Friday, April 27, 2012

Morning Pages Books

I have been giving the boys some morning 'warm up' activities for a while now.  Back in October I mentioned that I was printing out pages for the boys to put on a clipboard.

Well, I would forget to do them sometimes and I would usually run out due to bad planning just when I was especially needing that morning quiet time to get myself together to make up for my bad planning.  Do you ever get caught in those cycles... run out of food, can't think properly to do a shopping list, get junk food to tide you over, can't think properly, get junk food again, manage to scrape together a shopping list to match a menu plan, but then don't have much money left to spend because you bought fast food?  No!  You don't?!  Then ignore that please.

Back to what I was saying... so I would run out of morning pages regularly.  This last break I decided to print out a whole 5 weeks worth and bind them into one big book with my new cheap binder.  I was going to try for 10 weeks worth but my binder won't go that thick and it wouldn't have been easy for the kids to handle.

What did I put in them?

Here's my rotation list:
Day 1
  • Maths sheet (printed out from Math Resource Studio) suiting each child at their level of skill
  • Fun Maths sheet (I would just google some thing that could be fun, I found great Subtraction mazes somewhere.  Thankfully I tried to keep the footers with the details on the page so I can find the good ones again.)
  • Handwriting (lines to suit their skill, will be a review of their handwriting lesson that they struggled with first time in their workbook)
Day 2
Day 3
  • Maths sheet
  • Literacy task (Again just googled various things, amazing the sheets you can find.  I went with simple grammar, alphabetizing, syllables, fill in the gaps...)
  • Handwriting
Day 4
  • Maths sheet
  • Maze according to their skill level (from Krazy Dad)
  • Handwriting
  • Review (I put in a blank page that I can write a review task up on, just anything I think they need to revisit from normal lesson time.)
Day 5
  • Maths sheet
  • Science task (Good old google helped again, animals and habitats, labelling body parts, food pyramid activities, senses, all good fun!)
  • Handwriting
It has been a lot  of fun, and I am extremely grateful to my in-laws for the printer they gifted us (laser jet) that didn't fit their publishing needs.  It came with extra ink, yay!!

I like that all the thinking for half the term has already been done.  Even if only the morning book got done each day I know they have done something 'schooly' if my brain has gone walkabout (as it can do sometimes!).

Hope that is helpful to someone, and big thanks to Tracey of Little Men in My Library for her inspiration.

Best wishes
Jen


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dieting Rules

I have noticed over the years that all diets out there to lose weight have "rules".  Some are ridiculous, some are very restrictive, and some are quite reasonable, so much so that you wonder why they even need to be worded as "rules".

In watching others and reading their success stories it seems to me that the most successful "rules" are those that we think are reasonable and achievable for ourselves. 

Some would drive me up the wall, like no baked goods.  Baking is a hobby of mine.  To take it away would be to take away part of my personality. 

Others seem quite reasonable, like instead of the very restrictive no chocolate, have a small set portion of very good quality or very emotionally nourishing chocolate (or whatever your treat is).  I was trying to have only one wrapped chocolate a day from a batch we got at Christmas.  I didn't like the flavour much so it was very easy to still indulge elsewhere in my day too.  It needs to be a treat I really like and can savour.   For me possibly Ferrero Rocher, or a very smooth milk chocolate similar to Kinder Surprise chocolate.  Then I would be willing to stop at only a small portion.  Having a small treat at set times and savouring it would be much better than no treats at all, or unlimited treats. :-)


Making a rule that I need to exercise for half an hour, or an hour, every morning would not work for me.  I co-sleep and trying to get out of bed without waking anyone else is an exercise in futility.  I could make a rule for myself to not sit still longer than an hour during the day, and no longer than one episode of a favourite show at night.  That might be more achievable.  After all as a mum of 4 I have plenty of reasons to get up and get moving, to hang out washing, to do dishes, to clean.  Plenty of exercise opportunities there.

