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The List

After I registered the children for school in our new town, I received the school supply lists.

7th Grade Supply List
One gallon size zip-lock bag Tissues for personal use Index cards
Paper – lined, notebook Blue, black, and red pens Dividers
TI84 graphing calculator (recommended) Colored pencils Highlighters
Rulers – dual (metric and customary) Number 2 pencils with erasers Three-hole punch
Three-ring binder (1) Pencil case Glue sticks Scissors, student type Graph paper Sheet protectors
Dry erase markers Protractor Compass Folders with brads and pockets (5) Pocket dictionary Pencil sharpener
Post-it notes Tape Stretchy book covers (jumbo)

Supply items may need to be replenished throughout the school year. There may be a few additional individual class needs that will be addressed the first week of school.

First Grade Supply List
1 spiral notebook:5 Star brand 1 hardcover composition book 1 large pencil box 1 box of 8 markers 2 pairs of scissors 2 packs of 24 pencils
6 black dry erase markers 1 pair of child-size black socks 8 large glue sticks 2 highlighters 2 large pink erasers 2 boxes of tissues
1 package of twistable crayons 1 bottle of hand sanitizer 1 package of wipes 1 box of gallon-size Ziploc bags 1 box of quart-size Ziploc bags
ART SUPPLIES – 1 smock/art shirt, 1 spiral or marble notebook, #2 pencils
MUSIC SUPPLIES – 1 folder with pockets and brads/fasteners, any color

These are the school supply lists for my two children. This was a shocker for me. My daughter had gone to a daycare with a kindergarten program so the only things I ever brought in were used paper towel rolls, egg cartons and the containers for clorox wipes.

My son’s school basically required 5 spiral notebooks, 5 folders, and some pencils with erasers. The school supplied everything else.

I have to wonder about all this. I can understand requiring pens, pencils, notebooks (not why I have to get a particular BRAND of notebook), erasers, a box to put these things in, paper, etc. These all seem like normal schools supplies.

But why do I need to bring in tissues, boxes of ziploc bags, wipes, and hand sanitizer. I also do not want my kids to use hand sanitizer since it kills the good bacteria. If their hands are dirty, send them to a sink to wash them or give them a wipe.

What’s scary is that even with all of this, teachers are still spending out of pocket to buy supplies, which is pretty sad.

I also have to ask: How complicated has 7th grade math become that the children need a $100 calculator? Granted I was really bad at math, but I got through high school and a semester of college math and never used a calculator.

I’ve also heard that on the 1st day, you get a list of “requested” supplies from the teacher, and my sweet guy’s list actually hints at that. However, I will be batshit if this is true. How much more crap do I need to get?

We live in a not cheap neighbor hood and pay not low taxes and yet I am being asked to supply tissues and wipes. What’s next, will I asked to bring in toilet paper and paper towels. And of course, since school has not actually started I have not gotten the fundraising catalogs yet.

Since this is new for me, I have to ask, is this typical? Is this a small list and I should be grateful, or is this alot.

However, no matter how crazy the list, I still love this commercial.

Urban Pirate Adventure

For my son Alex, I have two big challenges for his birthday.  The first challenge is that since his birthday is in the middle of the summer, most of his friends are away, so its hard to have a birthday party with no guests.  This challenge was exacerbated by the fact that we moved from Massachusetts to Maryland less than 3 weeks before his birthday.

The second and more recent challenge is little Dude’s age.  Now that he is 12, he is not enticed by a visit to the petting zoo or Chuck E Cheese (I am grateful about the lack of interest in CEC-really I am).  But I still want to do something special for him on his special day.

This leads me to the Urban Pirates.  Urban Pirates is a pirate themed boat experience that goes around the Inner Harbor in down town Baltimore.  For the very, very reasonable price of $20 per person, you get a pirate sash, temporary tattoos, face painting and a 45 minute pirate adventure cruise.

