Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 […]
To compliment our summer reading lists for first and third graders I made the below list of our favorite board books for younger kids. We still read many of these books to our kids even though they are way past the board book phase! […]
With summer starting I thought I would make a list of some of our favorite book series to read over the summer. I just graduated my third kindergartener and a lot of the other moms in my youngest’s class have been asking me for book recommendations. Sometimes I forget that the first time around you are not in tune with what is popular for kids so I made a list of the books we have been recommending for kids just starting to get into chapter books. Most Kindergarteners will not be able to read these on their own but they are great to read as a family! I have also used the trick of reading to an exciting point and then leaving the child with the book to read on their own and this always results in my kids trying to read further on their own.
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Magic Treehouse Series – This is by far the favorite with all three of my kids. We are still on our original set I bought for my oldest daughter and they went through a friend’s kids in between my oldest two. These are also available as audio books at most libraries.
Synopsis: Jack and Annie find a magic treehouse in the woods that take them on adventures during key periods in history. The all start out the same which is great for early readers relying on repetition to help them decode the text. There are also companion Fact Tracker non-fiction books which go into more details about facts brought up in the books which are great to add in after kids are reading more fluently.
Franny K. Stein – We are huge fans of Franny K. Stein at our house and once again, all three of my kids have this series on their favorites list.
Synopsis: Franny does things a little bit different and loves to do mad scientist things that the other kids don’t understand at first. Once the kids get to know more about Franny the accept her as she is. These books also have a lot of repetition at the beginning which is great for earlier readers.
The Alien Next Door – This series is great because there is some mystery involved in trying to figure out if the new kid is actually an alien. My son in particular loves this book series. I like that they don’t discover if the new kid is an alien right away and once they do different conflicts come up that require some thinking to work through.
Synopsis: A new kid named Zeke moves in next door to Harris and the two of them navigate how to be friends even though they are from different planets. There is a lot of critical thinking and problem solving in these books and they are less repetitive which is great for adults reading aloud.
Princess in Black – Another great series that our middle daughter loves is the Princess in Black series. The books have great illustrations for kids just moving into chapter books that help them decipher the words.
Synopsis: Princess Magnolia does not fit the usual princess mold and is a secret monster hunter. The series follows her adventures trying to balance both the worlds of frilly princess duties and hunting smelly monsters with her horse.
Narwhal and Jelly – Narwhal and Jelly is a graphic novel series that my kids love to read. They are pretty light reading with silliness and fun. I will be honest that I have not read these in a while, but my middle daughter has loved them tremendously since she was in Kindergarten. We have also given these to friends who have loved them as well. Graphic novels are a great way to get kids reading and the pictures help kids decode the text.
I hope you find something new in this book list. I have really enjoyed the process of teaching my kids to read. Each one was different but I have tried to instill a lifelong love of reading with them.
What books to you recommend for Kindergarten/First Grade?
We are working on our grocery spending for 2022 and our goal for May was to do a low spend month. Unfortunately we ended up a little bit swamped during the middle of the month and we both spent too much money and I did […]
Our 2022 spending goals have already gone a little bit sideways with me leaving the workforce in March. I left my job for both health and family reasons and it has thrown our budget into a hurricane of uncertainty. For now our goal is to […]
Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still working on getting my large garden beds in but hope to have them done by the end of this week. I put them on hold for a bit trying to get fence quotes but so far I am having a very difficult time getting people to even show up which is super disappointing. I thought I would do a brief overview of what’s happening in the garden right now.
Earlier this month the kids and I went to Lowes and picked up some flowers so they could make new fairy gardens. Our neighbors are moving and they gifted us some large pots which the kids very enthusiastically planted. We add flowers every year to their pots but their old ones have been taken over by the hens and chicks they planted several years ago so it was time for new ones.
This year is the first year my son has really gotten into gardening with me and he took it upon himself to finish planting all of my flowers. He did an excellent job of it in a section of the garden that was pretty bare. He even planted seeds which will hopefully sprout. I am not sure how deep they were planted but I always love to see my kids embracing gardening and taking ownership of part of the yard.
A friendly gnome showed up in the kids’ hideout mysteriously one day and they have taken great delight in moving him about to “surprise” everyone the next day. Everyone is in on the joke and it motivates the kids to go outside for a bit. Their hideout under the Hydrangeas hasn’t quite grown over yet but they have been enjoying it nonetheless.
