5 Back to School Brain Boosts

back-to-school No matter how much reading your kids get done over the summer, learning in those first few weeks of school can be a shock to the brain. Here are five back to school brain boosts for your kids so they are ready to learn when the first bell rings.

1. The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard Today’s schoolchildren have more gadgets at their disposal than previous generations could dream of. Smartphones, tablets, and computers are great tools for education, but there still is a place for the written word. Studies show that hand writing new information helps students of all ages commit it to memory. Writing something out engages more of the brain than typing, and since it takes longer, the brain has more time to process the information. Writing is especially helpful with spelling, reading comprehension, and mathematics. If your child is stuck on something or needs to memorize a fact, encourage them to write it out.

2. Make Sure Kids Catch Plenty of Zzzzs It is normal to be a little lax on bedtimes during the summer. When school starts, parents should enforce the rules to make sure children get a good night’s rest. Sleep is essential for any mind to function at its best. Not only does a well-rested mind pay attention during the day, sleep is the “down time” when short-term memories become long-term ones.

back-to-school3. Feed the Brain Our bodies, including the brain, need the right fuel to do their jobs. While sugar and caffeine are useful for quick bursts of energy, they do not help build the brain. Antioxidants and vitamins found in vegetables and fruits fight brain cell damage and increase cognitive function. Experiment to find veggies your children will enjoy without a fight. No brain can function well without the amino acids in proteins like meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. Proteins especially are important at breakfast because they satisfy hunger, ensuring your stays focused in the morning.

4. Get Moving! The link between brainpower and exercise has been confirmed again and again in scientific studies. Unfortunately, many schools must limit the amount of exercise kids get during the day in order to squeeze in extra classroom time. Just 20 to 40 minutes of vigorous play every day can increase a child’s brain activity. It also improves concentration and a child’s ability to work for long periods of time without interruption. The exercise can be as simple as jumping rope, running games or hula hooping.

back-to-school5. Review to Remember Repetition is the key to learning and memorizing new information. Every day, ask your children what they learned in school that day. Ask for specifics about the subjects you know they struggle with. One good idea is to make reviewing the day’s lessons a part of the nightly bedtime routine.

Starting a new school year is never easy. But with a little extra work, you can make sure your children get the most out of every day.

Friendship Week: The Lakeside Collection Rewind

It’s National Friendship Week – it’s not a major holiday, but it’s a week worth recognizing to honor the people who have supported and celebrated us over the years. This week, we’re turning back the clock ten years and looking at what we might have gotten our best friends from The Lakeside Collection if it were 2004.

Lizzie-McGuire-dollThe Lizzie McGuire Doll Lizzie may be a clumsy middle schooler and a mediocre student, but she’s a great athlete and an even better friend. As a gift to your besty, the Lizzie McGuire doll says what you’re thinking: We’ll always be best friends, even in high school. This doll is a stuffed ‘04 trendsetter in her hot pink tank top and platform sandals but she’s also equipped to handle all your secrets – she comes with a purple notebook just like Lizzie’s to keep track of the confidential memos you only share with your best friend.

Spy-ToysUnderwater Spy Toys If you don’t want to leave a paper trail with your Lizzie McGuire journal, you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to your best friend under water with these Water Talkies! All you do is take a deep breath, put your mouth on the talkie, dip into the deep end and reveal your classified information. With the Water Talkies, your secrets will only be between you, your best friend and all the fish within 15 feet of your conversation.

Friends-GameFriends Trivia Game Ten years after the pilot episode, the  Friends-ship has sailed, but not for you and your friends with the Friends Trivia Game! Test each other on how well you know all of Phoebe’s foibles, Monica’s management issues, Ross and Rachel’s rows, Chandler’s wisecracks, and Joey’s sandwiches. This game comes with 1,000 trivia questions covering 1994-2004 at Central Perk; it even comes with the signature over-sized coffee mugs just so you can feel like a true friend.

