Monday, July 18, 2011

Water Wipes??? Seriously???

Okay, I get the desire for convenience. And I REALLY get the desire to keep chemicals away from my kids. But I DON'T GET THESE!!! Why, on God's green earth, would someone choose to spend money on wasteful, expensive, disposable wipes, with (almost) nothing but water? Why not just use actual cotton cloths, with water, and save your money and help the earth at the same time? If you don't want the scents, parabens, and petro-chemicals in your wipes, then what's left to pay for... how much should water cost you? I do however, see one useful purpose for these... for things like camping, where you want to bring as little laundry back home with you, but you don't want to be wiping faces, hands and bums with regular baby wipes, these would be an excellent alternative. So, I guess I'm glad someone's making these, for the approximately 2 packs a year I would love them for ;) But yeah, I just don't get it...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Coolest crafting tool EVER!

The Silhouette Craft Cutting Machine doesn't use expensive dies and doesn't limit you to just paper or vinyl stickers... it uses your computer and softwares to cut fabrics, temporary tattoos and iron ons too! And it can draw with sketch pens, instead of blades, and add rhinestones to things. And you're not limited to the software available on their site either! You can use your own clipart and any font in your computer. For a chance to win one, here's a link...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reading Rainbow... what's the point?

Cancelled. Why? Because the US Department of Education (and therefore PBS) are now only concerned with kids learning phonics, spelling and other tools of reading. They could care less about whether or not kids WANT to read... Reading Rainbow was created in 1983, in response to the question "How do we get kids to read books?". I'm all for programs like Super Why, Word World, Between the Lions, etc., which help reinforce reading skills and tools. (Particularly for those kids whose parents don't teach or promote these skills at home). But, I guess the current educational administration would prefer kids who may know HOW to read, but don't WANT to. Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers are Wyatt's absolute favorite shows, and in addition to exposing us to books we may never have found otherwise, he learns so much each episode about the topic subject. The subjects ranged from typical childhood interests (animals, sports, etc.) to far deeper issues (race, religion, politics, to say the least). Many of the things discussed are subjects that don't come up in our daily lives or the books we currently have. It is one of the most well-rounded shows for kids I've ever seen, and like Mister Rogers, it was never dumbed down. It was clearly written under the assumption that kids are intelligent and eager to learn. So many shows these days seem to think kids need to be "tricked" into learning. I'm terribly disappointed to see this show go. Please write/email PBS and let them know that this show means something to you and your kids! I'm letting them know that I'll be willing to pledge them money (for the first time, despite my desires to do so before), if it will bring the show back. And if you're in Canada, follow my lead, and ask CBC Kids if they would consider picking up the broadcasting rights to the show. Maybe our government is more willing to fund a show that will foster a true love of reading, and help us raise a generation of people who will contribute to our country and society? As for the future of the show in my own home, I fortunately have a few favorite episodes still on the PVR, but looking for something more permanent, I tried to find DVDs online... YIKES! Each individual episode is $29.95 each, and the whole series is $3895. Sorry... I'll have to pass!

UPDATE: Here's a copy of the email that I sent to PBS.

I am GREATLY disappointed by the cancellation of Reading Rainbow. While I understand the need and use of phonics based reading programs, to ignore the need for a show that teaches the love of reading is to sentence this generation (and those that follow) to a world where people know HOW to read, but don't care and don't want to. What kind of service does this provide for the future? There are so few programs airing that treat children as intelligent creatures, rather than dumbing things down and assuming that kids need to be tricked into learning. Kids WANT to learn, and they DESERVE to be respected. Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers are the rare kind of shows that fill this need, and to lose one of the greatest positive influences on literacy and quality children's programming is a sad loss indeed. Please reconsider. I've always appreciated your network, and wished I could afford to donate. I will gladly scrape up what I can, and run a Tupperware fundraiser, if the funds I raise would help bring back this true gem. Thank you for your time!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Highchairs, Booster Seats, Travel Seats... which is right for you?

There are SO many options for baby/toddler seating, it can be overwhelming for new parents, so I thought, since I've tried my fair share, I'd offer some advice and reviews... I started out with a traditional, but high end, Peg Perego Prima Pappa Dondolino. Of course, I just "HAD" to have the one that rocked and played music, as I was convinced these functions would come in so handy to keep Wyatt happy while I worked in the kitchen. (If only I had known more about babywearing while I was pregnant... but that's another post!) Admittedly, we did use the bells and whistles for awhile, but the second time the batteries died, I never got around to replacing them. Other than that though it was an EXCELLENT highchair, and the features were well worth the extra money. It had leatherette material, with the sporty looking air holes for breathability along with a soft terry infant insert. All the upholstery and the 5 point harness are completely removable for machine washing too! A huge combination of height and recline combos came in handy too. The tray that slides into the seat is a small, narrow tray, good for a few toys or cheerios while I got the real food ready (or cleaned the full-size tray). The full-size tray just clicked on with a slight squeeze of a handle underneath the tray. All things considered, if you're in the market for a full-size highchair, and have some money to burn, (or someone buying it for you... thanks Mom!), I would defintely check out the current Prima Pappa line. (My model is discontinued). My mom and sisters have all had Prima Pappas as well (not the unnecessary Dondolino like me though), and they have taken YEARS of use by MANY kids and are still VERY nice!

