Make Family Meals A Part Of You Routine – Planning Family Meals Together Reap Great Rewards

February 22, 2010

Make family meals a part of your dining routine.  Planning family meals together can reap great rewards for you and your loved ones.

Because of the hectic lives we seem to lead these days, getting the family together in the same place at the same time can be difficult.  Between work schedules, errands, and running the kids around after school we seem to have less and less time.

familymeal1Owing to the fact that we are so busy, it’s hard to get together for a family meal.  Sometimes it’s just easier to stop for fast food on our way home from work.  Even then, when we get home… the family has  a tendency to eat on the fly.

Studies show that families who have sit-down meals, that have been prepared at home, benefit in several ways:

Healthy Family Meals:

Meals that are prepared at home are more likely to be balanced and nutritious.  Eating nutritious meals enhances the immune system so families ward off illness.

Children and parents have less obesity problems when they eat more family meals at home, rather than at fast food establishments and restaurants.

Family Bonding And Sharing Time:

Sitting down to a meal gives parents and children an opportunity to find out more about each other and be involved with the everyday events of each others lives.

Dad has the opportunity to share his day and plans with the entire family, rather than sharing it with mom only.

Mom can tell the family about her day at work and some of the new things she’s learned and people she’s met.  If she’s a mom who stays at home, she can share the cute things the baby did… or a new thing she has learned at the class she is taking.

Children have the chance to tell their family members about school, sports, and friends.
Young kids get so excited when it’s their turn to share.  Older kids may not show their enthusiasm, but they want to share just the same.

Opportunity To Teach:

It’s a great time to discuss current events or new ideas.  Family values can be strengthened though positive discussions.

Resolve or Prevent Potential Problems

When parents sit down to the table with their kids and discuss the events of the  day… they have the opportunity to become mindful of concerns and problems their children may have.  It’s also a good time to become aware of potential problems their kids may be facing.

It’s not advisable to discuss serious issues at the table because you child may not feel safe in discussing them in front of others.  For some matters, keep the conversation in mind and help your child at a later time.

Bottom Line:  Set aside time for at least one sit-down meal per week.  It can make a remarkable difference in your relationships with your kids.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Often we become over-whelmed with meal planning…. I know I do.   I checked into to this Meal Planning Service several months ago and found it to be a wonderful program.   I’m proud to be an affiliate.   It’s really worth your while to check into it.

The Art Of Listening – Active Listening Exercises For Kids

January 5, 2010

Teaching your child the art of listening will assist him, to not only listening to you but aid him in learning to communicating with others.  Good Listening skills take practice.  It’s never too early to enlist your kids in active listening exercises.

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Be An Effective Listener Yourself

Be an effective listener yourself.  It is the first key to teaching your kids the art of listening.  Turn your full attention to your child while he’s talking to you.  Look at him directly when you’re having a conversation. If you look out the window, or you’re visiting with someone else, it gives him the message you find what he has to say unimportant.

Give Simple Directions

Give age appropriate directions when you ask your child to do something. “Please, put on your shoes.” This is a simple and direct request that a young child can clearly understand and accomplish.  Again, making eye contact with her is essential for getting your point across and helping her to be an active listener.

Mean What You Say And Stay Consistent

Following through with what you say is as important as what you’ve said. In other words, don’t say something you don’t mean.  Relenting and giving in sends a message to your child that he doesn’t have to listen, nor believe what you have to say.

Sometimes Just Whisper

A fun listening activity is, changing your voice level.  If you say, “Shhhh ….Listen,” then soften your voice to a whisper, it will grab his attention immediately.  Whisper, “I love you.” Whisper directions and instructions.  The change of your voice level will often cause a child to sit up and take notice because it’s out of the ordinary.

Play Fun Listening Skill Games

To improve listening habits, play listening skill games.  A good time to play a “Listening Skill Game” is when you’re in the car. “What does the engine of our car sound like?” Let them vocalize what they hear. “Who can hear a ticking in our engine?” “The first person who can tell me the name of the song I’m singing, wins.” Also, let them ask the questions and you be on the listening end.  This type of listening game will assist your child in listening for details.

