A Rodan+Fields Merry Christmas

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Preferred customers are the heart of my business and what a better time then the holidays to give back and say thank you to those who have supported my journey. As a special treat, this Christmas, preferred customers will receive a coupon valued at $10.00 of their next order of $80.00 or more.  March 31, 2017 is the date set for expiration so there is plenty of time to claim their offer.  Thanks to my fantastic R+F team and sponsor for this most wonderful idea.  Your help, support and guidance is a gift I truly cherish.

You are welcome to use this free template.  Click below for the PDF or editable page.  Print on cardstock or resume paper for a more formal look.

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Click Below for the Gift Certificates

PDF Gift Certificate

Gift Certificate to Edit

Click here to support my Etsy Shop.

Trim Healthy Mama Menu

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How can it already be the end of November?  Wow, how the time has flown. As we gear up for the month of December, our Trim Healthy Mama menu is a relatively simple week with a few sprinkled goodies to try for potential gifts.  Monday, I’m excited to create Cry No More Brownies found on page 314 of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. I know this will be a decadent treat for the kids lunches and for me, a delightful snack.  On Tuesday I’ll give Pecan Pralines a try. Hopefully they turn out as delicious as they look so I can gift a few to the neighbors (if I don’t eat them all first).  As for our dinners, our line up is as follows:

Monday:  Simple Egg White Breakfast Casserole with Bacon, Smoked Gouda & Spinach. (S) I didn’t get a chance to make this with so many leftovers from Thanksgiving. So this choice rolled over to this week.

Tuesday: Bean Tacos. (E) This is a quick and easy choice for my kids favorite weekday meal: Taco Tuesday.  I keep this an energizing meal by using small bits of low-fat cheese (mozzarella or feta) and using blue chips or low carb tortillas.

Wednesday: Hot Dogs. (S) Another favorite meal, my kids love their hot dogs. In place of a bun I use romaine lettuce leaves or wrap in a low carb tortilla. When shopping for hot dogs, I try to go with a healthier choice such as Hebrew Nationals.

Thursday: (S) Chicken Pot Pie. My husbands choice for this week is Chicken Pot Pie. For a delicious crust, check out this link and try the cheddar herb crust.  Since I crockpot the inside of the pie, to keep from drying out the chicken, I add it frozen then cook on low for the day.

Friday: Low Carb Perfect Pizza. (C/O or S) A family favorite, we go with a variety of recipes in the hopes of finding the perfect fit for our crew.

Saturday: Grilled Fish with Sweet Potatoes. (E) To keep the kids happy, I usually bread their fish but my husband and I like to grill our fish with a side of sweet potatoes.

Sunday: Hummingbird Pancakes. (E).  Who doesn’t love a breakfast choice for dinner.  Here is what I came up with for a Southern Favorite Cake turned pancake:

Hummingbird Pancakes (E)

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup baking blend
  • 4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups egg whites
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup almond milk

Pour oats into the blender and mix until powered form.  Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend well until a smooth texture.   Lightly coat a non stick griddle with coconut oil spray and set heat to low/low-medium heat.  Pour pancake size amounts onto the griddle and cook until brown. Flip and repeat.

To see a full copy of our menu, click on this link. Have a lovely week!

December Reading Calendar

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December reading calendars are ready!!

Enjoy the season, snuggle up with a good book and have fun reading! Fun for all elementary learners, there are three calendars in this set. Pre-k & Kindergarten, enjoy filling in parts of the snowy scene for each day you read. 1st and 2nd grades, stay warm with a good book and complete 20 activities then color Santa’s North Pole! Grades 3-5 enjoy a calendar filled with fun activities from art to athletic and simple to engaging, complete 20 tasks for 20 days read. Have fun and share your work. Come on over to my Etsy Page to download a copy of December’s Home Reading Calendar.

 

 

Advent Calendars

img_3669Our Wooden Advent Calendar

Celebrate and count down the days to Christmas with Advent Calendars. Beginning on December 1st, build the anticipation to Christmas by completing a different activity or project for each day.  Wanting to design your own advent project, here are some different ideas!

