Archive for February, 2012

Little things

Friday, February 24th, 2012 by by

It’s amazing the little things that can set off grief. I guess I’ve always known that this was the case – I guess I just forgot. Nevertheless, it always catches me by surprise.

The most recent was watching Father of the Bride. The scene where Nina (mom) learns of Annie’s (daughter) engagement. In this scene, Nina is smiling and crying as she cusps Annie’s face. Kinda like this:

This picture was taken as right as mom learned about the twins. My heart breaks even more knowing the pain she (and so many others) experienced with the loss of our precious babies. I know it’s not my fault, and that nothing could’ve been done, but yet I feel guilty. I loved sharing my babies with everyone for those few days, but I feel like an ass for dashing their hopes. :(

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Freebie Friday! Daddy, Daddy, Who Do You See? {Printable Book}

Friday, February 24th, 2012 by by

This month, my daughter’s preschool is doing a Family theme. She goes to a Montessori school, and this is their alternative to celebrating Valentines Day. I personally think this is awesome, since my husband and I refer to Valentines Day as Hallmark Day. Ha. For children, it is a fun holiday where you get candy, small gifts, and have a party (I do love any excuse to have a party), but as adults I just think the holiday is silly! I think we should be telling the ones we love that we love them EVERY DAY!

Anyway, I like the whole family and the ones we love theme, so I decided to make a printable book to go along with the theme of family. Yet again, I used Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? as a template.

Daddy, Daddy, Who Do You See is a free printable book that targets family member vocabulary. In addition, it targets the concept of WHO and can be used to practice asking and answering “who” questions. Specifically, this book targets the following vocabulary:

Who, Look(ing), You, See, Daddy, Mommy, Grandpa, Grandma, Brother, Sister, Baby Brother, Baby Sister, Aunt and Uncle and Cousins.

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"Chocolate-Covered Strawberry" Oatmeal Pancakes

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 by by

Valentine’s Day occurred in our house a few days late because of our vacation to Arizona. It crossed my mind to pack everything up and take it with us to create a fun day for the kids, but we decided to pack very lightly, and all of our pink, red, and heart shaped items were left at home. I wasn’t going to let the kids miss out on their day of fun special treats, though! They don’t know that the rest of the world celebrated love and romance over a week ago! My favorite part of the day is probably breakfast, because the kids are always so delighted to find heart shapes somewhere on their plate! The oatmeal in these pancakes make them a little more hearty (pun intended) than regular pancakes, and it also replaces wheat flour and sugar in the overall volume of pancake that you are eating. The chocolate chips are optional; I thought I’d throw them in as a special treat on a holiday!

1 batch of your favorite pancake batter
1/4 cup of skim milk
1-2 cups quick oats
2 cups frozen strawberries, mostly thawed and chopped coarsely
about 1 cup chocolate chips

Prepare your favorite pancake batter or mix. Add in the extra milk, oats, and strawberries. Mix until well incorporated, with 3-5 strokes of your spoon. Do not over mix the batter; it may be lumpy, just be sure that the oats and strawberries are evenly distributed.

Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat until a pat of butter or drop of water “dances” on it. Butter the cooking surface well. Use cooking spray or butter to lubricate the sides of  metal heart shaped cookie cutters. Place a metal heart shaped cookie cutter on the cooking surface, and use a spoon to place batter within the cookie cutter, making sure that batter covers all corners. Drop a few chocolate chips evenly throughout the surface of the batter. (more…)

5 Reasons to Workout

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 by by
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There are many reasons to workout but here are my five favorite:

Stress release – Exercise helps relieve tension, giving you a natural high through increasing endorphins. Focusing on a situation will only make you more stressed, so instead consider working out.

More energy – It is true that, when you exercise, it gives you more energy. Too tired to get up and do something? It doesn’t take much – go for a walk, do some short burst cardio, or a quick weight lifting routine at home. You will have more energy to get through your day afterwards.

Lose weight – Working out does assist in weight loss for obvious reasons – you are burning some of the calories consumed. Did you know that 70% of your results come from eating and only 30% comes from exercise? Just remember, over-exercising is not the answer to losing weight, better food choices are.

Better sleep – Working out helps relieve stress and gives you more energy to accomplish the multitude of things moms have to deal with daily, so when it is time to go to sleep, you are tired. While you are able to sleep, as much as possible with children in the house, you sleep more soundly.

Confidence – Taking time for yourself is definitely a challenge for most moms. We often feel guilty for leaving our children even if it is just for an hour. Don’t feel guilty for taking that time for you, you deserve it. Working out helps you become stronger physically, have more stamina, and start believing in yourself. You can accomplish your goals, so start today!

These are shockingly obvious but the sooner you start making exercise a habit, the sooner you will reap the benefits. Why do you workout?

Some Suggestions:
HIIT Tips & Suggestions
Exercise for Beginners
Post Exercise Meal/Shake

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Advice

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 by by

No, it’s not parenting advice I’ll be doling out today, so settle down.   In that category, I am sinking fast.   It appears that I am completely ill equipped to handle children above the age of 5.   I’ve had several epiphanies this week about my own surly childhood behavior and my mother’s fantastic show of restraint in not killing me, because my big kids are just getting started and already I want to strangle them.  Or myself.

So…let’s move on to the things I can control.  Happy things, like telling you about where to find cool hairdos and delicious cookies.  That sounds fun, right?

If you have a day few hours to kill, may I suggest the following:

HAIRDOS!

Even though I have two daughters, I have yet to master the art of hair.  On a good day, I can manage a semi-decent ponytail (and by that, I mean that it’s somewhat centered on their head). If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll go big and bust out TWO ponytails.  I know, crazy.

