Moms With A Mission

August 30, 2011

 

 

Reduction of Household Environmental Toxins

Week #2:  Buy certified organic baby food (Plum Organics and Happy Baby are great flash frozen organic brands).


Moms With A Mission

August 23, 2011

Reduction of Household Environmental Toxins

Week #1:  Detoxify your home by using environmentally-friendly products and eating organic foods whenever possible.


10 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Kindergarten

August 19, 2011

Start a lifetime of learning with a kindergarten kickoff to remember.

This truly momentous occasion can invite a whole flood of emotions. Special activities before and after the first day will give your child memorable moments and a positive outlook. These activities will help her understand kindergarten as a rewarding new phase of life, rather than a scary separation:

  1. Make a “Me Mural” to strengthen your child’s sense of self. On an oversized piece of paper, create a collage of his strengths, interests, favorite things, friends, family, home, or pets.
  2. Offer Ownership. As you are shopping for school supplies, let your child pick out the colors and styles she wants and customize them at home with craft materials.
  3. Create a Launch Pad.  Find a corner in your house for your child’s shoes, backpack, and lunch bag. Laminate a favorite drawing, and place it on the floor for a fun and reassuring jumping-off point.
  4. Do a Dress Rehearsal. The first day doesn’t have to be a big surprise. Pretend you’re the new teacher by introducing yourself, going over the weather, reading a story, and making art projects.
  5. Build Confidence With Books. Read stories about schoolor other new adventures. Referring to a favorite character’sbravery may help your child pinpoint anxieties and summon his own courage in an unfamiliar situation.
  6. Envision the Future With a Customized Calendar. Whether your school district mails out academic calendars or you buy your own, personalize it by adding holidays, birthdays, and other events.
  7. Play the Name Game. Names will be an important lesson on the first day of school. Write a poem or make a picture illustrating with your child’s name. Names are important social devices, and the more comfortable your child is giving out his name, the better he can use it to meet other children.
  8. Make an “About Me” Booklet. Let your child’s teacher know who she is and why she is excited about school. Crafting the booklet will let your child envision her new teacher in a friendly light and make her more at ease when they meet.
  9. Draw a Home-to-School Map. Create a poster of the route to school, complete with photos and illustrations of landmarks. If there are stores or parks along the way, visit them. This deepens your child’s understanding of the connection between home and school.
  10. Keep Confidence High With Photo Mementos. Take pictures of your kindergarten kickoff activities. Or stage a fashion shoot with your child’s favorite clothes, friends, school supplies, artwork, and toys to help him remember, in the near and far future, who he is, where he comes from, and the support he has at home.

Luna Moms Club, The Happening Place To Be

August 17, 2011

Make sure to RSVP on Meetup.com

Pack a Picnic- Thursday the 17th

Story Time – Monday the 22nd

MNO Pilates – Wednesday the 24th

Field Trip – Friday the 24th

Lunch at MoMaks – Monday the 30th


Enjoy Tax-Free Shopping August 19-21, 2011

August 17, 2011

Enjoy Tax-Free Shopping August 19-21, 2011Save money on your Back-to-School shopping during Tax-Free weekend.

Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes on August 19-21, 2011 – the state’s annual sales tax holiday. Lay-away plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

The law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

Tax-Free Items

Tax free items include everything from baby clothes and diapers to dresses and t-shirts. Undergarments, swimsuits, jeans, pants, skirts and slacks are tax-free items. So are sneakers, sandals and socks. And in case the heat wave of 2010 breaks, sweaters and sweatshirts are not taxed either.

Taxed

Taxable items tend to be the more specialized, less necessary items of clothing such as jewelry, hair accessories, purses, football pants and golf gloves. Regular shoes (sandals, slippers, sneakers) are exempt, but cleated shoes, fishing boots and ballet slippers are not. A more complete list of exempt and non-exempt items can be found on the state of Texas website.

School Supplies

The Texas Legislature passed HB 1801 (2009) expanding the list of items qualifying for exemption from Texas state and local sales and use taxes during the annual sales tax holiday in August. In addition to clothes, footwear and some backpacks, this year Texas families also get a sales tax break on most school supplies (priced at less than $100) purchased for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school. Items like pencils, pens, folders, calculators, crayons and glue are tax free. Backpacks under $100 and used by elementary and secondary students are also exempt.

A complete list of tax-free items is available.


Back to School Tips From Pre-K to Kinder

August 15, 2011

Preparing Your Kindergartner for School

With a little planning, you can make the first day as easy as A, B, C.

Public, Private and Charter Schools

© Blend Images/SuperStock

By Marian Wilde, GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands, and prepare your kindergartner for school. Here are some tips for making the transition easier.

Adjust to the new routine
Ease into the school-year schedule. Getting into a school routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. To make adjusting to the new routine easier, start early.

– A few weeks before school starts, move bedtime back to an earlier time.
– Put a positive spin on going to school. Talk about the fun things your child will be learning, the friends he’ll make.
– If your child is anxious about starting school, reassure her that other children have these feelings, too.
– Don’t make plans for big trips right before the start of school.
– Establish school-day schedules for homework, TV, baths and bedtime.
– Arrange playdates with children who are going to the same school to make connections, or to create new ones.

