Fire Safety Lesson {Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade}

This is a re-post about the fire safety lesson we did in August of 2012.

I've always been fascinated by homeschooling. I've never been homeschooled. I don't know anyone who homeschools... but I still finding myself more curious to what it's all about, and if it's right for my family. From what I've read, the most important thing to do if you're interested in homeschooling is to just start where you are. Homeschooling as just a big experiment. It's an experiment in getting to know your child better, and watching them learn about the world around them. To start your own experiment in home schooling, just take things that your child is interested in, and create a lesson around them.

Phoenix is obsessed with fireman and saving people who need help, so I thought this would be a perfect place to start. We got a few books about fire safety, a handful of DVDs (which were a big hit), and even had a picture for him to color.

Fire Safety Books

Fire Safety DVDs


  Our Fire Safety Lesson Included:
  • Checking all of the outlets in our home to see if they were fire hazards
  • Locating & testing the smoke detectors in our house
  • Locating the fire extinguisher in our home & discussing how it is to be used
  • What to do if the fire alarm goes off in our house
  • How to check the door to see if there's fire on the other side
  • How & why to crawl if there's a fire
  • Practicing climbing out a bedroom window
  • Had a fire drill, and went at our meeting place outside of our home
  • Reading about fireman & fire safety
  • Watching DVDs about fire safety
It was really an amazing way to start teaching my son at home, and I was excited that he was able to learn so much useful information about a topic that he was very interested in. Hopefully, he'll never have to use it, but as a parent, it feels great that at least he knows what to do in case of a fire.

I'm looking forward to continuing various methods & lessons in home schooling. If I seem a bit more absent than usual from my blog, it's only because I'm so consumed with taking a more hands-on approach in the education of my two amazing children. :)

Our Non-math Approach to Math

This year we're taking a bit of an unconventional approach to math. After I had spent lots of time searching for the perfect curriculum, we finally settled on studying math through storybooks. That's right I found a group of storybooks we've been using to casually "teach" Phoenix math.

Phoenix doesn't really get into math through workbooks. And flash cards? Forget about it. So, I decided to get Math Fables and Math Fables Too. In Math Fables, Tang introduces children to the wonders of grouping numbers. Each "fable" tells a rhyming story in a two- or four-page spread, with each setup more complex than the last. In another story, 10 beavers leave for work, regrouping and reorganizing their numbers all day. A final page offers ideas to help more accelerated learners combine groups of numbers in various ways.

The book was great, but what really blew me away was when Phoenix was eating breakfast the next morning. Phoenix excitedly tells me that 2+3=5 AND 3+3=5. I asked him if he was sure, and he told me yes. He figured it out last night while he was laying in bed that different groups of numbers could add up to the same number. Then, he double-checked on his fingers, and found out that he was wrong. It was 2+3=5 and 4+1 that equaled five.

For learning to be fun Phoenix needs to discover things on his own. He doesn't want to be
taught math, he wants to discover it on his own, and these books are a prefect way to encourage that to happen.

I'm looking forward to trying out even more math books by Greg Tang in the future. 

Enter To Win A FREE Spartan Race!

Thanks to Spartan Race for providing the free race admission to facilitate this post.

As you know, I've been working on getting my body back into great shape. I've been switching up my diet and working with a trainer. But, I haven't had a specific goal... until now!

I've decided, that as a 34-year-old mother of two, I'm going step up my game and compete in my very first Spartan Race! As one of the Spartans below says, "Life is meant to be lived and experienced, and I'm just getting started!"


Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal.

Our events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone! At Spartan Race, we do this everyday and it shapes everything we do.

Having experienced many different racing events, we wanted to make adventure racing more accessible to everyone, but do not be fooled by the word ‘accessible’, as our events have a challenge for everyone’s needs.

Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race.

Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor.




Ohio Spartan Sprint, Super & Beast
October 4, 2014
Reserve your spot in the mud today!

