Thursday, July 31, 2014

JOHNSON’S® Baby Products are Now Safer for Your Baby

Johnson Baby's Improved Formula

As an educator, I focus on products, materials, and services that help children learn from the time they are born until the time they go off to college. But I also feel it's important to provide parents with the knowledge they need to keep their kids growing safe and strong. So many of you are raising more than one child. And some of you have babies. For these reasons, I wanted to be sure and share with you something you can feel good about!

When my daughter was born, I was amazed at the surge of protectiveness I felt for her. I wanted her to grow up strong, health, happy, and free to follow her own interests and passions without any health problems. And I still do. I was careful about which foods she ate, avoided chemical-filled products as best as I could, and looked for those that were made with natural ingredients. All these feelings were strengthened with the birth of my son. It's part of the reason why we choose to live in the country, away from the smog and toxins that come with living in a large city. But we were lucky to have that option. Not everyone does. While we may not all have a choice in where we live, we do have a choice when it comes to what we give, put on, and feed our kids.

I really love when brands and companies take the time to listen to their customers - especially when it comes to improving their products and making us feel safer about using them. So I was really moved by the video below and the knowledge that JOHNSON’S® Baby is improving their baby products by removing formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and reduce traces of 1,4 dioxane from all of their baby products, everywhere around the world. Their change in formulas also includes the removal of parabens. Research has shown that 99% of breast cancer tumors show traces of parabens. So I really have to applaud Johnson's for listening to moms like us and removing it and other controversial ingredients from their products for babies. The upgraded products include:
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby HEAD-TO-TOE® Wash
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo & Conditioner for Thick and Curly Hair
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo & Conditioner for Thin and Straight Hair
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo with Calming Lavender
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Soothing Vapor Baby Bath
I want more companies to care about our kids. How about you?



This is part of a sponsored collaboration with the Motherhood. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Arriba, abajo y alrededor


This post uses affiliate links.

by Katherine Ayres

Do your children know where carrots come from? How about corn? Whether or not your family grows a garden, there's a lovely little book out by Candlewick Press that is perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners. Completely in Spanish (there is an English version), this lively book introduces the joy of gardening to your child while demonstrating the meaning of the three words in the title. I love that you can use this book not only as a read aloud or for beginning readers, but also as a science text.
Los pimientos crecen hacía arriba.Las papas crecen hacía abajo.Y alrededor, las calabazas se enredan, se enredan y se enredan.  
The watercolor illustrations are fun and happy, engaging for any child. There's a lot to see on every page; your child will have fun finding all the animals in the garden.

But it isn't just for younger students. I'm using it this year as part of my daughter's Spanish curriculum. She's been enjoying going through books in Spanish and learning the words and meanings. Then she uses the vocabulary to create a new story.

So I recommend this great picture book for your Spanish speaker -- or learner!


Monday, July 28, 2014

3 Ways to Help the Border Kids


I've been thinking about ways my family can help the migrant children who are in various holding facilities in Texas. I know these kids are being moved to states across the country while they await their court proceedings, but my ties to Texas run deep being a Texas girl myself. My daughter and I have been talking about what types of things we can do to help make their situation a little bit better. Here are three things our family is doing - and so can yours.

1) Buy books in Spanish

Most of these children can't speak or read English. The bookstore in our area didn't really have the best selection of books in Spanish, but they did have the quantities we were looking for at the price we could afford. So for this first trip, we were able to purchase 30 books geared mostly for younger children. I would recommend that if you want to buy a lot of books for your money, you try discount or used bookstores. We went to our local Ollie's store, but you could also try Half Price Books if you have one in your state, and other similar bookshops. We've already boxed our books up, but haven't shipped yet because we're waiting on...


2) Design your own activity booklets

My daughter is working on creating "How to Draw" booklets. Not only is it a project that helps others, but it also helps her practice her Spanish and drawing skills, too! She chose to create a booklet that teaches others how to draw because she says the books can be used over and over again. But your children could also create coloring books, word finds, crosswords, and more.

