Monday, May 31, 2010

Stanley Bookman Monthly Tips for June

I’ve come to share with you tips on how to become better readers, and have you help me spread the word about special events, such as Father’s Day!

Did you know the National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City in 1926? A Joint Resolution of Congress recognized Father's Day in 1956. In 1966, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day, to be held on the third Sunday of June.

Reading Tip:
Parents are so important in helping their children get ready to read. Children learn when they are in a good mood and learn best by doing things they love. Take every chance you have to read with your child. They love doing things with you. By telling, reading, saying nursery rhymes, and singing songs together, you will both discover the wonderful World of Ink.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wooden Pull Toys - How Children and Toddlers Can Benefit From Their Use

By: Ian Harris

Toys have always had an important role in contributing to children's development where they are used to practice and learn about the skills that are needed in adulthood. Toddlers and pre-school children start to develop their physical, mental and social skills and abilities through childhood play. Some traditional styles of toy like pull along toys are still made and played with by children today.

Pull toys are available in many different styles and designs. The most durable of pull toys are generally made from wood and are often designed along the lines of animals such as dogs and cows or even jungle animals like a giraffe or alligator. Pull toys can also come in the guise of transport like cars, trains and planes. A pull along would normally consist of a string attached to the front of the toy which is mounted on a set of wheels. The string is held by the toddler and the pull along rolls behind the child as they walk along.

A toddler can still benefit from playing with a wooden pull toy even if they are still unable to walk properly. Some pull along toys have a detachable string which make them safe for younger toddlers when removed and kept away from the child by an adult. A pull along often has additional moving parts as well as its' wheels. These moving parts can be explored and can aide the development of fine motor skills as a child turns the wheels or flexes the moving body parts.

By the age of 18 months plus most toddlers can walk quite well. At this age, a child's pull toy can start to be used, as it was, intended to be and can be a lot of fun for a child. The pull along will help them to develop balance and coordination as they take their new friend on various trips. There is also wooden push along toys available, which normally consists of the wheeled toy, but instead of a string there is a wooden handle attached that allows it to be pushed rather than pulled. Sometimes a baby that is turning into a young toddler may find a push toy easier to cope with depending on ability.

By the age of two a child will start to develop many newly found skills quickly, this will including; running, hopping, walking backwards, as well as starting to communicate coherently and talk. A pull toy comes into its' own at this age. A child will start to move the pull along toy in different ways be it walking forwards, backwards or moving in a circle whilst watching the toy follow them obediently. Role-play can develop with the pull or push along toy becoming a new friend, baby or make believe pet. As a toddler reaches pre-school age wooden pull along toys will start to become outgrown but may fulfill a role as a social toy where a child's friends are involved and the toys are taken for pretend walks by their owners, or races are held, as pretend play and make believe becomes more important to them.

In summary, push along and pull along toys can be used by toddlers and children for a number of years as they grow and develop providing many educational bonuses and great fun along the way.

About The Author
Ian Harris writes about wooden toys, their educational benefits and play value for babies, toddlers and children.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ideas for Family Summer Beach Vacations

By: Evvie Meier

With summer quickly approaching, many sun-starved travelers are enthusiastically planning their favorite beach vacations. For travelers who crave the white sand and ocean breezes but dread the crowds and hassle of popular beaches, skip the busy beach areas and head to a quieter beach without the crowds.

Old Stand-By: Myrtle Beach, S.C.; New Destination: Topsail Beach

East coasters looking for some peaceful fun in the sun can trade-in the chaotic Myrtle Beach for the laid back Topsail Beach. Located approximately 45 minutes north of Wilmington, this North Carolina beach is a quiet island peppered with rental homes, condos, and motels.

