• Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

    My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]

  • Today I am on the Front Page of The Boston Globe

    Today I am on the front page of The Boston Globe for the past week of posts that I wrote on my microblog, I Love Newton, about the anti-Asian racism in the local high school musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. School play’s stereotypes bring outcry and apology. “Millie” touches nerve in Newton by Ellen Ishkanian, Globe […]

  • Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

    I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

    I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my  Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]

  • Best Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd and 3rd Grade

    Best books for beginning readers from my library. This list is perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade.

  • How To: Create a Great Kids’ Book Club (Activity and Book Suggestions)

    Some ideas on how to set up a book club for your child with examples of successful book club meetings.

  • Top 10: Best Dragon Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

    The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books to young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!

  • Best Science Apps for Kids (ages 4-21)

    I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.

  • Newbery Winners by Grade Appropriateness!

    Thank you to Hubpages for this information. There are additional book suggestions by grade if click here to see their post. I have added an asterisk to the books that I’ve read and loved (and two astericks for must reads!).

  • Best Picture Books That Teach Math Concepts

    Picture books can be a visual and fun way to introduce math concepts. I think it makes math less intimidating when it’s part of a story. For those kids who love math, it’s another way to eat it up!

Thankful turkey pinecone craft for kids

Happy Thanksgiving with Recipes and Crafts for Kids

Thanksgiving Marinated Prime Rib Recipe

Is this blasphemy? We are not roasting a turkey this year. I am the only one who likes it so we are doing a marinated rib roast from an old Gourmet LA cook book instead. Alas, the cookbook is out of print and no where to be found. You’ll need to marinade the roast and let the Yorkshire pudding batter chill overnight, so please plan accordingly. Read more…

The Thankful Book, 21 Days of Gratitude

Teaching Gratitude to Kids with Thanksgiving Books

I am thankful to be part of the 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge. It’s a great time to reflect and be thankful for the little things in life. This holiday season, we are thankful for books. They entertain us, teach us and take us new places. We are also thankful for our good health, electricity during Hurricane Sandy, our cozy bed and bedtime stories. (And that soccer season is over! That’s a selfish one for me and my husband!).

The Thankful Book, 21 Days of Gratitude

 

 

Thanksgiving Books for Kids and Being Thankful

Todd Parr has a natural talent for taking a subject that might be difficult to articulate to a child and making it a comfortable and colorful conversation. I remember when my oldest started Kindergarten and her classmate had two moms which prompted a multitude of questions. One of the moms, of the two mom family, suggested Todd Parr’s book It’s OK to Be Different. We bought a copy and found that it also spoke to us.

Read more…

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About The Mayflower

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About The Mayflower

The first stop for the third grade field trip  to Plimoth Plantation on a wet and dreary day was the Mayflower II.  It’s a replica of the Mayflower ship that the Pilgrims sailed on. We also learned about the life for Pilgrims and Native Americans.

photo (10)

Here’s a model boat version of the Mayflower at Plimoth Plantation. Read more…

The Science of Japanese Ramune Soda for Kids

Science of Japanese Ramune Soda for Kids

My kids discovered the Japanese Ramune soda recently. It was a discovery PickyKidPix made while eating at a Japanese restaurant with her friend. She was determined to hunt them down and we found them at our local Chinese grocery store.

ramune japanese soda and history of codd neck bottle

While the flavors of the Ramune sodas seem overly sweet and subtle to me, my kids seem to like them. I think it’s possibly the cool bottle design though. There is a marble in the neck that you have to push down into the bottle using a plastic piece. Sometimes it’s hard to push that sucker down!codd neck bottle and ramune japanese soda
Read more…

My Best Energy Saving Idea

My Best Energy Saving Idea

I live outside of Boston and our house energy bill surges in the winter. And our winter lasts a long, long time! It’s not just three months, but the snow will start to fall as early as Halloween (ok, that only happened once) and last though April. We typically get a White Christmas.

