Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

14 inches of snow on Monday, 60 degrees by Friday. They say if you don't like the weather in Hampton Roads, stick around for a day or two.


For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)

Free Printable Calendars

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This is so cool! I was looking at my calendar to make a doctor's appointment and realized that I am in dire need of a new 2011 wall calendar. Fortunately for me, I subscribe to Skip to My Lou and just found a great post on free printable calendars. Check it out!

I'm an owl lover, so I couldn't resist this one.
Owl Lover 2011 Calendar

It's customizable and the artwork is beautiful. Very cool.

Got Snow? Here are some learning links for frosty fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010

We've had a record snowfall here. The third largest in our area in the last 100 years. And snow on Christmas day? That's never happened before here, at least not in the 37+ years that I've been here. It's been so beautiful to see and loads of fun playing and watching the kids sled. How about you? Were you effected by the recent storm?

Just for fun, here are some links to learn more about snow:

Why are snowflakes shaped like that?
http://chemistry.about.com/od/moleculescompounds/a/snowflake.htm

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ScienceArtCategorizingSnowflakes2.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/3876/scienceofsnow.html

Why is snow white?
http://weather.about.com/od/winterweather/a/snow_white.htm

Other questions and answers about snow:
http://nsidc.org/snow/faq.html

Why do we put salt on the roads?
http://www.gryphonhouse.com/activities/activityDetail.asp?bookid=18325&page=557

http://www.gryphonhouse.com/activities/activityDetail.asp?bookid=10015&page=111

Snowflake cutouts
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/kids/kids.htm

Enjoy, and stay warm!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010




Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a safe and joyful 2011!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)

Happy Holidays! Recipes and More

Sunday, December 19, 2010



I know I said I'd be getting back in the swing of blogging, then have been silent here for a few days. I am trying to get it together, really.

I have been searching for and planning some projects for gift making with the kids. We are on a fixed budget, which is small this year and I think it is a great lesson for the kids to create handmade gifts for the family. Here are a few ideas I have come across that I thought would be fun and worth while.
Love these cookie recipes from Good Housekeeping...the basic dough is a great base for making several kinds to share with friends. Incidentally, if you have the Joy of Cooking, their basic recipe for 13 cookies (variations on a basic dough) is one I have used in the past with much success.
I also like these ideas for decorating with pine cones. We have a stash to paint along with acorns and walnuts. We'll be painting them silver, adding a little glitter and filling a lined basket for an easy centerpiece (it's on my list anyway.) Find more simple decorating ideas here (more cookie recipes as well...one can never have too many cookies, I say.)

For Christmas crafts and printables for kids, try Kaboose. And the Countdown to Christmas Advent calendar from about.com is an easy fix for filling a lull in your day. Find lots of fun ideas at your fingertips each day. For more easy fun, check out holidaycrafts4kids where you'll find crafts, word puzzles, hidden pictures, color by numbers and more for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

Wishing you all many blessings and happy moments.
~Melissa

Sign Language As A First Language - A Guest Post by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Imagine being able to communicate with your baby as early as you would like,
knowing why they are crying or what they need, may sound ridiculous, or way out
of the realm of possibility, but it is actually much more common than you may think.
After learning how beneficial it can be for the relationship between you and your
child, and the advantages Sign Language will give them when starting school, it
would be ridiculous not to not give it a try.

Creating A Bond

The benefits of early childhood education through signing are endless. In addition
to giving kids a way to communicate, it also provides them with an opportunity to
form a bond with their parent(s). The hope is that eventually it will become know
as one of the "firsts" that no parent wants to miss, such as the first time they walked
or their first tooth. Signing is likely to allow communication much earlier than
verbally. It creates a closeness that will allow parents to be more in sync with their
child's thoughts and needs.

"Ma-ma", "Da-da", or Silence

The toddler years and beyond – ages 2 to five –are an ample time to educate
children in different modes of communication and language because of their brain
development course. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal
time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude
for signing as well.

American Indian nations have used sign language for centuries to facilitate
communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some
paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently
lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal
upon hand gestures to communicate. Therefore it is not as strange as one would
think.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in
the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as
six months old communicate with their hands:

"...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development are also referred
to by the author, demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language
at an early age whether at day care or at home, actually develop better verbal skills
as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating
with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to
communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an
advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).

The ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways and languages to the widest
possible audience is a great way to stay ahead and ensure a decent standard of living in
our suffering economic state. This is not limited to speaking different languages but also
non-verbal communication: signing.

However, the shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language
that has led to more career opportunities is dwindling– and if current trends continue,
it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative
employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Austin day care facilities
belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose day care schools. Primrose Schools are
located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

EZ Sox Review and Giveaway

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Created by parents who tired of seeing their young son struggle dressing himself, Eileen and Ronnie Gesser designed socks with pull-up loops on both sides of each sock, and fun graphics on the tops of the socks. In no time, their son was no longer frustrated and proudly dressing himself. Today this fun and easy teaching tool for teaching kids self-sufficiency is the only one of its kind."

Endorsed by TV’s The Doctors, Parenting Magazine, Raising a Sensory Smart Child author Lindsey Biel, OTR/L, and Mommy and Me founder/child development specialist Dr. Cindy Nurik.

Our take on them (this is blog reviewing irl, no rehearsing, and authentic toddler 'tude):

Hmmm, how about some silliness to lighten the mood?

OK, now that we're in a better mood:


My thoughts:
These are great socks! The loopies really work.(Duh, why didn't I think of that?!) They are well made, cute, fun, skid-proof, comfy and promote self-sufficiency. What more could you want in a kid sock?

Where You Can Find EZ Sox:
EZ Sox are available at the online retail website at http://www.ezsox.com. EZ Sox are also sold in 30 boutique stores throughout North America and one US Chain Store with 36 retail outlets. A Japanese distributor has EZ Sox in more than 70 retail stores in Japan.

Or, win a pair here!
To enter visit ezsox.com and leave me a comment telling me which pair of EZ Sox you'd like to have. (You must be a follower/subscriber of this blog to win).


For extra entries:
Add my button to your blog or add me to your blog roll 
Become a Fan of Serendipity is Sweet on Facebook
Share this post on any social network (Facebook, twitter, stumble, etc.) and leave the link.
Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter handle)
Fave me on technorati
Comment on any of my other blog posts

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and a valid email address. Open to U.S. and Canada only. Winners will be chosen by random integer selection. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen. Contest will close on December 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST. Good Luck!!!
This post was written for EZ Sox who provided a complimentary product in order to facilitate this honest review.

Christmas Quotes


Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens

Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year - and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority. ~W.J. Cameron

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly. ~Andy Rooney

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder


Wordless Wednesday


For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)

Picaboo Photo Book Winner

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The winner of the Picaboo Classic Photo Book is Ashley, commenter #14. Congrats Ashley! I hope you enjoy your book:)

Ashley said...

I would get the classic leather book.

hewella1 at gmail dot com
December 7, 2010 12:22 PM

Thanks to all who entered! Check out my other giveaways here and here. And stayed tuned for more coming up this week!

Aloha Friday

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aloha! Thanks for coming by today. I'll be up to my elbows in flour this weekend doing my holiday baking. I love cookies and Christmas is the perfect excuse to make a ton of them ;) Unfortunately, they seem to disappear as quickly as I bake them. I like to have several kinds to share with neighbors and friends. How about you? Do you do much holiday baking?

My question this week: Do you give gifts to those in the community that you see regularly? ie the mailman, neighbors, church friends, activities leaders(coaches/instructors) etc?

Be sure to stop by An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun. Check out my current giveaways too! Links are at the top left of this page :)

Here Comes Santa Claus

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Here comes Santa Claus
Here comes Santa Claus
Right O'er the Chesapeake Bay
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer
Pulling on the reigns...wait just a minute here...
That's not a sleigh!

Apparently Santa has decided to go all bad-ass on us this year.

I wonder if that means he can carry more presents?

 Merry Christmas!
Ho Ho Ho

icaughtsanta.com Giveaway - 10 Winners!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas morning is so exciting! Especially if you are a kid. Remember the giddiness of waking up and realizing the big day was finally here? Then racing to the tree to see what Santa had left behind? As parents we get such a thrill out of watching our children's faces light up with delight on Christmas morning as they find their special gifts and check to see if Santa has indeed eaten all of the cookies so carefully left for him the night before. Imagine their faces if Santa left behind not only cookie crumbs and a note, but a real photo of himself in their own living room?!

Now you can "catch Santa" in the act with just a few simple steps. All you have to do is take a digital photo of your living room (or wherever you want to catch Santa) then upload it to icaughtsanta.com and add Santa to your pic. It's so much fun, and way easier than pie (have you ever made a pie crust from scratch? Just sayin'). You can then print and/or share your photo online. And it'll only cost you $9.99. Come on you know their astonished faces will be priceless ;)

But wait! I have 10 gift codes to giveaway to my fabulous readers! Enter today to win one and you could create your one of a kind Christmas keepsake for free!

