Archive for July, 2008

Jul 31 2008

Thanking ALL Parents!

I would like to take this moment to thank all the parents…

  • Who volunteer at school and help my child have a better day.
  • Who smile and say, “been there” when it’s my child having a meltdown in the store.
  • Who open the door when they see me struggling to carry multiple kids and an umbrella.
  • Who offer to take a picture so the entire family to be in the shot.
  • Who created the concept of drive thru services for pharmacy, dry cleaning, banking, car washes and food services.
  • Who have invented products that only a parent could appreciate.
  • Who coach our kids in sporting and club activities.
  • Who drive our school bus and treat our children like their own.
  • Who help at the cross walks to keep our kids safe.
  • Who attend school board and Parent-Teach Associations/Organizations (PTA/PTO) meetings.
  • Who make snacks and treats for the school bake sale.
  • Who raise loving and responsible children.

Copyright 2008 Cedar Valley Publishing, Stacey Kannenberg; Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

It really does take a village to raise a child.  Have we forgotten something?  What would you like to thank other parents for contributing? 

144 responses so far

Jul 30 2008

I’m SO Honored!

Wow, am I ever-so honored!  The VirtualRadioNetwork has named ME (yes, lil’ ole’ me) as their businesswoman of the week!

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Check out the interview here:
http://www.virtueradionetwork.com/Businesswoman_of_the_Week_5.htm

103 responses so far

Jul 29 2008

Let’s Talk About Barb!

Although my baby-making years are over, Barb Dehn, NP, is a wonderful nurse practitioner who offers some of the most useful baby momma myth information that I’ve ever heard. 

Take a look at this video with Barb:  http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4882673

I even found out info that I had no idea about – and probably believed before I had my girls!

And Barbara has a number of pamphlets and maps that she’s authored, available at Amazon.com

Guess I might as well start looking at some of those “other” maps she’s authored – as the years slip by.

14 responses so far

Jul 28 2008

ADHD & LD Resource Blog Guest Post from Shane Hawk

Last week, I wrote a guest post on Shane Hawk’s ADHD & LD Resource blog.  I wanted to share some of Shane’s information with you, in case you have a child with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities.  Our children are all unique, all special, and all should be loved and treasured.  It may take a little more work to teach an ADHD and/or LD child, but it’s SO worth it in the end!  And with my Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! and my Let’s Get Ready for First Grade!, a parent of a special needs child should have the information that they need to help their child focus and learn, so they know what will be expected of them when they reach school.

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Without further ado, here’s Shane’s guest blog post:

Explaining ADHD & LD to Your Child

My son was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 6 in 2003. About six months later, in early 2004, he was diagnosed with three learning disabilities. After receiving his diagnoses, I wondered how to explain them to him. After all, he was only six at the time. I didn’t want to be too technical with him, as I knew he wouldn’t understand. I also wanted to make sure he didn’t feel like he was inadequate as a person either. I wanted to emphasis that although he was “different” he was still special and had much to offer the world. I began researching how best to tell him about his new diagnoses.

I learned that while explaining ADHD and LD to him I needed to do the following:

  • Keep it simple. Use terms he could easily understand.

  • Keep the explanation upbeat and positive.

  • Let him know that he isn’t alone. There are lots of other people in the world that have the same issues that he is facing.

  • Emphasize his strengths instead of his weaknesses.

  • Help him develop his strengths and discover his gifts.

  • Encourage him daily to build up his self esteem.

  • Make sure he understood that ADHD and LD are not who he is, they are merely a part of who he is.

While researching, I also found several books that I utilized to help him understand ADHD and LD. I read these to him over a period of time of course, making sure each was age appropriate.  I have found that these books create a dialog and encourage discussion between my son, my husband and myself. We continue to refer back to these books when our son has a question or if he just wants to freshen his memory.

For more information about the recommended books, please visit my ADHD & LD Resource Blog.

