Tips on being a SuperMom without going Super crazy!

By Anitra

With it being back to school time, it means back to a schedule, back to routines, back to homework. Back to school time is full of helping with homework, helping with projects, book reports, and research.  It means making sure your family gets dinner, baths/showers, and making lunches.  There are practices to attend, school events to attend, and finding time to squeeze in time with your family and friends.  Back to school means back to being SUPERMOM.  Trust me, I know all to well the stress and pressure of being SuperMom.  Being everywhere at every time, being everything to everybody…being SuperMom can make you go super crazy; quickly!!



It doesn’t have to be that way.  Coming from me, someone who tried so hard for so long to be “that” mom, it is impossible and will wear you out.  Trying to do everything and please everyone all the time will make you a grumpy, unhappy, tired mamma that is no fun to be around.


I have two daughters, am a wife, and have always worked a full time job.  Both of my girls always did some sort of extra curricular activity; dance, gymnastics, cheer, soccer, track, softball, ASB, golf…they were always busy.  When they were really young, their extra curricular activities were at the preschool they attended so I didn’t have to take them anywhere for practices.  There was an occasional recital or performance that was not at the school, but that was a twice a year occurrence.  Once they got older and in elementary school, the practices that required me to take them to began.  Each year, it got to be more and more driving around town; and to the adjoining towns as well.  I was still working full time, making dinner every night, and helping with homework and those dreaded projects that we all love as parents! 😉








I was burnt out, tired, and grumpy.  Once my oldest daughter started high school and the youngest was in middle school, it got a little hard to be at every game, practice, performance, school function AND make dinner and still be able to help with homework and such.  I decided that I would stop trying to be SuperMom, and made a decision to just be a super mom.  I figured that they wouldn’t starve if I didn’t make them a home cooked meal every night.  I actually found that they were capable of making their own food; even my husband…amazing, right!?  The best thing I found from this is that they didn’t love me any less for not being a SuperMom.  They aren’t mad, or disappointed, or let down that I am not “that” mom.  They are actually glad to see that I am human, that I am not perfect, and that I can only do what I can do.  All that you can do is do your best!  I know that many people are in the beginning stages of their journey of being a mom and a wife, and working away from the home.  These tips are from my experiences over the years, and by experiences, I mean my trial and errors!

Tips on being a super mom, not a SuperMom



-They are capable of making their own meals or snacks and doing their own chores.

Like I said earlier, they will not starve if you do not make a home cooked meal everyday. Even if you have younger kids, teaching them how to make their own snacks or quick meals will go a long while (the Montessori child!).  I also taught both of my daughters at a young age how to do their own laundry.  They also learned how to use the iron, vacuum, and clean their bathroom.

Tip: Make a little extra sometimes so that there are leftovers for the next day for those days that you do not want to make another meal.  Start off teaching your child small, easy tasks that they can complete, then work up to bigger chores and tasks.  Even little ones can help with dishes, sorting laundry, or helping to clean up around the house.


-Make it easy on yourself and ask for help

I decided to leave the big family style dinners to Sunday’s.  The other days, it is something easier and quicker to make.  It is still home made, just not as extravagant.  Prepping ahead of time will save you time, energy, and stress!  I have found that asking for help will also save me from wanting to pull my hair out.  Remember, being a super mom is about delegating tasks to others when necessary! 😉

Tip: If you don’t have a crock pot, get one asap!  These are great for whole chickens, chili, or soups.  I prepare the night before, then put it on when I leave for work in the morning.  Dinner is ready and waiting when I get home.  If my husband or kids gets home before me, I have them finish the meal if necessary.  I also have a deal with my husband, I do laundry every week, and he washes my car every week…mom and wife score!


-Let them eat sandwiches…or whatever

Not every meal has to be hot or cooked!  We have sandwiches often, especially in the Summer when it is 100+ degrees, or breakfast for dinner!  My favorite is what I have deemed; “Whatever for Dinner Night”, and anything and everything is fair game, as long as I don’t have to cook it!

Tip:  A few good ideas are deli sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, tuna, hummus and veggies, or our personal favorite cereal


-Just do what you can and breathe!

Don’t kill yourself trying to do everything!  If things start to get or feel overwhelming, take a break and breathe!  It is better to take a quick moment than to drive your self into a nervous breakdown over unfinished laundry or a messy house!

Tip: I think as moms, we tend to think that doing everything and having everything done all the time is what makes us feel accomplished and successful.  Not the case, you are an amazing mom and are successful regardless if you get everything done or not.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.


