Guilty of Not So Healthy School Lunches #happilyblended

The kids started the school year off fabulous, with school lunches that is. I used to let my oldest eat the hot lunch at school but she started to put on a lot of weight and so as an experiment, I started packing her a home made lunch. Sadly, her Dad wasn’t on board with me on that area so she still had and still has on occasion hot lunch when she’s at her Dad’s overnight during school year. This means my experiment really wasn’t tested out 100%, but it was tested enough so that I noticed a significant weight decrease in my daughter while she wasn’t having school night sleep overs at her Dad’s home. You see, school lunches are great for families who need to use them or prefer to use them, but for my family all the hot lunch at school did was make my daughter gain weight.

Hot Lunch vs Cold Lunch for Schools

When you are in a family with a pain in the butt metabolism that isn’t so quick, you have to be sure to watch what you eat. Being a Mom, I want to try my best to set good examples by eating better choices and preparing better choices for my children during all meal times. It all started out with my kids having wonderful options in their school lunches, this school year is the first year my three children are all in school full time which means all three have home made cold lunch from their Mama to bring to school.

Kid Number One and Kid Number Two are not so picky eaters. The lunches for the oldest and middle child are usually some form of peppers with a sandwich of some sort and crackers or occasionally some cheese curls or chips alongside a carpi sun roaring water. While all options my children have may not be healthy; they also switch between having chips or such with pineapple, apples or bananas. Always a healthier option with a balance. I believe in allowing your kids “goodies” but keeping a balance between goodies and healthy. Kid one and Kid two are easy to balance out.

It’s kid Number Three …. he is the world’s pickiest eater and most stubborn. He once went five nights without eating dinner because he was convinced he didn’t like what I was cooking & my rule is you have to try it or go without, he wouldn’t try it and was just fine going without .. FOR FIVE WHOLE NIGHTS.

Kid Number Three has a different setup for lunch; I have found he does like pineapples and he loves mandarin style oranges. This son also only likes peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches but lately I have been sneaking in honey and peanut butter {because he loves honey for nearly every dipping food he eats}.

Lately, I have been failing miserable with a healthy balanced school lunch for all three of my kids. With two weeks of not working, so essentially living on one income in the house it was draining us and things are falling behind a bit. That means my kids lunches have not been as healthy as they started off, but I still feel they are not allowing them to gain the weight like my daughter had gained that one school year she had hot lunch at school.

Do I feel like a horrible Mom? Not really. I do feel bad because the whole point to making my kids lunches is so that they have healthier options and I cannot afford them at the moment.

Why does eating healthier have to cost more?? It’s absurd. I can’t wait til Spring when we can start our first home garden!

 

As the Days Pass, I Realize So Much

As each day passes, a new day rises. With each new day we find ourselves a day older, looking in the mirror we may not notice our daily changes on our bodies that make us realize we are getting older when each new dawn arises. The thing about parenting is that we have photographs, pictures of memories with our families that allow us to look back at our children and see how much they have grown. My oldest is nearing 11 years old, next year she will be in Junior High and I am still having troubles with that fact. Just yesterday, it seems, she was my little two year old singing Twinkle Twinkle and ABC’s through the grocery store and here she stands before me with an iPhone and ability to engage in conversations I didn’t even know she was educated enough on.

Diva Daughter

One thing that I do love about my daughter is her ability to dress like a Diva, shown above, or dress in jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt. My daughter is a lot like her Mother in many ways, she has this innate ability to fit into nearly any situation and has developed skills necessary to take her far in life. I am proud that she has become who she is and still works each day to be a better self, now if you asked me, I would say she has little to “fix” but I also believe that every human being should have something they are working on to better themselves each day. I cannot believe just how beautiful and intelligent she has grown up to be. This girl looks even older when she takes off her glasses and wears contacts. I just get jaw dropped and can feel more grey hairs filling in my dark black head of hair.

