MOMnation is more than a village, more than a tribe, it’s a one stop shop for MOMs and it takes a lot of passion, talent and commitment to maintain. In our new reality show, meet the MOMs that keep it all going and together while doing the same with their families, households and businesses.
Katie, Jessica, Jeni, Emilie and Nicole are founding members. Catch a sneak peek into the inner operations of the group and the private lives of the MOMs that make it all work in season 1 of Inside MOMnation.
In episode 1, you’ll meet the 5 of us. Catch an insiders view on our VERY popular signature event, Find your Soul MOM Speed Dating and an insiders view of a day in the life of Nicole as she works the family biz while killing in at #MOMlife…also, her very heartfelt share on her very first son, her rainbow baby.
In episode 2, you’ll get to know Jessica just a little bit better. Jess is the party planner, pro photographer extraordinaire and MOM of 4 that pulls off the most epic, fun parties and events like the Original Find your Soul MOM Speed Dating event and the annual Prom for MOMnation.
We met thousands of visitors over the weekend and enjoyed booth after booth of local art, live musicians, food trucks and, of course, the fun and interactive booths in the Kids Block.
MOMnationAZ offered free nature crafts and rock painting to kids of all ages along with a goodie bag chock full of freebies, trinkets and toys for the kiddos.
Rock paint artists were free to take their rock home to enjoy forever or were invited to join us at MOMnationAZ Rocks the World, a Facebook group following the travels of our painted rocks.
The instructions on the back of each rock read, “Post a pic on MOMnationAZ Rocks the World Facebook page and re-hide”. If you see one of our rocks during your travels throughout the Valley, take a pic and post it to MOMnationAZ Rocks then re-hide. Lets see how far these colorful rocks travel!
The idea of camping is vastly different to each of us. If you have spent time camping as a child, it can have a Christmas/holiday type excitement. Then, as you start to drift back down from reminiscing, logic and reality spark. How many diapers do we need? Did we pack toys? When should we leave so that nap is not interrupted? Do we have enough room? Will we be warm or too cold? The list goes on…
When camping with kids it’s always easier and more fun to go with other friends who have kids because it takes a village..lol This will allow the kids to have a blast while entertaining each other, creating memories and exploring nature. It will also give you the time needed to unplug from the trenches of parenthood and drink a beer with your fellow soldiers.
This was our first camping trip as a family and we decided to rent an RV. We used RV rental outlet in Mesa AZ. They were awesome and very easy to deal with. Most of our friends have pop-up campers. We realized, after renting an RV, that it’s nice to be able to disconnect from the pop-up and have a vehicle to go into town and or explore some trails. We later purchased a pop-up because of this and a few other reasons.
Where to go? Are you trying to escape the heat? It was helpful to check the weather in the area that you are thinking of visiting.
In AZ you usually want to be above 6,000 feet in elevation to get 70/80s when its 105+ in valley. Most of lower lying areas like Payson and Prescott still hit 100s during the day in the summer. This can make things the opposite of fun quickly.
We decided to go to a campground, Yavapi Campground to be exact, that requires reservations, has bathrooms, is closer in proximity to town and is 3 hours or less from Phoenix. Keep in mind that cell service can be non-existent in some of these areas. If you have a job that requires checking in, this could make or break your true relaxation. Research the options for connecting to ensure that you can connect when needed but still enjoy the feeling of being disconnected. Verizon service was the strongest and existent in many areas while AT&T had no service anywhere at the campground.
When to go? Make sure to check availability especially if traveling on a holiday. Campsites fill up quickly and most are reserved for holidays 30+ days in advance.
The drive up to Yavapai was super simple from Phoenix. Mostly I17. Consider the traffic going north on Fridays and south on Sundays. It’s best to hit the road before 3pm or after 6pm.
Yavapai Campground is 10 minutes from downtown Prescott, food & supplies. It is less than 1.5 miles from Lynx Lake. It’s within walking distance to the campground but beware, it’s downhill to the lake but uphill all the way back. It might be best to take the car if you have little littles.
The next thing we did was make a “to do” list a few days in advance, listing all supplies from clothes (be sure to include warm clothes for nighttime) to household supplies like dish soap, paper towels and garbage bags. We planned to make and eat most of our meals at the campground so the list continued with cooking supplies, food, snacks, cookware and storage supplies. Of course, we could not forget the most important part, S’mores supplies!! We did work out a “meal share” plan with our friends which basically means each family is in charge of one meal feeding the entire clan. We each took our turn and it worked out great!
