No More Monsters At Night With "A Light In The Night"!

No more worries, no more fear—bedtime’s best friend is here! Developed by a mother for her own child, A Light in the Night™ is the friend every child needs when bedtime comes and the room grows dark. On the outside, it’s a soft, reassuring creature with fuzzy hands for holding, a body for squeezing, and a gentle face large enough to hide behind. In its tummy is a soft green light that keeps scary things away and allows the child to take an active role in managing and overcoming his or her fear of things that go bump in the night.


Each purchase includes a super-soft plush stuffed animal with a light-up tummy and a fully-illustrated board book.
Available in bubble gum pink, ice blue, and mint green.

PLUS: For every "A Light in the Night" you buy this holiday season, one will be sent to you
and one will be donated in your name to the American Red Cross and given to a child who's fighting a battle.


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Order yours today at http://www.alightinthefight.com/americanredcross1.html to brighten the holiday of someone you love as well as a child who's battling a fight.


$10 Coupon Code For Educents.com

This post contains affiliate links.

I'm always looking for the best places to get the greatest deals on educational materials for my kids. One site that I love is Educents.com, a daily deal site for educators and parents! Join today HERE and you'll receive $10 (no minimum purchase) to spend on the site however you want! 

Here are a few of the things that you can get you can get FOR FREE today with your $10 off at Educents.com.







Join today HERE to you'll receive $10 to spend on the site however you want! 


There are A LOT of curriculum, toys and activities at Educents.com, so be sure to check out all that they offer. And, if you don't see one you love, don't worry! Your $10 coupon code is good for 6 months, so you'll have plenty of time to find one you love. :)

What activity do you like the most? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Ariana's 3-Year-Old Milestones So Far...

Now that Ariana is 3, it has sort of hit me that she's getting older. She's certainly no longer a little baby, that's for sure. Instead of thinking back at how life was with a baby, I'm just loving the little moments of her getting older.
  • She's counting.
  • No longer breastfeeding.
  • Getting dressed by herself.
  • No longer wears diapers.
  • Brushes her own hair.
  • She loves dancing.
  • Makes peanut butter & jelly sandwich on her own.
  • Shows the most sincere affection for her family.




I love looking back on ordinary little moments like these that really capture who Ariana is. :)

I'd love to hear what you think of this post. Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Speech Therapy Evaluation As Homeschoolers {Part 2}

Be sure to read the first part of this post at Speech Therapy As Homeschoolers - Part 1

Evaluation # 3: The 2nd Classroom Evaluation
The second play-base evaluation seemed similar to the first. From what Phoenix has said, they played with ride-in cars in the gym area, and interacted with each other. Phoenix mentioned filling his vehicle up with gas as the "parents" (aka evaluation team) stood around and talked.  

Evaluation Team Meeting
The next week, I went to an evaluation team meeting s to discuss the results obtained from the various evaluations that have been done on my child as well as determine a plan of action (if any is needed). I went into this meeting incredibly terrified. I have heard from numerous people that in general, during IEP meetings, parents can be highly pressured to send their children to public schools. As we're homeschooling, and plan to continue homeschooling, this meeting had the potential to be pretty rough. Going into the meeting, I had it set in my head that I wasn't going to sign anything at the meeting. I would take home the numerous papers they pushed my way to read over at home. Then, after carefully looking over everything, I'd sign papers, and move forward. The meeting started out great. The evaluators were telling me how great my son was, how much the liked him... all sorts of stuff that a mom could listen to for days. One all of the team members had arrived, we got right down to business.

Assessment Results
First was the school psychologist's assessment. She assessed Phoenix's adaptive behavior, cognitive delevopment, and social-emotional behavior. Phoenix was assessed by the Wechsler preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - Third Edition (WPPSI-III). He was administered the General Language subtests of the WPPSI-III to assess his vocabulary development, and tested in the high average range. The assessor said his vocabulary was amazing for a 4-year-old, and they hardly ever see kids his age with such an extensive vocabulary. He also has an excellent retention and retrieval of vocabulary concepts. He was also tested in the preacademic area by the Bracken Test Of Basic Concepts, which he did extremely well on. This test covered such areas as colors, letters, numbers, size, comparisons, and shapes. The third group of results was for the Developmental Profile 3 (DP-3) test, which I actually completed for Phoenix at home. For this, he tested in various parts of the average range.  The DP-3 assesses physical development,  adaptive behavior, social-emotional, cognitive, and communication. This average result surprised the team, as they saw him excelling in all of these areas. They simply said how different tests measure different things, and that this is why they use a wide variety of tests, so they can get the most accurate picture. Overall, during assessment sessions, Phoenix's speech was nearly 100% intelligible, with long sentences, in known and unknown contexts. They said he appears to be ready for any school setting, but may require advanced differentiation at some point to keep him appropriately engaged in the classroom. He prefers a rapid pace of instruction/input and will attempt to engage himself with things of interest in the environment if things do not move fast enough for him. (For example, if the class would be talking about letters during circle time, he'd get bored, and would start looking at a poster on the wall.) The overall analysis is that Phoenix's speech is great, and that his development is not an issue that would require any IEP. I signed off on a paper stating that he didn't qualify for any services, and I was on my way.

