Wednesday, April 30

ARTS + CRAFTS may day basket surprise

May Day is tomorrow!  A fun and traditional way to celebrate May Day is to leave a basket of flowers and treats on someone's doorstep, ring the door bell, and run!  It's the perfect activity to enjoy with your kids. Here is a great tutorial on making your own basket and flowers. Kids of all ages will love helping with this craft. Have fun and happy May Day!

Image credit:
Contributed by Darcy, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, April 28

BOOK REPORT books celebrating motherhood

Mother's Day is coming up on May 11th, but it's never too early to celebrate the special moms in our lives. Ask most moms what they want for Mother's Day and chances are you'll find out that moms really just want to enjoy some carefree, quality time with their kids. With meals to cook and laundry to fold and children to ferry all over town, being a mom is sometimes just about surviving until the next day.  In the spaces between the rushing and doing, moms steal time to soak in the joy of motherhood.  That's why I love this book list from Reading is Fundamental.  At the end of the day, there's something so comforting about cuddling up with your kids in your lap and reading a good book together.
hushHush! by Minfong Ho, Holly Meade (illustrator) – In this beautifully illustrated Thai lullaby, Mom must go around quieting the creatures of the night whose sounds threaten to wake her sleeping baby.
my-first-dayMy First Day by Steve Jenkins, Robin Page – Has your kid ever asked you what happened on the day they were born? Textured cut paper portraits bring 22 animals to life on their first day of existence as you learn which ones had Mom nearby to help and which were on their own from birth.
lucky-ducklingsLucky Ducklings by Eva Moore, Nancy Carpenter (illustrator) – When Mama Duck takes her little ones for a walk through town, one by one they fall down into a storm drain! Can three firemen and a tow truck driver reunite Mama Duck with her ducklings?
touch-the-skyTouch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper by Ann Malaspina, Eric Velasquez (illustrator) – Young minds will be inspired by this true story of Alice Coachman, America’s first African American Olympic gold medalist, who never forgets how hard Momma works so that Alice could rise high.
snow-schoolSnow School by Sandra Markle, Alan Marks (illustrator) – Follow two young snow leopard cubs as their mom helps them grow strong and teaches them how to survive in the snowy mountains.
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, April 23

FAIRMONT FIVE benefits of summer school

Did you know that students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months?  When you compare standardized test scores for tests taken at the end of the school year and the same test taken at the end of summer--there's a significant dip in student achievement.  Summer brain drain is a fact, but it's not inevitable.  

Studies also show that quality summer programs keep the learning going all year long and can actually boost a child's academic achievement and confidence by the start of the new school year.  Here are five good reasons to consider summer school for your child:
  1. Extra practice and review of key concepts in reading, writing and math helps reinforce academic skills and fill in any gaps in your child's education over the past year.
  2. The smaller class sizes often available in summer school classes allow for more one-on-one time between teachers and students.  Children may feel more confident speaking up and asking for help in areas where they just don't "get it".
  3. Kid's brains actually don't need "downtime" from learning.  The steady stimulation that summer school provides is much more beneficial to your child's brain development than, say, hours of unstructured time watching TV or playing video games.
  4. The slower more relaxed pace of summer school allows kids to "play" at learning, discovering new areas of interest and ways of solving problems.
  5. Summer school helps children build confidence in their academic abilities and a little confidence can go a long way to helping your child succeed in the coming school year.
Find out more about Fairmont's summer programs including day camp, summer school and enrichment programs by visiting

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, April 21

SNACK TIME a healthier take on classic comfort foods

What do comfort foods mean to you?  Think of a few favorites and they are probably high in fat and calories.  Comfort foods are designed to calm, soothe and console by stimulating receptors in our brain. Genetic variation causes some people to be more sensitive to the taste of fat than others and might explain why some people desire that second slice of pie while others do not.
Changing a traditionally high fat recipe to a healthier option includes substituting all or some of the high fat ingredients to reduce calories without sacrificing flavor. Adjusting the recipe might also include adding foods that increase the overall nutritional value.
Below are a few classic ways to lower the calorie content while boosting nutritional value:
Pizza - much of the calories are concentrated in the meat (pepperoni, sausage, etc ) and the cheese.  Substitute turkey sausage for the pork sausage and reduce the total amount of cheese used or substitute with reduced-fat cheese. Remember fat-free cheese does not melt well.
Macaroni and cheese - a traditional favorite. Fat calories can be reduced by substituting full fat cheese for reduced-fat. Adding bite-sized colorful vegetables, like broccoli, carrots or onions contributes to nutritional value.
Fried chicken drumsticks - Reduce the fat content by rolling in oats instead of dipping in batter and frying. Baking instead of frying lowers the fat content even more.
Mini-quiche - replace all of half of the cheese with reduced fat or part-skim milk cheese. Adding vegetables like broccoli, onions, mushrooms increases the phytochemical content.  Replacing bacon bits with turkey bacon, also reduces calorie content without sacrificing flavor.
Meatloaf: Swapping lean turkey or ground bison for some or all of the beef can reduce the overall fat content. Meat from bison and lean turkey are also lower in saturated fat.
Pancakes and waffles - substituting whole grain for white flour increases fiber content. Adding ground flaxseed will also boost fiber. Berries provides a splash of color plus a phytochemical and fiber boost. The increased fiber can slow the rate of digestion, making you feel fuller and satisfied sooner. That is good news if too many calories are an issue.
Image credit:
Submitted by Leslie Kay-Getzinger, MS RD

Wednesday, April 16

FAIRMONT FIVE spring day trips

Spring has sprung and it's time to get out and about.  Leave the spring cleaning for another day and strike out to these great So Cal destinations:

Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Coast--One of my favorite places in the OC for savoring the natural beauty of our California coastline.  Enjoy a long walk on the beach, hike along the coastal nature trails or check out the restored historic district complete with colorful beach cottages, gift shop and museum.  Don't miss lunch or dinner at the Beachcomber for delicious, no-fuss fare and a view that can't be beat!

Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach--In keeping with the aquatic theme, visit Long Beach's homage to the Pacific ocean.  Kids will love the playful otters, the shark lagoon and the hands-on animal experiences available every day of the week.

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch--You don't have to be a plant lover to LOVE this excursion to one of the most colorful places in Southern California this spring. Stroll among 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers and be sure to bring your camera!

The Great Park in Irvine--Float 400-feet above the landscape in the Great Park's Balloon ride, open Thursday-Sunday. While you're there, ride the carousel and check out Kids Rock--a play area of misting shade structures, climbing rocks and “underground tunnels."

Catalina Island--Head off-shore for an adventure in Catalina Island.  In addition to the exciting ferry ride, you can enjoy hiking, kayaking, helicopter tours, parasailing, zip-line fun and more in this close-to-home island paradise.

Image credit Crystal Cove Alliance
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, April 14

ARTS + CRAFTS yarn surprise eggs

We love spring crafts! The bright, beautiful colors and the flowers, bunnies, and eggs make everything cheerful. Spring break is the perfect time to have some craft time with your kids. Simply Modern Mom has a tutorial for creating yarn eggs with a surprise inside. This craft would be fun for kids of all ages. If you have toddler-age kids just leave out the small surprise so there is no choking hazard. Enjoy!

Image credit: Simply Modern Mom
Contributed by Darcy,

Wednesday, April 9

SHORT STORY crazy art day

Preschoolers get creative at Crazy Art Day on the Anaheim Hills Campus as part of the Week of the Young Child 2014 festivities.