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foster healthy brain development in children.

Free Resources for Brain Building Moments #WhatMakesASuperhero

Did you know that we, as parents and caregivers, are superheroes? It’s true! We are superheroes through the everyday moments we spend with our children.

Research shows that there is no time in life when the brain develops more rapidly than during the first five years. Vroom was developed based on the premise that every child is born with enormous potential, and every parent can help them realize that potential.

Vroom Initiative and easy teachable moments Read more…

Tufts Floating Hospital: Ryan Center for Sports Medicine Astounds

Tufts Floating Hospital: Ryan Center for Sports Medicine Astounds

This post was sponsored by Floating Hospital for Children as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. Thank you for supporting brands that support my blog.

My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, has had FOUR concussions from volleyball. Who knew it was such a dangerous sport? After the four concussion, my close friend, Alison Foley, the Boston College Women’s Soccer Head Coach, told me we needed to find a concussion specialist for my daughter. I had no idea that such a doctor even existed!

volleyball injury

My daughter is the libero, a defense specialist. She’s in white.

On the day of my daughter’s appointment for a concussion specialist, we ended up at several of Boston’s hospitals, hopelessly confused, going to wrong location after wrong location. We started off in Longwood which was incorrect. The front desk concierge directed us to the South End. I ended up at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center which was an  amazing facility, but I was only able to admire it briefly because, again, I was in the wrong spot.

We needed to be at Ryan Center for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation which is an outpost based at Boston University. It serves the physical therapy needs of the general public and the Boston University community. Even though we were now running one hour late, we were grateful to get seen.

Read more…

Who Dream of Flying

10 Books for Children Who Dream of Flying

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Carole Boston Weatherford! Her novel in verse just came out, a stunning perspective of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during Jim Crow WWII America. This is a family endeavor, the dramatic scratch board illustrations are by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

… before 1940, African Americans could not become pilots in the U.S. military.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s novel in verse tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, the pioneering African-American pilots of World War II and of life for blacks during this time. Jim Crow laws permeated the military during this time; the SS Mariposa actually had a rope to separate black soldiers from white. But it also curtailed training and leadership opportunities for African Americans, both male and female. Top brass claimed that blacks for not fit to fly.

Of the more than 400,000 pilots trained by the Civilian Pilot Training Program, only 2,000 were black; less than half of a percent. With tremendous pressure to prove their worthiness,The Tuskegee Airmen earned 900 plus medals including Distinguished Crossed, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts. Their accomplishments paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. [novel in verse, ages 9 and up]

She created a list of books for children who dream of taking to the skies … not unlike the pioneering aviators of the Tuskegee Institute. Need more books about flying? I have a list of female aviators: Fabulous Flying Females. What books about flying did we leave out? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

Get Kids Gardening with Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables!

Get Kids Gardening with Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables!

This year on the first day of spring in Boston, it snowed.

The day after that, it hailed.

Spring comes slowly to Boston. Last year, I started my first vegetable garden with my kids. I waited until Memorial Day in case of frost. My husband built critter proof planters, complete with covers. It was squirrel, bunny, and chipmunk proof!

Gradening with my kidsRead more…

Books for Kids to Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

Books for Kids to Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

There’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner.

John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is tomorrow, April 30.  This day was created as a way to raise awareness for thousands of pets that are waiting for (and needing) adoption from the shelters.

It isn’t always easy to adopt a pet through a shelter as I found when we were ready for a dog five years ago. Puppies were hard to come by in the pet shelters locally. The breeds there also weren’t recommended for families with small children.

It wasn’t always possible to meet the dog before adopting it. I think it takes patience and perseverance to find the right pet through a shelter, but it seems well worth the effort based on the rescue dogs and owners that I’ve met through the dog park. Pet shelters also turn out to be popular in Early Chapter Books this year.

How about you? Have you ever thought of adopting a pet from an animal shelter? What are you favorite books about adopting pets? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

Yoga for Kids: Rachel's Day in the Garden

Yoga for Kids: Rachel’s Day in the Garden

Giselle Kids Yoga Stories

I’m thrilled to be on Rachel’s Day in the Garden by Giselle Shardlow’s blog tour! I feel fortunate that Giselle moved a few years ago near me so we got to meet in person several times! Giselle is a certified kids’ yoga instructor and her line of books introduces yoga to kids.

I’m a huge proponent of yoga. It helps me from getting injured and it’s a little gift to myself when I practice. It also helped me when I had carpel tunnel from being on the computer too much. I can feel when my life is out whack too, because I will have trouble with balancing poses!

My kids have all tried yoga in various ways. My son likes yoga cards to do poses in bed in a silly way. It’s still yoga though! PickyKidPix says yoga is calming for her. She needs that! Grasshopper and Sensei is prone to injury because she has tight lower body. It’s either physical therapy or yoga, but yoga is for life! She gets the most benefit from yoga, but it’s also the most challenging for her.

yoga pragmaticmom Read more…

Craftwhack's Tangle Art Book GIVEAWAY! 3 Winners!

Craftwhack’s Tangle Art Book GIVEAWAY! 3 Winners!

I think my most of my readers are familiar with Jeanette Nyberg …

We’ve done a holiday shopping guide together for the past few years …

She’s my daughter’s Art and Design School independent college counselor

She blogs at Craftwhack (with previous blogs Artchoo! and Tiny Rotten Peanuts) …

She’s got impeccable taste for the coolest stuff on the planet …

and

She’s really funny and fun!

Now, not surprisingly, she’s the author of a BRAND NEW amazing and fun art book for kids and parents:

Tangle Art and Drawing Games for Kids: A Silly Book for Creative and Visual Thinking by Jeanette Nyberg Read more…

#CollegeAveLoans New Parent Loan to Pay for College

#CollegeAveLoans New Parent Loan to Pay for College

My oldest is just two years away from going to college. Yikes! How did that happen so fast? She wants to go to art school so I’ve been researching art and design colleges for her. To get in, she needs to focus on her art portfolio. Winning art competitions will make her more competitive as well.

Rhode Island School of Design

Visiting Rhode Island School of Design museum with her about-to-turn-80 grandmother!

Our next steps are visiting art and design colleges. We’ll see a few when we go to California this summer for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party, and we need to go to New York City to visit a few more. This summer, she will do the Pre-College program at Rhode Island School of Design.

teen art portfolio

My daughter at Mass College of Art Xtreme Week Teen Art Program. Read more…

Taking a Children's Book Writing Class

Taking a Children’s Book Writing Class

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to take a children’s book writing class so I signed up for one through my local community education program: Children’s Book Writing with Margo Lemieux. She teaches art at Lasell college but has also written children’s books. Interestingly, she has not yet illustrated her picture books. I found one of hers at my local library and it’s perfect for a spring diversity pick.

taking a children's book writing class with Margo Lemieux

Full Worm Moon by Margo Lemieux, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Native American parents tell their eager children the story of the Full Moon Worm which brings the earthworms to the surface, helping prepare the ground for planting. They stay awake all night to catch this phenomenon, and thus the spring rituals of planting begin. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Read more…