Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Raising Intuitive Children

Intuition (noun): the ability to understand or know something immediately, without conscious reasoning (Oxford English Dictionary).

“In the past four decades, we have observed the rise in children’s measured intelligence scores and the classes for the gifted that have opened to accommodate them. Today, intuitive intelligence has risen to the forefront, and children with intuitive gifts may be as many as a fourth of all children. . . .” (introduction to Raising Intuitive Children).

“I have a hunch . . . a feeling . . . a sense.” These are all ways of saying you have an intuition about something. But with the busy lives we are subjected to and in turn impose on our children, intuition is often dulled or drowned out.

“When children listen quietly to what is inside them, they may think of music and poetry. Creating new things will teach them confidence. . . . Children need time and space so they can explore their own abilities to be creative” (Raising Intuitive Children, page 23).

So what are the traits of an intuitive person? Some of them include:

· Shyness

· Creativity

· Reflection

· Sensitivity to people’s moods

· Intelligence

When reading and referring to Raising Intuitive Children, you can use this book as a handbook of ways to identify, help, and encourage a child who may be intuitive. It gives real-life examples of intuitive people and shows how they handled themselves or were hindered or helped by teachers, parents, and instructors.

This book differentiates between a “normal” child and a “gifted” one and explains the unique ways these children respond and situations in which they are the most productive. They include:
· Physical

· Mental-Creative

· Emotional-Social (Empathic Intuitive)

· Intuitive (Psychic)

· Spiritual Intuitive

Once you’ve identified your child’s personality, Chapter Five, “Parenting Styles and the Intuitive Child,” helps parents to understand their own “dominating traits” and suggests ways of better managing their parental reactions. This chapter gives four very specific parenting styles:

· Parents who do and achieve

· Parents who like harmony

· Parents who analyze and think

· Parents who feel and influence

The practical solutions demonstrated are perfect for dealing with your child while using your parenting style to its fullest benefit.

One point I found extremely important and interesting was in Chapter 7, “Intuition in the Tween and Teen Years.” This chapter explains the relationship between violent video games and the impressionable brains of our tween/teen children. If you get nothing else from this book, that alone is worth the read.

In addition, this book will guide you from “Creating an Enriched Environment” (Chapter 10) to providing “Emotional Support for Empathic Intuitives” (Chapter 11) and finishes up with an entire chapter on helping your child “shift states, focus, connect, and meditate.”

With its in-depth yet readable approach, Raising Intuitive Children should be your first step if you even have a hint that your child is “intuitively gifted.”

To find out more information or to purchase a copy of Raising Intuitive Children, visit the website at http://www.raisingintuitivechildren.com/. Books are also available at BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and bookstores.

Sustenance and Hope for Caregivers of Elderly Parents by Gloria G. Barsamian

Fact: The population of 65-year-olds and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years in the United States.

Fact: People age 85 and older now constitute the fastest-growing segment of the US population.

Fact: 50 million people find themselves caring for a family member, relative, or friend.

Thanks to modern medical technology and breakthroughs with vaccines, transplants, and pharmaceuticals, people are living longer. However, there may come a time in everyone’s life when they need some help due to illness or old age. Whether this help comes in the form of a loved one or a staff of trained medical professionals, most folks don’t want to be a burden.

“Parents oftentimes feel guilty for ‘becoming a burden’ on their grown children, and the children in turn feel guilty for feeling unprepared and resentful at having to rearrange their lives.”

Sustenance and Hope for Caregivers of Elderly Parents by Gloria G. Barsamian is a must-read for anyone looking at the possibility or the reality of caring for parents, grandparents, or even a close elderly neighbour. This book gives simple facts and solutions about how to understand, handle, and maintain a positive relationship with the care-receiver without becoming stressed out.

“The benefits of reducing stress are innumerable. With a recharged and stress-free mind, both mind and body will function more effectively. Coping skills will improve. In caregiving as in life, you have a choice—to defeat stress or to let it defeat you” (from Chapter 10, “Anxiety, Stresses, and Strains of Caregiving”).

Each chapter is designed to give better insight into the caregiver/care-receiver relationship. Gloria tells us in her book, “Caregiving takes a community, and no one, not even the care-receiver or caregiver, should be isolated. There should not be a trade-off between quality of life and quality of care. Good care must be actively pursued.”

Sustenance and Hope for Caregivers of Elderly Parents is your first step in “actively pursuing” the help you will need to effectively care for that special someone in your life. Gloria gives actual case studies, diaries, and testimonies from people living through the same emotional and physical challenges of caring for an elderly or ill person. In addition, she gives tips and new insights from patients and their caregivers and doctors, people who have “been there, done that.”

