Monday, January 31, 2011

Progress Cards Review & Giveaway!

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As both a mom and a counselor, I have used checklists and charts with my daughter and students. I used a sticker reward chart years ago when my daughter was giving me a hard time in the morning and evening with getting ready for school and bed. The sticker chart was successful; however, I still need to give constant reminders that it's time to brush her teeth and get dressed for school, etc. I understand that she is still young, but I am attempting to work with her on building her independence so that I am not constantly harping on her. This will also save me time while I am trying to get the baby ready in the morning before I have to leave for work. I have parents speak to me often about similar concerns/issues with their own children.

I was so pleased to discover Progress Cards. Progress Cards are cards that "help children manage and express difficult feelings, learn tips to improve behaviors, and learn effective coping skills to deal with divorce, death, bullies". These cards are right up my ally! I had read a little bit about Progress Cards on other blogs, but I had no idea that there were so many of them! The creator of Progress Cards, Scott Ertl, is an elementary school counselor. He developed these cards in order to assist students, parents, and teachers with helping students self-monitor and reinforce their behavior. I was blessed to be provided with the whole Progress Cards Set to review. Not only was I impressed with the sheer amount that are within the complete set, but I was also pleased to see so many cards that provided tips for kids. It's nice that they are small and can be easily printed for children to keep at home or school, possibly tucked in a backpack or desk.

I am currently using the Morning and Bedtime Routine Cards with my daughter and for the most part, she is doing really well. I am also using the card that assists with dealing with the loss of a loved one, which is something she has been struggling with. I also took the Morning and Bedtime Routine cards, laminated them back to back, and attached a lanyard necklace for one of my fourth grade students. She is really struggling with her independence at these times and asked for help coming up with strategies to be on-task.


Scott Ertl is generously offering three freebies for my followers! He is offering two free Progress Cards for Friendship skills and Sportsmanship tips. These free cards can be downloaded HERE!

He is also offering you all a free Progress Book that you can download to help your children identify their current strengths and create goals they want to achieve. You can access your free Progress Book HERE!

That's not it! I am also able to giveaway ONE COMPLETE SET of cards ($34.99 value) to one of my followers! Here are the details!

Win It: One winner will receive one complete set of Progress Cards ($34.99 value).  Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please "Like" Progress Cards on Facebook.

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
6. Follow me on Networked Blogs (3 entries)

This giveaway ends on February 14, 2011 at 9:00pm EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond. 

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I was provided a full set of Progress Cards to review and keep for the purposes of the review.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Have you ever met with a psychic?

Have you ever met with a psychic?  I have met with two in my life.  One really impressed me and seemed to be the real deal, the other - not so much.  The "real deal" psychic was the mother of a friend of mine during college.  She did not do readings for money.  However, she did agree to perform readings as part of a fundraiser my group was holding.  I remember that I met with her one afternoon when it was very close to graduation.  I had been very upset that morning because I learned that my boyfriend (now husband) was moving out to San Jose, CA for work for six months.  When she began the reading, she looked at me and said, "He won't be gone forever.."  I took the biggest breath of relief.  She also made two more predictions.  The first was that she told me she envisioned me working on the ground with children.  The second was that she saw me sitting in a courtroom upset. 

Okay...the first one didn't bother me, but the second one surely did.

Right after graduation, I was hired by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  I visited families in their homes and I provided counseling to children, teens, and adults.  It was an extremely challenging job, but I loved the families and my coworkers.  I often would sit on the floor of the families' living rooms and play games with my child clients.  So, the first prediction was right!

The second prediction may or may not have come true yet.  I did sit in a courtroom with my husband about ten years ago in support of my sister-in-law's divorce hearing.  I was upset at the issue at hand, but I wasn't crying.  Was that it?  Or is there something else in my future?  That lingering question haunts me....no one ever wants to find themselves in a courtroom.  I wish that my friend's mom didn't tell me that prediction...

So, this week I have a reading scheduled with psychic Cynthia Ann.  I have to admit I am a little nervous...what is she going to tell me??  I will be back here to post about it afterwards!  Cynthia Ann has also giving a free reading to one of my readers, so I will post the details soon!