We had a great time and would fully recommend this campground to anyone looking for family friendly Prescottcamping areas.
Matt Lambert is a local Realtor, super Dad and lover of the great outdoors. Find out more about Matt at EvoAZ.com.
Want to live close to the great outdoors but still be close to the freeway system and work? Located at Val Vista and McKellips, this 4 bedroom home is not only affordable but in a great location, just a quick drive to the lake or mountains! Details here or call 480-250-0023.
Why does Lou need to “learn to adult”? This sounds like a silly question, and it probably is, but by answering it you’ll get to know more about me, where I’m coming from and why I need to learn how to adult at this age.
I was born a very long time ago in a small town in Ontario, Canada. My cousin, JP, was my best friend. We were born 40 days apart. He’s older. We even went to kindergarten together. And then we left that town and my best friend behind because my birth father, or “sperm donor” as I call him, was not a very good person. My Mom, older sister, younger brother and I moved a province over to a slightly bigger, small town in Manitoba, Canada.
I went to a Catholic elementary school for grades 1-6. I made many good friends and was quite happy. Then my Mom met my Dad (Step Dad technically, but he adopted us and raised us, so he’s my real Dad). Again, we packed up everything we knew and moved to a city a couple hours away. Keep in mind, computers hadn’t really been invented yet, so I didn’t get to keep in touch with all my friends on social media.
I had a sister join the family when I was 14 years old. She will never live down the fact that every time I babysat her, and told her to do something she would utter, “You’re not the boss of me”. Surprisingly, I still like her.
I struggled starting Middle School in a new city and a new school that happened to be several times bigger than I was used to, and I not so gradually took a wrong turn. It just got worse in High School. I made bad decisions and ended up dropping out of High School in my last year.
Luckily, a few years later, my Aunt went back to get her GED and I decided to join her. It turns out that I graduated from the same High School as The Man, in the same year. We just didn’t know each other yet. My GED classes were at night. And I was “significantly” older.
I got the odd job, mostly retail, and I actually enjoyed working with people. Even though a healthy portion of them did not play well with others. I had no desire to continue my education formally. At that moment. I lived with my then boyfriend and our cats. After my seven and a half year relationship ended when I was 25, I kinda crashed for a bit. But then I started to learn how to be alone, how to do things for myself.
Early the following year, I met my knight in shining armor, The Man, and he wanted to take care of me from our very first date. I had no problem letting him. It was hard to be an adult and I felt that six months of it was enough for me. We got married a year and a half after meeting (on a date that I had picked out three months after meeting). I went to college for “Studies in Special Needs Child Care” because I was passionate about those sweet souls. A few months later, The Man got a job offer in Oregon. We had to take the chance for an adventure.
An adventure it was….
I was a “Stay at Home Wife” for the first three years of living in Oregon. I didn’t have permission from the Government to work. Since it was the Government telling me that, I didn’t want to risk it, so I didn’t really do much work around the house either. And then I became a “Stay at Home Mom” and had a different excuse to not do much around the house.
Fast forward to twenty-two years later, and I’m wondering why I can’t do much for myself. This is not to blame The Man at all. He took care of me out of love and I let him out of laziness.
Maybe there’s something about seeing the big 5-0 looming in the not-so-distant future that makes one think, “What am I doing with my life?” It could be the fact that the kids are getting older and I want them to do more around the house. Or maybe it’s the constant arguing about someone not being able to rely on the other someone with important matters. Maybe. We may never know.
Let’s start with a topic that is very personal to me. Talking on the phone. I absolutely hate talking on the phone. Hate! At one point, the voicemail on my cell phone said, “Hi, it’s Lou. Are you sure you can’t just text me?” I hate calling my family just as much as I hate calling the IRS. No offense to them, but my family is crazy.
I think part of the reason is that I have a bad memory, so any time I talk on the phone, there is no record of it that I can refer back to. Another reason, and one that explains why I like to write instead of talk, is that I can’t think quickly on my feet. I need time to digest what was said to me and how I want to respond. I need to be able to edit my thoughts, and doing that while on the phone just leaves awkward silences. But, in order to be a grown-up I need to do this, so I will practice. Before I make a call, I’m going to practice what I want to say. I may even make notes.
