Sunday, November 21, 2010

Primrose Schools & Dr. Z Encourage Families to Give Back

We all want our children to grow up to be compassionate adults who want to help others. That's why we're always on the lookout for good ways to encourage character and development. Our good friends at Primrose Schools, the leader in educational childcare, recommend that parents make an effort to introduce volunteerism at a young age.

That's why Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose, is offering parents the four easy steps outlined below to start their children on a path to meaningful volunteerism.

Here are 4 Steps to getting your family interested in volunteering:

Step 1: Clarify your personal goals and motives for wanting to include your child in volunteer activities. Volunteering is a wonderful way to a share your values with your child. Pick a cause that is meaningful to you and your family rather than one that is simply convenient.

Step 2: Explain the importance of volunteerism and the contribution volunteers can make. A child's favorite question is "why?" Keep your answers simple and concrete. For example, if you are going to volunteer at the food bank, tell your child that "The food bank has lots of food for people who need it, and it will be our job to sort the food so that people are able to find what they need."

Step 3: Choose volunteer activities to do with your children that are age-appropriate. Children as young as three can begin volunteering. At this age they begin to enjoy participation in group activities and are better able to follow directions. Remember that a preschooler's concept of the world is not very large and is usually limited primarily to their home, neighborhood and school; therefore, it is important to keep the activity within the realm of what they can imagine. A few examples:

*Participate in "clean the park" activities. Be sure to have your child wear gloves.
*Take recyclables to recycling collection centers.
*Act as a companion to the elderly in retirement or assisted living homes. Simply listening to their stories and relieving their loneliness provides multiple benefits for the senior citizen and your child.
*Participate in local races and walks that raise money for a charitable cause that you think is important; most races have a shorter race for children.
*Sort food at a food bank. Be sure to confirm that children are welcome to volunteer and that it will be a safe environment.

Step 4: Find a child-friendly not-for-profit. Ask the following questions to help you select the volunteer opportunity that is right for your family:

Does the organization have experience with and a history of successfully working with children and families?
Will the organization provide me with a reference from another family who has volunteered with them?
Will the organization staff welcome my child's participation?
Is there a specific job that my child can do successfully?

Who will show my children what to do?
Are there special clothes or supplies needed for my child to volunteer with this organization?
Does the organization conduct appropriate background screenings on its staff?

Does the organization have insurance if there is an accident while your family is volunteering?
Can the organization provide a concrete example that will help your child understand how his or her efforts benefit others?

To find these and other great tips for parents, check out Dr. Zurn's blog at DrZandme.com. 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."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Karo® Cookie Exchange


The holidays are a time for whipping up treasured recipes to share with our friends and family and indulging in all of our favorite confections. One treat is so synonymous with the happiest time of the year that it's even on Santa's wishlist! Whether you bond with your family over a batch of gingerbread men or gift all of your goodies, cookies are the sweetest way to ring in the season.

Our friends at Karo® know how much effort we put into our cookies. That's why they're giving baking enthusiasts everywhere the chance to share their best cookie and cookie bar recipes with their new Cookie Exchange Application on Facebook. The app allows you to submit your own recipe, let your friends know you've entered and vote and comment on your favorites. By participating, you create a "living cookbook" to encourage baking and cookie exchanging all year long. Plus, you could win amazing prizes from Cadco, KitchenAid®, Williams-Sonoma, Vollrath® and CookieCutter.com!


"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win an ACH prize package in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place."

Hoping your holidays are sweet and delicious, just like your favorite cookie recipe!

Kindercare Offers Boredom Busters for Winter Fun


Tips and Ideas to Keep Kids Busy this Winter!

As the days get shorter and weather turns colder, parents are often faced with more out-of-school time and the age-old question, "What can we do?" from children. Now, parents can look to KinderCare Learning Centers, a leading provider of early childhood education, for engaging and age-appropriate activities for their kids to enjoy over the winter months, including KinderCare Winter Science Camp, reading resources and other ideas that are great boredom-busters! KinderCare offers the following ideas for "weathering the winter season" with your children.

KinderCare Winter Science Camp:

The secret's about to get out: science is a blast! At the end of December, 1600 KinderCare Learning Centers across the U.S. transform into Winter Science Camps that give preschoolers through school-agers a chance to unlock the mysteries of the natural world. Split into eight 1-day segments to better meet the needs of busy families staying in town for the holidays, Winter Science Camp uses age-appropriate activities and a lively, hands-on approach to get kids excited about what they're learning. From fish to flowers, from robots to recycling-each center's camp covers chemistry, earth science, and physics. Among many activities, younger campers will get to be "science detectives," solving a series of science mysteries by using touch, smell and hearing. Meanwhile, school-aged kids will be busy experimenting with colored dyes, creating everything from paper to volcanic eruptions, building balloon rockets, and more. Kids can attend all eight days of camp, or drop in for a day or more. For more information about how KinderCare Winter Science Camp makes science as fun as it is smart, visit http://www.KinderCare.com/wintersciencecamp.

Winter Reading:

There is nothing better than snuggling up with your child and a good book. Reading to a child on a regular basis is by far the best way to encourage a budding reader. From the earliest ages, parents are encouraged to begin a reading routine with their children. Building on its robust literacy curriculum and teaching expertise, KinderCare is now providing parents with a comprehensive reading guide (available at http://www2.kindercare.com/uploadedFiles/Documents/a_guide_to_reading_to_your_child.pdf) that incorporates tips on reading to infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well as recommended age-appropriate book titles.

Some tips include:

You can help cultivate baby's interest in books by choosing ones that capture his or her attention such as board books, pop-up books, etc. Your child will want to see these again and again.

While reading together, ask questions about the pictures. Children are delighted in finding objects on the page. If they're saying 'da' and pointing at the dog, say, 'Yes, that's the dog,' If the child says 'ball,' follow up with, 'That's a blue ball.' You'll be giving them additional language for their verbal bank.

Ask your child open-ended questions about the story you are reading, such as "Why do you think that happened?"

Play Time

The colder weather outdoors offers a good excuse for good old-fashioned indoor play time. Play is the natural work of children and essential to learning. Through play, children develop social skills, the ability to solve problems and the courage to express their ideas.

The following are some quick tips for educational and fun family playtime:

For infants, playing peek-a-boo will help baby recognize your voice.

To help infants and toddlers develop fine motor skills, provide a variety of soft, easy-to-grasp toys, such as soft blocks or plush toys.

Blow bubbles with your child and watch them have a blast as they chase and catch the bubbles - both reinforce motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

About KinderCare

With more than 1,600 centers located in 39 states and the District of Columbia, KinderCare Learning Centers, an accredited early childhood provider, offer a range of educational programs and after-school care for infants as young as six weeks old to school-aged children through age 12. For more information, visit http://www.kindercare.com/.
*I was generously offered compensation for this post in the form of a gift card to Target! Thank you SO much!*

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...Featuring Norah Jones.....CD Review



*My review is MY personal opinion and I have been entered to win a gift card through One2One Network by participating.*

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...Featuring is an AMAZING collection of MULTI-Platinum, MULTI-Grammy Award winning siner's musical collaborations from the past DECADE! There are 18 songs on this album...and maybe ONE didn't do much for me...but the other 17 were incredibly AWESOME! The songs on this album include cool ameos, collaborations and duets with such legends as Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, OutKast and Foo Fighters to just name a few. The tracks on this album span Norah's whole career and REALLY show us what she can do! She is SO diverse. These songs are a mixture of jazz...country...hip hop...and rock. Not all at the same time...but you get my idea right? :-)

I have to say....I REALLY wasn't sure if I would like this CD...but BOY!! I was VERY PLEASANTLY surprised. I have listened to it DAILY since I received it! I am not a drinker...but this album relaxes me to the point where I can see sitting in a bubble bath...laying back with a glass of wine and listening to this album with the candles burning! It has a very soft, listening touch to it. Even the songs that aren't supposed to be a soft....are. It really is a great album...definitely worth the purchase!!! :-)

Here are some links that might help you better understand Norah and her music.


Website: http://bit.ly/norahsite
* Facebook: http://on.fb.me/norahFB
* YouTube: http://bit.ly/norahYT
* Link to Preorder on Amazon: http://amzn.to/Njpreorder