Life at Warp Speed

life, faith, food, parenting, homeschooling and just about anything else that is on my mind

Massive List of Summer Reading Programs 2015 May 13, 2015

Filed under: Children's Books,Homeschooling — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:46 pm
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Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s Power Up and Read! Challenge invites students to help Read for the World Record. A free online program designed to motivate and excite your children around reading books this summer. The Summer Challenge is an easy and fun way for kids to log the minutes they spend reading as they earn rewards. You can also organize your local school group to read together to see how much your school reads together. Book Adventure | Free Reading Program. Sylvan’s Learning Centers. Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they have read, and earn prizes for their reading success. Program is on-going. Summer Reading – Barnes & Noble. The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program: Imagination’s Destination is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps: 1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in this Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal. Be sure to let us know to whom you would recommend each book, and why. 2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 19th  and September 7th, 2015. 3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.  Store Events | Pottery Barn Kids.  (NEED TO UPDATE) Summer is the perfect time to instill a love of reading in your child. From now through July 31st, read all the award-winning books on one of our recommended lists and qualify for fun prizes. Just a note, you don’t actually have to read their specific book list, I spoke with the staff last summer, and you can substitute books on the list for books that your child enjoys reading. You can find the summer reading list here: (Pottery Barn has not publicized there list yet at the time of this posting.) Half Price Books – Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program

For kids 14 and under:

  1. Read for at least 15 minutes each day for a month. (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning.)
  2. Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week.
  3. Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log to earn your $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks reading reward for the month.

We’ll award one top reader per age group each month with a TOP READER prize – a $20 HPB Gift Card!*

How about earning free tokens on their next visit to Chuck E. Cheese’s? Print out a free rewards calendar to get started. Mark the days off with a pen or sticker as your child accomplishes their goals. Bring in the completed calendars to your local Chuck E. Cheese’s and receive 10 free tokens as a reward. You can do this as many times as you like before 12/31/15, but only one chart may be redeemed per child per day.

Soar With Reading – a joint project with JetBlue and Random House Children’s Books.

This is not a traditional summer reading program sponsored by Jet Blue. Your child gets an opportunity to help donate Magic Tree House books to needy children during each entry period. Your child will have to draw on their knowledge of geography and the clues given by Mary Pope Osborne to figure out where Jack and Annie are travelling for their next adventure. Each correct entry will be entered into a drawing for a free airline flight for two and hotel accommodations. (this year’s contest has not be launched yet.)

Make reading fun with our Summer Reading Program | TD Bank.

Hey kids in grades K-5, participating is easy:

 Read 10 books this summer.

  • Print out the summer reading form.
  • Write down the names of the books you’ve read
  • Take the form to the nearest TD Bank
  • Receive $10 in a new existing Young Saver account
  • Excellence in Reading – Mensa for Kids.Earn a commemorative certificate in recognition of your outstanding achievement and get an Excellence in Reading T-shirt, too! The Mensa Foundation recognizes and encourages education, gifted youth and lifelong learning through programs like the Mensa for Kids Web site and other activities. To encourage the joy of reading, the Foundation has developed the Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading Award Program! Read and earn a free t-shirt and award certificate.

Veritas Press is a popular Christian classical homeschool curricula and on-line class providers. They are hosting a summer reading contest. Please note that you may NOT submit your entry until AFTER your student has completed their reading lists.

Summer Reading Contest

Someone once said that “reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” Summer can seem like a fun break for the first month and half, but soon students are craving more than the daily trips to the pool. That’s why every summer we have a summer reading contest. It doesn’t just keep their minds sharp for the following school year, it allows them to visit many different “someplaces” in one summer.

Please encourage your children to be a part of the contest this summer. It begins now and continues through September 15, 2015. We only ask that you as parents or teachers verify what the children have read, and then, after they have met their goals, complete the online entry form. Please encourage them to read good literature, not just look for a book that meets the page count criteria. Click here to download a reading chart if you would like to track your student’s progress.