“Each situation of caretaking is unique and reveals to us, if we really listen, its own rules. In caretaking you are doing two jobs: one is taking care of someone else, and the other is taking care of yourself” (from Chapter 9, “Ourselves Rediscovered”).

Sustenance and Hope for Caregivers of Elderly Parents is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and other national retailers.

About the Author

GLORIA G. BARSAMIAN graduated from Boston University and Harvard College. She completed postgraduate work at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and the Boston Family Institute. For 28 years at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center, her primary interest and research focus was intergenerational issues among adult children and elderly parents.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Find Your Courage: 12 Acts for Becoming Fearless at Work and in Life

Courage: 1) the ability to do something that frightens one. 2) strength in the face of pain or grief. 3) act on one’s beliefs despite danger or disapproval

These are the definitions of courage according to my Oxford dictionary. But courage means so much more to many people. It could be simply the act of telling someone you’ve been thinking of them or perhaps just getting out of bed to face another day. The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz took his first steps on the Yellow Brick Road, leading him to the magical Land of Oz and his long-lost courage.

On this journey through life we face many situations that we’ll definitely need a healthy dose of courage to get through. Fortunately, we don’t have to follow a golden path through perilous woods to find our courage. But we do have to take a step or two in the right direction. Author Margie Warrnell’s Find Your Courage: 12 Acts of Becoming Fearless at Work and in Life should be your first step in reclaiming the courage you may have lost, misplaced, or simply failed to obtain along the way.

Ms. Warrnell breaks down courage to its very core and gives us 12 lessons in three stages (Part One: Foundational Acts of Courage, Part Two: Courage in Action, and Part 3: Courage as a Way of Being), placing us on a soul-searching journey to reclaim what is rightfully ours—courage.

Each chapter is designed to make us ask important questions of ourselves and truly seek out the honest and sometimes painful answers. However, Margie gives us hope and encouragement about the less “desirable” qualities we may possess and the “how to’s” of fixing them. These exercises are geared to help you gain better insight into what is holding you back.

Margie uses quotes, light-hearted humour, and down-home charm to encourage and cheer the reader on. I found this book was more like talking to a good friend than a lesson in self-help.

So if you’re ready to take a journey, one that is sure to change your life forever, then grab a journal and your favourite pen and tuck yourself into a cozy spot with Margie Warrell’s Find Your Courage: 12 Acts of Becoming Fearless at Work and in Life. This book will teach you valuable skills and lessons that will last you a lifetime.

Remember, even though your journey may be bumpy, and there may even be a few potholes on the path, “nothing great has ever been accomplished without a lot of falling down and getting back up.”

That’s courage.

Margie Warrell is a certified executive, life coach, professional speaker, syndicated columnist, and published author. For more information, visit http://www.margiewarrell.com/.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Daughter-In-Law Rules

Brides are oftentimes referred to as “blushing.” But do we ever stop to think it may be because her mother-in-law-to-be just said something disparaging to her?

We’ve all heard horror stories of the infamous mother-in-law; just whispering those three small words makes it seem like the words themselves have the power to turn us to stone. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with a terrific MIL (and I’m not just saying that ’cause she’s reading this).

However, for those of you who are embarking on the path to marriage and may be fretting about the perils of what your new life holds for you (i.e. being a good wife, a homemaker, someday a mother, and yes, a daughter-in-law), there’s now a handbook just for you.

The Daughter-In-Law Rules, written by Sally Shields, an award-winning pianist, composer, speaker, author, radio personality, and of course, daughter-in-law, has put together 101 “sure-fire ways to manage (and make friends with) your MIL.”

This book isn’t only filled with practical advice—it’s also light-hearted and just plain funny. From dealing with “The Newly Wed” and “House and Home” to “Her Beloved Son” and “Before and After the Baby,” Sally has rules for any and all circumstances.

This book would make a great addition to any bridal shower gift and, with a little imagination, could even be incorporated into a bridal shower game.

“The Daughter-In-Law Rules can be purchased on Amazon.com (and anywhere else online) as well as at www.theDILRules.com. Check out www.theDILRules.com/specialoffer, and you can receive 101 free bonus gifts from relationship experts and success coaches worldwide just for buying one copy of the book!”

In honour of all daughters-in-law past, present, and future, Families Matter is holding a “Tell Us Your Funniest/Worst/Most Memorable MIL Moment.”

