Here’s why we didn’t opt out of state testing (PSSAs)

here's why my kids take the tests -- why my kids don't opt out of the tests in Pennsylvania

After  years of posting about my frustration with required school testing, sharing articles on Facebook and viewpoints on Julieverse, I can certainly understand why people are questioning the fact that my third and fifth graders are taking the PSSAs this month. Opting out is certainly the thing to do. It's fashionable. It's on-trend. A nearby Pennsylvania school district, Lower Merion, is reporting 20 times an increase in students opting out. There are Facebook groups and pages of angry … [Read more...]

A Parent’s Pocket Guide to Caring for Sick Kids

3 key strategies for sick days- a parent's pocket guide at julieverse

That first cough, sneeze or complaint of a bellyache is enough to make any parent’s heart drop. Your intuition tells you that your little one is coming down with something, even though you try to remain positive and hope that’s not the case. It’s always tough to see your kids get sick, but it can be especially tough on working parents. Here are some tips on how to lovingly (and properly) meet your child’s needs while still holding everything else together.   Handle Health First No … [Read more...]

5 tips for visiting historic Philadelphia

visiting historic philadelphia

When visiting Historic Philadelphia, most visitors plan their trip around The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and then reach out on Facebook or through email, looking for must-see spots in Philadelphia. We take our kids to Philly a few times a year (we live in the suburbs) and I’ve lived here nearly all my life. I’m also an educator and was a 4th grade teacher (we study PA history in 4th grade.) I've seen many local suggest skipping the Betsy Ross house, but I have to argue. It’s a … [Read more...]

5 Classics to read with your kids

classic books to read with your kids

I love taking my kids to the bookstore or library. There are so many shiny new choices out there for kids to get excited about! But just as exciting as Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and Captain Underpants, are the books that made me fall in love with reading. Take the time to share some of your classic favorites with your kids and help them see what made you fall in love with reading. Classic Chapter Books to Read with Your Kids Stuart Little When I first introduced my kids to the adventures … [Read more...]

Groggy Mom?: Ways to Catch Up On Your Z’s

Feeling sleepy? Groggy? Agitated? Here are tips to help moms catch up on sleep. I hadn't thought of window coverings!

Sleep deprivation has a host of negative side effects, including memory loss, bone damage, and in severe cases, death, according to The Huffington Post. Yet, so many moms continue to risk it all to care for their growing families. Fortunately, there are ways for busy moms to ward off this negative condition and get the sleep their bodies need to properly function each day. Set the Mood Finally have some time to spare? Why not head to your bedroom and hit the sheets for a few hours of … [Read more...]

Sheesh. Stress much?! 5 steps to less stress

5 easy ways to reduce stress

I do. Well, I did. And, sometimes, I still stress. But in January I decided that this year would be my year of less-stress. That didn't mean I'd never stress (because I don't care how calm you are, there has to be something in your life that happens that throws you from time to time, right?), but I promised myself that I would actively work to feel less stressed and, perhaps more important, slow down on my reactions so that I would send off less stress to those around me. For the most part, … [Read more...]

5 ways to minimize bacteria in your kitchen

easy ways to minimize bacteria in your kitchen -- get started with your kitchen spring cleaning today, it'll take you just a few minutes

Bacteria disgusts me. The idea that little cells of microorganisms are mulitplying on surfaces around my home gives me the eebie-jeebies in ways you can't imagine. And while some bacteria can be healthy (I'm not one to suggest anti-bacterial soap 24/7 because our bodies need to be exposed to some to survive) I'm all about minimizing the ones that come close to my regular surroundings. Especially  the surroundings in my kitchen. Because bacteria is not a spice I plan to enter into my family's … [Read more...]

Learning with M&Ms: learning across the curriculum and beyond

learning with m&ms -- many opportunities for learning with little candies including spelling games, math games, exercise and social activities. Love the getting to know you game for the beginning of the school year or for new students

Several months ago, my son came home from swim team practice inspired for a new family activity: the M&M game. Last year, every Monday at practice was M&M Monday: each child gets an M&M and does whatever is assigned to that color on the M&M chart–it’s a fun way for the kids to run their drills. But even better, it offered opportunities for us to play a similar game doing everything from homework, to household chores, to indoor and outdoor activities, to extended … [Read more...]

What’s for dinner? Here’s a month of menus

February meal plan. One month of family dinners, planned. The variety of chicken, beef, fish, pork and vegetable dinners creates a perfect menu plan for your family

February Meal Plan Week 1 Monday: Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup Tuesday: Rachael Ray Mega Turkey Nacho Dinner Wednesday: Cheesy Veggie & Black Bean Tortilla Casserole Thursday: leftovers Weekend: Pizza, Zucchini Lasagna & Salad Week 2 Monday: Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce and side of spinach Tuesday: SPOT (Sausage, Potato, Onion, Tomato... and cheese) (I can't believe it's been so long since I made this!) Wednesday: Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie Thursday: leftovers Weekend: … [Read more...]