Friday Fill In - March 2008


Friday Fill In

1. Some relationships are meant to last forever
2. Aerosmith is the last concert I saw; it was ages ago.
3. Spring should be here any day now.
4. Oh no! I forgot to check the eggplant
5. I’ve recently started thinking about my daughter’s 3rd birthday.
6. My kids never fails to make me smile.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to my kids seeing their Daddy, tomorrow my plans include cleaning and playing, and Sunday, I want to take the kids to Church.

Kids' Music Legend Laurie Berkner - Free Live-Streamed Concerts - Weekdays - 10 AM EDT







"The queen of kids' music" – People magazine
"The Adele of the preschool crowd."– The New York Times
"“Laurie Berkner does what Fred Rogers did: respect, validate and reassure young children.”"– Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK – Stuck inside right now? Legendary children's musician Laurie Berkner is here to help kids and parents find a routine, get up and move, and learn and play together. And it's all free of charge.
Families can join Laurie, direct from her house, for LIVE "Berkner Break" concerts, streamed most weekday mornings at 10:00 a.m. EDT on her Facebook pageHERE. Laurie offers an abundance of songs, playful movement activities, stories, and more, performing such well-loved favorites as “We Are The Dinosaurs” and “The Goldfish (Let’s Go Swimming)," plus educational earworms like “Waiting For The Elevator” and “Look At All The Letters." Laurie creates an entire world of song and expression in which enthusiasm and respect for the growing child is front and center, with emotional development sitting right alongside intellectual development.
Additionally, each weekday on Laurie's social media, she's posting a video of one of her songs for a morning Berkner Breakfast (7:00 a.m. EDT), an afternoon Berkner Break (3:00 p.m. EDT), and an evening Berkner Bedtime (7:00 p.m. EDT).
Laurie Berkner has also created a 50-minute "Educational Music Videos" compilation on her YouTube channelHERE. Kids can practice and learn with Laurie as they watch this compilation of over 20 music videos that focus on counting, the alphabet, telling time, emotions, and so much more.
One of the most popular children’s entertainers in the U.S., Laurie Berkner has filled countless venues nationwide with adoring fans. With an average of more than ten million monthly streams and millions of albums, songs, and DVDs sold, Laurie’s songs have become beloved classics for children worldwide. The first artist to ever appear in music videos on Nick Jr.Laurie Berkner was featured in nearly all the episodes of the channel's Jack's Big Music Show. Laurie recently created her own Audible Original Series titled Laurie Berkner's Song and Story Kitchen. She has released thirteen bestselling, award-winning albums and is a familiar radio presence on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live. Laurie has authored a number of picture books based on her songs, the most recent of which were published by Simon & Schuster. She has also written the music and lyrics for three Off-Broadway children's musicals produced by New York City Children’s Theater. Laurie has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the White House, among many other prestigious venues.
Laurie Berkner has received tremendous critical acclaim. USA Today named Laurie "the undisputed queen of kindie rock." Time Magazine lauded her as "a kind of sippy-cup Sheryl Crow ... Berkner inhabits a kid's curious perspective in her lyrics and pens folk-pop melodies that bear repeated -- very repeated -- listenings." The Wall Street Journal called Laurie "one of the most popular children's performers in America ... her music is distinctive because it speaks to kids without talking down to them, charming youngsters without boring grown-ups." NPR's All Things Considered declared, "Laurie Berkner is like a goddess to these children."
# # #
Visit Laurie Berkner's website HERE.
Laurie Berkner on Facebook.
Laurie Berkner on Instagram.
Laurie Berkner on Twitter.
Laurie Berkner on Pinterest.
Laurie Berkner on YouTube.
# # #

Candyless Easter Basket #Giveaway #penguinrandom #prestel

I am beyond excited to host this Candyless Easter Basket Giveaway for all four titles of Prestel Junior’s All Around Bustletown series. Over the past two weeks I have wondered how I would be able to fill my children's Easter Baskets this year. Since I am an early shopper and always looking for deals I started the end of February but it was just two small things to add to their basket. It really may be all they get this year depending on the state of the world as we get closer to the holiday. If you have little ones these books are perfect for your children on Easter or anytime. 

