Tuesday, April 12, 2011

MOPS End-of-Year Food Contest- MAY MEETING

During our final meeting of the 2010-2011 MOPS year, we will conclude the year with our annual Food Contest!

Prizes are awarded- as well as the honor of being the category winner! You can enter one dish per category.

Categories are:
Appetizer, Side, Dessert and Other!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Events

Friday April 15th Northeast Elementary will hold their annual carnival. You do not need to have a child attending school to be able to come and enjoy the evening. The money raised helps with a variety of school improvements. There is a bake sale, silent auction, and plenty of games for the family! Come support our school and enjoy an evening of fun! The hours are from 5-8 PM

Saturday April 16th The Festival of the Young Child will be held at the YMCA from 10AM-1 PM. This free family event will feature face painting, games, food, entertainment, and more!

Saturday April 16th MOPS is hosting a Spring Party for our MOPS families from 11-12:30, feel free to stop by any time during that time.There will several different stations for the kids to participate in and a light snack will be available.

Sister Swap

PMS will be held on April 20th. PMS stands for Preschool Mom's Survival! We all need a break every now and then and this is a perfect time for some fun with friends.

Sticking with our organizing and cost cutting themes, we were planning a Sister Swap, where you bring adult items (in good condition) that you are no longer using (could be clothes, accessories, picture frames, books, etc) and swap it for something you could use. If you would be interested in participating in this, please reply to Christie or Monica.

We will play games after the swap has ended :)

MOPS Meeting

The April Meeting will be held THIS WEDNESDAY at the First Baptist Church at 6:30. MOPPETS childcare will still be offered at GUMC.

Marty Stavas will be presenting information on finances and wills for us.

We are still collecting items for the Hospice House and Glen Haven home. You can bring your items to the meeting and give them to your table leader or a steering team member.

If you are participating in the Relay for Life this year, your team registration money is due to Julie on Wednesday.

Hope to see you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Car Seat Regulations

Click here to read The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new recommendations on car seat safety for toddlers.

The biggest change is that toddlers are now recommended to ride in rear-facing car seats until age two. This is a year longer than the previous one year regulation. They are also saying that children should be in a booster until age 12 in the backseat.

Click the link above to read the full article.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Peak 313

Laura passed on this amazing website called Peak 313 Fitness- Encouraging Women From the Inside Out. Be sure to check it out! The author Clare incorporates physical fitness with spiritual fitness.

Phillipians 3:13 says: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”

Thanks, Laura!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

100 Ways to Get Organized

100 Ways to Get Organized- As seen in Women's Day

The meals, the kids, the housework, the job…the only way to stay sane is to get organized. Fat chance, you say? Remember, the goal of organizing isn’t to make your house pristine; it’s to make your life more functional. So don’t straighten for neatness sake—create an organized foundation for all the roles you play.

The Housekeeper
1. Assign specific living quarters to everything you own.

2. Put things where they work for you: vitamins by the juice glasses, coat hooks in the garage next to the car.

3. A small, open basket on the coffee table keeps remote controls from slipping between sofa cushions, says professional organizer Kathy Waddill, author of The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your Life.

4. Move all your CDs to a storage wallet. Say bye-bye to jewel boxes and CD stands!

5. Put wastebaskets in every room, suggests Waddill.

6. Whenever you run across anything empty, ripped, the wrong size or never used, immediately toss it in the trash or a charity box.

7. To stay on track, jot your cleaning routine on index cards and post them, says Debbie Williams, founder of organizedtimes.com .

8. Use a plastic caddy, not valuable shelf space, to store cleaning supplies for surfaces and floors. Keep it on the broom and mop closet floor (locked, if you have small children) and tote it from room to room.

9. Store sheet sets in the same room as the bed, between the mattress and box spring or tucked into an under-bed box.

10. Keep a cedar chest (or a light-weight wicker basket if you have young children to avoid accidents) at the foot of your bed to hide blankets and extra pillows.

11. Tuck a whisk broom and dustpan in each bathroom for a daily dust-up.

12. Put a different color toilet paper than usual behind your stash of regular rolls. When a colored roll ends up on the spool, it’s time to buy more.

13. Keep real cleaning cloths next to your cleaning products, and ditch the box of ripped underwear you keep in the basement.

14. Just accept it: Place a tall, narrow basket for his magazines next to the toilet.

The Mom
15. Give kids their own alarm clocks and post morning checklists for them. (It’ll be less for you to organize.)

