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Kim’s Blog combines home front experiences with informative updates on area events, unique opportunities and of course, dynamic deals!  For daily updates, Get Social and Follow SpringfieldMoms on your preferred Social Network for event reminders, coupon links and lots of helpful tips and laughs!.

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A Healthy Family Starts At Home And It Starts With YouLIW Family Health Challenge infographic-page-0

The American Heart Association’s Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ slated to return this September

The American Heart Association wants families to feel they can, and are fully equipped to, make healthy choices in the home and within their everyday activities – without throwing schedules completely off or leaving wallets empty. Today, about one in three American kids is considered overweight or obese. To help raise awareness and make parents and caregivers more conscious of their lifestyle choices during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ will help them take the “controls” back, leaving them feeling empowered to make small moderations in their lifestyle that  will lead to bigger, heart-healthy changes down the road.

Broken down into four themed weeks, the challenge is offered by the American Heart Association on its Facebook page, listed as an event, and encourages parents and caregivers, to take the challenge online, with the help of free tools and resources provided to them throughout the week in the forum. This online group also allows parents and caregivers to act as supports to one another during the challenge and participate in peer-to-peer conversations as they share their successes and address areas they feel they may be lacking.Facebook

  • The week-by-week overview of the challenge includes:
    Week 1 –“My Cart is Why”– The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fruit and vegetable servings every day. Learn how to increase your fruit and veggie consumption on a budget. Make shopping a fun and easy activity for you and your kids.
  • Week 2 – “My Glass is Why” – Sugary drinks can cost you your energy and your health, don’t let others sugarcoat your future and let’s make sugary drinks a thing of the past without feeling thirsty.
  • Week 3 – “My Taste is Why” – Most adults eat more than double the amount of sodium recommended by the AHA. Tame your taste buds by reducing the sodium in your foods and on your plate. Be sodium aware…if you dare!
  • Week 4 – “My Movement is Why” – AHA recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every day. Make physical activity fun, simple and memorable with your family. Quick activities that easily integrate into your daily life – no matter your schedule.

By the end of the challenge, families should finish out the month feeling accomplished and realizing that adopting these four areas into their everyday lives is something that’s easy to attain.

This September, join the American Heart Association, and families across the country, to make a change in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Visit www.heart.org/healthierkids to learn more about the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ and access the free activities and templates today. Remember, change starts at home and it starts with you as the caregiver of your home.

Lincoln Land Community College’s new series of STEAM focused classes integrates the arts with science, technology, engineering, and math. Activities are designed to get girls excited about engineering, technology, science, and math while expanding their creative confidence. Each class offers an emphasis on the principles of STEAM and on Design Education as a way of fostering fluency in creative thinking skills to solve 21st century problems.

CLASSES

DNA Day11701105_942698125774095_446066224412725957_n

Making edible models and jewelry are just two of the fun hands-on approaches used in this class about molecular genetics. Using candies and Knex, you’ll conduct experiments and construct models to learn and decode DNA structures, as well as create a piece of unique jewelry to symbolize your new DNA know-how. Fee: $25

Sat., 9/19/15 9 a.m.-noon

Course Code: YES 300-40A (girls who have completed grades 3-5) – in room 2334 Sangamon Hall

Course Code: YES 300-40B (girls who have completed grades 6-8) – in room 2332 Sangamon Hall

 

Creative Coders

Engage both sides of the brain as you learn to write code and blend logical and creative thought to solve problems. Make the most of this opportunity to experience community, peer learning, youth mentoring and self-led learning, all with an emphasis on discovering how coding is a growing force for change in today’s world! Fee: $25

Sat., 10/17/15 9 a.m.-noon

Location: Menard Hall 2201

Course Code: YES 101-40A (girls who have completed grades 3-5) – in room 2201 Menard Hall

Course Code: YES 101-40B (girls who have completed grades 6-8) – in room 2226 Menard Hall

 

Spa’mazing Science11731960_942722502438324_1367112020804069352_o (1)

