Time for a Scavenger Hunt

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There is no better time to go on a scavenger hunt than right now.  Our RVA Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to spend a weekend and to have fun as a family! Make it a contest, collect points, and share awesome pictures! Most of all HAVE FUN! 

Want to print your list and take it with you? Print one for each family member and check off items as you go. Not enough time to do a big scavenger hunt? No problem! You can also set challenges up for family and try to get more and more points every time your family heads out on an adventure. For a downloadable and printable version, click on the link below! 

RVA Scavenger Hunt

Thanksgiving at Home

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For so many of us, this Thanksgiving season looks a little different.  From not being able to travel to shifting our shopping experiences online there are still ways we can create traditions for our families and have a great time while doing it.

 

Celebrating Indoors

 

Have a Thanksgiving Brunch

Who says that Thanksgiving celebrations need to be for dinner?  From waffles and mimosas to roasted sweet potatoes, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner can easily be converted into a tasty brunch.  Breads, muffins, and pies – perfect!  Our family has had Thanksgiving breakfast for years and you can find some great breakfast and brunch recipes that are perfect for your celebration here.

Thanksgiving Brunch

Have a Bake-Off

Are you a fan of baking and cooking contest shows? Our family is too.  A great way to spend an afternoon with some very tasty results! As a family, agree to the terms of the contest.  Try to use the ingredients you have.  Be creative. Do you have to make a chicken sound every time you crack an egg? Is there a weird walk you do when you have to get an ingredient you have forgotten? What recipes are your favorites? If your kiddos are little, pair up and help them pick their favorites.  Now go get baking!

kids baking

Create a Blessing Jar 

This is an activity that lasts all year long and one of my favorite activities of the holiday season.  Every year our family writes blessings for each family member that they can use all year long.  To create a festive decoration that can be used throughout the holiday season.  Use different colored paper for each family member that matches the colors that you are using to decorate your home.  Throughout the season, each person writes words of congratulations and praise for their family members and places those blessings in the jar.  Once the holiday season is over, your blessing jar should be ready for the new year.  Any time you or someone in the family needs a pick me up, they can pull a note from the jar that someone has left specifically for them! 

 

Outdoor Activities

Get out and Hike! 

Richmond has some really wonderful places to explore. From Maymont Park, to the Canal Walk and Brown’s Island there are so many things to see.  Try to look at each location as if you were a tourist and this is the first time you are seeing each place.  It’s amazing what new things you will be able to find!

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

There is no better time to go on a scavenger hunt than right now. See new sites, take great pictures! Our RVA Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to spend a weekend and to have fun as a family! Make it a contest, collect points, and create great memories! Most of all HAVE FUN! 

Richmond VA

 

Go Look at the Christmas Lights

Looking at the Tacky Lights is a Richmond Tradition! And its that time of year to load the kiddos up into the car and have a great night.  With it getting dark earlier, head out with enough time to see some great neighborhoods and still get home in time for the kids to go to bed.  

You can use a simple shower caddy to create a snack station that will not only hold hot chocolate, but snacks, popcorn and even a bag to hold the trash. 

Snack Box

There are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer!

Thanksgiving is often a time when we physically show our gratitude to our greater community.  There are still plenty of ways to volunteer – with just a pinch of creativity! 

Make a gift basket for a Neighbor

What a great way to bring a smile to someone’s face! Do you have a basket? Fill it with the goodies that you made during your competition. Throw in some beverages and some other extra snacks, and it’s a great way to show your neighbors how much you care. 

Food Basket

 

You can still help your favorite Non-Profit! 

Our non-profits are still running and doing great things in Richmond! There are plenty of ways to still help them out.  Do they have a published Amazon Wish List? Are there any supplies that they need?  

You can also support the staff that keeps the non-profit running! They often work behind the scenes. Send them baked goods or send them lunch or a treat basket! They will surely thank you! 

Make Blessings Bags

Blessing Bags look different this year! Don’t forget the gloves, masks and hand sanitizer.  Make sure all of the sanitized items are packed separate from any food items. 

 

Relax and have fun!

Anything goes this year! Wear your pajamas all day! Have a movie marathon. Relax and enjoy the snacks.  Most of all have fun together – no need to dress up to spend the best days with our favorite people. 