Old Stand-By: South Beach, Florida; New Destination: Jensen Beach

While many beach-goers are drawn to Miami’s bustling beaches, travelers looking for a quieter Florida beach should head to Jensen Beach. Located two hours north of Miami, Jensen beach offers the sun, surfing and swimming that beachgoers expect from Florida, but without the hassle of busy crowds

Old Stand-By: Dewey Beach, Delaware; New Destination: Delaware Seashore State Park

Located South of Dewey, Delaware’s Seashore State Park provides a six-mile stretch of uncrowned beaches. The Seashore State Park offers beachgoers hours of relaxing time in the sun, as well as opportunities for fishing, boating, and surfing.

Old Stand-By: Long Beach, California; New Destination: El Segundo Beach

For west coast beach lovers, El Segundo Beach offers a pleasant respite from the more popular beaches, like Long Beach. This uncrowded California beach offers miles of Pacific oceanfront beach, paved trails, nearby piers, and downtown El Segundo is just a mile away.

About The Author
Evvie Meier is the marketing director of, the leading travel meta-search engine, aggregating cheap airfare and hotel rates from across hundreds of travel sources. Find details at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The History of D.A.R.E.

By: Sarah Michaels

For parents who fear that their son or daughter could wind up experimenting with drugs and end up going down a path that leads to a rehab center or worse, it helps to know that there are programs in our public schools dedicated to educating our children about the dangers of substance abuse. One of the most well known programs in this vein is Drug Abuse Resistance Education, more commonly known to the populace as D.A.R.E. The goal is providing kids with the information that they need to make smart decisions, hopefully eliminating the need for a drug rehab program in the future.

D.A.R.E. was founded almost thirty years ago, back in 1983. At the time, the biggest issue faced by the LAPD was narcotic-related crimes. Los Angeles Police chief Darryl Gates, along with Glenn Levant, believed that the best way to reduce the effect of drug dependency on the nation was not through a rehab program solution, but preparing the next generation to resist the lure. It was decided that police officers in uniform would be the best choice for delivering this message, both due to their experience dealing with drug-related crime and their position as figures of authority.

While D.A.R.E. has not eliminated the need for drug and alcohol rehab, there are many who believe that the program has had a positive impact. The Federal Government recognized this; The Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 resulted in funding for D.A.R.E. programs across the United States. 26 million children in the United States are involved in the program. While there is debate if D.A.R.E. is actually efficient in reducing the likelihood of substance abuse and drug rehab visits, the program is constantly looking to improve the delivery of their message. The websites and receive approximately 12 million visitors a month.

Of course, school programs can only do so much to deliver a message to kids who might not want to hear it. Be sure to talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use at home as well. Hopefully, an addiction treatment program will not be in their future.

About The Author
Sarah Michaels is the General Manager at It is easy to donate your unwanted car or vehicle and help children in need. Cirque Lodge is a drug rehab and addiction treatment facility located in Sundance, UT.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stanley Bookman Book Reviews-May2010

I really enjoyed this past weekend. I not only read one great book, but two. Both books are culture based making them even more enjoyable than a regular picture book. I hope you will enjoy these books as well.

Ballroom Bonanza

By: Nina Rycroft and Stephen Harris

Illustrated by: Nina Rycroft

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8842-2

What child doesn’t love a good party? In Ballroom Bonanza: A hidden picture ABC book, readers will have a front row seat of the most amazing animal dance contest. In this, delightful picture book animals from all around the globe gather in the famous Tower Ballroom. Will it be the flamingos dancing the flamenco? Or maybe the penguins doing the polka? I personally loved the rhinos doing the rumba. But there is more to this dance contest and party. The monkeys did not just come to dance; they also came to fool around. They have taken the bands twenty-six instruments and hid them throughout the pages of this alphabet and counting book.

Filled with vibrant art, lovable characters, and no stop fun, Ballroom Bonanza is a great book that challenges children to think on their feet. From learning the alphabet with each animal dance group, counting to identify the various musical instruments hidden on each page, and learning about different dances throughout the globe, this interactive book is one kids will enjoy both in the classroom and at home.

