Fast & Filling Back to School Breakfast Ideas

Try these easy and healthy ideas to get your kids out the door and fueled up for school.  I tested several fast and filling recipes out on my two teenagers and they worked well and I received a thumbs up! bkfast segHere is my recent morning show segment with these breakfast ideas, so give these a try….

Untitled from Rachel Harris on Vimeo.

Important Steps To Take To Protect Kids From Online Dangers

If you read yesterday’s guest article about understanding the dangers of technology when it comes to our kids in today’s social media and multiple device obsessed world, then you will want to be sure to read today’s post about what steps we can take as parents to reduce the dangers.

Our guest writer, licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Lisa Strohman outlines the crucial steps we can take as parents to protect our children from the online world where the potential bad guys (and bad gals) can lurk.  It is a scary thought and a real danger that is something that we can’t ignore.

So take a look and ask yourself if you are taking these steps.  I know that I can do better on some of these suggestions.  One thing I would add since I have a 17-year-old and a 13-year-old is to accept that your kids may get mad at you when you ask questions and/or place limits on their technology and device time.  Teens and techToo bad because your action could be a life saving action.  Parenting is not easy, especially in today’s fast paced online world.

Dr. Strohman says:

Lisa & book

Protecting Our Children From Online Dangers

In yesterday’s piece, I outlined two very serious dangers our children are vulnerable to when they have access to the Internet without obstruction – pornography, and the risk of connecting with sex offenders.  On a daily basis, interacting with their peers, they are also more vulnerable to cyberbullying and gaming addictions.

Fortunately, recognizing the dangers is the first step and by taking action parents can minimize the risks. So, how do we protect our children?

  1. Assess the situation

The first thing every parent should do is sit down and have an honest conversation with their child about what the Internet is and its hidden dangers.  Then, assess the level of dependence your child or children may already have on technology. bigstock-Boy-Playing-Game-Console-8012650 (1)The Technology Wellness Center has developed the the TUC©, which is a tool designed for parents to assess their children’s level of risk in the areas of physical, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal health.

  1. Monitor usage

Monitoring your child’s online activities is critical during developmental years. You can download every message they send, check their contacts in their phone, connect with them on social media or utilize a program that alerts parents of the use of various key words. How you monitor and the rules you set is a parenting decision and one that will vary by age. What’s important to understand is that allowing young kids unrestricted access to the Internet is similar to dropping them off at a mall without supervision knowing there could be sociopaths and sex offenders present.

  1. Establish rules

Implementing rules and guidelines on what kids can and can’t do on their devices, when they can use them and why is the last step in protecting your kids online.  Most children are very receptive to mandatory rules that are consistently enforced. No child (that I have met) wants to take out the trash and empty the dishwasher, but they do it when it is an expected part of the daily house rules and it is enforced. Internet rules are no different. If you can talk to your children about what the rules are, why they are in place and how you will be enforcing them, then you will be laying the foundation for protecting your kids from online predators and other technology related threats.

Every family needs to determine what will work for them. The important factor in making it work is maintaining consistency and open, ongoing communication (preferably face-to-face).

Thank you Dr. Strohman for these very helpful tips.  You can meet Dr. Strohman and attend a very beneficial FREE event on August 19th in Scottsdale.  This free parenting seminar for the new school year is called the “Do’s, Don’ts and Dangers of Social Media” and I recommend this for parents.  Plus she will have a book signing immediately following the seminar.  You can get details about that here.  If you would like to attend or get more information, email Dr. Strohman at or call (480)220-4702.

And be sure to check out her helpful book for parents called Unplug Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World that I highly recommend. Book cover (1)

Thank you to Dr. Strohman for being a valuable resource for parents. I do believe it takes a village and most especially in today’s technology plus 24/7 social media world.  It is a lot for us to naviagate, much less our impressionable kids and teens!

AZ Local: A Parenting Seminar To Know About Technology & Kids

It seems like everyday I hear about a new form of social media.  No longer just Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  There is also Snapchat,, Vine and more.  And it is all readily available on smart phones, tablets and laptops with one click of the mouse.  Teens and techIt is truly hard to keep up with and definitely a bit unnerving, so when licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Lisa Strohman offers to write a guest post for this blog, I always say yes.  And good news, Dr. Strohman has a very useful book out for parents called Unplug Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World that I highly recommend.  Book cover (1)She also has a good event to know about on August 19th in Scottsdale that is a FREE parenting seminar for the new school year.  Called the “Do’s, Don’ts and Dangers of Social Media” I recommend this for parents plus she will have a book signing immediately following the seminar.  You can get details about that here.  If you would like to attend or get more information, email Dr. Strohman at or call (480)220-4702.

