library book sales

As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of children’s books, and so are the children in this house. But children’s books are expensive! My favorite places to shop for children’s books are at yard sales and library book sales. Yard sales tend to have a much smaller selection, but usually people sell them for pretty cheap ($.25 – $1). Most libraries around the country have library book sales at least once a year. All library sales are run a little different. Ours is run by the Friends of the Library organization and library patrons donate books to the sale. Ours takes place a couple of times a year. After having been to a zillion different library sales (there are different libraries all over the area here and they all have different sales), I’ve kind of figured how best to shop at them to come away with the best books for us. Library book sales tend to have a little higher of prices on the first day (the best selection), but ours is still very reasonable at $0.50 for paperbacks and $1.00 for hardbacks. Here are some of my tips.

1. I always look for books that are in series we like, such as the Berenstain Bears, anything Pooh. The main problem I’m running into is whether we own a book or just checked it out from the library. It would be helpful if I had a list, but we have so many books that would take eons. So I usually just buy it if I think we don’t have it, and if we do we can always donate the book back or give it as a gift. We have most of the typical Berenstain Bears books, but this time I found some of the really old ones (which Greta has been listening to on audiobook lately).

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2. If you liked a book that you checked out from the library, buy them!

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3. Look for books that are by authors you like. I’ve found many treasures, by buying books by authors we like. Sometimes the books are very old, but still great.

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4. I also look for religious books, specifically Catholic ones, but also just general bible story or Easter or Christmas, or whatever.

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5. The last thing I tend to pick up is any books that have the little Caldecott Medal thing on the cover. I figure they are at least worth trying!

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I usually give myself a set amount of money to spend, usually $40, and almost always come very close to spending that. Sometimes I go back for half-price day to see if I missed anything good. It is rare to find new titles at library book sales, but sometimes you get lucky and find something relatively new. If I end up with a dud of a book, I usually just donate it back to the library for the next sale. I figured I only paid $0.50 or $1, so it isn’t worth keeping around if I don’t like it. Anyone else love library book sales like I do? You can look here to see if there are any near you (note, not all libraries advertise here).

P.S. All the books in the pictures are from the most recent library sale, we have found so many treasures at the library sales.

fair

A few weeks ago we headed to the local fair. We got to see all kinds of farm animals including, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, alpacas, rabbits, etc. The girls really enjoyed seeing all the animals. Greta finally got brave enough to touch them. Her touches were super quick, so it was hard to capture them, but we finally got her to touch just a tad longer so I could take a picture.

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Greta later proclaimed she was a cow, goat, and sheep expert, despite the fact that she didn’t touch a cow, which she was quite disappointed about. Eloise was on one of our backs for most of the time, so there aren’t many pictures of her. She did get to touch some animals as well. After dinner and some wandering around, we saw the tractor parade. There were tons of cool, old tractors.

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Both girls really enjoyed the tractor parade. Here is Eloise with a very serious (and tired) face watching the tractors. If Matt turned away, she would move until she could see again. We will definitely be looking for some more local fairs to go see some animals.

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hello?

These girls both LOVE the phone, both real and pretend. We have nearly all of our old cell phones floating around the house as toys.

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Greta has even been known to say at the dinner table that her phone is ringing and she needs to answer it. She will get down, run and answer it and tell them we are eating dinner. Silly girl.

make your own dollhouse

I saw this idea in the most recent issue of Family Fun magazine and unlike most crafty things, I thought hey, this looks easy, I can totally pull this off. Plus my kids love to play dollhouse. Yes, we already have FOUR dollhouses (mostly thanks to my mother-in-law going dollhouse crazy at yard sales). She just keeps buying more, but I’ve set the limit at four, so if she buys another one must go. But my creation was going to be larger than all of our dollhouses, and you might even be able to put stuffed animals or small baby dolls in it as well! Win!

So all you need are: a variety of cardboard boxes (I think I used 10), duct tape, a box cutter, and any decorations you might like (paint, crayons, stickers, etc.).

Basically you just stack your cardboard boxes and tape them together at the seams. Then get to cutting out windows and doors. Then let the kids decorate. My kids didn’t seem all that interested in decorating yesterday, so we mostly have stickers on ours, but maybe one day we will take it outside and paint it up.

Here is our finished (and undecorated project), with Greta for scale:

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There are so many possibilities with this. If you have a boy and don’t want to buy a girly dollhouse, but have tons of army men or transformers, or whatever boys play with, you could totally make one of these. Or if you don’t want to shell out the money for the dollhouse, this is practically free, depending on if you have duct tape around the house. And if you are more creative than me, you could make it really fun looking by decorating it all fancy. Ours is about the perfect size for beanie baby sized animals/dolls, but Greta mainly wants to use it as a regular dollhouse. This would be really easy to add extra rooms/boxes to as you get more boxes as well.

The decorated version:

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And enjoying playing:

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Have fun! Let me know if you make one so I can see it!

dancing and wrestle-snuggling

The girls favorite song these days is They Might Be Giants, Seven Days of the Week (Never go to Work). Here is the music video, which is where the girls get their kick dance thing.

Here is Greta dancing to it:

I’m still working on getting a video of Eloise dancing. Every time I take out the camera she stops dancing.

Another cute video of them wrestle-snuggling:

P.S. If you don’t have the They Might Be Giants kids CDs, you are missing out, they are great!

rainy day

We have had quite a bit of rain lately. I don’t mind the rain most of the time and as long as it is reasonably warm outside I usually let the girls play outside in the puddles/rain. I don’t mind them playing in their clothes, but now that they have fancy raincoats/boots/umbrellas, they insist on wearing them out every time.

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Greta has recently been into catching raindrops on her tongue to drink. These are some of my favorite pictures.

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And Eloise wanted to join in the fun.

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Two videos of them playing. I like to take them in the back yard since I can stand under the covered porch and take pictures. If we go in the front, the only real puddles on on the sidewalk and the street, and I can’t juggle a camera, umbrella, plus making sure two kids don’t get hit by a car. So no front yard pictures unless daddy is at home.

ultrasound – 20 weeks exactly

Today I’m 20 weeks pregnant and bright and early this morning we had our ultrasound. We of course opted not to find out the sex, but enjoyed seeing plenty of the baby. Here are the pictures we got.

Several hand to mouth/nose shots:

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and one nice leg shot (baby was doing lots of kicking for us, too bad there wasn’t a video):

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Afterwards we went out to breakfast and Greta immediately drew this picture of our family. Please notice that in my belly is baby bunny chew chew.

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And lastly a belly shot from today:

20 weeks

almost 20 weeks

Lately, I’m feeling like my belly is SO much bigger this time. So I decided to take a picture to compare.

Here I am at 20.5 weeks pregnant with Greta (1st pregnancy):

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Here I am at 19 weeks pregnant with Eloise (2nd pregnancy):

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And this time, almost 20 weeks (Friday will be 20 weeks and our big ultrasound!):

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I think I’m definitely bigger already. Ugh. We will put up some pictures from the ultrasound either Friday or this weekend. And maybe a better belly picture.

cousins

This past weekend we went to a family picnic (for Matt’s family). We got to go swimming in the rain (hence not many pictures). The girls got to play with some of their 2nd cousins (Matt’s first cousin’s children, is that 2nd cousins or 1st cousins once removed?). They had lots of fun.