All of our brassicas are blooming right now. They overwintered well despite the snow and freezing temperatures and I have left them to bloom for the bees. I haven’t seen a lot of bees yet this year but it is still pretty cold at night and we usually don’t see a lot of them until May. I did however find a Bumble Bee nest next to my vegetable patch and I am super excited about that!
I started planting out some of my squash plants super early this year. They were damaged a little bit but I put covers on them and I am hoping they will do ok. I checked them today and they do look pretty good. Luckily the covers are tight enough that the slugs have so far not been able to get in there and eat them which is much better than last year when I lost most of my plants to slugs. I was also successful in getting some pea plants to sprout along one of my fence lines. So hopefully we will have a decent crop for the first part of the summer.
Both our apple and pear trees are beginning to bloom this week. I am hoping since they have been in the ground for about six years now that we will have a decent crop this year. I will need to cover the apples pretty soon to prevent the apple maggots that are so prevalent in our area from getting to our fruit. We had a particularly bad case of it last year and weren’t able to eat many of the apples we grew. Our apple tree is also not doing very well in general so I am not sure if we will eventually replace it or try to fix it more.
Of the hundred or so bulbs we planted last year only the ones in this pot did not get eaten. There are however more than I remember planting so I am not sure if they were split by our squirrels or I just am not remembering correctly. These are very beautiful and I am super happy that they survived. I may try tulips again next year in some of my garden beds since I am going to line the bottoms with hardware cloth to prevent the moles from digging up my vegetables. Tulips are very short lived though in terms of blossoms so I don’t know if I want to dedicate that much garden space to them.
Last weekend I also planted a bunch of marigolds I got from Costco and the rest of the seeds I started indoors in March. I haphazardly placed them in my existing beds which I don’t recommend but if they don’t end up growing very well I will replace them mid-summer with my fall crops. Here I planted Brussels sprouts and maybe cabbage. I also planted zucchini, spaghetti squash, melons and yellow squash in other beds and pots. I am realizing that I just don’t get enough light in the early spring so next year I may have to change my planting plans.
Thank you for reading our quick garden overview for April. Come find us on Instagram at Oscoeyzamph for more up to date garden pictures.
I thought I would share some of my favorite up and coming YouTube channels today. I am noticing a lot of Food Bank haul unboxing videos trending in my feed and I thought I would highlight a few. Many people rely on food banks temporarily […]
For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been […]
I started my blog in late March about five years ago so I thought I would write a little bit about it for my 5 year blogiversary. I started Oscoey as something to do while I was home with my kids as sort of a mommy blog but along the way I discovered the FIRE movement, went back to work and then sort of lost the ability to work on my blog. I have always wanted to do it full-time but like many other people work and life got in the way.
We are still making most of our own food but our budgeting has drastically changed in the last five years and although we are still focused on saving as much as we can our expenses are much higher and we have moved more in the direction of Slow FIRE. Slow FIRE is basically stretching out your timeline for retirement. My husband does not have plans to retire any time soon but I am toying with the idea of not going back to work after my leave ends in a couple of weeks so I can focus on my blog and my new YouTube channel. I would love for my husband to retire when we are done paying for college in about 15 years which is still technically early since we will be right about 60 but I feel like we could probably do better than that.
We have increased our urban homestead quite a bit in the past five years and this year we are hoping to add some chickens as well. I am installing several large garden beds this week as well as removing some grass in our yard so we can plant some trees. This year our yard was very wet and adding a tree or two will help with that and provide some much needed shade in the summer. I love gardening and will start putting more gardening content up on my channel in the next few weeks.
When I first started blogging George was a puppy but now he is 5 1/2 and has definitely slowed down. We got a puppy named Luna last year after a couple of years of debate and looking for a good fit. She has been a huge change for our family but we love her so much and George is so happy to have someone to play with. Zoey our dachshund is still around but is now very much a senior dog that really just wants to sleep all day. George sleeps with his “dog mom” Zoey every night and Luna tries very unsuccessfully to play with her every chance she can.
I am continuing to post mostly on Instagram about our food and how we are working on meal planning. One of my favorite things that came out of the isolation of Covid was our Sunday afternoon tea times. The kids really get into it and we have a bunch of fun with a more formal lunch. Over the summer we turn it into a picnic on the lawn with a pitcher of juice or sparkling water and the kids love that as well.
I have really enjoyed the friends I have met through my blog and writing to my readers over the past five years. I am really excited for my channel on YouTube to grow and I hope to be able to write more here this year. Below are my links for social media and some of my favorite posts throughout the years. Happy blogging!
This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed […]