Monday, April 21, 2008

De-cluttering the waist line!

Ok it has been a week now and as predicted I did gain some of the weight back but I am still ahead of the game now weighing in at 128.5 lbs less than when I started.I am very inspired and am now reading a great book by Peter Walsh called "Does this Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat?"
It speaks very truthfully about the relationship between clutter in our home and the clutter on our body.I think that it is pretty neat how in my last post I labelled fat as clutter,just as Peter has,this coming before I read his book!I think finding this book was some kind of divine intervention....I'm still geekin' out about it! ;D
I have not been perfect on my no cheese journey.My son had hernia surgery and I found it hard to find healthy food at the hospital,so I ate fruit and yogurt and dun dun duhhhhhn cheese.Later I ate a veggie sub with cheese.Not perfect but waaaaay better than my usual pizza and chips choice for eating out!
Overall I have to say that I am feeling very energetic and do not think about food as much when I fill up on fruit.The exception being the days which I ran out of fruit....Didn't do so well then.Oh well I am still ahead and will continue to eat more fruit and salad..Let you know next week how it went!

Lead up to Earth Day lesson 2

  • Hello song with sign language
  • Attendance-monkey pen (instead of saying "here" child,makes a monkey sound.
  • Calendar-helping hand puts a sticker on appropriate day all children count together,then make note of day,month,year
  • Tell the story of "Little Seed's Journey" do actions eg. pretend to be the wind etc. (story attached below)
  • Find lost item-This week I repurposed old calendars,by cutting out the large month by month pics,then the smaller matching pics on the back cover.I hid the small versions all around the room and had the kids bring back then find the appropiate match which was laid out on the floor in front of me.
  • Obstacle course- kids go through course and answer questions throughout.Eg a pic of a child brushing teeth and leaving the water running..."What's wrong with this picture?" each correct answer(which may need to be coached) leads the ch8ild to the next obstacle.
  • Have children pretend to be popcorn.Curled up in a ball on their feet,bouncing until they cannot stand the pressure any longer then they explode into popcorn!(at this time they should be standing in a star position.)This is a good lead up to craft.
  • CRAFT!Earth's amazing power! Volcano!

-Supplies needed

-Collect clear plastic film canisters.Or go to a local developer and ask for their cast offs. Ensure they are the kind in which the lid fits firmly inside the canister regular black canisters will not work for this but if you do acquire some, hang onto them for other crafts.

-Toilet paper

-Baking soda

-Vinegar in a small squeeze dispenser

-Baby spoon or small spoon

Give each child a square of TP and have them scoop a small amount of baking soda into the center of the square.Help them fold the square tightly to hold in powder. Squeeze vinegar into canister about 1/4 full.Have the child drop folded tissue into the vinegar filled canister the n have an ADULT, QUICKLY push the lid on firmly, then back up!

The result is a loud and powerful POP!When the lid flies off! Be warned,This is a messy craft!:)

But the kids LOVE it!

  • Free time (or what happened in my class was that they all just wanted to keep making volcanoes)
  • Goodbye song with signs.

Little Seed’s Journey

(As you tell this story,have the children act out what is happening eg. pretend to be blowing wind and a growing seed etc)

