"Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in any School" Giveaway

When I was in school I started out with a passion and drive to learn.  I soaked in everything like a sponge.  Slowly as I went down the line it seems the system lost its glamour.  They get you all excited with activities and reading to only throw you into repetition and droning.  I learned very little from 6th grade on.  It was always just the same repetition taught by a different person every year.  Occasionally you would run into a teacher that would teach with a deep passion.  I would come away from their class with a deeper understanding of literature or history.  The next year it would be the same old same old.  I graduated, though I can't tell you what I learned the last 4 years of school.  I mean, at all.
Then there was my youngest brother.  It was suggested to my dad that he just drop out and get his GED.  The school counselor and principal KNEW my brother was a bright kid.  They knew what he was capable of.  They just didn't want to take the time out from their cookie cutter programs to give him the education he deserved.  All through my brother's education by dad called teacher, he spent late nights after long days at work, working with my brother on reading, math, or grammar. Only to be thwarted with notes from teachers about how my brother doesn't pay attention in class or how he never gets his work done.  They didn't know how to teach him.  They didn't know how to reach his brain.  Maybe they chose not to?  Maybe they weren't allowed to?  Whatever the case may be, my brother's second Freshmen year of High School, he dropped out of school.  He was then taught by my father.  He passed his GED test and is now working in construction helping a good friend of his design and build a grocery store.  After the store is built he will then be the assistant to the Vice President and CEO.  I know with every fiber of his being and my dad's they would love to go back to that school and say, "In your face!" Wouldn't you?

"Mission Possible, written by Founder and CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz, and literary expert, Arin Lavina, offers practical, classroom-tested, ideas for dramatically improving teaching and learning.  Through detailed descriptions of how to keep students challenged and engaged, how to ensure that the adults are constantly learning, and how to use the Success Academies' THINK Literacy program. Moskowits and Lavina describe what can be accomplished when schools shift their focus to improving the adults' performance."

When thinking about my brother's experience in school and talking it over and over with my father we have always come up with the same conclusion.  Some of the teachers may not have been the best.  But the other just weren't ever equip with the resources to teach every kind of child out there.  Sadly they came from close to the same system we did.  They were taught the cookie cutter curriculum.  Then taught how to teach that way.  They were not given the resources to learn how to teach better.  I believe even if they wanted to be better teachers unfortunately, on the salaries they are paid, without help or resources from the district, they don't have the money to receive that education. 
Alot of teachers are parents like us.  Yes, it is their job to teach your children while you work to support your family.  But at the same time it is your responsibility as a parent to be involved in your child's education. Read with them, quiz them, and help them.  Also, get involved with their teachers.  Know what's going on in the class room.  Know what you can do to help further your child's education.  If all parents would help alittle more and not give all of the responsibility of educating 25+ kids a year to 1 person I guarantee, not only will the students respond better, but the teachers will perform better.

In Eva's Success Academy Charter Schools the teachers are learning every day.  They are learning from each other.  They are given 15 days during the school year to further their education.  As well as 4 weeks during the summer at a Teacher's Success Academy.  The teachers also work closely with the parents.  The parents come in after school, are allowed to visit during class, and come for a Saturday Academy.

I would be excited to send my children to Success Academy Charter Schools.  Their system is fantastic and engaging.  Their kindergartners dissect books in ways that some High School public school kids can't.  Sadly, there are no free Charter schools like that in my area that I know of.  That is one of the many reasons I have chosen to be part of the 1.5 million parents that is homeschooling my children so that they won't become part of the one in four teenagers that drop out of high school every year.  But I will sure be using the detailed outlines of the Success Academies' THINK Literacy program.  It's AMAZING!

