Tips for Setting Your Kids Up for Academic Success


Parents have a bigger role in their child’s academic success than they realize. Children's perspective on education is usually formed at home first, so it's important for parents to be involved in developing good study habits, achievable academic goals, and a growth mindset. As their primary teacher and main source of support, here are things you can do to set your kids up for academic success:

Praise efforts, not talent
Showering your kids with praise is a good way to motivate them to achieve great things. But according to research, there’s a right and wrong way to do it. In particular, praising talent should be avoided because it teaches children to rely on innate abilities. Instead, acknowledge the effort they put into what they do, so they learn that the process is more important than talent or results.

Instead of constantly telling your kids that they’re smart, say something like, “I’m so proud of how hard you worked on your project!” Acknowledge specific efforts too. “I’m impressed by how you learned five new words this week,” is one example of what you could say. Recognize their accomplishments as you please, but always emphasize that their behavior and effort are key.

Give them stability at home
Giving your kids a stable environment is incredibly important in how they perform in school. Problems at home might rub off on children and affect their mental health, behavior, and learning ability. Marital fights, for example, create a stressful environment for young ones. Their focus will diminish and their overall wellbeing will be affected, too.

Make sure they also stick to healthy routines at home. Balance their academics with household chores and fun activities. Overloading them with too much schoolwork is counterproductive—they might learn to despise school or burn out from it!

Save up for their education
Prioritizing saving for your kids’ schooling teaches them the value of education given how big of an investment it is. It sends them a message that it’s important to be educated, especially if they want to succeed later in life.

Saving up for college as early as now is even more crucial because higher learning is where they make career-defining decisions. The good thing is that there are various options for financial aid to alleviate the cost of sending your kids to good schools. The Canadian government specifically designed the RESP, which stands for Registered Education Savings Plan, for this reason. It’s a tax-advantaged investment account that helps parents set aside funds for their kids’ learning. Students can also apply for public and private scholarships, grant programs, and bursaries to ease their debt. Regardless of how you go about it, saving up for their future can encourage them to value their education now.

Manage their screen time
Not all screen time is bad for kids’ learning, according to recent studies. Researchers have found that it’s mainly the time spent watching television and playing video games that have a negative impact on children’s performance at school. Too much TV impairs their language and math abilities, while video games affect their verbal memory skill and slow-wave sleep.

Technology is everywhere, and eliminating screen time could only delay their learning. They might not develop in-demand skills that could help them succeed academically and professionally. Regulating their screen use, then, is better than keeping them off of it completely.

Encourage curiosity
Children are very inquisitive by nature. Instead of getting flustered by all their questions, try your best to answer them. Keep their minds stimulated and encourage them to keep wondering about the nature of things.

The simplest way to cultivate a desire to learn is to study and read with your kids. Reading out loud to young children helps them develop important skills, such as language and communication. It is also a great way to bond with your kids and create positive associations with reading and learning.

The bottom line is that there’s more to being a parent than sending kids to school and making sure they do their homework. By being more involved with their learning process, you can boost your children’s academic potential and success.

Check out our site for more useful tips and reviews!

 

Flavorbomb by: Bob Blumer (Book Review & Giveaway)


Title: Flavorbomb
By: Bob Blumer
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
ISBN: 9780525610892
Pages: 272

If you live for wildly addictive, life-affirming taste sensations that knock you off your feet, but can't figure out how to make them at home, you have just found your kindred cookbook spirit. Welcome to Flavorbomb.

You keep a running list of restaurants you go to for your favorite flavorbombs--a vibrant, pungent Caesar salad, extra crispy garlic fries, or a spicy puttanesca pasta maybe. You might even be able to articulate exactly what it is about those dishes that you find so addictive. But when you try to reproduce the same flavors at home, you find yourself falling short. If any of the above sounds familiar, this book is for you.

For the past 25 years Bob Blumer has eaten his way around the globe, traveling millions of miles in search of culinary adventures and inspiring foods for three TV series and six cookbooks. Along the way, he's broken eight food-related Guinness World Records, competed in some of the most outrageous food competitions on the planet, cooked alongside countless amazing chefs, and sampled every local street food imaginable at ramshackle carts, hawker stalls, and night markets from Italy to India. These collective experiences have formed the backbone of Bob's cooking in ways that culinary school can't begin to teach. In Flavorbomb he channels everything he has gleaned into recipes and practical tips to help you you create bold, stimulating flavors, that will leave those you cook for in a state of bliss. Prepare to become a rock star in your own kitchen.