1) Once upon a time, in a place not far form here, there was a tiny seed, which became tired of living in the country, so it caught a ride with the wind to find a new place to grow.
2) The wind was very fast and before the seed knew it, it had been blown into a city where there were many tall buildings, many cars, and many, many people.
3) The wind spiraled through the streets, under and over the cars and around the buildings until it came to the very center of the city, the busiest part of all.
4) "The time has come for you to land my seed friend", Whispered the wind, "I am trapped and cannot blow any farther." With that the wind spiraled one last time and disappeared, gently dropping its friend to the ground.
5) At first the ground seemed quiet, but hard and strange. It wasn’t long before the seed felt a great rumbling and a cool shadow hovering over it.
6) The shadow belonged to a dog; the kind that ladies like to carry in their purse. To people this dog would seem tiny, but to the seed it was HUGE!
7) The dog sniffed the ground (as dogs do), SNIFF, SNIFF, SNIFF, until it sniffed the seed right….up….its…. nose! "EWWWWWW!" cried the seed.
8) The seed didn’t want to grow up inside a dog’s nose! It wiggled and squirmed until, "AH AHH AHH CHOOO!" The dog sneezed the seed right into a crack in the sidewalk, next to a building.
9) The seed was happy it had found some soil. It did not like being on the hard sidewalk and it DID NOT like being up the dog’s nose!
10) "Wow, what a crazy day!" Thought the little seed. "I am tired and I don’t want that to happen again! YECCH!" So the seed nestled itself down into the soil, just like you snuggle into your blankets at night. "Ahhhh" said the seed, "this is nice!" And it went to sleep for 6 whole days!
11) When the seed awoke it felt …different…almost taller. It quickly realized that it was in fact taller! The seed had sprouted and was now a tiny plant!
12) Although the seed had grown, it was still so tiny that it seemed to remain undetected by all the passers-by.
13) "Look at me!" the little seed shouted, "look how big I am!" But no one noticed.
14) Weeks passed like that; hundreds of feet going by and never stopping to see the tiny new plant. With leaves stretched out, basking in the sun or drinking in the rain, the little plant passed the days by counting shoes. Black shoes, brown shoes, red shoes, shoes with spots, shoes with skulls, shoes with bugs (those made the plant the most nervous.)
15) One day, a pair of shiny black shoes stopped. The little plant became excited! "Look at me! Look how I’ve grown!" The shiny black shoes were acting very strange. They would shift from side to side but would never really go anywhere, once they even kicked the wall of the building next to the little plant!
16) The little plant became frightened and did not want to be noticed anymore. It trembled with every angry stomp of the shiny black shoes! The plant hoped the shoes would go away soon, but instead something even scarier happened! Out of the sky, ashes and smoke started to fall! A tiny spark landed on the little plant’s leaf burning a hole right through!
17) "Owwww!" Cried the frightened little plant. Suddenly a burning stick came crashing to the earth next to the plant! "COUGH! COUGH! I CAN’T BREATHE!" shouted the little plant. The heat from the fire was becoming unbearable for the little plant! Then another scary, but lucky thing happened, one of the shiny shoes lifted up and landed right on top of the burning stick with one last great THUD and a frightening twist, the fire was out!…
18) The plant was happy the fire was gone but it did not like the sound of the stick breaking apart under the crushing weight of the shiny black shoes. "What if I get stomped on?!" worried the little plant. "Oh I wish I could hide!"
19) Now, there is a saying that goes, "Be careful what you wish for." And in this case, the little plant wished, it had wished more carefully.
20) No sooner had the plant wished to hide, than a paper cup came crashing down, landing right on top of the little plant……
21) It was very dark and quiet inside the cup, and the air smelled strange.
22) "Hellooooo? Hellooooo?" called the little plant. "Doesn’t anyone know I am in here?" the little plant paused… " Doesn’t… anyone… care?" the little plant was so sad, it could no longer feel the warm sunshine, or taste the cool rains which often came with the breeze. The little plant could still hear shoes walking by and would call out. "HELP! HELP!" But no one ever stopped.
Many days passed that way until the plant gave up and stopped calling out.
23) The little plant was becoming pale without sunshine and fresh air, and could not grow under the weight of the cup. The little plant had lost all hope of being free again and instead it dreamed of the way things might have been if it had never left it’s home in the country. It dreamed of families playing and laughing. It dreamed of growing tall and waving its leaves in the wind and children waving back.
24) The little plant could almost hear the sound of little shoes running, pit-pat, pit-pat, pit-pat. This made the little plant feel happier. Then, strangely, the pitter- patter of little feet became louder. It realized that it was no longer dreaming but could actually hear little shoes! Pit- pat- pit –pat- pit- pat pit- pat pit- pat. The wilted little plant leaned up against the wall of the paper cup so it could hear more clearly. Pit –pat- pit -pat –pit- pat- PIT –PAT- PIT- PAT then silence.
25) "Where did they go?" wondered the little plant. It strained to hear the little shoes, but instead heard a little voice. "Mommy, look!" Then a bigger voice, "It’s just a cup, it’s garbage honey don’t touch it." Then suddenly and without warning, the cup was lifted and the little plant fell over where it was leaning. SPLAT!!!
26) "OHHH Mommy look! It’s a little plant!" said the little voice.
"It’s probably just a weed, honey," said the bigger voice.
"It looks so sad," said the little voice.
"It looks dead," said the big voice.
27) "Look Mommy, it has a burn hole on its leaf! What happened?"
"Someone probably dropped a cigarette, I suppose," answered the bigger voice.
"Awww, poor little thing! We can’t just leave it there! It needs some love, can we help it Mommy pleeeeee-ase?" the little voice quivered.
"Honey, this plant is sickly, it probably won’t make it."
"We have to try! We have to! It’s so small and it’s all alone!" the little voice sobbed
"SIGH! Alright sweetie," the bigger voice sighed, "we’ll dig it up and bring it home." Said the bigger voice softly. " But you have to know that this little plant is not very healthy, it may not grow."
28) The big voice came closer and showed that it belonged to a very kind face. Then the little voice came closer and showed that it too belonged to a kind face, one which looked just like the bigger one…only smaller. A mommy and her little girl!
29) Very slowly, and very gently the two kind people proceeded to dig up the little plant." We need to make sure we dig deep enough to bring all of the roots." Instructed the Mommy.
"Why?" asked the little girl.
"The roots are how the little plant stays in the ground, and doesn’t blow away with the wind. They also help to feed the little plant, kind of like how you drink through a straw." Answered the Mommy.
30) "Ok" said the mommy, "we’ve dug deep enough. Now, how are we going to get this little plant home?"
"The cup! The cup!," Exclaimed the little girl.
"Good idea!" replied the mommy.
The little plant felt ten tiny fingers gently lift its withered leaves from the sidewalk. Then ten larger fingers wrap around its roots.
31) "Ready? On three, count with me." Both voices counted, "ONE, TWO, THREE!" With that the little plant was lifted from its home on the sidewalk and was transplanted into the paper cup. The very thing, which had taken away hope, was now offering a second chance! The little plant felt itself being lifted higher and higher, but did not know where it was going, much like it felt when it rode the wind.
32)"Wake up little plant," whispered the girl. "We’re here! This is my flower box, these are the pansies," she introduced, "these are the marigolds and these are… well I don’t know what these are, but I like them anyway; kind of like you!" Giggled the little girl. "I hope you like it here." The little plant could hear the girl and her Mommy talking but did not know what they were doing.
33)"Ok, little plant, here we go," said the Mommy, "are you ready honey?"
"Yes!" answered the little girl excitedly.
"O.K. on three again," said the Mommy, "Ready? Count with me, one, two, THREE!" The little plant felt itself being turned upside down, then right side up again. This made the little plant dizzy!
34) When the plant felt everything had finally stopped spinning, it seemed as though its roots were back in the ground, and yet, were somewhere new. Its tiny leaves rested against the moist black soil and the sun beat down, and had never felt so good as it did right then!
35) "You know what?" said the Mommy.
"What?" asked the girl.
"I think your little plant looks like it’s feeling a bit better already!"
And it was!
36) Not many weeks later, the little plant had recovered beautifully, and once again spread out its leaves and had even found out that it too was a marigold! The little girl delighted in the shadow cast by the leaf with the hole, She said to her it looked like a hedge- hog!
37) The little plant was very happy in it’s flower box and learned that it lived on something called an ‘apartment patio’. Although the little plant, which was now a little flower, had not made it back to the country where it had begun its journey, it was very happy living in the apartment flower box, with all the other little plants and flowers and two special people, who cared enough to stop and notice a tiny little plant which just needed a little love and attention.
The End

By the way, the paper cup turned out to be one of those roll up the brim and win cups…and do you know what it said? "Please play again!"…of course.

Written by Tamara Seeley-Carpenter

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SHHH I've got a secret!

This has also spawned from the big spring clean,It was time to shed the excess 'clutter' on my waist as well!
For the last couple of days I have given my diet an overhaul.When I say diet I mean an assesment and alteration of my eating habits not "I am on a diet".I should mention that I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian.
It had to happen!I have adopted some really really REALLY awful eating habits!My healthy friends would just cringe!So lately I had been eating pizza or nachos etc. DAILY and eating late,chips popcorn and worst of all.Pop by the bottle full!
Two days ago I stepped on the scales to discover that I had exceeded my post baby weight,after having given birth to 5 children I was now the fattest I had ever been!I topped the scales at 133lbs! Now to all of you out there rolling your eyes, let me point out that I am only 5ft 1and 1/2 inches tall......and NOT muscular!My kids were eating well ,but I was not.
Long story short I now weigh 125lbs...2days later!I know, I know,its water weight whatever it is it is 8 fewer lbs!So here is what I have changed.Thanks to the helpful advice of a friend
  1. Only whole fruit for breakfast- eat a lot!
  2. NO CHEESE! I was not impressed about this one."Even cottage cheese?" I pleaded and whined.My whining paid off because she allowed it"for now". :)
  3. Eat whole fruit before each meal.
  4. Drink water instead of pop....I know, a no brainer but I was seriously addicted to Dr.Pepper!I knew going cold turkey would be impossible so I switched to real fruit spritzers.They are hard to get and pricey ,so I do not drink much and it is satisfying my need for carbonation.I do actually drink water now.And realized that I was often eating when I was thirsty.I discovered this when after loading up on fruit and veggies I got the urge to eat ,but knew that there was NO WAY that I could be hungry as I could physically feel how full I was.I figured out that like so many over-eaters,my thirst reflex has become so weak that I do not even recognize thirst anymore.
  5. Eat a large salad every day,be mindful of high fat dressings.I have been using cottage cheese as my dressing ,it is delicious!
  6. No eating after 7!Herbal teas,and water only.This used to be normal for me but I got into bad habits.I am glad to be back on track,I feel great not going to bed with that..."eww-I-can't-stand-myself-for -eating -like-this" feelingI am looking forward to NOT FEELING MY THIGHS TOUCH! (SHUDDER)
  7. Go outside at least 15 min each day,work up a light sweat.

So far so good!Other than the dramatic drop in weight,which I am well aware that I will gain some back,the biggest surprise is that I do not feel denied or hungry!Maybe I finally grossed myself out enough to finally take the proper steps toward health.EVERY WOMAN in my family is obese! I will not be the next statistic and neither will my daughters!I think that we all have the power to control this..This is a move toward health,a step forward, is better than backwards or nowhere at all!

I will let you know in a week how things went!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

lead up to Earth Day lesson

  • Tuesday April,08/08
  • Every lesson starts by singing a hello song with sign language.(I found a wonderful site on sign language called ASL Browser)
  • Next we take attendance using a pen with an animal on it.When I call their name they say the sound of the animal rather than "Here" or "Present".I found this really brings the kids out of their shells.Today was a cow.
  • Calendar-This is an activity which is encouraged to be reinforced at home.The "helping hand" for the day,gets to choose a sticker(one which is relevant to the theme ;Farm animals today)and place it on the appropriate day.All other days leading up to today are filled in ahead of class.Then we all count the stickers and name the days of the week, then the month and year.
  • Read a small book on farm animals.
  • Refer to bulletin board display sing 'Old MacDonald' then 'The cows give us milk' etc. to the 'Farmer in the Dell'(I think I heard it on Baby Einstein first)
  • Talk about foods which come from farmers and how these foods start as tiny seeds and that they could not grow without soil,water,clean air and sunshine.Talk about litter and pollution and ask if they think the seed would grow well in poor conditions.Then relate the same ideas to them.Eg. If they breathed in smokey air and ate junk food would they grow well?Expand into healthy foods vs. sometimes foods.(Please note-due to different cultural beliefs definitions of "healthy" will vary.)
  • Have the children pretend to be seeds,then slowly start to grow and close their eyes and pretend to feel the warm sunshine then have them spread their leaves or branches or whatever,and then sway making wind sounds.At this time while they are swaying with their eyes closed use a plant mister and mist the air above them so that they feel the rain then praise them for having such amazing imaginations that you could feel the rain!
  • We then move on to find "Miss Tamara's lost item."Every week I "lose" something and hide it all over the classroom.This week I lost my apples and bananas(re-used from previous "A and B" lessons)and was unable make any fruit salad unless my fruit was found.When the items are returned they are sorted into proper categories. This is an important part of the game they are not allowed to just throw the items and run off, they must categorize.Sometimes this includes color or letter recognition/matching skills.

This game is a weekly favorite! The kids are always so proud to have helped "Poor Miss Tamara who is always losing things!"They just come to life when they hear it is time help!

  • After I have thanked them for finding my fruit.We then talk about the air we breathe out being the air the plants breathe in and vice versa and how we need each other to survive.
  • I segue into saying we need something plants do not need, exercise! From here we do an obstacle course over mountains, through tunnels etc.Which always ends in a craft.
  • Todays craft was first seen on used toilet paper tubes,with the bottoms cut and folded ,(a great pre-school do it yourself activity) and filled them with soil misted the soil, then planted our very own marigold seeds.(Marigolds grow quickly.)

I brought out markers for the kids to write their names and quickly realized that the kids felt the tubes should have been decorated first!I saw a Mom taking pictures during this activity,if I get ahold of one, I will be sure to post it!

  • I expanded the option to the parents to create their own mini -greenhouse using a clear water bottle: cut off the bottom,leave the lid on ,slice small slits for air vents around the middle or lower so as not to lose as many droplets of water via evaporation.I also explained that this makes it easier to care for the plant.Less need for watering due to the natural water cycle.
  • Free play
  • Story time-Today we read "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" I explained why public transport and ride sharing was important,to lessen pollution.The book doesn't address this issue at all,I just really wanted to read it because I thought it would be fun! And it was !:){Great book for teaching little ones to say no against peer pressure though,predictably my accomodating little one allowed the pigeon to drive after the pigeon's first "Please?"Ah well it was cute!}
  • Goodbye song using sign language.

