Audio Books Are a Great Way to Learn a Foreign Language – Especially When They are Free!

Based on personal experience, I really don't think there are a whole lot of things I enjoy more than cuddling up with and reading to a child. However, there are times when we are just too busy or we may not be physically present to have the option of sitting down and reading to our children.  What's a good alternative then? The answer is Audio Books. Audio books have lots of benefits, such as entertaining children, calming them down, and getting them away from the TV set or gaming systems. Audio books can also come in very handy during a family trip.  Bored children and/or siblings who are fighting with each other is not my idea of vacation!  Whenever I and my husband went anywhere with the kids, we always brought books along.  In fact, we always kept books in the car and even in the diaper bag.   Traveling with some books on tape or CD can usually make the journey far more enjoyable  and less stressful for everyone involved.  Even short distances driving back and forth from work or … [Read more...]

Learn Spanish with your kids the FREE and FUN way!

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language?  You and the young ones in your life can start now!  Ella the doggy's first book, "Doggy's Busy Day," is now  available as "El Día Ocupado de la Perrita." And even better yet, you can get a FREE download of the book right now!   But...this offer is only good from July 23-July 25, so order your copy before time runs out and you forget!  The book is available HERE, both as a Kindle download and in paperback. One thing great about "El Día Ocupado de la Perrita/Doggy's Busy Day" is that this book is bilingual, as it includes both the Spanish and the English words on the same page.  This makes it easier to compare the words in the two languages and enables readers to learn the new words faster. Studies show that you can learn a new language at any age, but studies have also shown that the younger you start, the easier it is.  It's also a proven fact that people learn quicker if they are enjoying themselves while learning.  I have … [Read more...]

Need a fun break today? Look no further!

  We often don't take the time we need to relax and have fun on a regular basis.  We need to take that break for lots of reasons that we are all probably aware of.  If you are thinking right now that you don't have time to relax, I do know the feeling.  However many studies have shown that when we take some time to relax and "get away from it all," even for just a few minutes, we are usually more productive when we do return to our work. With that in mind, we created a "mini break" for you HERE!  When you click this link, you will find a word find puzzle that includes the words from Ella's second book, "Doggy Finds Her Bone."  You can print the sheet out and do it by yourself, share it with the kids, or print a second one out and you can each do it on your own! The important thing is that you do it.  Put your work on the back burner for just a little while and I can pretty much promise you that you will be glad you did! This fun little activity is waiting for you.  … [Read more...]

Can you really home school and still work outside the home?

When my three children were young, I often thought of home-schooling them.  My daughter seemed to fit in more with the "traditional' school setting, but I think that my two sons could have really benefited from learning at home.  (Ironically, I was at home for ten years doing home daycare, as I had left my job and decided that I wanted to be at home with my kids during the day when they were younger). There were a few things that held me back from taking the home school route.  First of all, my husband did not even want to consider the idea.  He had lots of misconceptions about home-schooled children and he did not think that it would be in their best interests.  Secondly, I did not personally know anyone growing up who had been schooled  at home, and as an adult, I did not know any other parents who home-schooled their children.  So basically, I did not have any real knowledge about home-schooling and I  did not have the support to follow through with it. When my kids entered … [Read more...]

Ebooks offer benefits “normal” books don’t…

I love holding an actual physical book in my hand and reading it.  Whether it's the middle of a blustery winter day or an afternoon at the beach, not much can beat a good book. Having said that, books that you can download onto an electronic reading device (Ebooks),  do come with some "extras" that a book made of paper cannot offer,   Especially when you have younger children. For instance, with Ebooks, you can have numerous book titles to choose from - all on one device. Often, Ebooks contain links within the text that will take you to some interesting web sites relative to the book that you are reading.  All you have to do is click the link. Ebooks can also offer sound effects, video clips, activity pages, and much more.   When you are trying to entertain a child who may be getting very cranky, or a child with a short attention span, this can be a big advantage over a "regular" book. Some Ebooks  even come with an audio  or multimedia CD included.  This encourages … [Read more...]

What Kind of Books Do Kids Like?

As parents, we may not realize how important it is to read to our children as early as possible, beginning with infancy.  Reading to children promotes strong cerebral, and emotional development.  Any positive interaction between parent and child is helpful to a child's growth, but reading is by far one of the very best ways. Different features in books, such as phrasing, and pictures appeal to different age groups.  As parents, we should understand what type of books are best for a youngster at certain learning stages in their lives.   Although every child is different, the following is a basic breakdown of the kind of books that children react to and enjoy at certain ages: Newborn to 12 months:  children at this age react to solid, large books with big bright pictures.   Remember that your little one's vision is still evolving daily and the images we see may be clearer than their view.  Big pictures stand out better and capture their attention.  Books with covered and protected photos … [Read more...]

The Many Benefits of Having a Pet in Your Family – Especially a Dog!

Have you ever noticed that most kids are drawn like magnets to animals? I think there are lots of reasons why this is so, but I think the biggest reason is because pets give unconditional love and accept us for who we are. This is especially true for dogs. As well as being able to understand many of the words that we say, by paying attention to our tone of voice and body language, dogs can be quite adept at tuning into our behaviors and feelings. The gifts that your dog can bring to your family are immeasurable. My youngest child Luke, who is 19 now, pretty much stopped having regular conversations with his Dad and I several years ago, which is probably common for many teenagers. However, he also spends as little time as possible in the companionship with other human beings too - including his peers. This is obviously not a healthy way to live for an extended period of time, which is the situation with Luke. Enter our two family pets that we have had over the years as … [Read more...]

Your dog needs exercise every day!

Giving your dog exercise every day has many benefits. Ella on a walk.  Can you see the smile on her face?  As expected, this time of year brings colder weather - much colder weather in some parts of the United States! I live in Minnesota, so our temperatures can be very frigid this time of year, to say the least.  Most days it's hard to motivate myself to get outside, even though I know that the fresh air, exercise and (on a good day) sunshine will invigorate me. If you have a pet like many people do, he/she will  benefit from the same things that you do when you get outside.  When dogs get enough exercise, they are usually less hyper inside, which is an especially good thing for a dog who needs lots of exercise like a Siberian Husky.  The Husky is a very inquisitive (nosy) and active (mischievous) animal.  So...if you don't keep them busy, you could pay for it in other ways if they get bored.  I have witnessed first hand what a bored husky can do.   Our first Husky, Camper, … [Read more...]

The Huskies In My Family

Ella Everyone has a story about how or why they have their particular dog. You may have chosen a certain breed because of special characteristics that dog has, maybe he/she just "looked cute" in the pet store or maybe someone moved away and they gave their pet to you.  Maybe it's a combination of different reasons. The reason that we have our Husky, Ella, is because I grew up on a farm with a Husky - who was a very special part of our family for a very long time - and I always knew that if I ever had a dog of my own, that it would be the same breed. My siblings and I were so very original with our dog's name - we called him "Husky." (But don't be too quick to judge that, because we also had a particular cat on the farm for well over 20 years and her name was "Mother Cat.") Apparently, my siblings and I liked to keep it simple! Husky was a great dog for the large family that we had. He was very good around people, including small children, yet he also had quite an independent … [Read more...]