Cat-SweatshirtHoliday Fleece For the animal loving friend, nothing’s more fashionable than a stylish sweatshirt with cats adorned in holiday hats! And not a moment too soon – the weather is about to turn chilly and this cozy, one-size-fits-most shirt will give your best friend the cushy comfort a cat can’t.

Pooh-SweatshirtPooh Sweatshirts If your besty isn’t a friend of felines, there are other stylish sweatshirt options for friends – and who’s a better friend than Winnie the Pooh? Probably no one, but Tigger and Eyeore have certainly gotten Pooh out of enough jams to earn top spots on the Best Friends Billboard, if there were such a billboard.

Tiny-InstrumentsMusical Instrument Replicas The besty with a musical flair will love these tiny instruments! At a little more than 6”, these little musical gizmos are built like the real ones! The violin has real strings and a bow while the trumpet has three valves and a flared bell! They even come in velvet-lined cases. They’re not meant to be played or to be played with, but for the friend who loves music, they’re perfect miniature musical collectibles.

Ten years older and ten years wiser, our friends still deserve recognition. Even though these items are no longer available at The Lakeside Collection, your friends are. Think of them this week and have a party, send a gift or give them a nice note to show them your appreciation.

Back to School: 10 Morning Time Savers

Back to school means changing your morning routine. Getting the kids up and out of the house could double your morning workload, but there are tricks to get you out the door on time. Here are 10 morning time savers.

1. EAT Do not skip breakfast because yoBack-To-Schoolu are tight on time! Get ingredients and utensils ready the night before. You even can prep things over the weekend, like smoothie packs that go straight from the freezer or fridge to the blender.
2. PLAN TO EAT Plan lunch a day (or even a week) ahead. Pack as much of the meal in the evening as possible, and make sure ingredients for the rest are in one spot and easy to find. If necessary, keep the fully packed lunch bag in the fridge overnight.
3. PICK AN OUTFIT One of the biggest sources of last-minute struggles is clothing. Avoid this one by helping kids pick out clothes the day before. Children can take all the time they want to create an outfit, and parents have chances to make sure clothing is appropriate and clean.
Back-To-School4. PLAN A ROUTINE Create a simple routine that is similar to your family’s bedtime routine. This will prevent forgetting important things like brushing teeth and combing hair. The routine should include a bathroom schedule to make sure everyone gets the time they need.
5. GET UP EARLY Wake up before the kids. It is easier to get them up and going when you are up and going. Take a little time to shower, have a cup of coffee and get dressed before you need to focus on getting your children ready.
6. LEAVE IT AT THE DOOR Select a spot near the door specifically for things you need to grab on the way out, like shoes, bags, jackets, keys, and more. This will prevent a hurried search for a backpack or matching boots.
7. MENTAL NOTES Before you go to bed, go over the next day’s schedule. Don’t forget to check the weather report, too. You also can take this time to finalize transportation and carpool arrangements to avoid last minute scrambling.
8. TIME IT Use a timer to keep everything on track. Figure out how long you have to complete each task before you head out the door, then set a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. That way, time will not slip away from you.
Back-To-School9. TUNE OUT Avoid the news unless the rest of your to-do list is finished. It is easy to get distracted by interesting—or depressing—stories from around the world. Staying up-to-date is important, but in the mornings, you need to concentrate on preparing yourself and your children for the day. There is plenty of time during the rest of the morning to catch up on current events. If there is a morning show you cannot miss, record it and watch it later.
10. STAY FOCUSED Resist the temptation to wash dishes, clean up an e-mail inbox, and other chores that do not need to be done in the morning. Once you have a morning routine down, you can add other activities to it if you have the time.

Do not wait until you are running late to find ways to save time. Plan ahead, and you will be ahead of schedule before you know it.

Left Handers Day: Left Handed Celebrities

It’s Left Handers Day and we’re celebrating all things left handed. Only about 10% of the population claims to be a lefty, but quite a few of that 10% falls into the celebrity category. Being lefties might be an exceptional characteristic, but it’s not the only thing that makes these lefties special. Here are 12 unique left handed celebrities.

