4.26.2011

Words of Advice from a Preschool Director

Today is a guest blog from my Aunt, she has worked with preschoolers her whole life (my grandmother owned a preschool which she eventually took over and is currently the Director for an awesome preschool in Wichita, KS). She always has the best advice so I wanted to share her with you! I am working on a back-to-school Q&A with her as well! Thanks Aunt C! 

Early childhood education is more important today than ever before. The days of preschool being about playing with your friends, graham crackers and milk, listening to a story and rest time on your rug have rapidly evolved into  a time of developing skills such as writing, math, pre-reading, language, and self-help.  There is so much to teach these little ones to prepare them for their future academics, but also for their social and emotional futures as well.
In order to make a child’s preschool experience the best, it is important for the parents and preschool staff to have great communication. Get to know your child’s teacher. Attend orientation sessions and Parent / Teacher conferences. If you have any questions or problems, go to them, not your neighbor.
The most important advice I can give is to enjoy your child’s preschool years.  Share their excitement of learning with them. Listen to them sing that song they just learned for the fourteenth time.  Talk with them about seeing a caterpillar turning into a cocoon. The most informative time with you preschooler is on the way to school and when you pick them up.  They have so many things to share with you and need your undivided attention.  So put down that phone, turn off your Blackberry, don’t start the DVD player and have a great conversation about their world away from you and what they are excited about!
The Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions:  (Oh there are so many more!!!!!)
  1. My child is three years old and will start preschool in the fall.  What do I need to do to prepare my child for school? It is so important that your child has the developmental skills need to start their education. Make sure your child has had opportunities to be away from you and developed an independence of their own. They must be potty trained and be able to handle their own personal needs. Read to them. Develop listening skills by giving one simple instruction to follow without repeating it. Make sure they know their full name and parents’ name.
  2. I know my child will cry when I leave.  Can I stay with him in class for the first week? No. Your child may kick and scream when you try to leave, but please do not linger.  Let the teacher handle the situation. Your child needs to have the assurance that you will come back so establish that before you get to school. Tell them goodbye and that you will be back when they are finished with school. 99.9% of the time the crying is over and they are busy with an activity before you have left the parking lot.
  3. My child’s preschool has so many rules and policies. What if I do not want to follow them?  As with every organization rules and policies are developed to protect you and your child while they are at school.  There are reasons for each policy and procedure and when they are not followed it can breach the safety and learning environment for everyone involved.  If you are not comfortable with the rules, speak with the Director or Teacher to understand why they are in place.  If you still have a problem, it is better to find another school with different policies that you can follow.
  4. If my child is sick, how do I know when to keep them home and when they can go back? Check your child every day before they come to school.  Are they complaining about not feeling well or did not eat their normal breakfast? Did they not sleep well or are acting fussy about normal activities?  Then they might be coming down with something.  If they are running a fever (of any kind), vomiting, coughing, runny noses (especially the green, yucky stuff), have a rash, sore throat, or watery eyes, they need to stay at home. You need to check on your school’s policy for returning to class. Most policies state that they must be free of symptoms for 24 hours before returning.
  5. What is the best thing I can do to help my child and their teacher during the school year. READ ALL COMMUNICATIONS THAT COME HOME!  The teacher will send you information by notes and /or newsletters.  Please take the time to read them.  Check your child’s school bag every day to see if there are notes or messages for you.  One of the saddest thing for a teacher is to see a child disappointed because the parents did not read the note that went home and the child came without or unprepared for that day’s activities. Ex: The teacher sent out three notes about pajama day and what the child was to bring.  Unfortunately, Mom did not read the notes carefully and the child wore his pajamas on the wrong day and was very upset.

4.22.2011

Easter Series 9: Why?

This is one of my all time favorite songs- Why by Nichole Nordeman- it never fails to bring me to tears. It is the perfect song for this Good Friday. Here are the words, although I encourage you to listen to the song- it is amazing! Here is a youtube video that is set to the Passion of the Christ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14tZRDdwggU 








N \ Nichole Nordeman \ Why
We rode into town the other day
Just me and my Daddy
He said I'd finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man
That my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said "Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is He dressed in that bright purple robe?
I'll bet that crown hurts Him more than He shows
Daddy, please can't you do something?
He looks as though He's gonna cry
you said he was stronger than all of those guys
addy, please tell me why
Why does everyone want him to die?"