You can get helpful tips and interact with Eva Moskowitz on Facebook or Twitter.
If you would like to read Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in any School for yourself, you have the chance to win a copy right here.  Just fill out the rafflecopter form below.  US Residents only please.
I was compensated for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

They are Watching and Learning

You always hear that you should lead by example.  Your children learn more through your actions than your words.  Sometimes that doesn't really sink in.  At least sometimes for me it doesn't.  A few months ago while cooking with Madelynn the message really sunk in.  It was incredible.  We were making corn dog muffins.  I let her cut up the hotdogs since they are soft and she could use a butter knife.  I cut the hotdog in half length wise so it wouldn't roll around and let her have at it.  I expected odd shaped chunks in a variety of sizes.  Instead I watched in wonder as my 3 year old cut the hotdog up like a pro. 
It was ridiculous.  The way she held the knife.  The way she held the pieces of hotdog.  Never once have I ever explained to her how to cut stuff up.  She has just been watching me do it for a long time.  It's incredible what children pick up through watching rather than just listening.
So think about it.  You know, when you get mad and yell or when you complain about having to do those dishes or you even talk back to your husband.  Your children are watching.  They are soaking in every single bit of what you are doing.  They will follow that example.  It is our duty as parents to be the person we want our children to be.
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12



Swagbucks is Mobile!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24, 2012, Swagbucks.com will launch their new mobile site for the iPhone and Android at 12pm PT.
It looks oh so easy to use.  I've been waiting for this since I got and iPhone! I always tried to use the full site on my phone and it was just so complicated.
Check out the video below with the very informative walk through.

To celebrate the release of the new Swagbucks.com mobile site if you use the code SBISONTHEGO when you sign up then you will receive 60 bonus Swagbucks on top of the regular 30.  That's 90 total Swagbucks!!  It's only valid until August 3rd at 11:59pm so hurry up and join!
You can sign up RIGHT HERE and start winning Swagbucks immediately towards all sort of great prizes.  My favorite is the Amazon gift cards!

10 Benefits of Babywearing

I just LOVE babywearing.  It keeps my babies close and lets me be hands free.  Which is especially useful in public because I have a VERY active 3 year old.  I also enjoy the cuddle time.  Especially when baby is sleeping.
Our very first baby carrier.  I had Casey test it out.  Look at how much he can do at once! That's the last time he ever wore a baby carrier by the way.  It's because he knows I'll take pictures and put them on the internet.
Look at how happy Madelynn was!

Jamie Grayson The BabyGuy NYC has layed out "10 Benefits to Baby Wearing for You and Your Nugget".  It's cute how he calls your baby a "Nugget" and he has some very good points.

"10 Benefits to Babywearing for You and Your Nugget
By Jamie Grayson, The BabyGuyNYC

1. Happy Baby:  One thing that stresses parents out the most is a fussy nugget, and according to a study in Pediatrics, babies who are worn for at least 3 hours throughout a day have reduced crying by 43 percent1 

2. Aides in Development:  The first three months of a newborn’s life are often referred to as “The Fourth Trimester,” and carrying a new nugget close to your heart helps her adapt to life outside the womb by becoming familiar with your breathing rhythm, heartbeat and voice.2 

3. Feeding on the Fly:  Have a hungry nugget and you're out and about?  Breastfeeding can be easily accomplished while wearing a baby.

4. Hands-Free Traveling: Jet setting with the family?  Of course you'll need a stroller when you're traveling to and from your destination, but try gate checking your stroller and boarding with your snuggling nugget in a baby carrier.  It’s amazing how “handy” two free hands can be!

5. Keeping up with Life: A comfortable baby carrier offers the wearer the freedom to complete routine household chores while sharing the time with your little nugget.

6. Keep Moving:  For people who like to get outside, wearing a baby is an ideal way to navigate everything from the concrete jungle to cobblestone streets.  You can conquer any terrain with a baby carrier

7. Bonding can be Shared: Wearing a baby is a great way for partners, dads, grandparents, adoptive parents and other caregivers to bond with your baby.  You carried him for nine months…Let someone else enjoy carrying him, too!

8. Calm Babies are Observant:  Babies who are worn are usually calmer, allowing them to appreciate the world around them.  A calmed baby is better able to observe social cues and develop healthy relationships. 

