Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 4.14.51 PM

How to Help Your Child at School 

Once I became a parent my view on education completely changed. Not unlike other teachers who are parents… I started seeing things from both sides and wishing I could tell parents what I know to be true.

Communicate. Most of the time teachers are more scared of you than you are of them. Especially new teachers. There is no class on how to talk to parents and what to say. There are plenty of books about it…but honestly it’s simple. Just like parents sometimes feel intimidated about talking to teachers. Let’s help each other. No matter what the experiences of the past have been with parents or teachers. This is a fresh new year. A new start. Your children will benefit from your communication. Find out how your teachers likes to communicate. Email? Phone call? Texting? Although they should ask you the same thing…make the first step. Show you are there to help them help your children.

Volunteer. Even if you can’t take off of work to be in the classroom…ask what you can do. Even if it is something small. Every little bit helps. For example…I’ve been sending in my recycling items for the past month to Hucklebaby’s school to be used in the housekeeping center. Does it cost me anything? Nope. Do the kids love it? Yep. Little things that anyone can do. Can you cut things out? Organize? Get donations? Be an active part in the classroom. It makes all the difference.

Conversation. With your children. Talk to them. Ask them about their day. The best part, the worst part. Listen. Really listen and even better…ask them questions. Make them stretch out their answers, search for words they may never use. Ask them what they are planning on doing tomorrow. Even though they are little, they need to think these things through. It is one of my favorite things though. To watch how their brain is working and process their day.

Suggested by the US Department of Education, Talking and listening play major roles in children’s school success. It’s through hearing parents and family members talk and through responding to that talk that young children begin to pick up the language skills they will need if they are to do well. For example, children who don’t hear a lot of talk and who aren’t encouraged to talk themselves often have problems learning to read, which can lead to other school problems. In addition, children who haven’t learned to listen carefully often have trouble following directions and paying attention in class.

*As you walk with your child or ride with her in a car or on a bus, talk with her about what she’s doing at school Ask her to tell you about a school assembly or a field trip. Point out and talk about things that you see as you walk—funny signs, new cars, interesting people.

*As you shop in a store, talk with your child about prices, differences in brands and how to pick out good vegetables and fruit. Give your child directions about where to find certain items, then have him go get them.

*As you fix dinner, ask your child to help you follow the steps in a recipe. Talk with him about what can happen if you miss a step or leave out an ingredient.

* As you fix a sink or repair a broken table, ask your child to hand you the tools that you name. Talk with her about each step you take to complete the repair. Tell her what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Ask her for suggestions about how you should do something.

*As you watch TV together, talk with your child about the programs. If you’re watching one of her favorite programs, encourage her to tell you about the background of the characters, which ones she likes and dislikes and who the actors are. Compare the program to a program that you liked when you were her age.

*As you read a book with your child, pause occasionally to talk to him about what’s happening in the book. Help him to relate the events in the book to events in his life: “Look at that tall building! Didn’t we see that when we were in Chicago?” Ask him to tell in his own words what the book was about. Ask him about new words in a book and help him to figure out what they mean.

It’s also important for you to show your child that you’re interested in what he has to say. Demonstrate for him how to be a good listener:

*When your child talks to you, stop what you’re doing and pay attention. Look at him and ask questions to let him know that you’ve heard what he said: “So when are you going to help your granddad work on his car?”

*When your child tells you about something, occasionally repeat what he says to let him know that you’re listening closely: “The school bus broke down twice!”

If they can do it…make them do it. It kills me when I see small children start school and they are completely helpless. Their parents have done absolutely everything for them…and then one day they go to school and are alone. There is nothing more sad than the look on a little childs face when they are sitting in a huge lunchroom for the first time and have no idea how to open their food containers. Parents are not helping their children by never making them do these things. Make them self sufficient in things they will have to do alone at school. Don’t rely on the teachers to always be there. Teach them how to open containers, zip zippers and to help themselves.

Experience. Most of the time younger children don’t have real world knowledge to connect with when they are learning something new. They can’t relate to an idea if they have never seen, smelt or touched something similar. Talk to them about different businesses as you are driving down the street. Take them with you to run errands. Have them make dinner with you.

These are all simple things that you can do as a pert to help your child succeed in school.

Additional suggestions on how to help your children can be found here.


Team USA square donuts…

So most Saturday mornings we try to get into the kitchen and make something from scratch. Although a box mix is nice now and then, as I’ve gotten older, they’ve started tasting artificial to me. Does that make sense?

