Dad of Divas' Reviews: 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Priceless Parenting - A Great Training Instrument For Parents

I was pleased to be offered the opportunity to review a great parenting resource over the past few months called Priceless Parenting.

I had the opportunity to interview Kathy prior to accessing the content of her site and I can tell you that she truly is a down to earth individual who is all about helping parents become better parents while at the same time working to let parents lower their stress levels while increasing the responsibility of children.

Not only does Kathy maintain her company's website and the free and paid resources that are included, she also maintains the priceless parenting blog that provides parents with wonderful tidbits and helpful hints about being a better parent.

The Priceless Parenting Course

The Priceless Parenting course is a must have for parents no matter how veteran. The topics that she covers impacts all ages from infant to adult children.

The program is very user friendly. It is a web based training that is broken down into 7 Lessons with topics including:

  • Parenting basics

  • Sharing control

  • Problem ownership

  • Letting your kids think

  • Consequences

  • Chores

  • Bringing it all together
The program is very accessible with a secure login for people taking the course. Each lesson is supposed to take about an hour. I was able to get through some of them a bit quicker, but if you were going to take this with your spouse/partner (I would highly recommend it), it may take longer as you discuss issues and topics as they are presented.

The lessons are narrated by Kathy and uses down to earth, real life examples which truly makes the training that much more pertinent. Each lesson even has a homework section that you and your partner can work on together.

Unlike many parenting programs out there, this program is completely self paced. The program allows you to move as quickly or slowly as you would like. The online format/video based format of the program allows you to use forward and back arrows as much or as little as you like to move seamlessly between the topical areas that you know and the areas you may need to hear again. This toolbar also allows you to pause the program as needed, so if you have a parental disturbance (as many of us do) you can deal with it and then go back to the class, starting up where you left off.

The program is somewhat similar to the ideals brought up in some of the other parenting books I have read in the past. Kathy commented that she had tried to use the best of the resources that she was aware of to develop this program adopting the best of the best and taking out the parts that just did not work. She also put in personal and other examples to make the training even more meaningful.

I truly appreciated all of the material that was covered within the training. I have never gone through a formal training like this before and I found myself always looking forward to the next lesson and the learning that it would impart. I already find myself using the knowledge from this course with my eldest (Diva-J). One of the biggest things that I have been trying lately from the training is the idea of choices and providing choices for Diva-J to allow her the freedom to make mistakes and offer learning moments.

I also have to put in a plug for the cartoons that she uses in parts of the lessons. As a fan of the Baby Blues cartoons, she uses these cartoons well to emphasize her points.

This training is inexpensive in terms of what you get and in terms of what else is out there on the market for parenting courses. For 3 months access to the site you pay only $65, and Kathy will even let you register on her site for access to the first lesson to try things out.

For those of you who do not know Kathy, let me shed some light on who she is... from her website itself, Kathy Slattengren is:

a noted parenting educator and presenter who created Priceless Parenting in 2007. She has a deep commitment to teaching parents the critical skills needed for effectively responding to misbehavior while guiding children to becoming responsible and respectful.

While raising her own two children, she learned many wonderful
parenting techniques from classes, seminars and books. Through studying
research, she discovered a universal body of knowledge about how effective
parents do their job. Her Masters of Education degree from the University of
Washington combined with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Computer
Science from the University of Minnesota has enabled her to pull together
parenting research into a course that is easy to understand and apply. After
teaching numerous parenting classes, she knew that parents really benefited when
they learned more effective parenting techniques.

Parents reported how much happier and calmer their homes were after using
the new techniques. Wanting to share this valuable information with parents
everywhere, she created an online course so parents could learn these valuable
skills at their own pace and from the comfort of their own home.

