Plants Feed Me

We’ve got so many great resources bundled up in our new Farmer’s Market Play Giveaway, and today we’re giving you an in-depth look at all of the reasons why we love Lizzy Rockwell’s book, Plants Feed Me.

Firstly, I’ve oohed and aahed on the blog about Lizzy Rockwell’s illustrations before, and I’ll say it again: Lizzy’s illustrations are sweet! Her characters are drawn with a certain softness and likability that is just our speed. The text is perfectly accessible for young children of all ages (I’ve read this book with both my upper elementary school English language learners as well as with my toddler daughter), and explains to kids in such a simple yet technical way that we eat plants; all of a plant’s parts, in fact.

The smile on this boy’s face says it all. Eating plants makes us happy. Now isn’t that a message you’d love to send your child?

The book starts out with the line “I am a plant eater.” It goes on to explain, in short sentences that are both comprehensible to young listeners, and that have easy readability for beginning readers, how plants grow, and the different kinds and parts of plants that we eat.

Here’s a closeup of the spread Violet is looking at in the above picture. This page, too, is sort of special to me, as we’ve just joined a community garden in our neighborhood, and this picture, of children working together to care for plants, will certainly help to drive home the notion that people can work together to not only bring beauty to our community, but to care for and nourish ourselves and each other with delicious, bountiful plants.

The ending really touches a soft spot for us: “Plants feed me. Plants feed the world.” You might know that I strive to “bring the world into our home”, and this book doesn’t fall short in helping children to see this simple, global connection: the idea that plants feed each and every one of us.

I can’t wait to dive into activities around this book with Violet. We’ve put together a pinterest board with all kinds of fun activities, including a fun, interactive, edible “I can eat a whole plant” activity.

And if you’d like to take the teachability of this book even further, you can find additional lesson plans to accompany this text here.

If you’d like to take a copy of Plants Feed Me (and a whole bundle of other awesome prizes) enter the giveaway below and find the original giveaway post here!

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*I was provided with a copy of Plants Feed Me in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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Farmer’s Market Giveaway!

When I saw What’s Up Mom’s DIY Market Stand I knew I had to make one for Violet.

Spring has just sprung, we are gearing up for gardening, and Violet is loving pretend shopping these days. It’s amazing what a child’s imagination can do entirely on their own — she scans products for purchase in the air while animating the sound of the scanner, she packs up her tiny shopping back and invites me along on pretend shopping trips, she asks (and negotiates!) pricing in her imaginary market — I knew that with a little help, we could really touch on some important concepts: healthy food choices, seasonal foods, wants vs. needs, basic numeracy, social interactions and language, community topics, entrepreneurial concepts, even public & customer service!

Follow us this week as we explore some fun products & activities to support your market play, and enter the giveaway below to have a chance at taking home your very own DIY market!

This is what’s included in the DIY Farmer’s Market bundle:

Plants Feed Me book by Lizzy Rockwell

Green Market Spinner Game by Eeboo

Wooden Fruit Shopping Net by Haba

Wooden Vegetable Shopping Net by Haba

Wooden Cash Register by Imagination Generation

Farmer’s Market Create & Play Activity Book

Threshold 6-Cube Organizer, by Target

Enter to win below!

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Make a Fairy Garden? Yes please!

When a friend of mine with Pure Wow asked Violet and I if we’d like to put together a Fairy Garden for a Miracle-Gro sponsored video, we were thrilled. We’ve just come out of one of New York’s winters, and we’re both itching for cool spring weather, a little sunshine, to get our hands dirty, and just be outdoors. We spent a beautiful April day in Pelham, New York, and did just that: we made an adorable & whimsical fairy garden!

The whole experience was really fun: there were directors, set designers, and a camera crew.

Everything we needed, from rocks to soil to dirt to plants & decorations was provided for us, and it was *adorable*.

Don’t miss the how-to video below, or click here: How to Make a Whimsical Fairy Garden

How to Make a Whimsical Fairy Garden with Your Kids

Your kiddo’s imagination is a thing of wonder (she continually refers to pineapples as spaceships and Dad’s briefcase as the “dragon’s lair”). So why not use your lazy Sunday as an opportunity to combine her love of fantasy with your desire to spruce up the backyard? Enter the fairy garden.

Here’s how we did it:

Step 1: Line the bottom of your planter with large rocks to ensure good drainage (or, alternatively, choose a planter with holes in the bottom).

Step 2: Fill the container with potting mixed. We use Miracle-Gro.

Step 3: Decide where to place your fairy house, and then place the plants around the home to create a beautiful garden for your little fairy.

Step 4: Once you’re happy with the design, take each plant out of it’s pot, dig a small hole, break up the root ball with your hand, and plant away.