We're extremely excited to bring the Spartan Sprint, Super, and Beast to Ohio for the first time ever on October 4! PLUS... get 10% off of any race by using this discount code:  SPARTANBLOGGER


  • The Spartan Sprint is comprised of 15+ obstacles over 3+ miles and is a great way to get off the couch and onto the course! 
  • The Spartan Super will test your physical strength and mental resolve. Tackle 20+ obstacles over 8+ miles, and show that you're Spartan tough! 
  • The Spartan Beast is a true test of will. Tackle 25+ obstacles over 12+ miles, and prove you're the ultimate Spartan! 






At Spartan Kids Race, our mission is to inspire children to develop a love for fitness at an early age. We provide age appropriate obstacle course race venues and race arenas will allow participants to build confidence while enjoying a robust outdoor three-dimensional setting. Our races are for children aged four (4) to thirteen (13).  We have two age groups within our races acknowledging that Kids are at very different stages in their growth across that span of nine years. Our "Jr. Spartan Kids” obstacle course races are intended for kids 4 - 8 years old and are about a half-mile in length.  Our “Varsity” Spartan Kids races are intended for older Spartans Kids aged eight (9) to thirteen (13). 



Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher's Medal. 100% of the proceeds from Spartan Kids race benefit the Kids Fit Foundation. As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit. 

So remember, Spartan Races are not only limited to adult fun! Bring your kids ages 4 - 13 and they can participate in their very own Spartan Kids Race. Just like you, they will enjoy the thrill of the obstacle course racing similar to the adult race but with appropriately sized obstacles and challenges. 



Why Spartan Racing for Kids – Our Ethos? 
Spartan Kids is about a return to the childlike sense of adventure that we’ve lost while getting sucked up into "normal life" of over-scheduled and over organized activities. Spartan Races wants to keep this sense of adventure alive in our kids BEFORE they lose it. 

Today, a typical child devotes an average 7.5 hours each day to entertainment media: TV, video games, cell phones, and movies. 

Physical activity is essential in helping children control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat, and develop strong bones, muscles and joints let alone developing healthy life sustaining habits. The challenges in a Spartan Kids Race are ideally suited to building a fitter, stronger, and healthier youngster. 

More importantly, the sense of fun and camaraderie inherent in our races will help instill within your kids a sense of excitement and respect for fitness producing - in time - a more invigorated child. 

Spartan Races are about building a healthy and active community of people. Spartan Kids Race allow us to help build stronger families, a foundation for all vibrant communities.



Spartan Kids Race FAQs
Q: As a parent, do I have to pay a spectator entry fee?
A: No, if your child is racing, or if you are the guardian of a child racing, you do not have to pay the spectator entry fee.  Each family will receive 2 free spectator passes.
Q: If I have children attending that aren't racing, do they have to pay a spectator fee?
A: Children 13 and under are free, and as a family member of a child racing, they do not have to pay a spectator fee.
Q: Is the Spartan Kids Race a timed event?
A: No, the Spartan Kids Race is an untimed fun run.
Q: Will my child receive a medal?
A: Yes, upon completion, your child will receive their very own Spartan Kids Race medal.
Q: What are the heat times?
A: 1 mile: 10 AM, 12 Noon, 2 PM 
    1/2 mile: 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM
Q: What are the suggested ages for each heat?
A: ‘Varsity Kids’ > 8-13 years old, Jr. Kids > 4- 7 years old.
Q: Can my children run together if they're different ages?
A: Yes, we recommend children running together in the 10:30 / 12:30 / 2:30 JR. Kids heat if they are different ages.
Q: If my child's age puts them in the jr. varsity heat, can they run in the varsity heat? 
A: Yes, the heat times are suggested due to age, but if your child is athletically able to run a mile, they can run in a varsity heat.
Q: Will my child get muddy?
A: If you are racing a non-stadium event, we recommend bringing a change of clothes as most venues do have mud obstacles.
Q: Will my child have to swim at any point during the Spartan Kids Race?
A: No, we do not include swimming obstacles at the Spartan Kids Race.

ENTER TO WIN
Want to win a free race good for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US? Just enter using the form below. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway Well, I'm off to start training! Wish me luck!

