Atlanta Schools Get a Boost from Think It Up #StaplesforStudents

Every school year, public school teachers spend hundreds of their hard earned dollars on school supplies for their students.

That can be a financial burden because we all know that teachers are hardly boss ballin.

So what do you do when one of the nation’s largest, office supplies stores steps in to lend a hand?…. Celebrate of course.

Staples, along with “ambassadors” for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s (EIF) new “Think It Up” initiative and DonorsChoose.org, held a pep rally of sorts at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School in Atlanta to make a major announcement that will positively impact teachers and students around the country.

Danielle Campbell, Carrie McElwee, Tom Chiodo, Kristina Joye Lyles, Meria Carstarphen Think It Up is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.  Think It Up in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, have decided to  launch a platform to fund student-powered, teacher-led learning projects in classrooms across the country.

Staples has a long history of supporting students, teachers and classrooms. Staples for Students is an ongoing campaign that helps students and teachers with the school supplies and essential items needed for a successful education. Staples has pledged to donate some 10-million dollars to schools nationwide through the “Think It Up” program.

This first of its kind coalition of organizations EIF announced that Atlanta Public School district has been chosen as their first recipient in their flash funding event through their “Think It Up” initiative which is just in time for the start of 2015 school year.

Atlanta Public School district is really winning with this generous donation.  In fact Staples came in and funded every project submitted on DonorsChoose.org for the Atlanta Public School district.  More than 200 Atlanta Public schools will benefit from over $260,000 in donations.  Teachers and students will now be able to get the much needed supplies and resources they need to have a better, brighter school year.

This really excited APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen, and she wasn’t afraid to show it.  I really loved her energy you could tell she cares about the teachers, students and of course education.

It’s nice to see businesses and nonprofits working together to help our teachers and students have an amazing school year.

Danielle Campbell, Carrie McElwee, Tom Chido,  Jovita Moore, Kristina Joye Lyles, Meria Carstarphen, Mario Watkins

Want to join in and help support  the Think It Up movement, you can donate one dollar at a Staples store near you or visit www.thinkitup.org to learn more.

Disclosure: In exchange for me sharing this good news I received a promotional item.

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Preventing Children’s Sports Head Injuries

Think about how much of your life is spent trying to protect your child.  You have childproof latches, safety gates, you hold their hand when crossing the street, you make them sit down in grocery cart, and you keep them close to your side while shopping at the mall.

You do all this because you love your child and want to make sure he or she is safe at every moment of every day.

As your child gets older he or she will most likely begin to show interest in sports.  This is a time when parents may sometimes forget that with all of the fun their child is protected.  It’s important for kids to use proper equipment and safety gear for the sport they are playing, and that it is the correct size and fits well.

My son has played a couple different sports in life so far, and he has expressed the strongest interest in soccer. Much like cleats and shin guards, headgear is becoming part of many soccer players’ uniform kits. Although we often hear about head injuries in athletes.  Headgear is something I never thought about with my son playing soccer, and this is probably the case for a lot of parents.

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To combat the growing number of head injuries in youth sports, Unequal® Technologies has developed a new line of headgear to give players the confidence they need without affecting their style of play.

Unequal Headgear

Unequal’s products are comfortable and lightweight, meaning players won’t notice a difference in ball control, speed or athletic ability. What players will have though is protection during collisions, headers and falls.

Ali Krieger, a defender on the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, has chosen to wear the Unequal Halo™ for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. At just 10mm thin, the Halo Ali will wear gives the appearance of a normal headband, but offers serious protection.

Unequal is virtually the only company making military grade protection for impact sports. With the Unequal Halo being on the head of a top U.S. women’s soccer player during the World Cup, I thought now would be a great time to tell you about the protective gear Unequal offers for both children and adults.

I think by making sure your child has the protection needed while playing sports, you can help make sports a positive experience for your child.

 

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Travel with kids through Summer Reading #GASummerRead

School is out for summer, but that doesn’t mean that the learning will stop in the Channel house.

The highlight of kindergarten for Devin was how he picked up reading. It seemed like one day he was memorizing his sight words, and next thing you know, he was sounding out words and stringing together sentences.

Now that summer is here, the plan is to build on the reading skills that he’s developing.

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We let Devin pick out books that he is interested in and lately he’s expressed an interest in traveling. He says that wants to travel to everywhere from Paris, to California and even outer space.

Since we’re not going to Paris this summer, I figured that we’d focus on reading books about all of the places that he wants to visit and then some.

Here are a few of the books I will begin with:

National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas

The National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Atlas includes easy-to-read, simple road maps of each state and Washington, D.C., and a map of the United States. State symbols, cool things to do, boredom busters, fun facts, wacky roadside attractions, and games accompany the maps and provide engaging information with stunning photographs that will keep kids engaged for hours.

