Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Using Music To Teach

The above image is some manipulatives that I printed (shape flashcards from tlsbooks.com and the pizza was from colormountain.com) and laminated to help me and the boys sing along to If I Only Had Super Powers great idea of using an adapted version of the Silly Pizza song to teach shapes (or anything else for that matter). It is such a fun song and is fast to learn. The boys had a great time today singing before dinner!

The following is a link from If I Only Had Super Powers where she has a great video clip showing the song in action if you are not familiar with the words or rhythm.

I am also going to try this idea with colors for my two year old since he seems to be having some troubles with them. Everything is green! I am a firm believer that learning can be made easier through music. Thanks to Laurie Berkner, my youngest said bumble bee before mommy.

If you are not familiar with the Silly Pizza song, it is from Signing Times and is used to help children learn American Sign Language by continually adding silly toppings to a pizza. Here are the original lyrics -

Silly Pizza Song

When I’m feeling hungry and I don’t feel like stopping
I think of silly pizzas with all my favorite toppings—

APPLES!I like APPLES on my pizza, I like APPLE pizza please! Put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

CRACKERS!I like CRACKERS on my pizza, I like CRACKER pizza please! Put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

ICE CREAM!I like ICE CREAM on my pizza, I like ICE CREAM pizza please! Put the ICE CREAM on the crackers, put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

CEREAL!I like CEREAL on my pizza, I like CEREAL pizza please! Put the CEREAL on the ICE CREAM, put the ICE CREAM on the CRACKERS, put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

BREAD!I like BREAD on my pizza, I like BREAD pizza please! Put the BREAD on the CEREAL, put the CEREAL on the ICE CREAM, put the ICE CREAM on the CRACKERS, put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

COOKIES! I like COOKIES on my pizza, I like COOKIE pizza please! Put the COOKIES on the BREAD, put the BREAD on the CEREAL, put the CEREAL on the ICE CREAM, put the ICE CREAM on the CRACKERS, put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

BANANAS! I like BANANAS on my pizza, I like BANANA pizza please! Put the BANANAS on the COOKIES, put the COOKIES on the BREAD, put the BREAD on the CEREAL, put the CEREAL on the ICE CREAM, put the ICE CREAM on the CRACKERS, put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

CANDY! I like CANDY on my pizza, I like CANDY pizza please! Put the CANDY on the BANANAS, put the BANANAS on the COOKIES, put the COOKIES on the BREAD, put the BREAD on the CEREAL, put the CEREAL on the ICE CREAM, put the ICE CREAM on the CRACKERS, put the CRACKERS on the APPLES, put the APPLES on my pizza, don’t forget the extra CHEESE!

Barbecue Brisket

Holy Brisket, Bat Man!

My boys are on a super-hero kick lately so I have Bat Man (or how my 2 year old pronounces it But Man) on my mind.

If you are a fan of barbecue brisket, this slow cooker recipe was a huge hit with my family!!! I found it on allrecipes.com labeled Barbecued Beef Brisket but I will put it here:

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 1/2 lb (or so) fresh beef brisket, trimmed

Sauce -

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup chili sauce (plus a little more as I am heavy handed)

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

Combine the first six ingredients; rub over brisket. Place in slow cooker. In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Pour half over the brisket, setting the remaining sauce aside in the fridge. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours until the meat is tender and shreds with a fork. Serve with the reserved sauce.

***The only thing I did differently from the original recipe was add a little water to the crock pot, just about half way up the brisket as it freaks me out and makes me nervous to have a dry slow cooker.

The boys loved it!!

Sorry I forgot to take a picture.

Eat This - Not That ***Review***

Well, I have been informed by my Doctor that I need to make an immediate change in my lifestyle as some medical issues have come up. One of my problems that they are concerned about is that I have the cholesterol of a 75 year old, severely obese man which is not such a good thing when you are having trouble with your heart, not 75 nor severely overweight. Anyway, while at Target I saw the book, Eat This Not That by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding and grabbed it.
On the back of the book it states that "with this simple illustrated guide to thousands of foods - along with the nutrition secrets that lead to fast and permanent weight loss - you'll make the smartest choice for you and your family, every time!

