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Start Smart Academy in Jersey City

 

Getting a good start on your child’s education is extremely important. Those starting years can be a great jump start to a great educational life. It can mean the difference between Honors and falling behind sometimes. So let’s get talking about great starter schools! In this post I will tell you all about a great school located in Jersey City. It’s time to talk about Start Smart Academy! I will inform you on the numerous facts every mother wants to hear. If you’re looking for the facts this is the right place. We will talk about their policies on lunch, their ethics, beliefs and programs available at Start Smart Academy.

 

 

Today I want to talk to you mommies about Start Smart Academy  located in Jersey City! A good jump start to your child’s education. Star Smart Academy is a school located on 462 Central Avenue in Jersey City. The school is open for children of the ages from 2 to 9. All of the teachers are certified teachers and the school is ESL certified as well. At Start Smart Academy they make it their mission to create a safe and respectful environment for all children and their parents. They want to ensure that every child that attends Start Smart Academy will develop cognitively, socially and creatively among other things. Their goal, to Prepare the future of Jersey City.

 

 

In order to get the little ones of Jersey City thinking moving and growing, Start Smart Academy uses everyday fun to get them going.  For example they will use music and art as a tool to enrich the child’s mind. They will use puppetry to help children develop social skills and they will use group work as well. At Start Smart Academy they have many methods that are bound to help your little one grow.

 

Being that everyone’s life schedule in Jersey City can vary numerously, Start Smart Academy had numerous programs that are available to you. The programs available are very lenient so that you can choose what works best for you and your child. So if your child is younger you can enroll your child for the two days a week program, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and have your baby spend the other days with you or the other areas that you may enjoy to visit in Jersey City. There are other programs such as the three day program (Mon/Wed/Fri), the four day program (Mon-Thurs) and the five day program (Mon-Fri). For each of these programs the hours are from 7:30am-3:30pm. For children of the ages 2-5 there are also half-day options available. There is a morning program (from 8:30am-12:30pm) as well as an afternoon program (from 2:30pm-6:30pm).

 

 

I know what you’re thinking…WHAT ABOUT AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS in Jersey City!? Well guess what, Start Smart Academy offers after school programs as well from Monday through Fridays. The after school program is offered from 3:30pm-6:30pm but it is up to you how long your child stays. The rates for the afterschool program is hourly, being $10 an hour for children that are not current students at the academy and $7 an hour for children that are current students at the academy.

 

 

Unfortunately because of the diversity in Jersey City and at Start Smart Academy lunch is not provided. Each child must bring in their own lunch with them. However, Start Smart does provide healthy snacks for all of the children.

There is a $100 registration fee when applying for your child to attend Start Smart Academy. If so far this school seems like something that your child could benefit from I suggest giving their website a little look. (http://smart-startacademy.com/) One great option available in Jersey City for one smart start!

 

Board Book Review: Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh for Ages Birth to 3

Mouse Paint

Board Book

Ages Birth to 3

By Ellen Stoll Walsh

32 pages

Harcourt

1995

This lighthearted, simple story is also a lesson in primary colors. Three white mice are able to conceal themselves against a sheet of white paper and become invisible to a sleek, gray cat. But when the inquisitive mice discover three paint jars—one red, one yellow and one blue—they nearly blow their cover!

Thinking the jars they’ve discovered are for painting themselves, the three adventurous mice jump right in.

Their paint drips onto the paper creating bright puddles of color, inspiring the mice to play.

As each mouse—boldly adorned in a primary hue—dances, hops or jumps in the puddles, new and wonderful colors are created.

The illustrations, done in cut-paper collage, are set against a white background and clearly differentiate each vivid color.  The clean and unembellished design is incredibly pleasing; Walsh manages to make a seemingly basic array of primary and secondary colors seem like a celebration.

Each lesson in color mixing is given two full spreads, allowing children time to process how the new colors are made.

After all the playing in the paint, the mice are feeling sticky and give themselves a bath in the cat’s water bowl.

Readers are given a helpful reminder on how to create the new colors when the newly cleaned mice decide to continue painting. This time they use the paper instead of themselves and, learning from their past experience, they leave a little bit of white so that they may continue hiding from the cat.

Walsh’s masterful technique at introducing a basic concept is quite likely to prompt little ones to explore color and art, painting and drawing.

