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5 Ways to Stimulate a Child’s Brain over the Summer

Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Education, Parenting | 1 comment

Summer is just around the corner and kids are looking for a well deserved rest after a long academic year. Each year is different, some bring welcomed learning and fun new activities while others can provide a stressful transition for the student. Regardless of the situation it’s important for kids to have a mental break before gearing up for the next school year. However, kids who don’t stimulate their brains at all in July and August often find that they have trouble adjusting in the fall or that they simply aren’t able to learn and absorb new things over the summer. There are some wonderful and exciting outside of the classroom experiences that kids can have over the summer to keep their brains sharp. Visit a museum Although some schools will have a field trip to a museum once...

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End the Year Strong: 5 Benefits of a Private Tutor

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Education, Family | 0 comments

The end of the academic year is not that far away. Kids are getting excited to enjoy a summer without having to focus on textbooks and memorization. In order to avoid spending part of the summer catching up on academics, students should consider the benefits of working with a one-on-one tutor. By spring teachers don’t have time for review and have to add test prep into the curriculum. This can become overwhelming for many students who are focusing more on playing outside and less on learning. Avoid summer school Summer school is becoming an ever popular choice for kids in elementary school. If it’s necessary to allow a child to move on to the next grade then it’s totally worth it. However, lengthy academic sessions also take away from a child’s summer, as well as time away from outdoor...

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Superheroes, Barbies, and Tablets Oh My!

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

When people find out that you’re having a baby, one of the first questions you hear is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” We kept our children’s genders a surprise until they were born, but within hours of their respective arrivals, family and friends returned with pink clothing for my daughter and blue clothing for my son. At their first birthday parties, there was no shortage of dolls for my daughter and trucks for my son, and my children loved them. My daughter is active, creative, an extrovert, and loves makeup and nail polish. In the last year she’s also shown an interest in soccer. My son is observant, sporty, musical, and empathetic. He continues to love all things cars and superheroes. And now that they’re older, both kids are captivated by their tablets. Research tells us that...

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Seeking Host Families Near University of California Irvine

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in Culture, Education, Family, Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored Universal Student Housing, an innovative service provider in the study abroad sector, is currently seeking host families near the University of California at Irvine to provide homes for a large group of Japanese English teachers. Universal Student Housing will be supporting the visit of large groups of Japanese English teachers to the University of California at Irvine, and is seeking host families in the area. This will be the second year USH was chosen for this honor, and the fourth such group for USH. Universal Student Housing expects over 100 students and teachers to arrive this summer. The groups are made up of individuals between 25 and 50 years old, and the stay duration will vary between four weeks to three months, depending on the group. There will also be a coordinator on the ground to provide students...

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5 Educational Skills your Child can Learn from a Private Tutor

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Young kids can gain a lot from their role models and will follow the lead of the adults in their life. Once children start school, there are examples of what to do and how to behave from day one. Going to school is essentially a kid’s job while they are growing up and education, in general, takes up most of their day. A positive academic role model plays a valued part in a growing student’s life, and they can learn a lot from working with a private tutor. 1) Work ethic School is incredibly demanding. Kids work in the classroom until early afternoon and then sit down to complete homework assignments. Without a high work ethic, it’s difficult for young students to complete all of their academic tasks within a reasonable time frame, which can result in fatigue and...

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Dr. Borba’s Parenting Tips

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

I attended an event at St. Mary’s School where Dr. Borba shared some parenting tips. In the words of renowned educational psychologist and expert parent educator, Dr. Michelle Borba, “Don’t lose the color of their eyes.” In her talk, Dr. Borba explained that bullying is an unfortunate part of childhood (and beyond). However, she outlined the necessary fundamental skills your child needs when he or she finds themselves in a victimized role. First and foremost, Dr. Borba asserted the need to set a solid foundation for your child. This looks like: Loving your child for who they are not what they do (or don’t do) Setting fair expectations and structure Modeling the rules and expectations Teach them how to be a good friend. Friendships are: Learned, not a given First modeled (think one mother to another) Conflicted, at times,...

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Protecting the Future Health of your Children with Americord

Posted by on Mar 19, 2016 in Education, Family, Health, Hot Topics | 0 comments

I am a registered nurse and the mother of three boys, ages 7, 2 ½ , and 1 month old. About 1 ½ years ago we received the heart wrenching news that our second son was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer, one day before his first birthday. This took us on an emotional rollercoaster. Over the next year and a half our son endured lab tests, scans, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and several surgeries. He continues with monthly doctor visits and lab work, as well as periodic scans. Because we know that there is a chance of cancer relapse, and if so, that stem cell transplant is a possible treatment option, we wished we would have collected cord blood from both him and his older brother. But we were not familiar with the program and assumed that it...

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5 Things That Can Stop a Study Group from Being Successful

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

We all know that joining a study group can help students be successful when it comes to tricky assignments and projects. Working together can help students stay motivated and hold them to a schedule. In general, students who are part of a study group will take their academics more seriously and end up being more successful overall. However, there are times when study groups just don’t work. This can be for any number of reasons but there are a few universal issues that can stop collaborative study from being productive. 1)  The students in the group don’t get along If students within a study group really just don’t get along it can become a huge distraction from accomplishing work. Students don’t get to choose who they attend classes with but they can choose who is in their study group....

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Storymakery Makes Young Authors

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Crafts, Education, Events | 0 comments

I’m in Love, and you will be too, with StoryMakery! What an amazing and exciting treat it was for my ten-year-old daughter, Bella and me, to visit the Storymakery at the Irvine Spectrum Center earlier this week. We met the Storymakery’s owner, Payal Kindiger, who graciously explained the story making and self-publishing process for kids. Like the scrumptious delights a bakery produces, Storymakery creates one-of-a-kind, truly unique stories by young authors, like our kids. Storymakery is a unique place child can build cognitive writings skills while flexing their imagination muscles, with friendly “Muse” staff, to design fun characters and stories that make their book(s) come alive! Prices range from ($19-$54.99) The first objective of our little authors is to develop their story character (up to 3), at the “Character Studio” area. After building the character(s), they move on to...

