Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ten Tips for Ensuring a Healthy, Safe and Successful School Year

Yep, it's that time!  School is right around the corner.  The stores have put school supplies on sale, school supply lists are at the front of said stores and, if your child needs booster shots, the school has already sent you a notice!  But, there is one thing that many parents don't think about until there's a note sent home from the teacher or school nurse...your child's eyes!  It is important to get your child's eyes checked every year, sometimes even twice a year.  Children do most of their learning for the first 12 years through their eyes, and if they can't see well, they aren't learning well. 

Now, because my son was a preemie, I know that he is susceptible to eye problems, and was on the lookout for Strabismus, or lazy eye when he was younger.  I noticed that he was having one eye turn in and IMMEDIATELY took him to the eye doctor, and yes, eye doctors can tell if your child needs glasses at such a young age.  We caught Monster's eye problem early enough, that with glasses it was corrected.  But can you imagine the frustration, and the learning delays if we hadn't caught it.  Here's a picture of little one shortly after he got his glasses:

You can see he was cross-eyed in this picture.  Since I caught it early enough, he no longer needs glasses! And I'm grateful. 

So, now that you know that children as young as six months can get glasses, what kind would you get?  Well, there's a type of lenses called Airware, and you can learn about them here.  And, luckily enough, they are having an essay contest right now!  You can write an essay on how you are going to provide a healthy, safe, and successful school year.  But, here's my tips:

  1. Of course, get your child's eyes examined. 
  2. Start each day with a good breakfast, a child won't pay attention to the teacher if they're hungry.
  3. Make sure you know your child's friends and parents.
  4. If you live close enough, walk your little one to school, or watch them walk to school, or to the bus stop.  What some people have even done is start a "walk to school" coop where one parent does it for one day a week.
  5. If your child rides a bike to school, please make sure they wear safety equipment!
  6. Make sure your little one gets plenty of sleep.
  7. Have a routine, it avoids being late and it's less stressful for you and your child/ren.
  8. Make sure homework is done, sit down with your child, or spend time with them while they're doing homework.
  9. Give your children some "ALONE" time, most often you're worrying about your child so much that you don't realize, they need time to themselves just like you do.
  10. Always encourage your child.  If they want to be a soldier one week and a doctor the next, there's NOTHING wrong with that.  It's the process of learning that they're exploring. 
These are just a few of the many, many tips that are out there.  Please, connect with other parents.  And, always pay attention to your child. 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Airwear blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, visit

Monday, July 19, 2010

AgChat Foundation Agvocacy Training Conference

 This week I got some fantastic news via email.

I had applied to the AgChat Foundation 2.0 Agvocacy Training Conference a couple weeks ago.  I didn't really think I would get accepted because:
1.) We are a very small farm.
2.) It was a day after the deadline to apply.
3.) I just didn't think I would qualify.

Well, not only did they accept my application, but I was accepted for the Training Conference.
So, now I have a problem.  I need to have the money for this conference by August 1, 2010.  Yep, that's two weeks for me to come up with approximately $1000 for registration, air fare, hotel, and child care for Monster while his dad is in school. 

So, this is what I'm asking.  I'm asking for donations to help a farmer get to Chicago for a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I'm not going to just sit here and wait for someone to sponsor me either.  Starting tomorrow (I had to wait for a business day) I'm going to all of the area stores and shops and asking for sponsorships.  In return for those sponsorships, I'm willing to provide these businesses with a social media campaign using the tool that I learn at this conference. 

How can you help, you ask.  Well, it's very easy.  I'm putting up a donate button on the side of this blog and you can just click there to donate.  I will account for every penny that is donated and I will report to you guys, my friends and readers, with what I have learned.

P.S. If you are willing to donate at least $100, I will run a social media campaign for you for a month.

