Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Traveling Number Sticks

It's late so I'll make this short and sweet: I stole this idea from and loved it so much I had to do it for myself.  I modified them a little bit because my son is in kindergarten and doesn't really get the idea behind the "teens".  
To get started you'll need Popsicle sticks, pens and/or number stickers and rubber-bands or duct tape.
 Number your sticks 0-9 and count out 10 sticks, rubber band or tape together and label 10.  
Write + and - and  = signs on three more--adding higher math symbols as appropriate for your student.
Shove sticks in ziplock bag or box with label on it.  
The bag may be less durable, 
but it will fit in your purse easily and make math practice in the waiting room at the doctors office much easier.
 Show to your kids and have fun!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Gluten-Free Replacement for Rawmen Noodles

I loved raw-men noodles for years until I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Since my diagnosis I've had to give up a lot of old favorites--shredded wheat, cream of wheat, raw-men noodles and french bread to name a few.  As a result, I've found new and fun ways to still be lazy and eat fun foods too--like mac-n-cheese and today's recipe, non-raw-men noodles!

It's super easy! 

1cup your favorite broth
(chicken, beef, vegetable or even water with a cube of GF bullion)
1 large handful of rice sticks

Bring broth to a boil, add rice threads and remove from heat.  Let stand 10 minutes.

I will admit it's not quite as good as the real thing, but it is pretty tasty!  My little testers gobbled it up in record time for eating noodles and I rather liked it as well. 
Next time I might add a frozen vegetable medley to the mix, or some pepper.  the rice noodles hold onto their firm texture really well so if your like your noddles soggy you'll want to increase the cook time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Transforming the Livingroom Mess into Homeroom for Homeschool

Our family is new to homeschooling, and so until recently our living-room looked like this:
I spent months loathing the massive piles of junk atop our three mismatched pieces of furniture that served to mostly contain the school stuff. I finally broke down and bought new bookcases to organize the mess at', I know, but well worth the effort putting them together and up against the wall.
One down:
Two down.
Three down and mostly organized!  At this point we ran out of shelves... My husband is supposed to cut more shelves for me and then I'll post and update! 
(So far...)

Monday, January 16, 2012

My New Skinny Plan

A few years ago I took up running--I did the Couch to 5K Program and lost around 30lbs.  I looked good and discovered an unknown love for long distance running. 

The picture to the left was taken before I ran the Bidwell Classic Half Marathon--it was an amazing day!  I had decided to take a month off of my running to recover, afterward my hubby left for Basic Combat Training for the Army. 

To make a long story short, I never could get myself back into the running and gained a total of 15lbs back.  The Picture to the right was taken today.
Still, I don't look at bad as when I first started in May of 2009.
At any rate, I don't want to stay chunky for the rest of my life, and the long I wait, the harder it will be to loose.
 I started with this--it's my new Skinny Plan!  It's posted on a large whiteboard I have in my kitchen. 
There will be one day a week that I'm allowed other drinks and desserts, but 6 days of the week only water and Jello (it's good for your joints).  

Friday, January 6, 2012

What day is it, Mommy?

All last month I was plagued with questions from my home-school kindergartener: "What day is it?" "When will it be Christmas?" "How long till uncle Branden comes?"  "Is it my birthday yet?"

The reoccurring answer was "soon" accompanied by a field-trip to the calendar to discuss what day it actually was and how many days there would be between now and the event he was asking about.  For those of you who are wondering, his birthday is in February and he was not happy about that.

As a result I set out to make him his own calendar to help him learn the days, months and seasons of the year.  This is what I came up with.  If you want to make one yourself, all the materials were either on hand or purchased at Walmart.  Check it out and don't forget to comment!

I started with an old picture frame.
Spray-painted it green as green is my son's favorite color.
Painted a bunch of "craft sticks", they are thicker then regular Popsicle sticks.
Originally I chose blue for winter, green for spring, yellow for summer and red for fall; after painting one sick yellow I decided orange was better for the project.
Notice I painted extras in each color, I am a bit of a perfectionist and I didn't want to have to start over if I messed one up.
I used scrap-booking alphabet stickers to label the months.
The popcicle sticks have both the number and name of the months on there to make it easier to explain the order they go in.
This is everything laid out so I could see it.  
The fabric in the background is an old flannel sheet, I plan to change the fabric by the seasons.
I added velcro tabs to the popcicle sticks  and glued velcro to the glass.  The velcro enables him to swap out names of the month and makes it more fun.
After everything was all in place and the back secure, I used dry erase marker to write in the days of the month.  I love dry erase and this way I don't have to swap out for a new calendar every month. 
There you have it, the finished project!
What do you think?

UPDATE:  After working with him on writing date a few times, I decided to put the year on the bottom to make it easier.  This is the final product:
Don't look at the glue--I didn't a razor blade to scrape it off with.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Freedom and the GPS

 I grew up in Northern California, in a medium sized town where everything I needed was literally a short drive away.  We had Costco, Walmart, 4 church buildings, and more grocery stores then I can count.  Let's not forget downtown with boutiques, eateries and tattoo parlors galore.  The local colleges (there were two) boasted a fabulous music and art departments, which held exhibitions and concerts regularly.

With all these services within my grasp, I still longed for adventure.  The excitement of moving somewhere I've never been and starting from scratch--new friends, new house, new mountains (aren't there mountains everywhere?).  To make a long story short, "adventure" came when my husband joined the Army and we PCSed to a small post outside Kansas City.  For those of you who aren't military affiliated, to PCS means the [insert military branch here] tells you where to go, who to bring with you, and how much of your stuff you can take--it's kinda like having a new set of parents, only these ones don't give you presents on your birthday.

We've been here a little over a year and I have literally been chained to post by my lousy direction sense.  You read that correctly, I can have spent hours driving in circles around Kansas City trying to find anything from stores to the zoo.  It hasn't been pretty.  After my most recent hour and a half expedition through Kansas City, I vowed I would never go back until I had a GPS.

Yesterday I headed to the pawn shop and picked one up--then for the first time sense we've been here, I took my sons to see the Liberty Jail visitors center.  I have always wanted to go on a church history tour (I am Mormon after all) so when I moved back East that was one thing I was really excited about. 

The visitors center was beautiful, it reminded me of home and I'm grateful to have finally made it there.  Now, after a year, I've started to explore.  For me, Liberty is just the start.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Beginning of a Beautiful Blog

I guess this is my first "real" blog.  I have wanted to start one for quite a while, but haven't made the time.  I love my job, but it's trying.  I'm with the same two demanding young people 24 hours a day 7 days a week and am in a constant storm of diapers, dishes, homeschool equipment, laundry and cooking supplies. 

Every once in a while I want to tell someone all the things I'm doing, but I don't have anyway to do it.  Sometimes I need to say I had a rough day and hear that it will be ok, other days I need a pat on the back that didn't come from me. 

This is why I'm starting this blog; I know I'm not the only one who's giving home and family her all and not getting credit for it.  I'm not the only one who would rather be poor then have a stranger raise my kids.  I know there is a long line of people who started blogging before me, but I pledge to do my best and hope that it's good enough.