Archive for the ‘mom’ Category

Free summer fun for families at UH Kids First! Film Festival

May 29th, 2015

It’s soon to be summer and families are looking for affordable fun for everyone! The award-winning UH Manoa KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, presented by Outreach College, is coming up on five Sundays in June and July.

KIDS FIRST! gives young people the excitement and thrill of attending a film festival just for them -- and because it's free of charge, it's accessible to the whole family. To add to the festivities, door prizes are awarded at all screenings.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival 2015 screens on Sundays, June 7, 14 and 28 and July 12 and 19 at 3 p.m. in the UH Manoa Art Auditorium (follow the balloons on campus; parking is free on Sundays). For complete information, visit or call 956-9883. Parking on Sundays is free.

The line-up of animated and live-action feature films hail from Germany, Australia, France, The Netherlands, Ireland and the U.S. All films are in English.

June 7, 87 min, Ages 4+ • Maya the Bee Movie Animation/Australia, Germany/In English

June 14, 99 min, Ages 9+ • Belle and Sebastian Live Action/ France/Dubbed in English

June 28, 88 min, Ages 6+ • The Seventh Dwarf Animation/Germany/In English

July 12, 83 min, Ages 5+ • The Boxcar Children Animation/U.S./In English

Director/Producer DAN CHUBA In Person for a post-film Q&A, with book prizes provided by publisher Albert Whitman & Company.

July 19, 99 min, Ages 12+ • The Legend of Longwood Live Action. The Netherlands, Ireland, Germany/In English

Plus, the publisher of Gertrude Chandler Warner's classic will provide books as prizes. Dan Chuba is co-founder of Hammerhead Productions, which produced and created digital visual effects and animation on more than 100 major motion pictures. Recent credits include Hangover 3, Prometheus, 42, Hunger Games, Hansel & Gretel, and Fast & Furious.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, a project of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, partners each year with over 150 venues nationwide, reaching an audience of more than one million people, making it the largest kids' film festival in the world. Curated locally by UH Manoa's Outreach College to appeal to Hawai‘i audiences, KIDS FIRST! films are free of gratuitous violence; race, gender, or religious bias; inappropriate content; and condescension towards children.

Age-appropriate groupings of films entertain through a balance of animation and live action, plus varied themes from different cultures.  Parents, grandparents, friends and neighborhood kids -- everyone can enjoy the films because they're juried by kids, parents, teachers, and child advocates nationwide to qualify for the Festival.

The UH Manoa KIDS FIRST! Film Festival is supported in part by the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust. Special thanks to Shout! Factory Kids, Film Movement, Hammerhead Productions and publisher Albert Whitman & Company.

Most Popular Baby Names in Hawaii for 2014

May 15th, 2015

 The Social Security Administration announced the most popular baby names in Hawaii for 2014.  Emma and Noah topped the list.

The top five boys and girls names for 2014 in Hawaii were:

Boys:                                       Girls:

1)   Noah                                 1)   Emma

2)   Liam                                 2)   Mia

3)   Mason                               3)   Sophia

4)   Aiden                                4)   Aria

5)   Alexander                         5)   Lily

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced last week that Noah and Emma were the most popular baby names in the U.S.  How does Hawaii compare to the rest of the country?  Check out Social Security’s website -- to see the top baby names for 2014.

Social Security has a new addition this year too, Social Security Matters, the agency’s newborn interactive blog located at

Social Security Matters, the agency’s new bundle of joy, launches as it celebrates 80 years of serving the American public. It also is a place where the public can engage in conversations with the agency about what matters most. The blog encourages discussion and offers important solutions.

The birth of a child is a special time for families. While having fun with the baby names list, Acting Commissioner Colvin encourages everyone to visit the agency’s website and create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.govmy Social Security is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits.

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries can have instant access to their benefit verification letter, payment history, and complete earnings record by establishing a my Social Security account.  Beneficiaries also can change their address, start or change direct deposit information, and print a replacement SSA-1099 online.

Individuals age 18 and older who are not receiving benefits can also sign up for a my Social Security account to get their personalized online Social Security Statement.  The online Statement provides workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information, and estimates of future benefits they can use to plan for their retirement.