Books help ease the transition
Reading books together about the first days of school is a good way to start conversations about the excitement and fears. To get you started, here are some suggestions for your kindergartner:

– Berenstain, Stan and Jan. The Berenstain Bears Go to School. Random House, 1978
– Katie Davis. Kindergarten Rocks! Harcourt Children’s Books, 2005
– Bridwell, Norman. Clifford’s First School Day. Scholastic,1999
– Nancy Carlson. Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come. Harcourt Children’s Books, 2002
– Audrey Penn. The Kissing Hand. Child & Family Press, 1993
– Rey, Margret. Curious George Goes to School. Houghton Mifflin, 1989

Get organized
Take advantage of the slower pace during your time away from school to set up for the busy school year ahead.

– Many schools send out school information and a packet of forms to fill out before school starts. If you can discipline yourself to fill out the paperwork several days before it’s due, you’ll avoid a last-minute panic.
– Have the necessary immunization records available for easy reference.
– Prepare a school emergency contact and health information for the coming year.
– As you read through all the school information, mark important dates (such as back-to-school night, parent-teacher conference week and school holidays) on the family calendar.
– Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find them and refer to them if necessary.
– Establish a “Get Ready the Night Before” policy. Pick clothes for the next day and pack the backpack every evening before bedtime, and you’ll save precious time in the morning.

Shopping: Take advantage of the sales and stock up

School clothes
It’s always a great idea to buy what you know you’ll need early, if you can. Go through your child’s wardrobe and weed out everything she’s outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get her dressed quickly and easily.

Keep in mind school dress codes while shopping. Some schools prohibit short skirts and tank tops for girls and “sagging” (baggy trousers that hang low) for boys. Schools may also have rules regarding printed words or phrases on clothes.

School supplies
Although it’s difficult to predict what different teachers will require, you can get ahead of the game by buying certain staples. Here’s a general list of items that elementary school students usually need:

– Glue stick
– Pencils
– Scissors
– Washable markers
– Eraser
– Box of crayons
– Kleenex
– Pocket folders
– Drawing paper
– Construction paper
– School box (for storing supplies)
– Scotch tape
– Backpack

Nutrition: Start off the school year by planning healthy meals
Get creative with easy, healthy ideas for school day meals. If you plan and gather what you need on the weekends, you’ll make life a lot less stressful and meals more nutritious during the week.

Breakfast
Remember the most important meal of the day. Fruit smoothies make a quick and healthy addition to the usual fare. How about making a yogurt fruit parfait or a breakfast burrito?

Lunch
If you will be packing a lunch from home, be sure to have a sturdy lunch box or a supply of paper bags on hand. Here are some quick and creative ideas for making school lunches healthy and fun:

– Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches into interesting shapes.
– Sneak vegetables like lettuce, cucumber or zucchini slices into sandwiches.
– Buy baked chips and low-fat crackers or pretzels. Avoid items with trans fats in them, such as packaged cookies, snack cakes and regular chips.
– Choose 1 percent or fat-free milk or 100 percent fruit juices.
– Make fruit fun to eat by cutting it into slices and putting it on a skewer or include small containers of applesauce or pineapple packed in its own juice.
– Write a surprise message or draw a funny picture and put it in her lunch.

Dinner
Plan dinners for the week ahead and shop on the weekends to avoid last-minute trips to the grocery store.

Set priorities and schedules
To make the best use of your time and keep life from being harried, think about priorities for family members and then schedule them into the week.

For children
Before school begins, discuss what extracurricular activities your child will participate in. If your child needs a little extra encouragement to take piano lessons or to take swimming lessons, now is the time to go over the benefits of these activities. If, however, your child needs to have limits set, have her pick her favorite activities and forgo the rest. Be realistic and don’t fall victim to over-programming. Make sure to leave enough time to do homework and for family time.

For parents
Determine how much time you can give to the school each month as a volunteer and involved parent — in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events and on school-wide committees.

For the family
Start a family calendar in a common area where each family member can have their activities written down.

Arrange for transportation
Everyone will feel better if transportation to and from school is addressed well before the start of the school year, particularly if your child is taking the bus.

Taking the bus
Remember to get the new bus schedule! If your child will be taking a bus for the first time, discuss the bus route and bus safety rules with her.

Driving
If you will be driving your child, have a backup arrangement with another parent in case you are delayed for some reason. Confirm carpool arrangements in advance and make sure your child knows who will be picking him up before and after school. Become familiar with your school’s traffic safety rules and drop-off and pick-up procedures.

Confirm your after-school care arrangements
Most after-school care arrangements must be made months ahead, frequently in the winter or spring before your child starts school. As the school year approaches, however, it’s a good idea to confirm your plans. Make sure your child knows where he is going after school. Double-check on your care plans and communicate with the provider a few days before school starts.


Moms With a Mission

August 9, 2011

New mothers who resume exercise (and moms who breastfeed) lose more weight than those who do not exercise. Most exercising mothers are back to their pre-pregnancy weight by their baby’s first birthday.