Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Unlimited Potential Forum is Going Strong!

In case you are unaware, there is a new forum dedicated to helping parents who are interested in a neurodevelopmental approach to helping their children achieve their full potential. Other topics include supplements, nutrition, early learning & any other (mostly non mainstream) therapies that parents are interested in.  The forum just got started this fall & already has almost 120 members! It is a public group & a very supportive bunch, so please feel welcome to join.
Hope to see you at the Unlimited Potential forum!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

One year ago tonight........................

One year ago tonight, I held my daughter's limp, blue, not breathing, unconscious body in my arms.  We had been performing first aid for several minutes, but it wasn't working.  Our SUV stopped in the middle of the road, so my husband could help, the hospital was still 15 minutes away & the ambulance that we were expecting when we called 911 was even further away. It was the single scariest moment of my life.  Typing this now, even a full year later is difficult, the tears are streaming.  A few minutes before, I had thought we would get to the hospital in time, but at this point I wasn't sure.

About 15 minutes earlier, we had sat down for supper.  We were in a bit of a rush, because we were heading down to the ski hill soon.  Hot dogs are a rare treat in my house, but at a grocery store in a different city a few days earlier, I had found some hot dogs that I thought were better nutritionally.  In my rush to get the kids fed & out the door, I forgot to slice K's hot dog in half length wise like I always do for my kids at that age.  She was quite hungry & very excited to get such a treat for supper, so she took a big bite & didn't chew as well as she should have.  Within moments, she was struggling to take a wheezing breath as a large chunk of hot dog blocked her airway. We tried doing the Heimlich, & because she was little we also tried doing the back blows & chest thrusts that you would do for an infant who is choking.  When we weren't successful, we quickly decided to head for the ER.  K was still able to breathe, but it was laboured & she was still wheezing. Once in the SUV, I phoned 911, which is when we were told that the only available ambulance in our tiny community at the moment, was way on the other side of town.  We had to make it to town with her still alive as the ambulance would never arrive in the few minutes it takes for a child to pass away from lack of oxygen.

Every first aid course I have ever taken (& there have been quite a few) came back to me as we desperately tried to get K breathing again. I'm sure it was only minutes, but it seemed like hours that we worked on K`s limp body to unblock her airway & get her breathing again.  Finally, I managed to dislodge the piece of hot dog & get it far up enough in K's throat, that my husband was able to put his finger in her mouth (which is actually a no no, but at this point we were desperate) & get it out. Within a very short time, K regained consciousness & her skin started to return from a terrible blackish blue colour to pink again.  By the time we reached the hospital 15 minutes later, although sleepy & not herself, she was starting to become more active & respond to questions.  The hospital monitored her for a while, then sent her home the same evening.

Although K mostly recovered quite quickly, her face looked terrible for a few days as many blood vessels broke during her ordeal.  She also had a number of bruises from us performing the Heimlich maneuver & back blows so many times.

The next evening, we cancelled all of our New Years plans & spent a quiet evening at home, just thankful that all of our family was there to enjoy it with us.

I am surprised at how hard this has been to write.  I don`t remember when I shed this many tears last.  I think how easily things could have ended differently & I am so grateful.  

If you make only one plan for the New Year, make a resolution to take a first aid course.  I pray you will never have to use the information, but it is better to have it because you never know when something like this could happen.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

K's Crawling Track Needs a New Home!

If you live in Canada, & are interested in a crawling track for your baby, K's has been sitting in my garage gathering dust for a few years now. It is time it moves on & helps another baby become mobile. If you are interested, you can see a picture of it in my post on Learning to Crawl

I am giving this away for free, but I would love to hear an update on how it works for your baby, & I would appreciate it being given to another baby with Down syndrome or special needs when you no longer needs it.

If you are interested, you can contact me at

Santa Claus came last night!

Actually, this was a gift from K's Grandma & Grandpa.  Santa didn't bring any educational toys this year, just a talking, moving baby doll, Littlest Pet Shop toys & a Barbie...............& of course, the most important thing on K's list................chocolate!

K has been really enjoying the map. It uses the pen from her LeapFrog Tag reading system.
Right now, she is mostly just exploring, but it has lots of games to challenge different levels of players, so I'm hoping that she (& her sisters) will get lots of use out of it.

