Summer Reading Programs for Kids!

With the Covid-19 shutdowns, most libraries are not doing a summer reading program.

If your local library isn’t doing a program, here are a few programs that are online. You can of course do as many programs as you (or your kids) would like.

bookitNow Enrolling: Camp BOOK IT!
Parents, join us for our first ever Camp BOOK IT! and keep rewarding your kids all summer long. Track and reward your kids’ reading for June, July, and August in our digital dashboard. When they meet their monthly reading goal, they’ll receive a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza® from Pizza Hut! We’ll also share fun activities and book recommendations each week to keep the fun going throughout the summer! For more info on the 2020-2021 school year Bookit program, check out this post.

The City of San Diego library system is doing its summer reading program with some modifications. You can learn more and sign up here.

scholasticScholastic has a summer reading challenge in which kids go online to record the minutes they’ve read during the summer. This year, kids can build an avatar, make new friends, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock donations for kids with limited or no access to books. All you need to do is sign up and keep a “reading streak” in Scholastic Home Base over the summer!

RIF

Soar with reading while summer is out with Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit. From RIF reading lists and a collection of free ebooks to interactive materials on Literacy Central and a brand new Literacy Central app, Reading Is Fundamental has tools for every level to raise reading to new heights this summer and beyond.

Thanks to We Are Teachers for the heads up on some of these summer programs.  The original article has some additional resources that are regional (and not applicable to San Diego/Southern CA).

2 Free Books from I Can Read Book Club!

I love I Can Read! books. I remember reading them when I was a kid, and I think that my parents still have some of them!

I took advantage of this deal- My kids are going through books so quickly right now with the library being closed and all.

Right now receive your first two books in the I Can Read! Book Club absolutely FREE! You pay just $1.00 for shipping and handling.

If you wish to continue receiving shipments from the I Can Read! Book Club, do nothing. Starting in about two weeks, and every month thereafter, you will receive five paperback books from the I Can Read! Book Club at $3.99 each plus $4.99 shipping and handling per shipment, plus sales tax (a total of $24.94), charged to the credit card that you provided. There is never an obligation to purchase additional books, and you may cancel at any time. Simply call  1-888-965-8737.

Our 100% Guarantee. Every shipment in the I Can Read! Book Club is guaranteed to meet your standards for quality. If any shipment doesn’t meet your expectations, you may return it within 30 days from receipt for a full refund of the purchase price less shipping and handling. There are no purchase commitments to meet, and you’re under no obligation to continue in the program. You may cancel at any time by notifying calling 1-888-965-8737 or emailing us at ICanRead@bookclub.harpercollins.com.

Always Eat After 7 PM: The Wrap Up!

AlwaysEatAfter7PM_FrontCoverThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.

This is week four for us, and my final post (for now) about this pretty cool plan. Check out my previous post here.

As I was hunting for some recipes to try over the coming weeks last night, I came across this quote, “Scientists have established that consuming at least 20 grams of protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis for two to five hours after eating a meal. However, recent research also shows that protein synthesis drops to unexpectedly low levels during sleep, even if you eat ample protein during and after evening exercise. This has led researchers to speculate that this process may fall off during sleep if you don’t eat protein prior to bedtime.” I found it so interesting that I highlighted it. 

We’ve been taught that we need to avoid carbs, and focus on Protein, protein, protein. I love how Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight shows us that we need to have a balance. Rice is ok, veggies are ok, meat is ok, fats and sweets are ok too!

Now that we into week four, I’ve read a lot, learned a lot, and tried some really yummy recipes. I’m not sure I will keep to the plan 100%, but there are aspects that I do like and that I will be continuing on with (like starting with lemon water-  swear that’s a better wake up that a cuppa joe!

We all know water is good for us, but do we know why? Always Eat After 7 PM tells us, “Water helps digest your food, expel wastes, regulate your temperature, protect your tissues, cushion your joints, and protect your spinal column, among many other vital functions. It is through water that hormones flow to the proper organs, that nutrients reach all cells, and that toxins are diluted and removed from the body.”

