Showing posts with label Oma Loves U. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oma Loves U. Show all posts

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stay away from Escondido Hyundai

Stay away from Escondido Hyundai

Trips to This Dealership Are Always Frustrating!!!

My husband bought me a Hyundai Tucson from Escondido Hyundai in August of 2015 as a birthday present. So far the car has been pretty nice. However, our interaction with the dealership has be a constant source of disenchantment.

Here is my review of my latest service call for routine service and a rattling tailgate: 


When I made my appointment and again I when dropped off my Hyundai at 8: 30 for my 8:45 a.m. appointment; I explained both times that I need to have my car by 11:00 a.m. because I had a work appointment at 11:30 a.m. which was located a half-hour away from the dealership. I emphasized that being late for this appointment could cost me my job. If the car would not be ready, I could still arrange for transportation to my appointment.

I was assured by Ruben that the services would only take an hour to an hour and a half. At 10:15 a.m., I checked with Ruben as to the status of my car. I told him that if it would not be ready I could still call for a ride to make my appointment. Ruben informed that all was well – nevertheless I made him promise to check on the status of my vehicle.

When I still was not contacted in the waiting room by 10:50 a.m., I went back to the service desk and asked Ruben how my car was doing. He looked dazed and started tapping on the keyboard of his computer. “Oh it looks like they are have a problem with your tailgate,” he reported. I told him that I needed to leave in five minutes – at 11 a.m. or I could lose my job. ‘Oh’ he exclaimed like that had been the first time he heard that bit of information.

Ruben then jumped up and grabbed a set of keys (not mine) and ran outside as he stated that he had to help another lady. He handed the keys to a lady in the parking lot and then jumped into another car and drove away.

I was left in the service trailer with no explanation and now late!

Just then Steve (the manager) stepped into the trailer. “How’s it going,” he asked. I proceed to outline how it was going for me. Steve was very nice and browsed his computer. He worked hard and quickly; I received my car at 11:08 a.m. I never did see Ruben again. And yes, I was late to my appointment (but did not lose my job).

When Paul and I bought the car, we were promised a free car wash with every service. However, this trip, I was informed that since the dealership changed ownership that promise was on longer valid . . . . bad to worse.

That night, my husband opened the engine compartment of the Hyundai and was immediately covered in old oil. No one had even bothered to clean up after the service work.

Gosh I hate going to Escondido Hyundai. Mayhap it is time for this family to try the North County Hyundai of Carlsbad dealership.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder #brillantecoffeegrinders

Excellent for Brewing Espresso, Pour Over, French Press and Turkish Coffee

Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder #brillantecoffeegrinders

The basic goal of coffee brewing is to get what’s sealed inside the coffee bean. Oma savors the delicious flavor components and oils. Also the smell of freshly ground beans concocts anticipation. The Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder is well-made of all brushed stainless steel except for the chromed arm with its plastic knob.

It is super easy to fill and works well to grind your beans for that perfect cup of java. I love that you can effortlessly disassemble the unit for easy storage. However, since Oma’s kitchen features stainless steel appliances, I just leave it out on my counter.

For maintenance, simply wash by hand with soap and water and then allow to dry fully before reuse.

This would be a great gift for the coffee lover in your shopping list.
Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder #brillantecoffeegrinders

Features & Specs:

  • Easy, adjustable grind fineness
  • Sturdy stainless steel body
  • Grinds fast, smooth and quiet
  • Ceramic conical burr
  • Grind coffee for two in under 1.5 minutes
  • Diameter of body: 1.89 in / 48mm
  • Total length: 7.5 in / 190.5mm
  • Weight: 8.95 ounces / 254 grams

Product Description

The Brillante BR-MCG-SS1 manual coffee grinder is ready whether your preferred brewing method is pour over, French press, espresso or Turkish. You can even use it for grinding some types of spices instead if you like. It's intended for coffee but if you'd like to use it as a spice grinder you'll find it useful for that as well.

The BR-MCG-SS1 model grinder has a ceramic conical style burr which is easily adjustable using the knob attached to the ceramic burr (on the underside of the hopper). The adjustment has handy "clicks" to help you keep track of your favorite grind setting.

