Thursday, June 25, 2015

Healthy Summer Treat for the Whole Family

Well Oregon and Washington are officially hitting hot summer days with  temperatures into the 90s and 100s. So we are breaking out our arsenal of sweet, easy, and cold summer treats. 

Of course one of the first things many people reach for in the summer heat are popsicles and ice cream which have their place at our house, but I prefer to try and find some healthy cold treatsas well. I do really like my Zoku popsicle maker for making quick healthy popsicles at home and my immersion blender to make frozen drinks like smoothies or frozen treats like all fruit sorbet. However one super easy and delicious summer treat is frozen grapes. 

I can not take the credit for thinking of this though. When I was working for a family over summer breaks from college the mother used to do this as a snack for her kids and it was so refreshing and wonderful that I have continued this summer treat in my own home. I have to reintroduce it every summer, especially to my son who is sceptical of most things, but after walking away from the first bite and saying it was horrible, he returned to say he wanted more and they were good. 

There is just something about them that feels extra refreshing when compared to other frozen snacks. I love them. All you do is rinse the grapes, pop the whole thing with the stem and everything, into the freezer and then eat them when they are frozen. For small kids I recommend cutting them in half after they have defrosted a bit, not too much though. They are hard and round so beware of choking hazards. Again cutting them in half helps a lot. 

Some of my other favorite healthy summer frozen snacks include smoothies and popsicles in my Zoku, there are some recipes in the tab above. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer Learning: Fun Learning for Kids During Summer Break

My son has decided he wants to do school over the summer at our house. He wants to do this every day and include everything he would normally have at school. He decided he wants to go back school in the fall as the kid that knows more than anyone else (he laughed and said, well that will probably be a fifth grader). So starting on the first day of summer break we I am trying to come up with ways of making this fun for him and my younger daughter, who is excited by the prospect as well.

Here is how our day is breaking down so far. We get up, have breakfast, then do reading. I have them both read on their own and ask him to choose a longer book.

My daughter is going into kindergarten, but can read independently for the most part. Once they finish their book they are to identify a few things for the story they read. My son is supposed to write a mini book report with the protagonist, the antagonist the setting, the conflict, the moral, and the resolution.

After my daughter finishes her reading she is supposed to write the name of the main character and draw a picture of that character.

So far they are both enjoying this part of the summer learning and find it fun.

While they do their reading I clean breakfast up, have my morning tea or coffee, and make sure I have the plan for the rest of the day in order.

So far we have only done a few days of really putting this into action and I am not sure the kids will want to keep it up over all of summer and I only want to do it if they are enjoying it, so we will see how it ends up.

After reading we do other school subjects. Sometimes they are combined projects, other times they are field trips, or movies.

So on our first day we did math which included using ten pennies to add and subtract numbers one through ten for my youngest. For my oldest we learned the area of a square formula using foam paper cut into one big square and a rectangle, with enough smaller squares to cover each completely. I taught him how the area of a square is it's base times it's height. We used the small squares to measure how many square fit across the base and how many fit across the height. I then have him problems with drawings of squares to solve on his own. 

Next we decided to come up with a school mascot. We did research about the symbolism of various animals we were interested in and colors we liked. Then we choose our animal and colors and wrote down some of the important words each symbolically stands for and drew a picture of our animal and then made a flag including our colors.

This project included practicing compluter skills and online research, science, reading, a bit about differences between cultures, and art.

After recess and lunch we headed to the public library to check out books on our animal and then watch the movie they were playing for their summer program.

We also checked out a book on learning to draw, because that is something my son has been worrying hee is not good enough at. We decided a good way to make him feel better about it would be to learn more about how to do it.

Every learning project we did today we did with things we have around the house and could easily be adapted to fit other learning needs.

We will see how this develops over the rest of the summer.