This Week in Workouts: Pilates and Not Much Else

Hey all! Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend! I’m excited that we get one more day off with Doug. We’re celebrating the last weekend of summer (well, what seems like the last weekend, anyway) by heading to the beach tomorrow!

This past week I subbed for two Pilates classes, which made it tricky to get in any additional workouts because I can only leave my kids in the childcare for a certain amount of time. I could’ve fit in more than I did, but honestly, I didn’t try that hard.

It’s ok to have off weeks.

This week I’ll likely be more motivated, but my workouts will take me to different YMCAs than usual since our normal one is closed for renovations. I’m excited to see how they spruce up the mind/body room, which is where I teach Pilates.

Here’s what this week looked like:

Monday: Take Pilates/Teach Pilates
Tuesday: Teach Pilates
Wednesday: Teach Pilates
Thursday: Teach Pilates
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 3-mile treadmill run
Sunday: OFF

Time to get back to prepping dinner. Right now I have this simmering on the stove:

ratatouille cooking on the stove

We’re doing a repeat of our lamb and ratatouille meal, which means the lamb recipe will be coming soon! My mouth is already watering.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

How are you celebrating the last weekend of summer?

Anything fun for dinner tonight?

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Friday Favorites and Giveaway Winner

Popping in for a brief Friday Favorites and to announce the winner of the Thera-Band/LYFT giveaway! Let’s start with the favorites.

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

How have I not tried this until now? Gotta love a chocolate hazelnut spread that’s first ingredient is dry roasted hazelnuts, not sugar.  There’s also a touch of salt, which adds a nice touch. This is a spread I might actually consider eating for breakfast, unlike the more popular variety which is definitely dessert.

Preschool

Sign at preschool

How could you not love this place?

I really, truly love Reece’s preschool. I love that he is outside so much of his day, that there is a chicken coop, an outdoor kitchen where the kids make salsa from the tomatoes they pick and an outdoor science center where they get hands on with learning. In case you didn’t click over in yesterday’s post about the importance of play in preschool, I highly recommend reading this info on why children need play in school from the Alliance for Childhood.

This Post from a Juice Cleanse Newbie

Hilarious because I know the hungry monster would be all but unbearable if I tried this. I feel comfortable saying I will never give it a try.

BlogFest

In case you missed my recap, it was definitely a highlight of the month.

Tomatoes with Feta

Tomatoes and feta

We’ve been eating this all.the.time lately. Slice up farmers market tomatoes, drizzle with GOOD olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, crumble GOOD feta on top fresh oregano. Sometimes the simplest foods are the most delicious.

And with that, the winner of the Thera-Band/LYFT giveaway is Kathy D.!  You’ll be getting an email shortly.

Also, I ventured out into the topic of spiritual health over at Rachel Toalson’s blog today. She’s an excellent writer and I’m honored to be guest posting on her site. Click on over to read about raising kids with religion.

What were your favorites from the month?

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Play is the Work of Childhood

“But now you’re three, and all we have to break you of is this tendency to be distracted by childlike wonder and joy, and this ridiculous desire to play all the time. We must get you ready for Kindergarten, or you will never get into a good college…”
-Excerpt from Memo to Three-Year-Old Slackers

A while back I hinted that I was happy Reece wasn’t in preschool yet, but that wasn’t completely true. I liked that he could play all day at home with me and that we could spend time outside “adventuring” together, but I’ve always wanted him to be in preschool at some point.

He’s super social and I knew he would love it, plus I knew preschool would facilitate play by giving him access to all the things I only have in the playroom of my dreams. A little more structure in our mostly unscheduled days wouldn’t hurt either.

Finding a great preschool turned out to be an easier task than I thought. I was lucky and liked the first one I toured, which I know is unusual.

The preschool we chose for Reece has the kids spending much of their time outside, the children’s artwork hanging in the classroom is all creative, unguided art and everything is setup to encourage free play. Not only that, but the preschool promotes healthy eating through class gardens where they harvest produce for snack time. Bonus points for being a green campus and a Christian school.

I feel fortunate that we found a place that supports so much of what we value.

The one thing I wasn’t at all concerned about when researching preschools for my four-year-old: academics. Take a look at any kindergarten readiness checklist. There is very little there as far as academics go other than being able to recognize letters and numbers, which any kid interested in books learns very easily on their own just by getting read to.

While Reece’s preschool does have an academic component, I would be perfectly fine with it if it had none. There are good reasons to be wary of preschools that stress academics.

While a child that knows how to recite their alphabet, count, write letters and numbers, etc is all very impressive to adults and makes parents feel that they have bragging rights, it actually means nothing as far as a child’s intelligence and future success.

In fact, by age 10, students who received play-based early learning are more advanced than their peers on every count, including math, reading, overall intelligence and creativity. Woah. So then why is everyone so concerned about pushing academics on our young children?

As parents, we tend to get caught up in wanting our children to get a head start, which is why there are so many educational toys on the market (when in actuality they have little to do with anything our kids learn). We forget that the biggest head start we can give them is simply letting them play, which is where the best learning takes place.

Creativity will be an asset to my children in whatever they end up doing for their careers, whether they are engineers or architects, artists or writers. I certainly don’t want to stifle that by getting caught up in academics earlier than necessary.

All of this said, I think it’s important to pay attention to our children’s interests and go from there.

If your kid shows an interest in learning how to write letters, show him how to write some. This happened a couple years ago with Reece when he was playing with a Magna Doodle and said, “Look, mom! I drew an A!” It may have been an accident that first time, but it prompted an interest from him of learning how to write other letters, especially the ones in his name.

So at a pretty young age, he wrote his name for the first time. Not because he is a genius and not because I pushed him into it or sat him down and did letters with him, but because he initiated it.

Follow your kid’s interests, don’t avoid teaching them something if they express an interest, but don’t whip out the flashcards just because you think you need to prep them for future success. Einstein Never Used Flashcards anyway.

Sending them outside to play is more important than any of that.

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