Archive for September, 2011

Summer’s really over…one way to get a Great Start to the new school year.

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I’ve tried clicking my heels together and chanting “there’s no place like summer.”  I’ve tried pulling the covers over my head when the alarm goes off.  I’ve even tried letting my kids eat ice cream for dinner on a Tuesday.  Nothing is working.  Despite all my best attempts to hold on to summer for a little bit longer, it seems the new school year has started and intends to stick around for the next 172 days (but who’s counting?)

Summer at the Eden House

I always mourn the end of summer a little.  As a mom who works part time, I can’t claim that summers in my house are filled with long lazy days (like the summers of my childhood), but I can say that life’s a little easier in the summer.  Schedules are more flexible, nutrition standards are less rigorous, bedtimes are bendable.  All in all things are just a bit more relaxed.  And I LOVE relaxed.

Part of my panic around the beginning of the school year is thinking about what it’s going to take to get up to speed for the new school year.  What do I need to know?  How do I reverse the brain mush my kids have developed during the relaxed summer?  How do I get us all re-engaged?

Lucky for me I work for and was given the opportunity to help create something that would help my family and others like us get a Great Start to the new school year.  The result is the Great Start Challenge which is being graciously sponsored by Kumon Learning Centers.  When you sign up for the Great Start Challenge, you’ll get access to our new Great Start Kits.  There’s a different one for each grade and they include a few articles for Mom and Dad (to help us see what’s coming down the pike this year), a few worksheets, games & coloring pages to help our kiddos clear out some of that brain mush, and a few activities for our families to complete together to get the whole gang back in the swing of having fun learning together.

Just print out one kit for each of your kids and work together to complete it (complete instructions are on the first page).  When you’re done, return to the Great Start Challenge Page, click the orange “Complete the Challenge” button, and answer a few questions about your family’s experience.  When you’re done, you’ll be entered to win a shiny new iPad 2 or one of ten $100 gift cards we’re giving away and your family will receive a personalized Certificate of Achievement.  Most importantly, you and your kids will be one step closer to accepting the end of summer and getting a Great Start to the new school year.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Challenge – send your ideas and feedback to

Good Luck – and have a great year!


We’ve finally arrived… has a Fun Zone!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego with my talented and fun coworkers Danielle and Alex for BlogHer ’11.  We’re so grateful for all the amazing bloggers who share with their readers (more than 50 each month!) so we were excited to get to meet (or reconnect) with some of them at this zany, inspiring, exhausting event.

While it was great fun to meet all those amazing bloggers and to attend all those amazing sessions, the real highlight of the weekend for me was working with Alex and Danielle to create the Fun Zone at the Ford Family Picnic on the last day of the event.  After a kind introduction from the BlogHer team, Ford’s social media head genius Scott Monty invited us to be part of Ford’s event and gave us the goal of helping them “make sure bloggers have a kickass time and feel welcome to bring the whole family”. 

Were we up to the task?  You betcha!  And so was born the Fun Zone! 

The day of the event was spectacularly gorgeous and the Ford gang – led by the brilliant David Scully –  had scouted out a beautiful park in which to hold the event.  The Fun Zone was set up right in the middle of the action and we had three stations:  The Wiggle Zone was a taped off area chock full of hula hoops, balls, bubbles, rocket balloons, and other things to get all the little bodies busy.  Masterpiece Central was an area on the ground where kids could get messy with lots of painting activities (including the crowd pleasing salad spinner art station).  Finally, we had my personal favorite – the Make Your Own Rainstick Center

It was so fun to see all the kiddos (and their blogging parents) enjoying activities.  Their creativity and boundless energy were inspiring. 


We ended the day exhausted and covered in paint and grass stains.  And yet, when we finally sat down at a bar with the Ford team for a hard earned, um…lemonade.  We all said the same thing…”We can’t wait for our next outing with the Fun Zone!”  

Got a great idea for where we should break out the Fun Zone next?  Let us know about your favorite family event and we may just make an appearance!

Fabulous Finished Products
Fabulous Finished Products
Working hard in the Masterpiece Station!
Working hard in the Masterpiece Station!