kids grow too fast

My sons, on the other hand, have grown to be quite the couple. They are my double trouble team, but when I say that it dawns on me that my now five and seven year old boys are not a real double trouble “team” per say. My Aj who is the older of the two, actually has started to step up and act like the older sibling. Aj is often found helping his little brother, even though his brother doesn’t accept the help and Aj is very compassionate. Aj is on a medication for his mood disorder and right now the medication seems to be really working to keep his moods steady and him on an even kilt. I love that Aj is acting like a normal seven year old because it really makes him happier and I can bear witness to that each day. Aj is also growing like a weed, it seems every morning he wakes up taller. How do kids do that? My youngest, K-man has become quite the handful, now that he is in kindergarten he is a big kid and he won’t let you think otherwise. Demanding. World Revolves Around Him. Little Reasoning Skills. Co-sleeping with Mama. Barely sleeping when he does co-sleep. K-man has become my handful but even while he seems to be going backwards emotionally and socially some days, he is certainly putting on some weight and probably about to sprout up soon. It amazes me how it seems as if it were just yesterday that I held that dark black haired light blue eyed baby in my hands … and now he’s in all day Kindergarten. Crazy!

Family LIfe

No matter how much older my kids seem to be getting, they are still so wonderfully amazing and kind hearted. We enjoy family time more than anything and we love each other deeply. My children, thankfully, have learned that their Mama will love them unconditionally always and in turn they have become such well rounded mini-adults with a big slice of childhood still in their hearts. I worked hard to ensure they still have childhood to enjoy, you only get one chance at childhood so no matter how old they get and no matter how tall they get, even if they tower over me, I will still push them to enjoy every moment of childhood as a child because once you are an adult you do not get that time back! I may be older than these kids but they have taught me so much and through them I have grown up in many ways, I also see the world differently than I did before being a Mama. That is a gift they give me every.single.day.

 

Back to School with Excedrin Giveaway – My Baby Goes to Kindergarten

This post has been sponsored by Excedrin Extra Strength, I am a Brand Ambassador for them through the remainder of 2013 and do receive compensation as well as the possibility of products for my time. Keep your eyes peeled for more fun posts! All opinions are that of my own.

Excedrin_B2S_Logo[1][1]

This school year my youngest will head off to Kindergarten, leaving me home alone to work for six hours a day five days a week without Mama duties interrupting. While I am extremely happy about having all of my kids in school full time finally, I am a tad bit sad that I will no longer have a child home to need me during the daytime hours. My children are growing up and with that comes a different set of concerns that have been and will continue to cause some headaches.

Each year I get a list of school supplies my children will need and optional items to purchase for my child as they enter into a new grade. While the supply list is somewhat small for each child, when you have more than one child it does not matter how small that list is, it’s still a lot of items combined together that cost more than you wish to spend alongside the cost of clothing and other supplies that the children need. I tend to worry a bit when it gets down right close to the start of school because I am such a last minute shopper with school supplies. My own procrastination is usually for good reason and is usually due to which weekend falls upon me to have the kids before school starts so that they can come along.

According to a recent study by the makers of Excedrin, I can see I am not alone in many of my mixed emotions of having all of my kids in school this Fall as well as the worries that can cause headaches:

  • 69% of parents, who have at least one child in school this coming year, say they are excited for their child’s first day of school.  That doesn’t change the fact that 44% of parents also say they expect to get a headache during the back to school season.
  • More than one-third of parents cite getting themselves (41%) and their children (43%) back on a schedule at the top of the list of things that might cause their headaches during the back to school season.
  • More than one-third (35%) of parents say shopping for school supplies might give them a headache.  With all the pencils, folders and notebooks, parents should remember to put Excedrin® on their back to school shopping list.
  • A large majority of parents (85%) think their schools are in need of new or upgraded supplies such as pencils and paper and computers or software and gym/sporting equipment. And that’s because with every purchase of Excedrin®, parents can enter for a chance to win $10,000 for their child’s school.

