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There is just something so awesome about music. Even the way it moves kids is awesome! Little girls across the world are singing “Frozen” songs, and little boys are belting out tunes to their favorite shows and movies. Isn’t it truly amazing the way our kids are affected by music at such young ages?

From a parent’s perspective, there is a lot of positivity to having music in a child’s life. It gives them an emotional release, assists in the development of their personalities, and having rhythm isn’t a bad thing either. There is so much more to consider than just these attributes when looking at how you can incorporate music into your parenting structure. Here are some truly impactful advantages to making music a part of your child’s upbringing.

“Never give up”. This is a lesson every parent wants to teach their kids. Music is the perfect vessel for this valuable life lesson. Learning to sing, or play an instrument, is no easy feat. It takes real determination, perseverance, and emotional strength to develop skill in any area of music. Your child will want to give up sometimes, especially when they are having a hard time with a particular scale, song, or lesson. If you help them push through the difficult times, they will learn the value and payoff of not giving up. This is a lesson they will take with them into high school, college, and the rest of their lives.

hand print painting

Another valuable lesson for your child, which can come from music lessons, is work ethic. Showing a child that there are things in life that they will have to put many hours into to achieve is something many parents struggle with. Most kids don’t want to have to put a lot of time and energy into anything. Many kids don’t want to put work into something that they aren’t already good at. Music lessons and practice at home will show your kids that these big accomplishments in life are things that require a ton of work. They will realize the importance of this in college, especially if they have to or decide to work while in school.

The next advantage music lessons give children is something that we, as adults, generally take for granted until we are elderly; our memory. Learning to be proficient in an area of music requires a very healthy memory. Learning proficiency in music as a child helps promote a healthy memory, requires them to memorize certain things, and strengthens their ability to retain memories over long periods of time. I know many parents who had a hard time with history in school. They couldn’t remember dates of significant events very well. This music-related advantage will give your kids the tools to avoid this stressful and cumbersome situation. The same applies to anything else in life that they will need to remember.

These few examples only break the surface of all the advantages that music can afford your kids. The route your child takes is up to you and them. However, guitar and piano lessons for kids have been proven to do all the things I mentioned above, plus make it easier to learn other instruments down the road. This, along with your good parenting, will set them up for a truly successful life. They will enter their teenage and adult lives confident that they can and will overcome any obstacle the shows its face to them. Your kids will grow up with an incredible amount of self-esteem, and a very healthy sense of self-worth.

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I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Rosetta Stone. I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I have always been a reader. As a child it was my favorite hobby. I was the most excited kid in my class for book fairs and trips to the library. Nothing beat out reading for me. When I was bored at my grandma’s house, I would pick a book off of her shelf and read it. Half the time they were either mysteries or text books from decades ago.

It didn’t matter, I just wanted to read.

I have always wanted to pass this on to my kids. I want them to love reading as much as I do.

Because Zoey is in a dual immersion program, and focuses mostly on learning Spanish at school for the first couple years I wanted to help her with English reading at home.

Rosetta Stone Kids Reading

rosetta stone kids reading program

Rosetta Stone, a name I know everyone knows, picked the brains of the literacy experts at Lexia and produced this reading program for kids age 3-7.

What I love about Zoey is there is no forcing her into learning or studying. She loves school, and the one time we made her stay home due to a cold she asked what work she can do. Her exact words were something along the lines of “I’m supposed to be learning, so help me learn.” 

rosetta stone kids reading program

I was thinking “you’re crazy” but at the same time, I was filled with pride. I know I loved learning as a kid, but at the same time I sure did enjoy a day off every now and again. It’s obvious that she takes her education seriously.

That’s why I knew she would be excited to practice and hone her reading skills.

Logging in is protected by a simple math problem for parents.

rosetta stone kids reading program

“Ask your parents before you go online” and all that jazz. This also unlocks the parents area. So far it has asked me this question every time I’ve logged in, as well as when I click the parents section.

From there I filled in Zoey’s age, and the level of reading I thought she was at.

Because she started learning to read mostly in Spanish, I selected level 5. Well she blew that one out of the water and started on level 6.

Here is Zoey’s progress of level 6 after 1 hour and 3 minutes:

rosetta stone kids reading program

I was pretty impressed with that.

When it’s Zoey’s turn to play, she is welcomed by a catchy intro and map.

The map guides your child through the various sections. I didn’t need to explain any of this to Zoey, and she jumped right in all on her own.

rosetta stone kids reading program

rosetta stone kids reading program

I doubt I need to say it again, but she loved it.

