Archive for May, 2012

How to pick the healthiest frozen treats?

Everybody wants something cold to eat during the hot, humid months of summer but what is the healthiest choice?

The Huffington Post put together a photo slideshow of many of the frozen treat options to give you the up and downsides.

For example, you may think they new Greek Yogurt “ice cream” would be better for you but not tremendously especially if you eat a large portion of it.

Also while the all-fruit ice pop may sound healthy often there are often other ingredients listed first and can be high in calories.

After clicking through it seems like sorbet may be the best choice instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt.

What are you favorite frozen treats to serve the kids? How did they stand up in the rankings?

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What are your favorite fun learning sites for summer?

While I want my kids to have a relaxing fun summer, there is plenty of downtime where they can take 30 minutes a day to work on some skills.

For example, I want them both to improve on their touch typing. I also want Walsh to be faster at his math facts. He passed all the multiplication math facts tests but he figures them out instead of knowing them by memory. (He hates rote memory activities.)

I asked parents on the Momania Facebook page to recommend some of their favorite sites. And they came up with some great ones. Here are what they suggested. Please tell us your favorites.

For typing: One mom shared this very fun touch typing site from the BBC called Dance Mat Typing. Talking animals guide the kids through four levels 12 stages of touch typing. They show you how to use the home keys and the correct finger for each key. I think my kids will think this if fun and will accomplish want I want — faster typing and using the right fingers!

For rote math skills like …

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Should remedial classes be dumped from colleges? Are the placement tests wrong?

As the cost of college soars and students are left without degrees but lots of debt, the effectiveness of remedial classes is being closely examined.

The Associated Press reports that each year, an estimated 1.7 million U.S. college students are steered to remedial classes to catch them up and prepare them for regular coursework.  The students are paying regular prices for these classes but aren’t getting credit and often don’t graduate at all.

Also in some cases, the students shouldn’t even be in the classes. Some say the placement tests are flawed and colleges would do better placing by high school records.

From the Associated Press: (I bolded the good stuff.)

“Simply putting (students) in three levels of remedial math is really taking their money and time with no hope of success,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America.”

“The group’s research shows just 1 in 10 remedial students graduate from community colleges within three years and a little more than a …

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Honor students who works to support sibs jailed for missing school

Filed under “where is the common sense?,” a judge has sentenced a 17-year-old honor student who is also working to support her siblings to a night in jail and to pay a $100 file.

From The Huffington Post:

“Diane Tran, a 17-year-old honor student in Texas, was forced to spend the night in jail last week after missing too many classes, KHOU-11’s Sherry Williams reports.”

“The Willis High School junior, who helps support two siblings, has both a full time and part-time job. She said that she’s often too tired to go to school.”

” ‘She goes from job to job from school,” Devin Hill, one of Tran’s classmates, told KHOU-11. “She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework.’ “

“In an interview with KHOU-11, Tran said she takes AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses. Her parents divorced and no longer live near her, so she lives with the family that owns the wedding venue where she works on weekends.”

“According to Texas law, if a student …

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Do you take the hurricane vacation insurance?

Bunches of friends were at the beach this weekend when Tropical Storm Beryl dumped rain and apparently a lot of blowing sand on families trying to enjoy the beach.

From the AP:

“SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The remains of Tropical Storm Beryl soaked beach vacations and some Memorial Day remembrance services in southern Georgia and northern Florida on Monday and knocked out power to tens of thousands, though emergency officials said it hasn’t brought any major damage.”

“The storm made landfall just after midnight Monday near Jacksonville Beach in Florida with near-hurricane-strength winds of 70 mph (113 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center. Sustained winds had died down to about 35 mph (55 kph), leading forecasters to downgrade the storm to a tropical depression and cancel all warnings and watches less than 11 hours after it made land….”

Beryl is just the start of Hurricane season on the Atlantic coast, which runs from May 15 to Nov. 30, and I am wondering how concerned are …

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Do you now have desk dump all over your house?

