Archive for November, 2009

Nov 30 2009

A Thanksgiving To Remember from Sam’s Mom, Sue Mayer

I have so much to reflect on and be thankful for this Thanksgiving but one moment defined all of that for me.

On Wednesday evening Sam sang in church with his Sunday school class for the first time. There was a lot of prayer that day…and hope…and even some building of the shell that protects me from dissapointment, worry or public speculation. With typical children you worry if they will misbehave but you get past that. With a child with special needs it seems we are always trying to put them out there in the best light, feeling the need and want to have them achieve and perform above and beyond the rest. It seems that when our children misbehave or have meltdowns it is automatically associated with their diagnosis or the fact that they are differently abled or sometimes we even feel people speculate about our parenting abilities.


But on Wednesday…I took a deep breath…I put my trust in the Lord and we headed to church. Sam and I had practiced his song “Jesus Loves Me” throughout the week and he even knew the sign language for the song. While we waited for the other children Sam went up on the altar and walked out from the back wall like he was on stage and he would throw out this arms to either side and with a smile as large as the room he would say “Ta Da” and he would bow, of course waiting for the applause. When the other children began to arrive I dropped Sam off in the music room with the other children. I didn’t stay which felt strange because I’m usually so overprotective but instead went to sit in church with my husband and parents just like all the other parents. I don’t know why those times stick out in my memory, the times when I’m not a parent with a child that has Down syndrome but instead I am simply a parent…but they do and I cherish them.

Sam sat with the other children in the back of the church. When it was time for their song, Sam had to be told a few times to get up and go with the children but once he did he moved to the front of the group. The other children were nervous and turned away from the church audience, but not Sam, in fact he was very interested in getting ahold of the microphone that was in front of him…he really wanted to be seen and heard and he was front and center. I watched him amazed at how far he has come. A child with multiple diagnosis, singing as many words as he could keep up with…we usually sing at a slower tempo to allow him time to find each word…with a few signs thrown in for good measure. In my eyes…he shined and as I tried to video tape through my tear filled eyes I missed the fact that I had never accurately hit the record button…this moment however would be engraved on my heart forever.

When we practiced at home, Sam would always bow after he finished singing but in church they ushered the kids back to their seats quickly. I think Sam thought about that during the rest of the service and wanted to complete his performance. He was fidgety when he got back to his seat so his teacher let him come up by us. However he passed us and decided to sit in the front row of the church. He sat listening to Pastor go through his service and then when most of us had our heads bowed during prayer, Sam decided to sneak up on the altar and go behind the wall. I knew what was going to follow so I quickly snuck up on the altar and brought Sam back to his seat. My husband and I shared a brief smile knowing Sam was planning on finishing his performance and taking a bow. So….when we got home, we put him up on the fire place hearth, let him sing and sign his heart out and after each performance he took many bows each followed with a booming round of applause.

On Thanksgiving Day after a fantastic meal with my family, my parents and my brother…Sam performed for us again. I am so thankful that God entrusted me with this wonderful little boy that has touched the hearts of so many. I am thankful for good health, my husband, children, family, friends and the many blessings that fill my days. I am thankful that the words Sam sings with such enthusiasm are so very true…Jesus loves me this I know….Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong. Thank you Lord for taking care of one of your little ones!!

Sue Mayer
Mom to Sam (8) with Down syndrome, Brain Injury, Apraxia, Dysphagia, Respiratory/Immune Issues and Bi-Lateral Conductive Hearing Loss or as I like to say “Yada, Yada,Yada”

105 responses so far

Nov 24 2009

Happy Blessed Thanksgiving from Stacey Kannenberg and Cedar Valley Publishing

May your tables be filled with the blessings of food, may your hearts be filled with the blessings of love, may you share your blessings with others less fortunate and may you all have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


With love and appreciation for all that have made all of us successful this year – personally, emotionally and profesionally.

Stacey Kannenberg & Family

Comments Off on Happy Blessed Thanksgiving from Stacey Kannenberg and Cedar Valley Publishing

Nov 20 2009

Stacey’s Toginet Radio Guest for Nov. 23, 2009 is Hilary Bilbrey!

Please note the date / day change for next week’s Toginet “Get Ready to Learn Mom” radio show.  Due to the Thanksgiving holidays, Stacey Kannenberg’s radio show will be heard on MONDAY instead of her usual Wednesday.

Before founding Inspired By Family, Hilary was an educator, holding degrees from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Cambridge University, UK.   She has taught children in four different countries, at every age level, with over 30 different nationalities, in gifted, special needs and at-risk programs.