Veritas Press Reading Contest Rules

1. Reading Quantity 1. Kindergarten & 2nd Grade: 40 Easy Readers (ex., Frog and Toad are Friends) 2. 3rd & 4th Grades: 25 books of at least 125 pages (ex., The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) 3. 5th & 6th Grades: 25 books of at least 150 pages (ex., Treasure Island) 4. 7th – 12th Grades: 25 books of at least 200 pages (ex., The Fellowship of the Ring) 2. After the child has completed the readings, entries must be submitted online by 5:00 PM EDT, September 15, 2015. 3. The first 250 submissions in each age division will be given a $10 gift certificate. 4. A drawing will be held from all submissions and will be announced in the October Epistula. There will be three winners from the drawing. 1. $150 First Prize 2. $100 Second Prize 3. $70 Third Prize Need some suggestions? Check out our summer reading lists.

California has a Scholarshare program that partners with California public libraries. Students that complete the summer reading challenge can enter for a chance to win $500 in a 529 college savings plan. You can enter your child here: Of local interest to San Diegans, your child can earn free admission to the San Diego Fair by reading 10 books. You can download a reading log here:

**Do check back for updates with additional reading programs. There are several that have not released their information for 2015 yet that I will add to this blog when it is released.**

Always, sign up for your local library reading programs. Happy reading this summer with your kids! L@WS P.S. If you are at a loss for picking good books for your kids to read, check out my blog about Good Literature here:


Edison Training Chopsticks for Beginners March 2, 2012

Filed under: Gear for Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:48 am
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Edison Chopsticks Product Range – Training Chopsticks for Beginners.

These are my favorite training chopsticks. Cute and BPA-free! This was developed by an Australian company. These are so comfortable and easy to use. My son was able to eat a bowl of soup noodles easily with these even though it was his first time using it. He is currently 3 years old.

I have seen these sold online, but I was lucky enough to find them at a Marina Foods supermarket in the SF Bay Area for a much cheaper price. Also, parents of lefties are not left out, Edison makes right-handed and left-handed versions.

I highly recommend these if you are looking for training chopsticks. They also sell a “step two” version which is just really a connected pair of chopsticks without the finger holes. You can skip this since you can make a makeshift pair with a pair of child sized chopsticks and a rubber band. However, I do have the step 2 and started using them at 4. There are a couple of “bumps” that do help his fingers stay in the the correct position and not slide down the chopsticks. The tips of the chopsticks have more traction that regular chopsticks which is helpful to young kids.



Cal Gear from Old Navy February 24, 2012

Filed under: Gear for Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 7:41 pm
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Superfan Nation: Cal College Teams | Old Navy.

I am sorely tempted to buy this for myself. Hello Kitty plus Cal on a T-shirt. Anyways, I haven’t looked at Old Navy since there grammatically incorrect “Let’s Go” logos on their college gear.

Anyways, Old Navy has a number of Cal T-shirts for the whole family which won’t break the bank. Honestly, it is a racket trying to get collegiate gear. That being said, how cute will your little girl look sporting this Hello Kitty Cal tee?

Some styles are currently on sale and in the interest of full disclosure, the styles are likely available in your favorite alma mater.



Star Wars Lunchbox and Sandwich Cutter – $4.99 today only February 12, 2012

Filed under: Deals — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:19 pm
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Kids.Woot® : One Day, You’ll Understand™.

Okay, Fan Boys and Fan Girls, check out today’s hot deal for your little geek or geekette in training. Oh yeah, we are talking old school Star Wars. None of that Episode 1, 2, or 3 garbage here. You’ve got all your fave characters in a slightly Charlie’s Angels-like pose.

Your LO will be sporting a vintage tin lunchbox (really snack sized though). Oh, the memories that brings back for all of us children of the late 70’s and early 80’s. What is not to like about the Millennium Falcon and TIE Fighter sandwich cutters? These can double as cookie cutters as well. At $4.99, this definitely won’t break the bank. They look identical to these at William Sonoma that are regularly priced at $29.95 (currently $9.95 on sale).

Grab this while this deal lasts until 10 pm PST. Seriously at this price, you could probably be the coolest parents on the block if you ordered these for party favors. Of course, you would have to figure out how to get around the limit of 3. Totally doable with some willing family and friends.


Note: This geekette is no Fan Girl, since I am a die hard Trekkie. So, I confess this deal will not make me nearly as excited as Star Trek would.


$17.99 Stoplight Clock – one day only October 6, 2011

Filed under: Deals,Gear for Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:57 pm
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Kids.Woot® : One Day, You’ll Understand™.

