Thursday, January 31, 2013

Need Help With Your Healthy Goals?

It's time for another round! :)
Are you struggling to stick with your New Year resolutions? I'd love to help you get back on a healthy track! The next round of the Feel Great in 8 Challenge begins on Monday, February 4th! 

What is Feel Great in 8?
Feel Great in 8 is an eight week heathy lifestyle competition. It includes aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health. For eight weeks challenge participants gain and/or lose points based on healthy or unhealthy choices. Weekly points are reported to Tiffany (me! the challenge creator/host). Each participant contributes $18. $10 to the prize money "pot" and $8 to pay me for my time as host. At the end of the eight weeks, the competitors with the most points will get a share of the prize money! There is also a small prize for the participant with the greatest weight loss percentage.

I have been hosting these challenges for almost 4 years now. In the past, winners have gotten as much as $250, and the greatest 8 week weight loss so far was 36 pounds!
The Challenge has been updated and improved in 2013 {details HERE}! You can also share the Feel Great in 8 Challenge with your friends and family members for the chance to WIN a FREE ENTRY {details HERE}! I hope you'll join in!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Preschool Activities: Letter of the Week {Ii}

By Tiffany Rudd


     * Ziplock Bag Ice Cream: This is a super fun project I've done with my own kids and my students over and over again. It is always a hit. Click on the photo above for complete instructions.  

     * Healthy Snack Butterflies: I love this healthier but still fun "insect" snack.

     * Make Your Own Igloo: This year one of my preschool moms sent a super cute "Ii" snack - each child got half an orange and a marshmallow to create an igloo. The kids loved them. I know I took a picture, but of course I can't seem to find it. :)

Favorite Books:

     * Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
     * Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan & Jan Berenstain    


     * Puffy Ice Cream: Trying this mix of shaving cream, glue and food coloring is definitely on my must try list. 

     * Igloo Craft: I love this simple and cute idea from Children's Learning Activities.

     * Fingerprint Insects: This is the first year I didn't have time to do fingerprint insects with my preschool students. These are always one of my favorites because the kids come up with such cute variations. I found some cute examples over at Kids4Crafts.

     * Inchworm Gluing & Painting Activity: This is a cute activity to go along with the book Inch by Inch (above). 


     * Inchworm Measuring: Kids love experimenting with measurement. I usually cut out a one inch section of green chenille straw for each child and let them measure different objects around the room with their "inchworm". They aren't always accurate, but it is a great into to the concept of measurement. I love the idea from Teach Preschool of creating worms out of play dough and measuring them with a standard ruler. 

Free Printables:
     * Click on the photos below to print the writing practice page and flash card. I also found this super cute printable Insect Packet from Oopsey Daisy. 

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Toddler Activities: Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

By Deborah Pace Rowley

Nursery rhymes and simple songs are fun to teach to toddlers. They love the bouncy rhythm and simple rhymes and the repetitive practice is great for their growing literacy and memory skills. This fun game uses the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty but instead of just reciting it, your toddler can act it out.  I made three different sizes of Humpty Dumpty to work on the concepts of big, medium and little as well.

All you need are items that you can find around the house. First cut a piece of white paper into three strips.

The largest strip is 11 inches long. The medium strip is 8 inches long and the little strip is 6 inches long. Then loop the ends together and tape them to form three circles. These are your eggs.

Next draw a simple face on each egg.

Finally you can create the wall. I used an old UPS box with a piece of paper taped to it. On the paper I drew some bricks. Just a plain box would work fine if you don't want to draw the wall.

Round up a soft ball and you are ready to play.

Set up the largest egg on the wall and recite the nursery rhyme together. When you come to part about Humpty Dumpty taking a great fall, have your toddler push the egg off the wall. For an added challenge, an older toddler could throw a ball and try to knock the egg off the wall. You might need to hang on to the wall or the wall will come tumbling down too.

As you continue to play, you can add in the other eggs. Say to your child, "This time I want you to knock down the little egg" or "This time I want you to knock down the medium sized egg."

