Archives for category: back to school

 

Another new to us German tradition.

Early this afternoon we noticed many children around Hamburg with big proud smiling faces carrying very large colorful cones. What is going on here?

Cute cone

Carrying on a 200-year-old German tradition, a Schultuete is a cone-shaped package about three feet high that parents fill with treats, sweets and school supplies. It is usually given to German students at the beginning of first grade.

Later we discovered, everywhere we went the store isles were filled with both empty and pre-filled Schultuetes.

In Germany Einschulung (the first day of school) is a very special event that symbolizes the importance of a child’s formal education. The purpose of the Schultüte is to make children feel special on their first day of school rather than anxious!

Kindercone

Trying to find a Schultüte in America – it will not be and easy task. However, KinderCone online has traditional German cones that you can order and fill yourself.

 

Making a Schultuete at home is another option and looks rather easy. Once again Skip to My Lou to the rescue. Skip on over and she will give a pictorial guide for your DIY Schultuete.

Best wishes to all students first time or seasoned.

 

Schools out, it is summer vacation time, but why not add a fun academic “twist” in today for Science Saturday.

Build a candy double helix. All you will need is licorice, tooth picks and mini marshmallows.

The double helix is the most recognizable structure for deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA. Double helix is the name for the structure formed by double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids. In short, it the the shape of the molecule where all the genetic information is stored for all organisms.

Inside every cell of each living thing, both plant or animal, there are sets of instructions called genes. The genes provide the instructions on what is the plant or animal, what it looks like, how it is to survive, and how it will interact with its surrounding environment. The genes are strung together in long stands of material called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and these long strands are called chromosomes. Most living things have pairs of chromosomes (one from each parent), though they may have a different number of chromosomes from another living thing. For example, humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and the fruit fly has 4 pairs.

Each gene is made up of long combinations of four different nucleotide bases. It is the various combinations of the nucleotide bases that determine everything about a living creature.

Bonus: This Science Saturday offers some tasty left over building material!

For most parents, choosing the best mattress for their child can be rather confusing since there are so many different types of mattresses available. Without a right mattress, sleeping could become a problem for your child. At a glance, mattresses may all seem the same. However, there are few things you need to consider before making the decision to purchase.

1. Growing widespread concern regarding the effects of potentially harmful chemicals.

As your child will spend about ten to twelve hours a day sleeping on their mattress for many years, it is best you avoid heavily-treated mattresses containing polyurethane foam, Eco-foam (which is mostly polyurethane foam), vinyl (PVC), phthalates, chemical fire retardants or barriers and industrial chemicals. Many chemicals may release gases from the mattress and be inhaled by your child.

2. Mattresses that are made of organic and non-toxic materials are ideal for children. A good choice is a mattress made with organic cotton or organic wool fabrics and filling. Children are especially sensitive to toxic chemicals so care should be taken to limit their exposure.

Remember that not all organic mattresses are alike. For instance, “natural latex” or “coir” may actually be allergenic for your child. Look for a mattress that has earned the recommendation or certification of a reputable organization.

Avoid vinyl, nylon, polyurethane. Ask for FDA food-grade polyethylene, the safest way to waterproof and dust mite proof a mattress.

In addition, you will want to purchase a good firm mattress. A firm mattress provides a child with proper support for their growing bodies which is recommended by pediatricians.

3. Certainly, price is also a factor. A cheap mattress would mean that your child could end up loosing sleep when the springs start to poke through or when the mattress starts to sag.

Make sure to do a research and focus on the materials used.

4. It is not a good idea to use a hand me down mattress. Be aware that if the mattress is no longer comfortable for an older sibling, it will not be good enough for a younger child as well.

5. Always buy a mattress with an extended warranty. Kids often jump on their beds, and this could cause damage.

To extend the life of your new mattress, be sure to turn the mattress regularly and use a padded mattress topper on it to reduce wear. A breathable mattress protector to keep the mattress dry as well as free of dust and perspiration is a wise idea. Be sure to change the sheets regularly and vacuum the mattress occasionally.

Remember, a good comfortable mattress enables your child to sleep more peacefully and this in turn will help him or her to be attentive during the day. So, shop around and pick the best children mattress available within your budget.

Folks ask us almost everyday about how the different sizes of mattresses vary. Here is some basic sizing information:

·         Mattress Sizes

o        Twin–39″W x 75″L or 99 x 190 cm

o        X-Long Twin–39″W x 80″L or 99 x 203 cm

o        Full–54″W x 75″L or 137 x 190 cm

o        Queen–60″W x 80″L or 153 x 203 cm

o        King–76″W x 80″L or 198 x 203 cm

o        California King–72″W x 84″L or 182 x 213 cm

·         Fitted Sheet Sizes

o        Twin–39″W x 75″L or 99 x 190 cm

o        X-Long Twin–39″W x 80″L or 99 x 203 cm

o        Full–54″W x 75″L or 137 x 190 cm

o        Queen–60″W x 80″L or 153 x 203 cm

o        King–76″W x 80″L or 198 x 203 cm

o        California King–72″W x 84″L or 182 x 213 cm

·         Flat Sheet Sizes

o        Twin–66″W x 96″L or 167 x 243 cm

o        X-Long Twin–66″W x 102″L or 167 x 259 cm

o        Full–81″W x 96″L or 205 x 243 cm

o        Queen–90″W x 102″L or 228 x 259 cm

o        King/California King–108″W x 102″L or 274 x 259 cm

·         Comforter Sizes

o        Twin–68″W x 86″L or 173 x 218 cm

o        Full/Queen–86″W x 86″L or 218 x 218 cm

o        King/California King–100″W x 90″L or 254 x 229 cm

Our personal shoppers are always available with free advise to help you find the proper mattress for your child. Give us a call 952-881-2425.

Talking about the chairs

Day Two, High Point Furniture Spring Market: You couldn’t miss this colorful Adirondack bench out in front of Showplace even if you tried. It would have been a shame not to stop, take a closer look, climb up, sit down and make a new friend.

Seated high up on the arm was charming 12-year-old Acacia Woodley who shared with us her dream of spreading friendship and kindness.

Acacia is a small girl with no right hand and only two fingers on her left hand, so was an easy target for the bullying she experienced as a new student at a Florida school. From this Acadia came up with an idea –  The Friendship Bench.

In 2012 she started the Tiny Girl, Big Dream Foundation to help children of all ages and backgrounds spread kindness and achieve their goals. Acacia explained “children are supposed to sit on the bench when they’re being bullied or just having a bad day.”  “That lets others know they need a friend to talk to.”

Friendship Chairs

The Friendship Benches are kid sized to fit in schools. They are made from recycled milk bottles by C.R. Plastics, a Canadian company. Each is hand-painted with words of encouragement and positive character traits such as hope, respect, listen, dream and encourage. There are also three quotes about friendship, one on each arm and one along the front edge.

Chilling in the Chair

Another “lucky day” at market getting to meet Acacia with her Friendship Bench to help stop the bullying.  What an inspiration she is for all of us!

Stella Loft at Totally Kids fun furniture and toys

Every school year parents and students dutifully trudge through the malls in search of the perfect sneaker or the cool new outfit for the coming school year.  However, it’s unlikely that the new shoe or shirt will benefit them as much as a new design in the bedroom.  That’s because a bedroom makeover will create new interest and energy – what feng shui calls “chi” – in the bedroom that will benefit a child.

According to feng shui, the Chinese technique for design and arrangement, rooms that have good energy, or “chi”, create happier, well-adjusted children.  Feng shui theories suggest that for a child’s room to have good “chi,” the room must follow certain guidelines such as that they must be restful, promote good relationships others and generate good self-esteem.  Perhaps most importantly, harmonious children’s bedrooms encourage good study habits and promote greater success in school.

What does it take to promote greater success in school?  According to feng shui, the following seven tips are key to creating rooms that inspire kids to study.

1. The room must have a desk.

It sounds obvious, but many kids’ only workspace is either a bed, the bedroom floor, or the family dining table.  Every child needs a suitable study area in the bedroom that includes a desk, chair, and a lamp.  Children with study areas are more likely to study.  Better still, having a study area keeps all the school books and papers confined to the child’s room.  Feng shui also believes it’s best for children to study facing the northeast, the direction of wisdom and learning.

