Monday, February 27, 2012

Overly After School Snacking Revolution

So I have a calendar that I write down all my dinner menus on that I use in the kitchen.  I had the thought a couple weeks ago, I really should plan out our after school snacks because I always revert to the same things and the kids get tired of it and they probably aren't the healthiest.  It's been wonderful for me because it takes the guess work out of it.  We have a time for snacks and then I tell the kids, "The kitchen it closed."  That way they will save some room for dinner.  Here is some of our snacks we have had this month:
Pudding and Pretzels
Cheese and fruit kabobs
muffins and carrot sticks
Ants on a log
cereal and dried fruit mix
Cheese Quesadilas
yogurt and fruit
veggies and nuts
fruit and homemade granola
pretzels and raisins
Fresh fruit
apple crisp served with vanilla yogurt
apples w/ peanut butter
homemade granola bar
oatmeal cookie

Do you have a favorite snack I can add to our list?  We are always looking for something different and healthy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Best Play-dough Recipe


This is best play-dough recipe I have ever tried.  Thanks to Rebecca, my daughters flute teacher for the recipe.  I made some dough up three weeks ago and put it in Tupperware containers and the girls got it out yesterday to play with and it's still soft and workable.  It beats running to the store for the store made and paying three times as much!
My kids love to pretend their making cookies with the dough, so we get out the rolling pins, cookie cutters, and pans and roll out some cookies.  It's great for their eye hand coordination.  Especially if you get some scissors out and have them practice cutting the dough!

Homemade Playdough
4 Cups Flour
2 TB Cream of Tartar
3/4 Cup Salt
3 Cup Boiling Water
2 TB Oil
Combine Dry Ingredients.  Mix well.  Combine Oil and Water.  Add to Dry ingredients.  Mix

This recipe is also found in the recipe tabs of this blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Earthquake Preparedness-Is your family Prepared?

SL Mayor Corroon is encouraging families in Utah to get prepared for a Utah Earthquake.  On April 17th, 2012 Utah will take part of a earthquake drill called Utah Shakeout.  You can participate as a work place, school, day care, scout group, CERT, neighborhood, or with your family.  You register by going to  This will give you information to participate and teach you as well what to do in the case of an earthquake.  So far there are several businesses and schools who are registered to participate.  I think it is a great idea and will register Music Train Preschool as well.  Being prepared is key for survival in a natural disaster and will also provide you as a parent the piece in mind that your children will know what to do.  This short video is bleak but that can be the reality.   I encourage you to take minute to watch and sign up your group/family to participate in Utah's Shakeout!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Questions you should never ask

Here are three questions we should never ask our children.

1.  Do you want to take a nap?
Why set yourself for rejection by asking this question?  How many children do you know will willingly say, "Yes mommy please, I really need a nap".  Not many that I know!  I truly believe a nap for children under the age of 5 is extremely essential!  An article on napping I read by Donna Freiner said that "Children who nap have longer attention spans and are less irritable."  It gives them a time to be still for an hour or two during the day.  This time can be used for napping or just for quiet time where mommy, daddy or child care provider isn't required for entertainment.  I hear so many parents say, "How do you get your child to still take naps?"  and I think to myself, "How can I not."  This quiet time is as much for me as it is for my child.

It's never too late to start.  I've done a little bit of daycare and I told their moms that their child would be taking a little quiet time.  Some of their reactions were, "Good Luck with that!"  But with a little persistence and consistency, after a couple days they have all welcomed a little down time.  It's all in the way you approach it.  I try to keep the time of naps at about the same time of day, and then we always be sure they are ready.  Get a drink, go to the bathroom, and then let them choose one or two books to read during quiet time.  I always read at least one and then I remind them that this is time for their bodies to rest and they need to stay in their room, or on the couch, until quiet time is over.  Guess who gets to decide how long nap time is, YOU DO!  Isn't that great!  I have a minimum time of an hour.  If they come out before the hour, I quietly remind them that it's still quiet time and to take them back and say, I will come and get you when it's time.  If they keep coming out, then I say, Oh each time you come and see if quiet time is over, you will have a longer quiet time.  TV time or a movie time does not qualify as quiet time.  This does not quiet the child's mind, it only stimulates.  So if you think, I'll just turn this movie on so my child will stay in place for a while, I really don't think that will do any good for them, so be strong and set some quiet time rules and stick with it.  You will be so happy that you did and so will your child!