And now that I’m not ravenous when I wake up each morning, I have more focus to get the kids through our morning routine. The most challenging times to curb hunger are just before bed and in the morning. By following the Always Eat After 7PM program, you have the most willpower to stay on the diet because you are eating during the hours when you are most hungry. This also puts you into both intermittent fasting increasing testosterone and your metabolism, while putting you into ketosis.

One of the things I liked most is that there is such a wide array of foods to choose from- and that nothing is ever 100% veteod. If you need a cheat day, take one!

If you’ve liked my posts and picked up a copy of this book, let me know! I’d love to see which recipes you’ve tried, and what swaps you made to live healthier.

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Always Eat After 7 PM: Goal Setting and Updates!

This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own. hi-res Cheesy Ground Beef skillet - vertical

This is the Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet from Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion.

Most people assume foods like red meat and white rice can’t be fat loss friendly, but the latest research confirms the combination of protein and carbs (especially at dinnertime) actually helps regulate cortisol (known as the “belly fat hormone”), induces deeper sleep, and even helps stabilize morning blood sugar.

Ours wasn’t as photogenic, so I borrowed the pic from the book. It was simple, filling, and there was enough for lunch the next day! at 30 grams of protein per serving- I was pretty satisfied all night long, and well into the next morning.

And a quote from the book really resonated with me about the lack of hunger I was used to feeling within 20 minutes of rising each morning. “Those who ate breakfast ended up eating about 260 calories more a day, the review found. Those who skipped breakfast were about one pound lighter than those who ate breakfast. These findings led the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast isn’t necessarily a good strategy for losing weight. The science isn’t really there. Breakfast could very well be the least important meal of the day.”

My main reason for joining the Always Eat After 7pm journey is that we just aren’t able to exercise as much as we were pre-lockdown, and I want to keep up with my healthy lifestyle. And wow! Have we ever! You can see my first post here, and the second post here.

The food lists are great! They really help with shopping and meal planning. It is real food and real ingredients.  And the recipes are easy to follow. You don’t need to be a chef or foodie to follow them. Oh, and they are kiddo friendly.  There are so many ideas for snacks too- So you are never left feeling hungry (or in my case… hangry).

The other thing that has really been working well is the Lemon Water 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals. “One of the simplest 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals, lemon water is a glass of water mixed with the juice of one half of a lemon. This drink provides all the benefits of regular drinking water, which supports weight loss, digestive health, physical performance, and cognitive function.”

We bought some large plastic tumblers recently to help all of us (including the kids) to drink more water. I do my lemon water in the morning while I make coffee and make the kids breakfast. At the same time, I pour ice water for the kids and top with a lemon slice. They feel fancy that they get to drink “spa water” like mommy. Water is a great way to start the day!

“Water helps digest your food, expel wastes, regulate your temperature, protect your tissues, cushion your joints, and protect your spinal column, among many other vital functions. It is through water that hormones flow to the proper organs, that nutrients reach all cells, and that toxins are diluted and removed from the body.”

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Why I Chose Always Eat After 7 PM

AlwaysEatAfter7PM_FrontCoverThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.

Over the past few days I’ve read Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion cover to cover twice, making notes, and checking our current groceries.

I posted about Always Eat After 7PM last week here.

I decided to give Always Eat After 7pm a shot because we needed something new that helped keep us full, and in my case, help with sleep. I’m not sure if you gentle readers know, but when you have kids, sometimes sleep is elusive.  I also like how nothing is off the table. Moderation and balance are key! “Cheat” days or meals are built into the program. Joel Marion’s Always Eat After 7PM program makes dieting easy and eliminates 90% of the reasons for resistance.

Joel head shotThe author, Joel Marion took his time to research and develop the theories and practices behind this program. In an interview he states, “It actually took several years of researching for me to discover the real science of eating late night. After a few years of tweaking and refining, I finally came up with a rapid fat loss solution that overcomes all the pitfalls of traditional diets.”

Another quote from that interview really spoke to me. Most diets or eating programs are hard to follow, When asked if the Always Eat After 7pm program is hard to follow, Joel Marion said, “It’s not. And that’s exactly why I wrote the book. While any diet is never truly easy, it can be more enjoyable and much easier to adhere to when you understand how Always Eat After 7pm works because it caters to our bodies natural instincts.” And, ladies and gents, is what hooked me. 