-They will love you, no matter what!

No matter if you put a meal in front of them that you spent hours prepping and cooking or if you give them something that only took you 30 minutes from beginning to end, they will still love you; no more, no less.  If you don’t finish the laundry, it’s ok, do it tomorrow.  Honestly, I highly doubt these things bother your family at all.  We as moms just overthink some of these things, and bring undue stress on ourselves sometimes.

Tip: The love of your family is not based on the amount of time you put into a meal or if all the laundry got done. They will love you regardless and unconditionally!!!





My oldest daughter is starting her third year in college, and lives about six hours away.  Even though she is not close to home, I have found that you parent the same amount if even they are off at college!  My youngest daughter has now started her junior year in high school, and is on a competitive club soccer team.  She has been playing competitively for over seven years now.  This year however, practices have increased from two nights a week, to three nights a week from 7:30 to 9:30!  We are out late many school/work nights, so these tips have become second nature for us at my house.  I am continuously trying to find easy and efficient ways to juggle the demands of  being a full time working mom, a full time mom, and a full time wife.  Over the years, I have learned a lot about the mom I was trying to be and the mom that I am.  I can’t be the best at everything, but I can always try my best and that’s all that my family expects of me.



Back 2 School Classroom Content Montessori Extras

How using doTerra essential oils in the classroom helps with focus, concentration, & a peaceful environment

By Anitra

Being that it is back to school time, I am on a mission to start the year off right.  I want to set clear guidelines and rules of the classroom, and am looking to have the classroom run as smoothly as possible as soon as possible.  There are children returning from Summer vacation, children who are new, and others that were at the school during Summer Camp.  The beginning of a school year is the time to get everyone on the same page, and get everyone “normalized” within a quick time frame.

“Normalization” in Montessori terms is used to describe the process in which children in the classroom find inner discipline and peace, and the children are able to concentrate and focus on working freely throughout the classroom.  To assist with the process of normalization, a friend recommended the use of doTerra Essential Oils in my classroom.  Leticia Baxter is an Elite Wellness Advocate for doTerra Essential Oils, and she educated me on the positive effects of using the oils in my classroom.  The most important thing I learned about using essential oils is to do my research.  Not all oils are created equal, and doTerra oils have proven to be superior to other brands currently on the market.  To learn more about doTerra Essential Oils click here.


I invited Leticia to share some of the benefits of using doterra essential oils in your classroom (or home).  doterra Essential Oils offer a variety of oils for a variety of health benefits, however, Leticia discussed only a few; the ones that are beneficial for focus, concentration, and calming.  Without further ado-here are the benefits of using doterra essential oils.


Why Use doTERRA Essential Oils? How can they be a benefit to the home and classroom?


I am going to touch on a few doTERRA Essential oils and the amazing benefits of using them in the classroom.  


It is so important when choosing an essential oil brand! Many companies claim their oils to be therapeutic grade and some may be pure. In reality, very few of them are subjected to rigorous testing and standards for chemical composition.  doTERRA essential oils are cross tested to ensure both the exact purity and composition potency of each batch.   doTERRA works side by side with a global network of leading essential oil chemist and growers to ensure that our oils are the safest, purest, most potent and beneficial oils available in the world today.  Please make sure the oils you are using are to the highest standards of quality. You can really tell a difference not only in smell but when using.  




The Oil of Communication

Lavender is known for its calming and relaxing qualities.  It helps reduce anxious feelings and helps ease feelings of tension. When you think of lavender… think all things calming.  Lavender has many uses and  helps with some of the following: restful night’s sleep, anxious feelings, emotional balance and sooths occasional skin irritations. These are just to name a few.  Lavender can be used aromatically, topically and internally. Be aware that this does not go for all brands of essential oils.  As long as there is a supplemental fact label on the bottle, you can use topically and internally. This is very important when using essential oils and why quality really does matter.

Diffusing Lavender in the classroom can help in calming the room and aid in better focus and concentration.





The Oil of Grounding

Sometimes life can bring on stress leaving us off guard and feeling overwhelmed.  This blend helps to restore and ground us.  Balance brings a feeling of calmness, peace and relaxation. It can evoke feelings of tranquility,  sense of balance and ease anxious feelings. Balance can be used aromatically and topically.  

Diffusing balance in the classroom helps ground the whole room, setting a calm peaceful environment.





The Oil of Protection

OnGuard supports healthy immune function and can be used to boost the immune system. It can also clean surfaces to protect against environmental threats just by adding to water for an effective all purpose cleaner.  OnGuard can be used aromatically, topically and internally.