Step 5: Decorate the garden with accessories. We used wood slices for a walking path, tiny decorative mushrooms, small fairy furniture, ceramic animal friends, a bird bath, stones, glitter sand, and a tiny reflection pool.

Step 6: Water your garden, and thirty days after planting, feed with Miracle-Gro Plant Food.

We’re so happy to have kicked off spring with this fun activity. We loved it so much, that we’ve gone ahead and joined a community garden in Brooklyn (future blog posts!) and put together this kids’ gardening board on pinterest!

On motherhood, holding onto yourself, and the beauty of the tribe.

Motherhood is tough. Beautiful, amazing, wondrous, and flat out difficult. When becoming a mother, women go through a change that is really unlike anything else.  A recent New York Times article on The Birth of a Mother put it well: “becoming a mother is an identity shift, and one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.”

I think every mother is familiar with the feelings I’ve been struggling with: overextending yourself to try to juggle life, work, parenting, partnering, *and* being true to your pre-mom self. The feelings of love (sweet, all encompassing love), exhaustion, guilt, and I’ll say it, dissatisfaction are in a constant ebb and flow.

Recently I’ve been feeling depleted, overextended, and far less independent than in my previous life.  I love spending time with my daughter more than anything else in the world, I honestly do, but I’ve started to realize that I’m losing myself. I don’t have time. Not any, really — but even if I did have time I started to feel as if I wouldn’t even know what I would do with it. My single friends have drifted away, and my mom friends are up against the exact same challenges that I am.  I realize, though, that in order to be the best mother/teacher/wife/friend/self I can be, I need to try to regain some of myself, even if I have to dig for it.

This is when I turned to my “tribe”. What’s a “tribe” you ask? Well, google will give you tons of results on “mom tribe” — essentially, its a group of females who will get you like no one else in the world. Other women who are in the midst of motherhood themselves, who are experiencing sleepless nights, tantrums, potty training… Moms who are down for play dates or coffee, play dates *and* coffee. My tribe is a group of local moms that I originally connected with online, but have built relationships both in real life as well as in our internet community. These ladies are *awesome*. I seriously don’t know what I would do without them. Their children are playmates to my little lovely, and their support to me, and to each other, is invaluable.

I shared this image in our Facebook group, along with a sentiment reflected in this blog post, and the questions: What do you do for you? What would you do if you actually had time to be you?

The support, shared experience, and advice that I got was amazing. And I want to share it with you.


Voices from the field

On how to nurture yourself:

  • A happy mom is a happy child. Find what self-care means to you. -Sarah G.
  • It took me a long time to start to feel like me again… I now make sure to prioritize myself.   -Arin C.
  • Some good eyeliner and cute flats make me feel awesome.  -Samantha O.
  • Take solo walks in the sun… carve out weekly *me* time to help work on fighting the depletion. -Naethra S.
  • I enjoy trying to do things that I really liked before kids. I used to like just hanging on the beach reading a book or running on the beach. -Lauren P.
  • I try go out to eat with a friend or two at least once a month. …once I’m out it is really restorative. -Maria P.
  • I go for long runs to different places. My mind gets to go quiet. I try to take at least one picture I like on the way.-Kelly R.
  • I try to sleep in when I can. That’s what I miss most; going to bed and waking up when my body wants to. -Regan S.
  • believe it or not I will back to grad school. It gave me a new purpose and help to me refocus my career. I loved having that outlet to do something differently academically and professionally. -Mary T.

On what a mother would do were there enough time in the world:

  •  I would get in my car at night and drive with the windows down and music playing until morning. -Keri S.
  • I would read and do yoga every day if I could. -Jennifer P.
  • I’d bike more. -Jennifer E.

And one of my favorite sentiments:

  • May this be the summer of you! -Yael S.

The advice, support, and friendship I’ve gotten from other mothers has really been my motivation to shift my focus, if even just a little to myself. I’ve promised to care for myself a bit more, to treat myself to a new pair of shoes, to pay attention to my body and my mind, and generally put a focus on self-care. I’ve decided to return to school for just one class, and to carve out at least a few days a month for “me time”. Now I’ll wrap up this blog post to do just that.

Please share with us in the comments what you do for you, and follow Peace, Love and Literacy on Instagram to continue this conversation, leading up to Mother’s Day this Sunday!

Fall in Love with Earth (Science)

I am so grateful to have partnered with Eeboo again for the Earth Day Giveaway. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I just can’t get enough of their educational games!  I’ve always felt that there was a special quality to Eeboo’s materials, with illustrations that are just outside of the box, a focus that’s slightly offbeat, and quality that will endure, Eeboo has always caught my eye as an educator.  Now that I’m a mother, I’m thankful for games and toys like Eeboo’s that will encourage an appreciation of that which is unique and different within my daughter.