In addition to each state’s top baby names, Social Security’s website has a list of the 1,000 most popular boys’ and girls’ names for 2014 and offers lists of baby names for each year since 1880.

To read about this year’s winner for the biggest jump in popularity and to see how pop culture affects baby names, go to!/post/5-2015-1.


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Mother's Day 2015

May 13th, 2015

I love Mother's Day because I love being Olivia's mother, and I love my own mother.

Mother's Day is really for the kids, I have come to realize. Olivia took great pleasure in making and giving me gifts, and since seven-year-olds can't keep a secret, I got to hear all about it in the week leading up to it.

That was like a gift to me too - I love hearing her get excited about what she's planning for me. In her art class, she made a coin purse for me with a potpourri sachet inside. I'm required to wear this on my purse.

photo 1

Later in the week, I got a beautiful, hand-made note pad holder. The night before, she laboriously wrapped four gifts for me in secret in her room. JUST - SO - CUTE.

Sunday morning, so woke up early and got her dad out of bed so they could make me breakfast. I was instructed not to come into the kitchen until they called me, which is a little funny since my weekend habit is to have a cup of coffee and wake up slowly while I drink it. I don't usually eat for a while until I have had coffee. So I'm skulking about my room waiting to be told I could come out.

Olivia had taken such great care to make everything perfect and set the table with my place setting in the middle of the counter. She glowed in my praise for her attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and creativity.

photo 2

I remember doing similar for my mother, and it always being such a lovely moment. The daily grind of parenting has its challenges but a day like this reminds me of why it's well worth it!

How was your Mother's Day? I hope it was a good one!

Encouraging Your Child’s Artistic Side

May 4th, 2015

Activities such as coloring, drawing and painting are part of most children’s lives. Exploring visual arts is an enjoyable activity for kids, and has proven brain-boosting benefits. In fact, making art is the perfect example of learning through play. (In fact, Olivia and I have started to sketch together just this year, and through this I've developed a liking for drawing!)

Stuff I draw

Stuff I draw

Stuff Olivia draws

Stuff Olivia draws


“Creating art can play a crucial role in strengthening the brain’s attention system, and helps children to develop fine motor and memory skills,” says Richard Peterson, Vice President of Education for childcare educator Kiddie Academy. “In addition to the cognitive benefits, parents can boost a child’s self-esteem and encourage more art activities by proudly displaying their children’s creations in an ever-changing at-home art gallery.”

Here are five tips for adding more art to your child’s daily routine:

1. Think beyond the white sheet of paper or a coloring book and crayons. Provide a wide variety of mediums for drawing and creating, including newspaper, felt, foam, aluminum foil, wax paper, sandpaper, printed paper, laminated paper, chalkboards and whiteboards.

2. Utilize imaginative drawing materials, such as finger paints, chalk, shaving cream, colored pencils, vegetable stamps and foods such as pudding in addition to the standard crayons and markers. Adding a new way to draw can spark a child’s imagination.

3. Encourage your child to use both scissors and non-toxic glue (with supervision) when creating their art projects. Cutting and pasting are two skills every child needs in school, and each take practice in order to master.

4. Repurpose printed materials you already have to give your child more exposure to the printed word and strengthen literacy skills. Junk mail, catalogs, magazines and coupons are perfect starts for many creative projects.

5. Allow for messy play on occasion. Not every day needs to involve a bath following an art project; however, messy activities can be both educational and memorable for your child. Whenever possible, move messy art project outside to allow for easier clean up.

For more creative art and play ideas, parents can visit Kiddie Academy’s Pinterest page at, where you’ll find multiple boards full of educational activities, art projects and even recipes for DIY art materials.

Olivia's high tea experience

April 29th, 2015

by Olivia

2015 Mar_Olivia blog_Tea

This blog is guest written by my daughter! She said she wanted to help me at work, and I told her she could write a blog. Here's my version: and here is her take on high tea. She wrote it on paper and I transcribed it for her.

Meya, my mom and I went to tea on Valentine's Day.  The waiter said we had to eat the sandwiches and fruit before we could eat dessert, that were cupcakes and chocolate-covered strawberries.  We powered through it in 15 or 10 minutes and we got ice cream. I still have to learn how to walk in heels.  We dressed up all fancy too.  I loved all of it!