Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

Preschooler Summer Fun Ideas April 25, 2013

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Parenting Plus Purpose @ 8:54 pm
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This is a GREAT idea that I LOVED as I raised my two kids. The card holder is divided into two sections (a pocket for each) and is held together by velcro. The cards have PLEASE on one side and an activity on the other. I would have my kids pick out the cards that they wanted to do with me. It always surprised me to read the cards that they picked and wanted to participate in 🙂 We had SOOOO much fun doing this and I hope you do as well!

Card Ideas:
* Let’s look at catalogues together
* Read to me
* Play a game with me
* Let me unlock something with your keys
* Let me put lotion on your face
* Tell me a story
* Show me something on a top shelf
* Let me comb your hair
* Hold me on your lap and hug me and play with me
* Show me your collection or let me look at your stuff with you
* Help me count some money
* Let me help you do something
* Help me call somebody on the phone
* Look something up in a book with me
* Lets put bandaids on each other
* Play blocks or building set with me
* Pick me up
* Let me tell you a joke
* Pretend something with me
* Kiss my nose
* Kiss me
* Swing me around
* Tell me about when you were little (this one was my kid’s FAVORITE!)
* Make faces with me
* Give me a hug
* Give me a horsey ride
* Warm up my feet
* Sing me a song
* Talk with me
* Look at me
* Wrestle with me
* Lets use your tools together
* Do a puzzle with me
* Help me see in the attic or under the house
* Help me read the newspaper and cut out articles
* Help me light matches or candle safely
* Lets draw pictures of each other
* Help me cut something safely
* Help me write a letter
* Play house with me
* Help me clean up my stuff
* Listen to me practice my music
* Let me show you something (watch me ’til I’m finished)
* Play dress up with me
* Help me sew something
* Lets play with make-up together
* Do some artwork with me
* Help me wash my hair and fix it different
* Take me window shopping
* Take me to a pay phone and show me how to use it
* Take me for a treat to eat
* Take mne for a walk
* Take me to a big building and ride elevators with me
* Help me plant something
* Take me to a yard sale or flea market or thrift store
* Help me build something with boards and nails
* Help me set up a lemonade stand
* Take me to a museum or gallery
* Take me to a duckpond or park and let me feed the birds
* Take me for a bus ride
* Take me to the zoo
* Take me to the library
* Help me do an experiment
* Play music and dance with me! (My kids asked for this card the MOST!)

** Put some blank cards in too for YOU to fill in!


Preschool Pre-Assessment Letter and Form April 11, 2013

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Parenting Plus Purpose @ 5:57 pm
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We have been excited to utilize the GREAT tools of preassessments and conference data. ENJOY!

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Preschool Assessments ~ Pre-K, 4’s and 3’s March 28, 2013

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Is Your Child Addicted To Sugar? Ten simple tips that can help! ~Kristin Teater, HC March 20, 2013

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Parenting Plus Purpose @ 9:20 pm
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Is your child addicted to sugar? Ten simple tips that can help!
By: Kristin Teater, HC

Are your children addicted to sugar? They might be even if you aren’t aware of it. Sugar is everywhere in our society these days. Hidden in our foods and given to our children at school, sports events, playdates and even on ordinary trips to the bank. It is sad, and at the same time good news, that the increasing epidemic of childhood obesity is largely preventable.
March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to evaluate what your children (and you yourself) are eating. Take your children’s health into your own hands this month by making a committed effort to decrease their daily sugar intake.
Try these ten simple tips to make a HUGE difference in your child’s attention span, moods and overall health and happiness.

1. Be a label detective: Besides the obvious places, sugar is hidden everywhere. Read the labels of the foods you are putting into your grocery cart. Look up the nutrition facts for your favorite restaurants online. Yes there is some difference between natural sugar and added sugar (but that is more than we can get into in this one article). Look on the labels to determine what type of sugar is in the particular product. When looking for added sugar check for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, honey, fructose, sugar, molasses, maple syrup, etc. All of these ingredients mean additional sugar has been added into the product.