The front of the book states "thousands of easy food swaps that can save up 10, 20, 30 pounds - or more!
Basically, the book is filled with lots of pictures of products, everything from the perfect spices to beer and everything in between with lots of comparisons for each type of food.

For instance just making the switch from Haagen-Daz Mint Chip ice cream to Breyer's All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip you will save yourself 150 calories and 11 grams of fat!!!!
It is loaded with lots of food facts and nutritional information so I am hoping that with a little swapping I can cut my fats to a minimum.
A note on protein - according to this book, the FDA allows up to 5 fly eggs or 2 maggots per 500 grams. Yummy!!!!
Definitely a fun interesting book.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Introduction To My Workbook Wednesday

Wednesday (or any day of the week that we find some extra time) is hereby declared Workbook Wednesday in our kingdom!

Here is the situation - my oldest son is currently enrolled in a special education preschool who unfortunately at our last CPSE meeting was declined services for the summer. On one hand I can say, it is great that they feel he has improved and does not need services year round any more but on the other hand, I can say due to budget cuts only children with a firm diagnosis will be maintaining services through the summer - see you in September. Either way, we are on our own!

My son, although he tests very high for his age has some issues with attention, hyper-activity, social situations, fine motor skills, oral motor weakness and language skills along with a long list of sensory issues. He has not been officially diagnosed but is scheduled for an ADOS late this spring. Originally we assumed we were looking at ADHD but his neurologist feels that he most likely falls somewhere on the spectrum and is leaning towards Asperger's . Label or no label, he is having a lot of trouble learning his letters and numbers despite his ability to narrate whole movies verbatim. I guess it is not that interesting to him at this time.

My idea - I realize that a lot of things have changed since I went to Kindergarten, 30 years ago and that kids today are expected to know so much more but I keep remembering a notebook that we had to work in every night for homework. Each night was a different topic such as a color or letter for which I had to search through my mom's old Family Circle and Woman's Day magazines searching for something "red" or that started with the letter "A", then I had to cut and paste on the appropriate page. I am not sure if this will work for my son but I figured the flipping through the pages with me may help his attention and communication, the cutting and pasting will help with his fine motor skills and the actual pictures will help with his association and recognition of basic concepts and letter recognition as he seems to need all his senses involved in his learning.

My goal - To have my son placed in a main-stream kindergarten class without a SEIT or shadow and holding his own (and doing well at it too without him losing any of his confidence that he seems to have so little of.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The main reason that I follow people's blogs to to find creative ideas for myself and children. Well, Cindi over at cindis.blogspot.com had a great idea for a beautiful Easter wreath that I just had to try. Click on this link for her wonderful tutorial on how to make your own:

Here is another pic of my wreath -The only thing that I did differently than Cindi was glue my cardboard to a wire wreath ring for more stability. Here is a picture of the type of wreath ring that I used. I do not suggest doing that although the end product was very sturdy and easy to slip on the a wreath hanger, it also pushed the whole thing out to far so I was not able to hang it on my front door because there was not enough room between the regular door and storm door. Live and learn.
Although this was not an original idea (Thanks, Cindi), I am entering my creation in Lindsay's over at Living with Lindsay's $5.00 challenge. For more information on the challenge, click the button on my sidebar - there is still some time to enter if you are interested or simply click on this link http://www.livingwithlindsay.com/2009/03/are-you-ready-for-challenge.html.

For the sake of Lindsay's contest here is what I spent:

4 packages of Easter eggs from local discount store - $2.00 (they were 2 for a $1.00)
Spool of Ribbon - $1.00
Easter Grass - $1.00
For a grand total of $4.00....(I had my wreath frame, cardboard and glue sticks at home already so they do not count!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Boogie Wipes **** Give-Away

The nose knows a good product when it sees one, okay I admit that was not necessary but I could not help myself.

I am happy to announce my first product give-away!!!!

The folks at Boogie Wipes has offered to send one of my readers a free sample of their product so read my product review (under reviews) and log onto their website http://www.boogiewipes.com/ to check them out.

Leave a comment below if you are interested and I will choose a random winner on (or sometime slightly after Midnight (est) on March 31, 2009. I will notify the lucky winner on April 1, 2009 and they will have a 5 days to get back to me with their information so the goodies for the boogies can be mailed out.

Be creative in your post, tell a gross boogie story if you would like. I could use a good laugh!