 

Jennifer Lavonier has lived in Jersey City for over fifteen years and has worked in the children’s book world for nearly twenty years. She was the manager and buyer of Books of Wonder, Manhattan’s premiere children’s bookstore, and the assistant to Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are. You can find more of her children’s book reviews on her website, TurtleAndRobot.com.

My Top 10 ways SAVE and Stay Connected While Traveling

fisher price phone

While we were on our cruise a few weeks ago, I was again reminded how hard it is to stay connected while on a cruise. You really are limited in how you can connect with the world. We spent over $100 on internet/wi-fi access on the ship for the week.  It is CRAZY!!   In Bermuda, we were able to get access for $3 for an hour, but you had to hang by the shop that sold the time.  A better option, but still not great.

I have always recommended that when traveling outside the country that you call your provider to add an International plan to your phone. It can cost as little as $30 for a 1 month plan. You also need to make sure it includes data and roaming as well.  Believe me that is ALOT cheaper than paying for International calls and roaming.

When I am traveling outside the country, I usually turn off my cellular as well as data and roaming, then a few times a day turn it on and get my email “pushed” to my phone.  The best, is if you can find a free wi-fi spot.

So this week I wanted to share with you some of the apps and plans that are out there to help you stay connected while you are away and not have to spend a FORTUNE.

1. Wi-Fi Finder This is a MUST have free app. The app points users to over 650,000 wi-fi locations in over 114 countries.  The app has an online and an offline function. The offline allows you to download their most up-to-date database, just in case.

2.  Whatsapp I first learned about this app from a fellow travel agent and she swears by it.   This app is a mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS (text messages).  It is available for most smart phones. As well as you can send messages to ALL phones.  It uses the data plan you use for email and web browsing, so it does not cost you extra to send text messages.  You can also send images, video and audio messages.

3.  Viber This program allows users to call, text and share pictures FREE over 3G and wi-fi to other Viber users.   The other nice thing is that you don’t have to register to use this program.  As well you can use Viber with windows and mac computers.

4. Gmail SMS (Texting) If you have a gmail account you can send and receive free text messages.  So if you can access your account, you can send a text.  It is a great way to save money.  If someone responds to your text it will appear in a chat window.  It is also saved.

5.  Skype Mobile This app is supported on just about all smart phones.  All phones with the app allow face to face video calls and instant messaging over 3G or Wifi connections. Android phones can also send photos, videos and files for free.  Windows phones can send and receive free instant messages.  Also all phones can make low cost calls, for around .21 cents a minute. Much cheaper than a standard per minute cell charge when roaming.

6.  XCOM Global MiFi – This company offers mifi hotspots which you can rent for your trip. They charge one flat rate per day.  You would never have to hunt for wi-fi again. You can use this with one of the other apps I have suggested.   You can order from their site, they send you everything you need in a handy travel pouch and provide the envelope with pre-paid shipping for easy return.

7. Rent a SIM Can You can rent a SIM card with a pre-loaded plan and you will be ready to go.  The research I read is that you really should have a plan that allows at least 100mb a day.  KeepGo is the one I would use. The SIM card will allow you to stay connected just like at home. You tell them your travel dates, where you want to go and the plan you want and they will give you a quote.  They send you a card and you do not have to return.

8. AT&T Global Messaging You can choose a plan which allows you 50, 200 or 600.  This plan starts for as little as $10 a month.  All of these plans require you to purchase 1 month of service. These plans allow you to send text, picture or video messages while you are traveling in over 150 countries.  It is a great way to stay connected to friends and family.

9. AT&T International Call and Roaming This plan is a must add-on if you know you will need to call while you are away.  Plans start for $30 for 80 minutes.  There is also a 200 and 500 minute plan. It is good to purchase more than you think you will need as the overage cost can break the bank.  Also, there are separate plans for Mexico/Caribbean and Europe.

10. ATT&T Cruise Ship Package This is surely a game changer for staying connected while sailing. For now this plan is only available on Royal Caribbean, Azamara and select Celebrity ships.  However, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be available on other lines soon. There are 3 packages to choose from:

  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling: Offers 50 minutes of talk time for $30/month.
  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling and Messaging: Offers 50 minutes of talk time and 100 text, picture or video messages sent for $60/month.
  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling, Messaging and Data: Offers 50 minutes of talk time, 100 text, picture or video messages sent, as well as 100 MB of data for $120/month.

