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Posts tagged ‘school’

Summer to Remember

summer-learningWe are coming the end of another school year. This time of year is bittersweet to me. I look forward to the summer, the less hectic pace and the opportunity to spend more uninterrupted time with my children. At the same time I am also a bit melancholy over the passing of another school year and the ever present march forward.

My daughter is entering 5th grade next year. In public school down south that means the last year of elementary school. With middle school looming I (as well as other mothers facing the same circumstance) am filled with fear and trepidation. My fear is founded in what my little girl will be facing. How “advanced” are these middle schooners? Will my innocent child fall prey to some all knowing 8th grader?

I remember middle school for myself. It was a really troubling, emotional time. Leaving childhood behind and embracing hormones, teens, boys and the need for popularity and acceptance. I know that very soon I will be left behind for friends at school. And I get it that is just the way of things, I did it to my parents who did it to their parents and so on. It is a right of passage. But even with I am still emotional about her growing up.

All those people who said how fast the time goes when you have children weren’t kidding. It flew by and as I sit here typing this I watch as another year come to a close. Even though I am saddened at the idea of my cuddly funny, sweet babies moving closer to adulthood. What ultimately gets me is that I know they are only mine for a short time. The time feels much shorter now then it did when they were in diapers.

In the end it is about watching them grew. Seeing them have new experiences and transform into the people they are meant to become. As I have mentioned before part of that scares me but that is the leap we take when having children. We know at some point while holding that baby in our arms we will have to release them into the world.

Part of why we hold on the past is because we know what has already happened but we do not know what will be. I think as fearful as I am about the future I am also hopeful. For some of us, like my sister-in-laws and their children, they come back to you. Not as the child that left you but as the friend you never knew you needed or that they would become.

The future hold so much possibility for my children. I will just have to sit back and enjoy the journey. As for now I plan on making this summer and each one to follow as fun, funny and memorable as we can make it.



Back to school and back to the basics!

success in parentingChildren are back in school!

How much preparation do you give your children? My kids have been back in school for several weeks and the prep work made the process so much easier.

What am I talking about?

 If we want our children/students/grandkids to be prepared, we need to teach them routines. In the weeks prior to the start of school I began my preparation. This included adjusting morning and nighttime routine such as getting up and going to sleep.

 We love the summer as much as the next family, but we needed to gradually adjust our sleep schedules, slowly, to come more in tune with what they would look like when school started. This was a gradual process. If you would like more information, I have a series of videos in my Facebook group,, where I spoke about the specifics of changing these schedules as well as other routines.

The biggest struggles in my family at this time: meal planning/times and extra-curricular activity schedules. Why are these times a struggle? Meal times are my nightmare because I do NOT cook (it is not from a lack of trying). The other difficulty is scheduling of soccer practices/games. I am sure I am not the only one with these types of struggles, right?!

Let’s begin with how schedules interfere with meals. My 8-year-old and 16-year-old are both on traveling soccer leagues for different cities. Gavin, my baby, has practice on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7 pm. McKenzie, my middle child and my girl, has practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7-8:30 pm. Do you see any meal planning difficulties?

It gets better… Not really…Beginning next weekend, they will both have games on the weekends. So what is a mom to do? I picked up my essentials: a highlighter, calendar, and cell phone. Once both schedules were released I got down to business.

Comparing the kids’ schedules and our schedules took some work. We reached out to our extended family members and friends to help when we didn’t have enough adults to cover both activities. It takes a village! Pre-planning our schedule has been a life-saver in my house! Develop and utilize strategies and tools that work best for your family to fit in multiple extra-curricular events.

I have found it is better for my family to have a plan for everything from after school until bedtime, but it looks different for each of my children. A lot of the time, our schedules have to be on a sliding scale from strict to flexible. If you have a child that learns best with visuals, provide a picture schedule. Place the schedule in an order you think will work best. Then watch your child for signs of fatigue and frustration.

