Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's New at Speech2U: July Edition

A few months ago I decided to do one monthly MEGAPOST per month on new products that I have at my TPT and/or Teacher's Notebook stores.
All Products are listed on Facebook and are on sale for up to 50% off for the first two days that I list a product on TPT.  You can like my page of Facebook so that you don't miss any good sales!  
Then the rest of the month we can talk about other fun things!

Magical Paraphrasing:

I'm always struggling to find good activities for paraphrasing.  I have a few clients who really struggle with the concept and wanted to make something a little more hands on for them to understand the concept.  I've always liked using magic tricks for describing and retelling information.  Magic is also a great way to introduce Perspective taking skills:

  • What do you know
  • What does the audience know
  • What do you want the audience to think

Flip Flap: Listening Comprehension:

My kids have been loving these flip flap books.  I've laminated one to use in therapy and usually send a paper copy home that we made.  This product focused on answering wh questions related to paragraph level materials.  I also added in some cue cards for who, what, where, when and why questions for my clients who struggle with comprehending wh questions.  

Flip Flap: Definitions:

This is another Flip Flap book focusing on definitions.  I added some pictures for defining vocabulary and also structured sentences on each page to help my clients structure their definitions.  

Enter below to win your choice of one of my new products.  Please feel free to share this giveaway with your friends and colleagues.  If I get more than 500 entries, I'll pick two winners to receive all three products!  Thanks!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Mama-on-days: Taming the Paper Clutter Challenge

Okay, I'm hoping that we are all in the trust tree here.  I'm going to tell you a little secret.

I have little piles of papers in the kitchen, the office, the dining room table and downstairs on the ironing board.  I have about 4 different piles of stuff at my work.  Sometimes I spend my whole day just going through my piles, rearranging them into new piles.  

The problem is that I'm spending more time rearranging and coming up with new piles then I am actually doing something with my paperwork.  A few weeks ago, my coworkers and I attended a GTD (getting things done) webinar.

While definitely geared to corporate America, I found many of the suggestions made sense to me as a Speech language Pathologist (sometimes I am drowning in paperwork) as a mom (how many drawings can one little 4 year old do) and as a manager (how can I remember to follow up with my employees...)

My challenge for this week was to start getting my paperwork in order.  I've tried various systems in the past-my last failed system consisted of four folders:

DO NOW!!! For stuff that needed to be completed within the week
DO LATER!!! For stuff that needed to be done later.
PENDING: For stuff that I was waiting for information from someone on or items like Amazon orders.
TO BE LAMINATED:  I've had Jenna Rayburn's Candytown Phonology in there for awhile.  It's time to get that sucker laminated.  That was an semi-intentional pun.

I made those up, put stuff in them, and then left them there to die.  You might notice that my Do NOW items includes Leap frog incentive stickers.  This system wasn't working for me.  Plus it's hard to pay bills when you have to check 5 different rooms and a 31 bag where you threw some paperwork in when your mom came over.

One of the suggestions from the Webinar was to start a Tickler file.  It's basically files you can set up for everyday of the month where you put information (like Birthday cards, reminders about IEPs, follow up paperwork.)

This week I set up systems at home and at work.  I modified the home one as I didn't think I would need a file for each day of the week.  I bought a document box where I can put all of the Biscuit's artwork.  I also added an inbox where I put all incoming paperwork to be "processed." 

Okay it's a work in progress.  Paint with Water is probably does not need to be processed.  (but totally needs to be done!  I loved paint with water as a child)   

This is how I set up my file system at home.  I color coordinated it based on file type.  This is where I store all of the paperwork that I need to act on later.  I set up a similar system at work based on days.  I'm hopeful this system will work for me.  Check back in a month to see if I've maintained it.  Do you have any great ways to tame the paper clutter?  I'd love to hear them! 

Next week's challenge: Being present.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Show me the DATA (linky)

Speech Language Pathologists are trend setters.  We'd been using hashmarks for YEARS before hashtags became so popular.