Be sure to read on because her guest post today outlines some dangers about technology that you may not have considered and I do believe that knowledge is power when it comes to our kids and their technology. Ignorance is not bliss with this very important subject, so take a look…

Dr. Strohman says:

Lisa & book




Understanding the Dangers of Technology

For parents there is nothing more worrisome than something that threatens the wellbeing of our children. Unfortunately, I’ve found that many parents aren’t taking into account the threat that stems from technology.

Parents no longer have the luxury of assuming that when their children are at school or at home they are free from danger. When I speak to parents about the risk of sexual predators, cyber bullying, pornography or gaming addiction, many are dismissive and don’t believe it could affect their children. In the last 10 years working as a psychologist, I’ve learned that it happens all the time. Not only does it happen, it happens to families that have sweet, smart, kind kids with great, loving, involved parents. The Internet allows children to go into corners of the world that are unregulated and unsupervised.

Six is the average age for a child receiving their first phone, and nearly all phones are now equipped with Internet access and data plans that rarely come with usage restrictions. What parents need to understand is children have little to no impulse control. The combination of naiveté and age can create a recipe for disaster.

According to the latest statistics from the Pew Research Center, nearly 92 percent of teens go online daily and 24 percent admit they are constantly connected. earphones-friends-hand-With such easy access to the Internet, it is impossible for parents to monitor all of their child’s online activity.[1]

After talking to countless teens and counseling families, I see technology as the new gateway drug. While this may seem a bit dramatic, to help explain I am sharing two very serious dangers our children are now more susceptible to as a result of our increasing dependency on technology.

Sex Offenders

Sex offenders prey on children by tapping into their insecurities and finding a way to instill a trust. Fortunately and unfortunately, the Internet is a convenient tool for accessing personal information. For the most part, parents are willing participants: posting birthdates, sporting associations, school functions and pictures that have traceable meta tags online for all to see. What many parents don’t realize is sex offenders use these tools to learn what they need to feel liked and important. They use the information to get closer to children through flattery, interest, and sympathy – the very things insecure adolescents crave.


Most parents are shocked when I tell them that research indicates nearly 53 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls younger than 15 have viewed pornography online.[2]  When you look at the statistics for children up to the age of 18, studies report nine out of 10, or 87 percent, of boys and one out of three girls, 31 percent, admit to accessing porn online.[3]  The porn industry is a $97 billion industry worldwide and many of these sites are enlisting children as their newest clients. More alarming, one of the most lucrative aspects of pornography involves children and many children are unaware that they’re entering the pornography industry when they participate in the creation of sexually explicit videos. Once these videos or other graphic material are online there is very little that can be done to remove it.

Knowing and understanding the dangers that potentially face your child online is the first step to preventing these negative interactions from happening.  Tomorrow we will share part 2 of my article for this blog.  I will share with you some important tips on how to directly combat misuses of technology. Crucial stuff for parents to know in this day and age.



[2] Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. 2009, Communications Research, 36(1), 129-151, X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media.


[3] Carroll, Jason S., et al. “Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use Among Emerging Adults.  Journal of Adolescent Research 23.1 (2008) 6-30. (Study examined population of emerging adults, aged 18-26)


UT Austin: Our Son’s Favorite College Tour So Far!

When my son commented that The University of Texas at Austin is his favorite college tour to date, my husband did a little Longhorn cheer.  You see if our son chooses UT, then he will be the 4th generation Longhorn in our family.  In fact, his Great Granddad, Grandfather and Daddy also did their graduate studies, as well as their undergraduate curriculum, at The University of Texas at Austin so the blood is orange…and I happened to graduate from UT as well! admissionsSo I also smiled from ear to ear with a happy and proud grin as we made our way across campus.  And two hours later as we stood in front of the historic and lovely UT tower I made sure to get a picture because taking our kids to tour our beloved college is one memory that my husband and I both will cherish. pretty tower pic

I can't take credit for this stunning picture of UT.  Got it from the UT website and it was taken by Dave Mead.  Love this!

I can’t take credit for this stunning picture of UT. Got it from the UT website and it was taken by Dave Mead. Love this!

tower and us

But let me take you back to the beginning of the tour and show you some highlights for fun and to learn more about UT Austin, especially if you or your kids are thinking about going orange.  I continue to be very proud that my degree is from UT and I have had several past employers (both my dream jobs as a Marketing Manager for Southwest Airlines and then as a producer, writer and weekly on air contributor at KTVK Channel 3) tell me that they were indeed impressed that my degree was from The University of Texas.

