10 Summer Reading Programs for Kids | FREE

For as long as I can remember, I have had my children read, daily. I was a voracious book reader as a child and really want all my children to love books as well. My son used to read two or three books at a time. My oldest daughter is not keen on books, which makes me sad; although she does love when I read to her. My youngest daughter is a lover of words, like me and it delights my heart.

Every summer, I select books for each of my children to read and we chat about the books and sometimes even have comprehension tests and book reports! Last summer, I created a list of books for my super smart son, but all the books were at college level and he really didn't enjoy any of the books. This summer I decided to select age-appropriate books . . . . and he read one book in two days! (I've learned my lesson)

How to Stop Summer Brain Drain

Summer breezes are blowing in my windows these days and my children’s motivation toward their (summer) is floating right out that same open window. Green grass and trees and shrubs are in full bloom. Flowers are blooming everywhere. There is even a new robin’s nest with a couple of eggs sitting in the tree in our parkway. All these bright colors, after the gloom and doom of a Chicago winter and spring are simply too enticing for my children. The outdoors are calling my children and distracting them from concentrating on schoolwork indoors.

And, yes, we do school, a bit, in the summer months. I decide to go with the flow and instead of fighting for my children’s attention, I put the textbooks aside, for the time being,  and we headed outdoors.

Family Dynamics is 100% Different During the Summer

Just as the summer is beginning to gear up and I am getting used to having my children around all day long, although I do have my daughters around all day long, everyday . . . but I feel like we have "school hours" and during that time, I'm not really on-duty for mom duties - if that makes any sense at all . . .. . . but it is summer break now and all three kiddos are home and I have to say I think I may find it hard for my children to return to school. (snort and snicker do I hear)

Summer Streaming #StreamTeam

We finished up school last Monday, it was officially their last day of academy and the last day of home educating for this tired mama. My son has his last official day of school today. He will be cleaning out his locker and saying goodbye to freshman year of high school.

I will give the girls a small break before we hit the books again. We always have reading and math in the summer months, but not as heavy. All three of my kiddos are required to read one hour per day, every day of the summer months. . .  I know, I am wretched! BUT, reading is essential for kids, so it remains on schedules!

Once reading (and math, three day a week) is completed for the day, the kiddos are allowed media privileges.

Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial

Canadian author L.M. Montgomery first debuted a flame-haired protagonist in 1908 in a book titled Anne of Green Gables. This book is about a red-headed, orphaned girl who lives in an Edwardian era in Canada named, Anne Shirley.

I always felt a strong connection to Anne with and "e" when I was a young tween because 1) I am a red-head and 2) I am strong-willed, confident and super sensitive and 3) my middle name is Anne - spelled with a "e". I feel things deeply, care deeply and am super passionate about these. Eve though I am not an orphan, I have always felt a deep connection to this book.

Equipped for Spring & Summer

When I was a young girl, growing up in rural Iowa, summers seemed like they were at least an entire year long. I would wake up, hurriedly eat breakfast and dash out the door to spend the day with my friends. We would ride our bicycles all over our tiny rural city, swim in gravel pits and the local swimming pool, eat watermelon and let the juices drip down off our elbows, and basically run all over town from sunrise to well after sunset.

I really have invaluable memories of summertime from my childhood. I would give anything to be able give those some memories to my children with the most beautiful gift wrapped box. However, we do not live i rural Iowa and times have certainly changed in the past 30+ years.

What Will You Watch to Begin the Conversation?

Today’s teenagers prefer to watch Vine videos and YouTube videos over actual television. My son is pretty much obsessed with YouTube these days. He is a typical teenager in that he has his cell phone permanently glued to his hand at all times.  I'm pretty lenient with his usage except during certain times. No phones at the dinner table. Ever. No phones in church, although he tries, even after I give the 'mom look'. My husband won't allow him to stare endlessly at his phone when they are driving together (my husband is driving, not my son). And no cell phone alone in his bedroom, at all, at any time, but especially at night. the phone is plugged in downstairs and he sleeps upstairs in his room.

Spring's Best Frocks From eShakti

If you know me well, you know that I adore dresses. I couldn't be happier that it is finally warming up here in the Midwest, so I can rotate in all my lovely dresses. If you happen to walk into my closet you will see loads of frocks in all sorts of fabrics, lengths, and cuts. I have wrap dresses, shifts, sun dresses, maxi, midi and mini dresses, long dresses and A-line dresses; you would also locate some tunics with full skirts, sheath dresses and sports and tank dresses for playing with my kiddos. My swimming suit is even a dress! 

When my husband and I first start dating, he actually asked me if I ever wore pants. I did, in the winter, because it is very cold here in Chicago. But at that time I literally only owned one pair of jeans. Today, my closet is full of dresses.

DIY Succulent Container Garden / Resurrection Garden

At the beginning of Holy Week, last Sunday, Palm Sunday . . . I told my daughters I thought we should create a Resurrection Garden. They had no idea what I was talking about, so I briefly explained. We headed off to a nursery for some planter, plants and high hopes that we could figure something out.

On Palm Sunday we filled the pot with dirt and planted our lavender herb plant in the center and our succulents surrounding the outer ring. We placed a tomb in our planter pot and made a path of rocks to the tomb. On Good Friday, we will put up three crosses made from twigs and place a flat stone in front of our tomb. On Easter Sunday morning, we will roll away the stone from our tomb and celebrate Christ's victory over death!

Pocket Money For Kids

Our children are watching us everyday. They develop a lot of their habits from us, their parents. Kids develop the majority of their money attitudes from their parents, and I for one can be honest and admit that I believe I could do a better job of teaching my kids about money.

Do your kids have pocket money? My kids have received $5 or $10 increments in holiday cards since they were babies (and they still do today). I have banks for them and taught them early on this gifted pocket money went directly into their banks. After a few years of all these cards filled with money from relatives, they each had secured quite a large sum of money.

Sears Days – Best Time to Buy

Sears Days – Best Time to Buy

Timely tips to earn more rewards and maximize shopping dollars 

Sears Days is nation wide from March 26 to April 8 Sears will be offering discounts and deals in every department, online and in-store. Additionally, members of Sears’ Shop Your Way loyalty program will have the opportunity to amplify points accrual during the sale, also online and in-store.