November 30, 2016

How To Nurture Your Young Child's Writing Skills Early

Posted by Becka 0 comments

When teaching children how to write, it is important to focus on portraying the enjoyment of writing. Making writing a fun activity will encourage young children to want to learn this skill as a new venue of communication. When children are first learning how to pick up a pencil and put it to paper, parents and teachers should remember not to force penmanship too early. If the children are too focused on proper formation and staying between the lines, they become easily frustrated and view writing as a laborious task rather than an enjoyable activity.

Parents who want to teach their kids how to write early should make paper and writing instruments readily available to the children at all times. If the kids have paper and crayons next to their toy box, they will be more likely to want to express their creativity and learn how to write. Children learn by mimicking the activities that they see their parents or siblings do, so writing in front of the kids will encourage them to want practice what they see. Young kids are eager to ask questions, and parents can take this opportunity to educate their children on writing skills while explaining how fun the activity can be.

Another tip for helping kids want to write is by exposing them to books and magazines on a regular basis. If the child sees words written on a page, he or she will begin to recognize different letters and associate them with communication. Some parents and teachers have found success in allow children access to computers and writing software. Even if the child does not know how to type, he or she can play around with the keyboard to form different combinations with the letters. Using a keyboard may also be helpful to kids who have not yet developed the fine motor skills required to handle a pencil and form letters gracefully.

Children are curious by nature and have a strong desire to please their parents and teachers. Exposing them to various forms of writing will motivate them in pursuing these skills to impress others. The best methods parents and teachers use involve making writing materials available to children and encouraging them when they demonstrate a desire to learn. 

November 28, 2016

Better Late Than Never: My Trip To Sweden

Posted by Becka 1 comments

          On Monday, August 8, 2016, I embarked on a two week vacation in Sweden, to see a friend and have amazing adventures. Of course, no good story can go without bumps in the road. I happened to take off on the day Delta basically shut down. My flight was supposed to be from Nashville to New York to Stockholm. But, like almost all the other flights that day, mine was severely delayed and eventually cancelled. Luckily, I could switch flights, at no cost to me, and instead, fly to Detroit to Amsterdam to Stockholm. 

          Well, at least I got to say I have been to one more country, even if it was only for the time it too to catch my connecting flight. 

          Of course...I went a week without my luggage, but hey, at least I got some new clothes...

          I landed in Stockholm at about 10am. on Tuesday Just a few hours later than I should have. Of course, the first place Susanne took me was... 

          And not just any IKEA...the largest in Sweden! Of course, I have been to IKEA before, but now, I was in the LAND of IKEA! And it was amazing. I could eat their food all day long! 

          We went to Susanne's and by that time, I was EXHAUSTED. Spending that much time on a plane does things to your brain, I am quite sure of it. But, I would do it all over, any of it, except maybe losing my luggage, in a heartbeat! 

          She lives in Uppsala, Sweden. The view from her, now former, apartment, was amazing! Remember that Cathedral in the background, we will be returning there later. Trust me, you want to stick around! 

          Wednesday August 10, we headed out 6am for Göteborg (For those that can't pronounce that, just say Gothenburg, its the same place) for Way Out West. For those that don't know what that is, think Coachella, only...better. (I have been to Coachella, so I can compare) 

          We stopped at Brahehus Castle. I love old castles, buildings, etc... so this was a well, everything on this trip. The castle was built in the 1640's and destroyed by fire in 1708. But the ruins, and the view, are amazing. 

Here, I will let you judge for yourself...

So, do we agree? Well, either way, we are moving on. 

          We got to Göteborg in time for lunch. And, even though I have been here a day and a half, I already love everything Swedish. So, put it in front of me and I will devour it...except Lutefisk...don't ask, just take my word for it. You DO NOT want it! 

          We checked in and, as all Swedes do, we walked...everywhere. No wonder people over there are in better shape. People walk and bike practically everywhere they do! We could take a few lessons from them. Oh and their portions are actual human sized, not monster sized. And quite satisfying. 

          Here are a few pictures of when we arrived in Göteborg...

          We then went to the festival site and got our wristbands for Way Out West. It was a thrill in itself, as I have been wanting to go there for years! (Maybe now I can go to Sundance? Maybe?) 

          Of course, when asked if I wanted to walk around, I said no...NOT! I have to say, Göteborg is probably a place I would love to live. Six hours from my beloved Stockholm, but hey, that is what the train is for! 

   I will just leave these here...

My favorite were the fountains and the Hard Rock Cafe

          I have to say, I miss breakfast in Sweden. Hey...that's catchy, maybe I could write a book one day with that title. (First I have to work on the other books I have in progress) 

          Just posting this makes my mouth water. All that is missing is soft boiled eggs and Kaviar. 

          Before heading to the first day of Way out West on August 11, we went on the Hop On Hop Off boat tour of Göteborg. It was so much fun. Under one bridge is a giant cheese grater...I won't tell you why, you just have to find out for yourself. 

          The first day of Way Out West was the best...because it rained the rest of the time, so I didn't really get any pictures. So I will post them all for you here: 

And I can't forget the after parties of Stay Out West... 

          Needless to say, yes, we still went to the festival in the rain. My mud soaked pink Converse are proof of that. It was a blast. But there was more to Göteborg than the festival and I intended to find out what that was. 

          Fish Church....yes, a church that was turned into a fish market. This was simply amazing. Just the smells walking in, made me hungry! There is a funny story to tell here, but it really isn't mine to tell. But I can say this, it started with the table next to us talking about Hammarby! 

          Which reminds me...Susanne still has my glass. But she is coming to see me in April, so...

          On Saturday, August 13, we went to Trädgårdsföreningen (better known as Botanic Gardens) And, for the first time since moving form Las Vegas, I saw Palm Trees. Yes, this is important! 

          FYI, if you are ever here and go to the Rose Garden for Fika...check the guestbook. I am sure, if you know me, you will find my contribution. 

          Sunday, August 14...yes, the day after the last day of Way Out West, it was a beautiful, sunny day...go figure... We took a ferry to an island on the side of the Atlantic (Hönö) I had never seen. It was amazing. Very cute and touristy. Kind of like where I grew up in Rhode Island. So...home. 

          Of course, we were headed home shortly, so we had to go to Liseburg. And when we got there? We HAD to ride the Helix. Since I can not put my near death experience into words, I will leave this here for your enjoyment: 

          But I do have a couple pictures, of course. 

Before we leave Göteborg, I forgot one thing...Brewdogs! And, since this is another thing I just can not put into words: 

          Tuesday, August 16, we went to The Royal Mounds At Gamla Uppsala. I can't put into words, the energy and awesomeness of these Viking mounds. It was so beautiful. As I said, I love history. Which is weird, I am sure, to my former teachers, since I sucked at history. I am just not good at memorizing dates. But bring me to history and I am all over that! 

          Beautiful isn't it? If you are my friend on Facebook, there are plenty more of this (and of all the things I did there) in albums. Enjoy! 

  Just throwing this in, in the middle of nowhere. If you are ever in Sweden, remember this place. It is the most important place in Sweden! I will give you a hint. What is in here, you can't buy in their grocery stores and it is closed on Sunday. 

After the Viking Mounds, it was time for me to get my 6th tattoo. A tribute to Hammarby but, as I say, not a Hammarby tattoo. 

          Wednesday, August 17, we went to meet Susanne's grandmother. I absolutely loved her. She was a tiny little Swedish woman that didn't speak a lick of English. But yet, we communicated with ease. She reminded me of my Nana, may she rest in piece. (I will also say, I met Susanne's 17 year old cousin who, upon seeing my oldest's picture, was quite impressed) 

We were too busy talking and having Fika, so I didn't get many pictures. But she gave my daughter a large Data Horse and a small one for me. 

Oh and just for the fun of it, here is a street near her grandmother. I was very amused. You can see why. 

See, told you! 

          On Thursday, August 18, I was willingly kidnapped and taken on a boat. I didn't know where we were headed until we got on the boat, in the Baltic Sea. We left Sweden and we docked in åland, between Sweden and Finland. Hey, I may have been able to get citizenship, if we had gotten off the boat...and if I have had proper documentation. 

Just putting this here...this is a Swedish breakfast to the max! 

We really have it all wrong in the States! 