Here's how to enter: 
MANDATORY 1st ENTRY: 
Subscribe to Serendipity is Sweet and leave your email address (must confirm subscription). Current subscribers I love you! Just leave a comment with your email addy and let me know you already subscribe.

For extra entries:
Add my button to your blog or add me to your blog roll 

Follow me publicly in google
Become a Fan of Serendipity is Sweet on Facebook

Share this post on any social network (Facebook, twitter, stumble, etc.) and leave the link.
Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter handle)
Fave me on technorati
Comment on any of my other blog posts

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and a valid email address. Open to U.S. and Canada only. Winners will be chosen by random integer selection. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen. Contest will close on December 14, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST. Good Luck!!!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. I was simply offered the chance to hold a giveaway for my readers and I took it.

Wordless Wednesday




Add your WW link here:

For more Wednesday fun, be sure to visit these fabulous blogs:
5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday HQ
Thanks for stopping by :)

The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation DVD Giveaway

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The holidays just aren't the holidays without our favorite movies, from timeless classics to new and exciting additions, they help us ring in the season with cheer. I love to cozy up on the couch with the kids and a big bowl of popcorn to enjoy a great Christmas story. They've been asking to see The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation and I just got word from our sponsor that I can give away a copy on this here blog!

Here's more about the movie:
"It’s ‘Puppy Love’ as Paris Hilton makes voice talent debut alongside Mario Lopez as two playful pooches!

A hilarious and heartwarming family romp and the “paw-fect” sequel to the hit ABC Family original movie, The Dog Who Saved Christmas, the festive new release features Paris Hilton, in her first-ever voiceover role as the prim and proper poodle “Bella” alongside Mario Lopez, who returns as the voice of mischievous yellow Labrador “Zeus.” The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation takes a bow(wow) at retail stores nationwide, December 7, 2010, just in time to help kids and families celebrate the holiday season together.

The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation (SRP $19.98) follows the Bannister family to a beautiful Rocky Mountain ski lodge for their long-awaited holiday vacation. Upon their arrival, however, it soon becomes clear that this trip will be no dog walk in the park!

Obnoxious relatives and their prissy poodle Bella (voiced by Paris Hilton) are staying at the house too, and they want little to do with the Bannisters or Zeus (voiced by Mario Lopez), despite his growing “puppy love” for the cutest new pooch in town.

Meanwhile, the hooligans who attempted to ruin the Bannister’s Christmas last year are up to their old tricks. They’ve made their way to the ski resort too – with plans to snatch a diamond necklace from a resort guest. When the necklace is mistaken for Bella’s dog collar the cantankerous crooks kidnap the pampered poodle and it’s up to Zeus to once again save the day.

Showcasing a pack of terrific talent, The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation stars Gary Valentine (“King of Queens”), Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” Abandoned), Elisa Donovan (Clueless, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”), Casper Van Dien (“Watch Over Me,” The Curse of King Tut's Tomb), and Mindy Sterling (“iCarly,” the Austin Powers trilogy), Adrienne Barbeau (Fly Me to the Moon). Kayley Stallings (“Monk”), Brennan Bailey (My Sister’s Keeper) bring two fresh young faces to the cast as the Bannister children."

This flick would make a great stocking stuffer. Look for it in stores today!

The giveaway-
One lucky Serendipity is Sweet reader will win a copy of this brand new DVD!

Here's how to enter:
MANDATORY ENTRY: Let me know who you'd give this movie to (or watch it with). That's it!

Extra entries:
Subscribe to Serendipity is Sweet and leave your email address (must confirm subscription).
Add my button to your blog or add me to your blog roll (3 entries)
Follow me publicly in google
Become a Fan of Serendipity is Sweet on Facebook

Share this post on any social network (Facebook, twitter, stumble, etc.) and leave the link.
Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter handle)
Fave me on technorati
Comment on any of my other blog posts

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and a valid email address. Open to U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen by random integer selection. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen. Contest will close on December 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST. Good Luck!!!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. I was simply offered the chance to hold a giveaway for my readers and I took it.

Picaboo Classic Photo Book Giveaway!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yea! It's time for another giveaway :) Just in time for the holidays, those fabulous folks over at Picaboo offered to sponsor a giveaway for my readers. I'm so excited for you ;) I love the gorgeous photo books they offer. They make such wonderful gifts for family and friends.


So here's the deal:
One lucky Serendipity is Sweet subscriber will receive a coupon for a free 20 page Classic photo book, valued at up to $39.99. Awesome! Read on for details...