This is one of the many piles of school work now decorating my house.

This is one of the many piles of school work now decorating my house.

Another pile has formed on the coffee table in the family room.

Another pile has formed on the coffee table in the family room.

During the last three days the kids have been bringing home all their old papers and projects from school. The result is piles of “desk dump” all over my house.

Usually when they bring home their Friday folders I look through the stuff and then put the work in a sliding drawer. Each child has a drawer. At the end of the year I sort though and pull out the cutest stuff to save. But the last few days the work is coming home in such volumes that I haven’t had a chance to throw it in the drawer.

Have your kids brought home tons of papers and projects this week? Do you have piles around the house? Where does it eventually end up? How much of it will you save?

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What are your last-day-of-school traditions?

A mom sent me a note wanting me to ask what are your traditions for the last day of school? She said her mom would always take them out to lunch on the last day because they usually only went a half day.

I’ve been trying to think of something great for us to do. My 11-year-old has been invited to an end-of-fifth-grade pool party up the street. It’s just for fifth graders so the other two are two are not invited. We may swim at home or just hang out. Maybe we’ll go out to dinner? Movie night? I don’t know.

Some of the fifth graders are planning to go to this arcade/laser tag place but that’s not getting me excited. I’m working three different class parties the day before school gets out so I’m just kind of feeling pooped in general.

What are your fun plans for the last day of school? Give us some idea for great traditions to start with our kids. (I am really drawing a blank on this.)

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Kids don’t have to be hungry when school is out! Resources to find free breakfasts and lunches in your area

For literally millions of U.S. kids, summer break from school means hunger. More than 20 million children get free or reduced-price lunches on an average school day but only 6 out of 7 access free summer meals that they are qualified to receive, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Georgia, the federal government and many local charities offer summer food programs for kids so they don’t have to be hungry when they are not in school. I wanted to highlight some of the programs available to families in Georgia.

But first a few stats on hungry children in America.

From Share our Strength’s website:

  • “More than 16 million children in America are at risk of hunger. That’s more than 1 in 5.
  • 15.7 million children in America live in poverty.
  • 18.6 million children benefit from SNAP (food stamps).
  • Over 20 million children get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day.
  • Only 10.5 million children get a free or …

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Does your school name the next teacher now or later?

Last week all our buddies from our old school in Gwinnett were announcing on Facebook their teachers for next year. Other friends who are also at Gwinnett schools just minutes away came on to complain that they won’t find out their teachers until like two days before school.

I think it’s very interesting that some schools decide to announce ahead of time and other schools wait until the last minute.

Often schools say they won’t announce because they don’t know all their enrollment numbers and may have to make last-minute moves to even class sizes out but I don’t think that’s the main reason. I think they don’t want to hear parents complain and have to deal with requests to move kids. I think it takes a confident principal to release the names at the end of the school year.

However, I think it’s actually very good for students to know ahead of time who they are getting for the next year. (Our school won’t release until the Thursday before school starts.)

One teacher friend, who …

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Should kids play football with the possibility of concussion/brain injuries?

The AJC’s Steve Hummer wrote a piece on Sunday looking at the heated debate about whether it is safe for kids and teenagers to play football.

From the AJC:

“Hundreds of former players — their numbers seemingly swelling by the week — are suing the NFL. They say the league mishandled their head injuries, leaving them with long-term brain damage.”

“Within just the past month, two former pros, Junior Seau and Ray Easterling, have committed suicide. Had their minds been shorted out by football? Were they martyrs to our lust for violent sport?”

“The answers to those questions could fundamentally impact America’s chosen game.”

“At the household level, it comes down to one intimate question:”

“Should my child play football?”

“The question has been asked by worried parents since Pop Warner was coaching the single wing and is being posed even more so now here in the Age of Concussion Angst.”

” ‘I just got off the phone with an old friend whose son is starting ninth grade spring football …

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