Guest post: Can baby sign language make your baby smarter?

Guest post: Can baby sign language make your baby smarter?

I’m attempting baby sign language again with my child. I wasn’t consistent, and he wasn’t interested when he was an infant, but now that he gets frustrated when he can’t communicate we might actually get somewhere with sign language. This is a very timely guest post about the benefits of baby sign language. Taking care of a baby’s health is very important; but equally important is focusing on your baby’s intellectual development. One possible way to boost your baby’s brainpower is to teach your baby sign language. When thinking about sign language and babies, thoughts come to mind of genius children who can speak multiple languages and play the piano before they are hardly out of infancy.  Many people associate teaching their babies sign language with greater chances of boosting their child’s “smarts”. While there is no concrete proof of this, overall it has been seen that babies who were taught sign language do generally have some level of academic and development advantages compared to the babies who were not taught to sign. Teaching sign language to a baby is often associated with overachieving parents. This is not true, teaching babies sign language just means that you are giving your child an added advantage. Potential for greater IQ Research on babies who use sign language has shown that they might develop IQs higher than those of their non-signing peers. However, this boost in IQ may not be a result of baby sign language alone. Higher IQ in these children could be attributed to other factors involved. Parents who teach their babies sign language are normally the types who take a great interest in their children’s education and academic progress. Such parents may encourage and emphasize education greatly in their homes; the added emphasis and encouragement does contribute to higher IQs. Teaching […]

Posted May 25, 2016 by Julie in Guest Posts, Parenting / 2 Comments
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Tips to Maintain the Work-Mom Life Balance

Tips to Maintain the Work-Mom Life Balance

Being a working mom is tough for many reasons. You miss your little child all day while you’re at work, you come home tired and still need to save some energy to spend time with that sweet child, as well as uphold the home. It is easy for you to get overwhelmed with everything, which is why finding balance is so vital. Tips to Maintain the Work-Mom Life Balance Understand and embrace the fact that things have changed. The fastest way to mom guilt city is to expect everything to remain as it was with such a massive shift in your family life. You may not be able to do everything at work as before, such as work late, take lots of business trips, etc., and that is OK! Make adjustments where needed and ask your supervisor for flexibility in your schedule. Being able to come in a bit late if your baby kept you up all night is very good for safety and sanity, but also is better for your work product since you will be less stressed out and, therefore, more focused on work. Keep work at work, but don’t completely leave your family at home. Particularly for a new mom who recently returned to work, leaving your family “at home” is just not possible. This was especially true as a breastfeeding mother since I had to pump every so many hours. My phone was full of baby photos, and I also could pull up the nanny cam app and see my little one at any time I needed to. So do bring pictures and let your office feel like a warm place where you don’t have to forget about your family. Then, focus on your work tasks so you can remain productive. But leave the office work […]

Posted May 23, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, Working Mom / 24 Comments
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What it’s really like to be a Military Spouse, my guest post at The Mama Nurse

What it’s really like to be a Military Spouse, my guest post at The Mama Nurse

I am excited to be a featured guest post today at The Mama Nurse in her Women Who Inspire feature. I am talking about what it’s really like to be a Military Spouse. A quick excerpt of the post is below (because I just had to share my infographic with you) but you can read the full post at The Mama Nurse.     It is my opinion that military spouses go through a cycle of emotions similar to the process of grief. In a way, we are grieving for the absence of our partner during this time, as well as the lamenting the extra burden that we accept as responsibilities shift. In my mind, the military spouse cycle of emotions looks something like this.     That is a typical military spouse cycle of emotions. It does cycle, and there may be infinite loops between some of these steps. The important thing is to recognize when we are struggling and to ask for help. If we remember to look around, we see our friends who want to help us, even if they do not fully understand and appreciate the life. Despite the anxiety, the self-doubt, and the added stress, we are strong and resilient. We carry the membership to this special club proudly and support our service member completely. Do you have a military spouse in your life? What ways do you show your support and encouragement?   Read the full post, including the explanations of each part in the military spouse cycle of emotions, at The Mama Nurse.

Posted May 20, 2016 by Julie in Guest Posts, Military / 12 Comments
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Gratitude and Goals May 20, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Gratitude and Goals May 20, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Weekly Gratitude and Goals My Gratitude for this week: We enjoyed the rest of hubby’s visit this past weekend and got to celebrate his birthday with him. That was awesome to be able to have him come back for an unexpected visit and have that coincide with his birthday. We went to a 4-year-old’s birthday party last weekend and Baby H was just big enough to play on those large inflatables. Well, we had to go play with him. And that meant carrying him up the climby ladder and then sliding down with him on the giant slide. Seriously, that was a workout for me, how do little kids do it? And the slide was a bit scary actually. Kids are fearless I’m serious. I had the last show of the season for my Broadway season, and it was fantastic! It was A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and the music, acting, everything was wonderful. Really enjoyed the show. Baby H had his 18-month check up and we had an interesting conversation with the pediatrician about his behavior. He was just throwing fits left and right and she really told me we need to get a handle on that stat. She also encouraged us to show a little tough love when he refuses to eat, and not give in and give the boy crackers and peanut butter if he refuses to eat real food. So we’ve been doing that this week – if he throws his food then mealtime is over – and he’s getting (a little) better at eating! He also doesn’t have as many words as he should have and is super frustrated with not being able to communicate, so I’m getting back into trying sign language with him. But this week he had a new word! […]

