Monthly Archives: May 2008

Starfall

In the spirit of Everything Educational Thursday, I wanted to post about the website, Starfall. It has online abc games, videos that Becca loves to watch. It uses a phonics approach to reading, simple pictures and lots of repetition. Becca will echo the songs being song and will yell, “mas! mas!” when it ends. When I opened the site up for her tonight, she started yelling, “monkey” as soon as she saw it (When you click on the “m”, the song is all about monkeys which she loves!).

This site was recommended to me by other moms and Becca has really enjoyed it). According to the site, it is targeted to a 1st grade population but at 21 mos, Becca definitely responds to the various chants and songs.

What pre-reading or reading websites would you recommend?

Mary Kate

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Everything Educational Thursday

Jen and I would like to introduce “Everything Educational Thursday.” The idea started because I have been posting about Becca becoming Bilingual and had decided to post something about language development (and specifically bilingual language development) each week which would naturally turn into discussions about her reading/writing in English/Spanish. Since both Jen and I have a teaching background and are currently working in the education field, I thought it might be fun to post things with an educational twist. Since we both have done research on the latest ‘best practices’ and trained teachers in them– why not pass this info on to the ‘first teachers’ — the parents?

So, this will be “Everything Educational Thursday.” We might post about an educational toy we’ve discovered or the ways that we incorporate education into our lives. For instance, since Becca was an infant I have been singing a phonics based alphabet to her (“baby lamb, baby lamb a a a– based on Open Court) and that is something other parents may not have thought to do.

I also hope that people will contribute ideas in the comments or create their own “Everything Educational Thursday” and link back to us.

Let the education begin 🙂

Mary Kate

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How Much is that Girlie in the Window?

Becca watching as Omar and I build her swing set

Click here for other amazing Wordless Wednesday participants. If you are participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave a comment so I can check out your picture of the week!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Mary Kate

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Happy 95th Birthday, Grandma!

My family had a family BBQ to celebrate my Grandmother’s 95th birthday this past weekend.  It ended up being a beautiful day at my Aunt’s house which meant that Becca had a chance to run around with her cousins (this is one of my favorite memories as a child– running around in the backyard with my cousins).  My grandmother looks really great although she doesn’t remember much and becomes easily overwhelmed at parties.

I found myself feeling nostalgic as I looked at her and reflected on all that she had seen in her lifetime.  She was born before WW 1, was just becoming an adult when the Great Depression hit and suffered from a severe bout of Tuberculosis.  She also had five children (including a set of twins), 13 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren (with another arriving somewhere around June 9th). I created a family tree to place in our “grandchildren” scrapbook and found that her “tree” was overflowing and I needed to get creative with my “leaf” placement in order to fit everyone in.

At my grandma’s party, I also had the opportunity to flip through the rest of the “Grandchild” scrapbook and compare it to the one that we had created for her 90th birthday.  It was interesting to see what everyone had included in their page and neat to see how our lives had changed within the past 5 years.  There have been quite a few marriages and a number of additional babies born within the past few years. Omar and my last page was about our wedding, our travels and our adventures.  This page was about Becca and more Becca and even more Becca.  I can only imagine what our next scrapbook page will look like!

Once again,  Happy Birthday, Grandma!!!  May you continue to be healthy and happy 🙂

Mary Kate

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Blog Block

Block on WheelSo I’ve been having some difficulty writing on my blog this week. I am not sure exactly what has been going on with me. I had some really great post ideas but haven’t been able to execute any of them. Instead, I find myself making excuses for not blogging or writing/rewriting a sentence until I run out of time to complete the post. In an effort to break the block, I am going to publish this post and get back to business on Monday. I am confident that I will complete a “Take a Moment” Monday post, a “Wordless Wednesday” post and a “Walk of Shame” post. I also have high hopes for an “Everything Educational Thursday” post and a “Snapshot Saturday” post (two ideas that I have been planning on implementing).
Thanks to all of you who have kept stopping by even though I haven’t had too much to say.
Cheers!

Mary Kate

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Shame on Kathie Lee!


This week I would like to dedicate my “Walk of Shame” post to Kathie Lee’s Today show segment on “Mommy Bloggers.” If you somehow missed the segment, you can see it here.

Shame on Kathie Lee for not researching the subject of blogging before actually participating in a segment on it.

Shame on Kathie Lee for expressing an opinion when she had no idea what she was really talking about. She should have deferred to her partner, Hoda Kotb, stuck with the script or actually allowed Heather Armstrong to speak. I know I would have liked to hear more about her actual experience as a “mommy blogger” instead of hearing about Kathie Lee’s assumptions.

Shame on Kathie Lee for not even realizing she has her own blog.

Shame on Kathie Lee for accusing Heather Armstrong and other “Mommy Bloggers” of violating their children’s privacy when she was notorious for “yakking” about Cody and Cassidy ad nauseum for 10 years of Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.


Shame on Kathie Lee (and the Today Show) for dismissing the impact of blogging on our culture and diminishing the role of women in general (“yakking on the phone”). Considering that 152,005,525 people visited WordPress.com-hosted blogs in April, it appears as if Kathie Lee’s segment just confirmed how out of touch she is.

What were your thoughts on the Today Show segment? What do you think about blogging and “mommy bloggers”?

Mary Kate

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Cool Translation Site!

Are you struggling to communicate with someone in an unfamiliar language? Well, I do and I have a really great computer translation site that I use that you might find helpful, Babel Fish Translation*. It has definitely made communicating with my mother-in-law a whole lot easier.

I may have mentioned once (or twice) that my mother-in-law watches Becca when I am working and that she only speaks a little bit of English. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that I don’t speak a lot of Spanish. Over the years, I have managed to pick up some rudimentary Spanish (Cuanto tiempo Becca durmió? – How long did Becca sleep?) and situational Spanish (Cómo usted dice esto? – How do you say this?- pointing to an object) In general, this has worked out pretty well for us. But every once in a while, we run into a situation that requires a more sophisticated vocabulary and I have found that the Babel Fish site allows me to do that (it offers 36 different language translation options).

While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translations, I do know that they have definitely helped my MIL and I through some very sticky situations. I will type in the 2-3 (or 6-7) sentences and then read it to my MIL. Sometimes it is necessary for me to repeat what I have said (my pronunciation is horrendous) and a few times it has been necessary for my MIL to read the actual screen. But in every case, it has helped us to talk about our feelings and Becca in a way that we couldn’t do without the site.
What tips/tricks do you have for translating between languages (or dealing with your MIL ;))? I would love to hear them!

Hasta luego,

Mary Kate

*like all of my reviews (so far 😉 ), I was not solicited to review this site and did not receive any compensation (in any form) to review it. It has been a lifesaver for me and I thought other people could benefit from it as well.

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