Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to school

Buzz Lightyear definitely had the right idea.
The Toy Story hero’s motto was “To infinity and beyond!” That’s how I like to think about the start of a new school year. So many possibilities. So many opportunities. On the other hand, I know my children are thinking more like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home!”

Remember those highly charged first days? They were full of “real life” tests where there was always something novel to learn, and not always from a book.

The first day sometimes has pitfalls for Mom and Dad, too. Once, I managed to stockpile Jacks school supplies as they went on sale the previous year. I think we had to go out and buy maybe two things—oh, yeah! I learned my lesson from previous years and from experienced moms. Buy early or get stuck running around store to store trying to find everything on that famous teacher/school supply list.

Starting a new grade or moving to a new school can be frightening. We, as parents can ease these anxieties by helping our children feel prepared for school. If your child walks or rides a bicycle to school, walk or ride the route with him. If your child rides the bus, show her where the bus stop is, tell her about the schedule, and make sure she knows how to find the bus after school. Remind your child where he will go after school, whether it’s home, to an extracurricular activity, or to a babysitter. Jack was so excited about riding the bus to and from school but as a mom with her first child starting school it surprised and worried me a bit. My husband said "Don't worry he's a smart child he can do it just give him a chance". So, of course we took him his first day and he rode the bus home that afternoon. He got off that bus with a smile so wide I was relieved. That next day he rode the bus that morning only to come home on the bus to tell me he was not going to ride the bus to school in the morning and to inform me that I or daddy will be taking him. Just in the morning, he clarified. After asking him what went wrong he said that he got lost making his way to his classroom. So I urge you if your child rides the bus, show them where the bus stop is, show them how to get to their classroom after the bus or you drop them off, tell them about the schedule, and make sure they know how to find the bus after school. Remind your child where he will go after school, whether it’s home, to an extracurricular activity, or to a babysitter.

Find a way to be more involved in your child’s education this year. It could be as simple as talking with your child everyday about what they have learned. Set the stage for sharing by telling your child highlights of your day, just by asking and paying attention you send a message that you think school is very important.
Asking children to talk about the best part of the day, whether they learned anything that surprised them, and whether they asked good questions in class.

One of the most important tasks of making the most of the early school days is to get involved with your child's school. The PTO is a great way for parents to get involved. The teachers greatly appreciate volunteers, I know from experience. I am greatly invovled in my sons school whether it be in the classroom or with the PTO. Its nice to know the people your children will be around daily.

You never know when you might need to call on other parents for help or advice. Seek them out at school events and parent group meetings. If the school publishes a family directory, write notes in the margins with information about parents you’ve met. Compile a list of names, phone numbers, and email addresses to coordinate carpool and emergency baby-sitting. Keep a copy at work or in your car/purse so you know whom to call when your schedule changes unexpectedly.

Once again its time to pack those pesky lunchboxes. Wondering what to include? With peanut allergies and picky eaters what do you do? I always add frozen Go-gurts and rolled deli turkey with crackers and cheese that I cube myself. My girlfriend would make a grilled cheese in the morning and her little girl would eat it at lunch. I have tried this and my children eat it every time. I am always trying to come up with new ideas that my kids will eat. Ask your children to help in making their lunch. Ask for input on what they like. If you have any tried and true ideas please tell us about it.

Try this website and let us know what works for your child.
Check out this website for great ideas and questions you need answered

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Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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