Smiley/frown faces, 
Thumbs up/thumbs down
iPad data collection apps

What's your data collection style?  

Even if you have a favorite method, there's always the student who you have to constantly change how you are reporting your data because they are going to get upset or argue that their answer was correct.  As I've gotten older, I've become a little more blunt with my students-they generally know when they didn't get an answer correct.  

Jenn over at Crazy Speech World is having a linky party for data collection sheets.  I love this-I'm always looking for new ideas and forms for data collection and documentation. 

Most of my work experience has been in outpatient pediatrics.  When you are billing insurance companies, you need to show medical necessity and skilled service within your daily documentation.  You can have a lot of hashmarks on your daily note suggesting that you completed a lot of repetitions.  However, the prompts are what constitutes skilled service.  It's why Johnny doesn't get better when mom just asks him to say 10 different /r/ words by using a louder voice.  

When I started going on home visits, I developed this form.  I type the students information at the top and list the objectives in 1-7.  I made 5 copies of this sheet and stapled it together.   Then I put them in a 3 ring binder under the tab for that student.  

When I am typing out the goals, I try to think of which prompts I think my student will need and list those at the bottom.  I  use a rating scale with the higher numbers being more intrusive prompts.  Then within each session, I try to decrease one level of prompting (if I can).  

Get your FREE copy HERE.

Do you have a favorite data collection system?  Head over to Crazy Speech World to link up yours!  

This title reminds me of one of my first SLP job interviews.  I'd gone to interview at an early intervention agency.  They mostly saw birth to 18 months of age.  I remember being a little nervous about my ability to treat this population coming out of grad school.  We were at lunch (back when people took you out to eat for a job interview) when the woman asked me if I thought I would be able to work with young children.  It was right after Jerry Maguire had come out.  "Babies?" I said, "Show me the BABIES."  OMG-worst interviewee of all time.  Needless to say, I didn't get a job offer on that one.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Photo Safari: A fun game for describing and answering questions

Does anyone else tend to buy toys or games for their kids that they know they can repurpose in Speech Therapy?  I'm always buying my son therapy toys.  (He'd prefer Transformers and gigantic guns-I try to give him lacing cards and bead stringers.)

Photo Safari is a game I bought to take with us on vacation.  But I plan on bringing it in to work pretty soon because of the good language stimulation you can get from it.  

I bought a copy that was used for a store demonstration, it was missing one of the pictures.  It's basically a matching game.  You put pictures into the camera and the child pushes the buttons on the camera to get the picture to come out.  You put the pictures in the frames and try to collect 4 of the same animals.  

There are 16 pictures total of the following animals: Monkey, lion, hippo, and giraffe.  The pictures are on hard plastic and seem like they would hold up well.  

The camera feature is really fun and I think it would be motivating for my clients.  We could work on phrases: 
  • Take a picture
  • Say Cheese
  • or "Shoot" 
When the pictures come out you can work on: 
  • Naming actions (what is the lion doing) 
  • Present tense auxiliary forms The lion is hiding in the bushes
  • Who and Where questions (Who did you get?  Where is the lion?)  
Then you can work on "in" as you put your pictures "in" the frames.  

Have you played Photo Safari?  How have you used it in therapy?  

Disclosure Statement: I did not receive any compensation or free products for this review.  I just thought it was a cool game and wanted to share it with you.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mama-on-days: Finishing up the Family Binder

We purchased our first home about 10 years ago.  I remember the bank talking about the binder we would get at closing.  Wow, what a great idea, I had thought.  I hadn't owned a house before-so having a binder full of home maintenance tips and information about the home sounded like a fantastic idea.
It was my Amelia Bedelia moment.  Imagine my surprise when I received my binder (a lengthy legal document) at our closing.

It only took 9 more years, but I finally have my binder.

I purchased a pretty green folder that matches my Kitchen.  Then I got some plastic index tabs from Target.  I think I get everything from Target.  Here's how I organized my binder.

