This year, as the "Back-to-School" commercials begin and the school supplies flood the aisles of the department stores, my normal feeling of being excited has been missing from the typical. Okay, Okay. Maybe I am a little excited..but I am also sad. This is SO Bittersweet!
This year, my baby, my little one, Ms. Gigi is starting school. She will officially be a Kindergartener. No more dropping her off at daycare, instead it will be dropping her off at her school. No more part time daycare days, it's all day, 5 days a week. No more being home sick from work and having my little cuddle bug to snuggle with Mommy and make me feel better...she will be in school.
When a child is a baby and toddler, we often feel like we just want then to hurry up and grow so they can do more for themselves, but as I am now witnessing displays of knowledge of a five year old, I wish I would have relished in that even younger mind.
My daughter has such a thirst for knowledge, I just can't slow her down. She is reading so well for a young 5, can do math extremely well, and her social skills are awesome. I know I might just sound biased, but as a child development teacher, I am really concerned that Kindergarten will be too easy for her. I already plan on discussing her learning path with her teacher to encourage that Gigi be challenged. They do offer a test which can gauge if a child can "test out" of Kindergarten, but I don't want to do that to her. I want her to stay in the same age group with her peers.
I have had a jillion parents ask me suggestions on what I think the best path is for their child, but I find it so much harder to make the decisions for my own child.
So far we have beat the rush and bought all of her school supplies, (which cost around $75!) and have been practicing more and more sight words. In order to give her some separation, she attended a VBS all last week and did perfectly.
So for the next 2 1/2 weeks until school starts, We will be enjoying time with each other and having fun.
She will also be starting her new bedtime routine, which will be a bit earlier than she is used to, and no more naps(which she loves...)
How did you prepare your little one for the start of school?
How are you going to spend these last few weeks before school starts? When does school start for you?
Disclosure: I was provided two boxes of Crunchmaster Crisps in exchange for a review of the product! The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own!
Gluten Free snacks are becoming more and more necessary in today's society. It seems that given the way crops are being grown as well as just today's various exposures, kids are becoming more and more allergic wheat gluten.
I run a preschool learning lab and have more and more students each year that must be fed gluten free snacks. This can be quite difficult because I like to feed all of my students the SAME snack. I don't want the students to feel "different." Crunchmaster makes gluten free snacks at an affordable price so I can feed them to all of my students and they enjoy them just the same!
Although undiagnosed, my husband has all of the symptoms of a classic celiac condition. Stocking the food with things that are gluten free is a must. I haven't gotten him converted 100% to gluten-free eating, but thanks to Crunchmaster, his late night snack raids are now gluten free!
The two boxes of Crunchmaster Crisps I was sent from the company were the Cheezy Crisps and the Grammy Crisps. Let me just tell you, they were super yummy! The texture was very smooth and not gritty or filmy at all. They were just like any other cheddar crisps or cinnamon and sugar crisps. My family ate the Cheddar Crisps in one setting! They were husband AND child approved! That equals a winner in my book!!
The Grammy Crisps were taken to my preschool learning lap and fed to the children in the class. Again, they were well received and the children all made "happy plates!"
Crunchmaster products can easily be found at your local Wal-Mart! They are very affordable and an overall great product!
You can find out more information about Crunchmaster Crisps as well as their other new product lines at the Crunchmaster Website.
You can also engage in social media with them on Facebook
A little birdie even told me you can find a nice coupon on their website to try out your first taste of Crunchmaster Crisps!
Happy (gluten-free) Snacking!!
Disclosure: I was provided a free 12 month plan via the eMeals blogger network. Thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
Father's Day is ALMOST HERE! It's hard to believe we have jumped head first into June and before we know it, the 16th of June will be here and it will be time to celebrate all things DAD!
My husband and my own father are excellent dad's! They deserve to have a big celebration for all of their hard work and dedication to their respective families throughout the year.
For me, one of the hardest things to decide is always what I am going to get for or do for my father and my husband. This year, eMeals has made it an EASY decision! I will cook an AWESOME meal and have the whole family together. Meal planning for me can get very difficult as I am indecisive. Being indecisive is definitely one of my weaknesses, and this is exactly why I had sought out a partnership with eMeals.
