Friday, July 29, 2011

Zzzz . . . Snore . . . Snore

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I love to sleep.  BK, that’s before kids, everyone knew not to call me before noon on Sundays, especially in college.  Then it was eleven, then ten, now, um, seven-ish.  Although I have to say that hubby lets me sleep in on most Sundays.  And every extra minute is so wonderful.

I’ve always been a night owl and these days there are lots of things that keep me up at night anyway: winding down from a crazy day, playing on the computer, that book I want to finish, kids waking up, and well, someone snoring.  Can anyone relate?

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Perhaps my favorite are the times that I gently nudge him and say, “You’re snoring” and the response I get is something like this, “I’m not snoring.  It was you.”  Me, wide-awake-me.  Yeah, no.

My usual method is pulling on the sheets or a push with just enough force to halt the snoring for a few minutes.  We’ve tried nasal strips- great for opening the nasal passages by the way- but they only seemed to lessen the snoring, not send it off to Never land.  So, one of the things I might end up doing on a snore-filled night is researching information on snoring.  And then chatting with whoever else is still up and on facebook.  Smile 

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*This is a sponsored post, but opinions are always my own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summertime

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Just a quick note to wish everyone beautiful summer days filled with family, friends, good books, lemonade, ice cream, and whatever else makes you smile.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post from Learning-aids.com

Lisa Harp has developed an at-home system to help enhance the building blocks of learning.  Below is a guest post from www.learning-aids.com.

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Dealing with a Learning Problem? You May Need a New Approach.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.   Einstein coined this phrase, and it holds true now more than ever, especially when referring to academic success and how we help those students who are struggling to learn.

Traditional approaches to solving learning problems will take a student who has been in a classroom all day, a fatigued learner, who is not able to learn with methods being taught, and try to teach that student more of what didn’t work all day.  This is insane!  For progress to be made, the student needs to be taught in a different way.

Piling on more academics when dealing with a student who is not performing well academically can be a recipe for disaster.

The solution is neuro-sensory educational therapy (NSET).  NSET takes students back to the very basic level of learning – gross motor skills. Skills that may not have been formed in development. The NSET program is now available as a program you can do at home with your child. The system is very easy to follow and highly effective at correcting learning problems. You can find the complete system at http://www.learning-aids.com

Babies are not born hard wired for every task.  They wire their brains as they develop. Tasks that cross the vertical midline (crawling) are what helps them develop. Developing  gross motor skills is the first and most necessary step that needs to take place to build a proper learning foundation for students. This is what may have been missed and without it learning success is nearly impossible.

NSET first develops gross motor skills and once those skills are in place, NSET moves the student into the visual level.  75-90 percent of what we take in is visual, so this is a very important step in the learning success.  NSET works students on visual processing skills as well as eye tracking, visual closure, visual discrimination, visual memory, and visual motor integration.  These skills are vitally important for students to be able to read, write, spell, and perform basic mathematical operations.  Yet, students are rarely taught these skills with traditional approaches.  Instead, they are fed another dose of academics.

NSET breaks the academics down into smaller pieces and slowly build up the learning foundation.

Next, NSET takes the student into an auditory level.  So many students struggle to hear correctly or fail to filter out extraneous information.  It is extremely important for a student to be able to hear sounds correctly to read, write, and spell.   Students work on auditory discrimination, auditory closure, auditory memory, auditory processing, and basic following of directions to prepare students academically as well as to sit in a classroom and listen and correctly process a teacher’s lecture.

As an added bonus, focusing skills will come into play naturally once the student’s visual and auditory skills are in place. Many students are misdiagnosed as having ADD, when in fact they are struggling to focus because of distractions in their environment or weak learning systems.  It is hard to focus if you can’t tune out background noises or if the letters on your pages are wiggling and not holding still.

While working with the student’s sensory learning systems, it’s important to also incorporate brain retraining activities that help the student strengthen the communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain as well as build new neural pathways in the brain.  This is a specific, step by step process where basic skills such as eye tracking are strengthened and slowly multi-step thinking and processing skills are attained.

Although this approach is not traditional in the sense that it is not a dose of more academics, this method of helping students overcome learning differences has been used successfully for almost 15 years.  Students who have failed to learn with other approaches find success, usually within 12 to 18 months with consistent application.  And, there is nothing better than watching a student go from failure to success, both academically and in life.

Whether you are concerned about a minor learning difference or you are dealing with something more serious such as needing treatment for dysgraphia (trouble with writing),  Dyscalculia Treatment (Like dyslexia for math), or dyslexia treatment NSET might be just what you are looking for. You can find lots more information at http://www.learning-aids.com


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Information given and opinions expressed above are from the guest blogger.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reverse the Summer Brain Drain

School Zone recently launched their new Start to Read! leveled reading program for early learners.  I had a chance to try out the level 1 set with my son, who loves books and loves learning to read.  The books are simple, with repetitive text, yet the stories are cute and funny.  The CD gives you the option of listening to the stories with our without the page turning cue.  I’m all for programs that help children learn to enjoy reading!  Read below for more info.

From the company- The updated sequence-based series, which consists of storybooks and complementary materials across three progressive reading levels, is designed to build a solid literary foundation for any child while teaching kids that reading is fun!