250 responses so far

Jul 25 2008

God’s Peace be With You and Your Family, Randy Pausch

Eariler this week, I urged you to view Randy’s last lecture – and I hope you did, or plan to.  Randy Pausch has died of pancreatic cancer, at the age of 47.

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor whose final lecture inspired millions, died early today in Virginia of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Pausch, 47, who turned the lecture into a book, said that no one would have been interested in his words of wisdom were he not a man in his 40s with a terminal illness, leaving behind a wife and three young children.

According to Dr. Pausch’s Web site, a biopsy last week revealed that the cancer had progressed further than expected, based on recent PETscans.

“Since last week, Randy has also taken a step down and is much sicker than he had been,” the Web site said. “He’s now enrolled in hospice. He’s no longer able to post here so I’m a friend posting on his behalf because we know that many folks are watching this space for updates.”

Last fall, Dr. Pausch delivered the lecture at CMU, which still posts it on its Web site. The lecture has attracted more than six million viewers.

In the year preceding the lecture, he had gone through rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, but refused to give in to morbidity or self-pity. Instead of focusing on the cancer, he talked about how to fulfill childhood dreams and the lessons he learned on his life’s journey.

In his 10 years at CMU, he helped found the Entertainment Technology Center, established an annual virtual reality contest and helped start the Alice program, an animation-based curriculum for teaching high school and college students.

After the lecture, he moved to Chesapeake, Va., to spend his remaining time with his wife, children and family.

“Randy had an enormous and lasting impact on Carnegie Mellon,” said university President Jared L. Cohon. “He was a brilliant researcher and gifted teacher. His love of teaching, his sense of fun and his brilliance came together in the Alice project, which teaches students computer programming while enabling them to do something fun — making animated movies and games. Carnegie Mellon — and the world — are better places for having had Randy Pausch in them.”

With the help of Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow, Dr. Pausch wrote a book, “The Last Lecture,” which was published earlier this year and has now been translated into 30 languages. He elaborated on his lecture and emphasized the value he placed on hard work and learning from criticism. His words were intended as a legacy for his young children.

In May, Dr. Pausch spoke at the Carnegie Mellon University commencement. He said a friend recently told him he was “beating the [Grim] Reaper” because it’s now been nine months since his doctor told him he would die in six.

“But we don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well,” said Dr. Pausch, who urged the graduates to find and pursue their passion. He put an exclamation point at the end of his remarks by kissing his wife, Jai, and carrying her off stage.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Pausch is survived by his children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. Also surviving are his mother, Virginia Pausch of Columbia, Md., and a sister, Tamara Mason of Lynchburg, Va. The family plans a private burial in Virginia. A campus memorial service is being planned. Details will be announced at a later date. In September, Carnegie Mellon announced a plan to honor Dr. Pausch’s memory and his work as “a tireless advocate and enabler of collaboration between artistic and technical faculty members.” CMU is to build the Randy Pausch Memorial Footbridge, which will connect the Gates Center for Computer Science, now under construction, with an adjacent arts building.

The family requests that donations on his behalf be directed to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245, or to Carnegie Mellon’s Randy Pausch Memorial Fund, which primarily supports the university’s continued work on the Alice project.

More details in tomorrow’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First published on July 25, 2008 at 9:12 am

18 responses so far

Jul 24 2008

Let’s Get Ready to Teach Children Telephone Etiquette

Elena Neitlich is owner of Moms On Edge and when you’re tired of battling with potty training, bedtime and other behavioral issues, find clever parenting tools proven to quickly help solve the most common parenting challenges in creative, fun ways. For Children’s Etiquette Training please visit her site at http://www.etiquettemoms.com.

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I’m one of those “choose your battles” moms — there are some things I will allow and some things that are just not acceptable in terms of behavior from my girls.  One of them is manners and etiquette.  Elena has made my heart melt with some of her tips, and I want to share them with you!

