Posts by christy:

10 Fun Ways to Practice Spelling with Your Kids

How to Practice Spelling With Your Kids

With my little girl now in elementary school, we are practicing sight words and spelling everyday.  This means I am constantly looking for ways to make it new and exciting for her. If you too are looking for ideas on how to practice spelling with your kids, here are 10 tips on to mix it up and make it fun. 

Cool Whip…or Pudding…Painting!

Finger painting with sweet treats – always a favorite with my kids.  I give my daughter a sight word and she practices spelling in the pudding (or Cool Whip).  Yum!

Painting with Water 

Give them a paint brush and let them go for it!  If you don’t feel like getting messy, let them “paint” the spelling words with a paint brush and water on the concrete outside.  Us lucky Southern Californians have that option in this nice warm weather!

Magnets

Need a break from painting?  Try this out – get those letter magnets for your refrigerator or white boards and have your kiddo practice with the magnets.  Scramble them up on whatever surface you’re using, then call out a word, and see if your child can find the correct letters to spell it.

Glitter and Bedazzle your Words 

My little girl is all about the sparkles. So, how fun is this – have your kiddo practice writing their words, then give them a glue stick.  Let them trace the pencil words in glue, give them a tube of sparkles or glitter (warning – this WILL get messy).  Brush away the excess glitter, and voila!  Their spelling words are bedazzled.

I Spy

Here’s a slightly new twist on an oldie but goodie game.  When you’re in the car driving, play I spy.  When your kiddo guesses the object, have them sound it out and spell it outloud.

Sing a Song

If you’ve read some of my blogs, you’ll know that I’m all about teaching through song.  That’s because that is the way my son learns best.  So I make up silly little songs and phrases with catchy tunes.  Ever seen the movie Elf?  Well, I pretty much sound like Buddy…singing random, made-up, silly strings of words together.  And my kids love it!  Whatever works, right?!

Scrabble Letters 

Do you happen to have the board game, Scrabble, at home?  We found ours stuck up on a closet shelf.  Even though my kindergartner is a little too young to grasp the concept of the game, those little wooden letter blocks come in quite handy!   Mix them up on your kitchen table, verbally give your kiddo a list of spelling words, and have them pick out the letters to form the words.

Grab a Magazine

This idea came from my daughter’s teacher – grab a kid friendly magazine, pick out a page of text, and tell them to find whatever words you are practicing (however many times they appear on the page).  This is awesome for sight words and recognizing spelling!  Have them circle or highlight the words on the page.

Bathtub Paint

If your kids still take baths, let them paint their spelling words in the bathtub…with that bathtub safe paint.  My kids LOVE this.  Bonus?  It immediately washes off!

Flashcards 

There are lots of ways you can use flashcards to practice your words. You can have your child practice writing the word on the front, and then drawing a picture of the definition or write the definition on the back. You can also have them write it one time on the front, and then have them write it again on their own on the back to practice.

I hope this post has given you some ides on how to practice spelling with your kids. Want to share some of yours with us? 

A Cute Valentine’s Day Craft for Little Ones

Valentine's Day Craft for Little Ones

With Valentine’s Day about a month away, I’m already brainstorming fun projects to do with my kids – especially since this year, we will be giving homemade gifts to teachers, grandparents, and of course, friends and classmates.  So, here is a cute Valentine’s Day craft for little ones – the first of of many we will be making over the next few weeks.

I’m known for many things…but being super “arts and crafty” is not one of them – ha ha!  I’m all about easy (and cute!) crafts to make with my munchkins.  Who’s with me?!

That’s why I love this project- and so do my kids.  One of our favorite quotes to say to each other  is, “I love you to the moon and back.”  So I thought, why not make this into an easy craft for the kiddos?

Supplies needed:

– Red and yellow construction paper (pink too, if you want)

– A piece of white construction or blank computer paper

– A marker (I used black, but the color is up to you) and a pencil

– A glue stick or Elmer’s glue

– Valentine’s stickers are optional

– A 8×10 picture frame (The Dollar Store, Target or Walmart has some nice frames for relatively inexpensive) – I picked a black frame, but the color is your choice.

I Love You to the Moon and Back Tear Art Craft

1.  Cut your piece of white background paper to fit the size of your frame.  Then, write the “I,” in marker (or “We” if you’re talking about multiple kiddos), then trace a heart shape with the pencil. (Keep in mind, your older children can do the writing.  I was writing to help my three-year-old.)