2. Calculate sugar content: You can calculate sugar content by taking the total number of sugar grams listed on the nutrition label and dividing it by four. This will give you the teaspoons of sugar in any particular product. For example, Honey Teddy Grahams have eight grams of sugar per serving, which equates to two teaspoons of sugar per serving. Remember though, this gives you the amount of sugar in one serving. If you eat three servings worth, then you have to multiply the amount of grams by three. For example, one serving of Fig Newtons (two cookies) has 12 grams of sugar which equates to three teaspoons of sugar. So if your child has four cookies (two servings), it is the same as having six teaspoons of sugar.

3. Evaluate your peanut butter: Get out your peanut butter, and check the label. Many typical brands (Skippy, Jiffy, etc.) are full of sugar. More sugar than you would imagine. Most people don’t even know peanut butter contains sugar, and the truth is, it certainly doesn’t need to. Opt for a peanut butter without sugar (and salt for that matter). My guess is, after a few days, your family won’t even notice the difference.

4. Eliminate jelly: Jelly is another sugar laden food of which children are all too fond. If your children are resistant to the idea of eliminating jelly, do it slowly. Try slowly decreasing the amount of jelly used in sandwiches, on waffles, etc. Over time, you can completely remove it from your children’s diets, or simply use it occasionally. You can also check labels for a brand with less sugar to use during the transition period. Another option, is to use cut-up fruit in place of jelly. My children’s favorites are peanut or almond butter sandwiches with sliced bananas, strawberries or apples in the middle. They think they are getting a fun treat, and I am happy they are eating healthier. It’s a win-win!

5. Cut back on sauces: Sauces such as ketchup, barbeque sauce and tomato-based spaghetti sauces are really high in sugar. Try reducing the amount of sauce your family uses or purchasing brands with less sugar. You can also try substituting alternate, low-sugar sauces. For example, try using mustard instead of ketchup. Another great option is to try your hand at making your own sauces so you can control the amount of sugar added.

6. Replace juice: A single serving-sized juice box (6.75 FL OZ) of Mott’s 100% Apple White Grape Juice contains a whopping 25 grams of sugar. This equates to over 6 teaspoons of sugar! Yes, this sugar could be considered “natural” sugar but during the process of making juice the fiber is removed, which causes it to affect your blood sugar differently than whole fruit does. (Watch for a blog on this coming soon). Switch to drinking water, and reserve juice for special occasions only. If your children are resistant to water, find new and exciting ways to drink it. Purchase fun cups or silly straws. Try adding chunks of fruit or sprigs of mint to the water to create fun flavors. Freeze blueberries or raspberries in ice cubes to make floating treats.

7. Limit dried fruit: Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc) are very high in sugar. It is okay to let your children have these, but just limit the amount. Make them a treat not a daily staple.

8. Make snack time healthier: “Mommy, I’m hungry!” “Mommy, I want a snack!” Kids are notorious for snacking. Snacks are okay (as long as they aren’t interfering with your children eating their regular meals), but try to switch to healthier options. Whole foods are best. Fruits, veggies, nuts, homemade trail mixes, etc. Try to stay away from processed foods (crackers, cookies, cereals, candy, granola bars) as they are often high in sugar. If you have to grab an on-the-go snack, make sure to read the labels and opt for a lower sugar option. Try to have healthy snacks prepared in your fridge and cupboards at all times. Keep fresh fruit and cut up veggies on low shelves, providing easy access for little hands. Make homemade trail mixes using whole grain cereals, nuts and a small amount of dried fruit. Prepackage them in ziplock baggies or reusable bags.

9. Make it fun: Healthy, whole foods can be fun. Get your children involved with food preparation and make it enjoyable. Let them make funny faces out of their fruits and veggies. Turn stuffed bell peppers into stuffed pirate ships. Whip up yummy fruit and veggie smoothies. Have an oatmeal bar, and let your children choose toppings to personalize their morning meal. The possibilities are endless.

10. Take it slowly: Don’t expect the tastes of your kids, your spouse, or you for that matter to change overnight. Take it slow, but don’t give up! Small substitutions can add up to big changes over time! If your child is hooked on Froot Loops, don’t just take it away and expect him to accept a bowl of shredded wheat with a smile. Try mixing the sugary cereal in with a healthier whole grain variety. Over time, reduce the amount of the sugar cereal until they are happy with the healthier choice. If your child loves Quaker’s Instant Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, try switching to homemade oatmeal. Start by adding honey or brown sugar and other toppings (fruit, nuts, cinnamon, etc), but slowly decrease the amount of honey/sugar over time.

These ten tips can help you get started on the path to a healthier future for you, your children and your family in general. As parents, it is up to us to protect our kids and to teach them the value of healthy eating. By starting now, we can set them up for healthier and happier lives.

Kristin Teater is a health coach at Peak Motion Physical Therapy. For more information on helping your family live healthier or on health coaching programs, visit, http://www.facebook.mypeakmotion or email Health coaching programs can be done both in person or over the phone/email.


I came to the Shot@Life Summit as a mother of two children and left lending my voice for 1.5 million children. February 20, 2013

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Parenting Plus Purpose @ 11:03 pm
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In January 2013, I was busy checking my emails as I worked as the Director of Early Education of Evergreen Christian School in Olympia, Washington. I was curious as I opened an email marked “Champion@ShotatLife“. I remembered that I completed an application to attend “something” in Washington DC that involved immunizations and learning more about advocting about vaccinations. As I opened the email, I read,

“Dear Renee,

On behalf of The United Nations Foundation and the Shot@Life campaign, I would like to invite you to join us for the Shot@Life Champion Summit in Washington, DC from February 10-12, 2013! We received over 200 applications and picked the top 100 candidates to attend the Champion Summit. You will join other Champions in training from across the United States and learn the skills you need to become a leader in our movement to make sure that every child gets a shot at a healthy life.”

At that point, my only experience with immunizations was signing the vaccine approval form when I took my two kids in for their annual wellness visits at their doctor. As I read and reread the Shot@Life Invitation, one particular phrase stood out to me….”EVERY child gets a shot at a healthy life“. Here in the United States, as a mom I have access to a MULTITUDE of choices when it comes to keeping my children healthy and safe. Our family has access to wonderful doctors and nurses, clinics and care stations. We can purchase over-the-counter medicine and we have information at the tips of our fingertips on GOOGLE and WebMD (I have literally typed in “goop in the eye and yuck”). We have clean water, ability to feed our families and protect them from their environment with warm and clean clothes. I have the ability to immunizine my children against vaccine-preventable diseases by driving a few miles to our doctor and requesting it. Parents in America even have the choice to immunize or not to immunize with the protection of the “community immunity” or herd immunity. It is a choice that many parents make for many personal/religious/or medical reasons.

I know about my choices that I have in my “mommy toolbelt” of protection when raising my two beautiful little ones (okay, one IS taller than me at 16). I had a feeling that I would be in for a shot@reality when it comes to the struggle that other moms go through to keep their children healthy and safe in other parts of our globe. So, I loaded onto a plane from cloudy Seattle Washington and flew across the country to the “other” Washington. I quickly was met by a large group pf powerhouse people who loved being involved in their communties and loved being a voice through various social medias. There were doctors, educators, advocates and students. Again, I was met by the realization that in the developed countries we are blessed with a HUGE shot@opportunity in becoming what we dream of becomming in life! Let my “schooling” of global vaccinations begin!

I quicky learned that one child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could be prevented from a vaccine. Why? Becuase one in five children lack access to the life-saving immunization that keep children healthy. Statistics report that 1.5 million children die every year by vaccine preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest killer of children under five, and account for more than one-third of childhood deaths worldwide. There are major global health disparities because not all children have access to vaccines that could mean the difference between life and death, a healthy life or a lifetime of struggle. 75% of unvaccinated children live in just 10 countries. Vaccines are an especially important health intervention because they level the playing field for the most vulnerable children who do not have access to hospitals or doctors. Globally, vaccines have won several battles in the last few decades. Thanks to a coordinated global effort, the number of new cases of polio has dropped 99 percent in the last 20 years. Polio is a disease that once paralyzed more than 1,000 children a day. The world is now nearly polio-free. Measles, pneumococcal and rotavirus are hopefully soon to be eradicated as well!