Read A Book To Your Child

Reading to your child will improve listening.  Reading directs focus from the outside world to the pages of a book.  A young child’s attention span is not be very long, so make sure the book is short. Discussing and pointing out details in the pictures will hold her interest.  If you’ve read the book before, noticed how she wants you to tell the story and talk about the details in the exact same way you did earlier? It shows you she’s been listening. Foster those listening skills by reading to your child often.

Compliment Good Listening

“Thank you for being such a good listener.” Praise is always welcome, and will reinforce your child’s desire to be a good listener. “Thank you for putting on your shoes the first time I asked you.” Small rewards, such as a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, will reinforce your compliment.

Remember… your child is never too young to begin teaching the art of listening.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.   Active listening exercises will certainly help your kids develop the art of listening.  Good listening habits are not only of value to you as a parent, but will be invaluable to your child as he grows and interacts with teachers and eventually, employers.

Teaching Creativity

December 30, 2009

Teaching creativity is a hoax…. can’t be done.  “Ya either got it your ya don’t.”  And… you know what… “ya got it.”

Of course, it depends upon what definition you want to give the word.  If you lock “creativity” in a box with the labels such as “Music,” “Art,” “Writing” and “Dance” most people will fail the creative ability test immediately. Creativity or creative thinking is far more than the expression of music, art, writing and dance. For instance, creative minds have developed the technology that we all enjoy today…. it’s just in an arena in which I’m not gifted.

I’m amazed when I hear parents or teachers claim they are teaching creativity, (which expression I over-heard only yesterday.) I wanted to say, “Get out of the way and just watch… kids are innately creative…. with out intervention…. no teaching necessary.”

If kids get to the ripe old age of 5 and are afraid to freely express themselves… it’s because someone stood in their way…. or had an agenda.

Perhaps “nurturing creativity” is far better expression for parents and teachers than “teaching creativity.”  I’m pretty sure this is what the concerned mom had in mind…. I may have just got caught up in the vocabulary.

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For Christmas, five of my grand daughters received colored pencils, markers and a ton of other supplies. They love to get together and make cards for each other and for their folks.  There is no need for me to spend time “teaching creativity.” The creative opportunity just needs to be provided, nurtured and their creative natures will take it from there.

Some time ago, I ran across a wonderful video and would like to share it with you.  It will take you a little time but it’s well well worth it.  Sir Ken Robinson will entertain you as well as leave you with a visionary look at nurturing creativity.

Till Later,

Kathy
Insightful Nana

P.S.  I have an art studio that has not been used much since I moved across the hall to the computer room.  I’m getting it organized and putting up a table and chairs for my grands, so when they come to visit  they can use all of my supplies and create to their hearts desire.  “No Teaching Creativity” necessary.

Christmas Coloring Printables – Kids Christmas List

December 4, 2009

Christmas coloring printables are ready for your kids and grands.  I can’t believe how fast the year has come and gone.  As I get older, the years seem to fly-by.

As a child, I was always afraid that the winter birds who took my Christmas list to the north pole wouldn’t make it in time.  Boy, those were fast birds because often I would not get my Christmas list completed until just a few days before.  With the Christmas list in mind, one of the coloring pages is a Kids Christmas List they can color and add all the “stuff” they want.

The other coloring page is the trusty snowman.  He wasn’t a popular Christmas icon in days gone by, but today he’s highly visibility.  Snowmen are the best!

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As usual, you will find the Christmas coloring printable links below.  There are printables your kids can color as well as the full colored option… for those who want to just  hang it up.  Pssst….. The Kids Christmas list  might work best for those young ones who delay in getting their Christmas lists made until the last minute.  Have them write out their list and hang it on a tree outside.   Those winter birds are pretty fast!