New FREE "Travel Alaska" Planner is Available

I have always wanted to travel to Alaska.  The photos I've seen are amazing.  Maybe we'll take one of those cruises!  That would definitely be worth checking out.  If you have ever wanted to visit Alaska, you may want to take a peek at the new FREE "Travel Alaska" planner!  It's everything you need to plan your trip!


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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toggle Bandz Review

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My daughter has short curly hair and it is very fine. Despite the fact that she looks adorable with ponytails or hair clips, she will only wear headbands. She has never been able to wear the soft cloth headbands because they slip right off her head. Therefore, she has been limited to the hard headbands that can hurt behind the ears over time.

I was delighted to hear about Toggle Bandz. Toggle Bandz are adorable adjustable headbands made of ribbon that have an ingenious little plastic piece that holds the ends. You can tighten and loosen the headband as needed. How clever! Toggle Bandz were created by a stay-at-home military wife who had similar frustrations with her daughter’s hair as I do with mine.

Amanda was nice enough to send me two Toggle Bandz to try in my daughter’s favorite colors, black and purple with white polka dots. They looked great on my daughter and she was all smiles. She loved the fact that she could adjust them herself!

Toggle Bandz come in an array of colors, designs, and sizes. They can also be custom designed! They are quite inexpensive, only $3.00 right now. That’s a great deal!

Thank you again to Amanda for the opportunity to review her Toggle Bandz!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guest Article by Kathleen Thomas of Primrose Schools

I would like to introduce you to Kathleen Thomas from Primrose Schools. I agreed to post this article because I am a firm believer in finding a certified day care when it is necessary. I have not had the ability to stay home with my children and finding a certified, quality day care was of the upmost importance to me (as I'm sure it is for all working moms).

Certified Educational Daycare
In such difficult economic times many parents would see it as a privilege to be a stay-at-home parent in America, and would be considered truly lucky. With thirty years of economic policies that have decimated the middle class, the majority of American households today require two incomes, meaning that young children must usually be relegated to daycare facilities or preschools.
Of those fortunate parents raising their children naturally, many wish to take full advantage of this opportunity by attempting to give their children a head start on learning; reading to them, engaging in educational play activities, encouraging them to read, and more. Unfortunately, very few parents can do it all.
Young children can greatly benefit from attendance at a certified day care, operated by trained, certified early childhood educators. A preschool teacher cannot replace a parent and that is not the goal of a certified day care program, but the experience of learning in a school setting during the early years can be a valuable supplement to a child's experience at a time when the brain is being shaped and developed.
Closing the Gaps
There is arguably no substitute for a loving parent-child relationship and daily interactions – but scientific methodology has an important place. This is where trained, certified early childhood educators can "fill the gaps" when it comes to a young child's development. For example, were you as a parent aware that there are five equally important areas of a young child's development? These are summed up by the acronym, "SPICE" – Social, Physical, Intellectual, Creative and Emotional.
The way a child relates to others and functions in a group setting involves social development. If you are among the increasing number of parents choosing to limit their family size to one child, the importance of socialization in a structured environment becomes apparent.
Physical development refers to building motor skills, from the gross (basic movements such as walking and running) to the fine (such as holding a writing implement).
Intellectual development is achieved through structured play, and of course means development of language and math skills as well as the child's innate sense of curiosity and wonder; Intellectual development is central to success in school later on.
Creative development addresses artistic talents in visual arts, music, storytelling and even theatrics. Although it is popular in American culture to dismiss creativity and the arts as unnecessary, creativity is the foundation self-expression and problem solving. It is arguable that without creativity, there would be no innovation nor entrepreneurship. (It was Einstein himself who said "Creativity is more important than knowledge.")
Emotional development is also frequently overlooked, even by the most devoted parents. Yet, without a sense of self, including self confidence and the discipline to deal with one's own emotional responses, a child will have difficulty functioning in society later in life.
What the future will hold
It is likely that most parents are aware of these developmental domains on an instinctive level. However, certified preschool educators are trained in the scientific theory and methodology that can make the difference between a child succeeding – and succeeding brilliantly.
Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas
Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the Atlanta day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.

*FREE* Pair of Swarovski Crystal Earrings when you host an Online Jewelry Party!