My Friend Maya Loves to Dance

By: Cheryl Willis Hudson

Illustrated by: Eric Velasquez

Published by: Abrams Books for Younger Readers, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8328-1

Maya loves to dance from her dance class to the mall. She is always on her feet moving to the music of the world around her. In this clever picture book, My Friend Maya Loves to Dance children will learn about different dance styles and genres of music. Maya revels the rhythm, movement, and costumes, the grand entrances, the pirouettes, and of course, the final bow. But of the narrator, Maya’s Friend telling the story? Children will learn about true friendship as the narrator shares the magic of dance through her friend Maya.

The pages dance not only with different dance steps, but also with vibrant color thanks to the vivid illustrations by Eric Velasquez. Cheryl Willis Hudson also moves the story along with a rythematic beat. Children and parents will enjoy reading this picture book together.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Keeping Up With the Neighbors

By: Jamie Lyons

All too often today, we are seeing people buying things just to keep up with their neighbors. Curtains twitching seeing the latest purchase from the neighbors and then going out there and getting something bigger and better. This then spirals out of control and before you know it, you are in debt up to your eyeballs. Does this sound familiar? That is because this is happening all of the time. You may not be keeping up with your neighbors purchases but until just, lately credit has been excessively easy to obtain and as a result, people have been spending as if it has been going out of fashion.

It may be nice to have the latest car or newest kitchen but when it comes to paying for it all it is a completely different story. People have been losing their houses going bankruptcy, resorting to IVAs just to keep their heads above water.

The question is, now that you are in all of this debt what can you do to get debt help and stop you worrying over your money problems? The simple answer is not to live beyond your means and only spend what you can afford.

People often resort to consolidating all of their debts with an interest free credit card. This is fine if you are strict enough to leave it at that and put a plan together to pay off that credit card bill before the interest free period runs out. Credit card companies however are not stupid, will usually charge you a percentage for transferring your balance, thus adding to your debt, and will no doubt offer you an interest free period on all purchases with your new card for a specified period. To somebody who has already built up a lot of debt this is in most cases too much of a temptation, so rather than lessening their debt they are actually adding to it. Credit card consolidation is one way of sorting your debts out but only if you are a saint and can keep to the repayments until the balance is cleared.

A more realistic solution is to get in touch with a professional debt management company. There are lots of them out there and all you have to do is type 'debt management help', 'debt consolidation help' or something similar into a search engine and you will be greeted with hundreds of results. The question is who to choose? As with everything in life, it pays to do your research. Look for companies who offer debt management plans, debt consolidation loans. Most of the companies offer free initial advice and can help you do what you have wanted to for a long long time. By putting you on a strict debt management plan, you will get out of debt in the quickest and most beneficial way to suit your circumstances.

About The Author

Written by Jamie Lyons for DHFS- experts in debt consolidation help

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cheap Cooking Tips

By: Tash Hughes

When you are operating on a budget, every cent can be important. It is not easy to make a little money go very far, but we all need to eat to survive and to enjoy life.

Enjoyable food does not have to be caviar, champagne and gourmet; as long as it is fresh and full of flavor, food can add pleasure to even the tightest budget.

Here are some simple tips for eating well on a budget:

1. Splash out and buy a few herbs and garlic. You can add a lot of flavor and interest to any meal by adding a pinch of herbs or a clove of garlic rather than adding commercial sauces or frying the food.

2. Visit your butcher towards the end of trade, especially the end of trade before a weekend, as they often reduce prices to sell things quickly. This also applies to green grocers and bakeries.

3. Buy in bulk for non-perishables such as tinned tomatoes, oil, vinegar and pasta – but check that the bulk price really is less than the usual price.

4. Grab opportunities. For instance, if you see a box of tomatoes very cheap take them home and make huge batches of pasta sauce to freeze for later use. If you make chutney, jam or preserves this can be a very effective way of eating delicious food for less.

