Back to School Means Back to Crazy

By: Nancy Anderson

 

Back To School.

No three words are so likely to bring so much excitement and so much dread to children and parents alike as back to school.

After weeks of my kids telling me how bored they are, sending them back to school always seems so thrilling…until I start looking at all of the things that I need to do to get them ready to head back. Things I’ve been pushing off all summer.

20170814_180157On top of carts full of school supplies and new shoes and clothes, there’s also the physicals and shots they need; orientations and open houses to attend; and tryouts and practices to shuffle kids to. Added to all of the other things being a mom of three entails, it can get overwhelming!

Since my youngest is starting kindergarten this year, I’m dealing with the flood of emotions that come with that. I mean, I know that him being at school during the day will give me the opportunity to get more things done around the house, but I’m going to miss hanging out with my little buddy.

So inevitably, I’ll end up filling the hours between dropping and picking up kids from two separate schools volunteering and being a mom taxi, transporting my kids from one recital to the next soccer game to band practice and the myriad of other activities and errands that need to be done.

For the next few months, I can already tell you, this is going to be one overwhelmed mama!

 

Any tips you can share to help ease the back to school craziness and empty house blues would be greatly appreciated!


4 Healthy Recipes to Try This Summer

 

Summer is the perfect time to try out some new, fun recipes in the kitchen. Not only are these recipes full of color and flavor, but they are also great for you! These meals and treats are sure to leave your family with full bellies and happy faces.

 

salad-2204505_1920 1. Omelet with Summer Vegetables

Start your day of the right way with fresh vegetables in this easy, tasty omelet.

This omelet isn’t like most; this entree is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This delicious and unique omelet recipe has everything from freshly chopped zucchini to smoked gouda cheese. Served with fruit, this omelet recipe is sure to provide a new and light, yet filling, meal your entire family will enjoy.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/omelet-with-summer-vegetables

 

 2. Summer Squash Pizza

A delicious pizza that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

Seasoned with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and ground black pepper, this squash pizza is packed with flavor. This recipe includes fresh zucchini and squash and is sure to be a new family favorite. Serve one slice for a delicious appetizer, or serve two slices paired with a nice salad for a filling and tasty dinner.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/summer-squash-pizza

 

 3. Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Switch up your usual salad and try out this unique and flavorful recipe!

This colorful recipe takes full advantage of the fresh vegetables overflowing at your local markets this summer. This delicious salad recipe is made complete when topped off with the sweet peach dressing.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tomato-cucumber-salad-4

 

 4. Cantaloupe-White Balsamic Sorbet

A meal does not feel complete without a sweet dessert.

This refreshing, creamy sorbet recipe is the perfect solution for your sweet cravings this summer. The key ingredient that makes this treat so delicious is the white balsamic vinegar. It adds a certain depth of flavor that compliments the flavor of the melon perfectly.

http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/cantaloupe-white-balsamic-sorbet


How I Handled the Change to My Parenting Goals

By: Marie Kesler 

 

I remember growing up, I wanted a huge family. Like any little girl, I would play with my dolls and I always had seven kids. My imaginary husband would help me with making dinner and we would read our kids bedtime stories and tuck them in. What little angels those dolls were.

Fast forward quite a few years to when my husband and I were ready to have a family. He of course knew that I wanted seven kids—I don’t know that he wanted that many, but my husband is so accommodating that he never complained. I was prepared to be the “crunchy” mom with cloth diapers, homemade baby food, baby wearing…the whole nine yards.

I got pregnant and was having as close to a perfect pregnancy as you can get: not a lot of morning sickness, high energy, good health for mom and baby. I loved being pregnant and since that was what many moms dislike, my plans for seven kids was still on track.

When I went into labor, we headed to the hospital were I was already dilated 7.5cm, so we didn’t expect a long labor.

We were wrong. 24 hours later and my son still had not made his appearance. Worry for him and the extended labor caused my blood pressure to escalate, so the doctor recommended an emergency c-section. I fought as hard as I could because once you have a c-section it’s harder to have natural births and can be more dangerous, plus I wanted to be a ‘crunchy” mom. Crunchy moms don’t have c-sections! I wasn’t even using an epidural so I sure didn’t want a c-section! I was watching my parenting goals start crashing down around me.

I ended up having the c-section. My son Matthew was perfect. But I found that I couldn’t keep up with his energy or with the cloth diaper laundry! I quickly switched to Pampers and lost another “crunchy” mom point. I did end up making my own baby food once it was time for him to move away from breastmilk but I ended up injuring my back and could never do the baby-wearing so I gave up my “crunchy” mom goals.vacay2015

When I got pregnant with my second son, I was nervous. Would I be able to have him naturally? How would I have enough energy to be pregnant and keep up with my almost two-year-old.  My blood pressure was higher during my second pregnancy and I ended up being put on bed rest. In the hospital when it was time to deliver, my labor stalled once again and once again I had a c-section.

