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  • Last Minute Valentine’s Day Parfait

    It’s the day before Valentine’s Day.  Once again, we’ve waited until the last minute to prepare for the class party.  Trust me, been there, done that.

     

    Here are some guilt-free, healthful snacks that you can easily prepare for your child’s class party.

     

    I always feel guilty about bringing in sugary snacks or allergen prone treats.  My daughter developed a red dye allergy when she was in the third grade which made me extremely cautious about serving foods with potential allergens.  

     

    Yogurt Parfait

     

    This was the first treat that I made for my daughter’s class after discovering her allergy. I never loved the idea of overloading kids with candy then leaving them in school for the remainder of the day with the expectation that they would be capable of paying attention, concentrating in class and sitting still.  Sounds like a set-up for failure, right? I agree.

     

    As long as foods look and taste good, kids tend not to even think about the more traditional treats, like candy and cupcakes.  The key here is to be creative and let allow them to help if time allows. The class teacher will love you for it. I was class mom for each of my daughters classes from Kindergarten through Fifth grade. (more…)

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  • I Promise School Promises New Future for Akron

    Remember July? It seems so long ago. Well, something really big happened last month just in time for some great back-to-school news! On July 30th, LeBron James’ I Promise School opened in his hometown of Akron, Ohio to 240 students for the first time ever. For a long time, the school started out as an unattainable dream. When he was younger, LeBron missed 83 days of 4th grade. His mother, Gloria, struggled to find a steady job for her and young LeBron, which denied him the security and stability he needed to receive as a growing child. He told the Los Angeles Times that he never understood the importance of education and how it can help break already existing poverty cycles. James wants the I Promise School to guarantee resources and opportunities for the students that he didn’t have growing up. He hopes that his school will provide the kids of Akron a bright and successful future.  

     

    HOW THE I PROMISE SCHOOL WAS STARTED

    The staff of the LeBron James Family Foundation had a brainstorming session where James and executive director Michele Campbell discussed how to better involve their foundation in the community in Akron. Campbell suggested that opening a school could work, but James wondered why that wasn’t already happening. Campbell reminded him that the foundation didn’t have enough resources to start that big of a project, however, James told her to start it anyway. James told CNN “We want every kid to walk through this school to be inspired, to come away with something”.

     

    WHAT I PROMISE IS

     

    I Promise is a public school in Akron, Ohio for grades K-12. James chose it to be public rather than a charter or private because he believes that improving the public schools in inner-city Akron will help the city as a whole grow and develop. I Promise has an extended school day that goes from 9 to 5 every day, and includes an extended school year with a summer program. The extended hours ensure that the students are getting the best education they can, while also making sure that they have a safe place to play and learn during the typical “after school hours”.

     

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO ATTEND I PROMISE

     

    I Promise School’s first ever students are 240 randomly selected 3rd and 4th graders who are deemed at risk by the Akron board of education. On average, these kids are two reading levels below their peers. With I Promise’s unconventional hours of operation, they are giving this at-risk-youth a chance to advance and succeed with their academics. By 2022, James says that the school will be able to fully educate K-8th graders.

     

    HOW I PROMISE IS GETTING ITS FUNDING

     

    Akron District Treasurer Ryan Pendleton spoke to the Akron Beacon Journal about the funds I Promise is getting. This year, the Akron Public School system, with the LeBron James Family Foundation, is spending $2.9 million of their general fund on I Promise. Come 5 years, it is expected that $8.1 million will be invested from the school district into I Promise. And that’s exactly how Akron sees it. Pendleton suggests that I Promise will be a long-term investment for the city of Akron and its students. The LeBron James Family Foundation will also be meeting the needs for the programs and activities that the school offers to its students.

     

    WHAT I PROMISE OFFERS

     

    The school is STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) based, and with the partnership of James and the University of Akron, will guarantee all graduating seniors a full ride to the institution (Time Money). That’s huge!!! I don’t think this is getting the attention it deserves. This is free tuition to a public university with lots of opportunities. College is already so expensive as it is, and not everyone is fortunate enough to afford it, but with this guarantee, the I Promise students will be getting a higher education, no ifs, ands, or buts.

     

    The school also provides free healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to its students. James understands that healthy foods are more expensive and not as accessible in low-income areas. The school also offers free bicycles and helmets for all students. When James, was young, he used to ride his bike to get out of the not so safe areas of Akron. He wanted each of his students to have the same protection that he felt with his bike. Counseling services are provided on campus which will help the students learn different coping skills (specifically with trauma), and career services and GED classes for the parents. Principal Brandi Davis says: “We are going to be that groundbreaking school that will be a nationally recognized model for urban and public school excellence, […] We are letting people know that it is about true wraparound support. True family integration, true compassion.”

     

    I Promise seems like it will be a great addition to the city of Akron and will ensure that its students are prepared academically to take on the world. Congratulations, King James. You have taken an unattainable dream and turned it into a life-changing reality. I promise that your school will be everything you’ve dreamed it would be.

     

    Additional Sources on I Promise School:

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  • First Year of Feeding

    Are you wondering when you can start your baby on more interesting foods? Look no further! We have all your answers right here in a month-by-month guide starting at breast milk/formula and ending in mac and cheese!