16. Move kids’ cereal boxes, bowls and cups to an “I can reach it!” lower cabinet. Also, put juice boxes, milk and other snacks in an accessible place in the refrigerator.

17. Leave a shoe basket by the front door (or the kids’ bedroom doors) to avoid those excruciatingly long searches through the house.

18. Have a two-compartment hamper in the kids’ rooms so they can sort lights from darks as they undress.

19. When switching kids’ summer/winter clothes, mark boxes with the date and sizes so you don’t have to paw through them to know if they’ll fit.

20. No room for a dresser? One or two sets of plastic or canvas hanging shelves in the closet make choosing clothes easier.

21. Leave a weatherproof, bench-style storage box outside for the kids’ outdoor toys.

22. Gather all balls into a large, mesh drawstring bag.

23. Keep some toys undercover in the living room with decorative, lidded baskets.

24. Stand kids’ paperback books in rectangular plastic or wicker baskets so they’re easy to sift through.

25. Photograph your child’s 3-D creations and save the pictures instead, says momcentral.com founder Stacy DeBroff, author of The Mom Book.

The Chef
26. Post several weekly dinner menus on the fridge and alternate among them for easier grocery shopping and meal planning.

27. Don’t keep space-hogging cookbooks. Photocopy favorite recipes and slip them into plastic sheet protectors inside a binder.

28. Tape an envelope for pizza and other takeout food coupons inside the cabinet door nearest the phone.

29. Use a mini flowerpot with drip tray near the sink to stash sponges, steel wool and food scrapers.

30. A crock with a wide mouth keeps favorite stove-side utensils from tangling.

31. Put countertop flour and sugar canisters on a lower slide-out cabinet shelf. Or use a sturdy baking sheet or plastic tray as a slide-out.

32. Double cabinet space with two-tiered turntables.

33. Trade round storage containers for more efficient square and rectangular ones, says DeBroff.

34. To free up kitchen space borrow, don’t buy, things you rarely use such as juicers, waffle irons, melon ballers and rolling pins. Already have them? Sell them.

35. A second freezer makes you walk farther for the ice cream.

The Personal Assistant
36. Use a morning checklist; kids aren’t the only ones who forget things when they’re in a rush.

37. Create other essential checklists: what goes in your gym bag, what joint-custody kids need to take back and forth between houses, what to pack for trips, information for babysitters, etc. Keep them on your computer for updating and put copies in a folder near the kitchen phone.

38. Set your computer calendar’s alarm for the week before dates you need to remember, from an anniversary to the day you change the furnace filter. That will give you enough time to buy what you need.

39. Organize future events with a monthly accordion file. Put birthday cards, directions to a baby shower, a note to check on furniture deliveries, even vacation brochures in the appropriate months.

40. Put a clock in every single bathroom.

41. Always have backups: a spare set of car/house keys, a second deodorant, another way to get kids to school.

42. Make a standing monthly hair appointment.

43. Designate every Friday or Saturday as date night with your husband, and book a sitter for several weekends at a time.

44. Don’t assume he’ll keep those Honey-Do projects in his head. Post them on the bathroom mirror.

45. Keep a wish list of intriguing activities on hand so you don’t waste precious weekend time figuring out what to do.

46. File copies of important documents (birth certificates, car title, passports, proof of immunizations, insurance information, etc.) in a three-ring binder with zippered plastic pockets. If disaster strikes, you can grab it and go.

47. Add address book pages sorted by category: kids’ friends, gourmet food club, tennis friends, etc., DeBroff suggests.

48. Avoid a last-minute scramble to find rental videos by leaving unwatched and just-watched movies in a bag by your door.

49. Stock your nightstand drawer with pencils, notepads, a phone book and a flashlight.

50. Corral an unwieldy bedroom reading pile with a small bookshelf next to your nightstand.

The Fashion Designer
51. Allow only one outfit—tomorrow’s—on the hook outside your closet door.

52. Buy a closet organizer instead of just dreaming about it.

53. Start each season by arranging clothes hangers so the hooks face out, toward the room, says Kim Cosentino, owner of the De-Clutter Box, Inc. in Westmont, Illinois. When you wear something, turn the hanger in. At the end of the season, get rid of anything that hasn’t been turned.

54. Vacuum-sealed storage bags. Enough said.

55. Free up drawer space by stacking jeans, sweaters and gym clothes on closet shelves. Slip-on shelf dividers keep them from falling over.