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Carden Hall Lives Up to High-Quality Learning

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored Are you looking for a school that explains the ‘why’ behind learning? Or do you want a school that truly understands your family values? How about a school that encourages independence, community, and respect as top priorities? After being in and out of public and private schools for several years, parents Victor and Rebecca Parrott landed on a school that met their family’s educational criteria—Carden Hall in Newport Beach. Carden Hall is small private school that serves pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. With a 50-year history in Orange County, it prides itself in providing premier education and fostering a love of learning through the mind, body and spirit of young children. For the Parrott Family, who have three children ages 12, 10 and six, Carden Hall exceeded their long list of educational requirements, which include: Community “We love that...

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Making Time for What Matters Most

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Education, Family, Giving Back, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored As a mom of three young children, life keeps me busy. Between working and school events, there is rarely time left in my busy day to relax, refresh, and reconnect with my mind, body, and soul. In the New Year, I have made it a priority to work “smarter not harder” so that I have more time to do what matters most – spending quality time with my family and my God. How have I been managing my time better in the New Year? After doing my morning devotional in the backyard while sipping on a cup of hot tea and watching the sunrise, I make a list of what I need to accomplish in my day. While making my daily to-do list, I look it over to see what tools I can utilize to finish my daily...

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Smoke Alarm Inspection: It’s About Time

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored Turn Daylight Saving Time into the Ideal Time to Check your Smoke Detectors Smoke alarms are an essential part of home safety. It is equally vital that they are not ignored once they are installed. Not following up with routine, periodic alarm check-ups could render the devices as nothing more than well-intended showpieces that merely create the illusion of safety. This lack of attention could come with deadly consequences. To wit: according to data mined from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one in five home structure fire deaths came from homes that had non-operating smoke alarms present. In most cases, the root of the malfunction was a worn-out alarm or a dead battery. This particular statistic obviously shines a light on something that is not normally thought about, and...

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Inspire Future Scientist with The Polymer Goo Kit

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Education, Family, Toys | 0 comments

My older son is obsessed with the Marbles Brain Store. He spends so much time visiting the store to play with the different games that he is one a first name basis with most of the staff. While he is always bringing home a mind game or puzzle, I have never gotten anything for my younger son until recently and got him the Polymer Goo Kit. This kit is geared for ages 10+ and with him being nine, it seemed like the perfect age. When I first showed him the blue box with green slime on it, he didn’t seem too excited about getting started working on it. But, when I opened the box to reveal a mini science lab, he dropped his Legos and came over to the table to get started. He put on the gloves, goggles,...

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5 Things Every Kid Must Know About The BFG

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in Disney, Education | 2 comments

The BFG is a good book. I read the book and it was pretty great actually. Even though I am almost 14, I am going to recommend this book for kids ages 4-7, (If your four-seven year old can’t read, then read it to them – I just started reading it to my little bro). This book is all about Sophie (A girl) and The BFG (A Small Giant {You can figure out what The “B” and the “F” Stand for!}) So here is 5 facts about and 5 reasons why you or your kids should read the book. Fact: When the BFG talks, he may seem like he speaks with bad grammar. (But that did not stop me from reading the WHOLE ENTIRE BOOK!!) Reason to Read the Book: The BFG is a nice giant! He has taken...

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Five Positive Parenting Resolutions for 2016

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Education, Family, Parenting | 1 comment

We all want to be the best parents possible. As parents, we are always learning something new and trying new things to raise the best children we can. Michele Borba has been an inspiration to many of us while on our journey of raising young children, and she graciously shared these five positive parenting resolutions for 2016. Parenting Resolution #1: Increase Quality Family Time Try This: Identify the time & place each day your child is most receptive to listening and you’re available – and plant yourself there. You don’t need a lot of time, but you do need “uninterrupted” time with your kids without electronics. Research also says kids are most receptive to us five minutes before they go off to sleep. So use that time to convey your love for your child during a bedtime ritual. Parenting...

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Five Tips to Help Kids Stay Sharp Over Holiday Break

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Education, Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

At this point in the year students are probably in one of two positions. Either they are completely overwhelmed and exhausted or they have lost their zeal for education. Depending on which path a student is currently walking down, there are a few things they can do to stay sharp and alert over holiday break. Dealing with stress By December students are often stressed out because they are experiencing the domino effect of academics. Basically this means they got behind on an assignment a couple of months ago which led to being behind on another assignment and so on. Eventually all of the dominoes fall down and create a huge weight on a student’s shoulders. Once final grades are in students will have a fresh start for their spring term. This is a great time of year to hone...

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Three Benefits of Using Probiotics with Children

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Education, Family, Health | 0 comments

Sponsored by Culturelle®, and all thoughts are my own. Probiotics have played a major role in the overall health of my children. Along with a well-balanced diet, we have been using probiotics as a part of our children’s daily nutrition to help encourage a healthy and balanced digestive system in our children’s young growing bodies. Our children take the Culturelle® chewable tablets daily, and they use the packets while our family travels. Healthy Digestive System Seventy percent of our immune system lives in our digestive tract. Using probiotics can play an important role in helping to support children’s natural defenses. Using Culturelle® Kids Probiotic Chewables and Packets helps maintain “good” bacteria in my children’s little tummies.* Helps To Support Well-Being When kids have a healthy digestive system, they have an overall sense of well-being.* Digestive issues can slow kids...

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Gizmo’s A Plenty at the Child Creativity Lab

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Education, Family, Parenting, Shopping | 2 comments

My daughter and I were guests at the Grand Opening of the Child Creativity Lab We attended the Grand Opening of the Child Creativity Lab in Santa Ana. As a former elementary school teacher, I’ve always gravitated to the expression: –With ART, anything’s possible! There is NOTHING more satisfying and fulfilling for children than to be able to express themselves openly and without judgment. We know now, there is a window of time in their development where if they don’t use it- They LOSE IT. …Tell me it isn’t SO?!….. Internet…TV……are awesome avenues but it could be hurting our kids? I’m a tad guilty AT TIMES allowing my kids time on iPads, video games and watching TV … but with creative outlets like the Child Creatively Lab—the world’s their explorative oyster! My ten year old daughter and I jumped...

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Storymakery is Opening at the Irvine Spectrum Center

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Crafts, Education, Family, Shopping | 0 comments

Designed to encourage a child’s creativity, cognitive and artistic expression, Storymakery will offer a unique retail experience to help record and preserve a child’s imagination for a lifetime. “Not only is this a fun and entertaining concept for young children, but it can be a great educational tool as well,” said Easther Liu, chief marketing officer for Irvine Company Retail Properties. “Storymakery will be the perfect excursion for families and children.” Ranging from a 20 minute to one-hour visit, children will be able to use Storymakery’s kid-friendly technology to do one or more of the following: Design a storybook character Work one-on-one with a staff “muse” to create a story at the Writing Studio If short on time, design their very own poster Publish the story as a book and take it home Storymakery will be located between Giant...

