Little Pim: Watch Your Kids Learn a Foreign Language

We've all heard that kids can more easily learn a second language than adults.  I'm clearly not a scientist but for whatever reason, kids pick up and retain languages easier when they are younger.  This is why many schools now start teaching a second language like Spanish or French in Kindergarten.

But how do you get them going?  Do you just wait for them to go to school and hope they have a program like this?

I have to admit, I had never heard of Little Pim until I got an email from them asking if I would do a review of their products for the site.   I looked them up and according to their site:

Little Pim is an award-winning foreign language immersion DVD series for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

We currently offer three theme-based DVDs that use our unique Entertainment Immersion Method™, which combines animation and real kids, teaching simple words and phrases for everyday activities.

Each program is available individually or in a discounted three-disc set. Currently we offer Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, English (ESL), German, Arabic, and Russian.

So, I chose Spanish and waited for the DVD to arrive.

Now call me a skeptic, but my little girl is not quite two and although she chatters a whole bunch she really only says a handful of words.  "Juice" and "shoes" sound exactly the same so I don't count that as two.  So, I was pretty sure she some DVD isn't going to start making her speak Spanish...

Little Pim Dropping Some Knowledge

We sat down and watched Wake Up Smiling: Spanish for Preschoolers, Toddlers & Babies and from an adult point of view it seems to be a pretty standard kid's educational DVD.

They mix cute cartoons of Pim the Panda in with live action scenarios showing you the phrases they are teaching you.  If they are teaching you the Spanish word for eyes, ojos, they draw a circle around the eyes of the person on the screen and so on.

To me, it seemed like  Sesame Street with out the puppets and celebrities...

But to my little girl, it was some earth stopping stuff.  Reagan doesn't focus on the TV very often; she'll stop and watch for a couple of seconds but usually doesn't linger much.  Even when she's watching her favorites Curious George, Sesame Street (Burt and Ernie are second only to Elmo) or football (yeah, how awesome is that!?) she doesn't really just sit there and watch.

But with Little Pim's Spanish DVD, she literally froze and just watched it with the most focus I have ever seen from her.  After a bit she began to move her mouth to the words and would point at things like her eyes, our dogs and other things she saw when they said the word.  I was seriously impressed, but nothing prepared my wife and I for what came next.

As the DVD was winding down, my wife and I were messing around and I said, "Donde estan los peros?"  Which, if my high school Spanish is right, means "Where are the dogs?"  Without missing a beat my daughter ran around the coffee table, walked right up to where the dogs were laying and pointed at them!!!

We tried with other words and she wasn't as on it, but whenever we said something about the "peros" she knew what were talking about!  How crazy is that?  The nutty thing is the DVD never once said "Donde esta..." I just threw that in.  Yet, she knew what I was asking.

Could it be a fluke?  I guess.  But that is one crazy coincidence if it was!

Needless to say, we're going to be ordering more of these and making it a daily habit to watch them with Reagan.

For more information, visit Little Pim today!

DadLab’s Guide to Fatherhood - Review

DadLabs: Pregnancy and Year One DadLabs: Pregnancy and Year One
List Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $3.71
Used From: $2.93

Overview: The guys at dad labs have been dispensing funny and worth while information for years and this book is no different.  It walks you through all of the steps of pregnancy and the first year of your baby's life.  It shows you how to deal with raging hormones, cravings, nesting, lack of sex and all of the other fun things that come with knocking up your partner.

What I Like: The book not only teaches you stuff that the other baby and pregnancy books do but it delves into the odd subjects most books won't even touch.  Myths about affecting the sex, male fertility, the crazy people that give you advice and tips to not piss your wife off during labor are some of my favorite.

More importantly all of this info is presented in a hysterical manner.  You're learning stuff but there are enough jokes, funny pictures and charts to make you forget all of that. 

What I Didn't Like:  Nothing!  (Is that a double negative?)

Feel the Funk

If you haven't been yet, check out Fatherhood Fridays on Dad-Blogs.  It's where all the cool dad bloggers, blog readers and even moms kick it.

