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Reading Aloud

Reading together is always a favorite time at our house.  Some of the best bonding that I have with my kids is reading aloud to them at bedtime.  Of course we all read to our kids when they are little, but there is something so special about enjoying longer books together as they get older.  These books sometimes take weeks to read.  Some of the timeless choices that we have read are Tumtum and Nutmeg for younger kids, the Hank Zipzer series for kids 1st-3rd grade, The Secret Garden for kids 3rd and 4th grade, and Harry Potter for older kids.

I am not big on grand traditions as a mom because the thought of that pressure is a little daunting.  But our reading routines have somehow become become a tradition that isn’t stress filled at all.  Reading our book together is something that we look forward to, make time for, and both cherish.  My youngest daughter makes sure that we have built in enough “reading time” when she is getting ready for bed and she is so disappointed on the nights that life gets in the way.   This week I started reading The Secret Garden to my youngest child.  This is the 3rd time aloud for me, but it is so special and so new because the little ears that are hearing it are hearing it for the first time, with such curiosity about what will happen next.

It’s hard with the hectic schedules that we all have to make room for the quiet times.  It, however, is so important for us all.  And we, as parents, get as much out of it as our kids.  Do you have any favorite books to share that you have enjoyed with your kids?

Frecklebox

The Myself Belts office just discovered a website that we LOVE!  We thought we would share our find with you.  Have you heard of Frecklebox?  It is a a great online store for that perfect, memorable gift for a young child.  Great gifts for baby, toddler, or elementary age child.  Whether it is a personalized book, binder, stickers, or lunchbox, or something decorative for their room, the options on Frecklebox are adorable.  A unique, thoughtful gift, what’s better than that? Happy Shopping!

Picture of Rockstar NotebookPicture of Rainbow ClipboardPicture of Sports Gift Stickers

A Wider Reach

When we invented Myself Belts many years ago, it was to help my typical potty training toddler. We knew, however, at that time that the innovative belt closure could benefit a wider group of people with many types of challenges. The fact that Myself Belts has helped the special needs community is one of the most meaningful things in running our business. Whether it is someone in the autism community, CP, downs syndrome, or a congenital issue that has affected hand function, Myself Belts has made dressing easier.

We have loved hearing from parents whose children and teenagers who have been helped by Myself Belts or adults who had to wear elastic waist pants since they could no longer buckle a belt, but can now wear pants with belt loops again. Hearing the pride that Myself Belts has nurtured is so special and meaningful for all of us. This Thanksgiving, I am reflecting on the unexpected impact that Myself Belts has had in helping people in the special needs community and the gratitude that we all feel at Myself Belts for the many customers who have reached out and told us how much they appreciate our invention.

Money, Money, Money

School is back in session and we are all getting back to our routines. My kids have been talking about allowance and although the routine of this often comes and goes, we are going to try to stick with it this time!

Here are some tips I have about allowance that have worked for my family.

1) My experience as a parent has been to have a given allowance for each child depending on their age. Perhaps a toddler or preschooler gets $1, older school age child $3, and teenager $5. We post their name and allowance per week on a big white board. When something happens during the week that is not up to the standards that have been set, there can be allowance subtractions! I write the amount of money to be subtracted and the reason. I think sometimes seeing the reason in writing can help reduce its occurrence. So if my child sees “fighting with sister” or “talking back”, they may be more likely to reduce this behavior over time. When we have been consistent with this plan, we have seen success.

2)Consistency. If chores have to be done in order to get allowance, make sure that the kids are really holding up their end of the deal. If payday is Friday, make sure that it is consistent and that allowance isn’t added up over time and then paid. The weekly routine is important.

3)What is the money for? Make sure that your kids know that they will need to use their own money for certain items that you will no longer pay for now that they earn some money of their own. Spending their own money alters choices and makes kids value things differently. Making these spending choices is important and allowance give kids the chance to practice this.

 

4) Saving and donating. Check out one of my favorite new discoveries, the Money Savvy Pig Bank. What a great way for kids to learn about saving, spending, investing, and donating. There are 4 slots in the bank to divide the money for different purposes. Love! They even have cute sports themed banks for your sporty kids.

Pinterest

Myself Belts has entered the world of Pinterest!  We love having a place to share boards about our favorites in fashion, products, room decor, and more.  Some of our quotes in our Inspiration Board our amazing and reading them is a great way to start your day off on a positive note.  We also have a board with some of our favorite books including Princess and The Potty by Wendy Cheyette Lewison, a must-read if you have potty training struggles.  Please share in our excitement and follow Myself Belts on Pinterest!

Photo Shoot Fun!

We had a photo shoot last week and as always it was a blast! It is so fun to see new styles being worn by adorable children. The energy of the shoot was great and Kristin Scully captured some great shots! Here are some “behind the scenes” shots. Stay tuned for the new pics on our website!
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The winning gifts!

So the holiday season has ended, whew, tiring but fun!  I love giving gifts and seeing if I got it right.  The challenge is trying to think of fun gifts that will be long-lasting, and that they won’t tire of after a few weeks.  I thought that I would share the winners from this holiday season.  The gifts that brought the biggest smiles from the kids in my life.   The first is Buckyballs.  These are tiny, strong magnets that have occupied many hours of fun in my house.  Definitely a choking hazard so I wouldn’t recommend them for kids under 5.  My kids also got Spooner Boards which are cool balance boards for twirling and tricks.  We are especially excited to see the fun we can have with them in the snow.  If it ever snows this winter!

Workbooks were another gift this year.  My 9 yr old likes these scrabble sticker workbooks.  Finally, I entered Justice at the mall for the first time. Tons of stuff, but my big find were these cozy fleece blanket/pillow sets that my girls loved.  Anyway, I know your shopping is done too, but thought I would share in case you want to stock up for birthday gifts now that everything is on sale!

SCRABBLE: Sticker Word PuzzlesDreams Pillow & Blanket Set

Simplicity

One of my kids had a birthday yesterday, and I was struck by what makes birthdays special.  At night before bed, she gave me a huge hug and said “this was such a great birthday”!  As I walked out of her room, I reflected on her day.  It consisted of opening a few small gifts, getting phone calls from friends and family, and singing over a home-made(and slightly dry cake).  Aside from that she had her normal day of school, shuttling her brother to basketball practice/spending an hour driving in the car, and going to her own basketball practice.  Actually the day had an extremely hectic pace and the family didn’t eat until 7:45.  At bedtime, however, she wasn’t thinking about the chaos.  She felt the specialness of her day.  Her class singing to her. Getting her much prized new inexpensive watch- she finally doesn’t have to look up to see the time.  Her family having dinner together, despite the late hour.  The phone ringing just for her.  It was her special day no matter what she did, and she loved every minute.