Letter of the Week – F

The Gemini Mama Letter F


After a long week together, or was it two? I made the decision that we do not get along with the letter F. Why?


Well I told you in my letter E update that I did a poor job in some of my book selections. I requested and selected books for letter’s E and F at the same time. I should have made adjustments after E went the way that it did, but I did not. I am glad that nothing is, or has to be set in stone. It really makes me feel better.


The week wasn’t a complete failure. We had some successes, and pin pointed some areas to work on.



Writing capital F was easy for K1, but lowercase is right up there with lower case E. They are both a struggle for her. This caused me to take a step back, and add in more dot to dots this week, and we will come back to writing letters later. I mean she has her whole life to learn that. I have to admit I really wanted to push her to write her own name, because (shun me now) I have seen that other kids her age can. That is totally unfair of me. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Totally true, and children develop differently, at different times. Yes I am sure that she could learn to write her name today, if I sat down and did that with her, but maybe she isn’t ready? The “Letter of the week” is about her, and only a guide for me. So I will let her do more of the guiding.


Onto the books. I am still using Letteroftheweek.com as a guide, and here is a link to the suggested “F” curriculum.


The Firebird (affiliate link)- this book was the biggest surprise of the week. Early in the week I breezed through it, and the pages looked too wordy for my kids. Because of that I skipped over this book all week long, until there was nothing left to read. Remember I was jaded in my book selection for two weeks also. My children ask me to read them a “book they never heard before” so I grab this one. They were so sucked into the story! Maybe it was the gold on the pages, or the story itself, but classic. It was a good book, not as many “F” words in it as I expected, but for a story book it was great.


The Foot Book – I started the week with this book. Lot’s of “F” words in it. We played the game where they jump up each time they hear a particular word. I chose “feet.” K1 loves when we do this with books that we have already read once, but she doesn’t quite have the concept down yet. She needs pauses and reminders “what word was that?” Still fun for her.


Down on the Funny Farm and Rainbow Fish were also good choices that my kids enjoyed.


The last of the “good” books is Flamingo (Heinemann Read and Learn) (affiliate link). This book was a great choice to teach a young child about flamingos. It was exactly what I was hoping for.


If you choose to teach your children about the flamingo during “F” week, you could also teach them the ASL sign to go with it. Side note, I thought about including a video for you of this sign, but not being a member of the deaf community I might be the wrong candidate. Also the sign that I have learned for flamingo is different than what I could find on the ASL sites online. They show “pink bird,” what I learned looks like a flamingo and to me is more tactile for children. It could be a dialect difference, not sure. Put your index and second finger down and curl the rest into a fist. Bend the index finger at the knuckle and tap the second finger on the open palm of your other hand. Flamingo.




The Fish book from Sesame Street wasn’t too bad. It had lots of great information, but not my first choice. That opinion could be clouded because I don’t love Sesame Street in general.


All the other books were poor choices for my almost 4 year old daughters age group. That book Forest is about a deer. Yeah that got me too. I wanted a book to teach about the forest. The books on fractions were cute, but we very focused on percents and decimals too, which was too much. They had everything mixed together. It was not in sections, where I could skip what we weren’t ready for.


Strangely the Fire Truck book didn’t even hold my kids attention. They love fire trucks, so this was a surprise. I was hunting for a book that talked about the job of a firefighter, and wasn’t finding anything. This book is about building a firetruck, but was too detailed for us. Maybe next year.


Have you been doing a letter of the week program? What did letter “F” look like for you?




Leprechaun Trap

Our leprechaun traps are a quite simple, yet hopefully effective design.

www.thegeminimama.com Leprechaun Traps

This was very easy to do with a two year old and a three year old.

The Gemini Mama Leprechaun Trap


Step 1 – K1 and I painted the boxes green on the outside while K2 took a longer nap.



Step 2 – Let the outside of the boxes dry



Step 3 – We decided to paint the insides gold, in hopes that it was help to attract the leprechaun.



Step 4 – When you find painting boring seek the out of doors, and let mommy finish for you.



Step 5 – When step 4 is not enough boredom cure, find inspiration in your sisters excitement for painting.



Step 6 – STICKERS! Apply lots of stickers all over the box to create a disguise for your trap.



Be sure to enjoy yourself.

DSC_0130 (2)


In the last photo he was playing with this one shamrock. It entertained him for a good  minutes. No interruption from me. You and Mr Shamrock have a great time.



“No mom, I’m not done yet.”


Never. As long as there are still stickers, she will not be done.



K1 still stickering, K2 still playing with Mr. Shamrock.


End Result;



K2’s trap





K1’s trap



Both traps were made with lot’s of love, and the kiddos had fun. I think next year we will add glitter and such. Maybe K1 will even come up with her own trap design. Too soon?


They are really excited to catch a leprechaun. Let’s hope one finds us. (Although if they make only a small mess that would be okay too.)


Will a leprechaun be visiting your house tonight/tomorrow? What tricks do you have planned? (Seeking inspiration look here or here)

Insta Friday

Alas the weeks go by one by one. Often weeks seem to have been uneventful, but to the wee ones every day is a mystery. I am sharing with you those gems that we captured with just my camera phone. The every day. The mundane.


I’m GT4936 if you want to follow along.



Duplo treasures. Uncle J sent us a few random gifts after learning about Disney Legos and Duplos. We have two Duplo sets. We have this LEGO DUPLO Princess Ariel Undersea Castle, and this LEGO Disney Planes Ripslinger’s Air Race (affiliate links). About two months ago I bought a plastic bin with a locking lid for them, so that this kids could have access to them all the time without asking for help. Most of the time all I see them make are towers. Because of that, when I was cleaning up the other night and found this I was surprised, and it made me smile.


This was K1’s craftiness. I love her imagination, and I want to be sure not to stifle it. I try very hard not to offer suggestions when we are playing so that she will think for herself. I love when I get to see her creativity like this.


This freeloader surprised me when I looked forward in the car. This was not what I was expecting to see. Also being a girl raised in Massachusetts, who captured grasshoppers in jars, this thing is huge! Then we had a whole debate in the car as to whether it was a locust or a grasshopper. S was certain that locusts were completely different from grasshoppers. In case you are now curious Wikipedia taught me that grasshoppers and locusts are the same. The only difference is their behavior in large quantities. Locusts swarm.


Anyhow, seeing the size of this guy I now understand two things. One why people in other countries might eat these. I mean look at that size, I could see why someone might try it. You know, if your starving and all. Two, I can see now how when they swarm they level everything green. This dude looks like he could eat a lot. Oy.


A little more than a month ago I started doing yoga. It seemed to me that the frequency in my migraines was increasing, and I vaguely remember reading somewhere that yoga could help with that. To Dr Google I went, and found 10 poses that can help relieve the frequency of migraines and increase flexibility. Win, win.


After doing this for about a week each morning I started following different yogi’s on instagram. Then I discovered a whole new world of yoga. Honestly I previously thought yoga was lame and just stretching. We it is that, and more. I sought out a studio to take some yoga classes and have loved it. I started noticing differences in my flexibility after just one week. After I month I have noticed that I am waking up with less and less pain and tightness in my lower back. This is great!


At the end of our family hike Sunday we had lunch on this rock. I have now seen so many different yoga poses in different places it made me wonder how much more difficult they actually are. So here you have my first insta-yoga-pose. Dancers pose. Expect more of them. I think I am going to participate in a yoga challenge next month.



Last, my PSA for the month. If you are a protein supplement taking kind of person, avoid this. It is disgusting. Enough said. Your welcome.


Have you ever tried yoga? Would you consider it? 

What is the Great Cloth Diaper Change?

The Gemini Mama cloth diaper series

If you started reading this blog in the last year, then you may or may not know that we cloth diaper in our house. Just a short bit to bring you up to speed; We, like most Americans (certainly not all), started out using disposable diapers on my daughter when she was born. I didn’t know cloth diapers were an option. When she was 8 months old we tried a few out, and ultimately made the switch. We have used cloth diapers on both of our children, and my son is still using the diapers his sister used today.


We went 8 months into my daughters life without even knowing there was an option other than disposable diapers. For this reason I like to do what I can here and there to be sure that people know that there are options. I try to do what I can to teach and advocate cloth diapering. For a bit of education mixed with fun, I will have a series on cloth diapers, and cloth diapering here on the blog for the next several weeks. It will include tips, washing advice, reviews, and a few giveaways! I’m excited, I hope you are too.


So by now if you don’t know already I imagine you are wondering what is the GCDC?


Image used with permission

The Great Cloth Diaper Change is an event where everyone is challenged to beat the previous Guinness world record for number of simultaneous cloth diapers changed.


The real focus behind this is to create awareness about cloth diapering. It is also nice for people who already use cloth diapers to meet others who do also. Occasionally with cloth diapering there are questions that arise that not just anyone can answer, and having a friend in cloth is handy.


Are you a parent who is 18 or older? Do you have a child in diapers under 39″ tall? If you said yes and yes then you should plan to attend an event near you! You can use this page to find an even near you, and be available April 26th at 11 AM local time.


Did you notice that I didn’t say you had to have your own cloth diaper? This is an exciting event, and you can borrow a diaper to change your baby or child into. You could borrow one from a friend, or I am sure you can borrow one once you arrive, but you can always contact the site host prior to arrival to be sure.


At the 2012 GCDC that we attended the host who put it together made the whole event lots of fun. There was a babywearing demonstration, as well as a Hot mama yoga demonstration, there were even door prizes and vendors on site.


If you have already checked it out, and there is no location near you become an event host! It doesn’t cost you anything to host or attend. You don’t have to put on a big production to be a host. You can simply be a place for everyone to come and participate together.


I hope that some of my you will mark the date on your calendar and plan to attend, or host, and spread the word!


Are you planning to attend the GCDC? Have you attended a GCDC previously?

Too Many Teddies Review and Giveaway 3/10-3/24 US and Canada

The Gemini Mama Too Many Teddies


I am really excited to share this book with you today.


Too Many Teddies


We were sent a copy of Too Many Teddies so that we could check it out, and I love it. I mean the kids love it. Actually we all do. My kids have asked me to read them this book at bedtime every night for the past week.


This is an entertaining story about Trixie and her love of teddies. Her teddies kind of take over her family’s lives a little. Just look at the cover photo, which is also happens to be a page in the book.


I love that this book is not only an engaging story for my children, but it gives them a good lesson too. They learn about giving, and how giving can feel good too. Side note, I think that we need to follow Trixie’s lead. We have lots of teddies too.



The pages in this book are illustrated cover to cover. It is bright and cheerfully done. The artwork does a great job of portraying the story, and keeps readers engaged. We have read this book every night since it has come to our home, and my kids “read” it to themselves periodically throughout the day. Thanks to the beautiful illustrating they are not yet bored with this book.


The pages of this book do not contain too many words, and I could also see this as a book suitable for new readers.


From Amazon;

Too Many Teddies tells the story of Trixie, a little girl who has accumulated way too many stuffed toys. Even though Trixie loves all her teddies, she has to admit that things have gotten way out of hand, especially when she’s crowded out of her own bed. The solution that Trixie and her mother come up with certainly isn’t easy for a girl who is attached to her toys, but in the end, Trixie learns the value of giving and makes a whole bunch of new friends.

A fun-to-read story that incorporates themes of philanthropy and generosity and also promotes the value of a less-cluttered living space, Too Many Teddies will win your heart.


Want Too Many Teddies too?


You can purchase Too Many Teddies on Amazon today.

If you would like to win a copy of Too Many Teddies, please enter with the Giveaway Tool below! This giveaway is open to all US and Canada (void in Quebec) residents, ages 18 and older. Canadian residents must answer the skill question on the Giveaway Tools form in order to participate. The giveaway will run from March 10, 2014 through March 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM PST.  Entries will be verified.  Winner will be notified via email, and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize or another winner will be selected.

Good luck!



Gwen from The Gemini Mama received a copy of this book to facilitate her review, no other compensation was received. YOU BLOG HERE, and all participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This giveaway is in no way associated with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Insta Friday Update

Happy late Friday evening to you. I have been trying to disconnect from my phone more the past few days. I get sucked in easily, and I want to spend more time in the now with my children. That means that a lot of the things that I wanted to do today, are only just getting done now. After 11 PM. That’s life.


Let’s take a look at what we did.

The Gemini Mama make your own happiness


“Make your own happiness”


I have had those words floating around in my head for a few weeks now. I am a visual person and I wanted to see them. So I painted them on some scrap wood from building the kiddos play kitchen.


Before you get to critical, when K1 was less than a year old I threw all my paint brushes, paints, and an art easel away. I thought I would never have time for these things again. While I don’t have tons of free time, I understand today how unrealistically I was thinking then. I didn’t know.


That means this was painted with multi purpose non toxic paint that I have purchased for the kids to craft. Also the paintbrush I used was K1’s water color paint brush. So all and all I think it’s okay. Maybe I will do a new one at another time, but for today this is good.



We started our leprechaun traps on rainy days here. I’ll post more about them later.

The Gemini Mama play kitchen


I decided to sit down at the kids table and play kitchen with them.


Peace reigned throughout the house.


No I am not joking. It was great, they loved it. They did not fight with each other. I had to take turns putting one of them on my lap. I really need to build another chair already.


PS even pretend ice cream is tasty. Check the photo again.



This remote control car was a birthday present for K2. On his birthday we was afraid of it, and ran, cried, anything to get away from it. So I put it up on the counter for a few weeks.


K2 pulled it off the counter himself the other day. The kids played with it for the next few days. On the third day I noticed a tiny chunk of plastic broken off. This made the antenna slide around a bit, but it still worked. The next afternoon the tiny hole was a crater, but it still worked. Then ….. well, see above photo.


Clearly he is no longer afraid. I actually think the car still works, but now it seems like a bad idea to give it back. Suggestions?



And while we are on the subject of demolishing things, K2 tore up Down by the Station again. This time I don’t think that Scotch tape and I can save it. It is now living in the bag with the rest of the recycling. Long sigh, because the kids loved this book.


What did your kids destroy this week? 

Wedding Planning is in Full

Did you think that I forgot about the whole us getting married business? Well I didn’t. I did however, put it on hold indefinitely. S over here is ready. Really he just wants to wear his ring. So he would like to just go down to the court house and “git’r done.”


Well, somewhere in the last two days I decided to start planning.

The Gemini Mama wedding photo site


That rock under the tree is very large. I would love for S and I to have a picture taken together there. Also a family shot there too. Either on our wedding day, or just for a photo session.


Yesterday we went to 3 possible wedding sites. The location the above photo was taken in, is our back up plan. The side of the park that faces the mountain is beautiful, but the rest of the park is pretty flat. That means that on a busy Saturday it will feel like all the park goers are part of our event. It is a large park, but there was also no ideal location for the size of our event.


I’m not sure if you can tell, but I am saving the best pictures for last. Also just a note, these photo’s were just taken with my camera phone. I didn’t realize that in going to check out sites I would want to take any photo’s. Turns out I wasn’t prepared. So you know I kept the photo’s raw, and did zero photo editing. These are some beautiful places.


This photo is from our second choice location. This would be the walk that my bridesmaid and I would walk down to a gazebo for the ceremony.


I loved the little rock bench. It could be a great place for guests to take pictures!



When you do a 180 from the previous photo, this is the view you are greeted with.


Now the next photo, is what actually got us all out of the car to look around.



My initial thought was “I wanna get married on that bridge, with our guests standing down here on either side of the creek.” I thought it was so picturesque S, myself, and the wedding officiant. Event with our modest guest list there wouldn’t realistically be room for everyone down below the bridge. Which cut this idea out, but how pretty. If for some reason this ends up to be our wedding location I will for sure have a whole photo session on this bridge. Even if it’s just my phone and I.


With all the wedding talk the last two days K1 decided to inform me the number of guests I may invite. She told me, that I am allowed to invite 31 people because I am 31. At first she said 21, and I was gonna let it go, but I felt we weren’t going to get up to enough guests for our party, so I reminded her of my age. K1 also said we could invite 3 people for her, because she is three, and two for K2. After asking me for Scarlet our dogs age, she said we could invite 7 people for her. She’s so sweet, isn’t she? Too bad Scarlet will not likely be attending. Then K1 remembered daddy and said we could invite 30 people for him. Good thing, cause we would have had to cut some people off our guest list.


K1 is most excited because she know’s it’s a “party.” This girl. I love her, and her sweet little heart.


Well for two days planning, pretty sure we have our site selected, and it is available for the date we are considering. We are going back tomorrow to verify the location will work for us. We have selected a caterer, and they are also available on our tentative date. Once we have validation on our date we will book the caterer. I am fairly set on a dress, but will go try on a few next Thursday, if things (read “life”) all go well. Our rings were purchased several months ago, so we are off to a great start!


Next thing to tackle will be invitations

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