Friday, November 15, 2013

Bullying is a Big Problem

You hear, read and see it all around. How do you talk to your children about bullying and how to stop it. Here is some information about the signs, causes and soultions to this terrible problem.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Time 2013

It's that time of year again. Planning for Halloween can be difficult since it requires decorating, special treats, costumes, crats and perhaps even parties, not to mention the trick or treating on that special night! I have a suggested a few of my favorite books, alongs with two easy crafts that can be done in a short period of time, with a few children or as a party activity. Halloween Books: Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and SD Schindler Five Little Pumpkins by Dan vaccarino The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt and Tony Di Terkizzi Popcorn by Frank Asch Crafts: Mummy Pumpkins- Supplies needed: a small pumpkinm gauze bandages. First I hot glued two large wiggle eyes to a spot where my three year old grandson chose. Next, using gauze bandage I bought at my dolar store, I hot glued one end to the bottom of the pumpkin. He took over, winding the gauze around the pumking, passing around the eyes. We used two rolls of 4.5 yards for a small pumpkin. I hot glued the other end to the top. It looks spooky and was done in a matter of minutes. Monster Making- Supplies needed: glue sticks, construction paper shapes. After cutting many different shapes from various colors of construction paper, I let him make monsters. Since we just read Where the Wild Things Are, it was apparent he was influenced by those illustrations. The possibilities here are endless. He used a glue stick and was happy to work on this project for a half hour. I can't wait to try it with my 5 year old grandaughter. These monsters would also be cute as place setting cards or the fronts of Halloween cards. Have fun and let their imaginatiosn run wild!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ideas For Lunch

Preparing healthy lunches for kids to take to school is easy. Preparing healthy lunches ofr kids to take to school that they will actually EAT, is a challenge. Here are some tips I recently heard: 1-Use 100% whole grain bread 2-Let them build it. Send is slices of cheese, veggies and chicken with assorted crackers and them them make their own combos. 3- Experiment with different veggies and dips so they can try new tastes. Plus dips imply yummy snacks. 4- Add slices of fruit to their water bottles. It will add flavor but no sugar. 5- Prepeel fruit like oranges to make it easier to eat. Apples can be slices and rubber banded back together to keep pieces from browning. 6-Use fat free Greek style yogurt with honey to make a dip for fruit. 7- Use a peeler on veggies to make interesting ribbons and curls. The kids might think it's more fun that way. 8- Adding some colorful sprinkles to yogurt won't add many calories but will add interest. 9- Use large cookie cutters in fun shapes to cut sandwiches. Don't be square any more! 10- Don't forget good old fat free popcorn for a quick snack, 11- For a fun trail mix, use 2 cups goldfish, 2 1/2 cups cheddar mini-pretzels, 1 cup dried fruit like apples or cherries, and 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts. Bag them up in 1/2 cup portions. 12- Find a great recipe for home made healthy chips here.

Product Safety Recall Sept. 2013

Follow this link to see the list of recalls of children's products for September.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Healthy Sleep Routines

Are you still having trouble getting your child into a healthy sleep routine for school? Well here is an article from the experts to give you some successful tips.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Best Ride

The best ride for your child is one that is secure in the correct car seat. September 15-21, 2013 is Child Passenger Safety Week. You can make sure you have the right seat for your child's height, weight,and age by following this link.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

August 2013 Recalls

Go here to find the list of recalled products for last month. Share with other paretns and caregivers too.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to School 2013

