Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Tis the Season for Family Fun and Tradition

I love the holidays! Sure, some years are better than others financially, but the spirit of the season always captures me.

I love the idea of taking a drive and looking at the wonderful home decorations with my family, and I actually like the hustle and bustle of the crowds doing last-minute shopping. Seems funny, doesn't it? Any other time, I hate crowds, but not during the holidays!

A few years back, my husband started the tradition of cooking our Thanksgiving turkey and our Christmas ham on the charcoal grill. It started out as a necessity--since our oven was broken--but it became a tradition that we all love. There's something about grilling the meat that adds a lot of flavor, and it doesn't take any longer to roast the turkey or ham outside. Also, it allows me to use the oven for other parts of the dessert!

Another tradition that I treasure is decorating the tree with my husband and my two boys. I definitely don't have a designer tree, but I love it just the same. I have a terrific mishmash of decorations...some made by my boys, some that hold sentimental value, and some that were given as gifts. It's so much fun to unwrap each ornament and reminisce about our Christmas memories.

When I was growing up, one of our traditions was to decorate our tree with lights and bulbs, then add piece at a time! That's one tradition I haven't continued with my own family. I'm not sure if it's because I don't really like tinsel or because I've hung my life's quota already. Regardless, my boys have never asked about tinsel, and I never offered it up!

One tradition that caught on in my own family is the Christmas Eve present. It's always the same. The tradition originally started because the boys begged to open a gift on Christmas Eve. I obliged because I wanted the boys to look half-way decent for pictures in the morning. The compromise, and now the tradition? Pajama pants!

What about you and your family? What are some of your holiday traditions? I'd love for you to share them with matter which holiday(s) you celebrate!

-Lisa Bakewell

Monday, November 28, 2011

WIN Tickets to Junie B. Jones at Governors State!!

We're giving away two (2) 

Family 4-packs!!

See Junie B. Jones at The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University!! 

Check below to see a sneak preview and learn how to win 4 (four) tickets to either the Saturday, December 3rd show (11 a.m.) or the Sunday, December 4th show (1 p.m.)...

Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.)

Saturday, December 3 at 11 a.m.
Sunday, December 4 at 1 p.m.

Feature - Junie B., First Grader
In Junie B. Jones' world, things are very clear—Christmas means you get presents, elf costumes are awesome, and May is a blabbermouth tattletale.
Things are going so well, until Junie B. pulls May as her Secret Santa! With Santa watching her like a hawk, what will Junie B. do?
This show is based on the best-selling Junie B. Jones books.

For a chance to win one (1) of two (2) 
Family 4-packs:
  • Comment below on why you'd love to have these tickets;
  • Like us on Facebook (if you have an account);
  • Follow us on this blog;
  • Follow us on Twitter (if you have an account);
  • Then, email Lisa Bakewell, Social Media Manager, at lbakewell01 at sbcglobal dot net with your contact information (email and address) and the day and time you would like to see the show if you are a winner. 
  • Contestants will be given one (1) chance to win PER each type of entrance for the contest (i.e., comment, Facebook, Twitter, following the blog).
  • Winners will be chosen at random ( on Thursday, December 1, 2011 after 5 p.m. CST.
  • Winners will be notified via email and must respond to email on or before midnight on Thursday, December 1, 2011 to claim their prize. 
  • Winners will be responsible for their own travel expenses to the show. Location: Governors State University, 1 University Parkway  University Park, IL 60484-0975. Phone: (708) 534-5000.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Eating: Good Choices Equal Less Weight Gain

Small changes can make a really big difference in how many calories are consumed over the holidays. Holiday Eating by the Numbers; 
Good Choices Equal Less Weight has some great tips, such as:
  •  Remove turkey skin to deduct 50 calories 
  • Switch from whole milk in mashed potatoes to fat free or skim — or consider using new potatoes instead, which have less sugar
  •  Enjoy one less piece of bread: cornbread is about 200 calories a piece, and each dinner roll will cost you 80 
  • Opt for a fresh dessert instead of a baked one: a single slice of pumpkin pie is packed with about 350 calories and Southern pecan pie has more than 500 calories. A fresh fruit sorbet: only about 100 calories
Read the full article to learn more about how to avoid holiday weight gain.


