February 2014 archive

Mommy Teacher Spotlight: Little Free Library

By:  Erin Walker



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I read about Little Free Libraries in a local newspaper and fell in love with the idea. The basic concept is that a Little Free Library belongs to the community, and anyone can take or donate a book. When you’re finished with the book you can return it to any LFL location around the world or pass it on to a friend.

The first decision was where to put it. People locate their LFLs near their church, school, home, or place of business. We decided to place ours in our front yard because our house is located at the entrance of our neighborhood and faces a street with lots of pedestrian traffic, so we thought our Little Free Library would be used by neighbors and passersby. Having it at our house also makes it easy to maintain, and it’s fun check out the latest activity!

Next, the design: there are so many possibilities for how to design your library! You can buy a pre-made one from littlefreelibrary.org, use their plans to make your own, or create your own unique design. My dad built ours from plans on the LFL website and painted it to look like our house.

Choosing books: some LFLs have a specific theme, like children’s books or hobby books, but we live in an eclectic neighborhood with young families, retirees, college professors, and lots of college students walking by, so we filled our LFL with a variety of books. We included novels, travel books, hobby books, children’s books, etc. We’ll keep an eye out for what kinds of books people seem to like and try to stock more of those types of books. We’re also planning to have a party to invite friends and neighbors to visit our LFL and bring a buck and a book to help keep it stocked.

Before placing the books in our LFL we imprinted each one with our special LFL seal (ordered from http://www.littlefreelibrary.org) so that when the books are passed on people can see where they came from. We couldn’t imprint the thick pages of children’s board books, so we just placed a sticker inside those.

We also placed a notebook in our LFL for people to write comments, suggestions, reviews, and requests.  Reading the notebook is a fun way to feel connected to the people who enjoy our LFL.



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To teach people about our LFL we posted our LFL plaque and some basic instructions, and I printed fliers with more detailed instructions and placed them inside the library for those who wanted to know more.

We also registered it at LittleFreeLibrary.org so people can search for it.

During the installation several neighbors stopped by to ask what it was and offer to donate books.



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A few hours later we went outside to admire our LFL and noticed that someone had already donated a book!  It’s exciting to walk outside and see what people have taken from and added to the library. I’m looking forward to when my son is old enough to choose books to donate to and borrow from the library. For now he just has fun opening and closing the door.



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If you’re in the Baton Rouge area stop by or visit our Facebook page at Walker Little Free Library.

Erin Walker is a teacher, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, and soon to be stay at home mom. She earned her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Louisiana State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from University of South Florida. She’s taught at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL; Saint Joseph’s School in Shreveport, LA; and Catholic High School, Saint Joseph’s Academy, and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She currently works as a Selection Consultant in the telecommunications industry. She lives with her husband, 15 month old son, and two dogs, and is expecting a baby girl in July. She very occasionally blogs at firstyoumakearoux.typepad.com.

Breakfast Choices

Every single morning my kids want to eat goldfish for breakfast.

I didn’t say that it happens, I just said that that is what my kids want…every.single.morning.

I do like to let my kids make choices about what they would like to eat for breakfast and for lunch (not-so-much dinner), but I typically like to give them a variety of options to pick from.

Telling my kids, “Goldfish is a snack, pick something that you want to eat for breakfast: cereal, oatmeal, eggs, etc.” just wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to make a visual.

My printable functions kind-of like a menu for the kids.  It shows them what they can pick from when we are in a hurry (which is a lot), and of course I will make the take-your-time printable when I have, well, time.


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I got this idea when Casey wrote a post in August and she set up some breakfast options in a basket…


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I am including the Breakfast Choices PDF Template with both “on-the-go” and “take-your-time” templates that you can glue the box-top images that you would like to use in the spaces, draw/color your food choices, or take pictures and add them to the templates. (When I update this and complete it, I will be adding it to the member’s page).

I would love to see what you come up with!

Share pictures with us on Facebook if you have any morning solutions of your own.

Valentine’s Day Mailboxes

Eeeek!  Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  Leave it to me to wait to the last minute to even think about what to do.  I decided a few years ago that I wanted to be intentional about the holiday – teaching my boys to be thoughtful and caring through acts of kindness – so we would always make our own cards and gifts for our classmates.  Well, that was a few years ago, and this is now… and phew!  2014 is flying by and February 14th has crept up on me.

My Pinterest-loving self is really annoyed with my lack-of-planning self for just allowing the boys to choose store-bought Iron Man hologram cards that they simply wrote “To: Friend, Love, James/Leyson” on 20-something of them.  But, boy!  My kids were soooooo excited about those holograms.  So, they win this year.

I did decide (at about 4pm today) that we were at least going to be intentional about what we exchange between our family members.  The kids made “mailboxes” out of manila envelopes for each of us.



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I pulled out all of my scrapbook paper, glue, crayons, markers and scissors and let the kids go to town!  Leyson enjoyed playing with the scissors so much he pretty much made confetti the entire time, and my husband and I made bookmarks for all of the kids to go with their books that we bought them.



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The kids kept running back and forth from the craft table to the mailboxes, delivering their own personal “letters” to Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Mimi and their visiting cousin and aunt.  I can’t wait to open these all tomorrow morning!

So, yes, I realize this post is kinda really last minute (I apologize)… but this is still a great activity that you can do tomorrow or sometime this weekend!  Happy Valentine’s Day… even if it is a little rushed!  🙂

 

How A Non-Artist Paints Murals

I have always admired artists and dabbled in some pitiful attempts to paint, draw, and the like.

My husband actually found a painting that I did and thought his sister gave it to us and said “This is by far the ugliest painting that Kelsey has ever done.”  Yeah, I’ll probably never let that one go.

But, that same sweet husband helped me paint words on the walls of our new business, and he isn’t an artist either.


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After my years in the classroom, I was gifted an overhead projector from my superstar mother-in-law.  This came in handy.  I printed the words (in the font that I wanted) onto transparencies (at Office Depot), and then simply projected the image onto the wall.


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We then just painted over the shadow of the letters and it nearly looked like someone with art skills had something to do with it.  Murals can also be done this way.  My friend painted the sportsman fleur de lis onto my son’s wall using our projector too.


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Get inspired y’all!



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