Family Holiday Activities: 

One of my favorites, this holiday activity calendar is family centered. Fun and simple projects are easy to adapt and individualize.  Click here to download a full copy of the Family Holiday Activities Advent.  Add your own ideas and celebrate the season in style. Some of the 25 ideas listed are:

  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Watch a favorite holiday movie
  • Read a holiday story
  • Make a Christmas ornament
  • Have a cup of hot chocolate
  • Have a slumber party by the Christmas tree
Random Acts of Kindness Advent

Pass on the gift of kindness and teach your child the importance of giving back to the community.  This Random Acts of Kindness Advent is filled with ideas on passing on the power of positivity. Click here to download a copy of Random Acts of Kindness Calendar. Add your own ideas for good will and consider posting below. Some of the 25 ideas are:

  • Smile to at least 5 people
  • Hold the door for someone
  • Pay for someone’s coffee or treat
  • Donate coins to charity
  • Donate a toy or book you no longer need
  • Help someone with a chore
A Bible Verse a Day Advent

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Write down your favorite verses from scripture or buy a pre-made poster that contains the story of the Nativity.  We purchased our calendar a couple years ago and love the picture so much, we reuse yearly.  Here are a couple websites with some lovely , affordable advent calendars.

A Christmas or Holiday Book a Day

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One year I picked out 25 Christmas and holiday books from my shelf.  I wrapped each book and had the kids open and read a holiday book a day.  Timing the books just right, I placed the Night Before Christmas on the 24th of December. As much as my kids LOVED opening a book a day, it was a lot of work to wrap all the books before December 1st.  Now, I collect the books into our big Santa bucket and have the kids choose a different book daily.

Workout Challenge

Two years ago, my husband and I started a fitness challenge for the month of December. Each year the daily challenges change but it gives us something fun to do as a family. These daily fitness goals are in addition to our 5 day a week workouts.  My husband usually designs our workouts, however one of my go-to sites for unique fitness is Bodyrock.com . I love their 12-24 minute workouts that I can do from home.  However, this fitness advent is a fun way to incorporate a little surprise into our day. Click here to download a full copy of the Fitness Advent Calendar.  Here are some of ideas we have added this year:

  • jump rope
  • pull ups
  • goblet squats
  • gator pushups
  • burpees
  • ab pikes
An Ornament a Day

Locate a small tree or decorate your family tree with a unique or small ornament a day. The dollar store is an excellent location to find a variety of inexpensive decorations.  Walmart and Target are other stores I have found a pack of tiny tree ornaments for a good price.

Have fun planning your advent activities!!

 

Trim Healthy Mama Menu

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Our Trim Healthy Mama menu is ready for this week of Thanksgiving.  To see our full menu, click on this link.  With the kids out of school, we have easy meals that will also work well for lunch leftovers.  For a quick, delicious and easy snack, we will make sugar-free Low Carb Truffles.  Hopefully this will help fill the holiday sugar cravings!  Many of our dinner’s this week are pins from other bloggers.  We are so thankful for their creativity and delicious recipes. Our dinners this week are as follows:

We wish you all a most wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating friends and loved ones. Our family is most thankful to spend the holiday together as a family!  Blessings are abundant for our little crew!

 

Window Writing

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Have your students ever dreamed they could enter a painting, be a reporter on TV, travel to an exotic location? Awaken their imagination, welcome them to window writing!  These “empty”  screen designs inspire and capture the attention of budding writers. Even young preschoolers will enjoy this creative tool. First, imagine anything that you peer through such as an open window (maybe even Santa’s workshop), a picture frame, a computer or television.  Next, using card stock or large paper, draw your object.  Now, cut a large hole “window” in the design.  Finally, laminate the entire project! You now have a clear window that can be used for many creative lessons.

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Here are a few ideas for window writing designs:

  • Open Window (You could even create a scene such as beach, mountain, forrest)
  • Snow Globe
  • Fortune Teller Ball
  • Picture Frame
  • Barn Door
  • Transportation Window (Bus, Car, Airplane, Helicopter, Train)
  • Book or magazine
  • IPad
  • Empty bottle or container
  • microwave
  • oven

There are many ways these could be used in the classroom, however here are some suggestions.