Please let me know if this was useful to you.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Clean!

Hi Tiffany,
Oh how I feel your pain!My house is in varying degrees of disarray!My main level is actually functioning beautifully right now,thanks to a surprise visitor!
But the basement is just plain awful! I masterfully hung curtains by a bamboo rod, counter balanced by rocks, to hide the mess in my laundry room (which is visible upon first entering).Instead of seeing a disaster they see an "Asia meets Africa" display of color and texture....' complete with foliage and flowing fountain,because,yeah,my house ALWAYS looks like this!:)
I have been purging for years!And I am seeing results.It can be disheartening to have all of my hard work appear to unravel in a day after my teens and all of their friends are through disrespecting my home.I will admit I suffer from a serious case of "everything- has- unseen -potential-itis"I finally came to that realization that the problem was not just my hoarding,not a severe case but hoarding nonetheless, (which I have since learned disrupts the universal flow/balance of give and take) but also disrespect which was passed down through the generations.Thanks Mom! It is funny how we seldom see it in ourselves.It was not until my teenaged sons had some rambunctious friends over who proceeded to rough-house in the basement and managed to break our new futon in several places,that I understood the problem.Naturally my husband and I were upset.Not only did I feel anger but also was a little hurt that these kids who practically live at my house could be so disrespectful!Then the clouds parted, the sky became clear and the choirs of Angels sang out the epiphony" AAHHHHHHHHH THEY DISRESPECT THE SPACE BECAUSE YOU DISRESPECT THE SPACE!*AAAAA-AMEN-NNNNNN *"
This profound realization was further cemented when my son expressed concern that his brother's friend said,"I love coming to your house, it's like a war zone!"Obviously actions speak louder than words.Good intentions aren't going to save my house or my sanity; far from it actually!
That incident (which was not the first with those kids) finally made me re-evaluate.Sure I had lots of great stuff( I am a yard sale freak)but it was ruining what was most important to me in my home.Peace,sanctity,comfort,serenity....A war zone?.......I shake my head.Those boys who were resposible for the damage are banned from the house for awhile pending an apology and admission to disrespectful behaviour.
The whole house is undertaking a purge like never before!I am parting with items I was before reluctant to part with.For instance I had a rather large and expensive print which I had purchased several years ago but no longer fit in my new location.I didn't want to part with it because it was one of the few things I had purchased new and held some "value".After this above mentioned occurance,I called up a friend and said "Hey do you know anyone who needs some art work and furniture?"
"Yeah,I have a buddy who has bare walls in her apartment."
I got in touch with this girl and she understood the monetary value of these items and graciously agreed to "store" them on her walls and in her house until someone wanted to buy them. She came to pick up the cast-offs and she looked at that large print and said,"Oh my God,I had that same exact picture and when I left my husband he wouldn't let me have it."
Well holy cow,for me this was a moment.Everything I had heard about the flow of give and take was absolutely true! I was so overwhelmed by this (much less than she, I think she thought I was reading into things a little too deeply)I said "This was clearly meant to be. I don't want any money for any of this ,You keep it all."
I now have space on my walls for all the artwork my 5 little artists conjure up, and room to move and freedom to think!
I lost a few bucks but gained some space and the momemtum required to move towards the place I really want to be in, my home, the"PEACE ZONE." now that is value!

Pre-School Lesson Plans

Hello everyone!
My name is Tamara Lynn Carpenter (TLC).I am a mother of five wonderful children (toddler to teen) and I facilitate an educational playgroup for children ages 2-5.The program is run as an instructor led ,parent /child interactive program offering ideas for learning through play not only in a classroom environment but also in day to day situations.My curriculum is self -made and has proven to be very sucessful,not only with the children,but also with the parents of the children in the class.Our program runs once per week in class with weekly home-play assignments and is expanding to a second day focusing solely on the performing arts. I am extremely excited to share my lesson plans with you and your family.I hope you find many useful and fun ideas for you and your child/ren to spend quality "tlc time" together!If you choose to start a community program using this curriculum I only ask that you give proper credit to this website.
I will post the lessons on Wednesdays as I use the lessons on Tuesday.This will give me a chance to try out the lessons the day before and let you all know what worked and what didn't!
Other days will be more personal the dreaded spring clean!

test run

First blog does this work?