Reading & Math Strategies

Reading & Math Strategies


  • Pictures: Look at the picture and think about the story
  • Re-read: Go back and read it again
  • Sound it out: Blend and chunk the sounds to tie the word together. Example: TR-I-P, trip;  BL-END-ING, blending  
  • Slide: Try the beginning sound and slide to the end of the whole word
  • Look forward: read the end of the sentence
  • Think: Does the word sound and/or look right? Does the word make sense?
  • Read on!


  • Use manipulatives like beans, pennies, etc.
  • Use a number line or ruler
  • Count up (8 + 4  Start with 8 and count up 4 more)
  • Practice real world math like counting change, telling time, how to save money, cooking measurements, and math word problems,  How many pieces of fruit will gum will be left if I eat chew two and you chew one? 
  • Skip counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, 25’s,
  • Practice flashcards. They can create their own flashcards, use a fun online game like mathplayground, and/or use a flashcard APP like FlashtoPass or MathCards !!
  • Play math games to review skills, I’m think about a number between 10 and 60. The tens digit is 4. The ones digit it 3 more than the tens digit. What number am I?
  • Encourage math thinking. How do you know that four of these smaller cups will fit into this 1 cup? How much change will I get back if I give the cashier $5 for the ice cream? 
Basic Hummus

Basic Hummus

Makes about 1 1/2 cups or enough for 6 snack portions (1/4 cup each)

    • 1 – 15oz can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed, some people like to use can juice instead of water in recipe, not me)
    • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice; about 1 large lemon (can add more or less depending on taste)
    • ¼ cup tahini
    • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2  tsp sea salt, depending on taste and coarseness (1/2 tsp. rock salt = 3/4 tsp. kosher salt = 1 tsp. table salt)
    • 1 clove minced fresh garlic and/or 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
    • optional spices: 1/2 tsp. ground cumin and/or 1/4 tsp cayenne if you like heat
    • 2 to 3 Tbsp water
      **  Add additional salt, lemon juice, and/or other spices based on your taste. Paprika to sprinkle on top.Instructions
      1.  Use food processor or blender to cream lemon juice and tahini and process for about 1 minute.
      2. Add minced garlic, olive oil, salt, cumin and other optional ingredients you want. Process for about 1 min., scrape, and process some more.  in small blender (Bullet) or food processor except paprika to sprinkle on top. Blend about 30 seconds, longer with processor.
      3. Add 1/2 can of rinsed chickpeas and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and blend for another 30 seconds.
      4. Add 2-4 Tbsp water and process for another minute. or more to make creamy. Extra time helps whip the tahini.
      5. Taste then add additional seasoning or lemon juice based on preference. Process/blend for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Kitchen Detox

Kitchen Detox

This kitchen detox guide is to help you get rid of items that are harmful to your health and to restock it with basic items to use in daily cooking. This is simply a guide, so base it on your preference. All recipes I post include items from this list.

STEP 1: Eliminate Processed & Sugar Products

Bye-bye sugar cereal, soda, fruit juice (you can squeeze fresh daily or eat a piece of fruit after detox), chips, packaged cookies, frozen diners, etc. Donate all unused items, toss open ones, and/or feed the local ducks or birds your bread products (even though they aren’t good for them either). If you know it’s not good, get rid of it. The list below is general, so purchase based on your preferences.

