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Sesame Street Curriculum Gets Preschool Kids Ready for School

For 50 years and counting, Sesame Street has nurtured young minds with its iconic television show, books, games, and more – all built on a research-based curriculum that addresses the unique needs of developing preschoolers. Now, for the first time in the show’s 50-year history, that curriculum is available as a comprehensive and approachable guide for parents.

With Ready for School!, Sesame Workshop’s Dr. Rosemarie Truglio helps parents of children aged 2-5 foster the school readiness skills that have made Sesame Street the most trusted name in educational media – not just ABCs and 123s, but the curiosity and resilience that helps kids thrive in school and beyond.

Each of the book’s eight chapters focuses on a key area:
• Language
• Literacy
• Math
• Science
• Logic & Reasoning
• Social & Emotional Development
• Healthy Habits
• The Arts

Written with busy families in mind, Ready for School! A Parent's Guide to Playful Learning for Children Ages 2 to 5 illustrates how parents are central to school readiness – and how opportunities for learning are everywhere. This helpful guide offers dozens of “Play & Learn” activities to help make the most of playtime, showing how playful learning can happen at the kitchen table, on the bus, in the park, or in the preschool classroom. Packed with tips and recommendations, easy-to-use charts that let parents mark their children’s milestones to ease the important job of preparing children for a life of learning.

Author Rosemarie T. Truglio, Ph.D. has been a vital presence at Sesame Workshop for more than two decades shaping the content our children see and learn from the show and live experiences. She is the Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop.

I've had the pleasure of meeting the author Dr. Rosemarie a couple of times. Most recently, during Social Media on the Sand at Beaches Resorts, which has Camp Sesame and other Sesame Street programming. I just wish I had her book when my twins were in Pre-K. They might be older now, but we still made and use this glitter jar that she recommended when they are upset.

Make Your Own Glitter Jar to Discuss Feelings and End Meltdowns

DIY Glitter Jar to Discuss Feelings - Sesame Street - Indoor Craft Activity for Preschoolers

Got a monster meltdown? We'll let you in on a secret: a glitter jar will turn a frown upside down in no time.

Rosemarie discussed how children often do not know yet how to control their emotions at this age and suggests building a glitter jar to talk to them about how they are feeling. That way, when they are having a meltdown, you can swirl the jar and say how you understand their feelings are swirling around like this, but to take big breaths as the glitter settles and hopefully, they will too.

These are the ingredients you'll need to help you handle an upset Lil monster like a pro.

  • A clear plastic jar or bottle with lid
  • Water
  • Glitter glue
  • Glitter, any color
DIY Glitter Jar Instructions: 
  1. Fill your jar or bottle 3/4 of the way full with water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of glitter glue for each cup of water.
  3. Add glitter until it is 1/2 inch deep.
  4. Gently fill your jar the rest of the way with water.
  5. Use all of your might and muscle to twist the lid on tight.
  6. Shake your glittery concoction and prepare to be dazzled into calm as it s-l-o-w-l-y settles down.
DIY Glitter Jar

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ONWARD Arriving Early On Digital & Disney+ AND Activity Pages

Did you hear? With cinemas currently impacted by closures due to the global health crisis, The Walt Disney Studios will offer Disney and Pixar’s ONWARD ahead of schedule and from the convenience of your home or mobile device. 

You can NOW purchase or rent the film digitally and on Movies Anywhere or stream on Disney+ on April 3, 2020 in the U.S.

The new film premiered in theaters on March 6th and earned rave reviews from audiences, including a 95% Verified Audience Score on RottenTomatoes.

In ONWARD, teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad, embarking on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere. Like any good quest, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, impossible obstacles and unimaginable discoveries. But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus) realizes her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer) – and heads off to find them. Perilous curses aside, this one magical day could mean more than any of them ever dreamed.

Since most of us are likely stuck at-home you can still make it a movie experience by popping some popcorn and watching together as a family. If you have Disney Plus, set your calendar for Friday, April 3 and make it a movie night premier.

Disney Pixar Onward Activity Sheets and Coloring Pages

ONWARD Activity Sheets and Coloring Pages

For more interaction, you can print these activity sheets for kids to go along with the film including a fun, memory card game, mazes, coloring sheets and more.

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Tips to Make the Morning Routine Easier with Kids

Planning ahead is key to helping mornings go more smoothly with kids. Here are some tips that have made the routine easier for my household.

Tips to make the morning rush easier for parents

Tips to make the morning rush easier for parents

Follow a routine

Make every morning as predictable and routine as you can. Follow the same schedule. It can look something like this: Wake up, dress, wash face, eat breakfast, grab a backpack, leave for school.

Layout clothes the night before

To jump-start the morning routine, plan ahead the night before. Before bedtime have your kids lay their clothes out on the floor, crime scene style, to make it fun and easy.

Once selected, there's no arguing in the morning. They wake up, they put on their clothes, easy. No outfit changes allowed.

Make-ahead breakfasts

If you can have grab-and-go breakfasts available and ready, this will be a huge help to get out the door.