Once you get up the courage to make a call, what are some ways to do it properly?
For example, if you are calling a business about a job that you just applied for, try this; “Hello, my name is Adam Adult. I’m calling to speak to the manager about an application I submitted” Sounds way better than, “Ummm, can I, like, talk to the manager”.
Another pointer, that I have to mention to my kids constantly, is how to answer a phone. Say, “Hello”. Could it get any easier? Even a quick, “Hi” would suffice. Stop picking up the phone (and for those in this century, pressing the button to answer the phone) without saying something!
Next up we should discuss communicating with people face to face. That tends to happen in real life, too. You need to make a good first impression when meeting someone new. When speaking with someone in person, do your best to look them in the eye. I know for some people it’s hard to do, but it’ll get easier the more you do it. Use a firm grip when you’re shaking someone’s hand. There’s nothing worse than limp hand. So gross. And stand up, for Pete’s sake. When they are speaking, listen. Don’t listen to interrupt and respond. Listen to hear what they’re saying. This actually goes for every time a person is speaking to you. When you’re with someone, a nice thing to do is to ask them questions about themselves. It’s not all about you. No one wants to sit there and listen to you talking non-stop. Trust me.
Now that you’ve practiced speaking to a real human in real life, the obvious next step is to speak in public. Yes, in front of a group of real humans. This is going to take a lot of practice for some people. Some people just have a natural ability to speak in public. Those people must be wizards. It’s just not normal. But we’re learning.
Step one, and I think the most important, for speaking in public would have to be knowing something. Please educate yourself on the subject. And then maybe learn a bit more, just to be safe. Practice what you know until you’re confident on the subject matter and what you want to say.
Hooray! You’ve survived your speech, now what? I’m sure you’ll be surrounded by many adoring fans. If you don’t know them, you can introduce yourself. It’s true. Look ‘em in the eye and say, “Hi, I’m Gloria Grown-up, it’s nice to meet you”.
What happens if you have two people that you know, but they don’t know each other? Don’t panic! Introduce them. There’s no stopping you now. They say that you’re supposed to speak to the “more important” person first. So, you’d have to say, “More Important Person, I’d like you to meet Other Person. Other Person, this is More Important Person”. But, that sounds so archaic. Maybe just pick the person you know the best or have known the longest and do it that way.
Now get out there and be a good grown-up!!
Moving? Visit EvoAZ.com for current and upcoming homes for sale, perks for sellers, local info and more.
We all work hard to find the one. The person who completes us, then what? We live happily ever after in a blissful state of union of course. This is what we’ve learned from fairy tales and Hollywood. I hate to burst your bubble but life can be messy and even great relationships have challenges at different times.
Whether you’re married or in a long-term relationship how do you ensure your love endures a lifetime? We have some tips that are essential to maintaining an amazing healthy relationship that stands the test of time.
Get to know yourself. The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are. How can someone else know you if don’t know yourself. We love personality tests and some of our favorites are below with links to FREE tests.
Enneagram Test has nine different personality types to help you understand yourself better and encourage personal growth.
16 Personalities is based upon Myers-Briggs with 16 personality profiles that provide a description of who you are and why you do things the way you do.
Get to know your partner. We mean really get to know your partner. Their authentic true self. We highly encourage you both to take the personality tests together and compare results. This makes a great date night too.
Another resource for connection is Intuitive Development. We’ve taken every class at Intuitive Development and there are two classes we highly recommend. The first is Understanding Emotional Patterns to learn how to manage conflict resolution by identifying your emotions. The other is Defining Bottom Lines with an emphasis on how communication is the cornerstone of all successful relationships. You will also identify your bottom lines and determine the most important elements for you in relationship. Identifying these things for yourself will provide clarity and more stability in your partnership.
What’s your love language? Have you taken the free assessment for The Five Love Languages? This is based on the book by Gary Chapman. The 5 love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch and Quality Time. Most people enjoy many of these in relationship but we all have a primary love language that fills up the emotional bank account. We are all usually very good at demonstrating our own love language. For example my love language is Words of Affirmation so I’m usually good at writing love notes, text messages or verbally telling Marty how much he means to me. Marty’s primary love language is Acts of Service. So he is always doing things for me like getting me coffee in the morning or calling me on his way home to see if I need anything. While I love the things he does for me and he appreciates my generous words of how amazing he is, we both long for love to be expressed to us in our Love Language. With this awareness we are both able to reciprocate in our partner’s primary love language. This enhances our relationship immensely.
