Wild West…or Bust? {Poppins Book Nook}


I’ll be honest. The Wild West theme was a tough one in our house. My kids have never been interested in any cowboys or Indians unless a spaceman named Buzz is involved, too. The books I originally bought for this theme were a complete flop. At the library on Friday, my younger daughter happened to pull this one off the shelf.

Calico the Wonder Horse or The Saga of Stewy Stinker

Calico the Wonder Horse or The Saga of Stewy Stinker was written in 1941 by Virginia Lee Burton of Mike Mulligan fame. She wrote it for her son in the style of comics and it was illustrated in black & white. The pages are colored and its truly a spellbinding story. It takes about 10-15 minutes to read all 57 pages. The story is about a Calico & Hank. Hank saved Calico, the smartest horse in the West. They lived in peaceful Cactus County until the Bad Men come down from the Badlands to steal cattle. Calico finds out the plans and they are caught & escape & caught again. In the end, the Bad Men have a change of heart while playing with the children at the Christmas Eve party and they all live happily ever after. Itty Bitty has brought it to me every day to be read.


Wild West Activities Thwarted

I tried several things to do and they were all flops. I bought a Wild West Toob, which was okay for about 20 minutes :).

Then I got out our dress up stuff and the teepee. The teepee had finally been broken beyond repair :(. It had a good run, but they were totally uninterested in playing with the costumes on their own, or in the busted ol’ broken down play tent.

I wanted to make fry bread but ran out of time. It was just crazy busy after we got back from Florida and we had a whole new schedule to adjust to after adjusting to being home. We may have finally found our groove, but our Wild West activities were a bust!

Interested in the fab ideas the other hosts had? 

Poppins Book Nook

Check out posts from all Poppins Book Nook co-hosts about the Wild West and add your post to the linky below.

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015  Clip Art by Melon Headz

Check out more Poppins Book Nook posts by these lovely bloggers:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual MayhemPreschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama


Follow more Poppins Book Nook fun on Pinterest!


Do you have any favorite books or activities about the West? 

Jen S.

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Good Night, Little Pumpkin {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.



We are not a household that eschews Halloween. We dress up as princesses and pirates and trick or treat up and down our block and maybe downtown. But we are Catholic and spent the next two days celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls Day, such an important church solemnity, that we are required to attend Mass an extra day (a Holy Day of Obligation). We know many families to don’t “do” Halloween, but instead focus on the harvest, candy & fun. Whatever your families traditions, Tommy Mommy, the kids imprint of Thomas Nelson, has a cute book for fall — Good Night, Little Pumpkin.

A die-cut board book (fancy for shaped & not square :D), this is a story of a family going to a harvest party. The youngest is having so much fun that he wants just one more thing. He bobs for apples, fishes for prizes, throws balls, pins the tail on the donkey and more, insisting he is not tired the whole time. He finally falls asleep in the hay bale maze.


This is a very cute story for your little 1-4 year old pumpkin, especially if they don’t want to miss out on the fun :). It’s a non-scary, non-Halloween-y Halloween book for little ones. My 4 year old loved this book and brings it to me frequently.

If you shop at Sam’s Club, I saw it there before I got my copy; that’s how I decided to request it this month :). If you want to win a copy of Good Night, Little Pumpkin for YOUR little pumpkin, use the widget below. Please note that a comment is mandatory. If you do not comment, your other entries will be thrown out. I hate having to keep saying that but some people don’t always play fair :(.

Good luck!

Jen S.

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6 MORE Ways to Fit in Exercise with Littles



I am one of those sedentary people.   Meaning, given the choice I would sit at my computer or curl up with a book all. day. long.   So in order for me to get exercise, I need to be intentional about it and Have A Plan.  Here are 6 more ways I have tried to fit in Planned Exercise with a house full of little bittys.  You can see the other 5 strategies for fitting in exercise with young children here.


Stolen Moments – I have been known to do push ups while playing with my baby. I’ve also ran up stairs, done jumping jacks, squats, lunges & more. For ideas, I love the 10 minute workout videos, the 10 minute routines at Fitness magazine & FitDeck cards.

Time swap – My daughter came up with this idea after I told her why we wouldn’t be returning to the gym ($10 a session for just the childcare!). Perhaps you and a friend could swap exercise play dates. One day you go to her house & you both exercise. The other day, you host. Or whatever arrangement you and your buddy work out.

After work – if you don’t have a network of friends & family, I have been known to hand hubby the baby as he walks in the door and go for a run. Or do whatever else you like to do :).

