Thursday, February 28, 2013

7 Tips for Chaperones

You've signed up to be a chaperone for your child's next field trip. Now you're thinking - "What have I gotten myself into???"

I've been on my fair share of field trips and I must say that I take my responsibilities very serious. These kids are depending on me and you, as their chaperone, to get them back to school safe and unharmed. The teachers and principal is expecting us to keep them behaved and on task.

Most field trip chaperones are assigned 2 to 6 students, depending on their age and where they're going. Since you will be responsible for more than just your child here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1.  Do a Little Research
Know where you are going. Obvious - I know, but humor me. Go online. Find and print out a map. Search for "great things to see at ___".

2.  Get the Teacher's cell phone number
Ask for the teacher's or leader's name and cell phone in case of an emergency. Just in case you get lost, miss the bus, a child gets sick or hurt. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

3.  Keep an Eye on Your Kids
Help make sure your group stays on their best behavior. Encourage them to patiently wait their turn - no cutting in line or pushing.  Everyone is there to have learn and have fun.

Watch the kids in your group closely because unfortunately there are evil people in the world out to specifically hurt kids. You, as a chaperone, are responsible for other parent's kids and they are trusting you to look out for their loved one.  Their lives depend on you.

4.  Pair Up with Other Chaperones
Make friends with other chaperones, and walk around as one big group, if possible. This is really useful if you have both girls and boys in your group. One chaperone could wait outside the restrooms while girls and boys go in. That way the kids aren't alone and wandering around when they are done.

5.  Be on Time
Make a note of the time you are supposed to meet for lunch or back at the bus. Also right down the bus number and what bus company because there could be more than one.

6.  Bring Extras
When traveling with kids it helps to bring tissues or wipes for those messes that are sure to happen. Also consider bring a little extra money or food for lunch or snacks just in case any of the kids lose theirs.

7.  Relax
Remember kids will be kids. Let them have fun and try to find a safe way for them to use up some energy.

Being a chaperone is almost always an adventure - let's make it a great one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Five Years Left to Live

Photo Source:

No I'm not dying. One of my friends on Facebook asked "What would you do if you only had 5 years to live?" and it really made me think.

At first I thought I will probably feel really depressed. The whole "Why Me?" pity party would take over for a while.

I would want to spend time with my family. Reading to my kids. Special dates with my hubby. Do fun things to make wonderful memories for them.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

No one knows the exact day or time when they will die. 

No one is promised tomorrow.

I don't want to be lying on my deathbed someday full of regret thinking I really should have spent more time with my family. I should have actually listened to all my kids stories. Played more. Had fun more. Do what I've always dreamed of doing with my life.

I don't want a "Should have...." life. You shouldn't either.

Decide to live each day like it's your last. Plan to go full steam ahead on making this life the most amazing, love-filled, perfect life for you.

It's your life - not someone else's to dictate. Enjoy yourself. Celebrate it. Have fun!!!

How will your loved ones remember you? Just something to think about.

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."
 Bil Keane

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Wonderful World of Orthodontics

I mentioned in a previous post that my son has some sensory issues. He doesn't like the light shining in his eyes at the dentist/orthodontist office.

Well actually I have 2 kids that visit the orthodontist on a regular basis. As any mom with kids in orthodontics knows there are different phases of treatment.  Phase 1 is the functionality phase - where they get the teeth and jaw working properly so all the teeth fit correctly. Phase 2 is where all the teeth are lined up to look nice.

One has already finished Phase 1 and one still in Phase 1 of treatment.  My daughter had braces on the top and bottom teeth for just over a year to correct an under bite. Now she has almost perfect looking teeth. Not perfect because she is still waiting for one or two adult teeth to come in, but pretty darn close if you ask me.

My dilemma is our insurance does not cover any orthodontics. We have to pay for it all out of pocket and of course the dentist is already pushing for Phase 2.

I had braces when I was younger and want my children to have nice teeth, but I don't feel they need to be perfect. I always thought perfectly straight teeth looked a bit fake - just look at Ryan Seacrest (sorry I'm not a fan).

Not to mention, the orthodontist runs a business to make money, and of course they are going to recommend more work done. It means more money for them hence keeping themselves in business and there is nothing wrong with that.

So my question is, have any of you felt pressured to get work done simply to improve your child's appearance? What is your opinion on the whole orthodontics issue? Have you heard of legitimate reasons for getting Phase 2?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Get Organized for a Less Stressful Move

This past weekend I helped my sister and her husband move. They are moving in with his family while they look for a new home.

One thing I've learned from moving family members and friends over the years is that you need to have a plan.

Start Packing Early
As soon as you find out you will be moving start packing. Anything not used on a regular basis gets put in a box.  Packing up a whole house is a monstrous task that takes a lot of time.

Sort Your Stuff
Put all like items together whenever possible. Try to avoid boxes full of random stuff. It will take you twice as long to unpack if your personal belongs are just thrown randomly in boxes.  Sort by room is the easiest way. Preferably pack items that will all go into the same room in your new place together, so you can label the box "Kitchen", "Master Bedroom", "Guest Bathroom", etc.  The goal is to make it easier to unpack as well as to pack up your current home.

Label, Label, Label
In addition to labeling what is located inside your boxes, it's really helpful to write where that box should go. For example, mark boxes for "storage", "Becky's Room", "Upstairs Bathroom", or "Living Room". This small step will help everyone. Who wants their moving helpers asking you non stop "Where does this go?".

Have Lots of Help
Come moving day get as many people to help you move as possible. If you have the money hire movers and a moving truck. A dolly and or a hand cart are really helpful to have on hand especially for moving dressers, shelves, buffets, and more.

Don't rule out kids helping to move - well behaved ones that is. I say well-behaved ones because it will be more stressful having to deal with unruly or bored kids. Elementary school aged or older can be quite helpful. They can carry lighter items such as bags of clothes, bedding, and small boxes.

When possible, arrange for a sitter for babies and young children who could easily get under foot and possibly hurt.  If you must bring kids and they aren't able to help make sure they bring a toy to keep them occupied. This is the perfect time for a portable gaming system or dvd player.

Let There Be Food
Hopefully lots of people will be helping move your stuff to your new home. These people are going to be working hard and are going to work up an appetite. Be sure to offer plenty to drink, especially  water. Also some food that will curb their appetite such as pizza or fried chicken. The reason for this is it's convenient, you won't need to stop working to cook, plus it's not terribly expensive.

Once your personal belongings are all boxed up, labeled, and ready to go. Start moving boxes to storage, if you can, or designate a spot out of the way if possible.

If your home is currently on the market and potential buyers are touring your home, seriously consider renting a storage unit or pod.  You will want to stage your home to make it look as big, open and bright as possible. Remove almost all your personal belongings. Buyers need to envision themselves living in your home to buy it.

Only leave the essential items you need to live and a few items to stage the home. Pack up all your collectibles, family photos, most of the kids' toys, and non essential kitchen items. Remember that items in storage aren't gone forever. If you really need an item you can always go get it.

A little planning ahead of time will cut some of the stress of moving. It will be easier to find something when you need it. It will be easier for your moving helpers because they won't have to ask lots of questions. It should make your move go a little smoother and the alternative.