5. Learn to cook only the amount needed or be sure to use leftovers otherwise you are wasting money when you throw out the uneaten portions.

6. You may be surprised to find that homemade soups are quick and easy to make, fill you up and cost less than a take away meal would. Try some chicken stock, water and a tin of creamed corn, or boil some bacon bones and split peas. It really is that simple!

7. Use every part of the food that you can. For instance, keep all chicken bones and then boil them up to make chicken stock. You can add onions and other vegetables as you make stock, but you do not have to. Once made, the stock can be used as chicken soup or form the base of other soups and casseroles. Chicken stock adds a lot of flavor to dishes and this homemade stock is much cheaper than stock powders and the like.

8. Grow some herbs and veggies in the garden or pots. The result is fresh and tasty food that costs practically nothing, yum!

9. Buy generic products instead of branded ones, and shop around. Some generic items will not suit your taste so it is then worth paying more for another brand – it is not a saving if you buy the cheaper item and do not eat it.

10. Look out for discount shops and discount racks in major stores. You will often find perfectly good food here that is close to the use by date so they want to sell them quickly. As long as you use the product soon, you will not notice the difference between it and an unreduced item. Remember that the use by date is actually a guide so many foods are fine for a period beyond those dates anyway.

11. Be willing to experiment. Use a little imagination, some left overs and herbs to create some great meals. If you have a collection of left overs, serve them up like a smorgasbord and enjoy the variety!

12. Find some simple recipes that you are happy to eat once a week or so, even if they are a bit less exciting. One very cheap meal a week may allow for one delicious not-so-cheap meal a week, too. Noodles with some veggies, scrambled eggs with tomato, spaghetti with yoghurt and garlic, toasted cheese sandwiches and baked potatoes with cheese and ham on top are some basics you can fall back on.

Bio: Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stray Cats and Feral Cats

I do not know about where you live, but our local animal shelter is really good about sending tips to our neighborhood. Just the other day when opening my water bill I found inside a great little tip about stray and feral cats from Robin Kirker, our shelter manager.

With the warm weather settling in, it is no wonder Robin sent out this tip. I have seen more cats round my house lately. Some I know belong to my fellow neighbors. Others . . . I have not seen before, but how am I to know or my children if these cats are safe to be around. And in most cases . . . for children to pet.

Well Robin’s tips really helped. She first explained the difference between a stray and feral cat. You see, a feral cat is born and raised in the wild, or was abandoned and reverted to the wild ways of cat living to survive. Some feral cats will tolerate human contact, but most are too afraid to be handled, so do not try. A stray cat on the other hand is someone’s pet that has become lost or sometimes abandoned. They still crave for human contact and are usually tame. The best way to tell if a cat is a stray or a feral cat is to make eye contact. In general, a feral cat will not hold the gaze and keep their distance from you.

Robin went on to say one of the questions she answers the most is, “How do I keep feral or stray cats out of my yard?” She gave us some great tips. First, she said there are several types of harmless cat repellents available from sprays to motion-activated sprinklers. You can even get an ultrasonic animal repellent to help keep cats out of your yards. The biggest thing is to make sure your product is nontoxic to animals and children. You can research a product online and find other solutions to help with the cats roaming your neighborhood, but here are a few I found.

The Cat Stop Cat Repellent is an effective way to deter cats from your yard, garden, cars, or any outdoor area you do not want them. This ultrasonic repellent has been voted the number one cat repellent on the market. You can read more about it at

Another product on the market is Shake-Away a natural cat repellant. It will help you rid your yard and gardens of cats naturally, safely and easily. You can find out more about this product at

Lastly, I came across this site, which not only shares some more tips, but a great online store, too. Check out

The problem with stray and feral cats could be avoided by being a responsible animal owner. One thing a cat owner should do is make sure their cat wears a collar with identification. Also, having your cats spayed and neutered will help keep the problem of stray and feral cats to a minimum. Most cities and neighborhoods have ordinances in place for animals and if your cat wonders into your neighbor’s yard … you could be cited. So make sure you check out these ordinances for your area.

