Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teaching Toddlers: Calling for help

We decided a couple years ago to ditch our home phone...thus leaving our cell phones as our only option. I wanted to make sure Amelia new how to call 911. On a smartphone however it takes a little more than just pushing the three numbers.

So today we did some roll playing! I first walked her through all the steps of calling for help but then realized she has ZERO phone skills. After she pretended to call 911 then I pretended to ask her questions (name, address, what the problem was etc). We practiced for about a half hour and when I said it was time to do something else she threw a fit because "I didn't get to talk to any REAL people on the phone!" So she called grammy and talked to her.

It's not something I will do with her everyday, but its good for her to know how to do and its good practice for knowing her address.

Another thing we've been working on this year is memorizing the books of the bible! Amelia is doing so much better than I thought she would, she can get to Ezra before she needs help. Even Sophia is getting the hang of it. We don't spend lots if time on it, we just practice them before lunch and then the girls say them to Tim after dinner!

I am always amazed at how capable kids are at memorizing things! Other memory work we are doing this year includes:
Full name
Telephone number
Memory verse (this changes weekly)
Days if the week
Months of the year

This week we started our 3rd workbook in our Rod and Staff series. Its a writing letters book, Amelia is thrilled. She DID NOT like book number two (writing numbers) and was glad to move on to something more "fun!" She knows she has to learn all her letters to read so she actually puts forth a ton of effort in that area!

Amelia seems to only have one thing on her mind lately and we have the conversation almost daily: "mommy, next year will I get to ride the bus and GO to kindergarten?"

Until next time...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mommy's Musings: changing our habits

So in an effort to be all around healthier, one major change we have made is the food we're eating.

I thought it would be really hard (not to mention expensive) to eat more real food but I was so wrong. Tim and I both agree that we feel so much better without all the "junk" that we were eating.

The biggest challenge has been finding family friendly snacks and recipes. So I'm going to share some things that have helped us.

Prepping Food:
As soon as I get home from grocery shopping I wash, peel, and cut all produce (other than apples, onions etc). I bag the lettuce, dice and slice the tomatoes, celery, and green onions. This leaves me no excuse to NOT

eat a salad. Homemade: The fruit snacks and other snacks the kids beg for have so much junk in them, not real great for the kids. So I've had to get creative, homemade granola bars, dried fruit, smoothies etc. Shockingly the kids haven't really noticed a huge change! This week we are experimenting with some new recipes, including cauliflower crust pizza, a "clean" chicken stir-fry, veggie "lasagna", homemade ranch dressing (using greek yogurt) and some fruit roll-ups! Its really not that different in price. We arent spending money on sugar cereals or processed foods but instead buying loads of fruits and veggies! It takes a little more creativity and some extra planning but I'm having fun AND my family is benefiting from a healthier diet! So whats your favorite "clean" meal?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our Week in Pictures

A fun but busy week at home! We played with "puff balls" (craft pompoms), did some coloring, the girls made a project for daddy. Abram learned to play an instrument-the kazoo, Sophia got married but just for pretend and got to ride a horse. And Celia just hung out with us! Enjoy!

Monday: mommy's musings-our menu!

*sorry the pics are sideways, I'm apparently doing something wrong :( will have Tim look into it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Teaching Toddlers: Stranger Danger

<p>About a year ago an incident occured in our neighborhood; a man offered a ride to a boy at the bus stop. Thankfully the little boy ran to the nearest house, police were called and it hasn't happened since.&#160; </p>
<p>Since then I've been trying to teach my kiddos about the very real danger of strangers.</p>
<p>This past week I introduced Amelia to a friend of mine who she had not met before. When I asked her to say "hello" she said that that person was a stranger. I don't know why, but I hadn't really thought about it like that. I knew the woman but Amelia didn't, so to her it was a stranger.

So here's my question(s):
How do you teach your kids about strangers without adding unneeded fear?
How do you explain the difference between "good" strangers (when you are lost in the grocery store and need help) and "bad" strangers?

I appreciate your suggestions!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mommy Musings: True Confessions Pt. 1

<p>This last pregnancy was the most difficult - between the bedrest because of a ruptured disk, lack of sleep and still having to take care of my hubby, three kiddos and our home. I had a really hard time after delivery too. I felt so emotionally overwhelmed, like I could cry all day long if I let myself. I was unhappy with my body (who isn't after having a baby -or 4). I knew it wasn't baby blues but decided to mention it to my doctor anyway.

My doctor asked me if I was taking any time for me. Which made me laugh, I think I asked him if he was serious. Time for me? I have 4 kids under 4, when would you like me to do that? But after talking more I realized that he was very serious, "just ten minutes, do something quiet, for yourself, go for a walk, take a bath, exercise. Anything, just take care of yourself too."

That conversation was 8 weeks ago, and let me tell you I have NEVER felt better in my life! After talking it over with Tim we decided that we'd figure out a way for me to have some time each day. So I started doing 20 minutes of yoga before bed, gradually I worked up to jogging for a half hour before dinner. Currently I'm up to an hour of cardio kickboxing a day - some days its before the kids wake, somedays its at naptime, other days I dont get to it until after the kids are down for the night. In those 8 weeks I've only missed 7 days of working out (2 of those were due to the flu)!

On top of exercising we are all eating better. We've cut out most of the processed junk and are trying to eat more real food... Surprisingly my kids and hubby havent minded. It does take a bit more planning but in the end the results are well worth it!

I really have struggled with the whole idea of "me time." I feel like being a wife and mommy come first, however I can honestly say that taking the time to take care of myself has made me a better wife and mommy. It doesn't just happen though, like anything else important (devotions, school work, date nights etc) it takes planning! I try my hardest to workout when my family doesn't need me, sometimes this means giving up some sleep, reading or tv, but I feel so much better about myself and I have never had so much energy. I feel like I'm able to keep up with my kids, which is a great feeling. Not to mention I am at the lowest weight I've been at in years AND I have muscles I didn't know I had!

So, to all my mommy friends, it really does make a difference...taking time out to take care of yourself! I'm interested to know what you do to re-energize, share your ideas!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Family Photos

Here's what we've been up to lately! Daddy went back to work, we went back to school and did lots of cleaning and playing at home!  Enjoy!

*not sure why some are sideways, and I'm too tired to fix it tonight!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Preschool Part II

Well, we're off and running! Amelia woke up excited to get back to her school work (Sophia too). We took a long break, almost 3 months, with Celia being born. Now that we are settled into a good daily routine though, we are jumping back in.

I spent time over the weekend re-evaluating our goals for the year. We are ahead in some areas (letter sounds and writing letters), "behind" in others (memory work, counting). It was good to look and see where we are, it's allowed me to revamp plans for this second half of the year!

We'll be continuing with our Rod and Staff workbooks, along with other hands on activities.  And I'll be posting probably weekly about our work!

Goals for Amelia:
Memory work-address, phone # etc
Count to 50-those teens really throw her
Manners and safety-eye contact, answering for herself, dealing with strangers, how to use the phone to call for help etc

Goals for Sophia:
Recognize basic shapes
Count to 20

Even Abram is ready for school, he LOVES to read (and would sit and listen all day if mommy had time to read all day)!

Here's to a great second half!
(pictures coming Friday)