3) Find or make games that are not language based

It's hard to think of games that aren't language based, but there's actually a lot. Here's a list of activities, art/craft supplies, and games kids who speak any language can enjoy. Make the effort even more personal when you and/or your kids make your own.
NOTE: I've linked to Amazon to help you with ideas or to see the type of games I recommend, but none of these links are affiliate links. If you are more comfortable, you can just enter any of these keywords in the Amazon site to find matching products.

I'm sure there are a lot more things I've missed. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. 

And once you've assembled your items, you can find a list of charities serving the children here on the Border Kids Relief Project website.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Design Your Own Constellation Book Tutorial



Time for a new summertime activity: A DIY Glow-in-the-Dark Constellation Book!

My kids have been staying up later than usual these days. Summer has a way of doing that to a person, I guess. As the sunset happens later, it's harder to wind ourselves down and drift off to sleep. And of course if it is too hot to spend time outside during the day, then the warm summer nights lure us outside with their cooler temperatures.

A few weeks ago, I posted this DIY Constellation Centerpiece on PBS Parents' Adventures in Learning website. The idea for the centerpiece originated with my kids' idea for a Glow-in-the-Dark Constellation Book.

The great thing about the book, is that you can add to it all summer long - and even year round. Each page features a different constellation that they’ve seen in the sky, or that they hope to see this summer. It’s fun, easy, and the constellations on each page even glow in the dark!

And you can create it in ANY language.

So grab your star books, get out those flashlights, and head outside to explore the night sky.

Things You’ll Need:


  • a few sheets of black construction paper
  • glow-in-the-dark paint
  • chalk
  • brads
  • hole punch
  • picture of yourself/your child (optional)
  • kids’ constellation books (optional)

Get Started!

First, take two or three sheets of black construction paper and fold them in half to make a little booklet.


Next, decorate the cover. The word “constellation” was a little long for my son, so he prefered to title his booklet “My Book of Stars.” My kids also added a picture of themselves looking up at the stars so they could easily tell their books apart.


Now it’s time to draw your constellations. We picked up a couple of books about them at our local library. Just pick out your favorite constellations and reproduce them on the pages of your booklet using the chalk first and then highlight the stars with your glow-in-the-dark paint. The tube comes with a thin nozzle to make writing and drawing easy to do. But if you prefer to use a paintbrush, go ahead, just make sure you paint it on pretty thick. Be sure to let your paint dry before you turn the pages over or they might stick together. Don’t forget to label each group of stars!


And if you make a mistake - no problem! The chalk erases easily with an eraser (or even just your finger rubbing back and forth across it).


Then bind your book together. We simply punched holes in the spine and then threaded some handy-dandy brads (in the shape of stars!) through each one.


Finally, take your book outside with you after dark and see if you can find the constellations that are in your book, up in the sky! To help your booklet stars glow, take a flashlight with you and shine it on the pages for about 30 seconds to “charge up” the paint.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Raise Kind Boys: 5 Simple Tips


Living away from loved ones isn't easy! My boys only see our extended family a few times a year. During visits, they are usually polite, have good manners and behave appropriately. Nevertheless, I have asked teachers if my older sons are kind in school. I also pray and hope that they grow up to be nice guys. Kindness matters and unfortunately, we are living in a world where boys grow up hearing that they should "man up," always be aggressive, competitive, and strong. A lot of times we see young men who forget to hold the door for someone and some that are incredibly rude while socializing.

All children learn a huge proportion of appropriate behavior from their environment. Parents modeling kindness is key (than means no gossiping in front of the boys too!). We do have to be realistic though--no parent or teacher is perfect. We can focus and try to do these 5 simple things to help raise kind boys:

1) Let boys express their emotions. Yes, boys do cry. Boys also feel and can learn to read other people's emotions and reactions, too. Discussing literature or movies with boys and asking them questions about how they think a character might be feeling is a great way to start these types of conversations.

