Sunday, December 30, 2012

Free Kindle eBooks - 12/30/12

You don't need a Kindle to read these free books.  
Just go here and download a reader onto your computer.  It's easy!

These books were all free on Amazon at the time this post was written.  That may change at any timeBe sure to check the "price" to be sure a book is still free before adding it to your cart.

Simple Living - 30 days to less stuff and more life

SMART SCHOOL TIME RECIPES: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults

Good Sleep for Brain Health: Sleep Better Tonight for a Better Memory Tomorrow

Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free

30 Daily Weight Loss Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

A New School Year!

But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." ~Matthew 19:14 ESV

This was the first week of school.  The first week of school can be frantic for therapists and educators!  There are new children to meet, a room to have prepared, ...and for special education providers, stacks of Individual Education Plans to read.  It's difficult just determining who is on the caseload at each school, since families tend to move during the summer.  It's even more daunting developing programs for 75 different children with 75 different service plans at lightening speed. Every special education provider is painfully aware of the attorneys and advocates hiding around the corner, ready to pounce.  We struggle to do our jobs well, but the legal fears are crippling.

You can bet that we all lose sleep.

...But then, the children arrive.

They walk through your therapy room door, with precious faces and priceless personalities and timid shyness and quirky silliness, and you have met Jesus in them.  Then, you know that you will serve them and love them and struggle to meet their needs, even though there will be thirty, or forty, more of them than Ed Code allows on your caseload.

Face paint girls
By InPhonic Customer Service / InPhonic [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

You will do it because you are blessed to be graced by their presence.  Blessed to hear first words spoken and "R" sounds discovered and stutters smoothed out and tentative hand movements that look something like the sign for "bathroom", and maybe someone's diaper will be dry when he goes home today because you were blessed to serve.

You'll still lose sleep over the advocates and attorneys who don't seem to understand that you love those kids and really do give everything you have in you, to do what you feel they need, and pray for them by name and lose sleep over their progress. And you'll probably miss some days because the stress of it is too great and migraines force their way through and break you.  Even  so, you'll understand the parents who hire them, because you're a parent too, and it's hard to trust, when your child is the world.

By the end of the school year, if you're a school speech pathologist, you'll be certain that it is too much and that it's time to switch to hospital based practice.  You'll even scan the jobs classifieds and wonder if this year, you will make the change. You'll think of those tense and tortuous school meetings with attorneys and advocates who are certain that school personnel don't care about kids and that your recommendations are driven by money.  You'll remember going home from those meetings and turning out the lights and covering your eyes with a towel and surrounding your head and neck with ice packs... and the way that your tummy doesn't like migraines one bit.

But then, as the school year draws to a close, the contract from your school district for next year will arrive in your mailbox, and you'll stare at that blank signature line and think of precious faces and priceless personalities and timid shyness and quirky silliness....and first words spoken and "R" sounds discovered and stutters smoothed out and tentative hand movements that look something like the sign for "bathroom", and the fact that someone is going to the first grade special-day-class with a dry diaper because you were blessed to serve...and you'll sign.

You know you will.

Best wishes for the coming school year to public school teachers and private school teachers and homeschoolers and unschoolers and folks who aren't educators in a formal sense at all, but get to see little faces at the grocery store, and smile.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Time!: Irregular Apron Sale Time is Now!

It's Irregular Apron time!  Pink Chocolate (shown) is being offered for as low as $9.95!

It's time for the Flirty Aprons Irregular Aprons Sale, savings from 54% to 81% while supplies last.

Mother's Day is over, and it's time for Flirty Aprons to clean out the warehouse of all those irregular aprons.  This year's selection includes 30 different aprons!

Flirty Aprons go through a rigorous inspection process, so most flaws are minimal and difficult to notice.  Some common flaws include loose seams or pockets, minor print flaws, or restitching.

This sale is EXTREMELY popular.  Remember: "While supplies last" means while supplies last.  They go fast.

 Visit the Sale Page ----->Irregular Aprons Sale, savings from 54% to 81% while supplies last.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway!

Welcome to the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway!

Bright Starts and Mom to Bed by 8, the Iowa-Mom have teamed to offer an amazing Bright Starts Sunnyside Safari Collection giveaway to one lucky reader!
This includes the Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair, Playard, Plug in Sway & Swing, Portable Swing and Saucer making this truly the Ultimate Baby Shower Gift.
Special thank you to the wonderful bloggers who made this possible including our co-hosts: To Sew with Love, The Lucky Ladybug and Mom Blog Society.

This is such a fun and exciting collection!

Big smiles and bright adventures go hand in hand in this exciting, fun-filled collection!
Take a walk on the sunny side-where baby gear goes together in delightful new ways. It's a win for infants and parents alike, with irresistable jungle characters adorning an array of fun coordinated products you'll use every day. Each piece of the collection does its job charmingly, with non-stop fun at an unbeatable value.
The Bright Starts Sunnyside Collection is available at Wal-Mart!

Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair
A good high chair is a must for moms, and Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair is as good as they come! It does what a full-sized model does and more, adjusting to four different heights (and nearly any table), reclining to three positions, and converting to a booster seat for smooth transition to the toddler years.
The reversible seat pad is made of stain-resistant fabric you can wipe clean or machine-wash. The removable Stay Level Tray™ remains flat even when the seat is reclining. All this, plus the friendly characters of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Make mealtime and snack time more enjoyable for baby and you. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Convenient 2 piece reversible seat pad is made of stain resistant fabric that is wipeable and machine washable
  • 4 height positions to fit most table sizes
  • 3 position recline
  • Removable Stay Level Tray™ remains level even when seat is reclined
  • 3 locking positions to grow with baby
  • Built-in holders are convenient for drinks or snacks
  • Converts to booster for easy toddler transition
  • 5 point convertible safety harness

Sunnyside Safari™ Playard
A bright, sunny place for baby to rest, play, get a quick diaper change and spend a few moments with some friendly jungle pals! That's the Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Playard. This playard includes a removable bassinet with our time-saving One Less Step™ feature for easy fold-and-go mobility.
There's a convenient changing table, a handy side storage pocket, easy-roll wheels, a travel bag, plus a colorful toy bar to delight baby. And like all Bright Starts™ products, this playard is an unbeatable value. Part of our coordinated Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Removable bassinet with One Less Step™ to quickly fold and go
  • Convenient changing table
  • Toy bar with 2 fun toys
  • Side storage pocket
  • Wheels for easy portability
  • Includes travel bag

Sunnyside Safari™ Plug in Sway & Swing™
Some swings go back and forth. Some go side to side. This one does both—and does it with music, toys, and delightful jungle style. With a seat designed for 180° rotation, allowing three swing directions, the Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Plug in Sway & Swing™ uses our unique TrueSpeed™ technology to sense baby's weight and adjust for consistent speed—so it grows along with baby.
The swing also boasts a volume-adjustable 20 minutes of melodies and nature sounds, an overhead mobile—even an AC adaptor to save on battery expense. And it features the fun and engaging characters of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Seat rotates 180° for 3 swing directions
  • TrueSpeed™ technology maintains 6 speeds as baby grows
  • Mobiles with 2 playtime toys easily pivots out of the way
  • 20 minutes of melodies and nature sounds with volume control and auto shut-off
  • AC adaptor saves money on batteries
  • Swing time with 3 settings: 30, 45 and 60 minutes
  • Whisper Quiet™ operation
  • 5 point harness
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Non-slip feet

Sunnyside Safari™ Portable Swing
Find baby's favorite speed with this innovative portable swing. The Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Portable Swing is a win for parents and babies—from its machine-washable padded seat right down to its bright yellow, non-slip feet. With six distinct speeds to choose from, you'll find it easy to suit your little one's mood—and our patented TrueSpeed™ technology keeps those speeds consistent even as baby grows.
The Comfort Recline™ seat gives you a choice of two positions, and WhisperQuiet™ operation makes this swing silent in use. Wrap it all up in the super-fun animal decor and you've got a perfect travel companion. Part of Bright Starts™’ Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

  • TrueSpeed™ Technology maintains 6 speeds as baby grows
  • Comfort Recline™ seat with 2 positions
  • Whisper Quiet™ operation
  • Easily folds for storage or travel
  • 5 point harness
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Non-slip feet

Sunnyside Safari™ Saucer
This is where babies go for serious fun. A Walmart exclusive, the 7-activity Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Saucer offers entertainment options galore—and a lighthearted jungle theme with fun characters you'll adore.
The seat rotates a full 360° for endless interaction with the activity stations. Twin overhead toy arms provide even more entertainment options. And the three different height positions make this one saucer your baby won't soon outgrow. Four link loops mean still more toys can be attached. Part of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection, this saucer will quickly become a family favorite. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • 3 adjustable height positions allows entertainer to grow with baby
  • Seat rotates 360° for nonstop interaction with 7 activity stations
  • 2 overhead toy bar arms with mirror, hanging toy and fabric crinkle leaves
  • Hanging elephant toy
  • Bendy giraffe teething stalk
  • Bead chaser with easy to grip textured beads
  • Lion popper with spiraling beads
  • Rotating ladybug barrels with fun textures and beads
  • Rocking toucan on leaf stalk
  • 4 link loops for attaching more toys
  • Lays flat for storage
  • Built-in toy tray is easy to clean
Giveaway starts on May 7 at 12:01AM and ends May 28 at 11:59PM. Open to the US residents only; must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Enter to win the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway including the Sunnyside Safari Collection on the rafflecopter form below.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What Should Your Child be Able to do at the End of Kindergarten: Listening, Talking, Reading, Writing

The school year is coming to a close.  What should your newly minted, typically developing Kindergarten graduate be able to do in the area of Listening, Talking, and Reading?

