Memorial Day Thoughts – 7 photos

Memorial Day is an annual holiday in the USA, observed on the last Monday in May. It’s designated as the day we remember those men and women who died while serving in the military.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Sometimes, we forget the original purpose of Memorial Day. I’ve put together a little collection of images from our war memorials, with thoughtful inscriptions and quotations. I found these meaningful and poignant, and wanted to share them with my kids to help them understand the value of service, the price of freedom, and to help us feel more gratitude for the good things we enjoy.

Enjoy your holiday, and take a moment to remember…

From the World War 2 Memorial:

“THEY FOUGHT TOGETHER AS
BROTHERS-IN-ARMS. THEY DIED
TOGETHER AND NOW THEY
SLEEP SIDE BY SIDE. TO THEM
WE HAVE A SOLEMN OBLIGATION.”
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

(photo by William Hartz)
from the World War 2 Memorial

“WOMEN WHO STEPPED UP
WERE MEASURED AS CITIZENS
OF THE NATION, NOT AS WOMEN…
THIS WAS A PEOPLE’S WAR,
AND EVERYONE WAS IN IT.”

Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby

"WOMEN WHO STEPPED UP WERE MEASURED AS CITIZENS OF THE NATION,  NOT AS WOMEN…THIS WAS A PEOPLE’S WAR, AND EVERYONE WAS IN IT." Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby
“WOMEN WHO STEPPED UP WERE MEASURED AS CITIZENS OF THE NATION,
NOT AS WOMEN…THIS WAS A PEOPLE’S WAR, AND EVERYONE WAS IN IT.”
Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby
(photo by William Hartz)

From the Korean War Memorial:

“OUR NATION HONORS
HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS
WHO ANSWERED THE CALL
TO DEFEND A COUNTRY
THEY NEVER KNEW
AND A PEOPLE
THEY NEVER MET.”

"OUR NATION HONORS HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL TO DEFEND A COUNTRY THEY NEVER KNEW AND A PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET
“OUR NATION HONORS HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL TO DEFEND A COUNTRY THEY NEVER KNEW AND A PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET”

“FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.”

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
“FREEDOM IS NOT FREE”
(photo by William Hartz)

From the Vietnam Memorial:

IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER…
THE GALLANT AMERICANS WHOSE NAMES
GRACE THIS MEMORIAL WALL SACRIFICED
THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR
COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR
1964-1975…

IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER... THE GALLANT AMERICANS WHOSE NAMES GRACE THIS MEMORIAL WALL SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR 1964-1975...
“IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER… THE GALLANT AMERICANS WHOSE NAMES GRACE THIS MEMORIAL WALL SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR 1964-1975…”
(photo by concep007)

From the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier:

“FREEDOM IS A LIGHT
FOR WHICH MANY MEN HAVE DIED IN DARKNESS.”

(photo by Matt McGee)
(photo by Matt McGee)

Bedtime Math 3 – Add some math fun to your bedtime stories!

Bedtime Math 3
Bedtime Math 3

My family has enjoyed the first two volumes of Bedtime Math, by Laura Overdeck. When I was offered a chance to review Bedtime Math 3: The Truth Comes Out, we were very excited!

If you aren’t familiar with the Bedtime Math series, here’s a quick introduction.

Author Laura Overdeck says, “We want kids to feel about math the way they feel about dessert after dinner.”

Our mission: to make math a fun part of kids’ everyday lives. When is the last time you gave your child a math problem just for fun? Yesterday? Last year? Maybe never? We all know it’s wonderful to read bedtime stories to kids, but the question remains–what about doing math? Math has a negative association in our culture and many Americans are uncomfortable and even fearful of math and numbers. But Bedtime Math is here to change all that.

Bedtime Math stories feature different difficulty levels, so kids of varying ages — and parents — can participate in the math fun.

Getting kids to enjoy math as much as dessert may seem impossible, but wait until you try Bedtime Math with your kids. Give it a try and give math a chance! You might be pleasantly surprised at their reactions!

