Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Letter of the Week: Bb

B is for Butterfly
Here's what you need for this project:
- black paper
- contact paper
- tissue paper (various colors)
- scissors

Click here for free printable Upper Case Letter templates.

B is for Buttons
Here's  what you need for this project:
- white card stock
- buttons
- Elmer's glue

Click here for free printable Lower Case Letter templates.

Sight Words
In addition to practicing writing the capital and lowercase letter b, I thought I'd introduce Sidney to some sight words each week.  The sight words for this week are:
- big
- be
- blue

Here are some library books we reserved to go along with the theme:

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Healthy Banana Muffins

As I mentioned before, I am (slowly) trying to revamp Ava's school lunches.  Two things led to this: 

1. I was bored of packing the same foods in Ava's lunch and I had to figure that she was bored of eating the same old lunch everyday.  
2. Ava was starting to notice that her school friends were bringing more "fun" food to school (and by fun I mean treat-y stuff).

Let me first say, I'm all about letting kids eat treats.  Everything in moderation is our motto. However, if I can trick my kids into thinking something is a treat when it's actually healthy, well that's just a win, win!  I found this recipe for Healthy Banana Muffins on 100 Days of Real Food.  

2 ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil (I used coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tbsp Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal
Raisins (optional)
Nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease mini muffin pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and flaxseed meal.
3. In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas with yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, vanilla and raisins.
4. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended. Do not overmix.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Top with nuts if you prefer.  I made one batch with nuts (for home) and one without (for school).

6. Bake for 15 minutes or until it comes clean with a toothpick.

Ava loves these little muffin!  And they're a much healthier alternative compared to processed packaged treats.  Also, they freeze really well.  I take them out the night before and put one in Ava's Ziploc Divided Container in the fridge.  By lunch time the next day, it's ready to eat! 

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Letter of the Week: Aa

Sidney is learning to write letters and recognize their sounds in her pre-k class.  Each week they focus on a different letter in alphabet order.  I thought I'd help her practice her upper case and lower case letters at home while Clara is napping to pass the time until we have to pick Ava up from school.  Here's what we did for the letter Aa:

A is for Alligator
Here's what you need for this project:
- red construction paper
- green construction paper
- white construction paper
- glue stick
- scissors
- black marker

Click here for free printable Upper Case letter templates.

A is for Apple & Ant
Here's what you need for this project:
- white paper
- red construction paper
- green construction paper
- black ink pad
- glue stick
- black pen

Click here for free printable Lower Case Letter templates.

It's easier for Sidney to practice writing on a dry erase board so we use our Letter & Number of the Day poster.

I found a few of books at the library to go along with our theme too.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Days of School & Lunch Containers

School's back in!

I decided to revamp Ava's school lunches this year.  I saw this post on 100 Days of Real Food and decided to try out the Ziploc Divided Containers.

After looking all over online and finding them way overpriced on Amazon, I happened upon them at Target! Yay!  Then I took them over to Toys R Us and found lunch bag that they'd fit into (with an ice pack and sippy cup).

These containers have saved me a ton on snack baggies.  They also keep the food from getting smashed in her lunch bag.  Bonus: Ava loves them too!

Now I just have to figure out some fun lunch ideas...stay tuned!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

STL 250 Cake Quest - The Arch

Just before the end of summer, we squeezed in a trip to the Arch.  I love this St. Louis landmark.  Even if you're not from St. Louis, you know about the Arch.  It makes me proud to be a St. Louisan! 

Click here for a printable PDF version of this map.

St. Louis Gateway Arch
The Arch is a monument to Thomas Jefferson and for all those pioneers for who St. Louis was the Gateway to the West. St. Louis was founded by traders moving north and south on the river, and by explorers and frontier families from the eastern states pushing restlessly west. It is a place that is neither northern nor southern, neither eastern nor western, but 
one place that combines traits of all.

Construction on the Arch started in February 1963 and the last piece was put into place on October 28, 1965. The north leg was completed first and opened in July 1967 and the south leg opened in May 1968.

Sidney is trying to get into the Arch!

The Arch, designed by architect, Eero Saarinen, cost $13,420,168. The grand total spent for the total area development is $51,300,373. This figure consists of a large amount of non-federal funds and includes the $1,977,750 for the transportation system.

The tram capsules travel 340 feet per minute, approximately 3.86 miles per hour. It takes 4 minutes to travel to the top and 3 minutes to return back to the bottom.

The Arch is 630 feet, 63 stories, 192 meters, or 7560 inches tall. The Arch is as tall (630 feet) as it is wide (630 feet).

A classic Arch photo. The 16 windows on each side of the observation deck are 7” x 27”. Over 500 tons of pressure was used to jack the north and south legs of the Arch apart for the last four-foot piece to be placed at the top. A larger window would not withstand that pressure.

The Arch is designed to sway as much as 18 inches, and can withstand an earthquake, however under normal conditions the Arch does not sway. It takes a 50-mile an hour wind to move the top 1.5 inches each side of center.

Visitors are encouraged to picnic on the 62-acres of Arch grounds. They also offer free walking tours around the Arch grounds. In the summer months, you can participate in free yoga classes on Saturdays from 9-10am.  Visit their Events page for more info.

Old Courthouse
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is about 91 acres that includes the Gateway Arch and grounds (about 62 acres), plus another 30 acres or so encompassing the Old Courthouse and Luther Ely Smith Square. The Old Courthouse sits next to Kiener Plaza.  This cake is the Kiener Plaza cake.

The famous Dred Scott case - one of the most important cases tried in the American court system - began in the Old Courthouse in 1846 when Dred and Harriet Scott initiated a lawsuit for their freedom. The case was brought to trial in 1847 in the Old Courthouse, but due to a legal technicality, a new trial was ordered.  In the second trial held in the same courtroom in 1850, the jury decided the Scott's were entitled to their freedom under Missouri law. Mrs. Emerson, Dred Scott's owner, appealed her case to the MO State Supreme Court, which in 1852 reversed the ruling made in St. Louis. Dred Scott then appealed the US Supreme Court and 7 of the 9 justices agreed that Dred Scott should remain a slave. The Dred Scott Decision of 1857 pushed the nation into the Civil War.

Dred Scott and his family were finally granted freedom in the Old Courthouse in 1857.

Another significant trial started as a lawsuit in the Old Courthouse and reached the US Supreme Court at a time when women's rights were being redefined in America.  Virginia Minor, an early founder of the women's suffrage movement in MO, attempted to register to vote in St. Louis in 1872.  Reese Happersett, the local voter registrar in St. Louis, denied Minor's request on the basis of MO law which prohibited women from voting. Minor sued Happersett for the right to vote based on the 14th Amendment. The local court in St. Louis and the MO State Supreme Court both decided against Minor. An appeal to the US Supreme Court was made in 1874 where the court upheld the right for individual states to decide who could vote in elections within their borders.

Virginia Minor died in 1894.  The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920, finally granting women the right to vote.

Minor's challenge in the courts, along with the earlier Dred Scott case, pushed our nation to define citizenship and civil rights for all its people.

The Arch viewed through the windows at the top of the rotunda.

Old Courthouse cake

Also, click here to see some of our other STL 250 Cake Quests.

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