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And Daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide

So after he left I had to find out 
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, "Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can't You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?"

"My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I've heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You'll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father's side
Now I can tell You why
She is why You must die"

4.20.2011

Easter Series 8: Fun Times!

As previously mentioned, my girls love watching JibJab videos (the appropriate ones, they are not all appropriate for kids) and they have a really fun easter dance right now http://sendables.jibjab.com/  to "The Hop". Here is our Easter Hop (including my nephew as our stand in!) {http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/AE3jUtdGlcoQySNlQVjJ}- your kids will love this- mine cant get enough! Have fun!

4.19.2011

Easter Series 7: Traditions!

I asked a few wise mamas to share their favorite Easter traditions or recipes from when they had little ones. I always love to hear what traditions other families have, if you have any good ones, feel free to comment and share! 


DW: Tradition: The "pagan" in us didn't give up the Easter egg hunt/trail.
We always made a candy trail from their beds to their Easter basket & we
hid Giant Fudge Eggs with their name on them and "bunny money". When they found the "bunny money" they would come to their Dad and he would ask them a question from the Bible about Easter and if they answered correctly they received the amount of cash on the "bunny money" candy...as they got older the questions got harder so the kids always read the Easter story right before Easter so they are up on their Bible trivia!
Baked Eggs: Prepare the night before
Night before:
Line cupcake tins with piece of bacon
Crack egg into each cupcake hole
Teaspoon of milk on top of each egg
Next morning:
Pour cracker crumbs on top
Dab of butter on top
BAKE: 30 min. on 350
(This is our family joke...kids say no one liked them but it was "tradition" so I still made them every year) JM NOTE: I have made these and they are great! 



JS: My favorite memories with my kids were all the things you think about...dying eggs, gong to Easter Egg hunts. My husband and I both chuckle when we think about how many meltdowns they had if their brother got more eggs than them!
I also loved dressing them in their Easter best.  Three boys rarely lends itself to fashionable attire, but every Easter they would have matching outfits with cute khakis, golf shirts and sweater vests.  They didn't let me do it for very long and they still love to see the pictures!



MH: My favorite memory of Easter activities would be the dying of eggs.  We would wash them, boil them and dye them.  It was fun to mix the colors, use our creativity in decorating them.  It was fun to make baskets out of strawberry baskets, egg cartons, etc.  Of course, the egg hunts at Grandma's was always fun/this was shared with cousins.  I think the reason that this particular activity was special we could follow the entire process from choosing the eggs to the hunt.  We also loved the new clothes; the family get-togethers and most of all, learning more about the true meaning of Easter.


MMWe always had lots of fun on Easter but we did nothing 'special', or over the top!  Here are a few things we did however.
*One year we went to church with some out of town guests and then said goodbye to this tradition.  We stopped by KFC and took our wonderful chicken lunch to the beach and played in the sand all afternoon!  I was happy to have a break from cooking and we were all happy to play outdoors!  Our friends had a hard time not doing the traditional meal and egg hunt.
*Several times we have had a big sugar cookie decorating party.  We get the cookies all made, fill the middle of the table with frosting, sprinkles, etc and invite friends or extended family.  It's fun for all ages, girls and guys!
*We usually put coins in the plastic easter eggs to cut down on the candy.  They always loved counting their stash after the egg hunt!
Here is a recipe we use to have a 'make your own Belgian Waffle for Sunday Brunch.
Oh Boy Waffles
2 1/4 cups flour
4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 T sugar
2 eggs separated
1/2 cup salad oil
2 1/4 cups milk
Mix together dry ingredients.  In separate bowl, mix egg yolks, milk and oil.  Mix with dry ingredients.  Beat egg whites til stiff.  Fold in.
For Gluten Free I use Pamela's GF baking mix in place of the flour and keep everything else the same.  I also add vanilla and cinnamon.
I put the mix into the waffle maker and let people add their own mix ins such as chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, bananas.  Then shut the lid and bake.

