Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My review of Celebrate the Sea at Kid Ventures

As many of you know Sign4Baby just celebrated 4 years in business. Woot! Kid Ventures was generous enough to co-create an event celebrating that mark.

Over 65 people came out to take part in the fun we had lined up. I really couldn't count because there were so many!

I provided some entertainment with Signing Story Time, demonstrating the signs for various sea creatures. At the end of the story time we were greeted by a Pirate! He was a friendly pirate, though Owen wasn't sure he believed me... he wouldn't have anything to do with getting a picture taken with him. Which was too bad because when the KV crew brings a character to the party, they do it up right and I don't even have a photo to show you! As the treasure hunt began each family was given a beach bucket to collect their sea treasures. I've been to birthday parties where treasure hunts are done and the kids absolutely love it - this was no exception! Even the parents looked like they were having fun with it. At the end of the treasure hunt the kiddos gathered in the library to create a KV keepsake craft.

Kyle who is not typically interested in crafting was happily gluing and coloring this time. I have a feeling it has to do with there having been a true "activity" associated with the craft, not just crafting for its own sake.

Amberly on the other hand will craft all day if given the opportunity.

That's what great about the parties and special events here, they're going to be multi faceted, something to please everyone.

Can i just add in the feedback from our babysitter that was in attendance? She thought it was off the charts awesome because of how much there is to do here and how the themed rooms keep you busy for plenty of hours. Our sitter was puttiing our kids to bed that night - she was glad to have them play with such exuberence at Kid Ventures that day so they'd be out of steam come bed time.

Something that I learned at the event is that your day's play pass allows you in and out privelages which is nice because you can stretch that into both a morning and afternoon outing. How smart is that to plan your time for play and stretch that dollar further.

I wanted to pick something from the various rooms and activities that are a for sure favorite for Amberly, Kyle and Owen, but truth be known they love ALL of it! My personal favorites are the firetruck with firefighter gear to play dress up - right there that would be any little 3 or 4 year old's dream come true to be dressed like a hero with all their buddies pretending to put out a fire!

Dancinig is a fun expression and my kids are no strangers to bustin' a toddler move, breakdance style - so they always pull me into the disco room to have a family dance party, which I happily oblige!

Thank you Kid Ventures for partnering with Sign4Baby to host not only the Celebrate the Sea event, but for bringing Sign4Baby classes to your facilities this fall!

Announcement - first class at the PB location begins Friday Sept 2nd - so, you could say some babies are getting ready for Back to School too!

Wordless Wednesday - Amberly 21 months, Kyle 4 months

2007 July 110

Monday, August 15, 2011

Easy Giveaway Opportunity - Plum District Family Daily Deal Site

There's a lot of daily deal sites out there, I should know, I subscribe to just about all of them, but I want you to become familiar with one in particular, Plum District. For families who want to learn about great values BOTH locally and nationwide, this is the go-to resource.

Why I'm sharing it with you today is there is an awesome giveaway going on that I'm hoping one of my readers will win - - -

One lucky person is going to win a prize of their choice from the daily deals offered by Plum District San Diego - it may as well be you! Simply browse their website and leave a comment on their wall of what you would most like to win. Me, I'd choose the 3 personal trainer sessions valued at $225. Ends Wednesday August 17th at 5pm PST- good luck!

Here's a sample of some of the cool deals you could choose from:

1. Got a shoe fetish? Sole Society would be for you! Value $50.

2. Want whiter teeth? Pick this Whitening Lightning deal valued at $478

3. Perhaps you've been dreaming about getting a personal trainer? Joy Dahlberg Dynamic Fitness is the way to go - valued at $225.

4. Want to learn how to take better pictures of your child? You'll enjoy the 3 Hour Photography Workshop valued at $200.

Plus there's a bunch more that you can browse through!

A quick note, you can enter the giveaway even if you are outside of San Diego as you can pick any of the "everywhere" deals.

***Full Disclosure - When you sign up to receive future daily deal email alerts using the links I've provided that specifically say Plum District will award me $5 in Plum Dollars, the great thing is you can refer friends too with your own link and earn future deals at an even better price when you redeem your Plum Dollars. I'm also being compensated for my time in sharing this fabulous giveaway, which makes sense, I'm a work at home mom who needs to provide for her family ; ) I've been successful in growing my Sign4Baby business using social media and enjoy connecting with people online so this was really a great opportunity.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The story of how I taught my daughter to sign MILK (Part TWO)

A couple days passed since our “baby waving” (see Part One of this series) incident and now it was Valentine’s Day. Upon leaving for work my husband rang the doorbell, leaving behind a beautiful arrangement of red roses. With excitement I was telling Amberly all about the flowers and how nice Daddy was to surprise us. With baby in one arm and vase in the other I displayed them on top of a wine cabinet that happened to be in a spot we passed to enter and leave the home and was near the kitchen and also a spot we’d pass to get to the stairs leading up to the bedrooms where I’d put her down for naps. I explain all of this because it happened to give us lots of opportunities to pass by the flowers, each time I got myself something to eat (at 4 months she was still exclusively nursing and she really liked to be held much of the day), each time we went outside for a walk or to check the mail, and when we went upstairs for her multiple naps in the day.

