Monday, September 30, 2013

Review - LeapPad LeapReader "Ready Set Write" Party!

We love LeapPad products.  Bean got a LeapPad 2 last Christmas and uses it all the time.  I was recently asked if we would like to join in their "Ready, Set, Write" parties to review the product and we jumped at the chance.

When the box arrived, we knew we needed to celebrate with some of our froggy friends while we tried out the products.

We had some Frog Juice, english muffin pizzas, ham and cheese roll ups and fruit salad.

Doesn't that look like a great way to begin learning?

The LeapReader is a learn-to-read-and-write system that helps your child learn to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter strokes interactively. It helps children to read, write and learn through listening.  That is one of the principles Bean's Kindergarten teacher emphasizes to her class.  The LeapReader sounds out words, reads sentences, reads books, plays trivia games and puzzles to build comprehension skills and vocabulary.  There is a library of more than 105 books, workbooks, audio books and more.  It holds audio for up to 40 books or 175 songs.  We received 2 LeapReaders complete with a sampler book, Read Write and Listen, Getting Ready for Kindergarten, Monsters University, Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil, Write It! Talking Words Factory Workbook, Talking Words Factory flash cards and special letter writing pages.

Look at everything that came for us to try out.

Bean was very excited and couldn't wait to get started.

We used the Getting Ready for Kindergarten workbook to do a reading activity.  When she placed the pen on the letters, it would say the letter and the picture above would say an item name that began with that letter.  This brought a lot of smiles.  It was so easy for her to use.  She figured out the icons at the bottom of each page and what they would do very quickly.  

Next it was onto a writing activity.  She wrote out words that rhymed and then the device played a song with those words.  She thought that was very cool.

Bean loved all the things the LeapReader would do and I loved how easy it was for her to learn the system.  The pen is a little large for her hand but it didn't seem to slow her down.  We give the LeapReader two waves of our glitter wands and say it's great to help to learn to read and write.

If you would like more information about the LeapReader or any other LeapPad products, you can visit their website, follow them on Twitter or check them out on Facebook.

*This opportunity was made possible by LeapPad and Mom Select.  We were sent two pre-programmed LeapReaders and accompanying workbooks for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What time is it? It's Tooth Fairy Time!!!

So this happened.

Yes, Bean lost her first tooth!  It had been loose for a while and she took every opportunity to gross me out show me her wiggler.  Sunday, after being shown the tooth along with a mouth full of food, we knew it wouldn't be much longer.  We checked the wallets - I mean - sent the Tooth Fairy a message like ALL parents do you know and started the watch.  That evening I looked in her mouth, got grossed out again by the wiggler, and sent her to her father for further inspection.

Hubz told Bean that if she kept moving it around with her tongue she would eventually work it enough so that she could reach in and pull it out.  "Eventually" was not fast enough for her, I guess.  She went right into her bathroom and climbed up on the footstool and started wiggling it around while looking in the mirror.

I promptly walked away from the bathroom like any good wuss would.  About a minute later, here comes Bean running out of the bathroom holding her hand high up in the air and saying "Daddy!  Daddy!  There's blood!"  Kids.

I kept my distance while Hubz checked it out.  (See the wuss explanation above. Duh.)  Sure enough, she had wiggled it right out.  She was done waiting on the thing to come out on its own and wanted her visit from the Tooth Fairy that night.

So now this is the face that greets us.  Isn't it beautiful?!

Just in time for fall pictures, too.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pin Tested, Pinkie Approved - DIY softener sheet

Looky there!  I made that button thingy.  Yeehaw!

I know, I know.  It's not groundbreaking or perfect or even done right but I still dids it!  Yeehaw again.

This might be a new segment here on Pinkie and The Bean but we'll see.  I hate to commit to anything.  But since I do spend countless hours scanning Pinterest for crap I'd like to attempt to make one day, I figured on the rare occasion that I actually do find myself getting off the couch and making something, I should post it up.  Fair warning though, I am no Pintester!  Miss Sonja has it going on over there on her blog and she is the Queen of testing out pins.  She makes me laugh out loud many, many times.  So if you think you'll see that kind of work here on this blog, you will be wrong.  I am but a mere stealer copier tester wanna-be.