Prestel's new All Around Bustletown series (Board Book $12.95; Ages 2-5; 14 pages) by Rotraut Susanne Berner follows the activities of a charming, bustling town over the course of all four seasons! If you look closer, you'll recognize the same characters appear on every page, each with their own story.  In the tradition of Richard Scarry and Where's Waldo, this series encourages kids to return again and again to each spread, following along with the characters and inventing their own stories. They'll recognize parts of their own world, while also learning about the endless ways we live, work, and play in each season. Kids will spend hours poring over these oversized pages of vibrantly detailed drawings in this joyfully illustrated series.

"What is it about cross-section illustrations — the kind where you can see everything going on inside a house, upstairs and down, all at once — that makes them so mesmerizing? Berner, one of Germany’s best-known children’s authors and illustrators, excels at these fascinating dollhouse-type scenes, a staple of the German genre known as Wimmelbooks. Hers are jam-packed with old and young characters engaged in prosaic, silly or mysterious activities that young readers can spend hours poring over...Parents and grandparents may be especially susceptible to this giant board book’s old-fashioned charms." —The New York Times

“[T]his book is more than just a sea of samey same same white faces. Amazing how that contributes to the joy of picking out all the details and repeating characters. A seek-and-find book for the 21st century.” — School Library Journal

In All Around Bustletown: Spring (2/18/2020; ISBN: 978-3791374093), a house gets a top-to-bottom spring cleaning and farm fields are being prepared for planting. People are shopping, commuting to work, constructing buildings, and meeting friends. If you look closer, you'll recognize the same characters appear on every page, each with their own story. There's Wilfred the jogger slipping on a banana peel and his friend Erica who comes to help him. Three cheerful nuns shop, chat, and share a snack at the cafe. A stork surveys all the activity from the sky while a mischievous fox scampers through the streets. 

It's summer in  All Around Bustletown: Summer (4/21/2020; ISBN: 978-3791374208) and that means flowers, picnics, thunderstorms, and bike rides. It's a busy time for construction workers, farmers, and house painters. Playgrounds are filled with kids and vacationers are boarding trains in droves. In the sky a pair of balloons drifts through every scene, while on the street people of all ages make their way to an outdoor birthday party. There's even a big storm that turns umbrellas inside out, sends hats flying, but ends in a lovely rainbow.

The leaves are blowing off the trees and the birds are flying south in All Around Bustletown: Fall (7/21/2020; ISBN: 978-3791374222). Farmers are preparing the fields for winter and kids are back in school. And look, there's a water main break that's causing havoc and a chimney sweeper perched on a roof! Each time readers look at these delightfully detailed spreads they'll discover something new, whether it's what's for sale at the outdoor market or how many pumpkins they can spot on a single page. Familiar characters appear on each page--a maestro and a violinist, a balloon-toting nun, and a mom with her baby. All the activity culminates in a harvest celebration lit by dozens of paper lanterns in every shape and size.

Winter has arrived in All Around Bustletown: Winter (10/2019; ISBN: 978-3791374154) and everywhere you look people are embracing the season. At home there's baking, reading, and sleeping in, while on the farm the fields are fallow and quiet. Outside people are bundled up against the cold as they are skating, sledding, and running to catch a crowded bus. The town's buildings are alive with activity--piano lessons, a dentist appointment, shopping for presents, and visiting the museum. 
Kids will spend hours looking at these books. There is so much to see and so much for you to point out. I love these types of books when my kids were small and now with my preschool class because I love I Spy Type questions. You can ask where is the computer, or red car, squirrel, etc. Kids love looking for things and get so excited when they know where something is. It is really good for their confidence and observing visual details. It helps them to strengthen their memory. Working memory is so important and like a muscle it requires exercise. This is what they will build on as they progress through their schooling. 
So while they are looking at all the detail and remembering where things are, they are actually learning. 
Look at this detail! 

To Enter the giveaway be sure to answer the mandatory question. Without that you will be disqualified to enter.  I wish you good luck!  

Enter here:
Disclaimer: No monetary compensation was offered for me to host this giveaway.