OK yes, I know not everyone uses AT&T phones.  Sorry to be biased. Here are links to check out plans through other providers:

Sprint international roaming details: click here
T-Mobile USA international roaming details: click here

Verizon Wireless international roaming details: click here

I hope you find this information helpful to helping you stay connected while away and not have to spend a fortune to do so.

Birthday Party Venues in Jersey City and Hoboken

Birthday Party Venues in Jersey City

Planning a birthday party for your little one can be stressful enough! Why not take the work out of having it at home and try one of these great places in Jersey City and Hoboken. Depending on your style, you may want a rentable venue where you can bring everything in or you may want to have the whole party planned for you and just walk in day of and party. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ideas!

Jersey City:

Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds offers many different themes for your little one’s special day or you can choose one for yourself. You get a 2 hour party with up to 15 kids. They will take care of the set up, run the party and clean up, so you can enjoy the whole experience with your child! The party package includes: streamers according to your color preferences, provide color paper products, pizza and juice boxes for the kids, music, use of the upstairs studio space and use of the downstairs play space for younger siblings and parents only. You can even order extras like goody bags, cupcakes or cake and food for the adults and feel free to bring beer and wine for the grown-ups! The studio is also available to rent for a DIY party.

Liberty State Park

The fall weather is the perfect time to have an outdoor party! Plus, the views at Liberty State Park are some of the best around. There are many picnic areas around the park that can be reserved. There are some by the playground, which is a popular spot for families. Those can be reserved by contacting the park office at (201) 915-3402. The Freedom Field and Pavilion has two rentable areas. Pavilion A accommodates up to 120 people, includes 4 grills, has 15 picnic tables, an open grass area, parking, restrooms and electric. Pavilion B accommodates up to 80 people, includes 3 grills, 8 picnic tables, has an open grass area, parking, restrooms and electric. Click here for an application.

Hoboken:

Garden Street School of the Performing Arts

Get dramatic with this school for your creative child’s birthday party. They will transform their 3,000 square foot studio into a “whimsical” place for your little one’s party! Package options are available for you to choose from!

Kidville

Kidville is continues to create lasting birthday memories for kids and families! Their team provides several options to help you create the party of your child’s dreams! They have so many exciting themes and add-on packages and can completely customize your party.

My Gym

My Gym Jersey City is a great place to celebrate your child’s special day! Birthday party packages come in three options: grand celebration, deluxe celebration and premium celebration. If you’re a member you get a discount! 

  • Grand Celebration: $395 for members, $495 for non members
  • Deluxe Celebration: $445 for member, $545 for non members
  • Premium Celebration: $545 for members, $645 for non members

The Monroe Street Movement Space

The Monroe Street Movement Space is available for  children’s birthday parties with the great support of Movement Space staff. They also offer a kid-friendly lobby/food room with a sink, counter space, fridge, tables/chairs and restroom.

Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Climbing

If your little is into big adventures, then Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Climbing is the ideal place to hold your next birthday party! The staff aims to make your rock climbing experience fun and enjoyable no matter what type of experience you have. There are two types of birthday packages available!

  • Package One: This package includes: 1.5 Hours of Rock Climbing and activities with Gravity Vault Instructors staffed on a 5:1 ratio, a half hour in our party room, T-Shirt for Birthday Child and Gravity Vault Invitations. Cost: $299.00
  • This package includes: 1.5 Hours of Rock Climbing and activities with Gravity Vault Instructors staffed on a 5:1 ratio,  a half hour in our party room, T-Shirt for Birthday Child and Gravity Vault Invitations. As well as: Pizza (2 Slices per Child), Soda, Water, Lemonade, all the paper products (plates, napkins, utensils, table cloths, cups and baloons), and instructors to serve and clean up! Cost: $369.00

Liberty Science Center 

Party like a mad scientist at the Liberty Science Center! Your child and their guests can enjoy access to the Science Center plus your little one gets in for free! Enjoy fun science activities and demonstrations, plus delicious cake and special touches. See what awesome accommodations LSC has to offer!

