Rounding out nutrition March 20-29

Posted March 27, 2015 By Jill

I’m going back through all the resources I bookmarked online, and getting in all the books we had ordered to finish up nutrition. Also finishing up the multitude of St. Patrick’s Day pages I had printed. I don’t think I’d even gotten through half of them before we ran out of paper, so I’ll have to go back next year I guess and catch up. Then perhaps we’ll take a short spring break and get some ‘work’ done around the house before delving into GARDENING!


Here’s a few of the additional resources we used this week:

Movie: How did that get in my lunchbox? -- this is a great overview, only about 15 minutes for the whole thing and hits on a lot of topics would be a great introductory video.

USDA  My Plate Food Groups Picture — this resource we used to talk about current governmental food suggestions and how they differed from how the pyramid was structured when we (as parents) grew up and how it’s different now– my 6 year old pointed out that there was NOT a sweets group on the plate, and I agreed and mentioned casually obesity, heart disease and cooking at home, things that are on the rise or decline because of healthy or unhealthy eating, trends in food, etc.

CDC Nutrition Game: this was a good game, easy enough to click on the different options and get information as to the food group and how much to eat of it daily. No scoring, just information.

List of Healthy Grains: this explained various grains and what they are used to make, we talked about different recipes using grains.

My Plate Worksheets: we did various worksheets out of this site about food groups, gardening, etc. I wish I’d seen these earlier, but good for any time.

Curious George Goes To the Ice Cream Parlor (KIT with book and games)

Reading Together:
Splish Splash by Kessler
Monster Knows MORE THAN, LESS THAN (Math) by Capote

Topical books:
Lives and Times Ben Cohen The Founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream  (biography) by M.C. Hall
Bubble and Squeak The Great Cheese Hunt by Fowkes
Steve and Wessley in The Ice Cream Shop by Morris
All About Dairy by Parker
Extra Cheese, Please, Mozzarella’s Journey From Cow to Pizza by Peterson


3 year old:
Finished writing 19-31 numbers on March
Traced and wrote letter Z worksheets with dry erase
Number maze recognizing numbers 1-20
How many in all (counting chickens) worksheet
Colored pictures and wrote spring words on spring coloring pages
Matching lists of words with images (dry erase) to sound out words
Spring dot to dot
’15’ worksheet practice writing, graphing and counting up to 15

 6 year old:
Silent E worksheet page (write common words like dime, five, note, tape)
History of St. Pat’s Day Crossword Puzzle (had to look up answers in book)
AI/AY worksheet completing the word with the ‘a’ sound combination of letters
Introduction to pronouns and completed a ‘noun or pronoun’ worksheet
Continuing to work on telling analog time, including elapsed time, used ‘Time Tracking’ 2nd grade packet from
Skip counting worksheets and putting numbers in order wksht
+/- worksheets and color by number
Sight word color by number worksheets (St Pat’s day themed)

Independent Reading:
Leprechaun in Late Winter by Osborne
Pirates Don’t Wear Pink Sunglasses by Dadey
Junie B Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Park
Cavemen DO Drive School Buses by Jones/Dadey
Four Mice Deep in the Jungle by Geronimo Stilton
A Cheese Colored Camper by Geronimo Stilton
Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman by Simon
Esme the Ice Cream Fairy by Meadows
St. Patrick’s Day from the Black Lagoon by Thaler
Mermaid Tales: A Royal Tea by Dadey
The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword by Mazer
Cliffhangers: Sliced by Weiner
Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland by dePaola
Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth by O’Connor
Ready to Fly: Silverlake Fairy School #3 by Lindsay
A-Z Mysteries The Runaway Racehorse by Roy
Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Stilton
Scooby Doo The Apple Thief by Herman
A-Z Mysteries The Yellow Yacht by Roy

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March 13-19 St. Pats and Nutrition

Posted March 20, 2015 By Jill

The 3 year old has caught something and of course immediately sneezed in my face so I’m only about half here this week. Baby got it too, so she was up half the night Sunday. So far the 6 year old is the only one that has avoided it. No idea how. We ended up with a sick day and a day where we mostly read books together, so lots of reading going on this week!


Over the weekend we broke out the new dice we ordered online (who knew that they were hard to find in a store?) and let them play ‘roll and cover’ with shamrock pages (they’re meant to be colored, but we used ‘gold’ coins). I let the 3 year old have one die and the 6 year old got 2. She had to add the 2 numbers. I don’t think they understand that they’re doing math. Evil mom grin.


They’ve been able to get out, run, play, swing, slide, and so on, and fingers crossed the weather will continue to improve as spring is nearly here! I think everyone’s in a mood, the illness running through the house has cramped everyone’s style and made me more tired than usual. We’re still trying to find the right rhythm with learning, for whatever reason, the baby/toddler wants to scream through most of the time I read out loud. But she’s napping later, so the kids are done and running by the time she naps, and corralling them again and having them slam doors, yell, bang the soap dispenser, and drop stuff just to clean their hands so we can read is not high on my priority list when nap time is finally happening! I had the kids dump out their baskets of shoes, sort out the ones that had gotten too small, and we tucked snow pants, boots, and mittens in the front hall closet. This means it will snow next week, I bet. But check some minor amounts of spring cleaning off the list.


We took the littlest (got a sitter for the older 2) and put in a showing at the homeschooling convention somewhat nearby. It was a good experience, and although I’m not sure we did much, we chose to go on the free night so there is that. We got some things straight in our minds, and that was the main thing. More things to talk about, but a more solid feeling of ‘right’. :-)


Science/Nutrition: We had the kids inspect the skin, flesh, and seeds of a kiwi with a magnifying glass and have a taste test. The kids also helped us cook. They tried corned beef and we started talking a little bit about the dairy group. Our plan is to have them make butter and ice cream (that using a freezer and a mix) this weekend. Reading the milk/cheese book brought up the idea of bacteria again and how some are actually helpful for us, so that was a good tie in to past subjects.


