Archive for November, 2013

driving an toy car, epic parent. power wheels

Sponsored Video: Be The Most Epic Parent Ever

This post is sponsored by Power Wheels.

My kids have never had those large electic vehicles and they would agree emphatically that I am not an epic parent. More of a nagging, annoying kind of parent. We just don’t have the space either in our back yard to ride it nor in our garage which strongly is packed to the gills with bicycles, sleds, snow shovels and other gardening junk.

A few of their friends have these ride on epic toys. PickyKidPix spent a happy afternoon a few years ago riding her friend Caroline’s large electric jeep toy. Caroline’s parents said that the toy car actually got a lot of use though mostly from playdates.

There are downsides to large electric vehicle toys:

  • expensive
  • takes up space to store
  • not used frequently

… but here’s an unexpected upside. I think these large car toys help teach kids driving skills. A life skill that kids will need. Read more…

5 social media mistakes to avoid

5 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

One of my readers asked me to blog what I did to grow my blog thus far so this post if for that person. I will use boxing as an analogy because 1) the road to mastery is not so different and 2) an analogy always helps, doesn’t it? It does for me at least.

Here are 5 social media mistakes to avoid that I made but you don’t have to!


1. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

We’ve all heard about bloggers who seem to be huge overnight (ok, perhaps not overnight but within one year of blogging) and the inevitable reaction is, “I must be doing something wrong!”

There are no shortcuts my friends, in boxing, or in growing your social media or blogging audience. At least for mere mortals.

For boxing, the building block is jump roping with a goal of 15 minutes for a warm up. That seems like a lofty goal. Jumping for two minutes with frequent entanglements was a huffing and puffing challenge for me. But now, I set a clock and just try  for 15 minutes. I can’t do it continuously. But it’s amazing how much you can improve if you just log in 15 minutes three times a week. Read more…

20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy

20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy

I wanted to do a boy version of the 20 Gentle Books for a Young Girl at the request of a reader. I tried not to duplicate books but there are many on the girls’ list of 20 Gentle Books that would also be great for boys.

In making this list, I tend towards more old fashioned books but gentle books for boys can also be modern. What are your favorite gentle chapter books for a young boy? Please share! Thank you!


20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy

10. Frindle by Andrew Clements

A delightful early chapter book that every boy in 3rd grade seems to love at my elementary school. Nicholas Allen invents the word “frindle” to replace the word “pen.” For him, it not really an act of rebellion, it’s more an outlet to explore the power of ideas. Frindle catches on much to the consternation of his Language Arts teacher, but is she really upset? [ages 7-10]

Read more…

Multicultural Children's Book Day, Jump Into a Book

Join Us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day January 27!

 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

January 27, 2014

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

 Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event.  On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

Read more…

ebay collections

New eBay Collections Make Holiday Shopping Easy!

Do you have people in your life that are difficult to shop for? My husband fits that category. He’s a minimalist but luckily he collects a few items relating to golf. He’s particular but he collects certain golf books (I have to run them by him to make sure they make the cut) and Scotty Cameron head covers and putters.

eBay golf collectables

The Life Magazine featuring Ben Hogan is highly collectable. I found one in a used bookshop years ago for a Father’s Day gift. He’d love a few more to gift to his golf friends. Read more…

The Mountains of Tibet, Mordecai Gernstein

Circle of Life Picture Book of the Day

My mother is Buddhist and I grew up going to mostly weddings, funerals, and remembrance ceremonies at Buddhist temples in the Los Angeles area. Years later, when I attended UCLA for business school, I ended up in West Los Angeles’ Little Japantown a half block down the street from the Buddhist temple that my grandparents went to.

Most the Buddhist services that I attended were in Japanese which I did not speak so it was a blur of strange sounds and an occasional joke while I squirmed in my seat, bored. I’d nudge my mom for a translation but it was often too complicated to be whispered to me right then and there. So you might say that I got very little by way of Buddhist philosophy despite my mother having taught at her Buddhist temple before she had us.

My parents let me attend any place of worship I was inclined towards. I went to Mormon church class with my best friend in 2nd grade and Catholic masses with my friend Natalie in college. I went to Baptist church camp and took communion with best friend from Junior High.

But the local Presbyterian church was my favorite. I went to Sunday School there because of the neighbor kids but stayed because of the Old Testament comic books that were handed out after class. Those stories always ended on a cliffhanger!

Yet, as I get older, Buddhism resonates the most for me. The idea of karma just seems logical. The circle of life makes a lot of sense too. For my pick of The Picture Book of the Week, I chose one with a circle of life theme by Caldecott author Mordecai Gerstein. I hope you enjoy it.