When I logged into my eMeals account, I saw that they had an AWESOME deal going on right now! With a new or existing subscription, you can download the perfect Father's Day meal plan! SIX, count 'em, SIX great recipes to make the perfect meal from start to finish!
I HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of this freebie and signing up today!
ALSO, to sweeten the deal just a lil' bit more, use the code DADS at checkout to save 15% off your meal plan!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN eMeals TODAY!
Check it out!
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the Beyond the Science Lab
book by Jason Lindsey a.k.a. Mr. Science in return for a review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own! But it's an awesome book..so no negative nancy's here! :)
Each year, our local library has various shows and presentations for children in partnership with the summer reading program. At least twice, we have had the pleasure of seeing "Mr. Science, Jason Lindsey, present his awesome, kid- friendly science experiments in person.
My personal favorite experiment that I have seen is the Mentos/Diet Coke experiment. How awesome is it to shoot soda higher than the roof of the building!? Thank goodness we did it outside! :)
Jason has created a book that not only spoke to me, but especially spoke to my daughter. Beyond the Science Lab: A Celebration of God and Science
is a book that not only shows you some excellent science experiments and how to do them, it also relates every science experiment to a bible scripture to help illustrate the pure GREATNESS
of our God!
My daughter is now 5 years old and has a really big interest in learning about God. But as we all know, God is very abstract for young children because it is believing in what we can't always physically see. Only God knows what she pictures when she thinks of God, prays, or learns a multitude of valuable lessons within the bible.
The focus of this book is to show children that God is the ultimate scientist.
Each experiment starts out with a "Bible Truth" and a Bible Passage. Then following these is the science experiment that will illustrate the passage.
All of the experiments are broken down in easy-to-follow steps with pictures and safety warnings.
Following each experiment is an explanation as well as a summary of the bible connection. Following that is an explanation of some science terms and a science quiz.
For example, one of the experiments is called "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" It references bible verse Matthew 28:19. This experiment involves starting with water, freezing it, and then also boiling it to make a gas. It shows you the three states of water(Solid, Liquid, Gas) and explains the correlation between the three states of God.
Something as simple of this can really make a connection for a child, or even an adult who is still searching and learning the way.
I highly recommend this book for all to read and to even catch "Mr. Science" on TV as often as you can! You can catch his Beyond the Science Lab Segment on your local TCT Television Station each Saturday Morning!
His Facebook page
is very active, with consistent postings of fun science snippets!
Mr. Science was gracious enough to give all of my readers the chance to win a copy of the book, too! Contest runs from Saturday, June 1st, 2013 and a winner will be picked on Saturday, June 9th, 2013.
Happy Summer, Happy Science!
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the Beyond the Science Lab book by Jason Lindsey a.k.a. Mr. Science in return for a review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own! Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the sponsor. Winner has 48 hours to provide contact information before a new winner is picked.
Disclosure: I was given a free-three month trial of Weight Watchers Online as a member of Fitspiration for Moms in exchange for a review of my experiences while participating in the program.
“People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.”
Well, three months have come and gone, and I have learned a lot during these last three months.
The first thing that I have learned is that unless my mind is set to do something, I won't succeed. The Weight Watchers program is essentially SUCCESS in a single package. It is up to the user to open it up and use it.
Unfortunately, with the previous three months being the most busy and eventful three months of each year, I often left that little package, tucked neatly inside of a cave, rarely letting it see the light of day.
With that said, I do feel like I have learned a lot about myself and about how to eat in the past three months. Knowledge that I am beginning to implement since I am on Summer Break and will have more time to focus on ME.
Some of the things I have learned is first and foremost, that fruits and veggies are good. With weight watchers, most fruits and veggies are 0 points. They do have natural calories and sugars, but natural are sure better than added. With it being summer, I enjoy lighter and fresh foods, so I currently have my fridge stocked with lots of fresh veggies. I used some of them to make a Cucumber-Blueberry Slaw to top some Brats! It was a definite hit!
