Art (4) baby (5) blogs (3) cleaning (4) Dear Mom (5) educational (13) entertainment (11) Free Stuff (3) fun (8) Grrumbles (4) humor (14) issues (10) lunch (3) Medical (9) My Family (13) pregnancy (1) Preschoolers (5) Products (3) reading (1) safety (4) solutions (19) Teens (1) Toddlers (5) Tweens (3)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween Graphics

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Junction of Function

**This is not a paid post. This is a product review. I met the creator of this product at the home school convention I attended in July and asked her to allow me to use this product and write a review.**

I was wandering the aisles of the vendor room at the Southeast Home School Expo checking out the various materials that were being offered for display. I had passed up booth after endless booth of materials that were irrelevant to my own needs when I came across the Junction of Function tables. I was immediately drawn into the display area to play with the products that were available to be touched and held. I was so excited to see the Writing Made Simple product that I nearly jumped for joy as I phoned my husband to beg him for permission to buy the set for our girls.

Kira had been learning about her letters, but was not able to write those letters with any level of proficiency. Try though I might, I could not get her to understand the concept of lifting her pencil from the paper in order to make a new movement to create the entire letter. She was determined to write her letters with one stroke of the pencil. (We all know this does not work...) Her failure was causing her to become frustrated with the entire process and whatever progress we made was quickly washed away by that frustration.

Standing in the midst of hundreds of people and hundreds of possible purchases, I held in my hand the solution to my problem. This manipulative would allow me to explain to Kira how to make the appropriate movements in order to create her letters on paper. I knew this would be exactly what she needed. Lucky for us, Dad said it was just fine with him for me to buy the set.

I spoke with Kelly, one of the creators of this system, to learn more about what it was that I was bringing home with me. I learned that each character that was used to create the magnetic letters was cleverly named to make it easy for kids to remember who was who. I also learned that Kelly and the co-creator of the system worked together to create a cast of characters that would be fun for kids to get to know.

When looking at the magnets that are used to show kids how to form their letters, each character is performing a specific action in order to create the correct movement for writing the given letter. The action is created from the toes to the head of each character. For example, to create the backbone of the letter "K" Harry Head dives to the ground in one very long motion. (To write the letter "K" we begin at the top of the backbone and go to the bottom. Following the motions of Harry Head diving to the ground, the child can learn to write this part of the letter "K" in one long motion.)

There is a transparent overlay that is used as a guide to show which character in which pose should be used for the letter. By explaining the action of the character, the child can follow that action with her pencil in order to create the letter.

It all sounded pretty good, but would it work?

The theory was sound. The magnets looked really cool. I loved the characters.

What would Kira think?

Well, as luck would have it, my life got a bit crazy and my promise to use the system for the month of August and write about the system in September failed to materialize. I only had a small opportunity to use the magnets with Kira during August and felt that I needed more time before I could accurately review the product. Add to that my method of home schooling (unschooling), I needed to wait for a time when Kira was actively interested in sitting down to learn how to write her letters.

Such a time did present itself early in August. Kira desperately wanted to know how to write her name. She had mastered writing the little 'i', the little 'r', and the little 'a'. Unfortunately she was struggling with the 'k' that begins her name. She just couldn't figure it out on her own. I was so excited that I finally had a good opportunity to sit down with her and show her this new goody that I found.

I pulled out the transparency for the letter 'K'.

I pulled out the appropriate magnets that corresponded with said transparency.

I sat down with Kira and a stack of papers ready to tackle the task of learning how to draw the letter 'K'.

I was in it for the long haul.

We - Would - Master - This - No- Matter - How - Long - It - Took!

It took less than a full minute. (Sigh...and I was so prepared to stick it out, too.)

I kid you not!

Kira took one look at the adorable little kids who were creating her coveted letter 'K' and with one short explanation of the motions that the kids were making she was drawing away. I left for a brief trip to the store and returned to a stack of pages with "Kira" written on them. Yes, her letters were still choppy and still in serious need of practice, but they were also very clear and very readable. Kira was beyond ecstatic at this new ability. She was so ecstatic that she had ZERO interest in learning to write any other letter. She spent days and days writing her own name on every scrap of paper she could find. (I'm sure the bill processors at AT&T found that to be quite odd when they received our monthly payment with the name "Kira" written all over the payment stub in crayon...)

I waited and waited and waited... and suggested and suggested and suggested... for another opportunity to learn more letters. Kira just wasn't interested. She was completely satisfied with having learned how to write that coveted letter 'K'.

So the review was delayed... until a time would come when Kira decided she wanted to learn more. Little did I know that she would begin practicing on her own. She had made a crucial connection in that one lesson. She now understood that she could create her letters by lifting her pencil and using more than one motion.