2.  Ground your kids.

Buy your kids a globe to promote interest in geography and to help “ground” them and encourage them to study.  Add a globe in the Northeast corner of the bedroom, if possible.

3.  Create an achievement corner.

Every child needs to have recognition for a job well done.  A perfect way to gain this is to create an achievement corner on the South wall of the bedroom.  According to feng shui, this is the recognition area and is a good place to pin up awards, papers with good grades, letters of recommendation, ribbons or trophies.

4.  Hang a crystal in the Northeast corner of the room.

Crystals are used to make computer chips faster.  Hang a crystal in the study location to create more “study” chi and to help sharpen the child’s ability to “process” or think!

5.  Put your child in the command position.

Avoid having children face a wall when studying because this represents an obstacle.  They should be able to see the door when someone enters.

6.  Display maps and other educational artwork.

Maps are another way to ground educational pursuits.  They encourage “worldly” interest and curiosity and they make suitable images for a child’s room. Avoid scary creatures, pictures depicting violence, or sad or dark subjects.

7.  Eliminate TV from the bedroom.

Sadly many of today’s children have TVs in their bedrooms.  This is a feng shui no-no because it can make children much less likely to study and rest fully.  If your child doesn’t study as much as you would like and has a TV in the bedroom, ask yourself what is more important:  television or school?

8.  Shells and fish are symbols of education.

Conch shells and koi or goldfish are excellent symbols of educational success.  Place the conch shell in the Northeast corner of the bedroom.  Or, hang a picture of koi or goldfish in the Northeast corner.  It is not recommended to keep live fish in the bedroom as water in the bedroom is associated with loss.

9.  Make a space for books and school materials.

When kids come home from school they should have a place to put their backpacks and books.  There should also be a place for them to hang coats and hats and take off shoes.  If your kids put their books on the stairs this is especially important because anyone using the stairs will be stepping over the books.  This symbollically puts education “under your feet.”  Make sure books are not put on the stairs but have a regular “home” when the kids come in the door.

10.  Activate the wisdom direction.

The Northeast sector should be activated appropriately with a globe, a lamp, and/or a quartz crystal or geode.  Other objects would include anything made of porcelain or earth, such as a vase.  A rock collection is another excellent way to energize this sector.

11.  Careful about what you place under the stairs.

If you have stairs in your home, you will want to make sure there is nothing there that can be harmful to your family.  In particular, water located under stairs poses a threat to children in the home — and to their education.  If the space under your stairs is open, try to close it up.  If you can’t, then place a heavy object such as a statue here.  If there is a closet located here, make sure it is filled with family possessions, such as holiday decorations, suitcases, or other household items.  Avoid placing books in here, however, as this can cause studies to falter.

Thank you so much Kathryn for these helpful tips for school success!

Kathryn Weber is the publisher of the Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui E-zine and certified feng shui consultant in authentic Chinese feng shui. Kathryn helps her readers improve their lives and generate more wealth with feng shui. For more information and to receive her FREE  E-book “Easy Money – 3 Steps to Building Massive Wealth with Feng Shui” visit www.redlotusletter.com and learn the fast and fun way how feng shui can make your life more prosperous and abundant!

Over the years many an egg salad sandwich has been found  in our school lunch boxes.  Now this cute Eggheads  project will make use of a few left-over eggshells; re-purposing of  both the eggshells and egg cartons – yay! Nurture Store inspired us and in just a few days there is the bonus of cress that can be added to your next batch of egg salad.

Thank you Nurture Store for this great idea! For detailed instructions, pop on over to their website.

We all know that pencils are an essential for back to school and have them on our lists. Why not add  this cheesey pencil idea from Moneywise Moms to your list too? Hop on over and learn how to make these funky fun pencils.

Liz has done it again making back to school pencils a little sweeter. Try her Recipe for Fun. Here is all that you need, but for a beautiful how to pictorial hop over to Hoosier Homemade.

Back to School Candy Pencil Supplies

  • Rolo Candy
  • Hershey Chocolate Kisses
  • Yellow scrapbook paper
  • Pink scrapbook paper
  • Paper cutter {optional, but it’s really handy}
  • Black and Blue Marker
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Adhesive – we used tape, Elmer’s Extreme Glue Stick, Tape Runner
  • Scissors
  • Tags – string, paper and erasers

If any of you have great back to school surprise recipes, send them on over.