56. Keep a stepstool in or next to your closet.

57. To free up your dresser, put plastic stacking bins with drawers inside your closet for socks, underpants and bras.

58. Bring order to scarves and belts with an “accessory ladder,” a chain of shower curtain rings—one for each item—trailing down from the top of a hanger, says Donna Smallin, author of Organizing Plain and Simple. Clip purses to a second ladder.

59. Keep ponytail holders on shower curtain rings, too.

60. Hang a flat jewelry organizer with transparent pockets inside your closet door.

61. Pare down your cosmetics to fit in one portable bag.

62. Make a Just for Me pampering kit so lotions, scented candles, nail polish, etc., aren’t scattered in three different rooms.

The Chauffeur
63. End key confusion with new, decorative keys: Use stars-and-stripes for the house, flowers for the garden shed, psychedelic for your office at work.

64. Removable key rings let you leave work keys at home on weekends, the car key with the valet and the house key with your pet sitter.

65. Line car-door map compartments with shallow, narrow organizing pockets to keep pens, notepads, hand lotion and lip/eye pencil from sliding around.

66. Use a clothespin to clip to your purse strap those “Can’t Forget” notes: Get allergy shot. Pick up kids early. Tell mechanic about squeaking brakes.

67. To avoid “senior moments” with the dry cleaning, library books, videos or packages to mail, put outgoing items on the passenger seat, not on the kitchen counter.

68. Slide a local phone book under the front seat.

69. Pens with fuzzy animal heads are easier to find in the car.

70. Get a key chain–size Swiss Army knife with pullout pen.

71. Free up glove compartment space: Stow owner’s manuals in the passenger seat’s back pocket.

72. Stock glove compartment with takeout menus, napkins, nail file, car registration, tire gauge, first-aid kit and a roll of quarters.

73. Create a “just in case” box for the car trunk: umbrella, cheap rain ponchos, scissors, big black marker, tape, paper towels, plastic bags, extra kids’ socks and a one-size-fits-all T-shirt, sweatshirt and pair of sweatpants for adults, another for kids.

74. Keep the charity box in your trunk, not your closet. When it’s full, drop it off.

The Employee
75. Keep an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses, pantyhose and other emergency gear in your desk.

76. Sort your day by activity, not project. Check the stack of phone messages only twice a day.
Tackle the correspondence pile right after lunch, and head to the copy machine just once.

77. Use your datebook to keep projects on track. Block out times to tackle each bite-size segment.

78. If you don’t need it every day, get it off your desk.

79. Don’t just shift remaining papers around your desk. Flip the stack—oldest papers now on top—for a fresh perspective and quicker action, DeBroff suggests.

80. Tame the file frenzy with broader file names, such as one for “Employees” rather than two for “Personnel” and “Evaluations,” Waddill recommends.

81. Use desktop or wall-mounted vertical file racks for an instant cleanup of your tornado-zone desk, Smallin says.

82. When you have a project with a lot of paperwork, stay organized by using a three-ring binder instead of flimsy file folders. List everyone involved and their contact information on the first page.

83. For smaller projects, write contact details on the front of the file folder.

84. Move finished project folders from your office into storage.

The Accountant
85. One credit card per grownup. Period.

86. Create a Receipt Depot: a folder near the door that everyone drops receipts into as they come home.

87. Bite the bullet: Computerize your finances.

88. Stick to a budget. Then you’ll never have trouble covering those unexpected expenses.

89. Slip incoming bills, a pen and a thin calculator into a three-ring binder’s inside pockets. Make a list of all your usual bills and expenses, and print out a fresh copy each month for your binder. Then mark the bills off monthly as you pay them. If a creditor isn’t crossed off, call for a duplicate statement to avoid late fees.

90. Make sure your list includes automatic withdrawals for utilities and bills you pay online so you don’t pay a bill twice or lose track of your checking account balance.

91. Ask creditors to shift your due dates to lump them all together or to split them between the two pay periods of each month.

The Handywoman
92. Keep a Phillips and flathead screwdriver in a kitchen drawer to avoid a trek to the toolbox.

93. Affix baby food jar lids to the bottom of your workroom shelf. Sort nails, screws and bolts into the jars, and twist them onto the lids.

94. When you adjust your clocks each spring and fall, also weed out expired medicine, sunscreen, food, coupons and smoke detector batteries.

