Integrating Technology Into Family Life With the Intel AIO

#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.

With the girls starting school this week, we are resetting routines and thinking about how we can have a successful school year. We’ve made the biggest change by switching schools but we also want to make changes at home.

One of these is changing the way we all use tech. There have been too many moments this summer where we have all been in different rooms on different devices. That’s why out kitchen counter now looks like this…

IntelAIO

I can see you thinking, really another screen? But stay with me here.
[Read more...]

Giving Back During Back to School

During back to school, it’s easy to give back. Thank you to Champions for Kids and The Motherhood for involving me in this awesome program!

Yesterday I finally conquered my sudden bout of homebodiness and took the girls to shop for school supplies and then to their back to school night. This translates to I went to the grocery store with the texted list from a friend of what she had bought her child and threw two of everything into a cart while the terror twins careened around the store looking for things to put on their never ending wish list. They have yet to cotton on to the fact that they never get anything from their wish list and yet it stops them from begging for things in the stores. So obviously I consider this one of my biggest parenting wins.

After successfully gathering all needed school supplies, I took the girls up to back to school night. Without telling anyone we totally switched their school. Well we told them obviously, but for everyone else it was a pleasant (I hope) surprise when we showed up at our neighborhood school. I felt like it was a huge success… for me. Everyone hugged me and none of the teachers knew anything about the girls so they actually welcomed in into the classrooms with happy, unknowing smiles.

The girls, on the other hand, were less impressed. They literally RAN AND KID UNDER A TABLE when a kid they knew said hi to them. When I asked why they said they KNEW HIM. The horror. Evidently they thought that by new school we meant we had populated our tiny city with people they had never seen. Which would be some amazing parenting.

So my feelings about the new school year are a mite bit mixed. In a throwback to the childhood I never had (I went to small Catholic schools and knew everyone, even in college, in Austin), I have been having nervous stomachaches all week. But even with the stomachache and hiding under tables, I consider us very lucky.

You know that hashtag #YourPrivilegeIsShowing? I kind of want to print it out and hand it out while back to school shopping. Because so many kids have to worry about things like going to school hungry. This hit home for me when my girls started public preschool at the ripe age of three. AS I chatted with the office one day about my precious darlings and their special snowflake needs, I noticed a pile of backpacks. I found out they were filled with food for kids who might not eat over the weekend.

One of the organizations that seeks to fill the needs of kids like those is Champions for Kids. Champions for Kids makes it simple to give children in local communities the resources they need to thrive. We can’t all make big gestures but helping others does not have to come in large doses. Champions for Kids seeks to help by fostering a ‘habit of giving’ among youth and parents in America.

SIMPLE Giving

Did you know that 16 million kids live in poverty? For kids in need, finding nutritious snacks can be a challenge. Children who eat healthy foods are better equipped to succeed academically. SIMPLE Giving is a Champions for Kids program that makes it simple for you to help kids in your community. To ensure children have access to nutritious snacks, Champions for Kids is teaming up with Dole, Emerald, Kellogg Company and Walmart for a SIMPLE Giving program.

You can participate by simply purchasing and donating snack food items at your local participating Walmart from August 1-18. If your Walmart store is participating, simply purchase breakfast foods and place them in the purple donation bins at the front of the store after checkout. To see a list of participating stores, click here.

All of the donations go to children in the school district where the Walmart store is located! the girls and I will doing this as part of our back to school day Monday. I hope you will join us this weekend by buying a few snacks yourself and donating.

I Gave My Seven Year Old an iPhone

While I was at BlogHer last week, as part of the US Cellular blogger brigade, I attended a lunch focused on kids and smart phones. Some interesting facts like the following were shared:

Though the above and some of the other thoughts shared gave me a lot of food for thought, the talk also reconfirmed my decision to give the #terrortwins a mobile phone. As the moderators said, it really is a case of responsibiloity and need, not age. And with two girls with such different needs, it makes sense for our family for them to have a way to contact us when they can not be with us and a phone to use at home. I feel better knowing we have a phone on the U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network to use in the case of emergency (it works GREAT in our city!) at home and that will share us where they are when they have it (we installed the Life360 app on it to help us keep track of their goings and to find them easily should we get separated.)