Monthly Schedules:  
First I put a single sheet of paper that has my weekly schedule on it.  My schedule is mostly the same except for Mondays.  I put when I need to leave home, what time I work and when I will be back at home.  My schedule is pretty much the same.  But every day I get asked when I am working.  Now I can just point and instruct my husband to check the binder.  It's a little visual schedule for him.

I also put a calendar in there so that we can look at everyone's schedule quickly.

Childcare Information:  
I put the Biscuit's current month calendar along with our contract for his Childcare Center.

Emergency Contacts: 
I'm adding a couple of sheets in here with Emergency contacts plus doctor information etc.  Then I can pull it out if we ever find a sitter that doesn't want to make 20.00 hour.

I got three ring binder business card holders.  I put everyone's insurance card in here along with a copy of our Health Insurance Contract. I also put the extra copy of our auto insurance cards in a sheet protector.

Phone Numbers/Business Cards:  
I keep all of my phone numbers in my cell phone.  But I used a business card holder to add business cards for contacts, contractors who've worked on our home etc.

How To Sheets:  
Apparently I only care about how to make delicious food.  In this section I keep information on meat cooking times (oven, grill, George Foremen), instructions for cleaning the coffee maker and using the rice cooker.  This is my storage area for my "frequently asked questions." I need to add a section in here on boiling eggs.  I can never remember the times for these.

Upcoming Events: 
This is just a sad collection of empty sheet protectors right now. But hopefully, it will grow to hold information on upcoming trips, tickets to concerts or email confirmations of cooking classes, CEU information etc.

Entertainment Ideas:  
I put three sheets in here: Movies, Restaurants and Books.  This is where I can put things that I'd like to do in one place.  Then if I can't decide on a good book I can check my book recommendation guide.

This is where I will store information on activities (karate, swimming lessons, etc.) when we sign up for them.  I had a really bad experience with the Biscuit in a gymnastic class when he was 3.  Picture me with a three year old boy and a bunch of 2 year old girls in tutus.  Picture me sweating trying to get my son to listen to the teacher.  See me humiliate myself by stepping on a little princesses foot with my Danskos.  See the other mom refuse to talk to me for the next 5 weeks in class.  Picture that mom's story of how her daughter could have been the next Gabby Douglas if it weren't for her tragic foot injury.  Seriously-I'm pretty sure her daughter just put her foot under my shoe-she didn't even cry and I think I would have noticed if I was stepping on someone.  But I still got the silent treatment.  Since then I've avoided activities like the plague. But I remember you need to do activities to get into college.  So we will have to start using this by junior high at the latest.

Take out Menus:
Each one has it's own sheet protector and I highlight our favorites.  

I made this tab up awhile ago and have no idea why.  My measurements?  I don't think I want to put those in a public binder ???!!!!!  Maybe I was thinking room dimensions?  

Chore Lists:  
I separated chores out by daily, weekly, monthly and yearly chores with checklists for each month.  Now I just have to remember to do them.  

Next week's Challenge:  
Tame the paperwork monster by instituting a Paperwork processing System.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

5 Out of Print Games that I LOVE.

Jenna at Speech Room News held a linky party for bloggers to write about their favorite games.  I hate when you go to a conference and see an amazing toy/game and then it's no longer made.  So I tried to keep my list for the linky party related to games you can still purchase.  But I do have a lot of games that have been discontinued.  The following are games you must pick up if you see them at Goodwill or at a garage sale:

1.  Cariboo: 
Cranium had some of the best games.  This is a Speech therapy classic game.  I have two copies of this game.  Hide the balls in the game.  Open each door with a special key to see if there is a ball under it.  When you get 6 balls the treasure box opens up.  I've made lots of custom cards for this game so I can use it with vocabulary or articulation.  Sometimes I add a candy treat in the treasure box.  I see it at Goodwill a lot so you don't have to pay the 80.00 Amazon is asking for.  Or if you have 80.00 for one game in your budget contact me.  

