Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kindergarten Prep, What’s Your Secret?

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I’ve been having some great discussion with friends and family since my Kindergarten Registration post and I’m curious to see how others have prepared their children for Kindergarten.

Please take a moment to answer the short survey below.

For those who can’t knit…CROCHET!!!

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For those who can’t knit…CROCHET!!!

I’ve always considered myself a fairly creative person.  I enjoy multiple forms of art including drawing, painting, sewing, photography, scrapbooking and so on.  Where I always seem to struggle though is producing anything with yarn.  Some of you may be asking, who cares? But for those of you with similar type A tendencies, I thrive on a challenge and hate to be out done, especially by a pair of knitting needles.

I hate to admit that I’m probably in a select group of people that have been completely unsuccessful in their every effort to knit.  I’ve tried numerous times over the past 8 years but inevitably my yarn becomes so tightly wound around the knitting needles that it fails to budge and I have to start over.   I’ve attempted working with skinny needles, fat needles, and everything in between, always with the same results.

Last winter a friend of mine recommended Loom Knitting and I fell in love.  This is truly Knitting for Dummies, trust me, if I can do it YOU can to!  Although as far as I got with the loom knitting was outfitting everyone I could with a basic hat, the process and the output were very rewarding.  At last, I had finally made something with yarn!

Shortly after this experience, same friend mentioned above, asked if I’d ever given crocheting a try.  Although hesitant at first, she assured me that people of all ages and ability can handle this.  So, after a couple of weeks of contemplation, I picked up a crochet hook and got to work.  I was definitely awkward at first but with enough practice I easily mastered the basic crochet stitch and have been proudly working on a blanket for my daughter for the past 6months.

Yes, you read that right, 6 months and I’m still working on making my first blanket.  It’s not that I’ve been working day after day on this single masterpiece, it’s that it always seems to get  pushed to the back when other things come up that need to get done.

I’m hoping to finish this blanket as a Valentine’s present for my daughter.  I’m also hoping that by writing this, I will have enough pressure now put on myself to complete Project A which will then allow me to start on Project B, something adorable for little baby DeJaegher.  Maybe I’ll finish that project before the baby’s born…maybe.

If you’ve ever had the urge to create with yarn, I encourage you to pick up a loom or a hook and see where the process leads you.  Some great books that have helped me along the way are listed below.  The Kids Crochet: projects for kids of all ages, helped me the most, the illustrations are most helpful!

Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!

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Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!

What girl doesn’t love shoes?!?!

I’ve been blessed with a little princess that loves to accessorize. Shoes happen to be among one of her favorite. A trip to Target always includes a walk down the shoe aisle and undoubtedly I end up hearing pleas for a pair of new sparkle shoes. If you have a little girl of your own, beware of Target and their ploy to wrangle in any little diva looking to sport a little sparkle and shine.

As I always do, when I find something that my daughter is intersted in, I run to the library or do a little online researching at home to see where I can find some fun tie ins with books. There’s nothing more enticing to a child than reading about something they are already interested in!

For a much more laid back Sunday post, here’s a few fun titles we’ve run across that entertain the Imelda Marcos in all of us.

Kindergarten Registration…

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Kindergarten Registration…

While browsing through the mail last night, I came across a newsletter from our neighboring area highlighting that Kindergarten Registration would begin towards the end of February.  This grabbed my attention and heartstrings in a very BIG way because my little girl will be transitioning to the “Big School” this fall with the “Big Kids.”

It wasn’t as if this was news to me, we’ve been talking about starting kindergarten since last spring when some of her fellow classmates were graduating from the preschool she attends.  At the time it seemed like we had all the time in the world, another year to enjoy the comfort and routine of our current setting.

But now, that year has almost passed…

Kindergarten Registration?!?! Can it really be that time already?  It seems like only yesterday I was working through the initial sleep deprived days of being blessed with a newborn, endless feedings, diaper changes, hugs and kisses.  Before long she was toddling and babbling, baby proofing our environment went into overdrive, more hugs and kisses to follow as the bumps and scrapes started to add up.  Then it was on to researching preschools and finding activities to become involved in. Now, elementary school is knocking at our door.

As an educator, I know she’s more than ready.  We’ve done the prep and then some…reading aloud everyday, practicing basic skills, working on becoming more independent, fostering emotional and social growth, establishing routine,  the list goes on and on.