I love attending home jewelry/candle/home decor parties, but I can rarely go.  I love hosting home parties, but with two kids, sometimes this is really difficult to coordinate.  If you are like me, then online parties are right for you.  I often choose online or catalog parties because they are easier to coordinate, I don't have to clean my house, and I can easily earn free products. 

Are you interested in earning FREE jewelry? 

I offer Online Jewelry Parties at Dearheart Designs!  The process is simple - you tell me what week you would like to host your party.  I will send you an email to forward to all of your party guests that contains a special coupon code that will provide you with credit for their purchases.  When your party concludes, I will email you to inform you of your total sales and you will receive 10% of the total sales in store credit. 

Want MORE Perks??

Your guests will receive 10% off each item and FREE First Class Shipping!

You will receive a FREE pair of earrings (up to $25.00) as a Thank You Gift for hosting an online party.

If a guest from your party schedules and hosts a party within 30 days of your party, you will receive a coupon for 20% off one item.

Are you interested?  Please email me at sales@dearheartdesigns.com to schedule your party today! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CSN Stores Winner!

The winner of the $35 CSN Gift Certificate is...

#138
Musings By Michele!

The winner has been notified and has 48 hours to respond.  Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dearheart Designs Affiliate Program

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I wanted to pass along information about my Affiliate Program for my jewelry company, Dearheart Designs.  You can earn 10% of sales generated simply by promoting my site through the addition of a link on your site, link on your blog, through emails, etc. Also, earn 3% of sales generated by affiliates who sign up under you!

Affiliates will also receive a 10% discount on personal orders and have access to special offers.

Sign up to become a Dearheart Designs Affiliate here!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review: Rescue by Anita Shreve

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About the Book:
"A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma--streetwise and tough-talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter Webster, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely. Soon Sheila and Peter are embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast."

My thoughts on the book:
I have really been searching for a book that I couldn't put down.  It seems lately I have just been "trying to get through" the majority of the ones I've been reading.  Once again, Anita Shreve did not disappoint me.  I was instantly hooked.  Peter Webster is a likable character - nice guy, smart, caring - and his devotion to Sheila makes me smile inside.  As a parent, I made a connection with the latter part of the book (I'm not going to give away any details here!).  Of course we all fear for our children, but I kept imagining myself in Peter's shoes and I felt like a vice was around my heart.  I would strongly recommend reading this book. 

About the Author: 
Originally from the Boston area, Anita Shreve began writing while she was teaching high school.  She quit her teaching position in order to write full-time. Shreve decided to begin a career in journalism and ended up moving to Kenya for three years in order to work for an African magazine.  Shreve returned to the US and was the writer and editor for several magazines.  In 1998, Shreve received the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award for fiction.  She has written twelve books, including The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding in December, and Body Surfing.

About Author

Anita Shreve is the acclaimed author of 15 previous novels, including A Change in Altitude; Testimony; The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club; and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange prize. She lives in Massachusetts.

Thank you to the Hachette Book Group for providing me with this book to review!

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  I was provided with a free copy of the book to keep.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday Hops

Sippy Cups and Cloth Bums

Sunday Hops

Ratuki by Hasbro Review

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Card games are a perfect way to have a great time with family and friends.  I also use card games with my students.  It's amazing to see how card games can help me build relationships with shy students. Also, they can help students with creating new friendships.  I'd like to say a huge, "Thank You!" to Hasbro for providing me with the opportunity to review "Ratuki".  I played Ratuki with a few of my small friendship groups and I am pleased to say that they absolutely loved the game! 

More About The Game:
"It’s easy to play, fun to win and totally addictive! Build piles of cards from 1 to 5, but watch out: it’s a card-slamming frenzy! Be the first to slam a 5 on the top of the deck, shout “Ratuki!” and the cards are yours. Get slamming and get winning!"

Includes 170 cards, 5 reminder cards and instructions.

For 2 to 5 players.
Ages 8 and up.

My students had a blast!  Ratuki will definitely be a game that will receive a great deal of use in my office in the future.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Hops

Relax and Make Friends Blog Hop

Auntie Anne's At-Home Baking Kit Review

I definitely love pretzels - salted, cinnamon sugar, plain...it doesn't matter! We buy pretzel snacks for our lunches all the time, but I personally don't think they can even compare to a huge soft pretzel.  I was given the opportunity to review one of the new Auntie Ann's At-Home Baking Kits.  I was excited because we have an Auntie Ann's in our local mall, we've bought from them often, and I have always wanted to try to make them myself.  I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was to use the kit!