Hilary is also the author of Brecker Bunny Leans to Be Careful! , based on Hilary’s son’s own burn injury and her family’s quest to heal.  She has also authored Brecker Bunny Asks for Help! and coauthored Little Jake Learns to Stop!

Hilary is also a public speaker and leadership trainer for schools and organizations.  A non-profit teen organization is in the works as you read this!  She currently lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children.  They take advantage of the Northwoods and water as often as they can.

Comments Off on Stacey’s Toginet Radio Guest for Nov. 23, 2009 is Hilary Bilbrey!

Nov 17 2009

Stacey’s Toginet Radio Guest for Nov. 18, 2009 is Nurse Barb!

Nurse Barb is a regular on-air health expert on ABC’s View from the Bay in San Francisco. She has a fun and easy to read health blog at  She’s also a popular and in demand national speaker on all things related to women’s health and teaches at Stanford.


Barb is a practicing nurse practitioner in Silicon Valley and sees girls and women from 11 to 99.  She also publishes an award winning series of women’s health guides through her publishing company, Blue Orchid Press.  Barb’s Personal Guides to pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and menopause are used by over 3 million women in the US.

Barb earned a masters degree as a Women’s Health NP at UCSF and previously was a nurse in Pediatric Intensive Care.  She is passionate about providing health education in ways that people can connect to.

One response so far

Nov 16 2009

3 Tips for an Organized Thanksgiving by Lorie Marrero from The Clutter Diet

This Thanksgiving, why not plan ahead and give thanks to YOURSELF for being so organized? Imagine enjoying the preparations and festivities more and not feeling so rushed and scattered! Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Shop smart & avoid last-minute grocery trips. Here’s a great tip from my own mom: Right now, in advance, write up your typical family favorites menu of Thanksgiving (and December holiday) dishes… you know, the dishes that must make an appearance each year or else! In my family, a riot would break out if I didn’t make the traditional crescent rolls and we didn’t have my mom’s pies. Make a corresponding grocery list for each dish. Save this as a document on your hard drive, and re-use it every year! Makes planning, delegating, and shopping incredibly easy. (See also my previous post, “Things People Usually Forget to Buy at Thanksgiving.”) Also remember to shop EARLY and avoid the rush!
  2. Be deliberate about delegating. Sure, most of the time you can get help in the kitchen fairly easily on Thanksgiving Day from kind family volunteers. But why not be deliberate about it? We have done this in our family, and people really appreciate the freedom of knowing they have done their part and can relax. I know I have definitely experienced feeling “guilty” if I am not in the kitchen until the whole thing is entirely cleaned up and finished. When you assign roles everything gets done and everyone feels more relaxed. Even the teenagers and the football watchers can do something! You can assign dish washing, dish drying, clearing the table, setting the table, carving the turkey and ham, whipping the cream, or whatever you like. And of course, you can delegate preparation of various dishes well in advance of the big day. 
  3. Plan beyond the big feast. Many times on Thanksgiving the festivities last into the weekend and family is visiting from out of town. Remember to consider your leftovers and plan menus to feed everyone throughout the time you’ll be together. Soups are easy and satisfying, and of course there is always the good old turkey sandwich. Click here for a link to some great Thanksgiving leftover recipes to help. Planning activities is also a good idea, since people can get tired of television and sitting around digesting. At our house we like to play card games and board games. We organized a big tournament one year with a tally board and everything! Think about places that your visitors might like to go and organize a trip out to someplace other than the shopping mall. (See also my previous post, Make a ‘Tourist Binder’“)

We are celebrating twice this year– we already had a Thanksgiving meal together in October when my brother was recently on leave from Iraq. We’ll be thinking of him a lot on the real Thanksgiving. What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions and tips?  Share in the comments!

123 responses so far

Nov 10 2009

Stacey’s Guests for Nov. 11, 2009 are Lynn & Corey from Celebrate Green!

Lynn and Corey, the mother-daughter team that makes up, are back with wonderful ways to make the upcoming holidays GREEN!

Please visit their website today, and join us on November 11th at for another wonderful radio show on living the green life!

133 responses so far

Nov 09 2009

It is Never too Early to Get Ready For Kindergarten from Cool Moms Cool Tips

As a new mom, relying on other mom’s advice and tips has been invaluable.Kids are back to school, and with that, more learning for new moms.

Kinder is not what it used to be, and with advanced curriculums, it means that children have to start kinder with several lessons in their pocket like the alphabet, and how to spell their name.