For more birthday party resources and locations you can check out the following links:

Indoor Birthday Party Places in Jersey City

Birthday Party Resources For Kids in Jersey City

 

Picture Book Review: If I Had a Dragon by Tom and Amanda Ellery for Ages 2-6

If I Had a Dragon

Picture Book

Ages 2-6

By Tom and Amanda Ellery

40 pages

Simon & Schuster

2006

The opening page of If I Had a Dragon features a command:

The urgency and exasperation in the voice of the speaker are palpable but the recipient of the command is unmoved.

“I don’t want to play with my brother. He’s too little.”

This common objection among children with younger siblings will be familiar to many parents and readers. Morton wishes his lump of a baby brother would change into something fun like a bulldozer or—even better—a dragon!

Comic scenes play out between the hulking, bright green dragon and the small boy, whose shock of red hair is a wonderful complement to the emerald reptile. The massive creature is stretched over the spreads against a sparse, smoky background.

The boy imagines going for walks with his new giant friend.

But a dragon would rather fly.

Perhaps a game of hide and seek would be fun…

But there are not many places such a humongous being could hide.

Maybe the boy could teach his massive playmate to whistle?

The succinct text is intermixed with wordless spreads and the simply drawn, cartoonish art is lively and expressive. The combination of the two makes for a hilarious picture book. As Morton imagines all the wonderful things he could do with a dragon, he quickly realizes how a dragon’s size and abilities could actually get in the way of all the fun.

Content in the knowledge that a dragon might not be the best playmate, the boy sends the imaginary beast home and happily joins his little brother for some fun in the sandbox.

Jennifer Lavonier has lived in Jersey City for over fifteen years and has worked in the children’s book world for nearly twenty years. She was the manager and buyer of Books of Wonder, Manhattan’s premiere children’s bookstore, and the assistant to Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are. You can find more of her children’s book reviews on her website, TurtleAndRobot.com.

Can I afford Private School? Why yes! Let’s talk about tuition and possibilities

Private School in Jersey City

Hey Mommas! I think it’s time we talk about the cost of education in Jersey City. How many of you know
how much, on average, it costs to put your child in a private school that is to your liking? If you’re anything like I was a little while ago, you wouldn’t know the answer to this question, perhaps unless your child is currently attending a private school. If anything, you’d have an assumption which is quite common (It cost too much for me!).  So, let’s talk about it!

Upon hearing the words “private schools” and “tuition” most people tend to panic a bit, or at least the people around my community. Private school is often not even a part of the question simply because we are afraid to learn the actual costs of private schools. Let’s face it, it is one thing to think private school is too much of an expense and it is another to know that it is. But what if I told you that not all private schools will be in the ten thousand dollar mark? Yes there are many schools that do range in this pricey area of $10,000 (Saint Dominic Academy) or even higher like St. Peters Prep which is about $13,350. At the same time there are multiple schools that offer a fraction of that cost.  Schools such as St. Joseph and St. Anthony, which offer education for a tuition price from $4,000-$5,000.

I am assuming many of you are thinking this is still a big portion of budget to have to set aside. I agree, the cost of living is only getting higher and having to pay for an education that was supposed to be promised by a public school is a bit disheartening. But never give up! That is exactly what Financial-aid is set in place for.  If you feel that private school is the best option for you but this price of at least $4,000 is still too much for you, financial-aids are the way to go. Some of the schools, such as Al Ghazaly School, tell you right off the back about the financial-aid available to families that cannot afford the schools tuition. The information is literally sitting there on their web page (http://alghazalyschool.com/financialAid.html). To get to this information just click on the previous link, click on “prospective students” on the drop down menu located on the top and then click on financial-aid.

Not all private schools post their tuition right on their websites. Some require making a phone call to their main office (which must be done during business hours). So, if I may suggest:

 

First find the school that works for you and your child best (i.e. if you’re looking for a Seventh-day Adventist school or Muslim school or one that is co-ed), next check out their website. Look for that important tuition rate and lastly do not forget to check their rules on financial-aid. If the information isn’t sitting on their web page don’t be afraid to give them a call and ask. Some schools sometimes go to the extent of lowering the tuition for a particular family if they fall in the crack of not being able to afford tuition but aren’t eligible for financial-aid. So call and find out! IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK! Let nothing stand in your way of getting the education you want for your child.

