Saturday, December 29, 2012

100 Day Challenge




My piano students have just been issued the 100 day challenge!  I'm excited because I always see amazing progress occur during this time and the months afterward.  The challenge is for my students to practice their instrument 100 days in a row without missing one day.  This is a huge commitment on both the parents and the students.  As they do this they are establishing a habit in their life and finding that they can do hard things.

There is something about setting a goal and sticking to it that is so exciting and rewarding!  The new year is a great time to do this.  I'm always saddened to hear of all the people that say, "I'm not going to set any new years resolutions, because I don't keep them."  Aren't we all trying suppose to improve our lives over time.  And what a better time then a new year.

It doesn't need to be practicing an instrument, it could be saying your prayers, scripture study, exercise, cleaning your room, Saying "I love you" to your spouse or children, any thing we would like to change in your life.  If you do something for 100 days it will become a habit!  So why not set a goal and do 100 consecutive days of something.  Give yourself motivation by setting up an awesome reward that makes you excited to do it.  Here is a link to our tally sheet.  If you have trouble opening this put your e-mail in my comments and I will send you the excel file.  Be sure to put your tally sheet in a prominent place in your home so you will always see it.  You should also share your goal with someone you love to keep you in check.  Challenge them to set a goal to and you can help each other.

All my children are doing the 100 days of practicing.  I on the other had am doing 100 days of personal scripture study and personal prayer.  We are going to put our tally sheets in the dining room so we can see it at every meal.  This will remind us all to do our tasks.

I challenge you to make it a family affair and talk with your kids about what habit they would like to establish in their life this year.  I'd love to hear about your challenges,  Good Luck!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's not about the pants

Front View - Kelsey - Navy


After hearing about this wearing pants at church day.  It has bothered me enough that I need to say my two cents on the issue.  Hear Goes:
This Sunday a new feminist group has made an event called "Wear Pants to Church Day."  They believe women should wear what they would like and feel compelled to wear a dress or skirt.  Stephanie Lauritzen is the founder of a a new feminist group called "All Enlisted".  She claims women are not treated equal in the church and changes need to happen.  This event is only the beginning of events according to Lauritzen.  She says in an interview, "We planned “Wear Pants to Church” Day to raise awareness and visibility: to allow Mormon feminists to say, “We’re here, we’re all in this together, and we’re ready to work to make the Church better. We’re faithful. We’re serving. We’re ready to work.” We also wanted a gentle first step—the action doesn’t even break any LDS Church rules."  Later she says, "I am amazed at just how eager Mormons are to profess their faith and their hope for a better Church at the same time. There are so many really earnest, very devout people who do see room for improvement in how our religion is run"

The comment that we aren't even breaking any LDS Church rules,  Does that mean the next action will?  I find the comment that she sees that our church needs improvement on how the religion is run a dangerous statement. Dangerous in the sense that when we make actions to prove that we are right and the church is wrong we could be heading down a spiritual downward spiral.  

As a member of the church I have a testimony that the church is run by our Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus, who I believe has the best in mind for all of his children, men and yes even women.  Women and Men are different and the more that women try to take over men's role the more they lose the divine part of us that makes us unique, beautiful and special.  Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.” Eternal principles are the scaffolding the Church provides. These eternal principles are embedded in the doctrines of the kingdom of God and are reflected in His eternal plan of happiness. We meet as members of the Church to teach and learn from each other the principles of righteousness and to receive saving ordinances so the scaffolding is steady and stable as we build our eternal families."  (as quoted in Elder L. Tom Perry's talk) Our leaders of the church are only following Christ and as a church member I am so grateful for that knowledge that they have the keys to lead and guide us.

Sister Sheri L. Dew, who served as a counselor in the general Relief Society presidency, counseled, "Sister, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged.  They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman.  We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge 'armed' with power.  The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all the righteous against the powers of darkness.  Most significantly, the fullness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together."  (pg 128 of Daughter in My Kingdom)

I am so grateful for my knowledge that I am a child of God who is loved and important.  I know that any calling in the church I have is very valuable.  Just as women have the privilege and responsibility to rear and raise children and serve in the church, men have the privilege and responsibility of the priesthood.  I'm grateful for that!  The Priesthood is the sacred power of God given as a gift to bless and strengthen us.  The Proclamation of the Family states clearly the individual roles of men and women as they pertain to our existence here on earth.  When I read that, the spirit confirms my importance of my role.  I am equally important!  Two more quotes to end on that are awesome:

President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) said, “Without the devotion and absolute testimony of the living God in the hearts of our mothers, this Church would die.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled the women of the Church:

“It is so tremendously important that the women of the Church stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord. …

“We call upon the women of the Church to stand together for righteousness. They must begin in their own homes. They can teach it in their classes. They can voice it in their communities.” (both quoted in Pres. Uchtdorf's talk "The influence of righteous women."

I pray we will stand strong and immovable in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That this strength will encourage our children and all around us to be more like Christ.  What will I be wearing to church this Sunday?  I will wear my most feminine dress I own and that's for sure!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kindergarten Ready: 2. Learning the Alphabet




Part of getting ready for school is learning the alphabet.  Knowing the letters are important.  I've heard some say that preschoolers don't need to know their letters before kindergarten, but I think it is harder for those who don't know their letters.  They seem to struggle later on more with reading.

There are a lot of fun (key with preschoolers) ways to learn the alphabet, here is some ways I've tried.

1.  Have a letter for the week or day depending on how long they need to learn it.  Have them carry a letter in their pocket.  They are the babysitter for that letter.  Throughout the day you can ask them if they still have their letter and what it's called.  As you read with them point out that letter throughout the book.  Think of words with that letter.

2.  Alphabet Flashcards.  There are so many games you can play with a simple deck of alphabet cards.  I would suggest getting two of the same kind so you can play games like, go fish, and memory with them.  You can also play a hide and seek game with them.  As they find the letter they tell you the name.

3.  Sing the Alphabet Song--Be sure to pronounce the fast letters clearly,  L M N O P.  Those seem to get lumped all together in their mind.

4.  Alphabet Bingo--Just learning to identify the letter on a bingo card is great progress.  Later you can just say a letter name and they can practice finding the letter without the visual cue card.

5.  Learning a musical Instrument:  This really helped my daughter to learn her letter quickly.  Pairing the name of the letter with a musical note helped her conceptionalize it.  You only get A-G but it's a start.

