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Book Review: ‘The Mom Factor’

by Amanda on September 7, 2008
category: Product Reviews

tmfcover.jpg If you have concerns with your mom or the mother figure in your life, then you need to read ‘The Mom Factor’ by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. These are also the same guys who wrote another excellent book ‘Boundaries.’ I really felt like I was sitting through a counseling session as I read through the book. The authors have years of counseling experience to draw from as they give relevant examples in each chapter. As a bonus there are nuggets of good parenting advice nestled in the chapters.

‘The Mom Factor’ presents six different types of mothers: The Phantom Mom; The China Doll; The Controlling Mom; The Trophy Mom; The Still the Boss Mom; and The American Express Mom. Each mother type and how that type has affected you as an adult is described in one chapter and the following chapter explains how readers can change the adverse affects in their lives today. There is also a section with each mother type that gives suggestions on how to deal with your mother today. The book is very well organized and easy to read.

Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend debunk the popular psychology theory of blaming your parents for your problems. They want to promote forgiveness and reconciliation in your relationship with your mother. In The Phantom Mom chapter they explain that for whatever reason the mother just wasn’t able to give their child the care and attention that they needed. We can’t blame our mother for what they didn’t have themselves to give in the first place.

I found freedom as I read through the chapters that I found relevant to my situation. I have expectations of what my mom should be like today. The book gave me permission to have those expectations met by other women in my life. Also, the suggestions on how to relate to my mother today really helped me.

I believe any son or daughter who has struggles or has questions about their relationship with their mother would benefit from reading this book. Even if they don’t read the entire book and just the chapters that relate to them they would find something useful to make their relationship better.

Booster Seat Reviews!

I have had really good experiences and one bad experience in the booster seat department, and decided to share these experiences with you!  To be fair, I have only “tested” three different seats, so there may be other great options available.  I invite you to share what you love/hate about your booster seat in the comment section!

Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat fisher-price.jpg

  • What do I love about this seat?  Almost everything!  The price is great – around $25.00, it’s available in stores so you don’t have to wait for it to be shipped, it is very durable, it’s somewhat easy to clean, the pieces all fit in the bottom rack of my dishwasher, it’s portable, the kids like it, and it’s very well made!
  • What do I NOT love about this seat?  Food crumbs get under the seat and so I do have to VERY regularly (after every meal!) clean underneath and around the chair, and that’s about all I can say negatively about this booster!
  • Bottom line? I definitely recommend this to parents looking for a booster seat for their child!  It’s affordable, does the job, and is best of all STURDY and well made!

BabySmart Cooshie Booster Seat cooshie.jpg

  • What do I love about this seat? My child can climb into it by herself, it is INCREDIBLY easy to clean my chair without having to unbuckle straps, the booster itself cleans very easily, it’s a super cute color, it’s SIMPLE and does not have unnecessary gadgets, and it’s easily removed when I need the chair for a bigger person.
  • What do I NOT love about this seat? The price.  After tax, I spent $40.00 on this seat and that’s just too pricey for my everyday shopping.  We used some birthday cash Darah received and I don’t know if I would have splurged otherwise. That being said, if I would have known how much I was going to love it, I may have splurged.
  • Bottom line? It’s a little pricey for what it is, but if you have $40 just laying around, it is definitely worth it! If not, maybe ask Grandma for one for your child’s next birthday or Christmas!  I will say, that as much as I like the Fisher Price booster, this one is DEFINITELY much nicer!  This seat is not recommended for any child under the age of 2 1/2.

Safetly 1st Fold N Go Deluxe Care Booster safety-first.jpg

  •  What do I love about this seat? Umm…it’s a booster seat, and it’s cheap (selling for $20.00).
  • What do I NOT love about this seat?  Where do I start?  Like I said above, it’s CHEAP!  The back of our booster broke off within a few weeks, my daughter’s little teeny peanut size body was too big in it for her to be comfortable, the tray is ridiculously difficult to maneuver, and it lasted about a month before I said “forget it!”
  • Bottom line? Don’t waste your money, time, or energy on this product!

I’d love to hear your experiences with booster seats!  Please leave a comment!