Another thing you should take in to a count is your cat could be caught in a trap and taken to an animal shelter where you will have to pay an impound fee before they are returned to you. So, please be a good neighbor and confine your cat to your house and yard.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May Saftey Tip: Young Children and the Road

It’s every parent’s nightmare – a child getting away from you and running in front of a car.

In 2001, 36 children (0 – 16 years of age) were killed as pedestrians on Australian roads. Although the group of 11 – 16 year olds is the group most at risk, younger children also need to be protected.

A little girl I know was recently lost this way, and it is too horrible to risk it happening again to another child. Children will always be children, but there are ways we can minimise such risks to them.

Why do Children Need Adult Supervision at Roads?

Children are small and not always visible to drivers, especially in busy traffic or bad conditions. They don’t understand that cars may not see them just because they can see the car.

Until they are at least eight, children have trouble judging details such as a car’s speed, how far away a car really is and which direction a sound is coming from. They also register their observations differently to adults and don’t fully understand what safety is.

Youngsters also have short attention spans and are easily distracted. They focus on what they deem to be important and can act unpredictably, even in repeat situations.

It is also important to remember that children may know the theories and be able to recite the rules long before they can actually carry them out reliably. There is no magic point at which children become ‘safe’ from road dangers; but those under eight should never be crossing roads alone.

What can adults do?

The single most important act parents and carers can do in terms of child safety is set a perfect example. Make sure you always stop and look, use crossings whenever possible, walk, choose safe places, and so on. Children will copy what they see you regularly do, so make it something worth copying.

Physical restraint is the obvious adult behaviour. When walking alongside roads, no matter how quiet the road appears to be, either hold the child, have the child hold you, keep tension on the reins and/or strap toddlers into the stroller.

When walking with children, keep them on the inside of the path – that is, stay between them and the road. If there is no path, walk on the right hand verge.

Ensure that children stay close to you – running ahead means you have no control when cars reverse out of driveways and the like.

Always put children in and out of cars on the side away from any traffic. If you have more than one child with you, set the rule that children must be touching the car at all times. Thus, the children not actually in the car will be close and not running into danger.

What do I teach my preschool child?

It is important to teach children road safety as soon as possible. Obviously, it will take time before all rules are learned and supervision can be eased, but starting early offers the best protection.

Hopefully, your preschooler knows where the kerb is and to never step over it without an adult’s assistance. Repeat “the road is for traffic and the pavement is for people.” It seems obvious, but a child can’t avoid roads and cars unless they know what a road is.

Train children to always stop at the kerb. This could save a life when the child runs off from a park or house out of adult reach.

The use of “Stop” and “go” will give you control over the child’s behaviour such that you can react instantly to circumstances. Introducing the words and concept of “Stop, Look, Listen, Think” begins the formal road safety process.

Talking to children at every opportunity is also important. Tell them why you are following the steps of the safety routine. For instance, “Stop here. We must check it is safe first,” “Can you hear any cars coming?” or “I can’t see any cars moving here; do you think it is safe?”

Explain the road rules and signs as you apply them, including the use of indicators, round-abouts and one-way streets. As this information sinks in, the children will have more skills for anticipating what cars will do. Constant mentions of safety and repetition of the details will make the ideas easier for the child to remember.

Children will respond better to the road rules if they have an understanding of why the rules are in place.

Give children the chance to practise safety rules. Let them chose a safe place to cross or confirm that no cars are coming – praise correct choices and explain the problem with any unsafe choices they make. Doing is a more effective teacher than listening.