95. Hang a spray-painted Peg-Board for tools, coats, baseball caps; use wall hooks for blow dryers.

96. Store all car wash products in a bucket in the garage.

97. Keep a large, sturdy garbage can on wheels next to your car to toss candy wrappers or other trash, says Waddill.

98. Aim for easy access, not neat storage, for lawn equipment. Shift your tools the way you
shift your clothes: In the winter, put the snow shovel in front and the rake in the back.

99. Save space on rarely used equipment by coordinating a borrowing system: You’ll have the fertilizer spreader, one neighbor will have the extension ladder, another will have a chainsaw, etc.

100. Install a hook above the kitchen sink where just-watered hanging plants can drip.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Organizing Your Child's Artwork

Make and Takes had a wonderful post on how to Organize Your Child's Artwork. This ties in nicely with our March topic of organizing!

Heidi of Budget Wise Home is the author of the great article. Be sure to check out both of the blogs for some fabulous ideas!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Club- March *UPDATED*

Our next selection for book club is Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. We will be meeting at Amber's house on March 24th at 6:30. You are welcome to join in at any time!

This was an amazing book! Click here to see the website and read more.

Graham Cracker Peep House- Easter Idea

Tip Junkie featured the cutest idea for your little ones to make. They were found on the Kasey Buick blog, which is too cute btw.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Read Across America Day- Dr. Seuss Style

Wednesday is the NEA's Read Across America Day. This was one of my favorite days when I was teaching. There are so many fun ways to celebrate reading!

This blog, ObSEUSSed has so many fantastic ideas. You can find food, crafts, activities, and more on this site. It is one of the best collections of Seuss stuff.

Here is some of the fun we did last year during daycare:

Green Eggs & Ham for lunch...of course!

We read several Dr. Seuss books and made a page for each book we read.

The Foot Book feet painting

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish was glitter paint sponge painting.

Ten Apples Up On Top ...the kids took round apples and piled them up on top in order!

Paper plate food for Green Eggs & Ham.

Outside we did a little Hop on Pop...don't make fun of my quick drawing skills though!

We also enjoyed cupcakes at the end of the day with a candle in each one as we sang "Happy Birthday" to Dr. Seuss.

Have fun whatever you do, and let us know what you did to celebrate!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday: Read to Me and ABC

Hello, all! I am posting this late because............I forgot about it! I don't have a new craft to show you this week. However, I wanted to share with you an awesome resource I came across for teaching your children the letters of the alphabet. It makes me wish my two boys didn't know their alphabet so I could go back and do this with them. There are plenty of alphabet resources available online, but what I REALLY love about this program (besides that all the ideas are FREE!) is that each lesson starts with a book that you read with your child. Then you do a fun and simple activity which goes with the book and emphasizes a letter of the alphabet. As you go through the letters, your child will assemble a keepsake letter book that they have made with you. I just love this idea!

I sometimes get asked either by parents of students I teach or by readers of my Montessori blog if it makes a difference what order you use to teach the letters of the alphabet. My suggestion is to do it however feels right for your family. One suggestion is to start with A and go through the whole alphabet in order. Another idea is to start with the letters of your child's name since they have intrinsic meaning for the child. Then you could add the letters of the names of other family members and continue until you've gone through the alphabet. Anything is really fine and remember that the most important thing is to have fun!!

CLICK HERE for the link. This post will show you how to make the letter folders and to set it all up. It will also have links to all the posts written for individual letters.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday: Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone! Hope you have a lot of lovin' planned for today. I am sharing two ideas to do with your little ones. The first one is a keepsake handprint project. We made these for the parents of my Montessori students last week and I'm pretty sure they'll be treasured for years to come. CLICK HERE to go to the post I wrote about the project on my Montessori blog. It has some tips and directions as well as a link to print the label if you want. I am not able to upload documents here on Blogger, but I can on Typepad (the other blog).

I know I'm posting this a bit late for you to make these to give as gifts for Valentine's Day this year. However, if you think ahead, these would be great to give Grandma for Mother's Day. You could do this in fabric paint on a t-shirt or canvas bag. Or do it on paper and place it in a special frame. You'll probably want to make some to save for yourself as well!

The next idea is a baking project. We are also making these at Montessori this week. These are little "heart tarts" made from refrigerated pie crust and strawberry jam. I found the idea and recipe in the latest issue of Family Fun magazine. These were really easy to make and tasted really good. I didn't even frost mine and thought they were still yummy. They taste like mini-pies or kind of like pop-tarts. CLICK HERE to go to the Family Fun website for the recipe.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Free Dental checks for kids

Free program that Creighton Dental School is holding on Saturday, February 12, 2011 from 8:00am – Noon for kids 3-14 years of age.