3 year old:
Writing numbers 16-22 on her calendar page–she didn’t complete this, but as we’re going through the month, we will catch it up.
Count color and graph St. Pat’s objects
Counting, tallying and writing the number of gold coins
Letter Z, recognizing, sounding out, tracing, writing
Matching words with pictures (bug, dog, cat, etc) for sounding out practice– we need a LOT more practice with this, and patience!
Letter T beginning sound page (random printout)
Counting, writing the number, then adding the pictures for ‘in all’ – beginnings of addition!
Recognizing and tracing a path through numbers 1-20

6 year old:

Math skills:

Recognizing evens and odds
Addition and subtraction
Ordering numbers in the teens
Greater or less than 50
Recognizing if sums and differences are true or false
Fill in missing numbers (random pattern 30-100)
Number bonds (fancy way of saying the triads of numbers that we all automatically know, like 6+3 =9, 9-6=3, 9-3=6, etc.
Counting by 10s
Word problems with answers in the teens

Language Skills:
Recognizing real or nonsense words
Word families (fancy way of saying rhyming words like -ad is sad, mad, lad not BED)
Counting Syllables
Digraphs (fancy way of saying double lettered endings on words like ba-th, ca-sh, or bea-ch, or beginnings like ch-ips, th-orn, or sh-eep)


Independent Reading:
The Littles and the Terrible Tiny Kid by Peterson
The Littles and the Big Storm by Peterson
The Littles Give a Party by Peterson
The Littles Go to School by Peterson
The Littles Take a Trip by Peterson
The Littles and the Trash Tinies by Peterson
The Littles Have a Wedding by Peterson
The Littles and the Lost Children by Peterson
The Littles to the Rescue by Peterson
The St.Patrick’s Day Shamrock Mystery by Markham
Fancy Nancy Just my Luck by O’Connor
Vampires DO hunt Marshmallow Bunies by Jones and Dadey (Bailey School Kids Jr. chapter book)
Ms. LaGrange is Strange by Gutman
The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes: Have Wheels Will Travel by Mazer
The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes: Reach for the Stars by Mazer
The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes: Look Before You Leap! by Mazer
A-Z Mysteries The School Skeleton by Ron Roy
A-Z Mysteries The Vampire’s Vacation by Ron Roy
A-Z Mysteries The X’ed Out Xray by Ron Roy
A-Z Mysteries The Zombie Zone by Ron Roy
The Tiara Club Winter Wonderland by French
The Cheese Ball Trap by Banscherus
Hello Kitty Delicious! Comic Book


Reading together:

Holiday topical books:
Lucky O’Leprechaun by Dillon
Piggley and the Magic Doll by Driscoll
Fluffy’s Lucky Day by McMullan
The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Slater
The Hungry Leprechaun by Calhoun
Leprechaun Luck A Wee Book of Irish Wisdom by Erin Gobragh (not even kidding) Illustrated by O’Neill
Fiona’s Luck by Bateman
Lucky Little Bear by Minarik
Very Lucky Ponies by Bejamin (my little pony)
A child’s book of Faeries by Batt

Nutrition/food group topical books:
Sherlock Bones and the Missing Cheese by Crummel
The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
The Ice Cream King by Downing
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Van Dusen
Anatole by Titus
Toot and Puddle The Great Cheese Chase by Hobbie
The Old Man Who Loved Cheese by Keillor
Riff Raff Sails the High Cheese by Schade
The Chocolate Chip Mystery by McInnes



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Casey 15 months

Posted March 14, 2015 By Jill

Time just literally flies. She’s been crawling since she was tiny and started walking right after her birthday. She’s hitting milestones about 2 months before her sisters. Trying to keep up. She’s still tipping the scales and height charts, actually outlasting her sisters- at this age they started dropping off the charts, so we’ll see how she does coming up, but for now, she’s heavy, she’s tall, and she’s got spunk. She has started sleeping through the night, I think when her mouth doesn’t hurt. If it does, forget it, she’s up and wants me.




Words: mom, dad, more, bear, ball, wash, please, drink (sounds like duh), mm!, book, door, hair, tickle, tuck, love (wuv), boks like a chicken and wobbles bent arms, oinks like a pig, bowl (this is anything food goes in), five (high five anyone?), diaper, signs thank you and blows kisses. Shakes head for no and giggles and smiles for yes.


She’s obsessed with her hair and eyelashes when she nurses. This month she has slowly dropped off nursing in the middle of the day. She’s gotten more used to drinking cow’s milk out of a glass. There’s pretty much no food that is out of bounds, although we don’t give her peanut butter or honey (too thick and not recommended because of botulism until age 2)– but she’s tasted peanut butter and has had it in candy (yes candy) several times before. She has 8 teeth and chews on everything. She enjoys swinging, playing pat-a-cake, ‘dancing’ when we sing or play music for her, and must absolutely have all the blinds pulled open so she can see out the living room windows and the dining room doors- she wants a full view, thank you very much.


She knows everything. When I said she was meeting milestones ahead of her sisters, I swear she knows exactly what you’re talking about. I told her that we needed to go wash her hands, and she toddled right over to the bathroom, and was climbing up on the stool in front of the sink before I could even make it to the bathroom. I had only washed her hands at the sink twice before that over the last few weeks. Normally I just use a washcloth. She attempts to wipe up the floor for a spill. She has started picking up toys and putting them away. She has literally loved her ‘very hungry caterpillar’ book to death. It’s in 3 pieces now. I need a kid-proof version, the poor book-if I tell her to get that book, she’ll get it and bring it to me and wait for me to pick her up so she can sit on my lap to read.  She points at her diaper if it’s wet and needs changing. She’ll go and lay down to get a new one, and shakes her head no if I don’t pick one that she wants. She will put her glass back on her high chair when she’s done drinking between meals. She tries to blow her nose and helps us get her clothes on (for a LONG time.) She waits for you to bless her after she sneezes. Expectantly. She tries to help buckle her car seat now. She laughs at strange noises, and knows if anything is out of place or seems ‘wrong’ and points it out.