While we're on the subject of geography, my older girls love the app Stack the Countries.
I was honestly very surprised that this has become a family favorite.  Even my husband plays this often.  My 14 year old loves to challenge everyone, & I'll have to admit that I don't give her much competition!  She is a whiz at knowing where every country is. Usually my older kids resist their Mom's educational activities, so this game is really a hit!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas wish for Abbott

I don't go to Reece's rainbow often.......I just can' breaks my heart to see so many beautiful little girls. & boys living in orphanages just because they happen to have an extra chromosome - just like
my K.

Last Christmas, I planned to purchase an ornament to hang on our tree to help create awareness amongst my family and friends.  As I scrolled through the faces of the many waiting children, one in particular caught my eye.  I clicked on his information page & was surprised to see that he was born in the same month & year as K was.  It was a neat coincidence, but the differences in the lives they have lived the last 4 years are in stark contrast to each other and our beautiful story and a half Christmas tree with Abbot's small ornament hanging front & center seems a little  extravagant today.

I haven't been to Reece's Rainbow in a couple of months, but for some reason, I didn't expect Abbot to be there.  I had it in my head that he would have found his forever family by now.

When the page opened, I was shocked to see that not only was Abbott still waiting for a family, but he was the 2nd child listed on the page - meaning he has the 2nd least amount of money to go towards his adoption of any child on the Angel Tree page.

 I am asking you, all of my readers to help. Please share this link to Abbott's page.  If you can donate, that is wonderful, but if you can't, please just help me spread the word about Abbott to help his family find him.  The Internet can be a powerful tool & if everyone who reads this helps spread the word through their blogs, Facebook, forums, etc., I am confident that next year Abbot can celebrate with his own family.

Next year, I don't want to have to mourn the fact that Abbott's adorable face is on my Christmas tree - I want to be able to celebrate it as he & his new family celebrate their first Christmas together.  Please share Abbott's story & help make both of our Christmas wishes come true.

........& the next year, I will have my heart broken again as another little girl or boy again wait patiently on my Christmas tree unto they too find their forever family.

Here is a link to the Angel Tree page:

Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree Donation Page

Thank you everyone & have a very merry Christmas!

If You Blog (& Even if You Don't) Please Read This!

My next post will be about a little boy on Reece's Rainbow who needs his forever family.  I am asking all of my readers to please share the post so that Abbott an find his forever family & doesn't need to spend another Christmas alone.

thank you

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I can't keep up!

........................with K's computer skills! I had planned to do a post with a movie of her using the computer mouse, but before I could get it posted, she moved on to something new & exciting!

For some reason, I never thought to show her how to use a mouse until earlier this fall.  I bought a child size mouse, with only 2 buttons and for about 4 or 5 days, showed K how to use it hand over hand.  The next day, she got impatient while waiting for me to start Little Reader for her, I was just about to go help her when I realized that she had already started it!

Isn't this the cutest little computer mouse you've ever seen?
K loves Winnie the Pooh!

She is getting quite good at using the mouse, however I again, hadn't really thought ahead about teaching her to use the built in mouse on my laptop.  Again, K was ahead of me as about a month ago, I looked over and realized that although the mouse was still in my computer bag, she had managed to start Little Reader anyways!  Maneuvering the mouse with your finger isn't easy - I think my laptop is really touchy - it takes good fine motor skills even for me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Because its never too early to learn CPR...............

I volunteer at a nearby ski hill as a ski patroller. The main component of the job is to provide first aid services on the hill. The other weekend was our annual recertification for first aid as well as CPR. My husband & older 2 girls were at an event at another ski hill, so I ended up taking my younger 2 girls along.

K was quite fascinated by the CPR practice & decided to take part. She even counted as she did chest compressions & gave breaths:)

K made sure her patient was well taken care of!
I did however, draw the line at the AED. A defibrillation device in the hands of a 4 year old could get a little scary! After seeing it done once or twice, you can be certain that K would know which buttons to push & someone might get their heart jump started unnecessarily. I was very careful to explain that it is for adults only & she is not to even touch it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

I'll bet you didn't know I was multi talented! 

I learned to create balloon sculptures when my older 2 daughters were 1 and 3. I loved balloon animals when I was a little girl.  I found it fascinating to watch a balloon artist turn a simple balloon into an amazing creation, and wanted to be able to share this with my daughters.........& to be honest, I like to be a kid again sometimes.  LOL! 

It took hours of practicing over the next couple of years, & gradually, I learned to do ones like the Santa Claus pictured above & even more complex sculptures like my 5 foot high leprechauns with beards, fancy belt buckles & holding a black pot full of gold.

