Early Learning Mom Top 10 Blog Post Of 2015

Wow! How is it already the end of 2015. I feel like I was just writing my 2014 10 Top Blog Post a few months ago. In reality, it has been 12 months!!

Reflecting back to 2015, I want to take the time to thank all my readers for continuing to come around and read about my adventures with Little Z and Wes. I know I’m not always consistent with my updates, but I am so grateful for your patiences.

Here are this years Top 5 Post!

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#5 Preschool Prodigies eBook And Bells Review : This was such an awesome experience for Z and I. We had the chance to review Mr Rob’s music program. Little Z and I received a set of musical desk bells and since then we have been learning music and having fun!

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#4 New Years Goals/Bucket List : Well in my 2016 Bucket List Post, I confess that I did not do very well on this list in 2015. I managed to complete 8/52 challenges. However I have learned from my mistakes, and I have not given up. This year I have created a binder, which includes the list printed out, as well as charts to help me stay on track. 2016 is a whole new year and I plan on nailing it this year.

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#3 Toddler Tula Vs Ergo Carrier. My Experience with My Favorite Baby Carriers. : This post is actually a late 2014 post, but it still made the 2015 list due to popularity. I love babywearing! Babywearing kept me sane for the first 3 years of Little Z’s life. It’s how I was able to run my daycare, host birthday parties, and get through the newborn/infant/toddler stage. Sadly this year Z has decided he no long wants to be worn. So that is a stage in our life that is over now. While I did sell the ergo, I have both the Cuddly Wrap and the Tula, no babies are planned in the near future, however I’m not ready to give them up.

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#2 NACD With My Nine Year Old. Helping Your Child with Reading Comprehension. I wanted to cry the day my oldest said he “Hates reading.” As an avid reader, I could not comprehend how someone could actually hate to read. However, if you are not not understanding what you are reading, of course it is not going to be enjoyable. Currently we are on vacation from the NACD due to the awful Canadian dollar, however we still incorporate some of their programs into our day.

And my number 1 post of 2015 is:

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#1 NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old : This post received over two times the amount of views my #2 post received. I found the NACD really got me on the path to teaching my son in ways I had never thought of. While we are on vacation, I am still using a lot of strategies they have provided me. Rereading this post reminds me of a few others that I should be still working on. I am so excited to be able to get back on board with them again.

 

52 Week Bucket List for 2016

So looking back at my 2015 bucket list, I realize that I should have printed it out and had it available to look at. I did check off several items, but I did not get done nearly as much as I would have liked to.

That being said, 2016 is a brand new year. I grabbed my list of 52 things I’d like to get done from last year and and edited it for the up and coming year. This year the changes I will be making to be more successful are:

  • Printing out my list and posting it somewhere I can constantly refer to it.  In 2015 I did several of my listed tasks without realizing it, and failed at others because I simply forgot to do them. By having them printed and posted, I’m more likely to successed.
  • Set reminders in my phone. I think having an alarm that goes off every day at 9pm will help me remember to complete my 365 pictures challenge. Or programming reminders in my phone to complete different tasks will help me plan for success.
  • Create check list or logs for task that are being completed over a longer period. Create logs to show what books I have read, checklist for blog post I have completed, etc. I’m a visual person, the more I see things being checked off and completed, the more likely I’m going to work to continue to complete them.

1) Clean and organize my bedroom closet and drawers.

2) Clean front entry closet and Linen Closet

3) Clean and organize all the kitchen cupboards

4) Follow the 365 day declutter challenge. (allowing myself to complete 2 or more days in one day to catch up or get ahead. This will allow me to plan for life’s bumps in the road, sick kids, surprise guest, lazy mommy day, etc.) I will log this by checking off the premade calendars at http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/declutter.html

5) Clean and organize laundry room and basement bathroom.

6) Read 20 books. Children’s chapter books with my son does not count.

7) Clean out garage so we can park both cars in.

8) Donate 30 garbage bags or boxes worth of items to the Canadian Diabetes Clothesline or other places.(Check list required)

9) Sell stuff we are not using and make $1000 to put towards debt. Can be via Kijiji, Facebook groups, garage sales,etc. (Log required)

10) Organize all my bills and paperwork into binders

11) Read the Bible in a Year. (allowing myself to complete 2 or more days in one day to catch up or get ahead. This will allow me to plan for life’s bumps in the road, sick kids, surprise guest, lazy mommy day, etc.)

