School Breaks Are The Best–Said No Mom Ever

Having the kids back in school has really increased my productivity. No longer do I have to let weeks worth of Keeping Up With the Kardashians build up on my DVR because the kids are home and therefore my daytime TV watching hours are gone. I am officially caught up on all of my back issues of US Weekly (did y’all know that Brad and Angelina finally tied the knot??!!) because I don’t have to spend my days playing 8,700 games of UNO.

With Lisa back (as long as I don’t mind her sans pants), the old blog is finally dusted off and we are able to get some real work done.

We had one of our first “blog meetings” in a while on Thursday.

Lisa: So, what is your schedule like for next week? Can we get together Monday and do that awesome post we have been talking about?

Ashley: Monday is out because the kids don’t have school.

Lisa: No, you are thinking of 2 weeks from now when they are out for school conferences.

Ashley: Yeah, they are out then, too. But they are also out on Monday for Fall Break.

Lisa: I had absolutely no idea! That certainly would have made Monday awkward when I pulled up to an empty school for drop-off.

We both decided that it made perfect sense for them to have a break, what with them being in school for 8 weeks already. Phew. That is a lot of learning. Time to kick back and relax for a well deserved break!

PSYCH.

We totally complained to each other for an hour on the phone about how these random days off really are a buzzkill…FOR US.

 

How To Be The Cool Back To School Mom


Summer is coming to an end here at The Dose of Reality, so we are now in full blown back-to-school mode. Between the two of us, we will have one freshman in high school, two brand new middle schoolers, and a first grader. Yikes! We are going to need to start off the school year super prepared!

We will find ourselves in three different carpool lines this year with multiple after school activities among the four kids. If you have ever picked up a kid from school, you know that starting the car ride off with an enthusiastic inquiry about the amount of homework awaiting that child is the quickest way to start the car ride off right!

PSYCH.

That is actually the best way to ensure whining and complaining that will quickly lead to tears… from both you and your kids!

We have found that our car rides home and on the go are happiest when we have a snack and a drink waiting for our kids. And don’t try to pass off yesterday’s half-filled bottle of lukewarm water as the beverage of choice. Our kids want something cold, refreshing and sweet. We want them to have something nutritious, tasty, and reduced in sugar as compared to other juice drinks. This is why we always choose Capri Sun Juice Drinks* for our after school drinks!

Try doing multiplication facts or spelling lists with a child hopped up on a sugar even just one time, and you will quickly be reaching for the Capri Sun Juice Drink box the next time you are at the grocery store!

CapriSun1 (8)FORPOST

With four different varieties of the clear bottom pouch beverage available, you will always have a yummy after school beverage for your kids! The clear bottoms make it easy for moms to see exactly what the juice looks like, plus gives them the chance to make sure the pouch has no leaks!

Moms everywhere are thanking their lucky stars for Capri Sun. Because they are made with no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, they are the perfect choice for moms. The fact that they taste good is what makes them the perfect choice for kids!

Capri Sun collage

Needless to say, we will be handing out the clear bottom pouches before the minivan doors even close. It will be our surefire way of making sure we are the cool moms in the carpool line… yes, even with our minivans!

*This product 16g sugars; leading regular juice drinks 22g sugars per 6 fl oz serving.

 

Pinterest Nightmare: Back To School College Style!

Back to School Madness Button

We have arrived at the end of Back to School week here at The Dose of Reality (hope everyone survived)! We realized that we were leaving out an entire section of our readership by focusing so much on carpool and head lice. What about the moms who are sending their babies off to college? Shouldn’t they have a post, too? With fraternity rush taking place all over the country this seemed a fitting post to cap off the week. Comments are closed, but feel free to come hang out with us on Facebook where we can share all our best tips for survival together!

It’s a brand new year!

Like 98% of the population, the Dose Girls have decided to make some changes!

In addition to our perpetual action items that automatically roll over to the next year’s list because we never actually do them (“do a monthly date night” and “stop yelling so much”), our 2014 New Year’s resolutions are all about getting healthy! Here are a few from our actual lists:

  • We vow to find one semi-edible recipe using those grains we can barely pronounce like freekeh, bulgur, and/or quinoa.
  • We will never buy Rainbow Goldfish in bulk if Costco also has the Whole Grain Rainbow Goldfish in stock.
  • We will consider possibly starting to think about doing real, regular exercise several weeks this year.

