Monday, July 21, 2008

Tag! You're it! (And Savvy too)

When Seth was almost three he still wasn't talking. Nor sleeping through the night. Nor able to self soothe. He seemed a bit clumsy and would freak out over the slightest thing, then scream for at least 25 minutes a stretch (many, many times a day). He was highly sensitive to temperatures. And water? And hair cuts? Nightmare.
When I brought some of these issues up to seasoned parents, they'd sort of blow me off and tell me it was normal behavior. A part of me felt like something was askew. I wasn't around kids much so I wasn't sure what was normal behavior versus the something to be alarmed over.

The point? I was totally lost on whether certain behaviors were normal toddler-type behavior or whether they warranted some intervention. It would have been a HUGE help (and comfort) having a website like SavvyQuiz around years ago.

Savvy Quiz is simple and direct. That tan box you see in my sidebar? That's it. You can take quick quizzes, answering various questions to gauge your child's progress. And they are questions I don't remember ever being asked or addressed by the books I'd check. They can measure your child's language development not just only by the vocabulary but by HOW your child communicates. (Example, can you child whisper? Does he or she emphasize certain words when speaking?) And its not just a test for language - there are tests for mathematics, science, social skills, time & space and movement! Oh and you can always save your results and get back to the site when you need to.

If I would have had this resource years ago, I would have been able to print out his answers to various questions within the eight categories. I think this would have been a huge help to the speech therapist and occupational therapists as they would have had a "yard stick" of where Seth was and could have skipped some of the more mundane testing.

But I'm not here just to sing the praises of the Savvy Quiz, (although I'd be happy to devote another thousand words to doing so.) I'm also here to tell you about the Leapfrog TAG website.

The Leapfrog Tag system is so cool, I don't even know where to begin. We were given a "pen" that "reads" the special books, two very popular stories as well as the software. The software (used so you can download stories into your pen) was a snap to install. No issues. Once the information regarding the story is downloaded, your child can point away. And its not just about this little pen reading the story. This little wonder pen, based on what icon your child grazes over, can ask varied questions too, thus checking on your kiddo's comprehension.

Seth loved this project. Since the voice reads once word at a time, he enjoyed not just reading the books and answering questions, but making up his own little sentences or repeating words over and over. He also was able to recognize his site words within the books and was really excited to point those out.

One of the many conversations we had centered around the product, "Hey mom! The computer said, "but." (And then he'd laugh hysterically and swipe over the word again and again and again.)

With all "buts" aside, this is one of those toys he's used quite a bit. But (there's that word again!) that's no surprise because we've cultivated quite a collection of Leap Frog toys over the years. The product definitely earned a "best products reviewed in '08" stamp in our book.

This review was written on behalf of the Parent Bloggers Network. To see more reviews, visit their site.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Poised for anything

Last year I took my little guy to one of those inflatable playground type places. And when they asked if I'd be jumping, I was all, "Yeehaw. If adults can jump, count me in!" So we get to jumping and whoops -- a bit of leakage. I'm thinking, "Eh. No problem. Go to the bathroom, pee, get back on the jumpy-thingee."

But again, the same thing happened. Its not like I do alot of jumping in my day-to-day life. So I was a bit surprised by this. And guess what? I spent the rest of the visit making up excuses as to why mommy couldn't do anymore jumping -- not like a little boy is going to understand that a mom's bladder gets totally beaten up during pregnancy and often times doesn't make a full recovery.

When it comes to bladder leakage, I've shrugged it off and figured it was just a part of life for us moms. Some have it worse than others. But I've never thought it was something to be embarrassed about. But in talking to other women about this issue? I was amazed to find out this is an incredibly awkward subject for some. In fact, some women experience painful intercourse and pain during bowel movements as well as leakage.

And that's why MomCentral and Poise have teamed up. They are hoping that if enough of us share our stories, others won't feel so alone. And the subject of incontinence won't be the taboo subject it is.

In fact, click on this link to hear Linda's story. She shares some very personal health information. (And mentions that her doctors blew her off for YEARS before she was able to get help. Hey. I can relate to that!) She's the winner of the first ever Poise Passion Award. (She's the middle person in that photo.)

Linda's willingness to talk about her experience and her message of "there IS something you can do about this" is uplifting and inspirational. For more information on bladder control issues and Poise products, visit their website.

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Berry delightful

"Let's go strawberry picking," was all mom had to say. To my siblings and I, these were sweet, exciting words. We'd quickly change into junky clothes (the kind its ok to stain). We'd beg to leave right then and there. We were like Pavlov's dogs.

We'd drive to the strawberry patch... Row and rows of tantalizing juicy strawberries. We'd chatter away as we picked. Then we'd get home, take off the stems and clean them. Certain bags were frozen so we could enjoy a bit of summer-y sweetness in the cold of winter. Some were put in a big bowl and kept in the fridge for snacking. And others were used for mouth-watering homemade jam.

These strawberry picking times were some of my fondest childhood memories. So its no surprise that any time strawberries are in a store (no matter how expensive) I buy some. Its one of the few fruits my son will eat and one of the few that we'll consume before the food grows moldy.

Why am I sharing this memory? Because NOW is the perfect time of year for strawberries! That's why MomCentral has asked a bunch of bloggers to announce the California Strawberry Commission's blog tour. If you want to know more about the commission, click HERE. (But don't blame ME if you short out your computer from all of the drooling!)

Oh and lest I forget, if you go to THIS SITE, you can find some cool facts about strawberries and even some cool games. (And no, a competition as to who can shove the most strawberries in their mouths isn't one of the ideas included. But if you ARE going to go that route? Don't forget the whip cream!)
This post was written on behalf of

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Like most people, I LOATHE cleaning the bathrooms. Our shower will seriously grow black and orange stuff all over it before I clean it.

Its not the cleaning, per say, but the fumes from so many products. Buy product, get nasty headache free!

So when MomCentral offered a chance to try Scrubbing Bubbles' latest product, I was curious.

But ya know? This is a pretty cool product. This made scrubbing nasty gunk off of tiles and the shower door easy. And that dried hairspray film that gets in the sink and all over the floor? That can be quickly whisked away too! And no fumes! YEAY.

Alot of products leave the skin on your hands feeling very tight and dry afterwards. But since there's a nice little gripper at the top, your skin's not really coming into contact with the chemicals, so this isn't an issue. It is easy to "assemble" - the pad sticks on the gripper and viola! Add water and "get your clean on".

But... I had problems with the pads sticking to the gripper. Granted I've only tried two so far, so this might not be an issue for others. Also, this little device can't fit in between little crevices like the space been the wall and faucet. Or tiny spots between the back of the toilet and wall. But no doubt at some point, they'll invent a product for that too!

This post was written on behalf of