Repeat as often as desired and soon your child will be able to recite the poem and knock down the correct sized egg all on her own. Here is the poem if you are a little rusty on your Mother Goose!

Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall
Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall
All the King's Horses and All the King's Men
Couldn't Put Humpty Together Again.

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Update: New Family Home Evening Lessons

By Deborah Pace Rowley

Hi all! I just recently discovered some old family home evening lessons that I had written on the Proclamation or as it is officially called... "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." I think they are really fun and include games and refreshment ideas for each lesson. I have started to post them on the blog: Noah's Rusty Boat. You can access it here.

I will post a lesson each Monday. I think there might be 12 or so lessons. On this blog you can also access my old FHE lessons on President Monson, Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. AND you can read about my new adventures as a Bishop's Wife. I have heard that being a WOB (wife of a bishop) is the greatest job in the church. The verdict isn't in yet. (It has only been 3 slightly long weeks so far) but....I will have to let you know!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Elementary Activities: Seatbelt Strategies

By: Deborah Pace Rowley

Yesterday in Utah we had freezing rains that led to treacherous driving conditions. My cute sister was creeping along our driveway, fully aware of how slippery things were. Nevertheless, her vehicle hit a patch of black ice and slid slowly and agonizingly into our fence and nearly into our neighbor's yard. When I heard about the accident, I was teaching and limited in my ability to communicate with her. Were the kids okay? Was she okay? Was the car okay? Gratefully she wasn't going any faster or her car might have overturned into the neighbor's yard which is 4 feet lower than ours or even worse, into the pond on the other side of the driveway. Miraculously, everyone was fine.

This experience reminded me how important it is that everyone in the car is buckled up. This is an easier problem to solve when all your kids are in car seats or booster seats and you buckle them in before hitting the road. This is a little bit more of a challenge when your children graduate from their car seats and buckle themselves into the car. I remember trying tons of different strategies to make my kids buckle up. From bribing to threatening to nagging, nothing seemed to work long term.

Finally, my kids stumbled onto a solution that seemed to work well for us. I even hear my teenage children reminding each other to buckle up using this old favorite chant. Here is how it works. When my kids get into the car, the first person who has on their seatbelt shouts, "Click-It!" The rest of the family members including mom and dad race to be the next person to have their seatbelt buckled. The second person shouts, "Ticket!" This came from an old billboard and radio ad that reminded people to "click it or get a ticket." Because you weren't the first person to be buckled in, you now got an imaginary ticket. The third person got off even worse. The third person with the seatbelt buckled had to shout, "Jail-time!" They had to go to jail because they didn't buckle their seatbelt fast enough.

But just wait. The fourth person who buckled their seatbelt had to shout,  "Crippled!" This meant that since you didn't have your seatbelt buckled right away, you were crippled in an accident. Nice, right? It gets better. The fifth person to buckle their seatbelt had to shout, "Dead!"

When my kids first came up with this game, I was worried that it was too gruesome. Were we tempting fate by shouting these things? I did like the fact that the chant reminded us of very real consequences if we didn't buckle our seat belts. But more than that, I couldn't argue with the results. Every time we got in the car, my kids were buckled within the first few seconds without me nagging them and we were laughing instead of fighting about seat belts.

I secretly wondered if my son purposefully was last to put on his seatbelt just so he could pretend to be dead every time. But whatever...he was buckled and that is what counted. If you are struggling with your children and their seat belts, this game might do the trick for your family also. Feel free to modify it to fit by adding or deleting phrases so that everyone is covered.
Please buckle up, and safe driving everyone.

(An accident on Utah roads on Thursday!) 

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Preschool Activities: Letter of the Week {Hh}

By Tiffany Rudd
     * Heart Shaped Toast With Honey: Just pull out a heart shaped cookie cutter for this simple snack. You could also add honey butter or even make heart shaped french toast. There are some great recipes {here}.