On Stage

Image Source: Radio1Interactive via Flickr

Image Source: Radio1Interactive via Flickr

Justin Bieber What’s unbeliebable about Justin Bieber is not that he’s a lefty, but that Ludacris recorded a song with him. Maybe it’s not that uncommon, but what is uncommon is Bieber is the youngest male solo act to top the Billboard 200 since Stevie Wonder. Belieb it.

Lady Gaga Lady Gaga keeps everyone guessing onstage and with her music. What you might not guess is that she’s a lefty and she had a bit part on an episode of The Sopranos. She was played “Girl at Swimming Pool #2” in season three’s The Telltale Moozadell.

Niall-Horan

Image Source: Vagueonthehow via Flickr

Niall Horan You may not know One Direction’s Niall Horan is a lefty, but just about every tween girl in the USA and in the UK know that. They also probably know that he’s a fan of The Eagles and Bon Jovi – but, as tweens, they probably don’t know who they are.

Martina McBride Martina McBride is, by far, the oldest of our musical lefties, but she’s not completely removed from the tween scene. She told The Boot her daughter once cried after meeting fellow lefty Justin Bieber. Even if you knew McBride was a lefty, you probably didn’t guess her daughter is a Belieber.

On Screen

Julia-Roberts

Image Source: David Shankbone via Flickr

Julia Roberts This lefty will always be America’s Sweetheart. Julia Roberts does her best to keep her life private and has somehow figured out how to keep the paparazzi at bay. She even had a secret wedding in New Mexico to dodge the cameras. One little known fact about the little known nuptials: the only celebrity in attendance was another lefty, Bruce Willis.

January Jones Known for her role as Betty Draper on Mad Men, it’s a little known fact that January Jones is a lefty, but it’s also a little known fact that she never set out to be an actress. She moved from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to New York City to be a model and fell into acting doing commercials. Now she stars in a show all about doing commercials.

Angelina-Jolie

Image Source: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Angelina Jolie Angelina Jolie leaves little to the public’s imagination. It is uncommon knowledge that the Mr. & Mrs. Smith star is left-handed and that, as a child, her professional aspirations were to be a funeral director.

Ed O’Neill  This lefty was made famous in the sitcom Married with Children in the 1980s and he now stars in Modern Family. Though he’s been in the business for decades, it wasn’t his first career. He was signed as an outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969. That career didn’t last long; he was cut before the start of the 1969 football season and became a teacher.

In the Spotlight

Barack-Obama

Image Source: UK Parliament via Flickr

President Barack Obama As the President of the United States, everything about Barack Obama is common knowledge – including the fact that he is left-handed. What you might not know is that growing up he was called “Barry.” It wasn’t until college he asked to be called Barack.

Oprah Winfrey Yes, Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s favorite influencers, is a lefty. That might not be such a shock, but what might surprise you is that she once dated late film critic Roger Ebert.

Matt Lauer You wake up with Matt every morning and he shares the news and sometimes he shares what doesn’t pass as news. Either way, you know a lot about him and since he’s in the business of sharing, you’ve probably picked up that he’s left handed. What he’s less likely to share over the airwaves is his phobia: Emetophobia. It’s the irrational fear of vomiting.

Whoopi-Goldberg

Image Source: Rain Forest Action Network via Flickr

Whoopi Goldberg That Whoopi Goldberg is left-handed might be the least interesting thing about her. What you might not know: she wrote a children’s book; she’s afraid of flying because she once witnessed two planes collide. Now she only travels long distances by bus; she is one of 11 people who has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. The list goes on and on, and they all trump being left-handed.

Being left-handed isn’t what makes these celebrities unique, but it certainly adds to their mystique.

7 First Day of School Traditions to Start This Year

Image source: Flickr

Image source: Flickr

The first day of school is exciting and there are only so many we get to experience with our kids. Here are 7 first day of school traditions to make every first day of school memorable.