I know. We are starting to get really hard core now.

What do we do when we need ideas on how to get healthy? Why, consult Pinterest of course!!

Luckily, we found this awesome outdoor activity that’s fun for the whole family. We can already feel the Weight Watchers Activity Points adding up…

Pinterest Nightmare #648: The Human Slingshot

The Human Slingshot
as pinned from Skymall.com

Thanks to The Human Slingshot, Lawn Darts now have some serious competition as the backyard activity most likely to end with a trip to the Emergency Room! And, unlike Lawn Darts, it’s not banned from being sold in the United States! (yet)

Our friends at Skymall have really hit a home run with this one! According to their website, “The Human Slingshot is a fresh new game, unlike anything you’ve seen and is guaranteed to be a big hit”. So true! I never *have* seen anything like this before (when I was sober) and it will be a big hit (to someone’s head especially if they don’t wear a helmet)!

But I don’t want to take the word of some Skymall marketing guru on the quality of this game. I want to know what real people think about it! Well, it just so happens that The Human Slingshot possesses a firm Skymall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars! WOW!

Reviewer “Kimbojoe” bought this for her 15 year old and stated “The Pros: Fun and good exercise! The Cons: Could be dangerous” She goes on to report they had only “one shoulder injury and one bloody nose” after their first use. She’s right. That *does* sound like fun!

Skymaller “ACamper” gives The Human Slingshot 4 stars and passes along the very helpful tip that it “works much better when all participants are tall. The little ones kept getting tossed out under the band.” Good to know! I’ll be sure to consult my old physics text books to devise better trajectory angles so the little ones can really get some decent hang time in the air!

Of course not everyone on Skymall was in love with The Human Slingshot. “KingOfTheJungle” was a little annoyed that “there was no motion sickness mentioned on the warning label”. I guess we know what happened with KingOfTheJungle had his turn!

Despite KingOfTheJungle’s weak stomach, we think The Human Slingshot still looks like a winner. Just take another peek at the picture! You can tell it’s really fun by the festive dispositions of the drunk college kids spurring on the fraternity pledge who’s about to hurl through the air! (and nobody has to worry because they are all on their parents’ health plans until they are 26 now! Whoo Hoo!)

And really, how can you resist this backyard game when you realize there is a video on YouTube video entitled “Human Slingshot Best Crashes”! My kids love YouTube! Sold!

Oh, Pinterest. No…just no.

 

Volunteeritis A.K.A. The Disease To Please: Back To School Style!

Back to School Madness Button

Welcome to Back to School week here at The Dose of Reality! Other than Christmas, is there any busier time of the year than back to school season? We know that everyone is feeling as stressed and overwhelmed as we are (seriously, between the buying and labeling of the school supplies, we are pretty sure we have a permanent case of hand claw), so we are bringing you a “Best Of” week here at the blog—back to school style! Comments are closed, but feel free to come hang out with us on Facebook where we can share all our best tips for survival together!

It is that time of year again folks. You know the one we are talking about. Our children are still happily getting up to the alarm each morning and filling their still shiny backpacks with delicious lunches. No one is forgetting to sign the reading log yet or complaining about too much math homework. And suddenly, you find yourself with a little quiet time, a little “me” time if you will. This is when the school will pounce. Trust us. Stay strong.

What is Volunteeritis?

Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

• Always saying yes, even when you want to say no.

• Taking on too many projects at once.

• Neglecting your children under the guise of… “Aren’t I so great for doing all of this FOR you and your school/club/association/project?”

Back to school! Are we all settling in yet? Have the hours your child is in the classroom become the greatest part of your day? [Yes! -Lisa] Do you suddenly find yourself with some free time, and in the middle of it, realize you actually *gasp* miss your kids? If the answer to any or all of the above questions is yes, then you are the perfect audience for this column! [I *knew* it! -Lisa]

VolunteeritisPic1

Prescription for Volunteeritis:
Take a nap and call me in the morning!

