Thursday, May 27, 2010

SING TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT: Using Lullubies to Promote Language Skills

All babies are born with the desire to communicate. And as parents we are eagerly awaiting the day our newborn says “Mommy, I love you!”

Let’s face it; this sentence will take a while! In the meantime, parents can do a lot to encourage verbal development. Studies have shown that talking, reading and singing have a profound effect on stimulating verbal skills. As a mother of two, I agree whole heartedly. These are all great ways of interacting with your child.

I have to say, I was never much of a singer until I became a Mom. And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember one single lullaby except for Twinkle, Twinkle. However, after purchasing a CD, singing lullabies became a big part of our daily routine and I think they helped tremendously! Lullabies almost always manage to capture their attention. They rhyme and they are simply just plain fun to hear. It also soothes them and can work as a great distraction during a stressful moment. The more you sing, the more your child will want to sing along with you, consequently, using words they may not normally use during typical daily conversation.

Here are some lyrics to favorite lullabies in our house for all the new parents out there who, like me, may be short of memory:

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Papa’s gonna buy you a billy goat

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Papa’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark
Papa’s gonna buy you a horse and cart

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines
Ding ding dong, Ding ding dong

English version:
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John? Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing, Morning bells are ringing
Ding ding dong, Ding ding dong

Lullaby and good night, with roses bedight
With lilies o’er spread is baby’s wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed
Lay thee down now and rest, may they slumber be blessed

Lullaby and good night, thy mother’s delight
Bright angels beside my darling abide
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast

Links on Speech Development:
See sidebar for additional information on Language Development

Friday, May 21, 2010

Little Nippers Top Rated Alphabet Book!

Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss
Even after all the wonderfully entertaining alphabet books I have reviewed, Dr. Seuss’s ABC is still my favorite. This book is a fabulous learning tool. Dr. Suess skillfully applied his signature nonsensical narrative to help children learn their ABC’s. Each page reinforces the basic concepts of upper and lower case. In addition, he frequently stopped for review by choosing a few pages throughout the book to repeat the letters we have already learned. This book is a joy to read and helped both of my children learn their ABC’s with ease!

To see Little Nippers complete list of top 10 Alphabet Books (as seen on Winning Readings) just click on the link in the sidebar under:
Top 10 Alphabet Books

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yummy Recipes For Your Picky Eater!

IT'S DINNER TIME! You’re exhausted from a long, hard day. Your kids are excited about being together and the noise level has reached new heights! There is one question that is going through your weary mind: “What am I going to make for dinner?”
If you are like most Moms, this question can cause anxiety. Indeed, there are many options. But as a tired mother you want something healthy, something tasty and ultimately you want something FAST!
The trouble is, most parents taste varies tremendously from their offspring and no one wants to be a short order cook! Here are some great recipes from Cooking Light Magazine that have been tested and family approved:

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Cooking Spray
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low; add honey mixture. Cook 10 minutes or until done, turning pork once.

Little Nipper Tip: The honey mixture is delicious! Serve over a bed of rice and your choice of vegetable for a completely yummy meal!

Makes 4 Servings

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Add broth and wine. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with cheese.

Little Nipper Tip: Use good quality olive oil!

Makes 4 Servings

3 tablespoons lite soy sauce, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dry sherry or Chinese rice wine (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/4 lbs. sirloin steaks, thinly sliced across the grain
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup scallions, chopped
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces spinach, washed, tough stems discarded

Combine first 4 ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously. Place sliced beef in a mixing bowl. Pour soy sauce mixture over beef and toss to coat. Heat peanut oil and sesame oil in a wok or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic 45 seconds. Add meat and marinade and stir-fry 2 minutes or until beef begins to brown. Add scallions and mushrooms and stir-fry 2 minutes or until scallions are softened. Add spinach and stir-fry another 45 seconds. Season with pepper to taste. Serve with additional soy sauce.

Little Nipper Tip: Buy jarred ginger and garlic to save time!

Makes 4 Servings

¾ cup apple jelly
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin trimmed
Cooking spray

1. Prepare grill.

2. Place first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.
Insert a meat thermometer into thickest portion of pork. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 16 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 degrees (slightly pink), turning pork occasionally. Place pork on a platter, and let stand 5 minutes. Serve pork with sauce.

Little Nipper Tip: Unless your child likes spicy food I would only use ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper!

Check out more recipes on