Important Rules for Children

For preschoolers, the main rule should be “Never step onto a road without an adult.” The other rules still need to be told to preschoolers to ready them for later stages.

o Stay on paths and don’t wonder onto the road
o Walk on the inside of the path, not alongside the road
o If there is no path, walk on the right side of the road. Make sure it is in single file around bends, in the dark or during heavy traffic.
o Be seen – use bright colours in the day and reflective or white clothing after dark.
o Remember to be careful crossing cyclist lanes as well – bikes are fast but quiet.
o Look for a safe place to cross – not from between parked cars.
o Follow instructions (e.g. pedestrian lights) regardless of what other people may do.
o Consider traffic islands to break the road into two crossings.
o Stay alert – keep looking and listening even when you are crossing the road.

Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses in preparing all written documentation and web site content. Tash also writes parenting and business articles for inclusion in newsletter and web sites.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Meet Illustrator Chad Thompson

As a young boy, Chad’s grandfather sat him down at the kitchen table and taught him how to draw cartoons. Chad never forgot those early lessons!

His love of drawing led him to the Columbus College of Art and Design. After graduation, he had the great fortune of getting a job with the Walt Disney Feature Animation Studio in Florida. For the next seven years, he worked on animated movies such as Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear.

After the studio’s closure in 2004, he continued to work in animation for smaller studios in Orlando. Chad currently works as an illustrator and designer for a wide variety of clients.

What inspires you as you begin a new project?

I work with many first-time authors and their enthusiasm inspires me. They are always very passionate about their stories and characters and I feel I need to match their excitement in order to do their book justice.

Was there a person from your childhood who encouraged you to pursue your artistic talent?

I have vivid memories of my grandpa sitting with me at the kitchen table doodling cartoons when I was in elementary school. He would draw a silly face, and then give me the paper to draw the same face next to it.

What was the best piece of advice you received when you started your career as an illustrator?

More than one person stressed patience. One of my instructors at CCAD (Columbus College of Art and Design) would tell us to expect enough rejection letters to wallpaper our offices.

Who are some of your favorite children's illustrators?

My favorite has always been Chris Van Allsburg. His technique is beautiful. I can stare at his illustrations for hours.

Please describe your path to success in becoming an artist. Where there any particular obstacles you needed to overcome? How long have you been working as a freelance artist and illustrator?

When I graduated from CCAD in 1997, I moved to Orlando to work as a clean-up animator with Walt Disney Feature Animation. I was there for seven years and worked on films such as Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear. In 2004, the Orlando studio closed and all production is now done exclusively in Burbank.

That was quite a shock, but we were fortunate enough to have a few months’ warning, enough time for me to send my illustration portfolio around and build up my client list. I have worked from my home office as an illustrator since that time.

Do you have a favorite medium or style?

I now work digitally. I still do my thumbnails and sketches on paper, but I scan those and then ink and color them in Photoshop. I work pretty fast and this technique is great for those quick deadlines I always seem to getJ. I keep telling myself to find some time to get out the watercolors again. One of these days, I will.

How long does it take to illustrate a picture book?

On average, a book takes a couple of months.

Please describe the collaboration involved between you, the publisher, and the author.

The publisher will contact me to check availability and discuss the project, the timeline, contract, etc. Once we begin, I will do a round of sketches that go to both the publisher/art director and the author. I will usually do a second round of sketches, based on everyone’s thought and concerns. After that, I will ink the illustrations digitally and send them around again, and do the same with the finals in color.

Do you conduct school visits? If so, how do you structure a typical visit?

I have not yet.

Are you normally hired directly by the author or the publishing house?

I like to send postcard samples to publishers a few times a year. They do the hiring and pair up the author and illustrator based on the story and the style they think suits it best.

Books Illustrated by

Chad Thompson:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Make Mommy A Flower Vase and Card!

By: Gayle Jacobson-Huset

Mother's Day is almost here!

WHAT? No gift for Mother Dear?

Don't you worry, don't be sad

My craft idea will make you glad!

