Thursday, September 30, 2010

SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Socks and Giveaway!

Sponsored by Tomoson.com


When we were given the opportunity to try out a pair of SmartKnit Kids Seamless Socks, I jumped at the chance. Free socks! Of course! These particular socks are seamless, which they claim makes them more comfortable than your average socks.

I requested them in pink, Delaney's favorite color. I decided to test them out on her, because she refuses to wear socks. Her flip flops are welded to the bottom of her feet. Every time I make her wear socks, minutes later I will undoubtedly stumble across a pile of sweaty girl socks, ditched in the middle of the floor somewhere. She hates socks and that might be fine if we lived in Florida, but Colorado's weather is not so mild and she cannot wear flip flops year round. SmartKnits sent one pink pair, sized medium and one white pair in large.

She glared at me when I showed them to her.
"I hate socks!" she hissed at me.
"I know, but look! These are pink!" I finally persuaded her to put them on and wonders of wonders...she wore them all day. All day. I'm a believer. Designed for children with sensory processing diļ¬€erences and hypersensitivity, they work equally well for kids who just don't like socks that bunch in their shoes. Maybe it was the lack of seams, the bumps or the texture, but these sock were absolutely a hit with my daughter. They are designed without a heel, so they can't be put on upside down because both sides are the same! This also keeps children from outgrowing them as quickly as they would regular socks.

I was instantly struck by how soft they were. They are made from 97.3% polyester and 2.7% lycra and are antimicrobial which helps inhibit odor-causing bacteria. And really, my kids smell bad enough. These socks are designed to wick away moisture and the form-fitting design is snug on the foot, keeping them from slipping and bunching in the child's shoes. Their patented non-binding Halo-Top keeps the sock up, without pinching or binding. After wearing them all day, she didn't have the elastic marks left on her leg like other socks leave.

I am absolutely impressed with these socks and so is my daughter. She may not get frostbite this winter after all.

They are also going to send a pair to a lucky reader! So, in the comments, tell me why you'd like a pair of these and you're automatically entered to win!


This Product Was a Free Giveaway

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Liberation!

My saintly neighbor watched my two youngest so I could go to the grocery store. Alone. That hasn't happened in years. On the way there, I cranked the music up loud without the shrieks and whines that usually accompany that. I sang. Loudly. To Nine Inch Nails. I exceeded the speed limit by 4 miles an hour, I swore at the man who turned in front of me.

"What!? You &*#(@ moron! Did that year not come with a %&(#@%$& turn signal?" without having to worry that the little sponges in the backseat would repeat it back at some inopportune time. Preschool conferences are stressful enough. And all this excitement, all this liberation before I even entered the store.

I selected the first cart I came to. There was no crying and begging and searching for the one cart in the store that looks like a car. There were no arguments about who was going to ride up front, or who got to sit in the basket, or was going to hold the list. I got to hold my own list. I had time to look at my coupons and actually compare items and prices. I was able to examine the strawberries and the apples. I picked the best avocados. No one was crying. I wasn't constantly pulling on little arms, trying to get them out of the way of the other shoppers. I didn't once have to smile at some stranger in an apologetic way. I didn't even have to talk. For an entire hour, I didn't once say anything. It was...nice. Because I don't really like to talk but that's all I do, all day long.

"No! You can not spray the dog with the hose!"
"Why, may I ask, are there Benderoos hooked to the ceiling fan?"
"What is in the TOILET??"

So, it was refreshing. Not having to speak. To leisurely stroll the aisles of the grocery store, checking items off my list with satisfaction. If they offered champagne at the door, it would have been perfect. They really should do that, while they wipe your cart down with their velvet towels and bow graciously.

I was stalked through the produce aisle by an over-enthusiastic older man and I realized with regret, that my wedding ring was at home. Fortunately, I avoided additional contact and was able to lose him in the frozen foods. Elderly gentlemen can't quite get it up to speed sometimes...you know, their cart?

But all good things must come to an end. Who would have thought I'd ever say that about Wal-Mart? Eeegads. But I hurried home to get the kids with plenty of time to get Nick from the bus. And dare I say? It was nice to see their smiling little faces.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Early Childhood Education - Acquiring Sign Language

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas
Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Texas child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools.  Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

Early Childhood Education – Acquiring Sign Language

One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.

Signing Before They Can Speak
A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.

