5 ways to minimize bacteria in your kitchen

easy ways to minimize bacteria in your kitchen -- get started with your kitchen spring cleaning today, it'll take you just a few minutes

Bacteria disgusts me. The idea that little cells of microorganisms are mulitplying on surfaces around my home gives me the eebie-jeebies in ways you can't imagine. And while some bacteria can be healthy (I'm not one to suggest anti-bacterial soap 24/7 because our bodies need to be exposed to some to survive) I'm all about minimizing the ones that come close to my regular surroundings. Especially  the surroundings in my kitchen. Because bacteria is not a spice I plan to enter into my family's … [Read more...]

Learning with M&Ms: learning across the curriculum and beyond

learning with m&ms -- many opportunities for learning with little candies including spelling games, math games, exercise and social activities. Love the getting to know you game for the beginning of the school year or for new students

Several months ago, my son came home from swim team practice inspired for a new family activity: the M&M game. Last year, every Monday at practice was M&M Monday: each child gets an M&M and does whatever is assigned to that color on the M&M chart–it’s a fun way for the kids to run their drills. But even better, it offered opportunities for us to play a similar game doing everything from homework, to household chores, to indoor and outdoor activities, to extended … [Read more...]

What’s for dinner? Here’s a month of menus

February meal plan. One month of family dinners, planned. The variety of chicken, beef, fish, pork and vegetable dinners creates a perfect menu plan for your family

February Meal Plan Week 1 Monday: Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup Tuesday: Rachael Ray Mega Turkey Nacho Dinner Wednesday: Cheesy Veggie & Black Bean Tortilla Casserole Thursday: leftovers Weekend: Pizza, Zucchini Lasagna & Salad Week 2 Monday: Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce and side of spinach Tuesday: SPOT (Sausage, Potato, Onion, Tomato... and cheese) (I can't believe it's been so long since I made this!) Wednesday: Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie Thursday: leftovers Weekend: … [Read more...]

Why wordless? The educational value of wordless books

Why are wordless books so important for reading and child development? Never discount the importance of wordless books in childhood. Through wordless books, children learn the art of storytelling and unique thoughts as well as necessary pre-reading skills. Plus 9 must-have picture books for your library

Growing up, my mom and I ventured to the local library at least once a week. It was a tiny, two story building with the children’s books and story hour hidden upstairs. These were the days before people set up workstations at small libraries. Little research was done at this one. It was, simply, a lending library. I recall the moms shushing their children. I’d like to think that I was as difficult to settle into quietness at this tiny library as my kids were, when they were also of the … [Read more...]

Help your kids become stronger writers and thinkers

ideas and topics for journals, discussions and higher level thinking. With tips and strategies for teachres, homeschool and parents to encourage student's higher-level thinking

Children as young as kindergarten should be encouraged to journal on a regular basis. Some teachers have students journal for morning work while others use it as a transition. Alternatively, families can use journaling for an after school or before school activity, a calming step in the night time routine or a part of the homework hour.  No matter when they do it, when children learn that writing is a normal part of their day, they begin to strengthen their writing skills as well as their … [Read more...]

February Menu Plan: 4 weeks of family dinners, planned

February meal plan. One month of family dinners, planned. The variety of chicken, beef, fish, pork and vegetable dinners creates a perfect menu plan for your family

Has your family caught it yet? If you're already nodding, I'm so very sorry because I am right there with you. I thought the stomach bug/virus/mild flu was just in this area, until my mom called yesterday to share that she caught it, too... and she lives 8 and a half hours away. Middle, Big and I were struck down last week by violent upset stomachs followed by fevers. I've been better since Saturday, and still not interested in eating. In fact, I've stayed off Pinterest for the past week because … [Read more...]

Taking your kids from wild to calm on indoor days

teach your kids to calm down on their own; advice for inside play on snow days and rainy days when kids need to move

Schools offer less running and playing time for kids, making it so valuable to offer physical activity time at home after a busy day of work work work. But the challenge comes when we're stuck inside on snow days and rainy days -- we need a mix of active activities and calm peaceful play. On days when it’s too cold or wet for me to kick them outside to play, the kids come home or stay home on a snow day craving excitement and activity, and things can get a little crazy. We try lots of … [Read more...]

New Family Traditions for the Day of Love

create new family traditions for your valentine's day

While its actual origins are murky at best, the celebration of an official Valentine’s Day has been recorded as far back as the 5th Century AD (1). And while traditions and gifts may have changed throughout the centuries, the core of the celebration is, and always has been, rooted in love. In today’s modern world, the day of love is not only celebrated by couples, but by entire families, using it as an opportunity to create fun family traditions and grow together as a group. If you’re looking to … [Read more...]

5 Fun activities to bond with your kids

what to do on a date with your kids -- 5 engaging ideas!

You always make sure your toddler is taken care of, but because of your busy schedule, you don't always have enough time to bond with your child. But, having something like a date night with your kid will help your relationship and introduce him or her to new and fun activities. Your toddler can learn to ask questions and develop their curiosity. If you need some ideas, here are five fun activities to do on your date night:   Visit the Zoo Children love learning about animals and … [Read more...]

Is a toy still a toy when you learn to code from it?

wonder workshop stem learning coding and playing

In middle school, high school and college, I hated HATED science: all and any forms of it. I despised memorizing vocabulary, following directions to complete an experiment properly and explaining what happened and why, when it was already done. It wasn't just boring, it was frustrating. My grades were always lowest in Science. In fact, I practically failed Chem in college. Surprisingly, in Graduate School, my absolute favorite class was Teaching Science. In my grad class, the professor … [Read more...]