Students and faculty will be conducting free dental examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments and dental sealants (cavity preventative).

Parents / legal guardian must be with the child.

For an appointment call 402-280-2863.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday: Valentine Suncatchers

For this simple, yet beautiful, craft you will need: clear contact paper, tape, tissue paper, and scissors. Precut some tissue paper into small pieces. Cut out a square of contact paper (mine was approximately 8X8 inches........I just eyeballed it), remove the backing and use Scotch tape to tape it to the table STICKY SIDE UP. Just put one piece of tape across each corner. This will make it MUCH easier for your child to complete the activity, believe me! After you've secured the contact paper to the table, let your child cover it with the pieces of tissue paper. This is a great activity for refining and strengthening those little finger muscles.

Once the contact paper is covered with tissue pieces as shown below, cut another piece of contact paper about the same size and place it on top STICKY SIDE DOWN. You are basically making a tissue paper sandwich. Smooth out any wrinkles in the contact paper and make sure the two sides are sticking together securely.

Cut the "sandwich" into a heart shape and tape it in your window. So pretty! (Tip: I just folded my contact paper sandwich in half and cut half a heart on the fold. This resulted in a symmetrical heart shape. If your child is able, you could draw a heart shape with a marker and have them cut it out.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure

Thank you to Laura for getting us a copy of the new book Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure and Darlene Schacht. Laura read the review for this fantastic book on the Women Living Well Blog. It was so awesome for us to be able to give a copy away since our meeting topic was on healthy living!

Taken from ChristianBook.com~~ "In Reshaping It All actress Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) offers the reader a candid account of her struggles with food and tells how faith ultimately reshaped her life, giving her true freedom from her food addiction. More than a mere testimony, this book is a motivational tool that will put you on the right track and keep you there. Includes 16-page black and white photo insert."

*Thanks to Darlene Schacht for donating the book to our group!

If you were the lucky winner to win the copy at our MOPS meeting...there is still a chance for you to win one~ Laura has another copy to giveaway on her blog...and a great review of the book! Click here to jump to her blog and enter to win! Good Luck!

Twin Creek Movie Theater in Bellevue
Movies are $2. Showtimes are Saturday at 10 and Sunday at 11.

Feb. 12-13 Nanny McFee Returns
Feb 19-20 Alpha and Omega
Feb 26-27 Cats and Dogs Revenge of Kitty Galore
March 5-6 Legend of Guardians
March 12-13 Megamind
March 19-20 Yogi Bear

Click here for more info

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Welcome baby Jackson

Mark and Misty welcomed Jackson Thomas into their family in January. Jackson weighed in at 8 lbs and was 19 3/4 inches. Congrats on your new addition!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday: Melt the ice cube game

"Melt the ice cube" is a fun game to play with your little one. In fact, your whole family may want to join in. I have had this out as an activity in my Montessori classroom for the past week. The photos shown are ones from when I set this up in the classroom two years ago. At that time, I had two children do the game together and each child had their own ice cube to melt. Right now in my classroom I have two children play together, but they jointly try to melt one ice cube. Of course you may decide how you'd like to do this in your home setting.

The gist of the game is that you roll a die to determine which action you must take to try to melt your ice cube. The second photo shows a close-up of the chart which tells what you have to do for each number rolled. There are lots of giggles and squeals when a number two is rolled. If you are interested in printing out your own chart, CLICK HERE. That link will take you to my original post which has a hyperlink to the site where you may download the printable. Hope you have some chilly fun doing this. It may be perfect to go with the weather we are supposed to get this week.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cool Mom Tip

Today's cool mom tip is:

Spray painting the snow!

Simply give your child a water bottle filled with colored water for them to mist the snow...they will think you are the greatest and you will have the most colorful yard in the neighborhood.

IF YOU HAVE A COOL MOM TIP....PLEASE EMAIL IT TO AMBER. We would love to hear what makes you cool!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday: Iceberg Play!!

