We're Moving!!

Don't forget to change your readers and bookmarks to www.firstimpressionsbaby.com/blog! We won't be here for much longer (we have a new home)!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sock Monkey Virtual Room Makeover

The Room:

The issue: Heidi wants her one year old son, Martin to have a more pulled-together room, but they are on a budget. She prefers to keep the color the same in this room, and for a theme that can be unisex and not have to be redone for future little ones. Storage space is also a problem.

Because the family was on a budget, I tried choosing inexpensive or DIY projects when I could, centering only a few key items. Here's what I came up with:
If you are a fan of names being spelled out in a child's room, this is a great option. For a cheaper alternative, try using scrapbook paper in the key colors, and use a contrast color for the letters. Not EVERYTHING has to have the sock monkeys on them. Then, string it up with a ribbon.

*photo source unknown, please email me if you know where I can link to it

Another letter option are these great custom-painted sock monkey letters. But, at $18 a piece, they may not be friendly to a smaller budget. If you are handy with a paint brush, consider making your own version. (Click photo to buy)

I love these two artists: Kelly Pound and Marisa Hopkins (click to buy). Frame them with a solid colored frame (without glass), and you're ready to go.
by Marisa Hopkins

by Marisa Hopkins
by Kelly Poundby Kelly Pound

Dress up your light switch with this fun piece of art! At only $5, we think it's a steal! But, if it doesn't fit or is the wrong size, consider making your own! (Click photo to buy.)
Next up - Bedding. We realize that the little guy is still in a crib, but we love these sheets. And, since he's a toddler, we figure it's better to buy up rather than crib sheets that may not be used for much longer. Most of these colors could work in this room, although our favorites were the classsic red stripe or slate blue stripe. (These sheets can also be made into fitted crib sheets.)

I also liked this quilt - although at $395, it might not be the sort of thing that would fit in a smaller budget. So, consider a solid colored comforter, or perhaps just a throw. Add a few bright throw pillows to pack in a little extra PUNCH. (Click photo to buy)

What would a sock monkey room be without a sock monkey? This customized sock monkey is not only bright and funky, but he's got baseballs all over him - something our little room owner loves. This little guy would look great on the bed (in the bed) with the more original sock monkey or alone. This guy is about $25. (Click photo to buy)

Or, if you prefer the look of the original sock monkeys a bit more, consider having one custom made by Tamara (click HERE.) And, for the DIYers, check out how to make your own!


One of the first things I noticed about the room, was the need for "boundaries" within certain sections. What I mean is, if you have a shelf and place objects on it, most likely (if they are used much), they will spill out all over the place. A great idea is to buy small containers - whether clear plastic, decorative boxes, or woven baskets. Buy several and use them to hold diapers, accessories, toys, etc. This will hold SO much more than if you were to not use them. These 2 baskets (for a set) are right under $16. This will most likely be the cheapest you find them, unless you scour clearance aisles and sales (which very well could pay off!) (Click photo to buy). Also, for a bit more color, you can also line these baskets/boxes with your favorite fabrics.

Heidi says that she and her husband use their son's closet as well, so finding ample space can be rough. If you haven't already, I HIGHLY recommend one of these closet organizers by Closet Maid. It costs right under $70, and they are awesome. Use the very top shelf for blankets, seasonal sweaters, etc. Put those things in clear plastic containers with lids and stack them as far up as you can. Use the top two clothing racks for your clothing, and the bottom left one for his. Canvas collapsible boxes/buckets (also at Lowes) can be bought inexpensively for the middle section to hold extra clothes or toys and books.

This storage piece is also great. It has the canvas "drawers" that can easily be taken out, or left in. Use them to stack toys in, or remove a couple of the drawers, and use it to shelve books instead. --Not to mention, the entire top of the piece. Only $79.99 at Target.
A few other things to consider: Try a hanging hamper to get the clothes basket out of the way, and to free up more floor space. Move the bassinet to storage if you are no longer using it. Use some unique shelves to make neat displays with colorful toys on the wall. To break up floor space, consider adding a fun rug to the room.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A few of our favorite summer looks...

