Toddler and kid friendly recipes

I got such strange looks when I asked all sorts of "experts" about the food pyramid and servings for toddlers when my kids were younger.

I wish I would have had these great resources from Wholesome Toddler Food!! 

Here the food pyramid is modified for the younger set and there are lots of nutritious, easy, kid friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and fast food substitutes. There are also sample menu plans!

Crafting your way through a home remodel....

Here are some fabulous ways to integrate crafting into a home remodel with these super terrific ideas and instructions from the very talented Cassity at Remodelaholic.

Imagine spending no more than $5,000 on a total home redo?  She has done it not once, but three times!
Okay, so the purse isn't technically part of the house remodel, but it'll look great for those post-remodeling social events.

Are schools illegally discriminating based on age?

A strange synergy of ideas occurred today.

Multiple folks from different venues stressed the importance of teaching kids based on their abilities and individual development rather than their chronological age and associated grade level.

(1) USA Today describes how schools in some states are grouping students by skill and not grade level.

(2) Scientist Aimee Yermish, of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development,  stresses that "gifted kids often develop asynchronously" so they can be far ahead in particular subjects but lag far behind in other skill sets, especially those that utilize executive functioning.  I would argue that most kids have areas in which they excel in more than others. So this means students would need to be grouped differently depending on subject matter or skill sets.

(3) In his email newsletter, Larry Shiller, of Montessori style ShillerMath curriculum says "Age discrimination is illegal; why permit and encourage it in our public schools? Grade levels are ingrained in our thinking about school. But should they be? They haven't always been. The one-room schoolhouse didn't have grades but it did have students who learned how to mentor and be mentored, and it didn't have students (and parents) who felt constant pressure to conform learning to age instead of capability... Bureaucrats invented grades to make their life easier in administering schools. The result? Cookie-cutter curricula, groupthink, age discrimination, and generally lousy education, all despite the best efforts of parents, teachers, and yes, even the government. Schools do need to be administered and so we do need bureaucrats. But the bureaucrats we need are those who implement structure and policy designed to help each student reach his or her own potential. And as most Montessori schools demonstrate, that means doing away with grade levels and putting the focus of school energy and resources on students and teachers."

Free personalized pattern for an easy sew wrap skirt

Here is a fabulous (and rather humorous!) tutorial on how to make your own pattern for a wrap skirt from Bethany at Sew, Mama, Sew!

My super-sewing friend Dori says this is the best tutorial she's seen.

While this project might only take a weekend, I can guarantee you'll eat up a lot more time browsing the many fabulous projects on this website.

Garden themed books

These are some books we recently checked out at the library and had a lot of fun with!

Good Morning Garden -- Beautiful paper illustrations inspire the urge to note only get out and enjoy nature but to think of new ways to be creative with paper.

Princess Chamomile's Garden -- An adorable story of determination and creativity. We ALL loved the final garden design and wished we could replicate it at our house.  It was magical and whimsical with some good lessons.

Sweet Strawberries -- This is an interesting story to stimulate discussion on the importance of a positive attitude toward others.  It shows how we can choose how to see the world and what an impact that has on our own lives.  As readers we can enjoy the thrill of the strawberry adventure and feel smug knowing we would be superior in knowing how to treat others with kindness.

Disclaimer: While others may call the husband a sour man, as a psychologist my impression was that he is a brash, abrasive, controlling, borderline abusive husband, but one who does seem to learn his lesson in the end.  If a child has exposure to violent adults in his/her life this might resonate in a negative way.  But it does offer adults the opportunity to talk with their children about appropriate ways adults should treat other adults and children.

Plant of the day: Viburnum

If you've ever been lured by an incredible scent on a walk, chances are you might have passed a viburnum shrub.  It's one of the most intense fragrances I've ever encountered. 

"Tough as nails with a heavenly fragrance, the Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk is an outstanding choice for a hedge shrub. 

"It has beautiful flowers and fragrance in the spring, pretty summer berries for the song birds, and beautiful orange leaves for fall."

Check out this wonderful plant at Great Garden Plants.

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