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teaching kids perseverance

Teaching Perseverance to Children: Lesson from a Yo Yo Champion

This video from TED got me thinking as a parent about teaching perseverance to children. What if your child had this crazy idea that he or she wanted to play with a yo yo as a career ambition? Honestly, I wouldn’t feel optimistic about that kid’s future.

My husband would be moaning that our kid would be need to be financially supported for eternity, perhaps failing to launch and living at home forever.

It doesn’t have to be a yo yo dream. My middle daughter wants to go to hair school. There’s nothing wrong with being a hair stylist but it isn’t my dream for her and it doesn’t seem to jive with her other dreams (which I’m more behind) of going to Stanford — playing soccer for Stanford actually as an outside midfielder (she gets more specific with each passing year) and becoming a billionaire. Because I googled billionaires and no hair professionals came up. Not even Jennifer Aniston hawking Living Proof made that cut.

kids dreams, pickykidpixRead more…

Kid Lit Giveaway Blog Hop

Kid Lit Giveaway Hop!

Celebrate Children’s Book Week with a week of giveways hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews. 90 bloggers will be be doing giveaways all this week as part of Kid Lit Giveaway Hop!!

I am giving away a box of chapter books and other goodies. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

1 million page view giveawayRead more…

Happy Mother's Day, adopted children, adoption stories

Happy Mother’s Day To All Moms of All Kinds of Families!

Today is a busy Mother’s Day. Soccer games all over the planet. A kids’ birthday party and a lacrosse game too. My husband’s present to me today is doing all that driving and it’s not a trivial gift. The kids will make me a card and gift me the boxing gear that I wanted: a speed bag and a double ended bag that is set at my height. No more standing on stools to reach the speed bag at the boxing gym!

It’s easy to take Mother’s Day for granted and, for that matter, the kids and family. Now that our  children are in elementary school and middle school, it’s just go-go-go all the time on behalf on the kids’ over-scheduled lives.

But for Mother’s Day, it’s nice to take some time and reflect how very lucky I am to be a mother. That my gift is truly my kids and husband and together we have the privilege of raising them. For me, a mother who had children later in life — I’m 48 and my youngest is 8 — parenthood came after college, graduate school and career. It’s a more typical scenario where I live.

But families come in all shapes and sizes. Mothers become moms through love for their children whether or not they are biological or adopted. I’m reminded of this through a TV show called I’m Having Their Baby, now in Season 2, which premieres June 12 at 10/9c on Oxygen. It tells the untold stories of adoption and the myriad of ways to become a mom. Read more…

gun control, Elizabeth warren, cartoonist for gun control, children's illustrators for gun control, moms for gun control

Cartoonists Demand Gun Control (and so do I!)

“If eight children were dying every day from a mysterious virus, our country would mobilize to put a stop to it. Gun violence is an epidemic that is taking our children’s lives in our schools, on our streets, and in our neighborhoods. As with other epidemics, we must do everything we can to make a difference for people through prevention and treatment.”

– Elizabeth Warren

Some of my favorite children’s book illustrators have teamed up to create this video on gun control. How do you feel about it? I’m with Elizabeth Warren. Read more…

picture book of the day, open this little book, clever picture book concepts, books within books

Clever Picture Books That Captivate

All three of my kids, ages 13, 11 and 8, delighted in this clever picture book with a book-within-a-book-within-a-book format. I figured if this picture book could captivate a teenager, it has a lock on all younger kids.

I only wish the pages were a tad more sturdy because this is a book that is going to be used. Little hands will want to open up each page by themselves to discover all the creatures who are enjoying reading a book.

PickyKidPix thinks that this picture book is equal parts wonderful due to both the talented illustrator and author! I tried to argue that it was more the illustrator that makes this book so great  but she disagreed. She loves Suzy Lee’s wordless picture book Wave and noted that Suzy could illustrate in so many different styles!

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Mario toys from K'NEX

Screen Free Week Ideas using K’NEX! GIVEAWAY

Thank goodness a shipment of K’NEX came this past week. We are trying to cut back on screens for Screen Free Week and my biggest challenge is my 8-year-old son who like to simultaneously play video games on the computer while watching TV and eating a snack. I need more screen free week ideas!

I met Kate from K’NEX at BlogHer12 and am thrilled to be part of their blogger ambassador program. The first box of K’NEX toys arrived and I called my son off the multi-screens.  He came reluctantly but then his eyes lit up when he saw the goodies.

The first thing he went for were the little packages of Mario Brothers figures. He didn’t touch the Star Wars packages so I am giving those away. He’s not a Star Wars fan (yet…)!

Mario Brother K'NEX toysRead more…

best chapter books set in Florida, best old Florida books for kids, best books for kids set in Florida

Top 10 Best Chapter Books Set in Florida’s Past

It could just be me but I find that there is something poetic and Old Hollywood-y about Florida’s past. Perhaps it is just the way old Florida is portrayed in children’s books. The setting also seems like a backdoor shortcut to a Newbery award.

From our last trip to Florida in North Captiva Island, we noticed wildlife with big personalities. Perhaps this is the magic that Florida has. If the wild creatures have charisma, imagine the people and the stories they have to tell! Or just read them! These are our picks for best chapter books set in Florida. You don’t have to live in Florida or visit in  Florida to read them, but they might inspire a visit!

What are your favorite children’s books set in Florida, either in the past or in the present day. Please help me build this list!

Egret in Florida, birds who are not afraid of peopleRead more…

percy jackson book club for boys,

Percy Jackson Book Club for Boys

3rd Grade Book Club for Boys

We used Percy Jackson’s The Lightening Thief graphic novel for a book club for boys. I had big plans initially. Blue food. Lots of indoor games. Duct tape fun.

When the book club rolled around though, I was tired  with low energy so I ended up doing a very low key book club. No blue food. Spaghetti and meatballs delivered instead.

duct tape sword craft, duct tape and aluminum foil craft for boys,

The first thing we did was break out the duct tape which I had purchased at Staples a few weeks ago and squirreled away. I had a new roll of heavy duty aluminum foil, tape, copy paper, and scissors. Read more…

jake shimabukuro, ukelele

Amazing Ukelele Virtuoso: Jake Shimbabukuro

With 11.7 million YouTube views, you must see this performance by Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele virtuoso known for his complex finger work. Be sure to watch the last minute where Jake plays a pretty incredible sequence.

My husband gave found Jake on YouTube and my kids loved watching him play, especially my son who plays the guitar. My son then had his guitar teacher, a graduate student from the New England Conservatory, watch the video. His teacher had not heard of Jake but he was also impressed. He told us that Jake used Flamenco guitar techniques on the ukelele so, of course, my son wanted to try it himself.

The second video is instructional. Jake breaks down his fingering techniques. Though he’s very clear on how to do it and makes it look easy, it looks pretty difficult to emulate. Still, my son was inspired by Jake’s accessibility as a performer and watching him play makes my son play his guitar more. If Jake ever comes to Boston — he’s on tour now — we’d make a great effort to catch him.

What do you think of Jake? Did you ever imagine the ukelele could sound like that?

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