I'm An Official Huggies Costco Ambassador! #SnugandDryPlus #MC #Sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies® Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I'm so excited to announce that I've been selected to be part of the Huggies Costco Ambassador Program! Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing fun posts with you about Huggies diapers and wipes. For example, did you know that Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes are only available at Costco? Yup. It's true.

Our Huggies Experience 
Our family tends to switch between cloth and disposable diapers. But, let's face it, for many families, disposables are just the way to go... and I can't blame ya. There really is a lot to love about Huggies® diapers. I love how they're quick and easy to change compared to cloth. They're also great to take traveling since you don't have to carry dirty cloth diapers around with you. They also tend to hold more than cloth diapers do, so you don't have to change them as often. Sold yet? Well, there's more! Huggies® are extra absorbent for day and night protection....that's a plus exclusive to Costco! They also come with the trusted Leak Lock® system and have a SnugFit waistband and unique Grip Tabs for a secure fit.

I love how soft Huggies diapers are. They also fit Ariana perfectly. She is also getting over a bit of a rash, so I was able to use some diaper rash cream with these diapers. (You cloth mamas know that diaper rash cream is a big no-no when using cloth diapers.) Oh, and leaks? Not here! Ariana stayed dry and happy all day and all night. :)



Huggies wipes are amazing as well. Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes are thicker and more durable for any mess compared to Huggies Natural Care® Wipes… that’s a plus exclusive to Costco! They had a very clean, fresh smell... I think this is because their wipes use their simplest formula ever. Not only that, but they come in a new pack with 2 kinds of refillable dispensers, plus 1160 refill wipes to keep you stocked at home or on the go! In fact, one of those refillable dispensers just so happened to be the NEW Huggies® Clutch ‘n’ Clean pouch, which comes in every pack of Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes. It will be a cinch to tackle messes stylishly while out and about. Plus, the fun strap makes it accessible anywhere!

Free Samples
Are you a Costco member? Well, good news! Costco Members can Click HERE to register for a FREE sample of the Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes! Hurry and register now, there will be a limited number of samples each day starting today July 17, 2014 through July 26, 2014 so try back tomorrow if you aren't able get a sample today! (You must be a Costco member to get a sample. Limit 1 sample.)

Twitter Love
Stay up-to-date on all the latest and greatest by following Huggies on Twitter & Costco on Twitter

Plus Up Your Care - try Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers and Huggies Natural Care®
Plus Wipes, only at Costco.

Veggie Pasta With Sweet & Spicy Tuna {RECIPE} PLUS... A #Veggetti #Giveaway

Thansk to Ontel for providing the Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack to facilitate this post.

As many of you know, I've recently made a major change to my diet, and have gone from vegetarian to omnivore. In addition to adding meat back into my diet, I'm also cutting back on my carbs. It hasn't been easy, but I'm finding ways to make it work for me. One of my favorite things to do is make veggie pasta.

If you don't have one, I highly recommend getting a Veggetti. It's super-easy to use. You simply put in your veggies, turn them, and you have delicious veggie noodles, ready to boil, sautee, or eat raw.


Veggie Pasta With Sweet & Spicy Tuna

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 packet of Starkist Tuna Creations Sweet & Spicy Tuna
  • 1 Tbsp sweet & sour sauce

Instructions

  • In large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil
  • Slice zucchini in Veggetti & chop spirals in half once
  • Add zucchini to boiling water,and boil for 4 minutes
  • Drain zucchini
  • Place on plate, and top with Starkist Tuna Creations Sweet & Spicy Tuna and sweet and sour sauce
Preparation time is approximately 10 minutes.
Feel free to make this recipe your own by customizing it with your favorite spices.

About Veggetti®:
  • The Veggetti® turns vegetables into delicious, healthy spaghetti, instantly
  • By using zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumbers and potatoes, the Veggetti® creates thick or thin pasta with significantly less calories and carbs than traditional noodles.
  • Ordinary pasta has 800 calories and 160 grams of carbs compared to 60 calories and 8 grams of carbs using Veggetti®!
  • Great for those who are trying to make healthier food choices, diabetics, or on gluten-free diets
  • The Veggetti® is quick & easy to use, has stainless steel blades, and is dishwasher safe
  •  Veggetti® is available at Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS and other fine retailers nationwide
Want to win your own Veggetti? Just enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment below. :)

Quit Spanking & Time Outs... Give Positive Discipline A Try!