STEP 2: Restock and reorganize your kitchen with basic staples 

  1. Grains & potatoes: (To eat AFTER 7 day detox)
    1. Cracked wheat bulgur and whole-wheat couscous
    2. Gluten free: kaniwa or teff, millet, rice (Basmati and/or wild rice), gluten free rolled oats, quinoa
    3. Pasta: gluten free quinoa or whole wheat pasta
  2. Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin (pepitas), sunflower
  3. Nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts (selenium), cashew, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  4. Butters & Oils: almond butter or other nut butters, coconut oil (raw extra Virgin), grass fed butter (Kerigold), olive oil (extra virgin), grapeseed oil
  5. Vinegars: apple cider, balsamic, red wine, rice if you like Japanese foods
  6. Milk: unsweetened almond, unsweetened coconut, and/or unsweetened soy milk, or 2% organic milk or Kefir if no milk allergy
  7. Freezer staples: bananas, berries, wild blueberries, berries and frozen grapes as summer treat but don’t overeat (lots of sugar)
  8. Basic spices: basil, cilantro, cayenne, cinnamon, garlic (powder or minced in frig), ginger, lemon pepper (NO salt added), mustard, nutmeg, onion powder, oregano, pepper, sea salt, thyme, turmeric, unsweetened unsweetened cocoa powder & vanilla bean powder (or toasted vanilla bean on stove then ground in mortar)
  9. Baking: baking soda, baking powder, vanilla (better to use vanilla powder), small amount of flour (gluten free oats will be used in most baked goods unless cakes for special occasions then you’ll also need granulated sugar)
  10. Herbs: fresh cilantro and/or basil for salads, sauces & guacamole and mint (for tea if you like)
  11. Canned items: (if you like products) chickpeas for hummus, black, kidney and/or pinto beans, artichoke hearts or hearts of palm in water, kalamata olives (black olives loaded with iron) or green olives (Vitamin E), sauerkraut, sun dried tomatoes
  12. Diary products: organic or European cheese products: cheddar, mozzarella, goat or feta cheese for salads, parmesan cheese; yogurt: low sugar plain or Greek yogurt
  13. Snack cabinet: Seaweed, homemade trail mix, favorite cracker treats like goldfish, pretzels, and/or popcorn.
  14. Citrus: lemons and/or limes
  15. Sweeteners: Manuka Honey, organic honey, agave, Grade B maple syrup, molasses, brown (malt) rice syrup. Purchase based on your liking. I have everything but brown rice syrup.
  16. Drinks: EcoDrink multivitamin or similar one (they’re sold at Costco), aloe inner fillet juice (large container sold at Trader Joe’s)
  17. Sweets & Salts: After detox only and if you’re able to control. If no one in your house has sugar or salt addictions, keep a cabinet with small treats like Hershey’s kisses, small chip bags, or frozen treats like Haagen-Dazs vanilla (you can add cocoa powder or other things too) or limited ingredient Greek Yogurt popsicles. NO straight sugar like Skittles, Otter Pops, etc. Save candy and cakes for birthday parties and/or a weekly treat day for something accomplished during the week. Better to make your own frozen treats with frozen fruit, honey and plain yogurt.
  18. Condiments: Clearly you’ll keep items like ketchup, mustard, and jar of homemade fruit preserves

STEP 3: Make a weekly shopping list based on fresh staples

  • Fresh fruit: choose seasonal fruits that are locally grown for best quality; use berries pomegranate & kiwi as staple then choose a weekly fresh fruit such as watermelon, apple, or other tree fruit
  • Fresh lettuces based on preference: locally grown best; greens for salads: kale, spinach, cabbage, arugula, dandelion, romaine, etc.
  • Salad toppers: carrots, cherry or vine tomatoes, bell peppers, Persian cucumbers, radishes, or other items you like such as beets and sprouts
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts and/or cauliflower
  • Proteins: eggs, grass fed meat, buffalo, fish, free range chicken, and/or organic firm tofu
  • Carbohydrates: whole wheat or gluten free bread; sweet potatoes if you like


Morning Protein Shakes

Morning Protein Shakes

Dr. Hyman’s Protein Shake 


  • ½ cup frozen wild blueberries and ½ cup frozen cranberries
  • ¼ lemon with rind (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter and ½ Tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 Tbsp of each: pumpkin seeds, chia seeds & hemp seeds
  • 2 Brazil nuts & 2 walnuts
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk and ½ cup water

Soak nuts and seeds night before or 30 minutes prior to activate enzymes. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. If shake is too thick, add more water until you reach a thick, but drinkable consistency. I add ice to mine and blend to help me drink more slowly.

Build Your Own Shake

  • Fruit: ¾ – 1 cup frozen fruit (berries or Kiwi)
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime, can grate rind if you’d like
  • Seeds: 2-3 tbsp of either hemp seeds, Chia, flax and/or pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts: 4-8 depending on size of nut: almonds, cashews, Brazil, walnuts OR omit and add more almond or sunflower butter
  • Butters: 1/2 Tbsp almond or sunflower butter OR omit and add more nuts
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond, flax, or coconut milk
  • Spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • ½ cup water or ice/water mix – add based on consistency preference

Simple Protein Shake ~ NO NUTS
Green drink

  • 1 scoop (about 3 Tbsp) vanilla egg white or plant protein powder like peas not rice base.* Can also use hemp protein powder and add 1/4 cup frozen wildberries and 4 frozen banana slices to sweeten
  • 1 tsp spirulina powder
  • 1/2 – 1 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut butter/oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • ice

Puree ingredients in blender then add 4+ ice cubes based on your preference.

