Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prevent Summer "Brain Drain"

School is out and children are so excited that summer is here, but it won't be long until you hear the infamous, "I'm bored" from your little ones.

Prevent Summer "Brain Drain" by planning ahead!

Primrose Schools, the leader in educational child care, recommends encouraging imaginative play and having a plan in place to keep children's minds engaged during the summer months. Studies show that without stimulation, children can lose up to 60 percent of what they learned during the school year.

That's why Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose, has come up with the list of ideas below as a starting point for summer activities that offer a balance between the freedom of child-initiated play time and more structured activities.

Here are 11 ideas parents can use to keep young minds active during the summer months:

1.Boredom Buster Jar: At the beginning of the summer, sit down with your family and brainstorm a list of activities that can be done alone or that you can enjoy doing together. Encourage your children to share their own ideas and help you decorate and label a simple jar as the family "Boredom Buster Jar." They'll feel more involved in the project and more likely to think this is a "neat" idea, if they participate in the creation and idea generation. Next, write everyone's ideas down on slips of paper and as a group decide which ones should go in the jar. Anyone in the family can pull any idea out of the jar to fight the summertime boredom blues.

2.Stories Alive: It sounds too simple, but reading is one of the most important waysto keep young minds engaged during the summer.Make reading even more fun by finding ways to bring the stories to life. For example, in the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, children create a make-believe town in the desert out of rocks, boxes, and their imaginations. Read the book with your children and then challenge them to create their own town with materials they find in the backyard.

3.Art Start Box: You'll need to gather basic art supplies-child safe scissors, glue, markers, tape and construction paper. Put them in a special box along with empty oatmeal boxes and paper towel rolls, colorful magazines and bits of aluminum foil. Occasionally add a special surprise like chalk, stickers, or stamp pads so there's always something new for the children to find. Even if you normally have these supplies around the house, it's fun for children to know that the Art Start Box is just for them. They'll probably have some good ideas of other household items that can be recycled to fuel their creative energies.

4.Family Performances: Break out old clothes or costumes and encourage children to make up characters and create a play to act out. They are the directors, actors, and producers. They can also make musical instruments out of pots/pans, wooden spoons, empty canisters and have a parade; or everyone can play along to your family's favorite songs. Record or video the performances, and enjoy the replay. You'll also be capturing a bit of family history everyone will enjoy for years to come.

5.Family Dance Party: Crank up the music and encourage your entire family to boogie down. Dancing gives children a great outlet for self-expression through their own motion and helps build self-esteem. It also enhances motor and coordination development by incorporating skills like jumping, landing and leaping. Dancing is a great activity that can involve the whole family and doesn't take very much preparation.

6.Fort Building: Children love to build all kinds of structures--from small towns to large towers. Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem solving for hours. All the items you need can be found around the house- some chairs, cushions, blankets, and of course adult supervision.

7.Cookbook Fun: Have you ever shared your favorite cookbook with your children? Take it out and ask your children to choose a recipe to try. Measuring can be a fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh.

8.Summer Scrapbook: All you need for this project is a spiral notebook. Encourage everyone in the family to draw pictures of favorite activities and collect mementos from special events throughout the summer. Children love to go back through scrapbooks and albums and tell about what happened at each occasion. They will also be building their storytelling skills at the same time.

9.Listening Game: Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park and listen. What do you hear? Do you hear what I hear? Can you imitate the sound? This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening.

10.Camping Out: Pretend to campout in the backyard. Plan a meal, pack a backpack and set up a campsite. You might even decide to spend the night!

11.Scavenger Hunt: Make a list or picture cards of common household items and have your children find the items on the list. Invite friends or neighbors to join in the fun to make it a competition.

To find these and other great tips for parents, check out Dr. Zurn's blog at DrZandme.com. And don't forget to grab Dr. Z's Widget while you're there!

For more information on Primrose Schools, visit www.primroseschools.com. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter!

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

KC Distant Learning Review



Today's students, known as the "iGeneration", are the first to crave and benefit from education "on demand" - or the option to choose where, when and how they want to learn.

To put it in context, the "iGeneration" has never known life without the Internet, being mobile, using avatars, IMing or choosing and watching content whether they are at home, in the car, at a football game or shopping at the mall. To reach them in their high-tech, high-touch world, many parents and educators are looking at how to rewire schools to match how the iGeneration learns.

Taking classes online is one way to give middle and high school students (and their school districts) new options to learn using preferred tools in a familiar environment, and even experience enhanced, one-on-one relationships with educators. Whether they're in need of more assistance, looking for wider range of classes or simply prefer to learn in a medium that they have grown up with, online learning can be a great way to fit your child's needs.

Students are increasingly able to take online classes in partnership with their local school districts. Schools facing budget cuts and a reduction in teachers are turning to online classes to supplement their curriculum, from offering classes for which they have no teachers, Advanced Placement® classes for students who excel, and credit recovery options for students who struggle. In fact, today there are 1 million children learning online, either part time, full time or between school terms. Additionally, more than 20 percent of schools and educational institutions around the country offer online classes today, and that number should grow by another 30 percent within a couple of years, according to industry research. (Simba Information).