I whole-heartily encourage all of you to check out Priceless Parenting to become an even better parent!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Nature Made Cholestoff

Do any of you remember the commercial that was out a while back regarding a cholesterol medicine that stated something to the effect that you get your Cholesterol from Uncle Ned or Fried Chicken...well they used cute rhymes that I can't remember now. I am a great example of what genetics can do to someone even though it may not look like there is anything wrong from the outside. I have been battling rising cholesterol issues for some time and today was my D-Day to see where my levels were after a 3 month stint. Now I am not saying that my levels are such that I should be taking medicine, at least not yet, but I have been concerned at the rising levels, even when I am eating healthy (rabbit food for lunch as J-Mom says) and a healthy breakfast. My meal with the most cholesterol of the day is dinner. So where does this all come from? Well I hate to point fingers, but it comes from my mother's side of the genetic tree. Again, you would never know it in looking at the very petite woman that my mother is, but she has the same issues as I and works hard to control it without medicine. I have been trying to do the same thing, as I really do not want to be on medicine for this. So what have I been doing...well, I have been eating a healthy breakfast and lunch. My exercise routine has gone out the window unfortunately since Diva-PJ was born. The other new thing that I have been doing over the last 3 months was that I have been taking a new product from Nature Made called CholestOff. This product uses plant stanols to limit the amount of Cholesterol that binds to your intestine walls (thus getting absorbed into your bloodstream). For optimal results you have to take 2 capsules 15-30 minutes prior to breakfast and dinner. The website for the product states that you can take them with your meal, but you will not have the same results. I started to use this after my mother (who has higher levels than I) decided to try this so that she would not have to be medicated and at her next check her levels had substantially the extent that her Physician stated "whatever you are doing, keep doing it." Hearing this made me decide to try it myself and I am hoping (as you can guess) for similar results. I have found this product to be easy enough to take and there is no unpleasant taste or aftertaste, and I have had no side effects (though I don't think there should be any). The only problem that I sometimes had was remembering to take the medicine prior to the meal. You truly have to consciously think about taking the medicine and plan ahead of time when your meal actually will be so that you take it in enough time. Also, I will state that the product is not the cheapest, but the way I look at it, if I have to pay a bit more for a natural way to cut my cholesterol, so be it. Also, I have come to find that you can get this product at some of the drug store chains (Walgreens & CVS) at buy 1, get you can definitely stock up every now and again. Beyond this, once you start buying Nature Made vitamins/products, you can start collecting points that can be redeemed for coupons for money off, so the price altogether can be decreased. I should have the results of my test within a few days so I will have to let everyone know if this experiment was successful or not, but I tend to be uber-optomist, so I am certain that the experiment was successful! I thought I would leave this post today with a few additional links for your information on how you can manage your cholesterol:

So how else have you worked to control your cholestrol issues?

Ok... I promised the results so here they are... may I have a drum roll please!
Cholesterol - 232
Triglycerides - 77
LDL - 139
HDL - 83
Ratio - 2.8
Cholesterol - 207!
Triglycerides - 54
LDL - 116
HDL - 77
Ratio - 2.7

So what does this all mean??? means that the CholestOff definitely worked, and that if I keep it up and if I start exercising more regularly, that maybe I can get the levels below 200! The only thing I did not like to see was that my HDL lowered and the my Triglycerides went up...go figure!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Total Cranberry Crunch Cereal

On Monday I received a free sample of Total Cranberry Crunch Cereal and was quite excited to try it! I have enjoyed Total in the past because it it quite a nutritious cereal as well as good tasting (the two can by synonymous!). In looking into this a bit more I found some interesting things about Total. Over at Associated Content, one of their reviewers did an extensive study/article of Total versus Special K in regards to overall health value and promotion of weight loss and identified Total as the overall winner. I also found it interesting in that even Wikipedia has a page for Total with general information about the brand. I also have always like cranberries and cranberry juice, so when I got this it was the best of two worlds. So when I tried it, it definitely lived up to expectation. It tasted great, didn't get soggy and "crunchless" after being in milk for a short period of time. Also the cranberries, though dehydrated held quite a bit of flavor. Overall I would encourage you all to try this out if given the chance!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My family are Disney fanatics. Well maybe fanatic is too harsh a word, but we do enjoy Disney films as well as the Disney World experience. I gained this love for Disney especially from my Mom who planted the bug in me from a young age. As Diva-J has grown we have allowed her to experience Disney as well...watching movies, going to the parks. Back in November J-Mom and I went to see Enchanted in the movie theatre while we were visiting my family down in Florida (A rare treat). We loved the movie so much, when my birthday rolled around, I received the movie as a present. We didn't know how a 3.5 year old would take to this movie but were pleasantly surprised to find that Diva-J loved the movie. So much so, she now is singingthe songs around the house and of course wanting to dress up like Giselle. What I loved most about this movie was the fact that they weave a tapestry of majic for young and old alike and within this majic you can see that they have incorporated some of the best of many of the classic princess movies throughout the film. So if you haven't seen this movie, I whole heartedly give this a two Diva Dad thumbs up! Rent it today!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Grilling Give-Away