6.  Magnets on the fridge:  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and by having letters on the fridge I could help teach letters while I'm cooking and cleaning.  They can also start forming sounds and words by putting the letters together.

7.  Letter Associations:  I have a puzzle with the letters on it.  Each has a picture with something that starts with that letter.  This really helps pair sounds with the letters.  You can do this with alphabet picture books too.  I would suggest buying the Dr Seuss ABC book and read it often.

8.  Ipad/phone games:  We have found some fun Ipad games that teach the alphabet.  There are a lot of apps to choose from.  One I like is Monkey Preschool Lunchbox by THUP

9.  Computer Games:  I love abcya.com.  This website is for all ages because once you get to the home page you can click what grade your child is in and then the game appropriate for that age comes up.

10.  Upstart:  Free At home preschool program.  It's hard to get in but worth the effort. (If you have an upcoming preschooler go today and register!) Two of my kids have had the opportunity to participate and it is wonderful.  It goes through the entire alphabet and doesn't move on to the next level until your child has mastered it.  The music in the the program is catchy and fun and helps the children to remember the concepts.  Can't say enough good about it.  You have to be in Utah to participate in the free program.  But they do have product available for purchase which I would highly recommend.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Dinner Menu Plan Revolution

What's for dinner mom?

I'm finally recovered from not having our dinner group.  Check out the link for more info on that idea.    It was just so nice to have one meal of the week to worry about.  But alas I now enjoy cooking dinner daily on a much smaller scale.
Before a couple months ago, I would spend an hour or two writing in the dinners I wanted to cook for that month.  This was a monthly project and took too much time!  So I decided to try a monthly calendar that doesn't change.  To choose the meals, I started by asking each of my kids, what dinners they enjoy the most.  I put that into the menu plan then I asked my husband to choose some of his favorites.  Then I plugged in other meals we enjoy and whalla I had a monthly plan that has been working for a few months now.  I love not having to guess what we are going to eat.  We are eating a variety of meals and ones that my kids enjoy and eat.  I thought I would get tired of the same meals but I'm really not.  I planned six weeks.  The meals that are on those first and sixth weeks don't always get made depending on what day of the week starts the month out.  So figure that in, maybe some of your not so favorite meals here or ones that take more care.  I also allow for flexibility depending on time I have to cook and what is available in my pantry.  Here is a link to view our dinner meals.  It may just give you an idea for your next dinner creation.  Happy Cooking!  Remember "All great change in America begins at the dinner table".  Ronald Reagan


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kindergarten Ready: 1. Reading



My baby is less then a year from starting Kindergarten and that pretty scary!  I feel like I'm getting old but also it's really sad how fast the time goes.  I've been really reflecting lately on what things I can do as a mom to prepare her for school.  I'm going to several posts each one a different idea.
The first one is Reading.

Of all the things my older kids have needed in their tool belt that I feel has helped or hindered them the most is their ability to read.  Each child is different in how fast they have caught on to reading.  I see it with my preschoolers everyday.  Some have a knack for it and catch on really quick.  Others are slower to understand.  Regardless of how fast they catch if they capture the love of reading then you have it made!  Here's some ideas:

1.  Read to them everyday.  Start when they are babies.  Make it part of their routine.  I like to read at nap time, bedtime, read scriptures as a family in the morning.  So reading is just part of their regular day.  My four year old is now reading me one book a day and then I read her one book a day.  We have started the I see sam series.  It is very simple and helps early readers be successful quickly.  With my preschool I use the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" by Engelmann.  A very comprehensive reading approach that I also really like.  
2.  Have many books at home   These don't have to be books you buy they can be library books. It can be the newspaper, or magazines.   Just having reading material around to use will foster a love of reading.
3.  Read yourself.  If you take the time to read a good book then your children will more likely also want to experience this joy.  As a busy mom, I know how hard it is to find time to read.  I like to have a few books I'm reading at the same time.  It drives my husband crazy sometimes.  =)  But I will put one in the bathroom, one by my bed, I like take one in the car when I'm waiting for the kids to come out from school.  If the books are around they are more likely to be read.
4.  Read together as a family.  When we travel in the summer we like to find a good book to read together in the car.  I would like to say we do that year round but we don't and I think that would be awesome.  We have started the "Lion Witch and the Wardrobe" series by CS Lewis.  
5.  Have your older kids read the books before the movie program.  We made a deal with the kids that if there was a movie they wanted to watch and it was based on a book, they had to read the book first before they watched the movie.  This has been a really great motivator.   We have limits on ratings because there are some that are rated PG-13 that we don't want them to see.  
6.  Scripture Reading.  Our first grader has improved so much this year on reading and I believe a lot has to do with family scripture study.  She reads one verse a day and she is sounding out some big words and it's been fun to see her confidence grow.  To help everyone following a long.  After everyone has read one or two verses we alternate by only reading to a punctuation mark.  Sometimes you only get to read one word and then it passes on to the next person.  Everyone has to pay attention or you get lost and it's your turn.  It's a lot of fun and it helps to keep the focus.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Devotional-Family Tradition



Tonight is the First Presidency Christmas Devotional Broadcast.  The Broadcast begins at 6:00 pm.  Ever since I was a little girl I remember watching this Christmas Devotional and it was a wonderful way to begin the Christmas Season.  Hearing Beautiful Christmas messages and music brings the spirit of Christmas in your heart and home.  I hope you can make time to watch the devotional with your family this year.  You don't have to watch it tonight, the great thing about the internet is it will be available to watch at your convenience.  It would make a great Family Home Evening.

Broadcast.lds.org will offer live video of the devotional in 16 languages—American Sign Language, Cantonese, Cebuano, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, and Tongan—and live audio in several languages. These video and audio files will be archived on broadcast.lds.org shortly after the broadcast.

Live audio and video of the devotional will also be available in English and Spanish on mormonchannel.org.

Various broadcast, cable, satellite, and Internet television stations and broadcast, satellite, and Internet radio stations throughout the world will also carry the devotional. Check local program listings for availability in your area, or visit mormonchannel.org or byubroadcasting.org.

The First Presidency Christmas Devotional will also be broadcast or rebroadcast over the Church satellite system in more than 50 languages. Check with local leaders for more details.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Finished the Book of Mormon!




We finished the Book for Mormon as a family this week!  What a great feeling it is.  We talked with the kids about Moroni's challenge and said this is for you.  Our three oldest children resolved to pray about the Book to find out for themselves if it is correct.  It was a really spiritual scripture study as we bore our testimonies of how important these words are.  We decided that we would begin it again because in the introduction it says:  "Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

We are going to celebrate by going to the JumpZone.  It's a new Trampoline Park.  We have never been but have heard it is a lot of fun for kids and families.  