Links:  Black and White Santa –  Painted Santa –  Black and White Snowman –  Painted Snowman

Well, I’m off… I’m late in getting my shopping done.    Down load the Christmas Coloring Printables and keep the kids and grands busy while you wrap gifts.  Make sure the children get their Kids Christmas List made.

Till Later

Insighful Nana

P.S.  For those who want Christmas Gift Tags… I designed a few for you last year.  If you didn’t get a chance to pick them up, they are available to you this year Here.  (If you are on my mailing list, you will getting your Christmas Gift Tag link…just watch for the e-mail.)  For those who want last year’s Christmas printables, Here They Are.

Turkey Coloring Pages for Turkey Day

November 10, 2009

The turkey coloring pages are ready for your kids and grands to enjoy.  Again… kids love to decorate for the holidays and the young ones love to color.  The first coloring page is in black and white so the kids can use crayons or markers to decorate  their turkey picture.  For those who want to just cut it out and hang it up… a colored turkey is provided for them.

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Colored Turkey Coloring Page

Black & White Turkey Coloring Page

I remember being so excited for Thanksgiving dinner.  I would fast all morning long preparing for the big meal.  I wanted the turkey drumstick all to myself.  However, when it came to actually eating the whole thing… it was a different matter.   I was so filled up on mom’s fantastic southern cornbread stuffing and other Thanksgiving delights,  there was little room for all the meat on the drumstick.  Mom didn’t fix mashed potatoes very often, so it was another special dish that adorned our Thanksgiving table.

It’s my turn to host Thanksgiving dinner this year.   The kids go to the “other laws” every other year.  Our Thanksgiving menu is pretty traditional with the exception of Banana Cream pie… which was Scott’s favorite.  We’re sure going to miss him this year.

While we’re putting the last minute touches on the meal, I’ll keep the grands busy and from under foot by bring out the crayons and markers.  The kids can color their Turkey coloring pages… even if it is Turkey Day.  Better late that never.

Enjoy!

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  If anyone has a special Thanksgiving recipe that is a tradition in  your family…I would love to know about it.   I’m always looking for something new and scrumptious.

P.P.S.  If you have a mind too… grab the crayons or markers and join the kids in decorating the Turkey Coloring Pages.

Halloween Printable Coloring Pages

October 7, 2009

Halloween printable coloring pages  can keep your young kids busy for a long time.  I bring them out after Sunday dinner and it keeps the grands occupied for an hour or so.  The kids love ’em.    It  give all their parents a little break so the”old”  folks can visit with each other in peace.  I love them because it keeps the “chasing through the house” down a bit.  So…. we all win.

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These free Halloween printables are my gift to you and your kids or grands to enjoy.  Print out only one… or  print them all.   I have included pre colored  copies for those who don’t want to color them but want a showing of Halloween without the work..  Just hang them on the fridge or window.

Here ya go!   Just click on the links below and they will download to your computer immediately.

Halloween Pumpkins Black and White

Halloween Pumpkins Pre-colored

Halloween Witch Black and White

Halloween Witch Pre-colored

Halloween Mummy Black and White

Halloween Mummy Pre-colored

Give these fun printables a try.  Happy Halloween!

Enjoy

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My sister Sheila gives copies of these Halloween printable coloring pages to a neighbor down the street that has a pre-school in her home.  Who could you share them with?

Homemade Father’s Day Gifts – For Inexpensive Unique Gift Giving

June 12, 2009

Unique Father’s days Gifts are sometimes hard to come by.  For some reason, my father was more difficult to buy for than my mom.  He seemed to be a bit “needless,” but he always provided well for all of our “needs.”  Of course, there was the standard white shirt and a pair of new socks for church.   We would give him a garden tool here and there… but how fun was that?  Sounds like work to me.  I think he would have enjoyed new fishing gear… but for some reason… we never thought of that.  Our father’s day gift giving was more on the practical side.  In recent years, as society, I think we’ve become more clever in giving Father’s Day presents.