We’ve been traditionally taught to avoid carbs, have an early dinner, and never eat before bed. But the fact is, the latest scientific research shows us this earlier model is not the most ideal. We’ve been having big, tasty meals full of flavor (and rice last night- it was so good!).

“A research paper published in Sports Medicine in 2014 showed that people who eat the majority of their carbs at dinner actually sleep better. Carb-induced, quality sleep decreases cortisol (a fat-storing hormone) and ramps up the production of your sleep hormones, serotonin and melatonin. Restorative sleep increases fat-burning hormones—the main one being growth hormone—overnight.”

We’re spending a portion of today meal planning and doing food prep, so our first full week in the Always Eat after 7PM program can be successful! You’ll probably see some new recipes and foods on the weekly Meal Plan post that will be coming up today (or early tomorrow morning, depending on how today goes).

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

Book It: Enrollment is Open for the 2020-2021 School Year

BOOK-IT.pngHey, Homeschoolers…Book It Enrollment is Open for the 2020-2021 School Year!unnamed.jpg

And if you aren’t a home schooler, You can still participate! New for 2020-2021:

Enroll your own class: Book It no longer accepts campus-wide enrollments. Please select the option that works best for your classroom and only enroll classes you teach.

New and Improved Digital: The updated parent approval process no longer requires parent emails. Just share a personalized link with parents to gain approval or print blank certificates to ensure that all students can be rewarded for their reading accomplishments.

 

More ways to celebrate your students: With the digital program, parents can use digital certificates in person, over the phone, or online, for carryout, delivery or dine in providing even more ways for them to celebrate their child’s reading accomplishments.

Get Started here!  And remember to share this post with your teacher friends!

Everyone loves pizza- and nothing is better than FREE PIZZA!

 

Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Stay Indoors Easier

file9831347376219.jpgA lot of people are posting about stocking up on essentials, or ways to make your own hand sanitizer in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

I don’t want to freak out or spread any misinformation, so instead, I’m going to focus on how you can get your home ready in case you have to quarantine, either because of illness/exposure or because of a government mandate.

What can you do to prepare your home?

Make sure that you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. I don’t mean a years supply, maybe just enough to get you through an illness (like you would buy if someone in your home came down with a cold or cough), or in the case of #4, enough menstruation supplies for 1 period (most of us with periods have that in our homes anyway).

  1. Enough of your daily prescription meds for 14+ days.
  2. Pain relievers- Tylenol, Motrin, Advil.
  3. Cold /cough remedies- Sudafed, Mucinex, cough syrup. Don’t forget to have kid versions too!
  4. Menstruation supplies- Pads, Tampons, Cups, period panties.
  5. Any other OTC meds that you and your family use regularly.

Food– This is a tough one because each family is different. I recommend doing a pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory and make notes on what you have. I’d pick up a few extra things that are “must-haves” in your home. For us, that’s bagels and cream cheese. Bread products can be frozen, so I tossed a few extras in the freezer, as well a few extra quarts of milk.

I also picked up some of the shelf-stable milk quarts, like these. They are great for camping, as they don’t have to be refrigerated until after they are opened. They are also great for cooking.  I have also picked up some pantry staples so that we can have homemade baked goods (it gives us an activity and food!).

If you are worried about not having enough food because your budget doesn’t allow for an extra stock-up trip to the grocery store, there are food resources to help you. Check out this page for San Diego County food resources. If you are in Northern SD County, there is a list here. If you live outside San Diego County, but within the US, call 211 for assistance.

Cleaning Supplies-I cleaned out under our kitchen sink and organized all of the cleaning supplies- and I also have been cleaning the house. It was originally because we were hosting a birthday party, but, now it will be nice to have a clean house in case we are stuck inside.

A few of the cleaning supplies that are good to have on hand include:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia (but never mix it with bleach or any other cleaning chemical)
  • Pine-Sol or Fabuloso
  • Spray bottles for bleach/water mixtures, Ammonia/water mixtures
  • sponges
  • Magic Erasers
  • Paper towels
  • baking soda or Comet/Ajax (to scrub sinks/toilets/bathtubs)
  • White vinegar
  • Oxi-Clean
  • Laundry Soap
  • Laundry stain pre-treater

These are what we keep on hand all the time. I am pretty old school. I use ammonia as a degreaser to clean the stovetop, range hood, and mop the kitchen floor.