  • CAN I ADJUST THE GRIND SIZE AND IS IT CONSISTENT? - Yes, the grinder adjusts quickly and easily to grind for multiple brewing methods such as: espresso, pour over, french press/plunger, percolator or Turkish. You'll be able to get a consistent grind quality that will improve the taste of your coffee.
    Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder #brillantecoffeegrinders
  • HOW FAST DOES IT GRIND? - That depends on the person grinding (of course!) however you can expect to grind about 38 grams of coffee to pour over level fineness in 1 min 20 sec. Stated by approximate volume that is about 6 tablespoons of whole beans ground in 1 min 20 sec (enough to serve 2 people)
  • IS IT LOUD? - No, it's really quite tame. You'll find it MUCH quieter than grinding with an electric grinder and it's even better than some of the other popular manual grinders.
  • IS IT HARD TO CRANK? - Actually it's pretty easy. The grinder is slim for easy gripping and the crank handle is long enough to give you good leverage for a smooth and easy grind. Some of the difficulty depends on your coffee beans but the grinder does it's part to make things go smoothly.
  • WILL I LOVE IT? - You love your coffee which means...your coffee grinder should make you happy as well. If it doesn't or you have some problem don't worry since we back your purchase with great no-quibble, customer service because we're serious about making sure you're pleased.

RISK-FREE PURCHASE: No worries, no quibbles, we back our products with great customer service and our 60 day guarantee (days from delivery) that if you're not happy with your Brillante burr coffee grinder we'll make it up to you with an easy full refund.

Brillante Website

Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder #brillantecoffeegrinders

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Love K1 Speed

Founded in 2003 in Carlsbad, California, K1 Speed now boost of being the premier karting company in America. Indoor karting has grown into a large industry over the last several years, not only within California, but across the nation. K1 Speed was one of the first companies to bring electric karts and indoor go kart tracks to Southern California, and they have witnessed an explosion in the market.

“The premise behind the creation of K1 Speed was to offer enthusiasts and amateurs alike an authentic and genuine racing experience in a safe, comfortable, accessible and perhaps most importantly, unique environment. Utilizing advanced European electric karts and indoor asphalt tracks, K1 Speed quickly developed a reputation as being fun and exciting, and our growth has been continuous since we first opened our doors. (from their website)”

Since Reef Indy’s cousin, Sofia surpassed the 48” height requirement, Uncle Moses decided it was time for her first trip to K-1 Speed. Sofia had driven a go-kart before; however, this would be the first time she took to the track with fellow racers!

As you can witness from the photos below Ms. Sofia loved her first visit to K1 Speed!

Just like real racing – K1 Speed’s first stop is registration.
Just like real racing – K1 Speed’s first stop is registration.

Six-Year-Old Sofia is proud to show off her K1 Speed’s Driver’s License.
Six-Year-Old Sofia is proud to show off her K1 Speed’s Driver’s License.

Opa and Sofia go over both the K1 Speed race flags and track rules.
Opa and Sofia go over both the K1 Speed race flags and track rules.

Opa and Sofia watch Uncle Moses in his first K1 Speed race of the day.
Opa and Sofia watch Uncle Moses in his first K1 Speed race of the day.

Sofia gears-up in preparation of her first K1 Speed race of the day.
Sofia gears-up in preparation of her first K1 Speed race of the day.

Sofia’s K1 Speed Kart gets foot extender.
Sofia’s K1 Speed Kart gets foot extender.

Uncle Moses and Sofia discuss her race stats as Opa observes.
Uncle Moses and Sofia discuss her race stats as Opa observes.

Sofia’s first spin out did not detour her racing enthusiasm.
Sofia’s first spin out did not detour her racing enthusiasm.

Sofia’s K1 Speed race experience helped her become more race ready.
Sofia’s K1 Speed race experience helped her become more race ready.

The end of a perfect K1 Speed experience!
The end of a perfect K1 Speed experience!
Sofia expressed an interest in K1 Speed's Junior league.   The Junior League is designed for children who are 4′ to 4’9″ in height. The five-month series is affordable, safe and accessible, and is intended to serve as an introduction to racing.

As a blogger, integrity is one of the most valuable commodities NASCAR Race Mom possesses. Therefore, reviews will contain both positive and negative aspects as is appropriate. To put it in a simpler manner, this review is meant to help my readers (editorial) more than to help a brand (advertising).

