Is He Ready?

My son was born on a VERY hot day in the middle of August, little did I know at that time, him being my first born, that I would be faced with a big decision based on the fact that he is born near the "cutoff". 

He turns 5 years old 6 weeks before the Kindergarten cutoff.   Something until recently did I think was an issue.  He is a smart kid (obviously, I am his Mom of course I think that!), and he has a year of preschool under his belt, why wouldn't we send him?

Then the mid-year conference at his school came up.  They suggested doing a pre-K program then sending him when he is 6.  Some call this "redshirting" your child.  I have read every book, every blog, every article trying to finalize my decision.  As a parent I know my child best, and I am the one that is going to decide his future.  I have considered sending him to pre-K, Kindergarten, Homeschooling, Private School (which was quickly shot down by my husband).  

I have always worked with him at home, long before any formal schooling and continue to teach him things here at home.  I have other friends going through the same situation, I seek advice from anyone possible, and spend hours and hours making lists of what we should do.

Who really knows if he is ready, I can look at every checklist, read every book, but you really don't know.  Maybe holding back will help, probably not.  My feeling is he will be bored out of his mind if we hold him another year.  Do I worry about him going 5 days all day long, absolutely.   Do I worry about him being among the youngest, yep.  Would I worry if we held him, that he would be the oldest, yep.

So basically it comes down to the fact that I am a mom.  I am going to worry no matter what I choose.  That is part of being a good mom.  Always worrying about the well being of your child, always wanting best for them. 

 Where we stand?  We are sending him.  Homeschooling still isn't completely off the table if we encounter problems.  Pulling him and putting him in Pre-K if the first weeks are a disaster can be done (although I really doubt that will be the case).  Whatever I my husband and I feel is right for him we will do.

My main thought is if we as parents are involved and invested in their education then they are going to succeed because they have their biggest fan routing them on.

 5 months and counting until I have a Kindergartener.....that makes me want to cry!


Family Moments.

This past weekend was wonderful.  It was beautiful here in NoVA and my husband had all weekend off before leaving for a long business trip.  So we just LIVED. 

I didn't open my computer.

I didn't make a list.

I only took a handful of photos, all of which were from my phone.

We just played outside, slept in (well as much as possible with two toddlers), and enjoyed time at home.

The only time we left the house was to go get my son a baseball glove for Tball which is starting soon.

It was fantastic, and so refreshing.  Then yesterday I did the same.  Matthew had school, Lilly had class then we came home and headed to the playground.  I got nothing accomplished until 5pm when I decided I needed to get some work done.  

 Spring is in the air, and for this week I am going to make getting all the fresh air possible my priority!  Sometimes it feels so nice to just unplug and enjoy life.  I mean that is a big reason to stay home with our kids right?


Insta-Friday, Insta-Lovin.

life rearranged

 Lately my time with Lilly while Matthew has been in school has been so wonderful. Most days we are busy with her class or a playdate, but we actually had a few days this week to just chill at home. She is at such a fun age, and makes me smile everyday.

I was trying to put away laundry one morning, so she snuggled up with the library books on my bed.
Waiting in the preschool parking lot, I let her come and sit in the front seat, and she felt so special.  Also this morning we did a popcorn date at Target.
Playing dress up and putting on "lips"
Isn't her jewelry just divine!
Another morning she was very tired (I had to wake her to get Matthew to school on time) so we came home and cuddled up with all her "pets" and watched a movie.

Sometimes I am so busy scheduling things, running errands, and getting out of the house that I forget how wonderful it is to just hang out here at home.


Mid Week Confessions

 Today I am linking up with E, Myself and I for some midweek confessions.

1.  Lol, this may sound silly but I confess that I am terrified of roasting a chicken.  I don't even know why, but I am was.  I worry about under cooking it, and making my family sick.....but I did it and it was delicious! (oh my husband informed me that I cooked it upside down .....oops!)

