Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ocean Themed Lunch

Adorable lunch! Perfect for oceans week. Click the link below for more fun ideas!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Safety: Pools and Water

  • Supervision is a must. Follow the 10/20 rule when you’re at the pool. The 10/20 rule states the supervising adult needs to position themselves to be able to scan the pool every 10 seconds, and reach the water within 20 seconds.
  • Always have rescue devices, such as UL-LISTED life preservers (ex: life jacket or buoys), nearby.
  • Flotation devices, toys and inflatable swimming aids are not safety devices. They are toys and can easily puncture and deflate. They often promote a false sense of security and are NEVER a substitute for proper supervision.
  • Always drain wading pools after children are done playing. Infants can drown in just a few inches of water. This is true for water tables or other fun stations that use water.
  • Have a telephone nearby and appropriate emergency numbers posted. If you are using a cell phonc
  • If you have a pool at home, install a fence. The fence should be at least four feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate that has a locking mechanism beyond a child’s reach.
  • Cut overhanging tree limbs and remove chairs or ladders from the pool area to prevent children from climbing over the fence that surrounds the pool.
  • Keep grates and drain covers in good repair and secured in place. Alert your family and guests to stay away from these devices, as the suction from drain outlets can be strong enough to cause entrapment of hair or body parts, which can potentially cause a person to drown.
  • Make sure you know infant and child CPR if you are planning any visits or vacations around water. Your local Red Cross chapter may even have instructors who are willing to come to your home to teach a group of parents.

Trees Week

The children had a fun time walking around the neighborhood collecting leaves. First for our leaf collection/build your own tree. We talked about different shapes and colors of leaves and trunks. Double sided sticky tape worked well instead of glue (which would have been everywhere including the paper).

Later in the week we collected more leaves for leaf rubbings with different shades of green.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Purple Cow

After passing by the Purple Cow home laminator at Costco for many months, I finally decided to buy one. So far I have laminated some calendar pieces for the classroom, a spring bingo game and color flash cards. I am waiting for some more pockets to arrive in the mail, because as it turns out Joann's no longer stocks them (my one and only complaint- I love laminating things!).

For only $19 the machine seems like a steal. Each 8.5 x 11" pocket at a copy center would be $1 and the machine came with 90 assorted pockets. Of course it would be fun to have a gigantic table top laminator some day, but this is really sufficient. I am just happy not to use packing tape for little projects (seriously!).

Sleepy-Time Strategies

A few ideas from familyfun magazine's February 2010 issue.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Aspartame vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup

This article at reminded me of one of those slightly annoying questions that goes something like...
If you were stranded on an island for 10 years and you could only take one of these with you, which would it be???
I think of it in those terms because aspartame gives me the worst headache and I know my hips and I are easily addicted to things with high fructose corn syrup. (Thanks, Julia, for the summer of homemade caramel!)

While the entirety of this message comes across a little preachy, I think the bottom line is fair: while processed and convenience foods seem to make things easier and quicker, simple homemade foods keep things- simple. Simply nutritious.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rainbows Week

I had my fingers crossed for a real rainbow this week- we had a few rainy days and sun mixed in. We didn't find any and had to settle for some rainbow jello and our rainbow art.

Naturally it was Saturday when I remembered you can make your own rainbow on a sunny day (by turning on the sprinklers!). Oh well.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Allergy Awareness Week

I am WELL aware of my allergies this time of year. While I appreciate all of the wonderful blooming trees, shrubs and flowers it is difficult to feel the same away about the runny noses and itchy eyes that accompany spring.

Here are a few tips from the blog:

Natural Allergy Relief and Prevention

Breast feed. Breast-feed exclusively — give your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months of life using hypoallergenic formulas to supplement breastfeeding if necessary.

Take a daily dose of acidophilus. Acidophilus is a probiotic has been touted for having many health benefits. It comes in a pill and powder form. There have been suggestions that probiotics help prevent the development of allergies. Yogurt is probably the most well known food containing acidophilus.

Cut back on dairy. Dairy products contain casein, a mucus-forming agent. It has a glue-like texture and histamine-creating properties, both of which cause increased mucus production and nasal congestion. Seasonal allergies cause runny noses and watery eyes. The last thing we need is another source for adding more mucus.