Saving money on energy is always on our mind because our rising energy bill to heat our home coincides with the holiday spending season! My best idea to save energy is pretty simple yet very effective. It’s really to block the gaps in the doors of your house that let in the cold air.

The fix can be expensive — get new doors and door frames — or inexpensive. We go for easy and inexpensive by using this cold air blocking device called a door sweep by Frost King that my husband bought from Home Depot.

My Best Energy Saving IdeaRead more…

New York Life Keep Good Going Twitter Party

Do Good, Share Traditions and Win Prizes

I’m so thrilled to be co-hosting a Twitter party on behalf of New York Life‘s Keep Good Going on Monday, November 24th at 5pm PST/8pm EST.  What does that mean exactly — Keep Good Going? To me, it means many things:

  • Gratitude for what is in my life.
  • Celebrating family traditions.
  • Remembering those who aren’t with us.
  • Giving back during the holiday season.

My kids are concerned about children who don’t have enough food and so we dug into our pantry for the school food drive which will help our local food pantries. Do you need a book list to help kids learn about hunger? I wrote a book list for Let’s Lasso the Moon and here are a few of my picks:

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen (Reading Rainbow Book) by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan

A little boy wants to learn more about the people he sees on the street so he accompanies his Uncle Willie to the soup kitchen where they work with other volunteers to help feed the hungry and homeless. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Read more…

Great Biographies for Kids and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Great Biographies for Kids and Kid Lit Blog Hop

I loved biographies as a child. When I was in 4th grade, I polished off the entire section of biographies book by book, just going alphabetically down the line. It was an amazing way to meet a lot of interesting people and it probably plants a sublinminal message of “be awesome” like these people. Make your mark on history.

This is a pile of newly published biographies that found their way to my doorstep. I had the great pleasure of meeting Anita Silvey at a book event and am thrilled that she has a book out (it’s wonderful!).

I hope you enjoy this pile too! What great biographies for kids have you read lately? Please share! Read more…

Rory Gardiner, Yee-Haw new country music album for kids

First Country Music Album for Kids GIVEAWAY!

I met country musician Rory Gardiner on Twitter. He wrote me saying:

I think music is incredibly important in the development of young minds. I am a recording artist who just released my first children’s album. After becoming a parent myself, I couldn’t resist the direction my song writing was taking me! I think your readers would could connect with it because it inhibits inspiration, fun and an artistic outlet for their kids.

I agree and after listening to his music — he’s seriously talented! — I wanted my readers to meet him! Today’s guest post is from Rory Gardiner. What children’s music are you enjoying? Rory’s is the world’s FIRST country music for kids! Read more…

Petz Beach 3DS game

Petz Beach 3DS Game for Kids Who Want a Pet!

My son, now age 10, is the serious gamer. He goes from screen to screen if we are not careful: iPad, computer, TV, Wii, and 3DS. But lately, the 3DS is rarely used; he’s waiting for the newest Pokémon games to come out, so his device is untended and uncharged.

I had purchased other Petz games in the past for his older sisters when they were younger. PickyKidPix (now 12) and Grasshopper and Sensei (now 14) both have DSi that they don’t use at all. When Petz Beach arrived, I was surprised by how my kids pounced on it. Petz Beach 3DS game Read more…

A Year in the Secret Garden blog tour, Valarie Budary, Marilyn Scott Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Interview

I am so excited that my partner-in-crime, Valarie Budayr of Jump into a Book, for Multicultural Children’s Book Day is also an author and owner of publishing company, Audrey Press. She has a new book out, A Year in The Secret Garden, that celebrates an iconic classic with activities to do with kids all year!

A Year in The Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Read more…

positive affirmations for kids

Positive Affirmations for Kids

Every year, Grasshopper and Sensei‘s sleepover summer camp has a mother/daughter weekend where we set up our own tent and spend two days together. The idea is for me to shadow my daughter and participate in her life at camp; meeting her friends and their mothers, eating meals with her cabin, and participating in all her activities.

Positive Affirmations for GirlsRead more…