The kit came with the baking soda you need to dip the pretzels in, the dough mix, salt, and cinnamon.  The directions were very easy to follow.  I took a couple of pictures to show my daughter in her glory cooking and the finished products. 

BEFORE:


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AFTER:


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I have to say we did a pretty good job!  We had a couple that were shaped perfectly and they were all simply delicious!  We had a blast and I would love to make these again soon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

*SALE* on Spiral Rope Bracelet at Dearheart Designs - Limited Time Only!

I am having a sale on my jewelry website, Dearheart Designs, that I wanted to make sure I share with you! Please take a look at this Hand Crafted Spiral Rope Swarovski Crystal Bracelet.  It is made with Swarovski Crystal bicones and iridescent seed beads.  It has a round toggle clasp.  For a limited time only, I am selling this bracelet for only $30!





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Friday, January 7, 2011

Do you know what your child is saying when they text?

I'm trying to imagine what it's like to be a teenager in our society today. Some things are still the same - friends are the most important thing, parents are annoying at times, homework, gossiping about who likes who. I remember there were kids in my high school who were well known for their drinking and that hasn't changed. But, I don't remember (or maybe I was just clueless) kids doing as many drugs in high school as they do now. I know kids are still concerned (or obsessed) with how others view them. Is it more so than in the past?

With the addition of technology, we've definitely changed everything. Do you agree? We never had computers, texting, cell phones...Facebook, Twitter, Myspace...nothing. Just a regular phone. I watch my friends' kids and get anxious for when my own daughter is their age. What will it be like???
I think parents need to be up on the "lingo" and what text acronyms mean. We need to know what our kids are talking about! Not spying, but being aware. If we aren't educated, we'll be in the dark as to whether there's a problem.

I found this list of texting acronyms on www.safesurfingkids.com and I felt it was important to share them with you....

Read the text acronyms on Safe Surfing Kids here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wednesday Hops



Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday

Review: SmartSeat Chair Protector

How many of you get nervous about protecting your kitchen and dining room furniture when your kids or family members are eating? I do, particularly during the holidays because that's when the nice furniture receives the most use. My husband and I purchased our set with inheritance money after my grandfather died and the set is priceless to me. For years, I have attempted to cover the chair my daughter typically sits in with towels. However, when I closely inspected the other chairs, I noticed I should have been paying closer attention to the adults as well! There are small spots on the upholstery! I wanted to cry...my husband just rolled his eyes when I mentioned having to have them cleaned.

I was thrilled when Rebecca of pb&j Discoveries contacted me and asked me to review one of her SmartSeat Chair Protectors. I hadn't yet seen comfortable and attractive chair protectors before! I've seen ugly plastic covers that remind me of my grandmother's when I was a little girl. The SmartSeat Chair Protectors are so nice looking!

I received the chair protector quickly and was instantly amazed about the quality of the fabric when I took it out of the wrapping. It was soft, not plastic. I received the Midnight Blue chair protector (which I liked because blue is my favorite color). I tried attaching it a couple different ways, but settled on the way that covered the seat completely and still fit easily around the chair legs . The chair protector covered my chair perfectly! I had my daughter use the chair protector not only during our Christmas meal, but also during our New Year's Eve chinese food feast we had the other night. I wasn't worried at all about her seat! I could relax knowing that the seat was protected. Now, I couldn't say that for my other five chairs! I now know that I need to purchase several more!

I love the fact that the straps are adjustable, so I can easily remove the chair protector and attach it to one of our smaller wooden kitchen chairs if needed. Lastly, I love that I can just remove it and toss it into the wash. Beautiful!!

Thank you so much to Becky of pb&j Discoveries for allowing me the opportunity to review one of the SmartSeat Chair Protectors. This is definitely a wonderful product to help manage your household and minimize the stress of caring for furniture. I highly recommend them (as you can tell from my previous positive praise!)





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*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this review.  I received a free product to review for me to keep.  All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

 

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