If you see these, change the arrangement of the pictures to work for your child. For a child that learns best through the auditory modality, record their schedule on an audio device so that they can stop and replay instructions as needed.

Here is a new strategy that someone recently shared with me. It can be modified in several ways and your child can try their hand in helping to color it and/or set the tasks. Click the link below to learn more about the After School Routine Clock.

Now on to the food.

I love to eat and I would love to say I am a fantastic cook! But because I have the inability to cook, it wouldn’t be the truth. Meal planning is how we survive. My hubby plans and preps meals for the week, typically. He preps each meal the night before so that all I need to do is heat it. He’s awesome!

Does this always work as planned? Heck no! I still burn meals, arrive home later than scheduled, have errands to run, etc… But I have backup plans! Eat a gluten-free (gf) diet can throw a wrench in plans sometimes, but it  can make easier too. I always have gf pasta, veggies, and other staples readily available to prepare on the fly.

There are a few items I can almost always successfully make like: garlic bread and grilled cheese. But those are not meals nor are they nutritious. My suggestion is to stock your pantry with nutritious items that are easy to keep on hand and simple to prepare.

What types of time management strategies do you currently have in place? How do you manage the time for homework, snacks, chores, etc….?





How To Get Back On A School Schedule

How to get back on a school scheduleAll around the United States the bathing suits, sunglasses and Nintendo DS’s are being shelved for textbooks, backpacks and school uniforms. Yes, summer break has come to an end here and with that us parents must face the re-establishment of a school routine. This is a tough one since summer days are longer, more casual and less structured than a typical the school year. It can be quite a challenge to re-establish proper bed times, study hours, and less playful activities.

In my household we are battling fiercely to get back into the school routine.  This week we have seen our fair share of tantrums and resistance. Every evening we are met with pleas for “5 more minutes,” at bedtime and kids who look like they are heading for a firing squad at having to put away their electronics in the morning.

[ctt title=”Although summer was a blast and it was great to let loose for a little, routine is what kids strive for. ” tweet=”Although summer was a blast and it was great to let loose for a little, routine is what kids strive for. ” coverup=”sPY52″]To help them feel safe, connected and know where they fit and what to expect. Even thought at first they are resistant in time they will adjust. Here a few ways to help you kids adjust to reentering the school year routine.

Re-establish specifc mealtimes

(source WebMD) After a few months of a flexible mealtime schedule. It will be much easier to get into the groove of the school day by starting of with a good breakfast the same time each day. Most students lunch time will be at a designated time (mine are always early in the day) so the other meals should adjust to follow suit. This will also help student stay fueled for the more hectic pace of the school day.


Get back to the RIGHT foods


I will be the first to admit I have taken the easy way out for summer cooking this summer. Yes it has been a summer of hot dogs and hamburgers.  Tons of snacks, pops and ice creams. But with the longer school day kids need brain power in the form of more nutrition. So it is imperative that we reinstitute some proper nutrition.

Determine a set bedtime and stick to it

Between vacation travel, family events and just it being lighter longer outside. My kids bedtime had extended about an hour longer on than during the school year. Plus our bedtime routine has been totally thrown out of whack. No harm was done since they had a more flexible time to rise. However once the school year has begun, the alarm will ring and it is off to school we go. So in order for children to function and learn they need the right amount of sleep. See my post HERE on the right amount of sleep for each age.

Set screen time limits

During the summer I found myself being very flexible with the amount of screen time my kids had. Since it was so hot out and we mostly had to stay in doors I extended the one hour of screen time to a lot more. This week it has been a struggle to have then put down the DS but it has helped greatly in regaining their attention.

Homework comes first

It is great to have time to play and during the summer we had long stretch’s of uninterrupted play. Once school began kids need to understand that school work needs to come before playtime. Once the homework is completed, then you can play with your friends.

