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Shop the New Olivia The Pig Collection at Gymboree!

**this post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

We are super excited to announce that, Gymboree introduces its exclusive Olivia The Pig collection, inspired by 15 years of Olivia’s fabulous adventures! Plus, Gymboree’s $16.99 and sale started last October 5.

Olivia for GymboreeimageAbout Olivia The Pig
Over the last 15 years, Olivia’s adventures have been adored by millions. Brought to life through author Ian Falconer’s award-winning book series, Olivia is celebrating her anniversary as one of the most precocious and beloved fictional characters by taking on her most exciting adventure to date: fashion designer. Olivia loves to dream big and stand out from the crowd. Now with this new collection, her fans can, too!

About Gymboree’s Olivia Collection
The new collection is available at all Gymboree stores and on gymboree.com in sizes 6-12 months up to 12 years (size 12 available online only). The coordinated looks and matching accessories are designed for a range of occasions, from dressy to everyday play, featuring fan favorites like her iconic red dress and bold stripe leggings, along with many original graphics and sweater pieces. You can visit gymboree.com/olivia to shop the collection, play dress-up with some of her favorite pieces, and follow all of Olivia’s fashionable adventures with Gymboree.

Two Ways to Save at Gymboree
Gymboree also has two amazing sales going on now: $16.99 & Under & 40% Off Dresses, Outerwear, and Shoes. Be sure to visit about these great deals, plus the new Olivia Collection, today!

Deal Links:

Don’t Miss the $16.99 & Under Sale Going On Now at Gymboree!

For a Limited Time Only, Get 40% Off Dresses, Outerwear, and Shoes at Gymboree!

Shop the New Olivia The Pig Collection at Gymboree!

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Your Wedding Budget: Five Steps to a Debt-Free, Dream Wedding

Your Wedding Budget: Five Steps to a Debt-Free, Dream Wedding

By Tim and Lisa Spooner

When we got engaged, we weren’t sure how we would afford our dream wedding. We had little in savings, a growing education loan, and no expectation of a handout from our parents who also had tight finances.

These five simple steps were key to our success in planning our dream wedding for just $2,000 in a community where couples spend on average over $24,000 on their weddings.


1. The Rules of the Game


We all love the challenge of an exciting game. The goal is always the same: To Win!


By understanding the rules of the game and applying our creative thinking and other skills, we can achieve victory.


The same is true of budgeting for a wedding. Fortunately, the rules are simple:


Find out how much you can afford to spend on your wedding. Plan your dream wedding, but don’t spend more than you can afford.


In our case, we were big winners. We played by the rules, which said not to spend more than $2,000 to plan our dream wedding.
Smart strategies led to a triumphant wedding day full of surreal beauty and the freedom of knowing that we were starting our married life without a penny of wedding debt.


2. Know How Much You Can Afford to Spend


To know how much you can spend, you should take a look at how much you both have in your savings accounts. Also, find out how much your parents can contribute to your wedding planning.


Consider how much you make each month. Also calculate your monthly expenses. You should also think about what your income and expenses will be once you are married.


The first few years of married life tend to be full of financial obstacles for most couples. So, you don’t want to add the heavy burden of wedding debt to your new life together. You may even want to have some extra money in savings to help your new life together get off on the right foot.


Also, consider how much money you will want to keep aside for your honeymoon.


3. Discover Your Magic Number


As you consider how much you can afford to spend, you will become more and more comfortable with spending a particular amount of money on your wedding. We were comfortable with spending $2,000 on our wedding. This was our magic number.


What is your magic number? Is it $10,000? …$5,000? …$500?


Do not be afraid of the number you discover. You will be surprised at how a bit of smart planning can make your dream wedding possible even though you can only spend a small amount of money.


Thousands of couples have been downloading our guide “Wedding Planning on a Budget” to discover tried and true strategies for planning their dream weddings at a price they can afford. Like them, you can follow
winning strategies to plan your dream wedding at a price you can afford.


The amount that you decide you can afford to spend on your wedding is your total wedding budget allowance.


4. Anticipate Where the Money Should Go


The best way to make sure that every part of your wedding is paid for without spending more than your wedding budget allows, is to assign portions of your allowance to different parts of your wedding. You can, for example, assign 50% of your total wedding budget allowance to your wedding reception, 10% to your wedding dress and other attire, and so on.