Eeboo provided us with their What Do You Know Bingo and their Natural Science 100 Piece Puzzle for review (and to giveaway to one lucky winner!!), and we dove right in!

Natural Science 100 Piece Puzzle

Firstly, the puzzle itself is gorgeous. Eeboo never fails to disappoint when it comes to the quality of their illustrations — Melissa Sweet illustrated both the puzzle and the bingo game, and she is a true artist.

The artwork features creatures of all kinds (botanical, animal), as well as non-living things and phenomenon such as fossils, minerals, the weather & astronomy drawn in vibrant, beautiful colors that really come alive. when the puzzle is put together.

A poster is included in the box, which has a full picture of the puzzle, as well as facts about each illustration. Though the facts are quite advanced, it makes it such that this puzzle is definitely a set that can really grow with your child.

The 100-piece puzzle is a bit advanced for our toddler (2.5 years old) but it’s a fun activity for us to do together, and she absolutely has an appreciation for many of the creatures she meets while putting it together (the koala and polar bear are current favorites).


What Do You Know Bingo


The What Do You Know Bingo is also illustrated by Melissa Sweet and utilizes a lot of the same creatures.  They make a beautiful pair.  One thing that I love about Eeboo’s bingo games, is that each card is themed, which makes it very easy to not only work within a topic (i.e. flowers & bugs, fossils & minerals) which makes teaching vocabulary to children thematic and systematic, and also allows the game to be modified for young children.  For Violet, we love to play a matching game (as we did with Eeboo’s Spanish Bingo), as we haven’t really tackled the idea of “bingo” yet.  We gather up all of the pieces specific to a single board, drop them in the included sack, and choose a piece and find the matching spot on the board. It’s really a fun way to explore Earth Science topics with young children, and learn new vocabulary as we go.

The back side of each bingo piece has a fact about the item on the front, again, making it a game that children can continue to explore in different ways as they grow.

Both of these products from Eeboo are a fantastic way to introduce your young child to natural wonders, and help to foster curiosity, compassion, and action around the earth and its creatures.

If you’d like your very own puzzle & bingo game, enter the giveaway here.

*I was provided with a copy of What Do You Know Bingo and the Natural Science 100 Piece Puzzle in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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Earth Day Giveaway!

Happy Earth Day!!

I had so much fun with the Bring the World Into Your Home giveaway, that I’m already brainstorming and putting together some really fun (and important) blog series with *giveaways* — I just love discovering new materials, and, of course, giving things away!

Today we’re launching the “We Love the Earth- Earth Day Giveaway”! (Enter at the bottom of this post!)

When on a mission to raise a compassionate child, it’s important to remember to instill a love of the Earth, foster curiosity about the earth’s creatures, and develop an interest in caring for the planet and all of its inhabitants. Whether your family is just beginning an earth friendly journey, or if you’re already at the height of earth consciousness, there’s always room for games, books, activities, art, crafts, and other educational materials that can help expand your child’s knowledge of mother earth and how to care for and protect her.

Our family is on a mission to focus on the earth this spring & summer, we are actively looking for a community garden to join (or start?!?!?), we’re psyched to have recently acquired each item included in this giveaway (list to follow), and I can’t wait to introduce Violet to our world in a way that helps her to develop a consciousness of mother earth, caring for ourselves in earth friendly ways, discovering creatures, big and small, and protecting our world.  I’ve started a pinterest board with tons of earth friendly activities, tips for encouraging children to “go green”, family practices that benefit the earth, and fun crafts to make (plantable paper!!). This earth day we are gearing up for an earth-focused future!

I’m really excited for one family to take home the Earth Day Bundle, so you, too, can start out the season earth-focused!

Here’s what you’ll receive:

Chandra’s Magic Light

Farmer’s Market Create-and-Play Activity Book


Printable Earth Day Stickers

“The Earth is What We All Have in Common” 8.5″ x 11″ art print

Don’t Throw That Away: A Lift the Flap Book About Recycling and Reusing

I Can Save the Earth: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

What Do You Know Bingo

Natural Science 100 Piece Puzzle

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To learn more about affiliate links, click here.*
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Give Your Child the World

I’ve talked a lot recently about ways to physically bring the world into your home for children using books, toys and other materials, but I’d like to talk for a moment about mindset, empathy, and adopting a global perspective.

In the beginning of the school year I picked up a copy of “Give Your Child the World” by Jamie Martin, and it’s got tons of useful ideas to help your family grow up global, with practical ways to bring the world into your home.

Some of the ways that Martin outlines are rather simple, and I’m sure many of them already have practices in place, such as approaching home decor with a global touch, and introducing international foods. Other ideas are new to me, and rather touching.