Learn common chemistry concepts and how to follow and improve upon recipes for spa products as you experiment with organic materials an simple scientific processes to create organic lip balms, bath salts, air fresheners and more! Fee: $25

Sat., 11/21/15 9 a.m.-noon

Location: Sangamon Hall, room 2334

Course Code: YES 300-41A (girls who have completed grades 3-5) – in room 2334 Sangamon Hall

Course Code: YES 300-41B (girls who have completed grades 6-8) – i room 2332 Sangamon Hall

 

Animotion Pictures

Let your imagination flow with technology to be creative using video! Animoto provides the tips and tools to incorporate images, video clips, music and text – YOU provide the creative inspiration to produce a fun and personal presentation. Fee: $25

Sat., 2/20/16 9 a.m.-noon

Location: Menard Hall, room 2201

Course Code: YES 101-44A (girls who have completed grades 3-5) – in room 2201 Menard Hall

Course Code: YES 101-44B (girls who have completed grades 6-8) – in room 2260 Menard Hall

 

In the Driver’s Seat

Time will fly and you’ll have a blast engineering new ways to reach the ultimate cruising speed!  Engaging hands-on experiments testing velocity, gravity and kinetic energy will have you racing through problem solving activities that deepen knowledge through elaboration and evaluation.

Fee: $25

Date: Sat., 3/19/16

Time: 9 a.m.-noon

Course Code: YES 300-44A (girls who have completed grades 3-5) – in room 1104 Mmillennium Center11014913_942198672490707_3541244809047270522_n

Course Code: YES 300-44B (girls who have completed grades 6-8) – in room 1120 Millennium Center

 

Candy Chemistry

Become a scientific detective as you delve into various candies – much more than a just a sugary snack!  Eye-popping experiments covering topics such as color, density, and heat will help you unwrap the secrets lurking inside sticky, sweet, and colorful treats. Fee: $25

Sat., 4/16/16 9 a.m.-noon

Course Code: YES 300-45B (girls who have completed grades 6-8) – in room 2209 Sangamon Hall

Course Code: YES 300-45A (girls who have completed grades 3-5) – in room 2332 Sangamon Hall

imagesOpenings for Fall 2015 at Westminster Co-op Preschool, 533 South Walnut, Springfield IL 62704

217-522-4415 westminstercoop@gmail.com

Come grow with us; it’s a wonderful place to learn and grow together!

Our program was founded by families who wanted to play an important role in their children’s first school experience. The opportunity to participate in your child’s early education continues to set our program apart today.  Classes

We offer half-day classes for children from 2 1/2 to 5 years oldCurriculum

Our play-based program is based on the Illinois Early Learning Standards and enriches children’s social-emotional, cognitive, language and physical development.  Our curriculum is not faith-based. We welcome children and families of all backgrounds and faiths. Family Participation.  Each family in our cooperative shares their time and talent to support the program.

Check Us out Here!

We are committed to providing a high quality preschool experience. Westminster Cooperative Preschool is the only privately operated preschool in the Springfield area that has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our program has been accredited since 2005.

 

TCB Savings ImageGet in the know now about college savings

Congratulations, you are a parent! You now experience a love larger than any other you have ever experienced. Life is wonderful and happy and you cherish every smile and giggle. Now, quickly get over it because the reality of parenting is coming at you fast.

Here are the cold hard facts:

  1. Kids grow way too fast
  2. Time now goes by for you at light speed
  3. College is expensive, so you’re better off to start saving now

Like retirement, college savings is one of those “yeah but it’s still pretty far away, and we have time to save,” sort of topics. The truth is that saving early and often can save you and/or your child from extensive debt in the future.

According to collegedata.com, 2014-2015 annual tuition and fees for a private college were $31,231,        $22,958 for out-of-state residents at public universities and $9,139 for residents at public colleges. This does NOT include room and board, books and school supplies, or personal expenses.

And guess what? The costs aren’t going down. They are expected to increase at 5% each year, so that according to businessinsider.com, by 2030, the annual cost will be a whopping $90,576 for private schools and $40,935 for public schools.