Preservation The night before the first day of school is almost as exciting as Christmas. To get rid of that nervous energy, help them craft a box where they can save their papers and artwork for the school year. It will be a collection of their progress and at the end of the year, have them sift through it to create a scrapbook. They can fill it with memories and see how they mature over the school year.

Fashion Show Help them pick out their favorite outfit to wear on the first day back to school. What they like to wear and what looks good for the first day of school might be two different things, so they may need guidance on how to be camera ready. Add something new to the outfit to mark the day – like a sparkly barrette or a hat – and look good for a picture.

Image source: Young Sok Yun via Fickr

Image source: Young Sok Yun via Fickr

Breakfast Your kids no longer get up or eat when they want, so make it easy on them and prepare a breakfast to entice them out of bed. Make an effort, but not so much effort you can’t get to work on time. Make healthy pancakes (it pleases you as much as it pleases them) or French toast (with whole grain bread, of course). Cut up fruit and make the batter the night before so all you have to do in the morning is heat the griddle.

Expectations Over breakfast, have them make a list in a cute, crafty notebook of what they’re excited about for the new school year. Talk about their friends, what they want to learn and their new teachers. Save the notebook and pull it out to review on the last day of school.

Pack It Help them pack their lunches. Make it extra special with a fun dessert and a note from you. Tell them how proud you are of them and what kind of potential they have for the school year. Give them gentle encouragement to finish the day.

Picture It Take a picture of them before they leave for school or at the bus stop. Have them hold up a sign – pre-printed, on a chalkboard, or hand-drawn – with the date, their age and grade. Take an identical picture of them on the last day of school to show how much they’ve changed over the school year.

Dinner

Image Source: Zeetz Jones via Flickr

Dinner The first day of school is exciting and stressful. Treat them to a family meal of comfort food. Make them things only you can make right – like your perfect macaroni and cheese, oven-fried chicken or broccoli pie. After dinner, set up an ice cream sundae bar and take dessert to the patio to talk about the first day of school. Ask about what they did at school, what their teacher is like and who they were excited to see.

It’s just the first day of school, but there are only so many you get to witness in your child’s lifetime. You’ll be glad you marked the days for your memories and for theirs.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

Summer’s days are ticking away. Soon, kids’ schedules will be full of school, homework, practices, and lessons. Make sure your child takes advantage of every chance to play with toys and gear from the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

More fun than bumper cars or a pillow fight, this Sumo Bumper Bopper has a fun, kid-friendly design.

More fun than bumper cars or a pillow fight, this Sumo Bumper Bopper has a fun, kid-friendly design.

Your little girl will feel like she's caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14" Doll Set or Outfits.

Your little girl will feel like she’s caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14″ Doll Set or Outfits.

Fun lights, sounds, and moving parts on this Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle will help your little one save the day.

Fun lights, sounds, and moving parts on this Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle will help your little one save the day.

She can create her own fairytales with Disney Magnetic Paper Dolls.

She can create her own fairytales with Disney Magnetic Paper Dolls.

They will make a splash while staying dry in cute Kids' Disney Rain Gear.

They will make a splash while staying dry in cute Kids’ Disney Rain Gear.

 

End of Summer Countdown: 6 Ideas for Having Fun with Your Family

Family-FunAugust is Family Fun Month! We’re counting down the days before the kids go back to school, so we want to make the most of the time we have left with the family. Here are 6 ideas for having fun with your family.

Be Nostalgic Put together a family time capsule. Have everyone collect items to remind them of what they did this summer – shells from the seashore, artwork, postcards, photographs, small toys, books, calendars, lists of your favorite intangible items (TV shows, songs, bands), ticket stubs (movies, airline, sporting events). Put all the items in a sturdy container that locks out moisture, seal it and make sure you have an open date clearly written on it. Burying it could ruin the contents, so store it in a cool dark corner until it’s time to open it.