This review was done without compensation.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reef Meets Aunties and Uncle

The Importance of Aunts and Uncles.

It's not easy being a kid in today's world. As youngsters grow up, they may be unwilling to turn to their parents as they navigate the minefield of adolescence, especially if they think Mom or Dad will react angrily if they reveal something upsetting. Aunts and Uncles can be adults who can bring stability, a new set of life experience and an abundance of love to a child's life. 

Luckily, Reef Indy has a big family filled with Aunts and Uncles who will nurture and spoil him!

Reef Indy meets Uncle Moses for the first time.
Reef Indy meets Uncle Moses for the first time.
Auntie Sitara and Reef Indy
Auntie Sitara and Reef Indy
Reef Indy with Auntie Sierra
Reef Indy with Auntie Sierra
Uncle Moses calms Baby Reef down before dinner.
Uncle Moses calms Baby Reef down before dinner.
Amanda cooked a delicious vegetarian meal for the family to enjoy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Add Santa Claus or Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer To Your Christmas Photo for FREE!

As a new Oma, I am always looking for fun things for my grandbaby. What could be more amusing than creating a Christmas memory for the tike by putting Santa in his Christmas photo!

Free - Create your own personalized Santa photo.
Free - Create your own personalized Santa photo.

What is even better is that, now, for a limited time (until December 10th) and thanks to, you can add Santa Claus or Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer to your family Christmas Photo for FREE!

Here’s the story of how came to be in the words of the websites creator:

Six years ago I wanted to surprise my kids with a picture of Santa Claus caught in the act in our living room, so I created Since then tens of thousands of visitors all over the world have used our web site to 'Catch Santa'. For this, we want to say "Thank You". And to celebrate our 5th year anniversary we'd like to invite you to catch Santa for FREE through December 10th. Plus, we're giving away an iPad Air and gift cards from Amazon, Visa, and Starbucks. Anyone can help spread the word and enter to win prizes valued at over $1,500. Thank you for sharing.

Using is easy as can be. Click here for the three steps, which are explained in great detail.

Below are two of the photos Oma created today. What do you think – they are priceless right!?!

Reef Indy Worries as Santa eats his Cookie.
Reef Indy Worries as Santa eats his Cookie.
The Smith Family finds Santa outside!
The Smith Family finds Santa outside!

Be sure to check out and create your own Christmas Photo Keepsakes. Remember to enter promo code #SantaShare at checkout – your order will be free!

NOTE: is also conducting a customer appreciation contest. You can win an iPad Air; plus Amazon, Visa or Starbucks Giftcards - Over $1,500 in prizes!

Enter the contest: 2013 Customer Appreciation Contest by clicking here

Remember the promo code for a FREE is #SantaShare at checkout but expires December 10, 2013. Use the code as many times as you want until then – because after all who doesn’t like FREE?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chasing Fireflies
Yup I Am That Kind Of Oma!

Chasing Fireflies Package Arrives!
Chasing Fireflies Package Arrives!

Oma received her Chasing Fireflies ( order and was thrilled with the wonderful personalize Christmas goodies. Just as promised, the matching personalized P.J.’s and Santa Hats were cute as could be.

What Oma was not expecting, however, was how comfortable the “Personalized Christmas Candy PJ's” were! In fact, Oma is still wearing them while creating this post. 

Merry Christmas 2013 from Reef & Oma (
Merry Christmas 2013 from Reef & Oma

Reef Indy appeared to agree with his Oma in regards to the comfort of his new Christmas PJ’s and a new family tradition was created! The improvised photo shoot produced priceless keepsakes.

Reef Indy Waiting for Santa -
Reef Indy Waiting for Santa
Be sure to check out the Chasing Fireflies Website. Not only is their merchandise high quality; it was also packaged well and arrive in both a timely manner and in perfect condition! Reef and Oma were very happy with their new Personalized Christmas Candy PJ's and Santa Hats. 

Thank You to Chasing Fireflies for these wonderful Christmas outfits
Thank You to Chasing Fireflies for these wonderful Christmas outfits

As a blogger, integrity is one of the most valuable things Oma possesses. Therefore, reviews will contain both positive and negative aspects as is appropriate. To put it in a simpler manner, this review is meant to help my readers (editorial) more than to help a brand (advertising). However, it should be noted that Oma was given free product from Chasing Fireflies to use and review.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reef Indy - Opa's Mini-Me

We have been trying to figure out if Reef Indy looks more like his mom or dad.

