October 7, 2011 (6:24 pm)

Patricia Kuhl: The Linguistic Genius of Babies – Great TED Video

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

Greg and I are eager to expose Kamea to various languages and we’re starting with a spanish native speaker coming to the house… Have any of you done anything like this with your babies? If so, how did it go? How often was the exposure?

 

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September 7, 2011 (10:00 am)

Reading Rockin’ Babies to Kamea For Added Fun!

by Kristen Suzanne

Kamea loves books and they’re a huge part of our day. I’ve read enough parenting books to know the importance of reading with my baby. And, boy oh boy, she LOVES it. Ever since she learned to sign “more” she asks me to read and reread and reread books all day long. She has her favorites, though, that’s for sure. Doggies, anyone? To make it even more exciting though, I sometimes, ehem, sing them to her. Other times I get so animated that I literally exhaust myself… by the way, is it just me or do some of the Dr. Seuss books take a lot out of ya? After reading The Cat in the Hat, I need nap! ;)

One of her favorite books is Rockin’ Babies by Dr. Jenn Berman (fellow vegan and author of SuperBaby). Here I am, sharing with the world (I did this on my Facebook author page, but that’s only available to fans so the audience was limited), my singing to Kamea.

By the way… the part about “spitting on authority figures” is not as bad as it might sound. ;) It’s a cute picture of a dad being spit “up” on with baby food. See?

 

By the way, check out Kamea’s baby freeze pops on my Kristen’s Raw blog here.

 

 

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August 2, 2011 (5:44 pm)

Making Kamea’s Story Book Vegan-Friendly

by Kristen Suzanne

Kamea is crazy in love with books, which melts my heart. One of the passions both Greg and I share is the love of reading, and we look forward to the time when we can have family outings to Starbucks where we take our books and read.

We love reading to Kamea and she requests it every day, multiple times. Now that she knows the sign “more” in sign language, we see it over and over and over and over and … well, you get the point. Once the story ends, she wants more. Yay!

We’re building her library of books and I buy most of them on Amazon if they’re not hand-me-downs from friends and relatives. However, when you’re not buying from a bookstore where you can flip through it, you don’t always know everything it’ll contain. Recently, I bought the book “Yummy YUCKY” by Leslie Patricelli. It’s such a cute board book with the pictures, colors, and font. The story basically shows one side of the page with something yummy on it, like spaghetti. Then, on the next page it shows something similar, but yucky… like worms. It makes it really fun to read to Kamea as I exclaim out loud the pages that are YUCKY! I make an “eh eh” sound and she imitates me.  Read More »

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February 3, 2011 (5:19 am)

Homeschooling Journey Begins: Cognitive Development Activities, Part 2

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

In Part One of this post, I discussed the importance of stimulating babies’ brains during critical developmental windows, with shapes, colors, objects, and music.

Here are more things we’re doing…

 

A sampling of Kamea's books.

Reading – Even though it’s hard to imagine that Kamea is paying much attention when I’m reading to her, all of the studies in cognitive development say that she is. Experts agree that it’s never too young to read to your baby – even a newborn! According to the book Baby Read-Aloud Basics, reading to babies helps them understand the meaning of words and to learn words they are less likely to hear every day. According to one expert, ”Compared with ordinary talk between a child and parent, children’s books have three times more rare words.”

Moreover, reading with baby at this very early age starts to ingrain a deep, life-long foundational association between reading and positive emotions keyed to the voices and touch of mommy and daddy. In doing this, as the child develops, books are anchored as objects of comfort, fun, and joy, as opposed to work or tedium. Read More »

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January 29, 2011 (8:02 pm)

Homeschooling Journey Begins: Cognitive Development Activities, Part I

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

I’ve been researching a lot about baby development since before I became pregnant with Kamea. Even though Kamea is only 7 months old, we have been doing things with her since birth to promote development. I consider this as starting her homeschool even at this young age. So, I plan to blog about these homeschooling activities and share what we are doing and I welcome comments and sharing about what other parents are doing out there to promote development and what homeschooling activities you do.

