Monthly Archives: April 2018

Weight Loss Progress

Weight Loss Progress ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I did really good over the holidays at the end of last year staying within three pounds of my current weight. We had all kinds of yumminess (if that is not a word it should be ;) ), I did not feel deprived whatsoever, and I did not stick to the ‘three hour rule’ of Trim Healthy Mama (THM), which means that I did not carefully watch the clock to ensure that I was not eating too often and if others were having a snack, I joined in.

Well, I was certain that after the holidays I would faithfully follow that rule and get back to eating more salads and veggies in general, and would begin losing weight once again. But alas, March came and went and I was still firmly planted in the same weight, even my allowed three pounds up. I began getting frustrated with myself and knew I needed to do something.

Last September I was in a similar position only about twenty pounds heavier. I’d been on THM for a few months and saw a little weight loss but not much. I had been on keto for a good while prior to THM and the scales had not moved much. So I have come to realize I have stubborn weight issues. This probably has come from a stint on the hCg diet, entering menopause, and really a lot of dieting/lifestyle changes over the years.

When I purchased the Trim Healthy Mama Table cookbook they offered a free month on their membership site with it. I doubted that it would be very beneficial to me but since it was free, I checked it out. One of the things on that site are some ready made menu plans. I don’t generally like menu plans because it usually includes foods I wouldn’t normally eat. But one of them caught my eye, Stubborn Losers Menu, and there were three of them.

I talked with Tiffany and we decided we’d give it a try. Now, I used to weigh myself daily and when I was really addicted to the scales, more than once a day but that proved to be unrewarding. :D Anyway, in the previous year and a half to two years I had stopped weighing altogether. I could tell how well things were going by the tightness or looseness of my clothing; trust me when I say that clothes do not shrink in the laundry as much as I had hoped they were. ;) Okay, in all honesty, I would step on the dreaded scales when I needed to prove something to myself or just to know my clothes were telling the truth. At any rate, I decided I needed to know exactly where I was at the beginning of trying the Stubborn Losers Menu to see if it was working. I also gave myself the leeway to check in again halfway through the week to see if eating things I wouldn’t normally eat was worth it.

Well, that first week at the mid-way point I had dropped a pound and a half. That was good considering I’d been stuck at the same area for a while. It encouraged me to continue on. By the end of the first week I’d lost a total of three pounds. Now that was good. So we proceeded on to the week two menu. By the end of that week, I’d lost an additional three pounds! That was six pounds in two weeks. Now that may not be good for a lot of people but I was thrilled I was finally loosing weight again. The same thing happened with week three. So in three weeks I’d lost nine pounds.

I was concerned though because our church had a conference the next week and I would be eating out most days. I was very concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep the weight off and that would be depressing. But by the end of conference week I’d lost an additional two pounds!!! Hallelujah!!!  And that is pretty much where I have stayed ever since. Michael’s birthday happened and then the holidays and my sole goal throughout the holidays was not to gain any weight and enjoy the holidays with family. I was successful.

However, I expected to begin losing again after the first of the year but here it is nearing the end of April and that did not happen. Nearly a third of the year is gone and I’m still where I was last October, give or take a few pounds. Now I must admit that I am at a weight that I lived at for many years; it is one of my set points of weight, so I know it will take a bit to get through it.

So, Tiffany and I decided it was time to do the Stubborn Losers Menus once again. I began by weighing myself so that I knew where I was starting from . . . yep, at the high end of those same three pounds. Ugh! This time I did not need to weigh myself during each week because I know that if I follow it without cheating, I will lose the weight. We are currently nearing the end of the second week and a few days ago I ate some on plan chocolate chips (too many of them) when I wasn’t supposed to. I decided that I needed to see where I was. Unfortunately I was only down a pound and a half! But I was down that pound and a half even after the chocolate chip indulgence (fyi: they are stevia sweetened) so at least I am making progress.

I determined to be strict with myself and stop allowing myself the little bit extra each meal, if I was not still HUNGRY; there are provisions to keep you from being hungry and miserable. ;) Low calorie and hydrating suggestions. The next morning I weighed once again to see if I’d lost those chocolate chips and thankfully another half pound had disappeared.

So, I probably won’t weigh again until after the end of the third week on the plan and will decide how strict I’m going to be afterwards at that point. Odds are high that I’m going to need to have salads daily. Sometimes they are tricky and you think you are getting away without a salad for a meal but they just disguised it by putting it into a “wrap”. :D

So that is where I am. The progress is slow but sustainable. Really at this stage of my life, I’m just so very thankful that God has lead me to something that works. I am anticipating a breakthrough to the next lower ten-pound bracket within the next month and then expect there to be a weight loss whoosh! :) Yes, very technical. hahaha But every so often my weight becomes stubborn and doesn’t desire to leave but I force it into submission by eating things I wouldn’t normally eat (like plain tuna in a salad of some lettuce and lots of celery and green onion not with mayonnaise but with soy sauce and sesame oil for example) and lower calorie snacks like Tummy Tucking Ice Cream or Fat Stripping Frappes instead of allowable chocolate chip cookies or fudgey cake or chocolate zucchini cake or cream-filled chocolate cupcakes. All of those things are delicious and completely allowable on THM BUT not conducive to ME getting rid of stubborn weight.

I highly recommend Trim Healthy Mama to you, not just for weight loss but for life. But if you’ve tried everything and still cannot seem to get the weight to move, it is soooo worth the $10 to the THM membership site to get access to the Stubborn Losers Menus. On top of that, you also get 10% off any orders you place from them.

I hope this is an encouragement to you. I’ll try to remember to get some pictures together this week to share a good recipe next week (but I’m not making any promises :D ).

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Advice to Stop Criticizing and Be Nice

Stop Criticizing ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was looking for this story I had read somewhere before and wanted to mention it today. So as I was searching, I came across this interesting article about one lady’s realization that she criticized her husband a lot and for the betterment of their relationship she needed to discontinue this practice.

One other thing she mentions in the article is that she made an effort to ask her husband questions and not roll her eyes when he talked. Unfortunately I must admit that I have caught myself doing that very same thing before and thankfully, I was disgusted with myself over it, which means I see the need to change. ;) Change can be very good.

As I read through the article, it slowly dawned on me that I recognized part of the story. Turned out the author was Nina Roesner. I have shared some of her articles here before. She is the author of The Respect Dare. :)

Even if you have read or heard her story before, I encourage you to read the article anyway. I was glad I did. It put me in remembrance of some things I’d let slip.

I hope it will be an encouragement to you as well today. Click here to read the article.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

 

Dog Sitting and Plants

The big thing this week has been dog-sitting for my sister and her family this week while they were gone. They have a golden doodle, German Shepherd, and a schnoodle. The first two are still puppies but large dogs. The third is the sister to Tiffany’s inside dog and they are about six years old.

Sean is the one they asked to dog-sit for them but since they moved out near us and are no longer in town, Tiffany and I go over and spend some time with the dogs for a while, so he doesn’t have to and he can be home with us. ;) Then when Michael comes home from work, he goes by and lets them go outside and relieve themselves and stretch their legs a bit.

Last weekend we all went over for a while and watched a movie while we were there. Michael took popcorn with him because he doesn’t like to watch movies without popcorn. As you can see, he had the complete attention of these two. ;)

Dogs Staring Down Popcorn Eater ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen we get there, they are READY to get outside! Then they come in and get some lovin’ from Tiffany and I and then they stand by the back door. So we cave and go outside with them and let them run off some energy.

Dog Fun ~ lifeofjoy.meDoggie Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiff and Dogs outside ~ lifeofjoy.meWe give them some water because they are definitely letting off some steam. The run and wrestle and even get on the trampoline with Tiffany. :D The wind was really kicking the day I took the pictures, thus Tiffany looks miserable. ;)

Trampoline with dogs (clicking here will open the short 3 second video in this window)

The German Shepherd did a lot of playing when we came back in, most days. But eventually went to her perch to sit for a bit.

German Shepherd big puppy ~ Lifeofjoy.me

But the other two planted themselves at our feet.