Over at Moms Take on Things, Deb is giving away a great summer grilling pack from Roseda Beef. The contest includes:

  • 20 Steakburgers and buns to share with friends and family
  • A Roseda spatula
  • A Meat 101 kit, packed with info and tips on choosing and cooking the best cuts of meat for your taste
I encourage you all to go over and check this out!

On a different note....

If any of you are parents out there - just ran across a great blog I wanted to share... I reviewed it here -

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kodak Cameras

I have been using a Kodak digital camera now for the past five years and recently J-Mom and I have been talking about whether we should consider buying a new one. I take the majority of pictures in my family and I love it. Not only is it an art form that allows me to express my creativity but it also allows me to capture memories and my reality on a daily basis.

In looking at different cameras I have definitely been considering options. It has amazed me at the number of cameras that are out there today and at the cost of the cameras. When we bought our camera it was a pretty nice on at 5 mega pixels and it ended up costing us between $250-$350... at that point...that was a pretty good deal. In this day of ever smaller cameras I tend to find more and more cameras that have pretty good resolution for everyday use, for between $90-$200.

I have been researching options for cameras and seeing that we have had nothing but good experiences with our current Kodak, I am definitely not ruling them out. At the current point I like the Kodak Z1012 IS. One thing that I like about this model is that is is a little larger and gives a little larger view screen as well as a 12X optical zoom which is nice. I also like the high ISO that is available and the fact that it produces 10 mega pixel images.

I have talked to some people whi have used this in the past and they said that they liked the camera, but that battery life was a bit low even with lithium batteries. I don't have first hand knowledge at whether this is true as I have not had the opportunity to try this camera for a lengthy period of time (outside of the store), so it is hard to say whether this is the case. It is the case that this camera does use batteries, and as in most cases, lithium batteries would definitely be the choice for me. I have had great results using Energizer Lithium batteries in the past, not only for my current camera, but also for other household items and hands down, the extra cost you pay for the batteries is worth it in longevity. So long live the energizer bunny on this one!

I have to say that I wish that there was a way to try out these potential cameras prior to buying them to work out whether they are the best for you or not (wouldn't that be a nice incentive for buyers).

So my search continues... what cameras would you recommend?

Adkins Advantage Shakes

This is not to say that I need to lose weight, far from it, but I was fortunate to try a Adkins product called Adkins Advantage Shakes in both Vanilla and Chocolate. I tend to have a sweet tooth so finding a product that fills me up while at the same time is somewhat nutritious is not really a bad thing.

When I received these free items, I made sure to read the directions and I was glad that I did, as it mentions right on the can that for best results and for best taste, make sure to drink the beverage cold as well as shake it up. For the heck of it I tried one cold and one at a bit warmer temperature and it truly does make a difference to drink it cold (so definitely read directions on this product).

The shakes are smooth and thick, just what you want in a shake, and they do come in a number of varieties. I think the next one that I would be interested in trying would be I tend to like this flavor.

I also have to commend Adkins for putting together a variety of products that do taste good, while still holding a large amount of vitamins and minerals that are good for you. I would have to say that if I was going to go on a diet based on flavor alone the products I have tried in the past from Adkins might sway me there way. Beyond this, regarding the shakes once more... based on flavor and overall nutritious value I would recommend these shakes over going to the local McDonald's or other fast food restaurant. Not only will you save the calories, but in this day and time where gas prices are ever-increasing...I would recommend keeping a few of these in the fridge for easy retrieval and for easing that sweet tooth craving.

Just some Dad of Diva thoughts for the day!