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Read my article "It All Adds Up". Click on the link below:
*Picture book, contemporary, preschool through second graders
*Young girl as main character
*Rating: This is a cute book for young children. It can help them learn about different veggies and about making friends. The illustrations are FANTASTIC!
Short, short summary:Adelita is starting school and wants to make friends, but she’s worried and nervous as all children are when they start school. Her teacher begins class with a basket of vegetables. Each student takes one–some are familiar such as sweet potatoes and cucumbers. Others are less familiar such as calabacitas, cassavas, and malangas. Each child in the class chooses a vegetable out of the basket, and they talk to each other about them. Adelita finds a girl who also has a squash, and they eventually become friends. Then they talk to other children in the class about their vegetables, and everyone feels better in the end. This book is bilingual, as it has a full English and Spanish text (from Pinata Books).
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Re-enact the book. Bring in a basket of veggies–some well-known and some lesser known. Have each child choose one. Then do different activities. For example, have any student with a green vegetable stand by the door and a brown veggie by the window. Students could try to find out more about their veggie also–a mini research project.
2. Make a Vegetable A to Z book with students. In a shared writing activity, make a list from A to Z of different veggies. Each student gets at least one veggie to make a book page with. They can draw a picture, write a sentence, or even a fact like where they grow.
3. What makes a good friend? How do you make friends? Have you ever felt like Adelita when you started at a new place? You can ask students these questions and more with this book. It’s a great discussion starter.
(BONUS: There’s a recipe for vegetable soup at the back of the book you can make with children!)Add a Comment
Every once in a while, I like to take a break from the regularly scheduled program of books and sharing them, and share with you some other cool stuff. Today, I want to share a website/app that I was asked to review and think could be a real benefit to ANYONE wanting to lose weight and/or get healthier and/or exercise more. It’s called SLIMKICKER.COM, and it’s so super easy to use for your weight loss/healthy lifestyle changing goals.
So, what is it? According to the website, Slimkicker.com is “a level-up game and point-based program. You start by tracking your diet, where whole foods are worth more points than processed foods.” Then the creators go on to say, “But diet, and fitness are half of the battle. Most people regain weight because they never learn long-term habits. We solve this by taking habits as quitting soda, and turning them into 7-30 day challenges. Like a regular game, the challenges start out easy, and gradually become harder, with more points. We encourage you to check-in daily with others doing the same challenge for accountability and social support.”
They also state that it can go along with any diet program that you may already be using or want to use, AND it’s all about learning portion control, proper nutrition, and acquiring healthy habits. I can see this site REALLY appealing to a competitive person OR someone who needs to be accountable to someone, but doesn’t have a fitness buddy in his/her life.
It’s easy to sign up–I did it in about 5 minutes. I haven’t used all the tools yet, but there are tabs in your account where you can record what you eat, how much you exercise, and then join a challenge, such as eating one salad a day for 7 days OR replacing juice with tea for 7 days. You get a certain number of points added to your account if you complete the challenge. YOU ALSO can choose your own rewards–like if you reach certain levels on the site, you might reward yourself with a girls night out? A new handbag? A new book? (That’s what I want to see! )
Spring is here for most of us–(most major holidays are over for a while) so it’s the perfect time to get in shape and be healthy! Check out Slimkicker.com. (BTW, I get nothing special for telling you this. I just think it’s a cool site and will be helpful for some of you struggling with this area of your life!)
Finally, because I HAVE to share a book with you, I reviewed this one for The News-Gazette. It’s great to share as a family because it’s all about excuses and how we use them to eat unhealthy! Its called: “But I deserve this chocolate!” The 50 Most Common Diet-DeRailing Excuses and How to Outwit Them (Author: Susan Albers, PsyD Publisher: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.) I’ll put an Amazon link below. It’s an easy book to use, and you don’t have to read it cover to cover. Find your excuse or your spouse’s or your kids’ or your work-out buddies’, and go from there.Add a Comment
The Secret Seed Society Theatre Show ‘What’s the Big Secret?’ recently made a special visit to Bright Horizons Wooldale Early Care & Education Centre and Caroline Chisholm Primary School in Northampton. The Show took the children on an exciting and educative adventure with the vegetable characters of the Seed City Series where they learnt the joys of growing, cooking and eating veg.