My Thoughts
I'm so glad I got Phoenix's speech evaluated. It's very reassuring to know that his speech is developing normally for his age. Also, the high scores on the various assessments they gave him were wonderful to hear. That's not what he learned at daycare. That's not what he learned from teachers. That's what he has learned being at home. I take great pride that so far he is thriving in his home learning environment. :)

Have you ever worked with a speech therapist?  I'd love to hear what you think of this post. Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Ariana's 1st Preschool Lesson - Counting

I've been taking a relaxed approach to homeschooling this year for both Phoenix & Ariana. Phoenix has really seemed to thrive through child-led learning, and I was excited to do the same with Ariana.

Up until this point, Ariana has learned through general conversations, play, and from books. Today was the first time I sat her down to teach her something. To my surprise, she already seems to have picked up on counting, number recognition, as well as one-to-one correspondence. Tomorrow, we'll go over this some more, just to clarify that she's truly counting them or if she's using rote memorization. Oh, and colors! She's definitely picked up orange on her own. We'll be working more on those as well as shapes too in the near future. :)

I think despite not having a formal education at age 3½ (don't laugh, most kids her age have), she seems to be learning quite well. It's a funny thing, as much fun as it is to teach our kids, and can be just as much fun, and perhaps more meaningful for the child, when they learn things completely on their own. :)



 I'd love to hear what you think of this post. Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Speech Therapy Evaluation As Homeschoolers {Part 1}

This post was written the year before Phoenix was old enough to start kindergarten.




Why Speech Therapy Evaluation?
Phoenix was born with a tongue tie,  a condition that restricts the tongue's range of motion. Doctors used to advice clipping it soon after birth to avoid speech problems in the future. However, this is no longer the case. Parents are, now, often told to let it go, and if there are speech problems later down the road, it can be addressed at that time.

Fast forward to Phoenix's 4th birthday. While we were at his doctor's appointment, I expressed some concern over Phoenix's speech. The problems weren't major, but given his tongue tie condition at birth, I did feel it was something to address. He says
  • /w/ instead of /l/
  • /f/ instead of /th/
I waited about 6 months too see if his speech issues would work themselves out. They didn't. So, I called up the local school district to have his speech evaluated. First, I had to complete a ton of paperwork, because they had to treat him like he was going to be enrolled as a student in order to process him through the evaluation. They assured me that I was under no obligation to send him to the public preschool. This was reassuring, since I have every intention to continue with speech therapy as homeschoolers.

Evaluation # 1: The In-Home Evaluation
About two weeks after my paperwork was completed, an in-home evaluation was scheduled. A therapist stopped by, and did a few casual tests on Phoenix. She told Phoenix that they would be "playing games". He is very social, and was excited to meet someone new. :) The first thing she did was a picture flip chart evaluation. There would be a bunch of objects, and she'd ask to to point to the chair, or point to the object that comes from a cow (milk). There were also some that he just had to say the name of the animal or object that was on the chart. Next, he put beads on a string. There were varying beads sizes. She's ask him to put 8 beads on the string, and he did. There was another one where he simply had to lace as many beads as he could. After that, our evaluation was over. He asked the therapist if she wanted to play cars in his room or look at his toys, but she politely declined. We really built this up that someone would be coming over to play games with him, so he was highly disappointed that they didn't really play and games together.