-Lisa Bakewell

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Top 10: Sites for Parenting Information

As parents, we are always looking for parenting information. Below, I've listed a Top 10 list, in no particular order, of sites that may be helpful to you and your family. The list contains government and organization sites. If you have a favorite Parenting Website, feel free to list it in the comments.
  1. Health Information for Girls: was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health External link (OWH) to help girls (ages 10 to 16) learn about health, growing up and issues they may face. promotes healthy and positive behaviors in girls, giving them reliable and useful health information in a fun, easy-to-understand way. The website also provides information to parents and educators to help them teach girls about healthy living.
  2. Expecting Parents: Find information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum depression and more.
  3. Adoptive Parents: Find national and international adoption resources.
  4. Babies and Preschoolers: Get information about car seats, recalls, vaccines, and more.
  5. Teens: Learn about internet safety; get resources on alcohol and drug prevention; search for colleges; and more.
  6. Young Adults: Get information about grants and financial aid; learn about drinking prevention; and more.
  7. American Accademy of Pediatrics (AAP): From asthma to immunization, find out more about what AAP recommends for your children's health.
  8. Social Networking: Keeping Your Kids Safe: Parents sometimes can feel outpaced by their technologically savvy kids. Technology aside, there are lessons that parents can teach to help kids stay safer as they socialize online.
  9. U.S. Government Web sites for Parents and Educators: This site contains a comprehensive list of government resources for kids.
  10. Parents of Children with Special Needs: Parents of children with special needs are often advocates for their children’s education and medical care. The included Federal agencies, national organizations, publications and websites provide information for parents of children with special needs about inclusion, parent support, parent advocacy, and medical conditions. Additional resources are available via the NCCIC’s Online Library at
  1. Nemour's Websites: These sites include Kid's Health, Teen Health, Parenting Information, and an Educator's siteIf you're looking for information you can trust about kids and teens that's free of "doctor speak," you've come to the right place. KidsHealth is the most-visited site on the Web for information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years.
  2. Parents' Information at ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
  3. A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety from the FBI: Our children are our nation's most valuable asset. They represent the bright future of our country and hold our hopes for a better nation. Our children are also the most vulnerable members of society. Protecting our children against the fear of crime and from becoming victims of crime must be a national priority.
-Lisa Bakewell

Monday, November 21, 2011

Child Seat Belt Safety: Over 75-percent failure rate

According to, a new University of Michigan study says American children, aged 4 to 9, use an improperly fitting seat belt when they ride in cars. Here’s the breakdown:
  • 37% of the drivers said their 4- to 9-year-old passengers use seat belts
  • More than 75% said the seat belts did not fit properly
  • 44% reported improper shoulder belt position
  • Improper lap belt position was reported in 62% of cases 
At least one improper belt position was reported by 78% of drivers of 4- to 6-year-old children, 77% of 7- to 8-year-old children and 79% of 9-year-old children," the study authors reported in the November issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics. 
Although no state laws require kids over 8 years old continue using booster seats, experts agree that height is a better indicator than age. The average height of an 11-year-old (57 inches) is best, but most parents are foregoing the booster seat for the seat belt around the age of nine.

For more information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about child passenger safety.

What do you think? Do you agree with the CDC's guidelines, or do you think they are being too cautious?

-Lisa Bakewell

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Handprint Turkeys

Handprint crafts have always been my favorite. I love pulling out the holiday decorations that my boys have made me over the years. It's fun to see how their hands (and artistic ability) changed over the years. Here are several examples of Thanksgiving Turkey Art made using your children's hand prints.

Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey
Trace multiple child's or make this really cute turkey. Full instructions are given at the link above.