This latest sculpture was for an Christmas event held recently in our community and I donated it to the school after for all the kids to enjoy for a couple of weeks.

I know this isn't DS related at all, but I thought it would be fun to share a little about me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Reader Chinese

I was recently asked to review the Little Reader Chinese content.  I must start by saying, that I am not the most well equipped person to review this program.  In the area that I live in, I don't know of anyone who even speaks Chinese, so I have never really had any exposure to this language.  However, K & I are always up for a challenge, so she has been learning Chinese for the last month!

 In order to run Little Reader Chinese, you will need to own the Little Reader program. Little Reader Chinese is available in either simplified or traditional written Chinese. There are 2 semesters of content available for a total of about 12 months of learning fun.  Just like Little Reader in English, this program is fully customizable.  You can choose your content, add your own pictures, voice or add new words or pictures.  The flexibility of Little Reader is one of it's best features.  The Chinese content also goes from letters, to words right up to stories.

While I cannot comment on the language, I can comment on a number of other aspects of the program. It was kind of neat for me to experience learning a totally new language & experience Little Reader from a similar point of view to what a child would have! 

The pictures and short video clips used in the program are very clear & concise. I had no trouble at all figuring out what each word meant, & I know that K is understanding some of the words too.  It is interesting though, that while she is definitely picking up some Chinese words, as far as I can tell, she is not learning them at the same voracious rate that she is in English.  I am guessing that it is because in English, she knows the letters, their sounds, & is starting to have some understanding of phonics, word families, & even just patterns in the words.  I expect that if we kept with it, she would soon begin to learn Chinese at a quicker rate as well.  I also think that I am probably not giving her credit for learning as many words as she has, again, more because of my lack of understanding of the language.

Notice K's fingers as the word fingers is displayed?

I also really appreciate that by having a native speaker, the program teaches children the proper pronunciation of each word - something that would be almost impossible for me to teach myself.

I imagine that all of you are wondering if I will continue on with Little Reader Chinese?  Who knows what the future holds, but at this point it will not be part of our regular routine.  Perhaps with my typical kids I may have continued on.  It is a great program, but K has too many other things that she needs to concentrate on right now.  Her neurodevelopmental program takes up a fair portion of our day & between that & running after my older girls, I just don't think I can consistently devote much time to anything else.  K is able to use the Little Reader program fully independently though, so you never know how often she will choose to play the Chinese content.  I really think the benefits to a 2nd language are huge, so although I am not ready to make a firm commitment to a 2nd language at this point, I am hopeful that she will continue to enjoy this program even if it is on a less regular basis.

While I am not planning at the moment to make Little Reader Chinese a part of K's regular curriculum, I do highly recommend it to anyone who is wanting their child to learn Chinese. 

Here is a link to learn more about Little Reader Chinese.
 While you are there, make sure you join their 70,000 + members forum & join in on the wide variety of early learning discussions.

You can also keep up to date on Facebook.

This review was written in exchange for a free copy of Little Reader's Chinese content semester one.  I was not paid for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review.  This is my honest, unbiased opinion on this product.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two awesome deals! MonkiSee & Signing Time

 I really like the MonkiSee early reading DVD's & was fortunate enough to be able to review them back in August.  Here is a link to the review that I did:   MonkiSee DVD review

They are having a $10.00 DVD sale on these titles:
  • Baby's First Words
  • All About Colors
  • All About Shapes
  • Action Words
  • Memoflix Volume 1
  • Memoflix Volume 2
  • A Guide to Teaching Babies to Read
Use promotion code 1/2 Off during checkout. 

Here is a link to their website: MonkiSee DVD's

Signing Time is also having a sale.  Save 40% on orders of $40.00 or more today & Monday.

Happy Christmas shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Look What I Can Do All By Myself!

Today, I had a little time to waste while waiting for winter tires to be put on my truck.  I really didn't need much for groceries, but thought this would be a good time to try out an idea that I had read about recently.  I'm not 100% sure, but I think I might have read about this idea on Geraldine's blog The Down Syndrome Action Plan.  Today was K's first, mostly independent shopping trip. It was a great way to incorporate reading into an activity which required thinking, memory & learning new skills.

I didn't think of this ahead of time, so I quickly scribbled down 
a few items on a scrap piece of paper. Here is her list:

....and off she goes! Sorry for the terrible picture.  Next time, 
I'll have to remember to take more than one. I think the little carts are adorable!