  • Invite globally minded friends into your lives — and into your homes.
    • Keep an eye out for ways to welcome friends with a global perspective into your home. Through reaching out to others, we nurture and deepen relationships, and informally introduce our children to another place. (p. 31)
  • Start a ‘positivity bean jar’.
    • Each time you see kindness, sharing, generosity, or compassion modeled in your home, or a skill attempted or conquered, drop in a bean or two. Each bean equals ten cents, and when the jar is full, your family can donate the money towards a charity of the children’s choice. (p. 32)
  • Learn more about ethical spending (p. 32) (keep an eye on the peace, love, and literacy blog for a future post about ethical spending for children *and* mom. 🙂
  • Place a positive thoughts bowl in the center of your table.
    • Create a daily ritual that reminds your family to think of others, both domestically and around the world. Place a bowl or jar in the center of the dining table, and on small pieces of paper, write the names of countries, individuals, issues- whatever tugs at your heart. Fold and place the paper in the bowl. At the beginning or end of the meal, have one family member choose a slip of paper, and send a positive thought into the universe. (p. 33)
  • Open a book and travel the world together. (p. 34)
    • “Well-chosen stories connect us with others, even those on the other side of our globe. Build your kids lives’ on a story-solid foundation and…you’ll give them a reservoir of compassion that spills over into a lifetime of love in action.” – Jamie Martin

Do any of these suggestions seem doable for your family? Leave a comment below with what you might implement first!

Children of the World Memory Game – Giveaway Day 9

I’ve mentioned before that I love the use of games and play for learning. The fun factor makes it engaging, the repetition makes it memorable, and the engagement of children’s bodies and their brains make learning more accessible to children.  The Children of the World Memory Game by Barefoot Books is no exception to this.

The Children of the World Memory Game is a sweet set of 72 cards. There are 36 countries, cultures, and languages represented, and the object of the game is for players to match a girl and a boy from the same country. Each child has a name, and one of the respective cards is marked with the country, while the other includes how to say “hello” (with a phonetic pronunciation) in the dominant language of that country. That’s right! Your child will come out of this having been exposed to 36 languages!

Here’s what’s to love about Children of the World Memory game:

  1. The illustrations. Sophie Fatus is one of my favorite illustrators over at Barefoot. Her illustrations are very distinct and have a really lovely, sweet charm to them. (She’s illustrated a couple of my favorite Barefoot Singalongs, too!) Additionally, Sophie Fatus does a nice job of blending traditional and modern in her representation of children from many countries and cultures.
  2. The adaptability. This game has 72 cards representing children from 36 countries. For very young children, this can be very overwhelming, but for older children this is *awesome*. There’s no reason that you cannot pare the game way down for young children, and play with 4 cards, 6 cards, etc. You can also change the game a little by simply asking children to match the cards, rather then memorize their place. Another great feature of this game is that the matching cards are cards of the same color, making it easy to recognize the girl and boy “match” without having to grasp the concept that the two are dressed similarly, or that the language correlates to the country if they’re not ready for that yet.
  3. The quality. This game is very high quality and is made to last. The cards are glossy, sturdy, and the box holds up well too.
  4. I mentioned it above, but I’ll say it again. What a beautiful way to introduce children to not only the cultural, but also the linguistic diversity of the world. To potentially come away with the ability to greet others in 36 languages is pretty amazing. You’d be surprised when something like this comes in handy! Being able to reach out, across culture and language, and greet someone in their native language will help your children to build bridges and relationships, and open their hearts and minds to the beautiful people of our world.


Want one of your own? Enter the giveaway here!

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To learn more about affiliate links, click here.*

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Speech Bubble Wall Art by The Colorful Berry – Giveaway Day 9

When I found The Colorful Berry on Instagram, I knew that their Speech Bubble art would fit right into our giveaway.

This colorful, fun pop of language is a fun way to display the world’s languages in your home. How fun would one of these speech bubbles be in your child’s play space?

Putting an emphasis on art like this makes language and culture fun, accessible, and memorable to children!

Enter the giveaway here!

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What a World Placemat by Oopsy Daisy, Giveaway Day 8

I *love* working with geography with my young students in my English as a New Langauge classroom, and cannot wait to dive into this kind of content with my daughter. When I found this What a World Placemat by Oopsy Daisy Fine Art for Kids, I was thrilled to have found a (personalized!) way to work world geography into our every day life. Using this placemat daily will give her a chance to study the world, but more importantly, will show her that we love the world, and care about the world.

This beautifully illustrated, adorable map, with it’s continent specific animals, landmarks, landforms, weather, crops, and cultural traditions, can help foster curiosity, inquiry, and overall knowledge about geography, and the people and cultures found around the world.

The map comes personalized, and the winner will be able to choose the name on the bottom, ours says “Violet Cemre’s World”.

We adore ours and I’m sure you will too!

Enter the giveaway here!

*I was provided with a copy of the What a World Placemat in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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