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5 Ways to Approach Your Very First Parent-Teacher Conference

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Many parents will be experiencing their very first parent-teacher conference in the coming weeks. These can be exciting, informative, and stressful depending upon the situation. Parents who are  going to their first conference are encouraged to think about a few things that can make their experience better overall as well as obtain information they need about their young learner. Ask about the curriculum in general Once parents have been to several conferences, they should be relatively familiar with the curriculum. However, parents who are adjusting to their child entering school for the first time will likely have a ton of questions. It’s good to know what, in general, will be covered within the classroom environment so parents know what to expect and know what they need to supplement, if anything. For instance, some schools offer a comprehensive electives program...

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Child Creativity Lab in Orange County

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Education, Featured, Giving Back, Hot Topics, Shopping | 0 comments

We have a partnership with the CCL The highly-anticipated opening of the Child Creativity Lab in Orange County is officially here. Earlier this month, the non-profit organization opened the first venue in Orange County to provide reusable materials for artists, teachers, community organizations and families. The resource center is going to make a huge impact on our community by helping to keep reclaimed and reusable resources from filling our precious landfills. Materials include unique and clean manufacturing scraps, a variety of colorful fabrics and textiles, paper goods, decorations, coffee bean burlap sacks, school supplies, picture frame moldings, and many other items that can be repurposed for educational projects, arts and craft supplies, home décor and DIY needs. Because of the organization’s focus on hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, the Depot for Creative Reuse also provides pre-packaged...

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Critical Creativity: Five Ways Kids Benefit from Art in the Classroom

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Students who have the opportunity to take art classes in elementary school learn several skills that their non-artistic counterparts will perhaps not develop. This is not to say that the student must have inborn talent or technical skill in a particular media, such as drawing or painting, but rather that they have the opportunity to fully participate in a creative and tactile endeavor during the school week. Improved tactile function 

Classroom Teachers who integrate creative projects into their curriculum are used to the idea that their students will get messy during art time. It’s essential that children have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty so they can experience difference tactile sensations. Many art teachers will ask their students to feel the difference between the texture of paint, clay, and pencils. Students who have the...

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Neighborhood Little Free Libraries in Orange County

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Books, Education, Family, Featured | 4 comments

While I was in San Diego with my children, I discovered our first Little Free Library at the top of Quince Street Bridge. It was the first time that I had seen a neighborhood run free library, and fell in love with the concept. After doing some research, I learned about the Little Free Library nonprofit that helps neighborhoods to start their own free library. The non-profit organization offers families everything they need to promote literacy in their front yard. I can’t wait to start my own free little library with my children, and here are some little free libraries for your family to visit in Orange County. How does it work? You bring a book, take a book, and lose yourself in a story. Costa Mesa 950 Dogwood Street Costa Mesa CA United States 92627 375 Monte Vista...

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Don’t Break the Egg: Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

The fragility of a raw egg has a lot in common with the vulnerability of a baby’s developing brain. To see how, grab a raw egg the next time you’re in the kitchen. Put the egg in a clear container with a lid, give it a good shake, and see how the egg cracks. This demonstrates what happens when an infant’s brain is shaken, a point MOMS Orange County reinforces with its clients of pregnant women, and new mothers and fathers. With Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), the protective cerebral spinal fluid is unable to cushion the brain against the blunt force to the skull. This violent shock damages the infant’s brain by causing bruising and bleeding. In addition to causing brain damage, shaking the infant can cause permanent disabilities, such as blindness or paralysis, and in the most disturbing...

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Reducing the Spread of Illness with PURELL

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Education, Family, Health | 0 comments

“This post was sponsored by GOJO Industries, the makers of PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience” It has been almost 30 days since my family began using PURELL hand sanitizer for the first time to help prevent the spread of illnesses. I have always been passionate about using natural products with my children, but after several recent illnesses, we decided to test a hand sanitizing product to see if it would impact the overall health of our family. When I first introduced the product to my children, I talked to them about what PURELL is. I feel that it was important that they know what products they are using on their bodies, and be aware of the role that each product they use plays in their overall health. My kids were...

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5 Tips for Balancing Sports and Academics

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

It’s always been a challenge for students to maintain their commitment to after school sports while engaging in college prep. For some students, it will be absolutely essential to achieve their athletic goals, if they are in line for a scholarship or acceptance to a sports-oriented university. Others, who may not be in line for a scholarship, may simply be devastated at the thought of giving up their athletic goals and losing their team companionship. Either way, balancing sports and college prep is a delicate balance but it can be done. Preparation is essential If students don’t think about what their sports schedule will be like until partway through the year, they will often find themselves in an emergency situation. Their grades will already be slipping, their brains will be exhausted, and their bodies are not ready to face...

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5 Reasons to Get Educational Support Early in the Year

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Education, Family, Hot Topics | 0 comments

Summer is over and kids are back in school. They are transitioning away from the park, beach, and arts and crafts table and back into the learning environment of the classroom. In addition to the initial transition, kids are adjusting to a new teacher, new friends, and new academic tasks. Kids that used to sail through the year in the past are more often in need of help; it’s no wonder with all of the added testing and pressure that has become part of a young student’s daily life. If they do end up needing a little help, it’s generally better to start early. Make the transition all at once Since kids are currently transitioning to a new school year, they are already undergoing an adjustment. If a tutor or mentor is introduced into the situation at this time,...

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10 Things Not To Do in a School Car Line

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Education, Family, Hot Topics | 1 comment

As a mom, I have to drop-off and pick-up my kids from school. Now, I’m no expert on what to do and not to do, but here are a few ideas from what I have seen happen at my school car line. The obvious one is cutting everyone off and going to the front of the line.  Please stop!  Yes, we all very aware that you are more important than the rest of us, and “yes” so are your children. While in the pickup line, if you feel the need to talk badly about the school, teachers, children, and parents at the school on your car’s hands-free Bluetooth, maybe putting the volume on high isn’t the smartest thing to do.  Next time roll-up your windows up, turn the volume down, and talk all you want about how your child’s teacher...