When I was pregnant, I think everybody had the same idea about my ability to be a parent... that I would let my kids walk all over me & rule the house in a chaotic disaster usually seen on those nanny shows. Well, I'm proud to say that that this is certainly not the case... but it hasn't been an easy road.

Like a lot of parents, I feel like I've tried everything possible in terms of discipline. I'm ashamed to admit it, but for a long time, I felt in order to create discipline, I had to create a fear in my child... and I did. I yelled. I spanked. I gave time-outs. And, I hated every minute of it. I knew in my heart this wasn't the "right" thing for me to do. I was responsible for bringing up a young person into the world, and I wanted to raise a free-thinking, creative, compassionate individual - not the empty shell of where a curious child once lived.

This young child who has grown to trust me, who I've spent every minute of every day nursing, holding, loving unconditionally, and creating such a strong bond of love with... I was now supposed to... well... treat like crap.  I grudgingly attempted to turn off that kind mother in me, and tried to create this demanding, tough-love persona. It didn't work. Well, it worked in the fact that I was most certainly learning to be an a**. But, in terms of creating that well-behaved, obedient child, I failed horribly. I read numerous books about discipline, but nothing worked. I was lost, and I didn't know what else to do.

And, one day while watching an episode of Oprah's Lifeclass online, everything changed. The show was about how you become what you believed... and I had a huge breakthrough. My son was becoming what he believed he was. He was becoming what I told him he was... a bad, mean kid who couldn't behave, couldn't listen, etc. So, I changed how I started treating him.

Positive Affirmations
My first step in changing Phoenix's behavior was to change his self-image. I started doing positive affirmations with him in the car. On the way to the library, I would have him repeat after me things like:

I share all of the toys.
Sharing makes everybody happy!
I love sharing.
It's ok if somebody else plays with toys.
I love being nice to my friends.
The toys are for everybody!

We keep these very up-beat and fun. I always use an excitement in my voice, which Phoenix always mimics as well. It's an amazing exercise. And, I've found through trial and error that these positive affirmations play a huge role in Phoenix's behavior. I'll even do them at home. Whenever I feel he needs them, we do them. Best of all, he loves doing them too!

The other day, after we just finished a round of positive affirmations in the car, Phoenix said, "Thank you, mom."
"Thanks for what?" I asked him.
"Thanks for talking to me," he replied.
"You like doing those?" I asked him.
"Yup," he replied.

It's good to know that he loves doing these. The positive affirmations make him feel great about himself, and his behavior has improved tremendously as a result.

Talking & Understanding
Another trouble spot has always been leaving somewhere where he was having fun. I had been that mom who threw her toddler over her shoulder... screaming at the top of his lungs when we had to leave the library... but, not anymore. Now, when he tells me he doesn't want to leave, I calmly tell him that I  understand.

"I know you don't want to leave sweetie, but we need to go home so we can see Daddy and eat lunch," I say to him in a kind, loving voice. Then, I reassure him that we'll be able to go back another time. Then, I tell him to wave goodbye to _______, and say, "We'll see you later." I walk out, and he follows right behind me. It works like a charm.

Listening
Another change that I've made is simply that I have started listening to him. Instead of telling him to just be quiet and dismissing his feelings, I find out why he's upset, and walk him through what's going on. It works, and he likes being treated like a person with thoughts and feelings.

No Time-Outs
We've tried using time-outs quite regularly for a long time, but we rarely use them anymore. I think that when a child misbehaves, it's a sign that they need you more. They need you to be their parent - to listen to them - to talk them through things. They need you to help them deal with the complex emotions their feeling. They need love, not abandonment.

The Results
So far, I have been tremendously happy with the way this positive discipline has been working out for us. Most interestingly, I have really noticed Phoenix's compassion, thoughtfulness, and kindness really surface. Our house is peaceful. We speak kindly to each other. We're patient and understanding. Our family has found it's groove, and it's an amazing thing to be a part of.