Some of the items were a difficult for K to reach, so I did help a little.  Next time, I'll be prepared with a list for her ahead of time that included things that are easier for her to reach, but all in all, it was a great first experience.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Always thinking!

The other day my father in law had to have an ultrasound.  K was told about this, because we had to explain that we couldn't go to Grandma & Grandpa's for dinner as planned because he had gotten a sudden phone call about having this test done.   She must have been thinking about this, because the next morning she said "Grandpa is a good boy"  Yes, I agreed, unsure of why she was saying this. "Grandpa is a good boy having a test done."  Now, it clicked.  K is not comfortable being touched by strangers & we are working on this, so often tell her what a good girl she is after she has tolerated being checked out by a doctor - thankfully she is very healthy.  She must have been concerned about those doctors checking out Grandpa & assumed that he behaved well for it :)  The next part of the conversation showed me that she was really thinking about it & looking for a solution.  She asked "Grandpa goes to Mrs. A?  This is the cranio sacral therapist (RN as well as massage therapist) that K goes to.  Mrs. A always makes K feel better, and her sisters have gone occasionally too, especially after sports injuries, so I guess she was sure that this would help Grandpa too, rather than go to the doctor who does scary tests!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Did It!

I wrote this post on Nov 1st, but somehow must have forgotten to hit publish post.  Ooops.  It's a little old  now, but I thought I would publish it anyways, if only for the adorable picture! 

31 for 21 back to back with the Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week!  It's been a long haul, but I managed to do a post every day for each - that's 38 consecutive blog posts.  Well actually, there were a few extra, so probably around 40!  At first, it was great to finish a lot of drafts that I had been working on, but I found that as the days went on, I wasn't able to get to the lengthier drafts that I have been working on.  So I be posting a little less often, but will hopefully be catching up on the posts that require a little more time & research to complete.  I am so ready for a break, but I'll be back soon! I'll leave you with a cute picture of my cowgirl taken early this fall.

Awesome Website for Encyclopedic Knowledge (Doman Bit Cards)

This is not part of K's program, but she really loves this sort of thing, so the other day, I made her some bit cards just for fun.

I found this website called a - z animals - it is great for making bits! It has pictures as well as all kinds of information of each animal.  I actually haven't been using the pics too much, because it is easier to use google images & find a more clear, concise picture without lots of background clutter, but the information is so easy to cut, paste, & reorganize & use for the 10 pieces of information on the back of the bit.

They have an animal of the day, so if  you were doing a program including this, you could even make one card each day based on that animal.  It can't get much easier than that!

If anyone has a good website of pictures that can be printed off in an 8.5 X 11 size & still print really clearly, let me know please :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fresh Homemade Almond Milk Mmmmmmmmmmmm........................

We have been using less & less dairy over the last few years.  My middle 2 girls are lactose intolerant & although K isn't showing any signs of lactose intolerance, I know kids with Down syndrome tend to have a higher incidence of problems with dairy. I am also becoming more careful about processed foods & trying to use more raw milk.  As an aside, don't you think it is interesting that my 2 middle 2 daughters who can't drink a glass of pasteurized milk without consequences are able to tolerate a large glass of raw milk with no problem? Anyways, back on topic now, it is difficult to find raw milk around here most of the time, so we need an alternative. 

A while back, I found this simple looking recipe for almond milk.  I've been meaning to try it, but am always so busy, that I kept putting it off.  I even recommended it to a couple of other people, but just didn't get around to it myself.  Finally, yesterday, I decided to try it.  It was so simple and delicious!  I should have tried it ages ago! 


Here is the link to the recipe I used in case you are interested in trying it yourself.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A paper animal jungle

 K got  book last year for Christmas, which was full of cute little paper folding activities.   The book is done now & I haven't been able to find a different one, so I've been searching the internet for some.  I came across this site: paper folding activities  It is full of adorable little animals to fold.  I printed off a set for each of my 2 younger girls.  We will probably do one a day with K, to make the last a while, but KJ had a great time this afternoon, creating a whole menagerie!

This is a similar book to the one that K got for Christmas last year.

These animals will keep us going for a couple of weeks, but after that we will need to find more, so if you know of any other similar sites, please let me know by leaving a comment:)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week - Let it snow......................