What You Need:

  • 1 empty YOPLAIT YOGURT plastic container – 4 oz size
  • Gift wrap
  • Glue or Scotch tape
  • Scissors (Adult supervision recommended)
  • Popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners
  • Construction paper
  • Markers

Instructions as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Take wrapping paper and cut it to fit around Yoplait container.
  2. Glue or tape paper in place.
  3. Tuck paper in open top after wrapping the container in gift-wrap.
  4. Cut out large flowers from wrapping paper.
  5. Glue or tape the flowers on top of Popsicle stick.
  6. Take a piece of construction paper and fold in half to make Mommy’s card.
  7. Cut matching flowers and designs out of wrapping paper and glue or tape on card.
  8. Write a message inside using markers.

Give this beautiful flower vase and card to Mommy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stanley Bookman Monthly Tips for May

Hi! Tyke and I would like to share with you tips on how to become better readers and have you help us spread the word about special events like Mother’s Day!

Did you know Mother’s Day started in Europe to celebrate the Goddess of Life or Kings of countries? Yep. It was not until the 1600s when Mother’s Day started to include “real” Mothers. They also celebrated Mother’s Day in March not May.

However, the United States made Mother’s Day a national holiday in May instead of March. It all started with a young woman named Anna Jarvis. She celebrated the first Mother’s Day in 1907. She wanted a special day, along with her sister, to celebrate their mother. A year later, the two sisters decided to organize a celebration on May 10th with over 407 children and their mothers. The celebration took place at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia.

In 1910, the state of West Virginia officially recognized Mother’s Day as a holiday. But it was not until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day would be a national holiday on the second Sunday of May did the United States start celebrating their mothers.

So don’t forget to give your mom a big hug on May 9th and let her know how much you love her.

Stanley's Reading Tip:

Reading as a family makes a difference in how ready young children are to learn to read. There is a method many storytellers use, but it does not work with rhyming books or alphabet books. So next time you sit down to read, give this method a try:

Choose a book your child already knows. Ask questions such as, "What is this?" or "What is happening here?"

Have your child tell you what they see on each page. Repeat what your child says and expand upon it.

And remember to always praise and encourage your child to use their imagination in the World of Ink.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Family Weekend Getway Ideas!

Planning a family weekend getaway can be more of a challenge than most parents want to admit. Even though there are several factors to consider, getting away for the weekend is a great way for the family to bond.

Some families enjoy spending their weekends by the pool, while others will prefer to go on tours, or to explore an area near where they live. No matter what your family’s interests are, you will need to thing about accommodations. Here is a question to ask the whole family when planning your getaway: “Do we want to be able to prepare some of our meals or will we eat out while on vacation?”

If you live in Southern California or planning a trip, San Diego is a fun and inexpensive weekend getaway. You can visit the San Diego zoo or Wild Animal Park. Both have many fun kid-friendly activities. If you have a bit money you can spend, then I suggest staying at the Hotel del Coronado which has a sandy beach, kid's programs and many family-friendly activities, ranging from Bocce Ball to Ping Pong.

If you happen to live in sunny Florida or are heading there for the weekend, many full-service resorts like Doral, the Breakers, and the Turnberry Isle Resort offer beautiful pools, water-based activities, golf and spas. What a great way to combine a family weekend getaway with relaxing at the spa and getting a round or two of golf in.

On the East Coast, head to the Sagamore on Lake George where weekend activities include fishing, swimming in the lake, sailing, golf and pampering at the spa.

If your family likes to explore a big city, head to New York City where hotels are offering some great deals on weekend stays. The Peninsula New York has a spa where you can unwind after a day out among the busy streets. You can even visit the Museum of Natural History, see a show at the Planetarium, and play in Central Park. These are great ways to keep the vacation fun, but low cost, too.

With the economy, the way it is right now … everybody enjoys finding a special. There are many deals on the internet for family vacation packages and many of them have fun activity ideas, too! Be smart and look at all your options before booking anything.


*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.