9. Shopping is Less Taxing:  Grocery Run?  It is so much easier to wear a baby and push a shopping cart than to navigate with shopping cart and stroller.  Leave the stroller at home and enjoy shopping baby.

10. Sleeping Baby = Peace of Mind:  Nothing beats the feeling of looking down and seeing a sleeping nugget on your chest.  Just unbuckle the front of the carrier and lay nugget down without even waking her up!  Ahhhhh….Peace for everyone!"

1 Hunziker, U. A. and Barr, R, G. (1986). Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 77, 641-8, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3517799 

2 Ludington-Hoe SM, Swinth JY. (1996). Developmental aspects of kangaroo care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 25, 691-703

About TheBabyGuyNYC:
Jamie Grayson’s title as TheBabyGuyNYC was established in 2008 when he was a product demonstrator/personal shopper at buy buy Baby in Manhattan for more than four years.  He assisted thousands of parents navigating the baby gear maze and made experienced recommendations on what products they REALLY needed to help them ease the transition into parenthood.  He left buy buy Baby in 2009 and joined the team at RealBirth.  For nearly a year he worked alongside some of the top Doulas and Lactation Consultants in NYC.  As the only male baby planner in the world, he hasbeen featured in The Martha Stewart Show, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, Time Out New York , The NY Daily News, and the WE Television series "Platinum Babies."  He is currently the Gear Guy for StrollerTraffic.com and in March of 2010 was named “Best Baby Gear Guru" by New York Magazine.  Dedicated to calming, educating and entertaining expectant parents, he tries to take the chaos and confusion out of the registry process with informed guidance mixed with a bit of Southern charm.
 Hayleigh all snug and sleeping at the Zoo.
My first babywearing sleeping baby experience.  It was so sweet. Even using the uncomfortable ring sling.
MEH! Ignore the awful face I'm making.  Madelynn took the picture.  Babywearing allows me to put her in the cart and wear Hayleigh so I can shop and not have to worry about loosing Madelynn in the busy store!

Be on the look out for a review and giveaway of the Britax Baby Carrier RIGHT HERE on In the Mommy Business in Mid-August!

I would also like to let you know October 8-14, 2012 is International Babywearing Week!  
If you could take the time to pin this post I'd very much apprciate it!
This info was provided to me by Britax.  I am in no way being compensated for this post. 

The Most Amazing Waffles You'll Ever Make.

My husband recently got me a new waffle maker.  I'm pretty sure he was tired of the tiny frozen waffles.  Since then I have been in search of an amazing waffle recipe.  I actually search Pinterest for "amazing waffles".  I didn't come up with much.  So I mixed recipes together.  I wanted something I could make with really basic ingredients.  Well I did it.  I came up with waffles that are egg free and can be gluten and dairy free as well.  How's that for versatile and simple?!

Amazing Waffles

-3 Cups Flour 
(I have only used All-Purpose. I am sure you can use Wheat or Gluten Free maybe add a smidgen more milk)
-1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
-3 Cups Milk 
(Can be whatever kind of milk you want!)
-4 Tablespoons Butter melted
(Just like other recipes if you don't have butter you can sub oil. If you'd like a healthier version sub applesauce)
-3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup 
(can be honey)
-1/4 cup sugar 
(granulated or brown)
-Vanilla or Cinnamon is optional.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium/large bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add the wet and mix with a spoon or a whisk until everything is wet.  
It will be lumpy and that's OK!

Follow your waffle maker's directions.  
This is a little bit of a stickier waffle because of the maple syrup and the sugar so if you maker allows for it spray it with a little cooking spray.

Your waffles will turn out just the right kind of crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.  You're welcome!
If you have a moment could you please take the time to pin this.  Thanks!


Best Spice Girl Look Alike, I mean, No-Heat Curls EVER!

