My faith

I'm a Mormon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smoothie pops

Here is a healthy alternative to sugar/water pops. The Girl LOVES these!

Smoothie Pops
2 cups fruit (frozen or fresh, depending on what you have and what your blender can handle, I have to slightly thaw my froze fruit.
1 C milk (Almond milk is really yummy here, but we always need more fat and protein, so I use whole milk. Any kind will do, really.)
1 small container yogurt

Blend together.

Pour smoothie into ice cube trays, and secure plastic wrap on top. Cut slits with a sharp knife and have the kids insert the popsicle sticks.

Eat whatever leftover smoothie you have, and freeze the pops for about 4-6 hours, until froze. Yum!

*You can always add spinach. But, I realized you shouldn't mix dairy, or calcium with spinach because you probably won't absorb the iron. So use juice instead, and forgo the yogurt. There are lots of ways to mix these up!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A list

First, I want to mention that I do not believe that how much/little TV your kids watch is an indication of what kind of parent you are.* We all have different circumstances. I'm not swearing off TV forever (though I will admit I LOVE having it off.) After this break, we'll probably watch 30-60 minutes, and it will probably be as rewards for girls doing their jobs and helping out. I will try not to use it as a babysitter as much. But if that is what works for you, DO NOT feel guilty. I had to get to a point where I couldn't let myself feel guilty, I had to keep my sanity. Mountain winters are hard!

I also don't believe TV is inherently bad. The Girl knows all the letters and their sounds thanks to Leap Frog's Letter Factory (she actually had those down by the time she was 2 1/2!) Mickey Mouse Club House has reinforced a lot of the things I've taught her, and Little Einsteins is just fun, not to mention the classical music and art that show introduces small children to! But too much of anything is not good. And that is the point we are at!!

BUT...Spring is coming! And with it we will have so many more things to do than play outside!

Here is where I need some help. We could have many yucky weather days ahead of us, and I though I would compile a list of fun things to do instead of watching TV. What has worked for you on those days when you say "no TV" and your kids keep whining for a show? What activities do your kids LOVE? Leave me a comment and I will put together a list, or blog about it and I will link to your blog! Let's help each other. I think has great ideas for all sorts of things, and a lot of the homeschooling/preschool blogs have perfect boredom busters! And sometimes just getting down and playing make believe with my kids is the only thing to quench the whining. And quite frankly, I think they'd rather play with me than watch TV anyway. (Not to be cocky, but they love me...most of the time!)

My goal is to have a list of 100 different things to do that are easy to put together. Will you help?

*Though I have heard of parents who put their babies in a high chair all day in front of a TV. There is a point where it reaches neglect, but I doubt any of us have problems with that!

Monday, March 21, 2011

No TV week

After a complete meltdown by The Girl (DD1) last Saturday, because I wouldn't let her watch ANOTHER show, I decided it was time for action. We've watched a lot of tv/movies this winter. And I mean a lot. Are you aware of the AAP's recommendation for media? Well, we met or surpassed that most days this winter. It was clear that The Girl was addicted to watching shows, and it's almost scary to see how transfixed Sweet C (barely 18 months) gets any time the TV is on.

Yesterday was our first full day of no TV. It is probably the first time in the last 3 years we have not turned any tv or movies on. Actually, we have an old TV and don't have cable or a converter box, so we don't get TV service. But we didn't turn any movies on. And do you know what? I liked it. It was nice. It felt good and we played together, read LOTS of books (which is typical in our home anyway), and just enjoyed the relative quiet. The Girl was made well aware of the NO TV for a week rule, and she didn't whine ONCE about watching a show.

So, this week we will be TV-free. Wish me luck!

This week's activities

An inspiring message I found on a friend's blog:
"If I had my child to raise all over again, I'd build self-esteem first and the house later. I'd finger paint more and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I'd take my eyes off my wathc and watch with my eyes. I'd take more hikes and fly more kites. I'd stop playing serious and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I'd do more hugging and less tugging." ~Diane Loomans

Five things to do with my girlies this week:
1.Play dress-up and act out a book
2. Memorize the 4th Article of Faith
3. Make up silly rhymes and illustrate them together. The more absurd, the better. ("The fat cat ate the hat. Then the rat ate the fat cat who ate the hat...") This activity will teach your child to listen for words that sound the same and to identify rhyming patterns.
4. Make pumpkin wheat honey muffins together. (Recipe below)
5. Go on a Spring Time scavenger Hunt.


1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups white flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. (heaping) all spice
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
Chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin liners or grease and flour muffin pan(s) (makes between 24 and 30 muffins).

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and put in eggs, pumpkin, oil, and honey. Mix until dry ingredients are absorbed. Fold in chocolate chips if desired (1-2 cups). Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full.

3. Bake for 18-22 minutes in preheated oven, or until the tops of muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finger paint link & activity plan

Due to our recent purchase, I'm not allowed to buy anything for the next year. Yeah, I took a chunk of the money we had saved for a minivan to buy my piano. But already I think DH is convinced it was a good purchase. (I hope!)