5 Reasons I love the Upside Down Show

5 Reasons I love the Upside Down Show

I must admit, I love the Upside Down Show. It is probably one of the smartest shows ever put on TV for kids. Why you ask? Here are my reasons why the Upside Down Show rocks.
Adults can totally watch it and not feel like idiots.
The Umbilical Brothers a.k.a Shane and David are funny.
Kids see that you don’t need a bunch of commercial toys to play. There is nothing marketable on the show.
My son saying “Come on knuckles” while he plays “action fingers” using his hands instead of a highly priced toy “name brand” toy.
The guys have opened up a whole new world of playing for my kids. They use their imagination to pretend to walk in slow motion, or be stuck to a wall, to rewind what they are saying, to hold imaginary flies, and play imaginary instruments.
I just found out that The Upside Down show only got one season so if you are like me and love this show, write to the following to voice your opinion.

10 Things You Love About Your Life Fill Ins


Ten on Tuesday – 10 Things You Love About Your Life

10 on Tuesday
1- My Kids – I was blessed with two beautiful children who challenge me everyday. The sun rises and falls on my babies and I never loved so fully in my entire life.
2- My husband who is one of the hardest working people I know. He lacks a bit in the sensitivity department but he tries. I respect him and love him even though he doesn’t read my blog.
3- My friends who without I would be bored to tears. I am thankful to have so many actual friends in my life. We are lucky if we have one true blue friend yet I am blessed with many.
4- My life. I am thankful for everyday above ground. I tend to see the little things in life and not dwell on things that I can’t control. Everyday that I live past the age of 34 (my mom’s age when she died) is a blessed day.
5- My laptop (a gift from my husband). Being able to take it to the deck while the kids play or sitting on the couch at the end of the day makes the laptop worth it’s weight in gold.
6- I love my digital cameras, one for pics and one for video (also both gifts from my husband). My love for photography started when I was about 6 or 7, when just taking random pictures of my life made me so happy. Now that I am older and have kids of my own, I get so much joy from just being able to capture a moment in time. My kids are my favorite muses but I love taking pictures of everything. As I walk or drive along I am constantly seeing places that I want to capture on film once the kids are both in school and I can park and walk alone to spend time getting “the shot”.
7- The fact that my kids are getting to grow up out of the city. I grew up in Millbrook, NY and it was a great childhood. Picking wild blackberries, riding horses, spending time at diary farms, games of manhunt collecting frogs and fireflies at night, riding bikes from sun up to sun down and just enjoying the fresh air. When my mom passed away we moved in with my grandparents in Brooklyn. While it was still fun but in a different way. Roof top tanning, sitting on stoops, getting ice cream from the ice cream man with the jingling truck coming up the block and riding the subway everywhere I would have gone back to Millbrook in a heartbeat.
8- Finally mapping out some time to start reading again. I have loved getting lost in books since, well, since I could read. There is nothing like cracking open a new book and absorbing the words filling the pages. It is a feeling I have had since I can remember. There will never be enough days in my life to read all the books I want to read.
9- Waking up to a pot of coffee already made is heaven with a dash of milk. Love opening my eyes to the smell of coffee brewing.
10- My home. The fact that I actually have a house is still 9 years later amazing to me. My parents never owned a home. I still thought that we would not be getting the house until we actually recieved the key after spending an hour signing papers. It was too much to dream about and being a realist I wouldn’t allow myself to think about it until we actually got the key to turn in the door.

Looking For A Good Mystery Series? Check Out The Dark Musicals by Laura DeLuca - Reanimated Book 6 Review

After the birth of their daughter, Rebecca Hope-Patko and her husband Lord Justyn return to their home state of New Jersey to open their dinner theater. For their first season, Justyn tries his hand at directing while Rebecca stars in their small stage adaption of Ghost Bride. Rebecca has also embraced a second role—taking a stand against domestic violence by joining the Underground Railroad, a covert organization that shuttles battered women to safety.

At first, both operations run smoothly, but before long it’s clear the secret agents’ identities have been compromised. Rebecca is stalked and terrorized, and even the theater is under attack. Faced with deception at every turn, Rebecca is afraid to trust anyone and has reason to fear this battle may leave her a widow instead of a bride. Can this diva unravel the mystery of the Ange du Palais Theater before someone she loves winds up in their grave?

