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Showing posts from September, 2007
Ghostly Jugs

I found these cute little ghosts in Family Fun Magazine (which I love!). If your house is like mine, you always have empty milk jugs, so it's nice to recyle them into an easy & cute craft.

We haven't put the lights in the jugs yet, but the boys had fun painting the faces on the jugs.

I love fun Halloween crafts and decorations! And I've loved looking through the holiday ideas that all of Scribbit's readers have shared!

We finished our jugs today, and 5 of them are happily sitting on the porch. They look so bright and cheery! They were easy easy to make and totally free. The hardest part was cutting the light holes with the exacto knife, and finding rocks to weigh down the jugs. This is a GREAT project for ages 2-10!
Black Bean Salad - 5 minute dinner

6pm last night, and I had no idea what I was fixing for dinner at 6:30. Not a good sign! I'm usually good about figuring out dinner before noon. But I remembered one of my husband's favorite meals, and pulled everything out of the pantry/frig.

To make black bean salad, layer:
crushed tortilla chips,
lettuce/spinach leaves,
black beans,
shredded colby jack cheese, and

To make it even better, I would add an avocado, but I rarely have them in the frig. If I have shredded chicken baked & frozen in the freezer, sometimes I'll throw that on, as well.

Voila - healthy, super-fast and yummy meal.
Grandmother Wren just posted a great dialogue about television vs. play. I especially liked what she said about the power of play, so I've posted it here. You can read the entire article at her very creative website:

A child learns through play – in all ways, a truth adults do not always understand.
David Elkind, psychologist and author (“The Hurried Child”), says of play:
“Young children learn best by playing and following their own curiosities, by solving real problems, such as how to balance a stack of blocks, or how to negotiate a zipper, put together a picture puzzle and most of all, by making mistakes and trying again."

What does your child want you to know?
Simply this:

When I play – I learn!

I paint and scribble and color and draw – and I learn

To develop my imagination and creativity
To develop eye-hand coordination
To distinguish and purposely create shapes
To express my feelings and ideas
That my ideas have values
Relationships of space and size
Concepts of symmetry, balance, an…
More Leapfrog

I just discovered that has free computer games on their websites. I played a couple of them with my 2.5 year old yesterday. He really liked baking a cake (which teaches baking items and sizes, as well as following directions). The games are organized by age, so it's easy to find a good match for your child.
Susan & I are participating in a booksigning event at this special reception for teachers at the Opry Mills Barnes & Noble. If you're in the area & want to come by, it would be fun to meet you! And educators definitely can't beat their 25% discount on your purchases!
Ann :)

Barnes & Noble Opry Mills in Nashville
Join us for our Educator Reception


Arrive early for café treats and coffee and stay for the prizes awarded every half hour, including our $100 Gift Card.

10:00 am: Michael Shoulders, V is for Volunteer, will be reading at our Storytime.

10:30 am: Drawing for first Gift Basket!

10:40 am: Linda Ragsdale, Pet Pals You Can Draw, will be demonstrating step-by-step, how to draw.

11:00 am: Drawing for second Gift Basket!

11:10 am: Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor, Great Group Games , will lead some fun, interactive team building games.

11:30 am: Drawing for third Gift Basket!

11:40 am: Join authors Sonya Hayes, Stuck in the Middle, an…
Learning at Home

Letter Factory has been a big hit with my youngest son. The Letter Factory Video is one of his favorite movies, and at 2.5 years old, he is gaining a great grasp on letters and phonics. He can't sing the traditional alphabet song, but he knows the Letter Factory song with all the letter sounds. Very funny!

We're also enjoying the Letter Factory Game that's in the picture. It teaches letter recognition, phonics, counting, and letter sequences.

Well, I thought this was going to be a quick blog, but I'm realizing how many Leapfrog items we have in our house. Other products we particularly enjoy: The Phonics Radio and the Fridge Phonics Letter Set

We believe in learning through play. We don't usually sit down to "learn". But we do a lot of "learning" thorughout our days through cooking, walking, driving, shopping, playing, and cleaning. It's so fun to see a little one's mind start to develop!
Happy Birthday Baby
My little girl's first birthday was today. I can't believe it's been a year! First birthdays in our house focus on the cake smashing. Little bit was so cute tonight. She picked up little chunks of chocolate cake and put them in her mouth. After a few pieces, she started handing chunks to daddy. Does that mean she's going to start sharing at an early age? Wouldn't that be nice! Our family of 5 couldn't eat an entire bundt cake. Well, I COULD, but my husband would make fun of me all year! So we cut 3/4 of the cake into 2-4 piece servings to deliver to new neighbor friends. It was like a traveling birthday party, and a great excuse to connect with neighbors. Happy Birthday little girl! :)
Free Mammograms

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on 'donating a mammogram' for free (pink window in the middle).

This doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors /advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.
Help a Family in Need

I have two friends who have invested all their money and more in an amazing indoor play center for kids, Fundom Kids . The business has failed, and they are trying to re-coup some of their costs. They are using their biggest item (a huge two-story castle) to generate publicity on Ebay. The more people that visit the auction site, the greater chance they have of attracting media attention - which will ante up the bid and hopefully attract middle Tennessee families to visit Fundom Kids before they close on October 27. This will help, in even a small way, to ease their huge financial burden.

Can you take a few minutes to visit their Ebay auction site?
Can you ask friends and family to visit the Ebay site?
Will you stop and pray for this family and their business?