Summer Fun (1)

After a Summer filled with day trips and swimming galore, I can totally see how it will be difficult to get my three kiddos back into the swing of sports season {soccer & Fall cheer leading} as well as get my youngest used to having a school schedule to being with.  Summer is coming to an end so really it is time to start focusing on a multitude of things; school supplies, schedule/routine changes, sports registrations and above all to ensure my “baby” is prepared knowing what he is about to embark on in this chapter of his life.

While I am offering a giveaway today for all of my readers to have a chance to enter to win, Excedrin has a sweepstakes right now going on over at their Facebook Page. The sweepstakes is called “Help Your School Excel with Excedrin” sweepstakes and you can click over to Excedrin’s Facebook Page to learn more about the rules as well as to enter for a chance to win $10,000 for your child’s school.

Giveaway for my Readers

Excedrin Giveaway Items

One person from all entries through the Rafflecopter form below will be randomly selected to win : 2013-2014 academic planner and pen, a magnetic memo board and an aluminum tumbler..

Giveaway Starts today and ends 12am EST on September 13 2013. Open to USA only. Winner will be announced live on site and emailed directly. Winner shall have 48 hours from announcement post and email to claim prize otherwise another random winner shall be chosen using the random generator through Rafflecopter. ** one entry per person, while you can tweet once per day, all other entries are ONE TIME per PERSON.

Using the Rafflecopter form below is easy; use name/email to log in or Facebook for login. Rafflecopter will not use your email or access for anything other than giving me a way to contact you should you be the randomly chosen winner! Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize or another person will be randomly selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post has been sponsored by Excedrin Extra Strength, I am a Brand Ambassador for them through the remainder of 2013 and do receive compensation as well as the possibility of products for my time. Keep your eyes peeled for more fun posts! All opinions are that of my own.

First Day of School for the Older Two Kiddos

Today it started … the official first day of the 2013/2014 School Year. Last night we got our clothes ready for earlier than normal wake up and we set our alarm clocks. Then it happened … that “back to school anxiety” .. the not being able to sleep for my brain is so nervous and excited it cannot slow down. That was my two oldest last night. Aj lay wide awake attempting to sleep but just couldn’t. He was a good sport, he never kept me awake, simply lay down with eyes open while he pet our pug until he finally past out. My oldest, well she finally fell asleep only to be awoken by a nightmare so I had to tuck her back in and get some sound on for background noise.

Little one sleeping

Finally about 10:30pm we lay down to sleep and I had a tossing and turning five year old beside me so needless to say .. I did not sleep a wink. By the time my six o’clock alarm went off, I was wide awake anyways so got up and started the back to school routine. Guzzling coffee, while getting cartoons on for the little guy who woke up because I left the bed beside him. Then I had to wax my eyebrows, well I didn’t have time last night. Then made breakfast for each child and finally was able to get into the shower while still making it to school on time.

Back to school

Today was difficult for me, I have two kids in two different schools, last year was same way. Last year, though, I do not recall having to rush between the schools. This year, my oldest wanted me to be at her school which is not normal and of course I always want to ensure my middle child is settled into his new classroom because occasionally he has issues with new people. I dropped Aj off with his Dad, they ventured to school together with little brother in tow while I headed to my daughter’s school.

Tween Back to School

Finally at about 9am I returned home to get some work done but alas, sitting at a desk didn’t seem too appealing nor was I motivated without first organizing my office space a bit more. I work in the master bedroom at my desk with laptop hooked up to it, but with boxes surrounding me and a completely unorganized closet space … I had to focus on that first. So I organized and finally come 10am here I am ready to work.

For those who are curious, yes I fought back tears leaving my 7 and 10 year old at school today, next week is Kindergarten…. just wait, I will be a mess if I had to hold back tears today!

Cheers to the new school year and my first year of working full time hours from home!!

Should Public School Students Wear Uniforms?