This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:
            "...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
            can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
            can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
            frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
            before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The author also cites study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).

The Best Time To Start
Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do the Reuse Challenge!



This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aladdin. All opinions are 100% mine.


According to the Aladdin challenge we spend approximately $2,350.00 a year eating lunch out or purchasing take-out. We spend $636 buying regular drip coffee from a shop, when it would only cost us $165 a year to make it at home. By the end of this year, 23 billion disposable paper coffee cups will have been thrown out. But the statistic that really floored me? In the United States, we use 50 billion disposable water bottles a year. That breaks down to 137,000 a day and 1,585 per second. It takes seven million barrels of oil to produce all these bottles.


That is why I've decided to participate in the Aladdin Do The Reuse Challenge It is a thirty day commitment to give up disposable products, like water bottles, paper cups and take-out food containers. By accepting the challenge Aladdin will give a discount to those participating, good for items on their site. And they have several items to choose from, from traditional food containers to artsy coffee mugs. You can even design your own with photos and personalized text.


Nine families will be blogging about their experience with the challenge on the Aladdin website and you can keep updated through  Aladdin on Facebook


Personally, I'm guilty of using the disposable water bottles. Even though I use and reuse them, I know that I shouldn't use them at all. So, that's my focus the next 30 days...no more plastic bottles. Now I have an excuse to buy one of those cool water bottles.




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When the Going Gets Tough...Guest post

This guest post is contributed by Alisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alisagilbert599@gmail.com.

 When the Going Gets Tough: How to Deal with Your Kids When They're Annoying You


No parent wants to admit it, but we all know deep down inside that our young children aren't the little angels we talk about when we update our relatives on the phone. While your kids may not exactly be holy terrors, there will inevitably be moments when it seems that they're making a career out of testing your nerves. The constant questions, the whining, the poking, prodding, car-seat kicking all comes with the parenting territory, and we must, of course, suck it up and deal with it. Here are a few ways to maintain your sanity.

1. Think twice before exploding.

It's easy to want to snap when your children are driving you up the wall. However, remember that while you cannot control an external situation, you can control how you react to it. Sometimes the best way to diffuse a situation is by keeping your cool. If you find yourself about to yell, take a deep breath and count to ten in your head. You'll be much better prepared to deal with rambunctious tykes if you have taken a few moments to calm yourself down.


2. Talk to your kids as if they were adults.
As adults, we often don't give kids the credit they deserve. Sure, they can be annoying, but many times childish behavior results from talking down to your kids. If you instead talk to them as if they were mini adults, you'd be surprised by how adult-like they can be.

3. Sometimes its better to let them carry on until they tire themselves out.

If you're a parent of young kids, chances are you are something of a control freak. A situation gets out of hand and the first thing you want to do is to make it stop immediately at whatever cost. Whether it's whining because they aren't getting their way or teasing and poking a sibling, you want to stop bad behavior before it gets out of hand. Sometimes, as parents, we have to face the fact that we must pick our battles. Kids will be kids, and we can't expect everything to go our way either. Save yourself future ulcers, and let them do their thing until they realize they aren't going to get anywhere acting as such. They'll eventually tire themselves out. Trust me.

4. Be reasonable in the face of irrationality.
It's tempting to want to fight irrational behavior with threats or "because-I-said-so" proclamations. While these may work some of the time, more often than not they only serve to escalate situations. Related to tip number two, by maintaining a voice of mature reason, you are subtly influencing your kids to imitate how you behave. Kids learn exponentially faster and more effectively by example, not words.
While every mom and dad has a different parenting style, the most important thing to remember when your tots are being annoying is that they are young children. And we should enjoy them as they are while we can, because before long they will develop into completely different creatures with different challenges. In the blink of an eye, they will be teens, and then we will wish for that annoying tantrums were all that we had to worry about.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rambler's Way Wool



This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rambler's Way Farm. All opinions are 100% mine.


Let's say I was given $200 to spend on wool items. My first thought? No thank you. I've owned beautiful wool sweaters in the past. Sweaters that have never, ever been worn because they are so itchy, bulky and uncomfortable.  When I'm shopping,  I may fall in love with a sweater but if the label lists wool in any percentage, I instantly put it back on the rack. 


Now, if I was given $200 to spend on Rambler's Way Wool? Well, that would be a different story.


I would definitely want one of the Henley shirts.


And a camisole.