Diffusing OnGuard in the classroom helps shield individuals from germs, bacteria, mold and viruses all while purifying the air.



Wild Orange

The Oil of Abundance

Wild Orange inspires abundance, fosters creativity and supports a positive mood.  Wild Orange has a variety of uses such as cleansing, uplifting, invigorating and lowering anxious feelings or nervousness. It can aid in increasing concentration, emotional balance and so much more.  Wild Orange can be used aromatically, topically and internally.

Diffusing Wild Orange in the classroom helps with concentration and focus while cleansing the air.

 Oh… and it smells amazing too!





If you have any questions, or are interested to learn more, please visit and contact Leticia Baxter at eoswithbaxter4.com.


About the Author:


Hi, my name is Leticia Baxter from eoswith baxter4.com.  I’m a stay at home mom who felt stuck in mom life.  I love being able to stay at home with my kiddos and be there for them, and am truly lucky and blessed to do so!  I found doTerra and it has helped me in so many ways!  Natural solutions using the oils has empowered my family and my life.  Why would I not share these life changing products with other?!  I love that I can offer others hope! I look forward to helping you!



So know that you know about the benefits of using doTerra essential oils, I will share with you about actually using them in my classroom.  My oil station is on a shelf in my classroom.  My set-up is quite simple and using the diffuser is easy too!  I use a small sized diffuser and add the oils to it.  The easy to follow steps are listed below.

-Fill the diffuser to the red dot with water.

-Add two to three drops of each oil (for a stronger, more noticeable smell,add more drops).  I personally stuck with the three drops

-This is where you can personalize the oil blends.  You can use one, two, three, or all four oils!  Depending on what your aim and goal is, you can pick different oils for each situation.


The children in my classroom absolutely LOVE the oils!  They walk around commenting on how good it smells.  It truly does work, I used them towards the end of the school year when the children start to get a little “unfocused”.  They worked amazing!  I noticed the difference in their ability to focus and concentrate, as well as the calming effect on the classroom overall.


I am so happy that I was able to find such pure, safe, and beneficial products to use in my classroom! What more could you want for your child or the children in your classroom?








Back 2 School Montessori Extras

Back 2 School-The 4 Best Lunch Box Containers for Young Children

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure policy for more information.


It is Back to School time! The early mornings, trying to get everyone out of the house on time, and making lunches.  Back to School means making and packing lunches. Whether you make and pack them at night or in the morning, it is still a chore to complete.  Making and packing lunches means endless amounts of zip loc baggies, tupperware containers, aluminum foil, ice packs and thermoses.  All the makings of a disaster for a teacher…let me explain.  In most, if not all, preschool (3 to 6 year old) classrooms in California, there can be a maximum of twenty four children and two teachers.  A ration of twelve to one.  If every child brings their lunch; all twenty four of them; that means that there are twenty four lunches that we have to help open.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, that’s my point!  I work in a private preschool, and at least eighty percent of the children in my classroom bring a lunch from home.


It is very difficult to work and teach at a school who’s philosophy is based on the independence of the children, when parents do not promote independence for their child when considering the containers and baggies they put in their lunches.  For example, I understand that placing sandwiches in zip loc baggies are convenient and cheap, but most parents do not take into consideration how difficult it is for young children to open the baggies on their own.  It is actually pretty difficult for them.  On the other side, using tupperware containers are not any easier, as they tend to have very difficult lids that are not necessarily child friendly and easy to open for small hands.  Even though aluminum foil and thermoses help keep food warm in instances when there is not a way to re warm food, but they tend to be equally as difficult for young children to open themselves.


I have noticed throughout the years that the above listed ways to pack a child’s lunch are not practical for young children who need to learn to open things themselves.  It is customary in my classroom, and in many Montessori classrooms, that children be able to at least try to open their containers and such at lunch time.  In most cases, many of the children are very eager and willing to open their own things, and do not want the help of the teachers.  They are building on their ability to be naturally independent and self sufficient.  It is an important part of the Montessori philosophy to promote their inner ability to be natural learners.

With that in mind, I have come up with a list of lunch containers that are ideal in promoting the independence of your child at lunch time, which in turn leads to being independent at other feeding times as well!  The below list are of items that children have had in my classroom over the past one to two years, and are, in my opinion, the best “child centered” products for promoting independent little learners!


