Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rated Best by Baby

I have found videos to be a convenient way to let my son learn something while I tidy a few things up. I make sure we're in the same room so I can still interact with him. Sometimes I put on one video here and there or all in a set; sometimes I mix it up from one day to the next.

I feel a small amount television watching is fine, as long as you don't plant your kid in front of it from sun up to sun down. I prefer to let my toddler view certain things for the time being; I am sure that will change down the road. Regardless, no matter what a child (or anyone for that matter) watches, anything good can turn into a bad thing if there is too much of it.

Just so you know, I do interact with my son in other ways. We read books, build with blocks, you name it. The tv or computer is just one of our many learning or entertainment tools. Ok, maybe I'm feeling a little guilty for using videos to buy free time.

A few words on Baby Einstein, my toddler seems to be hypnotized by it. I don't think there are any subliminal satanic messages going on there, but I do think it would be extremely easy to overuse these videos because Baby Einstein is like "crack for babies".

Here are a few good quality videos I found on YouTube for my toddler. You could definitely come up with some of your own by searching other favorites.
As you will find (if you don't already know), some vidoes are better quality than others.

Don't know what the fascination is with this first video; it's only 47 seconds long, but the boy just cracks up when it comes on. This video has literally turned a frown upside down.

Pocoyo is a cute toddler who has a lot to learn. There are tons of Pocoyo videos on YouTube, some are in Spanish which can be fun to break things up every now and then.

Baby Galileo is about stars and the sky and stuff. These two videos are very sleepy, and relaxing. Trust me.

And, finally, three videos featuring Old Macdonald. Out of all the videos here I prefer these three because there are many "real life" pictures of apples, carrots, pigs, chickens and various farm related things. It's fun to find things in everyday life that are seen on these videos. And, yeah, the puppets are kind of cute, too.

All right, so there you go!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just do as I say, not as I do (or did)

I wanted to write something witty or useful, but lately I've been in this "funk". I guess it may have something to do with not enough "me" time.

The past week has handed me a sick baby and lots of rain. Cleaning up barf and not being out in the sun is making mom very edgy. I do not enjoy feeling boxed in or forced to follow a boring regimen. Makes me think about stuff too much! Besides, the smell of Lysol is enough to make anyone feel ill.

So, why am I a stay at home mom, then? Because I refuse to let some, impersonal, over crowded day care raise my baby. At least for now. The first year is the most important, you know. Well, kind of, all years are important if you ask me, but seeing how there is so much growth and change in that first year, I want to be the one shoveling as much information down my baby's throat.

You know what? The fruits of my labor are starting to manifest. Yes, I am bragging! My little boy is just blossoming and soaking everything up like a sponge.

But, every now and then, mom (and dad, too) needs to let off some steam. It sucks, though, because money is really tight right now. I would love to take a vacation, rent a room, run away for a few days. I know that day is coming real soon, though.

In the meantime, I made my choices, therefore I must follow through. It's not like I can dump my children off in a trash can just so I can goof off and have fun the rest of my life. Too bad I didn't know what I know now back then. Make sense? In other words, why didn't I finish college and travel instead of goofing off? Well, no sense in beating myself up over it, what's done is done and now I am doing things the hard way. I guess it should be good enough that I am doing it now rather than never, right?

Enter the fact that I will be a grandmother this winter. I can't even say that without letting out a huge sigh.

My (soon to be) 19 year old, married daughter is living my life all over again. I thought she was really going to make something of herself. She was going to college and it appeared she had her head on straight. She always came to me for advice and we are friends as well as mother/daughter.

So, why didn't she listen this time? Why does history repeat itself?? I truly believed the cycle had been broken this time. It's not that I am disappointed, really, but I know how difficult it can be to be married at a young age, go to college and raise a family. I would never change anything for the world, but it would have been "better" to wait.

I was impatient. It looks like she is too, afterall she is so much like me that it's not even funny.

I do wish her all the best, and I would give her anything if I could (of course some things you have to work for). One day she will look back and see for herself but it won't matter by that time.

Children just have no idea what us parents go through for their sake. Sometimes not until they become parents themselves. So as I selflessly try to give my young son the best start in life, I know the future already. Children make mistakes and are all bound to break their parent's hearts somehow, someway, someday. And sometimes the parents break their children's hearts and make mistakes.

