We started bedtime routines with our daughters when they were infants. Thanks to my reading the book Babywise when I was expecting, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted our evenings to look. Obviously that has changed somewhat as our girls have grown, but I have kept things in the same general order. So, with girls that are ages eight and six, who get up in the mornings at 6:25 A.M. to get ready for school, here is what our nights look like leading up to bedtime.
As we continue on with basic math skills, it is important to make sure that our child understands the concept that a numeral represents a number of objects. He/she can memorize counting numbers in order without realizing that a 4 equals an exact amount of something.
You can teach this relatively easily. Use some of the tactile numbers we talked about last week – magnetic, wood or felt ones, even a 3×5 card with a number written on it. Let your child hold the number and then have them count out that many objects (blocks, crayons, goldfish crackers, any manipulatives would work). Help them equate the numeral they are holding with the number of objects they have counted out.
Once they have grasped that principle, you can move on to teaching the idea of more and less. Have your child count out 4 of something and put it into a pile. Then have them count out 7 of the same item and put it into a pile. Compare the two, talking about which pile has more and which pile has less.
From there, when you feel your child is ready, you can begin simple worksheets. Again, you can usually find some printable ones online or purchase an inexpensive workbook. (I have even seen these kind of workbooks at a dollar store from time to time.) The type of papers you would be looking for might have a picture of ten objects and ask the child to circle 6 of them. Alternately, it might show 8 objects and underneath have the numbers 6, 7 and 8 printed and ask your child to circle which numeral shows the correct number of objects.
As I stress all the time – make it as fun and interesting as you can. I’m talking about preschool-age children here and if there is any frustration, put it down and revisit it another day. There will be plenty of time later in life to stress about numbers!!
Hope you’ll join me for more next Tuesday!
From playing Candy Land to organized tee-ball to tag with the neighborhood kids in the back yard, all of our children have opportunities to learn how to be a good sport. It is important that we as parents teach our children how to play fair and how to conduct themselves whether they win or lose.
Most of us have at least a bit of a competitive streak – and it’s always fun to win! Yet learning how to handle the disappointment of losing is part of helping our children mature. Hopefully by working on some basic manners, we can help them (and ourselves) be good sports in whatever game we play, and whether we win or lose.
- Follow the rules of the game. Never take a shortcut or cheat in order to put yourself or your team ahead.
- Play your best for your team. Even if your team is losing by a large margin, never give up or quit participating in the game.
- Refuse to make fun of others who don’t play well or those who are just learning the game. Try to be patient and help them as much as you can.
- Take turns as necessary. Allow others to be first at times and don’t put yourself in front of others who may be waiting to play.
- Respect the coach or instructor. Listen quietly when they are talking and follow the instructions you’re given.
- Should you lose, congratulate the winner with a right attitude.
- If you win, say “Thank you” when congratulated. If others on the opposing team played well, compliment them on their performance.
I’m not as competitive as some people are, but I am amazed at how involved I get when my daughters are playing sports. I have to remember to keep my attitude right so that I don’t set a bad example for them. I hope these few ideas will help us keep our children headed in the right direction when it comes to being a good sport.
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We have lived in our current home for just under two years. It is not our dream house, but is perfect for what we need now and was available for a reasonable price at the time we bought it. Today I wanted to share with you thirteen things that I love in this house.
- Windows. The living area in this house has lots of windows which allows for an abundance of natural light. That is one of my prerequisites for purchasing a home; it must have many windows.
- Print of Rainbow Row by Emerson. This was a present from my husband the first Christmas we were married and hangs in our dining room.
- Books. Our family loves books and I enjoy having them throughout our home.
- Bookcases. When we moved into this house, we actually had enough bookcases to hold all of our books. Alas, that is no longer the case. We have three bookcases in our bedroom, one in the living area, one in the front hallway and two in the girls’ playroom, yet still have some books that are packed away.
- Pictures of the girls. I try to only display my favorites, but there are so many!!
- Fireplace. Our first home had a wood burning fireplace, which I loved. However, when we had a gas fireplace in our second home, I decided that was the way to go – no wood to drag in, no ashes to clean up. Having a gas fireplace is another prerequisite for me in buying a house.
- Plants. I don’t have a very green thumb, but I do have a few houseplants that manage to survive and I enjoy having that bit of nature indoors.
- Buffet table. In our dining room is a buffet table that my husband built several years ago. It has drawers for storing extra linens and is great to use as an extra space for serving dishes.
- Toaster oven. My toaster oven is perfect for heating up small portions of food that I don’t want to microwave or for toasting and broiling everything from toast to bagels to garlic bread. I especially love it in the summer when I don’t have to heat up the big oven for a small task.
- Floral chair. I’m a very fond of neutrals when it comes to furniture and accessories, so choosing a chair with a floral pattern was a big jump for me. However, it matches the rest of the furniture perfectly and is very comfortable.
- Pantry. This is the first house I’ve lived in that has a pantry and I like the feeling of being able to easily see the items I have and what I need to purchase.