12) 52 week money challenge. (Log Required)

13) Banana island for one week.

14) Pay off $5000 on my line of credit

15) Get back on the Dave Ramsey Budget (Log Required)

16) Take my kids camping or to a cabin

17) Potty Train Z

18) Pay off and cancel my Sears Mastercard.

19) Crazy glue the tracks to the train table downstairs in my daycare area to an elaborate town.

20) Clear all the NAET autism kit for both boys.

21) Exercise 160 time in 2015 for 20-30mins. (Log Required)

22) Lose 20lbs (Log Required)

23) Read 500 regular kids books with Little Z. (Log Required)

24) Create 100 Homemade Glenn Doman Inspired Books for Z. (Check List Required)

25) Create 15 Learning Binders.

26) Read 20 Chapter books WITH Wesley. (Log Required)

27) Organize and decorate Little Z’s room.

28) Blog 52 times in 2016 (Check List Required)

29) Give up fast food for 6 months. (Checklist required)

30) Instagram 1 photo a day challenge. (Set timer in phone)

31) Get Wesley back on the allowance system and teach him how to handle money.

32) Make it out to Hawaii to visit my Online Bestie.

33) Learn to cook 20 new dishes. (Log Required)

34) Finish my ebook.

35) Organize and clean out the laundry room.

36) Make my mom a scrapbook.(either digital or homemade)

37) Make my Auntie Doris a scrapbook (either digital or homemade)

38)Take the kids Strawberry Picking

39) Take a ride on the Steam Train at Assiniboine Park

40) Attend the local homeschooling convention this year.

41) Take the kids to the Snake Pits

42) Take the kids to Kids City

43) Take the kids bowling

44) Visit the Farmers Market at Birds Hill

45) Set up the window bird box

46) Donate Blood

47) Help the kids create Christmas Shoeboxes for the needy

48) Get a Family Photo taken

49) Take Wes to Skyzone

50) Take Wes to do Archery

51) Take an overnight trip as a couple without the kids.

52) Visit the International Peace Garden

What is on your 2015 bucket list?

Watch for blog updates on how I’m doing!

Raising An Avid Reader… Failure?

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Reading some National Geographic fact books we found at the thrift store.

So I love to read. I don’t read as much fiction as I did before I had Z, but I still make time to read non-fiction. I especially love reading to my kids. Its an excuse to read more of the old classic series I use to read as a child. I feel being a parent is the perfect excuse to keep reading all the awesome series designed for children, without anyone batting an eyelash. I’m also the person who left the movie theater in an uproar after each Harry Potter movie.

My 10 year old on the other hand, he’s not an avid reader. He would much rather watch the movie and skip the book. This drives me BONKERS! I just can’t wrap my mind around this one. I refuse to watch the movie, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” because I know it will ruin the warm fuzzy feelings I have about the book. That is what happened when I watch the movie “Where the Heart Is”. How can he not like cuddling up with a book and getting lost in another world.

Where did I go wrong? When I was a kid my personal library was on the thin side. I mean I know that in retrospect, it wasn’t thin in the eyes of a lot of people. But for a little book worm, it was not enough to feed my hunger. We were living on a single income and my mom did buy me the books that were on sale in the scholastic flyers, but a lot of the time they were not to my taste.  I did what I could to get my hands on books, I reread books, saved allowance money, borrowed from friends and the library. Now the problem came when summer came around. We lived in a small town, and the only libraries I had access to were in the schools. That meant they were shut down during summer. I’m embarrassed to admit, I even went as far to steal books during the year from the library to have things to read. Sometimes I returned them… sometimes I didn’t *blush*. (Note to self, make a donation to my old high school library.) I later discovered that I could order books from a mail service library. I’m telling you, back then this BLEW MY MIND. The first thing I did when I moved to the city was get a library card.

So as a mother, who when as far as stealing books to read, how come my child, who has a library I would have KILLED for couldn’t care less to pick up a book.

Well that was until I realized I hadn’t found the right materials yet to bait him. Also his reading comprehension issues affected things too.