The most hilarious thing is that she’s gone past the ‘inspects the floor’ stage and now she just sees something on the floor, points at it, and looks at me. Clearly she’s saying ‘mom you need to sweep…. NOW’… if I tell her okay, but don’t go pick it up or get a broom, she does it again. And again. The bossypants. She enjoys trying to drink out of our coffee and tea mugs, knows that outside means go get your coat and shoes, and attempts to steal everyone’s shoes. Yes, another kid that wants to eat footwear. Sigh. She points and grunts at things that she wants, too. With a smile. Oftentimes, she’ll wait and see if you give her permission to do whatever it is. She also RUNS when she knows she’s not supposed to do something. Giggling madly along the way. Gate to the stairs left open? Onset of giggles and thumping footsteps to try and get by with climbing the stairs. She will play by herself but she mostly wants to be held if the other kids are busy. If they’re playing, she’s playing. If they’re doing schoolwork, she wants me to hold her. The snot. Oh and the temper tantrums. From even before she was a year. She’d scream and cry if you closed the gate on her. Not sad. ANGRY. It’s kind of hard not to laugh. But I manage. She doesn’t like to be told no and as of late will throw herself down and waaah. Again, funny, but not.


Daddy has become the go to guy recently. She notices that he’s gone and RUNS to him when he gets home. When my folks visited last month, she went to each of them and sat quietly, it’s been a cold and snowy winter, so we haven’t seen family much. I went to the library yesterday by myself and when I came back she started clapping. I went to an event with K last week and my husband said that after a while, she would point to my spot on the couch and look at him and make a concerned noise. Again and again. So I guess I’m not chopped liver, but it’s fun that after all this time she’s finally loving on him with equal gusto! When he’s home, he’s her place to be!


Her favorite things are stuffed animals (giant caterpillar, glowworm, Piglet, Eeyore, Harmony care bear, chicken, fox, magic bear), her hungry caterpillar book, the touch and feel animal books, and the kids’ fuzzy pillows. She rolls on those pillows. She also LOVES her sisters’ fav toys if they bring them downstairs, she cuddles them (pooh and pig).  She wants any book or magazine she can get her hands on and wants to play with bowls, cups, from the cabinets, and so on.  Baths are awesome. She likes yogurt and applesauce, scrambled eggs, bread any way she can get it, fruit, and the other day she just mowed through taco meat and cheese. Anything mom is eating? She wants. But she’ll shake her head if she’s had enough.



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Nutrition: March 6-12 Weekly Wrap up

Posted March 13, 2015 By Jill


Over the weekend the kids went to a ‘Fancy Tea’ compliments of the local library. There were about 12 kids there, and my husband had the baby.. toddler, well whatever she is for the morning and ran a couple of errands while I was with the big kids. They got necklaces, made crafts, drank tea, had cake pops, and so on. They had a blast acting fancy and listening to Fancy Nancy stories. Nearly all the other kids had on princess costumes, but I chose to just let mine wear a nice outfit instead. I still think they were adorable.

fancy tea

fancy tea

Since ‘dad’ wasn’t back yet (he sold his car, so we’re down to one vehicle right now), we walked the short distance from the building this took place in to the library and the kids perused the books, we grabbed the multitude of St. Patrick’s Day books I had ordered, and they let K grab a half a dozen books right off the ‘freshly donated’ pile- they hadn’t even bar coded them yet. They have a lot of faith that we’ll return them. :-)  At any rate, a lot of reading was done over the weekend by the 6 year old.


They also jumped in a lot of puddles, splashed in all the melting snow (hallelujah!) and in general got soggy! We’re so happy that it’s thawing, as fun as snow play is, they can wear themselves out more on regular ground.  The snow continued to melt throughout the week. Toward the end of the week, the 6 year old was encouraging the 3 year old to run down the hill beside her, as she pushed herself backward down the hill sitting in a large dump truck. I can tell it’s going to be an awesome summer.

muddy puddles!

muddy puddles!


Monday I had to take the baby to her 15 month check-up so since my husband works from home Mondays (smart of me, right?) I left the big kids with him. To make up for this they did their Monday home schooling stuff on Sunday night. I think I will try and switch up how I’m going about wrapping this up because it’s getting to be quite an annoyance with formatting. Hopefully a simpler way of keeping track will be more reader friendly, too-focusing on the week, but not by day as I was before. We’re still on nutrition, but with all the St. Pat’s books, we don’t have that many nutrition books ordered—I actually discovered there was a limit to how many books I could order– ha! Several chapter books are filtering in with nutrition themes to them, but I still need to order more for different food groups. Since the holiday is important to us, we’re focusing a bit more of that this week and after the holiday we’ll pick back up with more ordered books (hopefully). Most of their worksheets are St. Pat’s themed- they love the themed sheets and since they’re learning the same thing with a heart, flower, or shamrock on the page, I don’t see how it matters, so we’ll do these until they run out and then… spring and Easter themed math and language sheets. Yeah!


Nutrition this week, we discussed wants and needs as it relates to food, our beliefs about social programs and what welfare, food stamps, wic, etc. mean as well as people getting food from food banks, and how people really truly are hungry and don’t have enough to eat. Jobs = food, and so on. We touched on ways to get food locally, to get protein without meat, foraging, and gardening, and used a world map to talk about regional foods (Mexican food in the Southwest, seafood near the ocean). We plan on getting together a donation for a new program that provides snacks and meal items (soups, mac and cheese) to put in kids backpacks at the public school to provide them food through the weekend. It’s so incredibly sad that this is a necessary program–but hunger is real, it exists and the economy has not rebounded enough to provide full time jobs for everyone who needs one. We talked about how snow days and vacation can keep some kids really hungry because there’s not enough food to go around, since parents think their kids will eat breakfast and lunch at school. The backpack program should really help those kids. Both of us as adults came from families that probably would have qualified for assistance (if it had existed then, which it really didn’t at the time), and so we feel strongly that every kid should at least not be hungry– our kids are lucky that my husband has a job and although I don’t, I choose to stay home with them, they do manage to eat 3 squares and have plenty to snack on, too.