Girls Relaxing

Hey Kitten, let’s talk about your kitten!

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Ok girls, let’s be honest here! Outside of your annual with your gynecologist, how much thought do you put into your vaginal health? The vagina, called yoni in Sanskrit, loosely translated to mean “sacred space”. If you think about it, it really is a sacred space. A place where life begins. A place of great pleasure. A reminder of womanhood. So why are we talking about our sacred space? Because I want you to put as much care into your sacred space as you do other routines of your self-care. Let me offer you a few ideas. 

Vajacial

A vajacial is exactly what it sounds like, a facial for your V. Why? The same reason you get a facial, to treat acne, ingrown hairs, hyperpigmentation, and because it feels good. A vajacial typically runs $85 to $150 at most day spas and should only be performed by a licensed Aesthetician (do not be afraid to ask about credentials). Usually, it is the same process as a facial, a pre-cleanse, a deeper cleanse, steam and exfoliation, extractions, mask, toner, serum (machines like high frequency, or ultrasonic), and moisturizer. Vajacials are especially popular with ladies who receive Brazilian waxes to treat or prevent ingrown hairs. It is also really popular in summer with the bicyclists to help with acne from sweating bike seats. However you do not need a reason, just try it because it feels good! 

Vajacial

Yoni Steam AKA V Steam

Steaming your vagina may sound scary, but it feels like steaming anything else. The steam is relaxing and dilates the pores allowing the body to sweat and tighten. Our instinct when we are sick is to put on a pot of water and inhale the steam. Our instinct after a workout is to sit in a steam room and soothe our achy muscles. When we receive a facial the Aesthetician steams our face prior to extractions to loosen the sebum to cleanse them from our pores. Doesn’t it make perfect sense to cleanse out this amazing body part that has menstrual cycles and gives birth to babies? Although this service is newly popular in America, women in South Africa and Thailand knew this secret for better sex, less painful periods, and increased fertility many years earlier, and this is a normal part of their routine, just as much as brushing your teeth is for you. The process usually starts with an intake form to ensure you are not contraindicated to receive the service. Then once cleared you will be told to wear a robe or a kimono with nothing underneath. You will then sit on a seat that looks similar to a toilet seat with a steaming pot underneath. The herbal blends are usually targeted to treat specific problems (infertility, painful periods, flora imbalance). Some popular herbs usually used are rosemary, mugwort, turmeric, dandelion, and chamomile. You usually sit above the steaming pot allowing your vagina to soak in the steam for 20 to 60 minutes. This service usually costs $45 to $125 at most spas. 

 

Probiotics or Kombucha

Probiotics are good bacteria in a capsule to balance our bacteria in our intestines, however, they also help balance the good bacteria in our vaginas as well. Out of whack vaginal flora leads to yeast or bacterial infections, so be proactive and prevent these before they start. Probiotics can be purchased at most vitamin shops and should be refrigerated and used before their expiration date. Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains good bacteria, for those who would rather drink their good bacteria VS a gel cap. Kombucha is a distinct taste though, most either love it or hate it. Although I enjoy it, many find the vinegary taste off-putting in which case capsule probiotics may be a better fit. 

kombucha

Tea Tree Oil 

This old remedy is nature’s best-kept secret. Tea tree oil can literally be rubbed inside your vagina and clear up a yeast infection within hours, not days. Tea tree oil is a powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and is 100% safe to be used directly on the skin, without dilution. The fact that it smells nice is a bonus. Keep in mind, you cannot ingest it, only use 100% pure tea tree essential oil from a trusted source. At first symptoms of a yeast infection, rub a few drops directly inside the vagina using clean hands. There is a bit of a tingle, this means it’s working and will subside quickly, and within hours the infection will go away. Tea tree essential oil can usually be purchased for approximately $25 to $50 and goes a long way since you only use a few drops at a time. 

Take care of your sacred temples ladies! 

 

You can do hard things: Fitness doesn’t have to be awful

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Hey mama! You can do hard things.  Easy to master in a meme, so much more difficult to do in real life.  I think we can all agree that this is truly a season of hard times, and sometimes it is hard to know when to give in and when to keep on going.

Especially when it is so much easier to quit.

Don’t.

