Summer Is Finally Here – Time To Learn!

Hello Friends!  I apologize for being MIA but its been a busy few weeks and while I have thought about it repeatedly, I have simply not had the time or energy to sit down in front of my computer to write!  Today, I am supposed to be lounging at the lake reminiscing with some of my college teammates and their families, BUT life had other plans…sick kid, low funds, busy work schedule this week…it just didn’t work out!

board boardwalk bridge close up

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on

While I am super bummed that our plans didn’t work out, this is still the first official weekend of summer vacation for my kiddos and I have lots to do as we plan for them to be home for the summer!  This year we have decided that Elle is old enough and mature enough to help us out with Hayden – she is great with him and Husband and I are not usually very far from home for work.  In fact, Husband and I both have a home office we can work out of in a pinch!

So, Monday morning Hayden will start “Elle School”!  I am in the process of planning activities that will help to break up their days, while hopefully keeping Hayden motivated to read and learn so that starting school in August will not be miserable for him or Husband and I!  Also, it keeps BOTH of them from sitting in front of the television all day!

The first week’s activities will involved learning about volcanoes!  This is a request of Hayden’s since he caught a glimpse of a news clip of the erupting volcano in Hawaii. On task this week:

  • volcano art project
  •  Google search of volcano activity
  • library trip for books on volcanoes and
  • an actual erupting volcano in our back yard!!

Other topics Hayden wants to learn about this summer include dinosaurs (he can probably give this lecture rather than learn something new but that’s ok), other STEM projects, the solar system and race cars, including how the engines work!!  Hayden is also participating in a summer reading challenge through our local library (10 pages or one picture book a night will earn him a pool party!) Finally, our weekday summer plans for Hayden includes a few trips to children’s museums and lots of outdoor and pool time!


What types of summer activities do you have planned to keep your little ones’ minds engaged and having fun!?!

Our Top 10 Favorite Children’s Books

Today is Read Across America Day!  And if you are a busy momma like me, the only books you have time to read on a regular basis are children’s books!  That’s okay though, we are inspiring the next generation of readers!

I browsed through the bookshelf in Hayden’s room to pick out the Gunter Family’s most cherished children’s books.  The ones that bear Elle’s name scratched in the cover or are falling apart from so many turned pages.  The books that I dare not part with as the kids grow older due to the memories that these books bring to me and in hopes my grand-children will hear them one day!  Here are our Top 10 Favorite Children’s Books:

 1.  Demolition, by Sally Sutton, Illustrated by Brian Lovelock.  This book is very simple but fun to read. The rhyme pattern is interesting and Hayden enjoys it (so does Mom).


2.  Secrets of Animal Camouflage, by Carron Brown, Illustrated by Wesley Robins.  This book is fun for two reasons.  First, Hayden loves to talk about animal camouflage and also because when you shine a light behind each page the camouflaged animals appear to glow!

3.  Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton. Mike and his steam   shovel, Mary Anne, are common figures in our home and his drive and determination are welcomed traits!  Also, his kindness as well as that of the entire town who supports him.


4.  Aliens Love Underpants, by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort.  This Scholastic Book was originally Elle’s and I am sure the product of a book fair at school. However, it has become a bedtime staple around here.   The pictures are vibrant and the story is fun and entertaining for kids and parents alike!


5.  Halloween Night, by Marjorie Dennis Murray, Illustrations by Brandon Dorman.  I must confess, in this house we LOVE all things Halloween!  While I am not so much into graveyard tours or haunted houses; we gobble up all things kiddie Halloween, like cute books about goblins, or cheesy movies and especially home-made costumes!  This is our favorite Halloween book (and take heed that we have quite a selection to choose from)! In this book we join in as a band of banshees and other creepy creatures prepare for a Halloween feast – monster style!


6.  Sideways Stories From Wayside School, by Louis Sachar, Illustrated by Julie Brinckloe.  This book brings back fond memories for me!  My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Hale, would read these stories to our class in the most amazing way!  The characters came to life and I could vividly imagine what life was like on the thirtieth floor!  These short stories are perfect for a night when quick bedtime reading is required!

7.  Zoomer, written and illustrated by Ned Young.  Another Scholastic Book in our collection.  This book has been read so many times it is literally falling apart at the seams!  There was a time when Hayden actually made me read this every night for a month!  This book joins Zoomer and his brothers who can not understand why Zoomer is being so defiant about getting ready for school!

8.  Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry.  I know this one is a bit of a cult favorite but for good reason!  I tend to be behind parenting trends at times so when I finally purchased this book for Hayden the craze had already began and the Little Blue Truck had an entire empire.  Nonetheless, his even demeanor and kindness  toward  all of his friends, even the big truck that wasn’t as nice as he should have been, make this book a must have for every collection!


9.  Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss.  Of course a Dr. Suess book makes the list! This is my brood’s favorite of the Dr. Suess books; although Hayden told me today that the character who refuses the green eggs and ham has “anger management issues”!  Never a dull moment with this one!

10.   Home For A Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Garth Williams.  This book was my all time go-to book as a child!  This book was published in 1956 and enjoyed its Seventh Printing in 1977!  The pictures are beautiful and sweet! When I read this book to my children, I really hear my Momma’s voice reading it to me!



So there you have it, Team Gunter’s favorite children’s books!

What are your recommendations for our collection??

Happy Reading!!