I still need to think more about some other areas that I need to work on for my health, but this has at least given me some ideas.

Best wishes
Jen

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dutch Apple Baby

This recipe is the simplified version of a recipe from here.   It is rather like a thick eggy pancake with slices of lovely caramelised softened apple, great served with cream or a dollop of plain yoghurt.

Ingredients:
2 largish Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced about 5mm thick
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (although lately I have taken to adding mixed spice instead)
4 Tbsp butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 210 deg C.  Melt butter in a pan with an oven safe handle.  Add the sugar, spice and apple slices.  Saute until the apples slice are nicely softened and the sugar mixture is a bit bubbly.

While the apple is cooking whiz the eggs, plain flour, cream and milk in a blender until smooth.  (I have done this by hand with a fork and it didn't fail.)

Make sure the mixture in the pan is still hot and pour the eggy mixture over the top.  Place the pan in the oven with plenty of room to the rack above.

The mixture puffs up really well and looks beautiful as it cooks.  I watch it carefully after about 20 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn.  The bottom, which will curl up to become edges will be brown and a little crispy when the egg is cooked.

As it cools it deflates so make sure you tell the kids you are getting it out so they can see how big it puffs up.  I love watching it deflate.

We have lots of protein breakfasts.  I don't cope well with carb based breakfasts so try to keep carbs to snacks or as only part of meals rather than all of the meal.

This recipe (as well as Breakfast Casserole) are why we have chickens.  Now you know what I will do with 8-10 eggs a day when they all start laying. :-)

Best wishes
Jen

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Menu plan for this week

I am having one of those week where you dive into the freezer and the pantry to look for bits and pieces that can make a meal. Amazing how well you can eat some times even when you don't go shopping.

SUNDAY DINNER
Butter Chicken with Rice - uses 1 tin tomato, curry paste, lump of chicken, serve with rice

MONDAY BREAKFAST
Breakfast wraps/Apple Muffins

MONDAY LUNCH
Baked potatoes with spam and baked beans, salad

MONDAY DINNER
Spaghetti - uses tomato paste, mince, pasta

TUESDAY BREAKFAST
Porridge with apple

TUESDAY LUNCH
Carbonara - uses frozen diced bacon, pasta (may have to make pasta?)

TUESDAY DINNER
Country Sausage Hot Pot - uses sausages, tinned tomatoes, carrots, onion, serve with mashed spud

WEDNESDAY BREAKFAST
Toast, yoghurt, fruit

WEDNESDAY LUNCH
Frozen pasta

WEDNESDAY DINNER
Pasties - uses 1 lump mince, grated carrots and potato, corn or peas

THURSDAY BREAKFAST
Dutch Apple Baby - uses green apples, buy 2 if kids have eaten the ones in fridge

THURSDAY LUNCH
Tinned Sausage and Vegie meal
Pasta with vegetables and creamy sauce

THURSDAY DINNER
Kate’s Tomato Casserole Pg 138 $21 Challenge book - uses 1 tin tomatoes, 2 tins chickpeas, 1 stick celery, 500g diced beef, serve with mashed spud

SPARE - Nachos - uses 1 mince, 1 or 2 pkts cornchips, cheese, wraps possibly

SNACKS
Yoghurt - 2 tubs
Bananas 10
Corn chips 2 pkts (see spare meal)
Crackers and sourcream or hummus
Grapes
Apples (hopefully kids forget about them)

Best wishes
Jen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sorry for not posting

Hi,

Sorry it has been quite some time since I posted. I have had a lot of stuff going on in my head and I don't really want to dump my personal ponderings on a blog. I am a bit of a thinker, probably an over-thinker, and I have been trying to nut out where I have been and where I want to go next.

One thing that has been suggested to me is to enjoy and spend some time in the now too. I can spend too much time thinking of the past and future, and lose out on enjoying what I have now.

It has not been easy, but I am trying to be more mindful and present in my everyday life.

Best wishes
Jen
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