*this is a sponsored post, but as always, the views and opinions on LACityMom.com are my own.

CB-Girl-w-50-Landing-PageThinking about how much it will cost to send my two kids to college is enough to make my head spin in spite of the fact that they are still years away from enrolling. Still it’s never too early to start saving, and that’s why I am delighted to tell you about a fantastic holiday giving (and receiving) idea. Leaf College Savings Gift Cards are such a clever product. You can buy a Leaf College Savings Gift Card  for as little as $25.00 dollars, or as much as $1000.00. Through the web site, you can purchase a card to be gifted and sent by snail mail or in an e-mail to a friend, family member, employee, or colleague and the cash value can be deposited into any 529 Education Savings Plan of the recipient’s choosing. Purchasers pay a small issuance fee. Recipients pay no fee at all.

 LEAF College Savings gift cards are issued by CBW Bank, Weir, Kansas. Member FDIC. When you purchase a LEAF Gift Card, the funds go directly into a custodial account held by the bank in your name (for online purchases). When a recipient, or their parent, creates an account at LEAFsavings.com and redeems the gift, the bank moves the funds into an account held by the bank in the redeemer’s name. Both accounts are insured by the FDIC.

Kids today have so many toys and gadgets that they play with for a few months and then often lose interest in. A Leaf Savings Gift Card is a lasting and meaningful gift. It could be a stocking stuffer, a high school graduation gift, a birthday or a bar mitzvah present. It’s less awkward than giving actual cash, and it’s insured. It makes a very thoughtful baby gift as well. How many baby blankets does your best friend’s new baby really need? But a kick-start to a college fund is a gift she’ll appreciate for years to come.

One other aspect I really like about the cards is that they provide a very tasteful and secure way to solicit financial contributions for your child’s education from Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, God Parents, and or employers. Money is not always an easy topic to broach, but imagine the following:

“What do the kids want for Christmas?”

“Well, I just set up a 529 Education Plan for the kids…and I was thinking, for Christmas this year, a gift card could be a great idea. Even one for $50.00 would be a terrific start.”

You can customize the cards with an uploaded photo or pick one of Leaf’s pretty designs. If on every Christmas, Hankkah and Graduation, all the loved ones in your child’s life gave a Leaf Gift Card it would certainly make his or her 529 Savings Account grow. And, as with all savings accounts, the sooner you start the better off you will be in the long run.

Now, what if you don’t have a 529 Education Savings Plan yet? No problem. You can still give and receive Leaf Gift Cards, redeem them, and have them poised to be deposited in your child’s account until you’ve set up a 529. (You can open a plan in any state you chose and opening one costs as little as $25.00)

Also, if you’re a business owner LEAF makes it very easy to contribute payroll deductions to employees interested in college savings plans, or also potentially match employee contributions to a LEAF account. That’s a pretty enticing way to boast a “family friendly” workplace.

Every child deserves a chance to go to college. Leaf College Savings Gift Cards are innovative and thoughtful gifts for giving or receiving this holiday or any season!

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I AM ELEVEN documentary opening in LA

by leeroseemery on September 19, 2014

I am 11“I think at heat we are all the same person….at heart, we’re just really all the same.” These are the words from one eleven year old in Genevieve Bailey’s lovely new documentary, called “I AM ELEVEN,” which opens today at Laemmle’s in Los Angeles. Bailey, an Australian filmmaker, traveled the globe and interviewed 15 eleven year old children from all walks of life. The filmmaker poses questions to them about themselves and the world. I had the chance to screen this movie, and am excited now to show it to my children. Hearing from these 15 kids from such a cross section of multicultural backgrounds makes for a fascinating look at the next generation. It is so rare that American kids in particular are exposed to international culture in an authentic way. “I AM ELEVEN” is a different kind of family movie, no cartoons, no fast paced plot, no three jokes a page, but it is one that I know your family will enjoy, and I bet it will spark some thoughtful family discussions. Here’s a link to the trailer below.

I AM ELEVEN is playing this weekend in Laemmle Royal (LA), Laemmle Playhouse 7 (Pasadena), AMC Burbank 8 (Burbank), AMC Orange 30 (Orange), AMC Rolling Hills 20 (Torrance) and Sat/Sun matinees only in Laemmle Claremont 5 (Claremont).

Filmmakers will be doing Q&As in Laemmle Royal all opening weekend!

*Filmmaker Q&As at Laemmle Royal after 7:30PM screening Fri-Sun & 1PM screening Sat-Sun*  YOU TUBE TRAILER click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 great portable family games

by leeroseemery on August 13, 2014

Spending time with the kids on hot lazy summer days can be a great family bonding experience. Or it can be incredibly trying. There’s nothing worse than hearing, “I’m bored, Mom. There’s nothing to do!” While I like to encourage my kids to be resourceful and make their own fun, I also like to steer them towards interactive games they can play together or that we can play as a family.

Here are some of the best ones I’ve found.

1. TENZIS (a ridiculously simple dice game that’s great for all ages)

2. DWEEBIES (an obsessive card game)

3. Story Cubes (dice covered with pictures inspire spontaneous story telling)

 

4. Apples to Apples (great game for a big group – also a vocabulary expander.)

5. NADA (a new very portable matching dice game)

6. Spot it (this game forces your kids to pay attention – we like the “hot potato version”)

 

Since these are small and portable, I throw a few in my suitcase on holidays in case we’re stuck in an airport lounge, or a restaurant that takes two hours to make spaghetti! I have even started to keep a deck of playing cards in my purse at all times. My family loves to play “I doubt it.”

What are your kids’ favorites?

 

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LACityMom Family Travel : Istanbul, Turkey

June 16, 2014 Retreat

We have been incredibly lucky with our fantastic travel opportunities over the past two years. I wanted to share our latest adventure a trip to Istanbul Turkey. It’s a long haul from LA, but if you have the chance to visit Turkey, the city is fascinating. Here’s a link to a piece that I wrote […]

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Summer Sounds For Kids at the Bowl

May 23, 2014 Play

If you’re looking for something fun but also cultural to do with your little ones,  The Hollywood Bowl has daily music performances and Art Workshops  for kids from  July 7th – August 1st.  This is such a great program and a wonderful way to introduce your children to music. Here’s all the info below. SummerSounds […]

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Perfect Mother’s Day Gift: Dillon Rogers Jewelry

May 2, 2014 Shop

I remember the first personalized baby gift that arrived after my daughter was born: a silver baby cup with her initials engraved on it. It meant so much to me seeing her initials etched into the shiny surface, as if it made her existence somehow more real. I have since found a modern version equivalent […]

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The Annenberg Community Beach House’s 5th Anniversary Celebration

April 17, 2014 Play

This is one of my favorite spots in LA for families. The Annenberg Community Beach House is gorgeously situated along side the Pacific ocean, and I just received this press release. “On Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, the City of Santa Monica will celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Annenberg Community Beach House, […]

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Schoola – a new way to raise money for your school and save on kids’ clothes

March 18, 2014 Uncategorized

Here’s a multifaceted way to help parents save money, clean their closets and raise  money for their schools. We all know how expensive shopping for growing kids can be , buying  gently used clothes is a great way to save. Not only does Schoola sell gently used clothes, but the way they collect their inventory […]

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Snow Day at the LA Zoo

February 15, 2014 Play

This is a fun idea for a cool winter family outing during this hot weather. It will soon be snowing at the LA Zoo next weekend.  This just in from my Zoo sources: Winter is in the air—and on the ground! For two days in February, the Zoo’s black bear and tiger will have their habitats transformed […]

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True Pablove’s Valentine’s Family Event, February 9th

February 6, 2014 Play

The Pablove Foundation’s Anual Family Valentine’s Celebration is taking place this weekend but you can still book your tickets. This day of family friendly crafting, music, food, and fun is so dear to my heart, and is one of Los Angeles’ most heartfelt, and fun filled events. Pablo Castalez was a pre-school classmate of my children. […]

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