I alternate between the following:

My protein ball helper

Set Alarms

My friend Alex, a mom to a boy and girl says, "I set multiple alarms that go off throughout the morning signaling what we should be doing in order to ensure we're out the door on time because sometimes I'm just as distracted as the kids."

Tag Team 

If you have a partner at home, splitting the getting out the door duties is key - one can be in charge of waking kids up and starting the getting dressed process. The other can start on breakfast cereal and making sure they're at the table.

Reward your child

This is a simple way to help your child get the most out of a smoother morning. For example, if your child gets ready for school and still has time to spare before it’s time to leave, let them choose the snack that goes into their backpacks or let them use a tablet on the car ride.

My friend in Los Angeles with two little girls says, "We have told the girls that if they get up, get themselves dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, and put on their socks and shoes, they can watch 10 minutes of TV while they eat breakfast. They know the checklist and keep each other accountable. If they lag, they know they will run out of time and have to eat breakfast in the car and miss TV time."

Final Thoughts

Basically, prep food, outfits, and other items (your child’s and yours) the night before.

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Tips for Hosting a Casino-Themed Party

Tips for Hosting a Casino-Themed Party

You don’t need to head to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to have some casino fun. Why not host a casino-inspired party for your next event? Here are some of our tips for hosting a great casino party:

Make sure this theme fits the event.

There are some events that suit a casino party better than others like wedding receptions, birthday parties, anniversaries, corporate parties, and fundraising events. Before you get started planning, make sure the casino theme makes sense, especially with your budget. Otherwise, scrap it and save it for a future event.

Have fun with the theme, decorations, and refreshments.

You don’t have to have just a casino-themed party — You could have a “When in Vegas…” or “One Night in Monte Carlo” party. For a Vegas party, you can amp up the glitz and glamor, throw in a wedding chapel-style photo booth, and add in some fun lights to mimic the Vegas clubs. As for Monte Carlo, add in some chandeliers, mini palm trees, and some luxurious gold and silver decorations. Another theme idea (if you want to make it wilder) is a futuristic casino theme, with alien-like decorations, appetizers, and drinks. If you love to get creative, this is your chance to do so. Amazon has plenty of Vegas decoration kits too.

Make themed invitations. 

Themed invitations are super easy to make, and you can design your own or else choose an online template. One creative option is to have the invitation be on a large playing card, making sure to mix up the colors, suits, and numbers. If you’re having a Vegas-themed party, you could have an invitation designed to mimic the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. However, other great invitation designs might incorporate roulette wheels, chips, or dice.

Have a dress code. 

Depending on the event, you might already have a dress code or costume theme in place. Regardless, the invitation is a good place to state any dress code themes or requirements. For a Vegas party, you might encourage people to dress like the gangsters, showgirls or Roaring 20s, while a Monte Carlo party might ask guests to dress like they’re attending the Oscars. Having a dress code makes the party that much more fun because it helps to set the mood and get everyone more into it. Plus, the photos will be even better! 

Know how to play the games. 

As a host for the event, a lot of attention will be on you. You’ll likely be responsible for getting the ball rolling, taking the lead on various games and activities, and building excitement among the guests. Therefore, you’ll need to know how to play all of the games that are being offered. For games like blackjack or poker, there are many easy-to-follow tutorials online to help you get started. Then, once you’ve got the basics covered, practice playing the games with your friends or peers regularly before the event so you’ll get more comfortable putting your skills to the test live.

Make sure you have all the basic casino games covered. 

At a casino-themed party, guests are going to be expecting more than just poker. Still, it’s important to consider how many guests will be at your party before determining the number of games you should have. For example, if you’ll only have about ten guests, then you won’t need more than a few different games total. But if you’ll have 50 to 100 guests, you’ll want plenty of game stations. This might involve several poker and blackjack tables, a roulette table, and even some slot games. If you’ve got the budget, consider renting real tables and hiring real dealers — They’ll make your party that much better.

Image result for casino night party

Don’t forget the music. 

Last but not least, don’t forget to make a good music playlist. Make sure it fits whatever theme you’ve set. If you’ve got an Old Hollywood casino party, play some Elvis and Frank Sinatra. For a Vegas party, don’t forget “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga or “Waking Up in Vegas” by Katy Perry. There are plenty of great casino songs, so there’s no need to worry about running out.

More Party Ideas:

Tips for Hosting a Casino-Themed Party

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Side Hustles for Moms

I was making six figures at Disney and WWE and my identity was so tied to my career that after my twins were born, I felt lost.

So, I looked for ways that I could still contribute financially, pursue my passions, but still have the amazing opportunity to be home with my boys. Thus, the side hustle.

Here are some of the many ways that moms can make money with side hustles without sacrificing time away from their children.

Side Hustles for Moms to Make Money From Home

1. Direct Sales - 

From Usborne children's books, Stella & Dot clothing or Color Street nails, which is what I do. The best part of direct sales moms can network with other moms for sales and tap into their online communities. When I first moved to Southwest Florida, I especially benefitted from meeting other women this way and it was also fun to get out and do the occasional vendor event too.

TIP: Just be sure and find a company that you feel passionate about and personally use.

2. Tutor & Teaching Tools  

If you have an educational background or are a home school mom, you can always tutor from home or teach kids in China via Skype with VIP KID on your own time. You can also sell your lesson plans and learning tools at

3. Social Media Managers & Virtual Assistants 

If you’re social media savvy, lots of local companies don’t have the time to maintain their social channels and are looking to outsource this marketing portion. I managed a few over the years and it was fun posting and helping them grow.

These same businesses need admin and organizational help as well, thus Virtual Assistant jobs.

4. Get Crafty 

If you’re a DIYer you can sell your goods on Etsy or in Facebook groups. I just bought homemade Elderberry Syrup from a mom in my community through Facebook.

5. Write a Book 

This obviously took some time, years actually, but I’d write and edit at night when my kids were in bed and now I have three award-winning romance books on Amazon.

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Tips for Attending a RISE Weekend Conference

RISE x Fort Myers is a 3-day personal growth women’s conference created and led by author, mom and digital mogul Rachel Hollis (Girl, Stop Apologizing, Girl, Wash Your Face) a.k.a the Oprah of our time.

RISE Weekend is an event where women from every walk of life can come together to be inspired, supported and enveloped in a community. I attended RISE x Ft. Myers at Hertz Arena, but there are upcoming events in Toronto, San Diego and London too.

Tips for Attending a RISE x Weekend Conference: Toronto, San Diego, London, Fort Myers, Dallas

Bring an Empty Water Bottle 

Thankfully Sis got you covered with water stations galore to refill your water bottles and keep you hydrated during the 3-day conference. Oh, and the funny decals that read, "Drink the Stupid Water!" are priceless, lol. So, fill up! I'm terrible about drinking my daily H20 so this was appreciated and it didn't cost extra either.

Dress for Yourself ... and for the Instagram Photo Opps 

I know Rachel says you should dress for you, not her or others, but there are dozens of uber fun photo stations and backdrops throughout the conference, inside and out and I'm glad I didn't look like a scrub in all my pics. I went with a lightweight cotton Women's Petite 3Q Sleeve Knit Scoop Neck Popover Dress from Lands End, which incidentally got me a compliment card and other queens asking where I got it. Score!

Pack Tissues

I don't know about you, but seeing someone cry or when I hear their voice crack, causes me to tear up. Plus, the inspiring and sometimes sad stories and poignant moment will make even the least sensitive person cry. Thus, the one tissue that I had stuffed in my pocket, practically incinerated by our lunch break. Day 2 though I was better prepared.

Check the Bag Policy 

The Fort Myers Hertz Arena has a strict clear bag policy and I'm glad I knew that going in. However, some girls didn't. Fortunately, the RISE swag bags at check-in were clear for this reason. The RISE website had this information ahead of time listed, so be sure and double-check for your RISE Weekend's venue.

Pack These 3 Things 

Blogger, Elaine at suggests you bring the following three items to the conference each day:

1. A pen (I color coordinated based on different speakers)
2. A light jacket: many conferences are in arenas that have ice under the floor. It gets chilly. They also like to blast the AC.
3. Your lanyard: this seems silly, but it is literally your only way into the conference once you have registered. Please don’t accidentally leave it at the hotel or home.

You better move, you better dance 

Be prepared to dance, jump and scream. I like to dance, but not when forced or maybe not on cue, however, for once I didn't mind dancing and raising my hand up at a conference thanks to the fun music and overall energy of the room. However, I wish I was better prepared for that, lol. Hopefully, now you will be!

Go to the Shop Early

The first morning there was a line out the door to get into the pop-up shop. So, I went during the wrap-up of the first session, just before everyone was fleeing to the bathrooms and got there before the crowd. I had time to browse and scope out what I was going to get, however, I made the mistake of being wishy-washy and not buying the stickers and the water bottle I wanted. By the time, I went during the next break all the fun stickers and the yellow water bottle were sold out. Thus, go before a break and if you see something, buy it!

Be Ready On Time

If you want to see the start of the conference, don’t believe the rumor that they will not start on time!

"I did and I missed out on the first warm-up and Rachel coming out on stage for the first time and I was so bummed! Although they do start the days on time, know that Rachel tends to go over on time at the end of the day, so book your flight to go home as late as possible if you have to leave after the conference." -- Talia @takeoffwithtal 

Pre-Register the Night Before 

RISE x Ft. Myers offered a two-hour pre-registration the night before the conference began. I'm so glad I went then. Yes, the lines were still long, but the following day I already had my badge, had studied the agenda and was able to just walk in carefree.

Look Down & Around

There are signs everywhere, even under your feet, so look down and catch some sayings of inspiration or just general cuteness. There are even motivational stickers in the bathroom.

More Tips for Attending RISE Weekend 

My friend Eat Drink and Save Money shares her tips and the reasons why it's worth going to RISE. 

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