The children were welcomed into a hall and entertained by the likes of Grandpa Swede, Carla Carrot, and the eccentric scientist and his friendly Gro-bot who were all there to teach the audience how fun and easy it can be to grow your own food!
The children were then taken on a delightful journey from pot to plate! They ‘mashed’ and they ‘cried’ with their veg in a game of idenitfication. They discovered the art and precision to sowing a seed and also learnt the magic of the allotment. The Show ended with Grandpa Swede teaching the children how to make his famous (and very delectable) vegetable stew.
All stewed out the children were finally let in on the ‘Big Secret’ and invited to join the Secret Seed Society ‘Seed Agent Club’ where they will learn even more about how things grow, smell and taste! They went away from the show with a wonderful little gift which would take them on a new adventure with vegetables and enable them to practice what they learned in the Show.
We were pleased to hear that the Show was enjoyed immensely by both children and staff:
“The children loved the show – the actors were great and enthusiastic – they loved singing and enjoyed the opportunity to take part.”
(Primary School Teacher).
“The children loved watching the show, singing and taking part” (Nursery Teacher).
For more information on the Secret Seed Society Theatre Show ‘What’s the Big Secret’ and how we can visit your school please contact us by e-mail here.
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Do you suspect that your portion sizes are maybe more generous than standard? Just check your reactions to the following statements.
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If you found yourself agreeing then watch out, as soon you will be finding that these are also far too close to the truth.
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Don’t loose heart though. Here are a few cunning ways to make people believe your size is reducing rather than increasing.
The 10th Annual ABC Games presented by U.S. Airways kick off this Friday!
The Rainforest Rhythm gallery will once again be transformed into a nature themed obstacle course, with one of the highlights being a miniature rock climbing wall! The Games kick off with an Opening Day ceremony this Friday, June 4th at 10 a.m. featuring a parade through the museum led by our Flag Corps and concluding with the lighting of the "ABC Games Torch."
The ABC Games are a part of Please Touch Museum's Get Up and Grow™ healthy lifestyles initiative designed to enhance the lives of families by promoting healthy living to children. It's a lighthearted, interactive, content-based approach to teaching lifelong habits that result in healthier, happier families through compelling resources, exhibits, messaging, events and open-ended play. Physical fitness can easily be incorporated on a daily basis, for instance, make walking outside enjoyable by naming the trees or flowers that you see along the way!
Throughout June, visitors will be able to participate in an ABC Olympic Flag Printing activity in the Program Room, which will teach them about the Olympic Flag and the Olympic Games, all while working on hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning, symmetry and patterns.
Here are some active lifestyle and sports-related questions you can ask your children during your visit, or at home to further engage them:
I’m so excited the 10th Annual ABC Games presented by US Airways are in full swing! Did you know the ABC Games are part of Please Touch Museum’s Healthy Lifestyles initiative “Get Up and Grow,” designed to enhance the lives of families by promoting healthy living to children? In recent years, the initiative has grown to encompass many aspects of the Please Touch experience, such as: “No Smoking” signs and recycling containers throughout the museum; the physically engaging Flight Fantasy exhibit; and healthy eating options that comprise the menu in the Please Taste Cafe.