A mom, turned author, Stacey Kannenberg at Ceday Valley Publishing, found a great way to put together the alphabet, numbers and shapes for parents and teachers in order to allow them to empower kids entering kindergarten and the first grade. Ms. Kannenberg offers a wonderful set of books: Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten and Let’s Get Ready for First Grade. These books were made to be used in homes, preschools, head start programs, libraries and schools. Stacey’s books have impacted education and she is becoming a favorite presenter at early learning and educational conferences. Sales of over 60,000 copies, and knowing that the books are in over 400 school districts nationwide is not just a measure of how successful Stacey’s books are, but reassurance if you use them, that you are definitively putting your child in the right path.

So, to prepare for Kinder arm yourself with these durable books that includes guides, tips and motivation building hints throughout the book. Mrs. Good leads the teaching way with the help of the Cedar Valley Kids. This book is really for all types of backgrounds.

Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten covers the 7 items that children need to know for kindergarten testing:

  • Know the uppercase alphabet and name the letters out of sequence or mixed up.
  • Know the numbers to 10 and identify the numbers out of sequence.
  • Identify basic colors.
  • Identify basic shapes.
  • Identify basic American coins.
  • Count objects to 10.
  • Show how far they can count toward 100.

Not limited to the list above, the book also talks about seasons, opposites, has a tap phone to teach kids to dial their home number and more.  The laminated pages of the book allow you to use erasable markers to trace and re-trace numbers and letters, making it easy for little ones.

The Kindergarten book is also available in a English/Spanish version, and truth be told, the Spanish in this book is incredibly good. Formal, with perfect spelling and grammatically correct, the book delivers the right bases to start working on Spanish too. This means that the knowledge of a second language can be given with confidence, and in the proper way with Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten / A Prepararse para el Kindergarten!

In order to make that first year a success, and to give your child the self-confidence and tool to thrive, don’t think twice about these wonderful set of books by a parent for kids, parents, and teachers. As an added value to helping your kids, help others as 10% of profits are donated to literacy programs and back to schools.

This would be the perfect Christmas gift for parents with little ones. Can’t wait to start the Kinder preparations? You can purchase your Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten and First Grade books at  Cedar Valley Publishing. To get a special 20% discount for Cool Moms Cool Tips readers, just enter the code CEDAR (all in caps) at check out.

Cool Mom Cool Tips is Running a CONTEST for Our Books!  Click Here to Learn More!

354 responses so far

Nov 06 2009

Let’s Get Ready To iPhone Application iCurfew!

iCurfew is basically an easy way for kids and parents to check in with each other, remotely. Kids use iCurfews to send their location to their parents in an email.

iCurfew is also great for parents who may be worrying about if their kids are where they say they are, and a great way to ‘pick me up here mom!’


App Features:

  • Email up to 3 contacts with currently location.
  • Link sends parent to Google Map showing current location.
  • Easy for kids to use, just hit a few buttons.
  • Customize message template. Kids can add their own message on pick up time, change of plans, etc.
  • Kids can easily send their location to parents picking them up from sporting events and concerts.

Only $.99 !!!  Click Here to Learn More.

Comments Off on Let’s Get Ready To iPhone Application iCurfew!

Nov 05 2009

What Experts Say About Early Language Learning from Beth Butler, Founder of the Boca Beth Spanish Learning Program

  1. Children who learn two languages early in life typically read sooner than monolingual children.
  2. Bilingual children will have a larger vocabulary pool when compared to their monolingual peers.
  3. Children who learn a 2nd language before the age of ten will have native or near-native pronunciation in the new language.
  4. The majority of bilingual children score higher on the math and verbal sections of most standardized tests.
  5. Problem solving skills increase as a child learns two languages.
  6. An increased awareness of other cultures is a benefit of learning a second language.
  7. Increased and improved communication result from learning two languages.
  8. Self-confidence and self-esteem typically increase as a child learns to communicate in a second/third language.
  9. Brain power boosts take place as neural pathway connections are made during the acquisition of two languages simultaneously.
  10. Young children learn second languages more easily before the age of ten-twelve – this is called the window of opportunity.

For more information, please visit

116 responses so far

Nov 03 2009

We Have a WINNER!!!

Kelly Ann T. is the winner of the Cedar Valley Publishing Contest Book Giveaway!  CONGRATULATIONS!

Kelly, please email me at with your mailing address, so I can send your free books to you!

For the rest of you who entered, regularly check on our “Press & Media Events” tab above, as we add many websites who are running contests with our books.

Thanks again!  Stacey Kannenberg

111 responses so far

Next »