But I have actually recently tried out a pin I found and let me tell you, this is a good one.  Good.  Good. Good.  And 'tres ease-A!  (That's French for "you can do it too".)

This pin is amazeballs.  Yeah, I'm probably too old to be using that phrase but it is stuck in my head and will not self evict.  This is a pin for DIY laundry softener sheet.

Pin Tested, Pinkie Approved.  This idea was shared by Heather at That Crazy Family.  In her post, she talks about "no more dryer sheets" and says this idea caused her to say goodbye to dryer sheets and fabric softeners.  If you visit her page, you will see that some judgey folks posted comments correcting Heather on these statements.  I like to call these people the Internet Literal Dumbass Society or ILDS for short.  You know those type of folks.  The ones that scour the web not really looking for ways to boost others up.  Instead they devise ways to make themselves feel superior to others.  Just read the first few comments and you will see the type of people I am talking about.

"You said the sky was blue.  You are wrong.  It is actually Cerulean.  And now because I've wasted my time by replying to you ONLINE so everyone can see it, I am far superior than you and I deserve all the world's riches!"

Yeah, THOSE people.

Anyhoo.  If you use Heather's method, you can do away with having to buy dryer sheets - if you actually already buy dryer sheets.  You do still need to buy a sheet or rag, towel, cloth diaper, snot rag, something and a bottle of fabric softener.  Or if you have a stack of old towels, diapers, snot rags on hand like I do, you are already ahead of the curve.

You simply pour some fabric softener into a bowl.  (I used a bucket.  Go me!)  Put the fabric of your choosing into the bowl/bucket and make sure the liquid covers the fabric.  Then step away.

For three days.

Yeah, three days.  This isn't one of those speedy cleaning challenges, ummkay.  Then after three days, wring out the fabric softener and hang the fabric up to dry.

You're done. You can take a nap now.

(See.  I told you this was an awesome pin cause there is time for napping built in!)

The next time you dry clothes, just throw the fabric softener-soaked fabric into your dryer.  No more BOXES of dryer sheets.  (Is that good enough for you, Literal Queens???)

Now just to answer some questions you might have like other commenters had on Heather's blog,

1) I used a piece of fabric that is a cross between a cloth diaper and a t-shirt.  It was some work rag my husband had and never used.  That type of fabric has not left any fuzzies on any of our dark clothing.

2) I have had ZERO static cling.

3)  I recently made this sheet so I can't really say how long it will last.  The post says 40-50 loads.  I have used it for about 15-20 loads and so far, it still smells fine and so do the clothes once they are dry.

4) If you have an issue with fabric softener chemicals sitting on your skin all day, you won't be using fabric softener, dryer sheets, or whatnot to begin with, and probably won't even waste your crunchy goodness time reading anything about DIY dryer sheets. If you are a member of ILDS and even though you don't use them, it makes you feel better to let everyone else in the world know you won't be getting cancer from said fabric softener but I will, please feel free to leave one of your heartwarming comments below.  I'll pay about as much attention to it as I do figuring the complex analysis of toe jam quantification.

There you go.  That's my pin testing post for the day.  Even if you aren't a member of the ILDS, please feel free to leave me a comment telling me how funny I am, how much of a great blogger I am, how wonderful my sock monkey looks sitting on my desk.  Anything wonderful will do.  Go on.  You know you want to.

So I can stamp this one Pin Tested - Pinkie Approved!

Friday, September 13, 2013

We see Sight Words! includes a freebie!

Bean and her class have started learning the Dolch sight words.  They recently switched to Dolch from the Fry list.  No clue why.  I'm sure some of you probably aren't as in the dark as I am and understand the difference but I don't.