2.  Secret Square:  
Another game that sells for a ridiculous amount of money on Amazon/Ebay.  This is a great game for describing and requesting.  You hide a chip under a plastic tile and then the other players have to ask questions to figure out where the chip is.  I've also played it where the players have to describe the item where they hid the chip.  

3.  Whoonu:  

This is another cranium game.  I love to use this to support the idea of "Friend Files" and Michelle Garcia Winner's Social thinking skills.   Each player gets a certain number of cards dependent on the group.  One person is it.  The other players look through their cards to decide what the other player likes best.  Example: Would Johnny like roller coasters or camping better.  Then the person who is it needs to sort the cards based on their favorites.  Students get points based on where their answer fell.  

4.  A to Z jr:

This is a great game for categorization.  Pick a category card and then set the timer.  Players cover letters of the alphabet as they name items within the category that starts with that letter.  Great for reinforcing same sound word retrieval strategies.

5.  Tic Tac tony:  

I've been searching for this one for awhile.  It's a quick play game of tic tac toe-but you place the marker on Tony's tale and flip it in so it relies on chance.   

Those are my favorite discontinued games.  How about you?  What games do you wish they still made?  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Love it and List It: Games I love!

Jenna, one of the SLP blog gurus, at Speech Room News started a new monthly link up called: Love it and List it.  This months feature is Games I love.   The challenge is to list 5 games you love.  I ended up making 3 lists.  (It's part of my hoarding complex)    For the linky I'm doing my 5 Games that you can still purchase.  Check back tomorrow and Sunday for 5 CLASSIC out of print games and 5 great older language games.

5 Games I love:  
1.  Penguin Pile Up

 My clients love this game.  You just have to try to balance the penguins on the ice.  (which is hard)  But a great way to get lots of repetitions.  Pretty fun for all ages.

2.  Photo Safari:  

 I have a blog post scheduled next week for that one.  Fun game for the younger ones.

3.  Go Away Monster
 Another one for the younger kids.  Pick a piece from the bag and put it on your room.  Try not to get a monster.

4.  Bunny Hop
 This is another great one for getting lots of repetitions in.  Some of the bunnies hop out which makes it a fun surprise game.  I use it alot with my clients on the Autism Spectrum.

5.  Hisss
Great for /s/ and /s/ blends with all of the snakes.  Build snakes by matching colors.  You can also work on long and short.

Head over to Speech Room News to get started with your own link up or to find lots of new great games.  If you don't have a blog you can list your favorite games on her site too.  Who wants to compile all of the games into one great master list of AWESOME speech therapy games?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Switcheroo: Smart Speech Therapy LLC's Speech Language Assessment of Older Internationally Adopted Children.

This week I'm doing a product swap with Tatyana at Smart Speech Therapy LLC.  I'm reviewing one of her slide presentations on assessment of older children who have been adopted internationally.  She is going to be reviewing my Interactive WH question megabundle.  Smart Speech Therapy LLC has a variety of presentations, informational materials and informative checklists available on their site. 

I've interested in language development in older children from international adoptions.  Many years ago, I evaluated a child who was adopted later in age along with several siblings.  I completed the evaluation and was concerned about whether it would be appropriate to treat or not.  She had been in the country for a little over one year.  The client I worked with would not have qualified for speech and language services through the schools for another 2 years.  

Because I was in an outpatient clinic, I was able to make a case to the insurance company and picked her up based on her case history as well as difficulties with comprehension, an inability to relate a simple story, as well as difficulties with problem solving and higher level language skills.  I used Sharon Glennan's article, "Speech and Language Mythbusters" from the ASHA leader as a guide.  At that time, there was not a lot of research on language development and older internationally adopted children.   

I was really excited for the chance to review Smart Speech Therapy's slide presentation of "Speech Language Assessment of Older Internationally Adopted Children" to catch up with the latest research.

This slide presentation contains 65 pages of useful information.  Tatyana starts by describing some of the issues related to international adoptions and provides links to questions parents can ask prior to adoptions.

