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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Money Cents

My son loves Math, he doesn't know that he loves it but he certainly does. I know he's only 4 years old and he's my son so I just think he's super smart because he can do "adding and minus-ing" as he calls it.  (Though my husband the over achiever said that in Hong Kong and most of Asia, children his age know the multiplication table by heart to 12x12). Anyways... he'll spend half an hour at his desk in his room, working on a  math worksheet, be it addition or subtraction, that comes with a colour by number activity.  Of course he could be motivated by earning the 20 minutes of ipod time on weekends only.

He's also very interested in money and identification of the currency. What a great and tangible way to encourage or reinforce so many math concepts - counting my fives, trading pennies for dimes and dimes for loonies (working with tens) etc.

I was able to teach him the "value" of money. For example
Penny - what can I penny buy these days?
Nickle - one plastic bag at the store or one jellybean
Quarter - one Timbit
Loonie - one coffee
Twonie - one hamburger
Five dollars - one Happy Meal
Ten dollars - a Pizza

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Did Mommy do Today?

Today was a day different than most school days because Maggie and AJ were home sick with coughs and sniffles; not a terrible kind of sick but enough to make AJ take a rest in bed for most of the morning and for Maggie to use up boxes of Kleenex's.
Easter Crafts - Dollar Store

AJ used to believe that a no-school day would be like a Saturday with access to the ipod, wii, unlimited movie and TV time (a mistake I might've made in the past). However I wanted this day to be a bit more structured and it turned out almost like a school day with me as the Teacher and these two trouble makers as knowledge seekers. To top it all off, I even had time for a short nap and to do some work too.

0630h Wakeup
0730h Breakfast done; Brush Teeth and Change Clothes
0745h Play time (usually that is the time to get into boots and Snow pants)
0805h Keep playing (usually that is the time to start walking to the bus stop)

0900h TV Time 45 min (I already asked them to wait till 9am for once! I fed the baby and took a little nap)
1000h House Chores with little helpers! I even changed the batteries on the smoke detectors and replaced some light bulbs that blew.
1100h Math and Games Time (Bee Hive Game - tens, counting by twos, quantities) and a Pizza in the oven!
1130h Crayon Art and Free Sketching
1145h Science Experiments - making a hypothesis, observations, and a conclusion. (This could be a whole new post, but Maggie was verifying that magnets only stick to metal surfaces and not anything else)

1200h Lunch
1300h more Crayon Art and Free Sketching
1330h Play time
1400h Movie Time 45 min (they watched a cartoon story about the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, while I fed the baby and prepped dinner, printing work sheets)
1500h Snack Time
(1530h School Bus arrives on a normal school day)
1600h Easter Crafts (Mary's classical music CD is playing)
1700h TV Time 30 min (gives me some time to cook and setup dinner)

1730h Dinner Time/ Snacks/ Fruit
1830h Play Time
1900h Bath Time/ Story Time
1930h Baby Sleeps
2000h Kids Sleep/ Fold Laundry/ Pack Kids Lunches

2100h Practise Piano 1 hour
2200h Night Routine/ Computer time
2300h Lights Out (until little people start waking up)

And that's a really good day without too much yelling, screaming, fighting or crying. We covered everything including a bit of Math, Science, Arts and Crafts, countless wholesome snacks, and even some Religion. Not sure if I could do that everyday and run a home school! I would've liked to fit in some music time and a French movie or book.

I feel like I need to rewrite the words to that poem, "What did you do Today?" since that's the same question my husband asked me today when he came back home from work.

0830h Piano practise for Mommy
0900h Piano Lesson for AJ and music writing
1000h Professional Development

Noon Lunch
1300h Kid Chefs! (AJ helps me make the meat loaf)
1400h Movie Time
1500h Reading
1530h Pickup Maggie from the Bus
1600h Snack Time/ Play Time
1700h TV Time

My goals that day were to fit in the piano lesson for AJ that we've missed for ages, and to really minimize the TV time. That used to be a problem for me but I realized that I just had to engage him to work on tasks together, such as cooking dinner and that really made the hour pass by so pleasantly!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Talk

The World According to Preschoolers (continued)

Some day it will inevitably come up that I will have to give the complete answer to my kids questions about where do babies come from. For now, they have bits and pieces of true and factual information but not quite the entire picture for obvious reasons because I choose to give age appropriate answers.