Handprint Painted Turkey
I love this handprint turkey, because it features your child's painting skills as well as showing the size of their growing hands. Full instructions are given at the link above.

Family Handprint Turkey
Here's a great way for the whole family to get involved. has a great Family Handprint Turkey. I love it because it includes the whole family's handprints--a nice twist to the conventional handprint turkey. Here's the link containing the full instructions:

Two-Handed Handprint Turkey
This next handprint turkey is a little it comes with templates for the non-handprint parts. I really like it, since you could really adapt this project to fit any bird or insect that has wings. Here's the link and instructions:

Do you have any great Turkey handprint craft ideas or links to share? If so, please share.

-Lisa Bakewell

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday’s Trend: Hot Holiday Toys for 2011

It's hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us, but it is. With about 38 days till Christmas, I should be getting frantic about now, but truthfully, the holiday season doesn't start for me and my family until Thanksgiving. Translated, that means I have a tough time getting the Hot Holiday Toys. If you're unlike me, and you want to get a jump start on your shopping before Black Friday, take a look at a few of the Hot Holiday Toys for 2001.

Animal Planet's Air Swimmers
Animal Planet’s Air Swimmers are helium-filled aquatic animals that (currently) come in two varieties: Shark and Clown Fish. The radio-controlled Air Swimmers have fins and tails that move as if you’re watching an actual fish swimming around in water, and your kids will love them! Air Swimmers are easy to control and can be filled with helium at any helium supplier. Helium tanks are also available.

Lalaloopsy’s Silly Hair Dolls
The Lalaloopsy characters, Crumbs Sugar Cookie and Jewel Sparkles, have strands of stylish and bendable Silly Hair allowing your child to get creative with their hairstyles. Both Crumbs and Sugar Cookie wear adorable clothing, and they also each come with their own pet.

LeapFrog’s LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet
The LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet from LeapFrog is an electronic educational gaming system for children aged 4 - 9. The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer features over 100 activities for young minds in the form of cartridge games, applications, videos, digital books, flash cards and downloadable content. You’ll be able to monitor your children's learning progress, but your children will find the games to be great fun, so they won’t even know they’re learning! This new LeapPad tablet features a 5-inch touch screen, a camera, built-in microphone, motion detector and 2 gigs of memory. Several games are available.

LEGO’s Ninjago Limited Edition Lightning Dragon Battle
The LEGO Ninjago Limited Edition Lighting Dragon Battle play set features four LEGO mini-figures, nine weapons, a helicopter (with hand-cranked rotor spinning action) and the Lightning Dragon, which features bendable limbs, tail and wings, and snapping jaws. You child will spend many creative hours with this set.

Matel’s Fijit Friends
Fijit Friends are adorable soft plastic robot friends that move and interact in fun and surprising ways. These colorful robots interact with your child by understanding what they say, and speaking and moving in response. Each Fijit Friend responds to over 30 verbal cues and can draw on a selection of over 150 built-in phrases and jokes. Fijit Friends also move and dance and come with their own music, but they're willing to dance to your child’s favorite music too. Sensors under Fijit Friends’ soft plastic skin let them know when they're being handled, so they'll respond by saying things like “That Tickles!”

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect
The Xbox Kinect Sensor is one of the most exciting new innovations to hit the shelves. Using your entire body to control the onscreen action, without holding any controller in your hand, the Xbox Kinect System Bundle and the Xbox Kinect Sensor (the add-on) can provide you and your family with a world of fun.  Xbox Kinect is sure to keep everyone laughing, jumping and having a great time! Both the Bundle and the Sensor come with the Kinect Adventures game. Other fun and exciting Xbox Kinect games can be purchased separately.

Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters Moshlings
Moshi Monsters, which began as an Internet phenomenon among children aged 6 – 12 (where its website allowed players to adopt a virtual pet, play games and collect a virtual currency called “rox”), now has a series of toys representing the online Moshi Monster and other characters called “Moshlings” (friends that the Moshi Monsters lure in with special seeds). Mini Moshlings (packs include three Moshling figurines) are also available and are inexpensive, so they will be one of the most sought-after toys for stocking-stuffing this holiday season. Get them early! Included, with the Moshlings and Mini Moshlings is a special code for your child to use online to unlock special bonuses.

Playskool’s Poppin Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper
There's a new Elefun The Elephant game for preschoolers! This new Elefun the Elephant comes with five colored balls, which are stored in Elefun's tummy. When your child drops a ball into Elefun the Elephant's left ear, he will shoot it out of his trunk. The trunk can be set to 4 different play modes, and activating Elefun’s left arm, allows your child to listen to one of 10 tunes while your child plays. Preschoolers are sure to have lots of fun dancing and playing with these colorful balls!

Playskool’s Sesame Street Let's Rock! Elmo
Kids can now rock out and dance along with the Sesame Street Playskool Let's Rock Elmo! Elmo now comes with a microphone and two instruments (a drum set and a tambourine). Your child chooses which instrument Elmo will play, and then plays the instrument that Elmo is not using. Elmo can also recognize other Let’s Rock instruments, which are sold separately. A button on Elmo’s foot allows your child to choose one of the six songs for Elmo to play.

Wow! Stuff’s My Keepon
My Keepon is an adorable dancing robot resembling a newly hatched chick. An excellent dancer, My Keepon has a tiny microphone in its nose, which detects the rhythm of any music being played or other rhythms like hand clapping. Once My Keepon hears a rhythm, it will begin to rock and dance in time to the music. Touch-sensors detect pokes, pats, squeezes and tickles, from your child, which elicits a response. My Keepon loves to chatter too and will do its best to get your child’s attention. This soft, cuddly doll has a lot of personality, which your child is sure to love!

Are there other toys  you think should be on the Hot Holiday Toys list for 2011? If so, let us know!

-Lisa Bakewell

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly Forecast for Family Fun Events!

November 17 – 22, 2011

Thursday             17

Wimpy Kid Party, grades 3-6, 4:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m., Joliet Public Library – Main Library, (815) 740-2662. Celebrate the release of the newest Wimpy Kid Book at the library, with games, snacks and other fun activities. Registration is required.

Third Thursday, all ages, 5 p.m. -7 p.m., DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 637-8000. Third Thursday is a special time once a month for families of children with autism spectrum disorder, visual, and mobility impairments to come play at the Museum. Special activities last until 7 p.m., All activities are free with admission or membership. The Museum is open to the public until 8 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

Video Game Night, grades 3-6, 5 p.m. -8 p.m., Joliet Public Library – Main Library, (815) 740-2662. Come to the library and have fun playing Wii video games with your friends! No registration required.

Friday   18

A Christmas Carol, all ages, visit website for times, $16-$45, The Goodman Theatre, 170 north Dearborn St., Chicago, (312) 443-3800. Charles Dickens’ classic story, the exceptional actors and the miraculous stagecraft have made A Christmas Carol a beloved Chicago tradition. Every year, audiences look forward to the Bah Humbugs, the arrival of the ghosts, and the music and dancing and Scrooge’s joyful discovery of life and love. Event runs through December 31st.

Cookies and Milk Story time, ages 3-5, 9:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m., Panera Bread – Westfield Louis Joliet Mall, (815) 254-9129. Join us for songs and stories at Panera Bread and get a free cookie. Registration is required.

Annual Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale!, all ages, 10 a.m. -2 p.m., Rich Township Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Park Forest, (708) 228-5042. Join us for our Annual Holiday Bazaar ad Bake Sale! Homemade crafts and baked goods will be available for purchase. We will serve coffee and goodies throughout the day. Join us for a day of shopping, eating and friendship!

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, all ages, weather permitting, Mon–Thu noon–8, Fri noon–10, Sat 10–10, Sun 10–9; See website for holiday hours. Free admission; $10 skate rental. Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington. Millennium Park’s obsessively maintained patch of ice draws more than 100,000 twirlers, leapers, and side-huggers each year, but you can be among the first to hit the pristine rink when it opens for the season 11/18.

