All That Jazz

This month London and I are exploring Jazz music. I can be a bit of a music chameleon, hopping around different genres during different parts of my life. This may just be the time for Jazz! We have had so much fun adding new music into our morning routine. Talking about the different instruments and what sounds they make has definitely livened up our breakfast talk. I hope to explore the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, but with all the COVID-19 case increases, I’m just not sure it’s the smartest choice for us right now. On the up side, the library is open and we’ve been picking up books through the drive through which is AMAZING! Here’s what we’ve been reading.

Jazz Toddler and Preschool Reading List

Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora– Grab this sweet book and read about Ben, a young boy living in the twenties and dreaming of being a musician. The illustrations are in black and white art-deco style and give you a since of the time and the movement. This has been London’s favorite so far.

Josephine, The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell– I personally found this book fascinating! It’s a bit longer as well, but the book touches on great topics regarding race, segregation, civil rights, and following your dreams. Josephine Baker is an amazing woman in history

Skit-scat Raggedy Cat by Roxane Orgill– Incredible story. So much history behind Ella Fitzgerald and her childhood. While this one is a bit longer, it was fun for London to relate this story to the music we were listening to. The illustrations are gorgeous and snippets of her lyrics throughout the story.

Squeak! Rumble! Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! A Sonic Adventure by Wynton Marsalis- This book is so fun! A little boy walks through his New Orleans neighborhood and shares the music he hears along the way. Lots of onomatopoeias and catchy rhymes that move you through the book.

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt-What a cute little book! It’s is a play on the nursery Rhyme “This Old Man”. It has a counting element to it as well as introduces you to different players in a Jazz Band.

Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews– The author, Troy Andrews shares his own story of how he got his nickname ‘Trombone Shorty’. As a young boy growing up in New Orleans he tells about the importance of music to him, as well as his hometown. It’s well-written and the mixed media illustrations bring the story to life.

What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele– The bright and colorful illustrations pair perfectly with the lyrics from the song ‘What a Wonderful World’ originally sung by Louis Armstrong in 1967. It’s funny how reading lyrics as a poem or book versus a song makes you think about the message a bit differently. I appreciated the sweet message of hope the lyrics bring. A sweet reminder in these uncertain times.

I hope you guys are able to check out a few of these books! We have kind of just been floating around over here during quarantine. It’s been nice to have a theme to play with and learn about. I especially love that we can incorporate the sense of sound. Having all this extra time at home it’s nice to have some beautiful music in the background while learning and growing with my little.



Weekend Camping Trip

For my birthday this year I asked for a little weekend camping trip. Marshall’s response countered with a float trip! Ha! So that’s what we did. We have literally been talking about camping and a float trip since forever and we finally did it. With a three year old.

The idea of this was intimidating to both of us. I hadn’t been camping in years, like over a decade. Camping in your teens vs. as an adult is daunting in itself. but then to throw a toddler in the mix! Oh man. There was quite a bit of time spent researching and see what other families packed for their camping trips. I thought I would go ahead and share what we did and how it worked. SPOILER: It was SO MUCH FUN!

First thing first. I made a packing list and divided it into 4 categories.

  1. Kitchen
  2. Gear
  3. Personal
  4. Fun

Once we had a packing list I then created shopping or borrowing list. Camping can get expensive, especially if you are starting from scratch if you have friends that are more experience ask to borrow. You could even ask them to join your camping adventure, if you’re looking for extra company! I knew the personal items I could fit into one of our carry-on suitcases. To pack the gear and kitchen supplies I grabbed some clear storage containers from Target for $10 each. They worked like a charm.

Now here is what we packed for a two night camping/float trip with a 3 year old.

There were a few things that we thought would have been nice to have; a grate to go over the campfire for cooking, axe and an oven mitt. I knew there would be things that I didn’t think of, or forgot so I made a list at the campsite of things that we should have next time.

For each tub I wrote out a list of it’s contents and taped it to the lid. That way anyone could figure out what was in there without asking me. I’m also hoping that this will make packing easier next time we go. Time will tell.

A couple other things to keep in mind when deciding to camp is where you want to go. Not all campsites are created equal. Lucky for us our weekend was fairly cool temperature wise, but there was ZERO shade in the afternoon. IT WAS HOT! The campsite was waterfront which totally made a the hot afternoon bearable. When we pulled into the camp site and got set up that first day I was completely doubting every fantasy I ever had about tent camping as a family. LOL

In the end it was fine because of the water, but definitely something I will pay closer attention to in the future. As we researching camp grounds for next time we will read reviews, search on social media for more pictures, etc.