Like most of you I have to report to a cubicle Monday through Friday in order to keep the lights on and the little one in diapers.  Even though I like my job, participating in the daily grind isn't always the greatest.

We all have our little rituals to get through the work week.  Maybe you check Face Book insesently, chat with your friends on AIM or check out all the wonders the Internet has to offer.

Whenever the work week is getting me down I go to You Tube for a little inspiration.  So here's a video I watch when I've got a "case of Mondays" or feel like putting my telephone through the monitor.  If this doesn't make you feel better, you don't have a soul.

Ahh yeah!  You can feel the funk coming through the screen! 

I don't know what it is about seeing Stevie rockin' out, decked head to toe in bedazzled denim but it just makes my day.  Bookmark this bad boy and keep it for a raining day.

Now smile, it's Friday!

Zonk Out Earplugs

As a new dad, my duties when it comes to the baby are somewhat limited.  I change the occasional diaper, feed her every now and then and will cover a late night feeding if need be.

Now before you get on your high horses and judge me for being some sort of slacker, uninvolved dad just calm down.  My wife stays at home while I work a 9-5 job, run a side business as well as run wonderful sites like this which takes up most of my time and then some.  Red Bull and I are good friends.

I help out as much as my wife needs me to and work the rest of the time.  With a hectic work schedule sleep is precious to me and I have to maximize every session of shut eye.

Unfortunately, I have sleep apnea and have to sleep with a fighter pilot -like mask on my face that forces air down my throat.  The machine makes an oh-so-interesting sound every time you breath and can be a pain to sleep with.  That combined with my wife getting in and out of bed and the sounds of our daughter letting us know she's displeased  make for many interruptions in sleep.

That is until I found Zonk Out Earplugs.  These little guys are made of soft power foam and can reduce 32 decibels of noise.  I have been using them for a couple of weeks now and I have to say the change in quality of sleep is quite noticeable. 

The Zonk Out Earplugs filter out almost all sounds and even quite the whirl of my CPAP breathing machine.  They are perfect for blocking out noise, but also don't completely deafen you, so you can still hear an alarm or something major going on.

Make sure you read the instructions though.  In typical male fashion I opened the box and just rammed them in my ears.  You need to flatten the ear plug then insert it into your ear.  The power foam then expands to perfectly fit your ear canal and makes for a perfect fit. 

Every now and then when my wife is completely wiped I cover a night of feeding.  I got my wife the Sleep Pretty in Pink ear plugs and sleeping mask to help her get some shut eye on those nights.  They help block out the sounds of a crying baby and a snoring husband I am told.

If you're looking for some slumber time and need to escape the sounds of a crying baby or snoring husbandI highly recommend these earplugs.  They are sold at more than 30,000 retailers worldwide including Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, Longs Drugs, Drugstore.com and even Amazaon.com.  For under $5 you can be sleeping the night through. . .

Parenting

Hey it's Fatherhood Friday!  Make sure you go over to Dad-Blogs and check out all of the great stuff going on there.

Let me just say that the person who came up with the idea of the motivational poster is genius.  A simple picture, a one word title and an inspirational line and you got a best seller on your hands.

That being said, the guy who learned how to make motivational posters in photoshop is awesome.  Take something popular, copy it, and make fun of people and things.  It's the American way. 

My buddy sent me a bunch the other day and of course this one jumped out at me.

My little girl can be fussy, but she's not old enough for me to want to lock her in a kennel . . .YET!

For another classic fake motivational poster check out my post on some simple dad advice.

Why Are You Crying??

 This post is taken from my weekly column on Dad-Blogs (Yeah I got lazy this week)  Go on over and check it out.  While you are there check out Fatherhood Fridays, there are some great links to other dad blogs.

Once again I have angered the gods and tempted fate.

When my little girl was born she did nothing but sleep.  My friends and family would ask how things are going as a new dad and I'd say "You know, surprisingly easy.  She sleeps a lot and doesn't cry at all."