- Piano. This was a birthday present from my husband years ago. While I don’t play it often, it’s perfect for our older daughter who’s taking lessons.
- Charleston gate prints. These prints were given to us by friends, which makes them special in their own right. I am not crafty, but switched out the mats and frames to make them match our current decor and was very pleased with the results.
One of our favorite pieces of meat to eat is tenderloin. This particular recipe is for venison, but would work equally well with pork or beef. For a holiday or special occasion meal, such as Easter, I would serve it with homemade scalloped potatoes, a vegetable and rolls.
Moisten meat slightly with olive oil and season to taste with above ingredients. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight, if possible. [I don’t normally measure the seasonings, but just sprinkle them over the surface of all sides of the meat.]
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tbsp steak sauce (like A-1)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce, optional
Melt butter in small saucepan and whisk in remaining ingredients. Using a basting brush, brush meat generously with sauce. Grill over medium heat, turning often with a pair of tongs. Continue to baste meat generously with sauce, until meat reaches desired doneness. [We usually grill ours about 8-10 minutes per side for medium to medium well. This will obviously depend on the thickness of your tenderloin.]
For other great recipes, visit Life as Mom’s Ultimate Recipe Swap.
In case I haven’t confessed this before, I am a big fan of desserts. I found this butter cookie recipe in a magazine several years ago and seem to always think of making them in the spring. That’s probably because I often tint the icing to create pastel colors – usually a light green, yellow or pink. I can’t bake these too often, though, because I have a hard time eating only one or two at a time!
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 tbsp milk
Food coloring, optional
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Drop cookies by teaspoonful on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until set but not brown. Cool on wire racks.
For frosting, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Blend in enough milk until desired spreading consistency is reached. Add food coloring if desired. Frost cooled cookies.
Note: If you would like, you can place the dough in a cookie press to create shapes.
Our last Mannerly Monday post dealt with being a guest in someone’s home. Today, let’s flip the coin and discuss being a mannerly host. Here are some areas to work on with your children when you have guests in your home.
- When your guests arrive, greet them at the door and invite them into your home. Offer to take any coats and hang them up.
- Make sure they have a comfortable place to sit. Let others take a seat first, while you sit wherever is left.
- With your parent’s permission, take the other children to your room or other area to play. Offer others first choice of what they would like to do. Make sure that you share your toys and games and always play fair. If there are several children, make sure that you are welcoming and friendly to all of them.
- At appropriate times, offer your guests snacks and drinks. Be willing to help your parents serve the family’s guests.
- When guests leave, walk them to the door or to their car and thank them for coming.
We always want to be hospitable and make others feel welcome in our home. The basic premise should be that the guest comes first. If you have suggestions for helping children learn to be good hosts, please share in the comments section.
Last summer one of my daughters began having trouble falling asleep at night. This is a noteworthy occurrence at our house because we have always been blessed in that both girls are good sleepers. She began stressing about lying there trying to go to sleep, but being unable to do so.
I tried everything I could think of – nightlight on, nightlight off; music on, music off; lying on the bed with her for a few minutes; letting her read in bed; staying up a little later – you get the idea. I asked friends and family for suggestions, but came up empty.
Finally, I called my pediatrician, who happens to be the father of five, and asked for help. His suggestion? Put a fan in her room and turn it on medium speed. He said that would drown out any noises, or lack thereof, she may unconsciously be listening for and the sound of the fan would also be soothing. Why didn’t I think of that??
Guess what – it worked like a charm! Almost nine months later and she’s sleeping well. I do occasionally worry that she’ll become dependent on that white noise for falling asleep. I guess she’ll be dragging the thing with her when she goes off to college, but for now – having that fan running every night works for me!
Check out Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family for other great tips!
Today I’d like to give a list of self-care skills that we can teach our children. Each child’s ability will vary, so there is not necessarily a set age at which a skill should be mastered. However, when you think your child is ready to try something new, it’s a good idea to spend just a few minutes a day working on it. Both child and mom can get frustrated if too much time is spent focusing on mastering a skill too quickly.
- Putting on clothes
- Putting on shoes
- Opening/closing doors (house and car)
- Brushing teeth
- Locking/unlocking a door (house and car)
- Opening/closing lids
- Brushing and combing hair
- Buckling/unbuckling a seat belt
- Pouring (from one container into another)
As we’ve discussed before, the more fun you can make learning, the better it is. There are dolls you can buy that have parts to help your child learn snapping, zipping and buttoning, but your own or your child’s clothes work just as well. Your child can practice pouring by playing with cups and pitchers in the bathtub or kitchen sink.I’ll go ahead and admit that my six-year-old is not yet tying shoes. In my defense, there’s not one pair of shoes with shoelaces in her closet. Most of her shoes have Velcro closure or are slip-ons; there is one pair of boots that zip up. I do realize that’s not an excuse and plan to tackle tying shoes with her soon. On the other hand, she has almost mastered riding her bike without training wheels!If you have stories about teaching your children self-care skills, or other ideas to add to the list, please feel free to comment. Check back in next Tuesday as we address beginning numbers skills!