Communication is so important in relationship. In her book, Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson’s work utilizing Emotionally Focused Therapy (“EFT”) talks about how our communication can either push us apart or bring us closer together. For example, if your partner says you really pissed me off, more than likely this will cause a fight or flight scenario. It will certainly not bring you closer together. However, by determining the underlying reason for the anger and then communicating the issue to your partner in a softer more loving way will allow the message to be heard and more receptive. By digging deeper and working together, we can communicate what really caused the anger that typically has an underlying feeling of hurt and being unlovable. Sharing these feelings together will likely draw you closer together instead of further apart.
Common Interests are really important. While it’s ok to each have your own activities and hobbies you may do alone or with friends, it’s also imperative to have things you do together. One of our favorite rituals is reading the daily message in the Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. We also take regular walks or bike rides together in the morning. Find some regular activities that you enjoy doing together; maybe take a dance class together or our new fave activity, AcroYoga.
Date Nights are imperative and you just can’t have too many. Especially if you’re a parent, it’s vitally important to make time for yourself and as a couple. Remember to be an example to your children of what a great relationship looks like. We can’t stress this enough.
We also recommend the 90-Day FFR Challenge. Plan just one surprise date for your partner once a month for three months. EFT therapist, Dr. Lisa Gold shared that most of her clients have forgotten how to have fun together. Having fun connects you as a couple. You are reminded why you fell in love with your partner all over again.
Gratitude for the little things. We can easily take things for granted that our partner says or does for us. When Marty started bringing me coffee every morning and turning on my work computer I was smitten. However, since he’s been doing this for over a year now it’s easy for me to transition this to an expectation that he’ll do this for me every morning rather than a kind gesture. Be sure to acknowledge the things your partner does for you, even if they’ve been doing it for years. Try to see your love with fresh eyes every day.
While relationships are work they are so rewarding when you are in good one. Our hope is that you have an amazing relationship that will last a lifetime and that you never settle for one that’s just good enough.
The saying goes ‘things aren’t always what they seem’ and the same can be said about modeling and the modeling industry. Primarily the perception is that modeling is glamorous, easy, very well paid, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that models are not exactly known for their grey matter! However, none of that is necessarily the truth. In actual fact modeling, and being in the modeling industry, can teach a ton of great life skills many overlook.
Do you want your kids to understand good hygiene, posture, manners and etiquette? Do you want your kids to learn social and communication skills? How about geography, persistence, delaying gratification or learning how to cope with rejection? And do not forget having a healthy self image, good listening skills, know how to be safe online, consequences of actions, and probably your favorite, the importance of sleep so the kids go to bed early! Yes… More Than Modeling camps, and the modeling industry, really can teach all of the aforementioned!
Let’s take the emotionally painful issue of rejection. Nobody likes to be rejected or rebuffed, however, rejection is something all children, and adults, need to face numerous times in life. Models deal with rejection (usually of their personal appearance) on an almost daily basis. For every 100 or so jobs they may cast/audition for they may only get booked once or twice. Thus models become adept at dealing with rejection more so than the average person. The principles on how you deal with that rejection are the same for models, and in fact anyone. Children, tweens and teens can sometimes suffer the most with rejection as they are in developmental stages, so the better equipped children become at dealing with rejection, the better their position will be for moving successfully through life.
To help, here are 3 tips on how you can help your child deal with rejection:
Listen to your child when they have encountered a situation where they have been rejected. Give them your full attention and validate their feelings so they feel safe and understood.
Always encourage your child to put more emphasis on their character and the way they handle situations, rather than an actual achievement or result itself. Example: “You worked so very hard for this! Well done!” rather than “I am glad you got straight A’s!”
Encourage them to focus on the future rather than looking back and dwelling on a rejection. A rejection needs to be acknowledged, then put aside, and focus needs to be shifted to the road ahead. Once your child is in this frame of mind have them try again, or trying something else. This will help your child get into a better frame of mind and will also encourage drive, ambition, motivation and concentration.
More Than Modeling is a new business in the Phoenix area teaching modeling classes, but their primary mission is raising confidence in kids. More Than Modelings’ holidays camps teach a variety of essential life lessons transferable to any job and walk of life – merely utilizing modeling and fashion with which to engage the kids.
