Suzuki Music Lessons–What are They?

TruAnn Boulter, Suzuki violin teacher, discusses what the Suzuki method is and how it might work for you and your children interested in taking music lessons. Suzuki uses the Mother Tongue approach.  Learn what this is.

If you are looking for a Suzuki teacher, check out the Suzuki Association www.suzukiassociation.org. If you are in Utah, you can check the Utah site at www.suzukimusicutah.org/.

Disney YES is a Dream Come True

We’ve done a show on Disney YES and here is a video of our experience of the program! It was a hit once Alex woke up and realized that school at Disney would be fun! Our teacher Tabia was incredibly energetic and happy while still teaching the kids great info. Tabia taught the kids about the first 18 presidents of the US and the challenges they faced creating the nation, keeping it together, and then expanding it West. We were allowed behind the scenes at the Hall of Presidents where we got to meet the presidents up close and personal–you could see every hair on the heads of their animatronic doubles. We also rode Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain before the park opened to other visitors–I really appreciated that later in the day when the wait was 60 minutes (I thought WDW was supposed to NOT be crowded in October)!

NOTE: The YES Program only recently opened to individual students and their families and is only available on select days but you should check and see if your dates coincide with YES programs because your school-aged kids 6 and older get an exciting experience in the park behind the scenes (along with a chaperon) and your entire family gets discounted park tickets (our discount was 50% off the regular ticket price—an incredible savings). Fore more information, check out their website at http://www.disneyyouth.com/individual-enrollment/ and check out my podcast where I interview the YES Marketing Director about the program and learn more details at http://www.themompodcast.com/2010/10/03/educational-opportunities-and-disney/

Teaching Preschoolers Joy with Joy School

Not found a preschool yet or looking for something more than the ABCs?  Want your child to be emotionally ready for school? Nationally acclaimed author Linda Eyre discusses how to teach children joy using the Joy School program.  Both Stacey and Nancy have had children in Joy School and found it to be an amazing experience.  Learn why!

AND–We were nominated for the Best of Salt Lake 2010 as the Best Resource for info for Moms!  Whooo Hooo!

For more information on Joy School, go to JoySchools.com and for more on Values Parenting programs, go to ValuesParenting.com.

Ideas for Lunches

We share ideas for how to make nutritious lunches your kids will eat and not throw away as well as ways to keep the environment healthy with less lunch waste including green alternatives to lunch bags and juice boxes as well as fun ways to make your kids interested in lunch!

Great containers we LOVE:

Lunchskins: Reusable sandwich and snack bags made from cute pastry bag fabrics–they saved more than 12 million plastic bags from being in landfills last year.    These can be washed in the dish washer or washing machine.

Other options are available from people on Etsy, but they may not be made of food grade materials.

KlipIt by Sistema: A cool container that holds a sandwich in one place and two sides in the other side.  Available at The Container Store or in Old Navy stores for a limited time.  They also make other cool containers you will want to check out.

Recycled Sandwich Wrap (Original idea from Family Fun)

  1. Find a sturdy food grade bag (Large cereal bags, candy bags, cracker bags, Pirate’s Booty bag).  The best bags are thick and have some silver lining in them–or they may be completely silver like the cereal bags inside the Costco Kirkland brand cereal boxes.
  2. Cut the bottom from the bag, open the side seam, and clean the bag.
  3. Cut it into a 10 or 12-inch square.
  4. Attach self-adhesive hook-and-loop dots at two opposite corners of the square, one on the front and the other on the back of the bag.

Love Notes for the Lunch Box:

You can write your own notes for your kids lunches, get some online, or get these totally cute ones with great kid-fun facts along with your note.  We like “Did you Know that a Turtle breathes through is Butt?  OThey are called Lunchbox Love by SayPlease.com.

Ideas for Great Lunches:

Remember to think power snack instead of full lunch since they don’t have time to eat a large meal.

  • Peanut butter and crackers
  • Bagel sandwich
  • Rollup with cucumber, bell pepper and salad dressing
  • Tortilla, spread with PB, wrapped around a banana—can add a drizzle of honey
  • Tuna salad and crackers
  • Quesadilla (just cheese, or add some ground beef) serve with salsa
  • Hard boiled egg, roll, fruit or veggie
  • Fruit smoothie: I love this trick—make several smoothies, freeze in 8 oz containers and pop them in your child’s lunch. They will defrost and be ready to stir or spoon up by lunch
  • Cold pizza
  • Baked chips (whole grain/healthy versions)—dips or sauces if you like
  • Pretzel, cheese stick, apple/grapes
  • Crackers, lunchmeat, cheese (homemade lunchable)
  • Waffle
  • Plain tortilla (dip in salsa or spaghetti sauce—or nothing)
  • Bagel (loads of different flavors), apple
  • Granola bar and a piece of fruit or a vegetable
  • Muffins and a fruit smoothie
  • Soup in a thermos
  • Pasta. Fun bite sized shapes. Toss with parmesan cheese, include some sauce to dip it in. Eat like chicken nuggets!
  • Dry cereal (not the sugary stuff—how did that EVER make it to our breakfast tables?)
  • Biscuits and jam, stick the two sides together.
  • Cookies: make with smashed beans instead of butter, applesauce for half the sugar, add raisens and nuts. Keep in freezer)

If they have a microwave:

  • left over dinner
  • Macaroni and cheese (add a little milk in the container so it won’t be dry when reheated)
  • Soup (homemade or from a can)
  • Pizza

Sides:

  • Nuts
  • Cheese sticks/slices
  • Snap peas
  • Canned fruit
  • Carrot sticks
  • Dried apples
  • Broccoli and ranch
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Bell pepper slices

DRINK:

Water. Really. No fruit drinks. It is a lot of money and they really need to rehydrate with some good old water.  Check out the Kleen Kanteen or the SubZero Stainless steel containers instead of the plastic ones.

Cowboy Cookies (with healthy alternatives)

1 c butter OR 1 cup mashed white beans
*1 c sugar
*1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla or 1/2 t almond extract
**2 c flour
**2 c oatmeal
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c chocolate chips

Mix butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla or almond extract.  Add dry ingredients, then chocolate chips.  Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

* You can decrease the sugar or alter with sugar substitutes. If using agave, you will need to increase the flour and oatmeal until the batter is not too runny.

**For Gluten Free cookies, use gluten free flour, xanthum gum and gluten free oatmeal.  Follow the instructions on your gluten free flour for quantities.  I found that I had to add another 1/3 c to the recipe to make it work.

If you use beans instead of butter, you are created a “perfect protein” mix with the oatmeal.  My kids could not taste the difference in the cookies and I felt less guilty about giving them something tasty.

I make a separate batch for me and lessen the sugar, use agave or xylitol and add some protein powder to make a protein cookie.

The Cost of a Free Education

Free education might not be so free when you see the fees and other things you may be required to pay for your child in public schools.  Shelly shares tips on how to deal with this expense which all seems to hit at the same time.  We also chat about the new little bag we found and love–the Lilly May Bag. Check it out at www.lillymaebags.com

Protecting Your Child’s Motivation

To stay motivated, your child needs small successes along the way. Whether it is in spelling, math, music, or athletics, the key is to protect that motivation. Maggie Stevens, author of Parent Fix is the mom of 5 children and has many down-to-earth parenting tips to share with us.

Choosing the Right School for Your Child

With today’s variety of public schools, charter schools, private schools, magnet schools and so forth, you need to choose the right school for your child.  Sometimes a move to a different school can make all the difference and sometimes it might make it worse.