Don’t be Late!  5 tips on how to get the kids to School on Time.

Don’t be Late! 5 tips on how to get the kids to School on Time.

I have to admit this time of year I always get a little jealous of all the teachers setting up their classrooms and getting ready to begin another year of school.  I miss those first days of school when the kids come in all shiny and new, eager to start a year of learning.  It tends to wear off after a few weeks but those few weeks were always my favorite part of the school year.

I do remember how many students (and parents) would take a few days or sometimes weeks to get into the morning routine of getting to school on time.  Almost daily kids would come wandering in after the final bell all disheveled and in some cases in tears because they were rushed out the door in hopes of making it on time.  A joyful experience I’m sure for both parents and kids 😉

Now that I’m home with my own little guy who just started preschool, I’m getting a first hand look at the “fun” that comes when your mornings go from waking up, eating breakfast, enjoying a cup of coffee, checking emails to rushing around looking for lost shoes and backpacks.

So to help you avoid those crazy mornings, here’s a few tips to help get those kids out the door on time.

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Things to teach your child before they start school

Things to teach your child before they start school

When I was teaching, I remember so many children didn’t have basic, common sense skills you would think they should have.  Granted I was teaching in a low income, high English as a second language area.  However, on average most kids entered school without certain skills that could benefit them not only in the classroom but in everyday life.

So to make sure your child enters school prepared, here’s a list of skills to teach your child before they start school.

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  1.  How to push in their chair – For safety reasons this ones huge!  Not just so that other kids aren’t tripping over their chairs, but for the teacher!  Those little chairs are dangerous and cause come serious chin bruises.  Trust me, I know!
  2.  How and where to throw away their own garbage – You’d be shocked how many kids not only leave their garbage on the ground but would actually bring it to me to throw away for them.  Or if you asked them to pick up a piece of trash that wasn’t actually theirs, they refused!  Teaching kids that it’s important to keep our surroundings clean by picking up trash is a skill that will help them in many ways.
  3.  How to use a fork – For one so that they aren’t using their dirty hands (yes no matter how hard you try to teach them to keep them clean they’ll be dirty 90% of the time) but so that they build fine motor skills.
  4. Problem solving skills – Yes, they may be a little too young to solve all their problems on their own but I guarantee you that they can solve some.  Like what to do if they lose their pencil or bump into a friend and knock them down.   Teaching them basic problem solving skills before entering school can help them be more independent and less likely to have issues with behavior or discipline.
  5. How to cut with scissors – this one goes along with the fine motor skills.  Practicing cutting not only helps them to learn how to cut, but develops their fine motor skills which will in turn help them with holding  a writing utensil.
  6. What their parents names are – A lot of parents teach their kids what street they live on and some students even enter Kindegarten knowing their home phone number.  However, it’s amazing how many enter school without the knowledge of what their parents names are.
  7. Good old fashioned manners – This one always amazed me.  Maybe parents think their kids won’t pick up on the concept of saying please and thank you at a young age but guess what… They do!  Teach them LOTS of manners and start at a young age by modeling these behaviors to them.  When they are a baby and they sneeze, say bless you.  When they are a toddler and you bump into them, say excuse me.  When they are learning to eat dinner with you, teach them to chew with their mouth closed and ask to be excused when finished.  These simple but often forgotten concepts will help them to be a more kind, polite, and considerate individual earlier on.   It will also help them to develop empathy which is an emotion that many children struggle with.

Some might seem obvious and some might not but they are all simple skills we can begin instilling before they enter school.  Skills that will help them in so many ways!

preschoolQUESTION – 

  • Anything you would add? 

Berry Season and Black Berry Avocado Pudding – Repost

Berry Season and Black Berry Avocado Pudding – Repost

It’s berry season!  And what kid doesn’t love berries right!?!  Especially when they get to help pick them!  If your’e in the Sacramento area, there are some great u-pick berry farms where you can spend a few hours with your kiddos searching for the perfect berries.

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Our favorite is Patricks Berry Farm which grows several varieties of berries all of which are thorn free.  Making it easy for kids to get their hands dirty.  Or faces 🙂

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Once you return with all those delicious berries there are a million things you can do with them.  Make jam, freeze them, smoothies, cobblers, pies, or this kid favorite, secretly healthy pudding!

pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/3 cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 large pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stop to scrape down sides then chill and serve or serve immediately! Enjoy!

A quick, easy and like I said, healthy treat for your kiddos after all their hard work picking berries!

 

The Mom I want to Be

The Mom I want to Be

Lately the love nugget and I have been battling daily. Numerous fits, time outs, frustration and tiredness pretty much every day. I could blame it on the fact that we’ve been living in a hotel for three months. That he’s giving me a taste of the terrible threes. Or that he just likes to push my buttons. To me placing blame in this situation is a cop out. Instead I’m choosing to hold myself accountable and realize that I haven’t been patient, present or the mom I truly want to be.

