Thursday, February 23, 2012

We have a Parrot, or Kylie is talking.

When Kylie was born 18 months ago I couldn't help but wonder what she would be like when she got older, what would her personality be, how would she sound when she started talking, what would she say.
Well, since she has started talking, I am not too curious about what she sounds like (although I can not wait to hear her when she is older) and what she will say, rather what she will say that other people say.

Yes, we now have a parrot in the house. Not the feathery kind that makes messes and poops a lot, no we have the kind that does not have feathers. Our little parrot listens when we do not know she is actually listening. That is, until we hear a tiny voice from another room repeating what was just said.
Karen and I work with her everyday on her words and we started with sign language which is highly recommended and does help your child communicate until they can vocalize what they need. Kylie still uses her signs with her words to express what she wants. For instance, she pats her head and says "bath" and we know what she wants. Of course she also will point at the nose suction and say "booger" and we also know what she wants.

One day there was this horrible show on TV (we were not watching, it was just on in the background) called Two Broke Girls and we were in the kitchen with Kylie cleaning up after dinner. Anyway, from the TV comes "Tampon, Tampon, Tampon". Suddenly, from Kylie comes "Ampon, Ampon, Ampon". We tried not to laugh but we just could not help it because it was unexpected and very funny. It was at this point we realized she was paying attention  even if we did not know she was.

So now we had to start watching what we say around her and what we watch around her because I do not want her walking around saying Tampon all day. It is not just Dad and Mom that now need to watch what they say but Grandma and Aunts too. We found that out while visiting Karen's Aunt. Her Aunt said "That damn dog" and out comes "That damn dog" in a cute little voice from the cute little girl playing on the floor.
Now to work on Grandma saying shit around her and paying attention to what we have on the television and radio when she is around.

Two days ago I'm Sexy and I know it was on the radio when we were driving and from the back seat we hear "Sexy". That was pretty funny too, but we laughed quietly.
Kylie is our little parrot and really, Mommy's parrot because recently she has been saying whatever she picks out that Karen says. It is very amazing really when you think about it, the curiosity and attention of this little person around us.
We take advantage of our language but seeing Kylie learning it daily and even hourly makes me realize what a miracle it is.

Now I am wondering about Karter, but he is only four months old so more on that when he starts.
Well, I hear her saying "Dada dada, uh-oh" in her baby monitor which means her nap is over and so is this post.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's the interest in pinterest?

Chances are about 100% that if you are on Facebook, you have noticed the buzz around the latest internet fad, Pinterest. So what is this Pinterest anyway? To sum it up, it is a social media cork board that lets you share with friends, but let the site's mission statement say it: "To connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting." .
Actually, there is a little more to it then that, but it is the beauty of the simplicity of Pinterest that makes it so fascinating.
With Pinterest you can find anything that may interest you and add it to a pinboard that you can name such as dinner ideas, art, kids crafts, etc. After you add it, others can follow what you pin and re-pin it to their board and their friends and followers can do the same. Have a great recipe for dinner, pin it and let your friends know. Have a great kids craft, pin it and let your friends know about it. Did your friend find some really cool picture, re-pin it and let everyone know. From Pinterest Wiki:
Users of Pinterest curate themed image boards, populating them with media found online using the "Pin It" button, or uploaded from their computer. Each such item of media is known as a "pin," and can be a picture, a video, a discussion, or a monetary gift. Pins can be grouped into "boards," which are sets of pins created on a given topic. Pinterest can be accessed by adding the “pin it” button to the desktop bookmark bar, “follow me” and “pin it” button added to personal website or blog pages, and Pinterest for iPhone available through the App Store.
kids Crafts
To register for Pinterest, new users must receive an invitation from a friend already registered on Pinterest or request an invitation directly from the Pinterest website. The registration process currently requires users to link their Pinterest account to their Facebook or Twitter account. Users choosing to log in via Facebook must currently be using (or opt in to) Facebook's "timeline" format.
Pinterest allows users to follow the activity of other Pinterest users. A Tastemakers page exists to suggest relevant users to follow. When viewing the site's homepage, a user sees a "Pin Feed" that shows activity among the boards and pinners that the user follows.

Pinterest is an invitation only site and you must register with your facebook or twitter account but ask your wife or girlfriend, I am sure they are using it as the largest users of this site are women, my fiancee and her girlfriends included.
Dinner we made from pinterest
I have to say that we did make a couple of dinners that Karen found on the site and they were quite good, one so pretty that I actually took a picture of our actual dinner and posted it on facebook. We have actually made two dinners her friends found and Karen currently has her own boards on Pinterest and checks it when she can to see what her friends have posted, thus is the nature of a social pinboard.
it is Leonardo

Truth be told, I was trying to avoid the whole thing but I am warming up to it and have even found a great picture that speaks to the geek in me. So I guess it is safe to say that you may see me joining the site and sharing my pins too.

