Teaching My Baby To Read

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Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Passport to Good Behavior

A passport to good behavior!

A passport to good behavior!

Are you going on a family vacation this summer?  Sometimes the thought of traveling with small children can scare the starch out of you.  But a little advanced planning can really help everyone have more fun.

So here’s a trick I tried that really worked when my family went to Alaska this summer. I made a pretend passport for each of my children out of old scrapbook paper.

Every single page of the passport had a different good behavior or attribute I wanted to encourage:

  • Kind
  • Appreciative
  • Encouraging
  • Begins in a friendly way
  • Thinks about the other person’s point of view
  • Calls people by name
  • Gets dressed by yourself
  • Chews with your mouth closed
  • Puts napkin in your lap
  • Plays with your brother/sister nicely

My goal was to “catch my kids being good” as much as possible, and reward them with a sticker in their book.  Then, if they had ten new stickers by the end of the day, I let them watch a bit of television before bed, or play with the Kindle Fire.

Each page has a different good behavior to encourage.

Stickers reward good behavior.

The passports were small enough to keep in my purse or pocket.  I also brought them with us to dinner every night.

The only real drawback to this system was that I kept getting ladybug stickers all over me, and discovering them at inopportune times!

Ketchikan Duck Tour Review

The Ketchikan Duck Tour

The Ketchikan Duck Tour

Our first stop on our Tracy Arm Fjord cruise to Alaska was Ketchikan, a town well know for rain.  But when we were there at the end of June, it was beautiful and sunny.

Wildflowers, right off the pier.

Wildflowers, right off the pier.

My husband and son set off for a kayaking tour (without the camera so it wouldn’t get wet), and my daughter and I went on the Duck Tour.

I should note that we are experienced Duck riders.  We even showed up with our own “quackers”.

Out in the water.

Out in the water.

The Ketchikan Duck tour included a trip on the road where we learned some interesting details about the town, and then a turn in the water where we saw a bit more.  There were tons of really bad jokes, which is what Duck Tours are known for, but I found most of them amusing.

One of the best things from the Duck Tour was learning an easy way to remember the five types of Wild Alaska Salmon.

An easy way to remember the 5 types of salmon in Alaska.

An easy way to remember the 5 types of salmon in Alaska.

1) Your thumb rhymes with “Chum“.

2) You use your index finger to poke somebody in the eye “Sockeye“.

3) Your middle finger is the “King“.

4) Your ring finger is for “Silver“.

5) Your pinkie is for “Pink“.

My final thoughts about the Ketchikan Duck Tour?

This is a great choice for people with limited mobility or not a lot of energy.  My three-year-old was so exhausted by vacation, that she fell asleep before we hit the water.  That was fine by me, especially since as a little one, her ticket was free!

My three-year-old fell asleep, but her ticket was free.

My three-year-old fell asleep, but her ticket was free.

Tracy Arm Fjord Cruise on the Celebrity Solstice

The Celebrity Solstice

The Celebrity Solstice

Our trip to Alaska!

My grandma took our whole family on a cruise to Alaska. Here’s a brief look in pictures.

But first, check out my I Brake for Moms column about “the joys” of packing your family up for vacation.  I’m sure you can relate….

First stop, Seattle.

Departing gray Seattle.

Our cabin, a deluxe ocean view stateroom with veranda

Our cabin, a deluxe ocean view stateroom with veranda.

"The Lawn Club" up on deck 15 of the Celebrity Solstice.  You can see the Hot Glass Show to the right, (which was really cool).

“The Lawn Club” up on deck 15 of the Celebrity Solstice. You can see the Hot Glass Show to the right, (which was really cool).

The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Humpback whales viewed right off the ship.

Humpback whales viewed right off the ship.

Frog legs

My son tried everything. Even frog legs!

Holding a sled dog puppy who just licked me.

Holding a sled dog puppy who just licked me. (That’s why I look funny.)

The Mendehall Glacier.

The Mendehall Glacier.

An iceberg in Tracy Arm Fjord.  We saw lots of icebergs that had Harbor Seals on them.

An iceberg in Tracy Arm Fjord. We saw lots of icebergs that had Harbor Seals on them.

The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada.

The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada.

I’ll be posting about the shore excursions we did soon, in case you ever head that way yourself. 🙂

Gratitude Attitude

Recess Music - Gratitude Attitude

I received a free copy of the CD Gratitude Attitude in exchange for my honest opinion and review, and whoa!  I love it!  I now want to collect Recess Music’s entire “Best Foot Forward” series.  It’s Social Emotional Learning put to music.

How to get along with your fellow humans can be the hardest thing to teach.

How to get along with your fellow humans can be the hardest thing to teach.

My family has been working really hard to encourage emotional intelligence, and this CD is the perfect compliment to what we’ve been talking about.

What's earning popcorn right now!

A family discussion about appreciation.

We listened to  Gratitude Attitude on the way up to the mountains this past weekend, and it practically inoculated my kids with good manners.  For the first thirty minutes after we got out of the car, they were really good about saying thank you.  (Then the effect wore off!)  But “Use a napkin not your mom” by Kathy Kallick has already made a reappearance in everyday discussion.

My favorite song on this CD is “Love you a Million” by Mary Kaye. The former Girl Scout camp counselor in me thinks it would make a great campfire song.

My husband really likes “There’s a Pea on My Plate” by Bill Harley, and “The Table Manners Polka” by Mike Soloway.

My three-year-old, who has been listening to this CD extensively in her room on her own time, is partial to “I’m Glad You’re Here”, by Debbie and Friends.  (That might just be because it’s song #1, and she has a hard time working her CD player.)  But I do think that “I’m Glad You’re Here” would be a great welcome song for Kindergarten or preschool.

“Only Take What You Need”, by Earth Mama, is also a family favorite.  That would be another great song for the campfire too…

This CD is definitely a keeper.  I think I’m going to buy Someone Else’s Shoes – The Best Foot Forward Children’s Music Series from Recess Music next.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

My latest read from Bethany House is A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano.  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance is listed under historical fiction, but I would say that it is about as historically accurate as Pirates of the Caribbean. But if you can handle a very large willing suspension of disbelief (and don’t mind camp), then this is a fun read.

Turano tells the story of suffragette Arabella Becket who gets hunted down by misogynist maniacs and rescued by a very handsome private eye.

There was a very strong women’s lib theme to the book, which I appreciated.  I only wished there had been more facts included, or perhaps an author’s note at the end of the book.

The real historical truth is that suffragettes often went to jail for their cause.  Sometimes they went on hunger strikes and were even force-fed.  They put their lives on the line for all of us.  (Check out I would camp out to vote!)

It’s hard to imagine a time when a woman could be in an abusive marriage, but know that if she escaped she would never see her children again.  It’s hard to imagine a time when women couldn’t even deposit their own paycheck.

We’re so used to hearing names like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but what about Victoria Woodhull or Isabella Beecher Hooker?

So Ms. Turano, that would be my request.  When you write a book about Felicia and discuss orphanages, put in an author’s note at the end.  When you write about Agatha, include something about real-life female journalists like Rose Wilder Lane.

Or maybe you could work up a facts page about each book for your website.  I’m sure you did a whole bunch of research as part of your writing.  Please share!