Anne Matthews, director of the graduate program in genetic counseling at Case Western University in Cleveland, likens the process of passing down facial traits to baking a cake.

And genes aren't the only ingredients. In the "oven" — a mother's womb — a wide variety of non-genetic environmental factors can have a potentially major effect on a fetus that scientists are still trying to understand.

However after looking at this old baby photo of Opa, my vote goes for him. What do you think; doesn’t Reef Indy look a lot like his Opa!?!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Will Reef Enjoy Skateboarding
Like Dad Zack?

Reef's Dad has been skateboarding for over twenty years.  Skateboarding provides flexibility, increases coordination and builds cardiovascular stamina! Oma wonders if Reef Indy Enjoy Skateboarding Like Dad Zack.
Daddy Zack and Baby Reef enjoy their day at the Skate Park.
Daddy Zack and Baby Reef
enjoy their day at the Skate Park.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy First Halloween Reef

Reef Indy - Pumpkin Boy

Halloween is the night of October 31, the eve of All Saints' Day, commonly celebrated by children who dress in costume and solicit candy or other treats door-to-door.

Reef Indy will be observing his first Halloween dressed in his Baby Shark Costume from Chasing Fireflies. 

Oma and Opa had to help Reef try on his costume earlier this week. Although he is only seven and a half weeks old, the 0-6 month size outfit was a tad snug.

Nevertheless, he was super cute and ready for Trick-or-treating. This costume is very well made and of great quality.

Reef's Dad's Zack-O-Lantern
Reef's Dad's Zack-O-Lantern

You Are What You Eat And Drink

The Story of Cinnamon in America

Cinnamon and Cassia are not obtained from the same plant.

When shopping for your family, you have to be diligent to insure that you are really buying what you think you are buying. After reading about the benefits of the everyday spice Cinnamon, Oma took to the habit of drinking a hot cup of cinnamon and honey every morning.

However, imagine Oma's surprise to learn most cinnamon sold in supermarkets in North America comes from the less expensive variety, Cassia which is actually a cousin of cinnamon. Due to the presence of a moderately toxic component called Coumarin*, European health agencies have warned against consuming high amounts of cassia.

Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), sometimes called true cinnamon, has a long history. It originated in Asia, mostly Sri Lanka and India. Now, cinnamon shrubs are grown in almost every tropical region of the world.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was mentioned in the Old Testament. In the book of Exodus, God instructs Moses to make a holy anointing oil out of cinnamon, cassia, olive oil, myrrh, and hemp.

From the 16th to the 19th centuries, there were power struggles among European nations over who would control Ceylon and the lucrative cinnamon industry. In the early part of the 19th century, other countries began growing cinnamon and it became available to everyone.

Today, Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while Cassia cinnamon is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Although related, cinnamon and cassia are not obtained from the same plant. They should be treated as separate foods, both from a nutritional and a health standpoint. Ceylon cinnamon is typically more expensive than any of the cassia versions, and it is also the cinnamon more closely associated with potential health benefits involving blood sugar regulation. 

Jimbo’s is a natural foods grocer.

Oma special orders her Ceylon cinnamon from Jimbo’s. Jimbo’s is a natural foods grocer with locations in San Diego/Del Mar and Escondido. For 25 years, Jimbo’s has proudly supported local organic farms.

Organic means food is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. Organically grown foods are higher in nutrients, including antioxidant vitamins, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Over 95% of Jimbo’s produce is organically grown!

Both honey and cinnamon have been used to heal for centuries, on their own and as in combination. In Chinese medicine, following Yin and Yang principles, cinnamon is used to cure conditions of cold (excess Yin) as it is considered to be Yang (heat). In this case, honey is seen to be neutral, in balance.

Oma enjoys her cup of “Cinnamon and Honey Tea” every morning. In addition to the health benefits of this concoction, this simple beverage serves as a reminder to pay careful attention to the sustenance you choose for your body. 

* Coumarin is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reef Indy Smiles

Oma loves it when Baby Reef Smiles!


Dad and Baby Reef Enjoying Their Sunday

Many babies treat their parents and grandparents to their first smile when they're between six and eight weeks old. (Reef Indy is seven weeks old.)

By encouraging Reef Indy to smile, you are helping him develop self-esteem. It lets Reef know that his feelings are important and that he can affect his environment. It's also important for his overall brain development.

At around one or two months, babies will gradually start to respond to environmental stimulation. Here are some tips to coax a baby grin:

  • Choose a period when your baby is relaxed. A hungry baby isn't inclined to smile.
  • Take your baby in your arms with his face very close to yours. Remember, at this age your baby sees best at 8-12 inches away.
  • Smile widely at his and offer a warm "hello" in that sing-song pitch parents do so well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October is SIDS Awareness Month

 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Reef Indy - Place baby to sleep on his back at naptime and at night time.

Did you know that 80-90% of SIDS-related deaths are due to unsafe sleep practices?


    Reef Indy - Place baby to sleep on his back at naptime and at night time.
  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snuggly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.


  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface.
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

Nothing else should go in the crib with your baby
no blanket, pillow, bumper pads or toys. 


What SIDS Is and What SIDS Is Not


  • The major cause of death in infants from 1 month to 1 year of age, with most deaths occurring between 2 and 4 months
  • Sudden and silent - the infant was seemingly healthy
  • Currently, unpredictable and unpreventable
  • Determined only after an autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history
  • Designated as a diagnosis of exclusion
  • A recognized medical disorder listed in the International Classification of Diseases, ( 9th Revision)
  • An infant death that leaves unanswered questions, causing intense grief for parents and families.

SIDS Is Not:

  • Caused by vomiting and choking, or minor illnesses such as colds or infections
  • Caused by immunizations
  • Contagious
  • Child abuse
  • The cause of every unexpected infant death

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Should Baby Reef Indy Wear Sunglasses?

Should Baby Reef Indy Wear Sunglasses?

While enjoying Fun Family Friday, I noticed that baby Reef Indy was closing his eyes while outside with his Opa. Reef just loves being walked outdoors, but he always squints or closes his eyes. It is very sunny in Southern California, so Oma started wondering if it was ever too early to introduce Reef to sunshine.

Oma learned that it is a good idea, because exposure to ultraviolet rays may raise his risk for cataracts and other eye problems later in life. However, it is advised that if the baby resists, you shouldn’t push it. A visor or a hat could also be utilized to keep the sun out of his eyes and might be a more workable choice than shades for babies, toddlers, and even some older kids.

Not just any sunglasses will do, though. Putting low-quality sunglasses on your child is worse than his wearing no glasses at all. That's because poor-quality sunglasses can cause your child's pupils to dilate – therefore letting more UVA and UVB rays in – without offering protection.

When choosing sunglasses, buy a pair with a label saying it blocks 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Labels that say the glasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements or block UV absorption up to 400 nm (nanometers) mean you're getting this protection, too. You can trust the labeling in reliable stores, but not necessarily with a vendor on the street.

Oma learned that baby sunglasses come in various styles and are designed with the baby’s specific needs in mind. Unlike adult sunglasses that come as one size fits all, baby sunglasses come in various sizes to ensure a good fit for every baby's face.

Oma rummaged the internet. Baby Banz Sunglasses - Age 0-2 boosted rave reviews. 

Should Baby Reef Indy Wear Sunglasses?
Reef Indy's New Baby Banz

They have:
  • Plastic frame 
  • Plastic lens 
  • non-polarized 
  • Lens width: 60 millimeters 
  • Silicone Nose and Brow Piece is embedded into the glasses for added comfort 
  • Material: 82% Polyamide 18% Spandex 
  • Neoprene elastic strap matches chosen color of sunglasses and allows for flexibility, breath-ability, and comfort 

They were super cute too. Oma bought a pair for Baby Reef Indy. I will let you know how he likes them.

Friday, October 18, 2013

All*You - Grocery Circular Roundup

If you like shopping for deals at the grocery store, but have limited time, this free computer app might prove both fun and helpful! (I tried it and enjoyed both its ease and productivity!)

What is Grocery Circular Roundup?

Saving on your groceries just got a whole lot easier! Grocery Circular Roundup lets you browse both coupons and your local grocery circulars online, or search for deals and coupons based on your weekly shopping list. We designed it with one thing in mind: to make saving on groceries quicker and easier.

How do you get started?

Start by entering your zip code and clicking “Update.” The first results to appear will be items on sale at stores near you, as well as coupons. You can sort the results by store, category (bread, meat, pasta, etc.) or both.

You can also search for deals on specific items and brands on your shopping list by clicking the "Search By Item" tab. Type your grocery list or individual items by type (cereal) or brand name (Cheerios) to see what's on sale near you. Hit return after each item. When you click “Find Savings,” you’ll see all the stores in your area with deals on the items you searched, followed by specific deals organized by category.

Click here to go to All*You Grocery Circular Roundup

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Education Is Very Important for Your Little Star (Part 3)

This is the last installment of the three part interview Oma conducted with the founder of Little Stars Academy of Temecula. This is a must read as Jessica’s advice is both prolific and profound!
See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here


Question Three of Three:

Oma: Is there any advice you have for a first time Oma and Opa? What can a grandparent do to prepare their grandkids for school?

Jessica: The advice that I would give to any parent or grandparent to help prepare a child for school is to NEVER EVER think that it is too early to start educating your child. As soon as a baby is born they are ready to learn and I have seen so many times that if you wait until they are 5 to try to teach them it is too late!!!

Talk to your child. What? Crazy you say but I actually had kids in my class who I could tell had never really been talked to by their parents. I talked to my son all the time as a baby. Did he answer me? Nope but it filled the hours when we were alone in the house together. J And guess what? When he started talking not only did his vocabulary grow on a daily basis but he spoke in complete sentences. This is so important. When you ask your child a question like “Would you like some milk?” Please expect an answer like “Yes mommy I would like some milk”. Just yes or a nod is not acceptable. Expect them to talk and they will learn to talk. Give them everything without having to speak and they won’t learn to speak. It is so simple.

As for baby talk…just don’t do it. When your child is learning to talk and says a word wrong, politely tell them the right way and move on. Don’t harp on it but don’t ignore it because you think it is cute. Bad habitats are hard to break! We all know this. My husband and I have been asking our son the same question every night since as soon as he could talk. We ask him, “What was your favorite part of the day?” I love the answers that come out of his mouth. Sometimes it is just as I would expect, Going to Disneyland or playing at the park and then sometimes it is what I would consider the most insignificant part of the day like going to the store and then there is the all-time favorite “Spending the day with you!”. You and the people who you allow the privilege of spending time with your child become their first teachers so choose wisely.

Read to your children! Read to them a lot. Make it part of your daily/nightly routine as soon as they are born and it will become a habitat that sticks. My bookcase of children’s books was full before my son was born because it is just that important. Children have to hear stories in order to learn how to read. It is just that simple. Maybe you say okay fine but what do I read? My first recommendation would be to read rhyming books. The ability to rhyme is a strong predictor for success as a reader because kids who can rhyme truly understand the way words work and that makes them good readers. My second recommendation for books to read to your child are books that you get enjoyment out of which means you need to read it before you buy it. Did you like it? Did you enjoy reading it? The more into the story you get, the better the child will like it. When your child is old enough to talk you need to ask them about the story and just talk about what happened. Just doing that is HUGE!

Give kids exposure to new experiences. You do not need money to do this. Visit the park, grocery store, museum, or anywhere really and set out to make it a learning experience. Comment on the birds you see or the color of the clouds. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing. Maybe getting the tires changed on the car, you could talk about how a car has four tires. Lets count them, 1, 2, 3, 4 then compare…a motorcycle only has 2. Exposure to letters, print, and numbers is important. If you are going to watch TV make it educational and watch it with them to a certain extent. TV can be great to put on while you are making dinner but you better know what that TV is saying to them. If you are hoping it is teaching them something then you need to at least follow up and say “So what was the letter of the day on Sesame Street today?”