2) Have them take responsibility for their actions. They say boys will be boys. True. Nevertheless, if boys break things, bump someone too hard, or behave very disruptive in class, they should be aware of it. Boys should be taught to understand that if property was damaged, if someone was hurt or upset, they can make amends. Of course, boys can continue to be boys! How awesome will it be when they evolve into gentlemen as well?

3) Girls are special too. Boys are awesome but girls are amazing as well. We need to teach boys that girls are presidents and fantastic athletes: both smart and strong. Parents should avoid using phrases to their sons that belittle or are demeaning to the opposite sex. Moms can play a huge role here by expressing how she feels when boys say things like, "You run like a girl!"

4) Tell them to be kind. And then tell them again and again... "Be nice to the doggie." "Be gentle with Grandma." "Be kind to your friends."

5) Show them lots of love. I vow to continue to kiss my boys on the cheek and forehead even when they are embarrassed by me! I promise to cuddle as much as possible, to play their favorite games, and show them respect. I understand that although I may not be so kind all the time, I am conscious and sorry. We are all human just trying our very best!

If you have any more tips, please share in the comments below!

Image: Instagram @myfriendbetty 






Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Monday, July 21, 2014

Using Broken Devices to Nurture Your Child's STEM Interest



STOP! Don't throw that broken toaster in the trash! Don't discard that old radio that has stopped working!

Instead, save them for your kids.

A few weeks ago, someone (the kids) lost the remote to our last DVD player, which was a super basic model that I bought because it was the cheapest available at my local store. On the front was PLAY, STOP and EJECT. So to pause, rewind, or fast forward you needed the remote. And I only bought that one because the DVD player in our original DVD/VCR combo had stopped working. But we still have quite a few movies on VHS, so I kept the broken device.

The point of all this is that our entertainment center was a crowded mess. And after losing the remote, I finally had enough. So...

Last week, I bought a new DVD/VCR combo. On Tuesday, I unhooked the ghastly tangle of wires and cords that connected all of my old devices to the TV, and finally figured out how to hook up the new player. I was about to throw out the old devices when inspiration struck. I looked at my kids who were tired of reading and complaining about being bored and begging to watch a movie. Instead, I gave them the old DVD/VCR combo and told them to enjoy.

They were ecstatic.


Next thing I knew they were scrambling for screwdrivers, headlamps, sorting containers, and tweezers. Then they spent the next couple of hours taking it apart.


I love that my daughter pulled out her Inventor's Diary so she could take notes.


She even grabbed her camera to take pictures.


So next time you have something break, don't throw it out!

Give it to your kids instead.

CAUTION: Remember, that these device have tiny pieces that pose a choke hazzard, so they are not for small children to play with. My kids are 8 and 10, so I would recommend that only older children be allowed to explore the inner workings of small appliances. Make sure none of them have sharp parts and that they are NOT plugged in before your child begins to take it apart.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Understanding the Child Migrant Crisis



I've been so disturbed lately reading the hateful rhetoric about the 50K children who have crossed the Texas border in the last year or more. It appears to me that people are confusing two very different and separate situations: the immigration issue and the unaccompanied minors crisis.

If you don't know much about the children who are crossing from Mexico into Texas, here are the facts:
  • More than 52,000 children have been caught crossing the U.S. border alone since October (that's more than double last year's number).
  • The majority of these children are from three Central American countries: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Mexico, Ecuador, and other countries together make up less than a quarter of the remainder. 
  • The world recognizes these three countries as being in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.
  • Over the last several years, a citizen was more likely to be killed in one of these countries, than to be killed in Iraq at the height of its insurgency.
  • The highest number of children come from Honduras, which currently leads the world with the highest homicide rate.
  • 3/4 of the minors are boys, but in the last year the number of girls and younger children has dramatically increased.
  • Most of these kids are crossing the Texas/Mexico border.
  • The US is not the only country to which they are fleeing. The surrounding Central American countries such as Costa Rica and Nicaragua are also experiencing the mass migration of children across their borders.