Madelynn loves looking like a princess.  Some how in a little girls head that also translates to curly hair.  So I have been on the hunt for a great way to do no-heat curls that will stay at least half the day.  We've tried sponge rollers but half of her hair doesn't get dry all the way.  We tried braiding it but it just ends up a huge poof ball.  We tried the really cool ninja headband curls and her hair slips out of the headband while she was sleeping.  Finally, we tried to rag roll her hair with the same effect as the sponge rollers, her hair didn't dry all the way.  I was about ready to give up on the curly princess hair.  
Then, one day she had me put her hair in buns like Kai-lan.  Well, apparently I put them in there really good because they stayed all day and all night. It wasn't a bath night.
The next morning when I went to take them out her hair was beautiful.  The ends looked like she had just been to the salon to get it styled.  And right then I had an idea.  What if I put tiny buns all over her head when it was wet?  Would it dry and be curly in the morning?  
Well, you'll just have to see!

First you section off little pieces of hair and twist it into mini buns.
Added: The hair needs to be wet.  I gave Madelynn a bath and towel dried it just before putting it in the buns.  The last few buns the hair was almost completely dry but they still curled.
You want them to be spirally buns.  This way they will dry completely over night.

When you get the whole head done, which takes about 30 minutes and is great time to talk about princesses and when will she get to get married, your hair will look like Gwen Stephani during her weird hair phase.
Then you send your little 90s rock star to bed.  If you do the buns tight enough they should not look to different in the morning.
Once you start taking the buns out you will be able to see that the hair is going to be very curly.  DO NOT USE A HAIR BRUSH! Just run your fingers through the hair or you will have a big poof ball of a head.
When all of your buns have been taken out and all of the hair has been separated you will have something that resembles Scary Spice.  This hair style is all about the 90s for sure!

You can then style it however you choose.  We went with a half up.  I think it would be cute as pig tails or clipped back on the sides.

Just to prove it does stay all day I took pictures through out the day.
click the image to see the wording, sorry it's so small!

I hope you and your little girl enjoy easy curly hair!
If you have any questions please ask.  I will be glad to answer them.
Please take the time and pin this as well.  Thanks!



Microwaved Potato Chips

When I cook Madelynn wants to help with everything I do.  So it has become my mission to find more things that are safe for a 3 year old to help make.  One day while browsing pinterest I found a recipe for homemade potato chips.  It was around snack time so immediately I asked Madelynn if she'd like to make some.  Of course, she did.  We we hopped up and ran to the kitchen.
While I got the cutting board, knife, and plate out I had Madelynn pick and wash the whichever potato she wanted. 

Since I don't have a mandolin I decided to just use the biggest knife I have.  I cut the potato into very thing slices.
After you've cut your whole potato into thin slices have your trusty assistant cover the potato slices in oil.  We used olive oil because that's what we had.
Next you will need to lay all of your pieces flat on a plate.  Do not overlap them!  You may want to spray the plate with Pam first.  We didn't and we had a few pieces that were stuck at the end.  Also, don't forget to sprinkle them with salt.  I did because I was busy taking pictures and had to stop them a minute into cooking.
You want to microwave them for 4 minutes the first time.  When the 4 minutes is up take them out and flip them over.  This is what they look like when you take them out that first time.  They don't look like they're really cooking.  They just look like they're soaking in the oil and yellowing.  Oh, and they're HOT!
When you put them back into the microwave you want to microwave them fro 5-6 minutes.  I went with the 6 because after 5 they didn't seem crunchy enough to me. 
Your chips will continue to harden after you take them out of the microwave.  I didn't believe it but they did. I would suggest taking them all off of the cooking plate before you eat them so they can cool some.  I don't know if it's just my plates or what.  But they're always burning hot when I take them out of the microwave.
 I think they look alot like kettle chips.  We thought they were good.  I think they would be better if I had a way of cutting them thinner.  Some of them Madelynn said were really hard to chew.  I kind of agree with her.  But this was a fun snack that we were able to make together.  And it's healthier than potato chips out of a bag.
If you would like to pin this recipe follow THIS LINK.
I can't figure out the cool "pin" button.

