Thursday, September 29, 2011

BlogHer Book Club: Lunch Wars

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that my daughter just started Kindergarten this year. We talked a lot about her new school during the summer as a way to prepare her for this important transition. One of the things she decided early on was that she would like me to pack her lunch everyday. After reading Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa I have to say that might have been one of the best decisions of her life. This book was not fun, but I will admit to reading it in a couple of hours.

"Our children's life expectancy is now shorter than our own and we can expect them to be plagued with worse health than our own as well" (pg.7) This sentence is what made me finish the book in one night. It made me so upset I couldn't put the book down because I felt the urge to learn how to stop this epidemic. The whole time I was reading the book I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

Amy Kalafa goes on to explain in detail what is happening in schools around the country. What I liked about this book is that she doesn't only point out the problems, she also gives us solutions. She provides ways for parents to help improve school cafeterias and it all starts with education. I can tell you after reading the book I felt empowered and pumped up to do something about this, even if my daughter brings her lunch to school everyday.

I leave you with this: "American's children are both overfed and undernourished. Why have we allowed this crisis to spin so dangerously out of control?" (pg.11) Let’s do something about it!

Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about this book.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Barbie & Ken Clothes

My daughter spends most of her "playtime" after school playing with her Barbie dolls. She got a huge dollhouse for Christmas that has been seen a lot of action in the last eight months. She has been asking me to make clothes for her Barbie dolls for a while and I have been doing a lot of research online since the smallest items I had ever sewn were for her American Girl doll (see here) and those are much bigger. I finally found a couple tutorials online and decided to try. There are definitely a lot more patterns for Barbie dolls than for Ken dolls.

This is the sundress I made for Barbie. I used the following free pattern for Barbie doll dress: here. You have to check out Jess @ Craftiness is not Optional, she has a ton of Barbie tutorials available for free!

I was intimidated at first because it involves pleats, but the tutorial is amazing and super easy to make! The fabric is from a pair of old shorts that my mom had stashed away in her closet.

It was harder to find something for Ken but he really needed pants as my daughter had lost his shorts. I finally found this tutorial: here. This item was a lot more complicated than the dress, in part because pants are just so much harder for me. And secondly because I used denim which isn't as easy to work with.

I'm am really happy with how they turned out, especially the cuffs at the bottom. I plan to make more with different fabrics including some jersey I have leftover from another project. Everyone needs comfty pants, even Ken!

The happy couple oh so stylish in their new outfits. I can't wait to sew more items for them. Please let me know if you know of any free patterns online for Barbie or Ken dolls, this is addicting!

Proudly linking to:

Making Making your home sing Mondays Sumo Sweet Stuff Keeping It Simple
Passionately Artistic Creations by Kara
Show and Tell Green

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Grocery Store Game {Math}

My 5 year old is obsessed with math! She is constantly counting, sorting, and adding things. While at the grocery store yesterday I decided I would create a pretend grocery store at home. My goal was to do it with items we already had at home so it wouldn't cost us anything, and thus I present you "The Grocery Store Game".

To recreate something similar you will need:

- pretend food
- baskets
- cash register and/or calculator
- pad & pen
- pretend or real money
- labels for pricing (I used address labels I had leftover from Christmas)

1) Create the labels for your prices. We kept it simple and made all the prices 1, 2 or 3 cents.

2) Label the food.

3) Sort according to types. My daughter sorted as follows: veggies, fruits, refrigerated items, bakery and cans/cartons.

4) Set up your store. We put the food out in appropriate baskets, set up the cash register, calculator, pad and pencil and baskets/shopping carts. Start to play!

I had my daughter write down the prices on the paper and do the math manually.

Then I had her double-check her math using the calculator.

Lastly the money (pennies) was counted and put in the cash register.

We had a really good time playing! We all took turns acting out different roles and it was a blast. One of my favorite moments was when my son only had 3 pennies left and my daughter explained what items he could afford and which ones he would have to buy next time after he got paid ;) I also loved it when my daughter decided to use their menu board to advertise some sales, she even included an offer for free juice to see if more people would come to her store. Love her way of thinking!

Variations for the future:
- we will change prices as our math improves to have larger digits.
- use other coins as we learn the value of each.
- pay more so change is due back (subtraction).

Objectives covered:

  • to recognize numbers
  • to be able to write numbers
  • basic addition
  • counting and using coins (US, Euro, or Canadian)

    Proudly linking to:
    Making Making your home sing Mondays Sumo Sweet Stuff Keeping It Simple
    Passionately Artistic Creations by Kara
    Show and Tell Green