Monday, December 29, 2008

Parenting Network Is A Key To Kids Success

"Parenting Network", what is it? Well, it isn't a Nickelodeon sister site. The parenting network that all parents should know about is called Inspire A Child For Life.

This non-profit organization is an incredible resource for kids, parents, people involved with kids, and all people who want to become something greater. There is no doubt in my mind, Barack Obama will become involved and active in this program.

There has never been anything like this organization. The leaders in this program I have been given the opportunity to meet and know personally. This parenting network includes individuals committed to excellence, who rise above mediocrity, share tools, and offer the support to help everyone achieve their dreams.

Come take a listen on one of our teleconference call, anyone is invited who has a deep desire to help others. Leave a comment below for more info. and learn why this is the best "Parenting Network" out there!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Young Parents Get Ideas

Young parents are never short of ideas. Young parents are innovative and creative with finding great ways to help thier chidren feel important and included at home.

Here are just a few ways parents can get things done at home and "entertain" the little ones too:

1. Ask your child to separate the clean laundry by each person in the family.

2. Task your child to find all the socks, match them up and then count by twos.

3. Assign a "dinner task" to your child. (something they can do to help prepare the meal. Something they can do to help out during the meal (like be in charge if a person needs more napkins) and a job to do after the meal (put all the condaments away).

4. While making dinner, if your child can't help. Tell them you need some encouragement and ask how many jumping jacks they can do in a minute. Then time them.

5. Task your child (ren) to run around the house and find all the loose change.

6. Task your kids to be a reporter and ask all the older adults about how they celebrated their holidays when they were little.

7. Ask your child to go through the holiday cards and count how many stamps/trees/birds/Santas/candles/etc. they can find.

8. Ask you child to plan a way they can help other people. List their ideas and see if you can do them together.

9. Give your kids a green/non-toxic cleaner mixed with water in a squirt bottle and some paper towels and ask them to go around and clean the windows. (My kids LOVE this!!)

10. Use a paper plate and create a clock with movable hands to talk about when you need to do things and when your family needs to be ready to go.

These tips for young parents can help your child feel important (the main motivation for all people) and included. In turn you will have some "help" around the house and minimize power struggles and strife during Christmas and the holiday break from school

Friday, December 19, 2008

Concerned Parents Are Keys To Success

Concerned Parents are encouraging their children to do more than just going to school and behaving for 6 hours. Concerned Parents realize public schools, especially, do not offer the depth of appreciation for the arts, music, and all subjects like we all would like.

I believe, public school teachers would love to offer our students more. I believe they are over burdened with "catch all" responsibilities. Responsibilities I think concerned parents would and should help alleviate through active participation in our students classrooms.

If more concerned parents were actively involved, the public school teachers would have more time to concentrate delivering more content rich material. I volunteer weekly in my daughter's classroom as well as my husband.

People may say, "you must not work?" That is so far from the truth. My husband works 45+ hours a week as a supervisor and goes to school part time. I work full time from home on my own business and together we have just started another business.

We are concerned parents who want our children to learn from our example. "If you want something changed... get in there and do it."

Productive, effective and efficient companies know and are built on the foundation that, "two heads are better than one." Some would complain that the current and upcoming educational cut backs are the reason, are to blame, and will be the "scapegoat" for further educational decay in our schools.

I beg to differ. I hope this impending educational crisis will jump start "concerned parents" into more participation in their child's school. The reason for poor school performances, for public school decay is our lack of participation by concerned parents.

If concerned parents stepped up, encouraged and even nudged other parents to participate along side them, we would be able to make our public schools the representations they should be for the "richest nation in the world".

Why do we allow ourselves to fall back and just point a finger. Budget cuts are not the issue with our schools, we, the parents are. Don't you want to take back the responsibility of raising your kids? I want my child's teacher's main concern to teach, not be the social worker, marketer, organizer, advocate, behavior specialist, etc.

I challenge all concerned parents for their News Years Resolution to volunteer and participate in your child's education. Don't allow others to raise your child. help others to teach your child.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Parenting With Love is a Kids' Key To Success

Parenting with love and patience, especially during this season can be really difficult. Although this season's purpose is to be joyous, my friends in the health field know that this time of year brings more stress, anxiety, negative news stories, and worry like no other. Parenting with chaos is more like it!

Parenting with love and patience can be last thing on a parents mind because we are all strapped for time. With holiday shopping, end of the year meeting and projects that need to be completed, the decorating, the cooking and baking, the school plays, recitals, concerts, etc. who has time to really focus on our families and kids? I know that is why everyone is doing so much, why everyone is trying to fit everything in.

Everyone I speak with has the greatest of intentions (we all are trying to parent with love) but the stress and the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect and have everything perfect can be too much for some - too much for most.

This past Sunday my daughter was involved with a play at our church called the Grouches
Of Christmas. Our paster has a outstanding way of getting a message across! Our Children's Sunday School director does too! If you have read or seen this play it is a must!

It is like the Part II of How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suese. I absolutely loved it!!

I am so greatful to my church, especially Minister Pritchard and our Children's Director Dawn Wirth!

I hope everyone truly slows down, has a peaceul, spirit-filled season, and the all the energy to parenting with love and patience!

Check out this video to See our Church's redition of The Groches Of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Power of Observation Is A Key To Kids' Success

Does the thought of helping your children with their homework at night feel like you are requesting to have your fingernails pulled out?

My mom hated to help me with my homework. I was normally ushered to my room and told between complaints that I hadn't cleaned and done my chores properly, to "Give it another try".

Just the sheer excuse to avoid further critique of my dusting and vacuuming skills was enough for me to run to my room, and not come out for days.

To me homework was a way to escape and avoid confrontation...not the ideal version I want my kids to associate it with.

Thankfully, I have come to regard "homework" as life lessons at a micro level.

I make opportunities for my kids to see me read and enjoy learning new things. If my kids want to "see" what I am doing at the computer or while I am lounged with a book, article, etc in hand I try to remember to welcome them up into my lap to share it with them. Describe to them what I am doing/reading and then asking what they think. Sometimes we make up our own stories from that, sometimes my daughter runs to her work table to assemble a "book" and write herself, or sometimes the result is just sitting for a bit and snuggling (usually the last is my favorite!).

We have had moments of pure joy, affection, and learning moments together. Although my youngest still doesn't know how to read, he loves helping type and hearing about what I am reading about or doing.

Normally for him it doesn't last more than 6 minutes until he is ready to switch gears and run off to play golf, chase, bounce on his ball, or play his ukulele. But the moments we share in that 6 minutes to me are priceless.

We bond and I get to share with him one of my passions. In turn I'll notice him grab some of his books and head for his chair to "read" or pull out one of his activity books to practice.

I have always loved to work with my hands and create special gifts. One of the greatest gifts I have been given is when my kids want to do the same thing. Many people will comment to my daughter... "You are such the artist, just like your mom."

My daughter beams with pride. I know though, it isn't so much genetics as it is she has taken the time and opportunity to watch me do those same things and has mimicked me.

I do my best to allow her to participate when I can. If I am working on a piece for someone and she can't contribute on my work, I will give her something similar to try it out for herself.