The immigration issue deals with people coming to this country for better economic opportunities.

The unaccompanied children coming to this country are fleeing for their lives, not to find a job. 

Organizations and facilities along the border and now across the country are overwhelmed with the responsibility of housing these children until they get a hearing. They need help with basic supplies and services.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of whether or not they should stay or go, I hope that we can all agree that while they are in holding facilities, these children should be treated with compassion and respect.

So I am happy to be a partner with several other great groups including the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Speak Hispanic, Family is Familia, and other partner organizations to help direct individuals and families who would like to help to those organizations directly working with the children. Many are accepting item and monetary donations, as well as volunteers such as interpreters and lawyers to help these children navigate the legal system. You can find all this and more by visiting our website: BorderKidsRelief.org.

Please note that we are not accepting monetary donations ourselves. We are directing you to the facilities and organizations who are in need.

All of the children who are detained are placed in detention centers and "temporary shelters." They are screened by the Department of Health and Human Services and given immunizations if needed. Upon leaving the shelters, the children are placed with relatives or foster families/sponsors. Several organizations are desperately looking for foster families for these children because they need to make room for more children arriving.

If you or your community or your church or your child's troop/club is looking to support through monetary or item donations, please check out the organizations listed on our site under "Get Involved." Many are accepting Shoe Box Donations with basic toiletry items.

And if you know of an organization working with these children, you can recommend it be added to the site.

Below is a GREAT video from vox.com that explains in two minutes the child migration crisis. I encourage you to watch if you can.

Thanks for your compassion.


Make Summer Learning Easy with PBS KIDS


I have a confession: This time, I don't want summer to end. Usually, every year right about now the kids have me going nuts. But this year, they've been staying busy with summer reading, a couple of classes, learning Spanish(!), and a LOT of games and activities from PBS KIDS.

In fact, this week we had a Summer Learning Swim party with all our friends. But just because they're splashing in the pool doesn't mean they don't have learning opportunities! Actually, we took advantage of all that water and had the kids build their own penny boats. Before we knew it, all the other kids at the pool were joining in the fun. And it's cheap! All you need is a roll of aluminum foil and some pennies. That one little activity kept the kids busy for ages. But what I especially loved was seeing the older kids helping the younger ones.


The penny boat activity is just one of the great ideas you can find from CAMP PBS Parents. Every week, parent bloggers like myself share educational activities, crafts, experiments and other resources for you to explore with your kids. You'll find fun ways to boost your child's math, science, and literacy skills over the summer - and throughout the year!

PBS has many other awesome resources for parents, including:
And so much more. Take a look at their new summer learning website with daily learning tips, extended learning ideas and recommended games and activities now through August 22nd.
Happy summer!

Disclosure: I was sent a Summer Learning Party Kit from PBS KIDS with ideas to share with you. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Early Learning with Mis Primeras Mañanitas by Fisher-Price®



This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Fisher-Price® and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

The early years of your child’s life are some of the most critical ones for their physical, emotional, mental and social development. I’ve talked before about how the amount of interaction they have with family and friends boosts their language development skills, but this is just one small area of their social and mental development. You can help nurture their overall development in other areas using specific tools, products, and activities that challenge them both mentally and physically. And by doing so, you’ll be helping prepare your child for the start of school so that they will begin ready to learn.

That’s why I was delighted to learn about the new Mis Primeras Mañanitas campaign by Fisher-Price®. The first of its kind, this program is specifically dedicated to Latino families and focuses on a key milestone moment in your child’s life: his or her first birthday. I absolutely love the name of this campaign because ever since I can remember, my Mami and ‘Buelita have sung me this song on my birthday. It’s been a family tradition to sing this whenever anyone (especially children and young girls) celebrates their cumpleaños. Not a birthday passed when I was little that they didn’t sing me this song, and even to this day, they call me on the phone on my birthday and sing me Las Mañanitas. (My mother rarely makes it through the whole song before bursting into tears, but that’s another story.)

