Saturday, February 18, 2012

Once Upon a Time....

I have a confession to make--I LOVE picture books. I enjoy reading them out loud and to myself in the book store. I like to read aloud to a crowd or share them with just one little one on my lap. I love the art, the phrases, the words, the rhythm of a good picture book.
And sometimes I even like the message. If it doesn't take itself to seriously.

So in today's blog I want to take just a second to share with you a few of my very favorite picture books for kids. I'll start with books for babies and work my way up to older pre-schoolers. Although I must say kids of all ages enjoy a good picture book.

HUG by Jez Alborough is my all time favorite for baby books. It comes as a board book, a BIG board book and a picture book. Even very young children easily understand and emphasize with little Bobo as he searches for a "HUG." With only 3 words used in the entire book, the child will be "reading" it to you before long. ( Birth -- ??)

Miffy at the Zoo by Dick Bruna is a family favorite. A simple story of Dad taking his daughter to the zoo, kids love the animals and will relate to Miffy as she enjoys her trip. Miffy is also a series.(1-4)

Love many of Sandra Boynton's board books but Pajama Time is my favorite. However, you must read it properly. Sandra's books are very rhythmic--more like leading a cheer than reading a book. "The moon is UP and it's getting LATE, so let's get ready to CEL-a-brate, It's PAJAMA TIME!" Lots of fun for the reader and the listener. (1-??)

A new favorite with my grandkids (3 and up) has been
Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones series, especially Lost in Spice. Skippyjon is a Siamese kitten who likes to pretend he is a chihuahua to hilarious results. With Mama June Bug Jones, Skippyjon's three sisters, Jezebel, Jillyboo, and Ju Ju Bee, the funny phrases ("Mr. Kitten Britches" & "We're making Tuna Poodle Casserole") and Skippyjon's antics we giggled and laughed our way through the stories. (3 and up.)

My daughter-in-law, Shannon introduced me to Agate by Joy Morgan Dey last weekend at my son's house in MN. It is a sweet story, but the art work just blew me away. If you love to share beauty with your children and a meaningful story about how every one of us has a special place in this world this is a wonderful way to do it. A book that is equally beautiful in it's message and art. (4 and up.)

By the way, I keep most of these books close to the computer so that when I'm Skypeing with my grandchildren I can quickly fill any request to "Read me a story, Grammy!"

Please comment and add your own favorite
children's book.
I'm always on the lookout for a new favorite picture book.

Meanwhile, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If a picture is worth 1,000 words...

...then Shutterfly is a million dollar deal for grandparents.

I am finally writing my LONG overdue post about the joys of using Shutterfly, my very favorite photo sharing website. On Shutterfly you can store your priceless photos, make Share Pages on any subject you wish, make books and more, all for free! For every project you make, Shutterfly provides a link for you to send to anyone you wish. You can even upload your address book and they will send an invitation for you. What could be easier?

All of these wonderful features I've mentioned so far are all available only online. But Shutterfly will also print your pictures for you, help you make wonderful, one-of-a kind books, cards and gifts with your pictures for prices that compare favorably with every other photo sharing business I've checked, whether online or in a regular discount or drug store. And I almost forgot to mention the amazing sales they have. Most of the time when I purchase something I am able to get a thirty to fifty percent discount and almost always shipping is free for orders over $30. Shutterfly will also allow you to make books and cards and share them online at no charge.

After a visit in January, 2010 to 18 month-old Maggie, living in CA at the time, I made a heavy-duty, spiral bound Shutterfly "snap book" of the pictures I took adding my own text. Would you believe she memorized it and at 3 1/2 loves to "read" it to her baby brother?

So far this year I've made a book for our family reunion/vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan, a book for my son's family (plus one for me) with photos of three years at the Minnesota Renassiance Festival and a book for my grandson and I at The Great Train Festival, in Rock Island, IL. Some of my books are pictured here. As you can see, there are different sizes and you can even get paperback versions. The heavy-duty "snap book" is on the lower left hand corner.

Even though I enjoy buying their products I think my favorite Shutterfly feature is the Share Site where you can post photos of whatever subject you want. For the past few years I've made a sort of family yearbook on my Share Sites. I've also used it as a Christmas letter to friends and family, sending the link online for no charge. When I send a card or letter through the mail, I can include the link and anyone who would like to see more of what we were up to can visit the FREE share site. Love it!
(And if you'd like to see what I'm talking about, here's the link:

In the interest of full disclosure I'd like to tell you that there was a special $10 off my next order on Shutterfly if I would embed the code of my latest project, Valentine cards. I'm planning to include them in our annual family letter, since I missed Christmas. But let me also point out that everyone I know also received a code good for $20 off any order as a thank you gift from the Shutterfly company. I wish all the merchants I do business with would be so generous.

Why not begin your Shutterfly adventure today at Just imagine all the ways you could start connecting through photos with your precious grandchildren.

To see the lovely cards I'm sending out as my "Valentine" this year, click the link below