Posted May 20, 2016 by Julie in Gratitude Goals Linky / 7 Comments
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Transition from Infant to Toddler

Transition from Infant to Toddler

By the time you have the whole infant thing figured out, your tot becomes a toddler. When my son turned one, I was kind of at a loss. “Now what?” went through my mind. How will things change? What comes next? How do you transition from infant to toddler? There were quite a few changes happening around the 1 year mark and I wasn’t sure how to navigate all of the transitions: Transition away from bottles and onto sippy cups. Transition away from infant formula and onto cow’s milk. Transition from mostly milk-based diet to mostly solid diet. Transition from mostly crawling to running circles in the house. It was a big change for us, so I wanted to share how we got through it. How to Transition from Infant to Toddler Transition from Infant to Toddler: Feeding changes At his one-year checkup, the doctor told us Baby H should not be drinking regular milk as often as he was consuming formula and breastmilk. That kind of shocked me because, while he was eating quite a few purees, he was still consuming a lot of formula and on top of that I was still nursing/pumping a little. She did say he should have about 3 servings of milk, so our goal was to change from 6 formula feeds to 3 milk feeds gradually. I didn’t want to drop all the formula feedings overnight obviously, so what we did was finish off the canister of infant formula by continuing to feed formula every other feeding, and switch out one feed to regular milk. He fought this at first – while he was used to, and enjoyed, the taste of formula, regular cow’s milk was strange to him.  But we started with just switching out one feed, then dropping a formula feed […]

Posted May 16, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, TopPosts / 27 Comments
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Gratitude and Goals May 13, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Gratitude and Goals May 13, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Weekly Gratitude and Goals My Gratitude for this week: Due to a delay in processing my husband’s orders, he had a gap between graduating from JAG school and his start date for the mobilization halfway across the country. So he flew home to visit this week! I haven’t seen him since just after New Year’s so this week was wonderful. Automating things on my blog lets me take time off without disappearing completely. I definitely decreased my blogging efforts this week. I had a fun influencer post go up this week. Did you see it? It was about sensory play with edible dirt. This weekend we spent both days at the park. The same park haha. The first day was for a birthday party, and the second day was my local Moms group Mother’s Day cookout. I brought that dirt cake to the Mother’s Day event. #happymothersday A photo posted by Julie S. (@juliecookies413) on May 8, 2016 at 4:51pm PDT Dixie dog got a haircut this past weekend. I thought the poor girl was getting fat because of all the food Baby H has been slipping to her. But as it turns out, she was literally just fluffy. Dixie dog got a haircut last weekend. I thought she was getting fat from all the food the #toddler has been slipping her, but she literally was just fluffy. #dogsofinstagram A photo posted by Julie S. (@juliecookies413) on May 12, 2016 at 10:41am PDT   My Goals for the upcoming week: Continue my progress with the Nutrisystem diet. 20 pounds down so far. Need to keep making progress. Keep walking several times a week. Need to get back into doing this. Drink more water, aim for 100 oz/day. I’m doing this also with drinking Zeal. Continue to work on my content calendar […]

Posted May 13, 2016 by Julie in Gratitude Goals Linky / 2 Comments
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Enjoy Sensory Play with Edible Dirt for Dia de los Ninos

Enjoy Sensory Play with Edible Dirt for Dia de los Ninos

This #HoneyNutCheerios #NuestroCereal Dia de los Niños campaign was sponsored by General Mills Big G Cereals through Acorn Influence. All opinions are mine. Children are an absolute joy to watch play, and it is so much more fun to engage with them in a fun activity. I recently learned about the Día de los Niños holiday, and I think it is brilliant! Why not have a special day to focus on children and their fun learning experiences while making memories. Sure, we strive for that on a regular basis, but how special is it to have a holiday just for the children. My sweet baby is definitely a toddler now, and at 18 months, he can start getting involved in our kitchen activities. He has already shown quite a bit of interest in what we do in the kitchen, though usually we have to move him to a safer place if the stove is involved. For this fun children’s day treat, I wanted to make a treat that he not only would enjoy eating but also could enjoy helping me create. I decided we could make dirt cake together, and enjoy some sensory play at the same time! My baby is all boy, after all, and what little boy doesn’t like to dig around in the dirt? So we dropped by our local Walmart to grab our ingredients. We picked up a huge Family Size box of Cocoa Puffs cereal so we would have plenty of cereal for our play and more to eat. This day was even more of a special treat because Master H got to try Cocoa Puffs for the first time! I have avoided chocolate cereals previously due to Baby H’s insistence on sharing his snacks with our dogs. But now my little man is getting […]

