• What Do Muslims Really Want Anyway?! 17 Books on Muslim World for Kids

    Please welcome my guest poster today, author Elsa Marston who is my resident Middle Eastern Children’s literature go to! She has a list of recommended books for kids and teens at the bottom of the post. ———— Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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.

  • 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!).

  • Top 10: Best Beginning Chapter Book Series (ages 6-9)

    Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.

  • Top 50: Best Multicultural Children’s Books

    Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!

gifts for kids who hate art and books for kids who hate reading

Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading: Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

Jeanette and I thought we’d search for gifts today that open young minds; gifts for kids who hate art, and books for kids who don’t like to read.

What gifts have you had success in introducing your kids to something mind-expanding that they have resisted?

 

Wreck This Journal, $9, to bring out the inner artist in any child!

Here’s a completed Wreck This Journal to see the possibilities!

Read more…

gifts for men and dogs

Difficult To Shop For Gifts: Day 4 of 12 Days of Shopping

Today, Jeanette and I are focusing Day 4  on Difficult to Shop for Gifts including your spoiled pet and those who have everything yet you must procure a gift during the holiday season. This includes husbands, wives, father-in-laws and mother-in-laws.

This is a tough category for me. I’ve started using The Gift Huntress for help because I’m running out of ideas for my difficult-to-shop-for list but I hope my old ideas will work for you!

My husband would also like a 1970 Porche 911 like Jeanette’s or a $5000 watch, but then he just recently sent me this video of a car that flies that he fell in love with. So that’s on the list too. The FANTASY list that is!

How about you? What is your best idea for difficult to shop for people? Please share!!!
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gender bending gifts for kids

Gender Bending Gifts for Kids: Day 3 of 12 Days of Shopping

For Day 3 of the 12 Days of Shopping, Jeanette and I wanted to break down gender stereotypes with gender bending gifts for kids. We want to celebrate mighty girls AND sensitive boys; crafts for boys and science kits for girls; and imaginary play can go beyond tiaras and tutus!

How about you? What are your favorite gender bending gifts for kids?

 

Tools and Ovens for Boys and Girls

10 Piece Tool Set from Red Toolbox, $43

Combine this set of REAL woodworking tools with a book and a trip to the local hardware store! My girls and my son took woodworking classes at summer day camp and in middle school. It’s a great life skill and a lot of fun too!

If you are not handy (like me), you can take it slowly, step by step, and learn together!

gender bending gifts

The Kids’ Building Workshop: 15 Woodworking Projects for Kids and Parents to Build Together by Craig Robertson and Barbara Robertson, $10

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gifts that give back, 12 days of shopping

Gifts That Keep on Giving: Day 2 of 12 Days of Shopping

For Day 2,  Jeanette and I are fixated on gratitude and gifts that keep on giving. I’m choosing both charities and gifts that give back that kids can relate to. I hope this inspires yours kids and mine to think about others in need this holiday season. What are your favorite ways to give back? Please share!

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Gratitude Advent Calendar, Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar for kids

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar: Day 1 of 12 Days of Shopping

Jeanette of Tiny Rotten Peanuts and I are doing a 12 Days of Shopping series. We cooked this up over a giggly Skype session with gift ideas that hopefully will help you out this holiday season. A few of our ideas are meant to amuse you as well! We hope you enjoy our series for the next 12 straight days.
Piglet noticed that although he had a very small heart, it could hold a lot of gratitude.
A. A. Milne
We are kicking it off today with Advent Calendars with a gratitude twist. When I think of gratitude, it seems to go hand in hand with acts of kindness. I think a kind act helps us appreciate what we have and those around us. My idea for a Gratitude Advent Calendar is to make a DIY Gratitude Journal and choose a Random Act of Kindness to do that day OR simply write down what you are grateful for.
My kids like Advent Calendars for the chocolate and you can add that element too by doling out a piece of chocolate for each day in which a Random Act of Kindness is completed or when you write down something you are grateful for.

Read more…

Kids Caught in the Act ... of READING!

Kids Caught in the Act … of READING!

Yay! The books from parents who sent me photos are arriving. This Google + message is from blogger Ashley dM at ChiTown and All Around.

“Happy mail for JAM from +PragmaticMom! He’s so excited! Check out her site to find out how your child can earn a free book”#ReadingRewards #ThankYou #CaughtHimReading Read more…

internet safety advice from Dr. Michelle Borba, web safety app,

Web Safety Advice from Dr. Michele Borba

I am thrilled to interview one of my favorite rockstar parenting experts, Dr. Michele Borba, whom I met online — is that irony given that I am talking to her today about internet safety. I’ve turned to her before for advice and support on the importance of play and how to pay for college.

Dr. Michelle Borba

Dr. Michelle Borba

What I love about Dr. Michele Borba is how practical and do-able her advice is. It’s clear that she is a mom who understands parenting from someone in the trenches.

Internet safety is a scary thing with kids (mine) consumed in communicating in ways I never did as a kid … email, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter and probably more that I don’t even know about. Bullying, though, is something I do have personal experience with, both as a child and as an adult. The combination — cyberbullying — can lethal. Dr. Michelle Borba has practical, sane and pragmatic advice for parents on what to do to keep your children safe. Read more…

How To: Make Authentic But Easy Paella

How To: Make Authentic But Easy Paella

I made some new mom friends from PickyKidPix’s trip to Italy to play soccer! My friend Nathalie is originally from Spain and she taught me how to make authentic paella. In this version, she was clear that this is authentic Valencia paella which features seafood since it’s a coastal town.

There are many versions that utilize the bounty of their particular area which can include rabbit, chicken, and chorizo sausage. But this version does not; strictly seafood — squid, small shrimp, and scallops but those tiny octopi would be good too. She also made her own seafood stock by boiling cod in water with onions, bay leaf, and salt but she said an easy substitute is canned chicken stock. That works even if you are not adding chicken.

As for quantity, paella is meant to feed a crowd. She made enough for 10-12 (in her mind) but it really was enough to feed at least 15. Paella is great like that for stretching; you simply add more rice. Read more…

Rick Riordan's Keynote at Boston Book Festival

Rick Riordan’s Keynote at Boston Book Festival

There were wonderful H. H. Richardson buildings near the last U.Fund Dreams Tour that I went to at the Children’s Museum of Easton.

Boston Book Fair 2014

Was it a lucky coincidence that the last stop of the U.Fund Dreams Tour at the Boston Book Festival included Rick Riordan speaking at H. H. Richardson’s finest work, Trinity Church? Read more…