This contest is over, but you can see my current contests by clicking: here.
Open the window to your child’s mind by incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) into your daily routines. Sprouting New Beginnings is giving away a beginning series set of ASL flash cards to one lucky winner!
I was given a set 28 beginning signs to help Jason and I communicate better. I taught Ryan and Kaylin basic signs when they were babies, but I'm excited to have so many additional words to teach Jason. He already does the sign for "all done" and we're working on "eat" and "more."
The cards are made of thick plastic that are very sturdy and the pictures are easy to understand. The front of each card displays a colorful illustration while the reverse side teaches you how to make its associated sign.
The 28 cards list each word or phrase in both English and Spanish and include: apple, baby, banana, bath, book, cheese, cracker, daddy, down, drink, eat, finished, flower, help, juice, milk, more, mommy, play, please, stop, thank you, tree, up, water, where, which, and you.
Sprouting New Beginnings is an early education consulting company that focuses on fun and interactive ways to support the development of healthy minds and healthy children through American Sign Language, play, and music to promote school readiness.
All children learn to gesture, it is natural. However, now there is a way to make that gesturing meaningful…learn American Sign Language. Sprouting New Beginnings supports the use of American Sign Language because it is a powerful strategy that facilitates learning in early education by developing early literacy skills, listening skills, and brain development. Children who sign typically have larger vocabularies, are less frustrated, and are growing their love and enjoyment of learning.
ASL is not just a language boost for our children, it is also a brain boost. A child that has the opportunity to learn ASL benefits by increased brain development. Research has vastly expanded our knowledge of early brain development. We now understand how early experiences are influential to the wiring of the brain. Early childhood (birth to age 8) is a crucial time for brain development, in the first three years of life 90% of the brain is developed. American Sign Language supports early brain development in the areas of: communication, attention, bonding, and visual.
Children who sign tend to have higher self-esteems, stronger problem solving skills, stronger leaders and are more empathetic and accept diversity. American Sign Language has also been known to decrease behavior challenges and minimize those terrible two’s. What a wonderful gift to give to a child.American Sign Language is not a difficult language to learn. It is important to understand that for the purpose of supporting hearing children’s language development, pre-literacy skills, and cognitive development you are only using the vocabulary from ASL, you are not teaching them the whole language.
As parent you will highlight the word you want your child to know. Such as milk, every time you say the word milk you will also sign it. This interaction should take place with adults as well as children, that way the use of ASL will seem natural to children learning it.
For my Phoenix-area readers: Sprouting New Beginnings provides classes to help you learn how to incorporate ASL into your daily routines. In our Circle of Friends class you will learn strategies that help you:
· Find Out What Your Child Wants
· Reduce Frustration and Find the Peace!
· Create a Stronger Relationship with Your Child
· Develop Your Child’s Language
· Enhance Your Child’s Experiences with the World
· Bond with Other Signing Families
The winner of this contest will receive the ASL Flash Cards Quick Pack, Beginner Series by Sign2Me.
There are multiple ways to enter to win. Each entry needs to have your first name, city and state and email address (typed as "yourname(at)yahoo(dot)com" to avoid spam):
1. Simply leave a comment on this post with your first name, city and state and email address.
2. Subscribe to Intentionally Katie and leave a separate comment once you're a follower.
3. Visit the Sprouting New Beginnings website and sign up to receive their newsletter. (on their homepage)
4. Become a fan of Sprouting New Beginnings on Facebook: here.
5. Link back to this contest post either on your own blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. Come back and leave a separate comment for each link; this can be an additional three entries.
*The winner will be announced on Friday, August 6th and has 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize. If I don't hear from the winner by Sunday, another entry will be randomly selected.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
This contest is over, but you can see my current contests by clicking: here.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I haven't blogged about Jason's accomplishments in a couple of months, and if I don't jot some of this stuff down, I know I'll forget! He turned nine months old last week, but better late than never...