Your kids will think you are the coolest mom ever if you make them this fun (and easy) activity. Simply freeze some bowls of water in your freezer and you have instant icebergs. I have this exact activity out in my Montessori classroom now as we are studying arctic animals. I place the iceberg on a blue tray (which represents the arctic ocean) and added a basket with arctic animals. This exact set of animals can be found at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. It it the Safari Arctic Animal TOOB. Of course you could use any small animals and your kids will have a blast. Keep a small towel on hand for them to wipe cold hands on. It doesn't get much easier than this. Add in a literacy component by reading some books and stories about arctic animals. Have fun!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healthy Living With Monica Green-Connell MSPT CSCS

Happy New Year!

Well, we all survived the holiday season. Some of us eager to bring in the new year with New Year’s resolutions and personal goals. A common resolution is to lose weight and be healthier. From my past experiences going to gyms in MN, LA, TX and CT it was a trend to see more people in the gyms in January and February and then the aspiring new members started dwindling. Why? Lack of motivation, no immediate results, busy schedules, etc…..

I always give advice to people who are working toward a final goal to set small goals along the way. Example: If my goal is to lose 15# in 3 months then I will reward myself if I did not GAIN weight the week I had several parties to attend. I could also treat myself to something special if I was able to work out 4-5x/wk. Remember to never lose sight of your goals/dreams…….they may take time to accomplish but if you have determination and perseverance you will ultimately succeed.

Working out with a partner or in a class may be the outside motivation you need if you feel you do not have enough inner motivation to keep you going. This may also help you prioritize your time and even with a hectic schedule you will know someone is waiting on you or you may feel guilty paying for classes if you do not attend.

I thought I would jot some exercises/activities down you can incorporate in your day to help strengthen muscles, burn calories and improve balance. Most of us want to lose belly fat after having kids and many people believe if you do sit ups/crunches that will help.

FYI: there is no such thing as spot reducing….meaning if I do tons of crunches I will lose weight at my belly. In order to lose your belly you have to have negative calories and lose weight overall. Keep in mind doing deep ab ex and kegel exercises will help firm your stomach up and give you a stronger core.

1. Isometric contraction of deep abs and pelvic floor muscles while in neutral pelvis.
(Neutral pelvis: your ‘tall’ but comfortable position.)Need to really show you this in

Base position: 1)neutral pelvis 2)kegel 3) pull tummy in

You can do this in sitting, standing, walking, laying down, as long as you keep your neutral pelvis and you contract your pelvic floor, transversus abdominus, multifidus.

PTs teach core ex in neutral and some trainers, pilates instructors may teach you core ex out of “your neutral”. I feel like training neutral first is VERY important to avoid injury!

FYI: When training core with rotation ALWAYS move your hips with your torso to avoid increased disc shearing and injuring your back!!!

2. Mini-squat or ¾ squat. Feet shoulder width apart. Bend knees slightly. Buttocks go out like your sitting in a chair. Knees need to stay behind toes. Hold 5-10 sec. 10-12 reps. You can also add in tightening pelvic floor and deep abdominals.

3. Mini-lunge or ¾ lunge. Step forward with one foot, bend that knee slightly and shift bodyweight over front foot. Tighten thigh and buttocks of front leg. Hold 5-10 sec. 10-12 reps. Add in contracting of pelvic floor and deep abdominals.

4. Standing on one leg. Keep hips level and pull tummy in. Can do when doing dishes, talking on the phone, etc…. See how long you can stand on one leg without using your arms for support. Doing single leg stance is great because it forces you to use many muscles to keep you upright.

I am not a big believer in crunches and definitely NOT sit-ups! These work your rectus abdominus(6 pack) which does not provide much stability when compared to your deep abs. To discuss the progression of lower abs is very difficult without demonstrating it.

I am hoping some of these ideas are helpful and if you have questions please feel free to call me at 527-7131 or grab me at the next MOPS meeting. I love to teach and help people get more fit!

I am planning on having a running/walking club in the spring, probably meeting on a week night. If there are suggestions please email me or call. I would love input. My email is jomogreco@sbcglobal.net.

Physical fitness usually leads to improved grades/mental sharpness. I will leave you with the following to think about:
A new study that followed nearly 300 adults over 13 yrs. found that walking 6-9 miles/week may stop your brain from shrinking as you age. This will decrease risk of developing memory problems. (Sunday World Herald Sunday Jan 2, 2011)

What better motivation to exercise!?

Monica Green-Connell MSPT CSCS

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

PMS- Preschool Mom's Survival Night!

Come down to Midwest Lanes for a Mom's Night Out on January 26th. We will be meeting at 6:30 PM for bowling and fun! Food is available for purchase.

Hope to you see you there!