The multi-component Start to Read! Program uses a tried and true, 3-step approach to reading: listen, read, review. The 6-book set for each level contains five beginning reader books, a read-along and songs CD, a comprehension workbook and a parent guide. Each of the components provides children with a fun learning experience while working together to teach budding bookworms – as young as four – to read successfully. In addition to teaching basic reading concepts, the three-level series also accelerates learning and develops reading skills and vocabulary.

Level 1 books are designed for emergent readers, ages 4-6, and have limited vocabulary – each book introduces between 9 and 50 words. Utilizing short, one-line sentences, the titles in level 1 provide simple picture clues that significantly support the text.

The five titles in the Level 2 collection feature brief stories that introduce controlled vocabulary, simple sentence patterns and rhyming words and are designed for children ages 5-7. Picture clues provide considerable support for the test. Each book presents the reader with 50-70 new words.

Level 3 features stories with the most new words and vocabulary and are aimed at readers ages 6-7. Many of the words can be read by changing the initial sound (rumbled-tumbled) or by rhyming with a known word (before-roar). Children should learn approximately 45-150 new words with each book.

Fun Features & Big Benefits

· Memorable stories and characters

· 3-step approach to reading

· Comprehension workbook activities

· Story narration on audio CD

· Whimsical, age-appropriate songs

All products are available from www.schoolzone.com.

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* I received a product to review.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cubbie Cup

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I’ve tried out a lot of unique things on Mommy’s Idea and I love when the idea for the product comes from a mom in need of a solution.  The Cubbie Cup is a snack cup and sippy cup that are together in one piece.  So when the kids need a snack and a drink, it’s easy to keep everything together, especially on the go.  My son loves it and will ask for it when it’s snack time.  Get your own at http://www.cubbiecup.com/!

From the Cubbie Cup website-

“Cubbie Cup is the ultimate combination of a sippy cup and a snack cup! Cubbie Cup was "born" on a crisp fall afternoon as I was driving home with my toddler. I watched her drink from a sippy cup, throw it on the floor, and start to eat her snacks. A moment later, she wanted her sippy cup again, but it was on the floor...and I was driving. Explaining to a toddler why mommy can't stop in the middle of traffic to retrieve a sippy cup doesn't go over so well! As soon as I got home, I drew the first sketch of what is now known as the Cubbie Cup!

No longer do we juggle multiple cups! I literally feel "off-duty" during snack time! When you are relaxing at home, taking trips to the mall or the park, Cubbie Cup is a snack time necessity! I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do!”

Sincerely,

Tiara Henderson, Parent & CEO

Parent Perfected, LLC

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* I received a product to review.

Fusion Pilates

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Meet Jennifer from Fusion Pilates!

Tell us a little about you . . .

My name is Jennifer Gianni. I've been in the mind/body field for over 20 years. My specialty is fitness for pre and post natal women. (details, celebrity clients and press at: http://www.fusionpilatesasheville.com/jennifer.php)

What is your business and where can we find it?

My fitness DVD business is called Fusion Pilates. We offer exercise dvds at www.fusionpilates.com. I also own and direct a Pilates studio in Asheville, NC (www.fusionpilatesasheville.com)

Is it mom-owned, invented, created . . .?

It is! I had no aspiration to start making exercise dvds. But when I became pregnant with my first child - I suddenly realized that there was not a lot of good information about fitness for pregnant women. And I wasn't sure I could trust the info that was out there. So - I did tons and tons of research, I collaborated with doctors and doulas, and experimented with many different ideas that were both safe and effective. This is how I created Fusion Pilates for Pregnancy. I started teaching that at my studio in Los Angeles, CA - and a pregnant client who was going out of town begged me to make a little video for her to take with her. I did - and that grew into what is now Fusion Pilates DVDs.

A little about your entrepreneur journey so far?

For me, the creative part of entrepreneurship is what I enjoy. Coming up with ideas that might be helpful for other people. If the idea is good - the business part seems to take care of itself.

Where else can people find you?

Our DVD's are available at www.fusionpilates.com. We are also on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fusion-Pilates-Asheville/51272186445

Anything else you’d like to share?

I guess the biggest thing we try to put out there is the fact that I created my program for myself when I was searching for a way to stay in shape effectively - but most importantly - safely. Pregnancy can be a stressful time - so it's great to have a workout you don't need to worry about!

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* I received a product to review.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Letters, Sounds, and Words- Learning to Read

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Learning to read is exciting for children and parents, although difficulties with reading can also be quite frustrating.  As parents, we need to remember that kids begin the process of reading long before they enter school.  They listen to others speak and repeat the sounds as they learn to talk.  They learn about letters and see words everywhere they turn.  All of these are components in building a strong base from which they can move on to more complicated tasks.

Educational jargon can be confusing- you’ll hear the terms phonics, letter recognition, and sight words.  You’ll be given suggestions on how to increase retention and improve phonological awareness.  It may be overwhelming at times, but your child’s teacher is there to help and there are some fantastic resources available online.

What we want children to understand is that letters represent sounds and those letters join together to form words.  Reading aloud to your children is important and gives them the opportunity to see reading modeled by an adult.  It’s also important to provide what we call a “literature rich environment,” which means that they are surrounded by words, text, and books, long before they learn to read. Your local library is a great resource.

As children become more independent as readers, we want to encourage their independence in figuring out words and understanding stories.  Asking questions is one of the best things you can do to help your child, even if he isn’t reading on his own yet.

Have fun with it and explore stories and topics that will stretch your child’s imagination!

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*This is a sponsored post, but opinions are always my own.