 

Public Schools In Jersey City – Student to Teacher ratios in the classroom

Public Schools In Jersey City

As a parent you all know what is best for your child. Every child is different, each demanding a different type of care or attention. So why not go that extra length in finding a school that matches those very needs? Well, usually it becomes an effort to try and obtain such information from both the public and private schools. You just can never be too sure. Eventually it becomes a search battle much like when we try to find the best priced flight ticket.

As a college student I know how important the teacher to student ratio can be. It can make the difference between scoring higher in test and just as important in the level of comfort your child will have in the classroom. It is most common to prefer a class with the smallest number of children so that each child can get that individual attention that they each deserve. I truly agree! It is every mother’s desire for their child to get all the attention they can get from the teacher. We want to make sure that each child can leave the classroom feeling confident that each day they learned something new without any confusion. However, as an education major I urge you not to forget about the positives a class with a good amount of students can do for your child. I always think it is a great benefit to be able to be in a room full of many different minds so that we could each learn from one another.

During the 2010-2011 school year the Jersey City Public School district had a student enrollment of 34,505. The number of classroom teachers employed at this same time in Jersey City was 2,665. This leaves us with an average ratio of about 12 to 13 students per classroom. This was the average given for each of the public schools. When the polls were done over for the current year that passed it was found that the student to teacher ratio has actually lowered to an average or 9 students to a teacher. However, this is simply an average of the overall schools. To hit closer to home, the following list will give the average ratio for each individual public school.

 

 Alexander D. Sullivan No. 30 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Alfred E. Zampella No. 27 Elementary School

Grades K-8                                                       11 student/teacher

Anthony J. Infante No. 31 Elementary School

Grades PK, 1-2                                                 student/teacher

Cornelia F. Bradford No. 16 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

County Prep High School

Grades 9-12                                                      student/teacher

Dr. Charles P. Defuccio No. 39 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

Dr. Ronald E. Mc Nair/Academic High School

 

Grades 9-12                                                      student/teacher

 

Explore 2000 Middle School

 

Grades 6-8                                                       12 student/teacher

Ezra L. Nolan No. 40 Elementary School

Grades 6-8                                                        student/teacher

Frank R. Conwell No. 3 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Fred W. Martin No. 41

Grades 6-8                                                        student/teacher

Heights Middle School

Grades 6-8                                                       student/teacher

Henry Snyder High School

Grades 9-12                                                      student/teacher

James F. Murray No. 38 Elementary School

 

Grades PK-8                                                   10 student/teacher

 

James J. Ferris High School

Grades 9-12                                                     11 student/teacher

Joseph H. Brensinger No. 17 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

Jotham W. Wakeman No. 6 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Julia A. Barnes No. 12 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

Liberty High School

Grades 9-12                                                      student/teacher

Lincoln High School

Grades 9-12                                                      student/teacher

 

Martin Luther King, Jr No. 11 Elementary School

 

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

 

N.J. Regional Day School Jersey City

Grades 5                                                           student/teacher

Nicolas Copernicus No. 25 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Number 14 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Number 20 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Number 22 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Number 23 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

Number 24 Elementary School

 

Grades K-8                                                       student/teacher

 

Number 28 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

Number 29 Elementary School

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

Number 33 Elementary School

Grades PK-4                                                     student/teacher

Number 34 Elementary School

Grades K-8                                                       student/teacher

Number 4 Middle School

Grades 6-8                                                        student/teacher

Number 5 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

Number 8 Elementary School

 

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

 

Rafael De J. Cordero No. 37 Elementary School

Grades PK-8                                                     student/teacher

The Academy I Middle School

Grades 6-8                                                        student/teacher

Whitney M. Young

Grades PK-5                                                     student/teacher

William L. Dickinson High School

 

Grades 9-12                                                      12 student/teacher

 

 

Because private schools are just that, private, the teacher to student ratio will vary more than the public schools. So, here is a list of the ratios in each of the private schools located in Jersey City.