Looking back there are a few mistakes I made with Wes which I think may have stunted his love for reading. I’m trying my best to not make the same mistakes with Little Z. (… anyone else feel bad for their first child. I often feel like he was my practice child. I made my mistakes with him and try to avoid them with Z. Especially when my boys are almost 7 years apart. *sigh*)

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I put some books that I needed to sort through in a playpen to keep them away from my daycare babies. Little Z climbed into it to check them out.

 

I didn’t start reading to him soon enough. I mean I read to him, but I would get discouraged when I didn’t think he was into the books, or really listening. I should have keep on reading. With Z I have made storytime part of our routine, just like brushing our teeth.

I focused on LEARNING to read, instead of learning to LOVE to read with Wes. Now with Z, I’m teaching him how to read, but also constantly reading to him without expecting him to read anything.

So is Wes a lost cause?

I’m happy to say he’s not! Last week Wes and I went to run some errands, on our way to pick up Z from a friends, Wes was in the back reading an Archie comic. I had bought it at a thrift store months before, and it was sitting in the back of the van all this time. When we pulled up infront of my friend’s house, I asked him, “Would you like to come in or keep reading your book?” I assumed I knew the answer, but he shocked me when he replied without lifting his nose out of the book, “I’ll wait here and keep reading.” It’s worth noting he LOVES my friend, and she also has a son his age that he loves too.

When I got back in the car I asked him if he really liked these comics. He told me he did. So I suggested he call Papa(my dad) and ask him if he could borrow some Archie comics from him. I told him I think he has a collection. I knew darn well my whole Archie collection was collecting dust in their basement. He called and Papa said he had “a few” he could have.

Back when I was a little girl, my Memere (French for Grandma) had this sweet old lady named Irene as a neighbour. They lived in the foyer in our home town. One day she stopped in when my brother and I were visiting. She was shocked to see us nicely putting away our colouring books and crayons where they belonged, and the toys my Memere had for us to play with were all in working order. She told my Memere that her grandchildren were awful with toys. She would buy them a doll and the next time she went over, it would be naked and missing limbs on the floor. From then on, whenever she when on vacation, instead of bringing back her grandchildren souvenirs she would drop stuff off at our home for my brother and I. One day she called my mom and asked her if we would like to have her Archie comic collection. My mom knew I would be over the moon. Little did we know her collection consisted of HUNDREDS of comics. The nerd in me was in my glory. I sorted them by series and issue numbers and read them all.

Sadly when I was 10 Irene passed away. Since this post seems to be getting personal, I may as well share. I remember the morning she passed, I woke up and all I could smell was cigarette smoke. No one in my home smoked and my window was closed. As I got out of bed, our home phone rang. It was my Memere, Irene had passed away. Irene was a heavy smoker. In my heart, I feel like she was coming to say good-bye. I still tear up thinking about that day.

But 20 years later she lives on in my heart, and her generous gift is blessing my now 10 year old son.

At the beginning of the year, I made a bucket list. I have to go back and check, but I do know that one of the items was for Wes and I to read 12 chapter books. We kind of snuffed off on that, we are sitting at 6 I believe, might be 7 as I think I forgot to write down a Geronimo Stilton book we read. We have still been reading, but just not chapter books.

But it’s not too late! I think we can make our goal in the next 6-7 weeks. We just finished “My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish” this week. I suggested to him we start “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, because my 9 year old step daughter is reading it for fun. She is an avid reader, with reading skills I would have killed for at her age. I thought maybe they might land up chatting about it. But he wanted to read “George’s Marvellous Medicine” by the same author. “Then we can read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mom.” he said. His old teacher read it to the class, and he wanted to read it with me. I haven’t read this Roald Dahl book before so I agreed.

So do I think he will become this avid reader who can’t get enough books to read? Honestly, no. But I think he likes the time we read together, and will remember that when he’s older. I also think he will be a good reader, just not someone who will always have a book with them. And that is ok. I could have done everything right with him in regards to reading and he might still not be an avid reader. But he is an amazing mathematician and builder. These are his strengths and I’m proud of him.

NACD Update for Little Z- Second Quarter in the Program

Well I can’t believe its taken me this long to write about our March evaluation! Yikes!

