Father and son bonding is so great during the holidays when there are smart gifts involved. Check out what this father/son duo are putting together.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Radio Shack. All opinions and experiences are my own.

It was no mistake that my son is named after his father. I mean, obviously we planned it, as I always wanted to name my first son after his father. I’ve always been fascinated by the “Juniors” of the world, and couldn’t wait to name my own son after his dad. But, as the years go by, and my boy grows up, I see a lot of his father’s characteristics in him. They both love science. They both are entranced by music, and love to create their own music at any moment. They are both charismatic and yet stoic. They are both extremely sweet, but also very protective.

Father and son bonding is so great during the holidays when there are smart gifts involved. Check out what this father/son duo are putting together.

So, when it’s time to find Christmas gifts for them both, I tend to grab activities or projects that they can do together. Gifts that will encourage their holiday father and son bonding sessions that they have every year. I’ll also focus on items that they both would genuinely enjoy, as well as something that will help them learn together. We started with small building sets, then moved up to the big time: remote control car kits, building sets, and much more.

Father and son bonding is so great during the holidays when there are smart gifts involved. Check out what this father/son duo are putting together.

When they saw the Make: It Robotics Starter Kit from Radio Shack, I think they both squealed in delight. This is the ultimate in activity in the land of nerd. With over 200 pieces, and the promise of using tools with dad, my son couldn’t contain his excitement. The built together for hours will listening to some Christmas music on the JBL Flip 2, and it was like watching a feel-good movie. The music is blasting, and they’re laughing and learning. Music and machines; the perfect combination.

Father and son bonding is so great during the holidays when there are smart gifts involved. Check out what this father/son duo are putting together.

As a mom and wife of and science enthusiasts that are musically inclined, I need to purchase smart gifts each year. I absolutely love that this year Radio Shack is not only offering affordable gifts, but they want us to #GiftSmart by giving presents that will encourage creativity and bonding within our families. How awesome is that? I know where I’m shopping this #CyberMonday!

Father and son bonding is so great during the holidays when there are smart gifts involved. Check out what this father/son duo are putting together.

Are you planning on giving any smart gifts this holiday season? Do you see any cool presents that you want to gift on the Radio Shack website?

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Teach Your Child To Be An Advocate For Change

Many parents are struggling with speaking to their children about race relations. Granted, it is a sensitive subject, but most parents are just leaving that discussion on the table, or even worse, hoping and praying that schools will take up the slack and create a syllabus to be reviewed during school hours. As a mother of 2 school-age, brown children, I have no qualms saying that this is partially a personal request. With the recent indictment decision in reference to the Mike Brown shooting, it’s time for parents to vow to take action, whether they have little brown children or not. We have the responsibility to raise children who will make our world better, and who will be able to speak intelligently about race relations. It may be difficult, but it’s necessary. Here are some ways to teach your child to be an advocate for change.

See The Colors

One of the most dangerous parenting mistakes today is the “we don’t see color in our household” movement. Stop it. Stop it right now. Teaching your kids about race is not the same as teaching them to be a racist. By telling your children not to see color is confusing and frustrating for their growing brain. They can’t help that they see color when they meet new friends. That’s the way our mind works. It’s also just fine that when they tell you about their new friend James, they insist on telling you that he’s black. Seeing the colors of their friends will ensure that they will understand why that friend will be discriminated against in the future. It will also ensure that they’ll have no problems standing up for anyone that is discriminated against because of their ethnicity. By telling them “there is no color,” they won’t be able to recognize injustice. They’ll see their friends as victims of racism first-hand. but won’t understand why. Thus, their brain won’t instinctively project said friends. Think of it this way: would you rather them associate a race and color with someone they love now, or after that person is the victim of a senseless crime and THEN you have to explain why?

Stop Creating Dumb Children

Children are geniuses. Yes, every single one. Do you know why? If they don’t know or understand an answer, situation, or anything new they learn, they have the immediate instinct to ask questions until they get it. They will ask for hours at a time, if need be. They are always on a mission to understand. As parents, we dumb down our kids by dismissing their questions with trivial answers, or just saying “that’s just the way it is.” We’re so engrossed in The Biggest Loser, The Amazing Race, and whatever new book we’re dying to finish that we turn our kids into dummies in the process. Talk about race. Let your kids ask questions. Genuinely answer those questions, even if your answer is “I actually don’t know that one, but let’s research it together.” By the way, this should be an ongoing conversation, not just something that you talk about during Black History Month.

Related: How to Discuss Slavery With Your Kids

Get Past Your Selfishness

As stated above, sometimes we let our own desires keep us from teaching our children about important issues. As adults, we’re also very good at letting it seem like we don’t do certain things for the sake of our children. Some excuses I’ve seen in the past 24 hours are “my kid has anxiety, so I’m not sure I can teach them to be an advocate right now,” “my child is just so young, so I may have to wait a few years,” and “there are no resources for me to follow, so I don’t want to mess up my child’s view of race relations by teaching the wrong thing.” Get over yourself. This is not about you, it’s about the next generation. Their anxiety, and your lack of confidence  may make teaching advocacy a bit harder, but it’s no excuse not to do the work. Also, it’s OK to admit that this may trigger some issues in yourself, and that might be why you are hesitant when it comes to talking about race in your home. Get help for yourself, but don’t let it delay these talks with your children. The sooner we introduce the idea of injustice to our children’s minds, the sooner they will be the change in the world.

While these aren’t all of the ways you can teach your child to be an advocate for change, they should be a good start. If you’d like more ideas and resources to help you with these conversations, and encourage your children to be amazing citizens of the world, check out the hashtags #FergusonSyllabus on twitter. Many teachers have been posting great advice and tangible resources since the murder of Mike Brown in August.

Please feel free to comment below with any other tips you may have, or anything you may want to add to the discussion, but note that blatantly ignorant comments will be deleted. Thank you.

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Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup

November 24, 2014
Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup uses your favorite items from your holiday meal. Plus, it only takes less than 15 minutes! #TasteTheSeason #shop

  I am the proud wife of a man that loves stuffing. Each Thanksgiving, he gets so excited about his favorite side dish. While he loves to have stuffing on turkey day, he very much enjoys a few scoops of Stove Top stuffing with our Thanksgiving leftovers. He’s had it on a turkey sandwich and even […]

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Top Toy Picks Chosen By Kids

November 22, 2014
Top Toy Picks Chosen By Kids

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Walmart. All opinions are my own. I’m pretty sure that it’s because of my kids that I’m seen as “in-the-know” when it comes to featuring the top toy picks of the season. My 9 year old son and my 4 year old daughter keep me in the […]

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My Favorite Thanksgiving Sight

November 20, 2014
When I think of Thanksgiving, I always envision the changing color of the leaves. In this post, I explain why.

I tend to forget how blessed I am to live in New Jersey. We’re smack dab in the middle of two of the best cities in the country, New York City and Philadelphia. We have the ocean on our side, the pine barrens in our belly and even mountains up north. But, my favorite part […]

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Turkey Tetrazzini

November 20, 2014
This turkey tetrazzini recipe is a great way to use thanksgiving leftovers! It's a fast meal that's perfect for weeknight dinners.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, everyone thinks about the food. Rightfully so; the food is why we celebrate. We enjoy the harvest and give thanks. We chow down on our favorite side dishes and desserts, and eat as much turkey as we can handle in one sitting. To me, the spirit of the season can […]

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Holiday Music Junkie

November 19, 2014
Does holiday music put you in the spirit of the season?

There’s nothing like holiday music. Nothing! I love looking down my Facebook timeline and seeing how many friends are loving, and loathing, the start of holiday music playing on television and in stores. I, for one, start playing Christmas music on November 1st. There’s no shame in my game because I’m a holiday music junkie. Each […]

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Getting Into the Thanksgiving Spirit

November 17, 2014
How one mom finally got into the Thanksgiving spirit. Here's a hint it has something to do with her in-laws.

For quite a while, I envisioned Thanksgiving as that day sandwiched in between my two favorite holidays. Since I was a kid, Halloween and Christmas were at the top of my love list. Both holidays always inspired the dreamer in me; I celebrated fantasy and enchantment during Halloween, and enjoyed the warm feeling that Christmas created […]

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Why Your Grocery Budget Isn’t Working

November 17, 2014
Do you wonder why your grocery budget isn't working for you? The reason may surprise you.

Each and every time I announce to a group that we have a 64 dollar grocery budget, I get at least one person that says “well, I know I couldn’t do that.” Most recently, I’ve been getting the “you now have another mouth to feed. That budget won’t last.” Oh, thanks! There’s always a myriad […]

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Gifts for Foodie Star Wars Fans

November 14, 2014
Here's a great list of gifts for Star Wars fans that are foodies.

Let me start this post by saying that these items are on my Christmas list this year. OK, truthfully, I’ve already ordered a few of these items, or have them in my home. What can I say? I’m a Star Wars fan. On those nights when I’m up at 2 a.m., I’m looking for new […]

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