Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Boy oh Boy LINKY

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my husband took both of these pictures this week

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Don't Ever Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle!

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Why yes I DO have sparkly hot pink slippers and bright green nail polish on! Thank-you for noticing! They were a special gift from a dear friend. 

Some people may say that neon green doesn't match with pink apple jammies and sparkly hot pink slippers... but we disagree! Clearly they just aren't creative enough :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Beautiful Smart Funny Little Girl

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My husband took this picture of our daughter this week and I love it. I shared it on Facebook but I really wanted to share it here too. She is growing up so fast!

Olivia changes her clothes about 8 times a day... I believe in this particular picture she was sporting her summer tankini bathing suit top with a tutu. You can't go wrong with a look like that :).

I tell Olivia that she is beautiful (because obviously she is) but I also tell her that she is smart and funny and creative and all sorts of other things because it is so important that she knows that being pretty is so not the most important thing in life.

The thing is... she has decided that being PRETTY is the ONLY compliment she wants to hear.

We regularly have this conversation:

Me: Olivia, you are so ( *smart / creative/ funny etc. insert whatever non-beauty related compliment here*)
Olivia: you mean I'm pretty
Me: no, I mean that you are smart because of how well you wrote those words (or whatever)
Olivia: but I don't want to be smart I want to be pretty!
Me: explaining once again why it is great to be pretty and she is certainly pretty but that being smart and funny and creative is way more important because that is what really matters.
Olivia: no. I want to be pretty. *stomp stomp stomp*
Me: hangs head in shame as women everywhere take two giant steps backwards in our quest for being recognized as more than just eye-candy.

Oy vey.

It has actually started to get a little better lately though. Perhaps my message is finally starting to sink in ever so slightly. Today when I told her she was smart she said:

"ya ya, I know. And I'm funny and creative too. But I'm still pretty right?" 


Yes, Olivia. You are most assuredly pretty. There is no doubt about that my darling girl. Just look at that picture!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

who?Comics and how my son discovered Steven Spielberg

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Thank you to who?Comics for sponsoring this post and encouraging my child to read biographies in comic book form! Please click here to learn more about the app. And follow who? Comics on Twitter for updates!

This is a screenshot I took directly off of our iPad showing the who? Comics we have:

There are tons more available- everyone from Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama to Jane Goodall and Albert Einstein! I was impressed with the variety of books and I love that there is a company trying to find creative ways to bring the stories of these fascinating people to life for our children.

I chose the "Artists & Entertainers Set - For Children Who Dream of Becoming the Next Star" because I thought Steven Spielberg and J.K. Rowling would instantly grab Aiden and Owen's attention. I was right.

When I first showed the app to Aiden he was instantly interested. He loves the iPad, he loves comics so put the two together and it was bound to be a good combination.

At first he wasn't sure who the people were so I told him a bit about each of them. When I got to Steven Spielberg and said "he is the man who directed the Indiana Jones movies" Aiden's face lit right up. THAT was the guy he wanted to read about!

Aiden had no problem navigating the app. It is extremely simple to use. Aiden has Autism and even though he is 9 his reading level is a little below that. He was able to read everything but did need some help with pronunciation for bigger words.

In his very first sitting Aiden read through 2 full "chapters" all on his own. Please keep in mind that this is a child with Autism and serious attention issues. That is a big deal. The amazing part is that when he got to the end of the second chapter he didn't want to stop reading, he was just tired of figuring out the words so he asked me to read to him! We read another 2 chapters together.

While we were reading Aiden would stop and study the pictures. He really liked that he could "turn" pages so easily and that he didn't have to worry about his place being lost because you can very easily bookmark your spot.

I asked Aiden if he wanted to look at the other books at all but because of his Autism he gets hyper-focused and he won't look at the other books until he is completely done the Steven Spielberg one.

Here is what Aiden told me when I asked him to give me a review:

"I love the Steven Spielberg comic. I like that it is real information like you would read in a book or at school or something but it is interesting like a story. I really like this one because I think Steven Spielberg is a little bit like me. Maybe I can make movies someday too. That would be so cool!!! I didn't know that Steven Spielberg got bullied when he was a kid. I bet those guys that did that feel pretty stupid now that they know that he is way cooler than them.  I think it is cool that he gets to make movies. But people didn't know how smart he was did they? But they know now."