We also touched a bit on the topics that came up in our St. Patrick’s day books, including playing some Irish dancing videos on the tablet, and a lot of discussion around emigration due to the potato famine and the fact that the likelihood is that most of our families probably got to the US to avoid starving to death due to potato blight. Cheerful? No. But it’s good for the kids to know that times aren’t always good and that food can really make a difference in your life.

Oh and Wednesday we had a ‘Drop everything and read’ or Read Everything All Day (because it spells read, and that makes more sense to me)– can you tell?


Reading Together: Typically these are themed for what we’re studying so we’re veering off for holiday fun!

Leprechauns Never Lie by Balian
Green Shamrocks by Bunting
The Luckiest Leprechaun: A Tail-Wagging Tale of Friendship by Korman
The Leprechaun Under the Bed by Bateman
Lucky O’Leprechaun in School by Dillon
Lucky O’Leprechaun Comes to America by Dillon
The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Callahan
Jeremy Bean’s St. Patrick’s Day by Schertle
A charmed life (little mermaid book) – Disney
Lucky Tucker by McGuirk
Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Heling
St. Patrick’s Day Countdown by Yoon (board book)
S is for Shamrock An Ireland Alphabet by Bunting — this is FABULOUS with great illustrations (Matt Faulkner) and a ton, a TON of history/detail!
St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks by Berendes – this could be a great introduction to plants, too.


6 year old

Independent Reading:
Roxie the Baking Fairy by Meadows
The Peanut Butter Gang by Siracusa
Calendar Mysteries: March Mischief by Roy
Miss Holly is Too Jolly by Gutman
Miss Suki is Kooky by Gutman
Mr. Klutz is Nuts! by Gutman
Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo I hate Rules! by Krulik
The Smurfs Movie Novelization- Where the smurf are we?  by Simon Spotlight
Wedding Crasher by Geronimo Stilton
Watch your Whiskers, Stilton by Geronimo Stilton
Shipwreck on the Pirate Islands by Geronimo Stilton
Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House by Geronimo Stilton
Junie B. First Grader, Shipwrecked by Park
Invisible Stanley by Brown
Stanley, Flat Again by Brown
Keena Ford and the 2nd Grade Mix up by Thomson
Junie B. First Grader, One Man Band by Park

Inspected ice, leprechaun gold coin and a wasp under magnifying glass

lucky, clover, shamrock, Irish, green, gold, pot, saint, magic, rainbow and  bonus words: blarney and leprechaun

Reading comprehension page- St. Pat’s day traditions with Q&A (the word search on the page ended up being too hard so we scrapped it)
St. Patrick’s day word scramble (mixed up letters in the right order)
Irish tongue twister page (write in the correct word to complete the twister)

Color by number page
Coloring page with pot of gold
Word search with St. Pat’s words
‘Fun’ page with maze, scrambled capital of Ireland, color the Irish flag
Play-doh making pizza and pancakes
Crafts, stories and etc. at the library for St. Patrick’s day (sister was too young to go)

Draw coins to match the number in the pot of gold
Write scrambled numbers listed in order from greatest to least (60’s – 49)
Clock wise 1st grade workbook from 20+ pages of learning how to tell time on an analog clock.

3 year old

Inspected ice, leprechaun gold coin and food under a magnifying glass

Play-doh making pizza and pancakes

Recognizing letters X and Y
Tracing X and Y letter worksheets for the week

Writing numbers 9-15 on the March calendar page
Tracing, writing and counting page for 17, 18, 19, 20
Write number to match the gold in the ‘pot of gold’

Find and color 10 4-leaf clovers in a worksheet page filled with 3 leaf clovers
Rainbow coloring pages (I had a lot of these, and she loves them!)
Curved line pre-printing practice and rainbow to color
Happy St. Patrick’s Day coloring sheet

Read to her:
My ‘w’ book by Moncure
My ‘x,y,z’ book by Moncure
Care Bears Catch the Christmas Spirit by Tait



So that was our weekly wrap up, get info on how to participate here:

Weekly Wrap-Up
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bumGenius Warranty Change

Posted March 12, 2015 By Jill

Cotton Babies founder Jenn Labit wrote this week of a warranty change that has thousands of cloth diapering moms cheering. For many years the bumGenius (including Flip and Econobum) warranty has stated that use of a ‘non-approved’  detergent would void the generous one year warranty on their cloth diaper systems (all in ones, pockets and covers.) Although it’s been a long time since I had to turn anything in on warranty (for aplix issues about 5 years ago), I knew that my use of Free and Clear Tide would void it anyway.


As a blogger (and mom) who believes that cloth diapers can literally change the world for the better, I always had to add a ‘but’ when someone asked me what detergent I used, mainly because of the bumGenius warranty. No more! The detergents on the now defunct safe list didn’t come close to cutting it with our extremely hard water, so this is one momma who is cheering with the rest. Even though we have a VERY expensive softener system, nothing is perfect and there are times when diapers get washed with water that’s not as soft as it could be. During those times, even a detergent that’s as harsh as Tide doesn’t always work perfectly, and I find myself adding an extra wash cycle when the diapers are used the next time, to knock out some of the mineral deposits left during the wash with hard water.
I’m glad to see this brand getting on board with the majority of other cloth diaper manufacturers, who express concern over chemicals, but understand that sometimes a mom has to do what a mom has to do to get her diapers clean and keep baby’s skin clean, healthy, and rash free.


The revised warranty info in its entirety is half way down (pdf reader required) on the customer support page.

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February was black/African American history month. Thanks Disney Junior for bringing up a whole can of worms for me to deal with in the middle of the day, you know when I have nothing going on..! My 6 year old looked at me blankly, said “Doc is African American?” and.. silence. Talk about having to think fast. I slowly looked up from what I was doing, turned my head, smiled, nodded and blithely said, ‘oh yes, that’s just a fancy dancy way of saying that her ancestors came from Africa and have darker skin rather than European ancestors like ours.’


“So she’s not regular like us?”- from the 3 year old.


That was a fun one.

Since I know my 3 year old doesn’t always come up with the best way to say what they mean- how many do? I took that to mean that she needed the words. Typically the case.

My reply was. “oh honey the fancy dancy way of saying what our ancestors are is ‘European or Caucasian American.'”