He/she should be able to:
*  Follow 2 step directions (e.g.: "Go get your shoes and come sit down.")
*  Understand most of what is said at home and in school.
*  Follow and understand most simple conversation and stories.
*  Use the same grammar as the rest of the family.

Alphabet Soup - 136 PiecesTalking:
He/she should be able to:
*  Answer basic questions about stories and events.  (e.g.: "Did you go to the store?  What did you buy?")
*  Retell a simple story or event.
*  Ask questions.
*  Take turns in conversations and games.
*  Say most sounds correctly, except a few like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th

He/she should be able to:
*  Find the front, back, top, and bottom of a book.
*  Understand that reading occurs from top to bottom and left to right (in English).
*  Identify some words that rhyme, like "cat" and "hat."
*  Know that some words start with the same sounds, like "soap" and "sun."
*  Identify upper case (capitol) and lower case letters.
*  Read some basic sight words like "the," "cat," and "with."
*  Tell a story by looking at pictures in a book.
Eating The Alphabet Big Book

*  Print first and last name.
*  Write all upper and lower case letters, though not necessarily clearly.

~Michelle, M.S., CCC
  Speech-Language Pathologist

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway!

The KitchenAid Mixer giveaway is now live on our other blog, Liturgical Time!  Stop by and enter if you'd like a chance (or many chances) to win.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tips from a Speech Pathologist: Supporting Speech Development and Teaching Literacy, Reading to Young Children

As a speech-language pathologist, I read a lot of books to children.  As a former homeschooling parent, I know that reading with little learners is one of the best tools we have.  Books are the gateway to literacy; it's never too early to start, and there are some ways that reading aloud can be used to maximize learning opportunities.

It's important to focus on more than just ABCs.  As parents, we tend to focus on ABCs to foster reading.  But the truth is, children need to be immersed in many different aspects of language to foster speech and reading development.

The evening hour, G. Hardy, 1877
Artwork: {{PD-1923}}-published before 1923 and therefore public domain in the US 

Here are some suggestions for reading to your young children:

1.   Learning To Predict: "What do you think the story will be about?"
Before you start reading, look at the cover of the book with your child.  Talk with your child about the picture and ask her to predict what will happen in the story.

For example, while reading The Foot Book , say:
"Look, I see a funny animal pointing to his foot!  What do you think the story will be about?"  Help you child develop reasoning skills for analyzing the picture.  Then say, "Let's find out if we're right!"

2.  Read rhyming books and pause to let your child fill in the missing word.
Rhyming is an essential component of phonemic awareness, which supports reading development.

For example, while reading Time for Bed, say:
"It's time for bed little cat, little cat, so snuggle in tight, that's right, like...(pause for your child to fill in "that")."

Pause just long enough to see if your child can provide the word.  If not, go ahead and say it.  Keep your reading natural and fun.

3.  Teach location words:  "Can you find the mouse?  Where is he?"
We tend to focus on teaching nouns with little ones.  However, learning other types of words, like location, descriptive, and action words, is important too.

For example, in Goodnight Moon, the mouse is present in all pictures of the room. Find the mouse on each page and talk about where it is.  Use words like "under", "beside", and "in".

4.  Teach descriptive words: "This bug is long...that bug is..."
Children need to learn adjectives to prepare them for later reading and writing. Talking about how objects in the story look, sound, smell, and feel is a great way to teach these descriptive words.

For example, while reading Miss Spider's Tea Party, talk about all the different bugs. Use words like "fuzzy", "shiny", "winged", "long", "short", and of course, colors. Encourage your child to join in with the description fun.

5.  Emphasize action words (verbs):  "Can you strut like that duck?"
Verbs are the next essential vocabulary component.  Your child will need to recognize them to develop reading skills, and will need a good selection of them to write good sentences and stories.

To help add action words to your child's vocabulary, while reading Barnyard Dance!, you could say:
"Bounce with bunny, strut with the duck....What is the bunny doing?  What is the duck doing?  Can you bounce like the bunny? Show me!  Can you strut like the duck? Show me!  Let's do it together!"

4.  Use reading, to teach speech sounds:  "Is that a "T"?  No!  It's a..."key"
Drilling a child on correct speech production is not always effective.  It can frustrate a child.  Modeling of correct speech can be done in fun ways.

For example, if your child leaves the "s" out of "s" blends when he talks try this approach:
While reading Wild About Books , say:
"Molly opened the door and she let down the dare....Is that a dare?  No!  That's a...s-s-s-stair!"

Most of all, your reading time should be fun!  Adding these valuable techniques into your reading time will be great for fostering speech, language, and literacy development...but....getting too hung up on "doing it right" will interfere with the process.  Relax and enjoy this time with your children.  You are building skills for a lifetime and fun is much, much more important than perfect.

Happy Reading!
~Michelle,  M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist (My least important job...when I'm not mothering, being a wife, homekeeping, or blogging Jesus.)

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