Working against me is the fact that both of my girls have the most tangled hair in the universe.  They can go to bed with sleek and conditioned hair and wake up with a ratted nest of knots that makes it look like a tornado traveled across their heads.  However, even when their hair is NOT tangly, both girls liken getting their hair brushed/fixed to medieval torture.  The minute they see a brush, they start screaming.  It’s ridiculous.  And sit still??  Ha!  Those two are the twitchiest, fidgetiest bundles of movement – it’s like trying to braid the hair of a squirrel.

However, when I can bribe/trick/cajole them into letting me play with their hair, I always turn to this site first.  This is where I found Eliza’s Valentine’s Day ponies.  This lady is some kind of hair magician.  Of course, it helps that all 4 (or 5?) of her daughters have long, silky, luxurious hair and also pose like happy, stone statues while their mom does her thing.  It also helps that she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t have to swear or start over or get confused halfway through, like I do.  I don’t know how she comes up with this stuff, but I’ll tell you what… I have a couple of weeks to practice getting this right in time for St. Patty’s Day.

A clover leaf.  Made out of hair!  Genius.

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Top Toys & How They Can Support Speech & Language Development (Part Two)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 by by

Welcome to part two of four of my Top Toys series! To read more about why I am doing this series, please check out Part One Here.

I am writing these posts to help parents pick good, quality toys for their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers that can be used to help support speech and language development. As I share with you my personal top picks for toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, I will also be sharing the areas of speech and language that these toys can help support. However, as I noted in part one, it is important to know that for these toys to help support speech and language development you, as the parent or caregiver must help to facilitate that language. What I mean is this: You can’t just give a child a shape sorter and expect him to magically know and use the names of shapes and colors! You need to sit with your child and facilitate his learning. You need to use some strategies that I have mentioned before including:

Parallel Talk, Self Talk, & Descriptions

Expansions, Extensions, and Repetitions

Commenting and Asking Questions

If you are a fellow speech pathologist and work with infants, toddlers, or preschoolers, you may also find this series of posts valuable for choosing therapy materials.

Here are my next five top picks for toys (in no particular order)

Baby Doll

The baby doll is such a fantastic toy that I wish ALL children (Yes, even BOYS!) could have. It is a toy that can really help open up and expand a child’s pretend play. Let’s look at just some of the language concepts that a baby doll can help teach and support:

  • Body Parts: Use the dolls to teach all the body parts: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands, fingers, tummy, feet, toes, knees, elbows, etc.

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Reusing Valentine’s Flowers

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by by
Who doesn’t love getting roses on Valentine’s day? I just love getting flowers, but I am sad that they never seem to last very long. Some of my roses had started to wilt and fall off the petals.
Hubby challenged me to come up with a kids activity using the rose petals. Like I need him giving me more work! But a challenge is a challenge, so I pulled the rose petals off the stem and came up with a petal sun catcher type of thing.
Supplies you will need:
  • Rose petals
  • Wax paper
  • Iron
  • Thin dishtowels for ironing on

(more…)

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Artist and Designer

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by by

I am an artist! There are days I wake up in the morning, down on myself and this thought perks me up. This quality lay dormant in me until, at 22 years of age, a friend told me “Yes, you can.”

Up until then, art was a mystical thing that, to my mind, one was born with or without the ability to do. Art can and must be learned for the quality to develop. An Artist! Me?! Now, I find joy in seeing the possibilities that lay in random objects, of putting shapes together to create something new and beautiful and uplifting to those around me.

I feel at peace with a pen in my hand, whether doodling or doing calligraphy. It is a pleasure to follow an inspiration where it wants to go, to feel and experience the whim of the muse. No art is ever finished in this way; each is a part of a larger limitless exploration of the world leading me on a path. It is without timeline or destination.

My skills are still new and will continue to develop with time and experience. However, I am an artist. My art is in each moment, selfish and for myself. (more…)

Chicken Bruschetta Skillet

Monday, February 20th, 2012 by by

Running out of time and ideas for dinner?  Here is a quick and tasty meal for the family, made with ingredients from the pantry.  Ten minutes of prep time and fifteen minutes of cook time, and you will have a healthy dinner for five on the table.

Chicken Bruschetta Skillet  (Recipe adapted from Hunts.com)
Ingredients
1 can (14.5 oz each) Diced Tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp dried
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (5 oz each)
1 can (8 oz each) Tomato Sauce
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sugar
2 cups small garlic- or Italian-flavored croutons, crushed slightly
Olive oil

Directions (more…)

Motivation Monday: Self Love

Monday, February 20th, 2012 by by
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Self love is essential.  After having dealt with postpartum depression, I know how important loving yourself is to succesfully acheiving goals.  After the birth of both of my boys, I was miserable.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby.  I was more self loathing than anything.  I had let myself go and I felt lost.  I was either wearing maternity clothes or squeezing into stuff that made me look even bigger.  I would look in the mirror and it would make it worse.

After about six months of this pattern, I think the hormones finally cleared up and I wanted to change.

I started to take care of myself like actually grooming myself (yikes, I know) and wearing clothes that were flattering.

This happened both times but the first time it was worse.

The good news is this too shall pass.

If you are having issues like these, not just from postpartum depression, start taking care of yourself whether that means but getting a little more active, eating healthy foods that support your goals, or just having a little time to yourself.

In my 5 Reasons to Workout, I point out the benefits of exercise.  I can attest that eating properly really makes a difference.  Eating clean foods you will feel so much better.  Take a little time each day for yourself to either relax, getting pretty, or reflect by writing.

You deserve it.  Love yourself.

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