4 Best Child Centered Lunch Containers

(Items listed are listed in no particular order)



1. Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box











The Bentgo Kids container is a popular one.  It has two easy to open snap tabs, and the multiple compartments allows you to provide a variety of lunch choices for your child.  It also comes in more colors for your child to choose from.  They are durable & leak proof; and the inner tray is microwave and dishwasher safe.  The outside has rubber coated edges for maximum durability, and it even comes with a free downloadable eCookbook!


2. Lunchbots Stainless Steel Lunch Container

The Lunchbots lunch container is also a popular choice.  It has an easy to open lid, and similar to the Bentgo box, it has multiple compartments to allow for a variety of food choices for your child.  The durable stainless steel is built for long term usage.  It is dishwasher safe, and also comes in a trio; with two different varieties for the trio box!


3. OmieBox Bento Lunch Box

The OmieBox lunch box comes with a kid thermos that is insulated.  It opens easy, as does the lunch box itself with a snap lid.  It also has multiple compartments to provide a variety of food choices as well.  The leak proof, double walled, air insulated lunch box can be used for hot or cold foods, and the insulated thermos will keep food hot for up to four hours!



4. Zojirushi Mr. Bento Lunch Jar

The Zojirushi Mr. Bento lunch jar is by far the most convenient one for keeping foods hot.  It comes with four smaller insulated containers with lids, that are easily stored inside the jar.  It can keep food hot (or cold) for up to six hours!  It is vacuum insulated stainless steel, with microwavable food bowls.  The bowls come in different sizes, and the jar itself comes in a variety of colors. It even comes with a convenient carrying bag!


All of the lunch containers will provide opportunities for your child to practice their fine motor skills.  It also gives them an opportunity to be independent.  Any activities that aid in your child being self sufficient and independent will in the long run lead to them being confident and autonomous in the future, and on in to adulthood.  Come on, now who doesn’t want their young child to be more independent?!


Looking for more Back 2 School posts?  All through the month of August I will be bringing you posts giving you Back 2 School tips! Enjoy!








Practical Life Product Reviews

Color Mixing Activity-a Montessori Services product review

By Anitra

I received a free product from Montessori Services valued under $50 to provide an honest review of this product.  All opinions expressed are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links, please see disclosure policy for more information.

Over the years, I have ordered various Montessori materials and supplies from Montessori Services for my classroom. They have a great selection of products for your classroom, and if you are a parent interested in implementing Montessori materials and Methods at home, For Small Hands has great products as well.  They have a large selection of Montessori materials and products, from the traditional areas of a Montessori classroom; like Practical Life, Language, and Math; to supplemental products such as books, music & movement and art.   I have in the past constructed a color mixing activity as a Practical Life work in my classroom, so I was more than excited when I received the Color Mixing Activity Set from Montessori Services!


The Work:

Color Mixing Activity Item # Y30The Color Mixing Activity Set Item# Y30

Includes: (everything is pictured below)

(Photo courtesy of Montessori Services, used by permission)



Set Up and Steps:

The setup:

Using the Presentation Suggestions, I prepared the work as instructed.  I filled the clear glass bottles with water up to the neck of the bottle.  I added a few drops of red, blue, and yellow food coloring into each glass bottle, put the caps on, and shook up.  Next, I set up the tray as instructed; following the Presentation Suggestions.



After I gave the initial lesson to the children in circle time, it was then available for them to use.  During the initial lesson, I reviewed how to use an eye dropper.  Here is one of my older friends completing the Color Mixing Activity step by step.


Get an apron.  I prefer to provide aprons for the children in my class to use when they do water works.  It is a personal preference, and it not mandatory.


Next, here she is using the eye dropper to mix red and yellow.  Using the tiny spoon, she mixed up both colors and got orange.



Next up, she used the eye droppers to mix red and blue together, getting purple.










Lastly, she used the eyedroppers to mix yellow and blue, getting green









The fourth small bowl is used for experimenting.  She chose to make purple again, since it is her favorite color!





 The Clean Up:

Pour all of the contents from each of the small glass bowls into the larger glass bowl.



Use the sponge to wipe out each of the small glass bowls, and the tray, if needed.



Pour out contents of the larger glass bowl.  Using the sponge, wipe it clean.  The work is complete!




This work was so fun!  I had fun introducing it, and the children had a blast using it.  It was SO popular, I had to limit the number of times they could do it today.  I had quite a few friends cry that they were not able to do this work today, as we ran out of time during Montessori Work Time!  I really liked how EVERYTHING that I needed came with the work.  I didn’t have to purchase anything else to go with it; (I already had the aprons), and the convenience of that is a huge time and money saver.  The work is durable, and I like that most of the items used in the work are glass.  If you’ve been following my other posts, you know how much of a fan I am of using glass in my classroom.  This complete Color Mixing Activity is a good work for use in a classroom, home school, or for a parent looking to incorporate Montessori materials in their home!