This coupon covers one of three different book styles:


Classic Custom hardcover books add a "wow" factor and a professional touch to your book with a completely customized cover that really makes an impact. Create a one-of-a-kind cover featuring the layout, background, images, and text of your choice on the front cover, back cover and spine.


Picaboo's Classic Leather books have a rich, smooth finish and formal, timeless design that speaks to their lasting quality. These covers are easier to care for than the Classic Linen, which can show fingerprints and other markings more easily.


Croc-embossed leather books feature our classic design and durable bonded leather with a stylish embossed finish. Less formal and more "fun", croc-embossed leather can jazz up any photo book. (No – it’s not real crocodile skin! The croc design is embossed on the standard Classic bonded leather).


Classic Linen books feature a traditional photo book design with a die cut window on the front cover, allowing your image and caption from the first page to show through the cover when the book is closed.


Creating photo books with is easy and fun. Photo books can be fully customized by dragging-and-dropping photos and captions anywhere on your pages, and Picaboo's software allows you creative control so you can make each special page look just the way you want it to.

The fine print:
This coupon is good for one 20 page Classic photo book in any style. It does not
cover additional pages over 20 or applicable shipping costs.The coupon will expire
on 12/30/10. FYI next Tuesday, December 14th is the Ground shipping deadline to guarantee Christmas delivery(for the continental US). 


Here's how to enter:
MANDATORY ENTRY: Let me know how you would use the photo book coupon. That's it!

Extra entries:
Subscribe to Serendipity is Sweet and leave your email address (must confirm subscription).
Add my button to your blog or add me to your blog roll (3 entries)
Follow me publicly in google
Become a Fan of Serendipity is Sweet on Facebook

Share this post on any social network (Facebook, twitter, stumble, etc.) and leave the link.
Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter handle)
Fave me on technorati
Comment on any of my other blog posts

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and a valid email address. Open to U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen by random integer selection. The winner will have 24 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen (sorry this one is on a tight deadline). Contest will close on December 9, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST. Good Luck!!!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. I was simply offered the chance to hold a giveaway for my readers and I took it.

Aloha Friday

Friday, December 3, 2010

Aloha friends! W Like most, we've been busy gearing up for the winter holidays. Decorating, crafting, shopping. I haven't started baking yet, but that's on my agenda. Tonight we're headed to "Winter Wunter Wand" as my kids call it (Winter Wonderland). It's a local holiday display of lights and antique animated figurines. I've been visiting since I was a kid and we go every year as a family. It's a tradition that just makes the holiday memories more special.

My question this week: Is there a favorite holiday show or place you like to visit each year?

Be sure to stop by An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun.

CSN Stores Review

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So how's that holiday shopping coming along? I have to admit that I'm a little behind this year. I'm usually nearly done by now. I still have several people to buy for and have not even finished shopping for the kids yet! I used to LOVE to go out shopping, but with four kids, it has become very difficult to find time to do so. These days I do most of my shopping online.

Thankfully the kids are easy to buy for. They want everything they see on TV. All I have to do is choose, lol. Others on my list are not so easy. But, those fabulous folks at CSN have offered to help me get my rear in gear by sponsoring another review. Yea! I'm so excited. I love shopping at CSN. It's so easy to find what I need and the service is fast and friendly. With over 200 stores offering everything from leather messenger bags, to cookware to pet beds, I'm sure to find the perfect gift for each person on my list. And I don't have to worry about being behind in the shopping game because everything on their sites that is marked with a snowflake is guaranteed to arrive by Christmas!

So what's it gonna be? You'll have to wait and see. But, here's a smattering of what's caught my eye:


Be sure to check out the CSN Stores for all of your holiday shopping needs.

This post was written for CSN Stores who provided a gift code for the purpose of purchasing a product to review. The opinions given are my own.

The Total Transformation Program Review

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Have you ever felt like a rotten parent? Chances are you have. Despite our best intentions, from time to time most of us feel like we're failing as parents. But have you ever really felt overwhelmed, lost and completely inadequate as a parent? This is where I was a few months ago.

When I first became a mom, I felt I was pretty well equipped to do the job. After all I had always had a love of kids, had grown up babysitting a younger sibling as well as caring for neighborhood kids and later even worked as a nanny. I knew I wanted to be a mom from a young age. I had responsible parents as role models, had great intuitive abilities and certainly had enough love to give. Although I knew parenting would be challenging, I felt I was well prepared to meet any challenge that was presented. I would rule with a firm but loving hand. I wanted my kids to have the freedom to explore and develop their own little personalities, but certainly not be allowed to be obnoxious, rude or disrespectful.