Who doesn’t love a road trip?… and since we will take a few of our trips by car I thought I would start with the above NG Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Atlas, where Devin can learn about the places we are visiting as well as see what route we are taking, since he always likes to make sure we are going the right way.

Not For Parents Paris: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (Lonely Planet Not for Parents) by Lonely Parent

Devin has been telling me for the last longest is that he wants to visit Paris, so I figured we’d read all about it, and
find out what interests him the most. We’ve already started learning about the landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, and he wants to learn how to speak French. I think that this book will be a great introduction to all things France.

Devin thinks that anything that happened to my husband and I happened in the olden days, so I can only imagine what he thinks about anything that happened before we were born. The first flight of Apollo 11 happened in 1969, and the book, “Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11,” looks like great book to explore Devin’s interest in space travel.

It’s a story of discovery and adventure, and I think that Devin will love it.

We have a daily routine, or nightly routine of reading right before Devin goes to sleep. Most nights Devin reads to me nowadays. As a matter of fact, he reads everything such as street signs, my text messages, and everything else he lays his eyes on.

Here are some other books that we’re going to add to our summer reading list.

Walk this World by Jenny Broom
Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins
This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek
Not For Parents London: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know by Lonely Planet
This Is New York by Miroslav Sasek
101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12! by Joanne O’Sullivan
Mission Washington, D.C.: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure by Catherine Aragon
All About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More for Kids by Allison Branscombe

Regardless of what you do with your child this summer, try to incorporate reading into your activities.

I’ve seen how reading to Devin has helped his vocabulary grow and become a better reader and I know what we do this summer is really going to pay off when he starts the first grade in a few months.

Want to know what’s on other Georgia blogger’s reading list you can check them out below

Posted in Education, Parenting Tips | 1 Comment

Sleep Tight…Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite #LearnwithOrkin

Orkin Logo

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Mom It Forward & Orkin. All opinions expressed here are my own. 

As a child right before bed I can remember my father saying “Nightie Night…Sleep Tight…Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”.  Now that I am grown and I think about it what an unsettling thing to say to a child right before the lay down for a good night’s rest.  I wonder where the saying originates and why it has carried on for so long.

Just the thought of nasty little bugs crawling on me, it gives me the heebie jeebies.  I am getting itchy as I think about all the facts I learn at a recent event I attended that was facilitated by Orkin’s very own Dr. Ron Harrison (Entomologist and Orkin technical services director). He educated us on the characteristics of spring pests, how to inspect for them and how to help prevent them.  Although we discussed several different types of insects such as ants, beetles, ticks, and termites, the one that really had a lot of us on the edge of our seats were bed bugs.  This event’s audience was made up of mostly moms, so you know we were concerned, not only for ourselves but for our children.

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Although as you can see in picture below my child is barely phased by bugs crawling on him ( Okay…they weren’t real bugs) but as a mom if they were you know I wouldn’t be having none that.

Devin with bugs Crawling on him

So I am here today to share what I learned about bed bugs and ways you can prevent an infestation.

Contrary to my belief bed bugs don’t just exists in the homes of nasty people in fact,  bed bugs can infest offices, stores, hotels, airplanes, movie theaters, gyms…anywhere! They can hide in your luggage and personal belongings to hitch a ride back to your home.  Once indoors, they can be extremely difficult to control.  The are very sneaky, hard to detect and in the right temperature and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days. Bed bugs love warm human bodies and feed on human blood, so in your house hold while you sleep they have ample food supply.

Not sure what a bed bug looks like….Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects up to 4 to 5 mm long or the size of an apple seed. Swollen and reddish after a blood meal.

Signs of Bed bugs

-Seeing actual bugs
-Case skins from juvenile bed bugs
-Ink stain looking marks (fecal stains) seen on porous surfaces

Since bed bugs can be easily transported while you are traveling.  See below tips to help prevent this from happening.

Here are 5 Steps you can take in order to ensure you sleep soundly while traveling and when you return home

Survey cracks and crevices for signs of an infestation
Lift and look for bedbugs in all hiding places
Elevate your luggage on a rack away from bed and away from the wall
Examine your luggage carefully when repacking and returning home
Place all dryer-safe clothes in dryer at hottest setting at least 122 degrees for at least 15 minutes when you return home from a trip

Although very disturbed by what I learned, I am glad I was at this event. Now I am armed with more knowledge on bed bugs then I ever cared to know and will now have a new travel routine.

You can go even one step further to protect yourself by using an Orkin pillow encasement. The Orkin pillow encasement creates a unique, lightweight barrier that blocks bed bugs and all micro-toxins larger than one micron (one-millionth of a meter) like dust mites, mold spores, pet dander and pollen.