Music You and Your Kids Will Enjoy

by Amelia on August 21, 2008
category: Fun time & Toys,Pop culture,Product Reviews

Music is a big deal at our house. We enjoy dancing together as a family and just letting it loose. At times however, it has been a little tricky to find music that we can all agree on. When my second child, Isaac, was 15 months old, I discovered Johnny Cash and listened to him non-stop for months. It rubbed off on Isaac because by the time he was 17 months old he would ask for “Cash” every time we got in the car. Or “Bob”, for Veggie Tales music. And if you didn’t play either “Bob” or “Cash” he would throw a fit. We probably erred on giving in too many times to his fits–mainly because we thought it was cute that he was so particular about his musical choices. Eventually he opened up to John Mayer, “Jesus” music, and when he was 2 he got on an Elvis kick. He still requests Elvis frequently, but now that he is almost 4 he is much more willing to try new music. Thank goodness! We often joke that he will grow up and be a music critic.

Earlier this summer, I was preparing for some long car trips and since we have made it somewhat of a tradition to listen to some new fun music, we asked friends for some suggestions. We got lots of great ones. My sister-in-law sent us some Sandra Boynton books that have cds to play along with them. Isaac also loves books so getting music that has books to go along with it is right up his alley.

phila-chickens.jpg The Sandra Boynton books, Philadelphia Chickens and Dog Train, are a collection of several different genres of music–swing, rock, folk, lullaby, jazz, chorus, country etc. The songs are performed by a slew of celebrities and musicians–Spin Doctors, Kevin Bacon and his brother, Blues Traveler, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Kevin Kline, Kate Winslet and so on. Sandra Boynton somehow captures the heart of children as well as their behavior and puts it to music in such a way that kids and adults like it.

My favorite song from Dog Train is Tantrum by the Spin Doctors. The beginning of the song:

No No No, I don’t want to, I don’t want to dog-train.jpg

No No No I don’t want to, No No (repeat)

Leave me alone, leave me alone

LEAVE ME ALONE (long pause)

Don’t leave me alone, don’t leave me alone, DON’T leave me alone

Anyone who has kids knows this scenario all too well!

The great thing about these books/cds is that the music is good, quality music that is fun to sing along to AND the stories in the songs will make your heart smile. My kids love the song about a guy who has 15 animals all named Bob–except for his turtle named Simon James Alexander Ragsdale III. And they crack up when they listen to (Don’t Give Me That) Broccoli. They think it is funny that whole song is about a kid who doesn’t want to eat his broccoli and then actually tries it at the end of the song and likes it!

There are two other books (Blue Moo and Rhinoceros Tap) that come with cds we haven’t listened to yet, but I bet they are as good as Philadelphia Chickens and Dog Train. If your kids like books, music and funny stories I think they will get a kick out of these creative songs. And you will enjoy them too.

Book Review: The Best Old Movies For Families

by Amanda on July 1, 2008
category: Pop culture,Product Reviews

I recently received a copy of Ty Burr’s book “The Best Old Movies for Families” from the TCM channel promoting their new summer show ‘TCM Essentials Jr.’ Every Sunday night hosts Abigail Breslin and Chris O’Donnell present a family-friendly classic. This Sunday is ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips.’ The book was too good not to tell you about it.

bookcover.jpg There is a reason that Ty Burr’s book, ‘The Best Old Movies for Families’ has received five stars in every review on Amazon.com. The book is a great reference guide to be used by parents to help them decide which old movies are appropriate to introduce to your children. People familiar with old movies can use this guide as well as those who don’t know anything about older films, but want to watch a great movie with their kid.

The author tested a lot of the movies on his two daughters whose ages are 9 and 11 and their friends. Mr. Burr has been a film critic for over ten years and has had many other jobs requiring him to watch movies. He claims that he averages about 1 movie a day and over thirty years that is 10,680 films. The author is one of those guys that make you want to pick their brain and discuss films and trivia all day. Luckily, we get to read his thoughts in the book.

bringingupbaby.jpg The book focuses on films made in the golden age of the film studios, from the silent era to the early 1960s. The Introduction opens with a hilarious rant about the Hollywood-junk that is currently being spoon-fed to our children and the MPAA rating system. I found myself saying “Yes!” out loud many times and reading parts out loud to my husband. The author does recognize that your kids will still watch what is out today, but wants to build a bridge between parents and children and introduce them to a wider spectrum of films that aren’t trying to sell them something.

robinhood2.jpg After the first “Starter Kit” chapter, each subsequent chapter lists movies in its respective genre, like Comedy, Dramas, and Musicals. There is one chapter about movies not to show your kids. Then, each movie lists: the director, stars, appropriate age range, the sell, the plot, why it is in the book, useless trivia, pause button explanations, notes about the DVD extras and availability of the film, and further movie suggestions if your child liked the movie. The guide gives you great tools to help you decide if a movie is right for your child. However, the author does caution that if you are on the fence about a movie it is better to error on the side of caution and preview the film first.