Secondly, I learned that planning out food is important! When one has a busy schedule, having a meal plan would be very beneficial. Planning out meals and allotting my points before even eating the food, would be a much better choice than totaling them up while eating or at the end of the day.
Thirdly, my environment is just as important as the food that goes into my mouth. If my environment isn't set up in a way to help me stay focused, I can easily get off track. Keeping only healthy snack options and being organized in my home is so extremely important for me! I am currently organizing my planning binder in between blog posts!
I want to thank Weight Watchers for this opportunity and for helping me learn more about myself and what it takes to be successful!
I highly recommend the product to anyone who is ready to be dedicated and make a permanent change for the better!
Even though the date on the calendar isn't quite June 22nd, It sure feels like Summertime outside!
I don't know about you, but when the heat goes up, my want for food goes down. I don't feel like cooking rich, thick, saucy foods during the summertime. I love light, fresh tasting foods.
When browsing through the June 2013 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I ran across this a recipe for Cucumber Blueberry Slaw with Brats
I had never, in my life, considered adding blueberries to anything similar to a cole slaw. It sounded odd, and foreign to me. But it's summertime, and I felt like trying something new! I don't work in the summer and it gives me more time at home to experiment with food.
As you can see on the Better Homes and Gardens Website
, the recipe is very simple and it takes a very short time to prepare.
The only things I changed was that I used beer brats and boiled them in apple juice, and then I seared them on a hot griddle on the stove, rather than heating up the propane grill. I also added a little extra mayo and buttermilk to the recipe to make it a little more moist.
The Cucumber-Blueberry Slaw
Ready to Mangia!
What are some of your summer favorites? Sound off in the comments below!
Another month on Weight Watchers and come and gone. I was given a free three month membership to the Weight Watchers Online Tools via Fitspiration For Moms. Image courtesy of iTunes.com
“People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.” This is, by far, the busiest time of the work year for me. I have field trip after field trip and late nights after late nights. Honestly, I have not been able to sit down and plan my meals and track points as I should. The ONLY thing that has helped me log and keep track of some of my points is the various apps that are available via Weight Watchers to have it on the go as well as at home. The two Weight Watchers apps that I have are Weight Watchers Mobile and the Weight Watchers Scanner. I have included links for the iTunes app store, but you can find them available on the Android market as well. Weight Watchers Mobile is basically the same online tools, in a very visual and easy to use mobile app version. This is perfect for the meals that you eat away from home. You can log the points immediately without having to remember and add them in later. Let's be honest, we are all much too busy to remember to add all of our points in at the end of the day. I also find it useful because you can log them in as you go throughout the day and you know how many points you have left to consume. There is nothing more frustrating than entering points after the fact, and then find that you have miscalculated and ate more than your allotted amount. You can also check in with your spaces, routines, weight, and other healthy checks. It is also great because you can look up information about restaurant food immediately and have the points right at your fingertips before making that final menu choice.
The second app that I mentioned was the Weight Watchers Scanner app. What I love about this is the ease of scanning a barcode and knowing the points associated with the food. I eat a lot of Microwavable Dinners for lunch at work. It was super easy to scan the bottom of the package and then import the points straight over to the Weight Watchers Mobile App. The fact that these two tie in together is fantastic. Did the item you scan not register? That's okay..it gives you a simple option to add the label information right then and there and then it calculates your points.
These two apps combined with a focused mind make for much success. I have lost a few pounds in the last month and feel that Weight Watchers is definitely helping me become more focused and make better decisions!
I hope to report even bigger numbers and more focus next month! Until then, we are slowly but surely inching towards Summer Vacation!
As a member of Fitspiration For Moms, I was given a free three month membership to Weight Watchers eTools in exchange for my thoughts and feelings about the program. My thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not given any monetary compensation for this post.
The first product that I am highlighting to giveaway on my blog for this awesome, Earth-Loving Event is Eco-Foil by Handi Foil!
Eco-Foil pans are extremely earth friendly because they are made from 100% Recycled Aluminum! ONE-HUNDRED-PERCENT! Yay for Recycling!
