Monday, July 26, 2010

The multiple uses of a WRAP

This last Sunday we had the RARE opportunity to be extras in a movie! Woo hoo! I was so excited! I thought it would be so awesome to have our names in the credits of a movie, and what was even better is that it was a movie about the Soap Box Derby. This was something that my Dad had done when he was little and he was a huge fan of it and I knew he would love being an extra in the film. It would have more meaning for him.

So we got up at the crack of dawn and I gathered some snacks and just a couple toys to take with us. My Dad, Brandon, and I all hopped in the car with my bag of toys/pull ups, the bag of food, and just for the heck of it - a wrap. It was a malafa that my sister had given me, but I knew if I had to carry my son in the heat and if he got tired, that would be the best option for me on a hot day. I didn't want to deal with fleece and the wrap was pretty and I wanted to show it off.

Well, I only used it as a carrier for all of 15 seconds while I was showing someone else how you can carry a child with a big piece of cloth. Other than that, I used it for:

1) a seat cushion, when the wet, dirty bleachers were too cold and hard for our tushies during the hours and hours of sitting in the 'audience'.

2) an umbrella, when the rain started pouring down and I didn't want to lose my spot in the bleachers, since everyone else seemed to be smart enough to bring an umbrella but us. (just grab a couple corners and hold up high! lol)

3) a changing pad, when I found out the port-a-potties were too full and nasty to allow my son to use, and I resorted to letting him go in his pull up that day. Needless to say, the grass was just to pointy for him to be willing to lay down on it.

4) a play-toy, when the toys I brought just weren't good enough. Luckily, it was sunny and windy enough for us to play 'parachute' with it (just like back in elementary school when you had a REAL parachute).

5) a jacket, when the shade was way too cold for a tank top.

6) a hiding place, when I wanted to leave our stuff on the grass and walk over to the vendor booths for a cold drink.

Needless to say, you would never think that you can do so many things with just a huge piece of material. :-) Let me know what you can do with a 'simple piece of cloth' in your comments!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Picture post!

Finally uploaded some Idaho pictures! Go to my photobucket gallery to see some highlights of our trip! Hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Talents lost over the generations... Can you add any?

I've noticed that as the needs of each generation changes, the talents passed down in families changes. But I'm starting to wonder if the things we pass down should be different, or if we should just pass down MORE? I think there are some things that, even though they seem antiquated, are still useful and necessary even in today's technology age. Grant it, any child now knows how to 'google' a how-to instruction sheet on just about anything that they want to learn. But isn't it better to get the experience from Mom and Dad first hand instead? I think this gap this shows that there is a huge difference in the way we were raised compared to how we raise our children today.

Yes, we have a lot more knowledge than we did before, and thank goodness for that! We avoid a lot of mistakes and hazards that our parents didn't know about. But, I think we also forget the simple things in light of today's technology age. Our kids are kept busy playing computer games and watching the amazing assortment of TV educational shows (or not educational lol). We know we have less time to get things done because we are juggling work and home and trying to find that quality time (as opposed to quantity time). As a result, we try to get as much done without them as we can, and then try to squeeze in that quality time at the end of the day when we know we will be able to focus our attention on them.

Well - at least, that's what I do. I'll admit it.

But I keep reminding myself of this: involve them in our grown-up daily life, and the quality time will come on its own. It really will!

Back in the day, instead of sitting in the cart at the grocery store and playing by myself with a toy in the cart, Mom involved me in picking out all the groceries. There wasn't an option of buying a toy, or picking out the cookies, but I was in charge of helping cross off the shopping list, or of helping to spot the right brand, or learning how the scale in the fruit section worked. For dinner, I was in charge of cutting or cleaning something (now Brandon's job) and I was the official 'taste-tester' of the house. (That easily became my son Michael's job as he grew up.) When it came time to do spring cleaning, Mom let me help pick out new paint for the walls and whether to rearrange the furniture or not. We had some really creative rooms! Not to mention, I learned a lot about the best ways to organize a room for the most effective use and what it costs to renovate a room on a budget.

So what things might we have fogotten to pass down in the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Well, I have been reminded of a few in the last couple of weeks and thought I would share with you things that you might have forgotten to hand down to your own kids. And don't think you're the only one... I forgot about these, too!

1) The ability to know which fruit is the best fruit at the grocer's.
This is one of those things that you might have witnessed your parents doing when you were younger, but unless you asked them to teach it to you, you might not have inherited this ability. Especially in the day and age of preservatives and wax covered fruit, this knowledge has fallen by the wayside a bit. I heard some great tips on the morning show I listen to this morning, though, and thought I would pass on some of those to you!
Watermelons - look for the yellow 'belly'. If you roll it over and there is a yellow belly on it somewhere, then it's ripe.
Cantelopes - push on the 'button'. If you push on the little belly button of the cantelope and it SMELLS like a cantelope, really smells, then it's ripe.
Peaches - (season: late june-august) Peaches won't ripen more after they have been picked, so pick ones that SMELL ripe. If it doesn't smell like a peach then it won't taste like a peach, no matter how long you wait.
Bananas - Bananas continue to ripen so make sure you buy them when there is still a bit of green at the tops of the bananas.
Corn - don't open it - that makes it go bad faster. You only have one or two days before it's not fresh, so farmer's markets are better than grocery stores. Instead of opening it, feel it, and don't overboil it. Add a tiny bit of sugar to the water too.

2) The ability to wait for someone to call you back if they don't answer the phone.
We live in the "i-generation". Children who grew up during the cell phone era have not learned the patience required for life (or the classroom either) because they have been conditioned to get an immediate response through text messaging and twitter. Instant gratification has replaced the quality of patience required to be able to wait for the larger reward instead of the smaller, more instant, reward. I think we all need to practice 'phone-less' time daily to get our exercise in patience.

