Preschoolers In The Kitchen ~ Series (Kale Chips)

This is a series about teaching your preschoolers how to work around the kitchen. They can be a big help if they are interested and have the right tools. Expect a little more of a mess than if you were cooking alone, but they will find such joy in eating what they make themselves. I am starting my series with something a little weird for a preschooler ~ kale chips. I have a seasonal job at a berry/pumpkin farm and it's cole crops season(cool season crops such as Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, broccoli, turnips and watercress). I had my preschooler tear the leaves off the stems, put them on the baking sheet and add some salt at the end. We baked them and when they were done, he ate one. He said, "It was good", but it wasn't a snack he gobbled up. Kale chips are good and healthy snack that my preschooler could help with. No special tools needed, just his cute little fingers.

Recipe: 1/2lb. curly or siberian kale (torn into bite size pieces)
             2 tsp olive oil
             salt & pepper
             (optional ~ brown sugar or parmesan cheese)
  Preheat oven at 375*. Cover a baking sheet with a single layer of washed, destemmed kale. Cover kale with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper & any optional topping. Bake for 15 min. or until the edges of kale turn a light brown. Cool. Eat. Enjoy!


Kindergarten Readiness

Is your preschooler ready for Kindergarten? There are somethings you can do to get him/her ready if your child isn't going to preschool. Where we used to live, we had one of my daughters attend preschool. It was a great experience. They used the Abeka curriculum and she was reading 3-4 letter words by the end of the year. She knew her numbers and I was so excited that she had learned so much in her preschool. After we moved, I sent my younger son to preschool. This area was known for its excellence in education, so I thought they would turn my young son into the next Einstein. I was so disappointed. Their goal was getting him "ready" for Kindergarten. They made sure he knew how to hang up his coat and put his lunch box away. He needed to know his ABC's and some numbers and he needed to know the names of his body parts i.e. arms, wrist, ankle, eyes, knee, jaw, etc. They did their job. He knew everything he needed to know before he arrived that first day of Kindergarten. Here is a checklist that you could follow to make sure your little preschooler can be all he can be:

·  Listen to stories without interrupting
·  Recognize rhyming sounds
·  Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
·  Understand actions have both causes and effects
·  Show understanding of general times of day
·  Cut with scissors
·  Trace basic shapes
·  Begin to share with others
·  Start to follow rules
·  Be able to recognize authority
·  Manage bathroom needs
·  Button shirts, pants, coats, and zip up zippers
·  Begin to control oneself
·  Separate from parents without being upset
·  Speak understandably
·  Talk in complete sentences of five to six words
·  Look at pictures and then tell stories
·  Identify rhyming words
·  Identify the beginning sound of some words
·  Identify some alphabet letters
·  Recognize some common sight words like "stop"
·  Sort similar objects by color, size, and shape
·  Recognize groups of one, two, three, four, and five objects
·  Bounce a ball
·  Count to ten

       Here is a link to School Sparks which has a Kindergarten Readiness Test  so you can assess your child.

       This is just a guide. Children change so fast, if there are some activities your preschooler isn't getting, try again in a few weeks and see how fast your child will pick up on their new skills. The first day of school, teachers are looking for children that are healthy, mature and eager to learn.


Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

Do you notice something missing in this picture...Yes, it's my preschooler. He is very afraid of big mice and other costume wearing people. We went to Disney this past Feb. and we knew he would want to have his picture taken with his hero, Buzz Lightyear. No, he didn't. We walked to the line to have his picture taken and there was going to be no pictures with Buzz or Mickey or Peter Pan. No to Santa Claus. No to the Easter Bunny. This is as close as we could get him.
 Tears are shed and he will hide under tables until the character is gone. We have tried to bribe him and reward him but nothing. It's OK though, he will grow out of it. He just knows that bunnies and mice are not supposed to be that big.
  It may help your preschooler to continue to have them around the characters and clowns. They will eventually understand that they aren't going to hurt them but are just trying to add to the fun.


Blocking Your Time To Get The Most Out Of Your Day! Pt. 2

    I thought I would let you in on my day. I am always tweeking my day because life happens, but if I have a goal, I have hope. I actually have 3 different block times. One for me, one for homeschooled children and one for my preschooler. We all have different responsibilities and different amounts of free-time. I am going to concentrate on my preschooler but you will see that all of our lives, obviously, intermingle.
Jack's Block Time
7:30-8:30     ~ Wakes up, Eats, Brushes Teeth
8:30-8:45     ~  Family Devotions
8:45-9:15     ~ **Watches PBS or LeapFrog while I get others started on school
9:15-10:30   ~ Activity Bags and Lesson (We are using Sing, Spell, Read & Write)
                      (Check out Busy Bag Ideas and What Jack Did Today)
10:30-11:30 ~  ***Breaks with Brothers and Sisters ~ Snack, Play and Read
11:30-12:00 ~ P.E.
12:00-1:00   ~ Lunch
1:00-2:00     ~ Quiet Time (He doesn't take naps anymore, but you could insert a nap right about here) He has quiet time activities, a library bag of books, any quiet activity.
2:00-3:00     ~ Outside Time or Rainy Day Time (It is my experience, the more run around time I give my preschooler, the happier he is. On rainy days we will play wii, jump on an exercise trampoline or build a fort.)
3:00-3:30     ~ Snack
3:30-5:30     ~ Chore Time/Errand Running Time or watches a library movie
5:30-7:00     ~ He helps pick-up before Dad comes home and we eat Dinner
7:00-8:00     ~ Bath Time and Brushes Teeth
8:00-9:00     ~ Winds Down, Read Bedtime Story and *Go To Bed

  * He may have a later bedtime than most preschoolers, but he shares a room with an older brother and this seems to work out best for our family. 
  ** Most days, I like to keep his TV time no more than 2 hours in a day, but if I am working on a project (changing seasonal clothes or deep cleaning) I will prop him in front of a good, long movie. 
  *** I have other children at home and ask them to help keep him occupied while I help others with Math, Reading, Spelling, whatever it is for the day. 

   Well, this is my day. Like I said, it's a routine I like to stick to, but I am living this life with bumps and curves and try to be ready for anything.