The staff is wonderful, leading the kids through a lesson in pirate vocabulary, dancing, pass the shrunken head, and a chance to defeat the scurvy MadDog Pirate and rescue the treasure.

If you go, the boat is not usually very full.  Our trip had less than 20 people, but the max is 40.  The music can be a little loud, especially if you are sitting near the front of the boat, but its not too bad.  They also do a Bring Your Own Grog boat ride for the adults.

The boat has bathrooms but no food or drink. Food is not important, but in this heat you will want to have some water.  Don’t be me.  Bring the water from home or hit a CVS on the way.  Don’t buy it at the bakery down the street from where you dock and pay $2.00 per bottle.

My children are ages 6 and 12 and they both LOVED the trip.   They are begging to go again.  And since it was so reasonable, (its cheaper than a movie) we will probably go again.  The only other thing to keep in mind is that they sell very attractive bandanas, swords and guns right where you get on the boat.  They are not bad, $3 for a bandana and $5 for the water pistol, but the baubles are highly visible and the staff does mention hitting the gift shop as you are prepping to get off the boat.

But I am an easy mark, and it was his birthday, so I got them each a trinket.  

Happy Birthday to My Handsome Guy

Not my husband- although he is very handsome.  Today is Alex’s birthday, and he is 12.  I can’t believe that my sweet boy is 12, with the occasional bouts of tween ‘tude and the odd man smells that he now produces.

It seems like yesterday that I found out I was pregnant.  It seems like it was a blink of an eye when he looked like this:

Look at that face.  If you don’t feel even the tiniest impulse to pinch those widdle cheeks, than there is something wrong with you and we can’t be friends.

Now I get this handsome face to look at:

I still see traces of baby there, and every once in a while, he lets me pinch those cheeks.

And when I look at him I feel incredibly lucky.  Yes, he has his challenges and can be challenging, but his heart is sweet and pure, his brain is fascinating, and he is a funny kid.

In short, he is the best son ever, and I love him so very much.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!  I hope this is the 1st day of a wonderful year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Around NYC

I am very excited to be attending BlogHer this year.  Its my first BlogHer and I am looking forward to meeting some wonderful bloggers and learning ways to make my blog better and learn how to be better versed in social media.

I was also excited that the conference is in NYC.  I grew up on Long Island and have always loved visiting the city.

While there are many ways to get around NYC and they all have pros and cons, with the exception of bringing your own car and driving it around.  My only response is to NOT DO IT.  NYC can be challenging to navigate by car and finding legal, inexpensive parking is next to impossible.  If you thought about coming in by car, I suggest you find one of the commuter rail or Amtrak stations near you and park your car there and take the train.

If you are going to take in some sightseeing when you are not in conferences here are the pros and cons to getting around.

Pros and Cons to Traveling in NYC:

1. Walking-

Pros: Its free and its a great way to see the city, there are a lot of cute little stores, and gives you lots of opportunities for people watching.

Cons: You are limited by the speed you can walk, so if you are trying to see lots of the city, walking alone is not the most efficient way.

2. Taxi-

Pros: You will go exactly where you want and you can still see lots of what is going on.  Also, if you have a friendly driver, you can have some great converations.

Cons: Taxi’s are expensive.  I would save a cab for when you are either exhausted, carrying a lot of stuff, or feel that you are hopelessly lost.

3. Subway-

Pros: Efficient, and not very expensive.  You can cover lots of the city, and get to people watch.  Also the subway is very safe and most trains have a map of the stops so you will not miss your stop.  Here is a link for a Subway Map, and you can also download a free app for the Subway.

Cons: You do have to plan a little to make sure you are going to the right place, and be careful to be on a local and not an express train.  Also, since the subway is underground, you do not see a lot of the city.

4. Tour Bus-

On just about every corner you will see people selling tickets for one of the double decker tour buses.  You buy tickets and you can hop on and off for different loops around the city.