If you are looking for a great kids craft, or a great drink recipe, look to your friends and their friends, they may have found something that (p)interests you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crouching Tiger hidden BeBe

Why it is that parents are so obsessed with what style of parenting is best. There is the Tiger Mom Amy Chua who was all the rage last year with a style of very strict discipline to the recent phenom of the French Mom Pamela Druckerman with her book Bringing up BeBe and her kids are not the center of a parents world approach.
I would like to give a few excerpts from an interview about the newest book Bringing up BeBe:
(taken from)
About a year and a half after having a baby in France, I had a kind of epiphany. I was with my daughter and my husband in a restaurant at a French seaside village, and I realized that she was the only child who was whining, throwing food and refusing to eat anything but white bread and French fries. The French kids all around us were sitting contentedly in their high chairs, waiting for their food or eating fish and even vegetables. And they weren’t being “seen but not heard.” They were chatting happily with their parents.
Once I started thinking about French parenting I suddenly had lots of questions. Why did most of the French moms I met claim that their babies slept through the night by two or three months old, but that they never let the babies “cry it out?” Why was it that when my American friends came over, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids’ spats? But, when French friends visited, the grown-ups had coffee, and the children played happily by themselves?

Behind this is an important philosophical difference. Americans tend to think that babies are helpless blobs. The French believe that even a tiny baby – though he’s needy and vulnerable – is also a rational person who can learn certain things, such as how to sleep. French parents are really gentle about teaching their babies this skill. If the baby keeps crying, they pick him up! But they’re sure that soon enough, the baby will learn how to sleep long stretches. And they think that having a baby who sleeps well is better for the child, and for the whole family. Any sleep-deprived parent can tell you that they’re right. 

What is the “wisdom of French parenting?”
The French believe that it’s important to be very strict about a few key things, but then to give kids as much freedom as possible about the rest. You can really see this at bedtime. French parents tell me that at bedtime, their kids must stay in their rooms. But within their rooms, they can do what they want.
I introduced this concept to my daughter, and she really liked it. She didn’t focus on the fact that she’s confined to her room. Instead she kept saying, proudly, “I can do whatever I want.” She usually plays or reads for a while, then puts herself to bed. The French don’t try to micromanage their children’s lives, and they aren’t scheming from the crib to get the baby into Harvard one day. They give the kid a lot of autonomy and free time; but what rules there are, the child has to obey. In my own experience, this fosters self-reliance and mindful behavior that, as an American parent, I might never have imagined in such young children.

I want to say that the whole "French Style" of parenting seems like it is all based on common sense to me and should just be called parenting.
I am new to this whole parenting thing and I am still learning but aren't "seasoned" parents still learning every day?
Karter is a happy baby.
I had good parents who were busy and may not have been able to go to every school event or make dinner every night, but it taught me self-reliance. Did I wish they were at my Karate tournaments or Basketball games, sure I do, but all the same I am a happy and well adjusted person who has an amazing family who are also wonderful parents.
I believe in the concept of letting my toddler cry it out at night, this does not mean I will not go check on her but I am going to give her a good solid 30 minutes of crying before I do. Most of the time, she falls back to sleep on her own, without being coddled. The other times when she keeps crying she may be wet or poopy.
I do the same with my 3 month old son as well but I may only let him cry for 10 minutes and usually that is enough and he will calm down. I think this is good for them because it does not spoil them but they know we are there when they need us.
Kylie playing in the cabinets.
Karen and I teach our children the value and meaning of the word wait. Kylie has even learned the sign for it and will use it when we do in conjunction with saying wait. We actually taught Kylie quite a few signs to use with her words and she always uses them to express what she wants.
Our children it with us at dinner and eat what we do for the most part. If we go to a restaurant, Kylie sits and eats with us and does very well in fact.
I encourage exploration and play time. We have the same adult time as the French while Kylie plays. Sure, she may come over if she is tired of playing by herself but she usually brings a book with her and wants us to read it to her which I see as a great thing.
I believe in discipline as well and that kids still need structure in their lives. Without it ours kids may grow up to be like a lot of children, spoiled and entitled. I do not want my kids to be like that at all and here is some of what I would like from my children (this list changes in my head a lot):

  • Be courteous and kind to everyone
  • Play
  • Explore
  • Be honest
  • Do not call people names or pick on them because they are "different" from you.
  • Find value in everyone
  • Respect your parents and teachers
  • Try your best no matter what you are doing
  • Use your imagination and be creative
  • Use common sense
  • Be the best you that you can be.
  • Do well in school
  • Never be afraid to talk to your parents about anything
  • Know that we will love you unconditionally

I know this seems like a daunting task of impossibilities, but over the course of a lifetime I think it is not too much to ask.

