If you have a Wordless Wednesday post, please link it up below; I’d love to check it out! [Read more...]
I always seem to have a hard time writing about my experiences at blog conferences, but it’s not because I have nothing to say. To the contrary, it’s because I learn so much that I have trouble narrowing down exactly what I want to share. And at no conference do I have a harder time with that than BlogWest. I’ve attended BlogWest 2012 as a panellist and BlogWest 2013 as a speaker and conference ambassador and both times the sheer volume of knowledge I gained left me overwhelmed for weeks afterwards.
There were a few key learning moments from the conference that really started to stand out to me over the last couple of weeks, though. These were my top three BlogWest 2013 takeaways:[Read more...]
I am a huge advocate for literacy and because of that, I’ve always looked for the best ways to help my boys develop strong reading skills. From alphabet flash cards to sight word activity sheets, I choose games and activities that combine fun and learning whenever I get the chance. So when I heard about Newmark Learning and its extensive line of books and other educational resources, I was excited to learn more about the company’s products.
I was given the chance to review an assortment of products, so I requested reading, math, science and social studies books at the Grade 1-2 level, Zackary’s current reading level at the time. The books were full colour and very appealing to both of my boys, but I really wanted to see how Zackary liked the content.
My family has always loved the interactive and educational products from LeapFrog. From the time my oldest son was just a toddler right up until today, our toy collection has always featured the hottest new LeapFrog products and our Leapster Explorer is the boys’ favourite gaming system years after receiving it. So I was delighted when I received the new LeapPad2 to review this year.
We don’t own the LeapPad, but I did a little reading up on it and I noticed a lot of upgrades that kids and parents will both love. The big difference is the camera. Pictures are utilized in many of the games and apps on this device and the previous LeapPad had a fairly basic 0.3 megapixel camera. The LeapPad2 features 2.0 megapixel cameras on both the front and back of the device. That means that not only are pictures bright and beautiful, but kids also now have the ability to take pictures of themselves!
The memory also increased quite a bit compared to the first LeapPad, from 2GB to 4GB. I loved that the LeapPad 2 worked with my boys’ Leapster Explorer games and, as always, my boys both adored the many apps that we could download to use on the device. The LeapPad2 comes preloaded with two apps and features one free app available from the App Centre, but there are hundreds of other great apps, games and videos that can be downloaded for the device as well. [Read more...]
If there is one thing that I absolutely love, it’s learning new things. I love it so much that it almost doesn’t matter what I’m learning as long as I’m learning something. And thanks to the Information Revolution, I can usually find out about anything I choose with just a few quick keywords. Yes…I am a total Google diva.
I love the fact that information about any topic is so easy to find and I am incredibly grateful that so many people took the time to share all their learning just so that other people could benefit from it. So when I see other women hiding tidbits of knowledge to themselves, it makes me think…
I believe knowledge is meant to be shared. It doesn’t matter what the knowledge is. If somebody can benefit from it, it should be passed along. But I didn’t always believe that. There was a time when I guarded my knowledge more fiercely than a Doberman guards a junkyard.
The memory that comes back to me most often is one from high school when I happened to bring a homemade snack for my lunch. I shared it with my friends and one of them mentioned that she would love to have the recipe. I smiled politely, but the only thought in my head was, “No WAY am I giving out my recipe!!”
That’s something I would never do today. After all, if I give somebody the instructions for making the same dish, does that make the dish I create any less delicious? But thinking about that time got me thinking about WHY I had been so unwilling to share my knowledge.
And the answer to that question, I soon realized, was my lack of self-esteem. I didn’t believe that I had any value. So when somebody expressed a desire for something that I knew, for something that I HAD, I felt validated. Even if I didn’t have any value, something I knew was valuable and if I kept that knowledge to myself, then nobody else would have that little grain of value that I had. Sure, I might be worthless. But I knew something that wasn’t worthless and if I was the only one that knew it then that was almost the same as me being worth something myself.
Getting over that crippling lack of self-esteem wasn’t easy. It took lots of effort, lots of tribulation and, yes, lots of learning. Today I am proud to say that I am a strong and self-confident woman and as a result, I am not only willing to share knowledge with others, I am happy to do so. In fact, if somebody asks me a question that I can’t answer, I will go and find the answer for them if I possibly can! I love helping others and I’m so glad that I’ve grown to become the type of woman that can do so without a second thought.
Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if everybody did the same? If we could ask anybody anything and know that they would be willing to answer, or maybe even help us find the answer? Wouldn’t the blogosphere be a better place? I like to think that the blog community is, by nature, a community that shares more freely. After all, we share our stories and ourselves on our blogs each and every day! But every once in a while I notice a return to that mindset that I saw so much of in high school, a comment or a conversation that practically screams, “Well, if you don’t know then I’m not going to tell you!” And it breaks my heart because I know that the motivation behind the attitude is that old enemy of so many women in the world, low self-esteem.
So how can a woman rid herself of that fear, that prevalent, horrifying fear that she isn’t good enough?
It isn’t easy.
But it isn’t hard either.
What worked for me was constantly telling myself that I was a wonderful person. I told myself again and again and again. When you repeat something like that long enough, it becomes a reality. But it takes time. And it takes work. And when you’re feeling depressed, hurt or inadequate, telling yourself something like that is difficult. But when you do it enough, you really do become the person you keep telling yourself you are.
And when that happens, you realize that your worth doesn’t come from what you look like, what you have or even what you know. In the end, your worth is maybe just measured by whether or not you shine a little bit more light into the world.
Let’s light up the world together. We all have gifts we can share, if we’re not afraid to share them.
And when we do…we all shine.
Holiday Gift for the Young Explorer
I love finding innovative ways to encourage my son to learn more about the world. In the spring of this year, he discovered a television show called Sid the Science Kid™ and fell in love with the main character Sid and his investigations into the mysteries of the world around him. I enjoyed the show too and was really impressed by how much information Zackary picked up from the episodes. He was gaining an understanding of complex concepts like observation and research thanks to activities he saw in the show.
Sid the Science Kid™ was rescheduled in the summer and even though I’m sure it is still on somewhere, I haven’t seen it so far when looking for something for Zackary to watch. But even though he hasn’t seen the show lately, Zackary still remembers it well and when I saw the sensational new Sid the Science Kid™ Learning Science Kits from Patch Products I knew at once that he would love them.
These great kits are designed especially for preschoolers and feature a fun science project and a research journal with various activities to help children learn about the physical world. I was delighted when I was given a chance to review one of the kits for myself.
I received the Why Are Wheels Round? kit to review. The science kit featured wooden pieces to build a small model car, rubber bands and wheels of various shapes for the different experiments, as well as the special Sid the Science Kid™ observation journal with outlines of the various experiments and pages for children to record their observations.
My husband sat down with Zackary to build the car and try out one of the experiments. They had a great time putting the pieces together and rolling the car around. Then, they decided to test out the different wheels that had come with the car. Zackary had so much fun trying to move the car around with round, oval and square wheels. “It goes ba-bump, ba-bump!” he explained to me energetically. “And the round ones go the best because it just goes around like this!” He waved his arms in a circle and then ran off to roll his car around again.
Other experiments included observing how the car worked when going up and down a ramp and studying how the car worked when extra weight was added. I especially liked the experiment that helped children understand friction. The car had thick rubber bands on its back wheels that provided grip just like real tires on a vehicle. Taking off the rubber bands and measuring the car’s distance and then performing the same measurement with the bands added provided powerful proof of just how important a car’s tires really are!
Sid the Science Kid™ Learning Science Kits are also available in a Why Do Plant Grow? kit and a Why Do I Need A Jacket? kit, and are a great way to let children experience the scientific process of hypothesizing, experimenting and drawing conclusions. The kits are designed for children three and older and would make a great gift for any inquisitive youngster on your Christmas list. For a fun and informative introduction to the world of science, check out these great kits from Patch Products for yourself!
Buy It: To purchase Sid the Science Kid™ Learning Science Kits, visit Patch Products online today
Win It: One lucky reader is going to win their choice of any one of the three Sid the Science Kid™ Learning Science Kits from Patch Products
To Enter (mandatory): Visit Patch Products and tell me about another product that you liked
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on December 31, 2010. Open to US and Canada