“Must Use” Parenting Tool: Nine Point Checklist for Proper Phone Etiquette

Parents learn quickly that telephones are like magnets to children. With multiple cell phones and land lines ringing, children have greater access to phone communication than ever before, and are more fascinated than ever with their use. 

Per Spiderman’s creed, “With great power comes great responsibility,” children need to be taught early that the telephone is not a toy and that proper behavior is a must for anyone who uses the phone. Parents should always model courteous phone etiquette. 

The check list below is a good parenting tool to ensure that children use the phone properly.

  • Ask to use the phone:  To maintain boundaries, it is a good idea to require children to ask before using the phone. Very small children can be tempted to hit the redial button over and over, annoying the person on the receiving end. Older children can while away hours chatting, before parents become aware. 

  • Answer the phone properly:  Parents should equip children with a polite greeting for answering the phone. “Hello, may I help you?” or “Hello, who is this speaking please?” are polite salutations and not abrupt like, “Yeah? Who’s this?” Unless the child knows who is calling, he should refrain from identifying himself. If the child knows the caller, (the phone is handed to him, or he recognizes the number displayed on the caller I.D. feature) he should say politely, “Hello, this is “Dan”.”  When a child answers the phone and it is for someone else, he should politely say, for example, “Yes my mom is here, one moment please while I get her,” and always hand the phone to the requested person. Yelling, “MOM, PHONE!” is disrespectful to caller and call recipient and should be curbed immediately. Suspending phone privileges is an effective method of reinforcing ground rules; time out from phone use gives kids an appreciation for the privilege.   Responding to a wrong number appropriately is crucial. Kids should never give personal information of any kind to unknown callers, including their own names or the names of others in the household. A respectful and smart response to a wrong number is, “I am sorry you have the wrong number,” and hang up.  Conversing with a stranger over the phone is dangerous. People who prey on children know how to manipulate them into giving personal information. Parents should teach kids to hang up immediately and without saying, “goodbye,” if the caller makes them feel even remotely uncomfortable. After hanging up, the child should alert a parent immediately.  Older children, home alone, should never let a strange caller know. Parents can train children to have an excuse ready, “I am sorry but my father is busy and can’t come to the phone right now. Goodbye.” The child should hang up immediately without further discussion. Screening calls is an even safer idea, kids can pick up only those calls where they recognize the caller’s I.D.

  • Use a polite salutation when placing a call:  A child placing a call should identify himself using his full name, “Hello, this is John Jones, is Miranda at home?” is a polite greeting.

  • Speak so the listener can understand:  Kids should be told to use an “indoor voice,” and encouraged to speak into the receiver clearly, without mumbling or yelling. Very young children sometimes go silent or trail off when on the phone, so parents should be ready to encourage the conversation or take over. Parents should make sure that the caller is amenable to speaking to a small child, as adorable as kids are, not everyone responds positively to teaching kids to use the phone.

  • Establish time limits:  Phone use is a privilege and parents need to set clear boundaries. Most families don’t allow calls to go out or come in between 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning and 9:00 at night.  Set a reasonable amount of time for children to be on the phone. Preschoolers up through elementary age children are easy to limit, but parents need to be very clear and consistent with time limits for preteens and teens. It is appropriate to take a time out from the phone during the homework block, while eating dinner or during family time. Cell phone use and text messaging should be monitored to ensure activity doesn’t get out of hand. 

  • Finish the call politely:  Little children should be taught to say, “goodbye,” at the end of the call, not to just toss the phone down or hang up. As children mature they should finish all phone calls with a polite remark such as, “It was great speaking with you,  Grandma.”  The phone should always be returned to its designated home by the person who used the phone last.

  • Be respectful when others are using the phone:  Eavesdropping, creating background noise, and speaking to or distracting a person who is on the phone, are all impolite behaviors that should not be tolerated. In addition, pushing phone buttons, playing with the cord, picking up an extension and grabbing at the phone are off limits behaviors that should be “nipped in the bud.”  It is difficult for very small children to understand that they must be quiet when a parent is taking a call. Cutting calls short or planning important calls when children are napping, occupied by the other parent, or engaged in an activity, helps ensure less stressful phone calls. Parents can let older children know beforehand that they need quiet while they are on the phone. 