*Make sure protein powder is sweetened with Stevia (Truvia, Pure Via) not aspartame or acesulfame potassium (Sunett or Sweet one)

Simple Healthy Snacks

Simple Healthy Snacks


Creating a clean palate (not high in salt and sugar so taste buds aren’t dulled) at an early age will promote healthy eating habits into adulthood. Kids typically eat plenty of carbohydrates at meals, so try to fill their snacks with high protein, healthy fat, and essential vitamins. These are my basic GO TO’s. The picture has just about all of them:)

During school snacks: cheese and crackers, fresh berries, apples, tree fruit and other easily packable items that are healthy and give energy like my homemade muffin recipes. I like to send homemade trail mix, although many schools are nut free so stick with mixing soy beans, dried fruit and seeds.

Vehicle Snacks: I always keep health snacks and water to avoid bad eating. Nuts & seeds, dried beans: soy & garbanzo (chick peas), seaweed packets, Kind bars, and other low sugar snacks. READ LABELS

After school snacks should be simple & natural to give kids energy while promoting focus.

  • Homemade trail mix: Create your own by mixing roasted unsalted nuts (almond, Brazil, cashew, macadamia, pecan, walnut, pistachio) with banana chips, roasted coconut chips, and/or SMALL amount of unsulfured dried fruit like raisons, cranberries, berries, or chopped dried apples.
    • Nut allergy: replace nuts with soybeans, chick peas, and/or seeds like sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • Homemade dips & vegetables: guacamole mix, hummus (I buy  individual packets from Costco), peanut butter/yogart dip, or homemade creamy dressing with unstarchy raw or steamed vegetables like: broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, peppers: red or orange, radishes, tomatoes, snap peas
  • Nori (seaweed) packets: Unsalted or lightly salted without sugar
  • Before sports activity: 1. Slices of banana with peanut or almond butter with DROP of honey 2. 1 cup of plain low sugar yogurt (Wallaby, Chobani, or Trader Joe’s large plain Greek yogurt) with fresh berries and 1/4 tsp of honey mixed.
  • Smoothies: plain yogurt and 1/2 cup frozen fruit & few Tbsp milk may be needed and ice to make colder.

Guacamole mix: 1/2 to 1 avocado smashed with a little squeezed lemon juice and salt to taste. Can add chopped tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, and/or onions.





If you eat nutritious food and get enough sun, rarely does a person need supplements. For example, I took amino acid supplements lysine and methionine and drank an egg white based protein drink when I was a vegetarian. I have also taken glutathione, a small molecule in our cells that supposedly works as an antioxidant and immune booster. Although I took it to help boost my liver’s removal of toxins. My personal concern with supplements are the lack of studies and regulation. It is best to get a blood test if you remain tired after the 10 day detox to check your thyroid, iron, Vitamin D, etc. Bottom line, if you eat a balanced diet, you shouldn’t need much or anything at all. Taking the wrong amounts, bad supplements or too much will typically end up being excreted or even cause harm. Therefore before you take anything know some basics like an average man needs about 56 grams of protein and a woman needs 56grams, keep in mind not all foods are complete proteins so certain individual amino acids are better to take then a drink filled with ones you don’t actually need.


Here’s a basic list of supplements to consider: 

Acidophilus, raw if you don’t eat enough yogurt, Kefir, or other fermented foods with it like saurkruat, tofu, etc. More foods here
Carlson Fish Oil – liquid lemon or orange flavor with a meal (I don’t eat much fish but still want the benefits)
Chelated calcium & magnesium before bed. Magnesium moves Calcium to bones. Foods that decrease calcium absorption are alcohol, excess caffeine, sodium, excess protein. I take for my bad bones. Read more at eMedicine
Vitamin D if you don’t get enough sun (1,000 -4,000 IU a day). Foods with D include: egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon and fish liver oil. Only a blood test can measure your levels. Read more at Authority Nutrition
L-lysine & L-argine before working out and/or bed

Good reads: 10 Ways to Maximize Human Growth Hormone by Dr. Mike from The Body Well USA