After speaking with her about it, she had some wonderful things to share with me about her experience.

In her own words, she felt like she was able to show us (her parents) everything she learned at school. She told me I was silly for thinking she needed to start on level 5. Our conversation went on and on but we ended with her asking me when she could ‘play’ again.

This is what I think is great: my kid looks at learning as play. If that doesn’t show how much she cherishes learning, nothing does.

rosetta stone kids reading program

More than 47% of students in the US are below their grade’s reading level. As an avid reader, this breaks my heart. I want to show this program to every parent. Reading is not only an important skill, but something that helps us escape into wonderful fictional worlds for entertainment in ways no other form of media can.

Long story short, we will be continuing this program for as long as there are new things for Zoey to learn alongside her weekly assigned reading for school.

We have always read to our kids, and with every passing week Zoey is needing me less and less with this assignment.

Pretty soon she is going to be reading chapter books to me and I’ll shed a silent tear.

She is a little Nina in the making, and I’m so proud.

Download the FREE Demo of the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program.

This program was wonderful because it can be played on a computer, or the iPad. 

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This is part of a sponsored collaboration with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

There’s a reason why we give our children warm milk when they can’t sleep.

It is not only one of the biggest comfort drinks out there, it holds meaning to all of us that is built on years of tradition.

Mom’s know best, which is why I remember being encouraged to drink milk as a child and why I encourage the same with my own children. Nothing makes me happier than my kids loving milk as much as they do.

milk processor board 1

That’s #MomWisdom. You can quote me on that.

Milk is not just for children, though.

Benefits of Milk

English milk

  • A cup of milk after exercise helps your muscles recover. Milk contains casein which is often used in supplements that help rebuild muscles after strenuous workouts.
  • There are lots of women who can relate to the struggles of PMS. The symptoms are torture. Did you know women who have a diet with high amounts of calcium see improvements in these symptoms?
  • This is a benefit I heard a lot growing up. Drinking milk, because of the calcium it contains, can help prevent bone fractures and bone disease. It also helps reduce bone loss, and helps keep bone density strong.
  • Did you know lack of sleep can impair memory? We all know this feeling. A protein found in milk helps improve sleep quality and focus the following day. It turns out there really was science behind a glass of warm milk at night.
  • Milk contains proteins , lipids , calcium, Vitamin A, B6 , biotin and potassium. All of these things help make our skin and hair look better.
  • Research has shown that milk can help prevent cavities when combined with a healthy brushing and flossing routine.

milk processor board 2

On top of it all, milk is absolutely delicious and refreshing.

As a Californian I love my California milk. It makes me proud every time I drive by one of our local dairies.

Host a Latin GRAMMY’s Viewing Party

One thing that I always hated as a child is that fun parties surrounding live events and other festivities were largely off-limits to kids.

We were either sent to bed early, or spent the night at our grandparent’s house.

It was just a little depressing.

I love to host parties that are kid-friendly. One of the ways I do that is by making sure we have everything needed to make a traditionally adult-only affair into something that the kids with wholeheartedly enjoy as well.

emma milk

One of the ways I do this is by having plenty of food and drink around that kids love, most of the time these include the use of milk.

Here are some of my favorite ways to make a party fun for the kids:

Ice-cream making station. With freezer bags, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 Tablespoon sugar you can make your very own ice cream. Kids love doing this. Simply but the ingredients mentioned before in the freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Fill another freezer bag with ice, and sprinkle roughly four tablespoons of salt on top. Place your ice cream mixture on top of the ice, seal well, and massage/shake for 5-10 minutes. Voila! Your very own kid-made ice cream. Your kids can also add chocolate syrup or other favorites to make this even more fun.

If it is cold where you live, there is another option for you as well!

Hot-Cocoa. Make your own cocoa mix (from Martha Stewart)! Combine 3 1/2 cups sugar, 2 1/4 cups cocoa powder, and 1 Tablespoon salt. Mix well together and store in an airtight container for whenever you’re ready for some delicious hot chocolate. To make a cup, pour 1 cup whole milk into a microwave safe mug, and warm until hot (or lukewarm if it is for kids!) Stir in 2 Tablespoons of your cocoa mix, and top with marshmallows for a fun kid-friendly treat.

Of course there is nothing wrong with just a good old-fashioned glass of ice cold milk.

Emma is going to be three and she still gets “milk drunk” as I like to call it.

milk emma

Don’t forget to watch the Latin GRAMMY’s tomorrow night! I’ll be live-tweeting throughout with the hashtags #TomaLeche & #LatinGRAMMY.

