• 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!

healthychoices

Healthy Choice Games for Kids

Healthy food choices should be part of the elementary and middle school curriculum. My school nurse and I are in agreement about that. But … it isn’t so it’s up to us parents to teach our kids. But what exactly does that mean? I found this food pyramid from the USDA’s food pyramid which was created 1992. Does it look familiar? If not, don’t worry because …

food pyramid of healthy choices for kids Read more…

Easy Science Experiment: Why Do Ice Cubes Crack in Drinks?

Easy Science Experiment: Why Do Ice Cubes Crack in Drinks?

I’m not prone to trying out science experiments at home. It’s because I am lazy. Even when I subscribed to science projects that came monthly in the mail, it didn’t seem to take with my kids. But I yearn to be one of those moms who can do science with their kids at home.

It’s because when I was struggling with Freshman Chemistry in college — a scarring experience — I met a kid whose parents were BOTH chemists. He said that his mother had the periodic table up in the playroom for as long as he could remember. Needless to say, he was cruising through Organic Chemistry when it was an experience that I had to repeat in order to get a decent grade.  Read more…

kids caught in the act of reading this summer

Caught in the Act … of READING!

Thank you to everyone who sent me photos of their kids caught reading!! I’m so happy that kids are reading this summer!

I’ll be posting photos of kids caught in the act of reading on a weekly basis. If you send me a photo, I will mail you a book in return. Please email pragmaticmomblog (at) gmail (dot) com. Sorry, but I am only able to mail books to the U.S. and APO addresses due to the high cost of shipping.

Megan’s son is reading Baby Animals.

backseat reading, kids reading Read more…

Burt's Bees

Burt’s Bees to the Rescue!

PickyKidPix is at sleepaway camp for a month. Her biggest gripe is that her unit’s bathroom runs out of hot water rather quickly. She says that by the 8th shower, the hot water is gone and a cold water shower at night when it’s chilly outside makes her homesick.

dock at sleepaway campRead more…

best mysteries for kids,

Best Mysteries for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Edgar Award Winners for Best Juvenile Mystery 

The “Edgars” as they are known are officially The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, named after Edgar Allan Poe, and presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. The awards cut across many genres including mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater.

I’ve listed the winners from the Juvenile category. Within the Juvenile category, there are wide span of ages, with the exception of picture books. If you want a picture book mystery, my recommedation is find the books by Doug Cushman.

My son is reading 5 books for summer homework assigned by his upcoming 4th grade teachers. He is supposed to read a variety of genres but I forgot about mysteries, hence this list! How about you? Are your kids reading and enjoying mysteries? What is their favorite? Thanks for sharing!

Read more…

college savings plan ufund tour

Dreaming About the Possibilities … of College and Beyond

I went to Easton, Massachusetts for the first time. Given that it’s a scant half hour drive from where I live and that I drive far and wide for my kids’ soccer games, I was surprised that I hadn’t been there before. It’s a lovely town, and, as I missed my turn and parked nearby, I found myself face to face with a trio of what looked like H. H. Richardson buildings, one of my favorite architects.

H H Richardson Easton Schools Easton MA Read more…

kids caught in the act of reading

Caught in the Act … of READING!

Thank you to everyone who sent me a photo of their kids caught reading!! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that your kids are reading and I’m thrilled that they will be excited to receive a book! I tried to match up ages based on what you sent me and I’m also grateful that you are helping me clean out my office! Read more…

Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles PARTY GIVEAWAY!

Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles PARTY GIVEAWAY!

I’m so excited for this giveaway from the nice folks from Tuttle Publishing! They sent me a party box centered around Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles to giveaway to YOU!

Lately, my kids enjoy Dim Sum but balk at Cantonese-style Chinese Seafood which is what my husband and I love most. But Chinese noodle dishes are one constant that they have eaten and loved since they were little. Some years, the noodle preference changes: wide rice noodles versus yellow curly wheat noodles. And sometimes, the green vegetables get picked out and cast aside. Still, it’s good to know that they are increasing their good luck as they fill their bellies! Read more…

How to Read Food Labels and What to Look For

Nutritionist Approved Silk Almond Coconut Blend

My husband and I been working with a family nutritionist to get our dietary issues under control. Both he and I have to watch our cholesterol; a hereditary gift! Some of my kids also avoid milk, not due to lactose allergies but simply because it’s not their favorite.

Our nutritionist suggested trying milk alternatives like almond or soy milk. She also gave me this helpful flyer on how to actually understand food labels.

What to look for? Read more…