So long ago now that I earned mine.  So exciting that college will be our son's next chapter.

So long ago now that I earned mine. So exciting that college will be our son’s next chapter.

And now back to the tour.  I digress again because it really does take my breath away at times just how quickly our son grew up.  So bittersweet!  So on we went to UT to take the guided tour.  We started in a big classroom with a lot of potential UT students and these kids came from all over the country and some even from other countries!  The guide let us know that this is one competitive school to get into and that prospective students need to dot their i’s and cross their t’s when applying, but to also be creative, punctual and have some fun when writing their college app essay.  After all, we are talking about the city of Austin and their tourist tees say it best, that is for sure!  Austin teeAustin really is a cool town to call home with a great music scene, artsy shops, amazing food with spicy and downhome comfort offerings plus pretty Town Lake that runs through the heart of the city.  The waterway stays busy with serious runners, relaxed families strolling along, paddle boaters and more. I love this picture of my daughter that was taken during our stay because it shows off that lake perfectly…Lexi in AustinOk back to the tour!  I keep going off topic because Austin is truly a cool town to tell you about.  If you haven’t been there, put it on your list!  So after the big formal discussion, we ventured out with our two tour guides, whose names escape me (darn my late 40s not-so-sharp memory), but they were both terrific.

So cool watching our two teenagers take it all at our alma mater!

So cool watching our two teenagers take it all at our alma mater!

They were well paired because one lives on campus and one does not.  One traveled overseas to study on a UT college travel plan and one stays in town in the summer to work, so our kids got two different perspectives about the guides’ college experience so far.  Both students are now starting their senior year at UT. One thing they had in common is how much they love love love going to UT Austin and their pride and enthusiasm was fun to see as we took the tour. tour guidesThe campus is pretty big and can be overwhelming, that is for sure.  campus mapHowever our guides did a good job of explaining how UT works hard to give students small classroom curriculum as they head into their major courses.  And you can’t deny how beautiful this campus truly is as you can see in some of the pictures I snapped along the way…pretty campus shotarch bldgcampus

I didn't remember this pretty little creek on campus from my UT days.  Love it.

I didn’t remember this pretty little creek on campus from my UT days. Love it.

pretty stat pic

And boy did our two kiddos take it all in.  Our son has a big decision to make!

And boy did our two kiddos take it all in. Our son has a big decision to make!

On the tour we learned that 51,000 students and over 3,000 faculty make up UT.  That is big and so is the university’s academic records.  The UT website says that the University of Texas at Austin is one of the top 20 public universities according to U.S. News & World Report, with the No. 1 accounting and Latin American history graduate programs in the country, plus more than 15 undergraduate programs and 40 graduate programs ranked in the top 10 nationally.  Lots of big names are Longhorns with graduates that include Michael Dell, Walter Cronkite, Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Marcia Gay Harden, journalist Bill Moyers and many others.

I am tickled pink to tell you that our son wants to earn his degree in Journalism, following in my footsteps, especially if he attends UT!  He has wanted to study Sports Journalism since he was a toddler, truly.  Imagining him studying in the same building that houses the UT Moody College of Communication where I attended my classes is a pretty cool visual in my mind.

But time will tell where he chooses.  He was very impressed with the tour, especially the historic and massive football stadium known as the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field. Seeing it on the tour was super fun for our boy and his orange blooded big time UT Longhorn Daddy! stadiumAnd although this shot wasn’t taken in this same stadium, it shows our son’s shared Longhorn love that he has with his Dad since they fly out to the Cotton Bowl every year…

From years past...two different pics taken before he got taller than his Dad!

From years past…two different pics taken before he got taller than his Dad!

So the love they share for the Longhorns is definitely another reason why our son is considering making Austin his future home.  As we made our way through the tour, the guides told us about some cool traditions the University has held steady through the years like beloved mascot, Bevo the Longhorn steer and the Hook Em’ Horms hand signal.  I can’t tell you how many strangers will approach us and say hello with a Hook Em’ sign when they see any of us wearing the famed orange attire…and this is all over the country!  In fact, we always shop at the super cool University Co-Op every time we visit Austin.  And in this picture you can see the street that runs in between campus and the Co-Op called the Drag, otherwise known as Guadalupe Street.  Co opWe also made our way over to hub’s alma mater college of Liberal Arts and it was surprising and kind of comforting to see that the building hadn’t changed all that much.  I like that UT has a lot of renovated and new stuff, but also keeps a lot of the campus true to its roots. liberal arts schoolon a breakThe guides were excited to show us the very impressive resort-like UT pool and athletic club…UT poolfitness clubAnd little sister liked the big rock wall, which didn’t exist when we attended UT, let me tell you! rock wallThen we made our way to Jester Dorm to see what a dorm looks like and it was large and impressive!Jester City Marketjester coffee shopdorm wendy's