I have been using Eco-Foil Pans for a while now and I absolutely love them! This past Thanksgiving, we used the largest sized, "King Roaster" Eco-Foil pan for our large turkey!
My husband cutting into our Turkey which was roasted in the Eco-Foil King Roaster Pan!
How many of you have used an aluminum roasting pan to make a turkey or chicken and it has buckled, causing a hole, and spilling juices everywhere? I know that has happened to me more than once.
With Eco-Foil, it was so sturdy, it didn't even attempt to buckle! So not only are they made from recycled materials, they are STRONG and Durable!!
Here are some more awesome facts about Eco-Foil Pans:
*The lids are made from 100% recycled plastic!
*They are 100% American Made!
*They are still 100% Recyclable after use!
*100% trusted quality and strength!
Another great thing is that they are likely in a local retailer near you! I live in a relatively small southern Illinois town and I have 5 stores within 25 miles that carry them!
I wholeheartedly believe these points equal out one MUST HAVE product for your kitchen!
How many of you absolutely LOVE how long it takes to clean the shower or tile in your kitchen and bathroom??? I know I sure don't! Anything that can reduce my overall cleaning time certainly grabs my attention. EnduroShield boasts about it's wonderful, earth-friendly, time-saving products! They can easily reduce your cleaning time by up to 90% Sounds totally awesome, right?! I think so, too!
According to their website and product packaging, EnduroShield is a revolutionary, simple to apply, invisible coating that repels water, soap scum & grime, allowing you easier cleaning, less often!
Their products do the following:
- Make Cleaning a Breeze
- 'Once Only' Application
- Helps prevent harmful bacteria build-up
- Superior protection
- Reduces cleaning time
- Has a 3 year warranty
- Environmentally friendly.
The folks at EnduroShield were so wonderful and have sent me a sample kit of their EnduroShield Home for Glass Shower Doors and also EnduroShield Home for Ceramic Tiles and Grout. I have literally moved into a new home within the past 6 days, and have not had a chance to try them out, but rest assured I will be posting a review in the near future! So definitely stay tuned!
How would you like some Eco-Foil Pans and a Sample Kit of EnduroShield of your own?! The folks at Eco-Foil and EnduroShield have each donated an awesome gift pack for readers of The Introspective Teacher as well as those hopping through from the Fitspiration for Moms Earth Day Giveaway Hop!
Disclosure: I was supplied a sample kit of Eco-Foil Pans as well as EnduroShield Sample Kits in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of Fitspiration for Moms and blogger of Introspective Teacher. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. Prize Fulfillment of the Eco-Foil Prize Pack is the responsibility of Eco-Foil by Handi Foil. Prize Fulfillment of the EnduroShield Sample Kit is the responsibility of EnduroShield.
Hi there ! I know it has been a while since I have blogged. Crazy times for a crazy teacher :) One thing that I have started and have attempted to make a "constant" in my life is Weight Watchers
. I am currently signed up for three months of the eTools portion of their website. I am very busy and would not be able to attend meetings so this makes eTools the perfect solution! “People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.”
Let me tell you--It takes a bit to get used to the points, but I LOVE
it! The eTools are all easy to use and take the guess work out of how many points your meal will have! Today, I want to focus on using the actual website. But be sure to stay tuned for my post next month because I will be highlighting all of the MOBILE Apps
that can really help you stay on track!
There are three main sections on the homepage of eTools. They are TRACKING, SPACES, and ROUTINES.
TRACKING has three sections within itself. You will track your weight, activity, and most importantly, food. The food tracking is the one that, for me, takes the most to get used to. It is very different to think of food in points rather than in calories. The great thing about this section is that you simply type in the food you have eaten or are thinking about eating, and it will give you the amount of points. You simply click "Add" and it is now in your meals and calculated for the day! I like the fact that I can type in different foods I feel like eating and compare point values really easily to decide what is the better option for me.
Next you can track your activity! The great thing about this is that you can SEE point-wise how much food the exercise eliminates. OR have you been wanting to splurge on a 4pt candy bar? According to the activity tracker, if I walk briskly for about 30 minutes, I will EARN that candy bar! That's right..it gives me 4 more PointsPlus points to spend and I can have my guilty pleasure! How awesome is that? It's bartering..and anyone knows I THRIVE on trades and bartering! :) I could definitely get used to this.
