Tag: rhonda franz

An Open Letter to My Boys Regarding the Christmas Greetings Controversy


Dear Boys,

Regarding the Now-Annual Christmas Greetings Controversy:

Please do not reduce the sanctity of celebration honoring the birth of your Savior to bitter admonishments about a phrase used at Christmas. Don’t contribute ammo to this perceived war on Christmas.

Dad and I are raising you with what are termed “Judeo-Christian values.” Place God first in your life, Love Him above all. Demonstrate kindness, the kind Jesus showed to others. Don’t steal or cheat or throw baseballs on the roof or wallop on your brother with a stick. Do not scam Boy Three out of his Halloween candy. Respect authority unless asked to do something wrong, knowing full well that “wrong” does not mean having to put your clothes in the hamper rather than on the ceiling fan. Be good to strangers and love your enemies—but for the love of all that his holy and good don’t get in a car with either.



Rhonda Franz writes articles and essays for clients and to-do lists for her three lively boys. She cooks enormous batches of food and manages household operations alongside her pilot husband’s unpredictable flight schedule, using many of the adventures for writing work. Her Pandora radio stations include old hymns, concertos by Mozart, and Aerosmith. 

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Rhonda Franz: Sensory Activities with Rice {National Rice Month}

Rice isn’t just for eating, you know.

Rice can be used for crafts and to keep salt from clumping and as the noisemaking element in a homemade rain stick.

As a wedding guest, I have thrown rice at brides and grooms running from their ceremony to their decorated getaway car. As a special education teacher, I used dry rice to help my students develop fine motor skills and as a tool for working on sensory issues.  As a mom, I’ve used dry rice at home with my children as they developed their imagination while working on measurement concepts, and used the rice as a calming when a child needed a few minutes of quiet.

Specific skills children can work on with tubs of textured materials:

  • For children who avoid certain textures, allowing play in dry rice provides a structured way for them to develop a tolerance to the littlest of surfaces that bother them when they walk or wear certain clothing.
  • For children who seek certain textures, allowing play in dry rice lets them get that sensory input.
  • Pinching rice between fingers and scooping up a batch with hands gives children hand eye coordination practice.

pinching rice between fingers sensory activities rhonda franz

  • Experimenting with measuring cups, spoons and funnels helps children develop their spatial and measurement skills.

dry rice and measuring (1)

I like putting magnet letters or numbers in a bowl of dry rice, and letting my youngest pull them out and practice identifying each one. All of my boys find it fun and a little calming to work the rice with their hands and let it spill through their stretched fingers (and it’s kind of calming for their mom, too).

magnet numbers in dry rice

Ideas for dry rice:

Empty 2 or 3 2-lb bags or Riceland rice in a bowl or tub small enough for rice to fill a third to one-half the container.

  • Toss in a couple of funnels, spoons, and a couple of measuring cups.
  • Hide large wooden beads in the rice and provide a string for children to lace each bead as they find it.
  • Squeeze liquid glue on a large print writing of their name. Have kids pinch the rice grains between their fingers and sprinkle it over the letters. Allow glue to dry and shake off the rest of the rice, revealing their name.

rhonda franz headshot


Rhonda Franz is an educator and mom of three boys. Her kids like a tub of dry rice almost much as they liking eating cooked rice. As a result of both these activities, her kitchen floors are rarely clean.