Sounds scary right? It doesn’t have to be. There are tools and professionals that can help you get out of the weeds and breathe easier.

One of the most common savings plans is the 529 Qualified Tuition Program. Here is a breakdown of the product and some pro’s and con’s:

529 College Tuition Savings Plans

Good Points Not-So-Good Points
–        Earnings and withdrawals (for federally approved college costs) are tax-free.-        Account earns interest-        Account set-up functions similar to mutual fund and is invested in stocks and bonds (each plan is different be sure to review your plan to make sure you are comfortable with the where the funds are invested)-        Many plans allow automatic monthly investment from checking or savings

–        There is no limit to the amount you contribute

–        Can be used for any college your child chooses

–        Can be transferred from one child to another

 

–        Non- approved costs incur 10% penalty, and will be taxed by state and federal government based on your current tax bracket-        Amount of savings in this plan may decrease amount of eligible financial aid-        If you decide to move funds to a different investment option, you will most likely be subject to the 10% penalty fee-        Excess funds after children finish college can be subject to penalization and federal and state taxes.

town and countryRemember – you are NOT alone. If you are ready to explore savings plans for college or even to achieve other savings goals, seek the guidance of trusted financial advisors. Town and Country Bank’s Investment Team is here to help – every step of the way. We can help assess your financial situation and advise the best savings plan for you, to help secure your child’s educational future.

IL State Fair sky rideGoing to the fair? Need a place to park? We have the perfect spot for you! Park at the Sunrise Rotary Parking lot and mention you saw this post or print the coupon SpMoms and receive $1.00 off parking.
All proceeds go to benefit projects that serve youth in the Springfield area! It’s a win-win! The lot is located close to fair gate #2, South side of Illini Bank and East side of Peoria Road. Just look for the happy Rotarians!
More info can be found on our Facebook page including a link to the $1.00 off coupon! While you are visiting our Facebook page, give us a like. We are always posting information about local organizations that support Springfield. Help us help local youth!
PARK WITH SUNRISE ROTARY!

MOMS FROZEN10 of our readers will win TWO tickets each to enjoy one of four Summertime Snow Parties at The Legacy.  To enter: Visit our A-Z index and choose our Outdoor Activities Guide.   List two activities you read about that inspire you to try something new!  Email your answer to springfieldmoms.org@gmail.com  by August 16th at midnight.  If you follow us on facebook you can submit your entry under there by posting on our page Under the Win Tickets entry!  You won’t want to miss this party at the Legacy…10 of our readers will win TWO tickets each!

A flurry of fun before summer ends! Make snow cones and enjoy Frozen-inspired activities, plus a screening of the Disney film. Singalongs, meet friends from Arendelle, and more.

The pre-film party is structured like an open-house. Guests may arrive anytime between the party start time and 30 minutes prior to the film start to enjoy the party activities.

Autism-friendly screening will be held at 9 am on August 22: For guests with Autism or sensory challenges, at this screening the theatre lights are left low, and the sound is reduced. A quiet space is available in the lower-level lounge for guests who may need a break.

2015_fall_1_registration_banner YMCAThere’s lots going on at both locations of the Springfield YMCA.

FALL 1 CLASSES ROCK Registration is going on now for Fall 1 classes, including swim lessons, gymnastics, jump rope and more. Click here for all Fall 1 schedules!
GOLF FOR KIDS Click here and be a part of our September 11 outing at Lincoln Greens. All proceeds from the charity outing benefit our Strong Kids Scholarship Fund!

KIDS TRIATHLON AT THE Y! Join us for our first-ever Kids Triathlon on Sunday, October 4, start/finish/swim at the Downtown branch. Click here for details.
REFER A FRIEND! The Y is Better Together. Refer a friend to the Y and earn free membership. Click here for information and details on our new Refer A Friend Program!

WSECNetwork Knowledge has a variety of opportunities for our members, viewers, and the general public to have fun, meet people, and get involved! You can also see current opportunities that are available by signing up through our VolunteerSpot link:http://www.volunteerspot.com/login/entry/1256141082050

Volunteers support Network Knowledge by providing gifts of time and talent so that safe, entertaining, and educational programming can reach central and western Illinois. Viewer-supported programming relies on volunteers to provide many skills that are required to ensure continued programming.