Mommy & Me Monday: Snow Dough

This activity is so fun. You make up a batch of "snowy" playdough and let your child use it to create snowy things like snowmen. CLICK HERE to go directly to a post I wrote a few years ago about making "snow" playdough. In addition to a link to the homemade playdough recipe, you'll see some photos of cute snowmen made with the dough. A few other ideas besides making a snowman with cookie cutter circles and beads are: help your child make a 3D snowman by showing them how to roll the playdough into balls then use things you find around your house to decorate your snowperson OR roll the dough out flat to make some "snowy ground" then have your child use small plastic animals to make animal tracks in the snow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuesday Tunes

Mommy & Me Monday: Painting Snowflakes

This week's project is super simple. You will need only a few materials: some paper doilies (found locally at Kally's General Store on the square) and watercolor paints. I placed doubled-up paper towels under the doilies when my boys painted them.

Once you have everything set up, just allow your child to paint as they wish.

Here is one of my sons' finished snowflakes. I meant to take a photo of them taped up on our window, but it got too dark!! If you are a bit of a snowflake purist (i.e. you only think snowflakes should be white.........I confess to being a closet snowflake purist myself) you can CLICK HERE to see how I set up a snowflake-making activity in my preschool classroom. (NOTE: Snowflake purists should omit the painting step....... ;-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday: Book Activity for "The Mitten" by Jan Brett

This project is from the "archives" of my personal blog. Even though I've had several days off from my job, my boys and I didn't get around to doing a new project for me to post about this week. Luckily, I had this one from a few years ago to share with you. In January I like to do "wintry" activities in my preschool classroom and also at home with my boys as I have time. When possible, it's fun to do an activity that goes along with a great book. The Mitten by Jan Brett is one of my all-time favorite books to read with children in the winter. For this project my boys and I made patchwork, laced mittens and also made some animals to place in the mittens to act out the story. CLICK HERE for my original post which includes links to where you can download a mitten pattern as well as the patterns for the animals. My boys loved retelling the story with their "props".

The photos below show the mittens my boys made two years ago when my oldest was 7 1/2 and my youngest was three.

The next photo shows the animals that my oldest son colored to go in his mitten.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Book Club

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is our January book club selection. Becca has selected this book for us and we will be meeting at her house on January 25th at 6:30. Please feel free to join in with book club anytime or just with the books you are interested in.

The book hits the big screen (or the big top, however you want to put it!) on April 15th. You can be sure that several book club members will be going...feel free to come along, even if you don't come to book club!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Eve Fun

Click here for some fantastic fun for families to celebrate New Year's Eve. It has some great ideas and can be enjoyed by kids and parents! Many of us like to stick close to home on this holiday and the countdown box sounds like so much fun! You could adapt it for earlier hours in the evening if you don't plan on keeping the kiddos up late.

Family Fun is also full of good ideas for games, crafts, and recipes for NYE and NY day. Click here to check that out.

Did you know that Black-Eyed Peas are A Southern Tradition for Luck and Prosperity in the New Year? Click here for some interesting facts and ways to serve them.

Want to get out and enjoy some fun? Here are a few ideas of things going on in the Metro:

Omaha Children's Museum: First Night of Play We did this last year and had a blast!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mommy & Me Monday: Gingerbread Playdough

Hello, everyone! (Or "Hello, to the two or three people who might actually be reading this!"----Just kidding!) Hope you all had a blessed holiday with your family. Today's idea is still a bit Christmasy, but would be a great way to keep your kiddos entertained. As a literary tie-in to this project, consider reading some "gingerbread" books with your child. One of my favorites is Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett.

I love to make scented and special playdough for my Montessori classroom. During the last week of school before break, I put out gingerbread playdough which was very popular. I posted about homemade playdough in September, but here is the basic recipe again.

Homemade playdough:

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. granulated alum OR cream of tartar
Food coloring and add-ins as desired

Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan. Once combined, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. You will continue to stir until the mixture gets really thick and dries out somewhat. If there are still "wet spots", keep stirring until those are mostly gone. Turn playdough out of pan and allow it to cool slightly. When it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough until it becomes smooth. If it is too sticky you can add in some more flour at this point. Once completely cooled, playdough can be stored in an airtight container and kept for several weeks.

To make the gingerbread playdough I made the basic recipe and added in quite a bit of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and allspice. I don't measure, I just dump a bunch in and stir it up until I feel it is fragrant enough. For those of you who like things more specific, try adding a teaspoon of each to begin.