We have printed out some seasonal words and have those taped up all over the house.  Bean can tell you what each word is but I am not sure if that is because she really knows the word or is reading the pictures that are next to each word.

Today we should receive her very first progress report and part of that report shows how many sight words she can recognize.  I thought I would create our own cards for the PrePrimer list and put those up as well.

I used PicMonkey to create these cards.  This is my first attempt at creating my own printable and in honor of that, I thought I would share the cards here.  This is a PDF file and all you have to do is click the link, save the file to your own computer and then print them out.  I use cardstock for ours for a little bit sturdier card.  I used a free graphic set made by Graphics From the Pond and found on her TpT site.


Dolch PrePrimer Sight Word Cards

*Linking up to these parties:

Family Fun Friday
Inspiration in Progress +Clippie Dips
Too Cute Tuesdays +Funky PolkaDot Giraffe
Take a Look Tuesday @Sugar Bee Crafts
Pretty Wednesday @Free Pretty Things for You
The Mommy Club @Crystal and Co.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bentos Gone Bad

Now that we are official school goers, every day we are faced with the decision of "eat at school or take a lunch".  I always had to eat at school.  Well, each new school year I would start off with a brand new lunch box but after being faced with BORING sandwich after sandwich for a couple of weeks, those lunch boxes would usually turn into crayon carrying cases or Barbie squats.  I do still have a fondness though for my Pigs in Space lunch box.  I think that one was my favorite.

If anyone can figure out how old I am by this visual reference, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

Nowadays, the hot new trend isn't what's on the outside of the lunch box but what's on the INSIDE.  I'm speaking of all the cutesy lunches made by really fabulous Martha-Stewart emulating moms.  You've seen them probably on Pinterest or heard one of your own children talking about them.  These cute, "themed" lunches are usually called Bentos.  If you want to know more thrilling details about bentos, click that link and you can read it for yourself.  I'm too busy making lunches to school you all right now but here are some examples of Bento lunches.  Disclaimer:  I DID NOT MAKE A SINGLE ONE OF THESE.  THAT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS.

Aren't they cute?  Some are too cute to eat.  They do look like they take some time though, don't they?

I thought since I am a crafty gal I should be able to make a cute lunch here and there, right?  I mean, if I can figure out how to make a smiley face on an IHOP pancake, I oughta be able to figure out how to fancy up a sandwich, right?

Right?  Is this thing on? my crafty gal - bento preparation mode, I picked up some dolphin cutter-outter things at the grocery store.  It looks like this one.

It lets you make two dolphins PLUS a heart.  Sweet, huh?

I set out all of my ingredients - cutting board, cookie cutter, bread, butter (in the South we pronounce that "buttah") knife, soy butter (cause a classmate is allergic to the hard stuff), and jelly.

I slathered the soy butter and jelly all over our 100% whole wheat bread.  This bread was in a couple of years ago but now I hear that these gluten-free folks don't think it's the bomb any more.  I'm am so 2008.  Sorry.

Then I grabbed the dolphin cutter and steadied it over the sandwich...steady...steady...steady.

And this is what I got.

What in the hell is that?

That ain't cute.

That heart looks due for a bypass and those dolphins look like, well, I can't even come up with what they look like.

Martha would be so disappointed.  So would Japan.  I wonder if there is a Japanese-version Martha Stewart?

I don't know but she'd be disappointed in my Bento skillz too.

It shouldn't be rocket surgery or nothing like that, should it?  I mean, it's just press and lift, right?  Should I have gone to Georgia Tech to figure out how to make a shaped sandwich?  That would never happen anyways but you get the picture.  (Go Dawgs!)

So, sadly, the lesson here today folks is that bentos aren't always cute and warm and fuzzy.  If they are fuzzy, don't eat them.  That's probably not the best choice you could make in a day.  But sometimes bentos go bad at the hands of inexperienced moms who just want our lunches to be cute, too.

It's okay though cause I also picked up a castle-shaped cutter.  I wonder what kind of crappy sandwich I can make with that one.