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Showing posts from August, 2013

10 Tips for the new school year

A new school year is around the corner.  I've been doing the First day of school for over 10 years.  I thought I'd pass on some tips.

Go to the open houses so you can put faces to names when the kids talk about their teachers.
The Vice Principal in elementary school is usually more useful than the principal (and we've been to three different elementary schools).
If you want to know what's going on in the classroom, ask the teacher if you can sit in on the class.  If you ask nice enough, most teachers welcome it.
The difficult teachers are more likely to listen when I get my husband involved.  This one still makes me roll my eyes, but there it is.  Of course, be sure your husband is on your side.  I had a friend who husband would flip-flop and it backfired.  I suppose that's why teachers want Dads involved.  Lucky for me, my husband and I always agreed.
No matter what the school says, you are the biggest advocate for your child, you have seen them grow and know their his…

Maryland Renaissance Festival: Something a teen (and parents) can enjoy.

This past weekend was the opening of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, a two and half month event just outside of Washington DC.  It was our first visit and I was expecting carnival rides, games and food.  I was wrong.  It was so much better.

As we went through the gates, I was surprised to see a tiny village from the 16th century.  The shops and stages were permanent structures.  Most visitors were dressed up.  If you didn't bring a costume, you could rent one.  I felt I just left the real world. 

Although we attended several shows, wandering through the village and the shops was just as fun.  I loved the buildings and the unique items you could find here. 


We ended up staying for over five hours.  Much longer than my original estimate of 2-3 hours.  And we didn't get to see everything.  My teens want to come back.  This is not a festival geared for young kids.  It was for adults.  Yes, there were small children and there is a kid area but the target group was for adult…

Editorial: Eating in the Movie Theaters

We recently got a Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the neighborhood.  I have not been but the family talked about going.  We decided not to go because we didn't like listening to people eat while watching a movie.  It's difficult to lose yourself in the movie.

Instead, we decided on the local movie house to see Despicable Me 2.  I watched moviegoers come into the theater and they were not carrying popcorn and soda but huge plates of tacos and cheese salads, and loaded hot dogs and hamburgers. Our old movie house was becoming a restaurant movie house. 

As we watched the movie, I realized it was not just the sound that was distracting, it was the smell too.  Sigh.  My only consolation is that most participants were finished with their food within the first 15 minutes of the movie.  Nonetheless, I will have second thoughts whether we should go to the movie theater instead of my bag of chips and my couch.  Perhaps I can convince my hubby to buy a bigger TV with all the money we saved f…

Going Potty With a Bear

It was our last day at Corbin Cabin in Shenandoah National Park.  George Corbin built the cabin around 1910.  His family was one of the residents kicked out of his home after Shenandoah became a National Park.  In the 1950s, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), renovated it and now, maintains and rents the cabin.  We already planned a trip in the backcountry and I thought a night in the cabin is a nice break from tent camping.

It has an outhouse/privy about 40-50 yards from the cabin.  Before heading out on the trail, the girls and I went for our last bathroom trip before having to pee in the woods.  I pressed against the door so I could get the master lock off the latch.  The whole time I'm breathing through my mouth to protect my nose from the putrid smells.

Me: Who wants to go first?

My girls were quiet.  The privy reeked.

Me: Fine, I'll go.  Face the other way.

We like to keep the door open while going, in hopes of airing it out.  As I turn and unbutton, my daughter …

Do I pay for my teen's hair products?

Before going to the supermarket, I'll ask my daughters if they need anything for their bathroom: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste.  The other day my oldest said, "Mom, I need mousse."

"Uh-huh," I answered and she walked off.  After she left, I thought, "Why am I buying her mousse?" 

When I was a high schooler,  my sisters and I bought our own hair spray and gel.  Heck, we had to buy our own clothes and sneakers - yes, that's right, our own sneakers.  I realize, this is extreme, but it still got me wondering whether I should buy her mousse.

Earlier in the year, I informed my oldest that if she wanted to hang out with friends, she pays.  She didn't like it at first but adjusted when she realized her friends were also paying their way.  Recently, I told her she had to buy her own junk food.  As such, she doesn't accompany me to the supermarket anymore.  I suppose those treats were an incentive.

So now, the newest is mousse.  I feel it is im…

Taking a University (college) Tour is worth it.

My daughter is entering her second year of High School.  College is right around the corner.  Since my youngest was taking a summer camp on a local college campus, my oldest and I decided to tour the campus.  It was a young university but was getting good reviews.

After touring the university, my daughter was so ready to go to college.  I heard her say "cool" a lot.  There was an energy and enthusiasm on the tour and with people.  I told her, "Hold on, this is just one campus.  You really need to check out the others." 

We decided to plan another trip to the University of Virginia.  It would be a day trip and we'd have to get up early to drive out to it but the last university was such a success, we were willing.  We got there a half hour early and we walked around for a bit.  Definitely an older school - founded by Thomas Jefferson. It was large and stately. I said, "I feel like it's a grown up school."

My daughter laughed and said, "As opp…