This is like someone saying "What could possibly go wrong?" in a comedy movie or "I'll be right back" in a horror flick.

When my sister visited with her new baby, I mentioned to my wife how lucky we were that our kid didn't cry like that.  I should have known that the universe would punish me for my pride in having a daughter who did not cry or fuss that much.

All of a sudden my daughter has found her pipes.  She will erupt into lip quivering, red in face crying for no apparent reason.  Having no prior baby experience, my wife taught me to go down the checklist.

Does she need to be changed?

Has she eaten?

Does she need to be burped?

Does she need to be rocked to sleep?

But now my daughter feels the urge to start screaming bloody murder when apparently all of her needs have been met.  It reminds me of when Riley, our functionally retarded labrador, figured out she could bark.  She went on a campaign of barking simply because she could.

Has my daughter figured out she can cry and make the world around her come to a stop?

The funniest thing is my kid goes from 60 to 0 with the crying.  She'll be mid cry and all of sudden just stop.  This leads my wife and into thinking she is faking this and that nothing is really wrong.

Since I'm online all day long, I Googled this situation and found that although she is only 2 months old she may be teething.  We tried to give her one of the frozen chew toys during a fit the other day and she wanted nothing to do with it.

We checked with the doctor and nothing is medically wrong with her.  But she won't sleep for the hours she was before without waking up and screaming for us.  My normally level headed wife even let some expletives drop last Saturday night as my daughter decided it would be fun to wake her up every hour!

I'm at a loss dear readers.  Please help!

So Sad. . .

New Look For NDB

So check out the new and improved New Dad Blog!

In the 6 months or so I have been blogging I would like to say that I have gained so much knowledge in the world of code that I put this bad boy together all on my own.

But I am big believer in the capitalistic system of division of labor.  I'll keep on doing what I do best (write, fumble my way through being a dad) and let the code guys do the rest.

That's why I went over to Studio Press and picked up this and a couple of other themes.  The one I am using on this page is called Metro and like most of their others uses featured content galleries (the big pretty pictures) to really make your blog come alive.

If you're code impaired like myself they even offer a killer forum where you can get all of your questions answered.  They make web design easy even for someone who has no idea what they are doing.

I still have a few more tweaks to do but since I am running on Red Bull fumes and a couple hours of sleep it will have to do for now.

Check them out at Studio Press and let me know what you think of the new design.

Cooking with New Dad

I like to frequent other dad blogs to get tips on life and how to deal with the little one, the Mrs. etc.  A lot of Dad's like to do step by step posts on how to cook a good meal.  Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, allow me to present the first installment of Cooking with New Dad.

Today we'll be preparing one of my favorite dishes that I don't get to eat all that often anymore.  The delicious and nutritious Chicken Pot Pie!

Step 1: Purchase these wonder little concoctions of crust, potato, peas, carrots and chicken flavored meat cubes all in a mystery "sauce".  If you're paying more than $0.50 per you're getting robbed!

Step 2: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Yes, you can cook these in a microwave, but they taste like ass.  Spend the extra 25 minutes and cook them in an oven.  Plus, you avoid those pesky salmonella out breaks that kept these bad boys off the shelves for a bit.

Step 3: Place on baking sheet and cut a slit in the top of each CPP.

Step 4: Bake for 30-32 minutes.  I recommend 32 minutes plus.  It makes the crust crisper and darker.

Step 5:  Take these bad boys out of the oven.  Flip them face down on a plate.  Make sure to watch out for the scalding hot steam!  Scrap out the the crust that didn't come out.  Pepper and enjoy!

35 minutes and you're on the way to the culinary wonder that is the Chicken Pot Pie.

Next time on Cooking with New Dad we will be exploring the wide selections of Chef Boyardee.  Rachel Ray better watch her back!