The final part of the "Tracking" Section is to track the weight. It will keep a graph for you and even create a little progress report! So awesome!
The second section is SPACES. This is amazing because you can look around and discover helpful tips and tricks to help you stay on track no matter where you are! There are both tips for planning ahead and also ones for when you are in PANIC MODE! Check out the screen caps!
The third section is ROUTINES! Sitting down to watch a specific program every Monday night, going to bed at midnight every night, or that weekly ice cream trip is a ROUTINE....Why do we not focus on establishing healthy routines? That is exactly what this tool is for! Basically you pick a routine such as "Always having a healthy snack in your purse". Each day when you log in to WeightWatchers.Com you simply check off that you have done that. Once you have mastered it, you begin another!
The website also has other areas at your mercy. You can post on message boards and support others and receive support yourself, you can look up AWESOME
recipes to add variety to your palate, to reading success stories to those who have stick with this program and WON the battle of the bulge!
Overall, I feel this is a fantastic way to not only eat healthier, become more active, and start better routines..it is a way to begin and continue a successful LIFESTYLE CHANGE
Have you tried WeightWatchers before? If so, what was your experience like?! Sound off in the comments!
Head over to WeightWatchers.com
and sign up!
I was given a WeightWatchers membership in return for my honest opinion as a member of the FitspirationForMoms community. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. :)
All Images in this post are (C) WeightWatchers.
Hi everyone! Happy 2013! I know for most, the new year is a symbol of new beginnings. Some of these new "beginnings" have rather quick "endings," but if you are anything like me, there is one thing that you frequently wish for: More Time, Less Stress! I have stumbled upon a fantastic website and program that does just that! I am so excited to tell you about it!
According to the eMeals website, "eMeals is the simple dinner solution for busy people who want to spend their money wisely and their time with people they love. eMeals is the easy way to be organized, have a well-managed grocery budget and enjoy healthy dinners at home."
How awesome is that? It's for 1. Busy People 2. Frugal people and 3. For those who want to spend more time with those they love! That all equals LESS STRESS to me!
As a part of their blogger network, I was given a year-long subscription to their dinner menus. Let me tell you! They are awesome! You can choose which menu you would like to receive, and even change the category of your menus once a month! They have menu types for everyone! There are menus for the following: Classic Meals, Clean Eating, Simple Gourmet, Paleo, Low Carb, Low Fat, Portion Control, Natural and Organic, Gluten Free, and Vegetarian! Everyone's diet pretty much falls into one of those categories!
The great thing about these menus is that they come with cooking instructions as well as a SHOPPING LIST! Yes! That's right! A categorized shopping list, that even incorporates sales at the local stores. I frequently shop at Wal-Mart for our groceries so the menu has the current prices for that store. Each week my family meals have been budgeted at about $80/week.
Another great thing, is that they are healthy and are portioned out for the right calories, etc! It's hard to do all of the work to meet dietary restrictions, portion sizes, and so on as well as all my other weekly duties! It is awesome that eMeals does it for me!
There you go! We currently receive the "portion control" menu and it definitely has assisted me in staying in my calorie goal and even BELOW!
The fact that I have lost 8 lbs since following my menu should speak VOLUMES! The best thing is, the food is good, has great variety, and is very satisfying!
Can we say YUM?!
To get you started on the right track, one of the main things you need to do is to track your calories and food intake! Please enjoy the free printable below sponsored by eMeals to get you started!
Click to enlarge and then R-Click to save :)
Diet is extremely important, but so is exercise! How do you plan to reach your health goals to #GetHealthy and #GetOrganized in 2013? Sound off in the comments below! I would love to hear your ideas!
Disclaimer: eMeals did provide me a free year-long subscription as a part of their blogger network! The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own! :o) Are you a blogger who is interested in joining the eMeals Blogger Network? Please head over to HERE and be sure to tell them you were referred by Amber @ The Introspective Teacher!