Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kids--De-stress With Yoga!

At our school one of the units the physical education teachers provide for us is yoga! I notice that during our yoga unit, the kids are calmer and more relaxed. You don’t have to limit your yoga practice to school—you can even do yoga at home! Click here (with your parental figure’s permission, of course) for a great link to a yoga site with videos that you can watch and follow along!

I love to do yoga! Rocky (my cat) and Benny (my dog) like to do yoga with me. Sometimes they get in my way like when Rocky walks under me and tickles my nose with his tail. Or when I’m in Shavasana (that’s corpse pose when you lay flat on your back and really relax) and Benny wants to lie on top of me.

Try yoga—I’ll bet you’ll feel calmer, more relaxed, and you might even get along with your brothers or sisters better.

Have you ever tried yoga? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

What is Your Child Trying to Tell You?

Is your child crabby? Is she having trouble in school? Does she get sick frequently? There could be many reasons for this.

An important question to ask yourself: “Is she getting enough sleep?” I’ve blogged about that before. Kids need a lot of sleep.

Another aspect to investigate is her nutritional intake. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist. You might be surprised at how easy it is to tweak your family’s diet to get more value from your grocery budget—not just in your wallet but also in terms of health and wellness.

What about her schedule? Does she have any “down time” to just relax and daydream? Does she have daily afterschool activities? Consider letting her choose a favorite and eliminate the others.

Is she organized? Sometimes children get overwhelmed if they have not yet developed organizational skills. Check her agenda book. (I’ve blogged about that before, too.) Is she writing down her assignments? Keeping on top of due dates helps alleviate a lot of stress for everyone—parents and students alike.

Sometimes our children can’t vocalize what they are feeling. Sometimes it manifests in negative behaviors or even illness. If your child seems unhappy, listless, or isn’t doing well in school, a little detective work goes a long way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Interrupting Chicken"

My current favorite picture book is “Interrupting Chicken” written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein. The pictures are so awesome the book received a Caldecott Honor Medal! The best thing about this book is the main character, Chicken.

Just like most children, Chicken likes to hear a story at bedtime. Just like most children, Chicken wants to be good. And just like most children, Chicken gets too excited and interrupts.

You can’t help but love Chicken, though. Her enthusiasm is contagious. You also can’t help but feel sorry for her frustrated dad, whom she calls Papa.

Does Chicken let Papa read an entire story without interrupting? Does Chicken fall asleep so Papa can relax? You’re going to have to read the book to find out! Enjoy!

Have you read “Interrupting Chicken” or another good book? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Face Painting

Do you like to get your face painted? It’s fun! The most important thing about getting painted is to make sure the artist knows exactly what you want. Be clear when asking for your design so you’re not disappointed with the results.

The next important thing about getting your face painted is to sit really still. The face painter can’t do a really good job if you’re wiggling and jiggling about.

When the face painter is done, make sure you say thank you!

Have you ever wanted to be a face painter? You can! There are some really great kits out there. My favorite is “Face Painting” by Klutz. The designs are clearly explained with fabulous photographs to show you step-by-step how to paint them.

The first secret to being a good face painter is to look at the shapes within the designs. Everything you want to draw can be broken down into basic geometric shapes: circles, ovals, squares, triangles, etc. The second secret to being a good face painter is to practice, practice, practice! Happy painting!

Do you have a picture of you with your face painted?  I'd love to see it!  Ask your grown up for permission then send it to me and I'll post it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Cats In My Life

Do you have a pet? Through the years I have had many pets from mice, hamsters and guinea pigs to cats and dogs. I was a “cat person” before I became a “dog person” but that’s a story for another day. 

The first cat in my life was a black cat named Inky. It was fun to watch him bat a ball around the floor with his front paws.  He was a great "soccer" player but he got sick and died. (That was before the veterinarians knew about feline leukemia so there was no vaccine for it, yet.) Then we got two orange tiger kitties named Buffer and Ginger. Buffer liked me and Ginger liked my younger sister Marcia. Funny how cats choose their “people”. 

My younger sister Marcia and I spent many hours training Buffer and Ginger how to sit pretty and shake paws. We had lots of cat treats and they learned readily. Of course, it’s debatable who trained whom. 

The best part of having a cat is playing with them.  The worst part is scooping their litter box.  But it must be done every day.  Cats like a clean place to do their "business".

My earliest cat memory is of me playing with my grandmother’s cat at her house. Grammie Forbes had a house that went “round and round”. All the downstairs rooms—dining room, kitchen, and living room connected around a central staircase.

Somebody, I think it was Grammie, tied a piece of newspaper to a length of yarn. The newspaper looked like a grey butterfly. I dragged it behind me as I trotted from room to room with the cat chasing me. It was a great game. I think I was around three or four years old and the game was probably more to amuse me than the cat.

I’ve had my current cat Rocky for about thirteen years. (His brother, Romeo, got sick and had to be euthanized.)  Rocky likes to play with his new laser pointer. He got it for Christmas and he actually “asks” to play with it. He goes to where I left it last and paces around.

When I pick up the laser pointer, the key chain part of it makes a clinking sound and Rocky’s eyes actually dilate with excitement. When I click the button to turn it on his eyes look to the floor for his favorite red spot. It’s fun to swirl the dot on the floor as he chases it. I sometimes let him “catch” it.

Right now it is time to feed him. He is sitting next to me on the futon and staring at me. Every now and then he reaches out his paw and taps me as if to say, “Hey, remember me?” He just got down and started walking towards his food dish, looking back at me to see if I’m following him. Uh, oh! He’s starting to meow! I’d better stop typing and go feed him.

Do you have a pet? Do you help care for your pet? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Celebrating the Year of the Dragon!

Did you stay up to ring in the New Year this year?  I did!  It was great to see people all over the world celebrating the New Year, starting in Sydney, Australia.  When my children were little we liked to celebrate the Chinese New Year with my Chinese-American neighbors.

The Chinese calendar is based on the phases of the moon—that’s why it’s called a lunar calendar.  That is also the reason why the date for Chinese New Year can be anytime from January to March each year.  It lasts fifteen days!  CLICK HERE to learn why the Chinese New Year is celebrated. 

The best part of celebrating the Chinese New Year—the red envelopes!  These are filled with money and given to the children.  Red symbolizes good luck.  It certainly is good luck to receive money!  Other fun activities include making a very sweet New Year’s cake and a dragon puppet.   

This year is the Year of the Dragon!  Every year is named in honor of a particular animal.  CLICK HERE to read the legend explaining how the animals were chosen.    

Happy New Year!  Want to say it in Mandarin Chinese?  CLICK HERE for an audio clip.  

How did you celebrate the New Year?  Leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!