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10 Favorite Greek Gods and Goddesses

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Education, Family | 9 comments

We are receiving books, merchandise and prizing from Disney-Hyperion If you are like me, then you just adore Greek Mythology and the Gods and Goddesses! Well, here I will list my ten favorite Greek Gods in order from 10-1. They’ll be listed from Demeter to Athena. Thanks to Percy Jackson, I have learned more about Greek Mythology than anyone! (Except the Greeks, and a few unnamed people) So, let’s get to the list! Starting with… 10) Demeter: The Greek Goddess of the Harvest Now Demeter, the great goddess of the harvest! Without her, the world would not get the fresh food that we have today. No pasta salad, or other fresh foods! Demeter is a really great goddess! 9) Aphrodite: The Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty Who doesn’t like the Goddess of Love and Beauty? I mean without...

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School of Rock Huntington Beach Fall Open House

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Education, Events, Family, Featured | 0 comments

Sponsored Do your kids love music? Want to learn how to play musical instruments? Then don’t miss the Fall enrollment open house at School of Rock in Huntington Beach on Saturday, August 29th from 11 am to 2 pm. The event will feature performances by live bands, including the School of Rock Huntington Beach House Band, which has recently come off of four performances at Disney’s California Adventure. There will be free demo classes, guided tours of the school giveaways, and tasty food. Demo classes are limited, and advanced registration is required by contacting the school. During the open house, they will be offering discounts on the day of the event, so there is no better time to get started playing an instrument, and no better place to do it. School of Rock Huntington Beach is the premier performance-based...

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Keeping Your Brain Sharp Over the Summer

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured | 0 comments

Kids’ brains are firing off constantly throughout the school year and keeping brains active helps little ones stay smart during these crucial times of academic and social development. Once school is out for the summer kids can either keep those brains active or they can settle into a summer of TV watching and video games that may leave them behind their peers once school starts back up. Young kids certainly deserve a break over the summer but even a few hours of educational activities a week can keep kids on top of academics and get them ready for all of those standardized exams that will soon become a part of life for even the youngest of students. Art Art is a topic only lightly touched on during the school year but this fun activity keeps the brain sharp and...

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2015 Orange County Summer Cooking Classes

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

Do you love to cook? Wanting to learn how to cook? Surfas in Costa Mesa is hosting a plethora of summer cooking classes to help inspire parents to learn how to cook healthy meals at home for their children. We hope to see you at one of these fun and interactive classes this summer. Fresh Summer Salads Saturday, 7/18/14 from 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM Hands-On Cooking Class $55.00 With summer’s many seasonal ingredients, creating fresh salad combinations is easy and delicious. Our Chef Instructor will share tips on grilling vegetables, cooking with ancient grains, and preparing homemade vinaigrettes. Enjoy a generous sampling of: Roasted Corn Curry Salad – Watermelon Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Yarra Valley Feta – Thai Freekeh Salad – Grilled Panzanella Salad with Summer Vegetables – Cacao Nib and Summer Berry Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette....

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Literacy Meets Gaming with BattleKasters at Comic-Con San Diego

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Education, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored Comic-Con is an event that your family is not going to want to miss, and BattleKasters is taking Comic-Con by storm. During the event,  the all-new mobile game is going to transform the Gaslamp Quarter into a Game Board from July 9th-12th. Players will have a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize that will be split between the winner and the winner’s library of choice.. What is BattleKasters? Based on the award-winning, young adult book series, Legends of Orkney, by author Alane Adams, BattleKasters is a whole new experience for gamers and readers. This app-based game allows players to collect digital trading cards, cast spells, and close the stonefire portal to protect Earth from dark magic – all while giving gamers the chance to explore the historic district near the San Diego Convention Center, where Comic-Con is...

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Summer Learning Made fun with ABC Mouse

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Education, Family | 0 comments

Complimentary download received I have seen many people talk about ABC Mouse, and I have viewed many commercials on television talking about it. I always wondered how well a site like this worked, but the price tag always kept me away. I thought we were doing just fine using other free websites and Apps, and now I can say that I was 100% wrong! You do get what you pay for with ABC Mouse. The layout is very child-friendly, and the content inside is superior to those other learning sites. Since the very first day, we started this site my son has asked and begged to play. He is just about to be two and a half, and his attention span was very limited, but over the past two months he has begun to sit still and learn for...

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End of the Year Checklist: 5 Tips for Preparing your Child for Summer

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, Parenting, Summer | 0 comments

Most younger children are completely worn out by the middle of June. They want to get out of their chair and into the Ocean (or some other fun outdoor setting) as fast as they can. Summer is a great opportunity for young kids to have a chance to run around, enjoy the sunshine, and spend more time with family; however, it’s also a good time to work on academic issues. 1. Talk with your child’s classroom teacher 

The classroom teacher will have a list of all her students as well as notes about each student’s current academic standing. She will be able to tell each parent if a child needs extra help to catch up during the summer or if they need supplemental learning materials to be prepared for the fall. Most teachers provide a reading list, list of...

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ECCU Can Help Parents Lower the Financial Stress of Higher Education

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, Giveaways, Hot Topics | 0 comments

Sponsored Saving for college is an important task, since we all know that higher education isn’t cheap. But even though we are reminded about how critical this step is every time we encounter the latest metrics on the cost of tuition and books, real life tends to be a stumbling block that gets in the way of our intentions. And this is more widespread than you may realize: According to a survey conducted by student loan giant Sallie Mae, only 48% of parents are saving for their child’s education. If you aren’t currently socking away future collegiate costs, take comfort. You’re not alone. You’re also not too late to start up a college savings plan, which is a task that a reputable financial institution like Evangelical Christian Credit Union can help you complete. Even if you have never been...

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The Dragon Institute Kids Kung Fu Program Creates Well-Rounded Children

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Camp, Education, Family, Featured, Parenting, Summer | 6 comments

Partnered Story The martial art of kung fu is not about showing off or winning trophies. It’s about learning how to protect yourself. It is a vital practice for children to learn, since the scourge of bullying is still an unfortunate reality from grade school to high school. Yet kung fu also goes beyond the realm of self-defense for kids. It serves as an interactive way to hone skills that will serve them well later in life – skills like discipline and focus, confidence and ambition. This belief is the cornerstone of the Kids Kung Fu classes at The Dragon Institute. It is a key reason why they have been recognized as the “Best Martial Arts in Orange County” by OC City Voter for four consecutive years, as well as the Dana Point Times 2014 Golden Lantern Award for...