I hope that you enjoy this work as much as my class and I did!








Back 2 School Montessori Extras

5 Tips to Ensure Your Child Success in Preschool

By Anitra

It is definitely that time of year again…the start of another school year.  The time of year when children start to leave my classroom, and I start to get new children…It is a sad time of the year to see many of the children leave who have been with me for two, sometimes three years; but it is also an exciting time where you are anxious to get to know and love your new little friends!  It may sound cheesy, but I hold a special place in my heart for the children that have been in my classroom over the years.  I keep in contact with quite a few of their parents as well; as they have become my friends and I ask about their children often!

Parents choose to put their children in preschool for many reasons.  The reasons can range anywhere from building their social skills, to develop growth in language skills, to promoting growth in maturity.  The same came be said for why parents choose Montessori as well; and for more specific reasons.  The reasons why parents choose to put their children in a Montessori school are because it is an environment that promotes self care, care for others, independence, and communication skills.  The Montessori environment is a structured, yet loving place where children enjoy being a part of a community, take pride in their independence, and are involved in their learning.

It is the job of the Montessori teacher to teach, guide, and encourage the growth in the whole child.  The whole child is independent, is a natural learner, and is willing to take on care of themselves, the environment, and their peers.  Although the Montessori teacher is there to assist in developing the growth of the whole child, the parents are just as important to this process.  There are things that parents can do to prepare their children for entry into a Montessori classroom.

I get it…it’s hard for parents to come to terms with the children may no longer be “babies” and that they don’t want them to grow up so fast…Trust me, I know how it feels from both sides of the fence; as a mother and as a teacher.  But  PLEASE listen to me when I say, that you are doing your children a HUGE disservice when you do everything for them, linger around the classroom, call the school all day long, and hide out in the parking lot watching to make sure your child is doing ok!!!!! Yes, this actually happens…All. The. Time.  Please understand that if you trusted the school and teachers enough to enroll your child, please trust us enough to let us do the job you are paying us for…Ok, sorry. Rant over.  Some of the tips may seem obvious, while others you may have not even thought of.


Here are 5 Tips for Preparing Your Child for Preschool


1. Please DON’T stay too long at drop off time.

I understand that you may be nervous if it is your child’s first school experience.  But staying too long makes your child get comfortable with the idea that you will be staying with them all day.  It also makes it difficult for them to want to go explore the classroom and engage with the other children.

DO practice the motto, “short drop off, long pick up”.  Make pick up time a longer, engaging experience.  Trust me, most times when it’s time to go home, they don’t want to go!  It happens all the time.


2. Please DON’T leave without saying goodbye.

Of course it is important to practice the motto, “short drop off, long pick up:.  But never just leave without saying goodbye to your child.  It may cause feelings of abandonment, and make them feel as if the school and classroom are not a safe place.  Even if they are crying and sad, still say goodbye to them and leave promptly.

DO give them a hug and even a kiss goodbye, and encourage them to have a fun or good day while at school.  You can also add that you will be back as soon as you’re done at work.


3. Please DON’T say goodbye; leave the classroom or playground, and them come back.

This is a very common thing parents do.  It is very disturbing to your child, especially if they have calmed down and are otherwise distracted.  To see you come back, gives them the impression that they are leaving, and once you leave out again, the entire episode starts again…only this time it’s WORSE!

DO remember, once you say goodbye and leave, you mustn’t return…under no circumstances.   It is very hard; not only on your child; but on the teachers who have to find a way to calm and comfort your child.


**Number 4 is especially important in a Montessori environment.**

4. Please DON’T enable your child by doing everything for them.

By this, I am referring to self care activities that they can do themselves.  From an early age, please remember that your child is more capable of doing things for themselves than you give them credit for.  All they need is the opportunity.  I have parents ask me all the time, “They pour their own water and milk”.  The answer is yes.  If i didn’t teach them from the first day they start, all I would do all day is pour water and milk! I wouldn’t have a chance to do anything else.  It is not going to hurt them if they are able to do things themselves.

Making her own snack


DO provide opportunities for your child to care for themselves.  A few examples are to have them dress themselves, help clean up after they eat, pick out their clothes, feed themselves, serve themselves snack, or let them help you cook.  You’d be amazed at what your child is capable of, if they are given the chance!  Some of these activities can be introduced as early as two years old.