Mini Shepherd's Pie Lunch Muffins

Here is my version of a recipe that I had recently found:

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tspn. garlic powder
1/3 cup chili sauce plus a squirt of ketchup
1 Tblspn. cider vinegar
1/2 tspn. salt
1 cup frozen mixed veggies
1 1/4 cups water
3 Tblspns. butter
1 1/4 cup mashed potato flakes
1- 3 oz. pkge of cream cheese, cubed
1 tube buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup crushed potato chips

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, brown the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the excess fat. Stir in the chili sauce, ketchup, vinegar, salt and frozen mixed vegetables. Heat until veggies are heated through.

In a small saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Pour into a small mixing bowl. Whisk in potato flakes until blended. Beat in cream cheese until smooth.

Spray muffin tin with Pam and press biscuits onto the bottom and a little up the sides. Fill with beef mixture (I used my little cookie scoop). Spread potato mixture over beef. Sprinkle crushed potato chips on each and pat down a little.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or let cool completely then freeze.
I know that the picture does not look so great but that is entirely because of my flash on my camera. Both kids loved them and my almost 4 year old almost finished off three of them for dinner.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

There's A Party Going On Right Here....

A celebration to last throughtout the year. So bring your good times and your laughter too. Okay, now that will be stuck in my head all night. If you haven't already joined the 2009 ULTIMATE BLOG PARTY hosted by 5 MINUTES for Mom.com, you really should. It is a great way to meet new bloggers and win some fabulous prizes.

My three top prize choices to win would be:
#19 -$50.00 gift card to Target (provided by Shoot-me-now.com)
#89 -$100.00 gift card to Home Goods
#91 - $25.00 gift card to Target (provided by Mummydeals.org)

Go check it out yourself, just use the link on my sidebar!

Thought Provoking Quotes

Is it a bad thing that most of my favorite saying are quotes from Dr. Seuss? I am sure that a lot of people in the world would think so including my 4 year old who at this time is not a big Seuss fan. My son is way to literal for his books and does not quite understand their humor and "non"sense. Me on the other hand am a big fan! Here are my three favorite Seussisms:
  1. How did it get so late so soon?
    It's night before it is afternoon.
    December is here before its June
    My goodness how the time has flewn.
    How did it get so late so soon?
  2. Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter
    and those who matter don't mind.
  3. Don't cry because it's over - smile because it happened!

Can't Wait for April

Yes, indeed March is National Social Work Month for those of you who were not aware. To celebrate, my son's school has a big nice table set up with a poster board sign and lots of handouts right in the hallway where we have to wait for his teacher every morning.

As you will see this is a two part rant.

First, let me give you a little background information - my son's preschool is a special needs school so there are lots of children with attention issues who can not help themselves to not touch everything! Why would you place a table in the middle of hyper active children who have enough challenges in the morning? I have laughed every morning when the social worker comes out of her office and mumbles "oh, someone knocked over my sign again"...is she kidding?

Secondly, as I was picking up one of the papers that my kids knocked to the floor (6 times) I decided to read it. "Guidelines for Good Parenting", number 1 - "Children only act the way they are taught to act". All I have to say is #$!@. I am sorry, I never taught my son to run through the hallways knocking over every child he sees like bowling pins. I assure you that is not how I act in the grocery store nor his father at work. I may have yelled "Oh come on" in traffic a time or two while in his presence but never did I run up to a child and scream in his/her face because that felt more comfortable to me than to say hello.

These are the actions that keep my up at night feeling sorry for my son, trying to constantly try different things to work on these behaviors - isn't that good parenting? I disagree with that paper and wish it wasn't there. Can't wait for April!!

The Organized Blog

I have recently realized that alot of people out there have themed days to keep themselves and their thoughts organized. Since I am always looking for something to organize, I hearby set forth the following schedule:

Monday: Muffin Monday OR Make Something Monday

Tuesday: Teaching Tuesday

Wednesday: Workbook Wednesday

Thursday: Thoughtful Thursday (tips, thoughts, etc)

Friday: Fun Finds Friday

Since I will be joining the Blog Party over at "5 Minutes for Mom" this week, checking out some blogs I have never seen before (always looking for a good one) and taking advantage of all those great give-aways, I figured some new readers may stumble on my end of the universe and realize that this blog is fairly new but that they may want to stick around to see me fill in my weekly posts.