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Cooking with Kids at KinderCare

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Education, Events, Family, Featured | 0 comments

Sponsored KinderCare is much more than a preschool but a place where children’s minds are enriched through various programs like cooking classes. The cooking adventure classes at KinderCare are part of their Learning Adventures™ Enrichment Program where children learn how to read a recipe, cook and the history behind the food they are preparing. Earlier this month, I went to observe one of the cooking classes with my daughter, and she couldn’t resist joining in on the fun. The teacher started the class by talking to the kids about the food they were going to prepare. Since they were going to make “sushi sandwiches” she talked to the kids about sushi, where it came from and showed pictures of sushi. The kids were all participating in the class by talking about how their parents eat sushi, their favorite restaurants...

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5 Ways to Celebrate Your Kid’s Teacher During Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Teacher appreciation week falls somewhere in April and is something that educators across America look forward to. No matter what the gift is, feeling appreciated is a huge part of this rewarding profession. The feeling of being handed a potted plant from a middle school student who has been otherwise quiet, the feeling of being given a handmade card by a kindergartner who spent 20 minutes writing their name in their very best handwriting, and the feeling of a parent coming in with a plate of homemade cookies. 

Teachers across America will have different experiences when it comes to teacher appreciation week. There might be a grade teacher whom everybody adores and who walks home with handfuls of gifts and there might be an AP teacher who has had to hand out some tough grades recently. Regardless of the...

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OC Mom Spotlight: Mary Bailey

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, OC Mom Spotlight | 0 comments

Mary Bailey is a single mom to Chase, her 13-year-old son who was diagnosed with autism when he was just a toddler. In her blog, she shares the life-changing decision she recently made to home school Chase. Together, they’ve also set up to share their journey and to encourage people to follow their dreams. Why I Chose to Home School My Son Growing up the seventh of my parent’s 14 children taught me so many things that prepared me to be Chase’s mom. Lots of simple things come to mind, but the two overarching lessons are first, that each person—no matter the gifts and imperfections—has a place and a purpose to fulfil in this world; and second, that life isn’t easy, fair, or painless, but with the right attitude, the willingness to work and learn, and the right...

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You’re Invited to a Dr. Seuss Reading Party

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Education, Events, Family | 0 comments

Sponsored Your family is invited to an afternoon full of fun at the Dr. Seuss Reading Party. Early reading is a great way to instill a lifelong love for learning. During the celebration, children will celebrate the legendary Dr. Seuss by listening to their favorite Dr. Seuss book during interactive storytimes. While your children will explore, the world of Dr. Seuss parents are invited to tour KinderCare and get to know the teachers. Don’t miss this special educational event happening at your closest KinderCare location. What: Dr. Suess Reading Party at KinderCare When: March 24 Time: 3:30-5:30pm Location: Find a location nearest...

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Four Tips for Starting a Bank Account with your child

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Education, Family, Giveaways, Parenting | 2 comments

Sponsored Opening a bank account with your children is a great way to teach them how to budget and save their money which is a valuable tool that they will need later on in life. Children will learn that they can earn interest on their money in a bank vs. sitting in their piggy bank which will help to instill smart money skills in your children at a young age. Make it Fun Before helping your kids to start their first bank account, you’ll want to encourage them to earn money for their first deposit in a fun way. Help your kids open a lemonade stand, make crafts for selling or give them an allowance for helping with household chores. Not only will your kids earn money for their first bank deposit but they will also begin to learn...

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OCSA Foundation Arts Enrichment Program Jumpstart Student’s Talent

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, OC Mom Spotlight, Parenting | 0 comments

Do you believe your child has a gift in the arts, such as writing, music, dance, voice, drama, culinary or visual arts? I know as a parent that is a loaded question. After all, doesn’t every parent consider their child amazingly talented? Well, parent Abby Maharaj felt exactly this way when she noticed her daughter Maya never left home without a book or journal, and teachers were consistently praising Maya’s writing abilities. However, Maya was somewhat leery in following a similar path of her older brother in creative writing as a student in the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Creative Writing Conservatory. “The prospect of trying to measure up to her brother’s success was a little unnerving for Maya, despite all the positive comments she received about her writing from teachers, friends and family. We decided to...

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Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday by Reading These 5 Favorite Dr. Seuss Books

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Education, Events, Family, Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” Today is National Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. Children across the Country will come together today to celebrate a love for reading by reading their favorite Dr. Seuss books. Dr. Seuss is one of America’s most beloved children’s author, and these are five of our favorite Dr. Seuss books to read to your children before bedtime on National Read Across America Day. “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.” “Green Eggs and Ham” is an all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book. It helps to encourage picky eaters to explore new foods through the fun rhyming story. I recommend reading this book to your children in the morning paired with a dish of...

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Five Tips to Encourage Reluctant Readers to Pick Up a Book

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

In an age of tablets, smartphones, and hundreds of television channels, it can be difficult to encourage kids to tear their eyes away from the screen and pick up a book. Despite the benefits of technology—helping people to quickly retrieve and disseminate information, as well as creating connections between people regardless of distance, for instance—it is just as important now to read books as it ever was. Rather than allowing a child to passively watch as stories, ideas, and visuals are presented to him via websites and television, reading is active; a reader uses the information on the page to construct her own worlds, and must decipher themes, analyze characters, and pick apart story arcs on her own. As a result, regular readers have longer attention spans, better ability to process and comprehend information, and display more vibrant imaginations...

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The Psychology Needed to Feed Children Well

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Feeding children is not an easy task. Mealtimes can be stressful from dealing with picky eaters, concerns about a child’s weight (too little or too much) and other stresses. But the reality is that mealtimes are critical to a child’s development and total well being. Using mealtimes as a base camp for refueling your family with nutrition and love could be the most powerful tool you have in raising a happy, healthy child. Perhaps you, like many parents out there, have already been trying to help your child lose or gain weight, or just to eat healthier, but it hasn’t been working, and instead, it’s adding more stress to your lives—and as a result, your relationship with your child is possibly suffering. After 13 years at ground zero treating the toughest cases of childhood obesity (with over an 80%...

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Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program Accepting Nominations

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Education, Events, Giving Back | 0 comments

Do you have a child who volunteers their time in the community? Then Kohl’s is looking for them! Since 2001 Kohl’s has recognized more than 22,000 kids with more than $4.2 million in scholarship and prizes with the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, and the are currently accepting nominations. Ten national winners will each be awarded a $10,000 scholarship for higher education, and Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf. Nearly 200 students will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward higher education, and more than 2,000 local students will receive a $50 Kohl’s gift card. Nominations will be accepted now through March 13 at We encourage local families to nominate deserving youth and help Kohl’s provide scholarship funding to outstanding kids in our...