What kind of parent will I become? That I do not know, but what I do know is that I will be the best parent that I can be and hopefully have happy and well adjusted parents.
In the end, isn't that all any parent could want?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Catching up with Netflix (or Cable Free TV)

I do not miss having cable, I don't. Ask me again and I will tell you the same thing. We have been cable free now for two years, I dare you to try it. With two kids, a mortgage, car payments and cell phone bills, cable is just wasted money anyway. We have a digital antenna which actually yields a better quality picture on my 55' LED Samsung (pre-kids purchase) than cable anyway and gets many  HD channels. Besides, there is never anything to watch when you actually have time to watch it (with kids and work there isn't time) and why pay the extra for DVR when you can just spend $10 a month to have Netflix?

Catching up on Netflix

We have recently been using the Netflix streaming service to catch up on both old and new shows. There is literally anything you could ever want and even not want to watch on there.
I guess I need to explain what Netflix is, for those that do not know. Netflix is a DVD by mail service that also offers digital instant streaming. Instant streaming means that you pick a show or series you wish to watch and you can watch it instantly over the device of your choice. Just about anything can run it, XBox 360, PS3, Wii, Blu Ray Players, Smart phones, computers, Smart TV's, iPad, Android Tablets, so there is a way for you to always get the instant shows you want to watch.
With Netflix the shows are listed by category to make it easier to find anything under the sun.
  • Recently released
  • Children's
  • Drama
  • TV
  • Comedy
  • Horror
  • Action
  • Romance
  • Documentary
And within each are sub categories so you can be really picky, especially for your kids there are age groups listed under children's' shows as well.
Our Netflix Instant Queue
 Currently, we are watching Warehouse 13 which is a show on SyFy that is a lot like the old Friday the 13th series, just updated. Right now seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix instant and the bonus is that there are no commercials for any TV show. If you do need to stop watching you can always resume the movie or show from the last place you left off which is great for a busy family.

We have also added many movies to our queue and other TV series such as Billy the Exterminator, Cake Boss, Hoarders, Parking Wars, Dresden Files, Voltron, Street Sharks, and many more with new movies and shows added frequently.

With all of these choices for only $10 a month, how could you justify paying for cable at all, I can't.
So, do yourself a favor, drop cable, you won't miss it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Ad Sunday

The Super Bowl, nothing better than getting some food and drinks and sitting with family and friends watching the most anticipated game of the year. Most anticipated, not just for the match-up of two great football teams, but also the commercials and halftime show. I personally love to watch the game even though my Cleveland Browns were not in it, but I love the commercials more.
This year I did not think the commercials were up to par as previous years, but there were some that I really liked and I would like to share those with you.

Clint Eastwood Halftime America:

This commercial was shown at halftime and was just very powerful. Listen to what Clint has to say and I do not think anyone could have delivered that speech better than him.

Volkswagen fat Dog:

I loved this one because it shows that with persistence, self-discipline, and exercise, you can reach your goal, even if the goal is to chase cars. Besides having a good message, it also appealed to my nerdy side with the Star Wars scene at the end, loved it.

Honda CRV Ferris Bueller:

It is Ferris Bueller, how can you not like this one? Well, if you are my Brother-In_Law and have never watched the movie, you might not like it; much less get it.

Doritos Sling Baby:

This one was user submitted and I found it was pretty funny and cheesy.I particularly like the thumb up.

Chevy Silverado Apocalypse:

I hear that a lot of people did not like this one, but I did. I have to admit that I am a fan of post apocalyptic movies and games ( loved Fall-Out) so this ad was brilliant and wonderfully styled. Plus, I always had a feeling that Twinkies lasted forever, now I know.

Let's move from advertising to music and talk about the halftime show. I love rock and metal so I would like that for my halftime show but usually they get groups like the Rolling Stones or Springsteen and that is not a good show to watch at all for halftime and they never tend to get new rock or metal groups to do the show. Well, this year they went with Madonna, I am not a fan of hers at all but I was curious and decided to watch the halftime performance as I do every year no matter who is performing.

