Free Seeds Family Worship Album – Seeds of Praise

I did a review some time back for the Seeds Family Worship sampler CD.  We loved it then and we still love it now.  If you or your child want to learn to memorize scripture set to upbeat music, this is the easiest way to do it.  They have some very modern sounding music with a great message, which makes learning Bible verses a snap.  You can download their Seeds of Praise album completely free from now until Thanksgiving.  This is a very generous offer, so tell everyone you know.  To claim your free album visit the Seeds Family Worship page and click on Buy Now.  When it says name your price, enter a zero and the album will download for you immediately.  It couldn’t be easier than that!

How to Increase Your Baby’s Vocabulary

There is a lot of anxiety over the developmental phases of our children.  When they are not talking much, we start to wonder what is causing this delay.  This is an unpleasant experience for both parent and child, but thankfully there are many ways you can stimulate and increase your baby’s vocabulary.

The most important step to take in building your baby’s vocabulary is to talk to the child incessantly.  The child needs to have a lot of input of spoken language in order to develop an understanding of language and generate an output.  You can do this by talking to your baby about everything that is going on around you.  Encourage your baby to talk by asking your child questions and waiting for an answer.  If your child is slow to answer, wait a moment and then provide a suitable answer.

Reading to babies and young children is monumental in building their vocabulary.  When we read to our children we engage them in a relaxing and entertaining brain building exercise.  This is crucial to proper language development and helps the child feel in command of their language.  Children that are read to regularly are adventurous in the words they use.  They are not afraid or shy to express themselves with new words.  In fact, they think it is a lot of fun.  When a child uses a new or unexpected word, it oftentimes generates a positive response from their parents, which makes them eager to be even more adventurous in the words they use.

Educational videos can also be a tremendous aid to parents. The MonkiSee line of DVDs are designed to build and develop language skills in babies and young children.  MonkiSee captivates young children with the use of lovable puppets, silly skits, lots of great music, real life videos, and of course, a vast amount of relevant narration.

Each volume of the MonkiSee DVDs is full of written and spoken language. Including tons of original poetry that is presented in a gentle and engaging manner, draws the young child in to what is happening on the screen.  Due to the way these videos are designed, children often experience a language explosion – sometimes doubling their vocabulary.  While reading to your child is the best activity you can do to encourage and stimulate your child to talk, the MonkiSee DVDs are a very close second.  Each volume includes lots of rich and relevant vocabulary which is usually encountered only during reading time, and most importantly, the child is having fun  all the while.  If you would like in increase your baby’s vocabulary, the MonkiSee DVDs may be just what you are looking for.  To find out more visit

Below is just one testimonial from a very happy customer whose daughter’s vocabulary has doubled in the month that she has been watching the MonkiSee DVDs.  You can view her whole review at Growing Up Madison blog.  Below you will see an excerpt of her review.

“My Speech Therapist has agreed with mommy that this is the best thing that I could have gotten besides my books of course that I continue to read daily. I have been watching the videos for almost a month and my vocabulary has almost doubled. I can point to my body parts and I try and mimic what I see on the TV as well. Check out the following video done by MonkiSee. See what I mean? How could you resist not watching the entire video.”  – Excerpt from Growing Up Madison blog


Howie And Skip TV – New YouTube Channel For Preschoolers

I was planning to create a post announcing that Howie and Skip from MonkiSee now have their own channel on YouTube, but someone beat me to it.  The other day I received the latest post from one of my favorite early learning blogs called PushPlayLearning.  I have referred to Lacy as the YouTube Queen, since she really knows how to find great videos for her kids.  It was with not too much surprise, actually I was surprised, that she was our first subscriber to the new YouTube channel.  Since then she blogged about it on PushPalyLearning.  Her post was so awesome that I will share it here.  You can view it on her blog at Howie and Skip TV.  Thanks, Lacy for taking the time to write such a nice review.  It is one of the nicest reviews I have seen. 


Howie & Skip TV, YouTube Channel Feature
Posted on October 9, 2013 by pushPLAYlearning

What?  Did you just read that right?  Yes, the cute and loveable Howie & Skip from Monkisee now have their own channel on YouTube featuring the best of the best clips from the Monkisee DVD series.   Finally, I get a peek into the wonderful world of Monkisee that so many people have been raving about.

Filled with lots of clips that showcase the lovely rhymes and song that fill the Monkisee DVD series, Howie & Skip have a YouTube channel that is surely going to delight children from ages 0-6.   Of course, it is filled with lots of opportunities to pick up great reading skills or it just wouldn’t make the list, but Monkisee goes beyond your typical baby reading show.   It is truly engaging and mesmerizing.