Friday, July 9, 2010

How To Get Your Kids To Embrace Summer Reading

When I was growing up, the schools did not really suggest summer reading.  But, reading has never been a problem for me.  I LOVE to read!  So much so, that I used to beg my parents to take me to the library all the time.  Of course, I didn't really have supportive parents, and they never did.  Still, I found other ways to enjoy summer reading.  My parents had a set of encyclopedias, and I would inevitably get bored enough during the summer that I would start on any given letter and start flipping through the book and reading what interested me.  Needless to say, now I know a bunch of useless facts..hehehe

When I was pregnant with my first son, who will be sixteen next week, I promised myself that I would listen to him and read to him as often as I could.  I started young, and by the time he was five, I couldn't get away with reading less than four books to him every night.  This was good, because he learned to read at an early age, by following along.  Back then, we did not have the Internet, and blogs and groups like Twitter Moms to give us ideas, and to support us. 

So, how do you get your kids to embrace summer reading even when there's so many more other things to do, especially video games.  The biggest thing is to make a game out of it.  You can do it during the hottest part of the day, when all the kids want to do is sit around anyway. (And here in TEXAS, that happens every year!)  You can challenge your child to read so many pages in a certain amount of time and of course being kids, they love challenges...which is why video games are so important. 

There are many, many programs that encourage summer reading now.  Harper Collins has one that I especially like for beginning readers called "I Can Read".  It has five different levels for every reader, and I found out about this wonderful set through this post from Twitter Moms.  This post wanted us to share with you, our readers, tips on how to get your child to read during the summer.

Another thing, is to reward them for what reading they do.  Say every five or ten pages equals a dime or some other reward that they look forward to.  Then at the end of the week or month, you can plan a special day, where you can take them out to eat and go to the store to buy something with the money they earn from reading.  Yes, this may sound like bribery...but soon it will get to the point where the books are more interesting and the reward is secondary. 

Last of all, make sure you spend time with your child while reading.  To send them to their room to read may feel like a punishment, and we certainly don't want that.  You can make it you and them time, or especially cuddle time.  How many kiddos would turn down special time with their parents during the day?  But, you should make sure that it is something that the child wants...if they don't exactly want to spend time with because they are daddy's little one, then encourage daddy to have that special time. 

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

I just wanted to take a moment and say
"Happy Independence Day"

We didn't do much today, nope not at all.
Went to the store and got some ice cream for DH because he likes his ice cream every night.
Then was going to McDonald's to get some dinner, when the belt of my car broke.  Not all the way mind you, but enough that it was making a lot of noise.  Soooo, I called my roadside assistance and got the car towed home where I will call the shop in the morning. 

We stayed at home today mainly because DH was working on school work.  You see, with his brain injury, school is a lot harder, and he has to work twice as hard to pass.  I'm learning everyday, that this is our normal.  The DH that I knew 20 years ago doesn't exist, there's only today.  There's the limitations in our lives on just about everything. 

I learned in 2001, what it was like to be the mom of a special needs child, but there's no support groups here for husbands that get injured in Iraq.  I'm using some of the things I learned way back so long ago, with DH, but he get so frustrated because he knows he is having problems.

So, that was our day.  How was your day? 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day Weekend

So, it's Independence Day weekend.  The Fourth of July has special meaning for this family.  My DH is retired Army and has served in two wars, the Gulf War and Iraq.  And we don't take any freedoms for granted here.  There are certain days throughout the year that I know to leave DH alone because he is still battling his demons from the wars.  But then, there are days that I need to pay more attention to him, and it takes practice to walk that fine line and know the difference. 

Yesterday, even though he was really tired, he had to get up early because of the headache from the hydrocephalus.  Until they put another shunt in, the fluid builds up.  The only way to relieve the pressure is for him to sit up and let the fluid "drain".  So, poor DH had to wake up early to get rid of a headache.  Thank you Army and Iraq. 

So, what are we going to do this weekend.  Probably not much as it's rainy here in East Texas.  We practice safety here, so we're not even going to risk going to the lake.  We might bar-b-que!  Of course,  since this is Monster's "first" (we don't count last year because he was so little we didn't take him anywhere) Fourth of July, I am going to go get some fireworks.  Just a few to set off here in the yard, and since the ground is wet, we don't have to worry about dry grass.  I will probably craft this weekend and DH will most likely work on homework and extra credit for his classes.

Well, so now I've told you what I'm doing for the Fourth of July, what are your plans? Please leave a comment if you would like!