The 411: 

I have read the 5 book prior to this and love how different this feels. Our main characters have definitely grown up a lot from the first two book. Rebecca and Justyn and their two children Erik the musical protege' and baby Harmony are back at the Jersey Shore after being overseas and opening their own musical theater.  Their first play will be Ghost Bride which is a take on Corpse Bride (while I was reading I felt the strongest urge to stop and re watch Corpse Bride for the 10th time.)  Without giving too much away you should start at book 1. The books can stand alone as Laura does a good job of laying out the past quickly so you are caught up on the whys and relationship histories of the many players in the book but I highly suggest starting at the beginning and getting to know and falling in love with the characters as all Laura DeLuca fans have. 

I love how Rebecca's past has brought her to where she is right now.  She can take care of herself and her family and now she is helping others through her undercover work.  She is a stop on the Underground railroad where woman will come to escape abusive situations.  

Like all Dark Musical Mysteries Laura does a wonderful job of crafting the lives of these wonderful  characters she obviously loves into a whole new story and OMG my heart...Lord Justyn I can't take anymore!!!

If you are stuck inside like the rest of the state...there is no time like now to dive into a series.

To Purchase: ONLY $2.99 right now!!!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary digital copy for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.

Giveaway Winners - 3/26

The Winners of the The Adventures Of A.R.I My Robot Friend DVD Giveaway are:
Candy L.
Daniel M
K. Ohl
L. Williams
M. Shukra

The Winner of the The Lotus Trolley Bag is:

R. Abrams

An email was sent to you. If you did not receive an email please contact me directly


Thought Leader & Literacy Advocate Shares How Parents Can Maintain Structure & Routine During Period of Distance Learning 

Due to the risk of COVID-19, the government made a trans-formative, yet necessary decision to close schools across the country and switch to distance learning.  Parents across the country are now faced with the sudden challenge of keeping their children occupied at home.
According to educational thought-leader Carew Papritz, during this time of uncertainty and stress, it's crucial for parents to convey confidence and be prepared.
Carew Papritz Speaks on COVID 19 Distance Learning.png

"Although there's no category for this virus inside our own experience, parents need to be accountable to make this transition easy to ensure the continued education and family structure for their children," says Papritz. 
Papritz is the father of an elementary-aged son and like millions of parents across the country, he is now faced with the sudden challenge of keeping his child occupied and educated at home. 
Papritz is encouraging other parents to support their children's emotional well-being while providing the following tips:

1. Maintain Structure & Normalcy: Implement procedures that maintain the normalcy of operations as much as possible, keeping a structured routine throughout the day. This is probably the most important to keep your kids on track and ensure your sanity.
Set aside specific times for activities - reading time, watching educational videos, playing educational games, and lessons that teachers have provided. But not all of this structure has to revolve around classroom education. Take time to teach your kids how to eat healthily and make their lunch, build something, paint pictures, go for a hike/walk, or practice an instrument if available. Take advantage of opportunities that you normally would not have time for and cherish these teachable moments. 
2. Eliminate Hysteria & Hype: Fear and panic are detrimental distractions, especially in the minds of young children who are the most vulnerable with ever-evolving brains. A parent’s anxiety fuels or otherwise reinforces his or her kid’s own fears, yet this state of hysteria surrounding Coronavirus can be damaging towards a child's education, experiences, and purpose. Children should be educated and up to date on the current situation but monitor the intake of information and make sure it comes from trusted factual sources. 
3. Use Educational Resources Beyond What the School Provides: From websites like Outschool, YouTube, and Audible, you can find various informative activities, videos and e-books to keep your kiddos occupied and engaged. 

Carew Papritz is on a mission to help parents and families navigate through this time of uncertainty.  He has information and advice about maintaining a solid family structure; creating a healthy environment for children and parents to teach and learn. 

Head Shot (Carew Papritz) high res.jpg

For more information visit:

In Your Easter Bonnet – Play in the Dirt


In Your Easter Bonnet – Play in the Dirt

I don’t get it.
What is it with kids and dirt?

The first part of this story is that my daughter and I were (ok me, I was), very excited that this would be the first time she would wear an Easter bonnet and white gloves. She was excited to put them on and she picked out the bonnet herself.