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Ka-Chow!  The Love Nugget Turned Three!

Ka-Chow! The Love Nugget Turned Three!

If you have a little boy around the age of my son you probably know what Ka-Chow means.  If you don’t it’s Lightning McQueen’s favorite saying as he races across the finish line.  My son is obsessed with Disney Cars so it seemed only fitting to have a Cars birthday party!

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Toddler Tuesday – Technology quiz

The other day I was browsing my Parents magazine and came across a quiz titled, “r u raising a digitally healthy child?”  If you remember back in August I touched on the topic of technology with kids and how it was a struggle with us to find a balance between what we felt like should be allowed and what was recommended.  Ever since my doctor basically told me NO techonology until after 2, I’ve become more of a stickler for the amount of screen time that The Love Nugget is allowed.   Even though he’s past the age of 2, I want him to learn that he doesn’t need the iPhone, TV or video games to have a good time.  We definitely still allow some educational games on our phones, and he LOVES to watch Dora or Thomas from time to time however, it’s not something we turn to daily.  So when I saw this quiz, I thought I would ace it for sure since it seemed like we had a pretty good healthy balance going on.

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Toddler Tuesday – Why I’m Thankful I Became a Mom

Toddler Tuesday – Why I’m Thankful I Became a Mom

Thanksgiving is in two days!?!  Even though it seems later this year, it sure did sneak up fast!

Since this time of year is when we typically reflect and think about what we are thankful for, I figured what better time than to share why I’m thankful for motherhood.

I’m thankful for motherhood because,

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Conversations with The Love Nugget

Conversations with The Love Nugget

Good morning all and thank you for joining me for another round of Toddler Tuesday!

If you’re new here today, Tuesday’s are day when I share anything toddler or kid related.  Feel free to join in with the fun by linking up a post as well!

I do have to apologize if this is your first visit for Toddler Tuesday though because today is going to be a little random and short as I’ve got a million things to get done.  Sorry!

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Toddler Tuesday – The Love Nugget’s Christmas List

Toddler Tuesday – The Love Nugget’s Christmas List

Good morning!

We had a very windy day yesterday that kept us indoors.  I really dislike the wind and my new bangs agree!  So besides a trip to the gym we hung around the house, cleaning, reading, playing and shopping online for Christmas gifts!

What!?!  Christmas!  I know, I know, we’ve just begun November but I’ve already been planning and shopping for Christmas.  Not that I want it to arrive any sooner.  I love October, November and Thanksgiving but I also like to be on top of my holiday shopping game.  Especially with The Love Nugget.  As most kids do, he wants all the toys, all the time… However, we’re not made of money and are on a single income so getting him things he wants becomes a little more difficult.  I’ve found that by spreading out my holiday shopping, I end up spending less and getting great gifts at great prices.

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Toddler Tuesday – How we plan to tackle Halloween.

Halloween is one of my least favorite Holidays.  Sure, I loved it when I was a kid but now it’s just not my thing.  I hate being scared so I don’t go to haunted houses, I majorly dislike blood, guts, or any gross death related things, and you’ve probably guessed that I’m not huge on the massive amounts of candy that is devoured on October 31st.  When I say massive I mean MASSIVE!

Did you know that Americans purchase over 600 million pounds of candy?  That’s 158 TRILLION candy corns!  Talk about sugar overload!  Out of that 600 million, 90 million pounds of it is chocolate topping the only 48 million that is purchased before Valentines Day.   Even though Americas may be trying to cut back and budget more these days, we still spend $44 a year on Halloween Candy alone.  I personally think that is a lot and am happy I’m not contributing much to that statistic this year!

(Source)

Other than the fact that candy is overloaded with sugar, harmful dyes and high fructose corn syrup, there are some gross ingredients that make me avoid it as well.

  • Lanolin – basically sheep sweat and is used as  a “gum base” in some candy products.
  • Carmine – a red dye made from dried, boiled and crushed beetles.  YUM!!
  • Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) – A form of butane used in lighter fluid as well as a preservative in foods such as Butterfingers.  One of The Hubby’s favorites!!!
  • Castoreum – An extract from beaver perineal in other words, beaver urine.  Mmmm… sounds good right!?!  This one hides under the label “Natural Flavoring.”
  • Shellac – A sticky substance from bug secretion used to give Jelly beans their shiny coating.  Also known as confectioners glaze.  (Source – Huffington Post)