- I moved Jason back into Ryan's room the other day. So far, so good, but now that I can listen to him on the monitor, I'm realizing how early he wakes up and quietly rolls around before I go in and get him. Today it was 5:45am!
- I bumped him up to 9-12 month clothes because some of his outfits were getting snug.
- I also transitioned him out of his infant carrier into a big car seat.
- He's starting to move around on his belly and rock on his hands and knees, but still no crawling.
- He'll dance on command and he'll do a two-leg kick in the pool or while being held in the air when you say, "kick!"
- He lifts his arms above his head when he wants to be picked up
- He signs "all done"
- I cut up small-ish chunks of people food for meals: bananas, mangos, green beans, black beans, peaches, plums, bread and berries so far.
- He got his first two teeth last month and got a third bottom tooth before his top two started coming in. Now he's getting the next two on the top and he spontaneously cries throughout the day, I'm assuming from pain. (It's heartbreaking!) He even woke up twice the other night crying with a runny nose and a raspy voice. I was convinced he was getting a cold, but it went away the next day.
- He's a total mama's boy and cries at church and at the gym, unless I give the workers his pacifier and blanket to comfort him. (which I hate doing b/c those are supposed to be for sleeping only)
- If we're out and about, he's very flexible about his naps and rarely fusses if he's tired. He'll just nod off quietly in his car seat if we don't make it home in time.
- He likes when I turn his highchair around so he can watch the birds in our backyard. He is fascinated by them; like we're at the zoo or something.
He is such a good, sweet boy. I love that he's such an easy baby!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
With the contests I've been holding this summer, I've had several people tell me that they can't enter because they don't know how to leave a comment on a blog. It just occurred to me to write it all out for you so those of you who think you need to sign up for a Blogger account, can see that you DON'T need to!
Step 1: Go to the bottom of the post that you'd like to leave a comment. On my blog, it will say, "6 comments" or even "0 comments" - click on that.
Step 2: Once in the comments screen, type your comment in the text box at the top, right side of the screen.
Step 3: Select one of the options below.
- Log in with your Google (gmail) I.D. OR...
- Log in with an Open ID (for LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, AIM or you can type your own OR...
- Click on Name/URL to type just your name or both your name and your blog URL address OR...
- Click Anonymous to come up as "anonymous" with no name or link in your comment.
Step 4: Type the word verification in the box. (that's not on there to annoy you...it helps avoid spam comments)
Step 5: Select "Publish your comment."
I hope that was helpful! Now that it's been explained to you, I expect lots and lots of comments. (Was that subtle? No?)
Monday, July 26, 2010
(By the way, one sleep association that I forgot to mention in that post was singing. I have sung the same song to each of my kids, probably until they were 2-3 years old, before bedtime and every nap. Maybe that's how "Rock-a-bye Baby" got it's fame! As I was singing to Jason the other day, it occurred to me how huge that sleep association has been for me. So, for those of you who read my post and are trying to figure out how to get your own babies to sleep well, whether you rock them to sleep or lay them down awake and drowsy, try picking a special song to sing to them each time!)
By nature, I'm a bit of a people pleaser, so hearing that the first commenter was going to potentially stop following me caught me off guard. Although I'm a fairly neutral person, I definitely have my own opinions and I have to realize that I can't please everyone. And since this blog is my outlet, sometimes my ideas are going to rub people the wrong way.
I never want to offend anyone, but the part of my personality that I'm complimented on the most (being "real" in my posts) can be just as easily turned into my greatest weakness. (being "too real" in my posts)
Some asked why I didn't delete the comments that disagreed with my opinions, but honestly, that thought never entered my mind. I'm fine with the comment section of my posts being a place for people to share their feelings and I have no intention of deleting comments unless they're really offensive or just plain mean.
This got me thinking about how and why I parent the way I do. Getting off the topic of babies, I want to talk for a minute about the little people we're raising and who we hope they become.
