Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nine months

Our sweet smooshy Asher smElliot is already 9 months old. As far as I'm concerned, he is growing much too quickly and I agree wholeheartedly with my big boys who think their baby Asher should stay a baby forever. None of this crawling and pulling up and getting into the dog bowls business.
At 9 months this boy is on the go and ready to roll. He pulls himself up on just about everything, and is seen mostly standing in his crib these days. Sleeping is for the birds he says.

This third boy of mine may be my most difficult sleeper, but he is for sure turning into an awesome eater. His appetite does not quit and he's using his two teethe well to chomp down on just about the same table food we have. Like his mama and brothers, he favors fruits over the veggies but enjoys everyone in the squash family. I would say his top favorite foods are blueberries, chicken, and rainbow sherbert ice cream. Say what? I meant peas and spinach...
His nicknames include: Smoosh, Smash, Smish, Ashey and...Butter Biggens. :-) When he's not eating, this little one loves the fresh air. We go outside quite a bit and he is always happy in the sun. I tried to take these pictures above this afternoon and he was just too captivated by his older brothers to cheese for me. 
I was worried this third boy of ours would feel like a third wheel to the dynamic duo that is my bigger boys, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Asher is the adored up and down and all around. Evan and Bennett love their little brother so much-they often tell me from the backseat how glad they are that we got Asher for a baby brother, and just as often fight over who gets to play with or sit next to him. They are proud of him and eagerly tell strangers in the grocery store all about their little brother, and the way this baby smiles up at them something tells me the feeling is mutual. A random aside-just yesterday Evan was giving Asher a hug and Asher pulled his hair pretty good, enough to make Evan cry(it doesn't take much lol). When I was explaining to him that Asher was a baby and still learning not to pull hair, he told me that it wasn't because he pulled his hair that he was crying, but rather he was worried that he wouldn't be able to hug him anymore. Sweet! In any case, brothers are the best.
When your big brother crashes your walker jam,
and the other one sits on your car...
In other 9 months news, we were once again thankful to get a great report from his pediatrician at his well check. Weighing in at 20 pounds and meeting all of his milestones, we've got ourselves a healthy, happy boy-praise God! These are precious times.
Happy 9 months stud muffin!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Low sugar challenge low down

It's been a week since I've sipped on a sweet treat like this-I made it!!! By my calculation, I've spared myself a pound or two of sticky sucrose this week alone. I can feel my arteries thanking me...
Shocking! I'm guessing my beloved Target icees aren't much better...
Really though, how do I feel? I have to admit I am just now, at the very end of these 7 days, feeling a notable change for the better. The greater half of the time has been somewhat rough, being that the majority of my sugar was tied to caffeine. Eeek! All things considered, I'm happy to say that I do feel like I've turned a tiny corner. For starters my husband would be the first one to tell you that I am NOT a morning person. That said, I feel much less sluggish in the morning lately and have slowly but surely reclaimed some energy throughout the day without the aid of coffee and sweet tea. It's also nice to ditch the food guilt for a change-chewy Chips Ahoy you will not get the best of me today! I'm proud of myself for sticking to it-I turned down Baskin Robbins AND a cupcake this week! As for the scale, I lost a whopping one pound. Now I wasn't in it for weight loss primarily, but I'll happily claim my little loss.

Over the course of this little experiment, I learned that cutting added sugars out of your diet really isn't that difficult at all-unless you live in America and love a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks that is.

Cue the broken record-what it all comes down to is eating healthy whole foods. Tadaaa! It's the not so secret truth and we all know it. You can still eat fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood, dairy, protein like nuts and whole grains too-does'nt sound incredibly restrictive right? If only it were that easy.
Oh USA, you win the gold. 
Going without over this past week has been a steep learning curve for me because sugar is just too familiar a friend in this day and age-and parting is such "sweet" sorrow. At this point, I don't plan to dive off the whole 30 edge just yet, and yes I do see a Baskin Robbins rainbow sherbet ice cream cone in my future. It will be glorious.
Can we rewind the clock 300 years on the processed food front please?
The name of the game is moderation, and that's my take home. I don't need to make special occasion sweets an everyday event. I do plan on consuming less sugar, and will continue to work towards incorporating more whole foods and less of crazy processed ones. I've already cut my coffee sugar in half, and am considering switching from french vanilla creamer to milk. Also, I've learned so much more about reading labels and have already started making better choices at the grocery store. Hopefully this will be a small diving board to bigger changes in the long run. And now, I think I'll help myself to a sweet something to celebrate. :-) All things in moderation!