Eeek!  Makes you think twice about unwrapping that candy bar right!?!   It’s easy for us as adults to say no to the candy temptations on Halloween but what about the kids.  You can’t take away the fun and excitement associated with Trick-or-Treating, right?  Also, is it fair to not allow them to enjoy any of the treats that they excitedly collect and that their friends are probably going to be eating?  These are a few questions I’ve been thinking about as “the big day” arrives.  How will I tackle this night that as a kid I loved but as an adult I loathe?  Well, after much consideration and discussion with my husband, here’s some things we’re going to try out this year,

1. Discuss with The Love Nugget about why candy isn’t healthy for him.

    • This is something we’ve already begun doing and surprisingly he’s sort of getting it.  At the few Harvest Festivals we’ve gone to there has been candy passed out and he’s been very good at giving it to us and waiting for a small piece or a healthier treat later.  Yesterday we were talking about candy because he saw a wrapper at the park and said,  “I like candy but I like healthy treats more!”  Made me feel so good!  Don’t worry, we won’t be doing away with treats completely or replacing them with some of the mentioned ones in this commercial…

2. Dress The Love Nugget up in his Pirate Costume and take him Trick-or-Treating in a family oriented neighborhood.

      • It’s no secret we’ve been trying to move out of our neighborhood.  Unfortunately over the past few years we’ve lost most the families that lived nearby and it’s not as kid friendly as it once was.  We live on a court that has a few empty houses as does the rest of the neighborhood so we just figure we’ll have a more pleasant experience going to a friends neighborhood with some more kids to see dressed in their costumes.

2. Purchase some healthier candy that I feel better about giving him and trade for his Trick-or-Treat candy.

      • At Easter he got tons of candy filled eggs which I took, filled with a better version and allowed him to have some with his friends.  This worked since he didn’t feel left out and I didn’t feel as bad about him eating it.  Some of my favorites are,

                       UnReal Candy Bars – Even The Hubby loves these 🙂

                       Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops – Although these make him sugar crazy!

                        Surf Sweets – They even have spider treats

                        Funky Monkey Snacks – Freeze Dried Fruit with no sugar added that are pretty good!

                        Justin’s – One of The Hubby’s favorites!

3. Make Halloween more about the fun activities than just about the candy.

      • So far this month we’ve enjoyed some really fun Harvest Festival events, carved pumpkins, painted pumpkins, and done several pumpkin/Halloween crafts.  Teaching kids that Halloween is more about the fun than just the candy will help them to be less interested in just eating candy.  While this was easier in the activities that we did before actual Halloween day, I expect it will be more difficult during and after Trick-or-Treating.  So what I plan to do is purchase a few Halloween themed books, coloring pages, and other fun non-candy related things for The Love Nugget to do after Trick-or-Treating.  This will hopefully re-direct his attention from wanting to eat all his candy.

4. Not spend too much time Trick-or-Treating.

      • There’s no rule that you have to get to a certain amount of houses before you head in for the night.  For us it’s easy since The Love Nugget is still young and won’t care too much when we say it’s time to go.  With older kids I’m sure this is easier said than done.  I mean, I remember wanting to hit every house in the neighborhood before we could be finished.  However, you could easily establish a time limit before leaving the house.  You could also draw out a map of the neighborhood beforehand and allow kids to mark the 7-10  (parent chosen number)  houses they want to visit.   This could also help certain kids who might be frightened by scary decorations – like The Love Nugget – as they may choose to avoid specific streets and houses altogether.

5.  Host or meet at a friend’s house to enjoy each other’s company, let the kids play and spend less time focusing on the candy.

      • I’ve heard of lots of people who host progressive parties on Halloween where they meet at one persons house for an appetizer and cocktail then go to few houses to Trick-or-Treat before making a stop at the next house for another appetizer and cocktail.  I wish we lived in a neighborhood where we could do this but hopefully we’ll be spending the majority of our evening hanging out with friends instead of collecting candy 🙂

6. Donate unwanted candy to others who do want it.

      • Teaching moment!  Donating is a great way to teach your kids about generosity, caring and sharing.  A quick search on Google led me to a few different options.  The local Children’s Museum is hosting a Sweet Exchange where kids can bring in their candy Nov 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in exchange for a goodie bag to take home.  The candy is donated overseas for troops to enjoy.  On November 1st  Personalized Dental Care will buy back Halloween candy for $1 a pound which will again be donated to troops overseas.  If you can’t find anything local, Operation Shoebox is an online organization that supports troops overseas.  They accept and appreciate candy donations throughout the year.

Those are just a few things we hope to do this year.  Regardless, we plan to have fun and enjoy seeing him experience his first Trick-or-Treat experience 🙂

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QUESTIONS – 

  • What are your plans for Halloween?  
  • Any other suggestions? 
  • If you have kids, do you have any non-candy activities planned?  

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