I'm grateful for my parents starting this tradition of reading scriptures as a family and then celebrating through a fun activity together.  Thanks mom and dad!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stop the Yelling!

With the kids downstairs I am finding myself yelling down the stairs for them to come up to eat dinner, read scriptures, clean up the kitchen, whatever.  So we started a couple new things to eliminate a few of the daily hollering.

1.  When it's time for scripture study, I start playing a hymn on the piano.  I do an introduction and then begin playing and singing the hymn.  We do all the verses and then scripture study begins.  It works like magic and my kids are learning the hymns.  We use to choose any random hymn but this week we started with hymn 1 and are going to work through the entire book.

2.  We got a dinner bell!  It's also magic.  I ring it and they all come running.  I will also ring it when it's time to set the table so I can get a little help.   Love the dinner bell.  Oh it works for breakfast and lunch too!  =)



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Breaking the Silence

I've had a moment (about 3 months now) where I just couldn't post anything.  I guess I've been feeling like not such a great mom so how could I write about something I was failing at.  I also was comparing myself to other amazing women and mothers out their and I felt like I was falling short.  I'm not feeling that much better but I've realized I've missed the emotional outlet that writing about parenting is for me.  I'm not a perfect mom by any means.  The truth is I'm struggling to be a good mom and as I find something I think may work for the moment I want to exclaim it so maybe it may help someone just like me.
Thanks for reading and I hope you can find some gems that may help you and I am resolved to find my voice again and write about what I love, Motherhood.

Friday, August 24, 2012

What do you live for?


My friends cousin Alisa is battling cancer and she wrote a beautiful post on what we really should be living for.   The old magic that Roars.   Please take a minute to read this, it is very thought provoking!  She references this song by Celine Dion called "Live for the One I love."
I hope when we as parents make decisions that we remember who we love.  The decisions we make not only effect us but they effect our children.  Really the things that matter in life is those we love so why not spend more time giving to them and being apart of their lives.  One of my favorite lines in this song is "Give, Asking nothing in return."  Mothers and Fathers do this everyday.  I'm so grateful to be a mother of four beautiful children.   It amazes me at the things I learn just by being with them.  I can't imagine what it would feel like to know you might be dying within a few months.  I know I would hold my loved ones close.  Thank you Alisa for reminding me where my priorities should be.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade School Lunch

Two different ice packs.  The turtle I got at All a Dollar.
This was my neighbors awesome lunch! 


Pudding not recommended.  It worked in one but in my sons lunch it exploded into the other compartments.  
My neighbor sent her boy over with his lunch and I just loved his compact lunch.  I took a picture and went online to find these great containers.  They are made by Ziplock and work perfect for my kids' school lunch.  One compartment is perfect for their sandwich and then two compartments for sides.  You have to be careful with liquid because they are not perfectly air tight and I had pudding get all over once so I wouldn't recommend pudding or jello.  These Ziplock containers have fit perfectly in the rectangle lunch boxes.  I got mine online at drugstore.com.  I try to make my kid's lunch simple and healthy.  It can be a challenge to keep things fresh until lunch so I try to put an ice pack to help keep it cool.  If you have any great tips or ideas for me.  I would love that!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flash Drive Giveaway


This is my chance to win a free flash drive and an e-book to help mom's with some back-to-school tips.  
Visit here for your chance to win.  USB memory direct is the company.  Here is there message about the giveaway.  

As a family-oriented company, and we know how hectic being a mom can be any day of the year. We wanted to provide a back-to-school giveaway for all of the fantastic moms out there, to give them something unique and useful. We also believe in children experiencing enriching and healthy childhoods.
So, we decided to give moms something that would hopefully make their lives a little bit easier, but also help their children succeed in school, participate in rich and creative activities, and enjoy nutritious snacks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free Slurpee Day- 7/11

Pumpkin enjoying her Slurpee!
Take a ride to a 7-11 today and get a free Slurpee.  They have a new flavor Lemon Creme that is so yummy!  This is a fun summer tradition.  I sure love the cool treat on a hot summer day.

Homemade Granola Bars the kids will love

cooked peanut butter granola bars
Dry Ingredients



Granola Bars at the store are so convenient but overpriced and I'm not so sure of what is in them is what we really need or want.  So I really like to make my own granola Bars and wrap them up individually in saran wrap and it's an easy snack for kids.  Here is two recipes I really like.  What I love about granola and granola bars is you really vary it to your own tastes and add other nuts, seeds, fruits to make it your own.  I like to experiment with it and get my kids input and help on the creations.  It's fun!

Honey Fruit Granola Bars
4 cups oats (I like traditional but you can use Quick also)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 nuts (you pick your fav)
1 cup fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberry, dates)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
Combine oats, nuts and raisins in a large bowl; mix well and set aside. Combine honey, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat and boil 1 minute.Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss until well blended.  Spread Granola onto Parchment lined 8 1/2 X 11 cake pan.  Compact down by spreading wax paper over and pressing with hands on wax paper.  Remove wax paper and  Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until lightly browned;  Cool.  Once cooled to room temperature cut and wrap in saran wrap.  Stays good for about 2 weeks.




Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
3 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup nuts (my favorite is almonds)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (divided)


Mix the oats, nuts, coconut, seeds and 1 cup of chips together in a bowl.  Heat the oil, maple syrup, and honey until warm then pour over the nut mixture and toss to coat.  Line 8 1/2 X 11 Cake pan with Parchment paper.  Spread 1/2 cup of Chocolate Chips on the bottom and portion butter on top top of chips.  Spread Granola onto Parchment lined 8 1/2 X 11 cake pan.  Compact down by spreading wax paper over and pressing with hands on wax paper.  Remove wax paper and  Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until lightly browned;  Cool.  Once cooled to room temperature cut and wrap in saran wrap.  Stays good for about 2 weeks.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
3 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup peanuts
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (separated)
1 cup peanut butter
Mix the oats, wheat germ, nuts, 1 cup of chocolate chips in bowl together.  Heat up oil, maple syrup, and honey until warm then add vanilla and peanut butter.  Pour mixture  and toss to coat. Line 8 1/2 X 11 Cake pan with Parchment paper.  Spread Granola onto Parchment lined 8 1/2 X 11 cake pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top and compact down by spreading wax paper over and pressing with hands on wax paper.  Remove wax paper and  Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until lightly browned;  Cool.  Once cooled to room temperature cut and wrap in saran wrap.  Stays good for about 2 weeks. 



