Aug 31, 2015

Transitioning from Preschool to Kindergarten


Today is the first day of Kindergarten for my twins. Molly was a little nervous but once we got into the classroom she was fine. I knew she would be, I was on the Kindergarten team last year working directly with her teachers so she knows them. Mark was a pro since he's been going to his Elementary school for 2+ years in the preK program.

I never cry on the first day of school. I understand that it's difficult for some parents but it's not for me. Just don't ask me about the last day of school, I've cried buckets over saying goodbye to teachers.

I'm not sad that my twins are in Kindergarten. I am nervous about this transition for Mark. Yes my son went to school all day last year through the school district, but that was preK, with his special ed teacher. A woman who knows how to reach her students and deal with a variety of special needs. A woman who's taught Mark since he was 3 years old.

Now he's in a mainstream classroom and it makes me nervous. Not because I think it's the wrong placement for him, we've worked for years to get here. When Mark was 3 we were told that it was going to be impossible to have him mainstreamed by Kindergarten.

Nothing is impossible people!

I'm nervous because the jump from the special ed preK program to mainstreamed Kindergarten in huge. I was on the Kinder team last year, I know exactly what's expected from the kids. I know it would be easier if I didn't know just how often he will be tested and what the writing requirements were by mid year. Did you know that they expect Kindergartners to write 3 sentence stories by January?

Yes January. And last year most of the kids struggled but the special needs and ESL kids struggled so much to the point that they would shut down.  Yep being in the classroom definitely is making things worse for my anxiety but I least I know what's coming down the road.

Mark has a wonderful teacher hand picked by yours truly. I know that she will do everything in her power to make Mark succeed. And I know that I'll work just as hard at home since I truly believe a parent is the child's first teacher.

But still the worry lingers.

Will Mark notice that learning comes easier for his twin?
Will it frustrate him if he does notice it?
Will he shut down?
Will the other kids notice his language processing issues?
Will the other kids notice that he drools?

And on and on the worries go.

I was warned by some of the moms from the special ed program that the transition to Kindergarten is rough. Our babies are leaving their secluded environment and venturing into big school. It's a hard transition. One that we will make together.

I would love any advice or inspiration you have to offer from the moms who have made this transition. What helped you and your child?

Rainy first day of school

Aug 27, 2015

When My Kids are Together

There's an universal truth about parenting that you learn after having your second child. This truth isn't found in any parenting book that I've seen which is a disservice to parents everywhere.

They are completely different when they are together.


Taking one kid to the grocery store is easy. They walk with you, ask for things politely, and you can leave with your sanity in tact. Taking 2+ kids to the grocery store counts as a cardio workout and you better hit the wine aisle before you leave so you can get your sanity back.

Taking one kid to a public bathroom is a walk in the park, no need for zone defense you got that kid covered one on one. Take 2+ kids and one will try to lick the floor while you're busy convincing your son that the automatic flushing toilet won't grab his butt and pull him in.

Kids are totally different when they're alone. The feed off each other's energy and go wild. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go and apologize to my parents for once acting like my kids do.


Aug 26, 2015

A New Chapter in Mom's Life

Two weeks ago my principal called me to let me know that our numbers are very low this year and that she has to let go of some of her staff.

Including me.

School was starting in two weeks and I was out of a job. Me and many other teachers and teacher assistants since the funding for our district is different this year.

I went into a tail spin.

I spent 7 years as a stay at home mom or work at home mom and it never bothered me that I didn't have a "real job." I always viewed blogging as a hobby that provided me with some money, not a real job. I've never had the time to commit to blogging full time with three little kids. It was just something I did on the side since I loved it.





















And now my twins are heading off to Kindergarten and I am going to be at home.

Alone.

All day.

What on earth am I going to do with all my time?

For the first time ever I was out of a job. I didn't need to take care of my kids and I wasn't going to be in the classroom either.

I decided to use my fall back plan and get my substitute teacher licence. I know that the teachers at my old school will keep me busy subbing but it didn't seem like enough of a plan. I hated the idea of not knowing my schedule. These are the times my type-a personality rears it's ugly head.

Which is why I took a position as a preK TA at a church preschool yesterday. The hours are great since it's half day three days a week. I can still sub twice a week when a job I want comes up and I can help out in my kids' classrooms. It feels like the perfect solution.

It's a new chapter of my life. One that I'm looking forward to beginning. Especially since I can wear jeans and flip flops at my new job!!


Aug 19, 2015

15 Back To School Crock Pot Recipes - Kid Approved



It's Back to School Season! A time to buy tons of school supplies and figure out how we are going to get out the door on time this year.

It's also a time to compile some quick and easy meals for school nights. For me, a Crock Pot meal is the definition of quick and easy. You throw everything in the Crock Pot and then walk away.

Now finding Crock Pot recipes that are kid approved isn't exactly easy for me as I have one seriously picky child. Most blog posts round ups that claim the recipes are kid approved clearly have never met my kid.

If you have a picky eater like mine hopefully this list will help you get your school year off to a good start. All of the following recipes were a hit with my kids. Some of the meals need to cook all day while the others are just a few hours.

Enjoy!

Soups

Sweetcorn and Sausage Chowder 

Cheese Tortellini Soup - Add the spinach at the end so it doesn't turn brown.



Chicken Enchilada Chili


Vegetarian 


Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers 



Main Dishes

Sweet and Sour Chicken 

General Tso's Chicken 

Sesame Soy Pork Chops

Honey Sesame Chicken



Chili Colorado 


Easy Pulled Pork


One Pot Wonders


Easy 4 Ingredient Pot Roast 



Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes 



BBQ Ribs and Corn on the Cobb 



Pot Roast and Potatoes - No Processed Foods in this one! 


