Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TV is Bad, Bad, Bad for Your Kids - Not!

I was in the middle of my daytime routine...and a thought hit me! I had to write a blog post - a real blog post - for the first time in a long time!

We've all been slapped on the hand, scolded and felt guilty for allowing our children to watch tv. Parenting experts, magazines and online articles will tell you over and over again that too much television will turn your child into an overweight couch potato with no ambition. But, with all of the choices that we have to present to our children for television viewing, it leaves me to wonder if the "experts" might be slightly wrong.

Morning Routine

I have a morning routine that I have fallen into lately - and it's working pretty darn good for me, as a busy mom of 6. I get up and hustle the four oldest children out the door to the school bus, "Did you brush your hair? Your teeth?" Bla, bla, bla...and then, when the mad rush is over, there are still two (demanding) children to tend to.

Right on time, at 8:00 A.M., Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on Disney Junior. (By the way, I LOVE that channel, for the kids, of course!). During the beginning of the show, I will make my strawberry flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast (a great way to get those much-needed vitamins!) and start brewing my must-have coffee. As the show progresses, I encourage my little ones to count and sing along and dance and interact with the questions that are posed.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

If you haven't seen Mickey Mouse Clubhhouse lately and you have pre-school aged children and toddlers, you really should check it out. There are quite a few similarities to Dora the Explorer: it is a colorful cartoon, they ask questions to get the children thinking and interacting, and they present and solve problems (with the help of their viewing audience).

When the music plays, Dakoda will dance around and laugh, quite often joined by Dylan. When they ask questions, Dylan is quick to guess the answer and is quite proud of how "smart" he is when he gets the right answer (which is 99.9% of the time, little Smarty Pants). Couch potatoes, they are not. And, thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I can get my morning started with my vitamins and coffee without interruption - and I know that my children are getting a little bit of exercise, both physically and mentally.

Dora the Explorer (and Go, Diego, Go!)

I mentioned Dora the Explorer earlier, and will let you know that both Dora and Diego are also favorites in our house. I like these shows because they are also interactive and ask questions to get the children thinking and problem solving. They also teach a little Spanish to the children. I can proudly say that my children know quite a few words in Spanish, thanks to Dora, Diego and Handy Manny.

Handy Manny

Teamwork, cooperation and community are the focus points of Handy Manny. Handy Manny is joined by his animated tools who are always willing to help him solve problems. This show gets my little people thinking and solving problems and there is a little Spanish incorporated, too. You can find Handy Manny on the Disney Channel.

Little Einsteins

The classical music that is raved about for the enhancement of your children's brains can be found here! Along with music, you will find artwork and problem solving. For many years, right after they outgrew the Baby Einstein series, my children moved onto Little Einsteins. Another Disney Channel series, I don't see it on as often as I used to, but I still think it's a great show for pre-school aged children.

A Big No-No Show

Spongebob Squarepants

I hate this show. There is absolutely no educational value in it, and although my children will sit and turn into zombies while Spongebob Squarepants is on, I can't stand it. My children know it, too. I have made my opinion of the show very clear. I do admit that I will allow my children to watch it once and a while, but they can forget about the Spongebob Squarepants marathons in my house!

I could list every kid's show on television and my opinion, but I don't have the time to do it, and I'm sure that you don't have the time to read a blog post that long...but, my point is: there is television programming for children that is educational if you encourage your children to participate, think and dance along with the music.

I'm not advocating all-day entertainment with the television, but for those mothers who need a moment (or two) to get acclimated to the morning or cook lunch or even take a quick shower, these shows can definitely teach your child a thing or two while you are busy. They can also help out on rainy days (or these long winter days) when all of the crafts and activities start to get boring.

I, personally, don't limit television viewing hours for my little ones (the older children, yes), but I do monitor the show choices and direct them to the shows that I think have educational value for them.

What is your opinion? Do you think that television is completely bad for your kids? Do you set time limits on the tv? What are your kid's favorite shows?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

THE MOST DVD Movie Review

I was sent a DVD copy of a faith-based and very touching story called The Most. I had only read the email that was sent to me, and was not prepared to watch a movie that was 99.9% in another language. I think there were about two English words.