Just saw the Stoplight Clock show up on kids.woot for $17.99. This retails on Amazon for around $36. I have an older version that has a little boy driving a race car that I snagged awhile back on a woot deal.

If you are planning to make the transition someday for your toddler to a bed, I highly recommend this clock. Making the transition to a big kid bed is notoriously difficult especially when your little one realizes that they now how the ability to get up whenever they want which magically seems to result in multiple night wakings and also at super early crack of dawn wake times.

The clock uses the very simple stoplight concept. Red means go back to sleep. Green means it is okay to get up. Simple for any little one to understand and easy for you to explain and teach. Much easier than trying to teach them to tell time when they might not even know how to count yet.

Check out the reviews on Amazon here. . Even if you are not making the big kid bed transition yet, you might want to snap up this deal now and just stash it away. I know lots of parents are caught off guard that they need to make the transition with their under 2 toddler when they suddenly figure out how to climb out of the crib.

Parents everywhere know that getting a good night’s sleep (for yourself)  is a precious commodity.



Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate October 3, 2011

Filed under: Gear for Kids,Travel — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:19 pm
Tags: , , Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate: Baby.

Just coming back after more than a week offline. I was off vacationing in Maui (will definitely blog about that later) with my family for a much needed break. I thought I would start off my latest blog entry to give a shout out for the Go-Go Babz Kidz Travelmate. This product rocks! Having used both this and the Sit and Stroll ($249), my props go for the Travelmate which is considerably cheaper. You might balk a little at the price $72, but it is well worth it if you travel by air with your own car seat. Who wants to rent a car seat of questionable cleanliness or quality?

The Travelmate made traversing a crowded airport on Saturday an absolute breeze. I can not tell you how many parents and grandparents commented on the Travelmate as we strolled on by at a pretty fast clip which would make racing to make a transfer so easy. It was a piece of cake for me to push the Travelmate and pull a carry-on* behind me. Even with a heavy car seat like a Sunshine Kids Radian with the steel reinforcement,  the wheels and set up make the ride very smooth and lightweight. There were quite a number of dads and a few moms that were pretty envious trying to corral their babies/toddlers, strollers and car seats through security and the airport.

I didn’t realize how handy this was going to be until our return flight from Maui which was delayed 7 hours which turned a 9 pm arrival to a 2:30 am ordeal. He did not fall asleep until 10 minutes before landing after crying and screaming for what seemed like eons. P lifted M fast asleep in his car seat and carried him right off the plane. We set the car seat down and released the handle which telescopes to different heights which makes it really great for the tallest or shortest of parents. We literally strolled away to baggage claim past many families of very tired parents with exhausted little ones that were woken up to deplane. They had to wait for their gate checked strollers and car seats (Tip: Always buy FAA compliant car seats to ensure your car seat will fit) to arrive. P left in the airport shuttle to get our car. It was really great to be able to remove the Travelmate and install the seat right into the car without waking M up.

I highly (continually since 2006) recommend to any parent (or grandparent to gift) that plans on doing any plane travel. I promise that if you once you use it on a trip, you will find that it was worth every penny. You could also ditch the entire stroller and just go with this and a carrier. I know people that have opted to just drop by the local Walmart to buy their super cheap ($15) umbrella stroller at their destination which they would just donate/leave behind.


*Travel Tip: Why do I travel with a carry-on bag? I always travel with a least one full set of clothes, and any absolute necessities for babies/toddlers/kids like enough diapers, formula, bottles, food, and clothes to get me and the family through 24 to 36 hours if the unfortunate event I get stranded, experience a flight delay, get trapped on a plane sitting on a runway or if my baggage fails to arrive at my destination. You never know what might go wrong en route to your destination and whether or not you can find a store that is going to be open or easily accessible where you end up.


Kids’ Sigg Bottles -$4.99 September 14, 2011

Filed under: Deals,Gear for Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:28 pm
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Kids.Woot® : One Day, You’ll Understand™.

Just saw kids.woot is featuring these kid sized BPA free aluminum Sigg bottles for $4.99. I know that there is some debate over the lining in Sigg bottles before it was redesigned in 2009. You have to use your own judgement about whether or not to buy these as some people have an issue with supporting this company and how they handled the BPA issue. In any event, this is pretty good pricing on these bottles in a variety of stylish designs.



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