  • Take a message please:  Children of about age eight and up can take a basic message. Paper and pens should be placed near phones and kids can be coached to ask for whom the call is for, who is calling, and the telephone number where the person can be reached. The child should read the information back to the caller to ensure accurate content.

  • Leave a clear message:  Even small children can be taught to leave a clear and concise message with their name and telephone number. 

The increase in telephone usage over the past decade has magnified the need for good telephone skills. Most people have a telephone on their person at all times. In addition, predators have gotten very adept at infiltrating homes and communicating with children. Completing the above checklist will assure parents that their children are politely and safely using the phone.

Used with permission from Elena Neitlich’s Mom’s On Edge blog.

110 responses so far

Jul 23 2008

A Mouse in a Jam?

GO Packers!  And GO tailgaiting … or home parties in front of your big screen!  GO any type of opportunity to get together and be a cheesehead!  hehe

I had to get that jab in there, of course.

I sent a Smucker’s contest promotion to my webmonster, Tammy Harrison, and she replied that she loved to use Smucker’s Grape Jam in her barbeque sauce for little smokies during football gatherings.  hmmm, not something I’ve heard of, but certainly something I’ll try next time I’m getting ready to scream from my couch-coach position during a Packer’s game!

This summer, families will gather together around tables across the country to share meals and memories.  The J.M. Smucker Company wants to honor this time together and help families keep their traditions alive throughout the entire year. 

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As families think ahead to their next big gathering – perhaps a summer family reunion or Fourth of July get-together – Smucker® is eager to hear from them about the memorable recipes and traditions their families share.  Between June 16 and August 11, 2008, people are invited to submit their original recipe made with at least ¼ cup of one of the following Smucker’s products: Smucker’s jams, jellies or preserves (including Low Sugar brand and Sugar Free products) that has been passed down for at least two generations and an original 200-words or less essay telling the story behind how their recipe makes family celebrations special.  Smucker will post these traditions and recipes on its Web site and sweeten one family’s next gathering with a five day, four night family trip for eight to the Walt Disney World® Resort.

The grand prize family package for eight includes airfare, transportation to/from the airport, hotel accommodations for four nights, five-day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper® option and commemorative Disney T-shirts and photos.  The top entries will be posted on the Smucker’s Web site on or around September 8, 2008 and visitors to the site will be given the chance to vote to help determine one grand prize winner. 

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For official contest rules and prize details, visit www.Smuckers.com.

A family-run company that has passed down time-honored recipes for the past four generations, Smucker looks forward to hearing from your readers!  When people visit the “Spreading Smucker’s Traditions” contest site, they will also find family reunion planning tips, a free downloadable family tree and Smucker’s jams, jellies and preserves recipes that will help them create the perfect meal from appetizers to entrees to desserts, every time, with a diverse range of jam, jelly and preserve flavors well-suited for any taste or occasion.

GO Packers!  GO Smuckers!  GO Mouse!

Comments Off on A Mouse in a Jam?

Jul 21 2008

Let’s Get Ready to Deal with Death

My grandmother and step-grandfather virtually raised me.  Some of my most precious memories are of doing things with both grandparents – whom I miss dearly.

So, when the story of Randy Pausch began circulating, I took notice.  It was about death – and recently, I’ve lost some very dear people in my life – including my beloved grandmother.

Stop what you’re doing and watch this re-creation of Randy’s last lecture.  YOU deserve to take just a few minutes to deal with the death of someone very close to you – before it happens – or even to help you deal with a death that has already happened or to prepare your family for your future death:

http://video.stumbleupon.com/#p=ithct48cqw

175 responses so far

Jul 18 2008

Let’s Get Ready For a Pet!