2.  Do you want some vegetables?

You could apply this question to anything your want your child to do that they probably don't want to do.  Just word it differently.  Would you like peas or carrots?  Would you like your dessert?  Great then eat your vegetables.  Research is showing that if you serve vegetables and fruits first in the meal, your child will eat more of them.  I would even say don't give your child the main dish until they have finished their vegetables first.      I've done this with my own child and it really works.  I just need to be more consistent with it.

3.  How was your day?
Now if your child is a girl and loves to talk this is probably a great question.  But I usually get this answer when I ask this question.  "Fine"  So I've started asking more specific questions, like:  "How did your history test go today?" "What was the best thing that happened today?"  "Did you have PE today?  What did you do?"

Sometimes I have to take a step back and listen to questions I'm asking my children.  Sometimes I'm setting myself up to get a negative response.  Listen to yourself this week, how can you word things to make your life easier and your child's life happier.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Courageous Resolution-For all Real Men!

My husband's dad rarely recommends a movie but he highly recommended all of his son's take the time to watch Courageous.  He said this.  
I would say that the movie "Courageous" is one of the most remarkable movies that I have ever seen.  It is a must see movie if you don't see any other movie this year.  If you didn't know any better you would think that it was produced by the church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  It has such a strong Christian theme that you will be really surprised by the message.  You know that it has to be good for me to make a strong recommendation. 
So we watched this movie a couple a weeks ago and I really loved it's message.  It's about four men who decide that they can be more then just average dads.  They wanted to be the best dad for their children that they could.  They sign a resolution and commit to the following:
I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
I will love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the 
word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
I will be faithful to my wife to love and honor her and be 
willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I will bless my children and teach them to love God 
with all their hearts, all their minds, and with all their strength.
I will train them to honor authority, and live responsibly. 
I will confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
I will pray for others, and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion.
I will work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
I will forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
I will learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity, as a man answerable to God.
I will seek to honor God, be faithful to his church, obey his word, and do his will.
I will courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
I am Courageous!
I made a document of this resolution that I will put in our home as a reminder here is a link if you would like a copy.
I am grateful for the men in my life who are working towards fulfilling these same values.  Both my husband and I agreed that this resolution is very similar to the Family Proclamation to the world. Speaking to parents it says:  
 Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
It's time for men and women to stand up and be courageous parents!
If you haven't seen the show you can get it on Red box and if you live close to Cache Valley, there is a showing in a couple weeks for free.  

Emmanuel Baptist Church is sponsoring a free showing of Courageous

February 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM
Location: 310 N. 800 E. Hyrum, UT 84319
Phone: 435-245-5898

Free Movie, pop and popcorn for the family.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

5 Simple ways to Create a Lifelong Reader

I think the most important thing our children learn in grade school is to become an effective reader.  If they struggle with reading it can effect the rest of their education.  We are our children's first teacher and our homes is where they begin to learn.  There are simple things we can do as parents everyday to help our children to become lifelong readers.  (Inspired by "Every Child Reading to Read @ your library")  

  1. Sing- Can your child sing the ABC's (As a preschool teacher I have been amazed to know that only half of my preschool children come to school knowing how to sing their ABC's)  This is a simple yet a basic thing you can teach your child.  Other songs such as nursery rhymes folk songs can help with speech and hearing the syllables in words.
  2. Talking--Talk with your child, but more important let them talk to you.  As they say things to you, you can increase their vocabulary by expanding what they say.  example: "Mom, I found money."  You  can expand by saying, "Oh that's neat, that is a penny and it's worth one cent."  
  3. Read Everyday--let your children see you read everyday and then find a special time everyday that you read with them.  Have books readily available to play with and going to the library often will make reading part of your child's life.  
  4. Writing--The Spalding Method book is called "The Writing Road to Reading"  Learning how to correctly form letters from the beginning and learn them with the sound is crucial to developing good writing habits.  When your child in under age 4 it's important to encourage them to write (call their scribbling writing), and draw.   If you have coloring books, crayons, markers and paper available they will be encouraged to create.  This helps their eye-hand coordination and develop their hand muscles.  
  5. Play--Giving lots of playtime that is unstructured will build their imaginations and create stories about what they're doing.  Having dress ups, and puppets that they can create their own stories will enhance their playing time.