These look so light weight that I'm hesitant to believe that they are wool.  But they are. They're made from Superfine American Rambouillet 18.5 micron wool which makes a breathable fabric that can be worn year round and directly next to the skin without the irritation that standard wool would cause. The natural fibers repel odors and moisture. They are chemical free, machine washable and dryable. They resist shrinkage and the breathable fabric remains comfortable, whether the sun is shining or the cold snows are blowing. They also feature flat, chafe-less seams.


Best of all, these products are made with a focus on low environmental impact. Rambler's Way Wool  is made in America and sustainably farmed, with special attention paid to the care and the humane treatment of the animals.


All wools are definitely not created equal.




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Monday, September 20, 2010

Four years old...

Delaney turns four today. We had a party for her Saturday, at a park in the rain. It was supposed to clear up by afternoon, but it never did and I was disinclined to move a party with 16 children into my house. So they played with wet behinds from sliding down the slides. But they didn't care. There was cake! And ice cream! And goody bags! And kids! Woo hoo!

Unfortunately, there was not alcohol. Unless you count the Bailey's I slipped into my coffee.

Delaney had requested a Hello-Kitty-Princess-Doctor cake:
When we were cutting it, I asked her what part she wanted.
"The Hello Kitty part."
Nick wanted the pills. I hope that is not a precursor of things to come.

She was satisfied with an ear and the bow.

Sam and his noisemaker. That didn't work because it was full of slobber.

Fortunately, cake is one thing that does not require teeth to be eaten.

Mom and Sam!


This morning I filled her room with pink balloons and streamers, decorated the house and made her pink, heart shaped pancakes for breakfast. I told her she could have (just about) anything she wanted for dinner. She thought long and hard.
"Macaroni and cheese."

You know, the gourmet orange kind in the box? Fancy.

Happy Birthday baby girl!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poop

Last night I was alerted to a possible problem when I didn't have any hot water to wash my face. So, I head down to the hot water heater.


There's a fountain gushing from the top and pooling around the base of it. While I'm not an expert, I was pretty sure that it wasn't supposed to be doing that. And of course, I also had a major migraine and had finally got all three of the kids to sleep. I didn't want to play with the water. I wanted to go to bed. So I called my husband. He told me to shut the water valve off on top. I did. It didn't do anything. He ended up coming home and having to shut the water off to the whole house because the shut off valve on the unit was broken. But it was night and I was going to bed. I wasn't too concerned.

Then came morning. We turned on the water long enough to take care of the essentials (you know, like making coffee) quickly, before the thing started to over flow again. Then he took the parts he needed (which meant no more water. At all.) and set off to find a new one with the money we just pulled off the money tree in the backyard.

I babysit the neighbor's adorable two year old in the mornings, so I had the three kids and we were happily playing in the backyard. Until the neighbor boy managed to find the one pile of dog poop in the backyard. But he didn't just step in it. He slipped in it. And fell. In it.  Remember the no water thing? Yeah. A two year old, covered in dog poop. And no water. Except for my tears...

How come so much of my life seems to involve poop? People can no longer have a conversation without me mentioning it at least once. Before I had kids, I don't think I ever even said "poop". Now I say it 50 times a day. At least. I'm so much fun.

Happy Anniversary to me! Oh. And my husband, too.

My husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this past week. It's strange to think it's been that long. I'm surprised that anyone could put up with me for that long. We've been together for 12 years...plenty of time, really, for him to realize that I'm not completely normal and take off to parts unknown. But he hasn't. Yet. In fact, he even took me out to dinner.
We went to The Melting Pot, which was a ton of fun. Without the kids. It was a three hour dinner...without the kids. Did I mention that? It was like a real date. Bliss.


We had all kinds of good food...


But dessert, is of course, always the best part!We had chocolate/passion fruit fondue. Sooo yummy.

Oh...and the wine. There was a lot of wine.



Here's to many, many more...Happy Anniversary D. Love you.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New cake!

There's a new cake on my cake blog. It has subtle, unintentional pornographic elements.

I haven't been doing many cakes lately, but had two orders this weekend! And another call for a wedding cake. Yay!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Battery Bugs

I was dreaming that I had to jump another car. So I get out my battery cables and attach them to the battery in my car. But on the other end there turns out to be tiny iridescent bugs and I have to squeeze their wings together, like clamps, to get them to stick on the battery. But then they kept flying away.

It was very annoying.

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