Getting back to afterschool movement

During the summer you have more time to play sports, outside, go swimming in the pool or head to the beach. Once school begins students spend the majority of the day inside, in a state of inactivity while learning. It is important to give kids a way to burn off this pent-up energy. This comes in the form of afterschool sports56 ways to get back to a school schedule. I agree it is much harder to fit this in afterschool. Mostly, this can take a toll on the parent who has to stand around during sports practice. In my view, this activity is necessary for a well -rounded child.

It is hard to let go of the carefree feeling of summer but it is also nice to get back to a set schedule and a bit of routine…at least until Holiday Break.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Back to School Post Round Up

back to school round up

As I have mentioned last week, back to school is here is some parts of Florida. For many of us down south we are already trying to shake off the easy going, relaxed spirit of summer and get down to business. It’s been hard to get back into the routine of learning, adjusting schedules and managing school work. So to gear up and get back into the school swing of things, here are some fantastic school related posts from around the bloggershere. I also add a few posts of my own from last year that are helping me to get into a more studious mindset.


This is a fantastic post from one of my Beachbody mentors, Lori Miggins. It is about how she organizes her kids school lunches in a practical, easy and doable way. Genius!

This is a post I wrote last year about my trials, tribulations and ultimately what I learned from over doing school lunch preparations


I just love this site. Even if you are not a couponer they always have great posts about saving money, coupon deals and where to get school supplies on the cheap. I have followed these girls from the beginning and not only are they funny and savvy, they are mom’s just like us and know what limited time and energy we have.

This one is from last year but I thought it still had some great tips on thrift store shopping and finding deals for school clothes


This is a post I wrote last year as I reflected on the feelings I had as my preschooler began Kindergarten. No joke this transition is a big one. It’s probably harder for mom then for child, but it also comes with an amazing experience of growth.

Get the tissues ready this post is going to make you cry. But it will also help you realize it is ok to let them grow.



Nuff said!!! Have a great back to school everyone.




You spent how much on school supplies?????

school suppliesRemember when back to school meant getting some new clothes, maybe a new pair of sneakers, and socks. Remember when the only school supplies asked for were a few pencils and pens, notebooks and a compass (what did we even use that for except to stab our seat neighbor with the pointy end.) My kids attend public school and this year I was floored by the laundry list of school supplies needed for my daughter entering 4th grade. There are personal items, classroom items and community items. These together stretched down the page.

My sons list was not as long being that he is only going into first grade, but still it is a lot of supplies. Let me preface this all by adding that on the list it is stated that these are voluntary donation. However, if parents don’t bring these supplies who is paying for them? Apparently not the school board any longer.

Don’t get me wrong I am not blaming teachers in any way. I know that if parents don’t provide these supplies most good hearted teachers will dip into there personal paycheck to get needed items for the classroom. Which I also don’t feel is right thing either. After tallying up the cost of school supplies for each kids my total came to over…$150. and I used BOGO’s people!!!

I am sorry, I just don’t get it what has changed so dramatically in the 20 or so years since I have been out of school? Why can the school system, funded by the lottery, taxes and government programs, no longer provide pens, and paper? I mean that is kind of a schools life blood. Reading, writing and arithmetic. For the writing you can’t really go without pens and paper. And I only have 2 kids. I can’t imagine the cost for supplies in larger families. It must be like a mortgage payment for school supplies.

It’s not like clothes, you can’t hand me down supplies. Plus after asking for an absurd amount of supplies (like 144 pencils for 1 student) they have the nerve to be brand specific! You need to get the premium crayons. Only Crayola will do, as specified in bold on the school supplied sheet. No low class Rose Art or sub-par Target brand, no cutting corners here.

There are many school districts that are hurting and need the additional parental support and this is not about them. This is about the schools who clearly can cover the cost of copy paper and are being excessive in the (donation??) request of supplies. These schools now have to use what was school supply funds to pay for something dumb, unnecessary or redundant.

In my high school there was an entire wing of the school that no student ever went to because it was for administrators only. What? If you are not interacting with the students what exactly are you administrating over? Look, I really don’t know what goes on in the hallow halls of the administration wing but clearly it is not as much a benefit to students or teachers if they are sequestered away, given tenure and no parent has a clue what they do. I sure don’t.

What I do know is I am not only paying for them to “administer,” I am also paying for the paper they do it on. If my rant is ill placed and I am totally off base with this feel free to educate me. I have never been a teacher,  or in the education field so I welcome anyone in the field to explain to me how things have gotten this way. Thank you all for listening to my rant. Now to load the massive amount of crayons, pencils and notebooks (and my paycheck) in a suitcase (Yes a suitcase!) and hand them over to the people in charge of educating my children.

Keeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Out Of School

keeping kids brains active over the summerKeeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Once School is Out

Guest post by Susie Almaneih

Susie is no stranger to the art of balancing multiple things at one time. Climbing the corporate ladder is a challenge for anyone, but that can especially be true when you are trying to do it in heels. 
Susie Almaneih, entrepreneur and business executive, has learned over the course of her 20+ year career that as a female, being able to lead a juggling act in the professional world circus can sometimes be the biggest asset you’ve got. Currently, she is the SVP of Products and Program Marketing in Discovery Bay, California. visit her blog at:

 Keeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Once School is Out

What student isn’t excited about summer break? Sleeping in, sunshine, swimming, sports, activities, friends – who can beat it. The downside to summer break is possible ‘brain drain.’ According to recent studies, experts say students can lose three months of education during their summer breaks, and in the new school year ahead, a lot of time is lost relearning what they forgot. At usually two or three months away from school, summer break can just become a loss of knowledge gained in the prior year.

 As a parent, this is a concerning realization – but rest assured, there are things you can do to ensure your children’s previous learning hasn’t gone down the drain by August. Experts cite that the involvement of parents makes the difference in children retaining what they have already learned, and being prepared for all that’s to come.

 To combat brain drain, parents can strike a balance between learning and fun, infusing summer lessons with informality and grabbing opportunities to teach where they can find them. Most have learned through trial and error that sitting kids down at set times of day with work to do in the summer backfires. The more it feels like schoolwork, the faster you lose them. So here are some ways that will actually work to keep kids’ minds active when they’re out of school:

 Summer reading

Summer reading programs have been around for a century, providing age-appropriate options for kids of every grade and helping those who aren’t naturally great readers to find the material that will make them want to pick up a book.

 Foster creative pursuits

Whether it’s art, music, or acting, using the creative side of the brain is always a good idea in continued learning. Take advantage of your children’s interests. For example, if they’re into paintings, encourage them to learn about a particular artist, or even have them take part in a summer art course.


Experiencing new parts of the country and world, along with different cultures, is an invaluable learning experience that you can’t even get in a classroom. Have your kids do some homework in advance of the trip. Have them learn about what they’ll be seeing, the history behind it, etc. They can also participate in researching what sites the family should visit.


You might think that hours spent at the game console always equal mindless wasted time, but some games actually get kids moving, and may improve their ability to focus and learn new skills. Games like Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero engage the body, while encouraging mental concentration that not only helps kids learn, but also prepares younger students to sit still for lessons later.


To enjoy the fruits of culinary labors, children must first master reading, measuring, and following directions. Summer lessons that are much easier to swallow when the outcome is something tasty. Cooking also requires patience, accurate time-telling, and clean-up skills.

Family Activity Day

Work with your children as you put them in charge of planning a family activity day. This incorporates budgeting, research, and time management skills. The result is a fun day everyone can enjoy and remember, long after summer has ended.

These fun ways to include learning into summer vacation will be instrumental as your children tackle a new, productive school year next fall. They’ll not only be well-rested, but will benefit from brain power that hasn’t taken a break for three months.

Parents of Recent Grads. YOU Don’t Have To Pay For College

Parents don't have to pay for college

If you do nothing else pleases watch the Dave Ramsey Video at the end of this post.

He nails it!!!!!!

It’s graduation time again. It is the time of year to consider your child’s next stage of education. For some they are moving to high school, graduating kindergarten or moving out of elementary. For those graduating from high school, moving into higher education comes with an increasingly high price tag.

Today a collage education has become such an expectation that some people mistakenly believe it to be a right. Sorry.. but no… a collage education is wonderful to have, a great experience but a right? No not exactly. It is a gift, but is not something afforded, needed or right for everyone.

There is a mistake belief circulating in America, that a collage education is expected regardless of the ability to pay for it. This has resulted in enormous college loan debt ballooning out of control and silly statements that collage should be “free” for everyone. (Sorry someone is ultimately paying for this free education.)graduation time

The question become who is too pay for this education?  I want to present a different side of this question. Does a parent have an obligation to pay for their children’s education past high school? Over the past decade this high education obligation has been pushed as yet another responsibility of parents. It has become a obligatory parental guilt that if you don’t pay for collage your setting your kid up for failure.

I’m here to let you guilt riddled parents of new graduates off the hook. If your son or daughter seems directionless entering collage and wants to major in underwater basket weaving with no viable job prospects you are now expected to flit the bill. Matter of fact, paying for higher education is your choice, not your obligation.

A some parents are forgoing their own retirement planning to pay for the enormous cost of collage education with no guaranteed return of this investment. Whatever the parents can’t cover, the student is being asked to pay for in the form of student loans that never go away.

There begs the second question. Is a college education even really necessary? This is something we have told is necessary for success in the workplace but is that really true? I am sure if you took a poll of college grads very few of them actually have had employment in the field they majored in. You can answer both of these to questions with a resounding  No. No, parents are not obligated to pay for collage and no collage is not necessary for success.

I was listening to a periscope from Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine the other day where she freely admitted she did not go to collage. She is wildly successful with a great blog, speaking appearances and popular books. There are several entrepreneurs and business leaders who never when to collage or attended later in life, but have had success.

do you have enough money for college?So you are not handicapping your children if you don’t put yourself into financial ruin putting them thru college.  On the flip side their are several cases of people who were extremely bright, went to collage and have become complete and utter failures by societies standards. So what is the difference a… self knowledge and a plan.

Where collage education seems to work the best is when students have a direction. They are not there to party and spend mom and dads money. they are ther for an education. They understand the gift higher education is and make best use of that gift. This takes maturity that to average high school grad usually doesn’t have. So before you rush to sign the loan paperwork consider a new perspective on funding and experiencing higher education.

  1. Parents are not obligated to pay for college ( According to financial expert, Dave Ramsey you should be funding your own retirement before shelling out for your kids collage education. See the video below.)
  2. Help you offspring formulate a plan to pay for it themselves -Cash flow college. It is not as quick and it is not as easy as signing your life away with an unending loan, but they (and you) will not pay for something with money you don’t have. The students will take their education much more seriously if they are paying for it themselves and you will not be put in the poor house.
  3. Look into trade schools, Learn a skill – I don’t know why trade schools have gotten a bad rap? Most successful entrepreneurs start off learning a trade they love then developing a business based on that skill. Most do not attend business school first.
  4. Let them take a year off – There is the belief that if a high school student takes a year off they will lose the momentum. However if they enter into college without a plan or a want to even be there then you are wasting time and money to have them drop out, change majors or become discussed with the process in general. Give them sometime to figure out who they are and what they want before forcing another year of education on them. (No this doesn’t mean they can spend 5 years living in your basement, but give them a change to figure out what they want to do.)
  5. Do a apprenticeship or internship instead of college – This is real world experience that isn’t taught in business school. Sometime just plain hard work will teach more than a 4-year university ever could.
  6. Go to a Community College for the first 2 years – Not only does this cost much less cost then select a larger program but it also gives the student to have the experience of the college atmosphere, with a more flexible timeline to decide what they want to pursue as a career.

I know this is a big issue many parents are facing right now. Please leave me your comments I would love to know what you think of these ideas and of Dave’s video.

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