Friday, September 16, 2011

Two great tips

First tip - from my FB status today:
"Reply" does not equal "Forward" - and mistaking one for the other often equals embarrassment.

Oh, yeah - it was a doozy.  I'm not ready to talk about it.

Second tip: 
If I'm doing a load of laundry at night, especially after the kids are in bed, I turn off the chimes on the washer and dryer and also close the door to the laundry room.  So that I don't completely forget about the load that's in there, I leave the light on.  When I come upstairs at night, I notice that the light in the laundry room is on, and that's a (quiet) reminder to me that there's laundry to be dryed/hung up/folded. 

In other news - it's not 90 degrees here anymore!  Yay!  To celebrate, I laced up my sneakers and went for a run today after a most-of-the-summer hiatus.  And then I ate Doritos for lunch.  I'm not proud of that last bit.

So, what's happening in your world? 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lunch Box Challenge, Week 1


The challenge for this first week was about re-establishing routine.  
I used to have a great routine – the first year I was packing lunches for my kids. I did a lot of the prep the night before. Now, into the third year of lunch-packing, I’m so tired after cooking and cleaning up and getting the kids to bed (hubs a lot of evening work hours), that I’m just to tired to think about doing MORE stuff with food. But I do think it made our mornings run more smoothly. 

One thing that has improved over time - I try to take care of any lunch leftovers in the afternoon. It’s not very popular with my kids, but when they get home and start saying, “I’m hungry!” we just take a look in the lunch boxes and see what’s salvageable! I take into consideration what has been at room temperature for too long, and I also use it as a guide for what/how much I should be packing in the kids’ lunches. But I also use it as a lesson in not being wasteful.

Coming up in week 2 - tips on streamlining the process.  Happiest Mom has 4 to pack for, and I'm only packing for 2,  so I'm sure she'll have some great tips to share!

Ten Years Later...

...And only today did I learn about the Pentagon Memorial.  I saw it on tv while I had some of the news coverage of the anniversary playing this afternoon.

As I read some blog posts today, I discovered that I am not the only one who didn't realize this memorial existed.  Start here, and then be sure the click the link through to her previous post for photos and descriptions.  I think it's one of the most striking and beautiful memorials I've ever seen.  The benches remind me of birds, and looking at the photos gives me such a sense of peace. 
More information about the Pentagon Memorial

Several bloggers have linked back to prior posts today.  Another very moving post about September 11th, 2001, was written on the 5th anniversary.  I cannot even imagine the pain of not knowing, of waiting.  Nor can I imagine the relief, amidst the other personal pain, of finally getting the answer for which you had hoped.

This particular blogger is feeling some added personal pain on this September 11th.  I don't link to her recent post to point that out - but I do think it's important to note that the anniversary continues to have a significant impact on her.  To understand her perspective a bit better, I hope that you will also choose to read her past post.  I find it interesting that while she mentioned feeling like she wanted to start a family, I remember wondering if I would ever want to start a family in a world so horribly broken.  Thankfully, I changed my mind.

Updated 9/19/11
Just saw this video on another blog.  (Linking to it via youtube so you can also share, if you choose).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Reluctant Reader?

Mister J is a good reader when he wants to be.  He can read the notifications on my cell phone, he can read anything video-game or Lego-related, and he can read comics, Boys' Life, and other "fun" stuff.  I know there's something to be said for "fun" reading to help him learn to love reading - like his current favorite "Lunch Lady" books - but I know that he also needs to be reading things that challenge him. 

He is supposed to read for 15 minutes every afternoon as part of his homework.  He is also supposed to complete a reading log entry each day, noting the title and author of the book as well as answering a open-ended question (What did you think about what you read?).  It's that question that seems to be the stumbling block, and we are concerned that the reason for this is that J may be reading for accuracy, but not for comprehension.  Last year he was also supposed to read 15 minutes per day for homework, after which we were supposed to ask questions about/discuss what he'd read (What is the author's purpose?  Summarize what you read.  Fiction or non-fiction?  Etc.)  It was not pleasant then, either. 

Since it's difficult for me to gauge the accuracy of J's answers if he's reading something I have not read, I decided that J would need to select a book which I would read first.  Then I could have an informed discussion with him, perhaps prompting as needed to get the discussion going.

After a(nother) discussion this evening about our new reading plan, J selected a book.  We will begin reading the Magic Tree House series, starting with book 1.  (We have quite a few in the series, and we have read some of them before, but not as independent reading.)  As I explained to J that I would start reading tonight, and read a bit each day, he perked up.  He decided that he will try to catch up to me each evening during his reading time!  I'm thankful for how excited he seemed when he made it into a competition.  Of course, we will see how it goes, but I think I may have just gotten a peek into his motivation.  And I can relate, having been a teensy bit nerdy when I was in school.  I am also aware that he may get disappointed if I get too far ahead of him, so this will be a bit of a balancing act for the first little bit. 

I'm looking forward to:
Working through a series of books
Having academic discussions with my "little" boy
Tackling a variety of books - nonfiction?  more challenging chapter books? 

I'm wondering about:
Am I underestimating his ability?  Is the book we selected too easy?
Am I overestimating  his ability?  Should we be reading short stories?

Is this plan even going to work?

Some days I wish I had studied elementary education instead of higher ed administration.  Then I remember that I'm not really cut out to be a teacher.  Except that, as parents, aren't we all?

What's your biggest homework struggle?  What strategies have worked for you?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lunch Box Challenge


My lunch-packing has become much less exciting over time.  We are still packing lunches for school every day, but they have become very predictable: sandwich, veggie, fruit, something else to fill the 4th section of the lunchbox (crackers, a few chips, trail mix, yogurt), and something for snack time. 

I'm joining the lunch box challenge over at - won't you join me?  My goals are:
Add more variety to the kids' lunches
Use leftovers in the kids' lunches
Teach them to assist with the lunch-packing process (and do as much as possible the night before!)

By the way, there are some cool prize packages for participating!  Head on over now to join me!