October 28, 2008

Stanley the Christmas Tree Review

Stanley the Christmas Tree was just reviewed by Bobbi's Book Nook blog. Bobbi's Book Nook is a blog dedicated to reviewing the latest books out there. Many of the books reviewed on this blog can be found in libraries, making it a great place to go before heading out. Go check out our fantastic review and read up on what you should take out of the library on your next visit.


Family Tree Project

Christmas is about coming together and enjoying family. For this reason, it’s the perfect time of year to introduce a family tree project to your homeschooled kids.

A family tree is a literal diagram of your family history, dating back to as far as you have records. It can be small, with just your immediate family, or larger to include very distant ancestors. To get started with your homeschool family tree project try Genealogy.com for some preliminary background research on your family and tools to create a tree. If you can trace your family back to their immigration through Ellis Island, find them with a passenger search. Once you have gathered all your family information, print off a family fan chart from MarthaStewart.com, and you’re ready. Add family photos and a frame for a lasting centerpiece.

Learning about where you have come from, the accomplishments of those who came before you, and the love that bonds your family together, is an invaluable lesson. History can come alive once you can visualize it in a diagram.


Healthy Holiday Eating for Children

With Halloween around the corner, Thanksgiving right after, and Christmas soon following, it can be hard to get the whole family to eat right. Healthy holiday eating for children, and the whole family, is especially important to maintain during the festive upcoming months because good habits, once broken, are even harder to get back on track. Everyone likes to splurge a bit during the holidays, but here are a few tips to help you enjoy the holiday season without derailing your healthful eating habits:

  • Don’t go hungry – Too often people skip the other meals of the day when they know a big holiday dinner is coming. Try eating like you normally do, with a full breakfast, lunch, and snacks, not only will you be filling up on nutritious food, but you won’t be ravenous once your at the holiday table.

  • Bring a Dish – It is always polite to bring a dish when you’re invited over to someone else’s house. Why not make that dish a healthy one? This way you and your kids can fill up on food you know is healthy.

  • Host a Healthy Holiday Dinner – If you are the host, you control what food is served. Make your nutritious favorites, and you might even convert some of your friends and family to be healthy eaters too.

  • Eat Healthy First – There are plenty of healthy holiday foods. Try filling up on the steamed green beans and baked sweet potatoes first.

  • Don’t let bad habits come back to stay – If you find yourself at the holiday table, tempted to go off your healthy eating plan, you don’t have to be perfect. Just don’t throw up your hands and fall back on your old habits. Jump back into it, and eat healthfully for the next few days. Your one bad meal becomes insignificant in the big picture, but only if you don’t let those old bad habits come back for good.

  • Set an Example – Eat healthy during the holidays and serve your children the nutritious food at the table. If they see you’re leading, then they can follow your good habits.

The holidays are a time to celebrate friends and family, so enjoy. Focusing on the great family time can help take your mind off of scarfing down 10 cookies.


October 13, 2008

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments for Kids

Homemade Christmas tree ornaments for kids are a fun and personalized way to celebrate the holiday. Collecting ornaments over the years and buying new ones at the store is great, but sometimes it’s nice to make your own. It’s a great bonding experience for the whole family, and can specifically reflect the year’s milestones, hobbies, and your unique interests.

A homemade Christmas tree ornament is only limited by your imagination, so be creative. Non-edible ornament dough can be a pretty and fragrant addition to your tree. Try the different ornament dough recipes at Allrecipes.com and run wild with different shapes and endless decorating ideas, just don’t forget to put a whole in the top of each ornament for ribbon to hang. For great ideas that won’t break the bank, try some of the crafts at AllFreeCrafts.com, were your everyday household items can suddenly become beautiful decorations. A Q-tip snowflake or homemade snow globe are festive touches.

Homemade ornaments are uniquely yours. Your kids will find a sense of great accomplishment at having created them, and decorated the Christmas tree themselves.


Sick Day Movies for Children

Everyone hates being sick. Sick day movies for children can be just the pick-me-up they need to relax and feel better. Sometimes, there is no better remedy than to curl up on the couch, with a nice cup of hot tea and a good film. Here are some suggestions:

  • Monsters, Inc. (Rated G) – The odd couple of the monster world, Sully and Mike are two friends who reform their lives of scaring children. In the end, it’s really the monsters that are the big scaredy-cats.

  • Shrek (Rated PG) – Any of the 3 movies are a great choice. Shrek the Third comes out on DVD Nov. 13th, so look out for this tale of friendship, acceptance, and self-confidence.

  • Finding Nemo (Rated G) – The tale of a little fish finding his way in the big world, overcoming obstacles, and making friends is a classic.

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Rated PG) – This updated timeless classic is sure to have your kids laughing. A cup of hot chocolate can quench those candy cravings.

  • Harry Potter (Rated PG13) – With 5 movies out to choose from, these popular films will excite the imagination. Harry Potter is an unlikely hero, it’s thrilling to see him take on bullies and make new friends.

  • March of the Penguins (Rated G) – A riveting and groundbreaking documentary on the life of penguins, this movie is sure to entertain and educate.

  • Ratatouille (Rated G) – A lovable mouse with a passion for food, finds his way to Paris and doesn’t let anything stand in the way of his dreams of cooking.

Of course it’s very important to choose sick day movies for your kids wisely. Check out FilmRatings.com first for information on the content of the films you show, and go to The Internet Movie Database for even more fun ideas.

October 10, 2008

Fund Raising Events

Giving back is essential to furthering child literacy, education, and family values. Often times, for example, if money is needed to expand the school library or to institute an after-school reading club, the most effective way to fund raise is by getting people together in the same room at an event, rather than send out a mail campaign.

Effective fund raising events are usually tailored to the interests of your community. There are two significant ways to get people involved when they come to your event. One is to sell products such as cookie dough or auction off goods, with a portion of the proceeds going to your cause. Sites like JustFundrasing.com make it easy to get products tailored to your event that can be sold with a high margin of profitability. A second way to get people involved in giving is to offer an interesting activity at your event, such as a book signing or lecture on a hot topic. Pennie Rich Publishing, is a Monte Vista, Colorado, based company that offers their services and support for these kinds of fund raising efforts. They are the publisher of the Stanley the Christmas Tree book and audio book CD by local resident R. E. Hughes. R.E. Hughes can provide his services for book signings. Company founder Pennie Hughes, also has years of experience in education as a school principal, and can speak on a wide variety of topics concerning education, literacy, and the writing process at your event.

Holding a fund raising event is a fun and practical way for schools, communities, associations, and other programs to drum up support that makes their activities possible. It is essential to the success of fund raising events that the activities going on are interesting, enticing, and set the tone for patrons to give support.


Library Book Late Fees

Homeschool teachers can rack up a lot of library book late fees. While public libraries can be our best asset, providing free books, keeping track of your due dates can be a hassle and result in otherwise unnecessary costs.

Homeschooling on a budget is especially important these days. In the face of high oil prices and a struggling economy, the Elf system can be a great way to avoid library book late fees. This free service will send you email, text message, or RSS news feed alerts before your library materials are due. It also allows you to consolidate your family’s library loans and allows for real-time updates. The Elf system works with many libraries across the country, and you will need your library card number and PIN to set up an account.

Library book late fees can now be a thing of the past. Libraries are a great resource for homeschool curriculums, teaching materials, and support, so take advantage without any worries.

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