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Encompass Family Camp-Camp Bartlett

Canoeing on Family Night
Dad in his uniform with his girls

We just had the most incredible family experience!  Have you ever heard of Encompass Family Camp?  I hadn't before this year but it was amazing.  My hubby did the scout training, Woodbadge.  You can do woodbadge at many different camps but we decided to all go up to camp with him.  He was busy with classes for the majority of the days and nights but we ate most meals with him and he slept every night in our tent but one night he had with his woodbadge fellows.  Camp started Monday Morning and ended Saturday Afternoon.  This was a long time to be away from home and it felt like we left the world for a while and now we are trying to catch up with the swirling world around us.
While he was being trained on being a good leader all of us were busy with our own groups.  They had age appropriate activities with several leaders for each age group.  As a spouse, I even had my own group and we got to participate as well.  Some of the fun things we did was:
Horseback riding, Rappelling at the Paris Ice Caves, Shot gun shooting, Rifile Shooting, Archery, River Rafting, Several arts and crafts projects, games, singing, Angry Bird shooting, Hiking, Face painting, movie night, swimming, canoeing, boating and more.
All my kids want to go back next year because they enjoyed it so much.  What I loved is meals were provided so I didn't have to worry about bringing 7 days of meals, clean up, and prep work.  I made some incredible friends with other moms and dads who were in the spouse group because we had so much in common.  Because all my kids were with their groups having experiences it allowed me the freedom to also enjoy the experiences with the spouces group.  The Camp Bartlett Staff was amazing.  These teenagers know how to work hard, be leaders, interact with other people, and have tons of fun without electronics.  My boys want to go back again as staff someday.  I would be totally supportive of it.  You don't get a ton of money but it's the character building you come back that is the payoff.
Peanut loved her leaders, they were so sweet to her and every time she saw them around camp she ran up to say hi.  Pumpkins favorite experience was seeing a squirrel being chased by a deer on the trail.  Pickles favorite experience was shooting the bow and arrow.  Popcorn wants to do NYLT when he is a little older.  Both of my scouts passed off numerous (months worth) of scout requirements!  The family memories and friends we made will stay with us forever!  Someday I'll have to have my hubby tell about his amazing experience in Woodbadge.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Random Thought

This is just a random thought I had recently.  It's been over a year now since we have had no TV.  At first it was a devastation because we could always get at least some local stations from our little antenna and then our large antenna we put on our house.  But at our new house get got nothing.  I think we have a black hole for TV here so we decided not to pursue it after a couple attempts.  I have not really missed it and the kids have stopped complaining about it have have found other things to do with their spare time.  I haven't missed...
1.  Commercials, especially at Christmas time.  It seems like the kids would change their Christmas wish lists after every Saturday because they saw a new toy they just had to have.
2.  I don't miss having to watch a show at a certain time of the day
One draw back is when the kids go to Grandma's house they are so excited to watch TV. But I'm not sure if that really changed from before.
Well I got to go because I really want to watch a movie on Hulu.  Hey isn't that really TV?  I guess we really haven't been without TV have we.  Hummmmmm??


Monday, July 2, 2012

Ipad for Education Only

I have been enjoying my new I pad that my hubby got me for mother's day.  The rule on my I pad is only educational apps can be added to it.  If a game was on their that wasn't educational, then guess what game the kids would be playing when you asked them to practice their spelling.
So we really didn't get to use it all that much before school got out but the time we did was amazing.  It made spelling test practice so much easier.  I have some really fun Apps that I researched before purchasing and I have really enjoyed.  I would also appreciate anyone who finds other great apps (that is educational of course) and could share.

Math:  Math Ninja-Great game!  Free but we bought the upgrade because it was so great.  The kids love to play it and it quizzes them on math facts before they can go to the next level.  Does subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division.  My 11 year old has got past level 19 and he said it was too easy but it has been great for my 9 and 6 year old.

Spelling:  Spellosaur-  $3.99--Worth every penny!  I can't say enough about this app.  I love it!  You can enter in your spelling lists, record your voice or use the programmers voice.  We use this for phonograms for our Kindergartner as well. It helped all our kids get so much better grades in spelling for the last month of school.  I'm excited to use it all year next year.

Music:  My Note Games-  OK this was the most expensive app I have bought so far.  It has also been worth every penny.  I got this game because our flute teacher highly recommended it.  It has been so good for all our kids' note reading.  You can play different instruments and set up multiple students on it.  It tracks their progress and tests them according to their level.  You can even do voice.  It has been amazing!  I would recommend getting all the entire game package.

Flashnote Derby- This is another note reading game.  You can select as many notes as the student can do.  It's fun and challenging.  Horse racing--I think it's just cute!

If you are interested in other music games check out Rebecca's App Reviews at:  http://musicianswithapps.com/  She does a great job at reviewing music games.

If you are interested in more educational games:  Check out http://appsforhomeschooling.com/


Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer a Time to Read



Our family has been enjoying the slower pace of summer.  One of our favorite things to do is to read.  Because we still have a young one who naps everyday we all have a quiet hour in the afternoon to read and rest.  It is a great time to get some good reading time indoors when it's really hot outside.  We also picked up a few books on tape to take with us while we are traveling in the car.  They kids really have liked this and it makes the travel go by faster.  The great thing about summer is there is many reading incentive programs to help sweeten the reading experience.

1.  Every public library I know of has a summer reading program with fun prizes and give-a-ways.  Check for details at your nearest library.  Our library even has an adult program.
2.  Utah Governors Reading Program.  (last year we got free meals to McDonald's, and Chuck-a-Rama mailed to us after the summer program was complete)  The goal is to read 20 minutes a day.
3.  Utah State Fair 2012 Read and Win Program-The Program is for children ages 6-12 years and they need to completely read 10 books to qualify for a Free admission to the State Fair.  They also get a free ride, and lemonade.