MY GOAL FOR THIS WEEK- Stick to new blog schedule

More Fun Baking Soda Uses

  • Make your good crystal really shine by giving it a short soak in baking soda and warm water.
  • Use baking soda to clean marker stains off of your hands (good for the little ones)
  • Combine baking soda with a little bit of white vinegar to form a bubbling paste and use your toilet brush to scrub out stains.
  • Use baking soda as a great non-abrasive cleaner for your stainless steel sinks which can easily be scratched by liquid cleansers and more abrasive powdered cleaners.
  • If your hands smell from cutting up onions and garlic while cooking, sprinkle some baking powder in the palm of one hand then add enough water to form a paste, scrub hands and rinse-the odor should be gone.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Laptop cable,

Digital camera USB cable,

One package of english muffins,



Chocolate glazed donut,

Gallon size bag of dog cookies,


Don't shop - ADOPT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How To Tell If Your Baking Soda is Old

Do you know how old the baking soda you have in your cabinets is? I don't. Although I bake a lot, I am sure that box has been sitting in the plastic bag for a long time. Remember, you are only using a teaspoon or two at a time. Well here is your test. Pour some white vinegar or lemon juice over a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. If it doesn't bubble up - IT IS OLD!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Wonderful World of Baking Soda

For the life of me, I can not remember which blog I recently saw a list of ways to use baking soda other than in a recipe. I had to laugh to myself as when we purchased our home over 5 years ago the previous owner not only left me a 10 page note on how to clean her home (including details and a shop vac for the sole purpose of dusting the crawl spaces) she also left me a copy of "Baking Soda - Over 500 Fabulous, Fun and Frugal Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of - by Vicki Lansky". I can not tell you how many times I tried to throw this book out but for some reason I always rescue it from the garbage.

For all who are Green or would like to be, remember that Baking Soda is environmentally benign and is found naturally in mineral deposits, lake sediments and groundwater. It is even found in our oceans where its bicarbonate chemistry seemingly works to stabilize the carbon dioxide content of the earth's atmosphere.

During the next couple of weeks I will post some little known tips and uses that I find interesting that go way beyond the open box in the fridge:

1. Clean a stuffed animal or fabric toy that can not be machine washed by shaking it in a bag with baking soda which will absorb any odors, dirt and grime. Let the toy sit in the bag for 15 minutes then brush, shake and/or vacuum off the baking soda.

2. If you have added to much vinegar to a recipe, add a pinch or two of baking soda to neutralize the acidity.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water when you cook cauliflower to keep the cooking odors down and the cauliflower snowy white.

4. To make your omelette's fluffier, add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every 3 eggs.

5. To keep your babies white walking shoes white, try cleaning and polishing them with a little baking soda on a wet wash cloth.

More tips will be coming soon......

Ohio Woman Arrested - Just Have to Comment

When I first started this blog my intentions for it was a place to put my recipes, crafts, tips on preschool special education, some reviews and possibly some give-aways. I also vowed to myself that any and all comments would be neutral but I can not be quite any longer.

I read in the paper the other day about a woman in Ohio who was arrested for child endangerment. This woman is the ultimate multi-tasker as she was driving, breastfeeding and talking on the phone. Is the whole world losing their mind?!!?!?!?

According to the reports the mother is noted as saying "what was she supposed to do, her child was hungry?". There are plenty of time my children were hungry in the car. One of the reason for directional signals in the car is so you can pull-over, safely! It is also documented that the child was under two and was placed across the steering wheel. I do not want the local "La Leche" group picketing on my front lawn but if your child can walk, talk, say I'm thirsty and lift your shirt -- start giving them nutrients from food not the boob!!!!!!!!!!

Happy (early) St. Patrick's Day

We like to make hats around here to wear to our local parades. Here is our latest creation for St. Patrick's Day (or as my son calls "Green Day").

They are so easy to make using some paper and a paper plate for a beard. It is a great project for my son as he has some attention and fine motor issues. It is very hard for him to sit, concentrate, color, cut and paste. We always tell him how proud we are of his artwork but I think it makes him extra special to hear everybody at the parade's comments.