Max and Me, the museum’s exclusive on-site caterer, is committed to helping educate museum guests on the benefits of eating healthy foods to help the fight against childhood obesity. The Please Taste Cafe offers a number of alternatives to traditional kid fare. Some of the healthy menu options include:
• Whole/ fresh-cut fruits and vegetables with low-fat dips
• Salads with low-fat dressing
• Lean proteins
• 100% fruit juices
• Whole grain cereals and breads, cereal bars and steel cut oatmeal
• Vegetarian options
During your museum visit, keep an eye out for The Kooky Cooks Cooking Show. This show is an interactive performance series, modeled on the popular cooking show television format, which incorporates the wide variety of foods in the museum’s Supermarket. Performances are followed by extended character interactions for children in the exhibit with the performers, designed to encourage and support child-directed dramatic play within the exhibits.
Here are some tips for conservation in the kitchen:
Practice cutting down on paper product use. Try using washable dishcloths and napkins more often to reduce paper waste, and purchase recycled paper products when possible.
BYOB- Bring Your Own Bag, that is! Using a cloth or recycled shopping bag helps reduce the energy and resources used to make and transport paper or plastic bags. Invest in a bag that is durable and compact, and keep it handy in your car, coat pocket, stroller or purse.
And on August 29, the museum will hold its 1st Annual Stroller in the Park, a 5K family-oriented walk in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. This event will encourage families to remain active and will provide a fun-filled day of healthy lifestyle resources and activities to celebrate the end of summer. To learn more about Stroller in the Park, click here.
I am ridiculously obsessed with this book, French Women Don't Get Fat.
It all started with a few, ahem, extra pounds from my holiday baking extravaganza. As motivation to get back on track, my sister and I decided to do a Biggest Loser contest for 8 weeks. Biggest loser wins a gift card to B&N. After day one of small portions and celery sticks I was extremely depressed. I said to myself, "Self, I can't do this for eight weeks." I was perusing my library for helpful tips when I found this book.
It's all about enjoying your food, savoring the flavors, exploring with spices, eating variety, eating seasonally, seeking out quality ingredients (1 small piece of quality chocolate vs a Snickers bar). And there's recipes! And lots of French thrown in, for that Je ne sais quois. But it is muy magnifique! Now I want to learn French, cook French food, and visit France. And be svelte and fit and sophisticated.
Now where did I put my beret?
McDonald’s is revamping its happy meals (to make them healthier. Kids will find fewer fries, and a serving of fruit or veggies instead, lowering the overall calorie content by 20%. McDonalds had thought about cutting out the fries altogether... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Maggie Goes On A Diet:
This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.
This new release creates controvery with the word Diet. Will it lead to eating disorders, or help children understand the value of eating a healthy diet and exercising? While I haven't read the book, my first impression is that parts leave good messages; eating healthy, exercise. Another message, however, leaves me cold. In order to be popular and keep friends from bullying you, get thin and participate in team sports. The fact that Maggie loses weight and plays soccer is good, but this shouldn't be the only way to have friends. I'm also troubled that, apparently, the bullies have no accountability for their hurtful actions.
Not Fat Because I Wanna Be: By LaNiyah Bailey
I have been riding an incredible high, the result of making excellent grocery purchases and turning them into seriously good eats, since last Thursday. For the past year, I've been doing the majority of our menu planning based on A) what we've got in the house and B) what's on sale at Shoprite each week. I also try to use coupons whenever possible, and I'm lucky in that my mom will clip ones from the paper for us. Plus, I also discovered that even though the coupons for BJ's Warehouse have expiration dates on them, they're like Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons in that they don't ever actually expire. By doing these things, and making sure Joe and I pack our lunches, we've been able to cut down quite extensively on our grocery bills. Even so, I'm always looking for more bargains, better bargains, and a way to buy the food I want to cook without sending us to the poor house.
One day while flipping through sale ads, I saw an insert for the Newark Farmer's Market, which sits right across the street from our gym. Joe and I had gone there once last winter and at the time I was excited by the variety of produce offered. Things I can't get readily anywhere else, like Japanese eggplant and every kind of chili pepper imaginable. They have a large selection of speciality items for Asian and Mexican cooking, too. But for some reason, after that first trip we never went back. Anyway, this sale insert I saw advertised a pint of fresh blueberries for 99 cents. At Shoprite, that will easily cost you $3. And they had bananas for 29 cents/lb. At Shoprite, it's at least 20 cents more. Etc.
