Friday, August 29, 2014

Tips for Teaching Toddlers

It is almost time for preschool to start!  To see my thoughts about picking a preschool read this post:

Picking a Preschool

This spring (April 2014) I wrote my thoughts about teaching toddlers and a few helpful hints:

I love to teach preschool.  This year marks my 10th year that I have had the opportunity to teach.  Last week when I taught we focused on the letter D.  We had so much fun with Dogs and we even ate our snack like Dogs!  The kids thought it was so fun.  

Here are a few of my thoughts for how to keep it fun for kids and for moms:

1.  Plan more than you think you will need!  Little preschool kids have very short attention spans so we move from one activity to another.  When I first started teaching preschool I really liked that the "Joyschool" curriculum has it all planned out for you and how long each activity should be.  It was a great way for me to start out so that  I learned how to plan my time.  I usually do something like this:

active activity
writing or cutting
sit in a circle to learn
color or something at the table

2.  Remember you are there to teach, not put on a show.  One time preschool was at my house and I had an amazing idea for a snack that went along with the theme.  I was sure that it would impress the children and the moms would think I was amazing, so I got up at the crack of dawn to make fresh dough for my amazing snack.  In the end the kids didn't even eat it, they took one bite and pushed it aside!  I should also mention that not one mom even got to see how amazing I was for making such a great snack to go along with the theme!  All that stress was wasted!  Another time I had preschool at my house and nothing great to serve so we had a taste test party.  We had to choose between Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios and Craisins or Raisins.  They voted for their favorite snack.  The kids thought that was a blast, and they ate everything!

3.  Creative enough to be cool, simple enough to be sane!
I love pinterest.  There are so many great ideas, but I believe if we spend our time worrying about if our teaching is worthy to be pictured on pinterest we feel extra pressure and miss the magic moments!  I have seen mothers who completely burn out from teaching preschool because their personal expectations are too high! Preschool kids can't even put together some of the amazing projects that are presented.  

4.  Eye contact on their level
The best preschool classes that  I have taught have been the simple ones where  I got involved with the kids, looked them in the eye and was really on their level.  They love to feel your attention and love.  They also love to learn.  

5.  Go with it!
Recognize when they are interested or enjoying a particular activity and do it longer if needed or if they don't seem to understand, feel free to move to the next event.  

Letter D dogs:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Italian vegetable soup

I love crock-pot recipes and this is one I have made several times!  

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Slower Cooker Cooking Time: 4 to 41/2 hours on high or 8 to 9 hours in low
Last-Minutes Cooking Time: 10 to 15 minutes on high

3 small carrots, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 small potatoes, diced
2 T. chopped parsley
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves, crunched
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (15oz.) red kidney beans
3 c. water
1 can (8oz.) stewed tomatoes, cut up and juice reserved
1 c. diced cooked ham

1. Layer in a slow cooker, in order, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, parsley, garlic, bouillon granules, basil, salt, pepper, and kidney beans with liquid. Add water. DO NOT STIR.

2. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 4 1/2 hours or on low for 8 to 9 hours or until vegetables are tender. 
3. Stir in stewed tomatoes with juice and ham. Immediatly cover and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.

Serve with graded Parmesan cheese. If desired, serve over cooked pasta in bottom of soup bowls.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Power of Moms articles

From time to time I enjoy writing articles for the Power of Mom's website.   If you ever feel like as a mother you are drowning, read this article entitled, "Life Lessons from the Lap Pool."

Other articles that have been featured are:

Mom Adventures
Simple Steps for a More Organized Life
Back to School and Back to Basics
Picture Story: Learning the ABC's of Motherhood

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Banana Apple Oatmeal Smoothie

*recipe from Vita-mix cookbook (it came with our blender)

preparation: 10 min.- Processing: 30 seconds-
Yield: 2 1/4 cups (540 ml)

1 cup (240 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 g) vanilla yogurt
1/2 banana, pealed
2 tablespoons (20 g)uncooked quick oats
1/2 medium apple, 3 1/2 oz (100 g) seeded, halved
1/4 cup (30 g) dried cranberries
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid 

2. select variable 1.

3. press start and slowly increase speed to high

4. Blend for 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.


Note: 2 cups (480 ml) of this smoothie provided 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber 
-a satisfying and healthy breakfast option.

If a chilled smoothie is desired, reduce water to 1/4 cup (60 ml) 
and add 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) ice cubes       
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