Like most of us in the beginning of quarantine, I developed some habits that were not very healthy.  For starters, I drank far to many energy drinks. I just felt like I needed the energy not only to work but to help 3 very energetic boys navigate the waters that were strange to all of us. I wasn’t sleeping and my anxiety was through the roof. I had no idea what I could do to through the day some days – I know I am far from alone.

In July of this year I thought, enough is enough.  I need to get all of this under control.  In a year where nothing seemed controllable, I was going to take something I could control and stick to it.  I started working out. I know, I know that doesn’t seem like a huge thing to cling to in terms of control – but I stuck to it – even when I didn’t see results.

In my younger years, I was a professional athlete and even though logically I knew that my body was in capable of performing like it used to, somewhere my subconscious expected changes overnight. When they didn’t come, I was devastated. I really wanted to quit.  In my teens, I trained daily.  I was a figure skater, which meant on days that I did not have school I skated 3 times a day every day and days when I did usually twice a day.  Yes, even Christmas. Yes, even any other day you can imagine. I had ice shows every Friday and often several a day on the Holidays – Christmas, New Year’s, etc.  I was used to following a program and getting results.  I wasn’t used to a forty something year old body telling me to slow down and listen to it.  I am very lucky to have trainer’s that listened to me and we came up with an approach that works for me, and the fact that I am now pretty much at home with the boys all day every day.

Water

I drink half of my body weight in water every day – or a gallon – sometimes a little more. It depends on the intensity of my workout and the temps, humidity etc.  I have not only found that the water helps me feel energized, but it also helps me have less breakouts – which of course are prevalent right now with the amount of mask wearing we are all doing.  I also never realized how dehydrated I really was until I started drinking more water.  I find myself craving water – I mean what? Water is far, far from being a favorite beverage of mine.

drink more water

See your Doctor

I thought I was doing everything right.  I was eating Keto, I was working out, I was drinking water – why wasn’t I getting the results that I wanted.  I went to my doctor to find out, and when the first one brushed me off, I went to another one. She dug deep and I got answers.  For someone who is relatively bigger, I am pretty healthy.  I have low cholesterol, I have a good A1C, I have great blood pressure and a great resting Heart Rate – all the things that you worry about with a person my size.  I even have turned the tides on the anemia that I have lived with for the last 11 years and my blood is finally doing what it is supposed to do. Amazing right? So, what gives – I wasn’t eating right for me.  My doctor has hooked me up with a nutritionist and things are now headed in the direction I am looking to go. If you aren’t getting the answers you are looking for, keep asking until someone listens to you.  It may be hard and you may want to give up, but keep going until you get the answers you need to make the decisions about your health that you are looking for.

overnight oats

Get a trainer.

For me, this was a crucial piece of the puzzle. As an athlete, I thought I pretty much knew everything there was to know about training.  Except I’m not a figure skater any more, and the exercises are also ridiculously impractical – I mean I am pretty sure that while stretching is great, I no longer need my foot over my head – in fact years of stretching in that manner could create other injuries if I am not careful.  Having a trainer has helped me learn the exercises for my body the right way – not the get ‘er done way, but the way they are supposed to be done to prevent injury.  While skating my seem graceful, there are so many ungraceful attempts at a move before you even come close to getting it right – and a lot of injuries.  I am happy to stay injury free thank you and I am glad my trainer is there to guide me.  Working with a coach comes naturally to me, and they have expertise that I certainly don’t have and can see what I can’t in a workout.

My trainer also listened to me.  When I first began training, I was sore all the time and I mean all the time. I thought this was normal – I mean I am getting older after all. While some soreness is common, it is not the norm.  Had I not discussed this with her, I may have given up.  I wasn’t seeing results; I was sore all the time and I was eating a restrictive diet.  No fun.

We sat down and not only looked at my ability level, but my level of strength, endurance and agility and the most important thing…

How would this fit into my daily life?

It is important to keep any change sustainable.  Could I legitimately keep up workouts if I were constantly sore and tired? Of course not.  What works for me is mini workouts.  Everyday I walk 20 mins and do 2 to 4 exercises that will build my strength and endurance. The exercises that my trainer crafted for me were based on my current skill level and the equipment I already have at home – no need to buy anything special.

yoga

For me, the goal was fitness.

Your goal could be whatever you make it.

