Request your eBook Copy of Timmy the Tug and Billy Barge

Meet Grace

Shop Amazon

Wall * E a review

Wall*E is a funny and touching film with a message to deliver. Wall-e takes some of his design queues from Johhny 5 and ET (The flower from E.T. is replaced with a plant) Wall-e has an endearing personality that is unique to this character and makes him a hit with the audience (young and old). Wall-e's Job (Directive) is to clean up earth's trash that we left behind while we float around in space for 700 hundred years, all the while consuming more, moving less, and expanding our waistlines while waiting for the earth to be made inhabitable again. Wall-e spends his days cleaning our world by gathering and stacking up trash cubes into creations that model the sky scrapers around him. Wall-e passes his idle time watching movies and listening to music on his ipod excellent product placement for apple. (The lack of soft drink placement is refreshing) and building his collection of various human objects (much like Ariel in The Little Mermaid)
All of this changes When Eva comes to earth her directive is to find a plant (proof of Photosynthesis and Life on Earth). Wall-e falls in love with Eva who is not easily wooed by Wall-e and almost blasts him away. Soon though Wall-e's charm captures her heart (or microprocessors as the case may be) and as the movie progresses she finds herself falling deeper for Wall-e.
Wall-e goes back with Eva to the Axiom (Mother Ship) and there the adventure begins. Battling robots who do not want to go to earth and waking the humans from their half asleep state.
Both me and my 4 year old enjoyed Wall-e but the movie may be a little long for smaller children and there is a few moments of peril for Wall-e and Eva. This is a sweet movie that touches the heart. It also subtly and effectively delivers it's message that was made clear as we were leaving the theater and placed our box of garbage into the overflowing trash bins at the theatre exit.

Weekend Planner_June 21

Every Friday night from 6:30 - 8 pm, kids can enjoy Unbelieva-Bills games, the Enchanted Kingdom and a 3D movie or magic show for only $10 (plus tax). parents never pay when kids play at Unbelieva-Bills!

The Princess Breakfast
, New Jersey Children’s Museum, 599 Valley Health Plaza, Paramus, (201)262-5151, This delightful annual event is the perfect way for families to kick off their summer season while meeting some of their favorite princesses and spending some quality time together. Snow White, Belle, Cinderella and many others will be strolling around as visitors enjoy a light breakfast and pose for pictures. Children are encouraged to come in their own princess costume! 6/21, 22.

KIDDIEPOLOOZA!, Pier A Park, 100 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, (201)420-2207. KIDDIEPOLOOZA offers families with young children a perfect day of fun with music, shows, face-painting, coloring and so much more....all for FREE! 6/22. Date Unconfirmed Please Call: (201) 420-2207

Summer Classes, Programs and Workshops, The Hoboken-North Hudson YMCA, 1301 Washington Street, 201-963-4100. Families are invited to take advantage of another great season of activities, including Morning playtime, toddler programs, swim lessons and more! Call for more detailed information about programs and fees.

The Bergen Performing Arts Center,
30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood,
DAN ZANE AND FRIENDS. The Grammy award winning entertainer who has been called “The Elvis of Children’s Music” drops in for an afternoon of great songs and lots of fun! 6/21.
Shows at 1:00 and 4:00 PM Prices range from 13.50-39.50
(Special discount tickets only available via Box Office from 11 am - 6 pm Monday - Saturday)

The Tenafly Nature Center, 313 Hudson Ave., Tenafly, (201)569-6093, Take advantage of the beautiful spring weather by spending some time in the great outdoors at TNC! Spring Programs include: NATURE DAY. 6/8. DINOSAURS ROCK PRESENTS - DINOSAUR & MINERAL CAMP. Pre reg. req. 6/23 - 25. Call for more info., or to reg.

Liberty State Park, Jersey City,
Liberty State Park is a green oasis in the middle of Metropolitan northern New Jersey. With the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as a spectacular backdrop, Liberty State Park is one of the state’s most dramatic parks. The park opens daily at 6 a.m. and offers a variety of recreational uses. Take advantage of the miles of walkways by walking, jogging, biking, or rollerblading. Get fit with the par course that runs along Freedom Way. Bring your binoculars and look at the numerous species of birds which frequent the park. You may also bring your family and picnic at one of the playgrounds. There is always a nice breeze for flying a kite, or you may enjoy the waters by fishing or crabbing, boating or kayaking. Hop on a ferry and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, or stop by and participate in one of our Natural or Historical Interpretive programs.

Whole Language approach to reading

While I was getting my degree in Music Education one of the classes I took was titled Reading - A whole language approach. I had never heard of Whole Language before, but throughout the 3 months of the class the method seemed to have merit and provided a more creative any fun approach to learning to read than the way I had learned to read which was a phonics based approach.
Whole language learning stresses the flow and meaning of the text, emphasizing reading for meaning and using language in ways that relate to the child's own life, cultures, and interests. Whole language classrooms tend to teach the process of reading, while the final product becomes secondary. The "sounding out" of words so central to phonics is not used in whole language learning. Instead, children are encouraged to decode each word through its larger context.
One thing we have done at home and also at my child's school is to have them create their own stories. The Child(ren) dictate the text and then an adult writes it down reads it back. We have created a few books this way My daughter had first drawn pictures then tells us the words to write for each of the pages. We then go over the text and place the pages in the order that she wants. Once this is completed we staple it together and read the story.
This has been a good way to inspire and encourage reading.
We have also written sight words on post-it notes and placed them next to their related items (i.e. Light next to the Light Switch)
Where I think The whole language approach falls short is in providing the skill necessary to actually read a word based on the letters in that word and the sounds those letters make this is where phonics come into play.
Phonics-based reading programs tend to build better pronunciation and word recognition. The phonics formulas can be applied again and again, and will help a child with spelling more than the memorization and guesswork of whole language. If only taught phonetically, however, a child may have difficulty understanding the full meaning of a text, due to the constant breaking down of words into parts. Whole language also seems to foster a desire to read and write better than phonics based approach.

I think (as do many experts) that a combined balanced approach is best. You and your child's teachers can evaluate what approach works best. The important thing is to awaken and develop your child's joy of learning by encouraging their imagination and curiosity.
Above all read to your child it is never too early or late to begin this practice
With younger children reading is as much physical act, as it is a mental one. It involves hand-eye coordination. So, when you read, involve your child by pointing out objects in the pictures, following the words with your finger (so your child develops a sense that the words go from left to fight on the page), and having your child help turn the pages (to learn that the pages turn from right to left).

Weekend Planner_06142008

This weekend 06/14/2008 - 06/15/2008 (Happy Father's Day)
Unbelieva-Bills Saturday, June 14th
Live Shows with The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America!
Show times are 11:40 AM, 12:40 PM, 1:40 PM, 2:40 PM and 3:40 PM.
Call 201-670-6340
Tour of the Planets
Saturday, June 14, 2008 1:00, 3:00
Tucked away in a roomy section of the Milky Way is a small collection of 8 planets. They don't appear as much from far away, but when you look close, you'll see that each of them has a remarkable story to tell. We'll take a closer look at all the planets in the Solar System...

Newark Museum
Family Reading Program: Storytime in the GalleriesSaturday, June 14, noon–1 pmStories come alive with special guest readers who will read stories that will lead you and your family on adventures all over the world. Especially for kids and the young at heart. For details, call 973-596-6550.
Join Entomologist, Dr. Betty "The Bug Lady" Faber, who will read Buz, by Caldicott medal winner Richard Egielski, about a boy, a bug and pandemonium.

Story time at Barnes and Noble Clifton
11:00 AM
395 Route 3 East Clifton, NJ 07014973-779-5500
Borders Interactive storytime.
11:00 AM
1642 Schlosser Street Ft. Lee, NJ 07024
Phone: 201.302.0815

Space saving tips for Organizing your childs stuff

Soon after we had a child our home became cluttered with stuff. Our open floor plan presented some additional issues since the living room and dining area were essentially the same room with no physical partition. At 1st it was pretty manageable but by our 2nd Christmas our open space was filled with clutter. One thing that I think I would do different is to limit the type of stuff we purchased avoiding toys with a lot of pieces or small pieces. I have made many an impulse buy that I later regretted because I was endlessly picking pieces up off the floor.(Or worse yet stepping on them if you ever stepped on a lego you know what I am talking about) In an effort to regain some order to the chaos we put up floor to ceiling shelves in the living room. Books and items that don't require as much supervision are on the 1st 3 levels and items that we want to keep out of reach are higher up. This has helped to keep books, games and some toys more in order. It is somewhat safer as well because items that are not to be played with unsupervised are more difficult to get at and are out of sight. We have also started to implement a rule where you need to put away one toy before taking a new one out. This is not too rigid she can take out multiple toys if she is playing with them all. However if she was playing with Legos and then wants to color, the Legos would need to go away. We help with the put away but want her to be involved. The goal is to eventually have her be completely responsible for keeping her belongings in order. I have purchased some clear stackable drawers and am looking at some other storage ideas. Stuffed animals and smaller toys are problem areas. Books and Games Stack away easily and our video shelf has helped to keep Videos and DVD's in pretty good order. Art work is another problem area. I cannot bring myself to throw away my daughters artwork (Did I mention that I was a pack rat) Last year I got an art Folder which is a big accordion folder and can hold poster sized paper. This is a good option for paintings and drawings but things that are pasted together or have glitter on them do not fair well. I know some people who have used filing cabinets for artwork, cards, etc. you can also use the wider Rubbermaid type clothes storage bins which can be Hidden under a table or bed. If you want you can make this an art project, decorate a box or storage bin and keep it out in the open. (Some fabric, glue, and a little time can transform any box into a decorative storage bin.
For art and craft Supplies a hanging shoe organizer can keep craft supplies in plain sight yet neat and out of the way. You can fill the pockets with everything from Markers, crayons, pencils, pipe cleaners or anything else your child needs to build their masterpieces. The organizer can hang on any door or wall as long and should be near a table where little ones can sit down to work.

If you are fortunate enough to have a basement this is an ideal space to turn into a child's play area and help to keep or regain your own living space. You can make the area more safe by putting down foam flooring or carpet and should wrap metal columns. Depending on how creative you want to be you could transform this area into whatever your child is into. If they like Pirates you could Theme the area that way and even build some props. I know some people who have had there children's room turned into a room within a room They built castle with a loft bed on the 2nd level and Storage for Clothes, Books, and Toys on the 1st level. Your Living space is what you make it your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and at ease not a main stressor in your life.

Kung Foo Panda - Review

Kung Foo Panda - I had read mixed reviews of this movie but after seeing it with my 4 year old this weekend we give it 2 thumbs up. We (and by we I mean the audience in the theatre) Laughed at all the intended spots. The fight scenes were exciting and choreographed as well as any Kung foo movie but tempered with humor and cartoon like sensibility (i.e. Looney Tunes) The scenery for the movie sets a beautiful artistic backdrop for the action in it's creation of The Valley of Peace, the ancient Jade Palace towering overhead, The Peach tree on the cliffs edge with its Blowing Blossom petals and the imposing Chor Ghom prison that holds Tai Lung (The Movies Villain) The Movie is rated PG but except for one or 2 segments (The word Suck is used and some of the fight scenes are violent at times) I think it could have a G rating