Something to do- I think this is something that most of us are forgetting about. Without school, work, the gym, clubs, or other outside activities, Netflix is going to get really boring really fast.

I did a craft supply reorganization yesterday and pulled together stuff for a bunch of different crafts the kids can do. If you have crafty kids, but not a lot of craft supplies, a quick trip to Dollar Tree with $20 can hook you up with a decent selection of supplies. If you don’t have a chance to go, Dollar Tree has “Pick and Pack” service. They have some craft supplies that would be great- canvases, construction paper, glue sticks, etc.

I will be finishing up the basket of UFO (Unfinished Outlying Projects) sewing, and probably start on a few new things that I’ve been planning (like curtains). I’ve got plenty of fabric and thread. No trip to the store will be needed.

We’ll be hitting up the library today or tomorrow for some books for the kids. But we’ve also got Epic on the iPads, and well as some other educational apps (I’ll be posting a list of free apps later today).

I went through all of our games and pulled out some newer ones that the kids haven’t played, or haven’t played in a while. I foresee lots of family game time.

Some government officials and municipalities are telling people to keep a 6-foot distance from others and no handshakes/hugs. That’s is great to control the spread of illness, but I can’t keep my kids inside all the time. Which is why we’ll be playing in our outdoor space/patio, and the green area outside our home, while carefully avoiding others. I may also take them hiking- many of the trails that we frequent are not heavily used. It is rare that we see other people. The fresh air will do them good. If you have a yard, send your kids outside to play or read outside. We want to avoid others to contain the spread of disease.

file801244167702.jpgAnd my final bit of advice: WASH YOUR HANDS FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS OF SCRUBBING. Use soap. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Use hand sanitizer as needed, but it is not a substitute for handwashing. Try not to touch your face (This is super hard, I know). 

Please be safe!

 

 

Free 8×8 Photobook from Shutterfly!

Screen Shot 2019-10-21 at 9.42.04 AM.png **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Woo Hoo! Shutterfly is hooking you up with a free 8×8 photo book with code FREEPB.

Plus, get 50% off almost everything else by Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019.

I love giving photo gifts for Christmas gifts. Grandparents LOVE photo books, photo mugs, and calendars!

I’ve been collecting photos of the kids all year, and I’ll start working on our photo gifts for relatives in the next few weeks!

Make Your Own Book With Blurb!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Have you been collecting family recipes for years? Time to turn the scraps of paper and old recipe cards into a family recipe book with Blurb!

Blurb easy it is to create a travel book, memoir book, wedding book, children’s book and so much more. Blurb makes it easy to self-publish a book to last a lifetime whether it’s for personal or professional needs.

Photo books, memoir books, or cookbooks make great holiday gifts!

Star Wars Epic Adventures!

I just learned about Star Wars Epic Adventures yesterday, and I signed the kids up right away. My kids LOVE Star Wars!

When you subscribe to the Star Wars Epic Adventures for $9.99 (first month only) and receive full-color 96-page storybook, which are not available in retail stores and are exclusive to subscribers.

  • Each monthly package includes a full-color 96-page storybook, a set of 12 collectible cards, one activity book with stickers plus a large vinyl sticker, and an additional premium bonus item such as a poster or T-shirt.
  • Twelve collectible cards that provide an in-depth look at scenes from the films. The cards in the initial “Phantom Menace” package give youngsters a detailed overview of the famous podracing scene from the movie. Each set of cards comes in a unique collector’s case that combine to create a classic “Star Wars” scene when all of the sets are collected
  • A full-color activity book with stickers. Each book takes a deeper dive into the characters of the “Star Wars” universe, starting with a book titled “Jedi vs. Sith.”
  • One additional bonus gift. The first month’s package includes a four-foot poster covering the “Star Wars” adventure timeline. Large-size vinyl stickers that come with each shipment can be used with the poster to track the reader’s progress through the saga. Future gifts include premium items such as T-shirts for both adult and child, and a storage case for the collectible card sets.

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 9.44.47 AMFuture shipments are just $19.98 + $3.99 Shipping and handling, and you can cancel any time, for whatever reason!