The rooms are a lot smaller than the common areas, but about what you would expect for a dorm room and nice enough….checking out dorm roomdorm deskdorm sink

Overall we got a pretty good and comprehensive tour, which is appreciated since this is not only a big campus, but also a big decision.  We also get to sit in a classroom and were reminded about how some of the classes will be large…but the guides emphasized the smaller class sizes as the students move into their major courses in the last two years of college.  And that is what I also remember, which is a good thing! classroomSo now is up to our boy and he has a few months left to decide.  We have two final college campus tours to officially visit, the University of Arizona and Northwestern in Chicago.  ASU is also one he is considering. Until then we will fondly remember this amazing day taking our first born to our alma mater.  What a cool experience for sure and I am thankful! pretty tower pic

Back To School Lunch Box Ideas & Foods For All Ages

Manic:  Back to school season.  The lazy carefree days of summer have come to a halt for the kids and they need good solid fuel at lunchtime to help them get refocused and back into it now and all year long.

Managed:  Did some brainstorming and reflected back on the years, since I now have a high school senior and an 8th grader.  Here are some cool lunchboxes that are fun and functional to know about and some food ideas to fill that lunch bag up with that both the kids and the parents can agree on.  Take a look…

Part 2 of segment….and don’t use the pointy toothpicks I showed…buy the cake pop sticks that don’t have pointy ends just to be extra safe!

And to see my entire column, check it on the KTVK “Your Life A to Z” show hotline page that you can find here.

Our Fun Family Experience At Flagstaff Venue To See Joe Nichols!

One great thing about living in Phoenix is that beautiful Flagstaff is just a few hours away.  So last week we took a trip to escape the heat and to check out a cool venue called the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park.  Hubs and I packed up our two teenagers, along with our son’s sweet girlfriend, and off we went up North to enjoy Flagstaff and a terrific concert with the super talented country star Joe Nichols! The weather was perfect and my hubs snapped this nice photo of me and the teens in front of the Pepsi Amphitheater. us at Joe Nichols concertLucky for us, one of our family’s favorite country singers, Joe Nichols was performing a concert under the stars at this awesome outdoor venue.  Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park is so pretty and the website says that the Amphitheater is located amidst the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine Forest in the world.  It was a very nice spot to enjoy an awesome outdoor concert!  We arrived early to check the place out and you can see that the seating area was empty in this picture below, but it filled up pretty quick for sure.early onAnd the grassy area behind the seats is a gorgeous spot to take in a concert.  That area also was packed by concert time.  I took this picture early on and the pretty trees in the background are so lovely.grass areaWe ordered food from the snack bar which sold burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos and more. My teens told me to be sure to tell you that the food was good because it was grilled right there on the spot so it was fresh and hot.

This is the walkway to the snack area. We loved how casual and comfy the place was instead of an overcrowded and overwhelming arena, this had a nice relaxing atmosphere.

This is the walkway to the snack area. We loved how casual and comfy the place was and instead of an overcrowded and overwhelming arena, this had a nice relaxing atmosphere.

This cool place also has multiple areas to purchase cocktails and beer and wine, which hubs and I enjoyed. Here we are earlier that evening.  Dressed and ready to go!  [Read more…]

Yeah, It’s True What They Say…Don’t Blink!

I did and look what happened….from the first day of Kindergarten 12 years ago to the picture below1st day senior….this one….the one that happened when I blinked.  Today is my son’s last first day as in his first day of Senior year in high school.

I know that he will have a first day of college, but it won’t be the same. He won’t be here, slightly annoyed that I keep asking him for a first day picture.  He won’t have to kindly obilge and grant me a smile to get it over with which is OK with me.  At least I get that first day picture year after year.  He finally posed for this one after his sweet girlfriend and I begged him to cooperate. And I think he ended up having fun and having his mushy mama hug him wasn’t so bad after all!

To my first born, my beautiful son, I wish you an amazing and incredible last year in high school.  Senior year is so much fun.  You get to rule the school and leave early since your half day schedule is the reward you reap from working ahead the last three years in AP classes and college dual enrollment, too.  Nice going.