Attachment Parenting
It recently came to my attention through a new book called Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way by Mayim Bialik, PhD that a lot of the parenting I do is actually called "attachment parenting". It sounds needy, but is actually quite amazing, and feels right to me as mom. To learn more about positive discipline & attachment parenting, check out http://www.attachmentparenting.org


What do you think of positive discipline? Leave a comment. 

Keep Momming

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Shire. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

The relationship that exists between mothers and daughters is unlike any other. It has many unique moments, memories, and yes, even challenges along the way. The relationship dynamic can be even trickier when your daughter is in those tween-age years. What can be even more difficult is when some people dismiss certain behaviors as “typical tween girl behavior” when those behaviors can be symptoms of something more serious. Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to report having mostly inattentive Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Since inattentive symptoms can be less noticeable than hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, it is important that moms know what to look for.

I’m proud to be joining forces with Shire, CHADD and Holly Robinson Peete to announce the launch of keep momming, a new public service initiative geared towards the moms of tween girls to raise awareness of ADHD.

The campaign is anchored within a new digital hub, KeepMomming.com, where you’ll find tips, tools and other go-to resources for moms, including a checklist to help recognize the symptoms of ADHD – inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity – and then encourages moms to talk to their daughter’s doctor. The keep momming initiative can help moms learn about ADHD and provide ideas on how to spark a conversation and stay connected with their tween.

Don’t miss Holly’s message about the keep momming initiative http://goo.gl/3tqd5q, and be sure to check out the website at KeepMomming.com.

I'm Starting The Happiness Project: A One-Sentence Journal, Five-Year Record :)

I've officially embarked on my own Happiness Project! Over the next 5 years, my plan is to record one sentence a day from my life. Why? There's just something I like about writing things down. I also love the idea of keeping a journal just for me. These won't be moments you'll hear about on Facebook. You won't see them on Instagram, or even here on my blog. It will be my life, captured, for me. :)


So, if you notice I'm blogging less, this is why. Life is still happening. I'll just be sharing less online & more in my Happiness Project Journal... and, of course, with the people in my life. :)

If you're interested in joining me in The Happiness Project, you can pick up a copy of The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five-Year Record on Amazon for under $9.60.

About The Happiness Project
365 days. 5 years. 1,825 moments captured. In her best-selling book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin discovers the pleasure of writing just one sentence every day. The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal helps you to make a fascinating and revealing time capsule of the next five years of your life. Simply turn to today’s date, reflect on the quote at the top of the page, and jot down just one sentence (perhaps about something good that happened that day). This daily ritual is highly do-able and provides a striking sense of accomplishment, and as the years go by you can see how your entries evolve. - Amazon

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Ariana's 3-Year- Old Photo Shoot!

It's official! My baby Ariana has turned 3! We had a small celebration with cake, presents, and Ariana got to choose where she wanted to eat dinner. She went with "Hamburger King", though it switched to McDonalds at the last minute. We'll have a bigger celebration with family & friends soon. Also, today we had a few new pictures done to celebrate. Ariana had an absolute blast, and I love how the pictures turned out. :)




























Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment below.:)










Remove A Splinter... Without Tweezers!

The other day, Phoenix got a huge splinter in his foot. I tried to remove it with tweezers, but he was much too squirmy. There  was also no indication of where it entered the foot, so our best bet would have just been to break the skin. I didn't want to cause my poor boy any more trauma, so, I searched for another way to remove, and discovered this little jem!


  1. Get a small piece of bread. I used store-bought whole wheat bread, but any kind of bread should work. 
  2. Put the bread on a band-aid, and tape it on the splinter. 
  3. Let it set there overnight. (I put socks on Phoenix to help hold it in place.)
  4. In the morning, take off the band-aid, and you'll find the splinter on the piece of bread!
I know, it sounds completely crazy, but I was willing to give it a try... and you know what? It worked!!!


I'm not sure how or why, but the splinter was somehow drawn to the bread. When we took off the band-aid, it did take off the a tiny bit of the surface skin above the bread, but my son didn't seem to mind.



We'll never use tweezers to remove splinters again :)

So... did you try it? Did it work? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you! :)