It is widely known that babies are attracted to the color RED, so it was no surprise to me that my daughter was transfixed on the red roses. Also, at that young age, she was becoming more aware of her environment and changes that came with it, as well as reading our expressions quite well. She’d been intrigued by my excitement over the flowers, she was furthermore intrigued by them – so much so that she was doing the typical thing that babies do, reaching out to grab at them. I knew right where one of those flowers would end up if I allowed her to grab one, it would go right to her mouth! Something transpired that day that was completely by happenstance. I taught my 4 month old how to “smell” a flower.

Each time Amberly reached out for the flowers I gently held her hand and showed her how we could enjoy the flowers by first leaning in towards them, second, closing our eyes, third, breathing in the scent through our noses, and fourth, giving a slight “aahhhhhh” in appreciation of the aroma. Each time I’d verbally tell her what we were doing as we progressed through each action. It was fun to see how captivated she was in this practice, how intently she watched what was going on, She never grew bored of it throughout the day even though I think we must have repeated it more than a dozen times. Then as evening rolled around Amberly surprised me by following along, leaning in, closing eyes, audibly breathing in through her nose and letting out a little sigh! I figured we were going to be at this practice all week (which of course we continued to do) and well into toddlerhood before seeing any resemblance of her understanding or demonstrating the act of smelling a flower. I couldn’t help but to be excited and she responded in like. When Daddy got home I attempted to have Amberly show him just how much she loved the flowers. Well, just like asking a baby who is newly waving to show off on demand, it is a little complicated. She didn’t quite get all of it but she got enough of it to show she really pays attention to what we’re doing. I told my husband I was going to have her signing milk the next day!

Be sure to catch Part Three in the series of “How I taught my daughter to sign MILK.”

Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The story of how I taught my daughter to sign MILK (Part 1)

My daughter, Amberly, and I were out for our regular afternoon walk and crossed paths with a neighbor and her baby. We stopped to chat for a few minutes. As we departed my friend exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, how old is Amberly, again? When did she start waving?!” Her daughter was a few months older, had been born a preemie and had just started waving recently. She was a more experienced mom than I was and she had not asked if Amberly had waved but rather stated it as fact. I couldn't believe I had missed it! I was wearing her in a Baby Bjorn carrier, in front of me, facing out (this was back in early 2006 just before I made the great discovery of the much better ERGObaby carrier). Apparently she had raised her hand up just half way, and had done it as my friend said bye for the 3rd or 4th time (you know how it takes us moms a few times to wrap up a conversation since we crave adult interaction). I replied “I don’t know, I haven’t seen her do it yet.” I was kind of excited though, this gave me the clue that she was beginning to mimic what she saw which is one of the tell tale signs your baby wants to communicate!

Babies love when people stop to say hi and bye to them. We use that little sing song voice (otherwise known as parentese), give a great big smile, and make it even more intriguing by giving a little wave… its great fun! Inherently people will repeat it, and repetition is another great way for babies to learn. Amazing how some of the universal things we do while interacting with children are precisely the things we need to do for optimum learning. In fact, the interaction of saying hi and bye is so entertaining and eventful that “hi” is a common first word, often overlooked by parents. This might be somewhere aroung 10-13 months of age. It is important to note that babies all have their own timeline for achieving milestones and one baby does not need be compared to another. At the same token there are activities that entice babies to reach certain developmental milestones earlier!

Case in point:

I love the story shared by Kelly, mom to Eleni and CJ, who has taken the Sign, Play & Learn classes with both kids a number of times. When her daughter Eleni was just 4 months old they visited and stayed with Grandma for a month. There's not a whole lot of "playing" that a baby this age can do. One thing Grandma found intrigued Eleni was hand clapping. Multiple times a day Grandma would entertain Eleni by clapping her (Grandma) hands and giving Eleni undivided attention. Well, guess what? By the end of the month-long visit Eleni was clapping her own hands! Not too many babies are clapping at just 4 or 5 months old. It was a matter of fun and repetition that enticed Eleni to participate in this game Grandma had devised.

Be sure to catch Part Two of The Story of How I Taught My Daughter to Sign MILK.

Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.