2. Next line – with your marker, write “you to the”

3. Third line, trace a crescent moon shape with your pencil.

4. Fourth line, write “and back!” with your marker.

5. Now, have your kiddo tear the red (and/or pink) construction paper into tiny pieces for the heart (bonus – work those fine motor skills!).  Same goes for the yellow construction paper for the moon.

6. Then have your child smear their glue stick in the traced heart and moon shape, and have them glue their tiny colored pieces inside the shapes.

7. If your kids want, have them add heart stickers…or any Valentine stickers you have on hand, to beautify or bedazzle the finished product!

8. Slip it into your chosen picture frame, and voila!  A cute, simple Valentine’s Day gift!

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day crafts to make?
Any cute homemade gift ideas? Please share below!

New Year’s Resolutions from an Exhausted Mommy

New Year's Resolutions from an Exhausted Mommy

Here are my New Year’s resolutions…specifically, new year’s resolutions from an exhausted mommy. 

As much as I love the holidays, as much as I love all of the extra parties and extra treats and extra late nights, I am very excited to start 2014 fresh and energized and organized and (hopefully) on top of it.

Except for one small tiny little detail. I’m exhausted. Anyone else in the same boat?

That’s when I realized I needed to add more to my resolutions than the typical “finally get that unwanted weight off, exercise consistently, eat healthy, etc. etc.”

So here we go…my NEW new year’s resolutions. Would love to hear yours!

1. Streamline my calendar 

This means evaluating what I’ve committed to, and really thinking about what’s important to me, my kids, and our family. When I say “yes” to something, how does that affect me, my family, and my schedule? Same goes for when I say “no.” What’s flexible and what’s not? I am challenging myself to really think about whatever the commitment actually is before I jump in and excitedly say “yes.” This will be hard because I LOVE being involved and on-the-go and busy. Hence, being an exhausted mommy!

2. Sleep more

I stay up late to get things done. It’s my only quiet time. And I forfeit sleep. So I wake up tired. And this is a never-ending cycle. So, more sleep it is!  I need to be more disciplined and have a bedtime – hey, I make my kids have one!

3. Eat healthier – and stick with it

I actually think this is just as important, if not more, than the proverbial “lose weight.”  Because by choosing better nutrition (instead of my next fad diet), I’m convinced that I will have an overall healthier lifestyle.  And, hopefully more energy!  The added bonus – weight loss.

4. Drink more water 

I don’t drink nearly enough water.  Coffee, yes.  Iced tea, yes. Water, no. I am going to start carrying around a water bottle with me everywhere I go, and refill every time it’s empty.I think most of the time I’m probably dehydrated. I know that drinking more water is going to make a BIG difference.

5. Pick a tangible fitness goal

Last year was my year of endurance events. I completed my first half marathon. Then my second. Then my first marathon. I find that setting a tangible fitness goal works much better for me – it keeps me focused and motivated…versus just “exercise more.”  I’m not sure what’s in store for me this year (yet!)…maybe another half marathon.  Maybe committing to a favorite fitness class three times per week. Consistent exercise means more energy and a healthier lifestyle.  Boom.

6. Maintain an organized mommy “command center”

Piles are taking over desk, kitchen counters, and dresser tops.  Don’t even get me started on Post-it notes.  I commit to going through my piles once a day (okay, maybe every other day) and file the important stuff, separate the action items, and recycle the excess.  Going to bed with a clean desk – and waking up to a clean desk – will help me start each day fresh.  And maybe a little less frazzled.

7. Take a five minute breather, when needed

My schedule is pretty packed…I’m sure you can all relate!  And, I tend to “power through,” (and…ahem…keep drinking caffeine all day!) instead of taking a little breather, when needed.  I think by incorporating some deep breathing and scheduling some quiet time each day…even if for five minutes, will help bring a little more peace to my day.

8. Keep a Gratitude Journal

One of the fantastic mom’s group I’m involved with (and love!) challenged us to keep a gratitude journal during the month of November….and what an incredible experience it was.  It was a focused activity once a day (for me, usually at night once the kiddos were asleep and the house was quiet), when I could journal and think about what I was really grateful for in my life. I loved the experience so much, I am challenging myself to do this once a day on a regular basis.