After Mark was born, my husband and I felt peace about not actively trying for anymore children. My dreams of seven children felt more complete with our two healthy, high energy sons. So even when I used Pampers and Gerber for Mark, I didn’t feel bad because dreams and goals change and evolve once we actually know the children God will bless us with.


Essential Information for Your Nanny or Babysitter

By: A Local Nanny

 

In order for your nanny (or sitter) to be as confident and comfortable as possible in your home while caring for your children, it is important that you provide her with all of the tools and information she may need. If your child falls and scrapes a knee, you wouldn’t want your nanny to be in a panic searching your house for ten minutes looking for a band-aid.

In my experience as a nanny, I have had some parents who over-prepare me with a lengthy list of contacts, locations, foods, etc. and others who simply leave me their cell phone number and tell me to text them with any questions. I feel much more at ease when parents over-prepare me and provide me with information that covers any question or problem I could possibly run into rather than just leaving a phone number. This way, I can avoid blowing up their phone while they are at work, dinner, etc. Instead, I can check the informative list that was left and solve the problem myself. Not only does this help the nanny to get acquainted with the house and the family faster, but this also helps you as a parent to be more relaxed while you are out, knowing that you left your nanny well-equipped to handle any situation that may arise.checklist-2077023_1920 (2)

The list you leave your nanny/babysitter should include:

Standard Information:

– Home address

– Family names

– Neighbors’ names

 

Contact Information:

– Your cell phone number

– Emergency contact: name, address, and phone number

– Nearby hospital: name, address, and phone number

 

Household/Other Information:

– Child’s allergies

– Where important household items are located: first aid kit, flashlight, fire extinguisher, medicines, etc.

– Regular family rules that should be held in place

– Child’s favorite toys

– Where you will be and an estimated time frame

– Don’t forget to leave an extra car seat available in case of an emergency!


Hiring the Right Nanny

By: A Local Nanny

 

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                      20th Century Fox via Buzzfeed

I have been nannying for about five years now. Over the years, I have certainly had some interesting and memorable experiences. Nannying has been such a rewarding and truly amazing experience; I love getting to know each family and getting to see how different each child’s individual personality is. I have worked with four families over the past few years, and it is safe to say I have been through the interview process quite a bit. Along the way, I have picked up on a few tips that make the interview process go more smoothly for both the applicant as well as the family.

 

 1. Decide What Your Family Needs: It is important to sit down, go through your weekly schedule, and organize an outline for likely hours you will need your nanny. This way, you and your nanny will be on the same page right off the bat. This will also avoid the problem of your nanny claiming to be available and then changing their mind. If the hours are explicitly stated during the interview, the applicant can review this right from the start to see if they can fulfill this role.

 2. Create a Budget Your Family is Comfortable with: I have had interviewers ask me what I was expecting for pay and this made me a little uncomfortable. I have found that this feeling is common and most the time, applicants do not want to ask for money outright. Therefore, have a range to offer your applicant during the interview and then discuss how this works for the two of you until you are able to come to an agreement. This is a much more structured and controlled way of handling payment that both you and your nanny will be more comfortable with.

 3. Hold the Interview Outside of Your Home: Not only is it safer to hold the interview in a public place, but this is also a more neutral and relaxed setting. If the interview was held in your home, it would automatically put the interviewee a little more on edge and which may make them not act completely themselves. In a public setting, the applicant will not feel as intimidated and, therefore, you will be able to see more of their true personality.

 4. Bring a Checklist: You may think the questions are simple and easy to remember; however, during the interview you may get caught up in the conversation and forget to ask a question that is very important to you and your hiring decision. You do not want to hire someone and then remember you did not ask a crucial question and have to go back on your decision.

 5. Check References: In my experience, I have found that references are extremely important—maybe even more important than the interview itself. Be sure to ask your applicant for references from their previous nannying jobs. When your applicant provides you with references, it implies that they left the previous family on good terms and has a good professional relationship with them. Therefore, the applicant providing the reference alone is a great sign. However, be sure to contact these references to find out more about who your applicant is and learn about their nannying style.

 6. Go With Your Gut: Your gut instincts tend to be right; make sure to listen to them when going through the interview process. You will be sure to run into applicants who you just don’t have a great feeling about and that is completely okay. Listen to what your mind is telling you and follow your instincts. You know your child and your family best; therefore, you know who will work best with your family.


8 things to know about 13 Reasons Why

 

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                                                     Netflix

The Netflix show 13 Reasons Why has become an increasingly hot topic of debate centered around the show’s complicated portrayal of suicide. The show covers important topics to discuss in todays world such as bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide. The series’ brutal depiction of the struggles of high school is raw and uncensored.

 

Here are 8 things to know about it before watching it or letting your child watch it:

1. The show is about the suicide of Hannah Baker, who committed suicide after experiencing various tragedies and bullying.

2. The show also focuses on Clay Jensen as he listens to 13 tapes Hannah Baker recorded detailing the reasons why she ended her life. As Hannah Baker narrates her downward spiral, Clay experiences fantasies of what he would have done differently, something the viewer will relate to.

3. It is based on the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I think the book is worth a read before watching the show, as the show’s plotline is based off the book.

4. By nature it is a show about depression, and therefore is not a “happy” thing to watch, it is meant to be uncomfortable and sad to watch. I couldn’t watch it in one sitting, and I recommend taking your time when watching the show; but the content is crucial to at least think about in today’s times.

5. The plotline romanticizes suicide as a way to teach people a lesson, because Hannah fantasizes about what will happen to those around her after she dies. It also portrays suicide as way to get revenge on those who have wronged someone.

6. It sends the message that it is difficult to receive help from adults or others. However, I did find the parents emotional responses to be particularly powerful in the show.

7. The show is a good provoker to have discussions about issues such as suicide, rape, and drug usage; and discuss with your child how to access resources to deal with these things.

8. The show’s strength is how it jars the viewers into discussing the tragedies of the events that Hannah Baker falls victim to, as well the other struggles of the characters.

 

This is a show I would not allow your child to watch by themselves, especially if they are vulnerable or have a history of mental health issues. 13 Reasons Why is a show much better suited to watch first yourself and then discuss the subject matter with your child or watch it together with your child and discuss it as you watch.

 

If you know someone who is struggling, Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL)  at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.


4 Recipes to Try This Independence Day

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Looking for guilt-free food and desserts to make this Fourth of July? Celebrate the holiday with these light, healthy recipes your friends and family can enjoy.

Red, White and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles:

Whether you are relaxing by the pool or soaking in the sun on the beach, these popsicles are a tasty, refreshing way to cool off.

These patriotic popsicles are made up of three simple and healthy ingredients. There are no sugars or artificial food dyes needed. Now you can enjoy showing your colors and eating them too!

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/red-white-and-blueberry-popsicles/

 

Ground Sirloin Sliders:

These can be served as an appetizer or entree. Just top those with some pickles and you’ll have a new party favorite in no time.

These juicy sliders only require four ingredients and 13 minutes to prepare. Yes, you read that right! Check out the recipe here.

http://www.health.com/food/19-recipes-to-celebrate-the-4th-of-july#grilled-sirloin-sliders

 

Easy Flag Fruit Dessert:

With Summertime comes juicy red strawberries, ripe raspberries, blushing cherries, and plump blueberries. Why not put all of that red and blue to good use?

This fruit dessert is as quick and easy to eat as it is to prepare. This colorful, not to mention healthy, dessert requires no plates or utensils, just grab it and go enjoy the sun.

https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2015/05/easy-flag-fruit-dessert.html

 

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes:

With just a bit of parmesan and a splash of olive oil, tomatoes can be made into the perfect appetizer.

These baked tomatoes are juicy and packed with flavor. Plus, they are healthy and gluten-free.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249254/baked-parmesan-tomatoes/


How to Survive College: Get Involved

By: Meg Cowan (Guest Blogger)

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The best advice I can give to anyone who is going to college is get involved. Get involved on campus, especially freshman year; whether your child is going to a college that half their high school will also be attending or if your child is going to a college on the other side of the country, getting involved with an on-campus club or association is the best way to meet new people. That’s right, NEW people. College is not about hanging out with old friends per se, I think college is about expanding our comfort zones and broadening our horizons, which usually means trying something new. College is a time to try new things and meet new people, because this helps us kids figure out who we are. My freshman year, I joined the Residence Hall Association and became a coxswain for the Crew Club (rowing). Through these extracurriculars, I met my closest friends and all of the roommates I will be living with in the fall. Also, in terms of the post-college world, companies don’t look at just GPAs anymore, but focus on what college students are involved in.

It is scary to go up to someone who looks cool and introduce yourself, but I’d rather introduce myself and find out if they are actually cool than face a missed opportunity and kick myself for not having introduced myself. Also, this is good networking practice, another helpful thing in the post-college world.

Some advice I’ve received about clubs was that if I wasn’t enjoying it, I should not do it anymore because, “College is too short.” There are so many opportunities and activities to get involved with during the four short years of college that if you aren’t enjoying something, you shouldn’t continue to pursue it because doing so would be a waste.lacrosse-1478384_1920

As parents, being supportive of the extracurricular your child wants to try in college is the best possible thing for them. However, extracurriculars can be expensive; the most expensive example being Greek Life. If your kid wants to join some crazy expensive club, tell them you’ll split the bill with them; and encourage them to get a job. This will teach them financial responsibility and will help them figure out if they really enjoy that particular extracurricular or not. Also, tell your child to ask about financial aid. I’ve found that a lot of clubs with expensive dues are willing to set up a payment plan or a merit/talent based scholarship for dues.

Just voicing your support and encouraging your student to try something out will go a long way. College students make mistakes. When this happens, it’s up to parents to decided to guide them through or leave them to fend for themselves.

College is a big, new, scary, and exciting place. My motto when it comes to trying new things in college is, “If makes you look up from your phone, stop scrolling, or makes you have a question, find out more and try it out.”