So, last Thursday after class, I headed to the Newark Farmer's Market with my shopping list. An hour later, I walked out $35 poorer but loaded up with so much amazing stuff that I felt like a kid at Christmas. Pickling lime for $1? A pint of gorgeous grape tomatoes for 99 cents? A huge box of lavender green tea - 50 bags for $2.99? Ooh, baby. My biggest score was the fresh thyme. See, I know fresh herbs taste way better than dried ones, but it's not usually cost effective for me to purchase them. Even Trader Joe's charges $1.99 for a small package. But at the NFM, I found this enormous package of fresh thyme with very few bruised leaves. I needed the fresh for a recipe I was making over the weekend (more on that in a bit), but not nearly as much in the package. However, we recently ran out of dried thyme, too. And I thought, well, what about the dehydrator? I'd bought Joe one for his birthday two years ago, so we could play around with making our own beef jerky. But then I thought, what if we dried the leftover fresh thyme and ground it up in the old coffee bean grinder we use for spices? That's got to be fresher than the dried thyme you buy at any store, even Whole Foods (which, sadly, we don't have yet in DE anyway). Cost of the fresh thyme? $2.50. Cost of a tiny jar of dried thyme at Shoprite? $5.49.
Then, on Friday, I made my weekly pilgrimmage to Shoprite. I was especially excited because they had whole beef tenderloin on sale for $3.99/lb (marked down from $5.99). I dug through the bin and managed to find a little 4 lb. tenderloin - which means I got about four dinners' worth of potential filet mignon for $16 (and, if you read my list of 33 things I want to accomplish in my 33rd year, fabricating my own whole beef tenderloin was item #10). I picked up 5 lbs. of bone-in chicken thighs, 3 lbs. of sweet Italian sausage, 2.5 lbs. of hot Italian sausage - all of which were on sale as well - plus half and half, heavy cream, cream cheese, shredded cheese, a new 9x13 cake pan, and a cart full of other things for a whopping $70. Since the previous week I was able to pick up some top round London broil for $1.99/lb, and next week I can pick up boneless pork loin for $.99/lb and bottom round roast for $1.99/lb., I will have effectively stocked our freezer with enough meat to feed us roughly four to six months - and all for about $100.
Can I get a woot-woot?
On Saturday, I made Rachael Ray's recipe for portobello pizzas, which she intended as an appetizer but seeing as how one small mushroom cap was a Lara-sized dinner portion, we made a meal out of them. (Yay for the cheap but delicious grape tomatoes I scored at the Newark Farmer's Market, not to mention the reasonably priced portobellos!) Then, on Sunday, Joe and I made this recipe for eggplant lasagna that I saw on RESCUE CHEF - the sauce for which we also made from scratch. Okay, first of all? The sauce is amazing, and the recipe yields enough not only for the lasagna but extra for freezing. But also: how freaking ingenious is it to create a lasagna using roasted eggplant slices in place of noodles? I mean, I adore traditional meat-and-cheese lasagna, but oh. My. GOD. Between the homemade marinara and the sweetness of the roasted eggplant and the intense punch of the fresh herbs ... this was like a big ol' pan of love. And with the exception of calling for whole milk ricotta, instead of part-skim or fat-free, there is absolutey NOTHING unhealthy about this dish. Plus, it makes enough for eight normal-people servings, and since I get two full meals out of one normal-people portion, there are leftovers galore.
This is the thing that Joe and I realized over the weekend: as long as we stay excited about food and leave time for home cooking, we eat really healthfully. When we first moved in together, we were spending probably three times what we do now on food, and most of it was going to heart-attack friendly take out - a constant rotation of pizza, cheese steaks, jalapeno poppers and chicken fingers. Nowadays, creative and healthy eating is like this bonding ritual for us. We watch cooking shows together, go shopping for ingredients together, make delicious meals together, eat those delicious meals together, and even do the dishes together. It's nice. I like it. And I honestly don't miss BK bacon double cheeseburgers, not even for one second.