Anyway,we don't have fingerpaints, so I googled "Homemade fingerpaints" and found this link. I don't have cornstarch, so I'll use the recipe that calls for just flour and water. I know The Girl (DD1) will love this, and I hope Sweet C (DD2) won't eat it. But if she does, it isn't toxic! We should try pudding painting sometime.

Also, I solved our rolling pin dilemna (remember that I wanted a rolling pin for The Girl to use with her Play Doh?) by purchasing 2 1" dowls from the craft store. Rolling pin total: $.50 each! Suh-weet! And it works great, I didn't sand it or anything, and the Play Doh doesn't stick. We'll have to see if it works as well for homemade play dough.

I thought I would just plan 5 activities for the week, to do each day. I'm struggling to keep up with the actual Montessori preschool/tot school stuff, and I think it would be better just to have ideas of things to do. My goal is 1 hour or less of TV each day, and 2 hours or more of playing outside, at least when it's above 45 degrees.

Five Activities for the week:
1. Finger paint
2. Nature collage (after a nature scavenger hunt, of course!)
3. Write and illustrate our own story
4. Field trip (I'm thinking I'll call the firestation, which is close, and see if we can visit.)
5. Put on a couple puppet shows. (I have puppets, we just need to utilize these more frequently).

I'm also going to try to be more consistent with circle time each day, and be better about using the Book of Mormon Reader each day to read to my girlies.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A few things...

1. Our hard drive got fried. Like, we could hear it sizzling. So I have only little computer access until we get a new one, which is not a top priority. lol. I actually love being offline, it helps me keep my priorities straight. And I still have our Ipod Touch, so I'm not TOO disconnected.

2. I bought a piano today. A digital. I love it. I'm so excited. My girls enjoyed playing it today!

3. A few things on my to-do list this week:
a)find out the gender of our baby,
b)finger paint with my girls,
c)host playgroup
d)quit playgroup, because it is too much stress (it is a "drop your kid off" kind of play group, which just doesn't jive with my Girl being barely 3, and it doesn't remotely help with my need for adult socializing).
e) play my piano at least an hour a day (I've played since I was 8, but haven't had a piano since I moved away from home last decade. I'm a little rusty.)
f) find some piano students, to help convince DH that this was a good investment.
g) start cutting out felt for my quiet book pages. Deadline for finishing the pages: April 15th!
i) make dinner and a banana cream pie for hubby on his birthday.

4. I've been really grumpy lately. By lately, I mean for the last month or so. Or maybe the last year? I don't know, but I have got to break this cycle of grumpiness. I'm hoping the warmer weather will banish sickness from our home. Which would improve my mood drastically.

5. I'd like to start walking 2 miles a day.

6. My toddler was diagnosed with RSV this week. Good thing she isn't tiny any more! Sheesh! We really haven't been healthy for more than a week at a time this winter!

7. I've done Montessori stuff the last two weeks, but I can't access the pictures on our fried hard drive. Sob.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring is coming!

DEAR March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat—
You must have walked—
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the bird’s;
The maples never knew
That you were coming,—I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me—
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.

I LOVE Emily Dickinson's poetry! Today, when I remembered it was March 1, this was the first thing that came to my mind! I don't want to wish time away, but I am so glad spring is coming. Although, here in Utah, we've probably got at least a few snow storms left before summer. (We often have freak snow storms in April, May, or sometimes even June!! Gotta love this Rocky Mountain weather!) Here I am with my kiddos last spring!

Anyway, I first came accross this poem in the Emily Dickinson: Poetry for Young People. I bought the entire series of Poetry for Young People while I was teaching school, and I have never regretted it! Shakespeare, Frost, Poe, Whitman, and even Lewis Carrol. And each poem has definitions of some of the more difficult or archaic words. Let's face it, one of the reasons poetry can be difficult to comprehend is because we don't use many of the same words!

Thinking about poetry reminds me of an activity I did with my 5th graders to help improve their reading fluency and expression. One of their reading assignments during guided reading rotations was for them to pick a poem (from The Highwayman to Shel Silverstein. They could pick ANYTHING!) Every Friday, we held a "Poetry Off." Everyone performed by reading their poem (they were NOT allowed to memorize) and I graded them on fluency (how fast they read), annunciation, volume (being loud enough to be heard) and expression. My students LOVED this!

Poetry is a great genre to read to your kids from a young age! Start with Mother Goose. The Girl loves my Emily Dickinson poems, especially "I'm Nobody." I adore Scranimals and Zoo Doings by Jack Prelutsky (who, in my opinion, is a better kid poet than Silverstein.) "Don't ever make the sad mistake of stepping on a sleeping snake. Because, his jaws might be awake!" (from Zoo Doings)

So, this post about spring has turned into a post about poetry. Ah, spring is so poetic! I guess that is fitting!