Milk makes it possible to make any event kid friendly. Not only is it one of my favorite ways to get my kids up and ready for the day, it is a household favorite that we will never be able to live without.

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This post is brought to you by The Motherhood and Johnson & Johnson #CareToRecycle, all opinions are my own. 

Recycling is something that my family takes very seriously.

We recycle everything we can, not only to make some money in doing it, but to protect our environment.

I also love the fact that our daughter’s school participates in “Recycle Thursday” where all the kids are welcome to bring their recyclables and the class who brings the most gets a reward.

Back in my day we were taught about recycling, not taught to recycle. There is so much power in taking action.

It is extremely common to see things like cans, two liter bottles, and milk jugs recycled, but haven’t you ever got the feeling you’re forgetting something?

Bathroom Recycling Tips

ARD 4

One room that is often overlooked when sweeping the house for recyclables is the bathroom.

It has become habit for many families to take an empty bottle of shampoo from the shower and toss it. But we shouldn’t do that!

There are many things from our bathrooms that are recyclable:

  • Plastic bottles #1 (PETE) and #2 (HDPE) such as bottles that contain shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, baby powder, face wash, and body oil.
  • Plastic #4 (LDPE) and #5 (PP). These may not be accepted in your local curbside program, but check with your municipality or Earth911 locator to find a drop off location near you.
  • Caps are often accepted when left on the bottle. These caps are mostly made of #5 plastic.
  • Paperboard items such as toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, and cartons for items stored in the bathroom like band-aids and over the counter medications.

But you cannot recycle the following:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Tubes (toothpaste, etc.)
  • Pumps (shampoo, conditioner.) Remove these pumps before recycling the bottles they came with.
  • Dental floss containers.

It can be difficult to remember all of this, and it helps a bunch to have the entire family on board.

My Tips For Bathroom Recycling:

Bathroom Recycling Tips

Feel free to pin this, save it to your computer, or print it to keep it handy.

Johnson + Johnson #CareToRecycle

Johnson + Johnson created Care To Recycle in October of 2013 after realizing how often the bathroom is overlooked for recycling.

ARD 3

Care to Recycle is hoping to help inspire people to recycle in their bathrooms through the use of helpful hints, tips, and ideas shared on their website through the #CareToRecycle hashtag.

Did you know America Recycles Day is the only recognized day dedicated to recycling, so we want to make the most of it.

ARD 1

I hope you’ll help build the hype by submitting your own entry to the Care to Recycle Hashtag Gallery.

Entering is easy.

Simply share your thoughts, tips, tricks, crafts, DIY projects related to recycling on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or directly to the hashtag gallery by using both of these hastags: #CareToRecycle #entry.

People who send in their entry will have a chance at winning a Johnson + Johnson prize pack, as well as having their submission featured on the website.

#CareToRecycle Twitter Party

ARD 2

Join in on the #CareToRecycle Twitter party on November 13th @ 1PM EST to talk about fun recycling tips and tricks for you and your whole family!

During the chat, 5 $25 gift cards will be given out to participants.

Here’s a tweet you can use to invite your friends:

Join me & for a Twitter party 11/13 @ 1pET! Win #prizes & get tips for bathroom recycling.

Care To Recycle believes recycling can be a fun family activity, and holds many educational opportunities. We would love your help in spreading the word, and I hope to see you at the Twitter party.

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I received a free membership to Education.com’s Brainzy. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own. 

Since the day Zoey started kindergarten, she’s been obsessed with doing not only her assigned homework, but extra on top of it.

Naturally in kindergarten teachers don’t give a lot of homework, so we’ve had to find creative ways for her to continue her learning at home.

One of the ways we’ve been doing this are printing out worksheets, but she finishes them too quickly and we’re back at square one within ten minutes.

What we needed was an educational tool that would keep her focused and learning for longer periods of time.

Brainzy Educational Gamesbrainzy educational games

Just give me a moment. I need to thank Brainzy for saving me money on printer ink, paper, and coloring utensils.

I love that technology is so advanced, that we can now do so much online to further our children’s education in a fun way.

Brainzy has a wonderful parent dashboard where we can track progress and see what our students have accomplished so far.

brainzy educational games

As you can see, Zoey decided to skip reading altogether (to my dismay) and work hard on math.

brainzy educational games

When I asked her about it, she said she got bored with Kindergarten math and moved up to first grade.

brainzy educational games

I love that everything is detailed.

If I want more information about what each level contains, it’s there for me.

