Archive for May, 2015

Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Getting out of Boston during Snowmageddon was a challenge since we were scheduled to fly out on Sunday during a snowstorm and the next flight out after that was three days later and probably full. My husband spent hours trying to book a new flight, knowing that our flight would be canceled and managed to pull off a flight that left three days earlier on Friday before school vacation. We pulled our kids out of school for the day, spent the night in Houston and then spent another night near the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, because the house we rented wasn’t available earlier.

Family vacation Costa Rica, Houston TX, Playa Flamingo, Guanacasta

I have to say that it was totally worth the mad scramble to get out before Mother Nature shut down Boston Logan airport! Houston turned out to be a food mecca for TexMex and BBQ. On the recommendation of a Dad Friend who grew up in Houston, we went to Pappacitos for TexMex and their sister restaurant, Pappas for BBQ. Both were exceptional!

Pappas, best BBQ in Houston, Family vacation Costa Rica, Houston TX, Playa Flamingo, Guanacasta

Read more…

Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers

Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome author David Kelly of the Ballpark Mystery series and also my neighbor here in Newton, MA. We’re not exactly next door neighbors but we live in the same town! How cool is that? Other notable children’s book authors from Newton include Mitali Perkins (until she moved two years ago) and Karen Day. Jacqueline Davies of The Lemonade War series lives one town over in Needham, MA.

Today, David Kelly is writing about finding books for reluctant boy readers. His series is another great choice for boys or girls who like baseball, particularly those of the Red Sox Nation.

How about you? What books have kept your kids reading? Please share! Thanks! Read more…

How to Make Origami Shirukan Throwing Star

How to Make Origami Shirukan Throwing Star

My son was obsessed with learning how to fold an Origami Shirukan Throwing Star. He had trouble cutting perfectly square pieces of paper so I handed him My First Origami Kit which I received from a publisher to review.

Unfortunately, the book did not include instructions on how to make a Shirukan Throwing Star but the origami paper was beautiful and just the right size. The kit comes with a book, 60 papers, 150 stickers and 22 projects.

Read more…

PARCC Resources for Parents

PARCC Resources for Parents

My kids have been taking the PARCC standardized test for the new Common Core standards this past month. They do not enjoy standardized tests but the upside is that the elementary school Physical Education teacher opens the gym early on test days and has them play Pickle Ball. He says the research shows that exercise before tests helps them perform better so he’s happy to come to school early to run games for them.

In Massachusetts where I live, there was concern that the Common Core standards would be lower than the current ones. This concern is in the minority for most states but Massachusetts students score among the highest in the world in reading, math and science. Still, I can attest to anxiety among kids, parents and teachers when it comes to standardized tests. I know that my kids get stressed out even though they are well prepared. Read more…

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Now that the snow is gone after Boston’s Snowmaggedon, I can finally appreciate the cold again so I’m combining some newly published non-fiction science picture books with some videos on the artic. I hope you are ready to face the cold again too!

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern 

Two guiding thoughts about the Artic today: protection and eggs. Here’s how they all tie together …

A Children's Guide to Arctic Birds eggs

Bird Eggs from A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds
Read more…

What Moms Actually Want on Mother’s Day

Ebates Mother’s Day Gifts Infographic

Find Mother’s Day deals at Ebates – shop and earn Cash Back!


happy mother's day cartoons

Happy Mother’s Day Humor & 2 Giveaways!

I found these funny Mother’s Day cartoons on Pinterest and Facebook. They made me laugh. I hope you are having a great Mother’s Day today too! I also have two awesome giveaways below. The first is an adorable picture book called Mommies Little Wordlings. The second is an awesome set of gift certificates worth $70 to give you a night off courtesy of  Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!

Happy Mother's Day Humor

Read more…

Books for Kids about Personal Space

Personal Space Picture Book of the Day

I’m grateful to the participants at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter party who suggested book topics that they were having trouble finding. One such topic was about personal space. When I mentioned it to my mom friends, they laughed because our friend Penny gets very uncomfortable when our boxing trainer comes in too close. And that’s the thing about personal space; it’s the space between you and a person that keeps you feeling safe. I’m sure we are hardwired from the time of living in caves to keep a certain distance for the sake of safety.

For kids who don’t have a sense of personal space and boundaries, I found three books (just three — there are not many on this topic!) to introduce this topic. Personal space also segues into safety for children whether it’s the social-emotional trauma of moving or regarding inappropriate touch. I have books to cover all of this.

How about you? Do you have a funny personal space or boundary story? Please share! Read more…

Feeding Kids' Imaginations with Food as Art

Feeding Kids’ Imaginations with Food as Art

I was never the mom to make food art though I admire it greatly. I’m always scrambling to figure out what to feed my picky kids and the added pressure of food as entertainment is beyond me.

radish art in Italy

Food as art came to us by way of a radish in Italy. But it turns out that food as art has a long and distinguished history. Giuseppe Arcimboldo was one such master artist to play with food.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo food as artRead more…