She smiled her understanding and life went on…though my heart was racing and I was terrified I’d messed it all up.

You see….


My 3 year old’s favorite TV show is Doc McStuffins. If you’re not familiar with it, it features a cartoon stay at home dad who cooks and does laundry, a doctor for a mom, and an expressive bouncy girl who ‘checks up’ her stuffed animals and toys and shares life lessons with all the kids listening in at home- the family happens to have dark skin. We’ve never commented on it, didn’t see a point. So when my 3 year old pointed to a doll she wanted in the store, she was concerned that it was wearing blue, not the color of its skin.  I think this confused our family (who got the snapshot of the doll she wanted for her birthday in email) a lot. They don’t get why white kids would want a ‘black’ doll.  I was raised in a family that although wasn’t racist, still told stereotypical jokes without thinking through the message that was being sent out. Living in a small town in the mid-west, anyone of color was an oddity. Quite frankly, I’m pretty sure there was a Kcubed element in our town, too. No one ‘different’ lasted long there. They soon moved away. Which meant I had never even touched anyone of color until college. I had a lot of hand shaking opportunities in college, and while I knew that people of color were no different than me, it was different (and interesting) to hear the speech patterns, see the flash of white teeth in a huge smile against coffee colored skin, and the loping grace of the young men (and women) who towered over my 5′ build as they went about their daily lives. Soon it was no longer strange to see people of any color, race, country of origin or hear about their religion, habits, and so on.


I’d thrust myself from a white town of under 2,000 to a campus of 20,000 that was the proverbial melting pot. Being a face in a varied crowd became normal. Then on to other towns that were still mostly white, and later, a city that was a breath of fresh air, most of our neighbors were African American in our apartment building, the stores we shopped in had AA shoppers, managers, and employees, and then to 2 smaller towns where we ended up, again firmly entrenched in small town USA with still very little in the way of diversity. Although we love the vibe that small towns give, it saddens me that my kids are mostly growing up with people of the same color. I want them to have the diversity in their lives that I never did. Thankfully most of the larger neighboring towns and the city are diverse so they will have some chance of not being as sheltered.


A decade after college, with young kids first learning to talk, seeing other people, and asking questions… it’s TERRIFYING to someone like me. One of the first things a child learns is color. They are proud to point out differences and show off what they have learned. If you haven’t been through this, it’s good to prepare ahead of time as to what you’re going to say, or NOT going to say. My (then) very verbal 2 year old points to the man behind us in the grocery line. He’s smiling at her. You smile back as she points frantically. You have no idea what’s going on in her head, but manage to coo ‘yes he’s wearing all red, isn’t he, it’s your favorite color’…after all, no one wants to be painted a racist especially when they couldn’t care less about it.  You see sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your children is just to teach them to accept everyone for who they are, and not point out culture-perceived differences or stereotypes until they’re old enough to deal with them. Realize of course that I can speak only from my own experiences as stated above. I don’t want my kids to grow up believing stereotypes, but to hear them and realize their falsehood before it even enters their subconscious. In short, I wanted my white kids not to see color as a factor in life. While this can be seen as a viewpoint of white privilege, and persons of color might find this to be a useless post, I think it might be helpful for anyone struggling with the same thing I am: how to raise kind (white) kids to treat everyone equally. After all, even young kids of color or ethnic background have most likely already had to deal with mistreatment of adults and children who don’t feel how we do. So they have already been exposed to these concepts before my kids even had to consider it. I can’t change that, but I can parent my children to be kind and consider people as people, so that’s what I try and do.


Remember that color is all about how our brain perceives light as it is hitting an object, and if you’re reading this soon after it’s posted, you’ll remember ‘the dress’  picture online where part of the people looking at it see blue and black and others white and gold and still others as a different blue and gold. Perception reigns, and if we’re all focused on how our easily manipulated brains view color? Then we’re not a very highly evolved human being are we? The mind plays tricks, so we need to prepare our kids for the world we want to live in, and not the one that’s past. Being prepared with something to say helps keep the stress out of your voice and lets the kids know that it’s okay to continue asking questions. Kids are curious. But they really don’t need a lot of information, because they are smart and tend to work things out for themselves. I’m sure we will come up against a lot harder questions as they age, and hopefully the way we’ve dealt with the topic so far will have made a good foundation for the more difficult discussions to come. There are a few things that we’ve tried with our kids that seem to work fairly well:


1. Color wash your speech: Deliberately do not mention race or color when describing someone. We would use the ‘color of shirt’ to describe someone we didn’t know, until we knew their name. Thereafter, we used their name. If that didn’t work, then we’d use the color or style or texture of their hair, or so-and-so’s daughter/friend/mom. Or use ‘the one who laughs loudly’ or some other descriptor. I found it was almost never necessary to use race to describe someone, I could work around it completely. We did this in person and for people on TV, too. You could try and practice on kids shows where the kids always wear the same clothing every day. When it came right down to it, one day I had to describe something to my husband, and for whatever reason, the color of their skin was important to the discussion– I’m guessing it was about something in the news where it WAS factor to the news bulletin. As I said, this was rare, but I finally referenced a famous actor or politician. Whether my kids understood that or not, I don’t know. But the point was that we were no longer using race as a speech shortcut the way our families did.

2. Highlight casual differences: Something as simple as a trip to the eye doctor (we start at around age 3) can be a springboard for later, more difficult discussions. Both my husband and I wear glasses. Most adults and a lot of kids around us also wear glasses. It is a natural topic jump from mommy and daddy’s eyes need help to see, and other people might need help to hear and use a hearing aid, or help getting around and use a wheel chair. By the time most kids start asking awkward questions, they have at least BEEN to a doctor or know that you get help when you are sick. It’s an easy way to say, everyone’s different and that’s okay.