It's that time again. My, how fast the summer came and went! Here are some tips to get back into the school groove or to get off to a good start for the Kindergartners. 1- Start now to get on the correct time schedule. Even though kids have adjusted to being up late and sleeping in, now is the time change back to "school time" so it can be a gradual adjustment. It will take a week or so for the body to shift into early nights and mornings especially since it is still staying light out fairly late into the evenings. 2. Start choosing snacks and lunches. The first week on school is NOT the time to try new, easy, packable lunches and snacks. I don't want to recall the number of them I saw thrown into the trash because the kids didn't like Mom's selections. Let the kids start sampling now so you can make a list of what will work. Choose healthy things that are easily make the night before or quickly in the morning. Also, don't forget to let the kids give you some ideas. They will tell you what they will eat. You can compromise on the suggestions to some degree and post the list so you can add to it as the year goes on. 3. Start reviewing the basics. If you have let the kids slack off on reading and math for the summer, now is the time to getting the brains in gear. Tell them to spend some time each day reading. You can decide what amount of time is age appropriate but even the little ones can spend 15 minutes looking at books. Don't forget to keep up with the read aloud bedtime stories. For writing practice, have them write (including texting or messaging) a relative or friend some fun things they did during the summer or things they are looking forward to this year. Math concepts can be practiced in a game format while doing household chores and routines. For example: If we use a knife, fork and spoon at each place setting tonight, and have 5 people in the family, how many pieces of silverware will we need? Another example would be-"Let's use our shoes to make a pattern- sandal, sneaker sneaker, sandal, sneaker, ?, what comes next"? or "Which of these containers holds more water? Lets put in into the bathtub tonight and you can see." Whatever you choose to do, remember to start now and keep it fun. Beginnings matter, so make sure your child gets off to a good start. Good luck! Here are some books you can look for in your local library, bookstore, or online: For younger children- Simon Starts School by Sharon Pierce Starting School by Franzesks Ewart Starting School by Allan Wahlberg School Starts Today by Carolyn Hayes For older kids- Starting Gate (a Saddle Club title) by Bonnie Bryant Starting School by Johanna Hurwitz The Boys Start the War by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do Backpacks Equal Backaches?

It's that time of year again when families start the back to school shopping. There is always a long list and so many products from which to choose. Besides getting the best price, how can you get the best products? Well, as a rule I always suggest that parents try to purchase the specific item the teacher has recommended. The teacher has had lots of experience with many different types of school supplies and usually knows what works the best and lasts the longest. When it comes to backpacks though,  teachers don't usually give too much feedback. Children can really develop backaches from carrying ill fitting and over stuffed backpacks so here is an article to help you make that all important decision. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Child Passenger Safety Week 2013

September 15 through 21, 2013 is Child Passenger Safety Week. For more details and downloadable information for your group or organization, visit this link.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Make Summer Last Longer

I can't believe it will be the beginning of August in two days. Where exactly did summer go? It certainly seems to be flying by. I thought of one way to make your summer last a bit longer. You can preserve the fun activity of sand castle building with your child by making modeling sand. Here is the recipe:

1/3 cup flour
2T white granulated sugar
1 cup water
6 cups clean sand

Mix the flour and sugar. Add the water and stir well. Cook over low heat, stirring until the mixture looks clear. Cool until it's a comfortable temperature to handle. Mix with the sand. Knead until you have a clay like substance. You can add a bit of water as needed. You can pack this into measuring cup or other containers then invert onto a plate. We layered ours. You can sprinkle on glitter, add seashells, or post a flag as we did. Let it dry, without touching or moving for a day. It will harden and remind you of the 2013 fast moving summer!

Art Contest 2013

Does your child like to draw? Well if so, there is a wonderful art contest going on sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The theme is children's safety of course. Follow this link to read about the age categories and rules. They might just win a super vacation package!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

That's a question I get asked quite frequently. So here's a wonderful reference for you. Take time to read it as well as all the other great articles provided by this fantastic organization..

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Treats

Eating healthy in the summer can be a challege. With picnics, car trips and late nights, the regular menus are easily set aside. provides some good tips for food choices when it's just too hot to cook. Here is a recipe I found there for Kiwi ice pops that are a healthy hot weather treat. Enjoy! ++Remember NEVER to leave a child (or pet) in a car in the summer even if only a few minutes! ++

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

June 2013 Product Recalls

Here's the newest list of recalls. Time to check your purchases!