I remember being clueless about parenting when I was pregnant with Ryan. I thought I had it all figured out by watching what other people did "wrong" through the years, until it came down to doing it myself. Then I realized just how difficult parenting can be.
The best piece of advice I ever received about parenting was this: look at other people's children and how they behave. If you like what you see, be sure to listen to the advice of those parents. That doesn't take into consideration a child's natural temperament or personality, but overall, I've noticed that if I find a child with characteristics I desire for my own kids, I can usually look to their parents for guidance in those areas.
A few years ago, we spent a lot of time with a family whose son was around Ryan's age. He was a very mild-mannered boy (Ryan was still very impulsive), listened to his parents the first time (Ryan often tuned us out), was gentle and loving and kind (Ryan was an over-excited spaz in comparison) and Mike would leave these friends' house feeling horrible about the child we were raising.
But eventually, I noticed that this "perfect" boy's personality did have some drawbacks. For example, his parents were often frustrated when he played sports because he was rarely assertive enough to kick the ball in soccer or play proper defense in football. Sure, he was a natural rule follower, a "lover, not a fighter," but his passivity bothered his dad as much as Ryan's impulsivity (is that word???) bothered Mike.
Sometimes we just need to accept our kids the way they are and understand that what they're going through might be a phase.
I have one particular friend whose children are so amazing that, before she moved away, I used to hang on every word she said about parenting. Her youngest two boys are respectful little gentlemen and her oldest daughter, who just graduated from college, is headed to the Dominican Republic for a year with Campus Crusade for Christ.
I'll share a couple of the secrets she told me. She was the first person to encourage me to write a Family Mission Statement. It took a couple of years, but having that discussion with Mike, along with developing our House Rules has meant that we have a direction for our family.
Also, one of their big family values (in their mission statement) focuses on leadership. So in addition to her daughter being a cheerleader in high school, she was the senior class president, too. A popular, well-liked leader who was on fire for Christ. Talk about well rounded!
One last thing that I remember her telling me is that she intentionally opened their home for play dates and gladly accepted the role of carpool mom. She was able to make teachable moments out of the overheard conversations. "Do you remember when the girls were laughing about the outfit of another girl in school today? How did that make you feel? How could you have responded differently?" Things like that.
I also remember the first time I saw a toddler with good table manners at a restaurant. Upon asking his parents about it, they explained that they practiced "staying seated until everyone is finished" at home, so their kids had more dinner table stamina when they went out to eat.
One thing I find myself thinking about are the rebellious kids, especially the older ones. I realize most kids rebel in some way, but my hope is that the foundations I lay early on will encourage my own to return quickly if they develop a pattern of wrong choices.
(I know I'm getting long winded, but I have to share one final situation. Hang with me!)
Many pastors kids end up rebelling, but all three of our pastor's kids are in ministry and married to pastors. Mike asked our pastor's son about this once. Kind of a "what did your parents do right?" type of a question. He suggested that it was because his parents were pretty strict up until high school, then at that point, they loosened the reigns and let the kids make mistakes while they were still under their roof. By the time they went to college, they weren't confused about their new found freedom and didn't go off the deep end.
Our pastor's daughter cuts my hair, so I recently asked her the same question. Before hearing her brother's answer, she had several ideas about why she and her siblings didn't stray from the church. First, she told me that her family was the same at church as they were behind closed doors. Her dad was the same at home as he was up on stage and if the kids had been arguing in the car, they weren't expected to put on a happy face once they arrived at church. Basically, it sounds like they were allowed to be themselves and weren't expected to act a certain way just because their dad was a pastor.
She also said that she thinks all of the kids turned out the way they did because they each knew that, no matter what they did or how bad they were, their parents always loved them. She felt that she could go to them and discuss absolutely anything. She remembers talking and talking and talking things through. As kids, she said her father never spanked out of anger, but sent them to their rooms until he cooled off before giving the punishment. So by the time he explained why she was being disciplined, she said she usually understood why she was getting spanked and, even though she didn't want it, knew it was a consequence for a decision she made.
