Friday, March 23, 2012

This Not That - Toys: Munchkin Travel Flash Cards Review

Damien has a new toy in his diaper bag, a little early learning gem which I instantly fell in love with - the Munchkin Traveling Flash Cards.

I originally picked it up for its appeal in teaching Damien the uppercase alphabet and their sounds.

Here is what I love about this little book:
  • Bright red uppercase letters with thick, simple font. 
  • Twenty six animal pictures for each letter, but on cards separate from the letter, so you can show the letter and picture separately (ideal), or both at the same time if you want to.
  • Great quality, clear, real-life animal pictures.
  • Clear, bold words below the pictures in English and Spanish
  • Variety of animals introduce some fun and interesting new vocabulary, like U for [sea] Urchin.

But wait, there's more! I actually didn't realize until AFTER I brought this home that it is not only an alphabet flip book, but also includes
  • Numbers 1-10, represented by groups of fish pictures, the numeral, and the word 
  • Shapes, including heart, square, star, rectangle, circle, and triangle (wish there were more, but these are good starters)
  • Colors (on the shapes), including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (again, there could be more, but still nice)
  • All of these are in English and Spanish as well

The design is amazing, in my opinion. 
  • The cards are laminated and durable.
  • The thick plastic and rubber handle makes a great teether.
  • It's small - about 3in x 3in and less than an inch thick, it fits easily in the diaper bag for travel or at home.
Some minor cons:
  • Cards are sometimes slightly difficult to turn on the plastic rings.
  • Would have preferred some more shapes (think diamond, hexagon, etc.) and colors (brown, silver, etc.). However since I purchased it for the alphabet portion this is not a big deal.
  • The mirror on the cover gets scratched up and dirty easily.

So in one little flip book, you can teach your baby
  • 26 alphabet names / shapes, 26 letter sounds, 26 animals (+26 in Spanish), 10 numerals, 10 quantities, 10 number names (+10 in Spanish), 6 shapes (+6 in Spanish), 6 colors (+6 in Spanish), for a total of no less than 168 bits of information clearly and simply presented

I am pretty sure that this is the best $5 I have spent in a long time. Sure, I could have made something homemade, but it wouldn't have been nearly as durable, portable, or cute, and would have likely taken a couple of hours to do so.

Are there any early learning gems you've come across worth sharing with other Doman Moms?

"My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly." 
Job 33:3
Thank you for your comments!

Damien is 9 months, 3 weeks old

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Easing Into a New Normal

I mentioned in a previous post how I had been working 18 hours a day, 6 days a week.

To say the least, this has been a rough period in our lives.

My working those hours didn't have so much to do with our family desperately needing the funds, but rather the conflict of having three different families in my home daycare and amongst them they all had different schedules that worked to my disadvantage. I agreed to the extended day / week, because I was doing one family a favor and it was supposed to be temporary.

I had some children coming at 7:00 in the morning and my last children leaving at 1:00, the next morning, only to start it all over again a few hours later. And I had some families on a Monday through Friday schedule and another family on a Sunday through Thursday schedule.

And it was hard.

And I haven't gotten all that much accomplished, or at least it feels like I haven't.

It feels more like I have been running around playing damage control for the past two months.

Because, even though I really do like working with other peoples' children, I have my limits. And I have daily pushed my limits, especially with these particular children (is "challenging behavior" a good term?).

But the end is now here, and as a family we are settling into new, better version of "normal". No more working nights every day and weekends every week. Mornings with my boys. We are savoring it, and still trying to readjust, but we will get there.

I have a lot of neat things in store for this blog, too. So thanks again for reading!

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." 
Lamentations 3:22-23
Hunter is 6 years, 11 months old.
Damien is 9 months, 0 weeks old (39 weeks)