We have pulled out our Writing Made Simple set a few times since that first lesson. I still love those little characters and love how easy it is to show Kira how to create the letter she has chosen to study. If it weren't for mischievous Marisa, I could leave Kira to play with the magnets and transparencies completely unsupervised. It is a very sturdy set. Marisa would surely abscond with the magnetic characters to cast some exotic play on the refrigerator if I did not fully supervise their usage.

This item is by far one of the best tools I've been lucky enough to possess. If you have a child that is struggling to write his letters, there is no doubt that this one product will help your child visualize the necessary motions and make that crucial connection to allow him to succeed in writing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daily Amusement

 Found this HERE and wanted to share.

Top Ten Signs That You Might Be A Frustrated Mom
1. Your children know how to read HTML code but can't operate a vacuum cleaner.
2. Your children tell you that you said "yes" and you don't even remember the question.
3. You go to the grocery store and find yourself having a good time.
4. Your husband asks how your day went and you rate it on a scale of 1-10 repeats of "stop that!" or "no!".
5. You can't remember the last time you didn't have to share your drink.
6. You mistakenly tell the kids it's "sanity" time when you meant to say "bed" time.
7. The laundry seems to have taken on an evil nature and you begin to feel that it's out to get you.
8. You dread hearing the phone ring because it's a sure sign there's about to be trouble amongst the children.
9. It's finally your turn on the computer and "Touched by an Angel" is just coming on.
10.You go to sleep with "I'm bored" or "I'm hungry" still ringing in your ears.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A new blogger

Hi all.

I will be contributing occasionally to this blog – to give a perspective from Dad’s point of view. Thus, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself before I begin bloviating on matters that I probably don’t know nearly as much about as I think I do.

My name is Randall and I have the privilege of sharing my life with Shaunalynn – who is, without question, the best thing ever to happen to me. (Here’s a tissue to wipe some of the sap off)

I’m a lawyer, but not the kind that makes a lot of money – rather I am a public defender. It is my job to represent people whom the government accuses of crimes, but who cannot afford to hire counsel to protect their interests and their rights.

I enjoy hiking, camping, photography, college football, and I am a voracious reader. But most of all, I like being with my family – spending time with Shaunalynn, watching the kids learn new things as they discover and explore the world around them.

It’s a pleasure to join this effort and I hope I can add something useful, or at least interesting, to the discussion.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fundamental Lessons

By now you have probably heard the story from Indianapolis of the woman who works for the check cashing business who was held up, but fate stepped in and with a hug and a little prayer turned her nightmare into a blessing.

If you haven't heard or read what happened briefly here is what took place ~
A robbery took an unusual turn after the gunman came around the counter and the clerk began crying and started talking about God. The man said he had a 2-year-old child to support and asked for prayers about overcoming his hardships. The gunman spent nearly 10 minutes on his knees praying with the clerk at the check cashing business before fleeing with her cell phone and $20 from the register. At one point Gregory Smith tried to hand the clerk the gun and when she started to freak-out, he took the bullets out of the gun and handed them to her. He did this as gesture to let her know he really did not mean her any harm. Then when security video from the Advance America branch aired on the local news clearly showing the man's face during the stickup, the 23 year old man's mother convinced him to surrender.

Clearly this young man was desperate to do right by his girlfriend and child, but something in his upbringing and the real fundamentals of his being rose up and overrode the wrong he was doing that day.

Please don't think I'm in favor of Smith robbing people as a means of supporting his family. What I do support is his behavior after this was all done. Any videos you watch of Smith since he turned himself in clearly show he is sorry. Now I'm not talking about ~ I'm going to jail ~ sorry. I'm talking about the type of sorry that you know he learned as a child.

We all know it is important that we teach our children right from wrong. But there is something else we need to remember to teach our children and that is they need to respect themselves and others. I'm not talking about the material things they have. I'm talking about them as being. Sadly this young man has had some failures and this made him think robbery was his only option, but through all this the one who we can clearly see did not fail him was his mother's lessons during his up bringing.

For as tired as we can be some days and for as frustrated as we can get when we are talking to them and just when it seems to be going in one ear and out the other, a young man like Smith comes along. He really does reminds us that it's a hard job raising kids but the lessons we teach and keep reminding them day after day and will always be in them.

These lessons will become them.


Contributed by: The Mind of A Mom

Friday, October 23, 2009

Balloon Boy: The Falcon that doesn't fly

Seriously, what in the world is WRONG with these people?

Is there anybody who can tell me WHY these 'parents' thought this would be a good idea?

"DENVER – The mother of the 6-year-old boy once feared missing inside a
runaway helium balloon admitted the whole saga was a hoax, according to
court documents released Friday." Full article here.

If we step back for a moment and overlook the outrageous expense of the unnecessary search AND the hassle from shutting down all air traffic in the area AND the countless people who watched with worry and prayers for this poor child that had apparently been whisked away on a life threatening venture... then perhaps we can all try to find a bit of humor in the oversight and be thankful that the child was left unharmed.

Well, that was until...

UNTIL we all learned that the balloon escapade was indeed nothing more than a coached hoax. The world watched as the thread began to unravel before our very eyes. Little Falcon forgot his lines. Little Falcon reminded his father, in front of the news cameras, that he was hiding in the garage because his father told him to hid there.


Somebody forgot the nature of children.

Somebody forgot that children are easily confused and rarely perform on command.

Somebody messed up big time - and it wasn't Falcon.

It remains to be seen what consequences the adults in this action will face. There are rumors of CPS involvement and possible jail time when all is said and done.

How does this make you feel, as a parent, to know that these people coached their children to tell outrageous lies to public authority all for the sake of getting on TV?

Do you think that the parents should face the possibility of losing their children? Is this type of behavior something that could be considered abusive and worthy of removing the children from the home for their own well being?

Share your thoughts and opinions with me. I'm seriously baffled at this whole fiasco. I need more insight...

Feeding Toddlers

Be sure to check out my contest to win awesome prizes.

If you have small children, I'm sure you've noticed the cute little toddler meals that can be purchased for a pretty steep fee. It's a bit of a pricey way to feed a child that may or may not enjoy whatever is being placed in front of them. Personally, I've never purchased any of those expensive little meals. I have a far more economical way to feed little people who like to pick up their food with little fingers and still need that food to be soft enough to avoid any potential for choking hazards.

Hopefully by now you're wondering what special way I have devised to feed little people without breaking the bank and giving into the commercialization that is rampant within our world. It's really quite simple.


No, I don't mean to say that you should feed your child a bowl of messy soup that will splatter all over the floor and the child and anything else within easy reach. However, the vegetables and pasta in soup is very soft and easy to chew. The meat that is in soup is also very small and perfect for little fingers and little teeth.

Here's what you do.

Fix the soup of your choice according to the directions on the can.
After the soup is hot, drain all the liquid off.
Serve the veggies, meat, and pasta to your little one. (Make sure it's cool enough to be eaten.)

Voila! Little Toddler Meals without the expense.

Now, if sodium is something you are concerned about, you can get soups with low sodium content. Soups are also very versatile. There are so many different flavors that you can serve soup to your toddler every single day of the week and not duplicate even once. Add some crackers or toast and the meal is complete.

One can of soup will feed your toddler and you or your older children. Any soup that isn't eaten can be refrigerated and saved for another meal or added to casseroles or soups of the "grown up" variety.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today is a Good Day

I've been without Internet for days and days. My connection at home wasn't working until just a few minutes ago. (Thank you to the Comcast guy who came early this morning to fix my system.)

Now... I have to get caught up with all the emails and all the other things that have fallen behind.


Friday, October 16, 2009

There's a New Kid In Town

If you are a user of Entrecard, you may know by now that the new owner has decided to shut down our forum. His reasons are rather unimportant since it is his website and his choice to make. Indeed, there is nothing that any Entrecard user can do to remedy the situation. The new owner will do as he pleases...

Well, in response to the abrupt closure of our beloved forum, Spicybugz - with a little bit of help from Yours Truly - has opened a brand new forum where users will be free to discuss whatever they wish with very few rules in place. Complain about Entrecard? Sure thing. Share ideas? Definitely. Make new friends? Hopefully.

Now, you may be wondering why in the world I'm telling you about this brand new forum over at the Spicybugz World site when I'm supposed to be telling you about this grand new contest with awesome free stuff being given away. After all, what you really want to know is what I might be offering to give out and what you have to do to win said offering.

See - I know my readers so well, don't I.

Let's talk about the important details first.

The End: Entries for this contest will be accepted until October 31st, 2009 - 11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time)


Oh wait - that isn't what you wanted to know, is it? (hehe)


The Rules:
To enter this contest, you must register as a user at the new forum. After you register, you must leave a comment here with your User Name for the forum. When leaving your comment, be sure to give me contact information and your prize preferences in order of what you would like to win most.

This is absolutely THE ONLY way to enter my give away. I know many blogs offer extra entries for following or subscribing or blogging about the contest. While I would thoroughly love for you to follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to my RSS Feed, or even tell the world about my contest here... I think these are things that should be done because you really want to follow me or talk about me - not because you want to increase your chances to win a prize.

So, there is only one entry per person and the only way to enter is to sign up for our new forum.

The contest is open to all readers. You are not required to have a blog, be in the USA or have anything at all to do with Entrecard.

Go HERE to register.

The winners will be chosen via a random selection process. Only one prize will be awarded per winner.

Winners will be notified via email and posted here on November 2nd, 2009.

If any winner does not respond within 7 days to claim his prize, a new winner will be chosen for that prize.


That isn't what you want, either, is it?


What you REALLY want to know is what I'm giving away, right?


