Sergeant Stubby Goes MIA

We were sent the book Why Did Sergeant Stubby Go to War? for a review. If you’ve been following the blog then you know I’ve been trying to get my son into reading. I thought this book would catch his attention because it involved a dog in an Army uniform. He likes dogs and is used to seeing his dad in uniform. How could he not like it?

Why Did Sergeant Stubby go to war book cover

Unfortunately Sgt Stubby didn’t stand a chance. He did indeed go to war, just not the kind he was used to. It’s a war I’ve been on the forefront of since last year: Operation Toddler Destruction.

Every time I’d sit down and try to read the book, my son would grab it and throw it. This went on for several days until finally Sgt Stubby was nowhere to be found. I assume he is in some secret hiding place biding his time until it’s safe to come out and finally be read. I’m looking forward to finding it and finally telling him the really heartwarming and true story of a homeless dog who became an American hero in World War I.

I read through the book myself before it disappeared and really enjoyed it. It’s told from the viewpoint of Private Robert Conroy, who relates the tale to his grandson when asked to tell a story. Pvt Conroy forged the closest bond with Stubby and smuggled him aboard the ship when they were sent to war in Europe. When Stubby was eventually discovered, legend has it he charmed the officers by saluting them with his paw.

Sgt Stubby, a bull terrier mutt who got his moniker from his stubby little tail and short legs, went on to earn one wound stripe and three service stripes making him the most decorated war dog from WWI. He served 18 months and participated in 17 battles saving his regiment from surprise mustard gas and even catching a German soldier!

The story, written by Cathy Werling and Illustrated by Christina Garcia, is one of those heart-warming stories that appeals to both children and adults. I admit, just reading about this little dog’s heroic efforts got me a little misty-eyed. I’m a sucker for animal stories. According to Werling, “The hope is that Stubby’s story will help children learn that the hero hiding inside each of us is not determined by our outward appearance.”

The book is part of the Lowell Milken Center’s Unsung Heroes book series. You can learn more and connect with Lowell Milken Center on social media here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LowellMilkenCenter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LowellMilkenCtr
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lowellmilkenctr/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LowellMilkenCtr

Hatching a Plan with Reading Eggs

I don’t usually do reviews for computer programs, games or apps, because I can barely find time to get on the computer and take care of my blog stuff, much less learn a new program and use it enough to actually review it. If my 3-year-old son sees me on the computer, he either complains until I get off or crawls in my lap and just wants to bang on the keyboard.

I was very honest with ReadingEggs.com when they asked me to review their program. I was intrigued by the idea of channeling that keyboard banging into a learning experience, but not sure if he would actually participate in the learning portion enough for me to give it a full review. They gave me a generous 4-week review period (click the link if you want to try it too) and said if he doesn’t like it, no problem. I figure we might as well give it a try!

reading eggs

It did not go well the first two weeks. At first he didn’t even want to try it. He refused to sit in the seat. Then he gave it a try for a couple minutes and afterwards wouldn’t touch it for a week. I just kept giving him the option every time he complained I was on the computer, I’d ask him to join me and play “the egg game.”

I am happy to say, not only did he start to participate, but he actually asks at least once or twice a day now to do Reading Eggs. He likes it so much that I went ahead and purchased it for the year! I’ll support anything that gets him interested in learning.

He loves the alphabet eggs, where you click to crack the egg and pictures pop out for each letter. After completing a round, he gets to “paint” a photo and then comes his favorite part – he clicks an egg, something random pops out and then a star at the bottom of the screen eats it. I have no idea why, or what even some of the random stuff is, but every time it happens he screams “And the star eats it!” and laughs like it’s the best thing ever.

And here’s the cool thing – the Reading Eggs program isn’t just teaching him to read, it’s teaching him to use the computer! When we started, he had no idea how to work the mouse and now he can move it around and knows how to right and left click. The little games where he gets to squish fruit or digitally paint are actually improving his hand-eye coordination skills as he learns to move the mouse around. It’s amazing to see how fast he catches on!

We haven’t made it very far through all the website options so we have a LOT more to explore. I’m looking forward to trying out the different games, but until then we have a whole alphabet to explore, lots of eggs to crack and more random things for that weird little star to eat.

For the Love of Books

I have always loved books and reading and couldn’t wait to read stories to my son after he was born. I even read books to him when he was still in my belly! But from early on, his disdain for books and other reading material was made painfully clear.

When he was a baby, we’d get about half-way through a story before he’d start trying to kick the book out of my hand, or grab it to chew on. This continued through to toddlerhood, where he advance to wrestling the book from my hands and throwing it across the room.