Richmond Mom Collective often receives requests for sponsored posts. We only recommend products and services that we have tried ourselves and believe are a good fit for our community. This post is a sponsored post by The Well Personal Fitness. The thoughts and feelings expressed are our own.

Best Ever Pumpkin Cream Cupcakes!

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Love all the tastes of fall? Are you a pumpkin fan? What better way to celebrate fall than with a wonderful fall dessert. Not only are these cupcakes (because they are obviously too pretty to be a muffin) beautiful, but they are so good you will have trouble eating only one. Whether you eat these delights as a muffin or a cupcake, they are sure to be a big hit with your entire family. These treats really are the best ever pumpkin cream cupcakes! 

Before you get started:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Get out your mini cupcake pan 

spice cake ingredients

Ingredients:

1pkg Spice Cake Mix

1pkg (3.4 oz) French Vanilla instant pudding

1pkg (8 oz) cream cheese – softened 

1 can pumpkin

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 small tub dairy whipped topping

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

To make the cupcakes:

Prepare the spice cake mix as directed on the package.  Try not to lick the spoon. Add dry pudding mix and pumpkin and mix well. Spoon mixture into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Again, don’t lick the spoon! 

Next, beat the cream cheese until creamy.  Blend in the sugar and egg, making sure the consistency remains thick and velvety. Spoon over the batter making sure to swirl into the mixture with a small spoon. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick into the center comes out clean. Let your wonderful cupcakes cool before adding the topping.  While the topping is optional, they are so delicious with it. 

Bake

To make the topping: 

Stir your ground nutmeg into the cool whip keeping it fluffy. Spread the topping over your cooled muffins. Be sure to wait until your cupcakes are cool so that the topping does not melt and remains fluffy on top. 

Six Ideas to Help with Virtual Fatigue

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Virtual learning challenges everyone.  The teachers are doing their best to connect with their kids through a computer.  Kids are bored, frustrated, and struggling.  And they want to see their friends.  Parents are torn between having to work or staying home to help their kids, and straining the relationship with their kids because they are frustrated too.  Then there’s the school system, individual schools, school boards making decisions about the next steps.  Parents are concerned and sometimes feel uninformed.  Classrooms are closing due to COVID exposure, upending routines. Everyone is stressed out and unsure of what is coming next.  Our partner, Direct Learning Solutions, has come up with 6 tips and tricks that can help soothe the savage beast that virtual learning has become.

Virtual learning

Start the day right! 

Have your child take a few minutes before settling in front of the computer to warm up.  Bend over and touch your toes and just hang out there for 30 seconds, breathing in and out. As you come back up slowly, stretch your arms out to the side, so when you are completely upright, you are making a T with your arms and body.  Do 10 arm circles, forward and back, then raise your arms up trying to touch the ceiling.  Get on those tippy toes!  

Come back down and circle your head to the right 5 times and then to the left.  Shrug your shoulders up and down 5 times.  Rub your hands together really fast until they are warm then place them gently over your eyes to relax them.  This little bit of exercise will settle your child down, get the blood flowing, and keep them from fidgeting for a bit.

Look for signs of fatigue

If you see your kid starting to slump, fidget or fall asleep, it is time for a little bit of chair stretching.  Have them stick their legs straight out in front of them and do ankle circles and scissor kicks, and put their arms out to the side and do more arm circles.  Check to see that their feet are touching the floor or a box or milk crate.  Getting input through the feet is very important for proper posture.  Put a pillow behind their back so they are sitting forward in their chair.

Good Posture

Cut Out Distractions

Have them help decorate a tri-fold cardboard stand.  Not only will this create a natural barrier to distractions, but they can also put up their schedule, a calendar, pictures of their friends, and the things they love.  You can write a daily note for them to read when they start their day.

Virtual Learning

Ask for Help

Talk with friends, neighbors, and parents of your children’s friends. Many families are forming pods of 4-6 children with families that adhere to similar social distancing guidelines. You also don’t have to go it alone. There are companies that provide educated and trained facilitators to come into your home and work with the kids.  This mitigates the frustration between parent and child.  This allows you to work, whether from home or outside the home, and takes the burden off of your relationship with your kids.  When looking for the right fit, make sure that the facilitators not only have the educational experience that your family/pod is looking for, but is also CPR/First Aid certified and thoroughly background checked. 

