Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Free Kids' E Books

Reading Bringing Up Baby Bilingual led me to a post about Tumblebooks. The cost led to me to a search on more e books. So with little ado, here's a listing of some (free!) e-books for kids!

Children's Storybooks Online Mainly English books.

Children's Books Online: The Rosetta Project Old books and the site is volunteer driven. The books have been scanned in and many have translations.

ICDL International Children's Digital Library Lots of books in many languages.

StoryPlace: The Children's Digital Library Animated stories and activities.

BookPALS StoryLine Online Books read by celebrities. Video of the actors reading the books, words show up on the books.

Bookhive Listen to stories by great storytellers.

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. Wish We Could Come Out and Play!

Each day I'm trying to get some outside play in for the kids. But it is hard when I hear things on the news like I did last night.

I was sitting on the couch, crocheting, and Husband was sitting on the love seat working on his laptop (the kids were all blessedly asleep). We had the news on in the background and I was watching bits and pieces when suddenly I hear, "If you have asthma as I do, tomorrow will be a tough day for you. (blah blah blah) So stay out of the sun from 12 to 8." Then the news switches from the weather to a commercial as I turn to Husband in disbelief.

"Did they just say that due to the level (whatever) day we have to stay in from twelve to eight?!?" (they'd mentioned something about children and the elderly in addition to people with asthma.)

He nodded, shell-shocked.

"I remember when ozone days meant you had to stay in from 12 to 3 or 4..." I let the sentence trail off and mentally struck off my plan of walking to the park the next day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Added Some Stuff to the Blog

By the way, I've added some features to the blog. If you scroll down to the bottom, there are word of the day widgets for German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, French, and Leetspeak. On the sidebar I've put in a Babelfish Universal Language Translator. I still have both my LibraryThing and Shelfari widgets in the sidebar.

Hobbling along with German but adding a crutch of Spanish

The title explains how I feel. My German has improved over the years though honestly, I haven't been putting as much time into it as I should. Between working full-time (and at my old job, more than full-time), homeschooling, general parenting, and my various interests (you know, husband, crafts, reading, actually seeing my friends on occasion, etc.) I'm strapped for time in a good week. Catch me on a bad week and I barely have time to breathe, much less sit down and have a block of thirty minutes to study.

Obviously, I'm the "bilingual" one in the family. The children get their languages from me with the Husband trying to fill in the blanks. (One only has to hear someone yell "Das ist nicht für dich!" so many times before understanding that means "That is not for you!")

So the kids have learned all the German that I speak to them. Unfortunately, this hasn't been a lot. If we were to travel to Germany (which I'm hoping we can sometime in 2009) I think that they might be able to make themselves understood but barely. This is an utter failure on my part so I'm going to start spending thirty minutes a day studying German to get my skills up to par. Right now if I know how to say it in German, I do, with one notable exception. When we are in public it is harder for me to speak German to them. Whether I feel like I'm being rude to the people we're spending time with or I feel embarrassed because of the reaction of others who think that because we're speaking another language we *must* not speak English which seems to be a mortal sin as far as many are concerned.

So in addition to more study on my part, I have to make more of an effort to speak German when we are out and about and in the company of others. I have already been adding more time spent speaking German lately and the difference is noticeable. Fin is soaking up the additional vocabulary wonderfully, in fact he's doing so well that it makes me want to figure out a way to speak another language to them. He's four, almost five, which is supposed to be an "age of opportunity" and you can definitely tell.

The obvious choice would be Spanish which is most likely what I'll go with. But my heart yearns for Mandarin or Japanese. I think that Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday I'll speak German. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday will be Spanish. I'll see how that works out after a week and post the results. Tomorrow will be the start day, a Spanish day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just Call Me Speedy

68 words


Yay! I upped my speed by four words a minute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Redecorating... Or re-storing as the case may be...

I'm thinking of adding some bookshelves to the boys' room. I've hesitated putting some in because we're in an apartment that we don't intend to stay in much longer and I didn't want to do all the work only to leave the shelves behind. However I want some shelves in their room and definitely don't want to add any bookcases that Dul could climb and then jump off of. Plus, floor space is precious in their room. But I keep going back to the fact that essentially I'm lazy. So I think that I'm going to buy...

Tot Tutors - Toy Organizer

2 Sided Book Display

Whitmor Kids' Soft 3-Drawer Chest, Primary Colors

I'm not sure about the top one. It is something that I've wanted for a long time but I really don't want to buy even more useless plastic that will end up getting thrown away in a few years and then sticking around the earth forever. So I'm thinking of just getting one of those multi-slotted cubby things and buying some baskets to add to that. Anyway, I'll probably get these sometime around Christmas.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Some Tidbits to Fill Your Time and Your Mind

The 100 Most Common Words is a fun little quiz if you have a little extra time. You have five minutes to fill in the boxes during which your mind will go deliciously blank, usually prompting an angry slap-typing of your keyboard as you repetitively type in word after word that you think must be in that list. I got the quiz from a blog I've got on my incredibly long Google Reader list: Language Hat Pretty cool read.

Leela James is rocking it out as always. I love her hair, her style, and of course, her rockin' tunes.

Have you yet read Pleased to Meet Me or The Audacity of Taupe? If not, you should. They are interesting little tidbits.

Homeschooling Continues…

For this year at least, I've decided to continue homeschooling. I was just getting a little freaked out by seeing all of the back to school displays in the stores.

I've decided to sign Fin and Dul up for some classes this fall. Mainly I need them to have an outlet with more little kids. They have their cousins (who we need to see more because they love playing with them) but that's about it. Right now I'm thinking of signing them up for one class on one of my off days. I'm torn on whether I should sign them up for individual classes or if I should let them take classes together. I'm leaning towards signing them up for a science class. My choices are limited because I'm trying to keep the classes scheduled for my off days (due to my promotion I get three days off each week!) but there are a few classes that might interest them.

I was using Rosetta Stone online through my local library but they've discontinued the service so now I've got to try and find my Rosetta Stone discs. I'm going to have Fin and Dul use the German and Spanish discs and I'll do both of those and add French and either Japanese, Mandarin, or Arabic for myself. Live Mocha has lessons for a lot of languages but I think that they are geared towards adults and older kids, not preschool/kindergarten age.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Birthday Each Month

I've been reading one blog regularly for quite awhile now. Listen to Kirsten is about a little girl and they blog it so it seems as if she's posting. It is a very cute blog. Anyway, her parents give her a birthday present each month. For example, she just got her 21 month birthday present. I've always thought that was a cute idea and I've decided to start it. I like to buy the kids toys but I also don't want to give in to their every demand. One new toy a month sounds about right.