Friday, August 29, 2014

More chips and dip!

My area recently got a new Chuy's restaurant. There was quite a bit of excited chatter from friends who knew of this tex-mex establishment. I missed the media preview night, but the people at Chuy's were so wonderful to send me a gift card so I could try it myself and tell you all about our opinion.

I cannot do a better or more in-depth review than my friend over at Redhead Baby Mama. She gives the whole inside scoop from media night, from decor, to chips, to drinks, to the very tiny freezer. (Only the French fries are frozen here - they believe in fresh, fresh, fresh!) Great photos too!

Chuy's Mexican Food Is More Than A Kitschy Face 

So, I forgot to take photos when I dined out with my family recently. I was too busy stuffing chips in my face. And ever since, I have been craving creamy jalapeño dip! I am not a fan of very spicy foods, and this had the perfect tiny bit of kick with a flavor I can't quite describe. All I know is, I want more. Chuy's offers bottomless chips and creamy jalapeño dip at your table. In addition, the Nacho Car (a nacho bar made out of a vintage car) is FREE every day from 4p - 7p with taco meat, other toppings, and a variety of dips including queso and Boom Boom Sauce. We basically pigged out on dips and loaded chips. So much so, that I wasn't hungry for dinner!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adressing my child's fear

How do you address a fear in your child?

Amelia, age six, first-grader extraordinaire, has been experiencing an increased phobia lately. She is terrified that kids will throw up at school. At first I thought it was a worry that she herself would get sick, or that perhaps her gentle heart would once again feel the pains of her friends. But she assures me it is neither. She is simply afraid that someone will throw up - and I won't be there. Last night, she was crying in her bed until she finally called out to me. She was actually afraid to go to school just because someone might throw up.

In 170-some days of school last year, one kid in her class threw up. Just one.

Weird, huh?

Well, imagine my surprise when the trusty (sometimes) Internet told me that this is, in fact, a real phobia!

Emetophobia: The Fear of Vomiting - see info and description from

So, apparently this is a type of panic disorder. Amelia is reminded of vomiting because she says "kids are coughing all day" in school. She hears all the coughing (probably heightened these weeks because everyone seems to catch a cold when back-to-school), and feels actual fear. Her avoidance technique is to want Mommy. She becomes fearful, wants to be with me immediately, and becomes very sad. She is afraid that someone will vomit at the start of the school day and she will be stuck without me for several hours. She worries at night that someone will vomit the next day. She can barely tolerate the coughing from other children in her class. I am thankful that her fear presents itself only occasionally, but I am beginning to become concerned that it will actually send her into a panic one day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#WW: Weekend tubing in Ellijay, GA

Amelia went on an outdoor adventure with daddy the other weekend. They "shot the rapids" tubing on the Cartecay River in Ellijay, GA. She had a lot of fun! She enjoyed the class 1 and class 2 rapids, met some ducks, and soaked in the sun with a joyful smile.

Next time, Mommy will have to go! Minimum age is six, so I had a date day with my little man instead.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Remember Alexander? Another great kids' book - soon to be a movie!

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY opens in theaters October 10th!  (Remember the book?)

Like ALEXANDER on Facebook:
Follow ALEXANDER on Twitter: @DisneyPictures

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Awesome books from a 1980s childhood (that kids should read today!)

I was born just before the 1980s (shhhh, don't tell!), but I started reading and loving books in the middle of kindergarten. I think back to my small private elementary school and our weekly trips to the library. It was such a welcoming and cozy space with carpet, tables, and shelf after shelf of books to transport us into worlds we could only imagine.

Do you remember some of your favorite books as a kid? I absolutely do. There were a few that I read over and over again and checked out more than a few times. These are the books I want to find again and share with my children.

#1 - 3 -- Shel Silverstein books. Enough said. Where The Sidewalk Ends, A Light In the Attic, and The Giving Tree are beloved classics. I especially liked Silverstein's silly poetry.

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?

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