Virtual Play Dates

We all dislike that our connections to the outside world have been narrowed down to Zoom videos.  Instead of an in-person playdate, set up a Zoom playdate!  Two kids, each with a deck of cards playing WAR!  Before play, have mom or dad shuffle the cards.  You have to pick the first 20 from the deck.  No cheating!  

Hold the 20 cards in your hands so the other person can see the backs.  Count to three and flip a chosen card to face the computer.  The kid with the highest card wins that round.  Continue until there is a clear winner, who is out, or nearly out, of cards.  To play the next round, simply choose the next 20 cards from the top of your deck.

Virtual Learning Centers

Another option is to send your kiddo to a virtual learning center.  What is a virtual learning center? A virtual learning center is a safe space that not only can help with your child’s virtual learning space but can help with other needs so that they can get their wiggles out all in a safe environment.  

Direct Learning Solutions offers virtual learning centers by partnering with some of the most FUN locations throughout the Richmond area.  With locations in Chesterfield (partnering with Launch), Richmond City (SCOR), and Henrico (Surge), Direct Learning Solutions has a location that is near most of our homes or places of work and each is convenient to get to. In a Direct Learning Solutions Virtual Learning Center children are spread throughout the facility at a safe distance, with supervision and assistance with virtual learning from our facilitators, and have access to the needed physical outlets with equipment that is sanitized throughout the day. Their centers also offer puzzles, coloring books, and jump ropes, etc. (They want to make sure our kiddos are safe so not everyone will be on equipment at once).  

 

The Richmond Mom Collective often receives receives requests for sponsored posts. We only recommend products and services that we believe to be a good fit for our community. This post is sponsored by Direct Learning Solutions. The thoughts and feelings expressed are our own.

You need more daisies this season!

Moms let’s face it, by baby number two we are all feeling a little saggy around the eyes, dull and plain when we look in the mirror, and our dimples have become “laugh lines.” People say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but in my world, daisies are! You need more daisies this season. 

You need more Daisies

Daisy extract is twice as effective as a natural skin brightener than arbutin.

What is daisy extract? Daisy extract is the non-toxic extract of the daisy flower. Like arbutin, daisy extract inhibits the forming of extra melanin – but with a brighter result. By reducing the forming of melanin, it is a great go-to ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation, and it does not require a prescription. 

Daisy is an antioxidant

It fights free radical damage, keeping away those fine lines, and preventing further damage.  Yet another reason you need more daisies in your life. 

Daisy

Daisy is safe during pregnancy

Unlike many prescription counterparts, Daisy extract is safe to use throughout pregnancy. Since hormonal changes bring on the darkening of the skin during pregnancy, daisy extract can help sustain balance. 

pregnancy

Daisy extract is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory

Daisy helps prevent acne while helping to lighten the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by previous “picking.” It also encourages the healing of any 

Daisy extract is a natural surface exfoliant

The natural organic acids it contains helps slough away old, dull skin. Exfoliating is a great way to make sure that the skin looks healthy and vibrant. 

Daisy supports the respiratory system

Being an edible flower, when eaten, the daisy aids both the respiratory system and supports digestion. Not only does it add to a beautiful plate but it helps more systems than just our skin. 

Daisy in SaladWhether you are looking to aid in correcting sun damage, reduce the signs of aging, lighten acne, or support your other systems – you need more daisies in your life! 

What’s for Dinner? Charcuterie Night!

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I have a confession…

I’m not a fan of cooking. Here’s the problem with that confession. I’m a mom, which means I have children that always want to be fed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and they even demand snacks in between the meals. They’re constantly asking for something to eat, and they get tired of having the same thing. I get tired too… of coming up with a plan of what to feed them, making sure they’re eating a balanced meal, and doing the thing I’m not too keen on. BUT I have found one meal that solves my problems. When the children ask, What’s for dinner? I tell them it’s Charcuterie Night.

It’s the best dinner ever. 

No matter the day, the season, or the occasion, my kids are always excited about charcuterie night. The enthusiasm over this meal never ceases to amaze me, because it is the easiest dinner ever. The kids think it’s so cool, but these fools are only eating whatever I can find in the house. Charcuterie night is my lazy mom hack that looks fancier than it is. 