Did you know that a baby is born with an IQ that is not fixed? There is a range that’s determined by genes, but within that range, IQ can vary as much as 20-30 points depending on pre- and postnatal environmental exposure such as nutrition, health, and experiences. Thus, nature and nurture are braided together.

It’s the environmental experiences I’m focusing on today. It’s fascinating to know that the majority of the brain’s wiring actually occurs during the first few years of life. Most of the brain cells are created before birth, but the all-important connections between them are primarily formed after birth. Before kindergarten, a baby’s brain is developing, growing, and soaking up information like a sponge. Much of the wiring for specific brain structures occurs during critical developmental windows, meaning if certain wiring doesn’t occur by a certain time, it never will. For this reason, from almost the day Kamea was born, Greg and I wasted no time in getting started.

There have been a number of things we’ve done so far… Read More »

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October 28, 2010 (6:48 pm)

What To Do With Halloween Candy As A Vegan Mom

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

As a vegan mom, I’ve been struggling with what to do for Halloween in the coming years, when Kamea is old enough to wear a costume and say “trick-or-treat.” I, myself, have so many fond memories from childhood on Halloween. And, even though I wasn’t a vegan growing up, my fond memories are for more than just the candy. Dressing up and going door to door with my friends was so fun (The candy wasn’t bad too though! ;) haha). Heck, I still like to dress up. Here is a picture of me a few years ago at Halloween when I was blond.

But. My family is vegan, and I’ve been wondering what we’ll do when Halloween rolls around in the coming years. Do we, instead, take a special trip each year, at that time, and celebrate it another way? Perhaps we can find an alternate way to celebrate so Kamea doesn’t go door to door getting a bunch of junky (mostly non-vegan) candy. But, I can’t help think that she’ll be missing out on the dress-up fun if I do that. There must be some compromise. Then… I came across this article and now I can’t wait for Halloween and for a time when Kamea is old enough to trick-or-treat! Knowing that we’re homeschooling makes this especially exciting!

From Mothering.com…

I loved candy when I was a kid, but when I became a mother, I worried about my kids eating too much of the stuff. Still, I’ve never banned it from our home. Now, when my children come home on Halloween night, examine their candy, and go to bed without asking to eat a single piece, it’s not because I’ve forbidden it. It’s because they have better ideas about what 
to do with it.

It began with a simple question three years ago, when I was overwhelmed by our collection of Halloween candy. An afternoon with too-generous coworkers, a church Trunk-or-Treat (i.e., collecting candy at every car in a full parking lot), and a subsequent trick-or-treating expedition up our street had provided my four-year-old princess and two-year-old cowboy with mountains of candy. But since the candies had been the gifts of kind friends, and of elderly neighbors on fixed incomes, I didn’t want to throw them all away. Instead, I decided to dole them out one piece at a time. Handing out pieces after lunch was painful—the bowl loomed enormous atop my fridge, and I knew that at this rate we’d be eating candy for months.

Then, as my daughter Katherine poured out a box of Nerds, she asked the life-changing question:

“What would happen if I put these in water?” Read More »

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August 7, 2010 (10:08 pm)

Language Development (and Fun!): Reading To Baby Kamea

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

Research says that one of the best ways to encourage the growth of language skills is to read to your baby… from birth. It’s never too early. Apparently, this encourages language development. According to the book Baby Read-Aloud Basics, “… by age four, children who are read to are exposed to 32 million more words than children who haven’t been read books.” I don’t know how often you need to read to your baby to attain that, but anything is better than nothing and variety is important. To get started, here a couple of books I bought to start with Kamea (Herb The Vegetarian Dragon and That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals). Next up? The Twilight Series. I hope she’s Team Edward. ;)

What are your favorite books to read to your children?

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July 25, 2010 (8:42 am)

Can’t Wait To Homeschool

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

Greg and I can’t wait to homeschool, especially when we see cool videos like this!

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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