The great writing is one of the reasons why this book is so highly rated. The writing is smart without being patronizing or dull. I feel like I know a little bit about Mr. Burr’s family and why his two girls enjoy showing old movies to their friends. Also, the book gives you practical suggestions on how and when to turn on an old movie. Hint: Don’t tell them it is good for them.

romanholiday.jpg I enjoy movies a lot and watched ‘Roman Holiday,’ ‘An Affair to Remember,’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’ as a kid. I enjoy catching an old movie once in a while now. I recently watched Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’ for the first time and enjoyed watching Mr. Gable being chased. I hope that my little one will enjoy movies as much as I do. Now I am thankful to have a tool to help me decide what to watch with her.

If you made it through the review and want to win my copy – all you have to do is answer the question “What is your favorite movie from the golden age of film and why?” in the comment section. The giveaway will end this Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. and only one winner will be chosen at random. Also, be sure to leave your email address in the comment form, so I can reach you.

UPDATE

Vered from Momgrind.com is our winner! I assigned all the comments a number and entered them into random.org and hers was the first number to pop up. Congratulations!

Turner Classic Movies graciously agreed to sponsor my giveaway and will be sending Vered her book! Thank you to all that entered. (If you didn’t win, check your library for it. Mine had the book on the shelf.)

bookwinner.jpg

My 3 Year Old is Reading!

reading_a_book.jpg The reading program I was working on with Darah is still in pilot mode and it was getting difficult to progress past the point we had made it to. I loved the program, but needed something that was a little more complete. I began a new reading program with Darah a few weeks ago. I wrote an article reviewing Out of the Box reading a while back. The company has now changed and is called eReadingPro. They are one of our newest advertising sponsors. The only problem I had with Out of the Box was the cost. eReadingPro has modified their program to accommodate tightwads like me people who are wanting to try it out first before making the big investment. Well, I am a total believer and believe that it is worth the big investment!

I purchased the eBook Do-it-yourself Reading Program Book 1. I paid through paypal and the program conveniently arrived in my email inbox before my paypal receipt arrived! Talk about fast! I quickly downloaded my eBook and got to reading. I had the advantage of having attended their Out of the Box conference, so I had a basic understanding of the program and how it works. The eBook came with everything you need to know to get started and 178 days worth of lessons. It included pictures for some of the abstract words being taught and illustrations for books later on. I got to work making my flashcards and started the program a few days later. This program is a sight-word based program and is not a phonics program.

So how does it work?

ereadingprologo.jpg This program is geared toward the visual learner. Children with Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, and an “overwhelming percentage of the population” are often visual learners. While many parents of children with special needs have embraced this program, they have a series for typical developing children as well. It does take some time to get it all set up, but once you set up the program you are good to go. I should be completely set for 178 days and then I will purchase Book 2. You can purchase the program with the flashcards preprinted. I saved a little money by writing them out myself. I keep the flashcards in order in a basket on my refrigerator and look at my daily schedule of what flashcards to present that day. I then show Darah the flashcards three times a day. As simplistic as it sounds, it works! By presenting these gigantic flashcards in groups of 5 over a cumulative 10 minutes a day, Darah has learned about 13 sight words! We are currently working on learning single words, but we will soon progress to learning to read sentences. The best part of this program is it has improved her speech! When she sees the flashcard with the word on it, she is articulating so much better than she did before. Her little voice is just way too cute when she says “pancake.” I am seeing results MUCH FASTER than with the other program we were doing. It requires much less energy and time on my part as well, and Darah seems to engage very well to this program.

eReadingPro will soon be releasing reading programs for teens/youth, adults who are learning to read, and for children and youth who are learning English as a second language. The whole word approach to learning to read is a very effective method! We are also working on phonics and individual letters. For phonics, I strongly recommend this DVD and this toy!

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