9. Have more impromptu dance parties with my kids! 

And above all, I resolve to have more impromptu dance parties with my kids. Be silly. Laugh loud. Take more walks. Go to the park more. Play dress-up more. Finger paint.  Pretty much take time every day to REALLY enjoy my children.  They are only this age once.  And, I want to enjoy all of the beautiful moments (which make the crazy, pull-my-hair-out moments worth it!).

What are your New Year’s resolutions?  Feel free to share below!

Getting My Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

Getting My  Picky Eaters  to Try New Foods

Does anyone else have super picky eaters? I have been blessed with two little angels who think they can survive on chicken nuggets, peanut butter and apples. After much frustration – and making multiple main dishes for one meal to keep everyone happy – my husband and I decided enough was enough.  So, here are my tips on how to get get picky eaters to try new foods

Please help moms everywhere out if you happen to have any of your own tricks up your sleeve.

At first, this was a little overwhelming for me.

My kids always eat things from different food groups, they just haven’t been eating the “fancier” dishes my husband and I cook.  Knowing that our kids needed to transition to eating what the whole family was eating, we did our research (Google, polled our parent friends, read articles, and asked our pediatrician), decided what was reasonable, and have been implementing the “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” plan.

Here’s what’s been working for us…I hope these tips are helpful for you, too!

Family Style Serving

Instead of making their plate in the kitchen and setting it in front of them, we now put plates of food on the table (usually represented from all food groups) and let the kids take turns putting food on their own plate.

We find this works to our advantage in two ways –

1.  The kids take ownership in picking their own food.  They can take as much or as little as they want…as long as they try one bite of each dish.

2.  We always make sure there is at least one item that we know they like.  Carrots, apple slices, hummus…that way they have some of their comfort food to fall back on once they try at least one bite of the new stuff.  This has been a consistent piece of advice we’ve received from our parent friends…and it works!

Setting a Good Example

Kids are little sponges – I know mine watch me like a hawk.  For the most part, they want to be just like my husband and I…and my little one wants to be just like his big sister.  This means that setting a good example has been very important to our family in this process.  When I ask my kids to try something, that means that my husband and I are also eating it.  We also sit down together as a family to eat.  Or whoever is home…we all sit down and make the meal a family event.

Staying Consistent 

As with anything, being consistent has been our saving grace.  Every meal.  Same rules every time. Now, we still believe in special treats and special meals on occasion…of course!  But on a daily basis, we are making good nutrition and consistent family meals a priority.

Little Shoppers  

The kids usually come grocery shopping with me anyways, so now I let them help me pick new foods when we’re out.  They love to shop, so this is kind of a big deal that they get to pick new things to try.

Educate

My husband is constantly asking our kiddos, Is this super healthy, medium healthy, or not healthy at all?”  Then he explains why the particular food in question is healthy or not.  He also tells the kids that they have to train their tongues to like new foods…and makes funny little jokes out of it.  Like, “Your tongue just don’t remember this food. See if it can remember what it tastes like?” The kids think he’s hilarious…Whatever works!

I’d love to hear your tips. What’s worked for you and your family?  Please do share below! 

A Cool Way to Teach Your Kids How to Tell Time

I stumbled upon a cool way on how to teach your child to tell time – I wish I could take credit, but one of my good mama friends, Erin, shared this fun tip I wanted to pass on to you.

Here’s the secret – a multi-colored digital clock.  

What makes this clock special is that each of the digital numbers is represented by a different color – versus all the same color.

Let me explain….I don’t know about you, but my three-year-old keeps getting up earlier and earlier. We’ve tried teaching him to stay in bed (unless he has to go to the bathroom) until 7 a.m.

Now, he’s old enough to recognize “7,” but he still struggles with the order of numbers.  So at 5:47, he just sees a “7” and runs into our room.  Same goes for counting down minutes to finishing breakfast, minutes left for playtime, minutes left for leaving for school…you get the idea.

Then one day, my friend Erin gave me this very simple, very cool, very inexpensive way to help your little ones learn to tell time.

This fabulous multi-colored digital clock.  I got mine at Target for under $10.  I actually got one for downstairs AND upstairs.

Now I tell my little man, “Okay sweetie, you can get out of bed when the ‘7’ is green.”  And you know what?  It works!!  Just tell your kids what corresponding color and number to look for (a fun bonus – this will also reinforce color and number recognition).

I use this trick for bedtime, wake up time, playtime, leaving for school…love it!

Do you have any great how to teach your child to tell time tips for kiddos?  If so, please share below!

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