Last night we tried to get Hucklebaby into the Olmpics. We called him in to watch the opening ceremonies, and were all gung-ho USA. He couldn’t have cared less. Let’s just say the Olympic ceremony didn’t really capture the heart of a three year old.

Donuts. That’s what captures the heart of a three year old. We found this super simple recipe on Your Homebased Mom and went for it…

I love having him measure different ingredients. You have no idea how much kids struggle with this in school as they get older. This is something super simple parents can help their kids with from a young age. I also let him do the mixing and spooning in of ingredients. Building up those fine motor skills. If they can do it, let them do it. It’s OK if it makes a mess. Messy means learning.

So clearly we started out making donuts, but I couldn’t find the donut pan anywhere. I grabbed this brownie pan from Pampered Chef, that I think I have used for a million things and never brownies.

Then after all of that…it’s like the universe was like oh, here you go…your donut pan.

So we had 3 donuts and the rest were square. They still taste the same and were a bit fun.🙂

Time to glaze it up kids!

You know all of the sprinkles we didn’t use for Fourth of July? Well they are perfect for Olympic baking. Same with his shirt. Yep, that’s his Fourth of July parade shirt. I’m not sure what other time he would wear it…but today was a perfect day.

I’m not quite sure what was going on with the frosting…but we were being creative.

Here’s to you Team USA.

Packing for Preschool

How is it possible my six months has come and gone? It’s time for my little guy to start school, and while I go back and forth multiple times a day on whether I should stay home or not…right now, it’s just not the time.

It is much easier this time around though because he will be at the same school as Hucklebaby. I already know all of the teachers and am comfortable with where he will be. That really does make all of the difference.

I have come to the conclusion that my 45 minute commute each day is too much. That’s 1.5 hours each day I’m not with my kiddos and it’s starting to get to me. Mom guilt. It never gets easier.

But anyway…back to packing for preschool…

So the list is pretty standard. I’m scared that I’m going to forget something though. Honestly, the smaller the person, the more stuff they require. I’m also in the middle of typing up a list of how his day looks. Honestly, I know how important routine is for little ones, but when we stay at home together I never stay to a strict schedule. I just pay attention to his moods and what he’s telling me. It’s hard to put on paper what that means… “when he starts grunting he wants to lay down, when he starts swinging his hands and arms he wants to eat…”

Everything has to be labeled. I ordered Oliver’s Labels with Hucklebaby and was happy with them so I made sure to order them again. Sharpie comes off after a while. So if it’s something that is washed and reused over and over…get the washable stickers.

I’m hoping this is all he needs to get started. I grabbed the cute monster bag from the Dollar Spot at Target and thought it would be perfect to send home dirty bottles and clothes each day. It doesn’t take up too much space in a cubby, and my diaper bag is really just my large 31 bag. I wasn’t thrilled with the lunch box selection at Target. If I had girls there were tons of choices, but with a boy it was black or blue or Paw Patrol. I mean seriously… step up your game boy lunch box selections…

I was scrolling through Instagram and found the picture for when my oldest started preschool. Most of the supplies were the same, although he didn’t start until he was 11 month.

This little boy is absolutely perfect and I hope he enjoys school as much as his brother.


Construction Zone

Sometimes I feel a little claustrophobic living in a rental. It is what it is…but as I get older and look around there are a lot of changes I want to make.

When we moved in there was this awkward dirt pit on our back porch. I guess the people before us had an in-ground hot tub…unfortunately it cracked and when we moved in the hole was only filled in with dirt. At first I thought it would be awesome to put a garden there. Yeah. That didn’t work out. I didn’t realize how much the screen would effect the sunlight coming in…but that’s a different story.

I was tired of looking at this dirt pit…and took to Pinterest.

I found this…and knew it was perfect for my dirt hole.

When I told my husband that I wanted to use the dirt hole as a “construction area” he actually took the ball and went with it. Which is wonderful because this Florida heat is something terrible right now.

Hucklebaby even got in on the action. We didn’t tell him what was happening and the whole time he was not happy that the bricks were not symmetrical. He is gonna be the kid where everything will have to line up.

Billiam was so proud of himself for painting lines on the road. I was more impressed we already had a can of yellow paint. (Can we talk about these socks for a minute… I just don’t get it. He wears his socks like this all the time at home and it drives me crazy!!!!!)

Hucklebaby started playing before it was even finished. He ran inside and started grabbing a bunch of cars and construction toys.

I love the way it turned out and it’s weird that the pictures do it absolutely no justice. It looks much cooler in person.

Now I need to work on storage for his outdoor cars and toys… To the Pinterest board.


Pete the Cat – Personalized!!!! 