Wedding Planning on a Budget

Once you know how much you plan to spend on your reception, you can divide that money between the various components of the reception such as Room/Hall Fees, Tables and Chairs, Food, Drinks, Cake, Linens, Service Fees, Staff and Gratuities, Rentals, etc. Of course, you only have to apply money to the components you plan to include in your wedding.


You can use our free wedding budget spreadsheet that calculates all of these percentages for you and keeps track of all your planned spending and actual spending to help you stay on target. Our wedding budget planner is available at Wedding Planning on a Budget


5. Making Your Budget Do the Work for You


Now that you know how much you plan to spend on each item of your wedding, you can begin using some winning strategies and creative planning to acquire each item or service at the price your budget says you can afford to pay.


Before making any wedding purchase, first consult your budget to find out how much you can afford to pay. After the purchase has been made, record the actual cost of the purchase in your wedding budget.


If the actual price paid is less than what you had planned for, then you can afford to spend that much more on another item found on your wedding budget spreadsheet. If, however, you paid more than what you had planned for, then you must reduce what you can plan on spending for other items on your wedding budget.


In other words, the amount you actually pay for each item can be adjusted but make sure that all of the items end up totaling no more than your total wedding budget allowance.


You now know the rules of the game and how the game is played. With smart planning and by following some
proven strategies you can, like us, achieve the wedding of your dreams at a price you can comfortably afford. We wish you a very happy wedding planning experience and a beautiful, dream come true wedding day.


Get Our Money Saving Secrets for Your Dream Wedding!

Download “Wedding Planning on a Budget” to discover how Tim, Lisa, and other
couples have been saving thousands upon thousands of dollars on their dream weddings!


**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Teaching Letter Names and Sounds

Teaching Letter Names and Sounds

By: ChildrenLearningReading.com

So, you want to teach your child to read, but before a child can learn to read, he or she must first learn at least some of the letters in the alphabet, their names, and the sounds that they represent. To be able to read, a child must be able to recognize the letters, know the sound of the letters, and be able to recognize the letters quickly and say the sound without hesitation. There is plenty of discussion and disagreement on whether it’s better to teach children using whole language programs or using methods which incorporate phonics and phonemic awareness instructions. I think the debate on this is settled when the National Reading Panel stated from their findings of reviewing over 1,900 studies that phonics and phonemic awareness produces superior reading results than whole language programs.

There is also some debate on whether to teach your child only letter names, or only the sounds which the letters represent. However, studies have also settled this debate by finding that teaching a child alphabet names and sounds together produces the best results. In fact, studies have found that there is little value in teaching preschoolers letter forms or letter sounds separately. This was indicated by an Australian study involving 76 preschool children. The children received 6 weeks of training in either letter awareness, phonemic awareness, or control tasks, and then received another 6 weeks of training in either letter-sound correspondence or control tasks. The study found that training in either phoneme or letter awareness assisted with learning of letter-sound correspondences, and that the phonemically trained children group had an advantage on recognition tasks. The study found that there is little value in training in letter form or letter sounds separately. [1]

As you can see, there is basically no point in only teaching either the names of the alphabet letters, or the sounds the letters make. A child must learn the name and the sound of the alphabet letter. When teaching your child the alphabet, instead of simply teaching them the name of the alphabet such as “this is the letter A”, teach them like so:

“This is the letter A, and the letter A makes the /A/ sound.” (note: the /A/ denote the sound “A” makes, and not its name). Similarly, you can teach your child the other alphabet letters in this way including both name and sound of the letter. This is the way I teach my children the alphabet letters. Other studies have also determined that teaching the letter names and sounds together helped children learn.

58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results in that it found children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included cues to their sounds. [2]

To be able to effectively teach your children the sounds of letters, you must first master the proper pronunciation of the letters yourself. It is critical for you as a parent to be able to first say the sounds of the letters correctly before teaching your children, and this is much tougher than it may seem.

>> Click here to learn more about our simple program that will show you step-by-step how to effectively teach your child to read

Notes:

1. J Exp Child Psychol. 2009 Sep;104(1):68-88. Epub 2009 Mar 5.
The genesis of reading ability: what helps children learn letter-sound correspondences?
Castles A, Coltheart M, Wilson K, Valpied J, Wedgwood J.
Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.

2. J Exp Child Psychol. 2010 Apr;105(4):324-44. Epub 2010 Jan 25.
Learning letter names and sounds: effects of instruction, letter type, and phonological processing skill.
Piasta SB, Wagner RK.
Preschool Language and Literacy Lab, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.