2.  I confess that I have major baby #3 fever right now.  It had completely gone away for a few months, but it's back.  It is something that my husband and I can just not agree on, or decide on. 

3.  I confess that I have also been "homesick" lately.  We live in Northern VA, but Western PA will always be home, and although I have gotten used to living here, and most of the time am ok with the fact that this is most likely going to be our forever location, I would love to be able to live closer to family, in a much bigger house, with a much bigger yard for much less money.  I want the small town feeling that I grew up with for my kids.

4.  So we thought about starting Potty Training Lilly, and were all excited about it, and then yea, I confess that we really haven't followed through with it.  She is so willing and ready, but unlike with Matthew where we just stayed home until we got the hang of it, that isn't an option with #2.  I confess that she has asked to sit and I have said no (we were walking out the door to leave to pick up Matthew from preschool), I confess on a day where we stayed home I forgot to put her in big girl underwear and work at it.  I also confess that somehow the m&m's from the "potty jar" are somehow disappearing from the jar although Lilly has only gone on the potty a few time....(hangs head in shame)

 6.  Lastly, I confess that I although the normal rule in our house is that for a majority of the day during the week our television is off, all goes out the window in March.  I LOVE college basketball and March is a glorious month for NCAA bball.  So in the background of the normal play noises will be the soothing sounds of Championship Week and the Tournament.  It isn't going to kill 'em.  Yesterday we sorted money out of piggy banks during the Pitt-St. John game!


Top 10 Snacks I send to Preschool

My 4 year old Matthew is in preschool 3 days a week. It is a completely peanut free school. That means snacks I send can not only contain peanuts of any kind, but they can not be foods that are processed in a facility that contains any sort of peanut item as well.  The school requires that we send the food label in everyday with the snack so they can be sure it is completely peanut free.

 I knew at the beginning of the school year that I would have to be very organized with this, so I made a designated spot to keep all of this information. I used the inside door of our "kid" cabinet.

I taped in a plastic bag to hold all of the labels of popular snacks I send, a list in case anyone instead of me had to prepare the snack letting them know all of the "rules" (this has yet to happen), and a list the school provided of suggested peanut free snacks. My son's favorite food is fruit so usually twice a week that is what I send. Fruit is easy, no labels required! Some things I send are individually wrapped, and the label is already included which is nice as well. Here are the....

Top 10 Snacks I send to Preschool 

10. Applesauce Pouches

 9. Pretzels

 8. Graham Crackers

7. Homemade Muffins

6. Goldfish Crackers

5. Yogurt

 4. Teddy Grahams

 3. Carrot Sticks

2. Ritz Crackers

1. Fruit. Orange Slices, Strawberries, Grapes, an Apple, Banana

** Along with his snack I ALWAYS send his water bottle.  I am not a big fan of juice for my kids, so water gets sent everyday.  Also my biggest tip is that if you want to see the things you send come home, such as the water bottle, container or anything LABEL it!


Menu Plan Monday

I have been in a cooking rut for awhile now.  I have not been going by my menu plans at all, just throwing something together last minute (often making for a late dinner) and taking any opportunity to eat out.  It is awful, and with Matt leaving town again for work I think it isn't going to solve itself anytime soon.  I am determined to do better this week.

This is from 1 yummy meal I made last week.  Chicken Stuffed Shells with Roasted Asparagus.

Here is a look at our meals for the week.

Monday- Beef Tips with noodles (in the Crock Pot) and Asparagus
Tuesday- Stromboli (these never got made last week, but I did prep them and freeze them so it should be a quick dinner) with Penne.
Wednesday-Stuffed Pork Chops with make ahead mashed potatoes (recipe below) and veggies
Thursday- Make your own pizza night (just the kids and I)
Friday- No Meat, so we are having Shrimp Scampi with Salad
Saturday- Beef and Pepper Fajitas with rice pilaf
Sunday- Pot Roast in the Crock Pot

 Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

4-6 Potatoes (depending on the size)
4 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Sour Cream
3-4 strips of bacon
1/2 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
Green Onion

1.  Peel, Boil, and drain potatoes, then mash and add milk, butter, salt/pepper and sour cream. 
2.  Spread in a sprayed 9x13 in pan and top with cheese and cooked chopped bacon.  Cover and refrigerate. (you can bake them off right away as well.)
3.  Bake in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes until warmed through.  Then uncover add the green onion and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.