When my own children were little, it was hard to find - and afford! - products and toys to help engage their young minds. I didn’t really know which products were good, or how to find them. But now there’s help for parents!





If your family would like a chance to win toys that help develop your baby’s skills, then be sure to enter the Mis Primeras Mañanitas Sweepstakes! You could win a Birthday Prize Pack with everything you need to throw a memorable first birthday party. Sweepstakes winners will win party invitations, favors and decorations, a customized piñata, and a customized birthday cake. Winners will ALSO get a bundle of TWELVE (12!!) Fisher-Price® toys, such as:
In addition to giving away awesome products, the Mis Primeras Mañanitas website is a wonderful resource where mamis like you can find unique and creative ideas for your baby’s first birthday party. Moms, you’ll be delighted with all the decorating, recipe, and gift ideas to help make your bebé’s first birthday memorable. Your baby will only be one once, so it is great to have one place where you can go to get lots of tips and ideas!


THE GIVEAWAY


The wonderful gente over at Fisher-Price® have also generously offered to give one MommyMaestra reader a Fisher-Price® Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car! This is not one of the products included in the sweepstakes, so it is a special treat just for you!

To enter the giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter below.

What better way to celebrate your nene’s first birthday than with educational toys that help him or her learn and grow?

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Homeschool Mom Must-Have: The Sony QX10

This is a sponsored post.

As a homeschooling mami, I have a lot of roles. I'm a teacher, cafeteria worker, coach, bus (van) driver, and even the yearbook photographer. The latter job requires me taking a LOT of pictures to document our school year and their unique learning experiences, which I later layout in a yearbook.

So one of my most valued tools is my camera. I've had a dSLR camera ever since I can remember. But it has always been a difficult beast because it's so big and requires me to use a camera bag to tote around. After I got a smartphone, I started using that one a lot more. The pictures were great, but maybe not quite as great as my dSLR.

And then the Sony QX10 entered my life.

Wow! I love this little camera. Mamas, this little lens-style camera attaches to most iOS and Android phones. I used it with my Samsung Galaxy. It just slides right onto the phone and then works with the PlayMemories Mobile app.

I just turn on the camera and run the app and I can then take the most amazing pictures. You can use the screen to zoom in or out and snap the picture, or you can use the buttons on the camera attachment itself. (See picture at the bottom of this post) Oh, and the zoom! It is unbelievable. I decided to take a picture outside my dirty kitchen window of a beautiful Summer Tanager bathing in the birdbath in my hummingbird garden, and I couldn't believe how sharp the picture came out! This is not only zoomed 20 feet or more, but cropped and enlarged. Isn't that crazy?


And you know what? You don't even have to attach the camera to your phone! If you are trying to take a photo of something in a hard-to-reach place, you can just start the camera and the app by waving the phone over the camera and it turns on. Then you simply place the camera wherever you want and snap the picture using your phone. Maybe you want to take a pic of your kids riding a mechanical bull (I did this weekend) but there is someone standing in front of you. No problem! Just turn on your camera & app, then raise the camera above your head while looking down at your smartphone screen, from which you can control the lens and snap the picture.

The images I love stay stored in my phone's gallery, too And I can also email them to myself, or share them via social media.

I thought the Samsung phone took great pictures, but they don't compare to the ones taken by the QX10. The colors are vivid and sharp, even in low light. I actually prefer to use this camera inside when low-light conditions exist so that I can get the best picture without washing the colors out with a flash. (See my Instagram acct for examples.) The Optical SteadyShot helps reduce blur from unsteady hands and low light situations. In fact, it is because of this camera that I finally opened an Instagram account. I couldn't resist storing and sharing pictures on the spur of the moment.

Everywhere I go, people are asking me about this camera. They've never seen anything like it and knowing it attaches to your smartphone seems to intrigue them.

So if you are considering a new camera to help you document all of your homeschooling adventures - from science experiments to field trips - and you want a step up from a point-and-shoot without the bulk of a dSLR, then THIS is totally worth considering.