A Gym – This may or may not be in your budget, but we considered it a health care expense for many years.  If you can’t find a gym with childcare, is there a YMCA in the area? Family memberships frequently include free (or discounted) kids activities and childcare.

Family Activities – Perhaps the easiest way to get in activity is to get everyone involved. Biking (with trailers & bike seats as necessary), walking, hiking, skiing, skating, snowshoeing, making snowmen, swimming, rollerblading, wagon rides…really, this could be anything outside that you like to do.  Even gardening, yard work or home improvement projects (think clean up crew!) could count!

Homeschool PE Curriculum – If you are a homeschooler (or even if you are not), there are several Phys. Ed. Curriculums out there — make sure to do it with them whenever possible! I’ve used both Family Time Fitness & Dr Crafts Active Play Books.


I’m sure that there are some strategies I haven’t tried yet.   How have you managed to fit traditional exercise into your day?


Jen S.

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Addressing Fear & Loss for Littles – God Is Always Good {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.


My youngest daughter is at that age where everything is scary, she likes nothing new and she is always “sick,” which usually means she is unhappy about something. My oldest is at that age where she is growing into an independent and aware young lady, hesitant to share her worries at times. When Tommy Mommy offered God is Always Good, I was hoping it would help both of my girls.

God is Always Good is a cute picture book. It has a padded cover, but the pages are regular paper not board book-esque. It’s part story and part Q & A about God. A young bunny is asking his mother questions about God and she answers them. They are not written in poetic form but seem to be lyrical and even rhyme in many places.


Each question has a bible verse to back up the answer. Over the course of the book, they address bad things happening, people dying, being scared and even what God can and cannot do. The illustrations show the bunny & his mother going through their day as if taking a walk & having a heart to heart talk with them.

I will be the first to say that God is Always Good isn’t the first book that my kids choose for me to read to them. It’s just not a story kind of book and frankly, I wasn’t expecting it to be. I read it 1-2 times a week for a few weeks to address some concerns they may or may not have had. My oldest is very contemplative and so I’m not sure if anything clicked for her or not. My younger daughter seems to be less fearful so I think it helped her a bit. It’s also a good enough story that they don’t tell me to stop & read something else :).

If you are looking to address fears and hurts and sad things in a God-centered way, this would be a good choice. Intended for ages 4-8, I would consider it pretty spot on.

If God is Always Good sounds like it would fill a need for a child in your life, you can enter to win one below. Please note that a comment is mandatory. If you do not comment, your other entries will be thrown out.


Good luck!

Jen S.

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Talk Like a Pirate Day 2014 – Pirate Picture Books for Preschoolers


We love International Talk Like a Pirate Day & turn it into a week long pirate extravaganza.  Being on the Great Lakes, we are blessed to have a Schooner Festival every few years that just happens to coincide with Talk Like a Pirate Day.  How smart are they!?  Anyway, we just got back from two weeks in Florida and are just celebrating pirate week before we start on the hard subjects of school next week.  Today I’m going to share 3 pirate books for littles that I hadn’t mentioned before.

  First up is Shiver Me Letters.  Shiver Me Letters is a fun little book with fun illustrations.  The captain tells his crew he can’t do much with just an “r” (arrrrh.  Get it?) and to go find him the rest of the alphabet.  The story is told in rhyme and the letters are cleverly hidden in the illustrations.  They are easy to find if you listen to the story.  Super cute & great for kids learning letters.

Twenty-Six Pirates is another alphabet book.  This one tells the story of twenty-six pirate on a ship through rhyming couplets.  It’s a favorite and gets read so much that I need to get a new one already.  There is a pirate for every letter of the alphabet.  Hubs & I love W.

Pirate Wade,
Mistakes were made.

The illustrations are funny and we laugh each time we read it.  I would recommend this one, too.

  The last one is one I bought last year, Do Pirates Take Baths?.  I got it because its illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott & we love her style.  For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I thought this book was a waste, but when I read it a few weeks ago, I thought it was really cute.  It’s filled with questions about pirates and the answers are written in a very cute rhyme.  It has answers for everything from Do Pirates Take Baths? to Do Pirates Have Birthday’s?   It’s the current favorite of my almost 4 year old daughter.  Another cute pirate book worth adding to the collection!

You can read about other fun pirate picture books in these posts:

What are your favorite Pirate books?

Jen S.



Click here to see all my Pirate Week Posts!

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