 

ABC Elementary School

 

Grades PK-8                          11 Students to a Teacher

 

Al Ghazaly School

 

Grades PK-6                           6 Students to a Teacher

 

Badr School

 

Grades PK-7                           4 Students to a Teacher

 

First Christian Pentecostal

 

Grades PK-8                          12 Students to a Teacher

 

Genesis Academy

 

Grades PK-6                           5 Students to a Teacher

 

Genesis Educational Center

 

Grades PK-6                           4 Students to a Teacher

 

Hudson Catholic Regional High School

 

Grades 9-12                            20 Students to a Teacher

 

Kenmare Alternative High School

 

Grades 9-12                             13 Students to a Teacher

 

Montessori School of Jersey City

 

Grades PK-1                           14 Students to a Teacher

 

Our Lady of Czestochowa

 

Grades PK-8                           9 Students to a Teacher

 

Primary Prep

 

Grades PK-8                          12 Students to a Teacher

 

Ressurection School

 

Grades PK-8                           15 Students to a Teacher

 

Sacred Heart School

 

Grades K-8                             18 Students to a Teacher

 

St. Aloysius Elementary School

 

Grades PK-8                           18 Students to a Teacher

 

St. Anthony High School

 

Grades 9-12                            12 Students to a teacher

 

St. Dominic Academy

 

Grades 9-12                            11 Students to a Teacher

 

St. Joseph Elementary School

 

Grades PK-8                           15 Students to a Teacher

 

St. Nicholas School

 

Grades PK-8                            21 Students to a Teacher

 

St. Peters Preparatory School

 

Grades 9-12                            13 Students to a Teacher

 

Tet Christian Academy

 

Grades PK, 3-6, 8, 10, 12       6 Students to a Teacher

 

Waterfront Montessori

 

Grades PK-8                           5 Students to a Teacher

 

Ycs May Academy

 

Grades PK                              6 Students to a Teacher

 

 

Whether public school or private school is your preference, both give you a variety to the class sizes. With both of these lists you can find the schools nearest to you and be sure that the class size in your child’s school will be one you pre-approved of.

 

Picture Book Review: The Ant and The Elephant by Bill Peet for Ages 4-10

The Ant and the Elephant

Picture Book

Ages 4-10

By Bill Peet

48 pages

Houghton Mifflin

1972

Bill Peet (1915 – 2002) wrote and illustrated all of his 36 books (most of which remain in print) and I truly love them all. His books are sublime. Full of humor, compassion, and warmth, his stories often focus on friendship, kindness and respect for the environment. Yet Peet was never condescending or didactic, he held his audience in high esteem. That his lengthy, complex books still hold the attention of today’s easily distracted children is a testament to his connection to young minds.

Peet’s lavish, enchanting art was created with colored pencils, pastels and India ink. His illustrations are colorful, detailed, expressive and whimsical. His wholly satisfying books are fantastical journeys into strange yet familiar lands featuring lovable, sympathetic, and usually animal, characters.

Prior to publishing his first book, Hubert’s Hair-Raising Adventure (1959), Peet worked for Disney Studios (he was there from 1937 to 1964). He worked on several of Disney’s most famous films, including Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Jungle Book (though his work on that film went uncredited due to a dispute with Walt Disney).

Peet also created the first Disney film to come from a single storywriter, 101 Dalmatians, based on the book by Dodie Smith. He wrote the script, created the storyboards and designed the characters. It was Bill Peet who created the iconic Disney villain, Cruella de Vil, that so many people (myself included) love to hate. Because of Peet’s work with Disney there’s a familiarity to his art; once readers begin to recognize his style, it becomes easy to spot his creations in the films he worked on.

The Ant and The Elephant is a twist on Aesop’s The Lion and the Mouse, in which a meek, small character is remarkably able to help a large, strong character.

While climbing a long blade of grass for a better view of the river, a small ant finds himself in a predicament after being blown by the wind. The minute creature lands on a stick in the middle of the river. He would surely drown if he tried to get to the shore himself, so he asks a nearby turtle for assistance; the grumpy turtle cannot be bothered to help.

Soon enough the turtle finds himself in a bit of a bind, having tipped onto his back while trying to climb onto a rock. He asks a nearby hornbill for a hand and receives a response quite similar to the one he gave the ant.

And so it goes down the line through several unhelpful—and perhaps shortsighted—African animals, until readers are introduced to the noble elephant.

He hears so much with his large ears—“the faint rustle of a leaf, the least snap of a twig, or even the tiny voice of an ant calling.”

The accommodating elephant, having heard all the events of the day, makes his way to the river to assist the miniscule creature. He offers the trapped ant his trunk; the grateful ant crawls on and is deposited safely on the shore of the river. The elephant continues on, helping each of the helpless, and shockingly ungrateful, creatures along the way.