Craft Ideas For the Fourth of July 2013

I just found this great site that has lots of cute craft ideas. Here's the link for July 4th crafts. Enjoy!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Fourth of July 2013

I hope you are ready to enjoy a great holiday with family and friends. Here in the Northeast, we are hoping for a nice day with no rain! Also, we hope that all our children stay safe. had some tips on backyard safety, as well as information on swimming pools, fireworks, and the dangers to children of lawn mowers. Follow this link and make sure you are a responsible adult. Don't forget to explain to the children in your life the historical reason for this meaningful holiday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

May 2013 Product Safety Recalls

Follow this link and check your purchases for recalls.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sand Play

If you are fortunate enough to live close to a beach, I'm sure you and the kids in your life have learned the fun of playing in the sand. Many of us are not so lucky and visits to the beach are few and far between or not at all. I am always on the lookout from every source for fun ideas for the kids during summer vacation and here is a great one.

Make your own sculpting sand:

Clean play sand (available at most home improvement stores)
corn starch

Mix together the sand and cornstarch at a ratio of 3:1 (12 cups of sand and 4 cups of cornstarch for example). After it's thoroughly mixed, add about 3 cups of water. Mix slowly adding water until it is a good consistency and packs nicely. Store in a plastic pail with a tight fitting lid. You can always add more water when it starts to dry up too much or starts to get dirty. Now, build, build, build!

Here are some good books to give you ideas:

Sea, Sand and Me by Patricia Hubbell

Super Sand Castle Saturday by Stuart J. Murphy

Sand Castle Bash: Counting from 1 to 10 - Jon Scieszka's Trucktown Series

Sisters Are For Making Sandcastles by Harriet Ziefert

Sand and Surf by Tanya Provines

Ideas For Teaching Bright Children

There is a new book that was just released that has some really excellent ideas for teaching bright children. There is an opportunity to ask questions of the author too. Follow this link to find out more.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

June 2013 Books and Craft

Here are some book suggestions for this month's theme of Butterflies:

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman
The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco
When the Butterfly Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little
The Lamb and The Butterfly by Arnold Sundgaard
Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
Angelina and The Butterfly by Katharine Holabird
Little Butterfly by Happy Books (board book)

Materials Required:
Plastic spoons
Unused coffee filters
wiggle eyes
hot glue


1-Color designs on the coffee filters with different colored markers. The filter paper will spread and mix the colors. A slightly damp filter will add to the blending. (Crayons can be used as well but you don't get the blending of colors)
2-Crimp the middle of one filter with your fingers and lot glue to the back of a plastic spoon right where the bowl of the spoon meets the handle.
3-Glue the eyes to the bowl part of the spoon and draw the mouth.
4- Body sections can be drawn on the handle sections too.
5-Spoons can be placed into flower pots for decoration. Hot glue different lengths of cords or heavy thread to the tops of several spoons and tie to a branch to create a lovely mobile for a porch.
These were made by my 5 yr. old grand daughter. She wants to make lots more!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Here is a wonderful article from NAEYC with tips on making the transition from pre-school to Kindergarten. Learn how to remove stress and make it an exciting time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Get Ready For Summer Fairs!

Even thought the weather here in the northeast US has been uncommonly chilly the last few days, I know that the warm summer will be here before you know it. Along with that comes a variety of county fairs and festivals and day trips to amusement parks. My husband and I always try to take the grand kids to some because we all enjoy them so much. The kids of course love looking at all the 4H animals sand exhibits but equally enjoy the rides. Although I personally do not like to go on rides, I do let the five year old go on a carefully selected few. Yesterday, in my local paper, there was an eye opening article about "kiddie rides." According to this Scripps Howard News Service article, more than 92,000 children under the age of 18 were treated in emergency rooms from 1990-2010 as reported in the Journal Clinical Pediatrics. On average, every three days during the months of May through September, the injuries sustained required hospitalization. So, here is a list of rules to consider when enjoying amusement park rides:                          

A. Follow all age, height, weight and health restrictions                                                                             

B. Avoid mall or arcade rides if they're on a hard surface or don't have safety requirements.                     

C. Make sure children use safety bars and seat belts and keep their hands and feet inside the ride.            

D. Be sure your child is mature enough to follow the rules on any ride. Otherwise, keep him or her off the equipment and do something else.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Don't spoil a family outing with an accidental injury. Have fun and enjoy every minute.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Project 2013

Here is the Mother's Day project I made with my grandkids to give to their mom.