If you need a little more motivation, check out this video, and this one featuring their Quick Start Guide.

You can read more about this awesome little camera here on Best Buy's website. It's currently on sale for $199.99 (you save $50), plus you get free shipping!




Disclosure: I'm a Best Buy brand ambassador and received the Sony QX10 for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If I don't like a product, I won't write a review to promote it. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Free Preschool Printables about Mammals...in Spanish



This month's freebie from our sponsor, Monarca Language, teaches children a little science as they learn about mammals. 

The first printable is a set of Fact Cards about four different mammals. On the second printable, children read the sentence and match it with the correct picture. All of the illustrations are adorable!



And if your family enjoys these printables, check out these fun books in Spanish. (All the links are affiliate links.)


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading to Baby



A few days ago, I found it odd that by 7am my two year old had not called out for me. I peeked into his room and found him "reading" in his crib. He was flipping pages and pointing at the pictures just like I do when I read to him and his brothers. I remember relaxing and thinking, "Perfect! That makes 3 life-long readers."

How early can parents help turn children into strong readers? I started my three boys at birth and already know that at age 7, 3 1/2, and 2, they will enjoy reading their whole lives! Not only will they read for pleasure but it will help them immensely with other subjects throughout their academic years.

Reading to babies is super important, as well as having babies handle, play, and chew on books (board books are the best!).

Here are 5 reasons why you should start reading to your baby now: 

1) Listening skills are developed early. Babies love the sound of mami or daddy's voice, especially when it changes from high pitched to low. My boys love my barking voice when reading about dogs! They enjoy the pattern and rhythm of a story and the sounds every single thing seems to have.

2) Language skills are developed early. The more we read and talk to babies, the faster they will start to express themselves verbally. Books also help us start different conversations and themes that normally wouldn't come up in a regular day. Keep in mind that sounds that build vocabulary are learned in the first year! 

3) Reading is great for baby's memory. My two year old can already finish a few sentences from "Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom." When I read, "Will there be enough room?" Jordi answers, "NO!" He's right! Two-year-old children will memorize quickly and that means they are strengthening their little brain muscles. If baby wants you to read the same book over and over again, please do! Repetition is brilliant!

4) They learn about the world around them. Where did the car go? What color is the sky? Who is this fish? Let's count in Spanish... Babies start to understand that books speak the truth. They understand that there is something happening in books just like in our real lives. Jordi points at a sad face in his book and knows that the character is feeling something.  There is more to numbers, letters, shapes, and animals in board books. We can teach babies about feelings, places, and experiences! 

5) Reading becomes the norm.  Read to your baby now and see that as they get older (and see you do it too!) that they will always turn to books for enjoyment. It's never too late to start making it a daily routine. The best part of reading together every single day? Snuggles and love!






Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over





Monday, July 7, 2014

The MKB One World Futbol Giveaway

Help Donate a Soccer Ball to Kids #MKBWorldCup
© Monkey Business - Fotolia.com

Yesterday on my Facebook page, I told you that I'd be participating in a wonderful project this week and I asked you for suggestions for a school or youth program that helps low-income or at-risk children through sports. You gave me lots of wonderful suggestions and I also told you that I would be announcing the project today on MommyMaestra.

With the big soccer championships that have been going on the last few weeks, I'm excited to announce that I'm supporting One World Futbol in their mission to bring the healing power of play to youth worldwide through their nearly indestructible soccer/football. The One World Futbol never needs a pump and never goes flat—even when punctured multiple times—due to its ingenious technology. But what I truly love about their model is for every ball purchased, they donate one to organizations working with youth in disadvantaged communities worldwide.


Our Giveaway

Follow along by using the hashtag #MKBWorldCup!

I have a special giveaway planned during these soccer championships with Multicultural Kid Blogs and One World Futbol. It's unlike a usual giveaway as this time you, our readers, are using your collective power to vote to give the ball away to a community in need! I need your help so I can donate one of the One World Futbols (generously supplied by One World Futbol).