Friday, August 19, 2016

FlipStir Puzzles-A Review

Up for a challenge? Try your hand at FlipStir puzzles from Enlivens LLC. Since we love puzzles, we were excited to receive the Level 1 Tyrannosaurus Rex puzzle to review. These fun FlipStir puzzles are self contained in a plastic tube and come with a wand used to manipulate the pieces in place. Simply stir, shake, and solve! Except that, it wasn't so simple for this mama!
FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
To be honest, this puzzle is incredibly challenging and unfortunately my kids were more frustrated with than engaged in it. While my husband was able to solve the puzzle, he also struggled. To be fair, it is possible! Determined to make it work, I tried a last time just before writing this review and was able to line up all the pieces correctly. Sweet victory!
FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
On the pro side, you can't deny the "cool" factor of these innovative puzzles. I was immediately intrigued just looking at the product from the website, and excited for a new spin on the traditional puzzle. Plus, you can't loose any pieces. I repeat, no lost pieces! Is there anything as frustrating as coming to the completion of a puzzle to discover those last two pieces aren't there? Problem solved!

As for the negatives, I can't deny the difficulty here-especially for children. Though, I imagine it to be excellent hand-eye coordination practice after messing with it for hours! And, young or old, we can all use a lesson in patience and persistence. :-)
FlipStir puzzles come in two levels of difficulty with a variety of colorful designs. They are:
  • Level 1-Tyrannasouras Rex
  • Level 1-Rainbow Pencils
  • Level 2-Statue of Liberty
  • Level 2-Solar System
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FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids-a Review

Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review
Hola amigos! Over the past month we have had the opportunity to explore Spanish with Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids. This immersive and multi-sensory program was developed by homeschooling mom and lawyer Kit Strauss. Part of our homeschooling goals include raising global citizens with a wide awareness of the world we live in. Naturally, we were excited to take our first dive into the Spanish language with this award winning program. We received the Starter Set 1 to review, which includes:
Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review
  • DVD with videos for levels 1-3
  • Three parent-teacher guides 
  • Flashcards and card games for levels 1-3
  • Workbooks for levels 1-3
  • Stickers for all 3 levels
The three levels mentioned above are Basketballs aren't for Breakfast, and The Little Magic House(parts 1 & 2). Each DVD is creatively presented as an in flight video to watch as you "travel" to a Spanish speaking country. What I really like about this curriculum is that the DVDs are actually entertaining and fun to watch. Both of my boys laughed several times throughout the videos-it's always nice to hear laughter and learning go hand in hand!

Something that I think that sets FLKBK apart from other foreign language curriculums is that it teaches by method of immersion. There is no "repeat after me" type of instruction, and you will not find translators or many subtitles in the videos. Instead, students naturally pick up the language as they see it spoken by other kids in a real life setting. This is much like the way they have learned their first language-simply by listening and watching. For example, there is a short "hide and seek" skit where the girl counts "Uno, dos, tres..." behind a tree. While this may present a bit of a learning curve up front, the video introduces it like riding a bike-it gets easier to understand over time. As an English speaking parent teacher, I would also note that it's incredible helpful to have that DVD component to hear how the words are correctly pronounced. 
My boys also really enjoyed the stickers and workbooks. The workbooks are engaging, colorful and sturdy. Also, the flash cards are a great addition but I will admit the "Go Squish" card game was difficult for my littles to understand. While I would'nt neccesarily recommend that game for younger kids, you can still have plenty of learning fun with the flash cards and even adapt the game as you like. 
The parent teacher guides included in this starter set are extremely helpful. Not only do they lay out detailed lesson plans, but also suggest supplemental hands on activities to reinforce the material taught, leaving plenty of room for flexibility. 

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Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review