What picture books that explore religious or philosophical questions do you read with your kids? Please share!

Circle of Life Picture Books for Kids

The Mountains of Tibet by Mordecai Gerstein, with a commentary by Sogyal Rinpoche

Gerstein says of The Mountains of Tibet, “I’ve come to believe that during the course of our lives, we can live many lives. … At one particularly momentous new beginning, I looked back at all the choices I’d made that had brought me to that point. That was when this book began.”

Read more…

National Center for Learning Disabilities Resources for Parents

National Center for Learning Disabilities Resources for Parents

I’m proud to be an ambassador for the National Center for Learning Disabilitites (NCLD) and even though my three children are typicals, I think that all kids benefit from a deeper understanding and empathy for their classmates with special needs. For my kids, diversity no longer means skin color or whether their classmates have two moms. These are non-issues for them (and what wonderful progress in terms of Civil Rights!).

Instead, they will benefit immensely from a deeper understanding their classmates with learning disabilities that may not be obvious to them. This is the new millennium diversity issue and helping everyone succeed will make us a stronger community.

I wanted to share the great resources they have in the hopes that it helps parents. Here are four examples of the information they provide.

National Center for Learning Disabilities Resources

What’s the difference between ADD and ADHD?

The biggest difference is that kids with ADHD are hyperactive—they can’t sit still and are so restless that teachers quickly notice their rambunctious behavior and begin to suspect there might be attention issues involved.

Kids with ADD might fly under the radar a bit longer because they aren’t bursting with energy and disrupting the classroom. Instead, they often appear shy, daydreamy, or off in their own world. More here.

ADD versus ADHD Read more…

Sponsored Video: What Kind of Future Will Our Children Have?

Why bring a child into this world?

Did you ever wonder that when contemplating parenthood? Or worry that the world is terrible place to bring a child into? Or a place with depleted resources presenting a grim future for our children?

Unilever’s Why Bring a Child Into This World? is a film created by Ogilvy London and David Latin America to invite us all to think about a more sustainable future. Why? It’s our children, research says, that motivates adults to make changes for a more sustainable future.

Unilever’s film is part of an initiative called Project Sunshine that will create 2 million “acts of sunshine”, providing children with school meals; clean, safe drinking water and improved hygiene. To achieve these goals, Unilever is working with Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

Project Sunshine goes back to Unilever’s roots. Founder William Lever started the company (then called Lever Bros) with its first brand, Sunlight soap, in the 1890s. His revolutionary new product  helped popularize cleanliness and hygiene in Victorian England with a mission ‘to make cleanliness commonplace; to lessen work for women; to foster health and contribute to personal attractiveness, that life may be more enjoyable and rewarding for the people who use our products’.

This post is sponsored by Unilever:

Because there has never been a better time to create a brighter future, we are launching Unilever Project Sunlight . We believe in a world where no child goes to bed hungry, where every home has enough water to drink, wash and clean, where preventable diseases are prevented, and where every child lives past their fifth birthday. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we are inviting you to join us on the journey. Take action to make a difference at

Unilever reminds me to think about a more sustainable future as we head into the holiday season. How about you? I’d love your ideas on sustainability that you’d implemented. Thanks!

3rd grade chapter books from a 3rd grade boy

3rd Grade Chapter Books from My 3rd Grade Son

My son is just 9-years-old and in third grade and I’m trying to keep track of the books that he’s read as a third grader. This is his list so far, as of November 2013. I’ve included his rising 3rd grade summer reading as well.

During my parent teacher conference, his teacher told me that my son was reading well and had a good vocabulary. I had a confession for her. (This is a little embarrassing!.) Every night, my son insists on bedtime reading and it works like this: I read aloud to him while he plays on his DSi or a (non educational) video game on the iPad.

I do find this irritating, so periodically I ask him what a word means as I come across it in the story or ask him what has just happened in the chapter book. If he can’t give me a reasonable answer, I shut down his game. If he answers my question reasonably well, he keeps on playing. Perhaps this is giving him multi-tasking skills?  I’m not sure. We do take turns reading though I do the bulk of the reading at home. He gets reading time at school and takes his book back and forth each day which helps us move through the book.

We’ve made our way through every word that Rick Riordan has ever written in this manner. Now, we are working through Harry Potter and after that, we’ll finish the last four books of the Half Magic series. I hope we will read some Roald Dahl this year as well.

Here’s my son’s book list with his reviews. He highly recommends all of these books!

Graphic Novels and Graphic Novel Hybrids for 3rd Grade Boys

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

I think it’s very funny and it’s a very good book because he kept failing at life and being a detective but he thought he was the greatest detective in the world.

Read more…