 Today was the ski swap & ski race program registration at our local ski hill. We had ski equipment spread all over this morning making sure that everything fit before my husband & the older girls left for the swap.   Of course K saw all of this & insisted that she go skiing.  We had just enough snow fall on Thursday that she was able to ski down a hill in the back yard.


I think the new goggles are a little too big!

Crashing at the bottom of our big backyard hill!


K lasted about a dozen runs before she decided she should play in the tiny bit of snow we have. Aren't her skis just the cutest little ones you've ever seen?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week - Mmmmmmm...................

Tonight was our community's annual Fall Supper. It is a marvelous event!  There is a line up out the door of the community hall at the busy point of the evening. The turkey supper is a combined effort of most of the members of our community.  Everyone is asked to donate something, from carrots, to pickles, to salads to desserts.  Volunteers cook the turkeys, slice, mash, & warm the food & later clean up.  The Jr. high class from our school take shifts serving.

Besides a full belly, most wonderful thing is seeing all of the friends & neighbors that we may not have visited with in a while. It is a wonderfully warm & welcoming atmosphere.

I think K has been to too many of her older sisters volleyball matches lately though, because as we were leaving, she asked. " Can we go watch volleyball now?".

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week - Where are the mama bears?

This is totally off topic tonight, & not related to Down syndrome, K or any of the usual things that I talk about, but I just need to vent about this.  Today I heard of 2 different incidents in communities not far away that make me wonder about being a mama bear.  It is very rare that my mama bear has ever had to come to the surface, but it is always there, just beneath, making sure my kids are safe.  It is as instinctive for me as I'm sure it is for a real mother bear protecting her cubs. All mothers need this, actually, it is their kids who need them to have it.  Every child should know that there is at least one person out there  who would do everything in their power to keep the safe. Hopefully, they have more than one.  My kids are very fortunate not only to have my husband & myself, but lots of other family too.  I am feeling so bad tonight for those kids who are not being protected by their families.  I just can't see anything but black & white in this issue.  There is no grey area.  It doesn't matter who is causing them harm. Protect your kids!  Be a mama bear!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome AwarenessWeek: Lose The Training Wheels

A couple of days ago, I did a post on Stryder Bikes
I had a comment asking what was unique about them. I explained in the comments, but it got me thinking about the Lose The Training Wheels program, which I have heard wonderful things about.  According to their website, 80% of participants are able to balance on a bike after completing their  program.

This program holds 5 day camps all over Canada & the US.

Lose The Training Wheels

Here is a neat video on YouTube about the program.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week - Fall Harvest

I have always thought of spring as being my favorite time of year, but have been rethinking that this fall.  I love being able to harvest my garden & having wonderful, nutritious, healthy, organic food to feed my family. 

I have never planted kohlrabi before, but it was a real favorite, especially for my 12 year old who would often devour one as an after school snack.

We enjoyed so many fresh fruits & vegetables & stored lots for the winter!
Even though we have had a few very light snowfalls already, we are actually still enjoying a few fresh vegetables.  I picked the last of my onions today & still have a couple of rows of carrots out in the
garden -  they taste so sweet after there have been a few good frosts!

We made a year's supply of Dill Pickles!

We have been busy canning lots of different treats for winter - pears, peaches, &  pickled carrots, both mild & spicy. My favorites are the wild mountain blueberries that I picked on holidays in the rocky mountains.  You can't get a much healthier or yummier snack than that!

We even have a freezer full of beef as of last week.  I am trying to follow my brother's lead & eat only "happy meat".   It has taken a little while to transition, & being farmers ourselves, we have always had a lot of happy meat anyways, but pretty well all of the meat in our freezer is from farm animals that were allowed to roam in large pastures & who had a good life.  I am avoiding factory farmed meats where animals are not allowed to roam freely & are housed in cramped conditions.  Even the eggs that I buy ( I am hoping to have our own hens again by spring) are from a very small producer who allows them to go outside in a large yard every day.  I am very thankful for this:)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week - Balance Bikes

We got K the cutest little pink Stryder balance bike for her birthday last year.

My girls are not big on riding bikes however, & K seems to be following in their footsteps.  She does ride her bike occasionally, but, like her sisters, is not real excited about it like some kids are.  She is learning though & I am convinced that this is a great way to get her started. 

One of my older daughters had training wheels on her bike for quite a while & rode tilted to the side.  If I had known about this type of bike then, I would have purchased one for her to avoid the bad habits she got into.  Training wheels do not help with balance &  this was my older daughter's biggest hurdle.