Don't foget to check out FatherHood Fridays at Dad-Blogs.com

“I Can Make You Thin”- Review

I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD) I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD)
List Price: $22.95
Sale Price: $9.00
Used From: $0.45

Overview:  If you read my recent post about being Skinny Fat and trying to get in shape (and of course you did because you are a loyal reader. . .) you know that I have made some changes to the way I eat.  This book is the cause.

I first saw Paul McKenna on The Learning Channel (TLC) last year.  He had a special by the same name as the book.  I watched an episode or two, but for some reason it just didn't seem to click.  I don't know if they were not giving out the good info to sell the book or what.  But I thought this guy was an English weirdo and kind of forgot about him.

I came across the book and needed to lose some weight, so said "What the hell?" and gave it a try.  Great move on my part!

The book is full of simple and easy to use tactics to lose weight in a healthy manner.  You read them and think "That can't be all. . " but it is.  No crazy food selections, no forbidden foods, no Biggest Loser style all day workouts (actually he says you don't even have to work out).

The basic idea of the book is that we eat way too much and when we aren't hungry.  We don't listen to our bodies and eat too much and at the wrong time.  We create a feast-famine scenario in our primitive brains and so our bodies store fat because it isn't sure when more is coming.

So how do we change all of this?  It's shockingly easy:

  • Eat only when you're hungry:  Don't eat because it's noon or because someone else is hungry.  If you're not hungry just wait until you are.
  • Eat slowly:  Eat slower by chewing and enjoying every bite a lot longer than you normally would.  Also put your eating utensil down between bites or if you're eating something like a sandwich, put it down.  By doing these things you give your brain time to tell your body that you are full.
  • Stop eating when you're full:  Pay attention to your body and stop eating when you feel full.  You'd be surprised how much food will make you full if you pay attention.  I started eating about half of what I was before.  Get over not "finishing your plate" and just save the rest for leftovers.

And in a nutshell. . .that is it!  Too easy right?  Before I was using this system (it's not a diet) I was losing about 1lb a week if I was lucky.  After I started I was averaging about 4.  I didn't change anything in my workout or anything else.  Only the way I ate.

The book also comes with a CD to listen to.  Basically it's a relaxation/hypnosis CD that helps the pillars of this way of eating sink into your head.  It sounds kind of silly I know, but I swear it works.  Just make sure you listen some where you can take a nap (I listened in my parked car one time during lunch and  zonked out).

What I liked:  It's easy!  The book is a simple read and the ideas in it are easy to understand and immediately implement.  If you love McDonalds, or Chicken Fried Steak you can still have it; just stop eating when you're full.

What I didn't like:  McKenna puts little emphasis on physcial activity.  He does recommend just moving more (parking farther away, taking the stairs instead of elevator etc) but for my needs that wouldn't do.  If you're grossly overweight and the idea of an elliptical makes you want to run to the buffet line then his advice works.  But I wasn't just trying to lose weight, I was also trying to be healthier.  I think in the long run physical activity is key to maintaining a healthy life and I thought he should have focused more on it.

My Opinion:  I think "I Can Make You Thin" is an awesome book.  If you've tried everything else or simply hate depriving yourself constantly give this book a read.  It's so simple you'll put it down and think "Either there is no way this is going to work, or it's the greatest idea ever!"  It's the latter, trust me.

I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD) I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD)
List Price: $22.95
Sale Price: $9.00
Used From: $0.45

Happy St. Patcicks Day!

St. Patty's Day; the alcoholic's Christmas!  I used to celebrate my Irish pride on this very special day by eating Lucky Charms with beer for breakfast, malt liquor through out the day and a smattering of whiskey for dinner until I purged my system of all the Irish pride I had in me (usually on the side on some one's car)

Binge drinking until you vomit on St. Patrick's Day. . .is nothing sacred?

Well, life is certainly different these days.  Not only am I gainfully employed (knock on wood) but I have a little one at home.  My idea of a good time now is watching the funny faces my little girl gets when she has gas.

To celebrate the occasion and her Irish heritage we got her some smart new outfits!

 

Happy St. Patrick's day to all of my Irish brethren.  The rest of you can kiss my Irish ass. . .

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