Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reason #97 why I love my Crock-Pot: Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Salsa Chicken

Back-to-school means back to busy days with a lot of rushing to and fro. Dinner is about tenth on my list of daily priorities, but it has to be done - and my waistline cannot handle everyday take-out.

My Crock-Pot is my friend. I can throw in a meat and a few ingredients and forget about it. Once the first grader begins her "Mom, I'm hunnnnngry" routine, I already have something ready to go.

My latest Crock-Pot success? Sweet and Spicy chicken! My husband called it his favorite crockpot recipe so far, and it needs only four ingredients. Use your Crock-Pot brand or any slow cooker. It is super simple!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Letter From Mom, April 2021

Every now and then, I like to bring up some of my favorite older posts. This one from 3 1/2 years ago is titled "Remember Me". I wrote a letter to a future Amelia, the Amelia who will be thirteen years old in the year 2021.

A letter from Mom
April 2021

My lovely Amelia,

I cannot believe you are officially a teenager. You have grown up so fast, and I am so proud of the young lady you have become. You are intelligent, capable, and friendly - with that spunky gleam in your eye we first noticed within moments of your birth.

The next few years will be a whirlwind. You will soon enter high school, meet new friends, develop your interests, and begin to mold yourself into the person you want to be. If you ever need an extra boost or simply a hand to hold, remember me.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Science at home: three FUN project ideas for parents and kids

Recently announced after school: Amelia wants to be a science teacher when she grows up! Thanks to the ongoing efforts of our school foundation, our children can experience hands-on science in the Science Lab each week. Amelia always comes home from science day enthusiastically recounting her experiences. She admires the teacher's lab coat, she loves the lab tables for interactive group activities, and she gets very interested in whatever it is they learned that day.

She now wants a science lab in her playroom. While that isn't going to happen anytime soon (if ever!), I do have a few fun at-home science experiments we can do together. These are classic activities that I remember doing as a kid. Timeless learning fun for everyone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To celebrate your Disney Side: a musical #giveaway

Have you ever caught yourself listening to your kids' music while in the car all by yourself? I have, pretty much daily. My car has a 6-CD changer and five of those CDs are kid-friendly tunes at all times.

I happen to have an extra brand new Now That's What I Call Disney 2 CD, so I'm going to gift one of you with the joys of Disney tunes for your car.

The CD has 20 favorite Disney songs, including songs from The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted, Hercules, Aladdin, Tangled, The Aristocats, Toy Story 3, and more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
One winner will be chosen in the morning 8/16. Winner will have 48 hours to reply with a mailing address or another winner will be selected. USA only, please.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Surprise them with little gestures of love. They'll remember!

Amelia is on her sixth day of first grade. Last week went really well and I know she is going to enjoy her year. Check out a favorite memory she had last week:

(Not playing? Click My Skittles to open in YouTube.)

I enjoy surprising her with little gestures of love. I hide small treats or notes in her lunch bag or by her bedroom door every couple weeks. In the midst of a busy day or the morning chaos, she can stop for a moment and remember that she is my sunshine.

When this little guy is big enough, he'll get them too! For now he has to settle for extra kisses and tickles at home.

Linked up to Really, Are You Serious for Mommy & Me Monday.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

She put us in the trash

Amelia is on day four of first grade today! She is exhausted from a busy week and very early wake-up times, but she is enjoying school. She comes home from school and plays school; that's always a good sign in our house!

I wonder if her first grade teacher will put her in the trash?

When I was in first grade at a very small private school, my first grade teacher put me in the trash. Literally. She was slightly plump, full of energy, always smiling - and energetic. When we needed a break from thinking and working, she would often sweep us off our feet and spin. Or fly us across the room. And once or twice, she plopped a couple of us right down into the trash can! Six year olds love silliness, and we thought it was hilarious. I am thirty years older now but I still remember her.

She left our school in the middle of my first grade year. I cried. I was so very worried that our replacement educator would not be fun. That was one of my very first hard lessons that things change.

For the record, the replacement teacher was also very sweet. She taught us well and we had fun. I don't think she dunked me in the trash can, but I do remember some dancing. First grade was entertaining "back in the day"!

Linked up to Mama Kat's writer's workshop today. 
What grade is your child going to be in? Share a memory you have of yourself at that same age.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The back-to-school knot in my belly

Why is this so difficult every single year?

My belly is knotted up with tension as we take those first (since summer) steps down the school hallway. I nervously take in the elements of the new classroom. I enthusiastically meet the new teacher - maybe a bit too enthusiastically, because I am trying to stifle my nervousness. I anxiously scan for the child faces we recognize and make note of those we do not know.

Outwardly, Amelia seems more comfortable with the situation. But when she reaches out to put her hand in mine, I know she is feeling it too. Her hand is as comforting to me as mine is to her.

First grade will be yet another new adventure. I know she will conquer it with ease and grace, but the mama bear in me just wants to hold on for a little while longer. How will I make it through when she no longer reaches for my hand?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's with the giant "nerd" glasses?

My leisurely browse through Pinterest for cute back-to-school photos ideas just turned sour. Giant oversized glasses are a thing now?

My daughter began wearing glasses at a young age. She endured three eye muscle surgeries and too many ophthalmology appointments (see past BalancingMama eyes posts), but she is now doing awesome and she looks gorgeous in her frames. She knew from the beginning that glasses made her a little bit different; no preschoolers had glasses and she was the only one in her kindergarten class also. Daddy and I were diligent in making sure that Amelia understood the whys and the hows of her lenses and frames - and I tossed my contacts too. Like daughter, like Mama!

Goofy photos of glasses as a prop can send a bad message to a child who is struggling to accept his or her glasses. The whole "nerd" theme that is out there now on clothes, posters, even Mickey Mouse items? It annoys me. Stop it.

Please, nix these photo ideas this year...

Really, Babble?

You can't stop laughing?

Photos from Pinterest. No, I did not link to them. If you are desperate to pin them, do a search. But seriously... please don't. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#WW: The calm before the shots

Six-month check-up at the pediatrician yesterday!

The paper on the exam table was a huge hit! He probably pulled half a roll before we were done. I should have asked them for a to-go roll! Unfortunately, his visit ended with a couple shots which wiped that precious smile off of his face.
Baby boy is a big guy, 89th percentile for height and 54th percentile for weight. He has a big head too - 95th percentile! I'll assume that is because he needs room for all of his genius in there.
Diagnosis: healthy guy!

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