Saturday              19

Polar Express, all ages, $21 for residents and $32 for non-residents, Downers Grove Main Street train station, Downers Grove, (630) 963-1300. All aboard! Take a train ride based on the book “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg. We leave from the Downers Grove Main Street train station and travel to the North Pole (Aurora train station). During the journey professional storytellers read the book while you enjoy chocolate milk and cookies.

Chicago Toy & Game Fair, all ages, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Navy Pier, Festival Hall B, 600 East Grand Ave., Chicago, (312) 595-7437. The Chicago Toy & Game Fair is the only toy and game fair open to the public. Every Fall we invite the public to join us for at least two whole days of previewing and playing the hottest product releases in the toy & game industry. They come to be dazzled and enchanted. They come to learn and explore. They come to mingle and participate in a community event. Most of all they come to have fun! Event also runs on Sunday, November 20th, 10 a.m. -5 p.m.

Academy Trainees of The Joffrey Ballet, Tony Great Performances, all ages, free with admission or membership, 10:45 a.m., DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 637-8000. The Nutcracker Suite will transform DCM into a winter wonderland, complete with magical toys and exotic sweets. Excerpts from the Tchaikovsky masterpiece will accompany the performances by Trainees from the Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet. This enchanted story will come to life in all its cultural richness, grace and magic. Limited Seating – see website for details.

Madeline and the Bad Hat, grades K-2, 11 a.m., $6, Lincoln-Way Central High School, 1801 E. Lincoln Highway, New Lenox, (815) 462-2307. Madeline and the Bad Hat, an original musical based upon the much-loved book, captures the blithe yet touching spirit of Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline series. It traces the adventures of a young Parisian girl – despite starting off on the wrong foot with a mischievous new neighbor – eventually learns that first impressions aren’t everything. All ages are welcome.

Bookamania, all ages, 11 a.m. -3 p.m., Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street., Chicago. Join us for this celebration of children’s books, featuring story crafts, special performances, storytelling and visits from some of your favorite storybook characters, authors and illustrators.

Parent-Child Turkey Shoot, ages 3-14, $1 per person, 11 a.m. -12 p.m., Worth Park District, 11500 S. Beloit, Worth, (708) 448-7080. Worth boys and girls and a parent of their choice will compete in a basketball free throw shooting contest. Boys and girls will compete together in the following divisions: 3 & 4, 5& 6, 7 & 8, 9 & 10, 11 & 12, and 13 & 14 year olds. The winning parent and child team in each division will receive a Thanksgiving turkey. Each additional attempt is $1. Registration is required.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Whether you find it a festive excuse to start your shopping early or a reason to stay home and avoid the traffic, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival winds its way down Michigan Avenue today beginning at 5:30.

Sunday                 20

Annual Holiday Exhibit of Natural History Art, all ages, free with Arboretum admission, 12 p.m. -5 p.m., Thornhill Education Center, Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, (630) 719-2468. Enjoy natural history art from the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum with the “Annual Holiday Exhibit of Natural History Art.” See the vibrancy of pastels, the delicacy of pen and ink, and the fluid beauty of watercolors. Artist will demonstrate a variety of techniques throughout the exhibit.

The Floating Princess, all ages, $5, 2 p.m., James Lumber Center For Performing Arts, C-wing Auditorium, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake, (847) 543-2300. This fresh and funny fairy tale spoof offers a princess you’ve never met before. Princess Tulip is cursed by her wicked aunt to be light of heart, mind and body, sentenced to float through life until she cries her first sorrowful tear. You’ll meet lots of new characters in this zany musical through fairy tale land as well as old favorites like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and more.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Kicks off 65th Anniversary Season, all ages, $20-$40, Chicago Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, 7:30 p.m.; Under the baton of Music Director Allen Tinkham, the orchestra will perform works by Strauss, Prokofiev, Barber and Scriabin.. Boxes are also available. For more information, visit or call (312) 939-2207 x31.

