Willow Oak – final lesson of the year

This week we talked about Courage and had courage cupcakes as a way to celebrate our last lesson of the year. I am proud to report that these girls donated 165 canned food items to TABLE over the course of the school year.

We circled up and had one last Friends TALK hug for the year at the end of the lesson. I love all the squeezes that I got. These girls will always have a special place in my heart.



This week we talked about Courage and made courage cucumber cream cheese sandwiches as our healthy snack. Mixed reviews on the snack, but I am proud to report that every girl tried the snack. I also got some feedback on my slicing skills…sigh.

Next up an activity reinforce that we are all different on the outside but the same on the inside. I gave the girls silhouettes to draw their seen and unseen characteristics.

Then, outside for some tag games. Dead Ant was a hit for sure!


The Name Jar

A book was the driving force behind our lesson this week – The Name Jar. A girl moves from Korea and gets teased about her name. Instead of being true to herself, she considers changing her name until a friend helps her realize that her name is special. What a great message for so many things. Girls need to be true to who they are, even when it is difficult.

Our snack this week involved some work – girls had to spell their names with Alpha-Bits and words that describe who they are before eating the letters. I need to write to Post Cereal to let them know they need more letter Ns and Es in the box…we had to get creative with our teeth 😉

Next up, what does your name mean? Full disclosure – I used Google for name meanings. It was neat to see whose names fit vs (like mine) did not at all.

For our final activity, the girls created a symbol to represent their name. My daughter, whose name means Listener, drew an ear with elaborate decorations.

Fun times, as always!


More on MyPlate

So, my healthy snacks as a regular part of our lessons was a HIT with the girls. Today we made a rainbow of fruit to address Marlene McKean who refused to eat the color green (our book reading). Check out Marlene and our fruit rainbows!


The next part of our lesson was a bit shocking for the girls, and honestly my family as well. The My Plate guidelines are as follows.

Your protein should be no larger than the palm of your hand.
Your grains should be no larger than your fist.
Cheese no bigger than your thumb.
Salad dressing no bigger than your thumb tip.

I stressed to the girls that these were guidelines. One example a girl shared was that she had 1 Tbsp of dressing on her salad at night. That is better than drowning your salad. Baby steps and just being aware is a good place to be.

Thankfully I also had something fun planned after this doomsday news. Fruit, Fruit, Vegetable. A variation of Duck, Duck, Goose. We also did Protein, Protein, Grain…. think bacon, bacon, bread! And, full disclose, I did fall for the Duck, Duck, Goose joke…. dang it!


more community service

My middle school junior counselor has used our program to get into the Jr National Honor Society. She has also represented us in another cause called the GREAT Project (Gang Resistance Education And Training). Her GREAT project was voted one of the top 5 in the school for most impact. Wow! Super proud.


Just one more reason to keep the mentoring component of the program going. Girls of all ages can benefit, just in different ways.

My heart is happy tonight.


the ah-ha snack moment

I had one of those moments today.


Girls each week ask me if we are making a healthy snack. One girl argues with me each week about getting snacks from the school kitchen. She knows that after school programs are not allowed to use these snacks, but she fights me on it each and every week. But girls at the other sites also ask if we are making snacks. Probably because of fun snack making activities like the ones we have done this year.

First was healthy candy corn. Pineapple, yogurt and oranges.


For the holidays, we made healthy Grinch snacks.


Then we made our own trail mix. The goal was for the girls to see friendships like trail mix… they should not be just one type. Including friends who are not the same as you allows you to learn new things, makes friendship “less boring” as one girl reported, and can make cliques less likely.


So making snacks is FUN and a way for girls to try foods that are HEALTHY that they might not try at home…. so why is this activity not one that is a part of each week’s lesson? Duh.

I am going to give it a try for the remainder of the school year and see what happens. Maybe the girls will get bored of it, but Pinterest has so many cool ideas, I know I will not run out of things to try.

Healthy snacking, here we come!


Making good food choices

This month we will focus on making good food choices. The book reading was Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake.
I then introduced My Plate (the modern update of the food pyramid). Each meal should have:
Purple – protein
Green – vegetables
Red – fruits
Orange – grains
Blue – dairy
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Girls got a snazzy wrist band to help them remember the the different colors that should be on their plate, and a HW assignment to try and have all 5 colors on their plates with meals. Breakfast seems the hardest from our discussions. The girls kept saying they were SO busy in the morning. Like moms and dads aren’t, right?

Then we headed outside for some relay racing fun with My Plate.

For our final fun activity, we played Sticky Stack. A relay game with popsicle sticks and sugar cubes. I loved saying “whatever you do, do NOT laugh…” haha.

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More on My Plate next week!