I have been asked... "doesn't that get expensive?" The answer is yes if i were just considering the monetary value but a whole heartily "no" considering I am sharing my love with her and we are creating a cherished learning lesson and memory together.

Best wishes to you this holiday season. My hope is you will experience many moments of love, appreciation, joy, and opportunities of "learning life lessons"!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude: A Key To Kids' Success

Are you grateful? Really, are you grateful?

I had a conversation recently... how do we really show our gratitude, how do we really want to show our gratitude?

I am asking that question to myself, all the time, lately.

I am wondering if I am the person who I really want to be. Am I the role model I want for my children. Am I "showing" them how to be grateful and why?

This holiday season, I often get caught up in the rush to get things done because there is so much I want to do. So much I want to do with my kids. So much because I am telling myself and I know that message is getting reinforced by the media, friends, and the environment in general, that in order to have a fun and meaningful Christmas I have to do these things.

By "doing" all these things, am I really being "grateful"?

As I have time to reflect and disconnect from the urgency of the holiday season, I realize I am missing something.

I am missing the time to sit and snuggle with my kiddos, I am missing the rest, comfort, love and joy by sitting with loved ones at night and watching the snow fall and listening to holiday music.
I am missing the quiet and calmness of being together.

I think sometimes I get so busy trying to express my gratitude, I loose the message in the gratitude.

How about you?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kids' Keys To Be Successfully Safe While You Holiday Shop

One of the scariest scenarios I think about is loosing my child in the mall or store.

I think most parents fear the possibilities of abduction, kidnapping, and loss. The holiday season, even though it is filled with excitement, blessings, and fun can be a predator's gift wish.

Parents can be more distracted, more in need of "help", and more vulnerable to grooming.
The reason why I use the term "grooming" is because abductions, assaults, and the possible loss of your child is usually done by a person you know, such as acquaintances and even those whom you believe you can trust.

However, there are some simple measures to keep your kids safe during the hustle and bustle of life and holidays:

1. Slow Down - When you feel like you need to get "everything" done, make things "perfect" for the holidays, let that "rush" be a warning to back off and slow down. Let that feeling be a cerebral call to check the bigger picture. Tune into your kids... tune into their needs, not their holiday "wants".

2. Never Leave Your Child Alone Somewhere New or With Someone New. Always let them have access to you. This may seem simple and redundant but if you are visiting family and friends, it may appear to your child you are too busy to care what they are doing. Take stock and check-in. More than normal, keep the lines of communications open, extra open.

3. Always Take Your Child to the Bathroom. Many public places now have "family restrooms", use them! If they don't, don't hesitate to take your son into the ladies bathroom. I know it may seem over protective but unless you are confident in your son's demeanor (He must have a confident, "Stay Away" aura. It's better to be safe than sorry.

4. Talk To Your Children. Talk to them about what to do if a situation doesn't feel right. Remind them to ALWAYS trust their gut. There is no shame in being safe. No embarrassment too big to risk being hurt. Talk to your children about who to go to, who to look for if you aren't available.

If for instance, you are separated, your child becomes loss... (I'm not talking about to go to the nearest police officer or clerk in the store. Just because someone is in a uniform doesn't mean he/she can be trusted.) Never tell your child to "never" talk to strangers. We talk to strangers everyday. So when you child see you talk to strangers all it does is negate your warnings. Instead talk about who would be a "good" stranger to seek out and ask for help?

Do you know who that would be? That is right, someone just like you... a mom, preferably with her own kids. Moms have a sick sense for this, it is like an automatic tracking system. We notice if a child is unaccounted for and have the instincts needed to "protect" children.

Always ask store, park, mall security to "lock down" if you loose sight of your child as soon as you notice your child missing. The faster that this happens usually the better outcome.

Again, it is better to be a little embarrassed than it is to regret.

If you would like more information about the grooming behaviors of predators and how to keep you and your kids safe, visit and sign up for my Parenting Leverage News.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Summer Camps by Jeffrey Carter

Parents send their children to summer camps to have fun, to experience new activities, and maybe to see a different part of the country, but there are also some incredibly important, and lasting, benefits that campers enjoy. What can parents expect their children to gain from their summer camp experience beyond the razzle-dazzle entertainment? What will stick with your kids after camp and when they're back at home? Here are a few of the areas of self-development a summer camp experience can enhance.

Relating to others: Summer camps are highly social environments where everyone is a member of a close-knit community. At the same time, they are often quite diverse. Children will meet others from different families, from different parts of the country, even from abroad. They will also interact daily with children of different ages. These different backgrounds, values, habits and ways of living can be disconcerting at first, but with encouragement and guidance can really help a young person learn to get along with people. Another way to say this, is that by encountering kids who are "different" a child learns to see past those differences and become friends. Learning to relate like this makes it much easier to make friends later in life.

Developing Creativity: Most summer camps provide numerous opportunities to make things, to practice different crafts, and to explore the arts. From woodworking, to fiber arts, to ceramics, to knitting, to blacksmithing, and so on, there are fantastic ways to be creative. Plus, kids are encouraged to try new things, to not worry about how "good" they are, and to be excited about the process of participating. Everyone realizes that we can create some pretty cool stuff if we give it a try.

Self-Confidence: Summer camps are supportive places, communities where everyone will look out for each other, and usually encourage each other. This kind of positive peer relationship is the perfect recipe for trying new things and being proud of your accomplishments. Kids might think they won't be able to do something (like climb a ropes course, for example), but when they try and succeed, it's strong evidence that they can do it. Doubt is transformed into bravery, fear into confidence, and the result is an enhanced sense of self-worth.

Independence: It's almost inevitable when a child goes to camp and sleeps away from home, away from the watchful eye of his or her parents- she will gain greater independence. Kids at camp make a lot of their own decisions, make choices about what to do, how to behave, and how to spend their free time. Of course, they also get to see the consequences of their choices too, and when it's their choice and not their parents, those consequences are all the more meaningful.

Being suddenly responsible for their own choices, is a very formative experience in a growing habit of independence.

Social Etiquette: Being around so many people and interacting with them so closely day after day, summer camps also require kids to develop certain social skills. Sharing, recognizing others' interests, dealing with arguments, showing empathy, being kind, offering to help, making honest suggestions- all of these are key ingredients. Every quality summer camp will create an environment where all of this is fostered and taught.

Of course most of these areas can develop at home and at school during the year, but summer camp provides an opportunity to practice these qualities, develop these aspects of a child's personality, and further develop the mature skill that make them effective. It's really remarkable how powerful the summer camp experience is in this regard. Sure it's fun, but it can also be so crucially formative too.

Jeffrey Carter is the Director of Rockbrook Summer Camp for Girls, a traditional girls summer camp located in Brevard, NC. He publishes the summer camp blog "The Heart of a Wooded Mountain."

Article Source:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free Play Is A Key To Children's Success

Are you ever frustrated by your child's inability to focus?

One way to prepare a child for a learning time is to allow for free exploration before the scheduled "learning time".

This allows the child to get a feel for his/her environment; helping to satisfy curiosity, become familiar and comfortable with the surroundings.

Another reason why free play is so important is it helps the child to make the connection that there are multiple ways to learn something with more than one material, thus forcing their senses and abilities to be challenged.

In "Free Play" children learn from other children. This is a great way to reinforce learning, too. As well, it helps him/her to discover alternative uses for different types of materials, and children are able to decide whether or not he/she wants to participate with others.

Free Play often gives a child the opportunity to discover sorting, counting, patterns, geometry, measurement, balance, comparisons of color, shape, size, weight, sound and other details.

Free Play allows your child to experience self confidence because there is no "right" or "wrong".
They can feel acceptance just for playing, which is a crucial element to healthy self-esteem.

Free Play also allows for conversation; they can talk about ideas they have, problem solve together, and discuss the limitations of the materials in use.

The Free Time experience prepares a child to be directed in more formal learning later.

Free Time also benefits parents, caregivers, and teachers.

We are able to observe how and the degree a child challenges him/herself and their level of tolerance when performing a challenging task. (how frustrated does one become if is doesn't work out the first/second/third time.)

We are also privy to watch children interact with their peers. What difficulties they may have or whether they can verbalize their needs/wants.

This allows us to see what the child does when not trying"to please" us and help identify if the child is self-directed, prefers collaborated situations, or is amiable.

Therefore, Free time allows us to see and identify our children's skills and developmental stage.

I really wanted to share with you my thoughts because sometimes free play gets underrated and minimized. Without the accessibility of "free play" our children's skills can be weakened, motivation deterred, and proper analysis of developmental stage can be missed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Art WorkShop Is A Key to Your Child's Success

Great news!!
Are you interested in a little empathy and creativity workshop for your child?
Jen Edwards from Kids' Keys To Success and Margret Dilmore from Lyric Academy of Music are teaming up to create an afternoon of fun and learning through art and music.

Lyric Academy Of Music, Victor, NY

Through movement, music, and creativity, your child will learn more about expressing his/her self.

The use of imagination is proven to increase empathy and creativity; Skills sorely needed today to navigate a successful life.

The emphases of the afternoon is on fun and excitement with the undercurrent lesson of creative problem solving, building self-esteem through the expression of empathy, and a deeper appreciation for the arts.

To learn more about the benefits of the arts go here to read our article.

Our Workshop will be helded Saturday, Dec. 6 from 2-2:45pm in Victor, NY. (location will be disclosed upon registration)

for more information or to register your child for the class, email us at In the subject heading put "December Art Work Shop Registration".

**A wonderful bonus of the afternoon workshop will be bringing home a special and unique gift for someone special.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why is Creativity A Kids' Key to Success?

Creativity and empathy: the missing links

Do you realize the Arts are our earliest form of language? Art and music are the common denominator across all languages, cultures, and history. It is one of the most powerful tools for the expression of self.

We all have a special song or a picture we like, it may remind us of a special moment, an important date, or represent a strong belief. This emotion often affects us to our core.

The arts nurture and expand our ability to create and understand the world around us. Research shows children who are exposed to the arts acquire a greater ability to create flexible and more complex solutions to problems, a greater ability to articulate his/her thoughts, and ultimately discover a greater sense of self.

These are crucial elements in becoming socially responsible, stimulated and contented, and to develop a love for learning.

Neurologists have discovered that creativity is as natural to us as breathing is. We are predisposed at conception to create and develop language. We all know that when we don’t use something, like a house without a family to occupy it, or a muscles we don’t use, that gift fatigues, sags, and will eventually be lost.

Infants and most importantly fetuses are known to respond to sound, music, and emotions. It is now known, infants respond to colors and shapes, and reciprocate and mimic sounds. Even though children’s creativity thrive between infancy and their primary school years, research shows children’s creativity levels drop by the time they reach 9 – 10 years.

During their pre-teen years children begin to loose enthusiasm and curiosity for learning, become more compliant with rules, are less likely to try new things, unlike in their earlier years of development. Sadly, for most, creative skills become further suppressed and often fade during adult years.

So the question then is, “How do we foster continued growth in creativity?” What can we do as parents/educators/society to cultivate solutions to our problems and develop more environmentally aware and empathetic human beings?

In order for humanity to evolve into a higher level of functioning/creativity, our level of empathy must increase. Empathy is the key to greater understanding, interdependence, and ultimately cooperative relationships.

I believe the fastest and most effective ways for students to learn empathy is through creative interpretation, such as those expressed in the arts. If we want our children to become more fully integrated, effective, and enlightened individuals we must support greater education, participation, and place value on the arts.

Our society and future depends on it.

Deikman, A. J. (2000). Service as a way of knowing.
In T. Hart, P. Nelson, & K. Puhakka (Eds.),
Transpersonal knowing: Exploring the horizon of
consciousness (pp. 303–318). Albany: State
University of New York Press.

Murphy, B. C., & Dillon, C. (1998). Interviewing in
action: Process and practice. Pacific Grove, CA:

Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. New York:
Houghton Mifflin.

Hart, T. (2000). Deep empathy. In T. Hart, P. Nelson, &
K. Puhakka (Eds.), Transpersonal knowing:
Exploring the horizon of consciousness (pp. 253–
270). Albany: State University of New York Press

Ellis Paul Torrance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Scholastic Testing Service, Inc.. Millar, G.W. (1995). E. Paul Torrance, "The Creativity Man" : an Authorized Biography ... –

Mark A. Runco
Creativity , Mark A. Runco, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 55, Page. ... In Mark A. Runco, & Steven R. Protzler (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity. ...

Interview with David Bohm - F. David Peat • Physics
David Bohm discusses his notions of wholeness as exhibited in the quantum theory . He explains his own idea of the implicate order and a holomovement that ...

** for more information about an incredible arts program in Victor, NY please visit Lyric Academy Of Music

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Play: A Key To Kids' Success

Do you know why playing games with our kids is so important?

I am sure some of you will say, "Because they are fun and can be educational." You would be right. However, I want to share with you more details:

Games are fun and therefore motivating. Children often they forget they are learning and practicing things like math, reading, and science.

Games show how we use math is real life. Solving mathmatics problems and solutions are needed to play the games and parallels real life situations.

Games can enhance the understanding of mathmatic relationships. Often several skills are combined in games.

Some games inspire children to create their own games or variations fostering advanced logical reasoning.

Children love to play games, therefore they are more likely to take risks to practice, succeed, and learn from "mistakes made".

Games help children to accept that there are more than one answer and more than one method to solve problems.

Games help children to communicate mathmatically, in logical sequencing. Games require students to justify their thinking and rationalize their decisions.

Games help children learn sequential skills, by going around a board, moving back and forth, taking turns or even more advanced strategic planning.

Games help children to learn social - survival skills. Participants must play by the rules, learn to be a good winner and loser, take chances, make decisions, and cooperate with others.

Some games help children learn and understand Maslow's hierarchy of needs. What is needed before being able to move to the next point.

Playing games with adults is importantbecause it helps a child understand humanity and what really make an individual special. A child realizes adults are not perfect and have to work by using a persons strengths and being willing to identify and use their weaknesses as well.

Playing games is like a micro - representation of living life. Observing and playing games that encourage making mistakes, causing errors, and having doubt are really very good things!

Thomas Edison said he learn 1000 ways not to make a light bulb before he got it right. I am sure glad he kept going after 100th time!!

** Thank you Robin Follmer for your help with this blog!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Zone of Proximinal Development is a Key to a Kids's Success

Have you ever heard of "Zone of Proximal Development"?

I hadn't until I was talking with my daughter's teacher, however, I realized I had been doing it.

It is actually really cool because you can do more of it when you are aware f it.

The term "zone of proximal development" was created by a Russian child psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Is the range, or zone when a child is almost ready or just before the "light bulb is turned on". Therefore, a little adult or mentor-ship is needed for the child to be successful.

This is the exact way to identify a child's instructional level. Is your child's classroom set up to meet your child's needs and the different needs of other children?

Probably before you are able to answer that question you may need more information about how "proximal development" works.

An example of one child's zone of proximal development:

When my daughter is practicing her violin and is having difficulty learning a new part of her music piece. I give her time to practice with "trial and error". Then, if she is still having difficulty remembering the next note I may hum the tune. Usually, she will hear the note and and then coordinate what she heard with the note on her violin.

I supported her interest and helped her to build her ability.

Here are some keys to working within your child's zone of Proximal development...

1. Let your child get slightly uncomfortable with their practice.

2. Follow your child's interest. (I believe children are naturally curious. When given opportunities and resources for learning children are automatically drawn to learn).

3. Limit the steps your child needs to be successful achieving his/her goal or completion of a task.

4. When your child does get frustrated (frustration is often the result of anxiety because he/she doesn't know what to do next), you can...

a. give your child a moment to emotionally collect him/her self before moving on but, ...

b. encourage him/her to stick with the task

c. demonstrate what next to do

d. share with your child a similar situation or event to make a connection to something your child has mastered or knows how to do.

I hope this helps you to enjoy more fully the time you spend with your child and share in the curiosity and joy of learning!

** A summary of ideas from Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kids' Keys Supports Keeping Your Kids Safe

I think parents need to ask themselves these online safety questions:

1. What if you could teach your child to be safer online immediately?

2. What if it took only minutes for you to access the most effective online safety tips today?

3. What if your child could learn all this on their own, too with family-friendly videos and audios?

4. What if your child could negotiate chat-rooms safely, handle cyberbullies easily and avoid downloading a harmful virus or program while staying one step ahead of the predators?

5. What if they Child Safety Experts cared enough about your child’s safety online that they are willing to give you their tips and proven methods FREE?

Keeping Kids Safe Together is doing just that.

A friend of mine, Joyce Jackson and her partner, Preston Jones are offering a special live, 50 minute Webinar and coaching session.

The best part it is FREE, Register Here:

You'll learn:

- A simple 7-step formula ensuring your child is safer in chat rooms.
- 8 instant safeguards you can teach your teen when Instant Messaging.
- How to protect your home computer from malicious programs.
- What should you do if your child was threatened by an online predator.

There are no gimmicks, just genuine concern and passion to protect our children.

Go here and Register Now:

Online safety is Joyce and Preston's purpose; they are so knowledgeable and gifted when it comes to training parents and kids Online safety.

Plus, there’s over $200 worth of great bonuses, ebooks and tips for you after you register too!

You will be so glad you did!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keeping our Kids Safe Online Is A Kids' Key!

Did you know you can instantly improve any aspect of your child’s safety on the Internet?

No matter what they do or where they go:

- - Surfing
- - Searching
- - Texting Friends
- - Researching School Projects
- - Chat Rooms
- - Educational Sites
- - Forums
- - Game Sites
- - Emailing Friends
- - Sending Photos to Grandparents
- - Using a Cell Phone

And, even if your child is not online today, right now...
...even if you don’t allow them online.

Someday they will be.

Soon you'll be getting your emails and phone calls from your wrist watch.

Prepare your child now.

Great online safety is all about PREVENTION.

I wanted to let you know that there is a FREE web seminar about this.

You can register here.

Good safety comes from good preparation; Without FEAR, PARANOIA, and ghoulish media details.

Join us and learn in just 50 minutes you can learn how to teach your child to be the safest they can be on the Internet...
...whenever and wherever they get online.

Keeping Kids Safe Today has been doing this for over 30 years and recently has been researching and applying their techniques and knowledge with Internet Safety.

What is really cool about this offer is that the owners Joyce and Preston are so passionate about what they do they are offering over $200 worth of great bonuses, ebooks and tips for you when you register for the Webinar.

(I'll give you a hint about one of the bonuses: a glossary of the online acronyms and lingo!! That alone is outstanding!!)

They don't want money to be an issue when you are activiley trying to keep our kids safe!

How cool is that?

This is one Kids' Key that is so important to the well-being of your child!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Knowing Your Heritage Is a Kids' Key To Success

What is the Best Way to Preserve your memories? For a long time it has been through photos, and although photos are great there is something better!

Meet Ruth!

Kids' Keys had the awesome opportunity to interview Ruth Solberg of Songs For Your Kids,
Books Of A Lifetime, and Stories Of A Lifetime.

Ruth is an expert in recording people's heritage. Even though many people minimize their "story", Ruth is passionate about helping us embrace the value of our lives.

Ruth Solberg has many life lessons that has sculpted her enthusiasm for life and documenting it so the generations to come know where they came from and who you were.

At first, thinking about documenting and recording your life's can seem overwhelming and even arrogant; Like, "Who am I to write a biography?

But that isn't the case at all and couldn't be furthest from the truth.

Have you ever wanted to know more about your Great Aunt Mildred? Hear your mother's contagious laugh again? Document the spacial look, smile, and enthusiasm of your terminally ill child? Would you want your children to have the chance to see, hear, and come to know your dad, in his own voice even though he died 2 months before his first grandchild was born?

I know I would love to have a recording for my children about their Grandma Elaine who passed too early in her life for them to have had the blessing of knowing her quirky and fun personality.

But that opportunity is lost. I know I can tell stories about Grammy Elaine to my children but it wouldn't be the same as them seeing her, hearing her stories and her voice.

Ruth has found a way to solve this problem and she had made it fun and easy!

I have already asked my mom to do this for our Christmas gift to all of us. Initially, she balked at the idea, but admits and recognizes the value of it.

How could you not, especially if you have ever lost a loved one? The special people in our lives mean so much to us, more than we can ever write in words. When you want to share even a piece of a loved one who died with the others in your life you love, wouldn't it be great to have an actual recording of him/her in their own voice?

What an amazing gift that would be!

If you are interested in learning more about Ruth and her businesses listen to our interview.

You will be so glad you did!

Ruth Solberg
Independent consultant for
Heritage Makers
call: 715.579.5596

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Parenting LEVERAGE" is Kids' Keys To Success

Exciting News!!!

Kids' Keys To Success has just released their latest program "Parenting LEVERAGE"!

Parenting LEVERAGE is a super affordable monthly membership to change the way mom and dad view parenting and make parenting fun and easy.

I know every parent wants to be the best parent they can be.

I know this goal often gets lost in the chaos of work, schedules, school, errands, chores, etc.; all the demands that tug and pull you away from being able to focus on your ultimate goal: raising your child to be well-rounded, have an rock-solid confidence, adaptable personality, and an empathetic soul.

As a result of constant demands away from our parenting goal we experience awful consequences: inappropriate attention getting behaviors like temper tantrums, hitting, bullying, withdrawing, over active interest in sexual activities, use of drugs, alcohol, gaming, poor personal choices and wrong judgement calls, to name a few.

Parenting LEVERAGE changes all of this with audio lessons and recommended activities for your family (included activities for each age level of your child and activity to do as a family)

and coaching offered by a clinical therapist.

To find out more read our Press Release and sample a free 7 Day News series by signing in here ($150 value).

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Recipe Mom is a Great Key To Success

Have you ever noticed that the more you talk with others and learn about others, the more inspired you are?

Have you ever been inspired to jump out of your comfort zone and do something you have never done before or haven't done in a long time?

You know the things you can do but are always putting off, such as volunteering, raising awareness about great causes, learning how to truly give, and participating in something that has more to do with someone else than for yourself.

I am so guilty of this; it has been a long time since I have done them.

My most recent excuses have been: "I am too busy"; "I don't have time"; and "My family (kids) need me more."

Well, because I participate in a forum called the Blog Train I was inspired to do just that.
I stepped out from my comfort zone and joined in the effort to raise more awareness, food, and funds for our local food cupboard.

Laurie Stasuik from The Recipe Mom wrote an article about feeding the hungry that truly inspired me.

My recommendation: visit her site and be inspired. Not only will Laurie inspire you to participate in activities outside your comfort zone but she dishes out some awesome recipes for the holidays, special treats, and everyday meals that are quick and easy and super tasty.

See what her readers have to say by visiting The Recipe Mom

My kids need me to, my family needs me to, my community needs me to, and most importantly I needed me to!

Teach your child about making time for important things...

Free Press ReleasePress Release: The Blog Train's Whistle Is Blowin'

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Keeping Kids Healthy Is a Key To Success

Fast food restaurants, computers and television, and our busy schedules are constant reminders of how quickly life moves these days. This is precisely why we need to slow down and make time for lessons about healthy eating so that children can learn the value of nutrition at a young age.

Finding an equilibrium

If you need a reference point for how to start planning your day from a nutritional perspective, check out the Food Guide Pyramid. This will provide you with a well-rounded view of what to eat and how much from each of the food groups. Eating fruits and vegetables guarantees that your children are consuming the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that they need. Limiting sugars and fats keeps cholesterol and weight down, and the heart healthy.

Kick it off with breakfast

Starting the day with a healthy breakfast means that kids are fueling their internal fires to keep them active. Your child will be alert, engaged, and better able to fight off potential sickness. You want your children to learn good habits from you so make sure that you eat a balanced breakfast as well.

Employing common sense

Teaching your children about how to eat well for life requires common sense. For instance, if you deem certain foods to be off limits then they will be more appealing to your children. Instead of forbidding these foods completely, consider allowing your children to have them in moderation while constantly encouraging other healthier, tasty alternatives.

Avoiding stress in the home

Learning to manage stress from a young age leads to a lifetime of positive physical and mental health attributes. If your home is filled with fighting then that will affect your parenting style and your children's self-esteem. This can negatively impact their digestive systems and their food choices in the form of binge eating to assuage guilty feelings. To develop a solid family structure with open communication, strive to eliminate persistent criticism and other disputes.

Family mealtime

The prime opportunity for you to lead by example is by eating together as a family. Not only can you teach your children proper table manners but also you can demonstrate your positive attitude towards food. This also shows children that preparing food at home is the ideal way to bring the family together and to eat food that has been cooked in a controlled environment using healthy ingredients.

Picky eaters

Despite your best efforts to pave the way, you may find that your children still exhibit picky eating habits. Here are tips for tackling this problem:

• Make the effort to diversify the menu at home. This will, in turn, encourage your children to be more adventurous with their eating.

• Be patient but persistent. Continue to offer the food to your children but within reason. Don't expect them to lick their plates clean as children's appetites are different than adults.

• Don't use family meals as opportunities to argue about what your child is or is not eating. Make the family, not the food, the focus of the meal.

• Ask your children to help you choose and cook the meal so they are more likely to enjoy it.

• If you think your child is lacking important nutrients because of their restricted eating then consult your pediatrician about taking supplements.

Balance and moderation are essential to ensure proper digestion. Pair healthy eating habits with regular exercise and your young ones will be well on their way to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Paul Banas is a founder of He writes articles on pregnancy care, baby names, toilet training, parenting tips and many more topics related to dads.

Article Source:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Immunizations: A Key to Kids's Success

Below is information provided by Dr. Cynthia Devore.
This article was provided by our local PTSA

Why Do We Need To Immunize Our Families And Ourselves?

Immunization Protects You, Your Family, and Your Community.

Today, most of us have never seen firsthand the discomfort, disability and even death that vaccine preventable diseases can cause. The success of widespread immunization means that we are more likely to witness a rare reaction to a vaccine than a case of the disease that the vaccine prevents.

Vaccines are simple. One to five doses of a vaccine can provide long-term to life-long protection from some serious diseases. Vaccines act naturally to stimulate the body’s own immune system.

The body’s response to vaccines builds a defense against future exposure to diseases.

We need to immunize because vaccines prevent 12 potentially deadly diseases. In the days before immunization, millions of people died from diseases like diphtheria, polio, measles and whooping cough. Re-emergence of these diseases occurs when there are decreases in vaccine use.

Vaccine Safety: there has been a long and thorough process in place to ensure the safety of vaccines. Licensing of a vaccine can take up to 10 years. Once a vaccine is in use by the general public, its safety is continually monitored. Vaccines, like any medication, can cause side effects.

However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk. Consider measles. One out of 30 children with measles getspneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get the disease, one or two will die from it. Thanks to vaccines, we have few cases of measles in the U.S. today. However, the disease is extremelycontagious and each year dozens of cases are imported from abroad into the U.S., threateningthe health of people who have NOT been vaccinated.

Vaccines effectively and affordably prevent diseases like measles that used to disable or even kill many children each year.

Answers to Common Questions about Vaccine Safety....You may have questions about stories you have heard in the news or read on the Internet about the safety of vaccines, such as:

Are vaccines safe?

YES, Vaccines are safe, but like any medicine, they can occasionally cause reactions. These are usually mild, like a sore arm, redness at the site, or a slight fever. Serious reactions are rare.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about potential risks before receiving a shot.

Is it safe to give a child many shots at once, or does this overload the immune system?

YES, it is safe. Studies show that today’s children are actually exposed to fewer antigens (substances that produce an immune response) in vaccines than ever before. Based on the immune system’s capacity to respond, scientists estimate that a child could receive 10,000 vaccine antigens in one day and still not “use up” their immune response. The 11 recommended childhood vaccines contain less than 130 vaccine antigens.

Are preservatives found in vaccines safe?

YES. Today, all of the currently recommended vaccines for children ages six or younger are now available thimerosal-free. Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative that has been used in some vaccines since the 1930s as a safeguard against contamination. A review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found no evidence of harm caused by the small amounts of thimerosal in vaccines. Nevertheless, in July 1999 the Public Health Service (PHS) agencies, the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics (AAP) and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal levels in vaccines should be reduced or eliminated to reassure the public that vaccines are safe.

Can I get a disease from a vaccine?