Helping to make fresh bread


Putting on shoes independently


5. Please DON’T discuss starting school with your child too much before they actually start.

I have gotten feedback over the years from many parents that informed me that the month before their child started school they were excited to go.  But by the time it was their start date, they would either push back the start date or not enroll at all.  I found that talking about starting school too much actually causes anxiety and has the opposite effect on a child, making them not want to experience going to school.

DO discuss with your child that they will be starting school.  Do so often, but not so often that they lose interest in wanting to go.  Casually mention it here and there to them, and if they start to develop signs of anxiety or nervousness, end the conversation.  You can always try talking to them about it at another time.


Following these tips can make your child’s transition (and yours), to a Montessori school an easier one.  By following a few; or all of these tips may even cause a teacher thank you!








Favorite Book Friday's

The Napping House

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.


Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #3


It’s that time again for Favorite Book Fridays!  Looking for a new favorite book to introduce to your child or the children in your classroom or home school?  I created this weekly series to share with you some of my all time favorite children’s books.  I love books!  I have over one hundred books in my personal collection, and I still add to my collection as often as I can.  Here is post 3 of the weekly series, Favorite Book Fridays.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Title: The Napping House

Author: Audrey Wood

Illustrator: Don Wood


This book has actually been one of my favorites for awhile.  I have read other books by this husband and wife duo, and frankly, they put out amazing content and products!  They are also author and illustrators to another one of my favorite children’s books; The Big Hungry BearThe Napping House has a repetitious story line that is fun and silly, and keeps young children intrigued from beginning to end.  The amazing, colorful, and beautiful illustrations are an added bonus that compliments the story very well.


The Napping House

The Napping House is a story that tells the tale of a Granny sleeping on a rainy night.  Gradually, many members of the family pile on top of the napping Granny and get cozy.  A child, a dog, a cat, and a mouse are just a few of the characters that pile on top of the napping Granny.  Eventually, the pile of characters gets a tiny character that wakes one member of the family, and sends off a chain reaction!  They then become too much for the bed to handle, and down they all go!  Children love watching the bed get heavier and heavier, as the members of the family keep piling on.  They laugh with delight as they get woken up in such a silly manner.  When morning comes, no one in the house is sleeping anymore.


This is a favorite of mine because of the silly nature of it.  “Silly” is a common trait I look for when selecting a book to purchase and add to my children’s book collection.  I look for books that have a good story line, that are silly in nature, and that are not too long.  I also tend to steer clear of children’s books that have a lot of words on each page and those that don’t have a lot of pictures.  The pictures, along with a decent amount of words on each page, is what will keep young children engaged in the book.

I hope that this book becomes one of your favorites too!  Although this book doesn’t have a catchy tune or song to go along with it, the story and the pictures are sure to capture children’s attention, and become a classic that is read time and time again!


Enjoy and Happy Reading!









Favorite Book Friday's

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.


Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #2


Looking for a favorite book to introduce to the children in your classroom or to your own children?  I created this weekly series to share and summarize my favorite children’s books.  I love books! I have over a hundred books in my personal collection, and I am still adding to my collection as often as I can (as long as my hubby doesn’t find out!)  Without further ado, here is the week 2 favorite book!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Title: Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

Author: Eric Litwin

Illustrator: James Dean


I actually just recently found out about this series of books.  I know, crazy right?!  At the school I work at, we have a collection of Scholastic Books that we purchased from the proceeds we raised from having a school book fair.  We got ton of books, and many books with cds as well.  Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes was one of those books. One day during circle time, I was going through the basket of books, and all the kids were begging for me to choose Pete the Cat.  I had no idea what it was, but decided it looked pretty silly and funny; and the kids were super excited to hear the story.  Now I know why!  Pete the Cat is a bit of a character, and his facial expressions are hilarious!  Pete the Cat instantly became one of my favorites.  The best part of the book is the CD and the hip, funky music that plays along.  It is a great book all around.  Your kids will be singing along in no time!


Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes


Pete the Cat is a series of book about a cat ironically enough! The books follow Pete the Cat on all his many adventures from going to school, to going to the beach, to his magic sunglasses; and everything in between!  Pete the Cat is quite an adventurous, cool, and hip cat.  Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes is follows Pete the Cat as he takes a walk through the neighborhood in his white shoes.  He steps in a few messes along the way, and his white shoes change colors as he goes along.  Each time he steps in a new mess, the book asks if Pete the Cat frets or gets sad or gets angry, and each time the answer is the same…”Goodness No!”   At the end of the story, once Pete’s shoes are white again, there is a great moral.  The moral discusses how when things happen, don’t lose your cool and just keep keeping on!