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5 Steps to a Successful Mid-year Academic Check

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

By now you’ve probably set those infamous New Year’s resolutions. However, with the mid-year upon us, there is another important life activity that is often overlooked: our children’s academic health. According to Paul Rabara, an educational technologist based in Orange County and father of two, “Many parents act shocked when spring and end of year grades roll around, and their child is falling short in some critical developmental areas.” What can parents do to prevent academic end of the school year panic? Here are five key mid-year steps to help improve the academic health of your child: Check in With Child & Teacher Actively check the class Web site for grade, project and homework updates. Call or drop an e-mail to your child’s teacher as well. Make sure you are clear with the intent of your message. This is...

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Celebrate National Reading Day Every Day!

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Education, Entertainment, Family, Film | 0 comments

NRD supplies/DVD provided The kids and I celebrated National Reading Day by reading all our favorite books and making a list of all the books they want to read in the New Year. After reading together as a family, we watched our favorite film “The Book of Life,” followed by doing some fun crafts. National Reading Day is a yearly event to celebrate and encourage children to discover a love for reading. Reading is one of the best hobbies that a child can possess, and every day should be National Reading Day in the homes of young children. Reading with your children for just 20 minutes a day will have a long-lasting positive effect on young children. Children will bond with their parents, explore a whole entire new world of imagination, and learn while reading books. When we were...

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Learning is Fun with the LeapTV

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Education, Family | 0 comments

Sponsored LeapPad has made learning fun for my kids since they were just babies. They are continually coming out with innovative products that inspire my children to have a love for learning. When I first learned about the all-new LeapTV, I immediately fell in love with it, and I could not wait to share it with my girlfriends, so I planned a “mommy playdate.” A group of my girlfriends came over for dessert and coffee while the kids tested out the all-new product. The best part about this product is that it keeps the kids moving..which is especially important for toddlers. The kids were dancing, jumping and learning through motion. There are more than 100 games and video so the fun never ends! Having my degree in Early Childhood Education, I know the importance of kids learning through play....

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Behind-the-Wheel Training with Varsity Driving Academy

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Autos, Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored How time flies…my first-born is 16 now and a junior in high school! Seems just like yesterday when he was first placed in my arms, after the emergency C-section we experienced… Anyway, 16 = DRIVING!!! Another one of those bittersweet (or anxiety-causing) moments of parenthood… He took the online Driver’s Ed course through his school district. It took him about a couple of weeks to finish and pass the test. Couple of months after that, we went to DMV and he passed his written exam, which got him a permit. But before you can actually drive (even with Mom/Dad), you need to complete a 2-hour session of Behind-the-Wheel Training with a licensed instructor. The mandatory 6 hours of Behind-the-Wheel Training is divided into 3 separate dates. We have been very fortunate to take these classes with Varsity Driving...

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Food Patriot Review

Posted by on Jan 1, 2015 in Education, Family, Health, Parenting | 0 comments

If there was ever a more exciting time to be alive and be a part of something big – the food revolution is it! I say this because food is something our daily lives revolve around. We eat it at least 3 times a day, we can’t live without it, and it can literally contribute to our health or to disease with every single bite. It’s actually one of the most important decisions we can make on a daily basis. If you are asking yourself, “what food revolution?” then Food Patriots is the documentary for you! <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> This powerful new documentary that features people from all walks of life who are trying to change the way Americans eat and buy food, and, more importantly, educate the next generation of consumers. The focus of this...

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Teaching Your Kids How to Drive with Varsity Driving Academy

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored When the time comes for your kids to get behind the wheel of a car, selecting a school that will give your kids the tools to be a safe driver is the biggest priority. There are many different options for parents in Orange County, and Varsity Driving Academy is the 2014 winner for Best Driving School of Irvine. They serve the majority of Orange County including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda with a new office just opened in San Clemente (and a Long Beach location coming soon.) All lessons are performed in new model Hyundai Accents with one of their experienced instructors, brake and rear view mirrors. Children cannot legally begin driving with anyone (including parents) until their permit is validated from completing a two-hour lesson with an instructor. In order for them to get their...

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Keeping Kids Learning While Traveling with the LeapPad3

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Education, Family, Tech, Toys, Travel | 0 comments

Sponsored With our family always traveling, I am often asked how I keep my kids learning while they are not in school. We are lucky to be a part of a charter school that offers Independent Study for families who travel, and I also use vital learning tools including LeapFrog products. Why LeapFrog? They make learning fun while encouraging my kids to continue learning outside of their educational lessons. When traveling earlier this month to the Turks and Caicos, we brought along the new LeapPad3 for my younger son Tyler. It ended up being his #1 favorite LeapFrog product, and he didn’t want to put it down. With a 14-hour flight that had multiple long airport layovers, Tyler got acquainted with the product. Within moments, he was on his way to learning new things through fun and interactive games....

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School of Rock Opening in Huntington Beach

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Education, Entertainment, Events, Featured, Music, Parenting | 2 comments

Sponsored Do you have a music lover in your home? Then we’ve got some great news for you! School of Rock, the leader in performance-based music education inspiring the world to rock on stage and in life, will be opening a new location in Huntington Beach on November 1st. School of Rock is an ingenious concept that gets kids and adults rocking out to the classics and on stage performing with their peers. Music programs are designed to create a supportive environment where music students of all skill levels are comfortable yet challenged at every turn. In addition to individual private music instruction on guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards and/or drums, School of Rock combines weekly one-on-one lessons with structured group rehearsals and jam sessions, culminating in a live performance in front of real crowds at legendary rock venues. School...

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Fuel for Young Athletes: Tips and Strategies

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Education, Family, Fitness, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Fall sports are in full swing, but do you know what to feed your young athlete before, during and after games? Americans spend billions of dollars on specialized coaching and personal trainers (guilty!), so shouldn’t we pay attention to what these kids eat? After all, food is fuel, the fuel that sustains them during long and arduous practices, games and tournaments. But did you know young athletes are NOT like regular kids? Here are a few reasons why and strategies to keep them well fueled: Young Athletes are NOT like regular kids Young athletes are like expensive racecars; they need high quality fuel, and a lot of it! These kids/teens are not only spending lots of calories in order to grow, they have significant additional demands to keep up with their sports. Young athletes need to eat a lot...