Other good things: our Wii arrived on Saturday, so we finally got our Wii Fit on! Ohmigod, it was so much fun. So. Much. FUN! It doesn't replace a gym workout - not by any stretch - but holy cow, were we laughing ourselves silly. Plus, by Sunday, the two of us were experiencing soreness in muscles that apparently don't get used much at the gym, so I think it will round out the weekly routine quite nicely. And because we're such dorks? Saturday night, we created an Alton Brown Mii, so now we get to work out along side our favorite Food Network chef.
Do you know how every now and then you feel so enormously happy that you think your skin might explode, because it can't possible contain all of that happiness? I've spent the better part of four days feeling like that, save for several hours on Saturday where every single thing that could've gone wrong did (including me losing my temper at a particularly snotty customer service rep from Citibank, and then bursting into tears because I really don't like losing my temper at anyone, no matter how snotty they are). Yes, money is tight, and yes, wedding planning still sucks (though we are making progress with a great caterer). Yes, I have 125 unanswered e-mails again, and yes, I'm behind on several deadlines at the moment. But so freaking what? Joe is amazing. Our dog is adorable. Life is really, really good. And I am really, really lucky.
I've decided to stop taking the Alli. Not because it doesn't work, but because I'm terrible with taking any kinds of medicine. There have been several times when I'd forgotten to take it when I was supposed to. So, needless to say, it's a hassle that I don't need right now. As far as pills are concerned, I think I'm just going to stick with trying to take my blood pressure pills faithfully like I should. Unlike Alli, or any weight loss pill for that matter, the blood pressure pills are for my health...kind of like a matter of life and death, so, I'm thinking these are more important. I do need to find out about vitamins to take, though. I've been so tired lately (but I think I may be coming down with something). Gotta get vitamins.
I'm still eating better. I've been eating breakfast (yay me), which is usually hard for me. I'm not a breakfast eater, but, every morning for the past 2 weeks, I've been faithfully taking the time to eat breakfast. I've also been eating a small snack (like yogurt) between meals so I won't get the munchies. I haven't been snacking on junk either. In my parents' house, there are 9 of us (3 children, 2 teens, and 4 adults), which makes it hard to buy ingredients for the healthy recipes. Starting next week, it'll only be my sister and I (we're moving into our new house), so it'll be much easier. That's one thing I'm looking forward to.
Can I see the fruits of my labor in pound loss? Not much. I only see a 5 lb weight loss. My clothes are fitting a little looser, which means inches are coming off, if not lbs. I'm still happy, though. I mean, it could be worse, right? I could've gained everything back and then some.Add a Comment
Spring Break. Waaaah! Spring Break is over! *Tear* It went by way too fast! It's already Friday. Our next big vacation (summer) won't be for another 11 weeks. Oh, the horror! The pain! The agony of waiting...counting down the days. It's a good thing I love my job.
So, you wanna know what I did for spring break (you probably don't, but humor me, will you)? Ab-so-lute-ly NOTHING...and I loved it. Rest and relaxation - ain't that what it's all about? I mean, yeah, my sis and I were supposed to be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, lying on the beach, batting our hazels at the local cuties, BUT, we're in our own house! I'm in my roomy master bedroom with my equally roomy master bathroom. WE HAVE A HOUSE! I think Puerto Rico and the cuties can wait - besides, we're going in December. So, this spring break, we stayed home to bask in the awesome-ness of having our own house.