Dog at our feet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Dogs at our feet ~ Lifeofjoy.me


I noticed my perennials are up! :) This one has lots of buds on it.

Perennials ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Yes there are lots of weeds around it but it has the promise of some pretty blooms soon, in spite of the odd temperatures this year. Of course, I’m not complaining, I’m glad it is cool longer. I’m hoping we do NOT get any triple digit days this year. :)

My Sweet Williams have also started making their appearance and they are in need of me removing the weeds from around them as well.

Sweet Williams and weeds ~ Lifeofjoy.me

They are going to be so pretty when they bloom in full. :) They bring me so much joy.

Then I saw this. I think it is my oregano.

Oregano? ~ Lifeofjoy.me

When we planted it I thought it was a perennial but then it seemed to die before it got cold and I thought it was gone. I had also planted some basil and I think it really is gone, but we shall see.

Well, that’s it for me. I don’t get a whole lot done when I leave the house every day, so I’m looking forward to next week and getting back to my routines and maybe even actually enacting the new parts of my routines too. :)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I intend to.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

More on Penmanship

This week I thought I’d share an article on another perspective on penmanship. There are some links in the article that do not work any longer. I tried to do some quick work arounds but was unsuccessful. I’ll try to share some in future weeks. For the calligraphy and graffiti links, just go to pinterest and search calligraphy alphabet or graffiti alphabet and there will be MANY options.

I hope this article will bless you.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


The Power of Penmanship

By Jeffrey Pflaum

Penmanship can be seen as a follow-the-bouncing-ball mindless activity where children learn the basic strokes of the alphabet. You demonstrate how to make the smalls and caps of the letter “a,” for example. Show kids the method to write the letters and give practice drills so they will get it right. Penmanship, in this manner, becomes a copying and busywork lesson. But as an inner-city elementary school teacher, I created something a little different.

I began each day with a 20-minute handwriting lesson. New letters were presented from Monday through Thursday, and on Friday, I gave a penmanship “test.” For the exam, children wrote, repetitiously, the letters of the week, including words, sentences, and short paragraphs with those letters. Sounds pretty boring, yes?

I introduced a fresh perspective for kids to view cursive writing by saying: “Penmanship is art.” Why? When you write the letters, you’re really drawing them, making sure you’re getting the strokes and the final picture “correct” or as good as you can get it. I was really prompting them to concentrate carefully when doing penmanship. My approach and the handwriting process got their attention, tapping early morning energy to complete the task. It woke them up, and calmed them down, without too much thinking. Penmanship immediately after lunch also helped to focus hyper children with similar results as morning lessons.

In a typical lesson, I modeled the “letters of the day” on the board, showing each individual movement slowly, and, just for the fun of it, exaggerated the size so the class could see it clearly and have a good laugh at my drawing ability. I said, “If you think this is funny, why don’t you come up and draw the letter?” Hands went up quickly. Volunteers tried their best to write the letter while classmates watched intently. We critiqued the drawings in a lighthearted way.

To the class: “Your handwriting doesn’t have to be perfect like letters in penmanship books. But you want it to be easy-to-read and have control over the letters’ strokes. This is not a race to the finish. Practice the letters to create a muscle memory for each so you can improve and write faster and more clearly in future assignments.”

Link penmanship to creative writing: “When you write a story, the mind and imagination are activated: thoughts, feelings, images, ideas, and experiences travel from the brain to your hand where narratives are created. You don’t want these events from your head interrupted because you can’t ‘write’ your experiences.”

To add pizazz, I created and wrote in print, absurd sentences and paragraphs on the board for kids to write in cursive. Example: As the girl sat on the seashore she watched the waves come streaming in and then, in an instant, carry her far into outer space. The class laughed at the silly mind-pictures they visualized while writing the sentence. But I still wanted them to stay focused, despite the distraction, and complete the sentence freely and calmly. This novelty can be expanded through absurd paragraphs and will help motivate distracted and ADD/ADHD kids to focus eyes-and-hands on writing.

An advanced, mindful, “penmanship plus” activity to try is dictation because it teaches important real life and academic skills simultaneously, such as listening, spelling, vocabulary, handwriting, concentration, hand-eye coordination, and self-control. Take passages from novels or create absurd dictation stories for both educational and entertainment value.

An enrichment “cool tool” lesson connected to the penmanship-as-art approach is calligraphy. Show different sample letters written in calligraphy style to inspire kids to develop beautiful handwriting.

Need more fun? Try drawing letters, words, and sayings in graffiti style to motivate kids to write “creatively.”

Now, from the classroom to the homeschool room, here’s how parent-teachers can implement these penmanship methods:

  • Introduce/Demonstrate quote, “Penmanship is art,” and discuss briefly.
  • Model strokes for each “letter of the day.” Explain: “Drawing the letters.”
  • Child/Parent(s) practice writing letters together.
  • Child/Parent(s) review/evaluate their handwriting collaboratively in easy-going way.
  • Create real/absurd sentences/paragraphs using “letter(s) of the day” for cursive writing.
  • Emphasize importance of focusing and relaxing while writing letters.
  • Discuss how practicing letters’ strokes develop “muscle memories.”
  • Penmanship test for letters of week with same letters in words/sentences.
  • Dictation practice using real/surreal sentences/paragraphs.
  • Calligraphy practice by writing letters/words/sentences/inspirational quotations in this style.
  • Graffiti practice by writing words/sentences/motivational quotations in this style.

Penmanship goes beyond a “copying” activity. Its processes can impact children’s self-motivation, self-discipline, concentration, creativity, and physical fitness as well as English language arts skills. Educators of all kinds should think twice about eliminating penmanship practice from instruction because it means losing life-oriented and fundamental learning skills that make Johnny run.

Jeffrey Pflaum worked as an inner-city elementary school teacher where he created original curricula in reading, writing, creativity, poetry, emotional intelligence, character, and values. Pflaum’s book, Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers: How Teachers and Parents Can Lead the Way, resulted from years of empirical classroom research. His students’ poems have been published in magazines, newspapers, and books. More information on his “Contemplation Music Writing Project” can be found at: www.JeffreyPflaum.com, and The BAM Radio Network’s blog, EDWords: www.bamradionetwork.com/edwords-blog/blogger/jeffpaul.

Copyright 2016 The Old Schoolhouse® used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the TOS Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or read it on the go by downloading the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read it on your mobile devices.

DC#360 Shattuck and Tripoli

Since this week’s diva challenge is a duotangle with specified tangles, there was no need for me to check focus tangles from my usual sources. ;) However Tripoli and I are not very good friends, so I decided to look for a video tutorial to give me some help with it. I found this one by Melinda Barlow.

Melinda pointed out in the video that when Tripoli was released it was noted as a grid tangle. Well, I can do grid tangles. Mine are usually pretty wonky, so I don’t expect it to turn out perfect like others’ do.

I focused on her suggestion to work it n rows and imaginary grid. I did a lot better keeping my lines evenly spaced this time, so it will probably serve me well in the future. I didn’t end up with those pretty circular sections that I usually see in other people’s use of Tripoli but it worked here.

I decided to draw large Shattuck sections/strips diagonally across my tile. Then started in the middle and tangled in some Tripoli. I did two sections alike, and behind one separating bar in Hollibaugh fashion. I did do a section with just Shattuck only I used arches instead of straight lines. I generally forget that Shattuck is supposed to have straight lines instead of arcs. I also did some small Tripoli.

Here is my tile before shading.

DC#360 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAfter I scanned this I decided to tangle some Shattuck arches over some of the Tripoli.

Overall, I like how this tangle turned out.

DC#360 Finished ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is a bit smaller.

DC#360 Finished ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I’m really glad I tangled the arches over the medium size Tripoli, I like how it looks.

I really appreciate you stopping by. I also really enjoy and am encouraged by all your comments.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Roasted Turkey Breast

The best part of a turkey dinner, nice, tender and juicy!

I found an awesome deal on turkey breast a couple of weeks ago. Normally over $16, I got it for under $3 at just 30¢ a pound. I actually bought two of them but wish I had bought several more.

I thawed it and seasoned it with some salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and a little poultry seasoning. Baked it for a couple hours and it was delicious!!! It tested at 165º.

Seriously, it is that simple!

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.mePrepped Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeriously, it’s that simple. Sprinkle it with the desired spices/seasonings and put it in the oven until the temperature is 165º.

A couple hours later, it smelled delicious and the juices were browning in the pan. The temperature was right on 165º.

Roated Turkey Breast ~ Lifeofjoy.meRoasted Turkey too ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt really seems odd to me. They just cut off the legs and wings and sell it like that. But that is the part that is favored around here anyway.

I’d give a recipe but there really isn’t one. Just sprinkle it with the seasonings you like and bake according to the package directions checking it for temperature rather than staying strictly with time.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

A Little Nudge

A Little Nudge ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was cold yesterday. Very cold. I wore my warm winter clothes but I was still a bit chilly. Of course that is probably because I’m eating lots of veggies and cutting back on fat a bit (I have a tendency to overdo that luscious stuff) in order to jump start some weight loss again. For those following the Trim Healthy Mama plan, Tiffany and I are doing the Stubborn Losers’ Menu available on the membership website. It helped me kick start weight loss last time.

At any rate, sitting in church I was a bit chilly, so I nudged Michael and basically asked him to put his arm around me. :) I’m usually so warm-natured that sitting that close is not usually desirable for either of us. I was surprised how good it felt to have his arm around me. :) I made sure I told him so.

Later we were at my sister’s house spending some time with her dogs while they were gone. We were sitting down watching a movie and he surprised me once again by putting his arm around me. I was cold and covered up with a blanket sitting beside him. I can only imagine it was because I let him now that I liked it in church. :)

So, the point of this story is two-fold. One: ask for what you want and Two: Let him know when he does something you like. I guess it really boils down to something I have said before: communication is important. :)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Rain, Pictures, and Cheap Trash Bags

Well last week we got a lot of rain! It rained so much I was concerned that the guys wouldn’t be able to make it back home because of flooded roads, if they waited until the end of the work day. So they came home around lunch time.

Tiffany had to go out and help Sofi, her black lab, who was drenched because she didn’t go into her house.

Lots of Rain ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, we don’t usually have a large puddle at the bottom of the steps. :o Thankfully it was much drier by Sunday morning, although colder too, and we were able to get out and go to church.


After going out for long periods last week, Tiffany and I were quite happy to be home early this week. We ran errands one day and I had a dentist appointment another, so I still had to go out twice this week.

I had a root canal and two crowns done a very long time ago. I finally went and got the crowns seated, as I had the temporary for so long, it was hard to distinguish between the crowns being too high and me just needing to get used to it. In the end, we decided I’d take them out for a spin and go back next week if I need to do so. I was surprised how long the appointment took though. They got me in quickly but I sat there for a good long time waiting for the doctor to come in but they were great. If you live near Coweta, OK give Premier Dental a try . . . they’re great peeps.


Lauren, our daughter-in-love, sent us some sweet pictures this week! It is great since they live two hours away and we don’t get to see them very much any more. When they were here last month she snapped this cute one.

Group Hug ~ Lifeofjoy.meBrian and Sean were hugging and Liam got in on it. Soooo cute! Oh! Isn’t my dishwasher magnet gorgeous! I got it for Christmas 2016 or my birthday last year.

Here’s a good one of Lauren and Liam.

Loves ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd this sweet one of Brian and Liam.

Fun Guys ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s such a cutie! Oh, he got a hair cut this week too. Sooo grown up.

First haircut ~ Lifeofjoy.meOh my!!! Love that little man so much!


Remember about a month ago when I told you about the crazy weak trash bag incident and I had to go driving around looking for trash? Well, I had another bag split on me this week! Ugh!!! Thankfully it was only water jugs but still.

great value trash bags ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, not such a Great Value after all. Ugh.

Taped cheap GV trash bag ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd that is how I put it in the dumpster! They aren’t very economical if you have to double bag them to be safe and not have a trashy mess. I will not buy Great Value trash bags again. I’ve never had anything like this happen with the ones from Aldi.

Well, I guess that’s all for this week. I hope you have a great weekend. I think it is supposed to get cold and stormy again this weekend but we’ll see.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Mental Math

This week I’m sharing an article about mental math. I thought it was interesting and could be helpful to you and your children. I really liked the games suggestions and personally enjoy Number Quest for working with numbers/math too. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

8 Ways to Foster Mental Math in the Elementary Grades

By Bob Hazen

Mental math is one of the most helpful skills one can acquire. Mental math frees you from feeling enslaved to a calculator. Mental math can make you feel powerful. Mental math saves time—it’s more efficient than paper-and-pencil arithmetic. Mental math is often “good enough” for an answer. And last but not least, mental math is cool: it is cool how the mental math works, it’s cool how helpful the mental math is, it’s cool how much time it saves, and it’s cool being cool. 

Yet for many students, mental math is one of the least acquired skills. How can mental math be fostered and developed? Several dynamics come to mind.

1. Basic Facts

Get the basic facts of +, –, x, and ÷ simply flat-out memorized. No matter where you stand on the use of electronic calculators, and no matter how early a student starts using a calculator, it’s still valuable, even crucial, to have basic facts memorized.

2. Memorization

There are three key dynamics to memorization: repetition, repetition, and repetition. Simply repeating, repeating, and repeating a math fact is all that’s necessary for memorization. Such repetition can occur in many ways: saying/chanting basic facts (6×7=42, 6×7=42, 6×7=42), seeing basic facts, hearing them, writing them, picturing/imagining them, singing them, and staring at them. In our house, we posted basic facts tables on the bathroom wall, so when our kids were sitting on the throne (ahem!) the basic facts were in their field of vision. All of these ways can be part of the repetition-repetition-repetition necessary for memorization to occur. Keep in mind: memorization doesn’t make mastery harder; memorization makes mastery possible.

3. Estimation

Teach estimation, that 69 x 32 is approximately 70 x 30, which is 7×10 x 3×10, which is 7×3 x 10×10, which is 21 x 100 — so 68 x 33 is approximately 2100. Likewise, 69 + 32 is approximately 70 + 30, which is 100, so 69 + 32 is about 100. And 71 – 32 is about 70 – 30, which is 40, so 71 – 32 is about 40.

4. Modeling

Parents, it also is tremendously helpful for you to model out loud your own mental math with your kids. This is what’s called talking your walk, explaining what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

5. Flexible Thinking

I believe the single most helpful dynamic for mental math (after basic fact mastery) is the ability to think of a given quantity in more than one way. Thinking in several and numerous ways. For example, consider the number 58. This quantity of 58 can be thought of as…

58 = 50 + 8 = 5 x 10 + 8 = 40 + 18 = 30 + 28

= 60 – 2 = 6 x 10 – 2 = 70 – 12 = 80 – 22

= 100 – 42 = 100 – 40 – 2 = 100 – 30 – 12 = 100 – 20 – 22

= 2 x 29 = 2 x (25 + 4) = 2 x (30 – 1) = 2 x (35 – 6)

= 5.8 x 10 = 0.58 x 100 = 58% x 100 = 0.058 x 1000

This ability to think in numerous ways about a single quantity represents the fluency and flexibility that students should cultivate. This fluency and flexibility is the opposite of rigidity. Students who are weak in math far too often have a rigid, narrow view of quantity. For example, they think of the quantity 58 as just that, simply and only 58, or possibly as a number that’s just “kinda big.” So, encourage and model flexibility in how to think about different quantities: 1/2 = 2/4 = 3/6 = 4/8; or 3/4 = 0.75 = 75%.

6. The Distributive Property of Multiplication

Okay, I’m getting technical, but another frequent basis for mental math is based on what mathematicians call the distributive property: that with 6 x 58, the 58 can be thought of as (50 + 8), so now the original problem is 6 x (50 + 8.) The distributive property of multiplications says that the 6 distributes itself, or multiplies itself, times both the 50 and the 8, as shown here: 6 x 58 = 6 x (50 + 8) = (6 x 50) + (6 x 8) = 300 + 48 = 348. The distributive property is the basis for a whole lot of accurate, non-estimated mental math.