How to prepare for charcuterie night…

Keep some or all of the following items in your house: crackers, various cheeses, pickles, olives, pepperoni, various sausages, dried fruit, preserves, fancy condiments (mustards, relishes, etc.).  These items are generally shelf-stable or last a decent amount of time in the fridge. An added bonus, these are great snacks to have around so you’re prepared for multiple feeding situations.

Cheese boardThe next thing to have around to level up your charcuterie night, is some fresh fruit (apples, grapes, pears, any other favorite), fresh vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, peppers, any other favorite), hummus, fresh bread. These are all great things to have for other meals or snacks, but they take your charcuterie night up a notch. 

When it’s time for charcuterie night, pull out a cutting board. Bonus points if it’s presentable for serving. Slice up the fresh fruit, vegetables, or bread if you have it. If you want to make this meal a little nicer, pull things out of their containers and put them on plates, platters, or the cutting board you’re using. If you want to be really lazy, put the containers (olives, pickles, etc.) in the center of the table and serve out of them. 

yummyboard

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget the wine. I’m not going to say that you NEED wine as a mom on charcuterie night, but I’m definitely not saying it’s not a nice part of the meal.

 

Enjoy!

I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine does. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had this for dinner, and it might be time to have it again…

Kid-friendly dinner

Virtual Learning 101

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To say that 2020 has been a year of school like none other, would be a major understatement. To say that this has been the worst year of school ever, might be a little melodramatic. To say that 2020-2021 will be a school year of new opportunities, would be a fact. As we navigate these early days and weeks of virtual learning, whether fully virtual or hybrid, there are some basics we need to cover. Today, I’m sharing Virtual Learning 101, or a primer in what we (parents, caregivers, and most importantly children) need to navigate virtual learning.

Seven essential “things” for virtual learning:

  1. Have a routine, and stick to it.
    It would be so nice to roll out of bed whenever we pleased, to work as much (or little) as we would like, and to do whatever it is that we want (Nintendo Switch anyone?); that’s just not a reasonable expectation. Everyone thrives on routine, but children need it. Set a schedule for waking, doing work, playing, and resting. 

  2. A designated space for learning
    For my family that is our dining room. Life during ‘Rona, has taught us that we do not currently need a formal dining room. As much as we’d love to host friends and family for a dinner party, that’s just not practical or safe. Since we have an available space adjacent to an area with regular adult supervision, our home office, this is perfect for a learning area. All members of our house have a designated space to work. One is at the formal desk, one at the dining room table with a stool, and another at a child-size art table. Each person has a means of elevating their device (laptop, iPad, a monitor) to eye-level with a lift, or stack of books to ensure that we are protecting our necks. Even little people need little seats, so it’s crucial to ensure that everyone has an ergonomic setup for working.

  3. Get dressed
    Let’s be honest… no one really likes hard pants (you know those things with zippers and buttons), but pajamas are not appropriate for school. Our brains need us to indicate through our actions that we have transitioned from one activity (sleeping), to another (school work), and this is accomplished through changing out of our PJs. Simple things trick our brains into shifting focus. Plus, many school systems are enforcing a dress code. Let’s head off trouble at the start.

  4. Have headphones with a mic
    This one isn’t necessarily a must, but it’s definitely nice to have if you have multiple doing school or working in the same area. Virtual school will be uncharted territory for all of us, and we do not need the added distraction of hearing what everyone else is talking about the whole time. This is also great for your children, so we aren’t listening in on their entire school day. They haven’t had us listening to their learning, conversations, and school day before; why start now. Let’s trust we’ve raised good humans that are doing things as they should. headphones

  5. Have supplies close at hand
    If you have done Boys Scouts or Girl Scouts, you know that it’s crucial to be prepared. Virtual school is no different. Your children will be set up for success if they have the things they need close at hand, rather than running off to find what is required in the middle of a lesson.
    (tag local councils here)
    https://hovc.org/
    https://www.comgirlscouts.org/

    book bad
    supplies close

     

  6. Be flexible
    Things will not go as planned, and technology will not always work. We can’t change what happens, but we can change how we respond. If we’re willing to roll with the punches, bend this way and that, and make adjustments as we go; the school day (week, month, quarter, or year) will go far better.