KC Distance Learning (KCDL) offers online learning options to fit all types of students and learning situations.

From the home-schooled family, the student brushing up on skills to compete at the next level or the child facing challenges in traditional schools such as bullying, KCDL provides academic solutions to fit your child's needs. We welcome you to look through the website at www.onlineschoolsolutions.com, and then click on your state to find the KCDL online school serving your area.


Here is a demonstration where you can view the tools and technologies online students use to engage with their teachers and classmates. Click on the following link to experience how students engage with their teachers and classmates online, in a recorded session where students from around the country come together outside of class to discuss the results of the "iGeneration" survey with their teacher and hear their insights. http://smub.it/jlj/iqlive


Also, to experience the robust curriculum offered by online learning, click on the following link - http://aventalearning.com/aventa-capabilities-demo. Once there, select the green button that says "view multi-media demo." When the demo loads, select media-rich curriculum to experience how online learning is effectively teaching today's iGeneration.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer with Solo Photo Contest






Solo is back this summer with their second annual Solo Online Photo Contest! And like last year, they are unveiling new must-have product just in time for summer barbecues. Solo Squared™ plates and bowls are the perfect complement to their popular Squared cup. These durable, single-use cups, plates and bowls cut down on clean-up time, which means more time for summer fun!






Speaking of fun, how does winning great prizes sound? The Solo Cup Company has launched their second annual online photo contest with a grand prize of $5,000 for the best photo featuring Solo products. You'll be able to enter your favorite photos at www.SoloCups4ever.com until August 6th. In addition to the grand prize, two $1,000 runner-up prizes will be awarded at the end of the contest. By entering, you'll also have the chance to win daily and weekly prizes of gift certificates and Solo products- a great way to extend the fun of summer well into the fall!

Lilith Fair Summer Tour





Lilith Fair Summer Tour Kicks Off in Two Weeks!!

This summer marks the return of the historic all-female Lilith Fair festival! From 1997 through 1999, Lilith Fair was one of the highest grossing touring festivals in the world, with over 2 million fans in attendance and raising over $10 million dollars for national and local women's charities.
Click here to buy tickets.


Artists joining Sarah on the bill to include:
Colbie Caillat, Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Erykah Badu, Ke$ha, Norah Jones, Sugarland, Heart, Miranda Lambert, Beth Orton, Brandi Carlile, Cat Power, Chantel Kreviazuk, Corinne Bailey Rae, Emmylou Harris, Gossip, Indigo Girls, Ingrid Michaelson, Jill Scott, Loretta Lynn, Metric, Sara Bareilles, Tegan and Sara and more!


Jun 27 Calgary, AB McMahon Stadium
Jun 28 Edmonton, AB Northlands Spectrum
Jul 1 Vancouver, BC, Canada Pitt Meadows Airport
Jul 2 Portland, OR Sleep Country Amphitheatre
Jul 3 Seattle/George, WA The Gorge Amphitheatre
Jul 5 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
Jul 7 San Diego, CA Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
Jul 8 Phoenix, AZ Cricket Wireless Pavilion
Jul 9 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
Jul 10 Los Angeles, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Jul 12 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
Jul 13 Denver, CO Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Jul 15 Kansas City, MO Capitol Federal Park @ Sandstone
Jul 16 St. Louis, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Jul 17 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Jul 18 Minneapolis, MN Canterbury Park
Jul 20 Indianapolis, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center Indianapolis
Jul 21 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
Jul 23 Montreal, QC Parc Jean Drapaeu
Jul 24 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Jul 27 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
Jul 28 Philadelphia, PA Susquehanna Bank Center
Jul 30 Boston, MA Comcast Center
Jul 31 New York, NY PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug 1 Hartford, CT Comcast Theatre
Aug 3 Washington, DC TBA
Aug 4 Raleigh, NC Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
Aug 6 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte
Aug 7 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Aug 8 Atlanta, GA Aarons Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Aug 10 West Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre
Aug 11 Tampa, FL Ford Amphitheatre
Aug 12 Birmingham, AL Verizon Wireless Music Center
Aug 14 Austin, TX TBA
Aug 15 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Aug 16 Dallas, TX Superpages.com Center

Sarah McLachlan's Laws of Illusion Album In Store




Grammy® award winning, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan's long awaited new album, LAWS OF ILLUSION is in stores today!

This marks Sarah's first studio album of brand new material in 7 years. In a career spanning more than two decades, Sarah has over 20 million career sales to date and, every one of Sarah McLachlan’s studio and live albums has been certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum by the RIAA

Check out the video for Sarah's new single "Loving You Is Easy".


Buy LAWS of ILLUSION on Amazon for just $9.99.