3. Come up with a clever tag line: Remember ‘because I said so?’ Good, think along those lines. Now we’re religious (but not the nut job type) so anything that’s related to a personal nature we just say ‘that’s just the way God made you/him/her.’ When our third child ended up with red hair…. oh the questions from every.single.person.. where did she get the red hair?  One day someone stopped us in a store with the same question and my 3 year old said ‘she was born with it’ and just looked at the person in the store like they were silly people that needed a THREE year old to tell them how people get hair. I did not snort unladylike at all. I wanted to really badly, but I just agreed with her smiled at the person, and moved on to the rest of the shopping. I was actually surprised she didn’t say ‘that’s the way God made her’ because that’s their pat answer for everything like that. Something as simple as hair color, freckles, glasses, or crutches can all be reasons to insert your tag line. If you don’t go with religion, you could always say that when people are born, their ancestors and genetics/DNA determine what you look like– and we have discussed this before with the 6 year old– but for tiny kids, that’s how God made him/her/you or that’s how you were born works really well. It’s a simple answer and lets the kids think about things without bringing up topics that might be too difficult for them to understand at a young age.

4. Color with them: When you color with your kids, pick out a page with people on it, and diversify your skin color choices. When kids start to color, they scribble with anything, and then at some point, they start to color block blue pants, red shirt, etc. This is the point when the question will arise. When they ask ‘what color do I use to color’ …and it’s the skin parts, then you can show them how to line up the crayons against the inside of their wrists if they want it to be more like their own, or show them a variety of colors that are in the ‘skin’ range and let them choose. I personally never colored with the regular black crayon, because most people of color around us aren’t ‘black’ they’re some shade from tan to coffee, to sienna. But on a coloring page the ‘black’ crayons completely negates features printed in black ink. If I’m helping them pick out crayons, I always ask ‘what skin color would you like?’ That may seem odd, but they choose a variety, including blue. There are no mistakes in art, which I repeat heavily, so I smile no matter what color they use on anything, talk to them about complimentary colors, give them a thumbs up over technique, and hope that the ‘non-lesson’ sinks in–heart deep, not skin deep.


One day my husband noticed how pale our middle child’s skin had gotten over the winter, and said ‘you’re so white’. She looked at him, called him silly and said, ‘daddy, my skin is PEACH, not white’….. I guess maybe it’s working?


I hope that if you’re like me and you walk the fine line between white privilege and guilt and an open and loving soul, that you find this a helpful ‘shortcut’ guide to navigating the waters of talking about race with your young kids. If you don’t find this helpful, then I hope you leave here knowing that other people in the world are trying to be better, loving people, and parents at the same time, and working on raising the next generation to be aware of the value of every human being, regardless of how our brains perceive the color of their skin.

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Nutrition Pre-K/K Meat group continued

Posted March 6, 2015 By Jill
Reading Together:
Chad the allergic chipmunk by Smith, Nicole S.
The meat and beans group by Schuh
Mystery at the Club Sandwich by Cushman
Both kids also did their BRAINZY accounts over the weekend.

Since we talked briefly about Chinese new year (and it was my husband’s birthday, and he loves Asian cuisine)– we went to the city and ate at a ‘Chinese buffet’. It’s really much more than that, with a chocolate fountain, Mongolian BBQ station, plus Americanized foods, ice cream, and so on– everyone can eat there, and it’s not much for the kids. Despite the kids saying they *love* sushi although they’d never had it, they still turned up their noses at it. Ha. Oh well, they had the experience, and even though they ate Americanized foods, they got to try chopsticks, had a fortune cookie, and we all got a much needed ‘out’ before… it snowed… AGAIN.

Which meant more playing in the snow.

Both kids celebrated the end of their grains group by making a baker’s hat craft.
We learned about grains!

We learned about grains!

We had family game night and played a kids’ trivia game, and then I played connect 4 and the picnic basket game with the kids (very easy game pulled from High 5 magazine).

6 yr old Independent Reading:
The Wind in the Willows by Grahame
Judy Moody Saves The World by McDonald
Judy Moody by McDonald
The Dollhouse Magic by McDonough
The Amazing Day of Abby Hayes The Declaration of Independence by Mazer

We took a break from our unit study on Monday and celebrated Seuss (although I still made them do work, it was Seuss based work!) I’m listing the books here instead of there for ease.


Most of their Monday stuff is listed in the link above, but they also…..

Online Books:
The Foot Book
One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish

Regular books:

Dr. Seuss ABC
Green Eggs and Ham
Go Dog, Go!
Oh the Places You’ll Go!


Calendar for March: Introduced Lion/Lamb- we decided it definitely came in like a lion. 6 year old wrote in the numbers for every day on the calendar and answered the questions. I may have the 3 year old write each number on the day as we go, or a week at a time.

Completed a maze to get the lion to the lamb.

6 year old:

Spelling words: March, Lion, Lamb, Pork, Beef, Beans, Peanuts, Meat, Chicken, Turkey, bonus words: Tofu and Quail

Independent Reading:
Jigsaw Jones Mystery: The Case of the Kidnapped Candy by Preller
The Littles by Peterson
Judy Moody, MD by McDonald

3 year old:

Colored Q for queen and U for umbrella color by number sheets
Matched sets of cards with the name of a shape on one, and the shape and name on the other (so she matched the words.) She had to do this face up, but I was still impressed.


Sign language letters V and W
5 senses oral worksheet- 5 things I see, smell, taste, hear and touch ‘in my house’…. we have a baby, just imagine the fun!