7. Use Math with Games

Here are some great games that help develop some of the shortcuts of mental math. By the way, parents, these games are the kinds of games that you can and should play with your kids. And any game involving dice or cards usually involves a lot of counting, which leads to the need for shortcuts, which is mental math. Make math games an intentional part of your math homeschooling and remember: game time is a time for practicing math, not for teaching math. A child should know how to add before playing a game that requires addition. Game time is for practicing math.

Yahtzee: Scoring here often involves both multiplication and addition, with lots of opportunities for the older players (both parents and older siblings) to count out loud how they calculated their score.

Monopoly: Counting spaces on the board, adding up different dollar denominations to pay rent ($85 rent could be 1 twenty + 6 tens + 5 ones, or give a one-hundred-dollar bill and get back $15 in change, etc.).

Cribbage: This classic card game has a scoreboard, the cribbage board, marked in groups of five holes, which makes counting easier and teaches mental math shortcuts.

Parcheesi (the game of Sorry is a modern version): This ancient game, played by monarchs and commoners for thousands of years, also teaches addition, subtraction, and flexible thinking about quantities.

Backgammon: Ditto the above re: Parcheesi.

Math Dice: This modern game (sold by ThinkFun) is great for all operations of arithmetic.

8. Use Math at Home

Show your kids how math is used at home. First, anything involving a tape measure, like carpentry and sewing, is great for learning fractions. Second, we taught our boys how to bake at an early age. Measuring cups show fractions and fraction equivalents and counting carefully and exactly is important. It’s easy to show that 3/4 cup of water is the same as 3 x 1/4 cup of water. I refer to baking as “math you can eat!” Third, when you take your kids grocery shopping, use mental math to keep track of prices.

Enjoy all of this and avoid tedium. Don’t ever make math a punishment. Not everything can be “fun,” but things can certainly be done with enjoyment—especially on the part of us parents!

Besides teaching full-time middle school and high school mathematics for 27 years, Bob Hazen also taught math in a pilot project to two regular first-grade classrooms using algebra, calculus, music, and manipulatives. He is the founder of SAI: the Summer Algebra Institute for Kids, where more than 3,200 students as young as third grade have learned substantive, hands-on algebra. He has also served on adjunct faculty at several colleges, is a regular speaker at education conferences, and

for quite a few years was a homeschool dad. You may contact Bob at (651) 645-4432, email him at info@AlgebraForKids.com, or by visiting his website, www.AlgebraForKids.com.

Copyright 2018 The Old Schoolhouse® used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the TOS Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or read it on the go by downloading the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read it on your mobile devices.

Read the Story of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
and how it came to be.

Tangled Fingers and Thumb

This week’s diva challenge is to use fingers for a string. I decided to include my thumb. Here is a picture of how I held my hand.

Finger String with thumb ~ Lifeofjoy.eI started with the pinky and then the ring finger and so on, with the thumb last.

Next I checked the focus tangle for Square One: Purely Zentangle, which is Shard by Carole Ohl. Then I checked Pattern Collections daily patterns for yesterday, which is the day I drew this, and today. They are Necklace by Elena Lebedeva and Raille by Sandi Buchspics respectively.

All three of these tangles seemed to mesh well, so I decided to use them all. I kept Necklace across the thumb and then put the other two alternating on the other fingers.

Here is my tile before shading.

DC#359 Finger and Thumb String ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is shaded.

DC#359 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again, I think it looks better smaller today. ;)

DC#359 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt looks shaded a lot better and kind of resembles a textured glove. :D

I bought a new Micron 01 pen and loved how nicely the ink flowed as I drew the tile. But I hadn’t added the blackened in portions of Raille until I’d done some shading. Afterwards the ink didn’t seem to flow as well. Please tell me it will be okay again!

Well, that’s all for today. As always I appreciate you stopping by and really love it when you leave a comment, as it brightens my day. Thanks so much

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº