tossing_salad

February 28th, 2011 by

tossing_salad


Giveaway! Sprout Wellness Award Winning All-Over Cream!

February 16th, 2011 by

It’s giveaway time on Green Mommy Blog and I’m stoked to have the opportunity to offer you the chance to win one of my all-time favorite body creams – Sprout Wellness’ Award Winning All-Over Cream. (Thank you for sponsoring this, Sprout Wellness!) I’ll be selecting one winner (details on how to participate are below).

I wrote about my love of their products here – be sure to check it out! Ever since I first tried this product, I’ve been hooked. I have a jar in my bathroom (I share it with Kamea) and a jar on my desk. It’s divine!

And, here is some great information about the product from their website…

Ever had this experience before? ???Man, my skin feels dry. I need some moisturizer.??? {Apply moisturizer.} {One minute goes by.} ???Man, my skin feels dry. I need some moisturizer.???

Ya, that???s not supposed to happen. Many moisturizers are made with water as a base, which evaporates quickly from the skin, leaving you as dry (or drier) than before! Sprout???s All-Over Cream isn???t, obviously. It???s designed to actually moisturize your skin, so you don???t have to keep using it every three minutes.

Our ingredients:

-wildcrafted, fair-trade shea butter
-organic extra-virgin coconut oil
-organic extra-virgin olive oil

What it does for you:

-natural SPF of 6
-anti-inflammatory
-high in anti-oxidants
-aids in skin cell regeneration
-promotes skin elasticity
-treats blemishes, skin discolorations, chapped lips, wrinkles, rashes, stretch marks, and sun spots

Want the chance to win? Simply answer the question below by commenting in this blog post’s comment section. Entries will be accepted until February 21st, 2011 at 11:59pm. I will randomly draw one name and announce the winner on Green Mommy Blog February 22nd by responding to the winner’s comment in the comment section below.??*Please note: this giveaway is open to U.S. participants only.

Question: What??things are you doing (or have done – or plan to do) to be a “green” mommy?

Want another chance to win? Retweet a link to this post on twitter and come back to let me know in a separate comment.

Want yet another chance to win? Link to this post via your Facebook page and come back to let me know in a separate comment.

Want yet another chance to win? Post about this giveaway on your blog, linking back to it, and then let me know in a separate comment.


photo

February 14th, 2011 by

photo


Homeschooling Journey Begins: Cognitive Development Activities, Part 2

February 3rd, 2011 by

In Part One of this post, I discussed the importance of stimulating babies’ brains during critical developmental windows, with shapes, colors, objects, and music.

Here are more things we’re doing…

 

A sampling of Kamea’s books.

Reading – Even though it’s hard to imagine that Kamea is paying much attention when I’m reading to her, all of the studies in cognitive development say that she is. Experts agree that it’s never too young to read to your baby – even a newborn! According to the book??Baby Read-Aloud Basics reading to babies helps them understand the meaning of words and to learn words they are less likely to hear every day. According to one expert,??”Compared with ordinary talk between a child and parent, children’s books have three times more rare words.”

Moreover, reading with baby at this very early age starts to ingrain a deep, life-long foundational association between reading and positive emotions keyed to the voices and touch of mommy and daddy. In doing this, as the child develops, books are anchored as objects of comfort, fun, and joy, as opposed to work or tedium.

I’ve also been able to get my hands on??Your Baby Can Read. While it’s too soon for me to judge its merits, the product has some good reviews and my friends have used it and like it. I do fancy the flash cards and book that are in the box. I think those are great for her. Update: we have not used this system.

Talking with Kamea – There have been many widely cited studies showing the importance of talking to your baby from the moment he or she is born. The quantity of words Kamea is exposed to now has a direct effect on her vocabulary later on. Makes sense, right? It’s not just the words she’s learning… you’re actually laying down the neural structures and cognitive frameworks she’ll use to learn words for the rest of her life! So it’s important to show her objects and describe them to her in as many ways as I can think of. I use many descriptive words and try to integrate them with other sensory modalities such as movement, facial expressions, sounds, varying my pitch, and pointing to objects as I speak or read out loud.

Studies have shown that you can’t get the same results by just plunking your kiddo down in front of the TV, or playing a CD or DVD, to hear more words. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t have the same effect as directly interacting with your baby and talking straight to him or her. Babies are born hardwired to recognize your face and to pay attention to what you say. The sights and sounds coming out of the appropriately named “idiot tube” (TV) will capture baby’s attention, but not have the same emotional context or that all-important interactivity. (This also applies to foreign language acquisition, which will be the subject of a later post.) In fact, experts suggest making eye contact with your baby before you begin discussing a particular object to make sure your baby is paying attention. Research shows that this type of successful “gaze-following” is related to higher language scores… it’s just amazing to me, and more than a little scary, just how much these early developmental months are going to fix in stone certain brain functions later on.

According to a new study,??Power of Talk, children between birth and 3 years of age need to hear??30,000 words daily??from parents and caregivers to ensure optimal language development and academic success (MomSense??magazine, May/June 2008). Yes, 30,000. Talk to your baby. A LOT.

Crossing the Midline – During the first months, there is an important activity that you can do with your baby that involves moving objects from one side of the baby’s body to the other, as baby visually tracks the movement “across the midline” from the left to right of their head (and back). By doing this, you are helping your baby’s brain wire stronger connections between the left and right hemispheres. For example, we worked with Kamea so she would track a toy that we held up for her, where she looked at it to the left of her, and then we crossed it over to the right side of her, making sure she followed it with her eyes. And, back again. We talked through the game with her or sometimes used a rattle and shook it as we watched her track it with her eyes. This can also be done with her reaching for something across the midline of her body using her hand, arm or foot. The stronger the connection across the brain’s midline structure, the corpus callosum, the better the ability to learn certain skills later in life as information is able to cross the brain faster and more efficiently. (To the computer geeks out there, my husband, says midline-crossing exercises “give her motherboard a faster bus.” Whatever that means, it sounds important.)

 

Tummy time with daddy’s keyboard.

Tummy Time – This very important for development especially in the 3-6 months age range. Tummy time is awesome and I give Kamea tons of it. I never ended up getting a jumperoo or saucer or any of those contraptions that I wrote about??here. Many experts agree that tummy time is the best thing for a baby’s development. This simple activity of having your baby spend time on her tummy enables him or her to develop strong upper body strength and other motor skills needed for pre-crawling, later leading to crawling which is an important developmental stage. While these benefits are primarily for her musculoskeletal development as opposed to cognitive development, time spent on her tummy allows her to see her environment from a completely different perspective than being on her back all day, as well as gain experience looking at and manipulating objects that we place in front of her, within arm’s reach and nearby. It was a joy to witness her endurance go from just a few seconds to (currently) 30 minutes or more. A position that previously amounted to exercise (complete with cute little gym-like grunts) has become downright leisurely.

What We’re Doing Today – I introduced her to a baby sign language video, but she’s still a tad young for it. I’ll report more on that in the future. We showed her a So Smart video and she was mildly interested for a brief spell. Other than these, no other television is on for her to see. Pediatricians recommend no TV for kids in the first two years.

Two sets of them.

Wooden magnets for the refrigerator – these are awesome. I love exposing her to words, animals, numbers, and other things (hello – dinosaurs!) and we’re doing it through fun kitchen magnets. Currently, I have 2 refrigerators and one big standalone freezer, which means lots of magnet space. I found??these great “wooden” magnets and we’re having a ball with them (love keeping it eco-friendly with wood and not the plastic ones you usually see). I started with one set of the letters and then bought a second set. Then, I bought the??numbers??animals and??dinosaurs.??*Keep in mind that the magnets are small and not recommended for children under the age of three. Kamea is actively supervised when she holds them and for the most part, we use them to show her words. As an added bonus, my husband and I leave secret messages to each other on the fridge. ;)

Plus, I found this great little??tabletop easel where she can sit on the floor and push the magnets around herself (again, supervised!). It’s also used as a dry erase board which will be super for homeschooling when she can draw, write, and do math.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted as we continue on the homeschooling journey!

What techniques have you deployed for your little one? Any clever tricks or tips you’ve picked up along the way? Leave your comments, below.