The other disadvantage my kids have is that we live in a rural area where they have to ride on uneven ground & gravel - this isn't the easiest way to learn, so, thanks to us bringing her tricycle in the house recently, K is the only one of my kids to learn to ride a trike. She is still learning, but has just about conquered it.  My plan is to let her practice on her trike this winter & concentrate on her Stryder bike again come spring.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week - Happy National Down Syndrome Awareness Week Canada!

In Canada, it is National Down Syndrome Awareness Week from November 1st to 7th.  Just when you thought I would stop yakking so much I'm back at it for another week!  I will be blogging every day this week to raise awareness for Down syndrome.  But then..............I'll be taking at least a little bit of a break! 

Click here if you would like to learn more about the Canadian Down Syndrome Society & various events that are happening to promote awareness of Down syndrome this week.

Monday, October 31, 2011

31 for 21 - Happy Halloween!

Well, this is it!  I have managed to do 31 for 21 & even a couple of extra blogposts for good measure!  I'm going to leave you with some Halloween pictures from our house. I will be doing a couple of extra Halloween posts, including one of K's costume later. 

Our whole family always joins in when we carve the pumpkin, but my middle 2 girls did were excited to do most of the other decorating this year. 

Pretty scary eh?

31for 21 - Trick or Treat Overload!

This photo was taken a few days ago after K's Halloween party at preschool.  Her classes went trick or treating at 4 places............& no that wasn't a typo.  This is the loot she hauled in from 4 stops!  We live a very small & obviously very generous community.  Oh, & I forgot to include the stuffed animal that she got at one stop!

Tonight we will go Trick or Treating at the neighbors.  We will be going to about a dozen houses.  You won't believe how much junk my kids will haul home.  Many of the neighbors will only get a handfull of kids.  I think part of the reason that they are generous is because they are able to be with so few Trick or Treaters, but I also think that it has become a bit of a competition!  Who gives out the most candy, or who makes the best popcorn balls.  Don't get me wrong, I really love our little community, I just think they are killing the kids with kindness! It's nice to see the kid get a little spoiled, but again, check out the loot above from just 4 stops!  I hate to admit it, but  although K will get to have some treats, most of her candy is going to quietly disappear as it has for the last 4 years - yes, she was given this much candy when trick or treating as a baby!

I do have to mention one neighbor though, who buys fruit juice & even bought Halloween board books for K when she was little.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 for 21 - Are You Abbott's Family?

I couldn't let the month of October & the 31 for 21 Down syndrome awareness campaign pass without mentioning Reece's Rainbow.

Each year, one of our family traditions is to buy a new ornament for our Christmas tree that commemorates something special to us for that year.  Last year for Christmas, we made a donation towards Abbott's fund & in return received an ornament with his picture on it.  Abbot was born in the same year & month as K & when scanning the pictures last year, his eyes just seemed to reach out to me. An ornament with his picture hung on our tree, & although we packed the Christmas decorations away, I can't stop thinking about this little guy. Since then, I often think of Abbott & check on Reece's Rainbow, hoping his picture will move to the My Family Found Me page & he won't spend another year as an orphan. Although his ornament made a wonderful addition to our tree, I somehow believed we would have to find a new child to sponsor this year.   Sadly, I will be donating again this year when the Angel Tree Program starts in November, & await another ornament with Abbott's picture on it.

 If you think you may be Abbott's family, please click here to learn more about him:  Abbott

To learn more about Reece's Rainbow & all of the other precious children awaiting their forever families,  click here.

I realize that most of  you reading this will not be able to adopt, but there are lots of other ways to help out.  Here is a link to learn more:  Reece's Rainbow Ways to Help  Page

Reece's Rainbow is now facilitating adoptions for Canadian families too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 for 21 - "W is for Wabbit"

I know its supposed to be 31 for 21, but I have completed my next 2 posts & want to do a Halloween post on Monday, so I'm going to add an extra.  35 or so for 21 is OK right?  This is a neat story so I really want to share it. You would think that I'd have run out of things to  talk about already:)!

Although K's speech is quite good for her age, we do have a lot of things to work on.  For example, she is starting to be able to say her R's, but still has quite a bit of trouble. It does lead to some funny situations sometimes. Tonight, Kassie asked me to play an alphabet game that she enjoys.   When we came to the letter W, she said "W  -  Wabbit"  I told her "No,  R - Rabbit".  Of course she insisted that W was for Wabbit & carried on through the alphabet. 