No matter what I do, no matter what I say, things just happen. As hard as I try, I can only do what I can do. I am not perfect and neither are my children. For now, I am doing my best to balance everything while still making sure mom and dads needs are still being met. That is a whole different post right there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Typical Day

Wake up by 6am,
Stumble to the coffee pot,
Thinking about how I need a coffee pot with a timer,
Check emails while coffee brews,
C'mon caffeine, do your thing,
One cup didn't do the trick,
Still a zombie,
Need another,
Maybe I should switch to espresso,
Brothers wake up at 6:30 am,
Baby proof before Baby toddles out,
Baby wakes up and manages to find an old sippie cup on the floor,
Brothers leave for the bus stop at 7:25am,
Throw some laundry in the wash,
Baby tosses in a toy,
Fix breakfast for me and Baby,
Baby screams because he is impatient and thinks he is starving to death,
Baby throws food on floor,
Clean up kitchen if it didn't get done the night before (dishes, counters, stove, table, floor),
Make funny faces at Baby,
Have I mentioned I don't own a dishwasher??
Baby watches Baby Einstein on Youtube while cleaning up (anyone think Baby Einstein is hypnotic?),
Baby and I take a bath,
Baby tries to climb the walls of the bathtub,
Get dressed for the day,
Baby lets out ear piercing screams because I won't let him eat the diaper rash cream,
I didn't get the diaper on in time and baby poops everywhere,
Play with Baby,
I let Baby beat me up with his toys,
Ha ha what fun,
Pretend to beat Baby up,
Tend to laundry (dryer, more in wash),
Thinking about how much I loathe laundry,
Keep baby from playing in the toilet water,
Play with Baby some more,
Baby has figured out how to climb on the coffee table,
Wonder if Baby will turn into a reckless teenager,
Put Baby down for morning nap,
Remembering how Baby was also very active BEFORE birth,
Steal some internet time,
Morning workout,
Wondering why I wasn't one of those who was blessed with the perfect, effortless body,
Pay bills as needed (if there's money),
Baby wakes up crying,
Clean up from lunch (more dishes!),
It's no wonder my fingernails don't grow that much,
Make phone calls,
Run errands as needed,
Finish up laundry while Baby tries to climb in dryer,
Vaccuum while chasing Baby with vaccuum,
Clean toilets (if time) while Baby tosses everything in bathtub,
Play with Baby,
Take Baby outside so he can eat dirt and rocks,
Baby takes afternoon nap (if I'm lucky),
Baby wakes up crying,
Time for Brothers to come home,
How did it get to be 3:30 already?
Baby thinks it's fun to play in the trash can,
Put Baby in highchair for snack time,
Baby hurls sippie cup on floor,
Help Brothers with homework,
Wonder what in the world I was thinking having so many kids,
Why didn't I enjoy my youth more,
Brothers get ready for baseball practice or game,
Daddy comes home and rescues Mommy,
Throw something together for dinner,
Baby tries to open oven,
Baby gets into the fridge everytime it opens,
Dad puts up the baby gate,
Baby screams another blood curdling scream,
Someone is complaining about how they don't like broccoli,
Too bad,
Brothers help clean up kitchen while Dad keeps Baby preoccupied,
Dad gives Brothers 50cents each for a job well done (these kids have more money than we do),
If no baseball practice or game then it's time for relaxation in front of the TV, Relax?? When??
I think I need a job so I can rest,
Thank goodness Dad is here to help out,
Dad spanks Baby's hand for touching the electrical outlets,
Baby tries "beating up" brothers with his toys,
Bath time for Brothers,
Someone is taking too long in the bath,
Hurry up in there,
Brothers get ready for bed,
Baby gets ready for bed,
I need a glass of wine,
Make that two please,
Talk to older daughter on phone,
Listen as she complains about something,
Talk to older son on phone,
Listen as he talks about video games,
I can barely keep my eyes open,
Pathetic it's only 10:00,
Off to bed for...???
More TV?
You decide.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Brain Fog?

Having trouble staying focused? Is your memory not what it should be?

I realize there are so many good herbal supplements out there, but I will not go overboard by talking about every pill out there. At one time, I literally had what looked like a small tacklebox with sections for all my "pills". It was ridiculous, to say the least. I took a multi vitamin, calcium, joint support, appetite suppressant, carb blocker, fat blocker, memory pills, and the list goes on and on. And to think I don't even like taking pills!

Before we begin the discussion, I feel the need to tell you that I am not a doctor, and I am in no way trying to diagnose, yada yada yada. Ok? So if something goes wrong, it's on you.