As soon as Wyatt was able to feed himself, we discovered that many homes and restaurants we frequented had inadequate high chairs (or none at all), so after some research, I decided on the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat for our many meals away from home. It is an extremely well designed booster seat for travel AND home. It has a dishwasher safe tray, with a removable eating tray, so they have a clean place to play after the meal. There is also a lid for the tray to keep it clean (or keep the mess in) during your travels. A crotch/waist strap (removable for laundering) to keep them in their place. Three height levels so it will work with almost any kid/table/chair combo. The seat secures to almost any dining chair with a strap under the seat and around the back. These also double to hold the tray on when folded up, and the other as a carry strap. The backrest folds down for compact storage, and is removable for cleaning, or for older children who might not want it there. This is currently the only chair my toddler uses at our table... the highchair is gathering dust in a corner. Due to it's permanent place in the house, I now needed something else for the car...

The best thing I could find to fit the bill was the amazing My Little Seat. It's a cloth carrier style seat that ties onto most styles of dining chairs. You slip the top over the back of the chair (and snug up with the drawstring), sit the child on the seat area, pull the shoulder straps up to the clips and tighten, and tie the waist straps through the loops at the back. Then you take ties from behind the childs hip area and tighten around the back of the chair. Baby is snug and secure :) The best features in my opinion, are the size of the tiny bag it fits into, and the fact that it's machine washable! How many feeding seats can you say that about? I keep ours in the diaper bag or the car at all times, and it has saved us on many unexpected occasions.

Ideally, if I had it all to do over, I'd skip the full-size highchair completely. I'd either just use our Bumbo until the FP Healthy Care seat was developmentally appropriate for use at the table. Or I'd get one of the newer booster style high chairs (like this one). And for out of the house, I'd stick to the My Little Seat.

Hope I've helped!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baby Half Off

Found a great new website, Baby Half Off! Every day has a different deal, at LEAST 50% off!!!! Check it out :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Breastfeeding troubles?

I found a wonderful website that collects stories from women who've had difficult starts to breastfeeding, and have perservered, even if only for awhile. Many stories are inspiring, and most of them offer useful advice, and anecdotal solutions to many common nursing problems. I've posted my story there and I encourage anyone who's got a story to tell to post yours as well. Maybe you'll inspire someone else to keep trying as well!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free Knickernappies Contest

Enter here to win a free Knickernappies cloth diaper (One size) Good Luck :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kid' Sleep wake up clock

As the blessed mama of a 4 year old, who has always slept in remarkably well, I took my mornings for granted. Most mornings consisted of some quiet, peaceful time to gradually wake up with the baby, before Wyatt woke up and things went into full swing. Or, on the best mornings, Dawson would sleep in as well, and I'd stay in bed as long as I could. I loved that it gave me some built in alone time with Dawson in the mornings, as I had alone time with Wyatt during Dawson's nap.

Well, my morning routine was shattered this spring when the sun started waking him up earlier each day. This wouldn't be the end of the world, except for the fact that it was making for some VERY cranky afternoons and evenings. While the simplest solution would be to teach him to tell time, and tell him what time he's allowed to get up, he's a big fan of the ABC's but has only a moderate grasp of numbers by sight. So, I turned to google for ideas and stumbled on a review done by one of my favorite blogs, Thingamababy for the Kid' Sleep Wake up clock. I emailed ARF Kids, and they generously agreed to send me a clock to review.

It arrived quicker than I expected, and Wyatt was very excited, as I had been telling him about his "bunny light" for a few days. We plugged it in right away, and I set the current time and the wake up time. With a very simple three button setup, it only took a minute, including my time to calculate the times on the 24 hour clock. There are also three mode settings on a switch (in addition to OFF), that Wyatt has no problem using himself. These are Wake-up Light, Nightlight and Traditional Alarm, which will come in handy for morning appointments, and when we start morning school someday. It includes two faceplates. One, with a daytime bunny and a nighttime bunny for the Wake-up indicator, and one with a full picture of nighttime bunny for the nightlight mode. It seems to me that if you're using it with a young toddler, the nightlight mode would be useful to get them familiar with the bunny, and then once they're old enough to comprehend, you can switch to the Wake-up mode. Once Wyatt can tell time, I'll give him a regular clock and move this one into Dawson's room. But for now, we jumped right into Wake-up training...

