Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Today, my youngest and I have been nursing for 18 months!! (that makes 3 1/2 continuous years for the year with our oldest...WOW, that's a lot of time from my 10 years of parenthood).

And I love breastfeeding, I will definately be missing something from my life when I eventually stop.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This Week...

What we ate...
Pork Tacos...yummy and made in the crock pot!
Valentine's Food...heart-shaped cranberry scones, heart-shaped pizza, red velvet cheesecake bars, berry smoothies
Baked Pasta with garlic, white sauce
Meatball sandwiches with veggie fries (roasted veggies) and milk shakes (banana smoothies)
Fried Chicken (actually baked) with creamed spinach (used later for omlettes) and baked potatoes
lots of leftovers!

What we read...
the toddler (who is really into puzzles this week)...Dora takes a ride, Beautiful Babies, How many bugs in a box, Peek-A-Pet
the 3 year old...Firefighters in the Dark, K is for Kitten, and working on his own ABC Book*
the 10 year 0ld...working on Harry Potters
the husband...In the Wild (another uplifting book about tragedy in the wilderness)
the mom...still working on Philip Pullman's series...but I will finish within the next 24 hours...please!

*I made a book with large index cards and a large ring clasp. The cover says "Adison's ABC Book". Each page has a letter in upper and lower case (obviously in alphabetical order). Each day, once or twice, we think about words (5-10) to add. We talk about the beginning sound and find the letter (and sound) it begins with. Then we write the word and draw a picture for the word.

Remember to use letter sounds as well as letter names. Just as we teach kids animal noises, we can ask them, what does a D say? This will help them sound out words when they are learning to read.

I did the same thing with my daughter but we put each letter on construction paper and put them up on the wall. We did one letter a day. Later on, we did it again with her writing the letters and words.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Movie Reviews

Baby Einstein
My toddler and preschooler's new addiction is Baby Einstein. I got a video from the library one day...and they loved it. So, I got another. Then, I broke down and bought a DVD. My little one never has really shown any interest in TV but he started bringing the video case to me. He watches it and laughs, points and says words and signs. He dances and claps. My three-year-old loves it too. Besides enjoying it himself, he tells the baby different words to say.

The DVD's and videos consist of series of images including toys, puppets, a variety of colorful oddities (such as those oil and water paperweight-like things), etc. with classical music in the background (perhaps based on the mythical 'beethoven effect'). There are lots of different DVD's focusing on different, colors, words, languages, animals. The DVD's also include digital flash cards to enhance vocabulary and language. Additionally, the DVD's have a repeat mode so that the DVD will continue to loop.

I try to sit down and watch with them and talk about what they are watching...but it also gives me a bit of time to get dressed, do the dishes, make lunch, or sit and read the news.

Overall, I would recommend them. It is definately a DVD that can foster development and entertain. They are short in length so your child won't be watching TV for hours...even if they watch it twice in a row. The DVD's are about $15 but our library has them on DVD and video ( as well as similar series).

See for more information.

Moster House
This Academy Award-nominated film is not for everyone. First of all, simply because it is animated does not mean it is a kiddie movie. I think it would best suit children 8 years and up, based on parents' opinion. In the theater, I think it would have been frightening for many and there are definate adolescent themes . Now, I am a horror movie junkie (not that I watch them with my kids), but I love a good one, on TV especially. And this movie started out like a great horror joke. Not a surprise from Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg. The music, the symbolism, the mysterious story (very 'twisty-turny' says my 10-year-old). But it fell quite flat. Perhaps, someone stopped them halfway through and said 'this isn't a horror movie, its a kid movie'. The story turned out to be a dud without much meaning or moral (something that seems to be in all children's movies and even most horror movies).

The story is based around a neighborhood haunted house that eats anything they happens upon its lawn. The boy who lives across the street has been studying the house and decides to solve the mystery and save the children of the neighborhood (especially since it is Halloween and trick or treaters will be everywhere soon). However, the mystery of the house isn't very interesting and I didn't see how it was beneficial for my kid to understand. The character development was shallow as well. My daughter mentioned that some characters did not get a good introduction or follow through.

However, the animation is great. The skinny style of the characters is creepy enough to make some characters cute. The voice talents (including Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, and Kathleen Turner) are well done. The run time of 91 minutes is just enough.

We didn't look through the bonus features...since none of them sounded very interesting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cars and Kids

Soapbox Alert!!

I read recently in the Chicago Tribune that a woman left her one-year-old in the car while she and her four-year-old ran into a grocery store. What was she thinking? Honestly, I can see the logic, in a way, I'm just running in for milk or whatever, I'll just be five minutes...but besides the fact she brought her other child with her, I wouldn't leave my child unsupervised for more than five minutes in the house...let alone leave her out in the open...out of my a situation that could easily take twice or three times the amount of time. I don't leave my kids in the car alone...except for about the 30 seconds it might take to put one in and run back to the door to get the other one. And never with the car on. Its not so many ways.

I think the greatest invention for families is the pay-at-the-pump system at gas stations. Before all the stations had that, the temptation to leave your kid in the car while you ran in to pay was so strong. I can't think of a more dangerous place to leave a child in the car unattended. So, now it is so great that you can gas up the car, pay, and never leave your little ones. Drive-thru windows are also fabulous...especially at the pharmacy and coffee shop.

Besides leaving your kids in the other big pet peeve is not using a car seat. In Illinois, children must be in a car seat up until age 8. It is recommended that they stay in until they are 4ft 9in and at least 80 lbs. We kept our daughter in until she was almost 9...she won't be that tall and that weight for a long time. But she plead with us to get into a regular seat...she wasn't a baby anymore. However, she must sit in the back seat until she is at least 12, in a seat belt. Of course, our other little ones are in car seats. It drives me crazy when I see kids, not only not in car seats, but not even in seat belts! Where are the police? Not only is it physically safest place for the kids but I couldn't handle the kids all over the car. There is enough to deal with while you are driving without having the notion that your kids could (and probably would) move around the car, open the doors, hang out the windows....

Anyways. You have responsible with them...keep them safe.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Book Recommendation

My three-year-old is very interested in anything with wheels (e.g. trains, cars, trucks) so when we came across David Gordon's books, he fell in love, and so did we.

David Gordon has taken classic fairy tales and set them in the world of vehicles. The stories are classic but with his wonderfully rich illustrations.

Three Little Rigs is like the Three Little Pigs
Hansel and Diesel....Hansel and Gretel
The Ugly Truckling...the Ugly Duckling

If you and your family liked the movie Cars...then check these out.