  7. Have a positive attitude
    We are navigating uncharted territory as parents, teachers, and students.
    We are all learning as we go, and doing the best we know-how.
    We won’t always know what to do, but we can keep learning and keep trying.

    Most of all, we as parents have the opportunity to set the tone. We get to choose how we want to view this school year. I’m focusing on a growth mindset this year and hoping to emulate this for my children. Will I be perfect? NOPE! Will I give up? Absolutely not! Will I encourage my children to make this the best year ever? Most definitely!

I hope these tips are helpful for you as you navigate this new school year. We are all learning as we go, and I hope that we can show lots of grace to ourselves, our children, our teachers, school leaders, and the entire community. None of us have navigated a virtual school year before, but we’re going to figure this out together.

 

September, when moms really start the New Year

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I look forward to every September as the start of my new year.  As the seasons change from summer in the fall, I start greeting the shorter days with more and more excitement – and this year is no exception. This year is the start of all of the new things that we can possibly imagine. Many of us are starting in-person school, many of us hybrid and so many of us are at home.  Regardless of the difficult choices, we have had to make for our families, we need to remember to take time for ourselves too. Its the perfect time to celebrate the real mom’s new year. 

This year, I have decided that I am going to make me a priority. 

It’s not that I wasn’t before, but a happy mom is a mom that has more of herself to give to her family – the right way.  For the last few months, we have all felt like we have been running on empty.  I went from an on the go lifestyle to being constantly at home with my children – and in our family, its just me, no husband, and no family that is close enough to help.  To say that I was completely overwhelmed would be an understatement. We are all there.

overwhelmed mom

A few months ago, when we found out that in our county would be completely virtual, I knew that for our family something had to change.

Everything about our family screamed overwhelm and I knew that it all starts with me. 

I have started getting rid of all the junk.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I am not doing too much at one time and I stop when I need to.  I also have been somewhat sneaky, and have donated or thrown away many, many well-loved toys that the boys have either outgrown or broken.  Virtual learning has helped me organize their room in a way that is not only nice but functional.

Exercise

I have started working out 2 days a week with a personal trainer.  You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I was a professional athlete for many years and all this baby weight has got to go! And by baby weight, my baby just turned 9 this summer so its time. I also have upped my step game and started drinking more water (this is totally my least favorite change, but it is good for you right?)

drinking water

Weekly Family Meetings

We have family meetings on Sunday nights – which also means a family meal.  We had gotten away from that since around May and more often than not I let the kids come and go as they please.  I grew up on a farm where we went out to play in the morning and only came home for lunch and dinner and stayed out well past the time the lightning bugs came out.  While there would be no football or too many friends this summer to have adventures with, at least they could have adventures with each other. Sigh.

family meeting

During the meeting, we will cover schedules and assignments.  With a son heading into high school and another headed to the 5th grade, I imagine it’s going to be a tough year.  Having each other to be our own cheerleaders is going to be crucial – and I am here for it. Let’s face it, no matter what district or school your child goes to, there are tons of apps, downloads, and passwords to go along with education this year having the time once a week to discuss our lives and hopes for the future will be helpful.  I am excited about this time together and I hope this is one of the things that they remember from this year and is important.

Love your skin

Maskne is a thing. Raise your hand if you’ve had it and been frustrated by it.  You are raising your hand, aren’t you? In order to make it less of a thing, I must take better care of it.  Yet another reason for the water.  Maybe one day I will like just plain water, but even watching the water episode of “Down to Earth” has not made that happen. I also don’t eat gluten, and I like to think that helps.  I am currently obsessed with products from Old Mechanicsville Health Spa.  Not only are they local, but they have their own line and tailor the products specifically to you. (I have really sensitive skin, so having a consultation with someone who didn’t have a sale quota to meet is really important to me.) I have definitely seen a decrease in blemishes and seem to look less tired and wrinkly.

Invite your children into a gratitude practice

Every day, no matter what, I start the day thinking of 3 things that I am grateful for. Sometimes they are big things, like getting a new client, and sometimes they are little things like smoothies.  It can be anything really.  My children this year will take place in this practice and I am hopeful that they will be happier as they notice all of the things around them to be grateful for.

gratitude journalA new school year is a great time for another great start to a new year.  Let’s put all of this past year behind us. A new year can start whenever you choose it to, and for me, September sounds like a perfect time to start.

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