Have a Happy Easter!

4.18.2011

Easter Series 6: Easter Egg Basket Cookies!

This is a recipe from Anne; who is very creative and such a good cook- I am so blessed she is always willing to share fun ideas with us! I loved this recipe, she suggested peanut butter dough with peanut butter cups for a different non-Easter option, yum! Thank you Anne!

Sugar Cookie Easter Egg Baskets
*1 roll sugar cookie dough (or homemade dough in a roll)
*green sugar 
*pastel colored M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray or grease mini muffin pan.

Cut thick slices from a roll of sugar cookie dough and divide each slice into fourths.  Stick each fourth into mini muffin pan holes and sprinkle with green sugar.and bake for approx. 5-6 minutes till they begin to turn brown on the edges (time may vary depending on dough used and oven).   Remove from oven and immediately stick 3 pastel colored M&M's sideways in the middle so it looks like eggs in a nest!  Let cool in pan and carefully remove and continue cooling on rack.  
enjoy!!

4.15.2011

Easter Series 5: Movie Time!

I love Easter movies, of course Passion of the Christ is great for adults, but there are so many great kid's movies too! Our favorite is Veggie Tales An Easter Carol, we watch it all year long and we are so excited that there is a new Veggie Tales Easter movie this year, 'Twas the Night Before Easter. I love Easter movies that are about the actual meaning of Easter, not just the bunnies. Of course there are so many options: Dora's Egg Hunt, Winnie the Poo- Springtime with Roo, It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, etc.. I was initially excited about the new movie Hop coming out this year, it is always fun to take my 4-year-old to the movies. I was concerned that it is PG (I stick to G ratings for her) and a friend of mine told me about pluggedin.com to get a review of the movie. For me, we are going to avoid Hop, I don't think I need to introduce my 4-year-old to Hugh Hefner yet (hopefully not ever!). I love that this site (owned by Focus on the Family) covers everything and lets you decide what does or does not bother you. The topics include: positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content,violent content, crude or profane language, drug and alcohol content, other negative elements and a conclusion. I really appreciate this service for movies that I am not able to pre-view! 

4.14.2011

Easter Series 4: Cookies!

I am sure most people like to bake their own Easter cookies for friends and family, but just in case you want the most delicious treat to send and dont want to bake and package and mail, these are AMAZING! Cheryl's Cookies [http://www.cheryls.com/] they taste so good and they are darling! They have things to send for all occasions and the buttercream frosted cookies (pictured) are the best! There are so many cute Easter options; baskets, an egg cookie jar filled with cookies, cookie/brownie assortments, a ceramic desert pedestal, and so much more. You can check it all out on their website. I will say this, you can get any assortment and everything is so good- but the buttercream frosted will be the first to go- so delish!

4.13.2011

Easter Series 3: Resurrection Rolls

Today my friend Julie is guest blogging. She is so creative and always has the best ideas to do with kids. She sent me this recipe and I am so excited about it! Enjoy..Thanks Julie!

Sometimes as a Children’s Minister I find myself just boggled on how to present the Easter story to children… where do you start?
The details of God’s sacrifice, His sovereignty and His majesty is just incredible! My big question is how, do I? Portray this to a child? How do you express what Jesus has done for us in a way that is tangible, understandable and attainable to their little minds…
 I came across this super fun recipe… and it worked!!!!! And it is delicious!

Resurrection Rolls
Ingredients:
 • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
 • 8 large marshmallows
 • Melted butter
 • Cinnamon
 • Sugar

Directions:
 1.  Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This represents the tomb.
 2.  Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
 3.  Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and
     spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
 4.  Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.
 5.  Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow will "ooze" out of the seams)
 6.  Bake according to package directions.
 7.  Cool.
 8.  Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!
 9.  Celebrate God's love!

A good friend of mine used this recipe with her pre-schooler last Easter… now marshmallows have become Jesus… “Mommy, can I have some Jesus…”
Isn’t Jesus and what he did for us so sweet? It truly is the sweestest thing, any one could ever do!