And guess what….today is your lucky day cause I’m giving one away thanks to the good folk’s at Orkin.

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Devin with Orkin's Dr. Ron Harrison

Do you have a question for the Orkin Man? My son sure did. If you have questions as well @AsktheOrkinMan on twitter.

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Reading with Devin

Devin is reading! Reading with Devin is Fun!

It’s amazing to watch him sound out letters, and string words together. His confidence in his reading is growing every day.

Devin has loved books ever since he was an infant, or should I say we started reading to him when he was an infant, and we believe its the main reason why he has such a big vocabulary now.

When he was a baby, our favorites were “Pokey Little Puppy,” “The Sailor Dog,” and, “Hand, Hands, Fingers Thumb.”

These are the activities that contributed to the reading success that he’s having now.

The habit of reading 2-3 books daily.
Learning  to sound out his ABCs at home and at daycare.
Learning and mastering is sight words.
Learning and understanding his blends like “th” and “sh”
Rewarding him with special trips to book stores

At first, Devin did a great job of reading sight words, but he would guess at unfamiliar words.  Patience was needed because instead of working at it, he would try to quickly give up.

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It all started clicking recently, and he is now confidently reading books like, “Bears on Wheels” and others. It makes me proud to see him read with more fluency and makes my heart warm to see how proud he is of himself.

After each book I will ask him questions to really get him to think about the story, such as what he liked about the book?, why do you think the character did this or that?, what do you think will happen next?

What impresses me so much is his comprehension. He is not only reading on his own, but he does a great job following and recalling the story. He even catches small details that I wouldn’t think that he’d even notice.

As I was writing this post, I searched for some resources that may be helpful for you as you help your child develop a habit and a love of reading.

Check out the following sites:

Reading Is Fundamental

National Institute for Literacy

Reading Rockets

Devin is always looking to add to his library collection, what are some of your children’s favorite books?

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Get Loud and Dirty: Supercross Action Coming to Georgia Dome

I don’t know much about Supercross racing, but I’m certain that Devin will love the high flying, fast riding action.

On February 21st and 28th the Georgia Dome will play host to Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and it looks like a great show.

Each week the best riders from across the world race each other on challenging courses that feature fast straightaways, tight corners, and crazy jumps.

When I showed Devin the video of the racing action his face lit up with excitement.

I want to say that it looks like clean family fun, but it looks pretty dirty, but in a good way.

Anyhow, if you’re interested in joining us, you can receive 50% off of 200 and 300 level seats for either of the Supercross shows.

Just use the EPICATL discount code online or at the box office.

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Want to learn more and follow along follow Monster Energy AMA Supercross on their social pages.

Supercross Twitter
Supercross Facebook

Disclosure: I will receive complimentary tickets to the show in exchange for me sharing this event and facilitating a post show review thanks to Feld Entertainment and Monster Energy AMA Supercross.  All words and opinions expressed are my own.

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Celebrate the Holidays at Six Flags Over Georgia #HolidayinthePark

6flags

For the first time ever you can celebrate the Holidays at Six Flags Over Georgia at their new annual event “Holiday in the Park”.

If it wasn’t for the crisp weather, I wouldn’t believe that the holiday season is almost here. Each year, I try to find fun family events that both my husband and son will enjoy.

When you step inside through the front gates you will witness the magnificent beauty that is “Holiday in the Park”!

“Holiday in the Park” will consist of more than one million LED lights and dozens of Christmas trees that will create the perfect magical atmosphere this holiday season.

Take a walk through the Peppermint Plaza by the “Georgia Scorcher” ride, and soak in the aroma of minty delight.

I think this event will make everyone happy (I don’t ride rides but my family does, and I always enjoy spending time with my family and watching them have fun during the holidays).

Thrill seekers especially will have a reason for extra holiday cheer at Six Flags Over Georgia, “Georgia Scorcher” is not the only ride that will be open.

The park’s most popular rides like Goliath and other family rides are going to be open, and for “Holiday in the Park”, the the historic 1910 Riverview Carousel and the surrounding area will be covered in nearly 94,000 lights, 1,350 feet of garland, 1,200 ornaments and more than 200 luminary candles.  This is one carousel you and your loved ones will not want to miss as it brings true Christmas cheer to all.

So come out this season and experience the joy of the sparkling lights, festive shows, tasty culinary treats and of course, the Big Man of the North Pole,  Santa Claus!

“Holiday in the Park” runs from November 22 through January 4, 2014.

Disclosure: My family and I, are attending a complimentary media preview of this event this holiday season

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[Giveaway] Cirque du Soleil “Amaluna” Atlanta

Amaluna_Island imageIt’s a whimsical colorful show that celebrates womanhood, and dazzled the crowd with a storyline that celebrates the coming of age, love, and rebirth, of familial relationships.

Amaluna which is the fusion of two words, “ama” mother, and “luna” which means moon and is a symbol of femininity, and this performance is unlike any Circue du Soleil show because it is all women. Well, not all women, but we made up 70% of the cast and it was empowering to witness the acts.

20141002_amaluna-0690This is a show that speaks not in words but in the actions of the performers who graced the stage, and one performer in particular had me in a trance. She is the “Balance Goddess” (Lara Jacobs Rigolo) who brings balance to world of Amaluna.

She is the “Balance Goddess” for good reason. During her main act she starts with by holding a feather, then balances 13 palm leafs on it. You have to see it to get a full appreciation for her skills.

Rigolo is an amazing performer who was trained at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance. Rigolo’s father is the originator of the balancing act, and has trained others including his daughter in this art.

This is certainly a show for families and especially women who will appreciate the feminine side of Cirque du Soleil. I hope you can attend, and I have a family 4 pack of tickets to giveaway (tickets are for Tuesday, October 28th’s performance) if you want to experience this breathtaking show for yourself…
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Even if you don’t win tickets you still can experience Amaluna from Cirque du Soleil, under the iconic blue and yellow big top at Atlantic Station.  The show is playing now until November 30, 2014. Save 20% on a Family 4 Pack and take an adventure to an island governed by goddesses.  CLICK HERE and buy your tickets today.

Disclosure:  I received complimentary tickets in order to facilitate this show review.  All words and opinions expressed are my own

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Enter to win $100 Ikea Gift Card – Help Devereux GA Help Youth Who Need it Most

 

2014HopePressLogo

When it comes to serving youth who suffer from emotional and behavioral issues, Devereux Georgia is leading the way to help troubled young people get their lives on track.

Some of these young people suffer from mental illness, sexual exploitation, neglect, abuse and have developmental disabilities.  Devereux Georgia helps these youth overcome their challenges be giving them hope, dreams, and new choices.

Devereux Georgia was founded in 1912 and is the nation’s leading nonprofit behavioral health organizations with 13 centers in 11 states.

How can you support the cause? On Thursday Oct. 2, 2014 Devereux Georgia is hosting its Annual Hope Event.

Guests will enjoy dinner, cocktails, and music along with a silent auction showcasing works of art created by Devereux youth. The featured guest speaker is Lynn Garson, Esq., mental health advocate and author of the novel “Southern Vapors.”   Ms. Garson will also be joining nationally renowned child psychiatrist, Dr. Yolanda Graham, in a panel discussion on mental health issues and treatment.

YOU ALSO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN A $100 IKEA GIFT CARD, ENTER BELOW
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For more information please visit www.devereux.org/hopeevent or call 770-427-0147.

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Oshkosh #BgoshJeanius Back to School Campaign

Growing up back to school was always a special time for me.  My mother would take my sisters and I shopping for school supplies, book bags and let’s not forget a new lunch boxes.  Then, we would visit my granny in the city and go on a shopping spree for new school clothes.  Those were really special times for me. That’s why when I hear of kids that don’t have what they need for the new school year, I feel compelled to help.

I usually donate by filling a couple book bags with all the supplies the children need for the school year however this year I want to do more.

I attended an event at a local Oshkosh store and found out about a campaign that Oshkosh recently launched that will give me another way to help kids in need this upcoming school year.

Oshkosh believes that all kids should have everything they need for back to school from blue jeans to books.  That’s why they decided to celebrate back to school with the launch of their national “B’gosh Jeanius Campaign”.

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#Bgoshjeanius

OshKosh B’gosh, in partnership with K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, Inc., and DonorsChoose.org will give customers the opportunity to donate a new pair of jeans or make a cash donation to a student in need this school year. All denim donated from July 29 through September 17, 2014, will be delivered to local children in need through K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, Inc., while cash donations will be dispersed to local schools through DonorsChoose.org

Oshkosh is making it so easy for everyone to give back with incredible door buster deals on jeans with most jeans costing only $10 or $12.  B’gosh Jeanius denim donation bins are conveniently  located in all stores throughout the United States. Monetary donations can also be made either in-store or online.

If you live in Atlanta, visit the one and only Oshkosh B’gosh location, that’s inside the perimeter. Located in Buckhead’s Peachtree Battle Shopping Center at 2345-B Peachtree Road NW Atlanta, GA 30305.

Everyone else you can find your local store here

For more information about the B’gosh Jeanius Campaign, visit: www.oshkosh.com/bgoshjeanius

 

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