And yes, my seven year old has a nicer phone than I do.
[Read more...]

My Extraordinary Kid

Lazy summer, where are you? It’s been a long week with both the girls being ill. Desmonda Drama even had to miss the entire week of summer school because of two different infections. And then on top of that, she had a morning of testing that we couldn’t cancel. Of course, I am in tatters but she is still tearing around the house with a smile on her face.

IMAG3845-MIX

That kid. She is something else.
[Read more...]

Cooking With Books, Fictional Recipes Are Yummy

One of my goals is to cook more with my kids. I grew up watching my mom cook and turned into an awesome one myself (#humblebrag.) She didn’t actually cook that much with me so I could just take my chances that the terror twins learn by osmosis like me. But that would defeat my goal of turning them into domestic servants by eight. So cooking with kids it is.

Cooking With Kids

Up first, Tiana Mac and Cheese!
[Read more...]

#BeautyIs Determination

-This post is sponsored by Global Influence-

I confess that sometimes it’s easier fun to say yes than no. Desmonda Drama has been dissolving into a a crying, whiny mess every evening. And I am pretty sure it is due to her summer schedule. Summer school is open to every kid in our school district, so she has been attending that, then swimming at our swim club, and then on top of that attending adapted swim lessons every evening.

desmonda drama dove beautyis

So when she woke up this morning and said how about I stay home today and go to school tomorrow. I couldn’t help but say yes. Even though tomorrow is Saturday. well played, Desmonda Drama. Well played.
[Read more...]

Guest Post : How to Plan A Summer Vacation After Divorce

Planning a summer vacation after a divorce can either be a joyous, fun time in your life or it can be a hard-fought, stressful battle with your ex-spouse if children are in the mix.  Whatever your personal situation, experienced divorce lawyers generally advise to plan ahead for any summer vacations after a divorce, as it makes the process easier on yourself, your ex-spouse, and your children.  

Summer Vacation After a Divorce
[Read more...]

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday : #365 Kids

The 365 Kids Project

You know the Project 52 that is all the rage in blogland? Where you take a portrait of your kids once a week every week? Come on now! Calling it portrait is pretentious (especially since most of the pics are taken with an iphone) and taking a picture of my kids once a week seems pretty slackerish. Perhaps there is more to it and maybe I am just not artsy enough to get it. But I decided to do something different this year and post an everyday picture of my kids to Instagram. Every day. I hashtagged it #365Kids.

And while I haven’t made it every day, I still love seeing the results. I will take these funny moments over hipster 52 portraits every time.

How to Dress Your Kids for Snowy Weather

Proper Winter Gear for Kids

It’s been an especially harsh winter, darn that polar vortex. The girls were out of school all last week. And to keep sane I kept getting them to go outside and get their yayas out. As I learned during our year in Minnesota, the key to getting your kids outside is dressing them properly. And with areas that normally are mild getting inches of snow, I figured it was a good time to pass on some tips!
[Read more...]

NickMom Thanksgiving : No More Fun For You

Occasionally I think I am funny. Thank you to Social Fabric and NickMom for agreeing and sponsoring my post!

Thanksgiving PostKids MotherFunny Cbias Shop

Do you ever look back on your pre-kids self and think “Bless Your Heart?” I am blessing all over the place when I think about how much I used to enjoy Thankgiving. “A holiday with no expectations! How lovely!” I used to think. Oh dear me. Little did I know that when you have kids, Thanksgiving is turned from a wine swilling Friendsgiving type atmosphere to a atmosphere more reminiscent of the fraught royal courts of yore. And in case you think you should have a crown on your head, oh no my friend. Your kids are the royalty; you are more of the lady in waiting.
[Read more...]