Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mark's Fire Fighter, Fire Truck and All Things Fire Related Library Collection

So, as you know, Mark is OBSESSED with all things fire fighter related, and has been for over a year now. We are always looking to expand his collection of books and encourage reading. He is starting to phonetically sound out words and can read/recognize fire, fighter, engine, alarm, house and many other words from these books. Because we recognized fire books as his "currency" he "earned" quite a few of them to build his growing library. He also received some for birthday presents. I was inspired by my friend Allie at No Time for Flashcards and her post on 20 Books About Fire Fighting to list as many of Mark's collection of fire related books I could find. In her blog post I was excited to find some we have *not* read and am looking forward to searching out to add to our collection. I did not include the coloring books, painting books, or craft type books, but I did include three on my nook. So here you go:

nook books: (these are really on my nook, but are read/viewed frequently!

Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee: The basic story is about Fireman Small and how he is the only fireman around. The rhyming and repetition in this book is great. All poor Fireman Small wants to do is go to sleep, but there is lots of rescuing to do! Mark loved this story and the wonderful watercolor pictures.

A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee: Written in the same rhyming style as Fireman Small, this one tells the story of how Fireman Small helps out Santa. Mark LOVED it.

Firefighter Happy and Stop, Drop, and Roll by Chris Morningforest and Rebecca Raymond: This rhyming story is about Fireman Happy and his assistants Stop, Drop and Roll who visit a classroom to give the students fire safety tips. There are also accompanying activities and questions to encourage discussion on fire safety with tots. Another winner in our household.

Books On Mark's Bookshelf:

Fire Truck Lift-a-Flap Fun by Amy Adair: This is one of the first books we purchased when Mark started his fire fighting obsession. We purchased it at our favorite consignment store over a year ago and he still reads it at least two or three times a week. They pack a lot into this lift a flap book, and it's very straightforward and informative. Yet it's geared toward the budding firefighter and easy to understand. Mark learned quite a bit of terminology from the book and has impressed more than one fire fighter with his knowledge. It's a great first book for a child who is very serious about learning all about the equipment.

Firefighter for a Day by Lara Holtz: They call this a pop up book, but it's also got flaps, etc. and is very interactive. It shows children role-playing as fire fighters and all that they do during a day. Mark loves lifting flaps, pulling out the ladder, "driving the truck". Remarkably he's kept this book in great condition - and I tend to not buy pop up and lift the flap books because they tend to get ruined around here.

Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons: This book is awesome. It packs a lot into a little paperback book. This book tells about four different kinds types of fire (city, country, forest and water) and goes into detail about the different fire fighters who respond to each type of fire. This is one of Mark's favorites. It's longer and more detailed, but very good for the fire fighter enthusiastic child. When the brush and forest fires were taking place all over Texas last year, we were able to refer to this book about how the fire fighters were putting out the fires. Its a must for any future fire fighter's collection.

A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
by Linda Hayward. This is a beginning to read book, and it's a very realistic tale of three fire fighters and what happens on a typical day for them. We have two copies of this book- one in the living room and one in his night time rotation. It's a simple, easy to read and understand book. Because it's a level one reader there are picture strips included in the book to help identify some of the equipment/words.

See How They Go! Fire Truck by DK Publishing. This book focuses on the fire trucks and fire engines, even fire helicopters and boats. Mark's learned the most about the different types of fire vehicles from this book, as well as how to identify them. When we visit a fire station he'll often ask to see the vehicles and identify what they have at their station. This is a must have for every collection. Bonus (or not) it has stickers.

Tonka: If I Could Drive A Fire Truck by Michael Teitelbaum. I couldn't find this book when I was pulling the others together. I asked Mark about it, and he immediately brought it to me- he had hidden it under his fire truck loft bed so he could look at it in his "fire station". It's a story of a girl who imagines what she would do if she was a fire fighter, and Mark likes to look at the pictures and make up his own story. Obviously a popular book with Mark.

DK Readers: Fire Fighter! by Angela Royston. This is a level 2 reader in the DK series. It goes beyond the level one book and explains more about equipment, clothing, etc. Mark loves this book as it is so informative.

Fires and Floods
by Kate Waters. This book really talks more about forest fires (and putting them out) and floods (and recuperating from them). However, it's great for Mark because it talks about hurricanes (though we haven't had one come through here in a while) as well as forest fires. We were able to talk about the Texas fires with this book as well.

A Visit to the Fire Station by B.A. Honea. This is a simple, easy to read and understand book about a class who goes to visit the fire station and learn about what firemen do. Mark liked it a lot at first, but has moved on to other books and this one doesn't get read as much as it used to.