While parking our car in the packed church parking lot, we saw a family walking by with seven kids all under the age of 7 for sure. I blurted out in shock, "Wow that mom has seven kids!!" and my daughter heard me and she spoke out in shock as well, "What? Why did that mom eat so much food?"

I had to laugh because I realized that her understanding of human reproduction at this point was asexual, though incorrect.

Known Facts

Humans are mammals.  She's seen me pregnant three times already, and how I went to the hospital with a giant belly and returned home with a wee little baby.

I have a belly button because I was attached to my mommy with the umbilical cord.

The deal with the egg and sperm, joining up to make a zygote, embryo, fetus and baby etc.

The mom has the egg, the dad has the sperm.

Boys have penises, girls have vaginas, for peeing.

People usually have kids after they get married, so according to her I got married four times!

When you eat a lot of food, your tummy gets really big and fat. As well, when the mommy eats, the baby inside gets big and strong.

Therefore, the mom surely ate a lot of food to grow 7 children! Well no matter which way or how it happened, seven children sounds pretty scary to me!

Monday, March 11, 2013

What Did You Do Today

It's the first day of spring break and the kiddies were at Art Camp. I asked them, what did you do today. Answer: Crafts, mom! Well this is for all the other days when I asked the same question and I got a less informative answer.
Art for Everyone:
Imagination Factory


When children come home at the end of the day.
The question they're asked as they scurry to play is:
"Tell me what did you do at school today?"
And the answer they give makes you smile with dismay
"Nothing! I did nothing today!"

Perhaps nothing means that I played in the sand, or
Played with the teacher in our own band.
Maybe I painted a picture of red or blue
Or I heard a story about an elephant that flew.

Maybe I played with the play dough today
Or went outside to the playground to play.
Maybe today was the very first time
That my scissors followed a very straight line.

Maybe I led a song from beginning to end,
Or played with a special, brand new friend.
When you're only four and your heart has wings
"Nothing" can mean so many things.

Author Unknown

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pet Peeves and First World Drama

I call it my list of "first world" problems that I face everyday, for example, "When bad outfits happen to good people" or "When bad hair happens to good people".  Another issue that used to bother me alot for nearly half an hour every morning, but now which magically takes only 5 minutes... kids getting dressed for the winter with all the glory of snowpants, boots, jacket, and hat; scarf, backpack, mittens last.  On the other side of the coin, this is a small deal considering other people might be worried about owning a pair of proper boots or snowsuits, right?

But what are the underlying conditions that really make me mad? How can I simplify this into common denominators? I've finally been able to narrow it down to three things that make me really mad and explain to myself why it makes me mad, so that I can stop being mad.
Image Source

1) When people aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing.
When my husband is supposed to be tucking the baby in for a nap, he's holding her and watching football (soccer) or reading up on stock quotes, but I'm the one super busy doing the dishes, sweeping, and cleaning up after lunch or dinner while the other kids are running around pulling each other's hair. But wait, who is the one doing the more important work?

When they're supposed to be brushing their teeth and getting dressed for school, instead they've locked themselves in the bathroom, joking or laughing about toothpaste being squeezed onto the counter or drinking water from a toothpaste cap.

When dirty clothes should be going into the dirty laundry bin. It's not shooting basketball hoops, there's no reason to miss. You just have to open the hatch on the hamper and put it in. My kids know how to do that because I decided to train them from birth to avoid conflicts in their future marriage.

I should put up a sign, Please place dirty laundry into bin. However, I doubt anyone would bother reading it which ties in to my next one.

2) When people don't know what they're supposed to know
When my mother in law puts medicine and creams into the fridge that are supposed to be stored at room temperature, and/or keeps Parmesan cheese and other items that are "refrigerate after opening" at room temperature.

When my husband bought the "Jalapeno" Laughing Cow cheese my son grabbed, cuz he didn't "know" to read the label. He didn't realize that Laughing Cow cheese comes in different flavors besides, fat (dark blue) and low fat (light blue). But it has red packaging! Read the label! (I was mad for nearly two hours, possibly because I was post partum and extremely hormonal, they all thought I was crazy to be mad about cheese. But deep inside, I was mad about people not reading labels).

When we ran out of dishwasher detergent and my nanny poured dish soap into the compartment in the dishwasher. Let me tell you, there was a bubble bath on my kitchen floor. I suppose that was an honest mistake and there really isn't a label anywhere that says, Do not use dishsoap like dishwasher detergent. You have to learn that one the hard way. Bubbles were tricky to mop up but the kitchen got a good cleaning.

Another time, a certain adult was helping me with laundry, but she poured the liquid detergent into the fabric softener compartment. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure this was not the first time it happened but I only found out about it because I saw her tipping the last bit of detergent in the jug so it was taking longer than usual so I went to check in. doh!!!!!!!!

I suppose my pet peeve number one should actually be, When people don't read labels properly!!!!

3) When people don't eat what they're supposed to be eating
When I cook a reasonable dinner that is not gross, I promise next time I will take a photo to prove that I am a reasonable cook and the meal is nutritious, edible and beautifully presented, so there is no reason not to eat it.

For example, I made a hearty stew of red beans, tomato paste, leftover squash, chicken chunks and star pasta. My daughter loved it and asked me to make it again next time. So I did, almost the same way, but she didn't want the bean soup the second time and only picked at it. "I'm still hungry, can I have cheerios and milk".

I've figured that my kids don't like leftovers but they like fried rice, chicken fingers, fish sticks, edame beans, KFC or friend chicken but not shake and bake, pasta with tomato sauce, alphaghetti, hot dogs served with the bun but they won't eat the bun, mini hamburgers, carrot sticks and cucumber sticks (not slices), cheese or ham sandwiches but not both together, frozen corn or peas, corn on the cob and corn soup, baked frozen pizza from any brand but not the soft storemade kind from the deli.  And they also like any kind of Chinese stirfry dinner with plain rice. Cooking for them is actually pretty easy. I sometimes prefer that my husband is away or not coming back for dinner because I can just get away from cooking "kid food". Then I don't have to worry about cooking a descent meal of pot roast or ribs, potatoes, carrots or squash, or even baked ham and pineapple and then he comes home and announces that he's gonna make himself his own bowl of wonton soup. Yah whatever, my teenage babysitter ate with us one time and told her mom the food was really good, and I know the food is really good, so that's why I'm mad at people who are not eating what they are supposed to be eating.

Default dinner if you don't like the food - Cheerios and Milk (or make your own wonton soup).

How do I stop being mad.
Well for starters, my parents used to tell me as a child, tears are really precious almost priceless, so don't waste them. I guess Jesus said it best on the cross, Father forgive them because they know not what they are doing.
Image Source

I'm taking it out of context, I guess people just can't help being stupid or they can't help doing something they're not supposed to be doing. Well as long as safety is not compromised, which means it's actually ok for me to be mad about people not reading labels. However, kids need to be directed and told the right way.

However, my dad also told me that even in my greatest anger, I should try not to yell at my husband nor tell him that he is stupid (even if he really did something as stupid as the annoying things I described above) .It is kinda funny in a wierd way, and I sometimes laugh even when I'm angry. The reason is that the best comeback would be "Well I guess it was a stupid decision to marry you" Well maybe this is some kind of inside joke he has with my mom, but I hope my husband never sees this post.

As for the food, well maybe it is about preferences and balanced nutrition. If that is the case then I really don't need to make the effort to make anything fancy. I think my husband only likes to eat Chinese stir fry dinners with rice. Well if the kids like that too, and I'm the only one who likes "American" food, I suppose I'll have to be the one eating Cheerios and Milk and the daddy can cook.