Every night before bed, we turn the bunny on and say goodnight to him. For the first week, I also went over the rules every night to solidify them...
1. If the bunny's awake, you can get up, quietly (in case others are still sleeping) and come get me.
2. If the bunny is sleeping, close your eyes and try to go back to sleep, or at the very least, stay in bed for some quiet time.
3. The most important disclaimer: If you need to pee, at ANY TIME, you may, but then you come back to bed until the bunny wakes up.

I set the wake up time for a reasonable 8am... earlier than the 9 or later he used to wake up, but later than the 7ish he was currently waking. The first few mornings, he would wake up before the bunny and yell "MOM! The bunny's still sleeping!!!". I went in and reminded him that he doesn't need to tell me, he just needs to try to go back to sleep. The next phase was waking a little later, and talking to himself, until the bunny woke up... then he would yell "MOM! The bunny's awake!!!" I would go remind him that he could QUIETLY get up then, and that he didn't need to yell for me. Once he got the hang of that, he started either sleeping till shortly after the bunny, or at least, being quiet until he was allowed to get up. And this has gloriously progressed to the point that he's actually starting to sleep later and later to the point that our mornings usually resemble the way things were in winter. Sweet peace! Thank you ARF Kids!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I read about the 4 year old "marshmallow experiment" on the Tranquil Parent blog yesterday, and decided to try it out with Wyatt. The idea is, you sit the child down, give them a marshmallow and tell them that they're allowed to eat it anytime, BUT, if they can wait until you get back, they'll get another one as well. It's a test of patience and choices, and gives you some insight into their ability to reason. Immediate gratification, or being rewarded for patience? Apparently, it also ties into their IQ... the sooner they cave in, the lower they test, generally speaking, but I never put much stake in those kinds of subjective links. It's interesting, but I don't think any test can paint a complete picture of a child.

So, I set up the video camera, and had Wyatt sit at his desk. I brought in a plate with the marshmallow, and told him that he had a choice to make. He was allowed to eat the marshmallow whenever he chose, but if he waited till I came back, he could have more. If he ate the one on the plate, that would be all he gets. I left the room for a few minutes, and came back to up the ante. I poured some chocolate syrup on the marshmallow, and said I'd be back a little later, and the rules were the same. If he could STILL hold off on eating it, he'd get another, also with syrup. I left for a few minutes more, and came back to find a very patiently anxious boy with an untouched treat!

While I was very pleased (although somewhat surprised) at how much self-control he had, unfortunately, the part of the experiment I was most looking forward to was fruitless. After watching this video, I was really excited and curious to see what he would do in my absence, and how he would cope with the pressure while waiting. Would he find distractions? Would he talk himself through it? What was his process? Well, all I know is that for the first couple minutes, he was silent, wiggly, fidgety, expressive (as usual), and not nearly as frustrated as I thought he'd be... but then my camera ran out of tape...

While I'll never know what he did while I was gone, (especially once it was covered in chocolate, lol), and I doubt trying it again would produce the same result, now that he knows how it all plays out, I am proud of him for doing as well as he did.

And, in a couple years, I can do it again with Dawson!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

So grateful for Sign Language

When Wyatt was around 6 months we started signing with him, because it can be extremely helpful to be able to communicate with a pre-verbal baby. It reduces tantrums and frustration, it gives them a way to make their needs known, and it has a positive impact on their future vocabulary and language skills. We found all of that to be true, and while we still loved watching our Signing Time DVDs and learning new signs all the time, we stopped using most of our signs around 1 1/2 years, because he was talking in sentences and there was very little that he couldn't tell us with his voice. I'll never forget when I realized how well he could put a sentence together. I heard him wake up through the monitor and he called for me, just once. As I was getting my legs out of bed to go get him, (all of about 30 seconds), I heard him heave a big sigh and say "My mommy doesn't wanna come get me outta my crib" (Talk about patience, lol).

Well, Dawson is a completely different story... at 19 months, he has less than 10 words that can be understood without any context to decipher them. BUT, thanks to the 55+ signs that he can use (and he learns more almost every day), he still has a way to get his point across and let us know what he really wants to say. That's not to say he doesn't have tantrums... it's just that the tantrums are mostly just because he doesn't always like my answer. They are rarely based on frustration of not being understood. His developmental specialist is VERY glad that we sign with him, since, thanks to months of colds and fluids in his ears, he's fallen behind a bit on some development areas that require full listening skills. (For those who don't know us, he was born at 33 1/2 weeks, 2lbs 10 oz IUGR, and has been mostly healthy and on target, except for size. The fluid in his ears is unrelated, and would've gone unnoticed if he wasn't being followed "just in case"). So, signing has definitely had a noticable impact on our lives, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share it with my kiddos :)