I don't know about you, but when I first heard all of that, I found it very refreshing. It seems like it would take the pressure out of being in the spotlight.
None of the parents I mentioned are perfect, but I certainly don't need to recreate the wheel when it comes to parenting. Personally, I'd rather learn from other people's mistakes and successes and adapt them to our own family, if possible.
This was way longer than I expected. I probably should have broken this into two posts, but I was on a roll and don't want to go back and fix it. For those of you who actually read till the end, hopefully I didn't bore you to death!!!
Have you gotten any amazing "how to" advice from other parents over the years?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I shared this dilemma with my Bible study friends and they suggested that I pray about it. So I prayed: "Lord, please either change his heart or change mine." If you remember from reading the whole story, my heart was changed. And I can't imagine it any other way.
Almost 11 years later, I am back to praying that same prayer.
A few weeks ago, in the heat of a
To give you a quick history, our pregnancy with Jason was a surprise. I wanted one or two more babies, but Mike was still deciding. God took the reigns and made up Mike's mind for him. While I was pregnant, we discussed that if baby #3 was a girl, Mike really wanted to call our family complete. If it was a boy, he was open to having a fourth to try for another girl.
Since having Jason, whenever the conversation of baby #4 has come up (which it does because everyone asks if we're done or going to keep trying for another), Mike has always had the "if" disclaimer in there. Given how uncomfortable he is with the economy and his job security, I assumed that the "if" statements helped keep the pressure off himself. But apparently I heard "when" every time he said "if," and I'm finally realizing that in his mind, the "if" was growing smaller and smaller each time he said it out loud.
Now, this is not going to be a Mike-bashing post, but I feel led to share our situation. The problem is that there's no ability to negotiate with this topic. Either he gets his finalized family of five or we eventually try to have another baby. (or two, but I'm not pushing it...)
As an Accountant, his opinions are often shaped by the financial implications involved. Not only would having another baby cost us dearly during the pregnancy and delivery (our insurance is horrible, so we'd have to pay out of pocket) but Mike sees the long-term dollar signs as well.
Bless his heart, my sweet husband wants to make sure that we support each of our kids through college and help our daughter(s) with her wedding. When he hears, "more kids," he hears, "more cars, more tuitions, more potential weddings." He wants to give them the same opportunities his parents gave him, which were: he lived at home through college, all expenses paid, while he saved his paychecks so he could have enough money to put down on a house after graduation. I'm convinced that his lack of student loans and early real estate investment began the snowball effect for us living a debt-free lifestyle.
Then there's me. I don't worry about our future finances. I have a very freeing child-like faith that trusts that God will provide, as long as we're good stewards with the money we're given. I grew up wanting to "have a few and adopt a few." I don't know when those thoughts formulated, but it's always been my desire to have a larger family.
So we're at an impass. The initial emotion I felt after Mike made that announcement has subsided, partially because he retracted the fact that he's "done" having kids and now says that he just doesn't want to discuss it for a few years. Fine by me...my uterus has plenty of good years left! And in the meantime, I will continue to pray that God changes his heart. Er...um...OR mine. ;)
(And Kaylin is determined to keep asking God for a baby sister. Pray, girl, pray!!!)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
This week, Heather from Blush candles is giving away a 9oz candle (winners choice) and a wick dipper ($15 value) to TWO lucky winners.
From the website:
"Every Blush candle is hand-poured using the finest ingredients and time-tested manufacturing techniques. Smooth, creamy waxes are infused with rich fragrance oils to make our extraordinarily scented candles. The result is a candle that disperses maximum fragrance throughout an entire space while lit, and continues to smell remarkable long after the candle is extinguished.