Just the right amount of time is spent between introducing words, singing and listening to language building rhymes.  The storylines are wonderful and Monkisee does well fitting in lots of fun facts about animals and other things while also encouraging good habits and attitudes.

The delightful host Olivia is a helpful friend that encourages Howie & Skip as they learn about shapes, animals, action words, ABC’s, colors and more.  There is a wonderful love for learning that is woven through the show and you can really see it shine on Howie & Skip TV.   I think that is one of the elements that I love most.

These wonderful clips will make you want to run out and buy the full DVDs.  I had thought that I had my fill of baby learning DVDs.  It seems I have mountains of them, and with Micah reading so well, I just didn’t see a cause for buying anymore.   But all my children have enjoyed these wonderful clips filled with songs, rhymes and fun facts, that I am definitely going to put them on the must have list for Christmas.

Alright, get over there and subscribe to Howie & Skip TV.  If you haven’t started your little one on their reading journey, I think this is a great YouTube channel to get your journey started.  Warning: You might fall in love and need to pick up the entire series.

*This post contains affiliate links. If I like what I see, I like to share it.

We Love MonkiSee

I received this email the other day in response to announcing the new Howie and Skip’s StoryTime sereis.  It is emails such as the one below that make all that we do worth it.  To know that people appreciate and love our products makes it all worth while.  Below you can read the email for yourself.

My name is Stephanie and I just want to tell you how happy I have been with your products.  My children have used the MonkiSee Baby Reading Program Starter kit since they were 3 months old.  My 2 year old now knows over 200 sight words and can read from simple books.  I attribute this to the amazing program you created!  I am so excited that you are always coming up with new ideas such as Monki See Action words  (one of our favorites)  Monki See Animals at the Farm, Monkey See ABC Roundup, and now the StoryTime DVD.  I hope you continue to expand your program and products so that my children can grow up with Monki See during their early childhood years.  I would love to see a series on Money, Time, Feelings, Important Monuments (seven wonders of the world)…  maybe Skip and Howie can travel to far away lands and help us learn about new cultures?  I just didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to tell you thank you for making such an amazing product that has given my children the love of learning!

I wish you and your family all the best!


Music Video From Howie and Skip’s StoryTime- How God Made Everything

The brand new Howie and Skip’s StoryTime DVD – How God Made Everything will be released on October 18th, 2013.  We are really excited about this project and know that you will love the song.  You can pre-order a copy of the StoryTime DVD for just $9.95, but in the meantime, check out this wonderful song about all the days of creation.  Just be warned that it is a very catchy song.

Review of MonkiSee DVD Collection

This review was originally posted on the More Than Mommy blog.  Click the link to visit her blog.  Below is her review of Monkisee DVD Collection.

MonkiSee, Monki-do, I Like Learning, How About You?
MonkiSee is a company that makes a variety of DVD’s made for babies age 3 months to 4 years. They sent me their fabulous collection to review.

These DVD’s were formulated as a means to take advantage of the extraordinary ability of babies to learn. By working with your baby, the idea is that you can use these videos to teach them to read. This does not come easily, however. It is important to sit with your child, engaging them while watching the video, and pointing to or holding up items that the DVD is talking about.

Howie and Skip are the main characters in each movie. What makes them interesting is that they are monkeys, who are also brothers. Howie does his best to teach Skip to read and about different topics, like shapes, letters and colors throughout each movie. I particularly like the fact that Howie is so loving and helpful to his little brother monkey. Too often, I see children’s media that encourages fighting and arguing between siblings. MonkiSee encourages cooperation and love between children.

There are seven movies as part of the main series.

Baby’s First Words

This DVD is made for baby’s age 3 months to 2 years. Topics include body parts such as fingers, toes, noses, tongues, and everything in between as well as the things related to babies, such as diapers, pacifiers, bottles, etc. With each new topic, the word is flashed and it is the parent’s job to point to the body part and repeat the words. Ideas are communicated with a variety of puppets, animals, older children, rhymes and singing. This is my 8 month olds favorite of the set. She sat almost mesmerized, watching every detail.

All About Colors

All of the basic colors, such as red, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue and many more are covered. Some that you don’t see mentioned in other children’s media are indigo, rainbow, grey, silver, and gold. I love that this covers so many colors. While my older daughter knows all of these colors already, I really think that something like this would have helped her to learn some of those others earlier and they will certainly help my baby to learn them sooner as well.

All About Shapes

Obviously, this movies focus is on teaching shapes. The shapes focused on are:  Circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, diamond, heart, hexagon, pentagon, octagon, star, and crescent.   Howie and Skip point out shapes in everyday things that children would recognize. Rhymes, songs, and everyday items are used to convey the idea of different shapes. I like that this video is different from others of this type, in that they go beyond the basic four or five shapes.

