Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Joy of Giving

Wow!! Can you believe Christmas is only a few days away!! I have been busy trying to get everything done before the big day - all of the baking and picking the perfect gifts for all of my loved ones and all the other little labours of love that make for a lovely Christmas. I especially enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards, but what a hassle it has become just to post them on time, not to mention we all have to be a lot more eco-conscious and what a waste of trees. That is why I was so happy to find this wonderful website where you can find the most amazing animated Christmas cards and other greeting cards beautifully illustrated with tasteful musical accompaniment. The cost is very reasonable and they even offer a few freebies, such as the Winter Wonderland e-card which features the music from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" You can preview all of the Christmas cards before you send them, so you can make sure to find just the right one for each of your loved ones.

Happy Parenting and a very Merry Christmas from kidsgoals.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Storybooks on your iPhone

Today we'd like to share with you something a little bit different and delightfully festive - a Christmas fairy tale brought to you by "2 Little Piggies".

Anyone with a small child will enjoy watching the little one’s face light up at this delightful fairy tale. It’s a simple storybook app, but unusually beautifully done. What a great way to keep the kids entertained and happy while waiting in the Christmas shopping queues or stuck in the snow!

A Christmas Fairy Tale tells the story of Otto, a young and handsome count with a heart of stone. Follow Otto as he meets the fairies at Fairy Well, where a magical transformation occurs…

The story app has three different modes: “Read myself”, which is a simple book format with nice sound effects; “Read to me”, which combines narrative with word highlights for beginning readers – they still control the speed of page turning, which is important; and “Auto play”, which acts more like a video slideshow for the kids to watch.

The fairy tale also provides super little interactive animations – your child can tap on a shimmering star to start a mini-animation, and gets a chance to decorate the Christmas tree in the Great Hall with all sorts of sparkly wonders.

All in all, this is an adorable little app that will bring a festive glow to children and adults alike!

Monday, December 06, 2010

How to Raise Smarter, Happier and Healthier Kids :)

Good morning all!

According to the June 2006 Time's article, you can help improve your kids grades, as well as their health and happiness by ensuring your family eats dinner together on a regular basis. According to the article, "Studies show that the more families eat together, the less likely the kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders, consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use." Wow, seems like a lot of benefits for a little nightly family togetherness. :-))

Of course you know that the dinner part or what you serve for dinner has nothing to do with the benefits, rather it is the conversations and communicating with your children that does the trick. If conversing with your younger child or teenager seems a bit alien to you, we at kidsgoals found this great way to get the ball rolling. Check out Raising Smarter Kids with PAZ Talk Cards Cassie and I are firm believers in making learning fun and these cards seem to fit the bill nicely. - "PAZ Talk Cards are designed to get your family talking in a way that everyone will enjoy. Designed to resemble 'trivia questions' from your favourite board games, each card asks a simple (yet important) question to get families talking." How cool is that!!!

Happy Parenting, :))

Monicka and Cassie

Friday, December 03, 2010

Dear all,

As parents, we know that many of our readers like to take the opportunity of Christmas to help our children learn about the importance of giving.

So we were excited by the ideas we found on this lovely website where you can create personalized Jigsaw Puzzles from your own photos .

On this site, you and the kids can upload your own pictures and design a photo jigsaw. For creative kids, you can even work with them to design a picture collage and turn that into a jigsaw. This idea makes a fantastic gift idea for grandparents and other relatives. And your children will enjoy putting a special effort in to create a truly unique gift!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas :-))

Seasons Greetings Everyone : ))

It's that time of year again - Christmas is almost upon us. My youngest is turning fourteen shortly and it makes me kind of envious of those of you who still have little ones. Enjoy this time with them, because it is very fleeting. Before you know it they will be little no longer.... sigh.

Experiencing Christmas through the eyes of our little ones is something we should never take for granted. Treasure the time you spend with them when the magic of Christmas is in the air and anything is possible. Take the time to string Christmas lights, bake lots of Christmas goodies together and get the kidlings to write their letters to the Big Guy.

Speaking of Santa, Cassie and I found this great website, "The official website of the real Santa Claus," where you can arrange to have Santa call your child. How cool is that!! Just go to the website pick the day and time and your little one will get a call from Old St. Nick, an actual phone call, not a recording. Imagine how excited they will get, when the phone rings and you tell your child Santa is on the line and wants to talk to them - what fun!!

Happy Parenting :))

Cassie and Monicka

Teaching Kids About Credit

We've talked about the importance of teaching kids about finances and money in the past, so we were interested to read this informative article:

Teaching Kids About Credit

As the author astutely points out, children are highly unlikely to learn about credit cards in school, so it is down to us as parents to teach them what they need to know - ideally well before they are old enough to get into any financial trouble.