Below you can see how I set this up in my clasroom. I added a rolling pin, gingerbread cookie cutter, placemat and a little bowl of pony beads to use as decorations.

Here is a photo of a gingerbread man made by one of my students. This dough smells SO good, your children won't want to stop playing with it. You will probably be compelled to join in the fun as well!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mommy & Me Monday: Christmas Morning Coffee Cake Mix

This week's idea would be a great last-minute gift idea as well as something fun to mix up and eat with your own family on Christmas morning. If you are anything like me, I am always so busy with last minute details the week before Christmas that I usually forget to plan something special for us to eat on Christmas morning. Last year right after Christmas I came across this recipe in a Country Woman magazine. I immediately thought it would be a wonderful teacher gift idea. I like to give functional or practical gifts and figured many people might enjoy having something quick, but special to whip up on Christmas morning. So.......this week my littlest boy and I made up four batches to give as gifts. (NOTE: Four batches of this recipe yielded 8 gifts to give as each batch makes two batches.) He liked helping me measure the ingredients, but he was VERY happy to help smash up the graham crackers for the topping mix. He also loved using our nut chopper to chop up the pecans. I remember chopping up nuts for my mom as a little girl. It made me feel very important to have that special job. OK.......enough rhetoric.............here's the recipe. (HERE is a link to it online.)

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake Mix


4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups packed brown sugar

2/3 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup buttermilk blend powder (my husband found this at Wal-Mart)

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 cup shortening

Topping Mix:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Cut in shortening until mix is crumbly. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Store both mixes in separate airtight containers in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Yield: 2 batches

To prepare:

In a large bowl combine 2 eggs, 1 cup water, and 4 1/2 cups cake mix (or half of the big batch if you've divided it up). Stir until just blended. Transfer to a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup topping mix (or half the original batch). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

After making my batches, I went ahead and divided each batch into two, spooning the mixes into Ziploc baggies. I labeled the baggies as you can see below.

To package these gifts, I stitched up some little fabric bags (since I love to sew and had some Christmas fabric on hand) and placed a baggie of cake mix and topping mix into each fabric bag along with a card with preparation instructions. Then I tied the top closed with ribbon. You can see some of our finished bags in the photo below. I will be sure to tell the recipients to open before Christmas. I'm also planning to make this up to eat with my family on Christmas morning. I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! Remember the reason for the season!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Catch" Santa in your home!

Moms~ an friend of mine has a great idea for some fun Santa photos...please see her ad below! What a great idea!

‎'Catch' Santa in your home and amaze your kids! I'll continue to take orders through Thursday the 23rd of December. Price is $7 by paypal. Please email with any questions! All I need is a photo of the room you want him in and I'll get the pic back to you within 24 hours! Contact Jenny at: jennystrohbehn@gmail.com

Check out her blog here as well!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuesday Tunes

Christmas Website Fun

Santa Claus is really excited you've come to visit, and he has the North Pole Village full of fun things to do for both kids and parents, including lots of new things this year. Check your Naughty or Nice rating. Choose your very own Elf Buddy. Play games in Elf School. Print your Honorary Elf Diploma. Sing along with new original Christmas songs. Try funny holiday recipes. Visit the amazing Toy Workshop. Send E-mail to Santa Claus. Follow Santa Claus in his sleigh on Christmas Eve. See how many cookies Santa Claus eats on his trip. Wonderful illustrations and a creative family experience. CLAUS.COM is one of the top-rated Santa Claus websites and is known around the world.

Check it out here!

Mommy & Me Monday: Handprint Santa cards

I'm pulling this project out of my archives from two years ago. CLICK HERE to read the original post with all the details and photos.

Two years ago my sons and I made these to give out to the guests who came to our house for Christmas dinner. These would also be so cute in a frame to pull out each year as a keepsake. Or they could be done on a canvas and given as a gift or saved as a keepsake.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Items Wanted- Looking for

Please email Amber if you would like to add to this list!

Janet is looking for a small computer table or desk.

Deena is looking for a used treadmill, elliptical, and/or stationary bicycle


Melissa is looking for legos, anything Thomas the Train, Toy Story items, G reated movies - VHS or DVDs


is looking for any Lego or star wars toys

Mindy is looking for a newer doorway jumper.

Also looking for some smaller Dinosaurs, little dollhouse furniture, and tractors/ fences/ farm play stuff