I hope that this book instantly becomes one of your favorites that you use in your classroom, home school or as a special book for you and your child.  This book has a catchy, tune and song, and you won’t be able to not sing along!

Enjoy and Happy Reading!








Classroom Content Practical Life

4 fine motor activities for fun and development

By Anitra

Fine motor development is an important skill that children will need in all aspects of their development.  Fine motor skills aid in the development of the small muscles in their hands, fingers, and thumbs.  The development of these skills help a child with correct pencil grip, writing; and such activities as buttoning, zipping, and tying.  From a young age, young children naturally use their whole hand to grasp, grab and pick up items.  Their small hands need practice developing dexterity and strength frequently.  There are many activities that can be introduced in your classroom or homeschool, and even during play time.  In a Montessori primary classroom, there are many areas that include the inclusion of fine motor activities.  In the Language area, there are the Metal Insets.  In the Math area, there is the one to ten hanging beads.  In the Sensorial area, there are the knobbed cylinders.  The most prominent area of the classroom where most fine motor activities are introduced is the Practical Life area.  The Practical Life area is an area where the teacher can use her creativity and personality to add activities to the classroom.  Most of the the other areas in a Montessori classroom have very specific work that is customary and standard.  There are some opportunities to add to other areas of the classroom, but in the Practical Life area, you can be as creative as you would like.  One of my favorite areas in a Montessori primary classroom is the Practical Life area.  I have integrated various activities in my Practical Life area over the years; I have added to my list of works, and have done away with a few as well.  The list of activities for the development of fine motor skills are currently activities in use in my classroom and are favorites of the children.  All of the items used in each of these activities use inexpensive items.

4 activities that promote fine motor development


1. Cutting practice

I have 4 cutting practice activities set up daily.  I use hot dog trays and matching scissors.  I have a cutting strip of either dotted or solid line in each tray along with an envelope.

Procedure: Select a tray, and cut along the lines.  Once all of the lines have been cut, they can put their cutting strips into the provided envelope, and it can be taken home.  The tray then gets returned to the shelf.  Throughout the morning work time, I just replenish the cutting strips and envelopes as needed.


2. Single hole punching

I have a basket of 3×3 squares of printer paper cut.  I then have 3 small bowls with a single whole puncher in them.

Procedure: Select a bowl, and get a  paper square.  Hole punch the paper over the bowl, and once complete, they empty the paper holes in the trash and can keep the paper with the holes in it.  The bowl is then returned to the shelf.


3. Tweezing peas   

I have a tray of peas, two small, clear bowls, and a pair of tweezers.

Procedure: A child will use the tweezers to transfer all of the peas from one bowl to the other.  This work actually takes patience, and it takes awhile to complete.  Sometimes the peas are a little hard to pick up, but I like that it adds a little difficulty to the work.


4. Pin Poking

A tray containing a giant push pin, a push pin pad, and a small bowl for the pin to sit in. This work is one of the favorites of the children!  When it is first introduced, I go over the importance of keeping the poking pin in the bowl when not in use, as well as how to properly use the pin poking so that no one gets hurt.

Procedure: There are two of each pin poking trays.  The children pick a paper with a shape to poke and once complete, they bring it to the teacher to help with getting the shape out.  This work can be fun; I use metal inset shapes, shapes related to various holidays, or pick things that go with what we are learning for the week.


The most important thing to remember is to develop and enforce safety rules and procedures while giving the lesson on each activity.  Also be sure that you reinforce the safety rules and procedures as well.  Each of these activities can be easily incorporated or even modified to fit into any classroom or homeschool.







Montessori Extras

Incorporating Yoga in the classroom…Namaste!

By Anitra

Years ago, while looking for teaching resources, I came across an interesting find.  I found a book about introducing yoga to young children.  I found The Yoga Kit For Kids by Imaginazium. It came with:

  • 25 yoga cards
  • 24 page activity and instruction book
  • Music for Yoga CD

The individual yoga cards teach a simple yoga pose on the front, and a poem describing the pose on the back.  It also comes with a CD with two tracks on it.  One is a gentle, slow tune; and the other one is a little more quick and upbeat.  There is also an instruction book with pictures as well.  At the time, I wasn’t really that in to yoga, but decided to purchase it anyway.  It seemed fun and inviting, and just different enough that it kind of intrigued me.  Over the years, I used the yoga cards periodically, but never on a consistent basis.  But when I did used them, the children seemed to enjoy participating.