Pros: You really get to see a lot of the city, and if you get a good tour guide, you learn a lot of neat facts.  Also, the hop on-hop off nature allows you to target the areas you want to see, and with a bus every 10-20 minutes during the day, you are never stuck in one area for long.

Cons: The tickets are not cheap, but if you google the companies, you can often get coupons.  Also, getting from place to place is faster than walking, but slower than the subway or taxi.

I have never tried the bicycle rickshaws, so I cannot comment on them.

Getting around NYC is also pretty easy as the bulk of the city is on a grid.  Sometimes you might get turned around a little, but you can always find your way.

Also to save yourself a little on a cab, try to catch your cab facing in the direction you want to go it.  That trip around the block, especially in traffic can add to your fare.

The Other Side of The Desk

For the past five years, I have been employed as a Human Resources Director and one of my responsibilitites has been managing the hiring process.

Since my husband is transferring to Maryland for work, its time for me to begin the job hunt.

Its going to be weird to be on the other side of the desk.  I am hoping my career long process of being kind to the candidates, and notifying all of them of their status in a timely manner will leave me on the good sides of the job hunting gods.

Admittedly though, I am a bit of a wreck.  The hardest part so far was updating my resume, which had been untouched for about six years.  You know that advice you always hear about constantly updating your resume that you always hear?  Yeah, I was so busy doing HR that I did not take care of my resume.  Don’t be me.  Update your resume annually when you are working on your review and your accomplishments are fresh in your mind.

However, going over reviews and making a list of what I got done over the past 5 years was pretty stinking gratifying.  I was a busy girl!

Armed with a list of accomplishments I got started.  And then I sat there with writer’s bloc, and sat, and sat.  Inertia can be a sucktastic thing, especially when I’m used to diving in and getting things done.

Thankfully, we were looking for my replacement at my current job so I had several dozen resumes floating into my inbox, I had some inspiration and a chance to see first hand what was trendy in formatting.

Now I’m working with some HR professionals I trust to go over my resume and help me tweak it to perfection.  With five additional sets of eyes, my resume will be perfect.

Then all I have to do is post it on linked in, and start applying for jobs and working on my cover letters.  Then the calls for interviews will be pouring in.

I hope…..

 

 

 

Paleo Without Pity- Mexican Style Slow Cooker Chicken

Before I started reading the Blog A Year of Slow Cooking, I thought that my crockpot was primarily a winter thing, where I would make chili, pasta sauce, meatballs, etc.

However after being reminded that cooking in the crockpot means that you are not heating up your kitchen, I became a devotee and the pot comes out all year long.

I make some great chicken in a variety of ways.  It always comes out moist and is great to have for salads, stirfries, mixed in with paleo mayo and stuffed into a tomato or just eaten straight out of the bag.

I usually do 2 bone in chicken breasts and get 1 full dinner for 4 out of it, or I add 3 and have some for leftovers.  This chicken also freezes well.

Place the frozen chicken breasts into the appropriate sized crock pot.  I find its better to crowd the crockpot a little than have things too spread out, but you can get around that if you add more liquid.

I use chicken broth, 3 garlic cloves per breast and an envelope of  Simply Organic Spicy Taco Seasoning and a chili in adobo and toss it in the pot with the chicken.

Then I set it on low and cook for about 8-10 hours.

Then I shred and we eat.  And its yummy!

Recipe:

Mexican Slow Cooker Chicken (2 Breasts)

Ingredients
2 Frozen bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
Chicken broth to cover
Envelope of Simply Organic Spicy Taco Seasoning
1 Chili in Adobo
6 Cloves of Garlic

Directions
Place breasts in slow cooker
Combine broth, taco seasoning, chili and garlic, pour over chicken
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
Remove from slow cooker, remove the skin, shred and use.