Posted May 9, 2016 by Julie in Food, Influencer, Parenting, TopPosts / 28 Comments
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How to Support a Military Spouse

How to Support a Military Spouse

Being a military spouse grants you a complimentary membership in a particular club where you are often alone while your partner in life is absent for an extended period. Your spouse might be away attending a school or training, have been selected for a home or abroad mission, or is away for another military-related reason. Shifting all responsibilities onto one person and the extended months of loneliness can cause anxiety and depression even in the strongest of characters.  Emotions run high, resources are stretched, and couples are tested. For Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I wanted to share some tips and ideas how you can support a military spouse in your life. How to Support a Military Spouse Providing company. Military life can be lonely when your spouse is away. Invite your friend to join you for a stroll in the park, out to dinner, an event, or just to hang out. Remember her on holidays and try to include her in your family’s celebrations. Likewise, kids will struggle to adjust to this time with only one parent. Play dates, good role models, and support from their friends is vital, so they don’t feel left out or abandoned. Bring a meal or care package. Cooking for one quickly turns into frozen dinners. Bringing over a fresh family-friendly meal is such a wonderful gift, especially at the beginning of a deployment or extended school. Care packages are incredible! Even some nice toiletries or some tea or coffee can help encourage the military spouse and show your support. Helping with the kids so she gets a break. I’m sure she would love some child care but don’t just say “if you need me to help watch the kids let me know.”  She isn’t likely to ask, so offer something specific. Invite the kids over for a […]

Posted May 7, 2016 by Julie in Military, TopPosts / 21 Comments
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Gratitude and Goals May 6, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Gratitude and Goals May 6, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Weekly Gratitude and Goals My Gratitude for this week: I love walking with my awesome neighbor 🙂 I went to lunch with my awesome friend (and book blog co-blogger) Lynn last Friday. It was nice to get out of the office. I had a relatively quiet weekend. Took my car for the necessary oil and change, inspection, etc and my car got a clean bill of health so that was great. I don’t need any surprises right now. The Toddler did alright, they have a play area with some toys and he played there for a little while at least. I actually didn’t leave the house (or my PJs) at all on Sunday, so that was kind of nice. I need to have a day to do no errands but just catch up on stuff at home every now and then. Work has been generally quiet this week, nothing too pressing or stressful, which is great since my commute continues to be horrible due to prolonged road closures after the flooding event. (I’m certainly not grateful for my 2-hour-and-15-minute drive to work one morning this past week.) One of my posts from this week that was all about Texas pride reminded me why I love this state so much. Sometimes driving in the Houston area makes you forget. Hubby graduated from JAG school! I’m very proud of him! (Though I do wish he was coming home now, but the active duty continues.) I’ve been chatting with some of my tribemates about guest post exchanges and have written one and have a topic for another. Guest posting has been on my to-do list and one of my goals to get into so this is awesome. I got hired for another lovely campaign that I will work on this weekend (it has […]

Posted May 6, 2016 by Julie in Gratitude Goals Linky / 13 Comments
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Guest post: How do children learn to read?

Guest post: How do children learn to read?

I have a lovely guest post today discussing a topic near to my heart: learning to read. I think the Montessori method is brilliant and hope to learn enough about it so I can implement some of its teachings with my child on weekends.   How do children learn to read? A quote that can be found on social networks and libraries of countless bookworms from all over the world states: “Reading is dreaming with open eyes.” Books are wonderful, they inspire us, make us forget about the world, and teach us many things. But do you remember how difficult it was to get the hang of reading when you were young? Here is what science says children go through while learning to read at an early age. Speaking is easy, reading – not so much We learn to speak fluently simply by being surrounded by spoken language from infancy, but no matter how many books there are around us, unless we are taught to read we will not understand the meaning of printed words. The language we speak fluently is usually the one no one taught us – mother tongue, and when children are exposed to more than one language they learn to speak both fluently and become bilingual. As for reading, it must be approached consciously, willingly learned, and practiced often. Understanding the written words Reading is complex; when beginning to read a person links known sounds to appropriate letters using one part of the brain, while the other part of the brain turns them into words. In the beginning, this process is slow, and children and adults who are only learning to read often read very slowly. However, after that, a whole new brain section takes over and children begin building a permanent registry of words that reoccur and […]

Posted May 5, 2016 by Julie in Guest Posts, Parenting / 5 Comments
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