Monday, September 29, 2008

A Year of CrockPotting

This blog is written by Stephanie, a woman with a crockpot obsession. She also cooks gluten-free, which makes this a great resource for those with celiac disease or gluten or wheat allergies. Thank you to my college friend, Chris, for sharing this with me. I've already found several recipes I can try. Which is great, because Bryan and I are getting really bored with the limited recipes that we know I can eat. I was really discouraged last week when I went through a cookbook for people with multiple food allergies and didn't find a single thing we could cook!

read more | digg story

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Random Things I Haven't Bought Because I Was "Economizing" or "Being Practical"

I've recently realized that there are several helpful products that would save me time, or make my life more pleasant, but I refuse to buy them because I'm saving money. Yet, I will buy a shirt or a new pair of shoes (granted, desparately needed) or an interesting cleaning product, or a book for my daughter.

Things I haven't purchased for no particular reason:

  1. Another lamp for my bedroom. It's really dark in my room because there are no overhead lights. The only light in there is an old, cheap halogen-style lamp from 7 years ago. Yet, my room goes uncleaned and my clothes remain on the floor because I don't like to go in there after dark, except to sleep. Wouldn't it make more sense to spend $25 to $50 on lighting?
  2. Organizing containers for my makeup. I keep my makeup and hair products in a basket. At one point, I had everything divided into little containers. It made getting ready easier and quicker. I knew exactly where everything was! But my daughter wanted her containers back to use as bathtubs for her WordWorld characters. Since they were hers, I gave them back. But I never went out and spent $5 on new containers to save me two minutes every morning.
  3. New facial soap. I just don't know what to buy. So I'm using my daughter's Dove.
  4. Round cake pans. I can make due with pie tins, right?
  5. Shorts that fit well. I'm waiting for next summer...but in Virginia, any day of the year could feel like summer.
How about you? And weird things you won't buy for some odd reason?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It

I bought the new FIRM infomercial package before it even went to infomercial! I feel cool and special, like a FIRM Believer (Yes, I'm a member of the online club). Or maybe like someone who spends a lot of time online.

After I saw the new FIRM Wave on YouTube, I got a birthday check from my mom. She encouraged me to try it pointing out that my blog is called, "Holly Tried It." Thanks for the advice, Mom.

I'll let you know how it works and if it's something you should buy.

My favorite FIRM package so far is the TranFIRMer Body Sculpting System kit (BSS4) with the two long steps that can be placed on an incline. What do you like?

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

PETA Wants Ben and Jerrys To Use Human Breast Milk

Instead of using cow milk, PETA wants Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream makers to use human breast milk. I wonder if they consider the disease or drugs that can be passed through human breast milk?I love this story. It shows how out of touch PETA can be. Hmmm.....but if they switched to human milk, would I be able to eat it? I'm allergic to cow's milk. Just thinking about ice cream makes me think, well, maybe....No! That's just gross!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Firm Wave - Is it a Gimmick or Lots of Fun?

Yesterday, when I went to The Firm site to get a picture of Firm Yoga I saw that they are offering a new product - The Wave. It looks like lost of fun, and maybe a tad bit dangerous. Since the only danger I experience right now is driving, that seems kind of exciting. If you are a FIRM Believer, then you can view several video previews by logging in.

What do you think? Is The Firm Wave a gimmick or lots of fun?

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
I Tried the FIRM Wave
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It

Monday, September 22, 2008

I worked out with FIRM Yoga

I actually worked out, tonight. Only because my husband said, "Aren't you going to work out tonight?" I grudgingly tromped upstairs and put in FIRM Yoga. Within minutes I felt calm and happy. Dare I say, "centered"? After the DVD was over, I stayed on the floor and fell asleep. Aahhh...Why don't I do this more often?

FIRM Yoga is one of my favorite yoga tapes. It's paced well with no long breaks while the instructor goes on about form or Eastern philosophy. The positions all feel good with several variations to customize to your level. I've had this DVD since it came out, and I keep going back to it. It's not too hard, not too easy, not too long, and not too boring.

CLARIFICATION: My poor husband did the right thing in asking me if I was going to work out. I had told him I was going to, and he was only asking because I was planted on the floor watching E's red-carpet fashion show on low (so I wouldn't wake up Kalen). He wasn't insinuating anything.

More Info on the Firm's Wave:

I Tried the FIRM Wave
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Child with Down syndrome to meet one of her heroes | NewsOK.

A four-year-old with Down Syndrome gets to meet Rachel Coleman. Coleman's Signing Time videos have played a large role in helping the child communicate with her immediate and extended family.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Knock-Knock Jokes

We've been teaching our daughter the knock-knock joke:

A. Knock Knock
B. Who's There
A. Boo
B. Boo Who?
A. Why are you crying?
She can deliver this joke properly, but she likes to mix it up.