3) Knowing how to mend or sew something. I would love to add tips on this in a seperate blog! Too much to mention right now, though. All that needs said is that it is important to teach kids how to sew on a button, mend a sock or hole their jeans, or hem that pair of pants they paid way too much for. A simple needle and thread will do.
When sewing on buttons, don't forget to put a straight pin across the button to add space for the button to move. It puts less pressure on the threads during washing or wearing.
When hemming dress pants, there is a specific stitch to use. It looks like an X and you only grab the tiniest bit of material so that the stitiching doesn't show on the outside. Try this link:
If you don't want to sew a hem, try stich-witchery or hem tape! It just irons on.
When mending a hole, try substituting a small piece of material behind the hole and then stitching the edges down. This helps keep the size of the garment the same, but helps close up the hole. Use scrap material from another sock or tshirt that is too far gone to use or donate.

4) Proper table settings. Does anyone know how a table SHOULD be set? I don't know how often it is needed, but it certainly is one of the lost arts. Although this website shows you how it should be done, remembering this is a matter of practice... which is why I can never remember it! lol

5) Vehicle maintenance. I remember when I was little, I was the official 'tool-hander-offer' to Dad. I HATED it. I would always pick the wrong tool because I didn't know the difference between a monkey wrench, a crescent wrench, and a rachet. I'm better about that now, but I learned then that you didn't always have to pay someone to change your oil. I know where an oil pan is, where the filter is, and even where the spark plugs and wires are. I also know how to bleed brakes to a point. Heck, I've even changed my own oil pump in the past. NOT fun. And even though the time it takes to do it is really worth paying someone else to do it, sometimes you don't have the money and so you must force yourself to make the time. I severely regret not forcing my son to sit down with me while I changed the oil in my truck as he got older. I would definately feel much better about him being on the road if I was sure he knew the basics of how a car works, just in case he breaks down.

Can you think of any other lost talents/arts that your parents taught you that you realize you haven't passed on yet?

Language aquisition and YOU

For those who have visited my babywearing site ( you might have seen my link for Monkey Bars. I won't go into a full blown explanation of monkey bars, but what I want you to notice is that on that monkey bar page I have listed quite a few activity ideas that you can do with your little one. They are very very very simple, and aren't anything that you couldn't make up yourself. I simply posted them for those people who don't have the time to think about this stuff or don't feel like they can come up with ideas on the fly.

The biggest thing you will notice is that the activities all focus on talking with your little one and using key words to point out things in their environment. They are simple words, but to a little one that doesn't talk much, it's a treasure trove of new experiences! Hearing you say the words, seeing you point to things, getting that eye-to-eye contact with Mom and Dad, and learning the names of new things is exciting to an infant or toddler. You might even think that you sound silly talking to someone who doesn't talk back, but it's the best thing you can do and makes them feel super super loved!

If you wonder why I have such an interest in helping parents have conversations with their little ones, then I will share with you the fact that both of my children had speech problems growing up. Luckily, my 2.5 year old had the fortune of getting caught early on and he LOVED going to school once a week for speech therapy. To him, it was extra playtime with other kids and he got special one on one time that made him feel special. On the other hand, my 15 year old struggled a little more than his little brother, and I can remember how hard it was for me to try to convince everyone NOT to talk the same as he did. It's hard NOT to use the same nicknames that they do when they first start talking. I still catch myself saying "uv you too!" when my littlest says it. As a result, Michael's spelling suffered. You see, when the schools start teaching you how to sound out words, you can make a lot of mistakes when you say words differently than they are supposed to be. (Try spelling spaghetti when you've said "buskepi" for the last 4 years.)

So I thought I would share some of my experience and ideas with you if you are one of those parents that knows their child needs a little help, but just don't know how to help them. There's no tricks, really. Eye contact, slower speaking, and involving them in the conversation early on makes all the difference in the world! And if you are a babywearer, then you have another advantage because when you wear your child in front, they can see the words come out of your mouth even better!

First thing that might help you to know is when children usually learn certain sounds. Lexicons (sounds) are USUALLY learned in this order:

(emerging early)
P, M, H, N, W

(emerging around age 2)
B, K, G, D, T, NG

And emerging later on (around 2 and a half years or later) in order:
F, Y, R, L, S, CH, SH, Z, J, V, TH (thin), TH (then), ZH

Next, you need to realize that if your child doesn't say these sounds at the right age, that doesn't mean you have to worry. It might just be that they haven't had a reason to use those sounds yet because the things in their environment don't HAVE those sounds! If you want to teach them the "G" sound, try giving them a stuffed animal like an alligator or a dog. Find a book that uses words with those sounds. Or take time looking through the grocery ads in the paper once a week and point out foods that have those sounds to them.

Last, if your child still seems to be having a harder time than children his age, don't hesitate to ask their pediatrician! They will know resources in the area that can test your child (don't worry, they'll have fun) and let you know if your child is eligible for free services in the area. There's always help.

I hope some of this information was helpful to you! I know that I would have loved to have known that everything my child needed was already in me when I was a new parent. It's hard to be confident in yourself when you are getting advice from every different direction. Just rest assured that you can't ever teach a child something they won't use. Don't hesitate to talk to them, even if they can't talk back yet. They really are listening, even if it doesn't look like it. ;-)

and the Speech Pathology and Audiology Clinic at Kent State University

Great resource!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kids and Cameras

Hey everyone! I'm a guest blogger on! If you get a chance, get over there RIGHT AWAY and post a comment on my blog! I need more comments! lol

For those who read the blog, what kind of pictures are near and dear to your heart that your kids have taken?