In all my experimentation, I have found a few supplements I cannot live without. One, is my multivitamin. I don't really have a preference on the brand or pill itself, but I do prefer the prenatal vitamins, just because they have more things I need. If I really had to choose (and money was no option), I would find a prenatal that was a liquid gel for better absorption. I should be taking a calcium supplement, but I really don't like taking a lot of pills. I stick to calcium fortified OJ, and other dairy products like cheese. I will not go into the ugly details on why I don't/can't drink milk. Yes, I know there are alternatives to milk, but they just spoil because I can't drink them fast enough. So, I guess I will just resort to my body leeching the calcium it needs from my bones. Sigh...

Irwin Naturals Ginkgo Smart® Maximum Focus and Memory
-- Comes with 90 liquid gel capsules. The label says to take two a day.

This is what the website says about memory:
The decline of memory and other cognitive functions are a major concern for people of all ages. Ginkgo Smart® Maximum Memory and Focus is a robust formula that combines nutrients which may have a positive affect on memory and brain health.

Product description:
Nine Powerful Brain Boosters for Memory & Mental Clarity
Ginkgo Smart® Maximum Memory and Focus is a serious formula to help you keep your mental edge. It provides brain-boosting nutrients to help keep your memory keen and your mind sharp.

What can you expect from using this product? Enhanced Memory, mental clarity, concentration and focus.

I suspect each of us possesses some form of mild attention deficit, some worse than others. Whatever "name" you give it, we could all use help in the concentration and memory department.

I encourage you to find a product that works for you. However, I will continue to use this product because I was able to focus better and my memory became comparable to a walking encyclopedia. Even my boss noticed and I received a pay raise as a result. Perhaps, I should start taking this product again before I forget.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why whole wheat?

Health benefits. Staff of life. These are the things whole wheat bread is comprised of.

Did you know white flour is treated with a chemical bleach to make bread a brighter white? Bet you never thought about the chemical residues that are left behind. Not to mention the fact that the bleaching process destroys many vitamins.

We have traded nutrition for things like mass-production, longer shelf life, and soft texture. Public taste has become accustomed to breads made this way.

Even though all types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and various vitamins and minerals, whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients.

What should you look for? Most breads are simply colored brown to fool us, so we can't trust the looks of bread. Check out the ingredient list; it's not good enough for a label to show wheat. Whole wheat must be the dominant ingredient to count. Typically, if you see "whole wheat," "wholemeal," or "whole corn" as the first ingredient, the product is a whole-grain food item.

Unfortunately, most people no longer have time in their schedules for baking at home and must rely on store-bought products. As a result, people have forgotten how real bread tastes.

I do not have time to bake, nor am I any good at it. The only thing I attempt is whole wheat pizza crust. It's not that hard to make, and it's definitely cheaper than the alternatives like frozen pizza or take out. Just a little yeast, flour, and water and a tiny bit of time and preparation. Plus, you can put whatever you want on your homemade pizza, so you know it's going to taste good. Aren't you sick of the pizza places skimping on your toppings anyway?

As far as bread goes, I buy the store brand whole wheat bread and it only costs me about 30 more cents than the wheat or the white.

I'm still trying to get used to brown rice and whole wheat pasta. That is a whole different post! In the meantime, I can still feel proud that I am making some kind of good choice.

It will take a little getting used to, but the benefits are worth it and you will be much better nourished as a result.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Surveys for money

In my free time, I get paid to take surveys and test new products. Periodically, I receive emails from a few sites and I check them out when I have free time. Funny thing is, I used to have more time to do this sort of thing when I worked outside the home. Apparently, I didn't have enough to do at my job :).

Just today, I found out I am going to be trying out two new products. The awesome thing about doing this is, I get free product, plus, upon completion of the offer, I am paid for my time! I can't remember what the compensation this time is.

There's always a quick screening type of questionaire after which I find out if I meet the qualifications. In other words, everyone is not eligible to take all surveys.

At American Consumer Opinion, I got to try a new (not on the market yet) body wash. It was fun, plus I received a full size body wash and a check for $10.00! This is one of my favorite sites as they have a decent, regular payout. For example, they pay anywhere from $2.00 up to $10.00 per survey.

At Global Opinion Panels,you can redeem points for prizes. The minimum points needed for redemption is 5000, which is equivalent to $5.00. 10000 points is equal to $10.00 and so on. Currently, I am up to 6990. This may not sound so great, but free money is still good money.

Finally, Your 2 Cents sends a check when your account reaches $10.00. You have to request it, though. I have requested $24.00 so far and I have $7.00 in my "account".

Even though there isn't a ton of money in doing surveys, it's fun and worthwhile. I have checked into others and they are either scams or not so great. So, check these out and have fun!