Friday, January 29, 2010

FRIENDLY REMINDER: Print your coupons before they reset & BUDGET

At the beginning of each month, the following websites reset their coupons.  That means you can go ahead and print the coupons from this month that you will need next month (to the print limit).

Plus, it is time to set up your Zero-based budget (then negotiate with your spouse) for February! If you are single, put together your Zero-based budget and get an accountability partner.  No excuses!
  • What is a zero-based budget?  A zero-based budget is one where your total income minus your total expenses equals $0. In other words, it forces you to assign every dollar of income to an expense (or savings) category. As Dave Ramsey puts it, you’ll be “spending your month’s income on paper” before you spend it in real life.
  • But my husband handles the finances!  My husband had a ton on his plate. I asked him if it would be okay if I, the unorganized spender, could do the budget.  With a smile, he said yes.  HELP him by helping your family make a budget.  Yes, numbers make my head hurt too. 
  • Isn't the word budget a four letter word? No, I love my budget.  I have FREEDOM like you will never believe with a BUDGET!
  • Overwhelmed? Sign up for Financial Peace University or buy Dave Ramsey's books!

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How I Taught My Son to Read, Basically

I am a blogger, but I am also a mom!  I consider the day I found out I  was expecting my first baby a HUGE PROMOTION! As a mom, I am also very passionate about teaching my little ones to read and to be good learners.  My son has a natural interest in letters and thinks they are lots of FUN. I am not an educator nor am I an expert. I just want to share what I have learned.  I know this is a HOTLY debated subject, but this is my blog and I want to share :)  This is how I taught him to read at a basic level by 3 1/2:
  1. ABC Song and Read to him at least 30 minutes a Day: I sang to him the ABC song ALL of the time when he was a baby.  We are now teaching him the ABC song in spanish using the same tune.  We also tried to read the recommended 30 minutes a day. 
  2. Playtime Letters: My sister-in-law bought him Bath Tub Letters when he was a baby.  He still loves to play with them in the bathtub. At 2 years old, we gave him Alphabet Flash Cards that he would play with ALL of the time. I like them because they are sturdy and not easy to destroy! There are others out there like HERE!
  3. Dr. Seuss's ABC book: I read to him the book Dr. Seuss's ABC from 6 months on! He LOVES this book!
  4. Learning DVDs: A friend of mine suggested I start him on these Leapfrog videos: Letter Factory Talking Words FactoryCode Word Caper  and Learn to Read at the Storybook Factory.  I LOVE these DVDs.  He learned so much!  (I saw 2 bundles as well Leap Frog Bundle of 6 DVDs plus 26 Flash Cards and Leapfrog Learning DVDs 5-Pack  but I bought the DVDs  individually. ) I personally do not like the Your Baby Can Read because I think it is a little dull and I like phonics personally.  Some find that they have great results with that program.
  5. Sing and Learn EVERYWHERE: In the car, we sing the songs from the Leapfrog DVDs!  I also taught him some silly spelling songs that I know, like "it's bananas, b-an-an-as".  We just try to have fun with learning! We look at words and letters everywhere we go!
  6. Fridge Phonics: I also bought him the  Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set.  He loved to "play" letters ALL of the time. I never forced him to "play letters"! He LOVED it!  We bought the  Word Whammer Fridge Phonics but I am not crazy about this product.  
  7. 100 Library books in 100 days: To increase his interest in reading, I started my own campaign called 100 books in 100 days at 2 3/4!  We read 100 books in 100 days together in hopes that it would help to increase his desire to read, increase his vocabulary and keep me accountable as a SAHM.  I went to my local library and checked out books instead of buying them.  
  8. Games: Once he knew his phonics, we would go to the grocery store together.  I would say, "this is a b-b-b-banana.  What letter does this start with? " This is a game that you can take with you everywhere.  You can say, "we are going to stop at a s-s-s-stop sign.  What does stop start with?"
  9. Bob Books: Right now, we are reading through the Bob books!  I love them and they have increased his confidence that he really does know how to read words.  
  10. Tag Reading System: At night, we let him "read" his books through the Tag Reading System (32 MB).  He loves the fact that he can "read" by himself! 
Some of my favorite websites on Reading are: Starfall and Reading Rockets if you would like to read more!  Now back to finding deals :) .....

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Search & Win
Today is MegaSwagbucks day which means you can earn 5-100 Swagbucks on one search!  What are Swagbucks.  Swagbucksis a FREE search engine that rewards you randomly when you search.  Swagbucks can be redeemed for prizes like AMAZON gift cards.  This is a search engine kind of like Google except you earn bucks for prizes like gift cards for Starbucks, Target, Amazon and many others! My goal for this year is to pay for Christmas almost completely with my swagbucks earnings.  If you are already a member, start searching!

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