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How to Jumpstart Your Child’s Reading

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Before my first child was even born, I vowed to make reading an important part of our daily lives together. Besides reading to her daily as a baby, I bought a tiny “reading chair” for her first birthday. I set up a basket of hard-back books next to the pastel-flowered chair, and told her excitedly, “This is your reading chair!” Ever since then, my now nine-year-old daughter can’t get enough of books. As a parent, this is thrilling. I know, though, that not all children love to read. So, what can a parent do to inspire a “love of reading?” Angel Ko, director of the Aliso Viejo Kumon Math and Reading Center explains that pre-reading, the stage before students begin reading words, is a vital time to begin fostering a child’s love of reading. “Singing songs with your younger...

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Cooking the Paleo Way with Chef Nikki Ledford

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Education, Featured, Health, Parenting | 1 comment

Healthy eating should be a priority for the entire family, and what better way to learn a new way of cooking than a hands-on cooking class!  Friends are always a great resource and that’s how I found Chef Nikki Ledford of The Clean Plate.  Nikki is a Natural Chef with an emphasis on Paleo cooking, ancestral diets, and general health support through whole, real foods, say goodbye to pre-packaged food.   After graduating from Bauman College, a holistic nutrition and culinary arts academy located in Sonoma County, CA., Nikki moved to Southern California where she conducts cooking classes, offers private chef  services which include weekly meals prepared in your  home, customized menu, menu planning, grocery shopping (yes, grocery shopping) and meal preparation / packaging and clean up and continues to create healthy recipes to share on her website and blog. As a busy family of five, I...

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Top Summer Workbooks

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Education, Family, Parenting, Summer | 4 comments

Educational workbooks. You fell asleep even just reading the words, right? I used to cringe at the thought of academic workbooks too, especially in summer. Some research indicates that on average, children can lose 2.8 months of grade-level equivalency skills over summer vacation. That may not seem like much, but to those children who have worked especially hard during the school year, or had to “catch up” in some academic areas that number can be significant. Now, B-O-R-I-N-G might be the first word that comes to mind, but summer workbooks from my old days have greatly improved. Here’s a rundown of a few top-selling academic summer workbooks to help better prepare your kids for the upcoming school year: The Original Summer Bridge My favorite summer workbook is the Original Summer Bridge for pre-K through entering fifth graders. I like...

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Calling All OC Moms with Kids in Diapers

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored Do you have a kiddo who is still in diapers? Want to earn $175? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you! Fieldwork LA is looking for female Orange County moms between the ages of 23 to 44 to participate in a 10-day product test about diapers – that’s right – free diapers!! The opportunity will begin on Thursday, June 12th or Friday, June 13th with follow-up interviews scheduled on Tuesday, June 24th or Wednesday, June 25th in Irvine. All participants will be paid at least $175 for completing both parts of the research which you will be paid after the study. If you are an Orange County mom between the ages of 23-44 with a child in diapers – then this is the perfect opportunity for you. Applications for the opportunity are available online here.   What...

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Autism is Not The Cause of Violence

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Again, it happened. I’m devastated, sad, and angry that our media is in a race to be first, and misinformed us. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are suffering in the wake of the tragedy of Isla Vista. Another mentally ill mad man did the unspeakable. He went after innocence, he went after girls, he went after his roommates, he went after anyone that he thought wronged him. I believe he was mentally ill after watching his multiple YouTube videos and reading his 141 page manifesto. The break with reality was sad, and I am shocking that the system, his parents, and the police failed him, and then they failed the rest of us. But all of that will be a can of worms that will be open and picked apart over the next several...

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Introducing Our College Spotlight Series – Trinity University

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Education, Family, Featured, Parenting | 1 comment

OC Mom Blog is a supporter of Trinity University This week, two graduation announcements came in the mail… I love this time of year, and am excited for all the high schoolers transitioning to the next phase of life as a young adult. Even though I still have a few years to think about my babes leaving the nest to head off to college, it was a reality check… College is coming. So it got me thinking, what do I really want for my kids’ college experience? Of course, an outstanding education in an area of study they love, but even more- I want them to grow up to become real thinkers, adults who pursue knowledge, are willing to experiment, ask questions and strive to better understand the world and its cultures (past and present). We’re already taking action...

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Tween Book Review: Oh My Godmother The Magic Mistake

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Education, Family, Shopping | 0 comments

Oh my Godmother! A new book came out and it is called (OMG) Oh my Godmother The magic Mistake. It is about a 12 year old named Lacey Unger-ware and her two friends Paige and Sunny. Lacey is a fairy Godmother and Paige and Sunny are her two BFF’s. Recently Sunny’s mom (Gina) got dumped at her wedding so she was super sad for the next couple of weeks. Suddenly there was a knock at lacey’s window. It was a fairy friend named Katerina. She tells lacey that she needs to be Gina’s fairy godmother and she needs to find Gina a new boy that she is going to marry. Lacey, Paige, and Sunny finally find the perfect man for Gina. His name is Brian (Paige’s dad). Then suddenly he finds another woman that he likes more – so...

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What Every Parent MUST know About Cyber Safety

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Education, Family, Parenting | 8 comments

Imagine you’re on your way to an important meeting. Your boss, supervisor, co-workers, and even friends are in attendance. When you walk in, the quiet noise of chatter instantly stops. You notice that the people in the room are either staring at you or avoiding eye contact. Some are suppressing a laugh or wearing a grin. One of your co-workers even gave you an uncharacteristic wink. You have the very uncomfortable feeling that everyone is talking about you. You take a seat next to your closest friend who gives you a sheepish look, whispers something in your ear and discreetly hands you a piece of paper. You excuse yourself to go to the restroom. Alone, you read the hand-written note. Two minutes ago everything was great; you were just going about your day, now everything is crashing down around...

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National Geographic Engineering Exploration Challenge

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Crafts, Education, Family, Featured, Tech | 0 comments

The launch of the National Geographic Engineering Exploration Challenge had my sons creative gears spinning. He loves to explore and learn new things. This engineering challenge is perfect for him and he is so excited to participate in it. Engineering has recently become one of his main focuses. He has been learning about electronics in school and he has been learning a lot of stuff on his own with an electronics set he received for Christmas. The love of learning started very young for him. He has always been enamored with the way things worked or how things were put together. This exploration challenge is a great way for him and his brother to explore new and exciting challenges together, all while learning in the process. I think this is a win-win situation all around. From now until May...