Monday               21

Thanksgiving Cake Centerpiece, all ages, $14 per child for members and $16 per child for non-members, 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m., Buehler YMCA, 1400 W. Northwest Hwy., Palatine, (847) 359-2400. This is a parent/child activity that’s fun and practical. Kathy Colombo of Party Cakes. Party Cakes will be here to show you how to use better cream frosting, pastry bags, fondant and edible embellishments. You will be making your own edible Fall Wreath. Save it for your Thanksgiving table or devour it beforehand. Fee is for 1 cake and all supplies per child, mom or dad is there to help. If there are 2 children, you will pay for and decorate 2 cakes. Please register with child’s name. Minimum of 12 to run class. Must register by November 16th.

Happy birthday, Mickey! All ages; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; The Frankfort Park District is inviting you to come out and celebrate with games, crafts, pizza and (of course) cake, Founders Community Center, 140 Oak St., Frankfort. Register by Thursday, Nov. 17,

Tuesday               22

Tots on Tuesdays, ages 2-5, included with regular admission, John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, (312) 939-2438. Tots on Tuesdays features special programs each week for Shedd’s youngest visitors. From exploring Camp Shedd to dressing up like a penguin in Polar Play Zone, join the fun and learn something new! Tots on Tuesdays is generously supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Lil’ Pilgrim Party, ages 1-5, 10 a.m. -11 a.m., The Niles Family Fitness Center, 987 Civic Center Dr., Niles, (847) 588-8400. Parents and children are invited to join us for a special Thanksgiving celebration with crafts, games, stories and more! Registration is required.

Insect Zoo, all ages, free with admission or membership, 10 a.m. -12 p.m., DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 637-8000. Ever wanted to get nose to nose with a Praying Mantis? Pet a Giant Pumpkin Millipede as long as our hand? See how far a Giant Lubber Grasshopper can jump? The experts from Anderson Pest Solutions will introduce children to nature’s Good Guy Bugs, such as Hercules Beetles, Giant Lubber Grasshoppers, Giant Pumpkin Millipedes and more. Find out how, as natures recyclers, these insects contribute to our environment.

For more fun, family events visit Family Time Magazine's calendar for November at

High IQ at 5, raised risk of drug use -

High IQ at 5, raised risk of drug use -

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Top 10: Children's Books and Family Movies

The holidays are fast approaching, and most of us have children to buy gifts for (whether they're our own or not). I don't know about you, but I've always thought that books make awesome gifts...and they come in all price ranges, so they fit any budget. Also, movies are a great way to give a gift of love or share some family time without breaking the bank.

Here are lists of the Top 10 Children's Books and Top 10 Family Movies:

Top 10 Children's Books

1.       Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #6) (11/15/2011) by Jeff Kinney
2.       The LEGO Ideas Book (9/19/2011) by Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff
3.       Every Thing On It (9/20/2011) by Shel Silverstein
4.       Tuesdays at the Castle (10/25/2011) by Jessica Day George
5.       NG Kids Ultimate Weird but True: 1,000 Wild & Wacky Facts and Photos (9/13/2011) by National Geographic
6.       Wonderstruck (9/13/2011) by Brian Selznick
7.       The Invention of Hugo Cabret (3/1/2007) by Brian Selznick
8.       Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids (5/28/2006) by Carol McCloud
9.       Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book (B&N Exclusive Edition) (8/23/2011) by Tom Angleberger
10.   The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus Series #1) (10/12/2010) by Rick Riordan

Plus one...
11.   Where the Sidewalk Ends: 30th Anniversary Special Edition (1/20/2004) by Shel Silverstein

    Gathered from Barnes and Noble 

Top 10 Family Movies

1.       It's a Wonderful Life (1946)         
2.       Toy Story 3 (2010)           
3.       Spirited Away (2001)     
4.       WALL·E (2008)  
5.       Back to the Future (1985)            
6.       The Kid (1921)  
7.       Up (2009)           
8.       The Gold Rush (1925)    
9.       The Lion King (1994)       
10.   The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Plus one...                
11.   Toy Story (1995)

Gathered from (Genre: Family)

Are your favorites on either of these lists? If not, what are your favorite children's books and family movies? 