Contest is FREE to enter and runs from September 27 through October 11. Winner will receive a copy of The Daughter-in-Law Rules.

Sally Shields, author of The Daughter-in-Law Rules, is also going to be a guest judge. So come on, gals, you know you want to—get those stories in! And in case you have a truly wicked story about your MIL, we will keep your identity a secret. ;)

Your Rules:

· “DIL Rules Contest” in the subject line

· Entries should be 600 words or less

· Email entries to SFCcontests@StoriesForChildrenMagazine.org

· Deadline is October 11, 2009.

Good Luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mom Juggling it All - Lisaca Shuttleworth



1. Could you tell me what you are juggling (e.g. number of kids, work, school, home, etc.)?

When I was attending college, it was me, my spouse, and one child. While in school I became pregnant, had my daughter, and finished school—missing only two weeks.


2. Why did you decide to further your education? What was the driving force?

I was tired of not making ends meet, even with state financial assistance, and always having to tell my daughter that I couldn’t afford to buy her the toys she wanted. It was truly hard to say “no” to her so often. I worked every job possible from factory worker to housekeeper, and I wanted to find a job where I couldn’t be easily replaced with just any person off the street. I also wanted to show my daughter that you can get what you want in life if you work hard enough. So, my daughter was and is my driving force.

3. What are your aspirations for the next portion of your life? Your career goal?

I currently work with the elderly in an assisted living facility, including residents with dementia. At this moment my goal is to work with hospice patients. I want to make a difference in my life by treating my residents with the respect they truly deserve. I’d like to help make them as comfortable as possible at the end of their lives because everyone deserves respect and an extra bit of care.

4. How do you manage to juggle all the things in your life now?

Managing everything in my life takes lots of patience and deep breaths. You have to learn how to keep work and home separate and spend family time at home no matter how tired you are at the end of the day and no matter how small the interaction. For me that could be playing cards or Barbies, cooking dinner together, or taking a walk.

5. How will you continue to maintain your busy lifestyle after you graduate?

I graduated about a year ago and find myself pretty busy now, though it is easier since I don’t have papers due and can spend what was study time as family time.

6. Anything else you would like to add?

Going back to school is the BEST thing I could ever have done for my future and for my children’s futures. It is something that other moms can do, and I feel Kaplan University helped teach me great study habits and helped me learn how to balance home and school. It all worked out well for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mom Juggling it All - Karrie Jenson

1. Could you tell me what you are juggling (e.g. number of kids, work, school, home, etc.)?

I am juggling everything you can imagine and possibly more. For starters, I have five children: 19, 17, 15, 13, and 11, and I work 48 hours a week as a manager at Arby’s. I also have responsibilities like managing a household, keeping it clean, shopping, and paying bills. On top of it all, I just returned from a year of service in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. My rank after nine years is E6 or Staff Sergeant.

Before I left for Iraq, my days ended at the kitchen table as I helped my children to make sure their homework was finished, which sometimes involved having all of the kids at the table doing homework at once. At the same time, I was doing my own homework. You see, last month I graduated from Kaplan University with a bachelor’s in management.

For pleasure I like to read. Some of my favorite authors are Danielle Steele, V. C. Andrews, J. D. Robb, Nora Roberts, and John Grisham. I also enjoy Dan Brown.

2. Why did you decide to further your education? What was the driving force?

My primary driving force for going back to school was to show my children that if you put your mind to something, work hard, and manage your time, you can succeed and achieve your goals. Second, I set a goal to finish college before I was 40, and I did it! My motivation was to make sure that I was self-sufficient and didn’t have to rely on anyone else to pay my bills.

3. What are your aspirations for the next portion of your life? Your career goal?

My next aspirations are to become an officer in the Army Reserves, become a Director of Human Resources in five years, and obtain my Master’s in Management before I turn 40. I should come pretty close.

4. How do you manage to juggle all the things in your life now?

I use a calendar and a daily planner so I can keep track of my many appointments and commitments. I tend to plan about a month out so I can make sure to schedule a date night with my soon-to-be-husband as well as quality one-on-one time with each of my children.

5. How will you continue to maintain your busy lifestyle after you graduate?

I love to stay busy and make sure I have goals to work toward. I am motivated by knowing that I can do anything I set out to do. My calendar and my planner are my best friends; they make it possible for me to juggle all of my activities and reach my goals.