Until I worked in an Elementary School Library…I had no idea how popular Pete the Cat really was. I believe it’s because at the start of the school year most primary teachers use him in their lessons. The kids get to know his character and they instantly fall in love with him. All books “Pete the Cat” were in high demand all year, even the Christmas Pete the Cat.

I never was able to find my name on any of those trinkets in the store, and unfortunately I don’t think my boys are going to be able to fine their names either. That’s why I love Put Me In The Story.

You can add pretty much any name you want…as you can see I added Hucklebaby!!! I absolutely love it. Not only did I add his name, but I was able to add his picture too! He absolutely loved it when he saw himself in the book. I mean…honestly…any kid would love it!

Even though this book uses a lot of sunglasses references, I love seeing characters that have glasses on. It wasn’t ever anything I paid attention to until Hucklebaby started wearing glasses. The older he gets the more he notices who has glasses and who doesn’t.

If I was still a primary teacher I think it would be awesome to get a few personalized books for class. Every teacher has favorite books they use year after year…adding their name would make it a little more special. It’s a great idea for a teachers gift too, now that I think about it.

He’s reading the book to Pete… an absolutely perfect way to end the night.

Let Them Be Little

As I’m going through my pictures, I honestly can’t believe that this little boy doesn’t seem so little anymore. I know they say time flies…but that’s an understatement. Although I can’t wait to see the man he grows into I wish I could stop things. I wish that I could pause what I’m doing and linger a little longer in the moments. Even the ones that drive me crazy. I love his laugh. I love his joking personality. These pictures are easily 2 years old by now…🙂


Sometimes I wonder if he will ever remember a time without his little brother. The weekends that we had time alone. I love watching the two boys together now…and I make sure that we still have our mommy/son time together, but I have sudden mommy guilt still when I can’t give him all of the one on one attention he used to have. I know that comes with the territory… but it’s a struggle.


These pictures seem like ages ago…but I remember each moment vividly, like they were yesterday. I still remember rushing through my daily tasks to make sure we could squeeze everything in…and although I probably could have lingered in each moment a little longer, I hope he remembers I was there…trying to show him the fun in the world.


My little boy isn’t so little anymore and I guess as I sit here planning his 4th birthday party it’s all hitting me in an unexpected way.


This mischevious little face…


His adventurous spirit…


and non-stop cuddles that I absolutely love.

My little Hucklebaby…


Non-Candy Cupid 

I’m sure I get it from my mother…but I feel like every holiday needs a little something special. OK…maybe a basket of goodies. I don’t go crazy, but while my kids are little I really want them to enjoy the holidays as much as I remember enjoying them. I know they won’t have the school parties I used to have or the celebrations because it takes away from instructional time…

Those days at school were the best, and I hate knowing that they are missing out on that as soon as they are in elementary school.

I don’t go overboard with candy. In fact I try to avoid candy as much as possible. Because we have stepped up baking in our house, we always have sugar around. Honestly, the last thing we need is more sugar.

This is what Hucklebaby’s Cupid Basket looks like. I still haven’t figured out if Cupid brings it or if mom and dad do. Anyone else have a suggestion? Who delivers the Valentine Basket?  

I have started a collection of fun baking pans for the kitchen… No way am I spending $20 a pan though. If you wait until the day or two before whatever holiday you are buying for Joann’s has them for 70% off usually and sometimes you can even get a discount on top of that. I was able to get the heart pan, icing and sprinkles for less than $10 after the discounts and coupons. No, I’m not a crazy coupon lady…I just get their texts and coupons in the mail.

I was also able to get the heart wooden pallet for a few dollars instead of $10 because of the 70% off. I love keeping these and decorating the house year after year. The Target Dollar spot is another great place to grab non-candy goodies. I always grab bath items when they have them. I really like “consumable” toys/ gifts. They are one less thing that clutters up the house, but still serve a purpose. 

Here are a few more things I grabbed from Target. Each one was only $1.

These blind bag items…they are a bit pricy for what they are $3-$5…but he absolutely loves them right now (thanks YouTube) and he doesn’t get them often. Plus I like them too. I just wish they had more geared toward some of the boy Disney shows, although we do love Callie and Doc. 

Cupid delivers…

Plus I couldn’t post my Valentine’s post without including this adorable picture of Hucklebaby. He woke me up to Banana Fosters pancakes, white roses and a framed picture of him and the baby (still working on a nickname here). He’s started writing letters in pancake batter…I promise to do another post about that soon. But he knows my letter is M…so he made me an M. Too much adorable to handle sometimes. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from ours to yours.