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A Sweet! Partnership with The Wyland Foundation Spreads Conservation Education in Los Angeles

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Education, Events, Family, Giving Back, Parenting | 0 comments

If you’re a frequenter of Laguna Beach, you are more than likely very familiar with the artist, Wyland. His large murals depicting whales and other marine life are prominent. With galleries in Southern California, Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, as well as Northern California, and murals across the country and internationally, Wyland is a world renowned environmental artist and conservationist. Through the work of his organization, The Wyland Foundation, he has made it his mission to educate the public, particularly parents and their children, on the importance of protecting the health of our world’s oceans and waterways. Now his message and his art have a new home for the first time in Los Angeles, through a partnership forged between The Wyland Foundation and Sweet!, a massive 28,000 square foot candy “emporium” located at Hollywood and Highland. This first of its kind,...

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Who’s Cooking Dinner Tonight? Your Kids Are, That’s Who!

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Education, Events, Family, Featured, Health, Parenting | 0 comments

How many of you are tired of having to prepare dinner every night only to hear complaints of “yuck, I don’t like this?” Well here’s an idea for you, why not have your kids cook dinner tonight? I think it is important for our children to learn to cook healthy meals for themselves. One of these days they will be out there on their own and while they may not make great food choices in the beginning, they will hopefully realize that they feel better when they eat good whole foods they prepare themselves. I want my boys to know they have a choice because they have the skills to cook a decent meal. Besides all that, my future daughter-in-laws will thank me! As the mother of 2 boys, I sometimes neglect teaching them to cook. When I had...

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Vergara vs. California: How This Case Will Affect Education

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Education, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

Currently, the State of California is faced with a lawsuit brought on by nine very brave students throughout California who feel their education has been negatively impacted by long-standing education policies that force school districts to lay off teachers based on tenure (how long a teacher has been teaching) instead of the quality of the teacher. With the help of an organization called Students Matter the plaintiffs/students are challenging the current tenure law known as Last In; First Out (LIFO), permanent employment statute (tenure after only 18 months), and dismissal statues that require many years of documentation. These students believe having a great teacher, regardless of how long a teacher has been teaching, should be the most important factor in retaining an educator. Everyone is watching this case closely as it will set a new teacher employment precedent in...

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It could be us……..

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

My biggest fear, as a mom of a non-verbal child with Autism, is that he’ll get lost and not be able to communicate his needs or name to people who can help get him home. The thought of it, literally wakes me up out of a sound sleep in cold sweats at night. I get missing autistic children notices in my Facebook feed a lot because of all my ties to the autism community. Late last year, I got a notice that a 14 year old, non-verbal autistic child in New York, Avonte Oquendo, got out of his school from an open door. He was seen running away on surveillance footage, and his body was found several weeks later on the banks of the East River. I sobbed. So I ask – How??? How did that happen? Parents with...

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The “Sweet” Relationship Between Valentine’s Candy and Your Children’s Teeth

Posted by on Feb 10, 2014 in Education, Family, Featured, Health, Holiday, Hot Topics, Valentine's Day | 1 comment

Parents can help minimize children’s tooth decay by helping their little cupids make “sweet” and sound decisions this Valentine’s Day, during National Children’s Dental Health Month in February. In a Valentine’s Day heartbeat, pediatric dentists can tell parents that eating holiday candy today can bring cavities tomorrow. Tooth decay is a very serious countywide issue, but it is preventable. Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County, one of the largest nonprofit oral health providers for children dedicated to improving the dental health of children, provides alternative ideas and the following tips on sweets more likely to be cavity-causing culprits: It loves me… Chocolates like Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts®, M&M’s®, Hershey’s Kisses® or REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures® have something in common: in a short period of time, they melt away and disappear (a better choice for your little cupid’s...

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2014 National School Choice Week

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Education, Family, Featured | 4 comments

This week is National School Choice Week. It is a time to celebrate all the different choices parents in America can make for their child’s education. There are so many options to educate students such as traditional school, homeschool, magnet school, charter, language immersion, virtual school, and private school. The best thing about National School Choice Week (NSCW) is that every choice is recognized and celebrated. This week-long event also raises awareness of the crisis in education in America where students in every zip code are failing. Options in education are clearly needed when American high school students are compared globally in the Program for International Student Assessment world-wide test scores of 15 year olds and America remained stagnant once again with the following scores: 17th in Reading; 26th in Math; and 21st in Science. Awareness is being raised...

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Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Activities, Education, Family, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

Growing up just steps from the sand in Laguna Beach, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center has always been a favorite place for me to visit. I will never forget the time when my mom discovered an injured pelican on the beach. She wrapped the pelican in a towel and drove her cherry red Volvo down Laguna Canyon with the bird sitting on her lap to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. I have no memory of if they were able to help the bird, but I will never forget the love that my mom gave to that animal. My love and passion for animals came from my mother, and I love getting to share that love with my children when visiting places like the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center has been in Laguna Canyon for my...

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Homework for Helping Your Child Make the Grade

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Education, Family, Featured | 6 comments

With the school year more than half over, now is a perfect time to have an open dialogue about school, and perhaps “up your parenting game.” Don’t get me wrong, monitoring homework, test scores and communicating with your child’s teacher are important, but what are some big picture considerations that are often overlooked by parents? Here are a few key parental strategies to consider: Emotional Stability According to Paul Rabara, an educational technologist based in Orange County and father of two, emotional stability is more critical than ever. “Kids need to handle difficulties and setbacks without parents trying to always fix the problem or reward the child because they feel bad that things didn’t work out. It’s healthy for kids to feel challenged and experience failure,” explains Rabara. Talking & Listening Talking and listening play major roles in children’s academic success. After...

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Children Bring History to Life at South OC Charter School

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Education, Events, Family, Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

The day my son picked out the name of his historical figure was a nerve wrecking one. Let me back up a bit so that you can have a full understanding about what I’m talking about. As part of my son’s 3rd grade academic standards (language arts, social studies and theater), my son had to participate in the charter school’s Living Museum. Each child transforms into a human animatronic of a historical figure that would talk about their life in a 2 minute speech. On top of writing and memorized a speech, the child must also make a story board, timeline, caricature and artifact, all of this had to be done without parental help. Of course I thought this was a joke because there is no way an 8/9 year old could do this and make it look presentable...

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