Action Words

My 5 year old, Shari, had a lot of fun with this DVD. She enjoyed watching and playing along, demonstrating crawling, walking and jumping for her little sister. My 8 month old enjoyed the clips of the kids doing the actions. As with all of the movies in the collection, each word is presented, discussed, and some of them even have songs, which both of my girls liked.

Around the House

This DVD focuses on things around the house, especially things in the kitchen, foods, and pets, things in a child’s room, clothing, cleaning and so much more! The great thing is that your child will recognize every item that is presented.

Animals at the Farm

This is a really fun one. My 5 year old enjoyed looking at the animals and learning to read some of their names while watching this. My 8 month old, Sophia, largely ignored this one, though I think she will find it of much more interest when she is a little older. Some animals included are:  Horse, cow, cat, pig, sheep, etc.  Another thing that my older daughter liked is that there were some interesting facts included, such as:  Did you know that dogs can hear up to 4x as far away as humans can?

ABC Roundup

This DVD goes through the alphabet, letter by letter. I liked that many different things are listed for each letter, whereas many kids’ media only chooses one.  Some of the words listed, like guava and iguana, got my older daughter asking questions, wanting to learn more, which is great for expanding her vocabulary and instilling a love of learning. Another great thing about this movie is that it uses uppercase, lowercase, and different fonts to show the letters, which makes it easier to recognize later.

My takeaway from these DVD’s is that they are a great resource to teach your baby to read IF you are willing to spend some time each day watching them with your baby. If you aren’t willing to do that, then they do still make good videos for entertainment purposes and your children probably would still pick up some of the preschool basics, like shapes and ABC’s.

These go into more depth than some other DVD’s marketed for babies and very young children, which makes them better, in my book. One very popular set of baby DVD’s are Baby Einstein, we even have a couple. MonkiSee FAR outshines them in every way. If you have been looking for something like this for your little one, you can check them out HERE. They carry many products, including flash cards, books and more, all designed to for teaching your baby in the best possible way. You can connect with them on Facebook, and find out about their other products on their website.

*I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

A Whole New Kind of StoryTime for Children

StoryTime for children?  I am really excited to write this post today.  In case you don’t know this about me – I’m a HUGE book lover.

So now that I have come clean with that, it is okay to admit that I love to read picture books.  I am always searching for great picture books that I have not read.  I consider picture books to be great and comforting friends, and I know that my kids feel the same way.  One day at the library my daughter picked up a favorite book (I cannot remember which book it was) and hugged it to herself with a look of pure contentment on her face.  I feel the same way when I encounter my favorite books as well.  Thinking ahead, I wonder what I will do when my kids are too old for picture books.  Maybe they will never outgrow them just as I haven’t.

I have been to a few storytimes at my library, and they are never done the way I would like them to be.  Being such a big book lover I dream of being able to step in and take over.  Well,  I no longer need to dream about being asked to conduct storytime at the library.  We just completed a brand new project called Howie and Skip’s StoryTime.DVDs  If you know these monkeys from MonkiSee then they need no introduction.

Well in the first volume of StoryTime, Howie and Skip hear the story How God Made Everything.  The story is a rhyming retelling of the creation story from Genesis.  I had so much fun writing this story and even more fun sharing it with my two favorite monkey friends.  I got to work with my beautiful and talented daughters to write some really great sing along songs to accompany the story as well.  All in all, this has been a really fun and rewarding project.  I offer you some samples to view below.

I don’t know about you, but I wish I could read to my kids for hours every day.  I really believe in the benefits of reading to my children, but I don’t have the time to read as often as I would like.   That is where Howie and Skip’s StoryTime comes in.  With just the press of a button you and your child can enjoy storytime – anytime.  There are lots of ideas in the works for a many more volumes including more Bible stories, picture book stories, and fables.  Click the video below to see a sample of Howie and Skip’s StoryTime – How God Made Everything.  You can pre-order a copy today for just $9.95.  They will be shipped on or before October 18, 2013.  For more information check out How God Made Everything.

Kids Reciting Poetry – The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot

Don’t you love kids reciting poetry?  A month or so ago my 12 year old daughter was reading her literature book for school.  Her poem for the day was The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot.  I love poetry that is well written and I immediately fell in love with this poem.

I quickly ordered Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (Harvest Book) from my library.  I have been thoroughly enjoying the poems contained in this book. I even discovered that the Broadway play “Cats” is based on these poems.  As a child my parents took me to see this very play, so some of the poems are familiar.  Anyway, I began having my 6 and 9 year old read the poem daily so they could memorize it.  It has been a lot of fun and the results are here.  First I will post the poem for your own reading pleasure and below that you can watch Gabriella and Joshua each recite it from memory.  Joshua was being a bit silly and began with some sort of accent, which he happened to lose  by the end.  Do you have a favorite poem to recommend?