Developed specifically for enhanced aroma, our proprietary formula combines a blend of soy and paraffin waxes with concentrated fragrances to increase the candle’s performance. Blush customers appreciate the simple, yet elegant 9 or 16 ounce glass jar that is unadorned with product labeling.
Blush products are sold by Candle Consultants at open houses and home parties, or through catalog parties and fundraising opportunities. Blush candles can be shipped anywhere in the Continental United States.
There are multiple ways to enter to win this giveaway. Good luck!!!
Each entry needs to have your first name, city and state and email address (typed as "yourname(at)yahoo(dot)com" to avoid spam):
1. Visit Blush Candles fragrance list and leave a comment on this post telling me which fragrance sounds best to you. Don't forget to include your first name, city and state and email address.
2. Subscribe to Intentionally Katie and leave a separate comment once you're a follower.
3. Link back to this contest post either on your own blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. Come back and leave a separate comment for each link; this can be an additional three entries.
* This contest is for US residents only. The chosen entry will be announced on Friday, July 30th and has 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize. If I don't hear from the winner by Sunday, another entry will be randomly selected.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I handed Mike the camera and joined them. My inner dialogue consisted of the following:
"Okay, I'm in the rain. Now what? Wait - I didn't actually DO my hair today, did I? No, I didn't. Whew!"
"Here I am. Standing around in the rain. Getting wet. Are we having fun yet?"
"Let's have a taste. Yup...it tastes like water. I just drank polluted-air water...YUM."
"Enough of this standing around. Tag - YOU'RE IT!"
"You can't catch me, little boy. My legs are longer!!!"
Sure, I can jog on a treadmill for a half an hour, but being chased by an extremely energetic six year old wore me out within minutes. That boy is FAST!
So I finally played in the rain with the kids. It was a fun Mommy memory and I think I won some cool points with the kids...
Check back tomorrow for the next Super Summer Giveaway. Be sure to see how you can enter multiple times. The first entry is a freebie and you can leave additional comments for following me, the company on FB and Twitter or posting about the contest on your own. Lots of chances to enter!!!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I got this idea and many of the page templates from Becky Higgins. This was very easy to keep up with on a monthly basis and I customized the page layout theme to whatever picture I took of Ryan at school (or sometimes at home) that month.
In addition to the pages below, I added a bunch of page protectors to hold significant writing assignments, certain pictures he drew, report cards and a handful of "tests." I passed many, many papers on to the grandmas and kept only the best of the best memories. Having a 1-inch binder will limit the paperwork I keep year to year.
Cover of the binder (his signature and self portrait):
Monthly (facing) pages:
If you want to use some of the page templates that I customized, Becky provides them on her blog:
Click HERE for the Title Page, labels for August, September and October, plus page templates for the first day of school, favorite center and library day.
Click HERE for November (recess page)
Click HERE for December (lunchroom)
Click HERE for January (computer lab)
Click HERE for February (holiday parties)
Click HERE for March (Field Day)
Click HERE for April (school play) and May (best friends), plus a "class rules" page
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
There's no deep meaning behind celebrating Christmas in July, but we're definitely longing for cooler weather around here, so I figured: why not? Last year, I heard about the idea and we ended up watching The Grinch on July 31. This year, I planned ahead a little and we had some fun with it.
The kids helped me make Christmas cookies and we delivered them to some friends in the neighborhood. Why not share the Christmas love, right? (PS - That was a fun mess to clean up! Plus, look how cute Ryan is in his football jersey and apron. I'm sure I'll hear about that one in a few years...)
We ate dinner in our PJs, then the kids decorated their cookies.
We finished off with a picnic on the floor while we watched Christmas movies.
Who needs popcorn when you can sip cocoa and eat Christmas tree cookies topped with red, white and blue sprinkles?
I think next year, we'll do this on a weekend and I'll let the kids invite some friends over. As for this year, everyone was crammed on the couch with Daddy.
Does anyone else out there celebrate Christmas in July? What do you do??? If not, you have over a week to do something fun with your family!