A. Knock Knock
B. Who's There
A. Jimmy! (Our neighbor)
I think the punchline is that she didn't tell the joke we expected....?

But the other day she surprised us with a joke we've never told her (and that's kind of funny).

A. Knock Knock
B. Who's There?
A. Impatient Cow
B. Impatient Cow Who?
A. Moo! (Shouted at the same time you say Who.)
Now, the timing wasn't perfect, but she did it. She learned this joke from the special features at the end of Signing Time's Who Has the Frog DVD. Thank you Lucy and Zach (mostly Lucy).

What jokes or "jokes" does your child tell?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Politics...A few links to help you make an informed decision

McCain and Palin Campaign Website
Obama and Biden Campaign Website
Nader and Gonzalez Campaign Website

Friday, September 12, 2008

Food Advice to Enjoy!

Take a coffee or cocoa drink for breakfast, drink green tea during the day, a glass of wine in the evening and … a piece of dark chocolate before going to bed !!!” - The Gourmand's Heart

I think this is advice we can all live by and actually enjoy. Dark chocolate, wine, and coffee everyday...count me in...except the wine thing. I just can't learn to like it. Learn about all the health benefits of green tea, coffee, chocolate, and wine at an admittedly odd source - The Babies Online Blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Win a $99 Baby Signing Time Giftset

Signing Time is sending me a Baby Signing Time Gift Set valued at $99. Unfortunately, it's not for me. It's for you, or some other lucky Holly Tried It reader. It will include the Baby Signing Time Videos 1-4 and the accompanying CDs.

The contest winner will be drawn from a hat, because I will want to give everyone the gift set. You can enter multiple times to increase your chances of winning. To earn one entry complete one of the following. You can earn multiple entries by completing more than one of the following:

  1. Post Holly Tried It on your Blog Roll and then comment on this post with your blog address.
  2. Twitter the address for Holly Tried It to your friends and add HollyTriedIt to the people you are "following."
  3. Comment on this post with a story about your signing child, or the reason you want to sign with your child.
  4. Comment on this post with a question you have about sign language.
  5. Digg this post.
  6. Follow me through your Blogger account.
Remember, more entries equals more chances to win.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bloggers - Enter Signing Time Contest to win Baby Signing Time Set

Signing Time is having a competition for a Baby Signing Time set worth $99. Find the rules and enter here. I already have.

Moms, do you have a security blanket?

One of my friends admitted that she still has a security blanket--her scruffy stuffed animal named Chubs--and she still sleeps with him. I'm sure I would still sleep with my beloved Holland Chosun (sweet, stuffed bear) if my husband wasn't the jealous type. Poor Holland Chosun was immediately banished to the closet after we got married.

Do you have a security blanket of some type? Do you sleep with it when your husband is home? I admit it, I used to retrieve Holland Chosun from banishment when Bryan was gone. Is your loved one the jealous type, or is your special lovie welcomed in bed with you?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mommy, Is There a Baby in There?

As many of you know, my daughter firmly believes she has a girl in her belly. Not a boy and not a turtle anymore, either. It's a girl.

Tonight, I was giving her a bath and she asked, "Baby in there?" and pointed to my belly.
I laughed and said, "No baby in there."
She said, "Yes. Baby in there. See it rolling!"

Thanks, sweet and precious daughter. Thanks for pointing out that my low-rise shorts are a little tight right now and they give me a muffin-top which apparently "rolls" while I'm bathing you. I was feeling motivated to I think I'll go stuff my face with allergen-free chocolate chips.

Squeaky Shoes, Size 9 or larger

My daughter's feet are suddenly growing. Which presents a problem--it's hard to find squeaky shoes size 9 or larger. Well, it's not that hard if you're willing to pay $25 to $35. I'm not. I'm looking at the $10 to $15 range. I try to keep my squeaky shoe purchases comparable to shoe prices at Target.

I found two stores online that sell reasonably priced squeaky shoes size 9 or larger.
Uniquely Squeaky - This eBay store is run by a grandma and offers reduced shipping for multiple purchases. You can also make an offer and see if she accepts it.

Itzy Bitzy - This store will break your heart and inspire you. What? A kid's shoe store can do all that? Yes. Itzy Bitzy was founded by a family who has one special needs daughter. Her bones in her face are underdeveloped and result in facial deformities. She has already had multiple surgeries, and will have many more. So, if you want an excuse to buy every shoe you like, go here. A portion of the proceeds are donated to charity. They also have a wide selection of shoes in larger sizes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dr. Laura Thinks Palin is a Poor Role Model

I don't pay much attention to Dr. Laura, but I just stumbled upon this post on her blog. Dr. Laura wrote,

But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth? I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family’s newborn. When Mom and Dad both work full-time (no matter how many folks get involved with the children), it becomes a somewhat chaotic situation.
Personally, I think she is a great role-model. The fact that she went back to work so soon is just a testament to her physical stamina. And, she went back to work WITH Trig--a situation I know many mothers would love to be able to work out.