TRACKLISTING

1. AWAKENINGS
2. ILLUSIONS OF BLISS
3. LOVING YOU IS EASY
4. CHANGES
5. FORGIVENESS
6. RIVERS OF LOVE
7. LOVE COME
8. OUT OF TUNE
9. HEARTBREAK
10. DON’T GIVE UP ON US
11. U WANT ME 2
12. BRING ON THE WONDER

Friday, June 11, 2010

RaceTrac Freefill Cup




If you're always on the go with a drink in your hand, you have to check out the new RaceTrac Freefill Cup. Available for only $6.99 at your local RaceTrac location, this cool cup entitles you to FREE refills from their impressive fountain for the entire summer. From now until August 1st, you and your family can be sipping all of the refreshing drinks you love, without any additional charges!







From soft drinks to lemonade and iced tea, there is no shortage of options for mixing up your favorite beverage. If you're in the mood to play fountain drink bartender, make sure you check out the "Kamikaze Missions" promotion on Facebook. And don't forget to "like" RaceTrac on Facebook to get updates on future deals and promotions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How to Have Your Second Child First Book Review & Giveaway





As any parent of more than one child will tell you, things are much easier the second time around. In this warm and reassuring book, scores of real-life second-time parents offer first-timers their stories and lessons learned. One hundred accessible entries guide new parents through pregnancy and the first year of life, covering everything from birth plans and breast-feeding to finding a parental comfort zone. With a dose of patience and a sprinkling of humor, How to Have Your Second Child First helps first-timers navigate parenthood with the savvy and calm of moms and dads who have been there before twice.

After reading this book I wish I would have had it when I had my first child! This book is the perfect guide for any first time parent. It gave me so many laughs because it is so true!! I used to have the mentality of the first time parent and now I agree with the experienced parents tips they have in this book.

Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen are second-time parents who have learned a lot from their two energetic young daughters, Piper and Molly. A former publishing executive, Kerry is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant. Rob is an author and software developer. They are the authors of Mommy Lotto; Daddy Lotto; So, You Want to Be Canadian; and The U.S. of Eh? (all from Chronicle Books). They currently work, parent, and drink plenty of coffee in Seattle.


Thanks to Momselect for providing me with the book to review and one to give away however I would love to share my copy with a first time parent so there will be 2 books to win!!

How to enter:


1) Follow me on blogger. (1 entry)
2) Follow me on twitter. (1 entry)
3) Tweet: How to Have Your Second Child First Book Giveaway @JoAnnaEmma #giveaway http://tinyurl.com/22oam44(1 entry per tweet, unlimited)

This giveaway ends on June 29, 2010 at midnight. 2 winners will be picked by random.org. Please leave an email address. Winners will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Good Luck!

Friday, June 4, 2010

all® Free Clear Review & Giveaway




With experience comes wisdom-ask any second-time mom. Yet, first-time moms can't help but make decisions based on what they think they should do, purchasing the latest and greatest in baby books, baby gadgets and for-baby-only products. So, how can new moms ensure they aren't overwhelmed by all of the advice on what they should and shouldn't do?

To help new moms manage, all® Free Clear is teaming up with Kerry Colburn, author of How to Have Your Second Child First, to create a forum at www.facebook.com/alllaundry for first-time moms to share tips and seek out advice from other moms who have been there before. There, both first time and experienced moms can help each other save time and money, while still showering their newborn with all that it needs. The all® Facebook page will also provide money saving advice and a downloadable coupon.

all® Free Clear is the number one free clear detergent and is pediatrician and dermatologist recommended for sensitive skin. It is free of perfumes and clear of dyes, and gently lifts away tough baby stains. Importantly for new moms on a budget, all® Free Clear costs fifty percent less than Dreft®!

With all® Free Clear, mom never needs to separate baby's laundry from the rest of the family's and can still feel good about doing the best for her newborn. With all® Free Clear, mom gets the whole family's wash clean, while still caring for newborn's sensitive skin.

I personally love this detergent cause I know I am not harming my family's sensitive skin as well as remove stains.

Thanks to MomSelect and all® for sending me a full size bottle of all Free Clear to review.

MomSelect and all® want to give 2 of my readers a free bottle of all® Free Clear™

How to enter:


1) Follow me on blogger. (1 entry)
2) Follow me on twitter. (1 entry)
3) Tweet: Win a bottle of all Free Clear ends 6/22 @JoAnnaEmma #giveaway 2 winners http://tiny.cc/mcs97(1 entry per tweet, unlimited)

This giveaway ends on June 22, 2010 at midnight. 2 winners will be picked by random.org. Please leave an email address. Winners will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hampton Hotels Chain of Friends Sweepstakes






Summer is almost here! If you haven't started planning a family Summer getaway, then now is the time to start. We know that it can be hard for a mom to plan a family getaway, especially when all of your friends and family are begging you to come and visit. This summer, Hampton Hotels is making it easier than ever to connect with your friends and family with their Chain of Friends Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will win an entire hotel for a weekend (100 rooms for two nights). 100 other lucky folks will win a free weekend stay for them and three friends. Visit hampton.com/friends for more details and your chance to enter.

If you're ready to make your travel plans now, then you should know that Hampton Hotels is launching the Great Getaway Advance Purchase promotion so you can maximize your stay and play. They're offering guests 20% off the best available rate at participating hotels when you book at least seven days in advance for stays until July 15, 2010. Visit hampton.com to take advantage of this great offer.