Erika is the owner, founder and teacher of More Than Modeling. Originally from England Erika left a high school Science teaching position after completing her Master’s degree in Education, to pursue modeling, travelled the world doing so, and upon gaining her USA green card settled in Scottsdale to open her business. Years of international experience as a model, and seeing that industry through an educators eyes, resulted in the formation of camps, workshops and classes where kids think they are learning about modeling but parents know they are learning so much more than that! Erika’s heart and passion lie in equipping children with skills they can use no matter where life may take them and uses the subjects of modeling and fashion to transfer and communicate these skills. Call 480-442-9833
When looking to buy a home, there are a lot of things to consider: how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, 2-story, 1-story, Pool or no Pool. Deciding on the best loan program isn’t usually the first thing that is considered, but it’s very important in the home buying process. Some of the main questions to consider:
What programs are available with my credit score?
Which program requires the least amount of down payment?
What program will give me the lowest payment?
Do I have to pay mortgage insurance?
No two home buyers are the same, so the best loan for one buyer is likely unsuitable – or even unavailable – to another. You’ll want to make sure you find a good loan officer to help you make a final decision.
The main loan programs available are:
FHA loans are very popular with First Time Home Buyers. The popularity is understandable. With a small down payment requirement, lenient credit score standards, and flexible income guides, the FHA mortgage is making homeownership available to a many people who have been stuck renting for years. The benefits of an FHA loan:
3.5% down payment required
Credit scores as low as a 580
Past derogatory debt (like Bankruptcies and Foreclosures) require shorter waiting periods
Lenient income qualification
Is insured and guaranteed by the federal government
VA loans are for those who served in the military. VA loans play an important role in helping those who serve and have served to buy a home because no down payment is required. Other benefits of the VA loan:
Mortgage rates are typically lower than Conventional Loans
No monthly mortgage insurance required
You can reuse your VA loan benefit
You don’t have to be a first-time home buyer
VA is very lenient on past derogatory credit. You only need to wait two years after a Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, or Short Sale to qualify.
Is insured and guaranteed by the federal government
A USDA home loan is a zero-down payment mortgage for eligible rural and suburban homebuyers. The program is designed to “improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.” Key Benefits of the USDA Loan:
No down payment required
Low monthly mortgage insurance fees
Lenient credit scores and income limits
Applicants must meet income limits of the program
Buyer must purchase a home within USDA-eligible areas
Is insured and guaranteed by the federal government
A Conventional mortgage is a home loan that isn’t guaranteed or insurance by the federal government (like FHA, VA, and USDA are). This program offers flexible down payment options (as little as 3% down) but requires higher credit scores and is stricter on income and past derogatory credit. It’s a great option for buyers with higher credit scores and larger down payments because rates tend to be lower than and mortgage insurance is cheaper. Key benefits of a Conventional Loan:
Down Payment as low as 3%
No upfront mortgage insurance (like FHA, VA, and USDA)
No monthly mortgage insurance with 20% down
Loan amount up to $453,100
Unlike FHA, mortgage insurance is cancelable with 20% equity.
Senior Mortgage Banker Ryan Gilliam is a lifelong Arizona resident. He attended Dobson High School in Mesa and graduated from Arizona State University with a Business degree. He’s been in the mortgage industry since 2004 and has always been committed to client education and helping them through the entire mortgage process.
Traveling to new destinations is so much fun, but the question is how to get there. Yes, you can drive, but that only gets you so far and it can take a long time. As a family we love to fly, it’s fast and simple once you know what you are doing.
First, figure out the logistics of the trip:
When to Fly: When choosing your flight consider length of the flight, age of your child, time zone changes, and price of the ticket. When Ethan was 5 months old, we did a red eye from Honolulu to Phoenix. The timing worked well because he was small enough to sleep anywhere and we all slept for most of the flight. That being said, we have found that generally the kids are not going to sleep on the flight for a nap. There’s just too much noise and activity. If they do fall asleep, it’s at the very end of the flight when they have to be still for landing. We shoot for a midmorning or evening flight and just know that the kids won’t sleep well during the day and will need to go to bed early. Midmorning is nice because you don’t have to wake up early to leave, but you aren’t rushed by the end of the day.
Where to Sit: We always sit about 2/3 of the way to the back of the plane. We like to be closer to the bathroom (but not too close), but also not in the front where all the serious people sit. It does take a little longer to get off the plane, but we don’t mind because we typically end up waiting for our luggage at baggage claim anyway.