Other information you will learn from this presentation:

  • Understanding the difference between bilingual speakers and language loss/attrition associated with International adoptions (they're not the same.)
  • Maternal Risk factors and leading questions related to FASD
  • Information on Birth-Language delays and what to do if the child has one.
  • Assessment suggestions and red flags to observe for at 3-12 months post adoption
  • Assessment suggestions 1-2 years following adoption
  • 2 Pages of Resource links
  • 9 pages of references
I found this presentation to be VERY informative.  I'd love to see these presentations available as a webinar at some point in time too!  Tatyana's presentation does a good job of explaining the differences between bilingual children and children who have been adopted internationally.  The suggestions for assessment targets are valuable.  The reference and resource link pages are great for following up on information from the slide presentation.  

Speech Language Assessment of Older Internationally Adopted Children is available at Smart Speech Therapy's website for 22.99 (It's on sale for 18.99 right now!)  

You can follow Tatyana here: 

Tatyana is offering a reader a free copy of her slide presentation on her blog.  Run over to grab it now!  You can also enter to win a copy of my Interactive Wh question cards below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure Statement:  I did receive a complimentary copy of Speech and Language Assessment of Older Internationally adopted children for the purpose of this review/product swap.  However, the opinions are my own.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

S..Peachy Feedback Linky Party

Nicole over at Speech Peeps had a great idea to set up a Speech feedback linky party. It's easy to join. You can learn how by clicking on her link below.

I get REALLY excited when people take time to leave feedback for my products!  Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to do so!  

Here was one of my favorites:  

Thank you Julie G. for taking the time to leave such an awesome comment!  

It left me with a smile all day.  Please email me with your choice of product from my TPT store.  Magical paraphrasing is available HERE.

Mama-on-days: Unplugging and the Family Vacation

The Challenge:  Unplug and enjoy a family lake vacation.

The Experience:  This was my first family vacation since I've been blogging.  I know that I've been spending more time creating projects and writing up posts and made a conscious decision to unplug for my vacation.

This ended up being harder than I would have thought.  It's pretty easy to get conditioned to the noises my phone makes.  I hear a little ding and run over to my phone to see if I'd gotten any emails.  (Pavlov's speech therapist.)  I also had set up a giveaway while I was gone and wanted to make sure I was able to update posts while I was away.  Luckily, Facebook has a PAGES app that lets you schedule your posts.

Still, It took about 2 days for me to completely unplug from the phone, facebook and the internet.  (Mostly, but if you need to find a good pancake house, you still need to check the internet.  Okay, there was a yellow pages in the room.  But still-internet wins for that one.)  Next time I might disable my email and Facebook before going on a trip.

We had a great time.  In honor of vacations in general I thought I'd post a list about my experience:

7 Mommy things I learned on Vacation:  

1.  Communicate your intentions to unplug with your other family members.
The day before we left, I had packed my clothes, toiletries, snacks for the room, games, magazines and some toys and clothes for the Biscuit.  My husband had packed a Blu-Ray player and 10 movies.  It gets better.  We get to the hotel room and he can't plug in the player because the TV in the room is too old.  HA!  I think-I WIN!  Reading and game playing it is.  I woke up the next day to find he'd found an all night Walmart and purchased a small TV for the room.  Lesson 1.5:  Never take a family vacation around your husband's birthday-he will try to get away with everything.

2.  Never, ever, ever order BK's french toast sticks for your four year old.  And then let him eat it in the car because you are running late for your ranch tour.  It will not end well.  #flypaperpreschooler

3.  You think it's funny when you said it on vacation.  It won't be funny when he says it at Daycare.  We were staying at a resort called Cragun's.  So for  a majority of the trip, we kept saying:

Except one time to be funny, I said, "Release the butt-kraken"  *sigh*  I work with kids.  I KNOW better.  That became the biscuit's favorite saying.  (It was pretty funny, though....)