I had purchased some flats of flowers for my garden and let the kids choose their favorites. There are these special makers I got at AC Moore's Craft store which are designed especially for drawing on terra cotta.

The kids really enjoyed using them and they weren't as messy as I thought they might be. The pots were dry in a few minutes and we headed outside to plant. We had so much fun, I decided to use the markers to decorate some of my own pots! To all the mother's and mother-like caretakers out there, have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Planning a Trip With the Kids?

Check out this handy list of what to pack for your vacation here on the Melissa and Doug blog.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Special Toys for Special Needs

Follow this link to read and see the newest toys from Melissa and Doug for children with special needs. Let's get your thoughts about them. Comment below and let's see what our ideas are.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Let Dandelions "Bee"

I'm sure most of you have heard of "Colony Collapse Disorder" which has caused many bee colonies to die. This plague has had a terrible effect on food producers, since bees polinate the crops and without bees, food would be in very short supply. Entomologists have been trying to determine exactly what is causing this widespread problem and most agree that pesticides have a lot to do with it. So, with that in mind, my local honeybee authority has suggested that everyone leave their dandelions grow freely in their lawns and gardens. It turns out that they are very helpful since the protein-rich pollen from dandelions are among the bees favorite food! Who knew? Even if you leave a small patch to go "natural", you will be doing your local bees a big favor!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Local Library Resources

I am very lucky to have my local library very close to where I live. My children enjoyed story time and visiting weekly when they were young and now I take my grand daughter who is almost 5 there. She can't wait until she turns five and is allowed to get her own library card. Our library not only has a wealth of books, from classics to the newly published children's books, but has puzzles, DVD's, and usually a few computers available as well to help with research for the older kids. Each summer, they have themed reading programs and contests. Saturdays are often the times for author visits and guest speakers. If you have a special book your child wants to read, they can get it for you in no time. Of course, they still have story time each week for preschoolers. Take some time, to find our where your nearest library is located and give them a call. Your children can benefit from everything they have to offer and it's a great way to spend some quality time together.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Product Recalls March 2013

Here is the newest list of product recalls. Check it out here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Books and Crafts 2013

Here's my list of Easter favorites:

The Easter Bunny That Overslept by Pricilla Friedrich

Badger's Easter Surprise by Alan Parry

It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

Here Comes Peter Cottontail by Steve Nelson

Easter Bunnies Everywhere by  William Boniface

Recycled crafts materials needed to make all three bunnies:
2 cardboard tubes
2 Styrofoam cups
scrap paper
pipe cleaners
cotton balls /pompoms

The following pictures show three crafts made from household products you can recycle. By covering cardboard tubes with pretty patterned paper you can make cute bunnies. You can also decorate plain white paper with your choice of paint, stickers or colored markers. Add paper punches eyes (you can use wiggle eyes if you have them), and embellish as you wish (such as white paper teeth). You can add glitter to the ears. Pipe cleaners can be stapled on for whiskers. Pompoms make cute cheeks and noses.  In the last picture, the bunny is created by using glue to attach two cups together (rim edges touching). Each one can be different, so let the kids have fun using their individual ideas. They make wonderful centerpieces or place card holders. Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013

St. Patrick's Day Books and Craft
Here are some fun books to find:
1-The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing
2. St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons
3. Buster's St. Patrick's Day by Debbe Handymon May
4. St. Patrick's Day Alphabet by Beverly Vidrine
5.The Story of St. Patrick's Day by Patricia A. Pingry
6. A Leprechaun St. Patrick's Day by Sarah Blazek