Some of you shared on my FB page or via private message some wonderful programs across the country that help at-risk children. The decision was difficult, but I've chosen Kids in the Game (thanks for the recommendation, Tara Crean!). Also known as KinG, it is a provider of youth sports programs in the New York City area, covering afterschool, recess, and physical education programs, as well as specialized camps and clinics.

But here's the thing -- there are nine blogs participating in this contest, and One World Futbol will donate balls to the three blogs that get the most shares on their posts.

So I need your help--please use the social share buttons located below and SHARE this post on Twitter, Facebook, G+, and Pinterest and contribute your power, your vote to help me donate this One World Futbol. Each share made directly from this post is tallied as a vote. And whoever get the most votes, donates the ball! Let's show how strong our voices are with our votes. You can share using the buttons with counters at the bottom of this post. The counters even tell you how many shares this post has had so far, so you can keep track if you want to.

I have until midnight ET on Sunday, July 13, to get as many shares as I can on this post. (The tally will be made based on the number on the social share buttons at the end of this post). So let's start now!

According to their website, Kids in the Game uses professionally trained coaches that have broad and diverse backgrounds in the field of physical education and athletics. Their staff includes current and former college coaches and athletes, as well as graduates with strong backgrounds in health and fitness education. Their goal is to teach all kids the importance of health and fitness as a way of life, and have designed programs for general studies, special needs, and sport-specific groups. I chose this organization because it was recommended by a reader and was told that it can impact Spanish-dominant neighborhoods.

Feel free to use #MKBWorldCup when you share!

And don't forget to visit Multicultural Kid Blogs to help them "unlock" an additional two One World Futbols to donate!

One World Futbol

One World Futbol Project is a B-corporation based in Berkeley, CA and was founded by Tim Jahnigen, the inventor of the One World Futbol. One World Futbol was inspired by refugee youth in Darfur, who had such indestructible spirits - and love for football! - despite their hardships. Tim Jahnigen wanted to give them something more, so he invented a soccer ball that would never need a pump and would never go flat, even when punctured multiple times. One World Futbol Project and its virtually indestructible ball have now reached 160 countries and continue to bring the healing power of play to youth worldwide. The Buy One Donate One model makes it easy for consumers to donate these amazing One World Futbols to needy communities.

Here is more on their work in one community in Brazil:


Participating Blogs

The following member blogs are participating in this contest. Visit them to see which organizations they have chosen. Remember, sharing is caring! The three blogs with the most social shares (as shown on the share counters on their blog posts) will get to donate a football to the qualified organization they have chosen!


Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. I'm a MKB member and have chosen to participate in this campaign because I love the message and the opportunity it provides for our children. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mami Time Saver: HP Instant Ink Available at Best Buy

This is a sponsored post.

This is part of my Mami Time Savers series.

One of the most frequent expenses I've faced as a homeschooling mom has been ink for my printer. If you are a homeschooler, I know you can sympathize. I don't have the space or the money to invest in a big, industrial printer that uses giant ink cartridges. I really prefer a desktop printer and have always preferred HPs. And because I'm big on saving SPACE (as well as time!), 3-in-one or 4-in-one printers are best in my opinion. I like that I can copy, print, scan, and/or fax from one device. 

So when I had the chance to review the HP Envy 5530 AND the HP Instant Ink Service, I agreed.

Let me tell you: It is life changing for me! First, let's talk about the printer.

The HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One Printer


This is one of technology's greatest inventions for educators and parents. A wireless printer, the HP Envy can be accessed from ANY digital device. You can print from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC. 

You don't even have to be at home! 

If you're at the library and take a photo of your kids enjoying the summer reading program, all you have to do is snap a photo and then hit print. If your printer is on at home and has wireless access, then when you get home your photo will be printed and ready to go!