Spruce Up Your Home Decor with Table Lamps

Have you ever decorated a room and thought to yourself, "it just needs a little something more".  Table lamps are the perfect accessory for that situation.  There are all sorts of different table lamps.  They can be tall or short, round or square, bright or neutral.  There are even some shaped like the Eiffel tower.  Believe me, I know, my dad owns a set.  
Table lamps are a great simple way to portrait your personality and the theme of your decor to your guests. For example, I would probably have a simple solid color lamp like a black spindle table lamp, because I like things to be simple.  My father, however, would pick something more elegant and extravagant, like a Birdcage Table Lamp, because he is extravagant and has a very eclectic taste.  Where as my brother would pick a Giant Lightbulb shaped lamp because he has a Sy-Fy and Nerdy tastes in decor.
There are different table lamps for different people with different personalities.  They all add the perfect finishing touches to your home decor.  Along with helping to portrait your personality. 

Which kind of lamp fits your personality best?  
Which would you pick to add the finishing touches to your decor?
I am being compensated in a monetary form for this post.  Opinions and ideas are 100% my own and do not reflect those of the sponsor.


Once Upon A Time - Season 1 DVD Release

Have you heard of Once Upon a Time?  If you just said or though "no", YOU'RE SO MISSING OUT!
It was BY FAR the best new show of last season.  Probably one of the best TV shows ever.  It's better than Heroes and Lost.  No joke.
Anyway, if you haven't seen Once Upon a Time, you will get the chance.  August 28, 2012, Once Upon a Time Season 1 is being released on Blu-ray and DVD.

"Emma Swan’s life has been anything but a fairytale. A 28-year-old bail bondsperson, she’s been taking care of herself since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry—the son she gave up 10 years ago—finds her, everything changes. Henry is desperate for his mom’s help and thinks that Emma is actually the long, lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Yes, the actual Snow White and Prince Charming. Even stranger, Henry believes that Storybrooke, the sleepy New England town he calls home, is really part of a curse cast by the Evil Queen, freezing fairytale characters in the modern world with no memory of their former selves.

Of course the seen-it-all Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she gets to Storybrooke, she can’t help sensing that everything’s not quite what it seems. As Henry shows Emma around with the help of his fairytale book, the town, and its inhabitants like Henry’s therapist Archie Hopper and the enigmatic Mr. Gold, seem just strange enough to set off her already suspicious nature. She becomes even more concerned for Henry when she meets his adopted mother, Regina, who he suspects is none other than the Evil Queen herself!

Storybrooke is a place where magic has been forgotten—but is still powerfully close—and happily ever after seems just out of reach. In order to understand where the fairytale world’s former inhabitants came from, and what ultimately led to the Evil Queen’s wrath, you’ll need a glimpse into their previous lives. But it might just turn everything you’ve ever believed about these characters upside-down.

Meanwhile, the epic battle for the future of all worlds, modern and fairytale alike, is about to begin. For good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell."

You totally can't wait can you?  Well while you do wait check out this mock dating site for the members of Storybrook video called "Singlebrook".  It's quite entertaining.


Let's Get Healthy - Before Pictures and Rules

Good Morning! Some of you may know that I started dieting at the beginning of the year with the goal to loose 100lbs.  Around April I got the stomach flu and then I was stuck at the weight I was at.  So I kinda gave up.  I wasn't eating horribly but I also wasn't eating like I should and I wasn't exercising.  As a result I've gained back 8lbs.
I mentioned last week that I started a Facebook Support Group.  We plan on doing monthly posts like this one with updated pictures and whatever other stats they would like to add.  Today we are laying out our rules for ourselves and sharing our before pictures.  If you'd like to join but today isn't convenient for you that is fine.  You can join at any time.  We'd love to have you!

Here is my before picture.  I didn't take one back in January when I very first started.  I definitely should have though.  I think it's a great motivator to see how far you've come.  I don't like my pictures.  I think most of us won't.  But that's why we're doing this right?  I wore a white t-shirt so you could see everything and I didn't wear anything under neath to help take the lumps away or suck it in.  It's just me in jeans and a t-shirt at 6am.