I know what I need to do in order to help her, or where to encourage her to study a little harder (ahem, reading.)

Brainzy Songs and Games

From a child’s perspective, Brainzy is one of the most fun educational sites out there.

brainzy educational games

Each section is brightly colored and welcoming, and the vocal instructions are clear and easy to understand.

Each section contains songs, lessons, and fun games to complete.

brainzy educational games

Zoey loved the challenge of getting three puzzle pieced (aka, three stars) on each section.

brainzy educational games

She loves competing against herself and doing the absolute best that she can.

It makes me so proud that she loves to challenge herself, and that she strives to fully understand and learn.

Brainzy Giveaway

I’m so excited to be giving away ten (yes, 10!) year long memberships to Brainzy!

I know this will be an amazing gift to give to your children, and I am extremely excited for my winners to try it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US Only, 18+

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This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Latina Mom Bloggers and Dreft. All opinions are 100% mine.

Zoey and Emma both have suffered from sensitive skin, and it pains me because sometimes I feel like there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Zoey had it the worst. She would break out on her back any time there were tags of any sort in her clothing…even the “tagless tags” that are supposed to be easier on skin. I would have to scrape them off in order for her to wear those clothes.

It made me so sad when she would be constantly scratching her back, complaining that it itched.

As a mother, it made me feel helpless.

I soon learned that it wasn’t only her back that had sensitivities, but also her waistline. From that moment on I knew it wasn’t just tags that caused her scabbing and itchiness.

It had to be my laundry detergent.

I consulted our pediatrician, and he agreed and suggested we start using Dreft for all of the clothes, blankets, and sheets that Zoey uses.

dreft for sensitive skin

It has been wonderful every since. I still remove tags but we no longer have any issues with pants or blankets.

That is the beauty of Dreft.

It takes worry and regret off of mother’s shoulders, and allows us to once again feel like we’re doing the best for our children.

Hypoallergenic Dreft for Kid’s Clothing

dreft for sensitive skin

Dreft is the #1 baby laundry detergent product because of it has been proven to be gentle and hypoallergenic on baby’s skin. Don’t let this stop you from using it on your older kids, though, as I’ve had first-hand experience that it really works wonders when your kids have major sensitivities.

Dreft has been trusted for over 80 years and has a solid reputation for protecting the skin of little ones, especially during the winter when the harsh cold can really damage skin.

It also has the wonderful ‘baby’ smell that inspires me to reminisce about the times when my girls were young.

There is no laundry smell I love more than the smell of Dreft.

The best thing (besides not breaking out my daughter’s skin…) is that it is still powerful against dirt and stains despite being gentle on skin.

It is literally the life-saver product in my household because now my daughters are happy, and I can relax a little and stop worrying.

Save $2 Off of Dreft

I would love for you to experience the power and protection of Dreft for youselves.

Head over to Dreft.com and get your $2 Off coupon so you can experience the relief Dreft brings.

I would also love if you would join me for the Dreft Twitter party, October 30th 6PM PST/9PM EST. I’m co-hosting!

Giveaway

dreft for sensitive skin

Enter to win the following Dreft prize pack, a $108 value.

  • 2 bottles of Dreft
  • 1 set of Dreft wipes
  • 1 laundry stain remover
  • 1 to-go stain remover
  • 1 odor eliminator and fabric refresher
  • $30 gift card for Little Me clothing
  • Little Me footie pajamas

Rules:

  • 18 +
  • US entries only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How do you protect your children’s skin during the cooler months?

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We recently developed an ant problem when our new neighbors moved in. Our pantries share a wall and we started getting ants coming in from their side…but that is a story for another time.

The point of this is we had to remove everything from our pantry. Even though my kitchen and dining area are clean they feel so cluttered because we had to store everything on our dining room table.

You read that right, everything from our pantry on our table.

While I was working a mysterious person got into the products on the table and made a mess.

whodunnit

I wondered who it could be…then I found a clue.

whodunnit

A little tiny footprint…

I wonder, who would have done something like this?

I’ll give you a hint…I only have two kids and the eldest one was at school.

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This post is brought to you by The Motherhood and Champions For Kids, all opinions are my own. 

I’m sad to say there are some things in this world that make me terribly depressed, but they no longer shock me. One of these things is that for some families in need, it is extremely difficult to get food and personal care items that are a necessity by today’s standards.