If you know of any other reading programs.  Please post them in comments to share with others.  OK lets find a good book and read today!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paracord Summer Project


My son, Popcorn, is making and selling Paracord Survival Bracelets.  These have a really nice black clasp on them.  He sells them for $5 a piece.  You can buy a premade one or he can take requests for your favorite color schemes.  The colors are:  lime green, rainbow, pink, purple, dark blue, Pink/Purple Mix.  You can do up to three colors in a bracelet.  They make great gifts.  This is his summer project, if you are interested let me know.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Eight cow woman deserves an Eight cow man



I got this great book from my Grandma Jean and my husband and I really liked it.  It talks about the important aspects of a trusting relationship.  Have you heard of the Johnny Lingo Story?  I remember watching the video in Sunday School when I was a girl.  Its a beautiful story.  This book takes that idea and makes the 8 cows that Johnny offers 8 essential qualities you need to have to make a strong relationship.  This book can be for married couples, dating or engaged couples, or someone single looking to start a good relationship.  The book is great but you can also get a start by going to the website and signing up for the 8 tips for a successful relationship.  You get one tip a day sent to your e-mail.
A strong relationship between husband and wife can really make your children feel secure, safe and happy. I really hope that for all children so lets all .   I don't think there is anyone that can say they have a perfect marriage.  But I believe we can always work to make our marriages better, how do we do that, we have to do it from within ourselves.  We are the only one that we can change!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Energy Drinks



Our school principal recently sent out a letter to the parents warning that energy drinks will not be permitted on school campus.  I was happy to see this because I believe they are dangerous and addicting.  The principal said  these drinks can be incredibly dangerous especially combined with certain foods or medications.
Right now there is not a lot research on energy drinks and the dangers.  But what research has been done confirms what I already believe, that Energy Drinks are a bad idea, especially for children and teens.
A report done in Feb 2011 in the journal Pediatrics suggests that energy drinks can be particularly unsafe for children who have ADHD, heart conditions, and diabetes.  In the article it sites pediatricians getting concerned  because children were coming to the hospital because they were sick after drinking energy drinks.  Part of the problem is parents didn't know the difference between energy drinks and sport drinks.  These are completely different products.  Sport drinks are for hydrating and energy drinks are for stimulating an artificial energy in your body.
Because drinks are categorized as dietary supplements, the FDA does not regulate the drinks at all.  This is very concerning to me.  Health Officials have been tracking health effects of energy drinks since 2002.  They have seen adverse effects such as liver damage, racing heart rate, seizures, respiratory disease, and even death.
For me if you need energy why don't you try getting more sleep, exercise, eating healthier.  Research shows short cuts to better health, weight loss just don't work so why would a quick 5 hour energy drink be good for you?  I just don't "buy" it!


Monday, April 30, 2012

The Presidents Challenge




For those of you that don't know, I am a Biggest Loser fan.  A couple weeks ago on the biggest loser the contestants were able to meet Michelle Obama at the White House.  I thought it was pretty cool.  The first lady is way into physical fitness and has an initiative to fight childhood obesity.  Part of her initiative it called, "Let's Move."  She is encouraging all of us to get more physically active.  The Presidents Challenge is for anyone who is would like to get healthier through exercise and eating more healthy.  The website that's listed below has amazing resources for families, teachers, and individuals to be successful.  This would be a great challenge to embark for you and all your school age children who will be home this summer.  To participate in the Presidents Challenge click on the link below and get started on a healthier you.

https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/active/index.shtml

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fascinating Womanhood





Yes, this is an old book.  The book was first published in 1962 and were inspired by booklets that were published in the 1920's.  I actually borrowed it from my mom's book shelf and was "Fascinated" by it's title... Fascinating Womanhood  After I started reading it I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed the book and found it very enlightening and applicable to my own life and relationship with my husband.  I was looking for things about the book online and found really negative things written about the book.  It encourages woman to stay at home and be mothers and put your husband and family first instead of career and this gets all kinds of women upset.  She uses many quotes from the bible in reference to woman's role.  I found it interesting that you can still take classes.  It looks like now all classes are taught online.    This may be a hard book to get your hands on, if you have trouble you may want to check your mom's or grandma's book shelves.  This is what the book on the back cover says this book will tell you:

  •  How to become an ideal woman
  • What men find fascinating in women
  • How to understand men
  • How to bring out the best in your husband
  • How to react when a man is thoughtless, unfair or negligent
  • How to arouse his deepest feelings of love and tenderness
  • How to gain true happiness in marriage


Some pretty big ideals but the thing I learned most from this book is that this doesn't come from changes you hope your spouse will make, it all starts with you.  That's really where you can only start is if you want change it's got to start with yourself.  Just like many self help book, I didn't agree with every part of this book but I found it very interesting and I could see things that I could do better to respond better when I'm upset with my husband.  Some of my favorite parts were the many testimonials of woman who had used some of the ideas to improve their relationship.  Most I found very enlightening.  I will warn you, there are some very old fashioned ideas in this book but you see, I think in spirit, I'm a bit old fashioned too.

Here are a few quotes from the book.

A man wants a woman who will place him at the top of her priority list--not second, but first.  Being placed in an inferior position can cause the man to form bitter resentments towards his wife and even his children.

Accept your husband at face value and admire his masculinity.  Although admiration is all important to a man, it will not be appreciated unless it is accompanied by acceptance.  If you admire him in some ways but are critical of him in others, it will be like serving him a piece of moldy pie and trying to disguise it by putting whipped cream on top.  You will have to accept the total man before your admiration will be well received.  

The greatest joy in a man is in being a hero to the woman he loves.  This is all important to him in so much that if he does not receive her praise, he can be painfully disappointed.  And yet how many heroes have been honored everywhere except at home?  A man may work for years to earn an educational degree only to have his wife fail to comment, or if she does, it is more with the attitude "it's about time"  Or, if she receives the news that her husband has received an award for meritorious service, she acts as though any other man could have done as well.  Or imagine how painful for her to esteem some other man as a hero such as a brother, father, or man in the community.  Although modest comments about other men are proper, it would be a mistake for a woman to be overly enthusiastic about another man's accomplishments.

Inner happiness is a quality of spirit which must be earned by a victory over our weaknesses and an upward reach for the perfection of our character.  It is like swimming upstream.  It is found in the great efforts and achievements of life and in faithful devotion to duty.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

100 Day Contest

Do you have a habit that you would like to make?  Try starting a 100 day contest.  We were challenged by two of our music teachers to practice instruments for 100 days without missing one day.  This was tried last year but we missed a day and didn't get to the 100 days.  This year all the kids decided they wanted to make it.  This required much work from both kids and mom!  One night we got home late from visiting family and remembered we hadn't practiced so we did it before bed.  What made this successful?