4.12.2011

Easter Series 2: Forgiveness by Max Lucado


I get these weekly emails from Max Lucado and I thought this was a great one for this Easter season. Enjoy!

MaxLucado.com
MaxLucado.comMaxLucado.com StoreReadListenWatchAbout


    

"Father, Forgive Them"

by Max Lucado
The dialogue that Friday morning was bitter.
From the onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!”
From the religious leaders, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.”
From the soldiers, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
Bitter words. Acidic with sarcasm. Hateful. Irreverent. Wasn’t it enough that he was being crucified? Wasn’t it enough that he was being shamed as a criminal? Were the nails insufficient? Was the crown of thorns too soft? Had the flogging been too short?
For some, apparently so...
Of all the scenes around the cross, this one angers me the most. What kind of people, I ask myself, would mock a dying man? Who would be so base as to pour the salt of scorn upon open wounds? How low and perverted to sneer at one who is laced with pain…
The words thrown that day were meant to wound. And there is nothing more painful than words meant to hurt…
If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration. Meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:23 (NIV):
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Did you see what Jesus did not do? He did not retaliate. He did not bite back. He did not say, “I’ll get you!” “Come on up here and say that to my face!” “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on Christ’s lips.
Did you see what Jesus did do? He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Or said more simply, he left the judging to God. He did not take on the task of seeking revenge. He demanded no apology. He hired no bounty hunters and sent out no posse. He, to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? (Luke 23:34 NIV)…
“they don’t know what they are doing.”
And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing.
Yes, the dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal stones were meant to sting. How Jesus, with a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by his own blood, and lungs yearning for air, could speak on behalf of some heartless thugs is beyond my comprehension. Never, never have I seen such love. If ever a person deserved a shot at revenge, Jesus did. But he didn’t take it. Instead he died for them. How could he do it? I don’t know. But I do know that all of a sudden my wounds seem very painless. My grudges and hard feelings are suddenly childish.
Sometimes I wonder if we don’t see Christ’s love as much in the people he tolerated as in the pain he endured.
Amazing Grace.

4.11.2011

Easter Series 1: Resurrection Eggs!



My mom gave these wonderful eggs [Resurrection Eggs ] to the kids and my girls absolutely love them. Here is a little description: 
"Watch Easter come to life in little hands! Each of these twelve colorful plastic eggs holds a different memory-grabbing object to take Jesus’ journey to the cross and beyond right into your child’s heart.
Easy-to-use from home to classroom to neighborhood hunt, our durable plastic egg carton also includes a bilingual booklet in Spanish and English, telling the story of each object in simple language for children.
You’ll discover why two million have shared this life-changing message with children around the world!" (LINK)


4.10.2011

Easter Series!

Exactly two weeks from today is Easter! So, I am going to take the next two weeks and post on...you guessed it...Delightful Easter Stuff! I think you will love all of the treasures I have for you; a survey of ideas from moms who have awesome Easter traditions, recipes, games for kids, Easter fashion, movies, etc.. I am so excited to share it all with you! Make sure to check in or click on one of the ways to follow (to the right) to receive all of the info! 

4.07.2011

Chocolate (enough said!)

http://www.theticketkitchen.com/parties-printables/
How gorgeous is this hot chocolate station for a baby shower? Those sticks in the back are from theticketkitchen.com and have the chocolate for hot chocolate on the end. You simply put them in hot milk or water and you have a rich cup of hot delight! I love the pink marshmallows, it would be darling in blue also! These sticks could be a great favor idea as well. They have all of the printables you would need to make these for any occasion right on the site. Love it!

4.06.2011

Yummy Yummy Yummy!!

I follow a blog called A Cup of Jo and she posted about this awesome store called Sweet Lulu. Everything on this site makes me want to have a party! Look at these darling striped straws in the milk bottle (both for sale at the site). The site has amazing treat and gift bags, baking cups, candy cups, darling cake stands (I love the individual ones [here]), tableware, balloons, party decor, hostess gifts and so much more. I am in love with all of it!