Although she was wrong about the spelling, it really showed that she is comprehending how to figure out the first letter of a word, because I'm sure none of us played this game using the word "Wabbit" or wrote "Wabbit" as a sight word.  She was able to sound the word out in her head & come up with what she thought was the first letter.


Congratulation to the winner of the Little Reader Semester 1 Giveaway!

I would like to thank BrillKids again for the wonderful opportunity to review their program & host this giveaway.  Here is a link to my review of the BrillKids Little Reader program. 

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the draw.  We thought it was only fitting that K choose the winner.  Here is a video of her drawing the winning entry:

Congratulations Angela!  I hope your son enjoys this program every bit as much as my daughter does. Please email me at & I will send you the details on how to download Little Reader Semester 1.

Thanks again to everyone who entered & spread the word!

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 for 21 - Pumpkins, & Spiders - Halloween Fine & Oral Motor Excercises



Here are K's latest 2 crafts from preschool.I thought she did a 
great job placing all of the  features in the correct locations.  


This is a fun activity that K's preschool teacher had the kids do on Wednesday.  They each took a few spiders & blew them across the table with the straws.  What a wonderful & fun oral motor activity!  The preschool is a social program - academics are not intentionally part of the program, however, K's teacher is awesome at finding neat activities which incorporate new skills. 

31 for 21 - It's The Last Day to Enter the Little Reader Semester 1 Free Giveaway!

In case you missed it, I did a review of the Little Reader Program & have been given a copy of the BrillKids Little Reader Semester 1 to give away. 

My review is here:   Little Reader Review

You can enter my draw here:  BrillKid's Little Reader Semester 1 Giveaway

Entries will be accepted until midnight tonight.

Good Luck everyone

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 for 21 - A work in progress......................

Today we went to the funeral of an elderly neighbor.  It was a lovely celebration of life with a wonderful slide show showing his life story in pictures.  Our older daughters were all in school, but we took K along.................An hour long service sitting on a church bench can be a recipe for disaster, but I'm proud to say that she behaved wonderfully!  For over half the service (including the slide show) she just sat watching & listening.   She read books for the 2nd half, but did so in such a quiet whisper that she did not disturb anyone.

Then at the volleyball game later, she also sat for the full first game & most of the 2nd without complaint.  Eventually she did get bored & go play with some of the other kids who were coloring in the corner, but she sat for longer than she has at a game before.

WOW!  This is a skill that is really coming.

Of course, she is still a mischievous 4 year old, so I will share another story which explains why this is a work in progress.

At swimming lesson on Monday, really listened well & stayed with the group the almost whole time.  She is a good little swimmer, so paying attention the whole time really the most challenging part of the lesson for her.   I was very proud of K for listening so well, because there was only one incident when she decided to wander away.  The reason she got in trouble from her mom after wasn't so much the running away, but the fact that at one point when her instructor caught up with her, she took off running once again & yelled back "Ha Ha!!!!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 for 21: Inspiration From a Stranger

Last night as I was standing in the checkout with my 14 year old, I had a wonderful encounter with a someone I have never met before.  I started to write that she was a stranger, but even though we only chatted for a minute or 2, she is not a stranger.

This lady had MS & just this spring, her doctors told her she would not be able to walk again & had even ordered her a wheel chair.  Both my daughter & I could hardly believe she had such a diagnosis.  Even as she walked away, we could see no trace of the troubles that had plagues her this spring.  Standing in front of me was a testimony to what strong will & determination can do.

She also told me the story of her daughter. Although it was a sad story, I also found it incredibly inspiring..  This little girl obviously had inherited a good measure of her mother's determination because when she was born, the doctor's said she would not live 72 hours, yet they enjoyed spending the next 7 wonderful years with her.

It was a very brief encounter, but lasting inspiration. 

This is just another reason that I don't accept any negative prognosis that I am given.  No doctor or specialist can factor in what the human spirit can achieve.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21: Don't you wish you could do this?

In case you can't tell from the picture, her feet are up on the step that 
she has the ipad sitting on.................yes, she is flexible!

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 for 21 - Can you guess what kind of book we're reading this week?

These are some of the words K has been learning this week.  In anticipation of Halloween, we are reading a cute book about 5 little ghosts who keep getting in trouble at school.  It is a pretty simple book, but although we often challenge K with her reading, I think sometimes,  it is good to have her read books that are simple& fun to help build her confidence.