After a discussion one morning with my daughter who cited that some of the students in her leadership group for the school are attempting to request student uniforms be adapted into our local public school system, I found myself wondering how I would feel if my children were required to wear a certain uniform each day of their attendance in public school.  As a way to help me decipher my opinion, I took to the Internet to do some research, what I found is that most studies show a positive change in school as a whole; attendance increases, parental satisfaction increases, grades increase, all positives with a change to students being required to wear a uniform. I think that is wonderful, however, I still have issues with having a student uniform being required in public school systems – for one if I wanted my kids to be clones wearing the same outfit as everyone else; I would have worked my butt off to place them in a private school.  There is more to my feelings on the subject of school uniforms than just the thought of public versus private schools and so I felt a blog post was worth my time and allow others to chime in so that I can be slightly more educated on this topic.

cover photo FBMy first response to my daughter who seemed rather agitated with the idea of school uniforms was to talk about how she felt about this idea, after all she is a part of the student leadership team and if she is going to debate this topic, well she should be able to practice debating with Mom – a comfortable person she knows unconditionally loves her. In preparation for our debate or quick conversation, she cited she was against the school uniforms, at least to some extent, the reason being; their school system already has a dress code in effect, according to my daughter there is only a handful, if that, of students who will occasionally come to school wearing a spaghetti strap tank top which is not allowed or maybe the occasional flip flops which are also not allowed. Usually students who are wearing something that is not up to par with dress code for school is because they forgot according to Kiara or maybe they were never told, as the school only reminds the children and parents of dress code at the beginning of school year then again towards close of school year.

The solution, as discussed by my daughter and I were to have the school be better about enforcing their dress codes. Sure after the student has arrived at school their parents may not be available to come get their child to change their wardrobe and this being an elementary school at this point, the student should be told and given warning. A parent should be called to inform them of the dress code as a reminder and let them know their child came to school without being properly dressed for school based on the dress code put forth in student handbook. Personally, keeping up with the dress code is a simple matter of teachers and other administrative officials of the school to pay a little more attention to sticking with what is within the dress code rules. I get that they are busy with teaching, but how hard is it to simply note that “so and so” came to school improperly dressed for school and send a note home later in the day or bring it to the principal’s attention? If more worked together, meaning both teachers and parents,  to enforce the dress code in place, eventually it would come second nature to the officials at school to enforce it and students to line up their clothing choices based on this enforced dress code.

Sitting on Ice Chunk from River in NHFor me, I suppose having a child in public school means that I am allowing my child to have more choice in becoming a unique individual versus those children who grow up in a very strict schooling environment where their freedom to become their own person isn’t really pushed. I understand education is extremely important, which is fine. I have two honor roll/high honor students who are only in first and fifth grade right now. I get the need for education and I bet my third child will also follow suit at public school with his older two siblings as far as grades go. That is due to parenting, and being involved with my children’s schooling. Any parent can have that success if they are working hand in hand with the school system; be it public or private or home schooled.

The reason I am against school uniforms is quite simply because of the type of parent I am; I fully believe in allowing children to express their own unique self in a positive way. Children do not have much to express themselves with at their ages because they are truly limited in some areas, such as not being a legal adult yet. Children who can express their own individuality and unique personality and skills within the clothes their wear or even make themselves, tend to not rebel as they get older. I personally have seen first hand with myself and other kids who grew up with various strict rules who just did nothing but rebel the moment they left to become an adult. I would much rather walk into a school seeing kids in their own different clothing choices, that still fit within the dress code of the school system, but shows that the kids are at least able to have some control over something in their life.

These days it’s so important to teach our kids the sense of self worth, self appreciation and the simple fact that not everyone is the same. If you place school uniforms into a public school system, then are you not trying to create clones in a way? Sure, clones may be a far stretch for the reality of what school uniforms are, but in my opinion I feel that children should be encouraged to exhibit their own self, learn who they are, what they love about themselves and what it is that makes them happy inside. If you enforce school uniforms upon children then you are only taking away that small part of individuality they have some control over, if you take that away, what else do they have but to rebel and look for other outlets that may not be as acceptable and safe as dealing with a simple fashion choice.

 

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