NO. This is a myth that comes from speculation that because a disease-causing germ is sometimes used in the creation of a vaccine, it is possible for the vaccine to cause the disease. Vaccines, however, are made from killed or weakened bacteria or viruses, non-harmful products of these germs or parts of these germs. In rare cases, some vaccines may cause mild, short-term, disease-like symptoms.

Isn’t chickenpox simply a harmless childhood rite of passage?
I got chicken pox when I was a child and I turned out just fine. Why do I need to vaccinate my child with the chickenpox (Varicella) vaccine now?

NO, chickenpox is not harmless. Chickenpox (also known as Varicella) causes 12,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths each year in the U.S. While chickenpox is usually mild, it can be serious in some infants, children, adolescents and adults. Some people who get chickenpox also suffer from complications such as encephalitis (brain infection), secondary bacterial infections like “flesh-eating” strep or MRSA, loss of fluids (dehydration), pneumonia, and even death. If an immunized person gets chickenpox, the illness will be much milder than in a non-immunized person. Varicella vaccine protects children now and as adults when they are more likely to die from chickenpox and its complications.

What are the benefits and risks of immunization?

Benefits: There are many benefits to immunizing children.

• Protects them from dangerous and deadly diseases
• Protects others, who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
• Decreases the severity of a case if the vaccinated child does get the disease.
• Decreases the spread of contagious diseases through “herd immunity.”

Risks: Some children may experience a mild fever, irritability, pain, swelling and redness at the injection site. Very rarely a child may experience allergic reactions if they are allergic to a component of the vaccine, seizures, non-responsiveness, or crying that lasts more than 3 hours.

These risks need to be compared to the very real risks of not immunizing our children: prolonged illnesses that can produce severe disability and even death.

Where can I find a list of ingredients found in vaccines?It is always important to use caution in using the internet for credible resources. You can find a list of ingredients on the Centers for Disease Control website at:

What are other good resources that will help me understand vaccines better?

There are many excellent resources and many questionable resources.

The information in this article is from reputable resources:
• American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Red Book, 2006.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
• National Immunization Program Web site,
• Immunization Action Coalition Web site,
• Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Web site
• National Network for Immunization Information Web site,
• NPI Reference Guide on Vaccines and Vaccine Safety, 2nd edition, 2002.
• Vaccinating Your Child: Questions and Answers for the Concerned Parent, Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH and Cynthia Good,
• Got a question about immunizations? Email the Child Immunization Support Program of the American Academy of Pediatrics at

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nutrition is a Kids' Key to Success

Do you know the true key to healthy nutritional for your kids? Dinner time!

You are the supply line and the best source and example for healthy eating.

If you want to learn more about how you can improve your kids' eating habits click on
"Parenting Leverage" (to the left in the navigation bar). I have just completed a full session of nutritional keys to help improve your child's eating habits.

It is fun and easy! You won't believe the simple stuff you have been over looking and will make your life so much easier.

Think... no more power struggles at the dinner table!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Time Is A Kids' Key To Success

A really special gift you can give your kids is time.

We all know there isn't enough of it in the day, and certainly not enough to carve out individual time with each child ever day! (I don't know about you, but I do a little victory dance when I have a chance to take a 10 minute shower!)

Life really changed for me (for the better) when I decided to stay home with my children. I still had to work but my schedule is flexible and allows me the time I need to make sure my kids have quality face time with me.

If you had a career like mine (I was a clinical social worker), there was no way for me to see clients at home, away from the trauma center). Plus, my work was super stressful and full of long hours. Not ideal when trying to add the role of "mom" into the mix.

So, I wasn't able to transfer my day job into a home based job. Instead I said good-bye to my career in trauma counseling and welcomed a new challenge... home based business.

My problem was I didn't know anything about computers, marketing, or Online, anything!

So I found an awesome company, GCFN and it gave me the support and the tools I needed to learn. I even won the "Student of the Month" contest!

Check it our here!

The great thing is, I know I can do it, so I know you can too...if you are interested...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Mary!

Monday, September 29, 2008

When Mom is Happy It is a Kid's Key To Success

I just have to say... "HALLELUJAH"

I love this song!!

Anyway, the reason why I am saying Hallelujah is because I went to an event called Wee Peats this weekend.

Have you been? Have you heard of this company? I saw them highlighted on an entrepreneurs show recently.

This place is awesome!

If you are looking for nearly new items and don't want to spend an arm and a leg on cloths, toys, books and any baby item out there find an event and go!

Here is the link to Wee Peats and keep an eye open for an event near you... You'll be so glad you did!

I bought 5 beautiful dresses, 2 pairs of winter boots, 1 pair of dress shoes, 6 long sleeve shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, snow pants, two skirts, 12 books, 3 pairs of tights/leggings. all for less than $150!

Most of the the clothes had their tags still on them and I bought name brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Lands End and Gymboree.

I even bought some X-mas gifts for my kids!

My sisters and I all came away happy and feeling like we made a killing. The clothing was so cute and in such great shape!

Can you tell I can't say enough about this!!

If you want to avoid high costs on clothing your kids for the year, check out Wee Peats!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No "Downing" This Down's Dad!

Kids' Keys Recently had an awesome opportunity to interview Martin Ramirez, not once but twice!! (we had a technical problem the first time which offered greater insight to us!)

I have learned so much from these interviews. Martin Ramirez is a humble, compassionate, and inspiring father. He shared how his son, Mario, born with Down Syndrome, became his mentor. Mario transformed his father’s life and will now change ours!

We know the statistics… *approximately 1 out of a 1000 children born will be diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. Often when a parent is told his child is born with a chromosomal abnormality the picture of the family a parent once had is forever changed and is often viewed as challenging, mostly with struggles.

Martin, however, turns that assumption on it's head.“Mario’s world is ‘judge free’, stated Martin Ramirez, “He’s neutral, neither positive nor negative and has taught me the secrets to lead with your heart and not your head,” and now, Martin is teaching us through Mario’s voice.

Martin Ramirez, recently wrote Living It Up With Downs, How My Son Became My Mentor and is now offering motivational and personal coaching presentations.

Through his book, speaking engagements, and his every day practice Martin shares how Mario helps him (in turn helps us) to find purpose and the tools to living a fuller life.

With so many people talking about the trials and everyday struggles families face with Down Syndrome, Martin Ramirez redirects the focus from, “It’s not what you get,” to “It’s what you become” because every family has their own struggles and own "handicaps", so to speak.

Martin has taken his role as father to three boys with serious optimism. How many parents can say they live by example they teach?

Martin lives the way he wants his sons to live and often uses little gems like, “Make what ever you do - the product of your own conclusion," to remind his sons to build confidence and self-purpose.

Martin challenges everyone to face any challenge with enthusiasm and curiosity. He gives simple tips, learned from Mario, on how to get here, such as negotiating without a power struggle. To hear more about what this amazing father has to say, visit Kids’ Keys To Success.

Listen to the “Down’s Dad” training for free at

* Stats taken from September 12, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Consequences Are A Key To Kids' Success

I have been a little perturbed about the mud slinging that has been going on in the political arena.

One woman, Jenny, on Work It Mom took a stand and let herself be heard.

I generally don't respond to political posts. I separate what I believe is right for me and what may be right for others. I don't think I can make decisions for others, even though I find that ridiculously frustrating!! God gave me the ability to make my own choices and it isn't my place.