Writing

In writing, use these windows as a prompt to get ideas flowing.  Older students can use these screens to cultivate and create a story. While young leaners may choose to draw, with an erasable marker, on the prompt to create their stories.  Or, consider this, after the first draft is written, use the window as an editing tool. Have them place their paper behind the screen and revise their work with an expo or vis-a-vis.  Final projects can also be framed behind the screen as a eye-catching bulletin board.  Wanting to add positivity and encourage your learners, enclose writing behind the prompt then, with an erasable tool, allow complements and positive notes to be written on the window.

Performance

Wanting to foster creative expression through preformance?  Use these windows to design a student lead preformance. Or, have learners use the window as a backdrop while they read their writing aloud. Children can also practice the art of speech with one of these windows then share their work through a preformance.  Imagine a fun news or weather report, students would enjoy sharing their work. Plus, how fun would it be to film kids and their clever communication?! Certainly, this would motive children to practice reading with fluency and expression.

 

Creative Play

The importance of creative play is invaluable.  Abundant learning takes place while children are “playing”.  Incorporate some of the window prompt into their centers and observe them having fun.  While listening to kids play, write short stories of their adventures. Create a magical moment and watch their eyes light up as you read back what fun stories you heard them invent. Make these little adventures into personal books to practice reading.

Or, use the window prompts to practice reading words or letters. Put words, letter, phrases or important skills behind the window. Perhaps you want them to incorporate some spelling or vocabulary words into their theme writing.  Place it behind the screen thereby drawing more attention to the required skill. You could even consider adding velcro or a slit in the window for an interactive learning center. How cute would it be to have an interactive prompt while writing letters to Santa or his elves. There are so many possibilities for these window writing tools. Have more ideas of how to use these creative prompts, please share!  I would love to hear your ideas.

Trim Healthy Mama Menu

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Our Trim Healthy Mama menu is ready. Click here to download a copy.  Our children had a hand in choosing the menu so there are many kid friendly options this week.

Monday: Blackberry Hoisin Ginger Pork Tenderloin (S)  This is an easy, crowd pleasing recipe.  I brine my tenderloin in the morning, create the sauce and throw it into the crockpot for the day

Tuesday: Simple Tacos (E) To keep my tacos E, I use small, low carb tortillas, beans, feta cheese and add peppers, tomatoes and sautéed onions.

Wednesday: Hot Dogs, I usually choose Hebrew Nationals. The kids love their hot dog buns but we use a lettuce wrap or a low carb tortilla.

Thursday: Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowl with Zoodles. Using my veggie noodle maker, I create noodles from zucchinis and too them in right before dinner starts.

Friday: Low Carb Pizza.  We toast the large Joseph Lavish Bread and decorate with our favorite toppings.

Saturday: Spaghetti with Dream Field Pasta

Sunday: Spinach Artichoke Dip  with Grilled Chicken

Two of the Sugar-Free Sopapilla Cake  made it into our house this week.  With the second batch we tossed all the ingredient into the blender and added 1/2 cup pumpkin.  The consistency was fluffy, creamy and tasted just like pumpkin cheesecake pie. My oldest loved it and has eaten over half the pie herself.  So, this week the new Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie is back on the menu for snack and dessert.

 

 

Time to Write

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  • Idea √
  • Organized Plan √

It’s first draft time!  Get Ready, Set… Write! Within this post I will outline a variety of methods to get your students writing with confidence. Even the most struggling writer will find these techniques useful.

Hook your Audience

What is your reason and passion for writing?  Tap into that enthusiasm, start with a hook and pull your audience into the essay.  A captivating story, intriguing question or a thought-provoking statement are all unique styles of hooks.  Consider this analogy, visualize a triple scoop of ice cream.  ice cream cone with cherry on topThe cone holds the thesis statement, the scoops of ice cream are the main ideas or topic sentences and the cherry on top, that’s the hook.  It seems tiny but it dresses up the entire story.  That’s what the hook is to your essay, a delicious treat to pull your reader into your writing.  Stuck on how to start your hook? Try one of these creative techniques. Or, click here to download a copy..