6. Anything else you would like to add?

I am not a very good runner, but when I have to run for the Army two-mile physical fitness test, I imagine my children cheering for me at the finish line. They’re my best motivation!

In life I find that making a decision to start is great, but making it to the finish line is even better. Sometimes I trip and fall, and there are bumps in the road that need to be navigated differently, but seeing the end result helps me achieve all

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Moms Juggling it All - Risharri Faison


1. Could you tell me what you are juggling (e.g. number of kids, work, school, home, etc.)?

I have three children: 18, 17, and 4 years old, and I work every afternoon. After I get my two older sons to school by 7:30, I have to get my 4-year-old to daycare, and immediately after that I start my own school day studying to become a dental assistant.

2. Why did you decide to further your education? What was the driving force?

Instead of having a job that I do just for the money, I wanted a career doing something that I love to do. My passion is serving children and people with disabilities. I really want to work with children with cleft palates and cleft lips: I want to help people smile. When I receive my dental assistant diploma, I’ll be able to have a fulfilling career.

3. What are your aspirations for the next portion of your life? Your career goal?

My career goal is to become a dental hygienist. Because I would have set hours from 9 to 6 in a dental office, I would be able to spend the evenings and weekends with my kids.

4. How do you manage to juggle all the things in your life now?

I cook meals at night for the next day’s lunch and dinner. I involve my kids with my studying to prepare them for going back to school. When I have a test coming up, I have my teenagers quiz me.

5. How will you continue to maintain your busy lifestyle after you graduate?

The way I have everything set up now is working, so I will just replace school with work and keep my system flowing.

6. Anything else you would like to add?

At the last five jobs I’ve had, as well as at Kaplan Career Institute, I’ve been nicknamed “Smiley.” It makes me feel really good, and I want to spread these good feelings to other people through my work and family.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Moms Juggling it All Week Kicks Off Today!

The days of women “just” being a housewife are almost extinct. Women today are running their own businesses, having the career of their choice, raising children, going back to school, and amid all this craziness, still finding the time to manage a household.

How do they do it?

Based on their personal experiences, four moms tell us what it takes to “juggle it all.”

Our first mom is Virginia Grenier. Here is what she has to say:

“I juggle SFC (Stories for Children Magazine), my personal writing, two kids (a thirteen-year-old and a four-year-old) plus a baby on the way, one little yappie dog named Taz, and a big fat cat named Speedbump that likes to lay across my computer when I’m working. Oh yeah, and the dog likes to hop into my lap at the same time.”

1. Could you tell us a bit of what you do?

Well here’s a quick run-down of what I do. Besides being the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Stories for Children Magazine, I’m also the editor of SFC Newsletter for Writers, a children’s author (Babysitting SugarPaw is my debut picture book), and a freelance editor for Halo Publishing. I also run my own editorial and critique services for writers.

2. What’s a typical day like?

LOL. I’m not sure you really want to know. Let’s see . . . I start my days at about 7 am and end them around 10 pm or 11 pm. In between that time I read emails from the SFC Team and contributors, review submissions, format Stories for Children Magazine and SFC Newsletter for Writers, work on my personal writing, clean my house, do homework with my kids, spend time chatting about our day with my hubby, and anything else you can think of.

3. How do you manage to get everything accomplished?

My calendar. No, really! I have everything written down on my calendar and ticklers (email reminders) in the SFC calendar. This is the only way I stay on track and try not to overlook anything. With so many divisions in SFC and my own personal writing career, it’s very important that I don’t let anything slip through the cracks. I also have a great SFC Team that really helps support me and gets a lot of the big and little projects done I just don’t have time to do. I know I wouldn’t be able to do all that I do today if it wasn’t for all of them.

4. Do you have any time-saving management tips you use and would like to share?

Yes. Make a schedule and do your best to stick to it. What I do first is make a “To Do” list. I then look to see how many things are listed. If there are, say, twelve things listed that need to get done that week, I list the most important things on Monday or the day they need to be done by. I then try to break up the workload among the days of that week so that the work isn’t as overwhelming. So basically with twelve things to do, I would end up with about two things each day I need to get done before I can move to the next two things and so on.
When you see your “To Do” list like this, you realize you can get it all done.

5. How do you like to relax? Or do you?

I do take time to relax, even if it’s only for ten minutes some days. LOL. Getting time for yourself is very important. If you don’t take some time for yourself, you’ll get run-down, and you won’t be at the top of your game each day. I use to sell body products years ago, and I remember one of my bestselling techniques was letting women know they need to take time for themselves even if it was for ten minutes in a bubble bath. Needless to say, I sold lots of bubble baths. LOL.