Setting it up is super easy and only takes a couple of minutes. I LOVE that it prints both sides of the paper at the same time! It's not slow, either, but fast a quiet. I'm used to desktop printers that are noisy, especially when scanning. But this printer is so quiet, I thought it wasn't working when I was standing next to it waiting for it to scan a document. Only to see the screen say that the scan had already been sent to my email. Whaa?? I thought. Sure enough, my email had a scanned pdf file waiting for me.

The other thing that I have been searching for FOREVER is a borderless printing printer. Ta-da! This is it. And it prints photos beautifully! 


There are a lot of perks to owning this printer, too. When you sign up on the HP Connected website, you gain access to a LOT of free printables from brands like Highlights, Crayola, Disney, DreamWorks, Education.com, LeapFrog, and many others. You can also print recipes, calendars, puzzles, greeting cards and much, much more. And it is all FREE!

The site even keeps a log of all the files you've sent to your printer over the last month. You can print up a report if you want to keep track. 

And lastly, the site gives you access to...

HP Instant Ink Replacement Service


You will NEVER run out of ink again! This service is a goldmine. Your printer tracks your ink usage and when you get low, it notifies HP who sends you more ink in the mail.

You just select your plan...



... and ink, shipping, and recycling cartridges are included! Yes, they even provide postage-paid shipping materials to return used cartridges. HP Planet Partners will recycle them as part of your service. 

Color and black-and-white copies are the same. The monthly plans are based on the number of pages printed, not the number of cartridges you use so you can print as many high quality photos as you want. There's no annual fee and you can cancel at any time. (Psst! If you sign up now, you can get a free month of service.) Billing and service start after you insert you first HP Instant Ink cartridge.

PLUS the ink cartridges come with more ink than the ones you buy in the store (each one prints more than 500 pages), so you save a lot more moolah! I did the math. Last year I spent almost $200 in ink. If I had been on the $4.99 plan, I would have only spent $60 for the whole year! 

So, if you are like me and homeschool your kids and spend a small fortune on ink printing up worksheets, activity sheets, images, pictures, and pages out of books so you can resell them later, then THIS is definitely worth considering.

Do you have a cloud printer? Do you love it as much as I do?

Disclosure: I'm a Best Buy ambassador and received this product for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions, though, are strictly my own. If I don't like a product, I simply refuse to write about it and won't think twice about returning it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Free Spanish Word Lists for Segmentation



July's free download from our sponsor, Lectura para niños is a pair of read-aloud worksheets that celebrate the 100th Day of School! Teachers, be sure to download this and save it for next year. Page one lists 100 easy syllables in Spanish, and 100 difficult syllables in Spanish for kids to master. Page two lists 100 words in Spanish for your students to read aloud.

Leah says:

This is a huge list of words to practice segmenting with your students. I use this daily with my kids when we practice segmenting words into syllables and or into sounds. I used to always use the same words over and over until I came up with this list. I’ve divided it into parts. At the beginning of the year, we start segmenting words into syllables only. When we segment into syllables, I tell the kids to touch their head for the first syllable, then their shoulders, hips, knees, toes, and back up their bodies if it is a longer word. By mid-year, their favorite word to segment is espantapajaros. It is so fun, they keep asking to segment the word slow, then fast!

The word categories are broken up into:

1) Words with open syllables
2) Words with closed syllables and blends
3) Words with diphthongs
4) Words with hiatus

This list has been helpful for my paras who come in and teach small group reading as well as subs who don’t have a strong foundation of segmenting words in Spanish.

Once the students have mastered segmenting words into syllables, I start segmenting syllables into sounds, and finally words into sounds. We are required to segment on one of our state assessments.



For more awesome Spanish materials, especially those that teach children to read in Spanish, check out Lectura para niños on FacebookTeachers Pay TeachersBlog, and Pinterest.

Don't miss this weekend's Bilingual Blog Hop!

This weekend there is also a HUGE BILINGUAL BLOG HOP for bilingual teachers, moms, and homeschooling families! The Hop will be from July 4-6.

Click here to learn more.

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