-Lisa Bakewell

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mull it over Monday

Celebrities are known for giving their children unusual names, and, let's be honest, some of them are very strange. Recently, a British survey found that at least 8 percent of parents regret their own children's name choices. Let me ask...Do you wish you had chosen a different name for your baby? If so, why?

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Guidelines Suggest Cholesterol Checks for Kids Ages 9 to 11

New guidelines written by a panel sponsored by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), sayAll U.S. children between the ages of 9 and 11 should be screened for high cholesterol.  According to an article written by HealthDay:
The recommendations are a major shift from current guidelines that suggest such testing be done only for children who have a family history of  heart disease or high blood cholesterol, which is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
Meant to improve children's heart health and reduce their future risk of cardiovascular disease, the new guidelines also recommend that children and young adults have their cholesterol levels checked again between the ages of 17 and 21.
For more information on kids and cholesterol, visit  Kids Health from Nemours.

Monday, November 7, 2011


      Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver 

Although there are several opinions about whether or not kids should get an allowance, and, if they do, whether or not the allowance should be attached to chores, I think that most parents would agree that all children should learn how to handle their money wisely. Learning the concept of saving money at an early age will, hopefully, allow our kids to thrive financially (or at least be wise about their spending) when they are adults.  Personally, if my boys learn how to spend and save wisely, I will be thrilled!
So, what’s the first step?

Determine where you want to “store” your children’s money. Should the money be stored in a piggy bank or a jar, so our kids can watch their savings grow; should they open an account at a local bank so they can hand deliver their loot; or should an online account be opened so that their money is out of sight and out of mind?

Again, parents will differ in their opinions on the best way to help their children learn about saving, but I think all of the options listed above are good ones. I also believe that parents may want (or need) to tailor the method to their particular child. For example, I have one son that cannot stand to see his money – it burns a hole in his pocket – but my other son loves to watch his money pile up.  So, to handle the different money relationships of our boys, we’ve had to alter our teaching style, for savings, with each of them.

Piggy banks might be the way to start. If your child is young, you may want to start with the piggy bank or jar method. This way, your little one can physically watch their savings grow at home.  Also, coins are easily found and can make a big impact on how quickly the jar or piggy bank fills up. 

Interest gets interesting as the savings pile up. Older children, who have a real concept of numbers, will really enjoy learning about simple and compound interest. It will be fun for them to watch their money grow faster and faster because they are earning “extra money” just for letting the bank borrow their money temporarily. A good resource for teaching children about interest (simple and compound) is this article on The Mint: Saving & Earning Interest…How Savings Works – It’s all about interest.

Deposits…online or in person? Whether you use a physical or online bank will depend on your child’s relationship with money, their age, and their ability to grasp the concept of where their money is going. A younger child might learn more about savings accounts by hand delivering their deposit to the bank…allowing them to grasp the idea that their money is going to an actual place. An older child, who is undoubtedly familiar with computers and the idea of a virtual, online existence, will not have a problem with handing their money over electronically.  

A big advantage to online banking is the fact that most of them offer a better interest rate than physical banks. Also, there is a tremendous amount of financial learning that can be done online. If your child is interested in learning more about their money, it’s all right there for them to pursue.

Teaching our children about money, early on, can only be helpful to them in the future. I wish I had learned to have a better relationship with cash as I was growing up. I tend to be the “money burns a hole in my pocket” type, which hasn’t always been helpful.

What about you? How do you handle money? Also, have you started teaching your children about a good, healthy relationship with money? If so, do you have tips you’d like to share with us?

-Lisa Bakewell