Music: Jesus Loves the Little Children, Somewhere over the rainbow (listening to 2 different versions), and On top of spaghetti

“Too much junk food” Berenstein Bears book and game kit (vegetable facts cards and sorting healthy/junk food)

Reading Together:
Peanut by Selsam — this was a really awesome 1960’s photograph book, very detailed for the era– a must see for young kids. Black and white photos!
Store Sparkle Fun book (food groups)
The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake by Cole (this was mostly for the 3 year old)

3 yr old:

With her I’m trying to combine basic skills with fun themes to try and motivate her to speed through things a little faster. We’re almost done with the alphabet (she’s been learning 2 letters a week roughly) so I want to get her used to thematic stuff again. She does some of the ‘food’ oriented stuff with nutrition, but it’s more about listening with her, and she needs to work on basic skills more than anything. I decided to combine the rainbow themed tot pack and Pre-K pack from 1+1+1=1 website. I’ve pulled from there before and really like it. We’ve talked about eating a rainbow and we’ll be doing more with fruits and veggies soon, so it goes together without being too matchy matchy.
From the Rainbow pack: Art, math, alphabet, fine motor skills, and music
Colored a rainbow picture
tracing lines, tracing upper case alphabet, tracing shapes, and color recognition, went over the colors of the rainbow and sang the rainbow song from Sid the Science Kid

Math: Food themed numeral 11 and 12 trace and write, and count the food pictures
Calendar: Writing the first 3 numbers to indicate the days.
Letters: V and W tracing and completing the worksheets with dry erase,
Recognizing the letters we are working on and ones coming up

6 yr old:
Independent Reading:
The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake by Cole
Art: Colored a rainbow picture (she wanted in on her little sister’s fun, of course!), colored last valentine page
Reviewed calendar so she could know what day and date (to practice writing the date on papers)
Spelling: same words from Monday (spelled beans- beanes– but this was probably for attention as she did them fine yesterday except ‘Qwail’ <– not surprised)
Syllables worksheet themed in spring- she did really well at this and after explaining it, she did not need any help and got them all right.
Verbs worksheet- underline and then write on provided lines (Yummy Verbs from Collaboration cuties from TPT site)
Adjectives worksheet- underline 3 adj in each sentence (this was hard for me in some cases, and I’m not an idiot- perhaps the sentences were constructed oddly or it’s just been too long for me, either way she did get most of them herself and for never knowing the topic before, she did well. It also asks you to use 3 provided adj. in a sentence and she did that without complaint!Math:
Reviewed fractions and discussed the sizes 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/12. Reviewed a sheet that asked if you were hungry would you eat this fraction or this fraction of pizza.
Reviewed telling time on a clock (hours and 1/2 hours). Introduced 1/4 til and 1/4 after. Needs more work.
6 year old:
Reviewed calendar
Spelling words- this time she misspelled peanuts and beans, and added capital letters, I think she was just being lazy
Writing a menu for a day
Writing a grocery list — I used this as something to keep her occupied while we did a HUGE grocery shop, and she had a lot fewer issues with being ‘bored.’
Started a ‘Fair Shares’ Symmetry/Shapes packet featuring 1/4 and 1/2 (did first 5 pages and gave 2 more of the pages to sister for her to see 1/2 and 1/4 in her packet)
Continued learning about 1/4 to and after on the clock and practiced writing in times with dry erase.
Sort antonym cards into pairs and then writing the pairs on a worksheet Lotsa Luck St. Patrick’s Day Literacy and Math FREEBIE from Lisa Mattes at Growing Firsties TPT (will do math section tomorrow)
Sort simple word cards into short VOWEL sounds and then record on a worksheet
6 yr old Independent Reading:
Kayla the Pottery Fairy by Meadows
Libby the Writing Fairy by Meadows
Annabelle the Drawing Fairy by Meadows
3 year old:
Feelings Shamrocks (they have different expressions on their ‘faces’- too cute!)
Reviewed 1/4 and 1/2 briefly with her just so she could see.
Traced and wrote numbers 13 and 14 and counted up to that number on number tracing worksheets
Counted from RAINBOW pack and circled the correct number of children pictured (2 pages)Alphabet:
Traced lower case
Recognized V and W as letters of the week
Traced V and W letter worksheets
Drew #4 on calendar
Orally reviewed ending sound worksheets
Reading Together:
The Peanut: A nutty tale about sharing
Learned about Momofuku Ando and had an ‘instant noodle’ lunchtime feast featuring cup’o noodles! biography info from online magazine!
3 year old:
wrote in correct letters on ending sound worksheets- I had to do this orally with her again, she still doesn’t seem to understand, but it’s a Kindergarten level worksheet.
Wrote numbers 5-8 on calendar
Traced lower case numbers
Traced V and W after recognizing them.
Tracing 15 and 16 numbers worksheet and counted them out loud.
6 year old:
Finished ‘Fair Shares’ Symmetry/Shapes packet featuring 1/4 and 1/2
Lucky subtraction share worksheet (match pairs of simple subtraction problems and write them as equal to each other)
Luck of the Irish adding 3 numbers worksheet (write and solve the problems adding 3 #s)
Independent Reading:
Zadie the Sewing Fairy by Meadows
Josie the Jewelry Fairy by Meadows
Violet the Painting Fairy by Meadows
Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards by Winkler
Stop that Frog by Winkler
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Reasons to Celebrate in March

Posted March 3, 2015 By Jill

March 1- Lion/Lamb

March 2 – Dr. Seuss birthday

March 2- Read Across America Day

March 8- Daylight Savings Time Begins ‘Spring forward’

March 14-Pi Day/Albert Einstein’s birthday

March 15- Ides of March

March 17- St. Patrick’s day

March 20- First day of spring

March 31-Lion/Lamb

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All about that Seuss

Posted March 2, 2015 By Jill

Today was a Dr. Seuss day. We took a break from nutrition to do some activities inspired by the author in honor of his birthday.

To see past years of Celebrating Seuss (and watch the kids shrink)… click here: 2014   2014  2013


Used toothpicks to count out 1-6 and place them on the 1fish 2 fish page from obseussed (no goldfish, and snowed in- we also had no pretzels, or small candies)… definitely a sad day.

I read them 2 online books and 4 regular books (and the 6 year old re-read the 4 regular books)

Writing for Dr. Seuss birthday. I differentiated for the kids by having the 3 year old write the letters, and the 6 year old write a word that goes with each letter, per instructions.

Episode of Cat in the Hat (afternoon treat!)

6 year old:

Colored a Happy Birthday page for Dr. Seuss find one for the next 5 years here:
Unscrambled simple sight words inspired by The Lorax
Colored a pattern of numbers (up to 100) to reveal a Cat in the Hat!
Dr. Seuss ABC inspired ABC Order page (alligator, bumblebee, camel, doughnuts– sound familiar?!?)
Oh Say What Does it Say addition of 2-4 numbers (up to 25) to reveal a message (I can add with my eyes shut!)– this was too difficult, but if I’d waited until next year? Probably too easy.