Evaluation # 2: The Classroom Evaluation
Two weeks after the in-home evaluation was a classroom evaluation. I explained to Phoenix that some kids go to school in a building, and other kids stay at home and are taught by their parents. So, even though we were going to a school today, it was just for a special thing, and that he's still going to be homeschooled. Well, wouldn't ya know, the first thing Phoenix tells the teachers when we get there is that he's homeschooled... even though he's there for the day. I was slightly nervous at how people would react - but it didn't appear to be a big deal. At the preschool, he was taken into another room with about 4 other boys where they were evaluated. I was told they would be doing preschool-type things like playing, circle time, etc. But, when I asked Phoenix if they sat in a circle, he told me they didn't... but they did sit in a straight line. They also said they would be doing "as much as the child would allow" of the flip chart work, which made me feel uncomfortable. They tend to test more whenever possible... I'm assuming so they can have more data, and paint a more accurate picture of my son & his needs. But... I just wanted to know if my son's speech is normal or not, I didn't want them to test the hell out of him.

Our homeschool is very relaxed... and Phoenix is never put on the spot with drilling questions, so the flip chart testing certainly made me uncomfortable. Trying to figure out what happened in the classroom evaluation was difficult. When we left, Phoenix was really bummed out that they never played on the playground equipment at the school. I explained to him that it was for other kids, but it broke his heart seeing it there and not being able to play on it. As we were getting into the car, Phoenix said he had a great time, but did not really want to talk much about what happened. He mentioned something about pretending the coffee maker was a blender, and mixing up something with ice cream and a few other ingredients. When I asked him if it was a smoothie, he got very defensive and became annoyed, because it was not a smoothie. A few more prying questions got my pretty much nowhere, totally bummed me out, because I wanted to know exactly what went on. We go back tomorrow for another classroom evaluation, so I'm excited to see how that goes. And, the week after that is the meeting when the staff presents their finding in a report, and we discuss any further action that may need to be taken. I'll be sure to keep you in the loop about what happens with these events as I go through this journey of having speech therapy as homeschoolers. :)

  Be sure to read the second part of this post at Speech Therapy As Homeschoolers - Part 2 . 

Halloween At Grandma's House

This year, we decided to switch up our usual Halloween at home, and go trick-or-treating at Grandma's house. We always let the kids pick what they want to be. Phoenix wanted to be something scary, and decided on a ghost. Ariana wanted to be something nice, and went for a reindeer again.


Their grandma loves Halloween, and decided to dress up as well, so she was the ghost walking around with Phoenix.





We ended up walking for about 1 1/2 hours, and both of the kids were ready to be done at the point. I spend most of the time carrying Ariana.




Overall, we had a great Halloween. The kids really enjoyed themselves, and I think we might go back there for Halloween again next year. :)

Did you dress up for Halloween this year? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)





Adventure Bible, NKJV by Lawrence O. Richards {Book Review}

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Adventure Bible, NKJV by Lawrence O. Richards
Lately, Phoenix has been asking about God. Is he real? Why hasn't anyone ever seen him? Not one to press my own views on God and religion, I figured the best thing would be to teach him about God, and let him make his own decision. I wanted to have a bible that would be easy for him to understand, so I figured I'd give the Adventure Bible, NKJV by Lawrence O. Richards a try. While this particular version was still well over my 5-year-old's head, I think it would be great children's bible for kids in the recommended age range of 8-12.

What I Love
  •  The illustrations! As a trained graphic designer, half of my classes in college were illustration classes. While I'm not the best illustrator, I can certainly spot good illustration from a mile away, and this bible has it.
  • The bible can be very tricky to understand. I like how this bible has sections like "Did You Know", "Live It", and "Life In Bible Times" that take the words from the bible, and explain them in was children can grasp. 
  • It's great for beginners. Sections like "How to Pray", "Getting to Know Jesus", and "The Life of Jesus Christ" don't assume that the reader has extensive knowledge going into reading this book. It breaks down the basics in an easy and accessible way that kids can easily grasp.






When is the last time you read from a bible? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)


I review for BookLook Bloggers

Picking Perfect Pumpkins At The Pumpkin Patch ;)

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. Recently, we took the kids to go on a hayride pick out their own pumpkins. It was certainly a bit chilly, but the kids had a fun time. :)













Did you pick pumpkins this year? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

73 Questions With Heather of "Mommy Only Has 2 Hands"

I'm starting a new interview series on my blog, inspired by Vogue's 73 Questions (http://video.vogue.com/series/73-questions) in which I'm asking my favorite bloggers 73 questions to find out what they like, what they hate, and most importantly - what they know.