Other resources available on the site include a free book all about how to raise credit score in order to improve your chances of obtaining a loan or other credit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Teaching Your Teen to Drive Safely

Teaching your teen to drive can be a very daunting task for most parents. Just the idea of letting your teen get behind the wheel can raise one's stress level through the roof. Even with driver education training by certified instructors, parents must be aware that their teen is also strongly influenced by what he or she observes when in the driver's seat. When you take into account that motor vehicle accidents are the primary cause of death for teens in the US – killing 5,000 young people each year - this makes it imperative that they do not pick up any of our bad driving habits.

An excellent resource for parents and teenagers who are learning to drive, which also gets a huge thumbs up from is, This website is the companion to the book “3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive” a 250 page workbook that complements the Graduated Drivers Licensing programs of North America and is full of information and tips on how to teach teenagers to be safe and responsible drivers. It is presented in a way that makes it enjoyable for teenagers, using humour, games and quizzes to learn the skills needed and easy for parents to follow. It also uses real life examples of other teens' driving experiences. The website itself has an extensive driving lessons video library, as well as other driving topics geared at teen drivers and their parents.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A very special offer from parenting expert Renee Mill

Morning all, just a quick note about a rather special offer that we came across and I know you'll be interested in. Parenting expert Renee Mill is offering a package of 11 of her "No Sweat Parenting" DVDs at a huge discount. It's a clever idea - she's discounting the price drastically - by up to 98% - depending on how many buyers are interested.

Some of the titles that particularly caught my eye included “Teaching Empathy”, “Building Resilience”, “Gaining Cooperation with Ease”, and many more valuable titles are included in the package.

We think that a lot of parents will benefit from Renee’s expert advice. She has been teaching parenting classes for many years and has helped hundreds of parents all over the world.

The link for the special offer is

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Review - "Dear Austin - A Letter to my Son"

I have just spent an enjoyable hour with this delightful book (see left) and I would have loved to have written something like this for my daughter (now 21 years old).

The book is a personal, touching letter from a father to his son Austin, as Austin leaves home to start college. Words of wisdom are shared, memories described - and beautifully illustrated - and most importantly, love expressed honestly and vividly.

A great book not only for adult children to read, but just as importantly for the parents that are left behind! "Dear Austin" is available on Amazon or from the author's website at:

Happy Parenting!

Easy to enter cooking competition

This really cool competition from "Love With Food" is very easy to enter - simply choose a photo of you or your child cooking, or alternatively a photo of a meal you've prepared. Here's the link for the competition:

The prize is an autographed cookbook, "Family Meal" by Tyler Florence. Subtitled with the great sentence "Bringing People Together Never Tasted Better", Tyler's cookbook is all about fresh, local food cooked in a simple yet delicious style. Ideal for beginners and seasons chefs alike!

The competition closes on December 5th, so be sure to enter as soon as you have found a cute or interesting photo to submit!

"Love with Food" competition

As you know, Monicka and I are keen on cooking and regularly stress the benefits of cooking with your children. Family meals are equally important, so we're delighted to bring you this competition from Love with Food for an autographed cookbook by Tyler Florence, along with a $100 restaurant coupon.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to enter your favourite Thanksgiving recipe. The winning recipe will be featured in the Love with Food newsletter as well as winning its owner the great prizes mentioned above - your chance at 5 minutes of "chef" fame!

Here's the link to enter the competition -

Good luck!!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

MomentGarden - a fun way to record and share your child's special moments

Monicka and I were asked to review a new website called "MomentGarden" and I have to say, it is an adorable site.
At MomentGarden, you can post pics and notes all about your baby or child's special moments, development, and so on, and friends and family can come and see what's happening in your child's "garden" - and can even contribute, if you want them to.
What's special about this site, for me, is that it is SO simple and easy, and has such a clear cut, fun interface. It's completely free to use, and the signup process is very, very easy. In fact, it's so easy that a toddler could probably learn to use it - now what fun that would be!

Goal setting for children

As winter draws in and Christmas approaches, it's a nice time to teach goal setting to small children. Our kids tend to have much shorter attention spans than adults, and to a small child a week can seem like a long time.

Small goals are great for small children - the idea is to get them to start setting some small, short term goals! Christmastime is a good opportunity to introduce children to goal setting and some of the things that go hand in hand with good goal practise.

For instance, you could:
  • Enlist your kids' help in organising and sending out the family Christmas cards on time - introducing the idea of deadlines with regard to goal setting.
  • Help your child plan, design and create a special hand made gift for someone special in his life - friend or relative. This introduces the joy of goal setting with the aim of doing something nice for another.
  • Teach your child how to set a savings goal for something she wants to buy for Christmas - whether for herself or a loved one.
Happy holidays and have fun with your kids! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Here's a very interesting educational tool . The "K5Stars" system is like an online homework/training centre for school kids. The difference being that it's designed to be FUN.