Exercise & Sleep

Exercise & Sleep

A healthy diet must go hand in hand with exercise and sleep in order to improve your overall physical health. An example is that HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is only released during sleep, or an intense workout. I’m not saying become a marathon runner, but focus on eight hours sleep or ten for your growing kids. If you have a hard time falling asleep, try a relaxing bath, read a thoughtless story in a book or magazine (not on an electronic device), and/or take 5mg of Melatonin before bed. Avoid eating 2 hours before bed, but if you do, stick with protein to avoid an insulin spike.
In regards to exercise, your heart is a muscle that must be treated like one. You need to exercise for your health, not because you’re feeling pressure by the media to look a certain way. With all the gyms, classes, outdoor activities, and apps out there to help you exercise, you have no excuses. “I’m too tired” is not an excuse because exercising actually gives you energy, but you have to get up and do it. Even if you wake up 15 minutes before your alarm to do some stretching, sit-ups, push-ups and plank holds, your mind and body will start the day on a more positive track. After work you may be tired and want to land on the sofa, but that will only make you more tired. Change your clothes, put on some upbeat music, and walk around the block for 20 minutes. If you have kids who can’t be home alone, have them come with you and talk about their day or ask them homework questions. After dinner is great too. If the weather is bad, put on some happy music and let your kids dance or workout with you in the house. Just move… The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.




  • 1 cup cracked wheat bulgur, 1 ½ cup water boiled (make quinoa if gluten intolerant about 2 ½ cups of cooked grain)
  • Course sea or kosher salt (about 1 tsp depending on your taste buds)
  • About 2 lemons (1/4 cup juice)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch of each: Mint, Italian Parsley, and Scallions (green onions)
  • 1 container Persian cucumbers (about 5 cucumbers)
  • 1 large container of cherry tomatoes; 2 cups


  1. Boil 1 ½ cups water in microwave, about 5 minutes
  2. While boiling: Mix 1 cup cracked wheat bulgur, ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup good olive oil, 1 tsp. salt in large bowl.
  3. Pour 1 ½ cups boiling water over 1cup bulgur and mix. Set aside for about 1 hour or liquid is absorbed
  4. Chop/Mince (depending on preference, I like to mince) 1 cup fresh mint, 1 cup Italian parsley, and 1 cup scallions (white and green parts)
  5. Dice 4-5 Persian cucumbers depending on size
  6. Slice cherry tomatoes in half
  7. Fluff bulgur, add ½ tsp sea salt, and toss with herbs, scallions, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Add more salt based on preference.
Simple Homemade Applesauce

Simple Homemade Applesauce


  • 3 1/2 lbs. Gala, Fuji apples or your choice apple sliced into sixths. You can peel them but the skin will fall off during cooking and you remove with tongs.
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional: 1 Tsp lemon juice, ginger, allspice and/or nutmeg


Add ingredients to on high for 3-4 hours or low for 8 hours or overnight. Turn off heat and remove lid to cool. Smash to desired consistency or puree in blender. Serve or store in refrigerator after cooled in masonry jars.

Add ingredients to large pot. Add additional water to prevent sticking to pan if needed. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower to a gentle boil and stir occasionally until apples are tender about 5 -10 minutes. Simmer on low longer if you have cinnamon stick and want flavor to infuse longer. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. Blend until smooth or smash to your desired consistency. Serve or store in refrigerator after cooled in masonry jars.

Kids Helping Kids

Kids Helping Kids

If you love hands-on projects, Kids Helping Kids offers 7 simple projects that you can do no matter where you live. This program is part of the generous non-profit Families-to-Families. Read about some of their simple projects that directly affect people in need. You can do these projects no matter where you live! Get involved by calling a local homeless shelter to let them know you’d love to provide their residents with one of the 7 projects below.  

Yearly involvement suggestions:
9th Grade ~
Hold a Birthday Giving Party: Celebrate your birthday by giving to others
~  OR Join the Birthday Giving Project

Summer of 9th ~ Gather your friends and hold an All Dolled Up!, Locomotion, or Sport Box week. Collect items, clean them & box them with love.

10th Grade ~Join Kids Can! Make a Difference! Choose from a monthly or every other month option to collect and donate non-perishable items to local food pantry.

Summer of 10th ~ Set up a Books for Life Drive  or do another box party from Summer of 9th.

11th Grade ~ Start a Breakfast Club. Each month gather non-perishable breakfast items and donate them to local food pantries

Summer of 12th ~Hold a Seeds for Change drive or another box drive from Summer of 9th


12th Grade ~ Contact a local homeless shelter and create your own monthly collection based on the shelter’s. Don’t forget to ask if you can make boxes for children who enter the shelterneeds.

Summer of 12th ~ Choose your favorite Kids Helping Kids project