Japanese Weekend Top at
Pickles and Ice Cream - On sale for$59.99

Notice Top
Picles and Ice Cream -On Sale $69.99

Jules and Jim Top
Pickles and Ice Cream - $99

Maternal America
Euphoria Maternity - $82

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

School Lunch/Picnic Lunch Ideas

I have had a few inquiries for ideas for school lunches - where a microwave or oven are not options. So, this my friends is for you:

Carbs Ideas:
-whole wheat/whole grain tortilla wraps
-whole wheat/whole grain bread or toast
-brown rice
-whole wheat/whole grain pasta
-pita bread
-English muffin
-whole grain bagel

Sandwich Fillers:
-Tuna salad
-bacon, lettuce, and tomato
-sliced turkey, lettuce, mayonnaise, and cranberry sauce

The complete list is HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sleepy Wrap Giveaway!!

We have paired together with Sleepy Wrap to offer you our HANDS DOWN favorite sling/wrap - The sleepy wrap.

For more information, you can visit www.sleepywrap.com. This wrap is awesome and keeps your child snug and can be worn in a variety of ways. To see what else we had to say about it, go HERE.

This sling is great for newborns, and can hold larger toddlers. ONE winner will receive a Sleepy Wrap in their choice of color. To enter to win, the commenter must visit www.sleepywrap.com and come back here and leave a comment, telling us the color name of the sling you'd like to receive, your name, and where you're from. Please make sure you leave your email address as well.

Good Luck!

For more great giveaways, go here.

Room Makeover - Another Giveaway!

We're doing a Mega Giveaway, here! For this one, we're giving away a virtual room makeover for your baby or toddler's room.

Here's what it includes:

- We will look over the photos that you send to us (via email) and we will suggest paint colors, decor, and all the trimmings to make this room all that it can be (we'll even tell you where we think it'd fit best!).
- You can either tell us a theme you have in mind or we can suggest one for you.
- Choose a budget, and we'll help you stay in it with our suggestions (this INCLUDES families that prefer DIY projects)
- We'll gather a list of DIY projects/ craft projects that are easy enough even for beginners.
-And, you will also be entered into some great drawings for room accessories to match your new theme!!

So, we help you find that new look for your child's room - you pay nothing, AND you get the chance to win some additional free stuff! What's not to love?

This service is valued in at over $1,000 - and we're offering it FREE to 3 lucky winners! We will draw the winners this weekend, so hurry and sign up!!

To enter, please just leave a comment with your name and your email! Your email MUST be a working one! We'll contact you if youw in and get the other information we'll need (pictures, theme, budget, etc.)

For more great giveaways, visit here.


We are giving away a nice little bundle here at First Impressions for the Blog Carnival, one lucky winner will win the following prize package:

Cool Songs Collection by Yesnack.com. You can do a search on our site to listen to one of their songs. Little ones love these songs.

The book, Baby Steps by Diane Lang - great for any mom considering re-entering the workforce

A Blink Tee shirt. This shirt is great for holding on to pacifiers! To read more about it just search "blink tee" on our website in the little search bar (look top left).

To enter to win all of these fabulous prizes, simply leave a comment with your email address and let us know what you'd like to see more of on our site! That's all! We'll be drawing the lucky winner this weekend, and posting the results on Monday! Good luck!

For more great giveaways, go here.

2 Great Giveaways!

Check out these 2 great giveaways this week :

Choose from 4 books


A Hotslings Organic Sling

Friday, July 25, 2008

Best Of...Babywearing 2008

EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 8
COST: $33.95
WHERE TO BUY: Sleepy Wrap
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We loved the adjustability and softness of this product. Two different people that are completely different sizes can share this wrap, and it will work wonderfully as it can be customized easily to fit anyone.
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: This wrap also is GREAT for being outdoors and doing lots of walking, etc. Very snug, very wonderful.

CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Everyday Collection
EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
COST: $48.00
WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We LOVED the large selection of prints. It’s like an awesome new accessory!
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: The sizing. Depending on your size and body type, the sizing can be a little off. We’d love to see a new sizing chart.
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We adored the look of this sling. Very chic, machine washable, and a beautiful print! And, as will all of the Hotslings, they offer leg padding for your infant’s comfort.

CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Designer collection
EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
COST: $60.00
WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com

CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Reversible Collection
EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
FABRIC CHOICE (COLOR/STYLE/FEEL) (1 TO 10): 7 - would love to see more choices for the reversible slings. (Especially some of the prints they already carry, but made into reversible slings)
COST: $60.00
WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We liked the fact that one sling could be turned inside out and reused. This was perfect for casual wear or more dressier settings. Plus, if one side gets a little spot on it (before you can get home to wash it), turn it inside out and it still looks fabulous!
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: Wish there was as big of a selection in prints as their other collection, but still great.

CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Organic Collection
EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
COST: $50.00
WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: It’s made of organic material and is still the same trusted Hotslings design!
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We want to be earth-friendly and chic, too! We’d love to see more fun colors/prints in the organic line!

EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
COST: $64.00
WHERE TO BUY: Modmum.com
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: This sling is not for the really really petite. The smallest size offered is still a little extra roomy for the super tiny ladies.
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We’d love to see more design options! Does not have leg padding.

CARRIER STYLE: Lightly Padded Ring Sling
EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 7
COST: $55.95
WHERE TO BUY: Mayawrap.com
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We liked that sling was adjustable in two different places.
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: You had to put your baby in and then, it took some time to adjust it properly.
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We also weren’t a fan of the fabric selection. They were pretty in a very earthy way, but for those of us that want to sport something more fashionable WHILE carrying our babies, there wasn’t much to choose from.

CARRIER BRAND: Infantino - 6-in-1-rider
CARRIER STYLE: Ergo Baby Carrier
EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 3 - The directions left a lot to be desired, and there were an awful lot of snaps and buckles.
COST: Ranges from $15 - $25
WHERE TO BUY: Walmart and Amazon.com
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: If the snaps are weak (as ours must have been) - even though it was brand new - and your baby is put into the carrier, you could hear some snaps popping. You better be ready to catch them.
OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We don’t recommend this product.

Save with TAG

Let your child's first banking experience be a good one with these wooden banks. The banks come in a variety of animals: Choose between a wooden bear, cat, dinosaur, elephant, pig, or snail bank!

Not only are these banks virtually unbreakable, but they also feature a mirror backing, so the child's money seems to be growing faster, encouraging them to save! These 2 inch thick solid hardwood banks would make a great statement in any child's room!

Click HERE to check them out!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gypsy Soules

We've got something on our minds, over here at First Impressions - something that combines some of our favorite things: sparkles, pink, and shoes! Gypsy Soules by Van Glow Jewels are some of the most beautiful flip-flops we've seen yet! All of their flip-flops "are handmade and set with real Swarovski crystals, high quality cowhides, and Italian leathers."

We're excited because not only are these darling shoes PERFECT to wear with your black pants and skirts, but also because proceeds from this special Breast Cancer Edition will be donated to fight for a cure! How awesome is that?

We give these comfortable flip-flops a two thumbs up - not only for a well made product, but also for what they stand for. These would make a great gift for any woman in your life, no matter her age (and not to mention, perfect for an expecting mom!)

Click HERE to buy yours now!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bazura Bags - EcoFriendly Bags

Want something fun, fresh, and eco-friendly to hit off your back to school appearance? Check out Bazura Bags, and their line of Back To School bags.

The Zipper Shoulder bag would be great for all of your school essentials, and it's big enough for books, too! You'll never have to worry about getting your bags mixed up again!

Bazura Bags also makes tiny bags, perfect for carrying around your pencils and pens!
A really great organizer, that folds up compactly - great whether you want to hang it in your locker, your bathroom (for all of your essentials), or even carry it around with your money, checkbook, and coupons! Best of all, slim chance you'll forget it and leave it lying around!
Bazura Bags' Two Pocket School Bag is a great messenger-style bag for the young and young at heart. Each bag features 2 exterior pockets, as well as an inside divider pocket.

These bags are great, not only for back to school, but also for everyday use, including as diaper bags! The colorful juice packets that these bags are made of truly make them one of a kind, funky, and colorful! These unique bags are not only easily washable pretty much waterproof, but they are also eco-friendly and made out recycled materials - a true "trash to treasure" find!

You can check out the entire line of bags available HERE.

Babywearing 101 - Part II

When it comes to babywearing, there are literally thousands of choices. For newbies, the choices can be a little daunting. Below, are the basic types of slings:

Pouch Sling
A pouch sling is a piece of fabric which is sewn together at the ends (making a tube) and folded to form a pocket. The “tube” of fabric is folded in on itself and then draped over the shoulder (putting one arm and head inside the “hole”) like a sash. The baby then can sit in the pouch in the front or side (and sometimes, back). These slings are easy to use and great for slipping on and off. However, be sure to measure well for the sizing, because if you choose the wrong size it will most likely not be adjustable. Also, you and your partner will most likely need two different slings (unless you are the exact same size). Because pouch slings are not adjustable, it can be difficult to get a snug carrying position, especially one that fits tightly against your body.
Examples: Modmum, Hotslings

Ring Sling
This is a long piece of fabric where one end is attached to two rings and the other end is threaded through them, forming a “sash” of sorts. The fabric creates a “pocket” and the different edges of the fabric can be pulled tighter, to create a more snug hold. Some ring slings feature padding in the shoulder (so the fabric doesn’t dig in) and in the edges (or rails - where baby’s legs are) for extra comfort. Ring slings are good for vertical distribution of weight, and are quick to get on and off. The ‘tail’ material can be used for discreet breastfeeding, and can even be wrapped around the ring if becomes uncomfortable. With a ring sling, many parents can share the same sling (except in large size differences).
Examples: Maya Ring Sling

Wrap Sling
This is a long, stretchy piece of fabric which you wrap and tie around your body so that your baby is held securely. With wraps, you generally tie the wrap around your body first and then slip your baby/toddler in. Wraps are great for distributing weight across your body as you can wrap between your shoulders. This wrap is incredibly versatile and can be worn by parents in a variety of sizes.
Examples: Sleepy Wrap

Backpacks and Soft Carriers
The backpack carrier is basically a carrier with straps that go over the shoulders, much like a backpack. Baby can be worn in the front or back. Some backpack carriers are even equipped with neck support for infants.

**Would you like your baby carrier listed as an example? Contact me (see right - buttons) for more information.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A New Website

For all of you readers that love First Impressions, be sure to also check out our newly launched ParentFish blog at: http://parentfish.blogspot.com/

You can also reach us by going to www.parentfish.com and clicking on the button that says "BabbleFish."

Parenfish.com is a Resource for Western Ky parents (and grandparents, too).

However, regardless of where you live, you'll love our blog. It's kind of like this one but more geared to parenting children of all ages, all across the board, including some features spotlighting Home, Health, Gardening, Outdoors, Cooking, Sports, Fashion, and so much more. So, be sure to check it out and watch as it grows!

A couple of favorites

Some of the most meaningful gifts that I've ever received were handcrafted. For me, it means the world to me that someone took time out of their life to make something so unique and so individual FOR ME. Hitting the mall (or Walmart/Target) can sometimes be so easy, and oftentimes you can end up picking a gift that doesn't even fall into line with WHO the recipient is.

And, as a gift-giver, I love giving gifts from my heart - whether it's fresh produce from my garden, freshly baked bread, or a hand-crafted goody. Regardless of what it is, you can be sure that I put a lot of thought into each individual gift I made. Unfortunately, making gifts can be hard when you are hard-pressed for an idea of a unique gift that you could MAKE that won't break the bank.

In Karen Ehman's book, Homespun Gifts from the Heart, over 200 wonderfully creative ideas are shared for a wide array of gift recipients - from couples to babies and readers to foodies. She also has some of the most AWESOME ideas for gift baskets, pairing inexpensive items from the store with your own handcrafted items. All of the ideas are easy enough for any beginner, but great enough for everyone to enjoy. I can't wait to put this fabulous book to great use!

Another one of Karen Ehman's great books is Homespun Memories from the Heart, with over "200 ideas to make unforgettable moments." This book is all about celebrating...everything. But, you won't find $1,000 price tags on these ideas - instead, you'll find ideas that anyone of any budget can do. Great ideas from baby showers to wedding showers and beyond. This book is ESPECIALLY great if you are looking to make birthdays a little more special or are a new family (or not so new) and would love to create some new traditions of your very own.

You can buy both books here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Your Pregnancy: week by week

What should I expect next?

Can I exercise? And, which exercises are safe during the different stages of pregnancy?

What should I eat? -and, what's off limits?

Is what I'm experiencing normal?

Should I call the doctor now?

What's going on in there?

Becoming pregnant can be a scary thing, if you've never been there before and don't have anyone to answer the hundreds of questions you'll come up with and be too embarrassed to ask. Your Pregnancy: week by week by Glade B. Curtis, M.D., and M.P.H. and Judith Schuler, M.s. has all of these answers and more, including diagrams of how baby is progressing and your body is changing...as well as diagrams of exercises that are safe during each week of your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is not only normal, but it should NOT be feared, and books like Your Pregnancy: week by week definitely help with that. This book tells you what to expect without scaring the begeezus out of you by listing all the things that could go wrong (unlike some books I've read).

A great read for any newly-pregnant mamas!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Local Goodness: Blackburn Spray Park

Surprisingly (or, maybe not so much), Paducah, Kentucky has it's very own spray park - a spray park I knew nothing about until this past weekend. Built in 2006, Blackburn Spray Park features a large mushroom-shaped sprinkler, many fountains, a seal mini slide and more. Inside the spray park are a few large umbrellas that shade the large benches beneath them. Right outside the spray park, is a small playground and grassy areas, perfect for a picnic.

The best thing about Blackburn Park? Admission is free. And, clean. And, lots of fun.

Hours of operation are:

Monday through Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM

Memorial Day to Labor Day

For more information, go here: Blackburn Park

Tip: Bring some extra cash along if you come on a Saturday for the Ice Cream Truck that sometimes drives by!

A Room to Impress

Do you have an infant/toddler room that is in need of some sprucing up? Send us your photos to ashley (at) firstimpressionsbaby (dot) com and we'll randomly pick winners, who will receive expert advice on how to decorate and improve the functionality in the room.

To enter your photographs, please send (via email):

* 3-5 photos of the infant/toddler's room
* 1 or 2 photographs of the little ones to whom the room belongs
* their name
* their age
*their 5 most favorite things

Also, please include your name, relation to the child, and city/state (city/state won't be published without permission).

OR, do you have a beautiful nursery or toddler's room that you are incredibly proud of? Send it to us (at email above) for a chance to be showcased on our blog!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

AppleBee's Blondie Brownies

(AppleBee's Blondie Brownies)

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3 /4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (10 Tbsp.)
2 cups packed golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour and butter a 9 x13 x 2 pan.
Sift flour into a bowl. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking
soda. Set aside. Melt butter. In mixing bowl, place melted butter
and add sugar, mixing well. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
Add flour slowly, blending. Batter will be slightly thick.
Spread in pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over all.
Bake for 25 − 30 minutes.

NEW GIVEAWAY: $100 Gap Gift Card and MORE!

Lilaguide.com is offering a $100 Gap Gift Card to a lucky winner each WEEK that joins their website (it takes literally only a few seconds) AND uploads a quick avatar (picture) to go on their profile. And, to liven things up, we're offering a LOAD of free prizes if you join our group called :

The Best Ever Parenting Group
Follow this link: http://www.lilaguide.com/Groups/parents.aspx

First, it will prompt you to join Lilaguide. Once you have done that, re click the link above to be taken to the group. Click "Apply to Group" (you'll automatically be allowed in) and set your email preferences (we recommend you switch email preferences to none)...and then, you're entered and ready to go!

No cost or purchase is necessary to enter to win these fabulous prizes, so why not?

Plus, I'd be incredibly grateful if you joined ;) I'm trying to get 600 members BEFORE August 1st (regardless of how active/inactive you choose to be). Thanks!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Congratulations MamaWise! You won our latest drawing! I'll be contacting you soon for your address for the 2-pack CD set!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Beginning Kindergarten

Kindergarten can be an exciting time in a child’s life - a time full of fresh possibilities and the opportunity to learn. It can also spur up a little anxiety if you or your child are unsure if you are both ready. To help prepare you, I asked Cliff Owen, the Director of Instruction at McCracken County Public Schools, to weigh in on transitioning into Kindergarten.

Skills your child should possess when entering into Kindergarten:

Ability to “recognize colors, numbers, and letters.” Practice identifying numbers, colors, and letters wherever you go - even if it’s identifying numbers on price tags, colors of shirts, and letters on signs while out shopping.

Ability to “recognize their name.” Although your child may not be able to write their name yet, they should be able to recognize their name. Practice with your child, writing out different names on card-stock and having them select the correct card. You can also have them practice writing their own name, if they will.

Ability to “play well with others.“ Get together with a few other parents and their children. Let your child practice sharing and have fun playing with children he or she is not familiar with. Make sure your child is aware of boundaries such as hitting, biting, and spitting.

Ability to “cut with scissors.” Have your child practice cutting straight and curved lines with scissors to help develop the muscles required to hold a pencil.

Ability to sit and listen to stories being read or someone talking. Practice by reading to your child and asking them to sit quietly and listen - or, head to the library for story time! Be sure to pick stories with topics that your child finds interesting to keep the learning fun!

Ability to “communicate with others.” Practice walking around, pointing to objects and naming them. This fun game well help expand your child’s vocabulary and can help them master their language skills.

Ability to express him or herself. Your child should have some basic language skills down and should be able to express their thoughts in some way. Try really listening to your child, and asking them questions - and wait, without interrupting, for their answers.

Ability to sort and group colors and like objects. At this age, your child should be able to sort and group some things. Try laying out four different objects, three of the same color and have them choose the one that doesn’t belong. Or, you can do groups - like, three cars and a cow - Which doesn’t belong? Don’t worry if your child falters or gets confused. Simply show them the correct object and praise them for their good effort.

Ability to wash their hands and perform other bathroom tasks. Kindergartners should know how to do basic bathroom tasks on their own: go potty, wash and dry hands, pull their pants back up, etc. If your child has trouble with any of these basics, be sure to help them practice.

Ability to dress themselves. Although you may not prefer to let your child pick out their wardrobe (Hello, Disney Princess!), you should let them try their hand at manipulating things like zippers, buttons, velcro, buckles, and whatever else clothes come made with these days. Your child should be able to unbuckle and buckle their belts, unbutton and button buttons, unzip and zip zippers, and so on. It’s okay if they occasionally have trouble - but, just remember when picking out clothes - that a tricky button or zipper could be the difference in making it to the bathroom on time!


As always, the above list are merely generalizations. No child is ever the same. Some children may be ahead of these guidelines, while others may not completely have a couple of them mastered. If your child has just begun to learn a task, but hasn’t mastered it yet, just try practicing it more with them. Make it a game, and keep the learning fun. However, if for some reason you are worried that your child may be behind or not ready for Kindergarten, be sure to call your local school or Board of Education for guidance and resources.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Simple Fun: Marble Painting

Marble Painting

You will need:
Non-toxic paint
A pringles can
White computer paper

Loosely roll up your white paper and put it in the pringles can. Soak the marbles in different colors of non-toxic paint and put in the can. Add lid and let the little ones shake the can. When they are finished, take the paper out and glue to construction paper for hanging.

TIP: Make sure the lid stays on!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

For your musical entertainment

We recently came across a new company called Yummy English Snack Productions, home to the YESnack CDs. L loves listening and dancing along to these creative and kid-friendly songs and I'm excited because I don't have to worry about the lyrics!

YESnack offers a 2 CD set that features over 43 unique songs!! Additionally, on their website you can find great stories that were inspired by the songs to share with your children - as well as the song lyrics. The songs are not only cute, but they are also chock full of information - like, the zodiac, lessons on why you shouldn't follow the crowd, and simple addition! And, for the older kids, a multiplication CD is included, making learning easier by putting it to music (up to the 12s).

These CDs are great for youngsters. I love that I can tell a story and we have a supporting song. I also love that these songs support great life lessons that I can teach and support...with music! Very fun, and I'm actually looking forward to breaking them back out when she starts learning multiplication!

And, with that said, there's a giveaway!! Simply tell us why you'd like to win and leave your email address in the comments. We'll announce the winners next Monday!

Good Luck!


Limeade with a Touch of Mint Recipe


  • Grated zest of one lime (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup lime juice (from about 4-6 Persian limes)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Several sprigs of fresh mint


1 In a small saucepan bring to a boil the sugar, one cup of water, and the lime zest. Once the sugar is dissolved (which it should be by the time the water boils), remove from heat and let cool for for a few minutes. The amount of sugar is a guideline, it depends on how sweet you like your limeade and how tart your particular limes are.

2 Place a strainer over a bowl, or wide-mouthed serving container, and pour the sugar syrup through it, straining out the lime zest. Add the lime juice and 2 cups of water. Taste for sour/sweet balance. If too sweet, add a little more lime juice. Add several sprigs of fresh mint.

Chill, or serve immediately over ice.

Makes about 1 quart.

**From elise.com

Because I have Faith - a quick interruption


Shad Boaz. He’s only 20 years old and he’s in the hospital right now.

And, I need a favor. A huge favor. You see, this boy and his parents are friends of our family. This morning, on the way to work, he lost a tire and while trying to over-correct, he swerved off the road (and possibly flipped - I’m not straight on that part of the story yet) and hit a tree…which then fell on his car. Currently, his brain is swollen but is being kept alive by a life support machine.

And, I need you all. I don’t care if you’ve never prayed, I don’t care if you think your prayers have never been answered. Heck, I don’t even care if you don’t believe in God. I. don’t. Care. I’m asking you to simply send up a prayer, that his brain will go back down to normal and that he’ll be okay. If you don’t pray, then will you please send up good thoughts, or meditate, or do it all. I FIRMLY believe that when enough people want the same thing, the universe/God hears us and it happens.

So, please…for me…for a few seconds will you back away from the computer and pray/send good thoughts/meditate for this boy (and his family, too)?

I would so very much appreciate it …

PS - I’ll leave updates here, as I get them.

PSS - If anyone even TRIES to take over this post and even makes my friends feel even the slightest bit of crap for what they believe (no matter what it is), I will cut you off and you will be banned. We’re sending up nothing but love here at this blog. Because that’s the way I roll.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Toot Scoot

It's no secret that toddlers and kids of all ages love pushing around on anything with wheels. Traditionally, we as parents have bought our children 3-and-4-wheeled miniature cars and trikes to zoom around in/on. Today, we have yet another option: the Toot Scoot.

The Toot Scoot, made for ages 2-5 boasts thick plastic-rubber wheels that not only help your child balance, but will also never need to be aired. Both the seat and handlebars are adjustable, ensuring a great fit for your child. And, unlike many riding toys - this "bike" comes without training wheels or pedals. Instead, it encourages your child to push off the ground with their feet, learning how to balance (as well as coordination and motor skills) - which means your child will be ready for a traditional bike even sooner!

The original Toot Scoot was made by Buck Hale, a BMX bike rider and motorcross racer, for his son as a Christmas present. He wanted to share his love of bikes with his one-year old son, Seth. By 18 months, Seth could balance with his feet off the ground, and shortly afterwards he was buzzing around like a pro. Friends and passer bys were constantly stopping Buck, asking him if he would make them a Toot Scoot, or where they could find them - and, so Toot Scoots were born.

You can get your very own Toot Scoot at www.tootscoot.com.

Available in Black, Blue, Red, and White. $79.95

Friday, July 4, 2008


Do you know what's better than a package on your doorstep? A package with edible yumminess on your doorstep. That's exactly what happened when I received my goodies from Popcornopolis - a Best Of Porpcornopolis Gourmet Gift basket, filled with eight cones of scrumptious gourmet popcorn.

Popcornopolis' popcorn is so delicious, that you won't be able to keep it to yourself. You'll WANT to tell everyone you know about how great it is. And, with flavors like - Caramel, cheesy Cheddar, Cinnamon Toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, luscious Dark Chocolate, delectable White Chocolate, salty-sweet Kettle Corn, Zebra Chocolate, and rich Almond Corn - there's something for EVERYONE. Popcornopolis uses only the finest natural flavors and premium, farm-grown corn - and, let me tell you, you WILL tell a difference.

I barely got the package in the door, before I had an entire room of my own personal taste-testers (who left with zip-loc baggies full of popcorn). This popcorn was great - even my Grams asked for seconds because it was unlike any popcorn she had ever had...it didn't hurt her sensitive teeth.

My favorites?: Zebra Chocolate. (They were all good, of course. I just happen to be ever-so-slightly addicted to chocolate!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Little Pim - Spanish

Little Pim, the creation of Julia Pimsleur Levine, is one of our favorite language learning tools for our daughter. We've been using the 3 DVD Spanish set. Each DVD is 35 minutes long and teaches over 60 words and phrases.

Husband and I both had Spanish in high school (college, too), but needed a refresher course in some things as we don't speak it often. We want our daughter to be multi-lingual and Little Pim is great for all three of us (and her grandparents!). The videos help jog our memory, while helping *L* learn new language sounds, words, and phrases. It's great!

"Little Pim is the creation of Julia Pimsleur Levine, the daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a renowned language professor, whose revolutionary audio teaching method made him a household name in foreign language learning. Julia grew up in a multi-lingual home and was fluent in French by the age of six. She also speaks some Italian, Spanish and German. Julia’s method for teaching foreign language to young children is based on her own childhood experience, her perspective as a mother and language teacher, as well as her background as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

After the birth of her son, Emmett, three years ago, Julia wanted to give him the gift of a second language. She searched for children’s language DVDs to reinforce the French that she was teaching him, but couldn’t find one that met her high standards. With Emmett as her inspiration, she resolved to create a new affordable, easy and age-appropriate program that would enable families everywhere to enjoy learning foreign languages together."

The Little Pim series in Spanish comes with 3 DVDs: Eating and Drinking, Wake Up Smiling, and Playtime. And, unlike most foreign language DVDs for youngsters, Little Pim DVDs totally immerse your child in the language (English subtitles are optional). Words and phrases are broken down and shown with pictures and clips of children and babies doing everyday things (that corresponds with the word being learned). This set is great, and definitely one of our top picks.

Great for babies, toddlers, and up (even adults!)