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food stamp challenge

Food Stamps Challenge

Food stamps are far from an extravagant benefit. The average allocation is $1.40 per person per meal. (Try it some time.)

from Rolling Stone The Republicans’ War on the Poor

My mom friend Stella has convinced me to try the Food Stamp challenge. It’s not about losing weight. It’s about bringing attention to Food Stamps and how politicians want to cut this important social program back. The GOP, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, is waging a war on the poor, pushing to decimate the food-stamp program which benefits the most vulnerable out of sheer spite.

The way the program to provide the poor with the bare minimum of daily nutrition has been handled is a metaphor for how the far right in the House is systematically trying to take down the federal government. Breaking all manner of precedents on a series of highly partisan votes, with the Republicans barely prevailing, the House in September slashed the food-stamp program by a whopping $39 billion and imposed harsh new requirements for getting on, or staying on, the program. The point was to deny the benefit to millions. As recently as the mid-Sixties, actual hunger and starvation existed in this country on a significant scale, particularly in the Deep South and Appalachia.

Food stamps are far from an extravagant benefit. The average allocation is $1.40 per person per meal. So, to bring attention to this important social issue, I told Stella that I would try the Food Stamps Challenge. Read more…

4 Animal Picture Book Giveaway!

4 Animal Picture Book Giveaway!

To celebrate Todd Parr‘s  newest padded board books: Doggy Kisses 123 and Animals in Underwear ABC, I’m teaming up with Christina of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to do a 4 animal picture book giveaway!! Yay!!

We love Todd Parr! Our first Todd Parr picture book was It’s Ok to be Different! and I read it to my oldest when she was in Kindergarten after her classmate’s mom recommended it to me, as a message that would help her son handle questions of why he had two moms. My daughter did wonder that, but out of curiosity, not in a judging kind of way.

We also loved his The Thankful Book which is another gentle message about gratitude. We also liked his TV show. And I checked out his website and found wonderful activities for kids. Read more…

Johnson & Johnson healthy essentials twitter party

Johnson and Johnson Twitter Party with Prizes

It’s January and the holiday season is behind us. Phew! I find that I appreciate coupons more than ever.  But the one thing I’ve learned about coupons over the years is that you only really save money when you are buying something you really need and will actually use!

Now that my two girls are in Middle School, teen acne is on the radar. I like to use teen acne products as well to keep my skin clear and it makes for less clutter in the bathroom that all five of us share!

My dermatologist, Dr. Madeleine Krauss, says that if acne is mild as it is for most teens, try over-the counter acne medication. She posted about her favorite drugstore acne products and included Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash.  She says that the least irritating treatment is a wash that contains salicylic acid.  You can also save $1 by using this coupon for it here.

Neurtrogena-Coupons-Beauty-Skin-Hair-couponsRead more…

multiplication fact strategies for 3rd grade

Mastering Multiplication Math Facts

At the end of second grade my son started learning his multiplication facts along with a few division facts. He had been using a free math site his 2nd grade teacher recommended called Xtra Math and after finishing addition and subtraction facts, moved on to multiplication. Though the site was effective in teaching him math facts, it stressed him out to the point of tears.

Xtra Math has this feature that makes you “Race the Teacher.” If you don’t answer the problem correctly in about two seconds, you get dinged. He hated that portion of the questions but you had to complete it before the site said that you were done.

I like using math gaming apps to get my son to practice his math facts. He will only play each game twice so we need a lot of sites to keep him engaged. That really motivates me to find more fun math sites for him.

What is your favorite math site or game to learn multiplication facts?

 

Fun and FREE Multiplication Games

Here’s a few that he likes:

Grand Prix: Race other kids in a car racing game that is fueled by how quickly and accurately you can solve multiplication math fact problems. You can also race the computer, and adjust the questions to focus on a particular math fact set.

Meteor Multiplication: Shoot down meteors by correctly solving multiplication problems. You shoot from the product, and have to identify the two factors. Read more…

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Books for Kids To Celebrate MLK Day

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

image from Wikipedia

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20th, I thought I would compile my previous posts on MLK day and the Civil Rights Movement.  I hope these lists will be helpful if you are looking for a children’s book to celebrate MLK day or Black History Month in February.

 

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. with 3 Children’s Books

If you need just three books, I’ve chosen my favorite picture book, advanced picture book and chapter book to tell the story of the civil rights from three points of view. The great man himself in his own words. Ruby Bridge’s story as told by her child psychologist Dr. Robert Coles. And through the point of view of a Caucasian girl trying to figure out what was going on when her town pool closed to avoid desegregation.

Martin Luther King Day books for kids, MLK books for kidsRead more…

house finch, house finch eye disease

Saying Good-bye: A House Finch Story

Please welcome my guest blogger, Anna Olswanger. I “met” her when I read a review of Greenhorn and her picture book stopped me in my tracks. It’s powerful story about the Holocaust that really reverberated.  I literally could not stop thinking about that little boy and his tin box for days. I added it immediately to my 34 Haunting Holocaust Books for Kids list.

It doesn’t surprise me that Anna notices the little details in life around her. Her story today is about the little House Finch birds that come to her bird feeder that she notices from her window during writing breaks from her computer. She notes with concern that they are sick.

I looked it up:

House Finch Eye Disease

What does conjunctivitis look like?

Infected birds have red, swollen, watery, or crusty eyes; in extreme cases the eyes become swollen shut or crusted over, and the birds become essentially blind.  If the infected birds die, it is usually not directly from the conjunctivitis, but rather from starvation, exposure, or predation as a result of not being able to see. Some infected birds do recover.

It’s strange that conjuctivitis which kids commonly get is a very infection disease but really a nuisance more than anything, but for a House Finch, it can be lethal.

Here’s her story and my prayers that her House Finch friend is ok!

————————

The house finch sat on the feeder outside my window and coughed. She was brown, a female. I read about her red, swollen eyes on the Web and discovered she had a respiratory disease that had infected her eyes. In extreme cases, the eyes of these birds would become swollen shut and the birds would become blind. They would die from starvation or predation because they couldn’t see. Read more…

Multicultural children's book day, celebrating diversity in children's literature

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Coming Up!

Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book and I are getting excited for January 27th to roll around so we can celebrate multicultural children’s books along with all of you and many wonderful parenting and children’s book bloggers! So far, more than two dozen bloggers have signed up to help us celebrate diversity in children’s books and we will be matching them up with books from publishers!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Books

January 27, 2014

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Our wonderful sponsors include:

Platinum Sponsor: Wisdom Tales Press

Multicultural Children's Book Day Sponsors Wisdom Tales

Wisdom Tales publishes both children’s and teen titles and was created for the purpose of sharing the wisdom, beauty, and values of traditional cultures and peoples from around the world with young readers and their families.

World Wisdom has been publishing children’s books by Caldecott medal winner, Paul Goble, since 2005; since 2002 it has produced many acclaimed books that are well-suited for teens, especially those about the American Indians. Read more…

bilingual multicultural picture book

Bilingual Diversity Picture Book of the Day GIVEAWAY

It could be that because I am getting excited for Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature on January 27th 2014 , I really got excited about the Marisol McDonald picture book series.

I grew up in Southern California but have been living outside Boston for the past 15 years. When I went to a friend’s birthday party in Southern California a decade ago — I kid you not — EVERY single child at that party of two dozen was of mixed race. That’s California for you!

My own kids are multi-racial Asians that we refer to in Hawaiian slang as a “Mixed Plate” in that they are 1/4 Japanese, 1/4 Chinese and 1/2 Korean. And American too, of course, because they were all born in Boston.

In the first picture book, Marisol doesn’t match because she has red hair and nut-brown skin. She likes peanut butter and jelly but nestled in a burrito. I’m glad these multi-racial messages are finally making it in picture book land because this kind of mixed up culture is very normal to me.

My name is Marison McDonald, and I don’t match because … I don’t want to!

I like being unique, different, and one of a kind.

Read more…

lap reading, reading to two kids on my lap

Reading to Two Kids on My Lap and GIVEAWAY

Please welcome my guest poster, Kristin Briley, a teacher and wife of children’s book author Randy Briley. She is posting today on how to read aloud to two kids of different ages with different interests and keep them happy!

Did you ever have that reading challenge? What books worked for you? Please share!

 

Bridging the Gap: Reading to Two Kids on My Lap

As a bibliophile myself, an English teacher of many years who knows the importance of reading, and a mom who loves quiet moments I can share with my children, books rank high on my “very good things” list. I love reading with my kids, but the challenge lies in finding books that appeal to and hold the attention of both of my sweeties at once. I have a two and a half year old daughter who loves animals and a five year old son who loves all things construction.

It was easy to read books with my son when he was a toddler. As he’s grown older, it’s become harder to draw him in and he has outgrown many of the books that my daughter still loves. He does enjoy reading IF I can drag his attention away from Legos, Netflix, vehicles, and building things out of jump ropes, boxes, carbingers, and duct tape.

My daughter loves to read but some of the longer stories my son is ready for don’t hold her attention quite yet. As I try to bridge the age and interest gaps, I find myself turning to a small assortment of books that I can rely on to interest BOTH of my kids…books that they both love hearing and looking at over and over again.

Here are the top ten books that I know will engage both my daughter and son and evoke their laughter as we build their love of reading.

1. A Day at a Zoo by Sarah Harrison OR A Year at a Construction Site by Nicholas Harris
There are several in this series by Millbrook Press, but these two are my kids’ favorites. The scene in the books stays the same, but each page shows the scene at a different time of day, different month of the year, etc. My daughter loves finding the different animals and my son helps to find the suggested images. They both laugh at the little mishaps that close inspection reveals (cement being poured on a worker) and we can spend a long time poring over all the details in the illustrations.

Read more…