Hop on Popcorn blank pages used to write addition problems in dry erase (find at
Hop on Popcorn blank pages used to find what word doesn’t belong from a set of 3 also dry erase.

3 year old:
Colored a Happy Birthday Page for Dr. Seuss
How many apples inspired by 10 apples up on top, counting apples 1-6  and writing the number

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WWU: Nutrition continued Feb 20-26

Posted February 27, 2015 By Jill

Weekend Happenings:

This weekend’s happenings seemed to stem a lot from a GoodReads Preview book that I read and passed down to my 6 year old. It’s called Time Flight. Briefly, a boy loses a paper airplane and goes on a marvelous adventure. Before she had even finished reading it…. Saturday the kids learned about and colored paper airplanes and did tests flights. Sunday night the kids drew pictures of beaches, and learned about folding paper boats and hats. They really get a lot of value added fun when dad decides to teach them something, too. Does that fall under art, aeronautics, origami? Hard to say, but they had a blast. The 6 year old learned a few things about coloring in pictures as well, such as losing details in the background because you decide to color the whole background… ahem… she’s messed up quite a few gorgeous pictures by scribbling the sky blue.. hopefully she learns this time, because she has quite a lot of imagination and it looks nice on the page when she tries hard. I realize there are no mistakes in art, but really when you have something so pretty and basically ‘blue’ it all out so you can’t tell what anything is… it’s just a mess. But.. it’s also a learning experience and hopefully a good one. She’s learning technique and that’s what counts.

So obviously weekend reading was Time Flight for my 6 year old.

She also read the scripture at church. This continues to impress people. She only went over it once right before hand, and although I didn’t go (I hate the ice and snow), her dad said she did a good job and only flubbed one word. I’ve seen adults do worse, so no complaints there. I’m glad she isn’t ‘backward’ and can’t speak to people or a crowd (I snort in mirth)… anyway…

We discussed different foods and Sunday night they helped according to ability to prep some foods for dinner: opening cans, using a pizza wheel to cut tortillas up for chips, etc. We talked about the food groups and what nutrition was in them, and had the 6 year old read the food label and identify the ‘good stuff’ in the can of beans, and how we can make ‘restaurant food’ at home.


Reading Together:

My q book by Moncure
My U book by Moncure
The Magic Pasta Pot (play) by Hall
Why Should I eat well by Llewellyn


Sign Language: alphabet Q and U
Art: Trace, cut, glue-create a pizza out of construction paper

3 year old:

Music: P-I-Z-Z-A (like BINGO), On top of Spaghetti, Head/Shoulders/Knees/Toes
Letters Q and U phonetic sounds
Math: Writing letters 1-20
Alphabet: Trace A-Z, write a-z
Color by letter page

6 year old:

Independent reading:
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Wiggin

Writing: M-F Dinner menu including all the food groups
Spelling (grain group words)- read, write, remember  [bread, grain, food, group, pasta, rice]
Alphabet: Write upper and lower case

Math: Finish subtraction page (color by answer)
Macaroni Math: Estimate pieces of 2 kinds of pasta needed to cover a ‘pizza piece’ , then using subtraction to figure out how close the guess was.




3 year old:

Letter Q and U worksheets
Trace upper case letters

Trace numbers 1-20
Count the (angry bird) piggies and color the page
candy graphing page (with actual graph!)

Games with mom:
Picnic Basket Game (collect cards)
5 Senses sorting game

Finished reading part of BRAINZY (Pre-K level of game site) via ‘reading’ various stories online, answering questions, recognizing letters, etc.
Checked progress on math section, completed one small section that had been started (numbers 1-10) in January.

6 year old:

Independent Reading:
The Secret of Cacklefur Castle by Geronimo Stilton
Paws Off, Cheddarface by Geronimo Stilton
Here’s Hank by Henry Winkler “Bookmarks are People Too” –> Check this series out if your kids are dyslexic or have troubles flipping letters, the font is specially made to make it easier to read!

Write upper case letters
Write Lower case letters

Write numbers 1-50
Graphing candy page (this time with actual graphing page, yeah!- Krystal’s Kreations from teachers pay teachers – freebie)

2 color by sight word pages
6 food word list (she recalled how to spell all of them without needing to look at them, yeah!)
Write the nouns page spelling out VALENTINE [she had a lot of trouble with this, mostly the ‘I don’t feel like trying trouble’]
Write results of experiment

Candy heart science experiment based on download from Curriculum Castle via teachers pay teachers freebie- check this out, there’s pins to the observation sheets and graphing sheets mentioned above.



Oral A-Z food list during breakfast

Reading Together:
Growing Vegetable Soup by Ehlert
Eating the alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A-Z by Ehlert

3 year old:
Eat a rainbow coloring page
Food Pre-K learning packet (page 1-5)
Q and U alphabet worksheets

6 year old:

Eat a rainbow coloring page
Food themed Math Grade 1 workbook (page 1-7)
Life Science by Mr. K {Chapter 35] – read and completed 3 worksheets on nutrition
Color by numbers double digit math addition with regrouping/carrying

Independent Reading:

The Search for Sunken Treasure by Stilton
Field Trip to Niagara Falls by Stilton


Brainzy Pre-K math from



Multimedia/Tech: Video on George Washington Carver (biography-Inventors of the World series) describing his life and work with peanuts (meat group introduction).

3 year old:

Sort pictures into T and U categories
Pre-K learning packet- finished!- this including graphing (she did surprisingly well!), color by number, etc.
U and Q alphabet worksheets

6 year old:

Writing numbers to 50
1st grade math packet- finished (addition, some subtraction, etc).
Drawing fruit pictures (from
Long A worksheet — she needs more practice with this skill, or she’s faking not knowing that Sn-A-il has a long A sound– so I’ll hunt for more of these!
Writing dessert menu for a week
Writing down 6 spelling/vocabulary words

 Home Ec: Kneading dough for fresh bread!

 Multimedia/Tech: Brainzy educational games

Independent reading: The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining by Mazer


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