We sat the kids down (and by now, they are accustomed to being reminded that they are participating in a review - and they are so very willing to participate), they, too, were surprised that the movie was in another language. It was only 33 minutes long, so I told them to watch and pay attention, because even if they cannot understand the verbatim, they will be able to understand the plot if they pay close attention.

From the email:

33-minute short film directed by Bobby Garabedian
MOST, the Czech word for "The Bridge," is a fitting title 
for this 21st-century parable about a loving father, his 
young son, and the fateful day when they attempt to head off 
an impending rail disaster. Hundreds of passengers aboard an 
oncoming steam train are completely unaware of the danger 
that looms as they head toward an open drawbridge. As a 
desperate young woman witnesses an act of mercy beyond 
imagination, her life is changed forever—as are the lives 
of all who see this film. Both heart wrenching and glorious, 
MOST vividly portrays the greatest offering of love, sacrifice, 
hope, and forgiveness known to man.

Can you see why I wanted to review it? The fact that the movie was in Czech (I think..LOL) took nothing away from the story line. My four oldest children completely understood the movie and we became involved in several different conversations after watching it, ranging from why choices were made and how the choices changed everything in the character's lives to how things would have been different if other choices were made and what they would have done if they were the main character (the father). I love the thoughts, theories and ideas that this movie provoked in my children's minds.

We loved the movie so much (and because it was so short), we actually watched it twice in a row! Due to the language barrier and the fact that the movie was so awesome, it was definitely better the second time around.

We also watched the making of the movie, which is also on the DVD. This movie was produced so well, despite many different obstacles, including lack of a budget and leading characters!

The Most will move your heart...and if you have the tendency to cry during movies, be sure to put that package of tissues right next to you, because there is no doubt in my mind that you will need it!

I received a DVD copy of The Most for my review - I did not receive compensation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Medela Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System Review & Giveaway!

After a long time away, I have finally brought myself back to Mommy Rantings to post yet another review and giveaway for everyone who has been so wonderful during my absence!

My apologies to Medela for taking so long to post this!

For breastfeeding moms, the question, "When did I put this bottle in the fridge?" can happen more often than not, with a new baby and so many new things to remember. Never mind the lack of sleep and endless feedings and diaper changes that occur 24-7! It all can certainly put a damper on the memory!

But, thankfully, Medela has breastfeeding moms in mind...and all of the struggles that they go through!

If you look at the image, it seems pretty basic. A container that neatly holds the bottles in the fridge and bottles with caps that allow you to turn the dial and "mark" the bottle with the day that you put that particular bottle in the fridge. Look closer and you will see the arrows on the container that also "mark" in and out, showing you quickly which side of the container you should be pulling bottles from (and which side you should be placing the new bottles that you make).

How brainless is that? I love it! 

As a mom of six, I love the idea of organizational tools and items that help to keep my memory on track! I'm definitely one of the moms that look in the fridge and wonders when the heck I put the bottles in the there!

You will get two bottles to start out with. (If you want more than that, you will have to purchase them.) Medela's breastmilk bags will also fit in the container, so you have a couple of ways to store and save breastmilk for the times that your precious little one needs it. (The bags did not come with the Medela Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System - I just wanted to mention them as another option!)

So, breastfeeding moms (and Mommy Rantings followers who know a breastfeeding mom who would put this storage system to use), Medela has elected to giveaway one of their Breastmilk Labeling and Storage Systems.


I'm going to make this giveaway simple for you...

So, make sure that you are 1) a Mommy Rantings GFC follower and you 2) "like" Mommy Rantings on Facebook (in the right hand column of the blog - scroll down) and then...choose from the following:

3) Like Medela on Facebook and tell them that Mommy Rantings sent you.

4) Follow Medela on Twitter.

There are four chances for entries. So, be sure to enter a new comment for each number above.

In addition, don't forget to leave your email address! This contest will close March 22nd!


I was provided the Medela Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System in order to post this review. I was not offered compensation for my opinions.
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