I do my best not to judge and try to see all sides. Now, obviously I believe there has to be laws in order to have a civilized community. When one person's rights overstep an others', is hurtful then steps need to be taken.

I believe we as individuals need to be held responsible for his/her own choices.

If Sarah Palin decides to work, be Governor then she has a responsibility to go back to work after three days, Just as a father (a president would have the responsibility to go return to office after the birth of a child (JFK).

If Sarah and Todd (her husband) have agreed on a way to raise their kids and her kids are thriving there should be nothing more said.

I think when people are giving the opportunity to be responsible for him/her self and have the fair access to resources to do so, gov't needs to be "laissez-faire".

I believe strongly when people are given accurate information when faced with a decision, they will decide justly.

I have worked with many people who have been incarcerated for hideous crimes and when they are given education, an opportunity to critically think and reason would not make the same choices they did before they were incarcerated.

I believe people, on whole are "good" and "kind". It is our personal responsibility to make choices every time that are good and kind. If each person did that, it would encourage those who may not have the info. or resources available to question his/her own choices just because the people around him/her are doing so... Actions speak very loudly!
I think when a person says... "I think I could sit down with her, be friends, and agree to disagree with her," is really important and a great point because if there is a person who disagrees with you (challenges you to be a better person yet respects your rights to have a different opinion) then that is a person I want in gov't.

I as a person and as a country, want myself and us to continue to grow; not out of jealousy, greed, and anger but out of respectful questioning, inquisitiveness, and debate.

I think if a candidate is personable, has the ability to relate to others, and would be considered a "friend, colleague, leader" that is saying a ton about her/his personhood.

So, how does this tie in with Kids' Keys To Success? Well, in a couple ways:

1. I believe all kids are good and given the opportunity and resources want to do good, be appreciated, and feel good about his/her self.

I believe kids have a greater opportunity to feel good about his/her self when they are given the opportunity to make a decision. I feel it is my responsibility to lead my kids.

By "lead", I mean, "walk the talk": offer choices to them (i.e. Bobbie wants to go outside with no coat but it is cold out, so as a mom Bobbie has two choices: 1. put coat on and go outside or 2. no coat no outside)

This works amazingly well in my home. Sometimes the kiddos want to know "why" for each choice so we go over these consequences too. I believe it puts the responsibility into the child's hands and then they can live with the positive/negative consequences.

2. Sarah Palin's choice to take on the role of Governor of Alaska and now as running mate for McCain; She is teaching some really important lessons not only to her own kids, but to ours as well. I am sure Sarah would be the first to admit, that there are both positives and negatives about her decision to be in politics.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Makes Me Happy Is A Kids' Key To Success!

I was recently asked at a new networking site, "What makes me happy?"...

Here was my answer...

My daughter and I were talking last night at bed time (she is 4)...

Me: "Emmy are you proud of your self? I am really proud of you."

Emmy: "Yes, but why do you ask me this all the time?"

Me: "Becasue it is important that you are proud of yourself."

Emmy: "Why is it important?"

Me: "Because, God made you and you are really special. The best way to say thank you to God is to let your brilliance out and show it to the world. So, you can do lots of kind things for others. Doing kind things for others makes us really happy. And I want you to be happy."

Emmy: "Oh"

Me: "That is why it is important for you to be proud of your self...does that make sense?"

Emmy: "Yes, I like doing kind things, like God. I love you mommy."

Me: " I love you to buttercup!" Talks like that make me really happy!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mom Can Stay Home

Moms who work from home often say it is the best of both worlds...I love being home with my kids and contributing financially to my family.

Learn how one mom is doing this...Melissa Jennings from M Jennings Designs just won August's Spot Light Blogger on the Blog Train!

You can read more about her and the Blog Train Here!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Building Independence Is A Kids' Key To Success

What is better than hearing, excitedly, about the first day of your child's independence and a new chapter in her life?

I feel so blessed to have this on video and the ability to share it with others!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Starting School Is A Kids' Key To Success

How many of you have sent your child off to school for the first time (new school, college, etc.)?

Can you see my hand stretched way up high?

And I have been a wreck! Not because my first born isn't ready, is scared, or doesn't want to go but just the opposite...she can't wait to go! I am morning the loss of my babe!

I have been told if she is excited, I did my job right but I can't help feeling a loss for her baby/toddler years. They are gone...

I know I need to buck up and look to the future because it holds some pretty awesome times and experiences, too. I also know, I did the best I could raising her thus far, and it seems good enough.

sigh...wipe...sigh....go get 'em!

What I hope She Learns In Kindergarten?
1. To Treat others as she would want to be treated;

2. Stick up for the kid(s) who is being picked on or ask for help and stand up for herself if she is being picked on;

3. Not to pick her nose or wedgie in public!

4. Learning to read would be good too!

What I Learned:
1. She can do more than I give her credit for;

2. She has a gift of bringing joy and love to others just for being her; and

3. I have done a pretty good job so far! (Don't pick your nose or bottom in public, Em!!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Long Acres Farm Is A Kids' Key

Do You Have A Place Like This Nearby? If You Don't, You Should!

Wow, so much fun! How many Parents can say after an outing for the kids can say, "I don't want to go, when can we come back?"

We had so much fun enriching the kid's minds and growing their confidence as they directed us in the huge corn maze! Did you know a four and two year know which way to go to successfully complete a maze? Fellow maze-goers took hours to find their way out. We did it in 53 minutes! (It must be because they are closer to the ground!)

We had a little help from the "coach" a-top the scafolding tower that ran the course but for the most part the kids directed the show.

The park also had things like goats to feed and pet, a gem stone/fossil panning operation (we found two shark's teeth and some gems and fossils), huge hill-side slide, tennis ball sling-shots, water pump races, a huge sand pit, pillow jump, peddle go-carts, climbing wall, "go-green" trivia, wonderful tasty treats, and so much more!!

What I Hoped My Kids Learned:

1. They can do anything they put their mind to;

2. Having fun and making memories with our family is treasured; and

3. I respect their individuality.

What I Learned:

1. My kids can do more than I think;

2. They are so much fun to be around; and

3. Bring extra clothes for mishaps (tinkling in a corn maze for a 4 yo can be tough!).

"No Cost" Family Fun Is A Key To Kids' Success

What is it about doing "nothing" or the little things that is so darn fun and important? For me these little moments that may have lasted less than 5 minutes meant the world!

Emmy and Sam have taught me how to play and how to really have fun. Thank you "Sunshine" and "Monkey"!!

You'll never know how much Momma Loves You!

Birthdays Are A Kids' Key To Success

I don't know about you all, but we have been to A LOT of birthday parties lately (10 in the last two months)! Some have been big and grand and others have been intimate and traditional.

I am not a parent who goes all out and hires a favorite charachter, rents a bouncy house/jungle gym, puts on a show, or rents out an identified "birthday party place".

I am a mom who, if truth be told is a little cheap and a whole lot traditional.. I prefer simple parties surrounded by family and maybe a close friend or two. Am I a bithday Ginch?

I am not saying big parties aren't wonderful and can be super special. But, I've always been this way... grand celebrations, big parties, gala events... just aren't me.