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First Draft
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Ready, set… write, keep this in mind as your students being to draft.  Editing will come with time but for now get the ideas down on paper.  Here are are my list of Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t:

  • Stress about spelling
  • Agonize about word usage
  • Hound on handwriting

Do:

  • Follow your outline
  • Write on topic
  • Own it!  Put your personality, style and voice into your work.
  • Have fun! Just Write!
Accommodations
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Cue the Keyboard

For students who struggle to write on paper have them type. Handwriting needs to be practiced and cultivated but if you are trying to encourage your student to write, this may be an excellent solution. I have come to the point in my writing where it is easier for me to type rather then a handwrite an essay.  Ideas, words and creativity flow differently when I’m typing verses using a pen.  Many kids, I know, are just learning computer skills and typing may be labor intensive. However this may just be the perfect solution for kids who not only struggle with their first draft but dread the idea of rewriting their work so, it may be worth learning to use the keyboard.

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Talk to Text

Perhaps your child needs help typing and struggles to write on paper try using dictation. This will require many starts and stops as voice to text doesn’t capture everything. However, this is a helpful tool for children who just need that extra boost.

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Record on Tape

Have a tape-recorder  or some sort of recording device?  Use this tool to help jog ideas or have a child carry a small notebook with them.  When a simple sentence or perfect paragraph pops into their head, have them record on their device or notebook.  There are so many moments when you can speak the right idea, however forget your brainstorm when you are ready to write. Recording the thought will help jog your memory to recall and write later. Don’t have a tape-recorder, consider downloading an app to help your child. This particular app, designed to look like the original tape player is a Free Recorder to record your notes on the go.

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Change of Venue, Create a Writer’s Paradise

Is your student struggling to write at their desk or table?  Change their location. This may sounds like a distraction however some kids prefer to write on the floor, in their own nook, in nature, at a coffee house or someplace that makes them feel comfortable. Other kids may need a tool to help them focus such as classical music or headphones to block out noise.Watch their stories come alive when their learning style matches the location and ambience where they have chosen to write.

 

 

 

Fall in Love with Spelling

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November is here and with it, a new set of creative spelling ideas.  This 7 day guide gives creative suggestions to fall in love with spelling practice!  Click here to download a copy for use in your classroom.

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Each leaf has a creative choice that will tap into a variety of learning styles.  There is art for those who prefer to craft.  For children who enjoy nature, there is a trip outdoors listed. Kiddos that love to write will find a fun project designed with them in mind.  For students that adore technology, an engaging choice is also available. There is a family activity for kids that request to play games and crave quality time. Pratice in Motion is also available for kids who must stay active. Or, perhaps choose one activity a day to keep spelling practice fresh and fun!

It's Meal Plan Time!

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Another week has flown by and as I sit to sketch this week’s menu my oldest is begging to decorate the house for Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I have chosen some yummy fall treats to try in anticipation of the holiday.  Click here to see our full menu with breakfasts, lunches, dinner, snack and our shopping list.

Thank goodness for Pinterest, I have a surplus of cataloged recipes I’m excited to try. So, creating this weeks menu was a cinch. For snacks, I have a lot of tasty desserts listed and I hope I have the time for them all! From pumpkin custard and brownies, to low carb truffles and Sopapilla Cheesecake,  I defiantly had a sweet tooth while designing this menu.  Thank goodness for Trim Healthy Mama’s sugar-free lifestyle!  I have my desserts and enjoy them, too!

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Pumpkin Custard

Our dinner menu this week has a variety of delicious meals.  However, some of these pins I will alter to adhere to the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle.  Keeping my carbs and fats separate, I will make just a few changes.  Within the Ground Turkey Stroganoff Recipe, they use egg noodles with beef. I am sticking to turkey and serving low carb noodles to the kids and my husband. For the Jalapeno Popper Chili, I will use low-fat yogurt in place of sour cream. Any other changes and alterations, I will edit and mention as the week continues.

The cranberry jam from last week turned out amazing! I spread it on a couple of wasa cracker for a snack and added a little to my yogurt for a little kick!  Check it out here!

Cranberry Jam