Mi Casa Nueva. So, I'm sure you can tell that I love my townhouse. I am so blessed! God is so good...He really is. The townhouse is roomier than we thought it would be. It's perfect for a first house. I have the master bedroom. It's not cuz my sister let me have it out of the goodness of her heart since I'm the oldest. No. I had to pay for it...literally. I bought her an iPod and promised to cook for a month just so I can have the master bedroom. It's worth it! I'm lovin the roomy-ness! We thought we'd be moving in with practically nothing, but when people - especially my wonderfully awesome parents - found out we were moving and needed furniture/dishes/food, they gave. Isn't that awesome? Here are pics. Our townhouse is the one with the cars in the drive.
Last week, I said I was changing my focus with my weight loss journey - moving my focus from the weight to God. I started this approach last Thursday, where I have a daily scripture and affirmation to meditate on. I've changed my way of thinking (all positive; no negative). Apparently it's working because I've lost 2 lbs in one week, which isn't bad for that amount of time. I'm still watching what I eat and working out.
Speaking of workouts, my new neighborhood has a sand volleyball court. I'm soooooo happy about that, since I LOVE playing volleyball. When we lived with our parents, my sister and I would just volley the ball back and forth as a workout since they didn't have a court/net. But now...oh yeah, we're about to get our workout on! And playing volleyball in the sand is an even better workout than regular v-ball. Yeah, baby!
I finally did the Laila Ali/Sugar Ray Leonard boxing workout. It's not on the same level of, say the TaeBo vids as far as production is concerned (not bad, though), but, to me, it's still a good workout. I haven't done the advanced dvd yet. Sugar Ray motivates throughout, but Laila does most of the talking (maybe her name should go first...but then, Sugar Ray is a bigger name). I'm working my way up to the heavyweight dvd (gotta get through the lightweight dvd first).
Another pound gone away! Yay me! My goal for my first month (March 19h - April 18th) was to lose at least 4 pounds (one pound/week). I am more than halfway there, with 2 weeks left. I've lost a total of 3 pounds in 2 weeks...the safe way, of course.
What did I do differently? Changed my way of thinking and put God into the equation. I've asked Him to help me with my weight loss journey. I know...shoulda did this earlier. *Sigh* Doesn't matter, I'm doing it now and He's doing just what I asked. I've had the will power to turn away unhealthy snacks (sometimes, but, hey, we're allowed ice cream every once in awhile). I've also had the strength to workout everyday this week. So yeah, I'm getting results...and I'm feeling good. YIPPEE!
I did it! Well, God did it, but you get the gist of what I'm saying. On March 19th, I set out to lose 4 pounds by the 19th of April. I've lost the 4 pounds as well as a total of 5.5 inches. It's all about changing the way I'm thinking & including God in the mix. This weight loss journey is hard and I can't do it without Him. He's the one giving me the strength to exercise when I really don't feel like it. He's the one giving me the power to turn down whatever junk food I'm craving, but really don't need (now, of course I reward myself every once in a while). I'm going to keep focus on month-to-month weight loss...you know, take it slow. I'm so excited! 4 lbs down...71 more to go!
Arrrree those brussels sprouts on ye dinner plate? Have no fear! Captain Cook is here and calling all hands on deck to show young mates how veggies and other healthy foods are friends, not foes!
From now through May 17, Please Touch Playhouse is proud to present "Eat Like a Pirate," a fun and interactive show designed to help parents and kids learn about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of good nutrition and exercise.
Aboard their trusty ship, The Flying Lunch Bucket, brave Captain Cook and his crew, the Low-Sodium Dogs, sail past the Sandwich Islands up to the Great Food Pyramids a-searching for good nutrition, the proverbial free lunch and the ever elusive Berry Treasure! The show runs approximately 25 minutes.
***Showtimes are Mondays-Saturdays 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Sundays 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted.***
For those of you who don't have a crew of hilarious puppets or a wealth of catchy songs at home, there are tons of other ways that parents and children can have a great time while practicing healthy habits when they aren't playing here at Please Touch Museum!
Here are just a few ideas for ways that parents and children can play their way to healthy eating: