Monday, March 25, 2013

Talk To Your Baby And Build Their Language And Literacy Competency

As crazy as it may sound, developing children's literacy skills actually begins during pregnancy. Yes, I'm serious. Many researchers believe that the first step in language development begins when mothers talk to their babies while they're still in their bellies. Most also believe that babies get used to the sound of their mother's voice and that when a baby is born, that familiarity lends itself to quicker recognition and a fast bond after birth. 

Naturally, after a baby is born it is very helpful to them for their parents to continue speaking, not only around them, but TO them as well. Babies will start to recognize sounds and get to know gestures and facial expressions. Babies learn so much from the sights and sounds around them and will in time begin to try to imitate the sounds their parents make. This is all part of the process of babies figuring out how we, as humans, communicate with each other.  They will start to recognize how we relay information to each other in narrative form and begin to learn how to do that themselves.

You'll start to see a child's story-telling skills emerge in their early speech/toddler days when they launch into those long, animated baby monologues. You can't help but listen intently to these stories they tell and do your best to follow along because the child is so excited in relaying the details to us. It is very much like watching a soap opera on the Spanish channel. If you watch it long enough, you begin to follow the story, even if you don't understand a word of it. That is the power of the narrative and the baby has learned that skill from watching us and listening to us. 

Parents should use every opportunity throughout the day to talk to their baby about anything and everything. It's a great way to build up the babies' early literacy foundation. When washing the dishes or making dinner or cleaning up, parents can explain the tasks they are doing to their baby. Babies will begin to hear familiar words if the parents are in the habit of doing this frequently. And I'm not talking about "goo-goo-gah-gah" here. Actually speak real words to your you would to any other person. "Baby talk" like that drives me crazy. 

Experts suggest that parents speak properly to their children so that the child can have the most possible exposure to the correct sound of words. For example, if a child has their own "baby word" for banana, and the parent constantly uses that "baby word" back to the child, they are only reinforcing the incorrect pronunciation.

Even if a parent sometimes uses their babies' pronunciations of words (and seriously sometimes it's so darn cute, you can't help yourself!), the important point is that the child is being talked to frequently throughout their day. It is an essential building block of language, and therefore literacy, development.


Usborne Books and More (of which I am newly and Independent Consultant) has so many wonderful books for babies!  

Please take some time to check out my site and also LIKE my Usborne page on Facebook - I'll be sharing literacy tips, book recommendations, sales, specials and giveaways!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

MYO: Orange Vinegar Cleaner

A couple weeks ago, a friend on Facebook (I don't remember who) posted a picture of a mason jar full of orange peels (I don't remember from where) with instructions on how to make Homemade Orange Vinegar Cleaner. 

Just the day before a friend (I actually remember who) had given me a gigantic mason jar that I had high hopes of doing something cool with. We also had a huge bag of oranges in the refrigerator, so I knew that Homemade Orange Vinegar Cleaner and I were meant to be. 

The instructions were simple: 1) Place orange peels in a jar. 2) Fill jar with white vinegar. 3) Put lid on jar. 4) Let jar sit for 20 days. 5) Pour liquid into bottle. 6) Clean with it. 

So...that's just what I did. 

 I'm no stranger to cleaning with vinegar. I've been using it for years for a variety of things (Mental Note: Write post about the many uses of vinegar.). But this, adding orange peels to vinegar, was completely new to me.

20 days later I am pleased to report that my Homemade Orange Vinegar Cleaner is marvelous. It smells fantastic and works really, really well. I'm loving it!

We had a bunch of grapefruits that had been hanging out in the fridge for longer than I care to admit, so after I bottled my cleaner, I cleaned out my giant mason jar, filled it with grapefruit peels and vinegar and it's sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets waiting for it's day to come (which is April 11th, in case I forget).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends Review + Giveaway

My family is comprised of a bunch of cereal killers. As quickly as cereal comes in to this house, it is gone. Once a new box of cereal is opened, it doesn't stand a chance for more than 48 hours. 

Who can blame us? Cereal is the mother of all quick and easy hunger solutions, be it 7 o'clock in the morning or 7 o'clock at night...or any time before, between or after. 

Seriously? Who doesn't love cereal?

I'm pleased to be able to introduce you to the newest member of the Honey Bunches of Oats Family, Tropical Blends:

Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends Cereal is truly a unique taste bud experience with crispy mango flavored flakes, real coconut shavings and coconut flavored granola clusters. It has 10g of whole grain per serving and 9 essential vitamins and minerals, including 60% daily value of iron. 

Here's the best part about this cereal: Most kids aren't gaga over coconut and mango (my own included) which means.......more for Mom!

I'd love for you to try New Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends too! I'm giving away (2) coupons each for a FREE box of any Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal! Simply leave me a comment and tell me what your all-time favorite cereal is and you'll be entered to win! Be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win.(Ends March 19th at noon)


**I was provided with a free box of Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends Cereal in order to review it. No monetary exchange took place. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.**

Friday, March 8, 2013

Purex Facebook Exclusive

LIKE PUREX ON FACEBOOK and sign up for access to special savings PLUS get entered to win a FREE washer & dryer from Purex & Whirlpool!

Shop special savings on appliances from Whirlpool Corporation. Sign up between
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Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer of major household brands including Whirlpool®, KitchenAid®, Maytag®,
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PLUS everyone who signs up will be entered for a chance to win a free washer & dryer with pedestals!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dry Idea Advanced Dry Review + Giveaway

The secret to life? Never let them see you sweat. With New Dry Idea AdvancedDry brand antiperspirant and deodorant, they never will. Dry Idea AdvancedDry offers long-lasting odor protection for up to 72 hours and Pulse Activated Wetness Protection to keep you dry and feeling clean and confident all day long. And it's formulated with Vitamin E for silky smooth application.

Dry Idea provided me with a full size Fresh scented roll-on antiperspirant & deodorant to try and review. I'm always excited to try out a new product (especially when it's free!), but I have to be honest, I wasn't crazy about using a new deodorant. I really liked the deodorant I was already much so that it's the same brand I've been using since high school AND I'd never used a roll-on deodorant before. I guess my antiperspirant attitude was "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Truthfully, it never occurred to me to even try another brand or even another type of antiperspirant & deodorant. 

I figured my Dry Idea would arrive, I'd give it a try and use it for a day or two, write up an honest review of what I thought about it and then go right back to using the deodorant I've been using for years and years. This has not been the case. To my surprise, I really, REALLY like Dry Idea AdvancedDry. I loved how easy it went on, how fast drying it was and I really liked the Fresh scent. I also liked that it didn't leave unwanted gunky residue on me or my clothes. It's amazing how well you think a product works (my old stand-by deodorant) until you try something new. 

I'm so glad I was able to try Dry Idea and I'd love to provide you with an opportunity to try it too! 

I'm giving away (2) coupons for FREE Dry Idea AdvancedDry Antiperspirant & Deodorants...simply leave a comment below to be entered to win! (Ends 3/11.)