1.  Had a great reward at the end of the contest
2.  All the kids wanted to do it and when they didn't want to practice we just had to remind them of how far they had come and what was at the end of the days
3.  Made a chart for them to track their progress
4.  Had a daily reminder on my calendar so it was on the fore front of my mind.
5.  Sunday's -we took a little break by doing recitals instead of full practice sessions

You could apply this to any habit you want your child to get better at such as:

  • Scripture Study
  • Prayer
  • Cleaning your Room
  • Brush Teeth

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Children's Vitamins-Do they really need these?



We have been going through some major struggles over taking our vitamins in the morning.  The kids love their Fluoride pills but loath taking their multi-vitamins.  I find them in the garbage, hidden under the table, or just left on their plates.  All of my children hate taking them because they are "gross."  So I've been wondering if they really need them?
I have always thought that taking vitamins is really good and healthy so that's what I've done.  After reading some articles I have seen online (links are within), I'm wondering if it's all that necessary.  A study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, suggests that many parents may believe that multivitamins provide children with extra nutrients they might not be getting in their everyday diets. However, there is no solid evidence that taking a multivitamin improves a child's health.
The consensus I hear is if your child is getting a balanced diet there is no need for a multivitamin.  Children don't really need large amounts of vitamins and minerals.   Their are so many foods now that are already supplemented with extra vitamins like milk, cereal, orange juice, fruit snacks, etc. that these can help.  I can see if your child is extremely picky but if they are growing and are healthy they may not have nutritional deficiencies.

I guess I don't want the battle in the morning so I'm leaning towards getting rid of the vitamins.  I also hate to buy something if it's not doing that much good anyway.  Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Saving CeeCee Honeycutt



I just finished a wonderful novel.   This was a pure luxury when I could sit down and read this book.  Here is a couple quotes that I really loved.
  • That's what friends should do. cherish the good and pretend not to notice the harmless rest.
  • Life don't wait for nobody, and even as special as you are, it ain't gonna wait for you, neither. So it's time to make up your mind that you're gonna join it.
  • Don't grow up to fast, darling. Age is inevitable, but if you nurture a childlike heart, you'll never ever grow old.
  • People is wise cause they get out in the world and live.  Wisdom comes from experience--from knowin' each day is a gift and accepting it with gladness.  You read a whole lot of books, and readin' sure has made you smart, but ain't no book in the world gonna make you wise.
  •  Don't go wastin' all them bright tomorrows you ain't even seen by hangin' on to what happened yesterday.  Let go, child.  Just breathe out and let go.
  • It's how we survive the hurts in life that brings us strength and gives us our beauty. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Online Preschool-Utah Upstart

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." -Victor Hugo



So I've posted about this before but I'm excited it about it again so I'm going to do anyway.  Pumpkin, who is now in Kindergarten participated in the Upstart program last year and it was wonderful!  They give you a jump drive for your computer that you take home and then you connect with it and online.  The preschool program is tailored to the ability of your child.  As your child progresses, so does the level of the material given.  Your child, identifies their name, letters, numbers, and progresses to eventually sounding out words.  The music in the program is wonderful!  I have sung along and even have taken some of the song I learned and have used them in my preschool.  I got a call to see if we were still interested in the program for Peanut.  And I was surprised and excited!  I explained to them that I teach preschool here in my home but this didn't matter.  If you do not have a computer they will loan computers to families for the year.
The requirement to participate is you

  • Commit to have your child sit down and play on the program for 15 minutes a day/5 days a week 
  • You need to live in Utah.  
  • Your child needs to be one year away from starting Kindergarten

We got a few calls when we didn't do so well in getting on the computer.  You can play with your child but I recommend you let your child do it all on their own.  This way it won't but you if they keep getting something wrong.  They do learn and even the computer skills they learn is so great. If you have a preschool child or will in the next few years I would highly recommend pre-enrolling.  You can also call 1–800–669–4533 if you have any questions or would like to pre-register on the phone.  There are a limited number of slots still open for fall 2012 program so pre-enroll today!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Utah Shakeout-Be Ready



Tuesday Morning 04/17/2012 at 10:15 thousands of Utah's will Drop, Cover, and hold on.  Because many of your own children will be participating with this at their schools, daycares, and preschools it would be a good idea to talk about it as a family.  Utah has been over due to have an earthquake for years.  Experts say it's not a matter of "if" but "when" an earthquake will happen.  Utah Shakeout.org gives great information about the Shakeout drill plus simple things families and work places can do to keep safe in an emergency.  On the site their is a audio recording of the drill that you can play so you can practice.  One thing they recommend doing is making a Grab and Go kit that has survival items and food.  To get a list of recommended items visit Be Ready Utah.   If we are prepared we won't be as scared and this can also save a child if they know what to do.  I think it's a wonderful idea so spread the word and Be Ready for an earthquake!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Healthy ways to deal with Stress



So I don't drink, smoke, or drink caffine so what can I do to help me deal with the stress of life?  I had a friend ask me this the other day and it got me thinking.  Being a mom can be very stressful.  It's important to deal with the stress but in a healthy way so we can be on top of our game.  If we aren't then we aren't being the best for our kids. The hardest thing is to have the time to take to de-stress when you need it.  I know what I do but I would love some help here.  Please comment and share what you do to help when you are stressed.   I like this quote and completely agree.  You are never strong enough that you don't need help. –Cesar Chavez

  • Deep Breathing --This really works for me, just taking a few minutes to stop and think about your breath slows your heart rate and increases oxygen and can help you cope with what's going on right now
  • Music Listening
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Massage-Even better if you give one to your spouse or child and then receive one back 
  • Hot Bath
  • Music Making-One of my favorite things to do is sit and play my favorite songs on the piano or guitar
  • Physical Exercise-Just taking a walk can really clear my head
  • Going outside-this can combine a few things listed above but sometimes just getting outside will help my mood
  • Doing something I enjoy like, reading a good book, watching a favorite show
  • Help someone else-service will help keep your mind off your own problems and lift your spirits
  • Pray
  • Read the Scriptures  
  • Take a Nap-Just a short nap can really help me
  • Call a friend
I found a really great article that if you would like to read more about dealing with stress in a healthy way click here.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homemade Lego Table



My boys are constantly playing with Lego's and they want to keep there creations in a place that won't be ruined so after seeing my brother in laws table they made for their son, we thought this would be a perfect birthday present.  This is easy to make and affordable!