Lego City Fight This Fire! by Michael Anthony Steele. Mark loves Legos, and he loves fire fighters - so this is a top book. In fact, it was a "must read at bedtime" every night for two months straight (we typically read 3-4 books at bedtime). This Lego book is well written, well designed, and follows along with a rookie fire fighter trying to find his place at the station. A must read for any Lego or fire fighter fans, but especially for those who love both.

Lego City Fire in the Forest by Samantha Brooke. Another fine Lego and firefighter book, it's a level one reader so Mark is starting to "sound out" the words.

Richard Scarry's A Day at the Fire Station: This is a typical RS book from when we were growing up. And it's still great. This particular story focuses on the fire house and how due to a series of unfortunate events the fire fighters keep having to clean it up in between rescue calls.

Clifford the Firehouse Dog by Norman Bridwell. A story from the Clifford the Big Red Dog series, Clifford visits his brother (a fire rescue dog) and ends up helping the fire fighters. It has a few basic fire safety tips, and then goes on to be a typical Clifford story. Mark likes it well enough, though he's not really into character books that much. It's in his nightly rotation of bedtime books.

Firefighter Ted by Andrea Beaty and Pascal Lemaitre: This is a continuation of the "Ted" series of books. As the mom of a "creative" kid, I can see Mark and his imagination get into many of the situations that Firefighter Ted finds himself in. Mark thought the book was funny enough, but it's not a favorite.

Curious George and the Firefighters by Margaret and H.A. Rey. That curious little monkey goes on a fire station field trip and ends up at the scene of a fire. He distracts the frightened children and ends up being a hero. Again, another "character" book. Well written and in line with all the rest of the Curious George stories.

Going to the Firehouse by Mercer Mayer: This is part of the Little Critter series. Of all the "character" books I think it's pretty informative. Mark likes it, and we used it in playgroup (all the kids received a copy) when we toured a fire station. It's a reader book, and Mark is starting to sound out some of the words in the story.

Flat Stanley and the Firehouse by Jeff Brown and Lori Haskins Houran. Another "character" book, this one is about one of Flat Stanley's adventures. The Lambchop family go to visit a fire house and get to go on a call to rescue a cat. Of course Flat Stanly comes to the rescue. It's a simple reader book, and doesn't really tell much about firefighters- more along the traditional "rescue a cat in a tree" story that people tend to think fire fighters do. But it's a good read and is in Mark's regular rotation.

Fluffy and the Fire Fighters by Kate McMullan: This is one in a series of Fluffy the Classroom Guinea Pig series. It's also a level 3 reader so it's divided into three main sections/chapters. Mark thinks it's a hilarious book, and it's actually interesting as well, even though the main character is a guinea pig it tells the story of what fire fighters do well.

Arthur's Fire Drill by Marc Brown. Rather than focusing much on fire fighters or trucks (they do appear in the end) this book encourages children about the importance of a fire drill. It is especially great for the little ones who are timid about fire fighters and fire safety. While Mark has never been intimidated by visiting a fire station, a fire drill, or seeing a fireman all geared up, it's not uncommon for little ones to be afraid. That's the case of Arthur's little sister, and so they do a fire drill with the family. Mark loves this book and often acts out the story when playing.

Fireman Sam on the Move by Helen Llyod. Mark is in *love* with Fireman Sam. And while this book is a tad young for him, he still enjoys it. It's also the "old school" Fireman Sam, but that doesn't bother him. This is part of a series of the Fireman Sam concept books, and talks about various types of transport in Pontypandy as it tells its story. Mark and I both like it because it asks questions on each page allowing for his creative juices and story telling to flow. It's a favorite in our house, and a great book for any Fireman Sam fans. I had to find it on ebay as Fireman Sam things, especially books, are difficult to find.

Corduroy goes to the Fire Station by Don Freeman: This is another one of the first books we picked up as Mark started to really become interested in all things fire fighter related. It's another lift the flap book, and you can tell Mark really loves it because he takes great care with it. There are great fire safety tips shown as Corduroy and his classmates go to visit the fire station. Mark had this on his "must read at bedtime" list every night for a month and a half before putting it into regular night time rotation.

Ready Freddy Firehouse Fun! by Abby Klein: This is a chapter book, and part of the Ready Freddy series. But even still, Mark loves having it read to him. It's a good story to talk about how even fire fighters can be afraid sometimes. Not necessarily geared toward little ones, but still enjoyable. This will be in Mark's collection as he grows into reading.

Firehouse! by Mark Teague. This is a cute story, with illustrations that Mark thinks are "funny" because all the characters are dogs. Edward and Judy go to the fire station and end up participating first in a drill and then in a real emergency. Mark asks for it several times a week.

Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker: The simple rhyming read is very enjoyable and informative at the same time. It tells the story of how fire fighters rescue and even the equipment and why it's used. Mark keeps this book on his bed, at the foot of his bed, with his "special" books so he can read and look at them when he wants to. If you ask him to pick out one book to be read to him, over half the time he chooses this one.

The Fire Engine Book by Tibor Gergley: Our town has an older fire truck, "Granny" (though still operable, and occasionally used it's) mostly used for parades and events. Granny is just like the fire truck in this book, so Mark likes to hear about "how they used to do it". A Little Golden Book, this one is a treasure.

Big Frank's Fire Truck by Leslie McGuire: I almost forgot this one because I couldn't find it. Mark had it under his pillow because he was looking at it. I pulled it out to put with the others, and Mark came and took it away because he wanted it. As you can tell, it's a favorite around here. It's very comprehensive and thorough book that explains that a fireman does more than just fight fires. Yet it's written on a level that a 3.5-4 year old fire fighter enthusiast can understand.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A bed fit for a firefighter

So, Mark is 4 and at that age where it's time to move out of the toddler bed. Ever since he realized he would be getting a new bed (and especially after seeing a plastic toddler one at Belles and Beaus), he has been asking for a fire truck bed.

That's not such an easy task, as most custom beds are pricey. And many of the fire fighter themed ones are either geared toward bunk beds or toddler beds.

So I've been searching the web for a few months trying to see what I could do. I lost a few bunk bed "bed tents", on eBay, found lots of inspiration, and tried to figure out how to make one myself. I am semi crafty (I inherited some from my mom- she is awesomely talented, me not so much) so I figured I could do something. Initially I bought a twin size bed frame at a garage sale with the intent of painting it red, and painting the railings silver. And maybe making some "wheels" out of plywood to go alongside it.

Then, mid November, there it was. We had been listing some things on Craigslist to sell them. And occasionally I would look up fire truck or fire fighter. One day, there it was- fire truck loft bed for a 4-5 year old. The downside? It was way beyond my budget.

So, I emailed the seller asking if they had the plans for it, or had any tips for me as I couldn't afford their asking price - but I knew my son would love it so I was going to attempt to make it myself. Unfortunately the gentleman and his next door neighbor had "free handed" it around an Ikea loft bed so there were no plans. He offered to take a little bit off the asking price, but it was still beyond my budget.

A week or two later I saw it was re-listed and still available. I emailed to ask how much it was, and if he could come off the price anymore- as it was both Christmas and Birthday for Mark and I knew he would love it. He mentioned another price, but it was still too high.

A day or so later he emailed me back and mentioned that he saw I sold squeaky shoes. He suggested lowering the price a bit more, and then throwing in two pair of squeaky shoes. A miracle came through, as it was within a workable budget now!

So, Mark got his fire truck bed for his birthday. I was determined that it would be up so he could sleep in it for the new year- and he is! He absolutely loves it.

The nice thing is, it will last him until high school probably. The firetruck is actually plywood wrapped around a bed from Ikea. When he outgrows the fire truck we still have a fully functioning bed. PERFECT! There is a fire station/fort under the loft, and I do believe a certain 4 year old is smitten with his new bed.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Snowmen aren't just for Christmas

Snowmen aren't just for Christmas time. In fact, more snowmen tend to be made after Christmas, during the regular winter time. So when cousin Ella was here we made snowmen for snacks.

They were a hit, and super easy to make as they just require pretzels (straight ones), marshmallows, a skittle and a dab of frosting.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reindeer Donuts

These were super easy to make, and a hit with Mark and his cousin Ella.

I used mini -chocolate covered donuts, the regular shaped mini pretzels, red skittles and decorative candy eyes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Mark *loves* the word cornucopia, and loves thinking about filling one. So we decided to make them for his classmates for Thanksgiving.

Mark's school is awesome, and the parents in the class really want to be involved. I'm room mother for the class (believe it or not, no one had signed up when the opportunity came up -so I jumped on it!) I love how easy my job is, because there are so many parents willing to participate.

Today Mark's class is having their Pilgrim/Indian Feast, as it's the last day of class before Thanksgiving. Mrs C, the teacher, sent out an email to all the parents with a sign up sheet. Not more than 30 minutes after the list went out ALL the slots were full! Everything that I tried to sign up for, someone would beat me by a few seconds. So I chatted with the teacher and decided as room mom I'd bring a favor for the kids to take home. And the idea for the cornucopia was formed.

I initially found one on The Decorated Cookie. I thought it was cute, but decided to personalize ours more, and not use cookies for the "goodies" inside the cornucopia.

I liked the idea of the waffle cone though as the cornucopia - so I bought them. I then bought assorted gummy and candy fruits and veggies. I put in one circus peanut, one Swedish Fish, a sour watermelon pieces, gummy rasperries, candy fruit slices (two different kinds), fruit snacks in the shape of fruit, and gummy cherries. They turned out pretty cute. Mark gave one to his teacher as soon as he ran into school, and she said "yum!" So I bet they will be a hit with the kids as well.