Soon it is the elephant that finds himself in a disabled position; he’s fallen into a ravine.

He calls for help and waits and waits. As the sun sets, the elephant hears the sound of tiny footsteps. Soon, ninety-five thousand ants arrive to help him! They successfully lift the giant beast and carry him up the wall and onto flat ground.

And in return all of the ants climb aboard their new, grateful friend for their first ever elephant ride!

Jennifer Lavonier has lived in Jersey City for over fifteen years and has worked in the children’s book world for nearly twenty years. Prior to his death, she was the assistant to Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are. You can find more of her children’s book reviews on her website, TurtleAndRobot.com.

hipKey – A New Way to Keep Your Valuables and Child Safe

 

My boys are constantly taking my iphone or ipad and leaving it somewhere.  Usually, somewhere I can’t find it and of course they do not remember where they put it.  I will usually use the Find My Iphone app to track it down. But, I recently discovered something even better , hipKey.    However even better than using it to just find your iphone or ipad, you can use it to find your child, purse or other valuable. I will be the first to admit there are have been a few times where I was panic stricken thinking my child was missing. I wish had hipKey, then I could have pressed a button or the alarm would have gone off and I would have easily found him.

hipKey is a lightweight and easy to use device. You just download the app and attach hipKey to the valuable you want to keep track of, like your child, purse, or other valuable and you are ready to go.

There are 4 different modes or ways you can use hipKey:

1.  Alarm Mode 

The alarm will go off if you forget your iPhone or iPad or if someone attempts to steal it.

2. Child Mode

The alarm will alert you if your child wanders too far away, or you can push the alarm as well. So if you are out at the mall or on vacation, if your child strays more than 164 Feet the alarm will sound and you can quickly locate your little one.  As well, I really like that you can adjust the distance range to short, medium or long. Also in Child Mode, you can take a photo of your child.  This means you will have a photo of what your child is wearing and looks like on that day.

3. Motion Mode 

Attach the hipKey to a bag and the alarm will go off if someone moves it.

4. Find Me Mode

Quickly find your iPhone, iPad, or your keys at any time

hipKey is available for $89.95 through the Apple Store only for now.  It is has a rechargeable battery that lasts 2-4 weeks between charging.   As well it is easy to set up and use with the hipKey App.

I have to say while I think it is a great way to keep track of your purse, keys, etc. for me as a Mom I will be using it for the Child Mode.  I love being able to have that extra peace of mind when I am out with the boys.

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Confetti Egg Salad

Have you ever wished that there were 48 hours in a day? Well, I have and in fact, I wish that everyday! Of late, I feel like I have been racing the clock to accomplish everything….which means, there is no time to even go grocery shopping. High-five to you if you know what I mean!!

So this morning, I stood in front of the fridge, looking at it like it was a museum piece, starring at it for 5 whole minutes, thinking ‘what is it that I can give my son for lunch today?’

Hmmmm, I saw eggs, and lettuce, I saw celery, ummm half red-pepper……..and then; quite suddenly, I had an aha! ‘confetti-egg-salad’ moment! So, here it is….easy, healthy, and a pretty lunch idea, from my fridge to yours!

You will need:

2 tortilla wraps (I prefer spinach wraps, but you may use any that you like)
2 eggs, boiled and peeled
1 stalk celery; finely diced
Small piece, red bell pepper; finely diced
1 Tbsp. cilantro or parsley; chopped fine
2-3 Tbsp Light Mayo
salt and pepper to taste
few drops of lemon juice
and some shredded lettuce

Chop the boiled eggs into small pieces. Add it in a bowl, along with all the other ingredients; except shredded lettuce. Mix, taste and adjust for seasoning.

Divide the shredded lettuce and place it in the center of each wrap. Divide the egg salad and place it on the lettuce on each. Wrap the tortilla burrito style, rolling, tucking in the sides and rolling again. Cut into halves and serve.

I had some home-made parsnip chips; that I packed his lunch with.

Parsnip chips: Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees. Peel and thinly slice 1 parsnip in a bowl. Mix in 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sliced parsnips on the sheet, trying not to overlap. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven and set aside. The chips will get crunchy only after it has cooled down. These curly and pretty chips are a great alternative to potato chips.