I bought her something to wear (probably the 5 thing I have purchased for her clothing wise in the almost 3 years she is here). Something new, not handed down, hers and hers alone. It wasn’t my favorite but there wasn’t much to chose from. Easter is really early this year and it is pretty cold for the typical Easter wear.
She was all dressed sitting waiting to leave for her Abuela’s when she asked me to change her diaper…insert screeching car tires here because ummm hello she hasn’t worn a diaper in just over 3 months. In the 3 months since she has trained she has had 3 count them, 3 accidents. So why, oh why on this particular day, when the outfit had only been on her for 1/2 an hour would she decide to use it as her own personal portable potty?

I told her that she didn’t have a diaper on and that I hoped she was kidding. I had just washed and dried her tights. The reason she wasn’t wearing them earlier was because they were in the dryer, drying so that she could wear them with her new stinkin’ Mommy doesn’t love Easter outfit.

Anyway, I digress. I change her, and tell her how disappointed I am that she pee’d in her clothes and next time ask me to take her to the potty. She says what she always says, “I’m sorry Mommy.” We put on the next best thing. A punky, fun, pair of stockings, the only ones that would be warm enough but didn’t have snow flakes on them and head out the door.
We go to the in-laws with my son looking like the little man and the girl looking like a little funky punk. Eat a wonderfully delicious lunch and then my husband decides to take the kids outside.

Normally I don’t mind them being little rug rats because well as far as rug rats go they are pretty clean. They never have crusty messes under their noses, they never smell, their clothes don’t have huge unidentifiable stains and they don’t argue to wash their hands, but why on Easter must we play in the dirt?
I guess they had a good time and Tide will take out the stains. My mother and father would have freaked if we were all dressed up playing in the dirt but I guess there are worse things they could have gotten into.
So Easter and dirt, perfect together. Who knew?

How to Overcome the Challenges of Having a Family Pet

Having a family pet can be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life. However, it can also cause many challenges, both in terms of your pet’s behavior, and in your ability to look after them. Rather than sending them back to the kennels at the first sign of trouble, read this guide to learn how to cope with owning your first pet, and what you can do to make sure that the experience runs smoothly. 

Pet Anxiety and Aggressive Behavior
Many pets in the USA have anxiety or display aggressive behavior, especially in their first couple of months of living with your family, or if you have chosen to adopt a pet that has been through bad experiences in the past. While aggressive behavior, such as growling and biting, can be dangerous if you have children, your children may aggravate any anxiety within your pets if they are not supervised. To treat anxiety in your pet, you should consider investing in CBD for dogs, as there is a lot of evidence to suggest that this can help to calm your pets down. In terms of aggressive behavior, you should consider socializing your dog, identifying the triggers of its aggression, and working to desensitize them to this. 

Destroyed Furniture and Cleaning Difficulties 
One of the most challenging aspects of having a new animal is the destroyed furniture and other possessions that they can leave in their wake. Whether they are destructive out of fear or play, protecting your home can be a priority for owners. In order to safeguard your home from your pet, you should use rugs and throws to cover fabrics and flooring, use plastic corner protectors for cats, store breakable items away from your pet, and create a pet zone where they can explore their natural instincts within a confined area when you are not at home. You should also clean your home with dog-friendly disinfectant to get rid of all those muddy pawprints and water stains. 

Training Issues
It can be difficult to devote a sufficient amount of timetowards your dog’s training, with many owners struggling to control their animal’s behavior. Some of the best tips for training your dog well include making sure that only one family member trains your animal, and that you constantly reward them for good work. In order to ensure that they learn the basic commands, you should consider attending a training class or hiring a pet behaviorist who can help you to train unruly animals, either in a group or on a one-on-one basis. 

Having Time for Your Pet
If you are struggling to find the time that you need for your pet, you should consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, or sending them to daycare. This will ensure that your pet is looked after amid the chaos of family life, and that they are able to spend their days with other humans and dogs without getting lonely. 

The Cost of Pet Ownership and Health Issues
Health issues can be a burden on families due to the extensive costs of medical bills and other expenditures. To get help with your finances, you should contact local animal charities in your area to see what aid they can offer you, and you should also see if your area has a free vet clinic, where you can get advice about your animal’s condition. You should also always make sure that you have taken out the appropriate pet insurance in order to cover costly medical bills.
Get widget
Dear Readers: At this time all giveaways on Maria's Space are for the United States unless otherwise noted.