Honestly, I am dying to go camping again! London did great, she stayed up WAY later than we ever let her, but she slept in and did really well during the day. Being forced to unplug and just ‘be’ was a huge gift. I have every intention of limiting my phone usage, but then it seems like halfway through the day I ‘needed’ to do something on my phone. I left my phone in the car the entire weekend and there was not one thing I needed to do. I used Marshall’s to take pictures, but I think I’m going to do some research on a smaller digital camera to help cut out the phone usage even more.

Anywho! I hope this helps and relieves a few of your doubts regarding camping with young kids. I am really hoping to camp more as a family and will start sharing reviews one campsite we love and update our packing list as we go along. Please ask questions if you have any!



Butterfly, Butterfly

We have had so much fun with these butterfly kits. This is our first time doing them with London, but I definitely see this becoming a summer tradition at the House of Loo. It is the first thing London wants to do when she wakes up in the morning and before she crawls in bed she tells me what she thinks will happen while she is sleeping . It’s been such a treat with all this extra time we’ve been spending at home.

If you are interested in adding a butterfly kit to your home, we bought this one. BUT, it seems like the price fluctuates quite a bit so check back frequently if it’s over $45. You could also just buy the butterfly habitat and live caterpillars separate to be more cost effective. Up to you. we’ve been very please with the whole kit, but I can also tell you that we didn’t spend over $40 on this!

To help make this more interactive we did a few other activities

  • Journal
  • Reading List
  • Arts/Crafts
  • Circle Time/Movement

The journal is something I actually created using canva. It is super simple and easy for kiddos to do with little assistance. There is a space for you to pick out what stage or life your caterpillar/butterfly is in, a square to draw what you see and then a space for a caption. I had London draw and then tell me what she saw and I would write it down. She really enjoyed this! There was also a page to write stories or additional journal entries, again I just had London tell me a story and I would write it down. If your kiddo is recognizing letters and starting to write then you can use these sheets for sight words or letter practice as well. For us it was a great way for us to talk about what we were observing and for London to ask questions and have conversations.

Luckily for us the library opened just in time for out caterpillars to arrive. It took a bit longer and there wasn’t as much of a selection but here’s what we did get and loved. This was a narrow selection but the books added some magic and some education to caterpillars and butterflies.

Butterfly Reading List

  • Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin
  • Face to Face with Butterflies by Darlene Murawski
  • Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
  • Butterfly Dreams by Clive McFarland
  • Butterfly Eyes & Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Another great resource we used was caterpillar and butterfly arts and crafts. A couple weeks ago I posted about the paper plate caterpillar and butterfly puppets we made. Last week London worked on some sewing and we didn’t really keep with the theme, but here are a list of a couple other arts and crafts I had on our list to recreate and play with.

The final piece to our Butterly Puzzle is movement! My sister sent my this cute little butterfly yoga sequence for kids that walks through the life cycle as well. We had fun playing around with this one! I usually do yoga once a day and London has started doing some 5-10 minutes yoga sequences when she wakes up from her nap, so this has been fun to shake up her routine.

We also have been able to add two butterfly themed finger plays to our circle time. We don’t do this everyday, it just depends on what’s going on but I find that setting aside time for us to sit together and connect, helps the day go more smoothly. Songs, fingerplays and a story are great things to do during this moment of connection. There are lots of different finger plays and songs we have learned from school. I have a core 5 that are our foundation and then I’ll add in some that have to do with the seasons or whatever London is digging at that moment.

5 Little Butterflies

(Hold up 5 fingers) 5 Little Butterflies by the door. One flew away and now there were 4

(Hold up 4 fingers) 4 little Butterflies by the tree One flew away and now there were 3

(Hold up 3 fingers) 3 little butterflies in the blue  One flew away and now there were 2

(Hold up 2 fingers) 2 little butterflies in the sun One flew away and now there was 1

(Hold up 1 finger) 1 Little Butterfly all alone So went and flew home

Butterfly Butterfly

Butterfly, Butterfly flutter around (interlock thumbs and flutter fingers) Butterfly,

Butterfly touch the ground (hands touch the ground)

Butterfly, Butterfly fly so free (hands flutter freely)

Butterfly, Butterfly land on me! (hands lay on knee or shoulder)

Butterfly, Butterfly reach the sky (hands above your head)

Butterfly, Butterfly Say Good Bye (wave good bye)

We have had a lot of fun learning and talking about caterpillars and butterflies. I hope you find some of these resources helpful. I’m honestly kind considering buying more caterpillars just because we had so much fun with all of this! Have you ever raised caterpillars?