Keep it up this year even though your schedule will be easier.  You get to spend some of your freed up afternoons focusing on your golf game and ice time with your participation on the Varsity teams again. Also please put time in those scholarship apps and your college applications and put to use the very impressive scores that you earned on the ACT and SAT (so proud)!

And remember to stay the amazing young man that you are….a loving son who is a pretty good teen most of the time (stressing most as you know the moments that you put us to the test!)….a good student who teachers like….a fair teammate who is truly a team player….a good friend, which certainly shows with the nice friends that you have been buddies with since Kindergarten and even some since the toddler years…connor gradContinue to be a gentleman and a nice boyfriend. You have so impressed us with how you have handled your first love and your sweetheart is such a nice young lady.  Jack kisses Hannah prom

Enjoy, embrace and hang out with your ol’ parents some (and thank you for the time you do give us as you truly do make time for us more than we expected!)…and remember to take it all in.

You only get your high school senior year once, so make it count and savor this year, Mr. Class of 2016.

We will be cheering you on, gently (usually gently anyway) guiding you when needed as you prepare to leave the nest next year.  We are always there for you, no matter what.  Even when that giggling little boy in the first picture turns into a grown man, maybe living thousands of miles away from us….we are always with you in your heart and hopefully, when needed, in your mind, when you have big decisions to make.  Maybe our words of wisdom AND our own adult missteps through the years will help you find your way when life gives you lemons and lemonade.  Both the joys and concerns require good decisions to move forward and to grow and thrive.

We get one more year with you under our roof to help with that growing and thriving.  And I’m not gonna blink!

We are always here for you, our son.

You have made us SO proud in Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, middle school, that first day of high school and now your senior year has arrived.  You are also a good family member in our family of four.  Our fam Xmas 2014Wow….we blinked and it got here fast.  I’m going to keep my eyes wide open as you venture through your senior year and make your way to the podium wearing that prized cap and gown.

You keep your eyes wide open too, son.  Be careful, be mindful, continue to be kind….and don’t blink cuz the graduating class of 2016 will happen so fast now.

Happy last first day, my love.

P.S. Don’t forget that your little sister is embracing her last year of middle school and is watching her big bro, so keep setting a good example…I beg of you….cuz after you fly off, high school starts all over again for your tired, but happy and pretty darn excited parents! lil sis kiss

That picture above of my two kiddos is also a picture of my heart.


AZ Local: My Kids Prove It-Magical Journey Learning Center is Magical

How magical is this?  All these years later my 6’1 almost 18-year-old son with the man voice and my super busy 13-year-old girl, with a mountain of gal pals and a schedule that doesn’t stop, both jumped at the chance to go back to Kindergarten to help their beloved very first elementary school teacher.  Correct me if I’m wrong but most teenagers aren’t interested in even thinking back to the time when they were five years old, much less taking time to work at a little kids’ school new location grand opening.  2015 my kids with WillisBut my two were thrilled to do it.  So they helped their beloved teacher from so many years ago get the word out at her school’s new location grand opening.  This magical private school for PreK through 1st grade is fittingly called Magical Journey Learning Center (MJLC).

My teens said yes to helping Mrs. Willis because she is the magical Kindergarten teacher that taught and loves both of my kids.  Michelle Willis left an imprint on their hearts and she nurtured a love for learning that has taken my two quite far today.

Years ago kids and their first day of Kindergarten with the awesome Mrs. Willis.  Time flies and they still adore her.

Years ago now….my kids on their first day of Kindergarten with the awesome Mrs. Willis. Time flies and they still adore her.

Yes I do give her a lot of credit!  And sometimes she worked with hubs and me to use tough love on those rambunctious 5-year-olds when their acting out got the better of them.  She called that “nip it in the bud” moments and we worked together with her to do just that.  It worked as the remaining school years have gone smoothly with hardly any acting out in class in the years that followed.  Good stuff, let me tell you!

I love the meaningful signs that adorn the classrooms at MJLC.  These clever phrases are words that the kids will remember well into adulthood.

I love the meaningful signs that adorn the classrooms at MJLC. These clever phrases are words that the kids will remember well into adulthood.

school shots

My son just scored a 32 on the ACT (98% in the country) and my girl just received her 8th grade schedule and advanced Language Arts and Math are both listed.

So the proof is in the pudding.  They are both thriving and that super important Kindergarten year set the foundation for their future….and so far….continued success.  Yes!

