Look at this... it's a new series two weeks running. Could this be a regular thing? Only time will tell.
Now remember, I'm not paid, gifted, or in any way compensated to write about ANYTHING on my blog. Everything here was purchased with funds from my hard-working husband's paycheck.
For the Parents
A few weeks ago, my husband was bemoaning the fact that Linus, like many toddlers, takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get ready for bed. It has turned bedtime into a battle rather than the cuddly, Daddy/Linus time that it used to be. The usual techniques to speed things up weren't working. Instead of be able to motivate him with what-comes-next, "We can't get your trains out until your cars are picked up," techniques, he knew that hurrying only resulted in going to bed sooner. It was quite a conundrum. The only thing we had to take away was story time. It's not like we could say "You can't get your jammies on until you brush your teeth." We needed a solution.
After letting my teacher brain mull it over for a few days, I came to a solution. We needed to set a limit, we needed Linus to manage his time, and motivation. We purchased the Time Tracker*. It's a visual and aural reminder that time is passing. Now, Linus has to finish all the bedtime requirements (toy pick-up, pottying, brushing, and getting pajamas on) before the time (for now, a half-hour) expires. If he doesn't, then there's no stories. He just goes straight to bed.
You may think taking away story-time (something so integral to education) would bother me, but you'd be wrong. We read ALL THE TIME. The two short stories at bedtime are only a drop in the bucket.
Now, with the Time Tracker, Linus is focused and motivated to get the menial tasks completed and Daddy can once again have a less stress bedtime routine with his son.
For the Kid(s)
In an effort to increase Linus's collection of pretend play toys without spending the big bucks, I've been slowly collecting food packages. Instead of tossing (or, in Durham, recycling) the packages that food comes in, I've been collecting them and re-purposing them for his "grocery store". My only frustration with this, though, has been a lack of produce. Since that's what the majority of our grocery budget is devoted to, it leaves his store pretty lacking. However, yesterday, I found a solution.
Blueberries- I kept the little plastic box, and filled it with little wads of blue construction paper to represent the blueberries.
Tomatoes- Again, I saved the container and filled it with the red and orange wooden beads from his threading set.
Basil- This week, I was unable to find a bunch of basil and was left purchasing the little package. But I kept that package too, and cut numerous leaf shapes out of some leftover green felt. Now we have basil.
Other produce I've contributed to the store include the more hearty real produce. My potatoes, onions, apples, and lemons may end up a little bruised (worst case), but they still taste yummy when I cook them the next day or two.
For the Family
I have to recommend a fabulous cookbook I picked up at the library. Like my other book recommendations, I intend to purchase this one. It's called Simply in Season* by Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind. It's a cookbook divided into the four seasons. In each section, it tells you what foods are "in-season" and available at your Farmer's Market, how to store them, and provides lots of recipes to get you cooking. I made the strawberry bread recipe this week (Yummy!) and rhubarb pie (best ever). Now, when I head to the Farmer's Market, I can have a plan and actually make healthy, seasonal meals for my family. The only thing I wish was different about this cookbook is that it has very few photos of the finished foods. I like to see what it should look like. I guess I'll just have to make more recipes to find out.
*Those links do go to Amazon though they don't give me anything for it. If you decide to purchase, find the best price whether that's Amazon or not.