The Naming Of CatsThe Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Does Phonics Really Matter? Can We Read Without It?

You may have seen this before.  It is a paragraph where all the letters are mixed up, but most people are still able to read it.  So does phonics really matter?  I was able to read it and so was my husband.    I decided to see if my 6 year old would have the same ease.  I think she did pretty well.  You can see it here.  First, take a turn reading it yourself.

Basically, what this means is that we use phonics to read new and unfamiliar words, but we read mostly by sight reading, which means we have committed the words to memory.  It is an interesting exercise, nonetheless.  So does phonics really matter?  Yes it does, but sight reading becomes key as well.

To find out more about how Gabriella began reading early visit

Stop Bashing Super Moms

Today’s post comes from guest blogger Lacy.  This post originally appeared on her blog, Push Play Learning,which is full of great information, so I highly recommend following what she has to say.  She believes that teaching children should be as easy as pushing play.  I have to say that I agree.  What is easy gets done.  I hope you enjoy her post It’s Time to Stop Bashing Super Moms.

I was bouncing around some blogs and I stumbled on this post, and while it had good information on the “counting on” technique, I was disappointed at the “super mom” bash that went with it. The bash was just saying that the next time a “super mom” comes along and exclaims her 2 year old can count to 20, you can confidently ask the child to show you 3 things as if that would establish the child’s inadequacies to truly count.

In the post, it was implied that super moms are just always in a competition, and this is a sentiment that I find often in communities of mothers and even fathers. But I would like to point out that the competition is in the mind of the one perceiving a competition.

You see not too long ago I learned how much I needed super moms. I had one of those absent, less than adequate mothers, so for the longest time I had been stumbling through motherhood. I found an amazing forum of what I perceived as being filled with super moms and dads. Their babies were reading in more than one language. Their toddlers were completing one and two digit equations. Their preschoolers were reading chapter books with ease.

You can imagine the emotional roller coaster I found myself on. I was totally in awe of these children and what the parents had accomplished. Why hadn’t anyone told me this was possible? Then the downturn of emotions hit me and hit me hard. To acknowledge their success would be to accept my own failures, to accept that I failed my children. This was a crushing blow to my ego for I always felt I was an awesome mom despite everything, and my bruised ego held me back for the longest time from diving deep into the world of early learning. My heart had seen the truth though and it never let me go.

But I would be lying to you if all the success stories of these super moms didn’t start seeming like a competition.  This competition made me feel inadequate and a born failure. I had started early learning with all three of my children all under 4 years of age and I wasn’t seeing a lot of amazing results, and everyday on the forum was a new success story from another super mom. Some days I just couldn’t pull off an early learning activity because my spirit was so downtrodden.  It would have been easy to just roll my eyes and find these tales obnoxious.

Fast forwarded to over a year and a half later and even though I don’t feel like a super mom, I am sure that if I told anyone my children’s accomplishments I would get some eye rolling. But how did I finally overcome that roller coaster of awe and heart break and get to where I am today?

First, I accepted responsibility that I could open my children’s minds to learning great thing despite their age. Second, I accepted that our journey would be our own, and that super parents are just role models. My children and I have our own journey, and because we are unique like every individual it is going to be a different journey.

The third and most important thing I learned to do is celebrate. I celebrate my success, but most of all I celebrate the success of the super moms and dads. If they didn’t share their stories in the first place, I wouldn’t be here today. I choose everyday to not let it be a competition but to instead embrace the wonderful successes of others and to use it as motivation to keep moving forward.

When a mom shares that their 2 year old can count to 20 already, make a conscious choice not to make it a competition but instead celebrate it. If you decide that it would be wonderful for your little one to count to 20 (even if its just words), then take on that challenge cheerfully. We need super moms and dads to help us become the people we really want to be in life, and there are so many out there hesitant to share their success because of all the eye rolling.

Let’s not judge the super moms and dads even if their success or joy seems empty to you. Our judgment ultimately falls on the child, and to have a better future for our children, we need to uplift all children. Let’s not cut them down because we think we are in a competition with their super mom.

Because I did choose to accept responsibility, accept my journey for everything it is and celebrate myself and others, I have been able to learn so much about being a better mom and offering a better future to my children.   I know that if had spent my time judging others, myself and wallowing in jealousy and envy, I wouldn’t have seen my children blossom into joyful, early learners.

Remember celebrate your success and the success of others. We will all be better for it.