Well, all went as planned for about a year. Before long my first born proved to be quite a handful. Always energetic and curious, naps fell by the wayside before age two. The "terrible twos" brought bouts of anger and resistance that I had not anticipated. I read books on developmental stages and discipline and learning styles, yada, yada. This I could handle. I just needed a few more tools.

During the preschool years I felt some serious twinges of doubt when I was notified by the school more than a couple of times that my child had been disruptive, refused to participate or gotten into a spat with another child. I began to grow anxious about what I'd hear each time I went to pick him up. "He's passionate and strong-willed." I told myself. "These are traits that will serve him well in the future." Or,  "He's bright and perceptive. He knows how to push other's buttons." "Maybe he's bored; not challenged enough." I wondered. We decided to homeschool so we could attend to his needs individually.

As time went on the anger and defiance got worse. We blamed ourselves. We blamed each other. What are we doing wrong? we asked. I read book after book. Article after article. I consulted friends and family (many of whom have psychology degrees). We tried punishments (don't punish, discipline, I read). We tried incentives (plan, chart, reinforce, I read). We tried restricting priveledges (find out what motivates him, I read). We begged, threatened, yelled, demanded, reasoned and tried everything we could think of. Nothing worked. Things got worse. On and on it went. The back talk, defiance, threats, and destructive behavior. This was my baby. How could this be? Was I really so horrible a mother? How did we get here? More importantly, how would we make it right? We had to do better. We deserved to live in peace. This unhappy, angry child had nearly broken my spirit, but worse, was breaking my heart. I knew he wasn't happy and wasn't living up to his potential. I wanted so much better for him. And for our family.

I felt us spiraling downward and felt powerless to stop it. I was exhausted, depressed, despairing even. I had to help him. We talked to the pediatrician. We talked to a therapist. We tried some herbal remedies. We did some preliminary testing. The labels started flying around but nothing was changing. Finally, after much soul-searching we tried medication. It helped. Somewhat. Things got more manageable. But the negative behaviors were still there. They were just muted. The pattern of errant thinking, of acting and reacting needed to change. We had work to do, but how would we begin to deal with the child behavioral problems we faced?

Enter The Total Transformation. I had heard of this program and had been reading the Empowering Parents newsletters. This was real advice. This made sense. This might actually help. Soon after, I was offered an opportunity to review the Total Transformation Program through The Family Review Network and I was beyond thrilled. I couldn't wait to find out if this program was overblown hype, or if it offered real direction and solutions for parents stuck in real life problems.

I received the entire program which consists of a jumpstart DVD, 7 audio lessons, a Parent's Workshop DVD and a bonus CD lesson called the One Minute Transformation, as well as a workbook for these lessons. The entire program was developed by James Lehman LSW, who has over 30 years of experience working with defiant kids and their families. His own story is pretty amazing, you can read it here. While his credentials are impressive and the positive reviews encouraging, I really just wanted to know if it worked. I dove right in.

That was three weeks ago. So far I have completed the introduction and the first two lessons of the program. James advises that you work on one lesson per week. The intro helps you pinpoint specific behaviors you'd most like to change and guides you to focus on each to build success. You can't tackle everything at once and you have to really do the work to see results. I was impressed with the organization and thoroughness of the material. While it is time consuming to listen to the audios and complete the workbook, it provides real focus and encourages commitment. The advice he gives is supportive, positive and presented in a no-nonsense manner. He actually gives real scenarios and tells you how to respond, what to say, what to expect, etc. It is very helpful. There is even a toll free parental support line (for a minimal monthly fee) which you can call at any time to speak to a real professional who is familiar with the program, who will offer specific advice for your situation on the spot. Wow! Support doesn't get much better than that.

I am totally impressed with the quality of this program. The advice is concrete and comprehensive. Parents can listen to the audios, complete the workbook and gain a better understanding of why their children act the way they do, why they parent the way they do, and get specific advice on how to improve their situation. I have not found any other book or program to be as helpful. While it does take patience and perseverance to see real change, it is totally worth the effort. At first I was a bit disappointed that the first few CD's were more about learning to understand your family's current behaviors than about changing them. But as I continued on I began to see how the lessons build upon each other and how my attitude and confidence as a parent were changing. I now feel more in control and have a much more positive vision of the future. And I see changes in my son too. He is more content, more in control of his day, and happier. I will continue to work the program and will probably refer to it for years to come.

Bottom line: if you have a child who is defiant and you are willing to make real changes, this program will help. To find out more or order The Total Transformation click here. You can also visit www.EmpoweringParents.com and sign up for the free newsletter which offers no-nonsense advice and useful articles for all parents.

This review was written for The Family Review Network and The Total Transformation who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.


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