Cleaning Out My Brain

Every once in a while my brain just gets too full for its own good and its impossible to string together coherent thoughts about anything.  And just like when you get a cheesy song stuck in your head, the only way to cure the full brain is to do a brain dump.

1. I love Crossfit.  I could do a whole post about it and probably will.

2. We are moving to Maryland next month.  Since my sweet husband is in the Army its a PCS move.  We’ve never had movers before.  My inner control freak is having an aneurysm.

3. Typically during a move, I handle the administrative end of things to avoid the packing, painting, etc.   So instead of touching up walls, I deal with transferring medical records, registering the kids for school, and making sure the cable is installed as soon after we move in as humanly possible.  My to do list has 40+ items on it.

4. I have less than a month at work.   Its a challenge admitting there are projects I am not going finish.  I really need to bind and gag my inner control freak.

5. My resume needs work.  I need to sit and focus on it, so I have it uploaded & ready to go when I start job hunting in July.

6. I’m going to BlogHer!  I’m so freaking excited, and it was awesome of my Husband to encourage me to go.

7. I love how with having a kindle on my Ipad I can read a book and no one knows if its a great novel, or a trashy one.

8. After 3 months of Paleo, I am almost cured of my bread addiction.  Almost.

9. My little princess graduates from Kindergarten next week.  It seems like yesterday that I was at her brother’s kindergarten graduation with her as a brand new infant.

10. Sometimes the hardest thing about blogging is finding the time to actually blog.

11. Do you hate when you really want to write a post about something, but you see a bunch of posts already written on it that say the same thing you wanted to say, but only more awesomely?

How much do I love my husband?  This much!

 

 

Special Needs Ryan Gosling

Its actually been a pretty peaceful week so far.  My sweet husband has been away for work, and its just been me and my handsome son this week.  We had a nice dinner together at Outback, and we have just been enjoying the quiet and each other’s company and I have learned ALOT about Minecraft.

I also found Ned Hardy’s pictures of a Minecraft theme wedding.  My guy is totally against the idea of getting married right now, and girls are still icky (which I should probably enjoy), but he did warm up to the idea of a minecraft wedding, and now I just have to get Wegman’s to do a Minecraft themed cake for his birthday.

When I looked at this picture of Ryan, I thought he looked mildly befuddled, so what better than to have him mention something that befuddles many of us.  Honestly, I do not begrudge Miss Jenny for posing naked.   I would just rather than it being for whatever awareness that she is going for, that it go towards awareness about how much of an uphill battle it can be for those who love a spectrum child or adult.

I have been reading a lot of your blogs (and not commenting often which makes me the stuff at the bottom of J-Mac’s shoe) but many of the posts seem to deal with the frustrations of dealing with doctors, schools, and most especially the insurance company.

But enough rambling.  Here’s Ryan.

Book Review-The Dinner Diaries

The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread WorldThe Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World by Betsy Block

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really related to this book. Many of us start the food wars with our children while they are still in utero. We try to get every gram of nutrients reccomended by What to Expect When You Are Expecting, even though we really want the most awesome preggo dinner ever, which is a bucket of ribs, topped of by using nutter butters as a spoon for chocolate frosting from the can.

Then the baby arrives and we feel guilty if we don’t breastfeed, and defensive if we do, especially if your baby does not want to eat on the magical schedule of every 3 hours. I especially had this problem with my daughter who was (and still is a grazer).

We really dream about being able to be the smug mommy on the playground, who can give her child broccoli on the playground while the other children are having oreo’s and just be able to smile that smug mommy smile and talk about how you are so lucky that little Jimmy prefers fresh veggies and organic, free range salmon to anything sweet.

We read articles in parenting magazines about the wonderful children who eat anything. Barbacoa! Kimchee! Passion Fruit Smoothies! Kale.