Another delightful discovery I want to share is the Babycakes Cupcake Maker: My sweet Aunt M treated me to this amazing cupcake maker. It bakes cupcakes in as little as 8 minutes and they provide the most wonderful recipes to use with your machine. You can use regular cake mix or use their custom recipes (a fabulous opportunity to add whole wheat white flour and leave a little sugar out!) The machine also allows you to use boxed brownie mix and has ideas for appetizers, pie's, and quiches. Such a cool gadget, I am so grateful that Aunt M introduced me to this delightful treasure!

Speaking of fun party/cupcake ideas! You have to check out http://onecharmingparty.com/. They have the best ideas for parties and a lot of DIY's that you can print right off of the site. Check out these darling bunny cupcakes, they have the ears you can print on the site, so stinkin' cute!

4.04.2011

Should You Buy Organic?

In a grocery store where everything that is expensive seems to be labeled “organic” I have been so confused what is important to spend the extra money on and what I can purchase that is less expensive and not organic. I do not like things added to my food: artificial color, sweeteners or flavors, growth hormones (I try to avoid this in my milk- future article to come on rbst), tons of salt, etc.. So I am not a fan of pesticides being on my produce. I loved this article from gormetfood.about.com, here it is:
“There's lots of reasons to buy organic. First, it's better for the environment. No pesticides means healthier soil, water, and wildlife. Buying organic supports small farmers. Organic farmers can earn a fairer price for organic produce compared to factory farming. Organic farming is good for biodiversity. Organic farmers are growing a wide variety of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) fruits and vegetables. Where factory farming has shrinked our choices in the supermarket to one or two types of any produce variety, organic farmers are resurrecting many heirloom varieties.
Finally, organic foods are healthier for you. The research on whether consuming organic food is healthier for people remains inconclusive. However, the USDA's own tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing. The long term effects of consuming these pesticides has not been sufficiently studied, but they can't be good for you.
In a perfect world, we would buy all of our groceries organic. Unfortunately, organic food is still more expensive (although the price is continually dropping) or even unavailable. To make wiser consumer choices here is a list of produce with the highest level of pesticide contamination. The following list is based on information and studies by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Reports, and the Environmental Working Group.
  1. Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Here is a list of fruits and vegetables found to contain the least amount of pesticides. Notice that many of these have thick, inedible skins which protect the fruit.
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn (However, almost all corn is genetically modified)
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas

Another Probiotic Post!


I am such a fan of Probiotics for my kids and for me. I take one every day and so do my kids. We have seen a noticeable difference with my oldest daughter's ear infections since taking them. I did a previous post on them [click here], but this article was great Probiotics for Children: A Natural Way to Heal Tender Tummies -- Feeding Your Toddler -- WhatToExpect.com so I wanted to share it with you. 

Happy Monday! 

4.01.2011

Bloglovin!

Since I started this blog, I have discovered other blogs that I love to check in on. It gets to be a little much to put them on my favorites or check my iGoogle or my dashboard since all of the blogs have different options of ways to follow. I recently discovered BlogLovin, you can enter the name of your favorite blogs and click "follow" on any blog that you like. When you have all of them entered, you will have a little newsfeed where you can see all of your blogs on one page. They have an option for you to click "mark as read" or "like" on the posts- like Facebook for the blog world. I just really like how simple and easy it is! It also has suggestions of other blogs you might like as well as a list of the most popular blogs on the site.
Here are some of my favorite blogs that I follow on Bloglovin: (I follow others you can see on my profile, but they are not on Bloglovin yet)
A Cup of Jo
A Diary of Lovely
* Baby Bangs
* Enjoying the Small Things
* Brunch at Saks
* Ciao Bella
* Dear Lillie
* Cupcakes and Cashmere
* Mimi + Meg
* WhoWhatWear
* Jones Design Company
* Design Sponge
* I Heart Baby
* Imparting Grace
* Momdot
* Lee la la
* The Glamourai
* Design Mom


Obviously if you go on, make sure to follow Delightfulmomstuff, or you can click on the icon to the right of this page to follow! :) Have a fabulous weekend! 
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