Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
*Make sure your child eats breakfast. If you have to, wake him/her up early enough to grab a healthy bite to eat before school. Stock the kitchen with healthy options. Here are some ideas:
- If your child can do homework on his/her own, check his/her completed work.
- Test prep: Quiz your child, or have your child teach you. If your child can teach you without any hesitation and can answer your questions, that is a good sign that he/she knows the material.
- Create a homework space, free from TV and other distractions. Make sure there is plenty of light. Natural lighting is best if possible.
*Read with your child. Weather it be for homework or just for leisure, read with your child. It can be a great time to bond.
- When your child sits down to do homework, make him/her turn off his/her cell phone and give it to you. He/She can have it back once homework is finished.
- Make sure your child doesn't have a TV, video games, or computer in his/her room. If he/she wants to spend time on these devices, they should be in common areas of the house, such as family room or den. This will limit time spent on these activities around bedtime.
- Set a curfew or "lights out" time, if possible. Sometimes homework and projects run quite late. Help your child finish it if necessary. Don't take away from your child's learning experience but do what you can to help.
*Be nice to your child. Let your child relax and have some fun.
Let me put something in perspective. Our children go to school for about 7 hours a day. During those 7 hours their brains are being crammed with new information, each teacher thinking that his/her students understood every word and will retain everything that has been taught. After school, our children are headed to soccer practice and/or piano lessons, or whatever extra curricular activities they may be involved in. Those activities can take up another 2 or 3 hours in the day, maybe more if it is game day. Some of our youth work after school. Once our tired children are allowed to go home, it is homework time. Homework shouldn't last more than 2 hours but it normally goes longer because every teacher thinks that his/her class is the most important, so let's say it goes for 4 hours on a good night- no tests or projects to finish up. Let's look at this schedule without breaks.
Where's the time to have dinner? Time to be with family? Time to unwind and relax? Time to get good sleep? There's got to be some balance.
*Please be patient and kind to your children when they are going through puberty. Their bodies are changing and growing so quickly. They need extra rest and and proper nutrition. Sometimes the body can become overworked during rapid growth and changes which in turn can cause stress and weaken the body's immune system. Puberty is already an awkward stage for children. Don't make it worse. Support them by helping them get the rest that they need and make sure they are eating well.
*Don't worry. Your child will get into college. I've had so many experiences with parents stressing about their child getting into college that it cracks me up. Their child "has to take such-and-such test prep class on Saturdays so they can pass the SAT and ACT tests." Their child "has to get straight A's to qualify for such-and-such college." Their child "has to take AP classes and AP tests." Their child "has to do so many sports and activities to show how well-rounded their child is on a college application." So many times I just wanted to say, "Chill out! Your kid will get into college." It's true. Your child WILL get into college one way or another. He/She might go to a junior college first. Sweet! Save some money and enjoy another year or two with your child.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
I've been wanting to make chalkboard placemats for months now. I finally did it. I decided that I would follow the directions from Sew 4 Home. However, I wanted to have waterproof fabric on the back instead of regular fabric so I grabbed some oil cloth. When it came time to put the placemat together, I couldn't press anything with an iron or use too many pins. I didn't want to melt my fabric and once the fabric is punctured with pins, the hole stays there.
I decided to do this thing a super basic way using bias tape.
What you'll need:
- Chalkboard cloth (found in the "utility fabric" section of your fabric store)
- Oil cloth (also a "utility fabric")
- Bias tape (extra wide, double fold bias tape- 3 yd. Plan on one package per placemat just in case)
- Jean needle (strong needle to sew your fabrics)
- Sewing machine (with jean needle)
What you'll do:
1) Cut one piece of chalkboard fabric and one piece of oil cloth the same size. Cut it to the size you'd like your placemat to be.
2) With wrong sides together, line up your bias tape on one edge of the chalkboard side! This is important! I found that the chalkboard fabric is quite slick and thick and doesn't grab onto the feed dogs well. So, having the oil cloth on the bottom allows for easier and nicer sewing.