Mexican Style Pot Roast - No Processed Foods! 

I hope you and your family have a great time transitioning back to school!

Aug 18, 2015

Back to School with MinuteClinic

It's back to school time! I don't know about you but I'm not ready for the early school start time, homework, and my kids' activities. But ready or not, school starts next week and I still have some things to do so we are ready for the school season., like getting sports physicals for my kids. Did you know you can get a sports physical or college physical at MinuteClinic? I have received promotional consideration from MinuteClinic and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc for this post. All opinions are my own.

How MinuteClinic Can Help with School Health Assessments and Immunizations 

My twins are stating Kindergarten this fall. Besides all the emotional issues attached to this milestone, there are also medical needs as well. For entry into Kindergarten your child needs a well check evaluation and updated immunizations. My poor twins were not happy that they needed four shots in order to go to Kindergarten.

Getting into your pediatrician for the health assessment can be difficult this time of year. Thankfully MinuteClinic is here to help you get your child's health assessment for kids entering Kindergarten through young adults going to college. 

Many schools and colleges require that students receive vaccinations including meningitis and pertussis (whopping cough) before attending school. Find out the requirements for meningitis shots in your state here, and the requirements for pertussis shots here.

Children and young adults are among the highest at risk for meningitis. MinuteClinic can administer meningitis vaccines to anyone over 18 months in most states. Pertussis is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause serious illness, especially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated. To prevent pertussis, infants should be vaccinated as soon as they are old enough. MinuteClinic recommends that those over 18 should get a booster vaccination immediately if they haven’t received one. To get more information on vaccines and immunizations click here.

Need a Sports Physical? Head to MinuteClinic 

Fall sports are just around the corner. When I was a teenager I got my sports physical in the school gym with about 100 other students. It wasn't exactly a pleasurable experience but at the time it was the easiest way to get a physical. Well times have changed and now you can get a sport's physical at MinuteClinic. Their nurse practitioners can review your child's medical history and immunizations. They can also perform a physical exam and complete any paperwork needed. Here are some sports tips to keep your child safe this year.

Fall Sports Tips
After an active summer, make sure to ease your kids back into their sports routine in the appropriate way.

  • When starting a new sport, consider a pre-season conditioning  program or camp to gradually build strength & endurance
  • Don’t let them jump in too fast - increase intensity, distance or duration of play by about 10% a week. This allows the body to rest, rebuild, recover & avoid injury
  • Help your kids boost their stamina and include the fit 5 in their diet: quinoa, kale, chia seed, peanut butter & pickle juice
  • Avoid cramping before game time and serve main meals 2-3 hours prior. If they really need something before a game, lighter snacks, such as granola bars, can be digested in 30 minutes

Savings Alert!
Here's to a great back to school season for you and your kids! With all the money you're spending you can stand to save some money. You can get $10 off a sports physical from now until 9/7/15 , and a FREE Johnson & Johnson coupon book with $29 worth of savings! You can find the closest MinuteClinic to you here.

Aug 11, 2015

Vitiligo Makes Me Beautiful

My twins have Vitiligo which is an autoimmune disease that causes their skin to lose pigment. I have written about their diagnosis and some of the struggles we encountered along the way.

But yesterday my sweet daughter blew me away. We went to the pool on a rainy day because I'm just a little crazy that way.

While lounging at the pool I looked at her feet and noticed that her toes on her left foot have completely lost their pigment.



She looked at me and said "mommy my love spots are growing. I just love my spots, they make me beautiful. I'm lucky I have Vitiligo."

Well melt my heart little one.

And can mommy steal some of that confidence?

Aug 7, 2015

Quick and Easy Grilled Spanish Rice

I love my grill! The obsession started after moving to Las Vegas and realizing that you can experience hell on earth, it's called Vegas at 118 degrees. If you're a long time follower you know that my husband and I did a 30 day grilling challenge last year.

It. was. awesome!!

Life changing really.

No joke, it's the best thing that has happened to my cooking since I learned how to make pulled pork in the Crock Pot.

Now it's easy to use your grill to make veggies and meat, it's another ball game to discover you can make pasta and chicken enchiladas on the grill. And that was the beauty of our 30 day grilling challenge. 

But this year I set out to make rice. On the grill.



WHAT?????

Yes, yes I did.

And it was life changing.

My kids and my husband LOVE Spanish rice. They love it. I am not a fan. It's OK but I'd rather eat another taco or enchilada than rice.

I know, it's cheaper and more economical to eat a side of rice but it's so bland.

That my friends has changed.

This rice has tons of flavor and you don't have to babysit it. Just mix and grill and you're done.

Ahhhhhhhhh it's a mom's dream side dish.

Seriously this is the easiest rice you'll ever make.

It's the perfect side dish for my grilled green chili chicken enchiladas!




Ingredients

1 1/3 cup instant brown rice
1 cup water or broth
8 oz tomato sauce
1 t cumin
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
disposable pie pan
aluminum foil
3-4 T fresh cilantro roughly chopped - optional

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except cilantro and pour into disposable pie pan.
2. Cover with aluminum foil
3. Grill over indirect heat on the grill - med/high - for 25 minutes. *****
4. Fluff up rice and serve. Top with fresh cilantro - optional

****Grill times vary, watch your rice the first time you make it. I suggest checking it after 20 minutes. You want all the liquids to adsorb.



 
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