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I think more emphasis is being place on clever or unique Father’s Day gifts.  Kids love to make homemade gifts and dads seems to really appreciate the extra thought and time put into such personal treasures.   I call them gifts from the heart.    How about gifts of service… like washing the car, sweeping out the garage, fixing dad his favorite dessert or offering him a good old “back scratch?”  Such an inexpensive gift idea… but meaningful.

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You can get these Father’s Day Gift Certificates for only $3.00.   These  fun service certificates are  printable downloads… so you can print as many as you like.  Each card is 3 X 5.  They can be bundled together and placed on Dad’s dinner plate… or you can place an individual card inside of another gift.  All family members can participate in signing these certificates. The kids will love them.

fatherscardplain

There are blank cards included… so you can fill in your own service gift ideas.  For instance… 10 kisses… From Emily… or…  5 back rubs…. From Sammy.  It’s a great Father’s Day gift project for kids.  Turn them loose and they’ll have a great time coming up with ideas.

You can use these certificates for Father’s day presents for Grandpa, an uncle, or a special male friend.  Print up a bunch so you have them on hand… in case you forget some one.   Give them a stack of service gift certificates or just one…. you choose.

These printable Gift Certificates are an inexpensive Father’s Day gift idea.  They are only $3.00 and you can print as many as you like… so how can you lose?  I print my certificates on matte photo paper… but if you have card stock on hand that’s great.  Plain paper will work, too.

Just Click On The Button below and these inexpensive Father’s Day Gift Certificates can be yours immediately for only $3.00.





Have a good Father’s Day!

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. Psssst.  These cards are not just for Father’s Day giving….you can use these printable cards all year long for a birthday, anniversary gift, or …. “just because.”   Keep some printed up for a quick gift for later on. Your $3.00 purchase can stretch and stretch.

P. P. S. By the way..The first Father’s Day was celebrated in around 1920 in Washington state but Father’s day was not officially celebrated until President Lyndon Johnson made the third Sunday in June… the date to remember.

Hair Dryers – Ionic Ceramic Dryers

June 3, 2009

Hair dryers eventually die… and this week mine bit the dust.  Immediately, the words, “Ionic ceramic dryers”came rushing into my mind.  Several months ago, my sister, Sheila, raved about her new ionic dryer  and, come to find out… the hair dryer buzzword is, Ionic.

hairdryer1

What this means is… the coil that produces the heat is made of ceramic… not metal.   What’s the advantage of a coil made of ceramic?  Well… the way I understand it is… Ions are molecules with a positive or negative charge.   According to manufacturers, instead of taking the air from the room and heating it, an ionic hair dryer uses negative ions to shrink the water droplets in your hair.  They claim that negatively charged ions help dry your hair faster and with less damage.  It also makes your hair smooth and shiny.

Now I don’t understand all the scientific information… but I do know that my new hair drier dried my thick Italian mane much faster than my old dryer and my hair is softer.   Can’t say my hair is any more shiny than usual.  I’ve always been blessed with shiny hair.  Come to think about it…my  shine may come from the ingredients in the little bottle I use to keep me looking youthful… if you know what I mean.

Now, an ionic hair dryer can run as much as $250.00 to $300.00.  Way out of my budget range…. but there is good news.   According to Good Housekeeping magazine and Consumer Report, the best non-professional Ionic hair  dryer is a Revlon… which retails for under $20.00.  I purchased mine at Walmart for $14.99.  The Conair is next in line for value and preformance.   The professional Ionic hair dryer doesn’t preform any better… it is just build to last longer.

So, I suggest, when your hair dryer dies and you’re in the market to purchase a new one, check into an Ionic ceramic dryer.   For only $14.99 at Walmart… why not?

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My Revlon Ionic Ceramic dryer is pink.  Part of the purchase prices goes to fight breast cancer…. another good reason to purchase a Revlon Ionic hair dryer.