When I relax, I either watch TV with my hubby and/or kids or read. Sometimes I cook or go visit family and friends. It just depends what the day is like and how active I want to be.

6. What advice can you give other moms?

Take time for yourself. Don’t feel bad about it. You need that time to recharge. Also, break your errands for the week into days. List only two to four errands a day. That way you have time to really spend meaningful time with your kids and do fun activities with them, such as playing a game, reading a book together, or making cookies, just to name a few ideas.

7. Anything else you’d like to share?

I really can’t think of anything else right now. I guess I’m overworked already!

Here are the links for Ms. Grenier:

Founder & Owner, Stories for Children Publishing, LLC
http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/

Editor-in-Chief, Stories for Children Magazine
a division of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC
http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org/

SFC Newsletter for Writers
Voted one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest 2009
http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/SFCNewsletterforWriters.aspxoriesforchildrenpublishing.com/SFCNewsletterforWriters.aspx

VS Grenier, Author Website
http://www.vsgrenier.com/
Babysitting SugarPaw
“Recommend it for children who will have their first babysitter soon and also for someone who is going to be a babysitter for the first time.” ~MommyPR.com

~Motivated Moms~
Moms Helping Moms Work From Home
http://www.motivatedmoms.net/vsgrenier

Friday, September 18, 2009

Emma's Inspirations


“Each year, millions of children face danger and injury because of being left in vehicles unattended.” You may be thinking, “Oh, I’d NEVER do that.” And you wouldn’t—not intentionally, anyway. But it can happen, and it did to one mom.

Barbara (the creator of Emma’s Inspirations) says, “When our daughter Emma was an infant, we m

oved into our new house. As we pulled into the driveway, we all became very excited and quickly left the car to see the house. There was so much to be done that everyone went off in different directions.

“I had assumed that my husband had Emma, and he thought that it was me who had brought her inside. Making the assumption that everything was okay, we all went about moving into our new home. In a sudden moment of panic we realized that our baby girl wasn’t even in the house. Nearly 45 minutes after we had arrived, we rushed to our car for Emma.

“The sun was high in the sky, and it was sweltering in the car. We were very lucky. I thank God that my older son had cracked open the back window on the ride up because he was carsick, or Emma may not have become the vibrant six-year-old she is today!”

This incident was a powerful motivator for the creation of a brand-new product from Emma’s Inspirations: a new car window static-cling decal sticker provides a simple reminder to the driver that a child could still be in the backseat.

Four decals adhere to the inside of the windows facing out. They are designed to be placed on the driver, passenger, and rear door windows. They great for new moms, grandparents, nannies, and babysitters.

Have a pet? Brand-new from Emma’s Inspirations comes the pet decal. Place these on your car to help remind yourself and others that pets can get extremely overheated quickly when left inside a hot car, even if the windows are open a crack.

For more information or to order your own set of decals, visit Emma’s Inspirations at
http://www.emmasinspirations.com/.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No More Spilled On Clothes - eti-Kits


Are you tired of putting fresh clothes on your kids only to have them spilled on after they eat? Napkins are a great idea, in theory, but what good are they if they slip onto the floor?

Well, now there’s a simple solution: eti-kits napkin clips. These simple clips attach to any clothing to secure the napkin in place so it can do its job: catching all those inevitable drips and spills. No more dropped napkins ensures your kids stay clean all through those fancy meals out, fast food on-the-go eating in the car, picnics, and meals at home.

Each package of eti-kits comes with six napkin clips, twelve stickers for the tops of the clips, and a handy Napkin & Dining Etiquette guide to help parents teach and your little ones learn good table manners.

Eti-Kits was developed by Sharyn Kennedy Amoroso, a mom and noted etiquette instructor. For more information on eti-kits or to order a set, check out the website at http://www.eti-kits.com/


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sure Fit Sponsors the Ugliest Futon Contest

The Futon started out as a traditional Japanese bed, which doubled as a seat and was portable enough to stow away when not in use. However, the Futon has come a long way and is no longer just in Japan. It can be found in almost any area of the everyday home, including rec rooms, kids’ playrooms, home offices, dens, and other locations where space is limited. And as any parent of a college student will tell you, nothing makes a better inexpensive addition to the dorm room than the Futon.

Unfortunately, as with any piece of furniture in a busy environment, the Futon is going to receive its fair share of spills, drips, rips, and smudges. But before you scrub your fingers to the bone trying to remove those stains or just give up and throw it out, why not cover it up?