3) Sew your bias tape on. See the following tutorial.
I followed the instructions in the video almost exactly. The only change I made was that I lined up the edge of my bias tape with the edge of my fabric. The woman in the video, Amy, lines up her bias tape a little below the edge of the fabric but, don't do it! You need that space when you're using the thicker fabrics.
So, unfold your bias tape, with the thinner edge up. Sew along that first fold. I tucked in my sides like Amy did too.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
It will look like this. Not everything will dissolve and that's okay. I used a mashed bouillon cube since I didn't have the granules on hand.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
- Come to dinner dressed up in your Halloween costume.
- Make a dish or dessert that includes pumpkin as a main ingredient (pumpkin stew, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, etc.)
- Serve gruesome dishes. (Brains and blood = spaghetti, mummies = hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls, make homemade pizzas and create monster faces with toppings, etc.)
- Have dinner in the dark. Cover the table in a white table cloth and turn on a black light, or eat by candle light.
- Have a murder mystery dinner. Invite some other families over for some extra fun. HERE's a great site for CLEAN games on sale now!
- What do you want to dress up as for Halloween?
- If your whole family had to dress up together for Halloween, what would you dress up as? (Scooby Doo and his friends? The Simpsons? A bunch of cowboys and cowgirls?)
- What is your favorite part about the fall?
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
- Do you know anyone who can speak a second language? If you could speak a second language (or a third), which language would you like to speak? Why?
- What was your very favorite part of summer? What are you looking forward to when school starts?
- What do you hope to learn this year in school?
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
- If you could re-name your family members, what would you name them? What name would you choose for yourself?
- What should we do more of as a family?
- If you could go somewhere with just mom (or just dad), where would you go?
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
8 oz. baby carrots
1/2 cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
1 14 oz. can reduced sodium chicken broth
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1 1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- In a 4-5 quart slow cooker combine onions and carrots. Add plums and broth. Top with chicken. In a small bowl combine curry powder, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle over chicken.
- Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or on high setting for 4-5 hours. Remove chicken and vegetables from cooker with a slotted spoon. Spoon some of the cooking juices on each serving.
I served this over rice. It was delicious.
Click HERE for a printable version of this recipe.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
- If you could re-do your own bedroom (or house) what would it MUST have?
- Name a time in your life that made you feel proud about yourself.
- Name one thing that you would still like to do this summer.
- Heat 3 cups milk in microwave for 5 minutes on high
- Add 1 stick butter, 1/4 c. crisco, 1 c. potato flakes or instant potatoes, 3/4 c. sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. Beat until lukewarm.
- In the meantime, soften 1-1/2 tablespoons yeast in 1/3 cup lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar.
- Beat 4 eggs, then add milk mixture, yeast and 4 cups flour and beat until smooth. Add 4 more cups of flour one at a time. (Makes a soft dough) Mix for a few minutes. I just mix it in my Kitchen Aid mixer. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
- Take out half of the dough and roll out in large rectangle. Spread 1/4 c. of softened butter over dough. Fold in thirds. Fold long side bottom of rectangle up and then the long side of rectangle top down over it. Starting from end cut small slices off and twist into a tie or knot folding ends under. When pan is full, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours. Repeat for other half of dough. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes.
**This makes a huge batch. However these freeze really well so you could freeze them too. Don't worry if the dough seems too sticky. That's how it is. Just plop it out on a floured surface and lightly flour and it rolls out and works just fine. I think that is what makes it so good.
Friday, July 15, 2011
- What is your favorite chore to do in the house? Your least favorite?
- What is your favorite toy? Why? Where did you get it?
- What is the silliest face you can make?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
- If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? What noise does your animal make?
- What is your favorite weather? Why? How does it make you feel?
- What is the nicest thing someone has done for you? How did it make you feel?
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
- What makes you happy?
- If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?
- Who is the funniest person you know?
Thursday, June 23, 2011
- If you could go on a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- How would you describe yourself to someone who hasn't met you?
- If you joined the circus, who would you like to be? What act would you do?