73 Questions With Heather of "Mommy Only Has 2 Hands"


1. What's the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?
Why are the kids screaming at this hour?
   
2. What's your favorite thing to do in your city? 
In the summer time we love to do Music in the Park. We pack food, and a picnic blanket, go to the event and the kids sing and dance. Its kind of magical to me.

3. What are three words to describe living in your city?
Nature, Family, Touristy

4. What's your favorite movie?
I've always liked You've Got Mail, there's just something about it that clicks with me as a blogger.

5. What movie did you laugh the hardest during?
The Heat with Melissa McCarthy. I loved her on Gilmore Girls and from TV and she's even more hilarious in film. What an actress she is!

6. What movie did you cry the hardest during?
I cried at a lot of movies...I can't really pin point one. But I also cry at the oddest times during the movies. My husband will look over and ask what the heck are you crying about? Just to name a few I start bawling over: Hope Floats, Powder, Free Willy, Dolphin Tale, The Notebook, A Walk To Remember...the list really could go on. 

7. Best animated movie ever created?
For me, it's Shrek. Could watch it again and again. 

8. Favorite tv show?
Gilmore Girls and Reba. Not sure why really. I like the mother/daughter relationship in Gilmore Girls and have always been a Reba fan. 

9. Last book you've read?  
Replay, it kind of reminds me of Lost, but its an intense book where a man dies every time he reaches the age 43 and replays his life. He gets to decide how he wants to live it each time. It makes you think. 

10. What's a book you plan on reading?
 I want to read "At Wit's End by Erma Bombeck. I hear its pretty good.

11. iphone or Android?  
iPhone! 

12. What's your favorite restaurant? 
I love Macayos! Its not in my city, but if I can get to this Mexican restaurant during a visit to Phoenix, I'm a happy camper!

13. What's the coolest thing in your house?
Our wi-fi cameras I like being able to check in on the house from my phone. 

14. Favorite food? 
California Rolls from Teppan Fuji

15. Least favorite food?
Hmmm, probably the left overs I'm forced to eat because no one else will. ;) 

16. Favorite drink? 
My iced coffee every morning!

17. Favorite dessert? 
Anything from Coldstone, but since we are in October, I do love myself some good pumpkin pie!

18. Weirdest thing you've ever eaten? 
Escargot...not a fan.

19. What's the coolest thing about being a mom? 
I have little boys who wrap their arms around me and tell me they love me.
 
20. What's the hardest part about being a mom?  
When the tired tantrums start in the evenings and I can hardly wait til the kids are in their beds and I can shower.

21. Most important advice you'll give your kids? 
Just be the best that you can be and don't change yourself for others.

22. What's your favorite band? 
P!nk! Hands down that chick rocks!

23. Best gift you've ever received? 
Probably my iPad from my husband.
 
24. Best gift you've ever given? 
I gave my husband a full size air hockey table for Christmas the first year we were together.

25. A person you want to have coffee with?  
Lanny, my friend and mentor.

26. If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would it be?  
Lanny, my friend and mentor.

27. Cheap shampoo or expensive? 
I now by shampoo specially made for curly hair and all the products that help me to maintain a nice perm.

28. Best way to decompress? 
Watch a Parenthood or Nashville, but one of them usually makes me cry...so not sure if that's really decompressing.

29. If you had one superpower, what would it be? 
To teleport: To go anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat.

30. Best thing that's happened this month? 
I have a new nephew!

31. What's the last hobby you picked up? 
Photography! I have a new camera and everything!

32. What topic would you own in trivia?
Oh wow, I don't know. I'm thinking maybe theatre history or something like that, since that was my high school and college majors/minor for the longest time.
 
33. If you instructed a college class, what would the subject be? 
"Reporting 101: How to find a story and get your facts straight!" (Journalism school) ;) 

34. If you taught a kindergarten class, what would the subject be? 
Gardening. Kids love to get their hands in dirt, why not teach them how to grow a garden?

35. What's something you can't be subjected to for too long?
Opinionated Sacti-moms.

36. What's the best exercise? 
I personally like the elliptical at my gym. Seems to work a whole lot of areas.

37. What's the coolest thing you've ever seen? 
With my own eyes and not on TV, I'd have to say a sunken ship off the coast of Zihautenejo in crystal clear waters while snorkeling over a drop off.