The premise of the system is that the basics should be mastered very very well. I think this is extremely important. Our kids will ferret out their passions and get GREAT at subjects that truly interest them, if they know the so-called "3R"s - reading, riting (LOL!) and 'rithmetic - inside out.

The huge variety of games are classified by type - such as spelling, arithmetic, fractions, and so on - as well as by recommended grade level. So it's easy to pick games to help your kid practise and strengthen the core skills he needs.

There's a free 7 day trial, and the system is well worth taking for a test drive so do head on over to this link: Educational games for kids today!

Friday, October 08, 2010

WebMD mobile iphone app helps diagnose your kids illnesses

Came across this interesting review of a nifty little iphone application - WebMD on your phone. Packed with useful info, click here to check it out!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Art from Trash

November 15th is “America Recycles Day,” and what could be a more inspiring way to reduce waste in your household than to encourage your children to recycle trash materials and objects into art?

Plenty of modern and contemporary artists use unusual materials and objects in their art creations. You’ll find all kinds of scrap materials and useful objects that can be reused in art projects, if you look around your house. Junk mail, kitchen containers, scraps of gift-wrap or wallpaper, old magazines, and all kinds of other objects will come in useful.

Artist’s Principles

As an artist, your materials should be treated with respect. Save scrap materials in large boxes, making sure they are clean and dry before storing. In the same way that you would respect and value materials that you bought from an art store, you should value the scrap materials and trash objects that you are going to incorporate into your art.

When you work with any materials, including trash, keep your art creativity environment clean and tidy. Wash your tools when needed, and have a good supply of paper towels for cleaning up as you work.

Creativity can be just as much about discovering new and different ways to use and incorporate novel materials into your art as about the end result. Encourage your child to enjoy the process of making his or her artistic creations. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to make art, and while your child may enjoy following instructions in order to create something designed by someone else, encourage out-of-the-box thinking and teach your child to value his own ideas as much as any ideas he finds in a book or on a website.

Creating Art Collages

Incorporating collage techniques into art paintings is a great introduction for young children to the idea of using different materials. Most children are familiar with drawing using crayons, and painting with poster paints, and creating art collages is a wonderful new approach that can build on your child’s existing experience.

Your child will be in good company when using art collage techniques! Early users of modern art collage in paintings included Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Braque started by pasting pieces of rough wallpaper onto his charcoal drawings, and Picasso incorporated oilcloth and other fabrics into his paintings. Picasso also produced a series of musical artworks using music sheet paper, cloth, newspaper, and other scraps, often cut into the shapes of musical instruments.

Why not introduce your child to Picasso’s art in the form of his music collage art paintings, provide some large pieces of cardboard, glue, paints, and scraps of material, and see where your child’s artist inspiration takes him?

Make Your Own Art Prints

Polystyrene is used as packaging for all kinds of products, particularly foodstuffs, and can be used in art projects to make prints – a much more creative and positive use than sending it straight to the landfill site.

A really simple way to start out printing with kids is to make art stamps using old Styrofoam trays. You’ll need:

• Old Styrofoam trays (if you use ones that were used in raw meat packaging, be sure to wash them carefully with soap and hot water)
• Large plastic bottle caps – the bigger the better
• Glue
• Paintbrush or roller
• Sharp scissors
• Water-based inks or thick poster paints
• Pencil
• Paper

Cut circles out of Styrofoam to fit onto the tops of the bottle caps, then stick the circles onto the caps and allow to dry.

Use the pencil to create a drawing or pattern on the Styrofoam. Press firmly, as you need to make the grooves quite deep.

Carefully coat the stamp sparingly with your chosen ink or paint, using a brush or roller. The idea is for the ink to cover the flat part of the stamp without going into the grooves that make up your pattern.

Press the stamp firmly onto the paper and see your printed art pattern!

An Art Hobby for Your Child?

Once you have introduced your children to the idea of using trash for art, you may well find that they are inspired to continue with new and more ambitious art projects. To help them on their artistic road, here are some final tips:

• Provide your child with a space to work. A large desk in a quiet part of the house is ideal. The kitchen table may be your only option, but if at all possible, a dedicated place where your child can leave his tools and materials easily accessible is the best option.

• Save plenty of boxes and other containers for storing art materials and scraps.

• Encourage your child to think of new and interesting ways to incorporate trash and scraps into his art, paintings, collages, and craft projects.

• Always praise your child’s efforts and remember that it is the enjoyment of the process that is the most important part of art!