Reduce chemical exposure.

Cleaning products. Make the switch to safe cleaning products. Many conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine bleach, ammonia, petrochemicals, and VOC’s. Breathing in the fumes from these products is toxic and can complicate allergic reactions.

Personal care products. Check out all of your personal care products on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. The world’s largest resource on personal care product safety just got a makeover and it will help you figure out which of your personal care products are toxic and which are safe.

Lawn care. Chemical weed killers, pesticides, and other lawn care products are not only killing our weeds, they’re and making us sick and killing the earth. Many of the symptoms we attribute to seasonal allergies and asthma could be from a chemical sensitivity to the chemicals lurking in our yards. These toxins are then tracked into our homes and absorbed into our foods. Our yard is now chemical free. I can say with certainty that our yard isn’t the most beautiful yard in the hood, but I love being able to let my kids and dog run around outside knowing our yard is a safe haven for them to play.

Park Preparedness

Does anyone remember the old cartoon series Bobby's World? I think there was a woman on the show who drove around with a van packed full of emergency supplies and first aid equipment like a mobile Red Cross.

On the verge of looking too much like her, I have to admit I can't enjoy myself on an outing unless I have some necessities packed....
- the travel potty with wipes and antibacterial hand sanitizer are high on the list! I love the parks department- they know a lot about outdoor fun. But cleanliness and sanitation are sacrificed somewhere along the way.

- a travel first-aid kit (with eye washing cup and tweezers- every splinter from that tan bark seems to find my children)

- easy snacks and extra bottled water. I really like the idea of these new squeeze pouches. They are made with healthy ingredients, are resealable and you don't have to worry about clean hands because they go directly into the mouth. When they are chilled in the fridge, they are sort of like a dairy-free smoothie.

- some sort of travel umbrella or shade. Many of the parks in our area have younger trees (or the type in large parking lots that never seem to shade in a useful place).

-squirt bottles with foam fans attached. Someday it will hit the 100s here in Rancho again and all I will want is to be in a large tub of ice water.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yummy Blueberry Muffins

I made these this morning for the first time. I am always a little skeptical of recipes that substitute applesauce for butter. But these are winners! Elliot gave them two thumbs up which means they will be around a few times a month (at least).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine:
--2 Cups whole wheat flour
--1/2 white sugar
--1 tsp baking soda
--1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl combine and lightly mix:
--1 C applesauce (I used Trader Joe's unsweetened, organic)
--1 large egg
--1tsp. vanilla extract
--2 tbsp buttermilk
--2 tbsp melted butter

Add the liquids to the dry ingredients until just combined. Add 1-1.5 C blueberries (I used frozen) and gently fold into batter.

Divide into 12 standard, lined muffin tins. Cook for 25 minutes.
adapted from Gina's recipes

Friday, May 6, 2011

Avocado Quesadillas

Today I received my third (free gift!) box of mixed fruits and veggies from Farm Fresh to You. When they say farm fresh, it is the real thing! I have been so happy with the produce. Today, the strawberries were the most spectacular red, juicy and sweet.

I am also always pleased with the recipes on the newsletter. I was just thinking that I needed a few more ways to make my children's favorite lunch time staple a little more exciting (and a little more nutritious).

The produce in today's box helped make these delicious quesadillas:

2 Tbs chopped red onion
1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
6 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 & 2/3 C grated monterey jack cheese
2 firm avocados
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 C sour cream
8 tortillas
1/4 tsp olive oil

Quarter avocado, remove pit and peel. Cut into 1/4-inch dice.

In a small bowl stir together: sour cream, cilantro, salt & pepper to taste.

In a little oiled skillet, warm tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold over and heat through until melted.

Top with avocado and sour cream.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I was so thankful to come across this lovely tutorial from Heather Bailey's website. I think these pinwheels will make a lovely mother's day gift from the little ones. They customized the card stock with stamps and colored pencils. They turned out so well!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Updated Car Seat Safety

It is now recommended that your little ones remain rear facing for as long as possible.
Car Seat Poster