 Oh, and...thank you for tax free, on-ship stores and the ability to take alcohol out of the country! 

          Friday, August 19, the night before we left for Stockholm and HAMMARBY! (Sorry, got a little excited there) We had a cookout with Susanne's step mother and her husband and Susanne's two brothers. 

          It was amazing :). 

          On Saturday, August 20, we left on the train for Stockholm. My first impressions of Stockholm, well, GORGEOUS! BEAUTIFUL! AMAZING! Need I say more? 

          We then went to the Swedish National History Museum. I wasn't overly impressed, but it was a great collection. 

          So, one of the above pictures is of something...interesting...can you figure it out?

          We then went shopping and had lunch in Gamla Stan. It was all twists and turns of shops, food and vendors. I loved going in to all the shops and seeing what they had to offer. I may have spent the majority of money here, well, this was the day before I went to Intersport...I spent my majority there, of course! 

Here are some random pictures from there: 

          We went to the Photography Museum, which was spectacular. Of course, I took no photos inside. But here is one of the outside! 

 get here, you have to do down a steep staircase. The thing is, to get back up, the quickest way, you have to go back UP that staircase...all 144 steps to the top. But, the view is spectacular! 

          This is the view from the top...the Stockholm Amusement Park. 

          After this, we met up with Susanne's sister. This is when the real fun of a night in Stockholm started! (IE Pub crawling!) 

We didn't drink here, but they did take me to the Skybar...33 stories above Stockholm. It was breathtaking! 

First place to drink, of course, was the Vampire Lounge...

Isn't this place amazing?! It was also the place I met my friends from Germany, who happened to be in Stockholm at the same time I was! Sadly, they had to leave. Susanne's brother in law was with us the rest of the night. 

We went to a few places, but my favorite, aside from the Vampire Lounge, of course, was Mosebacke. This is an amazing place, overlooking the harbor and Stockholm. There's an outside bar, plentiful seating and a nightclub. There is a party here every if you are here, make sure to go! Its kind of tucked away, so you may need to ask someone. 

Sorry, I didn't get many pics here. Was too busy having a blast! 

          The next day was Sunday, August 21, also known has HAMMARBY DAY! 

I had been waiting 3 years for this moment. 

The energy, the chanting, the singing and of course, THE WIN against Göteborg! (Sorry, not sorry Susanne!) 

There is NO way to explain the awesomeness of being in Tele2 Arena, so, once again, here are pictures! 

First, Intersport...I won't even tell you how much I spent here. And I wanted that $600 bike, REALLY bad! 

This bar, right next to Intersport, is amazing. Its all Green and White! 

PS. If you ever want to go to Stockholm and bar hop, or go to the Hammarby themed bars, DO NOT go to this! They were rude and kicked us out for NO reason! (And it seems they are not well liked, according to their Facebook page) 

You have been warned. 

          And then we took the subway near the stadium and, of course, walked the rest of the way. (I think I logged in 30,000 steps a day in the 2 weeks I was there! It was great!) 

          The stadium was massive and when I walked into it, it took my breath away. 

          Because it was raining, I decided I would forego Lily's Burger. I regret it, but hey, it's not like I can't go back again!! Lily's, I will get to you next time! I did go to Hard Rock Cafe before getting on the subway back to Uppsala, because I needed a pin and a shirt! 

Just a little sign I saw, outside a little cafe in Stockholm: 

How true is that?

          On Monday, August 22, the day before I would be leaving Sweden (sad face! Ugly tears!) We went to Uppsala Castle and Cathedral (The biggest one in Scandinavia!). 



Gorgeous, aren't they?! 

          To end my trip, before I went home and got ready to leave (sigh) we went to Sherlocks. I swear, the food in Sweden is just...superior! Yes, I love my In N Out...but I would trade that for anything I ate for the 2 weeks I was there, any day! 

Do you see what I see in my beer? I thought it was pretty hilarious! MEOW! 

And, on August 23, 2016 at 6am, I went home. 

Thank you Susanne for an amazing adventure! 

I can't wait until you get here in April. It may not be as splendid as Sweden, but I guess that is all perspective! 

Jag älskar dig Sverige!

Footnote: For those that know how close I a certain someone, I am still in mourning. Sigh. 

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