Why learn math? (Fox Trot comic)
Why learn math? (Fox Trot comic)

How to Get Kids to Wash Hands the Right Way

keep-calm-wash-hands-400x400Now that school is back in session, kids are exposed to bacteria and viruses more frequently. Just three days into the first week of school, my fourth grade daughter came home with a fever. I was annoyed, but not surprised, at how quickly she had gotten sick.

When illnesses make the news, reporters always share advice from doctors on how to keep yourself and your family healthy. Hand washing is always on the list of things to do. It’s the easiest way to prevent illnesses from influenza to diarrhea. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.

Handwashing Guildelines from the CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

We all know that kids don’t always wash. They may skip it completely, or just wet and wipe their hands on a towel or their clothes.

To encourage my kids to wash their hands properly and for the recommended amount of time, I tried putting new words to the “Happy Birthday” tune. The CDC recommends scrubbing for the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice.

To get started, wet your hands, get a squirt of soap, and start singing! Here are the words to go with the washing:

Sing to the tune of “Happy Birthday to You”
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Repeat.

Sure, it’s repetitive, but it’s easy to remember, and includes all of the important information. Scrub those hands! Palms, knuckles, and between the fingers.

I hope this little song is helpful for you and your family. Have a healthy school year!

For more information and instruction, check out these printable handwashing posters from the CDC:
germs-poop
How to Handwash
Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands
One Trillion Germs Can Live in a Gram of Poop

Summer Vacation Time Management Worksheet

I’m not one of those moms who look forward to spending a long, lazy summer vacation at home with the kids. I’m one of those moms who wish the kids could stay in school all summer long.

I love my kids, but I don’t love having them all around the house, all day, every day, all summer. So I make schedules for them. They’re not too rigorous or inflexible, but it helps prevent too much milling around the house in boredom. It also alleviates some of the zombie-eyed screen infatuation, by making them do things outdoors and away from electronics.

Here is a worksheet I put together this morning. The kids resist having all of their time managed by Mom, because it feels too much like school and not enough like vacation. I’m hoping that this system will be a good compromise, allowing them to have some control over their time, while still fitting in the things I feel are essential, such as personal hygiene, nutrition, brain exercise, and outdoor fun.

It’s free to download and print, and you can also customize it for your own family. If you find it helpful, please leave a comment and/or share a link to this post with your friends. Happy vacationing!

Kids’ summer time management worksheet
summer-worksheet

Romance by the Numbers

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and you might be wondering about the secrets behind a successful romance. Here’s a helpful infographic from Happify, which presents some interesting statistics about successful, satisfying relationships.

In a nutshell:

  • Spend time talking
  • Do fun stuff together
  • Have sex weekly
  • Celebrate one another
  • Share laughter
  • Defuse anger
  • Put a positive spin on it

love infographic from Happify

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Build LEGO with Chrome

A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and...
A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and sizes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LEGO and Chrome have put together a very fun virtual building environment at BuildWithChrome.com. All the fun of LEGO without the danger of stepping on a sharp-cornered brick in the dark!

You can make your own designs or follow a series of Master Builder challenges in the Build Academy. Build with a variety of brick shapes — including windows and doors — and colors.

When you’re ready to share your creation, publish it for your Google Plus friends or grab the link to post anywhere. It’s fun to browse other builders’ creations, too.

Here’s a quick build I did to try out Build With Chrome. LEGO “Geek” Give it a go and share your own creations!

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Minecraft Birthday Invitations

minecraft-invitationHello, friends! I’m planning another Minecraft birthday party, and I’ve just put together some postcard-sized invitations.

I’m sharing them with you, because I know there are lots of other kids out there who want Minecraft parties, and there aren’t a lot of ready-made paper goods to buy.

These invitations are free printables! I’ve put in the basic information fields, so you can print them out and fill them in by hand, or you can use your software to type right into the pdf and print the whole thing.

These print 4 to a page, and you can use a sheet of cardstock or Avery perforated postcards. Enjoy!

Free Minecraft printable birthday invitations