I guess where I continually fall short in this journey is preparing the mother in me.  No where in the “handbook of mothering” can I find lessons I need to complete in order to prepare myself for the monumental moments in my child’s life. They always seem to catch me off guard.

The one true blessing in it all is knowing that I am raising a very strong, independent daughter that holds a true joy for life and learning.  She’s not afraid of what’s ahead, in fact she’s running towards it full force.  She’s confident and relentless because she knows that no matter how great the journey ahead she has the unconditional love and support of her family behind her.  This of course and an endless supply of hugs and kisses to celebrate each step along the way.

Preparing a Kindergartner of your own?  Below are some helpful resources to get you and your little one ready for this important transition!

Let Them Play!

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Let Them Play!

What are some of your most memorable moments as a child?

Is it the time your family took a bike ride around the local metro park or is it the time you baked a blood red heart cake with Dad to celebrate your Mom’s birhtday?  Do you have memories of pillow fights and building forts?  Setting up lemonade stands on a hot summer day with your BFF or sewing new dresses and dolls with your Grandmother on a Saturday afternoon?

Why is it that some memories and lessons stick in our mind and others are lost forever?

Hippocrates famously said that “Men ought to know that from the brain and the brain alone arise our pleasures, joys, laughter and jests, as well as our sorrows, pain and griefs.”  Our brain is such a complex organ acting as the main hard drive for all of our thinking, feeling and functioning.

Mariah Bruehl, author of, Playful Learning: developing your child’s sense of joy and wonder, observes that children are natural scientists, artists, mathematicians, authors, and scholars. From the time they are born they seek out information about the world around them in an effort to construct meaning and further their development. While children have an inherent drive to make sense of their reality, parents have a unique opportunity to harness their children’s curiosity and channel it into a love of learning.

So, how do we help our children become lovers of learning? Through Play!

Bruehl defines playful learning as “the magic that takes place when we meld a child’s sense of joy and wonder with thoughtfully planned learning experiences.”  Stopping to think about what this says makes what we intuitively know to be so true.  Something all of us have known since the first time our hearts burst out with laughter!

I guess this only leaves one question, “How will you play today?”

What’s For Lunch?

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What’s For Lunch?

Packing my daughters lunch every morning for school was beginning to feel like such a tedious chore.   It seemed that my options for creating what I wanted to be a very healthy lunch were limited because, well frankly, my four year old wishes to only eat pasta.   Can you relate?

I finally began reading some of the parenting emails that flood my inbox regarding children’s eating habits and food preferences.  It occurred to me after viewing a few of the pictures tied into the proposed meals that it wasn’t so much about being extremely creative in what to make but more about how the dish is prepared and presented.

Cutting fruits and vegetables into bit size manageable pieces and shapes is fun for kids.  I’ve also found when I pack my daughters lunch in fun containers they are more likely to return home empty!

Here’s a few ideas to get you start!

Have any fun and creative ideas of your own for serving up a healthy lunch to your kiddos, please let me know!

I first saw these lunch containers on Amazon from Easy Lunchboxes, while researching healthy cookbooks for kids.  I love that they are divided into compartments.  The visual display entices the appetite while the ability to portion control makes me feel better about the foods I send.

I love the idea of this puzzle sandwich cutter!  Many other sandwich cutters that I’ve seen often waste much of the sandwich to obtain the cute little shapes they make.

Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 healthy recipes from delicious sandwiches and salads to hot soups and sweet treats,  filled with fun and quick ideas to jazz up your child’s lunch.  I am looking forward to trying the oat, raisin and sunflower seed cookies soon!

Snow, Sledding and A Fresh Perspective!

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Snow, Sledding and A Fresh Perspective!

WELCOME!

What better way to embrace the winter season than by sailing down a hill with your favorite friends! Freshly fallen snow, sunshine and a free weekend brought about a day of play and a healthy change in perspective.

How often do we get caught up in the daily grind and forget to embrace such moments? Not only did we have fun inner tube sledding for the first time, the girls opened a multitude of doors that resulted in discussions about where does snow come from?, why does it snow?, what’s lake effect snow?, does everyone get snow?, and so on!

How is it that often the simplest activities lead to some of the biggest opportunities for understanding the world around us?  I encourage you to bundle up your little ones and embark on a discovery of the winter landscape outside your door. For those fortunate enough to be able to “feel” the change in seasons, take full advantage!  The world is an open playground just waiting for you to explore!

To keep with tradition on a cold winter day, cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa and a couple of good reads!  Here’s a couple of suggested titles to get you started

               

 

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