Sure Fit, a home solutions company, has fun- and functional-coloured futon covers that cost between $39.99 and $49.99, making them an inexpensive, easy way to give that old, tired futon new life. These covers are available in a variety of colours and fabrics, including jersey knit, soft suede, woven cotton, and the recently added fleece and cotton duck materials. Plus, they’re machine washable. Check out Sure Fit’s complete line of home fashions at http://www.surefit.net/.

Families Matter has teamed up with Sure Fit for the “Ugliest Futon Contest.” Just send us a jpeg-format picture of your ugly futon, and you could win a brand-new Sure Fit Futon cover of your choice.

Contest runs from September 13th to the 27th.
Send your Ugly Futon picture, name, and email address to: SFCcontests@StoriesforchildrenMagazine.org

Good Luck!

Before Sure Fit
























After Sure Fit

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sid the Science Kid's Wonders of Weather on PBS

He’s the coolest, most inquisitive preschooler around, and “he wants to know everything about everything.” He’s Sid the Science Kid.

With his rambunctious friends Gabriela, May, Gerald, and Teacher Susie, Sid asks questions about everyday things that all young kids wonder about. However, Sid doesn’t just ask questions: he sets out to find the answers by surveying his friends (getting different opinions on the topic), investigating the subject, experimenting, making observations, and finally forming conclusions.

Each episode follows the same basic formula: the first scene begins with Sid at home in his bedroom, pondering a question (e.g. Why does it always rain when you have something planned?). Then he’s off to the kitchen, where his mom, dad, baby brother, and dog are waiting at the breakfast table. Sid then poses his question of the day and, with the help of his family, begins learning.

Sid’s mom sometimes helps out by looking up information on the computer, which incorporates real-life pictures into the storyline. After that, Sid is off to school, and when he arrives (this is my favourite part of each episode), he begins to seek out his friends. This portion of the storyline is like a kid-friendly music video, with singing, dancing, and a funky beat that’s sure to have your tiny tot up and groovin’ right along with them.

In addition to featuring an interesting plot and entertaining characters, each episode includes good, practical activities that you can do at home with your own kids to help reinforce that day’s science lesson, such as using a thermometer, ice cubes, and instant oatmeal to learn about degrees and temperature. Each episode also encourages kids to “observe, compare, and contrast” or “investigate, explore, and discover,” as well as to put pen to paper, or in this case crayon to paper, to help articulate what they’ve learned.

This series is further brought to life with the computer-animated puppetry technology that gives everything on the screen a more rounded and 3D appearance. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first five new episodes of Sid the Science Kid, which is a co-production of the Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles for PBS Kids.

If your kids can’t get enough of Sid, you can go online to http://pbskids.org/sid, which extends the learning through games, jokes, print-outs, and so much more.

Sid the Science Kid's "Wonders of Weather" airs starting September 14th. Check your local listings for times in your area. And be sure to set your Tivo, DVD recorder, or VCR, ’cause your kids are going to want to see this series over and over again.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Family-Friendly Las Vegas?!

When I say Las Vegas, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Casinos, gambling, showgirls? I bet (no pun intended) family-friendly wasn’t one of them.

Las Vegas, like many other resort towns, is starting to become more family-orientated. Sure, there’s still the usual fare of casinos and shows, but for those of us who seek less skin and more family fun, Vegas may be just the place.

New York–New York Hotel & Casino:

Don’t let the name fool you. This hotel has a 67 mph–roller coaster that’s sure to entertain the kids. It takes off from the lobby and wraps around the hotel. It also houses one of the biggest arcades in Las Vegas. But parents, don’t be dismayed: the faux–New York City–style atmosphere is sure to please with the low price of $140.00 a night. In addition, this hotel has a pool, a spa, a fitness center, and internet access, and cribs are available for your littlest tykes.

Location: “The Strip,” $140.00 a night

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino:

Between the giant pool complex and the 1.6 million gallon–shark reef aquarium, the kids are sure to have a blast. After playing in the wave pool or the lazy river pool, the kids can visit real-live sharks, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, rare golden crocodiles, moon jellies, sawfish, and giant rays in the aquarium. For parents, there’s also an adults-only pool and 23 restaurants and bars. The rooms have large bathrooms, internet service, and cribs if needed.

Location: Slightly off “the Strip,” $170.00 a night


Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino:

It’s a Shark Tank in there! The Golden Nugget Hotel has a 200,000 gallon–shark tank that your kids can actually swim through. That’s right. This one-of-a-kind pool has a three-story water slide that propels you around sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and zebra sharks via a transparent tube. And even though this hotel is Classic Old Vegas Style, the “Fremont Street Experience and other downtown casinos are only steps away.” The Golden Nugget will run you $80.00 a night. It has a fitness center and internet access, and cribs are available.

Location: Fremont Street, $80.00 a night
(For more vacation information visit Oyster Hotel reviews at http://www.oyster.com)

So why not consider Las Vegas as a family vacation destination? After all, it’s not just for gamblers anymore.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pop Contest!

You've heard of a POP quiz? Well this is a POP contest.

I have three Ready to Rock Kids CD's and I would love to give them away. First three correct guesses wins one of the CDs.

How to play? I'll make it easy.

Guess a number between 1 and 20. The first three correct answers will get one of the CDs

Rules:

1) ONLY one guess per person
2) Put guess in 'comments' section of this Blog Spot
3) Be sure to check back so I can get the winners email/mailing address'
4) Contest ends when all three numbers have been correctly guessed

Good Luck!

Ready To Rock Kids - CD's

The world is a very different place now than it was when I was a kid. When I was growing up, parents felt safe leaving their children outside playing unsupervised or at the very least unattended while a radio station was blasting in the background.

Today, the music that’s reaching our kids’ ears through television, radio, iPods, computers, and CDs can be questionable at best. Let’s face it: we may not understand the lyrics to those songs, but our kids do. When you hear six-year-olds singing the words to Lady Gaga’s “Ride My Disco Stick,” it’s appalling.

So what’s the solution? Smash all your electronic devices to smithereens? That’s one way. However, Dr. Mac (a.k.a. Don R. MacMannis, Ph.D, a child psychologist, teacher, and award-winning songwriter) has come up with a wonderful alternative that teaches, not preaches.

Ready to Rock Kids CDs are life lessons set to a rockin’ beat with rap tracks and talking tracks to reinforce the song’s subject. Dr. Mac lends his expertise in the field and his voice to each song.

“Kids are different these days,” says Dr. Mac. “Way more mature and musically sophisticated. Even in the four through nine age range, they are attracted to adult and teen music because of its rhythm and quality, but then the lyrics are totally inappropriate. Ready to Rock Kids is a new kind of music for today’s kind of kid.”

Ready to Rock songs have been shown to provide fun, positive learning tools that support kids’ social and emotional development. “There is no more powerful way for children to learn than through music,” says Dr. Mac. “But there’s a big gap between Raffi and the smut-filled lyrics contained in much of today’s rap music.”

Ready to Rock has three separate volumes, with twelve songs on each CD. Themes include bullying, making friends, positive thinking, respecting diversity, expressing and managing feelings, resolving conflicts, communicating with others, and doing your best.

Here’s a sample of what kind of lyrics you can expect to hear on Ready to Rock:

“Talk It Out” (Volume 3)

Instead of how we blame, or turn and walk away,

Instead of calling names, or pretending that it’s all okay.

Instead of how we frown, or make a yucky face

Why don’t we look around and find a magic place, and

Sit down and talk it out.

(chorus) Yeah, sit down and talk it out,

’Cause what’s been missin’ is a little listening,

So come on and talk it out.
So what are you waiting for? Turn off that radio and pop in Ready to Rock Kids.

To learn more about Ready to Rock Kids and Dr. Mac, visit the website at http://drmacmusic.com/.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Practical Grammar Made Quick and Easy

Do you know the difference between a clause and a phrase? How ’bout the proper place to use a semicolon or an apostrophe?

If you’re like me you probably don’t remember most of those grammar classes in grade school. Fortunately, I have a copyeditor to fix my grammatical mishaps, but for the average person, these common writing skills could probably use some work.

My Dog Bites the English Teacher by Marian Anders is a fun new way to learn practical grammar. From finding the subject and verb in a sentence to using proper punctuation, this book will be your guide to writing better résumés, papers, and letters or even just understanding the grammar homework your kids bring to the table.

This book breaks down grammar to the basics and gives the reader what Anders calls “practical grammar.” It teaches people what they need to know while avoiding unnecessary information.