Favorite Books:
     * Old Hat New Hat by Stan & Jan Berenstain
     * Hats, Hats, Hats by Ann Morris
     * My Hands by Aliki

     * Capital & Lowercase Hh: I love these cute letter page ideas from Rockabye Butterfly.
     * Newspaper Hats: These simple hats are always a hit. Find great instruction at Skip to my Lou.
     * Paper Bag Houses: These super cute brown paper bag houses are definitely on curriculum to do list for next year. These would be perfect for practicing location words (in, on, behind, in front, around, etc) too.
     * Handprint Art: No matter how many times they've done it, kids always love painting their hands for handprints. I found a site called Fun Handprint Art that has tons of ideas for turning keepsake handprints into art.

     * Animal Habitats: Match the animals to their homes. This is always a favorite in my house. You can find the whole post here.
     * Hat Song: Sung to the tune "If You're Happy and You Know It" Have your child help you replace {head} with other body parts and use a hat to do the actions. My students were laughing hysterically while putting the hat on their elbows, chins, and knees, etc. :)

Put the Hat on Your ________!
Put the hat on your {head}, on your {head}.
Put the hat on your {head}, on your {head}.
Put the hat on your {head}, put the hat on your {head}.
Put the hat on your {head}, on your {head}!

     * Hh - Hole Punch: Print out this simple page here, and then let your child poke holes using a push pin or toothpick. Super fun!

Free Printables:
     * Click on the photos below to print the writing practice page and flash card. 

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King Day

We hope you are all having a wonderful holiday! Don't forget to take advantage of this teaching opportunity and talk to your children about race. If you need help, this article called 5 Tips for Talking About Racism With Kids has some great advice.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Elementary Activities: Scratch Art

By: Deborah Pace Rowley

(Scratch Art Medusa)

When we studied Ancient Greece in my elementary school class, we made our own Scratch Art. Then we designed Greek vases that depicted famous myths. There are lots of kits with expensive scratch art paper in the store but it is SO much more fun to create your own and it is so simple and cheap too. 

First, color a piece of white paper with thick, dark crayon. We used card stock but a regular weight paper should work fine also You can do the entire page in the same bright color or you can color the paper in stripes of several different colors. Try to get the crayon as thick and dark as you can and don't leave any white spaces. 

Then all you need to do is mix some black tempura paint with a drop of regular dish detergent. The ratio is probably 2 to 3 TBSP of paint to 1/4 tsp of dish detergent. Paint the entire page with black paint. 

When the paper is dry, use a toothpick or large wooden skewer to scratch off your design.

(The myth of Icarus flying too close to the sun.)

It is so fun to see the colors as they are revealed underneath the black paint. I think they turned out spectacular! Don't you? 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Preschool Activities: Letter of the Week {Gg}

By Tiffany Rudd
   * Growing Garden: I thought this healthy snack idea from Crack of Dawn Crafts was super cute!

Favorite Books:
   * The Three Billy Goats Gruff: This book is such a fun classic. I remember my mom reading this to us when I was in preschool. Deborah has a super fun activity to go along with this story in a bedtime book she is working on. Hopefully soon I can talk her into sharing it. :) 
    * Goodnight Moon & Goodnight Goon: These are two favorite bedtime stories at our house. I'm sure you've heard of Goodnight Moon before, but if you haven't read the parody Goodnight Goon you should definitely check it out!
   * Grass & Glitter Gg: I love this idea over at Rockabye Butterfly. I've done glitter g's with my preschoolers before, but never grass. They would love it!
 * Glue Paints: I can't believe I have never thought to add food coloring to school glue and let the kids "paint" with it. I'll definitely be trying this idea from Almost Unschoolers asap!
 * Pom-Pom Gumballs: Confessions of a Homeschooler has a bunch of super cute gumball printables. I love the idea of adding pom-pom gumballs! 

   * Rated G for Great! I gave each of my preschoolers a badge like this, and we took time to celebrate each of the great kids in our class. I listed their great qualities, gave this badge as an "award," and we gave each G rated kid a round of applause. It was a big hit. Click on the photo below to print a set of badges for your G rated kids. :)

Free Printables: Click on the photos below to print your flashcard and writing practice page for the letter Gg.

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