The debate continues on are we ready for a pet in our household?  I know who the work will fall on – me!  I know who is home all day trying to run a few businesses – me!  I know who is allergic to pet dander – me!  So my vote has always be a strong NO! 

But thanks to Go Pets, we can have a virtual pet!!!

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The pets in the game, either a dog or a cat, can be chosen randomly or matched to your child based on their interests. The pet’s name and appearance, however, is completely up to your kid. As your child makes their way around the island, caring for their pets and meeting friends, they can trade purple shells they earn for different toys and pet supplies. Your kid can also interact with other characters, and compete in mini games. Kids can also befriend new islanders, exchange gifts, and even unlock new places to visit, all while increasing their ranking and with the goal of acquiring the title of Big Kahuna, the most influential resident of Vacation Island.

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GoPets even lets kids connect with other players from around the world by throwing a Wi-Fi party, allowing your child to chat with Nintendo Friend Code buddies. Through the Nintendo DS system, kids can only talk with players that they’ve given their Friend Code to, so you can rest assured that they are only chatting with approved buddies.

My girls, Heidi and Megan, give this game TWO thumbs up!  And THIS mom, does, too!

136 responses so far

Jul 16 2008

Clearing the Air on Education

Let’s clear the air:  Here is my take on education.  It was only five years ago that Kindergarten teachers were teaching everything you needed to know in Kindergarten, starting at day one.  Now, kids are expected to KNOW things, and are tested on the following within the first few months of Kindergarten:

  1. The upper case alphabet out of sequence or mixed up.  Kids will be asked to name the letters listed, such as: B, D, X, K, J, M, O, etc. 
  2. The numbers to 10, out of sequence or mixed up.  Kids will be asked to name the letters, listed, such as:  2, 5, 9, 8, 1, 3, 4, etc. 
  3. Kids will be asked to identify basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple
  4. Kids will be asked to identify basic shapes: circle, diamond, rectangle, triangle, oval and square
  5. Kids will be asked to identify basic coins: penny, nickel and dime

As the year progresses, Kindergartener’s will need to know both upper- and lower-case letters and numbers (up to 30), in- and out-of-sequence.  More colors and shapes will be added including hexagon and octagon and more coins such as quarter and dollar.  

Children need to know their name, address and phone number and be able to get dressed for outside play and use the bathroom independently, to make that first year a success!

So when the first parent teacher conference happens, your teacher gives you the results.  Your child only knew 5 of 26 letters all mixed up, only recognized the number 1-5 mixed up to 10, could identify basic colors, correctly identified the circle, diamond and a square and was not able to identify the coins, penny, nickel or dime. 

Many parents disengage with education at that point – at their first Kindergarten parent teacher conference!!!!  In their mind, they are thinking—why did you not tell me before Kindergarten that this is what kid needs to know?  Coins?  I thought my kid would swallow coins—never thought I needed to teach them that before Kindergarten! 

Sadly our early education teachers are not aware of how advantage the Kindergarten curriculum has become.  I do presentations to early childhood teachers who, many times, are not part of a public school system and fall through the cracks.  This is one of the problems with education today. 

A parent’s first touch with education needs to be Public Service Announcements and teaching that education for their child(ren) should begin when they are toddlers. 

My “Let’s Get Ready” books are what kids will be working on for the entire Kindergarten year, so the more they see it, the more it will make sense when they have that “aha moment”. 

It’s like the seat belt law.  If you teach a child to wear their seat belt, they will teach their parents, grandparents, older siblings and family friends to wear theirs. 

With my books, the kids will teach their parents that they, too, need to be involved in the educational process for them to succeed!  REMEMBER:  Parents are our children’s FIRST TEACHERS!

And, did you know that there is no standard Kindergarten text book?  Think about that.  No text book for Kindergarten!  How can you build a house without a blueprint?  How can you not not use Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten? 

7 responses so far

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