Ingredients:
1 used coffee table
4 large green base plates (10 inches by 10 inches)
Gorilla Glue

Directions:  Find a used table.  We got a used table from our local thrift store which cost us $15.  This was a really sturdy table with a few scratches.  Then I went to the lego.com store and bought four large green base plates which were 4.99 each.  I cleaned the table off, which included scraping off gum which had been stuck to the bottom of the table.  Yuck!  Then I glued with regular wood glue which worked but I think gorilla glue would work because it's much thicker.  Be sure not to put too much glue which will seep around the edges and sides.  Wallah there you have a table which will be used over and over.  My boys have a labyrinth maze they created yesterday that they were pretty excited about.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finding Time to Exercise



As a busy mom it can be really challenging to find time and energy to exercise.  Now that the weather where I live is getting nicer it's even easier to work in exercise time during the day.  Here is some things I have done to fit it in a busy schedule.

  • Going to the library, church, visiting a neighbor, keep the car in park and walk with your kids.  If you aren't going more then a mile this is easily done and a great way to get out and even save gas money
  • Going to Ball Practice for the kids?  If possible you could Bike or walk to practice and then once there,  walk around the park while they practice
  • Need to visit with a friend, suggest you take a walk while you talk
  • Got little ones that take naps?  Exercise while they are sleeping
  • Playing at the park with your kids, don't just sit there, get up and play with them
  • Got a long car drive, you can do Kegel exercises and stomach flexing while you drive (do it to the music you are listening to!
  • Shopping?  Don't take the closest parking spot, park as far as you can to get some extra steps in
  • Take the stairs (unless you have a stroller, that would be tricky =))
  • Want to watch your favorite TV show, set it up so you can walk or jog on your treadmill at the same time
  • Instead of movie night with the kids, go swimming with them, or play whiffle ball outside, or jump on the tramp with them.  
  • Do some dancing to music with the kids, use them as weights to lift while you lie on the floor
  • Use your spouse or friend as an exercise partner, it's so much more fun and motivating to do it with someone
  • Track your progress-This helps you be accountable.  You can track your weight, or/and how long you exercise everyday.  I notice when I stop tracking it, I get really lax.
  • Be patient with yourself and be creative in finding ways to add activity to your life

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kindergarten and Preschool Registration Time



This is the time to register for Kindergarten and Preschool.  I'm sure most of you are already on the ball and have done this already.  Because there are so many choices now, the decision can be hard.  Do I put my child in the closest public school, a charter school, private school, or do I want to home school?  My personal thought is you really should visit the schools in your area and weigh your options.  Ask if you can see a kindergarten class and also visit a 3rd or 4th grade class to get an idea of the education at that school.  Ultimately you should choose the school that is best for you and your child.
Preschool:
I believe preschool is so important.  Which is probably why I enjoy teaching it so much.  To have a set time to work on reading, writing, numbers, and letters helps your child get ready for Kindergarten.  Preschool can be such a fun time!  To have the opportunity to play and learn with other children their own age without mom and dad right there is very helpful for their social development.  It also is important for them to learn to listen and learn from a teacher.   The best preschools are going to fill up fast so looking now for preschool is better then in the summer when many already have full classes.

Here are some questions you may want to ask a potential preschool.
What is their Daily Activities like?
You want to hear them list a variety of things they do.  Preschools needs to have a variety of experiences that teach a child with all of their senses.  When a child can see, hear, touch, feel, taste something the brain connections it creates will help a child better learn and remember something.
Where do they hold preschool?
Do they teach only in one area of the room or do they do activities outside, inside, in the kitchen, on the floor, on a chair.  Again having a variety of places they can experience with give your child the best learning atmosphere.
Do they have free time where they can choose their own activity to play?
Free time is crucial for children to have a time to have independent creative play.  This shouldn't be all a preschool does for sure but at least 15-30 minutes of free time or some may call it recess is very beneficial.
How many teachers do they have per student?
If your child doesn't have any 1:1 time in preschool they may not get the help they need.  I think a good ratio is not more than 1 teacher for 10 students.  I like to have in my preschool only 8 students and this seems to work for me but I'm sure in other cases someone might be able to work with more.
Can my child and I come visit your school?
I encourage all my prospective students and parents to come at least once to see how our school is run.  This will give you a good idea of your teachers personality and style of teaching.  This will help you know if your child will thrive in this school.

What if you can't afford to send your child to preschool?  There are other options available so that everyone can participate in preschool.  Start with Head Start and see if you qualify.  Find your closest Head Start program by clicking here.  (If this doesn't work for you, do a google search for Head Start and then your city)  If you don't qualify you may need to get creative and do your own preschool.  Find other mom's in your neighborhood in your same situations and set up your own neighborhood preschool.  You can rotate homes so your child gets an experience learning from someone other then mom.  You can also it yourself.  You will need to be very motivated to do it the same time and day each week.  Decide what you will teach and write it down on a calendar.  You can get lots of fun ideas online.  If you are structured and motivated enough this can also be a good option for you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Preparing for a New Baby





Preparing for a New Baby

Many mothers begin preparing for their babies soon after conception. The first few weeks are often filled with blissful daydreams of a precious babe sleeping soundly in his or her mother's arms. Soon after, reality sets in and moms start thinking about baby gear. After all the gear has been purchased, set up, washed and readied, many moms move on to other practical preparations. It's a good thing nature gives mothers nine months to prepare for a baby, because it gives mom plenty of time to get everything in order to ensure a smooth transition from hospital to home.

Before Baby


Before the baby arrives, it's important to think about who will help during the first few weeks. Newborn babies need lots of attention, even though they spend most of their time eating and sleeping. That means other children, meals, cleaning, and other commitments take a back burner to the newborn. Extra help within the house is very helpful. New moms shouldn’t say no if a friend or family member wants to come over to help take care of the home; it will allow mother to rest and bond with the new baby.

Eating healthy throughout the pregnancy is always focused on, but it is also important to continue those eating habits post-delivery. To do this, it is helpful to prepare several meals before the baby is born. Prepare casseroles or soups in bulk then freeze them for easy, fresh meals during the baby's first few weeks. It's important for breastfeeding moms especially to eat healthy foods to ensure proper milk supply.

Expectant mothers must also remember to relax before the birth. Having a baby brings big changes to the world of a mother. Take time before the baby comes to relax or do some favorite activities, because it might be a while before a new mother gets to do them again.