Volunteer opportunities might include:

Pledge phone volunteers (many evening and weekend shifts available!)
Office volunteers
Reception
Production Assistants
Special events, such as our annual golf scramble

If you have a special talent that is not listed, call to discuss how sharing your time and talent with Network Knowledge could be helpful.

New ideas are appreciated!

Contact us at 800-232-3605 or 217-483-7887 or contact us via this site.

You might be dancing in the streets that school will soon be starting, but your kids might not be as joyful. What can you do when your children struggle with feeling depressed over the inevitable loss of freedom and onslaught of homework and structure that comes with school’s arrival this month?

One of the things we love to do at Springfield Moms is comb the web for interesting and helpful new resources, events and activities for our readers. These articles caught my attention, and I wanted to share them with you.

And if you have some coping strategies that work well with your kids, email us, and we’ll share them with our readers.

Thank you to Ethan Whelpley for testing and reviewing cursive apps for children!

In school districts all around, the teaching of cursive is fading away faster than ever. Luckily there are apps that want to change that and teach kids how to learn cursive–for free!cursive screenshot

The first app I tried out was called “Handwriting Worksheets for Children.”  First, if you have your child use this app, I recommend that an adult download it onto the child’s device. The first time I opened the app there was a pop-up add that said “app of the day”. After I hit cancel the same add popped right back up, and after I hit the cancel button for the second time it left for good, but then a new app appeared, this time advertising for a medieval game. The ad showed a lot of cleavage, and I know I wouldn’t want my young child to see (if I had one). After that I started to play the game. The way it “teaches” cursive is that it has you trace over the cursive letters with your finger, which I found very difficult. I would give this app 2 1/2 stars because it doesn’t teach cursive. However, it is a really cool drawing app that I would use to draw, but that would be the only reason I would use it and probably the only reason your child would use it. Some ways that it could’ve improved was if it had no ads on it and if it was more interactive and fun to play instead of something that I would feel forced to use. itunes.apple.com/us/app/handwriting-worksheets-for

Another app that I tried out is called “Cursive Writing.” It’s simple. All you do is you trace right over cursive letters just like the other app, and it was also a better layout and it felt more welcoming to the user. It also was easier to use because it didn’t feel so tight on my fingers because the letters were only on one screen at a time. I also think it could have been more interactive to make the app more entertaining for the user. But overall I think it’s the better app to download so your kid/kids can learn cursiveitunes.apple.com/us/app/cursive-writing

cursive writing screenshot
The next app I tried is called “ABC Cursive.” Turn down the sound because it’s loud and distracting with music and voices. If your child does not mind the sound, this app is more interactive than the first two apps, but the free edition only offers uppercase letters, so you don’t get a full learning experience. itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-cursive-writing-free-lite
Finally, I tried the app “Cursive Words.” I like this one because it feels good on my fingers. There is a lot of space on the screen so you are not as cramped up as other apps. It’s pretty fun, You get the feeling of how the cursive letters join together to make simple words. The more you use it, the longer the words get. The app is free so there are ads, but they were not offensive and seem to be well-positioned (not distracting) age-appropriate for children. itunes.apple.com/us/app/cursive-words
Overall, here are keys to the cursive tutorial apps that I tried:
  • Use a tablet, not a phone. I started trying apps on my iPhone and the screen is smaller. I think most kids would prefer using the apps on an iPad or other tablet.abc cursive screenshot
  • I didn’t find any apps that checked my work. I could have just been scribbling and not trying, and on every app, I could still move on to the next step whether I’d learned or not.
  • I’m not sure that learning cursive is necessary anymore, but I don’t think you should rely on these apps to teach a child cursive.
Submitted by Ethan Whelpley. Ethan is an 8th grader at Glenwood Middle School in Chatham. He’s still working on learning cursive. You can find him online on his Ethan Whelpley YouTube channel.