Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sounds Like Fun!

My greatest resource for aiding in the mastery of letter sounds is this CD. It was put out years ago by Discovery Toys (which I think is like Avon for toys). The CD is called "Sounds Like Fun," by artist Barbara Milne.

Children do not learn to read by memorizing the names of letters, rather by the sounds the letters make (phonemics). The "Letter Sounds" song (track #4) is a wonderful tool for reinforcing these skills and it is so easily learned that kids don't even know it's happening.

We had an anonymous tape-recorded copy in my preschool and it took me years to track down the artist (thank God for youtube). It is by far the BEST children's CD out there, in my opinion. It is calm and relaxing, the sounds are clearly enunciated, and it's nice background music in the car. In fact, I sometimes play it when I'm driving around and I feel a case of road rage coming on. It is repetitive and soothing and it calms my nerves. I've played it for my girls since they were babies. It is great for teaching signing as well. You can sign the letters right along with the song. Right now, my 18month-old is starting to speak and she is already memorizing all of her letter sounds- I LOVE IT!

Take a listen:

If you're not sold on it, then I don't know what to tell you...just wait till you hear your kids singing "Three Little Kittens" in their sweet little kid voice. Tears. It'll move you to tears.

There are also songs for things like:

Counting by Tens
Counting in Spanish
Months of the Year
Nursery Rhymes

There is a also a great good night song that has become a part of our nighttime routine. I used to sing this ominous song that my mother sang to really creeped my husband out and he said it was banned from our house (I was personally offended, considering my mom sang it just for me), but he said it sounded like the Freddy Kreuger song from "Nightmare on Elm Street." He was right, and once he pointed that out, it just kind of ruined it for me.

So without even trying, this song just became "the song" we sing every night with our kids after we pray. It's neat to see how we've established some traditions within our own family. The song is called "Sweet Dreams, " and there is a clip on her website.

I do have to mention that I was really surprised when I saw what this gal looked like, you know when you hear a voice, you kind of have it in your head what the person looks like? Totally threw me off.

Also, the CD has been updated by Discovery Toys, they altered the "Letter Sounds" song to go with new packaging/subject matter. I prefer the original version. You can search youtube for the variances.

And no, I'm not being paid to endorse this Barbara lady. She doesn't have a clue who I am.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Check Me Out!

My Farmhouse bed was featured in the DIY section of:

(And no- I have no idea what the little white rectangle is about; it's a miracle I know how to upload my pictures onto my computer. All of this html, blah, blah is more than my little brain can handle at times.)

Yay! Here is the link to the post:

I thoroughly enjoy Beth's blog and read it often- always a good source for inspiration!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Inner Craft Show Carnie is Calling.


I know, my blog is called "Birds and Soap, Soap and Birds," so you'd think there would be some explanation as to why there's no soap around here. Well, here it is:

Soapmaking has been on the backburner. On the backburner for eighteen months. Eighteen months and two days actually.

Can I give you a hint as to why that is?

Subtle, right?
I haven't made soap since I had my second child. I take that back. I made soap last winter when this one was still immobile. Then she started moving around and I haven't had a free moment since. This is my spazzy child. Constantly moving, constantly grabbing, constantly digging in her diaper to show me what she found (Gag. Can someone PLEASE keep some pants on this girl?!!).

Once in a while, I'll be cleaning up, and come across a bar, or an oil, or something else awesome and it takes me back to the days when I lived for making soap. Well I guess I can't say I "lived" for making soap, but I had a really good time. Things were cleaner then.

Batch after batch,making cute little packaging for my bars, perfecting my booth display at the local farmer's market, I really miss it sometimes. Staying up all hours of the night designing labels on Publisher. Whipping up Sugar Scrubs like they're going out of style, pouring water for customers as they try a scrub for the first time (Ooooh, Ahhhh!) Yep, there are a lot of things I miss.

Hanging out with the other crafters or what I like to call "craft gypsies." I have made so many friends over the years because one time, way back when, I had a booth next to them at some show and we bonded over our craft. We truly are like carnies; traveling from one show to the next, setting up shop, peddling our wares, and then moving on to the next "festival" or "bazaar" ( I hate the word bazaar, by the way. It just makes me think of old ladies cleaning out their closets and putting out a bunch of crocheted doll toilet paper covers or tole painting, eeehhhh). These craft shows have a sort of a "following," you know.

Gah! Get it away!!

Anyway, I just had to mention it. I got an email the other day from a friend of mine that I met 7 years or so ago at one of these shows. I traded my soap for some of her fab jewelry and we spent hours shooting each other with marshmallow guns at a Christmas show when the traffic was dead. We've been friends ever since. I really treasure her friendship, even though we don't see each other as often as I would like... But seriously, her jewelry is awesome! Her business is called Eye Candie Jewelry .

See that orange one? It was MINE!

Well, she let me know that she is going to be in my town this weekend to do the local "Art in the Park" festival and I can't wait to see her. I'm feeling sad because I won't be renting out the booth space next to her. I miss hanging with my friends at these shows. I miss my soap.

Honestly, with the downturn of the economy, I have to say it affected my sales to the point where I don't mind missing a market. But I do miss my craft-show-traveling way of life. I got a call yesterday from a woman who lives a few hours away. She bought some of my soap several years ago and has held on to the soap label ever since. She called me and wanted to order more. Sadly, I informed her about my hiatus from the world of soapmaking, but did tell her that I had a few bars left in my stockpile that I would be willing to part with.

So as I am packing the last of the bars into a priority mail envelope, I will be uttering these words:
"So long Clove Ginger, Calendula, and Rosemary Mint. Good-bye Refresh; you know I loved you the most. You too Cuticle pens, take care."

I'll leave you with a few old pictures to remember me by:

I'm not gonna lie, something is stirring.