Fast forward to about two years ago.  I had always noticed that every year, around the end of March all the way through the end of May, the children in my classroom would start to get a little rowdy.  I asked around and other teachers had similiar experiences in their classrooms as well.  The children would be louder than normal, not as focused, and would have a slightly difficult time “relaxing their bodies” as I say.  I had the idea to incorporate the yoga for kids cards into our morning, as a way of starting off our day on a good note. Obviously when I mentioned this to my Assistant Teacher she thought I was nuts, but I told her that it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try, and what if it actually worked…

In my classroom, we go to the playground first thing in the morning before we start the traditional “Montessori Work Time”.  We are outside for about 30 to 40 minutes, and then come in, do circle time, and begin the Montessori Work period which lasts for 2 hours.  When I decided to introduce yoga, I decided that it would be best if it was done immediately after the children came in from the playground.  As soon as we enter the classroom, I leave the lights off and instruct all of the children to go find a space on the blue tape(our circle time is designated by blue tape).  I turn on the slow, gentle music from the yoga CD, and instruct them to lay on their backs, relax and close their eyes.  I then tell them that this is a no talking time, and to just listen to the quiet music and wait for instructions.

After about 2 minutes, I turn off the music and choose 3 to 5 yoga cards for them to do.  I hold up the card for them to see the pose, and once everyone is in the pose, I read the poem on the back.  Some of our favorites are Mountain, Tree, Peacock, Mouse…and my personal favorite, Do Nothing Doll!  I always end our yoga session with the Do Nothing Doll pose.  The children enjoy doing yoga and ask on a regular bases if we can do yoga!  I have noticed that by starting our day with yoga, they seem to be more focused, relaxed, attentive, and calm.  SUCCESS!  We now do yoga 2 to 3 times a week. NAMASTE!






Montessori Extras

How to Implement the Montessori Method-5 Key Tips

By Anitra

Are you interested in implementing the Montessori Method in your home, homeschool, or family daycare?  Are you unfamiliar with the Method and its’ principles? Don’t know where to begin?  Well, you are in luck!  Whether you are familiar with the Montessori Method or not, there are some basic ideas and principles that you should know before you decide on fully implementing the practices of Montessori.  There are many types of publications, websites, and information available that explains the Montessori Method.  The information can come from various organizations and/or people, that provide information on the method.  The main problem that I have noticed is, that the information is not always verified or come from a reputable source.

So, why not learn the ins and out of the Montessori Method from a trained Montessori teacher?  Montessori trained teachers learn, study, and analyze Maria Montessori, her teachings and publications; as well as her philosophy, writings, and materials regarding the development of children and their education.  Based on some of her writings, the tips below will give you a bit of insight on the basis of the Montessori Method, as well as tips on implementing the ideology.


The beginnings of the Montessori Method: The Montessori Method is an educational and teaching system that was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori.  Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator whose philosophy is based on creating a self-directed, hands on learning environment where children are encouraged to be the natural learners that they are.  The method promotes child centered, developmentally appropriate activities, and fosters the development of the “whole child”.



5 Key Tips for Implementing the Montessori Method-Home, Homeschool, or Family Daycare

  1. Montessori activities should be child centered:

“The free choices made by the children enabled us to observe their psychic needs and tendencies”.-Maria Montessori, The Secret of the Child

Have activities that are developmentally appropriate, child sized, and are easily accessible for the child.

  1. Montessori activities should follow the child and their interests:

“The first thing to be done, therefore, is to discover the true nature of a child and then assist him in his normal development”. –Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

Provide activities that are focused on the child’s interests and allow them to decide on their activity choices, as well as taking note on things that may be of little to no interest to them.

  1. Montessori environments foster independence and:

“The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his “natural development”.-Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind

Encourage the child to do things independently; starting with simple activities and, following the child’s development, increase to complex activities.



  1. Montessori fosters the development of the whole child:

“There is in the child a special kind of sensitivity which leads him to absorb everything about him, and it is this work of observing and absorbing that alone enables him to adapt himself to life”.-Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind

Support the development of their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs by introducing the child to activities that will stimulate and foster this growth.

  1. The Montessori Method and environment contributes to the thought of children are natural learners:

“Before elaborating any system of education, we must therefore create a favorable environment that will encourage the flowering of a child’s natural gifts”.-Maria Montessori, The Secret of the Childhood

Prepare an environment that with activities that allows children to explore, create, and motivate their ability to learn naturally.


Keeping these tips in mind can put you on the right path to implementing Montessori at home.