Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Red Book

red book - cover   red book - inside page
                                           The front cover      /      The inside page

Josh had received The Red Book (a 2005 Caldecott Honor book by Barbara Lehman) as a birthday present.  As a mom, I think books make perfect gifts.  Whether to give or to receive.

Do you notice anything about the front cover of this wonderful book?  No words, no title.  Yup.  Well, apart from the inside page which carries the book title, the author’s name and the publishing company, the rest of the pages are WORDLESS, too!  Which is what makes this book so interesting.

What I love about this is that you and your child can interpret the pictures any way you want.  Especially for children as young as Zoë (3yo) or even younger, the book presents a fantastic opportunity to engage your child by asking them questions, getting them to tell you what they think is happening based on what they see.  You’ll just be pleasantly surprised at how eagerly they will take over the reins from you and start to spin their own yarn, using the pictures as guides.  Best of all, there is no wrong interpretation.  For older children like Josh (5yo), this book presents opportunities to talk about faraway lands and what-might-be scenarios.  Just super for letting their imagination run wild.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On the Night You Were Born


On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman is a must-have for your child's library.

It's one of those books that I'd bought and had forgotten about... Josh asked me for a "surprise" book one night when he was 2.5 years old and I dug this out.

We sat down to read and it was such a 'magical' session for both of us. I won't ruin the surprise for you, but suffice it to say that it is a very wonderful book and both you and your child will be touched by the beauty and magic of this book. The smile on Josh's face as we read was priceless. I could tell that reading this book together made him feel very special.

I’d read On the Night You Were Born to Josh so many times when he was younger and each time we’d read it together, it still held the same magic as the first time I’d read it to him.  Last night, when we were choosing books for bedtime, I’d offered to read this book to Zoë.  She had the same quiet wonder on her face that Josh would have whenever we’d read the book.  And I found myself transported again by the magic, by the celebration as I read the book to her.

This book would make a wonderful gift for a new mother (regardless of the number of babies that she has already had before).  It is a most lovely read for parent/child.  Perfect for bedtime reading, as your child sits snugly on your lap with your arms around him/her as you read in awe-filled hushed tones about the night your child was born…

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Face-Painting : Creative Expression for Mommy and Kidlets

If you have been over to my other blog, you would know that we have been doing plenty of face-painting lately. I kind of got into it because my friend was having a party for her daughter and I’d sort of promised that I would help out. I did tell her that I’ve never really done face-painting before, but she was kind enough to bring along a kit and we both practiced on her daughter and on Josh and Zoë first.

We started with small flowers and butterflies, balloons and spiders, small details around the eyes.


It was so much fun! For both of us and for the kids. They kept asking us to paint more and before we knew it, we had painted small drawings on their cheeks, all up and down their arms. and we even started working on their legs!

I decided to get my own set and I got braver and decided to try full-face jobs. They’re not as hard as I’d thought they might be. You just need to be VERY patient, though. Especially if your tikesters are any like mine, who can hardly sit still throughout the session. You’ll probably be gritting your teeth and threatening not to complete the job if they won’t sit still. (No? I wish I have your patience.) BUT, the look on their face after you’ve finished and they’ve checked out your work for themselves in the mirror? Is SO worth it. Seriously.


Face-painting has been such a lot of fun. I got to let my creative juices flow. There are tons of face-paint designs online to copy from and the face-paint kit that I got came with a guide. But even without these, it was fun to come up with my own designs. You’d be surprised at how easily inspired you could be! For the kiddies, it was great seeing them get into the character of whatever face paint design they got. There was plenty of pretend play happening after each session and I so enjoyed watching them walking around, proudly showing off their face art, and engaging each other in various pretend scenarios centered around their face-paint characters.


The face paint kit I use is by Snazaroo. In Hong Kong, you can get it from Bumps to Babes for HK$150. It comes with a brush, a cosmetic sponge, a step-by-step guide with a selection of designs to copy, and 8x 2ml colors (red, blue, white, black, green, pink, yellow, and purple). The paints are hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and water-based. They wash off very easily.


I’ve tried to use face-painting crayons before, but I find the Snazaroo face paints a lot easier to use. For one, these face paints are easier to apply, especially if you have to paint over a big area (with the sponge). I had bought extra face paints in select colors for those colors that I know I will use often. Bumps to Babes carry the 18ml ones (HK$50 each).


And the glitters? I just got some from the local stationery store. Just make sure that you get the glitters that are labeled "good for body, nail, hair," as opposed to glitter that you normally use for arts and crafts.


I got a couple of these glitters from the stationery store at Stanley (where the old Pepperoni's used to be) for HK$15 each and then I found the exact same ones in another stationery store near where we live for only HK$6. (Yes, a whopping difference of HK$9! The Stanley stationery store was 2.5x more expensive! For HK$30 for just two from the Stanley shop, I could have gotten FIVE from the other store!) Glitters add a lot of oomph to the face-paints. Go get some.


Image credits: Snazaroo product shots from Snazaroo website; glitters from Fan Hung Enterprise Co., Ltd.