2022 Summer Reading Programs

Summer is just around the corner. And you know what that means- keeping kids occupied so we don’t have to hear choruses of, “I’M BORED!” And how do we do that?

Around these parts, both kids go to summer school, but we also take advantage of free and low-cost summer programs. One of my favorites is the Summer Reading Programs that are sponsored by both the City of San Diego Library system, but also the County of San Diego Library system.

The City of San Diego Summer Reading Program starts June 1st. You can find out more details here.

The County of Sa Diego Library system has not yet released their Summer Reading Program at the time of this post, but their website should be updated with information closer to June 1st, the usual start date.

If you want your family to experience a multi-cultural world through reading, I  recommend PJ Library.  PJ Library sends free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children from birth through 12 years old.

My kids love learning about faraway places and experiences different from their own. The PJ library books have opened their eyes to new holidays, customs, and ways of life.

Read Conmigo provides free books for kids by mail in Spanish and English to children ages preschool to fifth grade. They are only available to kids in CA, TX, and Florida. We used to receive the books, and they are ok, but my kids aren’t interested in learning Spanish.

Barnes and Noble has a summer reading program starting July 1st. More info here.

Dolly Parton has established the Imagination library, it is available in select regions (sadly not available in San Diego California), and those who live in areas that are participating can receive one book for their kids every month via mail.

Book It has a summer program called Camp Book it, where kids can read, and earn free personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut! Book It is the FAVORITE reading program in my house.

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to sign your kids up for the 2022-2023 school year Book It program. Teachers can sign their classes up too!

 

Talk Back: If you know of any other reading programs in the San Diego/Southern California area, please leave a comment!

Q-insights- Books Study $200-$250

QI-logoNOslogan.png

Q-insights is another company where I do research groups, focus groups, and online surveys to earn extra money.

They have a lot of stuff in South Orange County, and less often San Diego County. This upcoming survey takes place virtually!

Q-Insights is currently recruiting for an online interview on the topic of Books.

The study will run between February 21st to March 18th and you will be
compensated $200-$250 as a thank you for your time.

If you are interested in participating please fill out the survey
Here. If you pre-qualify someone from Q-Insights will call you to ask some additional
qualifying questions.

East County Residents: Free kids books 12/21/22!

This came through my email earlier this week. Chet F. Harritt STEAM School in Santee (8120 Arlette Street, Santee, CA) is having their annual book giveaway!

  • Friday, January 21, 2022
  • Students, families, and community members are welcome.
  • All books will be displayed in front of the library from 1:00-2:30pm.

Please be aware that parking at the school and the adjacent Big Rock Park is limited. I encourage you to park along Mesa Road and use the path into the park to access the school.

Also- PLEASE follow current state masking/ face covering regulations.

Oh, and if you are looking for a way to motivate you kids to Read... Sign them up for Book It! 

Drowning in Kids Artwork? Check out Artkive!

This is a long-running dilemma in the life of every parent. What to do with all of the art projects the kids make at school, camp, or even at home? If you save them all, you’ll have a Hoarders-esque situation in a few years, especially if you have multiple kids.

I learned about Artkive last night and I had to share. I know there are many of you in this spot, And Artkive looks like a great solution.

Preserve your kids’ artwork with Artkive. Fill the Artkive box with your kids artwork and receive high quality, hardcover, keepsake books. I think these books would make great gifts for relatives that don’t live close by.

I will be going through my literal BOXES of each kids art over the next few weeks and finding art to send to Artkive.

  • Send us your Kids’ Art – Fill the box we send you with art and return it to us using the prepaid UPS label provided. A second payment will be due based on how much art you send back in your Artkive Box.
  • View your Art everywhere – Artkive professionally photograph your artwork and upload it to your account. View and share your pictures on any device and edit/approve your custom proofs online.
  • Receive your book – receive a high-quality, 8.5×11 inch hardcover book.
  • Get your shipping kit for just $39.

Celebrate Día de los Niños All April Long with The San Diego County Library!

 

Día de los Niños is a celebration of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. San Diego County Library extends its celebration of Día throughout April.

At 19 parks throughout the county, you can read stories and enjoy nature at San Diego County Library Story Trails! These original stories were written and designed by library staff and we are so excited to share them with you. Choose your location, choose your Story Trail! Each site has two stories for your enjoyment. To find the park closest to you, click here.

And kids and teens 18 and under can stop by your local County Library location any time in April and pick up a Dia de los Ninos activity pack! I’m taking the kids to get theirs this week!

 

Small Changes to Make your Box Cake Mix Taste Scratch-Made!

When cake mixes were first invented most of them only required the addition of water and one or two eggs. Some early cake mixes only required the addition of water, as the cake mixes contained shortening and powdered eggs.

Nowadays most of us use cake mixes, but we long for the taste of scratch-baked cakes and pastries.

Here are a few tips to make your boxed cake mix taste a little bit more like the scratch-baked treats you remember your grandmother or mother making in your youth.

  1. If a cake mix calls for water, use milk.
  2. When the cake mix calls for vegetable oil, use softened butter. Or coconut oil (room temp).
  3. If you are using a spice cake mix, omit eggs, oil and, water and substitute a (14.5 Oz) can of pumpkin to make a tasty pumpkin spice cake.
  4. If you are watching your cholesterol, you can omit oil and eggs in a cake mix for applesauce. 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg, and an equal amount of applesauce instead of the oil. The cake will come out delicious and moist.
  5. Adding ingredients such as chocolate chips, dried fruits (I like dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and dried cherries), or chopped nuts can also make your box cake a little fancier.
  6. I love making a yellow cake mix into a coffee cake by making a streusel topping: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup room temperature butter, 1 tsp. cinnamon or pie spice to taste. After the cake batter is poured into the greased cake pan, sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the cake and bake per box directions. It makes a great coffee cake for brunch!

If you are looking for more ways to fancy up a plain boxed cake mix, check out the Cake Doctor books on Amazon!

FREE Virtual All-Inclusive READ 3X3 Literacy Event (San Diego and Imperial Counties)

 

This FREE virtual event on Saturday Sept. 12, is hosted by the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine.

Three local authors, Henry Herz, Margarita Elizondo and Cindy Jenson-Elliott, will entertain children with a virtual book reading and craft.

Each child that registers for the event will receive a free book and craft supplies, donated by the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine.

Families who register will pick up their FREE event book and craft supplies bags* through a contactless drive-by pick up. Details will be sent after registration is complete.

Sign up on Eventbrite today! Please register for the county you live in.

San Diego County: www.eventbrite.com/e/all-inclusive-read-3×3-literacy-event-san-diego-county-tickets-115791719149

Imperial County: www.eventbrite.com/e/all-inclusive-read-3×3-literacy-event-imperial-county-tickets-117657008279

*Tickets are limited.

A big thank you to our event sponsors!

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.

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!