Apple Oatmeal

I grew up loving Quaker's apples & cinnamon oatmeal packets, but my mom just taught me a new way to make them. When she's following the Weight Watchers diet, she eats oatmeal for breakfast every morning. Sometimes she adds apples. So we started dicing apples into our oatmeal, before microwaving it. Then we add brown sugar on top (or Splenda brown sugar). It's easy, healthy and yummy for moms that need to fill their bellies for a hard morning's work.
Chores = Brains

I think it's important for even young children to learn simple household chores. We do chores together (laundry, dishes, silverware, toys), and make it fun. But until today, I didn't think about the educational value of chores.

1. Responsibility and perseverance. These skills will lead to a much better chance at academic success.
2. Classifying and sorting skills lead to mathematical intelligence. So sorting silverware, groceries, toys, and laundry is a big help for foundational skills.
3. Patterns will help with math skills. So let them set the table and learn about sequencing.
4. Putting away the groceries can teach nutritional awareness - a part of science.

I'll have to keep thinking, as we go empty the dishwasher!
First time obedience

We've been struggling with our 2.5 yr old this month. He is testing our limits to the nth degree!

One of the readings from my church small group this week was Colossians 3:20, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." A kid friendly phrase came to mind, when I read that scripture.

"Obey, and have a good day"

I know, it way oversimplifies the scripture. But God says he is pleased with our obedience. He will bless us when we are obedient. Not necessarily blessing us with a happy and easy life, but with a good and abundant life. Things will be well in our hearts, therefore things will be well in our lives.

But toddlers can understand the simple phrase, after it's repeated a few times. They will eventually understand that first time obedience leads to a happy mom, which leads to a spanking-free experience, which leads to a happy afternoon.

So that's our phrase for the week - "Obey, and have a a good d…
Pulled Pork BBQ

My friend Angie (from Phoenix) served me (a southerner) pulled pork barbeque sandwiches at her house a few weeks ago. She laughed at herself for making southern food for my family. But I admitted that I'd never made BBQ pork (I know, it's shameful!). We LOVED her recipe, and my husband snuck the ingredients into the grocery cart last week, so I would make it for him. So here is the super-easy recipe:

Put 1-2 pork tenderloin(s) in the crockpot.
Cover with 1-2 inch(es) of water.
Sprinkle with onion soup mix.
Cook 8-10 hours on high.
Pull pork apart with a serving fork.
Clean the pot (or drain the liquid).
Add 2 cups of BBQ sauce.
Cook on low for 2 hours.
Serve on buns, or serve alone
Hard Mommy Days

Yesterday was a really hard mommy day. Actually, it's been a hard mommy week. I'm sure my stress/worries are spilling over into the behavior of my children. They have an uncanny way of sensing when something is a little 'off'. So I'm trying to remind myself to pray A LOT throughout today - and measure my every thought by Christ's truth. Our problems/deadlines/worries seem MUCH smaller, when we think about how BIG God is!

I walked out on the porch to wave goodbye to my DH and my eldest son en route to kindergarten this morning. The temperature is a gorgeous 75 degrees - such a blessing after a much hotter than normal summer. The song, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" immediately popped into my mind, so I started singing. What a great way to start a morning!


Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;There is no shadow of turning with Thee;Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great …
Healthy Snacks

I just read a great post on healthy snacking from Grandmother Wren. It talks about the philosophy of healthy snacking, healthy snack ideas, and involving your kids in snack preparation. I'm a big snacker, so this was a good read for my family!
Potty Time!

I just read about Rebecca's potty training adventures, so I'll share some of our stories this month. We're potty training in our house too! Isn't it funny (well, not so funny!), how they get ready for the potty training process in their own sweet time. And you just can't potty train before they're ready, can you?

We started out with tiny rewards for trying to go pee pee in the potty. We had a bunch of candy hearts, so he got one heart everytime he tried, and a piece of bubble gum if he succeeded.

Then we progressed to 'pee pee parties'. Three pees in the potty equaled one party during the first week of potty training. A potty might be popcorn/video, ice cream at sonic, or homemade milkshakes.

Now he's going potty regularly, but we're still working on pooping consistently in the party. So he gets big treats when he poops in the potty. Last night, his treat du jour was potato chips. He's definitely his father's child in that regard…
Baby Flight Strategies

It always makes me nervous to fly with children. I'm not a generally nervous/uptight person, so it's odd that I get so nervous about it. I worry that they'll be loud, disobedient and out-of-control - and it's difficult to discipline effectively on the airplane. I guess my nervousness stems from pride - I want my kids to be well-behaved, so I can appear to be a good mom. Sin is ugly, isn't it?

The way I deal with my nervousness is to make a game plan. So here are some of the things we did to help the baby (11months) on this weekend's flight:

Board first on Southwest and pray for an empty seat (Children under 2 don't need to purchase a seat, but if the flight is full, they have to sit in your lap.)Let her stand up in your lap, and watch all the people enter the plane. (The lap trays are usually strong enough to support a baby's weight, so this works well for standing)Let the baby flirt with friendly passengers.Some friendly passe…
Treating Kid's Colds

Our pediatrician usually advises us to use a decongestant during the day and an antihistimine at night. So when our kid's have colds, we usually give them Benadryl (generic) at night. This system works well, and it almost always prevents the cold from transcending into a sinus infection.

**Benadryl usually makes people sleepy, but occasionally it wakes people up. Watch to see how it affects your child, and respond accordingly. :)