The statistics about these families tell a scary story:

  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 16 million American children live in poverty. This means that in addition to being hungry, millions of children lack other basic items they need to thrive.
  • In fact, Feeding America reports that families who struggle financially often make difficult trade-offs: nearly three in four (73 percent) of low-income families have cut back on food in order to afford products such as personal care and baby care items. Research from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child shows that food insecurity is linked to poorer performance in school and increased illness.

For these families, there is no luxury. Every day is a fight for survival.

You Can Help, Be a Champion For Kids

Champions for Kids, General Mills and Unilever have teamed up to make it easy to donate basic necessities and give back in order to help these families.

Champtions for kids

From October 14-18 in participating WalMart stores you can make a difference.

Take these easy steps to make a difference in your community.

  1. Purchase food and personal care items at WalMart
  2. Place them in the donation bin conveniently located at the store

Donated items will be distributed locally to families, and children in need by the local school districts.

There is no reason why these families should have to fight so hard for basic items and food.

This also provides an opportunity to help our schools as well, because the schools with the most donated items in each WalMart division will receive one of multiple awards totaling $10,000.

SIMPLE Service Projects

In addition to donating food and personal care items, we can also give back to the children in our local communities by participating in a SIMPLE Service Project.

Participants need to simply visit CFKHelpKidsThrive.org and share your service project stories for a chance to win prizes for your school. Finalists will have their stories shared on the Champions for Kids Facebook page where fans can vote, like, and share the project.

There is no service project too small, and they are all appreciated and deserve recognition. Enter yours today and do a world of good.

The goal is to help 20 million children by the year 2020 through programs like SIMPLE Service and SIMPLE Giving, as well as events like RazorFest and the organization’s Annual Conference.

You’re Invited to the Twitter Party

We will be chatting on Twitter October 16th at 1PM EST to discuss children’s essentials and ways you can give back to your community.

I hope to see you there, if you go tweet me @NinaSay so I can say hi!

Until then, make sure to follow Champions For Kids and make note of the hashtag for the Twitter party.

  • Hashtag – #SIMPLEGiving
  • Champions for Kids on Twitter: @champions4kids
  • Champions for Kids Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/ChampionsForKids

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Why is the United States falling behind other countries in education? It’s not because American children are less intelligent. In fact, ubiquitous digital devices in young hands means that our children can tap into the global brain, the Internet, any time they like. It’s not because of insufficient money allocated for education. In fact, according to an insightful article in Huffington post, the United States spends more on education than other developed countries. It’s not because of a problem with access to schooling. In fact, America has mandatory free education until the cusp of adulthood. And, finally, it’s not because Americans have historically not developed a strong interest in education. In fact, some of the most coveted universities in the world, the Ivy League schools, flourish on American soil.

So, with all these advantages over other children in Europe, Asia, and Africa, why are American children ranked 23rd in science, 30th in math, and 20th in reading in the world? According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an examination that tests 15-year-old students around the planet, American children are not doing too well.

We have the resources, the infrastructure, and the history? What’s the problem?

The Evolution of the Common Core State Standards

This is a question that has tormented American educators for years. As a result, they have created a structure called the Common Core State Standards. It is a series of guidelines that spell out clear learning goals that will prepare students for college, a worthwhile career, and a fulfilling life. These standards are designed to unify the efforts of parents and teachers at every grade level to support student learning.

Briefly, the common core standards call for students to be taught research and evidence-based knowledge. It calls for this knowledge to be communicated in a comprehensible and consistent way. It calls for this knowledge to be useful for college learning and career goals. It calls for this knowledge to stimulate rational thinking. And it calls for this knowledge to be built on what has been taught before. Finally, this knowledge should be informed by what students in top-performing nations do to prepare their children for a role in a national and international society.

How the Guidelines were Developed

The common core standards were not derived by round-table educator conferences but through research.

They were also derived by surveying the following groups of informed people:

  • educators (from  kindergarten to college)
  • state departments of education
  • scholars
  • assessment developers
  • professional organizations

Feedback was also elicited from the grass-roots level rather than just relying on the opinion of experts. Consequently, parents, students, and lay people were asked as well.

Getting Behind this Initiative

At this point, then, the question is not what to do, but whether what needs to be done will be done. Fortunately, many online and offline tools are available to help parents, teachers, and students. Common core tools like Edulastic.com offer real-time insights and daily assessments to parents, teachers, and students.

In summary, American children have access to almost all the knowledge in the world at their fingertips, attend well-funded schools, can attend school free until they are ready to go to college, and can then go to some of the finest institutions of learning on earth. The common core standards can save our country the possibility of falling behind economically the way we have been falling behind educationally if enough people can get behind it to make it work.

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