Next, here are some great tips for navigating airplane travel with little ones:
Show up early: Kids are slow. It’s much easier to navigate the airport, manage security, and find your game without stressing about time.
Check your Car Seat with the Luggage and Your Stroller at the Gate: When the kids were smaller, we didn’t put them in car seats on the plane. If you do, then you can take it through security and buckle it in when you board. We always chose to check the car seat but bring the stroller into the airport. The stroller is an amazing tool to have in the airport especially if you have more than one kid or your kids are runners.You can use the stroller to hold the kids or the luggage and you can check it right at the gate. Just make sure to get a tag before boarding.
Have a Plan to Get Through Security: When we go through security, I manage the kids and Victor manages the luggage. This is the most efficient way to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If it’s just me and the kids, I make sure our luggage is through security and then the kids and I go through.
Board with Family Boarding: Many airlines offer family boarding. Take advantage of this. You can possibly board before your ticketed zone, find overhead storage for your bags, and settle the kids.
Meet the Pilot: Many pilots are happy to meet the kids before the flight. My kids started doing this at about age 3 and love to meet the pilot on every flight.
Go potty: Before you land, make sure anyone who is potty trained and might have to go, goes to the restroom. Ethan has a habit of telling us he needs to go potty when we land and it’s nearly impossible to get to the front or the back of the plane while everyone is waiting to get off.
Pick up Your Luggage: After we get off the plane, we had over to the baggage claim. We let the kids stretch their legs, go potty if needed, and take our time. By the time we get there, we hope that our bags are ready and we can continue our adventure!
Use these tips to navigate airline travel like a pro! What’s your best tip for traveling with kids? Please leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from you.
There will be volunteers to help, but waiting for them costs delicious time!
Bring food rather relying on school lunch, at least the first couple of days. Waiting in line takes time! Wait until your child is familiar with the cafeteria and with the time allotted before trying out the cafeteria offerings.
Pack a lunch that your child can easily open. Consider practicing at home a few times to make sure!
Provide foods that can be eaten efficiently. Cut your fruits and veggies. Halve or quarter your sandwiches.
Have kids help with the packing process. They will know what’s in their lunch box and can develop a plan of attack!
Make sure you’re packing something that will look just as nice after being banged around a bit! A beautiful, nutritious lunch in the morning might not be so Pinterest worthy by lunchtime!
Well school has started. Time to get back into a school year rhythm. Back to getting things accomplished around the house. Or maybe time to get your own head back on straight with a nice bath and Netflix binge.
It’s also time to start packing lunches for your kids.
Sure, you could browse Pinterest, which will initially provide inspiration, but will eventually leave you feeling a little… less than. I mean who can keep up with this craziness?
Obviously, this is awesome, but who can come up with these ideas, never mind actually execute them, on a daily basis?
There is absolutely no need to get so elaborate. It adds pressure in an already difficult job. Of course, if you want to take advantage of an extra pot of coffee every so often and get really creative, I won’t stop you.
The good news is that you don’t have to. There are a few things you’re looking for when packing your child’s lunch. You want a mix of nutrients in order to cover your nutrition needs and keep your child’s little belly satisfied the whole day. Learning creates such an appetite!
You want to send your child with a colorful lunch. It’s beautiful, which means it’s more appetizing. Colors represent different nutrients, which means that by giving carrots, kiwis, and grape tomatoes, you’re hitting different micronutrients. This will also help protect them against all those nasty bugs that always accompany the back to school season.
Protein is important for building those muscles as they grow, but it also helps cue the brain into that fullness signal and helps keep your child going throughout the day.
Fat also signals the brain that you’re full. But fat also helps build up the nervous system, which impacts development of fine and gross motor skills. In essence, it helps build the brain!
Carbohydrates get a bad rap these days, but the truth is that the body uses carbohydrates for fuel. Our bodies take fuel that we provide as food and turns it into the only efficient form of energy that can actually be used in the body, glucose. Grains provide fiber and micronutrients that are very helpful to a hungry belly and growing body. The fiber in whole grains helps keep kids regular. The B vitamins help to release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
But, as I explain in this Nap Time Nutrition segment, it can be too easy to make all meals grain-based. They are quick to prepare, travel well, store well, freeze well, and are readily accepted by even the most selective eaters. So, it’s important to plan your day of meals (or week, or month if you’re way more on top of this than I am) so you can have an easy visual of the variety in your nutrition.