Be Active Play a game outside. Badminton is a great game for the family because you can play as individuals or as teams and it doesn’t take a lot of athletic ability for it to be fun for just about any age. If you want to do something less competitive, plan a family day at the pool.

Family-FunBe Hungry Go on a picnic. Choose the most beautiful park in your community and plan a big portable meal. Get everyone to pitch in to make the food and prepare the coolers for an afternoon of eating in the outdoors. Make a whole day of it by planning games or flying kites.

Be Creative Make a summer family scrapbook. Have all the photos of everything you did this summer – include individual activities like Girl Scout camp or tennis camp. Come up with scrapbook themes and ideas as a family. Give everyone a few pages to decorate and include pages for journaling about how each of you spent the summer.

Be Curious Plan a treasure or scavenger hunt for around your block. Scavenger hunts are a great way for kids to explore the neighborhood and see it from a different perspective. Hunts encourage team work and give families the opportunity to communicate and interact. It sparks unique quality family time you won’t have during the school year.

Family-FunBe Constructive Build something as a family. A tree house or a fort in the backyard will be fun to plan and make together and the kids will get use out of it for the next few months. But even smaller items like a table or bench made from an upcycled wooden pallet to add to your outdoor décor is fun for the whole family to build and enjoy. If you don’t have the time or materials to build something permanent, there’s no shame in building a blanket fort in the backyard.

The summer has flown by, but it’s not over yet! Enjoy the summer with your family while you can! Check out our emails and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more  #familyfun as the summer winds down this month.

5 Dorm Essentials

It’s almost time to pack up and head to college. Dorm life is nothing like home — food comes from tiny refrigerators, showers are shared with 30 other people and two people have to squeeze their entire lives into a 12’x12’ room. It’s not always pleasant, but there are items out there to help you make the best of it. Here are 5 dorm essentials to help your room make you feel at home…even when you’re far from home.

air-chairs

For lounging or as a an extra bed for weekend visitors, the Multi-Max Air Chair is not your ordinary air bed. Cozy and versatile piece of furniture changes from a chair to a single bed in a matter of seconds. The strong coil-beam construction offers firm support, while the flocked surface keeps you comfy. Sit on the chair during the day for studying, then flip out the bottom to stretch out and sleep at night.

Save precious space while keeping any room organized with a 6-Bin Storage Unit. This compact yet roomy unit has 6 removable nonwoven bins with convenient 4" handles. Use them to hold everything from bathroom to bedroom accessories. Tall and slim, the metal frame has plastic-tipped feet that won't scratch your floor. It has a small rack on top for extra space or light decorative items. The Purple choice bins come in graduated shades of light and dark purple. Assembly required; assembly hardware included. 56-1/2" x 10-1/4" sq., overall. Bins, 8-1/2" x 8" sq., each. Imported.

Save precious space while keeping any dorm room organized with a 6-Bin Storage Unit. This compact yet roomy unit has 6 removable bins with convenient handles. Tall and slim, the metal frame has plastic-tipped feet that won’t scratch your floor. It has a small rack on top for extra space or light decorative items.

Beauty-Organizer

This Beauty Organizer gives you a handy place to store cosmetics, jewelry, hair accessories in the confines of a small dorm room. The organizer features individual compartments and drawers to help keep everything in its own place. The contemporary style of the organizer is versatile enough to match just about any dorm room. It can also be used on a desk to hold pens, notepads, rubber bands, paper clips and more.

collapsable-hamper

The Collapsible Fabric Hamper makes it simple to tote your laundry and detergent back and forth between the laundromat and your dorm room. The large main compartment holds dresses for sorority mixers, jeans for classes and sweat pants for studying, while the 2 side pockets are just right for socks and laundry supplies. The mesh fabric lets the contents breathe so dirty clothes don’t get musty. Its strong handles make it easy to carry when you’ve let your laundry pile and when it’s empty, it folds up to save space in the dorms.

Set of 2 Beaded Light Strings add a beautiful ambiance to any space. The 20 white LED lights combine with colored beads for a pretty glow. Convenient battery case means you can place them almost anywhere indoors. Set requires 4 "AA" batteries. Includes on/off switch. 55", each.

Set of 2 Beaded Light Strings give a dorm room a homey glow.  Whether you want your dorm to look festive or you just want soft lighting between study sessions,  the 20 white LED lights combine with colored beads for a delightful ambiance.

 

National Mutts Day: Our Dog Models

Dogs-1July 31st is National Mutts Day. At Lakeside we think all dogs are cute, but we can only put so many in our catalog. In honor of Mutts Day, we’d like to introduce you to some of our dog models.

This is Ginger. She's a rescue dog. Her owner and trainer nursed her back to health after having serious hip problems. As you can see, she recovered well as she models a snug faux fur coat in faux snow.

Ginger patiently poses in her fur coat.

 

This is Ginger. She’s a rescue dog. She had a broken hip when she went to live with her foster family. While her foster family nursed her back to health, she  won them over and now has a permanent home.  As you can see, she cleans up well — she dazzles and charms with or without a snug faux fur coat in faux snow but she’d wear just about anything and pose anywhere for a nibble of a tasty snack.

Dogs-5

Olive holds her toy while the photographer gets just the right shot.

This is Olive. This darling dog is as sweet as she is cute. She’s an expert at holding a squeaky toy at just the right tilt for the camera to showcase the toy as well as her beauty. But she hasn’t always led the charmed life. Before she got into modeling, she was a leftover pup from a puppy mill; she was on the block to be auctioned off. Her owner and trainer took her in where she’s one of many loved pups. Her owner/trainer knew she had a lot of potential as a model, but with a personality to match her beauty, she’s also a therapy dog. She frequently goes to hospitals to visit patients to let them pet her.

dogs-6

Cajun lounges with her stuffed friends as the camera snaps and flashes.

Cajun is sweet and mild-mannered — a disposition that puts people at ease. She is well-trained — she has 17 titles — but it’s her personality that makes her such a great dog. Not only can she sit still for the cameras while keeping toys in place atop her paws, but she’s also a great listener which she applies in her work as a therapy dog. Her main gig is going to libraries where she sits and listens as people read to her.

dogs-4

Rex listens intently as the set stylist and the trainer gives her directions.

 

Rex is a bubbly dog who will run across fields and scamper through ponds to fetch your camouflage bone and return it to you. Though he loves to run around and be a dog, he also likes to be fussed over and he’ll generally sit still to watch his brothers and sisters work. But, of course, he’ll do it for a price: doggy treats. Rex was not a rescue, but he’s done his share of therapy. He helped nurse his sister back to health when he was just a pup.

Whether your dog is a model or just vacuum cleaner with paws, celebrate your pup for National Mutts Day by showing him he’s special.

 

 

 

 

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

In the whirlwind of family summer fun, it can be difficult to find a little time for yourself. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by schedules for children’s summer activities, and before you know it, autumn and school will be here. Take some time out to indulge yourself, or find something to make your life easier in the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

With the ability to handle documents up to 9-1/2" wide, this Laminator will prove to be a valuable resource for the home or office.

With the ability to handle documents up to 9-1/2″ wide, this Laminator will prove to be a valuable resource for the home or office.

Curl up and drift away to dreams on our Fleece Sheet Sets.

Curl up and drift away to dreams on our Fleece Sheet Sets.

 

With the Wireless Key Finder, you will always know where your keys are hiding.

With the Wireless Key Finder, you will always know where your keys are hiding.

Women's Embroidered V-Neck Sweatshirt adds folksy flair to everyday wear.

Women’s Embroidered V-Neck Sweatshirt adds folksy flair to everyday wear.

Collegiate Tapestry Throw lets you cuddle up with your favorite team.

Collegiate Tapestry Throw lets you cuddle up with your favorite team.