Family to Family Service – Food Pantry Meals + Printable Recipes

January 19th, 2015 | Posted in Family Ties, printable, The Tween Years

Help other families while cultivating your child's spirit of generosity by assembling food pantry meals. Free printable recipes included.

Have you seen those images on Pinterest that give you the top five ways to raise generous children? They get me every time. I think I’ve pinned them all. I mean, who doesn’t want generous children?

From my deep and extensive pin research as well as my own decade of experience as a parent, I think the concept (the reality may be different) boils down to two factors: the exposure to those different from us, as well as those distinctly in need, paired with the actual doing of generosity. Like any skill, giving of ourselves and volunteering takes repetition and practice in order to evolve.

What are the most effective ways to serve those in need? I asked some friends who run local community service organizations for some ways children can make a meaningful contribution to the poor in our community. Anne Watson, Executive Director St. Vincent de Paul Society, suggested donating items to a food pantry. Continue Reading...

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January 16th, 2015 | Posted in home


Refresh is defined as, to fill again. I’ve been thinking about this word and how I feel about 2015 so far. I have been filled again with enthusiasm and energy. I’m really hoping it lasts beyond the month!

In the spirit of refreshing I stocked the shop with items to keep this refresh thing going.

A refreshing motto for the year | pretty planter to help clear the air | a place to jot down new ideas | a scrub to exfoliate all the blech from last year | a little something to revive the wardrobe

For more refresh picks, including yummy citrus scented candles, click here

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Magnetic Ice Skating Penguins

January 15th, 2015 | Posted in Play + Learn, Science Fun

printable ice skating penguins - these ice dancers are powered by magnets

Looking for a cute play and learn activity for your little ones? Encourage kids to experiment with magnets by having them create their own toy ice skating rink—complete with whirling, twirling, figure 8 skating penguins. Here’s how…

You’ll Need: Continue Reading...

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Things To Love

January 14th, 2015 | Posted in Features

things to love round up jan 14

One of my goals for this year is to put more love into the world. Love for people, places, things, words, etc. Today, I’m sharing five things I love right now. They’re also five things that are helping me survive this winter by making me smile.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

What are you loving right now?

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Short Story | Morning In America

January 14th, 2015 | Posted in Parenting, short stories and essays

morning in america short story

“Hustle, hustle, hustle,” she snapped. Her son was dawdling again. His lunch was not in his bag, his shoes were not on his feet, his homework was still laying on the table and the bus would be at the stop in three minutes.

The boy continued playing with the figurines he got for Christmas.

“That’s it, you’re grounded.” Continue Reading...

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Make Your Family Travel Plans Happen with a 52 Week Savings Jar

January 13th, 2015 | Posted in Traveling With Kids

how to save money for travel

Happy New Year to all! As usual, I wish you a year full of new travel adventures and memory making with your families.

Last year was a great travel year for us. We had an adventurous trip to Morocco that involved 10 hour hikes and surf lessons, a short and relaxing visit to England where we visited the iconic Stonehenge monument and filled up on delicious fish and chips. And we ended the year with a two week trip to India (more on that soon). I am so grateful for all of it.

For my first travel post of the year, I thought I would pass along my all-time favourite way to save up for travel adventures. I mentioned it in the Traveling With Kids: Making It Affordable post a few years ago, but now I want to explain in detail how much I love it and how well it has worked for us. Continue Reading...

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The Importance of Reading to Kids Beyond the Preschool Years

January 12th, 2015 | Posted in The Reading Nook, The Tween Years

the facts about reading to kids

Last week, the New York Times reported findings from Scholastic’s Reading Report. According to the report, just 31% of kids ages 6 to 17 said they read daily for pleasure. It also noted that’s a 6% drop from four years ago.

We all know there are tons of benefits to reading for fun, so what can we do? Two things top the list. First, we can read to kids. Second, we can encourage schools systems to let kids read on their own at school:

“There were some consistent patterns among the heavier readers: For the younger children — ages 6 to 11 — being read aloud to regularly and having restricted online time were correlated with frequent reading; for the older children — ages 12 to 17 — one of the largest predictors was whether they had time to read on their own during the school day.”

And while experts admit they can’t say conclusively that reading aloud to older kids boosts reading comprehension, they do say it helps them develop background knowledge. And from a completely unscientific measure—personal experience—it’s also great bonding time:

“’It wouldn’t have to be reading’ to accomplish that, said Catherine Snow, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. ‘A two-minute conversation about something on television or something in a magazine or something that you’re reading yourself can also have some of the same positive effects as reading aloud.’”

So share a story with the kids tonight even if you think they’re too old. Chances are, they’re not.

You can read the full article here.

Catch other tips for raising a confident reader in our video below. Continue Reading...

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We Are One

January 9th, 2015 | Posted in Features

we are one

Sometimes things don’t make sense. It’s hard to watch the violence out there in the world. I don’t think any of us really understand it. Or maybe some do, and that’s why the cycle continues. As a parent, I find on certain days, it’s especially challenging to think about the world my children will inherit. I’ve read articles and statistics that say it’s better now than in history past. And I try to believe them. I do.

Today, our thoughts and hearts are with the victims of violence in our neighborhoods and across the world, especially France.

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