The first half of the book is the real "money." It's full of tips, strategies, ingredients, techniques, and gear that will help you crack the code--and gain the confidence to take the leap on your own and turn any dish into a flavorbomb. We're talking developing the courage to season with wild abandon, brown your food to within an inch of its life, double down on the ingredients that can increase the pleasure factor, and taste and adjust on the fly.

The second half consists of 75 step-by-step recipes that use all the tricks in your arsenal to deliver the addictive, life-affirming dishes we all crave. And because Bob gets more excited by tacos than truffles, his outsider approach to creating addictive flavors won't require you to buy frivolous top-shelf ingredients or use super-sophisticated techniques. Instead, every recipe starts by building the foundation, and then adding layers of flavors and textures at every step of the way. If there's a hack or a simple trick that can save you time or up the ante--it's in here. Every recipe was thoroughly tested and had to earn its place in the book.

Get ready to cook like every bite is your last. Read Flavorbomb and your cooking will be forever changed! 


MY REVIEW

My husband and I love to cook. With us still being stuck in the house due to Covid-19, we've been enjoying cooking different types of meals, taking turns in the kitchen this past year, and it has been great with all of the hustle and bustle of life slowing down a bit and falling in love with cooking all over again.  We received Flavorbomb by Bob Blumer about a month ago and I have to say it has really upped our game in the kitchen. One of the things we love so much about this book is not only the delicious recipes shared in the book but how to incorporate different flavors in each meal making each bite a treat. 


In Flavorbomb, Bob shares tips, tricks, and secrets to making your cooking experience even more enjoyable.  Starting the book off with Taste, Bob goes into details about flavor building blocks and how cooking with many ingredients, and what each one brings to the recipe. The book shares different tips on what each spice and/or herbs bring to a recipe and how fresh herbs are always better and brings out the flavor so much more than dried herbs. From spices to herbs to homemade stock, Bob shares so many different useful tips that have made cooking for the hubby and me so much better and more enjoyable this past month. The top three rules of seasoning he shares are all the same; "It's easier to add than subtract." I couldn't agree more and have been following this rule since I started cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother when I was a kid. 

Not only does this book share loads of amazing recipes, but it also shares tips and techniques on using different gadgets, like, food processors, grills, deep fryers, along with inexpensive excellent chef tools that Bob recommends that are under $15.


This cookbook has become a favorite in our home. We've made a couple of the easier recipes from the book, like, Bob's Chocolate, Caramel, Peanut Butter and Banana Wontons, and Just-the-Good-Stuff Guacamole, and are excited to dive into the book even more to create a main dish and we really want to get into making our own broths. Flavorbomb will leave you wanting to head straight to your kitchen to create so many different delicious meals that you won't even be thinking about take out. 


Flavorbomb retails for $30 US and $35 CAD. For more information on where to purchase, be sure to check out Bob Blumer's website and also check him out on Instagram and Twitter.


GIVEAWAY
I'm excited to offer one of our Canadian readers a chance to win this lovely book filled with so many tricks and tips. To enter to win a copy simply comment below your favorite recipe to make.


Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Flavorbomb at no cost for the purpose of this post. No other compensation was received.

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Marvel Universe, Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter™ Game #HolidayGiftGuide

 What a year it has been. With us being in the house this much, you can get stir crazy with life sometimes feeling like groundhog day. Living with two teens and a young kid, the hubby and I try to make sure we all check in with each other as often as possible. One of the ways we do that is family game night. What was once a couple times a month has now become our weekly routine. Each week a family member takes turns to pick out a game that we can all play. With Christmas being at home this year and with it just being with our household, we've decided that we are going to have game night on Christmas after we eat dinner. 

I'm excited as we have a few new games that were sent to us and one of them being Marvel Universe, Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter™ Game from our friends over at Asmodee Canada. They have tons of games to keep the entire family occupied as we continue to do our part during this pandemic and stay home. My family and I are huge Marvel fans. We've seen every movie and the last couple of movies we got to see in a theatre, which I truly do miss.





The Avengers movies were our favourites out of all of the Marvel movies because then we had all of our superheroes together on the same screen and Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame were amazing. So to receive Marvel Universe, Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter™ Game is pretty awesome as I know my family and I will love and have lots of fun playing this game. Especially with one of us having to play the villain, Thanos! 

The Mad Titan Thanos seeks the Infinity Stones to bend the universe to his indomitable will, but courageous heroes are assembling to stand in his path to ultimate power. Based on the beloved card game and set in the Marvel Universe, Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Game features the elegant mechanics of the original, re-imagined in a one-vs-many twist for thrilling team play. While one player takes on the role of Thanos on a crusade to change the universe as we know it, 1-5 other players must deploy iconic heroes to defeat him before he can achieve his aims.

Throughout the game, players take turns drawing a card and playing a card, then executing its effect. Hero players can call upon the likes of Iron Man, Spider-man, Thor, and Scarlet Witch for their abilities to battle and gather intel about their opponent’s schemes. A worthy adversary, Thanos plays with a two-card hand, drawing from his own deck of minions and powerful Infinity Stones. The heroes will have to use their abilities in strategic combinations to knock his health down to zero before he can do the same to them—or find all six Infinity Stones and win with a snap of his fingers. Who will prevail in this battle for the universe? I know for sure my kids would want my husband to be Thanos in our first round, who would play Thanos in your family?

The game is for ages 10+, and can have between 2-6 players. It's a pretty quick game that lasts about 15 minutes and comes with 36 Cards, 9 Power Tokens, 2 Plastic Sliders, Cloth Bag and Rulebook. Marvel Universe, Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter™ Game is available where games are sold and retail for $19.99 (CAD). For more information about this game and many others, head to Asmodee Canada.



Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned product at no cost for the purpose of this post. No other compensation was received.

L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Remix Doll Review #HolidayGiftGuide

 My six year old loves to play with dolls. She loves to create a world of her own and when she's in front of her dollhouse, she can play for hours. She's spunky, creative, fierce, beautiful, and unique and I love her style. Yes, even at six years old, Bailey, can put together a really stylish outfit and has to always match with a headband or bow. Not only can she dress, but her taste in music is pretty good for a six-year-old, so when we were sent a L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Remix Doll to give her for the upcoming holidays, I was very excited because I just know she's going to love it. 





Introducing new O.M.G. Remix Dolls! There are four remix dolls to collect and each doll is paired to a different genre of music (Pop, Hip Hop, R&B and Country). There's Lonestar, Honeylicious, Pop B.B., and Kitty K! We were sent Honeylicious as I wanted the doll that best represented my little girl. Each doll comes with two outfits, a performance look, and a rehearsal look. There's also a vinyl record in the packaging that is interactive and can play music. They're retailed for $59.99 (CAD). I'm very excited for Bailey to open and play with Honeylicious, I just know she's going to love her and her style.



Honeylicious is all about the hip hop vibes and creating the perfect mix – in music and in fashion – with her comfy casual hoodie and camo print pants. She has stunning features, beautiful, styled hair, and her own fly style. She's the big sister to fan-favorite LOL Surprise character, Honey Bun, and she's ready for the ultimate concert, the So Extra Tour. Unbox the full-size record and play it on her record player packaging. It really plays a Honeylicious' hip hop piece of a surprise song. Then, get her ready for the show.

Honeylicious includes 2 complete fashion looks, but her 2nd outfit got remixed! Collect her BFF, Lonestar, to complete her look just in time to take the stage! She also includes music accessories, so she's ready for the concert. Have her strike a pose to show her off on her included doll stand. She also includes her magazine with the lyrics to her piece of the song.

Collect all the lyric sheets from the whole LOL Surprise Remix line to reveal the whole song. Or, mix & match lyrics to create your own Remix. Collect all 4 LOL Surprise O.M.G. Remix fashion dolls. Collect the whole LOL Surprise Remix line to collect all the song lyrics and complete the surprise song.

L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Remix Dolls are the dolls to have this holiday season, especially if you have a little one who loves dolls and loves music, these Remix Dolls are perfect. I'm excited to buy Honeylicious BFF, Lonestar, so that Bailey can put them together and match their outfits together. 


For more information about L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Remix Dolls, be sure to head to L.O.L. Surprise where you can find where to purchase these dolls online or locally. 


Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned toy at no cost for the purpose of this post. No other compensation was received.

Holiday Gift Ideas with Hasbro #HolidayGiftGuide

 The countdown is on, and Christmas is literally right around the corner. Although this year will be different than previous holidays, I'm still excited to see the look on all three of my kiddo's faces as they open up gifts on Christmas morning. Some of those gifts will be from our amazing friends over at Hasbro. If you're still looking for gift ideas, Hasbro has got you covered. With gifts for kiddos of all ages, you'll definitely find something that the kids in your life will love.

Although my older two are in their teens and play with toys less, they love when we get together for family game nights and I'm excited to play both the new games of Monopoly Super Electronic Banking Board Game and Operation Pet Scan Board Game. Both are newly updated games that we've played together in the past and I'm so excited to try the new versions with my family. I just know we're going to have a blast playing both on Christmas day.  




With Monopoly Super Electronic Banking Board Game there is no more cash to hand out, instead each player will be handed a bank card! The Monopoly Super Electronic Banking board game features an all in one electronic banking unit, and amps up the excitement with unique rewards! Each player has a bank card that will earn them different rewards for gameplay: roll a certain number, land on a certain space, or purchase a particular property. Players can also choose to fly to any property on the board, and force another player into trading one of their coveted properties. There is no paper money in this game -- the cards and banking unit track each player's cash. It's an exciting game as players buy properties, collect rent -- and get rewarded for it! The player with the most money at the end of the game wins.



Operation was always a childhood favourite of mine and when we had kids that were old enough to play, they would get a kick out of this game. We've never played with our youngest Bailey who is six, so I am very excited to have her open this game up Christmas morning and for us to play it during the day. With Operation Pet Scan Cavity Sam's dog, Rex-Ray, has eaten a bunch of things he shouldn't have like homework, socks, bunny slippers, and a dog bone. Players try to help him feel better by removing them. Drop an ailment into the dog's mouth and use the magnetic Dog-o-scope to guide it along his belly -- hoping it'll come out his tail end. But watch out for the buzz! If the buzzer sounds the ailment drops. If it falls out of his belly, that player's turn is over. Each ailment successfully removed counts as a point and whoever has the most points wins. Kids will be entertained throughout the game with fun sound effects. Press and hold the pup's nose to hear an instant bark and fart sounds. The Operation Pet Scan game is a great choice for a birthday gift or a fun holiday gift for kids ages 6 and up.




Next up are a few toys we received for Bailey, who is six, and I can't wait to see her face when she opens these up. First off is the Disney Princess Comfy Squad Sweet Treats Truck. Inspired by the Disney Princesses in the movie Ralph Breaks the Internet (sequel to Wreck It Ralph) these princesses were so popular that they have given them their own toy line, Comfy Squad and we are here for it. The Disney Princess Comfy Squad Sweet Treats Truck lets kids can imagine that the comfortably dressed Disney Princess characters from Ralph Breaks the Internet are visiting the Comfy Squad Sweet Treats Truck for some delicious goodies. Kids can roll this toy vehicle on its wheels, then open it up to reveal a whole sweet shop inside, complete with cotton candy machine, ice cream freezer, and even cash register accessories. The roof comes off to become a picnic table shaped like an ice cream sandwich with chocolate bar-shaped seats. On one side, the window flips up and the other side features a counter that flips down. Set also includes accessories like ice cream scoops and a scooper, cotton candy and cones, and more, so kids can make believe they're putting together tasty treats for customers. This doll vehicle makes a great addition to a collection of Disney Princess Comfy Squad dolls, which are sold separately. 



Bailey absolutely loves Play-Doh. She has an entire collection of different Play-Doh kits and this Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Candy Delight Playset is definitely going to be one of her new favs, especially since she loves to create food with her Play-Doh. It's crazy candy galore at the Play-Doh candy store! This Play-Doh candy factory is a treat for the imagination as kids create their own silly gummy bears, pretend candy bars, and play candy cups. Fill the top with Play-Doh compound, then turn the crank on the candy machine to see the crazy colorful Play-Doh candies pour out. Scoop the creations into the pretend candy buckets to show them off to friends. 5 cans of non-toxic Play-Doh compound work like modeling clay to crank up the creativity. It's a great arts and crafts activity or gift for kids 3 years and up!




Lastly, we received a Power Rangers Beast Morphers Beast-X King Morpher. IT’S MORPHIN TIME! I'm not sure if some of you remember from our earlier posts, but my family and I are huge Power Ranger fans. My husband and I loved the show when we were kids and we've managed to get all of our kids to fall in love with the series as well, so receiving this Morpher for Bailey was awesome and I can't wait to see her face when she opens it up. From the Beast Morphers back to the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Power Rangers have brought teamwork, action, and adventure to generations of fans. The legacy continues with figures, vehicles, collectibles, and roleplay toys from Hasbro, celebrating ranger teams from Mighty Morphin to the Beast Morphers.


All of the toys I've mentioned are great gift ideas for kids and if you still are looking for gifts to buy this holiday season, head over to Hasbro to find where you can purchase each of these toys online or locally. 


Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned toys at no cost for the purpose of this post. No other compensation was received.