38. What's the best date idea?
I would love to do a drive in movie. 

39. What's the last person you texted? 
Lacey some pictures of our boys playing together this morning.

40. Favorite brand of jeans? 
Right now, Lei.

41. Facebook, twitter, or Instagram? 
Instagram, a picture says a thousand words.

42. What color dress did you wear to your prom? 
White

43. Blow-dry or air-dry? 
Since having a perm, I air dry it.

44. Do you dress up every morning?
No, only when we have mom's group or I have to go in and talk to someone at JJ's school.

45. If you have the clothes in anyone's closet, who would it be?  
I like the way Kate Beckinsale Dresses. Cute, classy and a little bit sexy. 

46. Three things always in your purse? 
My phone, wet wipes and of course my wallet.

47. If you could play a historical figure in a movie, who would it be? 
Dr. Sally Ride, first American woman in space.

48. What's been the best thing about 2014? 
So far I guess its a year of firsts, my son starting Kindergarten, a new roof, going to Disneyland, there's been a lot of great things about this year.

49. What's a current trend you hope doesn't exist in 100 years? 
Ha ha, well I guess thongs above your pants, girls, just stop!!

50. What's a goal of yours? 
To manage work at home life with family life, its very hard to balance both.

51. Kittens or puppies?  
Kittens...I don't have to walk or bathe kittens.

52. What was your first pet?  
I think it was a cat named Thimble...I was very young.

53. Country you want to visit?
Ireland

54. Underwater or outer space?
Well since you can't breathe in either of them....I guess I'll choose under water.

55. Where would you spend retirement?  
It used to be the thought of a nice beach house...I think I'd still enjoy that.

56. Favorite board game?  
Scrabble

57. Biggest learning experience of your life? 
Motherhood, it really is a learning experience each and every day.

58. Proudest moment of your life? 
My college degree. Statistically I shouldn't have a degree. No one in my immediate family even has a high school diploma, so having this degree means the world to me.

59. What are you most excited about in life right now? 
Upcoming vacation time...time away from the bump and grind and hopefully a time to reflect and analyse what truly is important in my life.

60. What's your favorite holiday?
Its always been a toss up between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. I guess what I like most is gathering with people to celebrate something with no expectations...but now since I host Thanksgiving every year, the expectations kinda keep piling up. I still enjoy some delicious food and good company though and feeling grateful for all I have.

61. What do you love on your pizza?
I love ham and pineapple!

62. Favorite app? 
Right now its my netcam app. I get to spy on my home from my phone since we set up cameras in the house. Its kinda cool.

63. Favorite website? 
Pinterest...I could browse for hours!

64. How do you feel about selfies?
Eh, I sometimes take them with my kids just so I can say I'm in a photo with them. I rarely am the one that is photographed with them, I'm always taking the picture, so I may occasionally do a goofie selfie with the kids in the shot.

65. What is one thing you wish you knew in high school? 
That nerds really do rule the world!

66. Heels or flats?  
Flats, I gotta be comfortable, although with being 5 feet tall, you'd think I'd wear heels more

67. If you could live in any decade, what would it be and where? 
I'm pretty happy in this one. Its been the decade I've been the happiest.

68. What's the biggest surprise you ever had? 
A positive pregnancy test...or how about 2 positive pregnancy tests! ;)

69. What's the cutest thing on planet Earth? 
When kittens see their reflection in the mirror and get all worked up with those ninja cat moves and baby pandas.

70. If you could moonlight as another profession, what would it be? 
I would be a movie director, I've always wanted to be behind the scenes.

71. What band, past or present, would you be a groupie for? 
Pink!

72. What are you doing tomorrow? 
Running errands, catching up on work and probably a bunch of house cleaning.

73. What do you hope to be doing a year from now? 
I guess just enjoying what I'm doing now but getting paid more for it.



Don't forget, you can check out Heather's blog at Mommy Only Has 2 Hands.


What do you think of this post? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Want Your Own Personal Graphic Designer?

Dear Readers,

As you may or may not know, I have a degree in Graphic Design. Well, technically it's "Visual Communication Design" from one of the top-ranked communications design schools in the country - Kent State University. (Seriously. I'm not making this stuff up.) I have taken a 3½ year sabbatical which I has been amazing. I have been able to travel, spend time with my family, develop new passions, and just live life. The past 3½ years have been some of the best years of my life, I wouldn't change it for the world.

It is on this note that I bring you some exciting news... that I will be opening my doors as a graphic designer once again. So, if you or anyone you know is in need of a graphic designer, shoot me an email at lisabrowndesign@yahoo.com. I'm looking forward to creating some great designs.

Sincerely,
Lisa Brown
Graphic Designer




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