After the Birth

There are a few things mom can plan for immediately following delivery. If a woman plans on breastfeeding their newborn, attending a breastfeeding class and speaking to a lactation consultant are helpful to learn the finer points. If a mother is expecting a son, she may consider talking to her doctor about circumcision to see if it is something that she would like to have performed. Immediately following delivery, some mothers choose to have the umbilical cord blood collected for cord blood banking. Cord blood banking allows families to store their baby’s cord blood at a private facility, ultimately having access to a related source of stem cells.

Moms also need to make sure they have packed all the things the baby will need for the ride home. Items include a warm sleeper, car seat, and blanket or car seat cover. Depending on the season and the climate, moms should make sure they have everything necessary for a comfortable ride home.

New mothers should also think about themselves for that car ride home. Pack comfortable, loose clothing, and other toiletry items you might need during your brief hospital stay. It's normal to feel worn out after giving birth, and sometimes a little makeup and a cute shirt go a long way toward feeling "normal" again.

Most importantly, mom need to remember to take care of herself once the baby comes along; schedule time for a long bath, or quiet time alone for a few minutes each day. Giving birth takes its toll on a woman's body, causing great hormonal shifts as well as physical changes. Women need to treat themselves kindly for several days after giving birth. They should sleep often, rest, eat and, most importantly, bond with their newborn.  
 
"This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche.  If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact by visiting her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter @moorekm26."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Mothers Resolution



After seeing the movie "Courageous" I kept thinking I want to make a resolution for me as a mother and wife just like they had a resolution for men.  I decided to take the "The Family:  A Proclamation to the World" and make action statements to live by.

  • I am a daughter of God created in his image with a divine nature and destiny.
  • I came to earth to receive a body and to eventually return to heaven to be with my Family Forever.
  • The powers of procreation are sacred and I promise to forever be faithful to my husband.
  • I promise to care and love my husband and children.
  • I will provide for the physical needs of my children.
  • I am accountable to teach my children to love God and his commandments, to love and serve others, and to be law-abiding citizens.
  • I know my children are entitled to live with both their mother and father who love them.  I will do everything I can to preserve and cherish my marital vows everyday of my life.  
  • As I follow the teachings of my Savior, Jesus Christ I will find true happiness with my family.
  • I will let my husband be the man of the house by letting him lead our family and provide for our necessities in this life.
  • I know it is my sacred responsibility to care for my children and provide them opportunities to learn and grow in a loving home environment.
  • As a member of my extended family I will offer my assistance, love and support and know I can also turn to them when needed.
  • I know I will be held accountable to God for the way I treat my husband and children.
  • I will promote the importance of family in my community and speak up when needed to defend and strengthen families everywhere.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Healthy Living: Pumpernickel Bread

Bread in oven-rising

I just love a good loaf of Pumpernickel Bread so I decided to experiment and make my own recipe.  So after a few trial and errors I found my favorite combination of measurements.   I had to buy some Rye flour, which I found at Smiths Marketplace in the bulk food section.  I haven't found Whole Rye yet so if you know where I can buy some please let me know.

5 cups Warm Water
1/4 cup canola Oil
2 TB Yeast
3 TB dough Enhancer
1/2 cup Gluten
1/2 cup Molasses
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 Cups Rye Flour
1 TB Salt
9 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Grind your Wheat and Rye while you put together the water, oil, yeast, dough enhancer, gluten, molasses, cocoa.  Mix and let sit until your flour is ready.   Add the Rye and 1 cup of flour, mix well.  Then add your salt. Then Continue to add four 1/2 cup at a time until the dough cleans away from the sides of the bowl.  The dough should be soft but not sticky.  Then turn up your mixer to high and knead for 5 minutes.  Portion out your dough into 4 loaves.  Use shortening to grease the pans, hands, and counter.  Do not add extra flour at this time.  Let rise until doubled and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

To save time, I always rise my bread in a warm oven for 30 minutes.  I turn on the oven at the lowest possible temperature while I'm shaping the bread and then I put in the bread and turn off the oven and then start timing.  After it's doubled I turn the oven on at 350 and cook for 30 minutes.  Total time to make is only about 90 minutes.  Beats the cost of store bought bread for our family!


If you like this recipe let me know!  Happy cooking!



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soft Bristle Tooth Brush



 Did you know you should only brush with a soft bristled toothbrush?  I had never really thought about it until my husband recently had skin grafts done on his teeth.  Why skin grafts?  Well he bought a hard bristle toothbrush when he moved out of his parents house thinking, "This should clean a lot better!"   Well it might have cleaned well but it also brushed away his gums on some of his molars.  Our dentist has been recommending for a while to do the surgery because he could loose these teeth if we didn't.  So we finally did it.  Not fun at all, it's a pretty intense surgery where they take gum from the top of your mouth and then graft it to the teeth.  He has to be on a liquid diet for a while.  Spread the word, only use a soft bristle toothbrush!   Tell your kids too so when they move out and buy their first toothbrush they won't make the same mistake my husband did.  Click here if you want to read more about choosing a toothbrush.  







Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why can't I vote?

 


Yesterday my ten year old son asked me why he couldn't vote.  It made me chuckle inside.  But it got me thinking, when did I start voting, and I couldn't remember what age I was.  I do remember going with my parents to vote for the first time and it was really exciting for me.  It's funny because I really thought it was sixteen, but after looking up to verify I know that isn't right because the legal age is 18.  So I have a pretty bad memory.  Nineteen states allow 17 year old to vote in primary elections and caucuses if they will turn 18 by election day.
Our ancestors fought for their freedom to vote, and it's sad that the majority of US citizens who can vote choose not to.  I have always thought I have done my civil duty by voting at each small and large elections.  Most of the time I could recognize the names I was voting for.  Deep inside I know I have been skating by and  have not done enough to be involved and informed of the issues.  My church has strongly encouraged it's members to attend our neighborhood caucus meetings.  To read the letter they read at church click here.  So much that they have canceled all weekday church meetings so no one has an excuse.  Needless to say, I will be attending my first caucus meeting this week.  I really believe we should listen to our church leaders and if they feel it's important then I should to right?
I'm a little anxious because I have never attended one of these before.  I also really had no idea where my meeting was so I did a little research and found out.  If you would like to do the same all you need to do it search for, "Democrat/Republican (type your affiliation) neighborhood caucus meeting (then type your county).  I've heard the meetings are usually about an hour and are really our biggest opportunity to make a difference.  For those who have chosen not to affiliate with a party, I don't know but it seems by affiliating you can make more of a difference.  The decisions our elected officials make really have a difference on our lives and the lives of our children so take the time and make a difference this year by attending your neighborhood caucus meeting, get informed, and vote!