I still try reading to him often, but it can be so frustrating that I don’t do it as much as I’d like. So my initial reaction when Good Night Books contacted me about reviewing a set of their books was, no way we can make it through all those. Then my second idea was, even if it does take me months, it’s a good challenge! This will be good for us! They have a ton of titles to appeal to children interested in all kinds of different things and also ones based on places, so I chose some of Keelan’s favorite things like trucks and planes and then a couple Florida based stories, and then they sent a few of their choosing so we got a great selection.

Good Night Books

He’s not so receptive to bedtime stories, so I decided we’d try reading them before afternoon “quiet time,” which is what has replaced nap time. (God how I miss real nap time!) The books all start with the morning and go through the day until it’s time to say goodnight, so it works to read them during the day too.

We’ve managed to fully make it through three of the eight books. Each time we finish a book completely, then I review it on Amazon.

It’s quite a process to get through each one at first, but the second time he seems more into it. And a couple times he’s picked up the books and asked me to read to him. I don’t care what I’m doing, I will drop anything to sit and read with him. It’s a Mom thing I dreamed about doing but rarely get to enjoy.

I’m glad I said yes to Good Night Books because having that obligation to complete my task and get through all the books keeps pushing me to pick them up and try again. And every time we make it through an entire story it makes me hopeful that maybe a little of my love for reading is rubbing off on him.

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Heart of Joy Pajamas Bring a Little Light and Love

Heart of Joy PajamasWe recently got a try out a set of glow-in-the-dark pajamas from Heart of Joy, a company dedicated to brightening up the lives of homeless children.

When founder Desiree L. Jones learned that more than two million children every year experience a period of homelessness, and that even included a childhood friend, she felt moved to make a difference. She made it her goal to “create these pajamas, so that every child has one BRIGHT spot of joy, even if their short lives have seen an overwhelming amount of darkness.” For every set of pajamas purchased, a portion of the proceeds goes to an organization fighting homelessness.

Keelan got a set of the Blast Off Blue Green PJs, a navy blue top and bottom with glowing green numbers. We went with a 3T based on the size chart, and it was a perfect fit. The material is mostly cotton with a little spandex, so they are soft all over with a nice stretch. The print on the them is soft as well, and held up well after washing.

Every set purchased comes with a free silicone glow in the dark bracelet, and our pack also included notepads, pens, magnet and a lollipop!

heart of joy package“The Heart of Joy logo was created to glow so that when a child has to spend the night in a shelter or an orphanage they will have pajamas that are NEW, ORIGINAL and BRIGHT!” – HeartOfJoyPJs.com

Keelan put them on during the day so we’d have enough light for pics and he didn’t want to take them off. So we exposed them to bright light for about five minutes and went in the bathroom to see the glow! He really loved counting all the numbers. We are still working on the counting part, lol.

Trying Out OneZeeMe for Personalized Toddler Style

When Keelan was born, I recall going through onesies like crazy that first year. Of course I had to have a special one for every holiday, every season and every age. So I love the idea of this new subscription box from OneZeeMe.com, where you get personalized onsies sent every month. They sent me a cool box to check out and review, and provided my son with his new favorite shirt.

And it’s not just onesies! I was excited to see they also included t-shirts. To get started I filled out a short survey to find out my child’s age, name, gender and special interests. They then tailor the box to be special for each child by using their name, age and interests on the clothing. They also include holiday and seasonal themes as well.

We got a box with two onesies and two t-shirts and I’m happy to say, the sizing is great. Everything fit! I’ve found kid’s sizing to be all over the place, and often onesies will run too short, but these were perfect. My son was really excited as soon as he saw his name on the sparkly “Super Keelan” shirt and had to put it on right away.

I brought the box out with me to a “mommy and me” type shoot hoping to get pics of all of them, but he only wanted to wear Super Keelan the whole time! We did get some great pics in that shirt at least, taken by Sharm Fassbender Photography:

This is the sort of thing I’d love to have gotten as a gift! As a thrifty parent I mostly go for $10 Target shirts and bargain 3 packs of onesies, but even then, when you break down the cost (a four item month-to-month subscription box is $50) it’s just over $10 an item so that’s pretty good for personalized clothing. They also have 3, 6 and 12 month options, and a 10% off code for your first purchase: 10PERCENTOFF.

I really liked the box and think it would make a great baby shower gift. Babies got to gave their onesies! Might as well be stylish about it.