    Birth – 4 months

    Only feed your baby breast milk or formula – NO solid food at this time!

    Breast milk

    See “Breastfeeding Battle” to see how to know if your baby is getting enough milk.

    Formula

    A simple rule to follow for the first 4-6 months, according to babycenter.com is to give your baby 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight. Therefore; if your baby is 6 pounds – you give about 15 ounces of formula in one 24-hour day. If your baby weighs 10 pounds – give them 25 ounces in the day, etc.

    Signs your baby is hungry

    Lip smacking, rooting (turning towards you), or putting hands to mouth.

    Your babies hungriest times take place during growth spurts, which occur during 10-14 days after birth, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months.

    Signs your baby is overfed

    Vomiting after feeding (spitting up is completely normal, but vomiting is not), tummy pain, drawing legs up, or a tense tummy.

    If your baby is crying or whimpering – try changing their diaper, burping them, or some snuggle time before turning to a bottle.

    4 – 6 months

    Signs your baby is ready for solid food

    Can hold head up, sits upright in a high chair, doubled birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds.

    What to feed?

    Pureed vegetables, pureed fruit, pureed meat, semi-liquid cereal, or small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (no cows milk until 12 months). Begin with 1 teaspoon of food mixed in with 4-5 teaspoons of breast milk or formula. Increase to 1 tablespoon of food with breast milk or formula gradually thickening the mixture over time. Wait 2-3 days in between foods so that you are offering new foods one at a time.

    6 – 8 months

    Signs your baby is ready for solid food

    Same as 4-6 months.

    What to feed?

    Same as months 4-6 plus strained fruits, strained vegetables, pureed tofu, pureed legumes. Begin with 1 teaspoon fruit or vegetables gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings or 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal in 2 or 3 feedings. Again, wait 2-3 days in between new foods to watch for signs of allergy.

    8 – 10 months

    Signs your baby is ready for finger foods

    Can pick up objects with thumb and forefinger, can transfer items from one hand to the other, puts things in mouth and can move jaw in a chewing motion.

    What to feed?

    Same as 6-8 months plus small amounts of pasteurized cheese, cottage cheese, mashed vegetables, mashed fruits, small bits of o-shaped cereal, scrambled eggs, pasta, small bits of meat and beans. ¼ – ¼ cup of dairy, ¾ – 1 cup of fruit or vegetables, 3-4 tablespoons of protein-rich food. Wait 2-3 days between new foods.

    10 – 12 months

    Signs your baby is ready for other solid foods

    Swallows food easily, has more teeth, doesn’t push food out of mouth and tries to use a spoon.

    What to feed?

    Same as 8-10 months plus bite sized pieces of fruits, vegetables, and combo foods like mac and cheese. ⅓ cup dairy, ⅛ – ¼ cup combo foods. Wait 2-3 days between new foods.

     

    Happy Feeding!!

     

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  • Family Friendly Summer Blockbusters

    Going to the movie theater with your family is always a big part of summer vacation. When it’s a rainy day, the next best solution is to always go see a movie. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out which movies are family-friendly and which aren’t. You think you have a pretty good idea, but at the same time, you’re lost. You want to pick a movie that both you and the kids will enjoy. Here are some of my recommendations for movies the whole family will love.

    Won’t You Be My Neighbor

    The anticipated documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor is about the life and work of Fred Rogers, aka famed children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers. Common Sense Media says that it’s perfect for mostly older kids: “although the TV series is intended for preschoolers, this documentary is better for older viewers who remember the show but can handle the film’s somewhat heavier themes and occasional strong language” (Common Sense Media), and Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 99% score. The film is open in select theaters on June 8th.

     

    The Incredibles 2

    The Incredibles 2 is another long-awaited chapter in the Disney-Pixar universe. It opened in theaters on June 15th, and Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 94% score. The film continues the journey of the Parr family as they adjust to balancing normalcy, as well as being superheroes. Beware of some violence, for it is a superhero movie. Common Sense Media says that it is perfect for all ages.

     

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    It’s another summer of sequels with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This one will be in theaters on June 22nd and picks up four years after Jurassic World left off. This time, the two leads have to journey to a distant island to save a fallen race of dinosaurs. This film is probably better for tweens and teens, as it is much more violent and intense than the original Jurassic Park series. Rotten Tomatoes has already given it a 60%.

     

    Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade is Bo Burnham’s cinematic directorial debut. The film is about a quiet 13-year-old who is dealing with the end of the eighth grade and the start of high school. It’s a comedy-drama that deals with heavy topics like self-acceptance and fitting in. It’s highly anticipated and Rotten Tomatoes has already given it a 100% before it’s July 13th release. Best suited for older kids and teenagers.

     

    Christopher Robin

    Christopher Robin is about the boy from the hundred acres woods in his adulthood. In this film, Winnie the Pooh helps the adult Robin rediscover the joys of childhood. Common Sense Media says that this film is best for kids and tweens, but I think that all ages will enjoy it. In theaters August 3rd.

     

    Happy movie going!

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