Then you actually have the small children. Small children who only want pasta and chicken nuggets. Children who point to a box of Trix and try to argue that its healthy because its Fruit Flavored and you find yourself telling your daughter no actual fruits were harmed in the making of Trix. You buy fresh produce with every intention to lovingly prepare it, but you either forget that its in there or you get so discouraged from the constant negotiations about the amount of produce that actually has to be eaten, that you sigh and reach for the box of Mac-n-cheese.

Then you comfort yourself by telling yourself that no one really wants to be friends with the sumg mommies and try to think of what the diaper of a kid that eats kale and kimchee, and free range organic salmon must look like.

Betsey Block has also felt our pain. And she took the time to write a book about it. With good humor she takes us through a year of trying to get everyone to eat healthfully. From experiments with whole grain baking, to eating organic to really getting to know her meat, she takes you through the journey, never taking herself too seriously and giving you some good ideas about how to do a family food makeover yourself.

I would really love a follow up book to see if she and her family have kept up the healthy eating, or have moved back to their previous habits.The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World

View all my reviews

Paleo Without Pity-End of Paleo Challenge

On Monday, March 5th my husband and I began our Crossfit Box’s Paleo Challenge.  This weekend we finished it.  We both lost about a dozen pounds, and are seeing the difference in how our clothes fit.  At the beginning of the challenge I was doing crossfit twice a week, and am now up to three times, and I would go more often if my schedule permitted.

I have to admit, that I did have a hard time with the challenge, because I was a HARDCORE carb junkie prior to starting the challenge.

After doing the Paleo Challenge, I can now emphasize with people who have problems giving things up because I am a bread addict.

I can give up booze with barely a thought. I found I do not miss pasta.  I miss the ease of making pasta, and the joy of making a meal that I know everyone loves and will eat, but I do not crave pasta.

I also thought I would miss dairy, since I love cheese. However, I found that as I stopped eating cold cereal, cookies, baked goods, french toast, waffles and pancakes, that I don’t miss dairy.  I missed the foods that went with the dairy.

I don’t even miss the baked goods too much, because I recognize that one cookie is too much and a dozen cookies are not enough, especially if they are my chocolate chip m&m oatmeal cookies, warm from the oven. (Ok-I miss baked goods a little)

And I don’t even miss bagels, chips, or crackers.

But real bread is hard.  Some sourdough baguette, a nice semolina loaf, warm pita, or a slice of pizza and I am drooling.

But I also must admit that I feel like shit after eating pizza, so I think if I can remember the pain prior to dialing I will be ok, but bread is still tough.

The other big challenge are trying to get the kids to come Paleo too.  I find that I am frequently cooking more than one meal, or several sides so we can have a dinner in peace.  I also find that there is a bit more involved cooking (and cleaning)  with this diet, since the quick pasta dinner is off the table.

 What I Learned:
  •  A whole new way of cooking, and have enjoyed searching the internet for new recipes and look for ways to adapt what I do cook.
  • I discovered new vegetables I might never have tried, like sunchokes and parsnips.
  • Artichokes in the crock pot are made of awesome.
  • The many joys of bacon
  • If I am serving turkey breast for dinner that I need to serve some sweet potato with it, or the whole family is hungry an hour later, and susceptible to bad food choices.
  • After I have served my kids a Paleo meal and they eat it, to NOT point out that its a Paleo meal, because then they won’t eat it again, because they are trying to kill me.

I will keep up with the eating plan, and continue to make my sweet husband his daily cooler since it keep him on track.

The only changes I will make is to incorporate some greek yogurt into my diet and the occasional bowl of oatmeal, since I really love plain oatmeal with fruit.   I am also thinking of doing a 30 day Paleo challenge, as I felt the grind of an 82 day challenge was a bit much, and I did cheat several times.  I think on average I was 75-80% Paleo each day, and I am going to shoot for 85-90% going forward.

So thanks to Glen, Linda and John at Crossfit Synergistics for showing us a new way to eat.

If  you look on the blog, there are several yummy Paleo recipes.  As I discover new recipes they will be up right here.