Variety is key. In this info graphic, I have broken down school meal options into major nutrient categories to help ensure variety while keeping it simple.
And if you do really want to spice it up and you’re looking for a middle of the road type of creativity, add a note, maybe a sparkly note. Draw a cute picture to add in your kid’s lunch. Or even hit up Amazon for some Kid Pick Forks or Eyeball Toothpicks.
Kindergarten…it’s a hot topic amongst Moms in Arizona. We start school here SO early compared to parts of the country. Growing up in New Jersey, we started after labor day so the cut-off dates were different. My Mom also told me that Kindergarten wasn’t as rigorous when I was young.
In Arizona, the cutoff to enter Kindergarten is generally August 31st. Your child would have to be 5 years old by the cutoff date to enter Kindergarten without having to take an early entrance test. However, there is an option in most districts to test in for children whose birthdays fall between September 1st and December 31st. But, is it a good idea?
When speaking with some of the 5,000+ Moms in the MOMnationAZ Facebook Group, it’s a pretty common theme that most would rather have their boys wait to start so they will be older than many other kids in the class. Generally, boys mature at a slower pace than girls and benefit from being older. Girls are more favorable for early entrance because they are usually more mature and advanced. One Mom said, in California the cutoff is December 31st. She mentioned one of her kids that she thought would do great, ended up struggling and the other ended up thriving. It was still recommended to hold them back when they moved to AZ because the school they chose was more rigorous. A few teachers that chimed in said they can definitely see the maturity difference in the kids who are younger vs older. Still, kids will be kids and each are different! Many Moms commented that their kids tested in early and are still thriving years later!
A few things to think about if you want to test your child in early:
Have they gone to preschool in a classroom setting? This helped our daughter tremendously with her knowledge and social encounters. She was reading by the age of 4 and knows all of the topics that are on the list of what they will learn in Kindergarten. She also learned sharing and working with others.
Do they know the items on the Kindergarten readiness sheet? It’s not all just academic. A few of the items are:
Can they put on their jacket or backpack themselves?
Do they separate well from their parents?
Can they open their own snacks and lunch?
Can they wipe their own butt? HAHA. Mine is still learning!
3) Think about the future:
They will be the last to drive in their grade. Since you can get your license at 16 in Arizona, I considered this a non-issue. She will still be able to drive almost 2 years in High School.
Boys may be smaller than others in their class and have a disadvantage in sports.
Girls would be entering high school at 13 years old which is not comforting to some parents, especially their Dads.
You’re probably wondering what to do if you want to test your child in early. Here’s the process that we went through. Each school district may be different so do your research! I would start planning at least a year ahead to prepare your child. Start researching schools and their policies and talk to other parents with kids in that school.
I called the school district office in March to ask when they would be doing the early testing. The lady put me on the list and called me in April to schedule the test.
Send in payment for the testing (if applicable). It was $30 in our district.
The day of testing (in June), we checked in in the library and they had coloring sheets for the kids. Our group was mostly girls and one little boy. When it was time to go back, the teacher had them line up and go to a different room. They observed who separated well and who listened to directions.
My Daughter’s Review of What They Did in Testing (Varies by District)
They were instructed to draw a circle and write their name inside the circle. Then, they had to place a sticker above their name and then cut out the circle.
She said they did some practice with identifying letters, but didn’t fully explain.
The teacher read them a book and I’m guessing that she was watching to see how they sit still and listen.
Afterwards they colored a caterpillar and started to cut it out.
She specifically told me that she listened when the teacher said to push in their chairs.
About a week and a half later we got the letter that she was accepted into Kindergarten! The teacher does evaluate each early entrance child at 30 days to determine if Kindergarten is a good fit.
Our district does a 3 day Kinder Camp type of program to get them used to the classroom setting. I highly recommend this if your district offers it! My daughter loved Kinder Camp! I feel this made her first day of real Kindergarten so much easier especially being a little fish in a big sea!
Meanwhile, I’m over here about to cry my eyes out because my baby moved from her wonderful Preschool into Kindergarten!
Jen Duncan, super MOMmy of one special little lady, fearlessly guiding local MOMs and Dads through the real estate process with extra ninja prowess in new construction. SEARCH new homes here!