Archive for June, 2011

bermuda family reunion vacations pragmatic mom elbow beach pink sand beach mandarin oriental hotel

Family Reunion Vacations: Bermuda

Things to do with Kids in Bermuda

We have been to Bermuda a few times and it is probably our favorite place to visit to relax. What is not to like about Bermuda? Pink sand beaches. Friendly people. Crystal clear aquamarine blue ocean. Good food. Read more…

Nerd Camp best books for kids children Pragmatic Mom

Top 10: Best Standalone Books for 5th Graders by 5th Grade Girl

Best Books for 5th Grade by my 5th Grade Daughter

Well, it happened and I could not be more excited. My reluctant reader is now tearing through books faster than I. Her reluctance to read began in first year during that terrible year where the teacher was absent so often that there were actually substitutes for substitutes. She also has a natural inclination to be as far away from the limelight as possible and this included reading aloud, even just to me. Ok, especially to me because she hated being corrected and slowing down to decode and frankly, reading books where the difficulty level was correct but the plot was a snooze. Those were some tough years trying to get her to read. Read more…

China for Kids: Cultural Revolution, Books for Kids and More

China for Kids with Children’s Books, Culture and Design

China for Kids: Cultural Revolution, Books for Kids and More

I thought I’d finish up my family history and then I promise to move on from Asia for a while! I covered my mother’s Japanese aristocratic Daimyo history here, and my husband’s royal Yi Dynasty ancestry here.

My father immigrated from China before the Communist Revolution and like most Mainland  China expats, he has his own Joy Luck Club tale to tell. But first, isn’t it funny/strange that most everyone seems to be related to a royal or an aristocrat if you just go far enough back in time? Is this because that is the history that people take pains to preserve? Or maybe these family trees are immense?

In any case, my father’s Chinese side of the family is not related to royals (though with so much history and shake ups, you’d think almost everyone in China had a shot at that) or aristocrats; his family were silk merchants. I don’t exactly have all the details but I would imagine that his family did soup to nuts — raising silk worms, spinning thread, weaving fabric and then selling it. I would also guess that they were prosperous but not moguls  in that I know that his relatives suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution.

In China, most opportunities for advancement are based on standardized tests, particularly in education. My father did well and went to the top university in China and then he went on to teach math at a university. He was later sponsored by the Chinese government to study in the United States, and he went to U.C.L.A. to get his PhD in math. Rumor has it that he fudged his age a tad to appear younger in order to qualify. Read more…

Gregory the Terrible Eater, picture books that build vocabulary,

SAT Vocabulary for Kindergarteners from Gregory, the Terrible Eater

Picture Books to Read in Kindergarten that Build Vocabulary

The vocabulary words for Week 12 are from the picture book, Gregory, the Terrible Eater. Read more…

Great Recession PragmaticMom Father's Day Gifts getting Nicer Best

Happy Father’s Day: Dads Getting Nice Presents This Year!

Father’s Day Celebrated with Nice Gifts for Dad

The Great Recession is finally over and dads finally get what is due to them after putting their own needs on the back burner for the past few years. How about you? Are the dads and grandfathers in your life getting an upgrade in presents this year? Please feel free to share your ideas for gifts too! Read more…
Jenny Brown Abstract Impressionist Artist My Creative Friends PragmaticMom Pragmatic Mom

My Creative Artistic Friends

Local Artists and Photographers

I am surprised that I know so many talented artists and photographers because I did not think that I hung with an artsy crowd ’cause I’m not that cool. It turns out that the mom circle is a wide one, indeed, and I have met these guys through exercise classes, work, antiquing excursions, and one is even a relative! They are all incredibly talented and many have discovered their talent later in life. Read more…

Top 25: Children’s Fantasy Picture and Chapter Books

Best Fantasy Books for Kids: Picture Books and Chapter Books

I need this list for my oldest who loves adventure fantasy books like the Harry Potter series. I can’t keep up, so I was glad to find this list  of best fantasy chapter books and picture books from The Telegraph in the United Kingdom for her summer reading. I’ll keep you posted on which of these books she liked. Is it me, or am I the only one who thinks that the Brits read and write more and, frankly better than Americans? Could it be the weather that keeps them indoors more and cozy by the fire with a book? I’m not sure but I do find that they are a nation of readers. Read more…

Annie and the Wild Animals, picture book, picture books that build vocabulary

SAT Vocabulary Words from Annie and the Wild Animals

Picture Books that Build Vocabulary: Annie and the Wild Animals

The words for Week 11 are from the picture book, Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett. I noticed that in my son’s Kindergarten room, the teacher or maybe literacy specialist, mounts a special poster with the cover of book and the list of vocabulary words from the book. Read more…

hot weather safety tips for pets dogs pragmaticmom pragmatic mom http://PragmaticMom.com Education Matters best mom blog best education blog families pets family pet best tips

Warm Weather Safety Tips for Pets from My Vet

Keeping Dogs and Other Pets Safe in Hot Weather

My vet sent me these warm weather safety tips for my dog and other pets. This is my first dog, so like a new parent, I am trying to educate myself to make sure I keep my dog alive and safe. Some of these hot weather tips were new to me and it gets hot here in New England so I am glad he sent them to me.  Oops on the dog shaving. I did do this a month ago to help with the ticks but the shave was a little too close. Next time I will ask for the “long shave” which just learned about. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks after all! Read more…