4.  Unplugging does not mean you can't plop your 4 year old down with the iPad at the end of the table and attempt to have a romantic date with your hubby.  Right?

5.  Sometimes your kids will surprise you with their talents.  I woke up from a nap to find that the biscuit reorganizing and folding the clothes in his drawer.  He worked meticulously for about a half an hour.  Did I mention he's 4?  Or that I don't fold?  He then said when he grew up he was going to be a folder.  But then he changed it back to Firefighter.

6.  A quarter spent on a fake mustache is a quarter well spent.

7.  Seeing your child's wonder and astonishment at catching his first fish will make up for the 13 hours of whining which preceded it.

What is your favorite type of vacation?

Next Week's Challenge:  Finish the family binder

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I love tossing games during speech therapy.  I toss my cards across the room, slide them down gutters, and whip them at walls frisbee style.  (I even do these with my personal set of Kaufman cards.  I'm probably crazy...)  It's a super sneaky way of getting in lots of repetition for articulation practice.  Here are a few of my favorite card receptacles.

Talking Cookie Jars

I used to have a bunch of talking cookie jars that I used with my clients.  I'd have them say a bunch of cards and then we'd open up the jar quickly and throw the cards in the jar.  The police jar usually made the kids cry-so we worked on vocabulary like "scary" and "go away" and "never show that to me again."  One jar was shaped like a wave and played a Beach boys Song.  The other was shaped like a hut and played the Gilligan's Island theme.

Unfortunately, I got sick of them and sold them at a Garage Sale.  *Sigh*  If I could get back in my SLP time machine and retrieve these I would.  What therapy gems do you miss?  

The Biscuit's baby room theme was Monkeys (of the see no, hear no, speak no kind.)  Do you remember the SECRET craze a few years back?  It was basically about how you will get more of whatever you are thinking or talking about.  I think those monkeys messed with our little guy.  Right after he turned 4, he got in trouble for saying "bad words" at Daycare.  I asked him if he had said them and he replied, "No!"  I asked if he was telling me the truth and he assured me he was.  He said, "You weren't there.  You didn't see me.  You didn't hear me.  So I didn't do it."  OMG.  We are really going to be in trouble when he is a teenager.  

Anyhow, I used to use this pop up Monkey hamper in his room (which I had picked at Target) for dirty clothes before his room was super-heroized.  I like that the hamper folds up into a flat circle for easy storage.  I play with it tall or with it shorter and have my clients throw in bean bags, speech cards etc.  

1, 2, 3 Boxes

I picked these up from Ikea.  I will sometimes set them up in the room as stations when doing obstacle courses.  I can put picture cards in them (10 seems to be my magic number) and have them complete the cards before we complete the next activity.  These boxes are great when working with children on the Autism Spectrum.  I put each of our activities in the  box-and then a picture OR the actual reward at the end of the table.  It's like little numbered work stations.  

There is a zipper on the bottom which allows you to fold the boxes flat for storage.

I hope I was able to give you a few ideas for using storage containers in therapy-and if you happen to be at the Goodwill and see one of the cookie jars-I'd love for you to send it my way.

What creative containers have you used in therapy?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

TPT product switcheroo: Queen's Speech's What Am I: School Edition.

This week Rachel from The Queen's Speech and I switched products.  I got to review her What Am I: School Edition product and she reviewed my Stoplight Emotions packet.

I use riddles a lot in therapy and am always looking for new materials to address this.  Riddles work on inferencing, receptive language and building vocabulary skills.

Receptive Language
What Am I-School Edition contains 24 Riddle Cards with a School Theme.  Each riddle card has three different clues listed with the answer.  The illustrations are colorful and clearly represent the objects beting described.

Expressive Language/Vocabulary
The second part of this product has the students make up their own riddles.  Queen's Speech includes 24 vocabulary pictures and 24 cue cards for riddles. I think the cue cards are really helpful since a lot of my clients can't think of how to describe objects.  The cues stay the same on each card so with repetitions, nonreaders should begin to do this independently as well.

