Broken Tracks

In the bedroom broken train tracks scatter the floor. My two year olds are happily playing with the remaining intact tracts that lead onto the well worn carpet.

I sit down on the floor with them in the mess they have created. My mind starts to contemplate how I can arrange the tracks to enhance their play. A bridge here, a tunnel there, yes that will be perfect. They will love it.

Except they don’t. “No mama, no fix it”. The little voice continues on. Lamenting as I try to explain that what I am doing is going to be better. So much better.

It is as if each track I lay brings an extra agony of grief to his little heart. Slowly the track starts to come together amongst the whining and grumbling. It is one of my better designs. Slowly the grumbling begins to fade and a smile starts to form on their little faces. They see the broken tracks come together to form something new, something better.

They start working alongside me. Their excitement now evident as they can see what we are creating together. Squeals of laughter and shouts of joy echo out into the hallway as we watch the train go from the top of the hill to the bottom and up and over the bridge.

I sit back and watch. My breath catches for a moment. Here in my children’s bedroom I see just how similar I am to my toddlers. I often grumble or become anxious when life is hard and painful. Not seeing how the Holy Spirit is wanting to work in me. Wanting to use the struggle to grow me into something and someone who is more like Christ. Fixing the broken tracks for my good and for his glory.

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10-20-30 Ladder Workout

This is a quick 10 minute cardio workout. When I taught group fitness classes I would use this ascending ladder format often. It goes by fairly fast with the moderately challenging pace.

There are 5 exercises total. Each round is a specific work to rest ratio. Perform each round back to back with no additional rest time added for a 10 minute workout.

Round 1 starts with 10 seconds of jump squats followed by 10 seconds of rest. Immediately after start 10 seconds of plank jacks. Continue on until you finish the skaters. After the 10 second rest start performing 20 seconds of jump squats followed by 20 seconds of rest. The entire workout will be done in 10 minutes.

If you teach group fitness these short segments are great to add into your class. You could also use this as a finisher. Before my first baby was born I was teaching up to 20 group fitness classes a week. That makes me tired now just typing that.

In case you are looking for more group fitness class ideas be on the lookout in the next few weeks. I will be sharing one of my all time favorite group fitness classes that I taught when I worked at Lifetime Fitness.

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Summer Learning For Preschoolers & Early Elementary Students

For reference my older kids are 6 and 4 and my two littles are under 3. This post contains affiliate links.

Two years ago I shared a very detailed post on how we do preschool at home in the summer. When our family started fostering last year I began looking for inexpensive summer learning activity books. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to put together binders for each child like I had the year before. What I purchased worked out so great and I am planning to use the same products again this summer.

Here is a roundup of what we are going to be using this year plus purchases from last year that we loved!

Workbooks & Reading Programs

These Summer Brain Quest Between Grades books are fantastic! Fun enough that your kids will ask to keep working through the book but still educational. We had to limit the number of pages done each day so we didn’t finish the book in the middle of summer.

We love Curious George in our house. So this Curious George Sight Words Reading Program was a no brainer to buy last summer. This program is under $15. It comes with flash cards, 10 reading books, and a sight word tracker chart that includes stickers to mark off which words have been mastered.

Keeping with the Curious George theme. I bought Curious George Math and Science Readers STEM Program to add to our collection this year. This boxed set includes ten fun stories and activity cards featuring Curious George designed to introduce young readers to science, technology, engineering, and math.

I plan on visiting our local library often over the summer with the kids to keep our reading material new and exciting. My goal is to read to them often and to cut back on the amount of television they watch. Wish us luck! Our plan right now is to let each kid pick a show 1 day a week. This will equal out to 30 minutes of television Monday-Thursday with Friday being a family movie day.

Our son’s school uses Spalding and he has learned the first 70 phonograms this year. It was a little challenging for me to learn these so I could help him with his homework and I don’t want him or myself to get out of practice over the summer so we will be reviewing these often ;).

Bible & Theology Resources

We are still working our way through Old Story New. I plan on using these 10 Minute Devotionals along with The Gospel Story Bible and The New City Catechism during our summer school time. We have been reading The Jesus Storybook Bible again in the mornings at breakfast and plan to continue this also.

FREE Resources

There are so many great resources also available for FREE! Here are a few that we have used in the past.

  • Spot and Dot Alphabet Pages These are excellent for helping your preschooler work on their hand-eye coordination, their fine motor skills, and so much more! We use the Do-A-Dot Markers for this activity.
  • Number Playdough Mats 
  • Create Your Own Handwriting Sheets I use this to generate sheets for the kids names. I finally got smart and instead of printing one out for each kid everyday I put the paper in a clear sheet protector. The kids now use a dry erase marker and once a week get to practice with a pencil.

I am just so excited to have all my kids home together this summer. We don’t have any huge plans, just good quality family time!

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