These are things that grandparents and parents can do but you know what I love most about what grandparents can give to their grandkids is a stress free environment full of love. Life can get busy for parents when they have bills to pay, kids to take care of, houses to clean, jobs to maintain, and more and kids feel all of that. What I love most about when my son is with his grandparents is that he doesn’t have to feel any of that. They put everything aside for my little boy and just make him feel loved. They say Yes I will play with you now, read to you, or go on a walk with you. Spoil them….definitely but not with toys or gifts….with love and attention. Being with grandparents should feel safe like a home away from home. Grandparents need to share their stories and experiences with their grandkids so they learn their values as well as those of their parents. Kids learn life lessons through experiences and the more they have with quality people the better off they will be!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Education Is Very Important for Your Little Star (Part 2)

Little Stars Academy

The teachers and staff of Little Stars Academy are committed to helping every child develop to their own individual potential in an atmosphere that fosters a balance between each child’s social, physical, intellectual and emotional development. We provide a well-balanced curriculum supported by a professional staff dedicated to encouraging each child to reach their maximum potential.

Oma’s interview with Jessica, the founder of “Little Stars Academy Temecula”  continues. (See Part 1 here)  

Question Two of Three:

Oma: Please give us the “The Little Star” story – the when, why, how . . . . .

Jessica: After having my own son I ended up working as a part-time job share teacher for 3 years. I loved the kids that I worked for and the parents I met but I quickly started to dislike the system. I experienced an environment where many coworkers were not there to put kids first, were not there to help shape lives, or to help them learn the things they needed to know. I experienced bad and in some cases downright scary teachers, principals who honestly cared more about bullying staff then they did about changing a school’s culture, and a district that was determined to change the system every year just because they could. I knew in my heart as much as I loved my school that I would never send my son there. I couldn’t stand the idea of not being comfortable with him being in every classroom on campus.

I started to look elsewhere for job options and school setting for my son. I became involved in the would be start-up of a charter school for our community that just never seemed to go anywhere or get enough support. My amazing partner teacher who knew of my frustrations finally encouraged me to look into starting a private school. When I did I discovered that it actually could be a possibility.

I am a strong believer in the importance of a good foundation in kindergarten and 1st grade. Kindergarten today is essentially what 1st grade used to be. Kids learn to read in kindergarten now and if a child enters kinder without preschool they start out at a disadvantage. I also believe in small class sizes, which with budget cuts you will not find often. I wanted a school that provided that strong foundation in a small group setting that kept learning fun and engaging. I wanted a place where I could connect with parents and help them learn to help their children.

So with the help of my husband and the dream of the school that I would want for my own child we started putting the steps into motion in November 2011 while I was still working in public school. We started looking for a location and I started researching curriculums. We worked on the website, handbooks, and our philosophy for the school. In March of 2012 we moved into the space and started painting, building, and buying. We began taking appointments for tours and started to take students for our first year.

The 2012-2013 we had 6 kindergarteners and 1 first grader. We were a tight group from the beginning and the thing I loved most about our group that every child in there was there because their parents were looking for something unique and as special as their child was. Isn’t that exactly what I wanted for my son? It totally was. One of my former parent volunteers came to work with me. She is honestly the most hardworking dedicated person that I have ever known. She homeschooled two of her own children and knew the basics of teaching but set to work that year learning everything she could about what the kids needed and how to present the information in a beneficial and meaningful way. Once again I found the most enjoyment out of teaching and guiding her to be a better teacher!

Overall the year was hard, scary, and stressful but amazing at the same time. Going into our 2nd year we have 23 students in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and 1st grade.

What makes Little Stars better than public school is that we cater to each child. I often compare it to homeschooling but with a real teacher and peers in the mix. Each child in getting a variation of the Common Core Standards at the level they need. In public school most of the kids are being taught at the exact same level because there are so many kids in the class that the teacher could not possibly teach at all the levels needed. 

Most of the time you teach to the majority of your class and then work your butt off to bring up the low kids leaving the high kids to fend for themselves because you know they are fine and are not going to fail. It is these kids that I always felt the most disservice to because I would wonder if I really ever challenged them, ever taught them anything that they didn’t already know. Our small class environment means that we get a lot more work done in less time, which leaves more time with the subjects like science and social studies. These are the subjects that are often getting left behind in public school. 

With our multi-age peers in the room the kids are learning how to be more responsible like the older kids and more caring to the younger kids. We teach about respect, courtesy, and kindness not just about the academics.

(The Last Installment - Part Three – Will be Published Next Week)