Mother’s Day Coloring Cards – Mother’s Day Coloring Pages

April 30, 2009

These Mother’s Day coloring pages are just in time for your kids to make a card for Mom or Grandma. There are two Mother’s Day cards and two flat coloring sheets the kids can hang on the fridge or on the door to surprise Mom.  Here are the Mother’s day Cards:

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Click on the red links. Print the free Mother’s Day cards on 8.5 X 11 paper. Fold in half and fold again. The downloads may take a few minutes so be patient.

Purse Card Flower Card

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loveyoumom11yourethebest1

Click on the red links. Print the free Mother’s Day Printables on 8.5 X 11 paper. Again… the downloads may take a few minutes so be patient.

Love you Mom You’re The Best

Bring out the crayons, and markers and let your kids color a Mother’s Day card or Coloring pages.

Enjoy!

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  They could attach their card to a Mother’s Day gift.  In fact… check this one out.  It’s so easy… even a three year old can participate.

P.P.S.  These Mother’s Day cards and coloring pages are great for pre-schools and elemenary schools. If you know if a teacher who who would enjoy these coloring sheets… pass the word along… They will appreciate it.

Shopping Tradition And Financial Lesson

April 16, 2009

My grandkids and I have a fun shopping tradition that we enjoy in a couple of times a year. The number of “grands” that join in the shopping spree vary. Some times there’s four kids and other times there’s as many as seven or eight at one time. The kids range from 3 years to 12 years old and the shopping excursion takes place at the “Dollar Store.”

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There are two rules we apply to our shopping experience.

1. We set a limit as to the amount of money they can spend per person. Sometimes it’s three dollars and sometimes it’s five. The rule is… they have to stay within the budget. If three dollars is the limit… they know they can only put three things in their basket. (That’s why we shop at the “Dollar Store.”)

2. The second rule is… they can choose anything they want… as long as they stay within the pre-determined budget. An opinion on what they choose to buy is “off limits.” (This rule is more for me than it is for them.)

If I say, “You don’t want that because….” Or ask, “Do you really want that?,” it invalidates the child’s decision and then I take on the responsibility for what they purchase because they may try and to “please” me rather than select what they really want.  It’s then easy to blame me for items they purchase that they aren’t really thrilled about.

Now, the shopping spree.

As soon as they enter the store… they run to get their individual baskets and they start down the isles. The real young ones put everything they see into their baskets. The older kids walk up and down the isles and carefully make their decisions before placing the items in their baskets. It’s fun to watch the process.

Often, when the little ones count their items they realize they have too many toys and have to put things back on the shelves because they have gone over the budget. They use to complain a bit, now they just automatically take things back.

Once everyone has their toys… they march off to cashier where they purchase their items and they walk out the door with their own bag in hand…. happy as larks.

shopping1Meet our today’s shoppers. Braden (in the back ) Landon, Josie, and Barrett Griffiths.

Why such a shopping trip?

First of all, it’s fun and it’s a tradition we look forward to. As elementary as this process may seem… it gives them a bit of an opportunity to learn a little about finance and being responsible for their own choices.

They learn there is a limit to their spending because they have to stay within a budget. I don’t budge when it comes to sticking by the rules. No extra items.

Because no one gives directions on what to purchase… they are solely responsible for what they choose. If they don’t choose wisely, and end up unhappy about their choices, they are much more careful the next time.

On a recent shopping trip, my grandson, Glade, ask if he could take some of the the money and cash out.  He wanted to save a couple of dollars of his budget for something else. Great thinking. Saving his money for something of greater importance to him was a smart move.

Our shopping spree at the dollar store is fun and it saves me a bundle. Have you seen the prices of toys at Walmart? Oh, my gosh!

Take a look at this short video and watch the process. You will find some interesting decisions being made. We have so much fun…you’ll have to try it sometime. Besides all the fun… valuable lessons are being taught.

Till Later
Insightful Nana

P.S. Of course… afterward, a trip to Wendy’s for a bite to eat is always a treat.

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