The governor said she won't take a maternity leave but will bring Trig with her to work. Her spokesperson later clarified, at Palin's request, that the governor will take time off for medical appointments, physical therapy and whatever Trig needs.

And honestly, while most women don't go back to the workplace so soon after birth, many are actually working on maternity leave. I was working an hour or so a day from home by after my first week out of the hospital--and I was in poor physical health. Other women are getting phone calls from work, checking emails, or actually going back to work for a day or two to run important events. It may not be ideal, but I think it's a reality many American women face. And honestly...did the women who founded this country take three months off their back-breaking work maintaining the home when children were born? No.

And, yes, Trig has Down Syndrome, but I'm sure the Palin's are well-prepared. They have been aware of Trig's condition for months, and Sarah's sister's son has Down Syndrome.

I think Sarah Palin is a great role-model. I go to work and send my child to daycare. She doesn't get to come to work with me. I think it would be wonderful to be able to tell my daughter, "Look at the changes I am making in the world while we are apart! Look how I am able to make the world a more welcoming place for special needs children."

"Imagination, Imagination, Let's Pretend"

"Imagination, Imagination, Imagination, Let's Pretend." - Rachel Coleman

Imagination was one of the first songs Kalen signed. Now her imagination and ability to pretend is increasing exponentially. Today, she decided she wanted to go visit her Uncle Joel. I asked her how she was going to get to Uncle Joel's. She said, "Pack a bag. Ride a bus." She proceeded to pack her bag with clothes and training pants. And then we rode an imaginary bus (Bryan was the driver. Kalen and I were passengers in the comfy recliner.) and Kalen gave directions. "Go left!" "Stop!"

So much fun...but I'm not excited about her fear of bunnies. It's not like she's seen Monty Python!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Laura Berg of My Smart Hands Responds to Lasting Benefit of Sign Language Question

Laura Berg is the founder of My Smart Hands, a baby signing company. She is the mother of Fireese, the most famous signing baby on YouTube. Here is her insightful answer to my question, Do the benefits of sign language "wear off"?

This is a great question! Before I started my company, My Smart Hands, I was a grade 8 teacher. My principal had asked me to run the literacy program at our school. In trying to find ways to assist these children in their learning I came across a study that showed a significant improvement in students' spelling skills simply by the introduction of the ASL alphabet into their learning routines. The students would learn how to spell using the manual alphabet and in many cases their spelling scores improved by 100%. As a teacher I was amazed and would have been sold on the concept even if there were a 20% improvement. I began to use this method with a group of students at my school who were having difficulty spelling. Within two months of using this method their scores increased from a range of 9-11/20 on their spelling tests to 18-20/20. I was amazed! I wanted to understand why this was the case and share this information with other educators. I have done tons of research on this topic and to put it in very simple terms that makes total sense to me is this: we take in language on the left side of our brain as a sound and we take in sign language on the right side of our brain as an image, this gives us two places to recall one thing. Of course this makes total sense! We are taught to use the VAK method of teaching (visual, auditory and kinesthetic). Using sign language can encompass all those learning styles. I now lecture at universities and colleges to teachers and ECE workers on the benefits of signing with school aged children. I believe that you will find more and more teachers using it in their classrooms as another educational tool.

I think that many parents drop the signing as soon as their child starts to talk but I always encourage parents to continue signing with their children, especially using the manual alphabet with them. It is good brain exercise for them and a fun game to continue to play Whenever we go out to dinner at a restaurant and my daughter gets bored we start playing 'guess that sign' or 'spell that word' where we fingerspell short words with her. My daughter was reading and sounding out words when she was just over two. She is now almost three and is able to read books. I believe this is a result in her using sign language to learn the letters and words. I used signing with my 12 and 13 year old students and I used it with my baby, they have all benefited from it. Basically to sum it up, the learning your child has done will not be undone or lost. Giving them a great language foundation through sign and choosing to continue can only be positive and beneficial, how could learning not be!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why Couples Need Couple-Friends

I'm always amazed at the things I learn about Bryan when we are hanging out with other people. He'll make a comment and I'll say, "Why didn't you tell me that?" And he'll say, "I did," or "I thought I did." And maybe he did, but not as clearly as he did to our friend. I know he finds out things about me, too. Tonight, I found out that the ankle he sprained months ago still bothers him. He found out that I sometimes feel like he's telling me that symptoms I have are "In my head." Granted, he's never said that, I just extrapolated. So, a simple conversation with someone else resolved issues for us. And we didn't even know they were issues!

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Baby and Toddler Sign Language Blog

Hey all you loyal Holly Tried It fans who also sign with your children. I just created a new blog specifically about baby signing, ASL, signing with toddlers, and signing for early literacy. Come check out Smart Baby Sign Language and tell your signing friends.