The show was beautiful and just artistically amazing; I am not talking about the music, it was typical Madonna with guest spots by LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. (complete with rude gesture) and Cee Lo green. What struck me was the floor and what they did with the video on it that was nothing short of jaw dropping, especially at the end when the field got sucked in and the universe and stars came out, wow. I would say the animations and graphics guys were the highlight of halftime.
But, this is what a halftime show should be like her or not.

What are your thoughts, what were your favorite commercials, did you like the halftime show?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Home Made Baby Food

 Let me ask you a question, do you know what is in you baby's food?
For those of us with children who are just starting or are in the pureed baby food stage, this post is for you. 
Home-Made Peas for Baby
Most jar baby food contains niacin, ferrous sulfate, riboflavin, and folic acid. Do you really want that in your child at such a young age when the food should already have that in it without adding it as a supplement? Not to mention, there is added water and flour to help thicken the foods. You could go the organic route and get Earth's Best, which is good but can get very costly.
Why not instead make your own foods using organic food bought at your local Supermarket or Farmer's Market? Well, you can and you should. Let us look at some good reasons, besides the one listed above.

How fresh is a jar of food?
Personally, I do not think something that lasts three years in a jar is something I would consider fresh, would you? If you make your own food (even if you use frozen bagged vegetables) you know what you are getting, when it was made, and it is frozen fresh so it is guaranteed fresh when you use it. Is that something you can say of a jar of food?

I am not saying that I do not use jar food, because I will use a jar of food when the convenience of it is needed for traveling, but it is almost always Earth's Best.

How much jar baby food does your child eat and how much is it costing you?
Baby food in a jar can become quite expensive, especially considering how much an infant can eat in one day. Typically you might go through three to four jars in a day on average. If you take into account that a jar usually goes for roughly 0.50 per jar that is $1.50 per day and 10.50 per week, which makes it $42.00 per month. This is a rough estimate as you can buy in bulk and get them on sale, sometimes as low as .25 per jar, but that is still $16.80 per month if you are able to get them that cheap.
Making your own food (which I will detail soon) is much more cost effective. Buy a pound of organic carrots for $1.50 and you can make roughly 24 servings at .06 per jar. So,  how does that sound?

What do you need to make your food?
Before we go into how to make your food, let's first look at a great book on the subject of making your own food. Super Baby food by Ruth Yaron. This is the book we used and it is very, very helpful to anyone with an infant and is also a great nutrition guide.  Please read this book because I am only giving you a super-simple version on how to make your own food.
Here is an excerpt from her book (taken from her website):
How to Choose the Best Vegetables
Buy produce as free of pesticides as possible; certified organic is best. Pesticides affect
small babies more adversely than adults.
Buy produce that is local. It is likely to have less pesticides and hasn't lost nutrients
during a long transportation process. Visit your local Farmers' Market or roadside stand.
If possible, buy vegetables that have ripened on the vine, not within a cardboard box.
Unfortunately, economics dictates that to maximize profits produce should be picked
before they get fully ripe. Unripe produce is firmer, and therefore won't bruise as easily
during the handling and transportation process. Even "vine-ripened" tomatoes are picked

when they are still pink, before they turn ripe red.
This is a great tip and one we always used when preparing to make food for our little one.
What you will need to get started is:
  • A Knife to cut fresh vegetables or Fruit
  • A Steamer (we got ours at Kroger)
  • A large pot with a lid
  • Water
  • A Rocket Blender, which works wonders and is easy to clean. (we use the Bella Rocket Blender that we got super cheap on Black Friday)
  • Fresh, organic vegetables or frozen fresh vegetables
  • Ice Cube Trays
  • Quart sized freezer bags
  • A Sharpie.
Now that you have what you need, all you do is:
  1. Steam the vegetables or fruit in the pot until they are soft.
  2. Next, take the vegetables out if the pot but do not empty the water, we will use it.
  3. Fill the blender half full of the vegetables you chose. Now use some of the water in the pot (the water contains nutrients that were cooked out) to help thin the puree. Use a few tablespoons to start.
  4. Blend until you get a fine puree at a good baby food jar consistency
  5. Now, take the puree and put it in the ice cube trays. This makes single servings of the food for meals.
  6. Once you fill a tray, put it uncovered in the freezer immediately. 
  7. After the food is frozen, take out the cubes and put them in a freezer bag and label them (date/veggie) with your sharpie and put them back in the freezer.
You now have single servings of food that you can thaw in the microwave and use for meal time. Totaltime besides freezing is roughly 20-30 minutes with clean-up.

Do not be afraid to try combinations of food pureed together. Kylie loved the Carrot/Broccoli/Cauliflower blend and the Summer Squash/Zucchini blend.

I hope these tips were helpful to you and also save you some money, what do you think?