Michelle Willis is one of the founders of Magical Journey Learning Center and the curriculum is both inspiring and fun.  Your kids will be in a small ratio student to teacher class with certified teachers, two of whom are National Board Certified.  MJLC also boasts a Lend a Hand program which teaches community service. The school’s belief is that it is important to teach to the whole child and provide balance so the teachers focus on social, emotional and academics.  My kids are proof that they received all three under the guidance and TLC of Mrs. Willis so many years ago.  Those lessons have stayed with them and now that they are teenagers, can I just tell you how much I appreciate that!  And then some! school roomI will bet you money that when your little one is a high school senior, like my son is now, Mrs. Willis will still be that favorite teacher.

So on that hot summer day a few weeks ago, they went to work their shifts for that favorite teacher they both shared four years apart.  For their time, Mrs. Willis very nicely paid them, but the money isn’t the main reason that they happily accepted her invitation.  It is because, they both told me, it was Mrs. Willis who was asking.

For Mrs. Willis my son would risk his friends driving by teasing him as he danced around with brightly colored balloons and waved a big sign with large letters announcing the school’s grand opening. Jack holding sign

For that favorite teacher that he had so many years earlier, he would stand in the searing hot Phoenix sun…in July mind you…with a big smile and an energetic wave inviting prospective students and their families to come on in to see the new school location.

He knows that those little guys and gals will remember that special teacher like he does now, so many years later, when they are practically all grown up.

My teen girl happily did face painting and actually practiced the evening before on fake mannequin heads that we got at the craft store.  It was important to her the she do a good job for Mrs. Willis and get kids excited to enroll there.  Lexi face paintingShe knows that these kids will experience a magical and high quality education that will take them far.

Two busy teens put their phones away and cleared their morning with an excited smile to work to help a teacher from many years ago….kind of magical, I’d say.

Both of my kids learned math, language arts and more in creative ways.  My daughter still rememebers how Mrs. Willis set up a pretend post office where real letters were mailed.  That was a magical way to learn how to write and read.  I can see by the cool signs that adorn the school walls that the learning continues to be creative and fun. signs

Yep that is magical and planned all in one and that is the kind of future investment MJLC will offer your children with the top notch teachers that include our own Mrs. Willis.

Just check out the Magical Journey website to see the magical things they do in the classroom that will last well past preK, Kindergarten and 1st grade.

inspireHard to believe that we have now experienced almost all of the following grades with just senior year left to dive into next week.  And I know that some of those life lessons learned in Kindergarten will help guide my son as he transitions from high school to college.

Give your kids the best start possible because you don’t get a do over and you won’t believe just how fast senior year gets here.  How he went from a little Kindergartner to this young man posing for his cap and gown picture….how fast that time went by….that really does feel like a magic trick, let me tell you!!then and now





Back To School Bargains!

Manic:  It is back to school here already!  My kids start back on August 3rd!  Time for back to school supply shopping and that can be timely and costly!

Managed:  Did the legwork for my blog readers and found some great deals including some supplies that only cost 1 cent!  Yes, you read that right…only one penny.  So read on to see the deals and to see what some of our favorite time tested picks are plus a cool school supply for parents that I wish I would have had on hand years ago.

Parenting 101: Broken Bones Aren’t Always Obvious!


Manic:  My daughter breaking her arm, which was not supposed to be a part of her summer break plus the fact that this particular injury didn’t present at all as a Mom would expect, which just about threw me off! Cast

Managed:  Listened to that inner voice I call the Mom gut voice and decided to get a 4th (yes I said FOURTH) opinion to answer the puzzling question of is it broke or not?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it they say….but if it is…well I need to know that without question so we can fix it.  Why was this so confusing and what happened? The good news is that the story is short.  The bad news is that she did indeed break her elbow. And this is news that you should read about so if this puzzling type of injury happens to your kid or to you, you may remember our little story and get a 1st, 2nd, 3rd…and finally 4th opinion!

Surprise #1 – The injury didn’t hurt that bad. 

Three days ago it was my teen daughter versus the trampoline on her 4th front flip.  The trampoline trampled her arm when she landed squarely on her elbow and not on her feet.  Here is another big surprise….

Surprise #2 – I didn’t even know about it until hours later.  

She was at a fun cheer camp so I didn’t know about this crash landing until several hours later since I wasn’t there during the fall.  So she casually mentions the crash landing to me, and as we parents do, I proceeded to look at her arm and quiz her on pain level, movement and motion.

Surprise #3 – No swelling or bruising to be seen. [Read more…]