to third! They throw the ball to third.. they miss the ball..


Little League is quite possibly the bane of my existence. Is it unAmerican to hate little league?

If you scroll down these really quick it’s like a little video! Notice his eyes most definitely ARE closed! Ha!

This post has been brought to you by #FITFAM from @ChaoticBarb over at We Fit Families!

How would you like to win $200 worth of GROCERIES from your local grocery store? Oh you like that? Then RSVP over at Barb’s place. Wait.. there’s also 25 OTHER giveaways going on over there.. and a Twitter party next Friday. Do we like this? YES.

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Join me for Photostory Friday!


April 18, 2009

Many Faces of a 4YROLD

My baby is almost 5. Sigh.

TK: Mom can I have a Salt Egg?

Mom: A what??

TK: You know. When you put it in the microwave and you put salt on it?

Mom: Ohhhh, Riaaaght, a SALT egg.

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WEEK 2: Jumping into

April 14, 2009
Art and Progress Reports Oh My!

Sassy my 8yrold ‘overheard’ a twitter conversation I was having with Erin from I had seen this TwitPic rough draft image and was giving Erin a hard time that my kid could draw as well as that! (She was home from school with Pink Eye.)

Anyway, the next thing I knew.. Sassy had pulled up the site and was ‘sketching’ this picture. I thought she had put the paper up to the screen and copied it.. NOPE she assured me she just looked at it and then drew it later. (The computer screen was off when I walked in on her.) I was all, should we skip the 2nd grade and go straight to art school?? @Jumpstart_Chris (one of the artists with what do you think??

Last week Angie from Seven Clown Circus asked:

What’s most important to you in helping your children learn?
My answer… hmm… That’s hard to put into words?
I agree with Angie, they need to be having fun while learning. But also, they need to know they can do it… which doesn’t always mean giving in when something’s hard. My little boy wants badly to be able to tie his shoes. He knows there’s a bunny and a tree but what the heck to do at that point!? He gets frustrated. I think it’s important to help them learn while at the same time help them see their potential even though they need to have patience to reach it… Am I even making sense here??

And Jenna from over at StopDropandBlog points out how safe the online game is.

I hadn’t really given that much thought.. my kids are getting older now and they have a whole ‘tab’ on the computer of their ‘safe’ games and such.. but for a second there she reminds me that it’s time to have a chat with them about online safety, you know? Remind them that we don’t give out any personal information for any reason.

It’s nice to be assured that 1) Jumpstart is a single player game, there is no interaction with outside other players, and 2) You the parent register and log in.

Which leads me to another part of Jumpstart that I’m in love with:
They send you little tracking newsletter progress reports right to your email box. How cool is that… No, not grades or anything, take a look at this screenshot of TKs report:

If you click to enlarge it you can see there are all these areas of learning that he has passed off or is still working on. There are a LOT of these areas. See the dots above the chart? there are 4 total pages with that many dots each!? (Note the low score still in following directions!)I love seeing his progress nearly in real time.. He passed off the calendar area the other day, I was all what? You know the days of the week? Sure enough on a real calendar he pointed out how it all works.. ‘duh’ mom!

Now I’d like to introduce you one of the marketing Queens behind…

This is Erin, ain’t she cute??
She said she has in fact put on that costume before and it’s all hot and dank inside..

Part of the reason I wanted to try out a 3 week campaign with JumpStart was to create a conversation with my readers and friends not just with me about a product I love… but to help you see the real people behind the scenes.

A great way to do that? TWITTER.

I’d like you to send
And @jumpstart_Paul
And @jumpstart_Chris
And @jumpstart_Glenn
some questions you have about kids and learning and problems with learning and how you can help your kids with various areas from Math to Social Studies… That’s right…

STEP one: head over to twitter and follow each of them.. tell them Carissa sent you and that you have a question for them.

STEP two: ask away.

They have all promised to be very nice and not bite.

I’ll go first: (pretend I’m on twitter…)

@jumpstart_chris What do you suggest for a budding artist inside an 8yrold body? Let her do free form stuff, give her a class, what??


@jumpstart_paul How does one even start to create an online virtual world? How many ppl hours go into something like this?

See that didn’t hurt.. Now it’s your turn.


Also if you have any comments and you are okay with it, someone from will be contacting you to answer any questions you may have! Thanks to everyone last week who helped out with the internet speed testing, Erin was very grateful!

Please follow up with Angie and Jenna‘s week 2 posts as well… and stay tuned for the giveaways next week! (hint: following the Jumpstart team will be required so get started!)

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E is for Ice Cream?? Huh?

March 19, 2009

What do you do when your kids all pull ‘E’s on their elementary report cards?

(What exactly does E stand for anyway? Every kid? Especially 2nd Grade? They tell you it means excellent. Oh. I see. Then what the heck does S+ mean and how exactly is that different in Geography than an E?)


What do you do when they are all ‘Excellent’? (even the preschooler was marked as abilities in the early part of kindergarten..!)

You head to Cold Stone Creamery don’t you!

And yes. Yummy. But.

What the heck is the deal? They honestly would not give us a cup of water… wanted to charge 50 cents. I mean do you know what a teeny tiny cup of Cold Stone costs?? And there’s 5 of us people! 5 times a lot for 4 teeny tiny cups of ice cream…? Seems like it’s not that big of a deal to share their free water and 0.4 cent plastic cup. Heck they could even re-wash the dang cup and re-use it ya know??

PS. anyone know what the heck ‘french vanilla’ means? from the short video…

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