Sorting Mat:  
I think maps such as these are really helpful as a graphic organizer to help clients internalize how to describe objects.  Take the red cards and put them in the middle.  Then use the vocabulary map to help the students describe the object.

Bingo Cards:
Bingo cards are always a big hit with the kids.  This download contains 5 different Bingo cards.  Play a game of traditional bingo or you can hide the red cards around the room and have your clients check off each picture as you find them.

What am I: School Edition is a fun product from the Queen's Speech.  The pictures are colorful and clear and the activities are fun and motivating.   It's a STEAL at 1.75 and perfect for a back to school activity.  You call follow the Queen's Speech here:  

The Queen's Speech and I have TEAMED up with a giveway of each of these products.  Go to HER web page to sign up to win a copy of What am I: School Edition.  

You can enter to win my product: "Stoplight Emotions" below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure Statement: I did receive a complimentary copy of What am I: School Edition for this review.  However, the opinions are my own.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mama-on-days: Getting that Fly and Blog-lovin

The Challenge:  
Catching that fly that's been buzzing around the house.
 I've had a fly that's been living in our house for about a week.  I'd be on my computer and it would fly around my head or land on my computer screen.  At night time, I'd hear it buzz around my head.  I'd wave it away at dinner time.  Many times I would try to catch it Mr. Miyagi style.  

Okay, after watching this video, I have to say, "Not true."  I don't have an extra pair of chopsticks lying around the house.  I can't even find my fly swatter.  And THAT, my friends, is the problem.  How are you supposed to catch a fly if you can't even find your basic insect annihilation tools.

In July, my mama-on-day challenges will all be related to organization.  Topics may include:
  • Tackling the weed pit on the side of the house
  • Finishing up my Family binder
  • Creating a path through our Laundry/Junk room
  • Taming the Toy Clutter
For this week's challenge I decided to get my blog reading in order.  

The Experience:  
I still remember when we would talk about the Internet like a Science Fiction project.  I still have a floppy disk somewhere where I used DOS coding to make my name scroll across the screen.  I've heard the term HTML-and thought: No thank you.  I don't want any hatemail here.  

The past few months, I heard fellow bloggers lamenting the demise of Google Reader and suggesting alternatives.  Google reader?  Never heard of it.  My blog consumption strategy was this: Pin a bunch of blogs onto Pinterest.  Every once in awhile, remember that you like these blogs and head over to their site.  This was back when I was in PRIME blog stalking mode.  So I'd take a few hours, stock up on therapy ideas and sneak away quietly.  You never even knew I was there.

Google Reader was an RSS Service.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  I tried doing more research on this so that I could really sound smart.  (RSS speech therapy blogger)  But I got bored.  Basically RSS is like a personalized TV guide for blogs.  It updates each blog with the title and first paragraph.  Then you can decide to click on the blog to read more.  Crazy cat videos: No thank you.  Crazy kids talking about cats? Why, yes-I think I'd like some more.  

In my quest for blog organization, I signed up for Bloglovin.  It was pretty easy to set up.  I'm going to leave the tutorials for the "blogger experts."  But I wanted to point out a couple of things that I love about Bloglovin.  

It's a really quick way to follow a lot of different blogs.  I love how clean look of this and the fact that I can mark a blog as read.  If you click on the blog name, it will take you to all of their posts.  

This is really helpful.  I'm going to add some new categories for teacher blogs, parenting blogs and cooking blogs.  

When I click on a blog group that I am following, it lists all of the blogs and the number of new/unread posts.  As you can see, I'm pretty far behind on some of these.  

Once someone is following you, you can also click on their list of blogs to add new blogs.  Here's a list of the blogs that I follow: 

How about you?  Do you use a service to follow blogs?  

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Next Week's Challenge:  Unplug and enjoy a family lake vacation.  I've got a few automatic posts lined up for here and on Facebook.  Hopefully they will load up.  As for me, I'm leaving my computer at home and focusing on relaxation and reading a good book.
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