Our back to school assignment: find a collection  that’s ahead of the curve!

The Locker Loft.

Study and ZZZ’s Loft.  A sit sack that will go wherever you go.

Lockers for colorful storage.

Start the new school year off right with a crisp bright white.

What’s the angle? Don’t forget your protractor for this bunk. Look at that ladder, and then check out the corner desk tucked under the top bed.

At the top of almost every back-to-school supply list is the backpack. It’s a convenient and practical way to carry books, pens, pencils, and other required school supplies while keeping hands free.

Students will demand attention on the school bus this year with the new 3D origami inspired  Spiketus Rex backpacks.

Headlining the collection are the Spiketus Rex Full Pack, Half Pack, and the Nibbler Lunch Box.  The Full Pack is built for storing books and guarding gear for students of all ages.  The Half Pack is perfect for preschoolers, and the Nibbler is ideal for stashing snacks and packing lunches.  Form meets function in each of these products; plus, with colors like Dinosaur Lime, Orange Peel, Purple People Eater, and Snake Bite.

Adjustable padded shoulder straps with joining ladder strap and breathable pack pads provide comfort between the backpack and body.  Two exterior zippered side pockets and an interior zippered pocket for keys, money, etc.

As helpful and fun as they are, backpacks can also cause pain and injury if not used properly. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) estimates that about 55 percent of students are carrying backpacks heavier than the recommended guideline, leading to increased backpack-related incidents in recent years.

An Italian study found that the average child carries a backpack that is the equivalent of a 39-pound pack for a 176-pound man, or a 29-pound load for a 132-pound woman. Sixty percent of those children reported back pain.

What Can You Do?
The ACA offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
  • Although the use of rollerpacks – or backpacks on wheels – has become popular in recent years, the ACA is now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. Some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.

Phases of the Moon

The 2011 Harvest Moon is next Monday, September 12. Will you be watching observing it?

What makes the moon cast its light in phases?

Here is a tasty way of demonstrating the process. Becky Nelson has a useful instruction sheet complete with oreo-template.doc.

Unlike the sun, the moon does not give off its own light; instead it reflects the sun’s light.  Because of the orbit of the moon, we don’t always see the whole moon illuminated. How much of the moon we see depends on the phase it is in. Over the course of a month, you can observe all the different phases. A great way to teach your children about this is to observe the moon every few nights and discuss which phase it is in. If you have binoculars or a telescope, be sure to use them in your observation! During the month, what other changes do you notice? Does the moon always appear to have the same color and size? Your kids might enjoy keeping a journal with sketches and observations of each stage.

There are eight main phases in the moon’s monthly cycle:

New Moon-the sun, moon, and earth are lined up, with the sun’s light reflecting off the side of the moon facing it. To the earth on the other side of it, the moon appears to be very dark at this stage.

Waxing Crescent-the stage between the new moon and first quarter; a sliver of brightness is visible on the right. The dark part of the moon is still what is most visible to Earth at this point.

First Quarter-the moon is to the left of the earth and sun (moving counter-clockwise); the sun’s rays shine on the half of the moon facing it, half of which is visible to Earth. Thus, it appears to be a “half moon,” half bright and half dark.

Waxing Gibbous-the stage between the first quarter and full moon, when most of the bright side is visible.

Full-the sun, earth, and moon are lined up, with the side of the moon facing the earth illuminated.
Waning Gibbous-occurs after the full moon; the right edge appears to be dark or invisible. The moon is in the position opposite where it is during its waxing gibbous stage.

Last (Third) Quarter-the moon is to the right of the earth and sun; because the sun’s light only falls on the side of the moon facing it, there also appears to be a “half moon” in this phase. The side that is bright is now opposite where it was during the first quarter, since the moon is on the other side of Earth.

Waning Crescent-occurs between the last quarter and the new moon; only a crescent of the bright side shows, on the left edge closest to the sun. The rest of the moon facing us is the “dark” side.

Moon in My Room is a classic tool for teaching the moon phases which has been popular for many years.