Leprechaun's Gold
supplies needed:
washable tempera paint liquid dish soap (for easy clean up)
black construction paper
gold paper or foil (or a gold crayon)
hole punch

Using washable tempera paint with a bit of liquid dish soap mixed in, paint your child's fingers in the colors of the rainbow. This is a good time to teach them about the unchanging sequence of rainbow colors. Press their fingers onto white paper and let them dry. Afterwards, cut a pot out of black construction paper and glue it over the end of the fingers. Using a whole punch, punch some "coins" out of gold paper or gold foil. You can also use gold crayons to color some white paper if you cannot find the gold paper. Display your leprechaun's pot of gold and rainbow to bring your family the luck o' the Irish. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Change Your Clocks AND Your Batteries

Don't forget when you reset your clocks this weeknd to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. Here is a link to other fire safety resources. There are also many fact and tip sheets for adults and children.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Childhood ADHD May Lead to Problems Later On

I found this article very interesting. Read it here. As an educator, I have always advocated for parents to take children for professional evaulations immediately if they exhibit these behaviors, since the earlier it is treated, the better. Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sparky the Fire Dog Activity

Here's a fun fire safety activity for the kids. It's used with the book Flat Stanley, that is introduced by many teachers to promote creative writing. What a great way to practice both!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Car Seats for Older Kids

Wondering whether your children are old enough for booster seats or should still be in car seats? Follow this link for answers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Indoor Fun

If you are living in parts of the country where the winter weather keeps the kids cooped up inside for a few days at a time, I have some fun ideas to share. This link will take to you directions for setting up "prop boxes" that young children can use for all sorts of games and imaginative play. I used them often in my classroom and now am setting them up for my grand children to enjoy. Hope it helps pass the hours for your children while provided plenty of picture and video opportunities as well. Happy pretending!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

Here are some Valentine's Day books worth reading with your children :

Well know authors and characters~

Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse by Laura Neumeroff

Valentine's Day Fun by Rosemary Wells

Snowy Valetnine by David Petersen

Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing

 Here are some authors that may be new to you~

The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bpnd

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

The Valentine Star by Patricia Reilly Giff

The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson

How about a wonderful easy recipe for Valentine's Day? I saw these somewhere online but don't remember where. These pretty pink cookies with chocolate chips look good to me!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box of Strawberry Cake Mix (they used Dincan Hines)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/2 teasponn vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla extraxt by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough. Stir vigorously until all of the packets of dry cake mix are gone. Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop rounded balls of dough, about 2,5 tablespoons each onto the prepared baking sheet. Drop a few more chips on top of the balls. Make sure the balls are taller than they are wide.

Bake for 10 minutes-not letting them get browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes. They will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops may settle down. You can press the tops gently if they don't settle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Product Recalls January 2013

Time to check the list again for product recalls. Here is where you can go for the lastest information.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Sports Safety

There is so much to be enjoyed in the outdoors during the wonter months.  Children are especially excited to spend the day playing in the snow and having fun. Here is a link to some helpful tips for you to make those activities safe for them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 2013 Books and Craft

January books and craft~ January usually brings lots of snow here in the northeast U.S. so here are some great books to enjoy.

Baby Snow Animals by Jane Katirgis
Who Grows up in the Snow? by Theresa Lonenecker
A snowy Day by Lola M Schaefer
Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor
White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt
The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
Sally's Snow Adventure by Stephen Huneck
Snow by Uri Shulevitz

"Sno" Dough Recipe Mix 2 cups of corn starch with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil with a spoon in a small bowl. After combined, work together with your fingers. It will "crunch" like real snow and have a wonderful texture that holds together and packs like real snow. It can be a bit messy since it can crumble, so make sure to work with it on a big piece of foil or paper for easy clean up. Use rolling pins and other clay tools and you can make designs in it as well. It isn't sticky and will not make hands messy so have fun playing in the "snow."