The NACD is an organization that will help parents create a program plan to implement with their children to help them be the best they can be. These programs can be for children with disabilities, who are gifted, who are average, as well these programs can even be created for adults.

If you have read about what we were doing with Little Z before, you can check out our First Quarter NACD Programs Here.

Before the actually evaluation I had to do a reading test on Little Z, nothing fancy. So I gave them the test back an our evaluator marked it. Little Z’s reading recognition is at a Grade 2.8 level. Now we can’t test reading comprehension just yet, but this was pretty exciting for us.

Zakari:
– Continue the Listening Program
– Continue Targeted Sound Intervention
– Continue Encyclopedia Program
– Start Memory 4 U app x2

– Read books x2: For this program I have been using a mix of Farfaria, as well as regular picture books. 

– Continue Language Play: I don’t know why this program is difficult for me. If you ask my childhood friends, they will tell you I was queen of make believe play. But in my “old age” I guess I’m having trouble going back to that state of mind. 

– Start Experience books (Using Picello): This program I am creating books using pictures to tell a story. Right now we are working on a book about going to visit a family friend. 

– Language Related Photo flashcards (Using Picello)x3: This program we are teaching Little Z what to say for different situations. For example I have a photo of him in a high chair, so we would prompt him to say “I am hungry.”

– Functional Directions x20: Basically I have to give Z 20 directions, “put this in the laundry basket, could you put this in the sink, go to the bathroom for bathtime, etc”.


– COntinue Spontaneous Scripts x20. I talked about this before, but using a whiteboard I’m suppose to write things that Little Z might think. 


– 1 step directions x10: This is a bit different than Functional Directions. Here I have to ask him to do things that are not really functional, but still useful. Like point to the horse in the picture. Or touch your nose. Etc.

– Stairs x5: We are back to working on climbing stairs. This is to help build the muscles in his thighs.


– Mouth Stimulation x4: And we are still using one of those Nuby Rubbery ToothBrushes. This is to help desensitize his need to put things in his mouth. It really does seem to be helping. 


 We have had to make a super hard decision, and on the first of May I gave our 30 days notice to go into vacation mode with the NACD. RIght now we are working so closely with the herbalist/energy work, that money wise I cannot swing running both programs. Don’t you wish there was an endless supply of money to help your kids out. Sadly I have to make sure my kids are health physically, otherwise I am basically wasting money in the other areas.

But stay tuned because I finally have gotten out of my little funk I was in and have created a schedule for Z that combined what we learned with the NACD, plus sneaking in some other programs I feel are important.

Dave Ramsey Starting February 1st. Getting Back On The Wagon!

Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover

Example of the online program

Last year I did really good using the Dave Ramsey Snowball Plan and Budgeting system(mytotalmoneymakeover.com.) Then I fell of the wagon. I paid off some debt since then, but not nearly as much as I could have, So I decided that February is the month to get control of my money, instead of letting it control me.

My goal is to pay off $10,000 dollars by December 2015.

Yikes! That is a scary number to write…

But it is important to me that come September 2017 I be nearly debt free. Little Z is scheduled to start Kindergarten then. I don’t want debt to be the deciding factor to whether we choose to homeschool him or send him to school. I want to decide on what’s best for him, not have to send him because I can’t afford to stay home and focus on his education.

I’m finding that I’m spending too much time searching Kijiji and buying little things here or there. I should be purging and selling the stuff I have here in my home and garage cluttering our space.

So I am getting back onto the Total Money Makeover! And I WILL pay off $10,000 dollars of principal debt(not including interest) by Dec 2015.

Week #1 Bucket list/Goals for 2015 Update

On January 1st, 2015 I wrote about my Goals/Bucket List for 2015.

Well I’m happy to say I can officially check off my first item!

28) Get 200 Twitter followers (Jan 7th/15)

This morning I work up to this:

200+ followers on Twitter

 

I was so surprised how quickly a following on Twitter and grow when you put in the effort. When I made this goal, I have about 35 followers. I guess I should have made my goal 500 maybe.

I’m still very new to Twitter and learning the ropes, so if you have any tips for me I would greatly appreciate it!

If you are on Twitter, but don’t follow me yet, please do HERE.

Also if you are on Facebook, please help me reach my goal of 150 likes. You can so so HERE.

Thank you for all your support!