I hope I never dissappoint my kids, but small intimate parties are where it's at for me. ...probably with six kids in our family it will never really be small or quiet!

What I want my kids to learn about birthdays:

1) Make the birthday person feel really special by making/giving a meaningful gift;

2) Remind the birthday person how blessed the world is because he/she is in it; and

3) Celebrate his/her life with a silly, unique, simple tradition so they have something to depend on, anticipate, and is meaningful.

To me, that is what a birthday parties are all about.

What are birthdays for you? Do you have a special tradition? What is the birthday message you want to give your kids?

Yoga Is A Kids' Key

Gosh, I had such an awesome talk with Shakta Kaur Khalsa of http://www.children/ last Frirday! I am so inspired ... You can listen to it for free here.

If you have a child who is having difficulties with staying focused, is wired, tired, grumpy, anxious, or for lack of a better word hyper. Shakta has an activity for you.

She explains why yoga helps children to rid his/herself of negative feelings and behaviors and then in its place produce focused happiness and acceptance. Anyone can use yoga to relieve anxiety, confussion, frustration, anger, and fatigue, ANYTIME! Yoga is the ultimate natural "pick-me-up".

Yoga and meditation are what our top athletes/Olympians, entrepreneurs, doctors, high-performing people use to calm and center themselves. But unlike anything else, yoga is used for any person, no matter the age or ability level. Yoga is for everyone!

Wouldn't you like to feel refreshed, energized, happy, and internally centered with the use of yoga?

Yoga has often had a reputation for just being postures, but it is so much more than that. There has been a misrepresentation. Yoga encompases so much more and can do incredible things for you and our children.

Find out how yoga works and why it does all that I have claimed here by listening to my interview with Shakta.

Thank you Shakta for sharing your pictures!* _____________________________________________

Shakta began practicing yoga in 1972, and has been teaching K u n d a l i n i Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan since 1976. She is an IKYTA certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and teacher/trainer, an AMS Montessori educator, and an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance.

Additionally, she has authored several books: Fingered Family, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga for Women, and Fly Like A Butterfly

Hiking Is A Kids' Key

This weekend we decided to seize the beautiful day (it may be our last here in upstate NY!) and packed a picnic lunch and headed for the trails!

After a short hike down (and up) a twinning and twisty trail we came to a great place to spread our blanket and lay out the spread of PB&J, grapes and chips! We took in the view of rolling glacier formed hills and cumulus clouds and compared the figures we spotted in the clouds.

Emmy was adamant to bring her coloring supplies and went straight to it as we munched in the sunshine and Sammy the man chased bugs away shouting as he went "shooo, shoo bug, go way!" and growled like the fierce lion growing inside.

We packed things up and decided to do some more hiking...the adventure truly began! Our sense of direction was turned upside down and inside out like the tumbles of our washing machine. We were lost within 30 minutes on the coiled path and think woods.

We managed to document some "firsts": It was Emmy's first experience of relieving herself, squatted over ferns and wild mushrooms; Sammy's and I had our "first" with changing a "loaded" diaper while in verticle position; and to Jeff's relief (since there was no sign of human life) that I couldn't ask him to pull over to ask for directions!

After a long hour and a half, my little troopers finally declared "we found home!" as we approached our lifesaving air-conditioned minivan parked in the deserted parking lot. I am so amazed by two little ones (age 4 and 2); they trudged along singing, laughing, jumping over roots and were fascinated by dirt, bugs, and snails.

The kiddos always seem to make the most simplistic activity special... We picked out "special" rocks to bring home to paint and celebrate our adventure to "Take A Hike"!

How did I get so lucky!?

The Zoo Is A Kids' Key To Success

Last weekend we headed off (my dramtic hubby, my buttercup, and Super Sam Man) to visit the zoo and experience oneness with raw, untamed
animals. Well, not really, but we got as close to a polar bear than I ever imaginged!

This is the first time in about 15 years that I have been to the Rochester Senaca Park Zoo. I once vowed to visit the zoo in every place I visited. (I have been to a lot of zoos...especially since I live in one!)

As I became more mature and "worldly", I became saddened by the often frustrated, board looks of the animals contained behind "bars". (I don't know, it may be my self reflected/mirrored perception?) So I stopped wanting to go the zoo and supporting their efforts.

As an even more "worldly" mom, I understand the need for zoos better: the need for public education, research to maintain some species that would no longer exsist if it were not for zoos, and research about how people and wild animals can continue to thrive together but seperate.

I know I don't have all the answers, but I do know that advances in the habitats at zoos have become so incredible. Even though I wish our Seneca Park Zoo would renovate the Ape and Monkey habitats (they are so cramped) they have done some amazing work on the polar bear, elephant, cougar, and Sea Lion habitats. I actually touched "paws" with a polar bear happily swimming by (with two inches of one-way protected glass between us)! At that was exhilirating!

The Seneca Park Zoo has a new and improved fan.

What I Hope My Kids Learned:

1. To appreciate and love the efforts people are making to maintain harmony and education about wild life conservation;

2. When we see things that need to be changed, step up to the plate and make a difference; and

3. Most Improvements are not made without planning, dedication, and compassion.

What I learned:

1. The overwhelming need to participate in society...become a voice and be heard (I onced loved being a hermit);

2. A reminder, to keep my mind open and available to new experiences and knowledge.

3. The polar bear is classified as a marine mammal. Its feet are partially webbed for swimming, and its fur is water-repellent, and is not really white, its colorless. The fur are hollow tubes that scatter light to stay warm by channeling the sun's energy directly to the bear's skin.

** Thank You CharlesFS for the Polar Bear Photo

Yoga: A Kids' Key To Focus and Become Self Aware

Did you know that yoga can be a holistic approach to teeth clunching (Bruxism), ADD, ODD, Autism, or Disorder of Sensory Integration? I mean, I knew yoga is great for helping me focus and become more self aware as well as being great for strengthing my muscles, increasing my flexibility and balance, increasing my endurance (especially in active yoga), and keeping my spine in-line, but I had no idea...

Yoga has been found to activate and stimulate glands to secrete befefical energy flow which then affects mood and then relaxes and organizes the nervous system.

Yoga uses bilateral movements (such as weight bearing, rotation, and core muscles) to balance the brain's hemishperes. It encourages the brain to work in harmony. The regualr practice of yoga helps us to achieve a higher level of cognitive (thinking) skills!

So, here are four really good reasons for our kids to practice yoga:

1. helps children calm down and focus

2. enhances physical and brain coordination

3. is a holistic approach to ADHD, Autism, DSI and other special needs

4. helps children become more self-aware of their bodies, minds, and feelings

Plus is it a great way to bond with your kids! Emmy and I have taken "Mommy and Me" yoga classes and Emmy is always asking "When we can do it, again?"

What I Hope Emmy (Soon Sammy too!) Learns:

1. A greater awareness of her body and how to focus her mind;

2. A love and need for daily exercise; and

3. Mommy loves to exercise with her!

What I Have Learned:

1. I didn't realize all the awesome benefits of yoga for children especailly those wit special needs!!
2. Greater peace, focus, and self acceptance; and

3. I could exercise with a 3 yr. old (now 4) and love it.