According to Anders, learning to write correctly is like learning to drive a car. It’s a necessary skill that people need to learn. But you don’t need to learn how to rebuild a transmission or even know what a transmission is in order to be a safe and capable driver. And you don’t need to know the intricacies of traditional grammar to write well. “As long as your sentences are correct,” Anders says, “who cares if you don’t know the difference between a direct object and an indirect object?” (though this book will teach that, too, if you choose to read on)

“Many people will say that they don’t like grammar and don’t understand it,” says Anders. “We need a new way of learning grammar that is quick, easy and logical so that adults and students can fix the mistakes in their writing without driving themselves crazy.”

So if you’re tired of being grammatically challenged, then My Dog Bites the English Teacher is your one-stop-shop. It’s available in bookstores nationwide and online.

About the Author

Marian Anders has taught English literature, grammar, and composition to college students for the past twenty years. She developed her practical grammar teaching method to make English easier and less miserable for her students. She served as the English department chair at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington, and currently teaches at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also co-authored the book Step-by-Step: Teaching Grammar the Easy Way with Stefan Anders.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wrapped Chicken Caesar

Wanna keep your chicken Caesar salad “under wraps”?
Nestle it inside a tomato tortilla for a great-looking lunch.

Get It Together: sharp knife, cutting board, medium bowl, dry measures, measuring spoons, mixing spoons, dinner plate

* Chopped or torn romaine lettuce, 1 cup 250 mL
lightly packed
* Chopped cooked chicken 1/2 cup 125 mL
* Caesar dressing 2 tsp. 10 mL

* Tomato-flavoured flour tortilla x 2
(9 inch, 22 cm, diameter)

1. Put the lettuce into the bowl. Add the chicken and dressing. Toss well.

2. Place the tortilla on the plate. Spoon the chicken mixture in a horizontal line along the middle of the tortilla. Fold the sides over the filling. Roll up from the bottom to enclose the filling inside. Serves 1.

1 serving: 397 Calories; 14.9 g Total Fat (3.7 g Mono, 3 g Poly, 3 g Sat); 66 mg Cholesterol; 37 g Carbohydrate; 3 g Fibre; 27 g Protein; 471 mg Sodium

Tip: Wrap it the way you like it! Instead of chicken, use beef or salmon. Instead of a tomato tortilla, use a spinach or whole wheat tortilla.

Reprinted from Kids’ Healthy Cooking © Company's Coming Publishing Limited
http://www.companyscoming.com/


Try them out and let us know what you think :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wholesome Dolls for 'Tween Girls

With the world becoming more and more image-conscious, what message are we sending to our tween girls? From the “idealized” images on television and commercials to the advertising in magazines and on billboards, young girls are constantly being shown what society believes they should strive to look like. Even the still–ever-popular Barbie and the new generation “Bratz” dolls are giving our young, impressionable tween girls a false sense of what beauty is.

Well, look out, ’cause there’s a new club in town. The Only Hearts Club (http://www.onlyheartsclub.com/) is a group of bright, cute, energetic girls with whom the “everyday” tween girl can identify. These are not merely dolls to play with but wholesome role models for young girls. The Only Hearts Club girls are fully pose-able dolls that “dress like real girls” and “listen to their hearts and do the right thing.”

There’s a doll designed for every young, budding personality. Let’s meet the girls, shall we?

· Briana Joy is a star athlete. She is bright, energetic, and competitive.




· Taylor Angelique is an animal lover and has smarts and a quick wit, making her the life of the party.




Olivia Hope is brave and patient and has a passion for horseback riding.




· Karina Grace is ambitious, dedicated, and confident and loves to sing and dance.


· Lily Rose is caring and gentle and is most at home outdoors surrounded by nature.



· Anna Sophia is creative, eager, and curious. She is a cooking and baking wizard.

· Kayla Ray is creative, artistic, and modest. She likes to write and create cool fashions.

Hannah Faith is a bit shy and quiet. She likes to skate and perform gymnastics.

In addition to these great dolls, the Only Hearts Club also has a series of books featuring stories about each one of the Only Hearts Girls. These books take your tween reader on an adventure with each specific girl, who faces a dilemma and has to decide for herself to follow the pledge of the Only Hearts Club—to listen to her heart and do the right thing.

The Only Hearts Club also has accessories available, including Sleepover with Friends, Dreams Can Come True, Horsing Around, Dance Your Heart Out, Surf’s Up, Start the Show, and now the new So Small Velcro pawed pets.

Plus, compared to the Bratz and Barbie dolls, the Only Hearts Club dolls are relatively less expensive, which will put a smile on any parent’s face.

To check out the Only Hearts Club dolls and accessories or to join the Only Hearts Club, visit the website at http://www.onlyheartsclub.com.

PLEASE NOTE

*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.