How's that for some insight? You bet they know now Aiden!! And I'm sure those kids that bullied Steven Spielberg do indeed feel pretty stupid about that now. Moral of the story? Don't be a bully. You never know what that person is going to do someday!

As an aside- when you have a kid with Autism it is pretty spectacular when that child finds someone who has done amazing things- someone like Spielberg- and says "hey, that guys seems a little like me. Maybe I can do amazing things too." I had a pretty hard time not crying. So thanks who? Comics (& Steven Spielberg) for that very special mama moment for me :).

Anyway, the proof that Aiden genuinely likes this app is that when he woke up this morning the FIRST thing he did was pick up the iPad, sit down and start reading the who? Comic right where we left off last night. He wanted to do that INSTEAD of watching cartoons.

Oh yes he did!!

Love that.

Today after school I decided to give my other son Owen a chance to check out the app. Owen is a HUGE Harry Potter fan and when he saw JK Rowling's name on the list he recognized it right away and was very excited.

Owen is 8 and was able to use the app no problem as well. Owen is an excellent reader and said that the comic was "really easy" to read. I watched him zip through pages with ease and he began to tell me some of the things he was learning as he read. "Hey mom, did you know that JK Rowling did such and such" or "Mom, look at this!". Those are all good signs that a kid is learning!

Owen has ADHD and I think the fact that the books are in comic form and on the iPad make them far more interesting to him. That being said Owen read the first two chapters and then wanted to see what the other books were about as well.

I think he took a look at all the books we have on our "bookshelf" before it was time to put the iPad away for the night.

I asked Owen if he could give me a review of the app and he said "it's cool mom!". Not very wordy but it gets the point across!

I had my husband take a look at the app too just to get his opinion and this is what he had to say:

I thought the art work was good, the stories were easy to read. The points of the story that are awkward are not left out but addressed in a way that is honest. The drawings are bright, simple, and highlight the story well.

The app itself is easy to use and tries to reward you for using and learning the features that are not immediately visible. There are badges for doing things like using the bookmarking feature for the first time and for clicking on the 'timeline' page that's included with each book but not a part of the manuscript. The app is easy to use and fun to explore.

The "awkward" parts of stories that he is talking about are the parts like where Van Gogh cuts off his own ear and then commits suicide. Ya. That stuff is not left out but it IS dealt with in a very respectful, non-graphic, non-sensational way. The comics tell the truth without being gory or scary.

That being said these are not comic books for young children- I wouldn't be comfortable letting Olivia (age 5) listen in to some parts of them for example. 

I am very impressed with this app! It is educational in an entertaining and engaging way. I am happy to recommend this to anyone who is looking for creative ways to share some inspiring  biographies with their kids. 

Thank you again to who? Comics for sponsoring my post. Please click here to learn more about the app. Visit who? Comics for updates. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #CleverWhoComics #spon


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pretty on Pinterest - Chocolate Delights! LINKY

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The Pretty on Pinterest theme for this week is Chocolate.

Source: aboutamom.com via Tara on Pinterest

Mmmmmm.... chocolate!!

Just in case you have no idea what Pretty on Pinterest is I explained last week why I love Pinterest and what Pretty on Pinterest is. The theme last week was Black and White and it was pretty cool :). Pretty on Pinterest is hosted by Simply Stacie and SassyMama in LA so be sure and check out their posts too!

Pinterest is just full of yummy chocolate delights...

Things that would be perfect for kids...

or Valentine's Day

Source: ohcupcakes.net via Tara on Pinterest

Things that look like something I could actually possibly make...

to things I could definitely not make....

There were about a million chocolate delights that would be perfect for parties for kids and grown-ups alike...

Source: marcoropke.com via Tara on Pinterest

When it comes to chocolate people are incredibly creative, incredibly talented, and incredibly gifted to be able to create chocolate masterpieces such as these... but they must not work at home because kids would definitely destroy these in a hurry...

Source: marcoropke.com via Tara on Pinterest

And now I'd like to leave you with this one final thought....

Source: asset.soup.io via Tara on Pinterest

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feel free to link up your Pinterest profile here too :)...

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Bedtime Madness LINKY

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(my husband Doug took all these photos of the kids at bedtime last night)

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