One of my favorite phrases is, “you know better then you do better”….Now that I KNOW better, what was I going to do to make it BE BETTER??? I have the following four tools to help:

Learn, Advocate, Act, Donate

LEARN: Get the facts about global vaccinations and eradicating diseases through immunizations. Check out the websites of the GAVI Alliance, Shot@Life, unicef, World Health Organization, American Red Cross, American Academy of Pediatrics, ADRA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Advocate: Reach out (email, write, visit, call) to your representative in Washington asking them to make it a priority that children in developing countries receive life-saving immunizations. Over the next few months, Congress will decide how much U.S. funding goes to critical foreign aid programs, like global health and vaccines. During my visit to Washington, I met with three of Washington State Representatives. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience. They were “on board” with support and valued the input from this “mom” from Washington State.

Act: Get involved by hosting an event to raise awareness in your community to educate others in the movement. Write a letter to the newspaper or write up a blog or Facebook post to raise awareness. Learn more about becoming a Shot@Life Champion, just as I did. Go to

Donate: Your donation could help in many ways:
$5: Protects a child from polio and measles for his/her lifetime
$15: Protects a child from pneumonia and diarrhea
$20: Gives a child a lifetime of immunity from pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and measles
$60: Protects three children from these four diseases

I have had many people in my daily circle of life ask the big question….WHY? I think the answer for me came down to my two children, Kody and Madi. My husband and I have been blessed to give them the chance at a healthy life. The obstacles of growing up as a child in today’s world require enough “maneuvering” to have to do so sick, disfigured and immune compromised. Every child deserves the chance, as my children have, of learning how to ride a bicycle, blowing their first bubble with gum, swinging on a swing as high as they can and growing up celebrating many birthdays. I am giving my voice to the 1.5 million children who want that same chance as Kody and Madi. Vaccination efforts around the world have already made a difference and through the support of many “voices” in our communities, governments, media, businesses and a mom of Kody and Madi…..your voice, your time and your support will change a child’s life forever.



Piper’s Playground January 29, 2013

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Parenting Plus Purpose @ 11:14 pm

Piper’s Playground.


Piper’s Playground

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Parenting Plus Purpose @ 11:13 pm
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As a mom in the Olympia, Washington area, I have recently been hearing a “buzz” in my mommy circle about a new place to play…indoors! Raising my two children in the rainy Pacific Northwest brought one challenge that I asked myself every day….Where can I take my kids to play that is safe, clean and have the opportunity to engage in gross motor activities without going to the McDonald’s Playplace, Chuck E Cheese or the mall play area?  Having a good cup of coffee or lunch visiting with friends would only be an added bonus! Piper’s Playground was a dream from two area moms that asked themselves the same question and took it to the next level.

What is Piper’s Playground?  ~
“Piper’s Playground is an indoor playground, enrichment classes, espresso bar and cafe, fitness classes & birthday parties . . . all under one roof! It is located at 818 79th Ave Unit A, Olympia, WA 98501 Phone: (360)584-9886 Across from the Olympia Airport.

Onwers and creators, Kim and Katie spent many rainy Northwest days wishing there was a safe, fun and entertaining place for them to meet for a play date with their young children. They decided to turn that wish into a reality by opening Piper’s Playground. Now, Piper’s Playground is a destination you will not want to miss. The heart of the facility is the play area where children can exercise and have fun while remaining under the watchful eye of their parents or caregivers. Parents and caregivers will be able to relax or participate in their children’s activities at their discretion. It is an interactive destination supporting family play, growth and development. Piper’s Playground also hosts birthday parties, offers many parent-child classes as well as being the exclusive location of Stroller Strides and Body Back fitness classes in the Olympia area. Guests also enjoy quality coffee and healthy snacks at the cafĂ© and relax with younger guests in our comfy leather couches and toddler play area. Welcome to Piper’s Playground.”

As I walked into Piper’s Playground, the first that that I noticed was how bright and cheery the space was. The color pallet of the playground was muted and relaxing. The floor to ceiling windows allowed natural light to illuminate the 13,000 square feet playspace. The atmosphere was very relaxing and welcoming….a place for a healthy and wholesome visit. At the entrace, we viewed the welcome counter and the price information. There were options for a single visit or to buy a pass for the year. We found that a visit to Piper’s Playground is less than a sugary latte!  After a friendly greeting and smiles, it was time to visit the playground.

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Owner, Katie Manning met Karin Hummel and I for our tour. She graciously showed us the adorable birthday rooms, play areas, work-out spaces, classrooms and answered our many questions. One of the first questions that I asked her was about cleaning and safety. As a preschool director, I was curious about standards and regulations. Question after question was answered immediately and with confidence. Katie knew her stuff! The play areas were cleaned more than 3 times a day with enviromentally safe cleaning products and deep cleaned once in the evening after closing. Enployees have completed background checks for employment, have drug tests, aquire food handlers cards and are trained in CPR. The birthday rooms had viewing windows and the playgorund was equiped with ample safety matting and storage for shoes during play.


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The first area that we viewed was the Family Room-Little Tykes area.


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This adorable space held a constuction area, train table, toddler climbing structure, chalk wall and more!


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The large indoor play area our next destination of fun. This spacious area had plenty of floor for running and playing….a perfect place to release some “little kid” energy! The space was contained with half walls and had seating areas for visiting.

Our next area that we toured was the Piper’s Fitness Area. This large section of the facility was designated for the fitness classses that Piper’s Playground provides:

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Piper’s Fitness:

Stoller Strides: A 60 minute interval workout combining cardio & strength training.

Body Back: Combines high-intensity interval training with a clean-eating meal plan, BB runs in 8 week sessions, is limited to 10 participants & consists of 2 classes a week. Participants receive initial/final fitness assessments, nutritional support, weekly workout calendars tailored to their fitness level, a DVD and exercise tubing for at home workouts, and a food journal that includes a clean-eating meal plan and recipes.

Body Back Dads: Inspired by the fitness their wives and partners have achieved through Body Back, South Sound area dads have been asking for a similar class. It involves high intensity training workouts that are every bit as demanding as a regular Body Back Class.

TRX: Instead of using machines that support your body, TRX Suspecsion Training relies on the body supporting itself. By leveraging gravity and your body weight, you can perform hundreds of exercises that will increase mobility, core stability, strength, power, durability and flexibity.

Piper’s Playground Classes:

Piper’s Playground also offers monthly classes to serve and support the community: These classes range from $45 – $55.  E-mail: or call (360)584-9886 to register.


Some classes that are being offered in February are:

Baby Bonding Yoga ~ Youthful Yogis ~ Kidventures ~ Little Movers & Shakers ~ Little OLYmpians ~ Mini-Monet’s ~ Parent & Child Hip-Hop & Dance ~ Petite Picasso’s ~ Piper’s Playtime: Babies ~ Piper’s Playtime: Toddlers ~ Talk to Me: French ~ Talk to Me: German ~ TotShots! ~ Is this What I Was Expecting? Life with a Newborn ~ Toddler Topis ~

Parenting Bites:

Also offered at Piper’s Playground, Evolving Parents presents Parenting Bites. Parenting Bites are open office hours with parent coach, Emily McMason. This is offered Tuesday at lunc (11:45 – 12:45 pm) and Wednesday for breakfast (7:45 – 8:45). This informal discussion time is a drop-in format and requires no sign-ups or reservations….bring a meal, $5.00 and ANY PARENTING QUESTION.

Fill Your Tummy & Drink Something YUMMY!

Last, but certainly not least, Karin and I had the MOST delicious and healthy lunch at Piper’s Playground! We were excited to find out that the menu is 100% local and mostly organic.

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Karin and I both tried the “Treehouse” Panini: Diestel farms free range turkey breast, provolone, spring pesto, thyme roasted tomatoes, arugula, on Italian farm bread. From Katie’s recommendation, we also had the Cucumber Dry Soda for our drink (only 4 ingredients in the soda!)….our lunch was AMAZING!  We can’t wait to try other items on the menu…soups and other paninis.


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We ate our lunch while relaxing on brown leather chairs, marveling on how peaceful the playground was….listening to laughing children, surrounded by friends and toys.

As we wrapped up our time, I couldn’t help but think of a fun quote from Jim Henson, “(Kids) don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” Piper’s Playground is a great place for kids to have fun and where moms and dads can equip themselves to be better, healthy and supported parents.  Karin and I give Piper’s Playground TWO paint-covered, sticky with jelly THUMBS UP.  Check them out rain OR shine!