My thoughts about Pinterest.

Let me start off by say I L.O.V.E. me some Pinterest, and when joining last June, not even knowing what it was, I never imagined I would enjoy it so much.  The things I have learned from that site are amazing, and the (little traffic) my blog gets, Pinterest is a huge source of that.

There has been a lot of controversy around the legality of the site, and many people are angry about their images being posted.  This is the article that I first read about the situation, and then continued to investigate from there.  I would never want to get into legal trouble for anything I am doing online.

There are also many questions around Pinterest's Terms of Use.  I was starting to contemplate (gasp) deleting my account, but then read a follow up article on the same blog, found here and I am feeling more confident in my decision to keep my account.  This blogger actually spoke with the founder Ben Silbermann, and got some reassurance that she needed to keep her own account.  Pinterest also wrote a blog post 2/20 reassuring it users.

There are a few things I am going to do over the weekend and I would encourage others to do as well....

1.  I am going to go through my pins and delete anything that is no linked back to the ORIGINAL source.  I have gone through some pins and it goes to a site that isn't the original pin, but a pin of a pin (if that makes any sense.)

2.  This seems to be mostly and issue with photographers getting angry that copyrighted material has been pinned, so those are going to be deleted (I don't have many of those to begin with)

3.  I am going to stop doing my Pinspirational Friday, because I have seen that someone had pinned from my blog a pin that I had used and not my actual photo.

This is going to be a VERY long process and it is going to be very tedious as I am going to be making sure all my pins are legit.  But I will feel much better about it in the future.

Speaking of the future, I think that from now on I am only going to re-pin if I have checked the link back first.  Sometimes I don't have the time to do this (or am on my phone where it is an annoyance), so for that situation I will like the pin, and then re-pin once I check the link.

As for my photos, as long as they are linked back to me pin away!  It is great exposure, and a wonderful way to share ideas.  

Oh and you can follow all my boards HERE!

I am by no means qualified to give any actual advice about this subject, they are just opinions I have, and nothing more! 

Too Much at A Time.

Do you ever overextend yourself and then just break down because there is just too much going on at one time.  Yea, that is me right about now.  It isn't even anything extra, it is just my attempt at trying to do it all (the normal housewife stuff) perfectly. 

My name is Samantha, and I am a perfectionist.

I hate how if I am excelling at one area something else slips away.  Lately I have done a really good job of really sitting and playing "with" my kids, starting to teach my son how to read, and not saying not now when Lilly wants me to read 800 books a day.  With that comes dirty floors, and laundry that needs attention it is not getting. 

Finding balance is so difficult. 

Blogging is also something that I am trying to be perfect at, when there really is no such thing as the perfect blog.  I came into this new blog wanted to keep it fun, not worrying about followers and comments and pageviews.  But I find myself making this more stressful than it should be.  I am beating myself up over the fact that my blog isn't really focused on something in particular. 

I am sitting here thinking about the fact that my fridge needs cleaned, laundry needs done, my floors haven't been mopping in longer than I'd like to admit.....but me, I am off to the bookstore (something Matthew asked to do weeks ago, and we haven't done yet) to read, play trains, and do storytime, because I am so stressed I wouldn't know where to start.

But honestly my floors REALLY need some attention as well.

As for the blog.... I am so overwhelmed I don't know what to do.  I am so inspired (lately by amazing local bloggers) but am not sure where my blog fits.  There are so many things I love to do, that I wouldn' t know what to focus on even if I wanted to. 

Perfect isn't possible, and it wouldn't be that fun anyway, right!