Well - here it is....

The Prizes:

1) 125 X 125 advertising on my sidebar - the ad will be placed directly above the Entrecard Widget.

2) 500 Entrecard Credits

3) 300 Entrecard Credits

4) 100 Entrecard Credits

5) Scrapbook Supplies Goody Bag (my camera is currently without battery power - trust me that the goody bag will be suitably impressive ... I'll try to get a picture this weekend and get it posted)

6) Set of 20 Hand Made Greeting Cards (again - picture to follow...)

7) 125 X 125 advertising at Spicybugz website - placement to be determined later. (I haven't actually asked her about this, so while I can offer the ad - I can't guarantee where she will put it... bwa ha ha...)

8) Sponsored by Cornyman: 150 EC Credits for EACH participant who a) REGISTERS in the forum, b) COMMENTS below, AND c) is ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in the forum during the contest time. **Thank you, Cornyman, for such a generous sponsorship.**

9) Sponsored by Eli at Business Sphere: 1,500 EC to ONE lucky winner **Thank you, Eli.**

10) Sponsored by Spicybugz: 5,000 EC Credits will be given to the person who is most active in the forums as of the end of this contest.


This contest will be open for some time. If anybody wishes to sponsor prizes in exchange for having your website linked - please contact me at

It's Coming...

I have to take pictures before I can post my give away contest.

My camera batteries are currently kaput.

I'll have it all together by this evening.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tic Toc Tic Toc

Risa - 2008

Time is ticking away.

The counter has begun.

The contest will begin shortly.

Do you want to win free stuff?

Are you ready?

Well, well, well - do I have the spot for you.

Come back and visit on Friday evening. I will be posting details regarding my next give away contest right here.

**If you want to be a sponsor, just send me an email at or leave me a comment below.**

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Definite Coolness

This Beluga Whales video was sent to me today by A Nony Mouse. After watching it, I have to agree that there is definite coolness here. I just had to share.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm All a Twitter...

I did it. I finally managed to get a Twitter account set up and going. I've tried a few times before, but could never get past the initial registration for some bizarre reason. Well, today I stuck it out until I figure out what was wrong.

And now - for all my Twittery fans - The Art and Science of Parenting can be seen on Twitter.

My Twitter name is ...


Come follow me and do a bit of tweeting to help me spread the word.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Whomever said that the "Twos" were terrible had not yet experienced the "Threes."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gardasil Warning Video

I just watched this video over at BetterSpines. I've been watching the research and the events surrounding the issues about Gardasil and the other vaccine like it.

While I like the presentation of this particular video, I would urge parents to do their own in depth research before making the decision of whether to get this vaccine for your child.

Edited to Add: My purpose with sharing this video is more about opening the discussion. I'm not on a political or personal agenda. I just want to hear what other people think.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I recently picked up a booklet of coupons that had this really cool recipe inside - Candy Sushi Rolls.

I just had to find some pictures and share this with all my wonderful readers. I will absolutely be making this for the girls one day soon.

Here is the recipe: (I found the recipe and photo online at Family Fun.)


1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups crisped rice cereal
20 to 25 gummy worms
1 to 2 boxes fruit leather


Grease a 12- by 17-inch baking sheet. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until smooth.

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the rice cereal until it's evenly coated. Turn the baking sheet so that the shorter ends are at the top and bottom. Then press the marshmallow mixture onto the sheet, distributing it evenly.

Starting at one side an inch up from the lower edge, place gummy worms atop the mixture end to end in a hortizontal line. Gently roll the lower edge of the marshmallow mixture over the gummy worms.

Then stop and cut the log away from the rest of the mixture. Use the same method to form 4 more logs. Slice each log into 1-inch-thick "sushi" rolls and wrap them individually with a strip of fruit leather.


I did read on another site that these should be eaten the same day you make them because the fruit wrappers get sticky over night.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Calendar Keeper

Kira is in the process of learning about the days of the week and the months of the year. She's learning the concept of time and planning things for future dates. To help her with this, I will be buying her a calendar that will be hers alone. Her calendar will most likely have horses on it...

If you want to help your own child learn these concepts, purchase a calendar for them. Put the calendar low on the wall so your child can see it easily. Use stickers to mark special dates on the calendar. You can also use simple words that are easy to read. Mark dates like birthdays, project due dates, or special occasions.

Each day, be sure to discuss the calendar with your child. Include a discussion of what is planned for that day, as well as what plans have been made for the near future.

This open discussion will help your child visualize the days of the week and how those days flow from one to the other. It will also make your child feel very grown up to have her own calendar to keep up with her own activities.

One last thought: Your child's calendar should reflect her personality and interests. Pick a calendar that has pictures of something special that your child likes. (like horses...)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccines

Here are a couple of interesting videos that discuss the safety of the Swine Flu vaccine. I'm just sharing...