I've been thinking all week about my rules for myself.  I think rules are also a great thing for successful weight loss.  With rules when you hit a time of weakness you can just look to the rules and know that you really shouldn't eat that bowl of ice cream or that cookie right before bed.  Some of my rules are my own and some I got the idea from others.

My Weight Loss Rules
~ Drink 160oz of Water a Day ~
~ No Eating After 8pm ~
unless dinner has to be after 8
~ No Soda ~
except on Family Night and Women's Meeting Night
~ Exercise 20min 4 Days a Week ~
~ High Protein & Low Carbs ~
~ No Eating Out ~
except on special occasions
~ Eat on Smaller Plates ~
~ In Bed by 10:30pm ~

I have the rules typed out and all pretty.  I will be printing them and hanging them on my fridge and on my bathroom mirror.  I think these are pretty simple rules.  I'm sure if I follow them closely I will see the pounds melt away.

Now it's your turn!  Link up you before pictures and rules.  If you don't have a blog join the group and add them there.



Eloquii by The Limited Review and a Giveaway!

This evening I got a chance to check out the mini store, Eloquii, in The Limited at the St. Louis Galleria.  When I was first contacted I was pretty excited that a name brand store like The Limited was going to start carrying their plus size line in store.  Most other brands, aside from a few, only have their plus sized clothes online.  It makes shopping for clothes pretty difficult.  I like to try things on before I buy them.  Because, as we all know, every woman and clothes brand is different.  I may fit perfectly into a size 24 in one brand and then look totally frumpy in a size 24 in the next brand.  So when you have to do most of your clothes shopping online you're more wary of buying the clothes.
love this on the wall in the store

Today I decided to look into the Eloquii line online.  Their clothes are SO CUTE!  I love the colors and the way they're made to flatter a curvy woman's body.  I could spend hundreds of dollars on that site.
Eloquii's corner of the store.

When I walked into the store I was alittle disappointed.  The store is selling the more muted colors of the line.  There colors were pink, navy, black, white, and gold for the most part.  There were hits of a few other colors but not much.  I was also sad that there was only a small corner of the store designated to this line.  I asked one of the lovely workers about it and she said she's sure it's just because they are testing it out.  If that is true and you are plus sized and love The Limited and the Eloquii, GO THERE NOW!  Then maybe they will carry more.
Sorry ladies! 
This is the best picture out of the 5 I managed to snap. Hayleigh kept bumpin me!

I love the looks they have for this season.  They are very much stylish and very wearable for a mother.  There were models walking around modeling the clothes.  The common consensus was the clothes are comfortable and cute.  The lady on the right said that the outfit gave her a shape she didn't know she had.  That's always exciting when you're trying on new clothes.  I didn't end up trying on any of the clothes because I had little miss Hayleigh with me.  Though I'm sure any one of the lovely ladies there would have held her for me if I had wanted to!

Tonight I will be spending my time trying to decide what I want to buy from the Eloquii line.  I was every so graciously compensated with a $50 gift card.  I'm thinking I'm going to go with cardigans and camis.  If I get enough colors I can just interchange them with jeans and skirts.  
I was also given a $50 gift card to The Limited, that can be spent at Eloquii also, to share with one of you!  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below! 
Opinions expressed are 100% my own.  I was invited to the blogger reception at Eloquii, the mini store within The Limited and compensated with a $50 gift card for myself and a $50 gift card to giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


FREE Starbucks Refreshers - Friday, June 13th

I don't blog about freebies often but this is one of those that just has to be shared.  Starbucks has come out with a new drink.  Starbucks Refreshers.  They come in Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime.  They sound delicious.  Starbucks is giving everyone the chance to try them out for FREE on Friday, June 13th.
Head on over to your local Starbucks on Friday, June 13th for a FREE tall Starbucks Refresher.  You may want to call ahead to make sure your Starbucks is participating just so you don't get mad at me if you get there and they're not.