I have a feeling that you, like me, will soon find yourself at one or two upcoming Parents’ Nights, a scattering of PTA meetings, or a few Back-to-School events where you will be conveniently placed at some point in front of a table loaded with various sheets labeled “Parent Volunteer Requests”.

Some of these requests will be simple like, “Who can bring plastic-ware for the fall class party?” Some will be a little more involved like, “Who will be the class photographer for the holiday party?” And then there will be a few seemingly harmless requests in there that will *appear* doable (because this is how they will be presented to you) when in actuality they could wind up sucking the life out of you and additionally could have your husband and children considering whether or not you are really of vital importance to the family. [Don’t worry, you are. Dance leotards don’t wash themselves. -Lisa]

I am here today to offer a cautionary tale to help you steer clear of “volunteering” your life away, or at the very least, to let you know that you are not alone if you are already entrenched in one of these “doable” parent volunteering tasks.

I happen to be, despite how it might seem thus far, a fan of volunteering. One could say I am a bit of an eager beaver, a hard worker, or a go-getter, a personality trait that anyone running any type of project seems to be able to smell from a mile away. I am the perfect candidate for school-related tasks, because I am an involved mom who takes pride in my children’s schools and genuinely wants to be helpful. [aka– a sucker! -Lisa] I started slowly – when I got involved from day one at Emma’s school, it was under the heading “Bring Plastic-ware to Holiday Party” that I’d sign my name, but little by little, the projects I “agreed to” began to increase in size and scope, until last year I found myself co-chairing our school’s annual car raffle with Lisa.

Tickets in a basket

It was sold to both of us as a project that would take place mostly the following spring and as long as we were organized and prepared, it would pretty much run itself. Famous last words, right? [Yep. “This project runs itself” is the volunteer equivalent of “I’ve got a bridge to sell you” -Lisa] Strangely enough, we found ourselves at a car raffle meeting before school was even out … you know, like a solid nine months before we had been told we would have any work to do. You could say that was our fault, because we were eager to get some information ahead of the curve so we could be organized and prepared.

But here is the thing that we were not prepared for at all, not even a little bit: This little car raffle, the raffle that was supposed to run on auto-pilot? It did not even have an auto-pilot button, nor, it turned out, a working engine. Due to an unforeseen complication early on, we pretty much had to start at zero and revamp the entire process so that the raffle could actually raise money for the school. So no longer was this going to be only a spring project, but more likely one that required a fair amount of work in the fall, as well. No problem, though, because we stupidly kept thinking that the more organized we were, the more stuff we did early, the less there would be to do at the end.

Yeah … ummm, no.

It should be noted at this point that I am what some might consider a little on the, how do you say it gently, competitive side. So, when we took on this challenge, I pretty much told Lisa that I would do it with her, but ONLY if we agreed from the beginning that we would run the most successful car raffle the school had ever seen. She was all, “Yeah, I am sure it will be good, we can definitely make it a success,” but didn’t seem to get my level of intensity. [A few games of Scattergories later, I had a bit of an idea. -Lisa]

By the end, she definitely wished she had listened a little more carefully that day. So, our little car raffle, that was only going to require work in the spring, started the prior May (albeit briefly), got a little more involved by October (you know, the season called fall) and by January (yes, that would be WINTER) literally had us working on some aspect of it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

We gave up our Spring Break completely to stuff envelopes, print labels, and put together packets. [Thank you, corner booth at Panera Bread, for being our official Car Raffle headquarters. -Lisa] To our credit, we managed to throw an amazing kick-off pep rally for the raffle sales, which earned us plenty of kudos from the students and the staff, and honestly when you have worked that hard on something, it is quite personally gratifying to be told that you did a great job.

The closest we will ever come to being Oprah on her “Favorite Things” show was telling a gym full of school kids that by selling tickets they could win a gift certificate to Ben & Jerry’s![The kids were actually even more excited than the Oprah audience below! Free Ben & Jerry’s definitely leads to hysteria the elementary school set! -Lisa] 

We then spent every single day of the following three weeks counting tickets, spending way too much of our own money at Starbucks [Our happiest place on earth -Lisa], passing out prizes, counting money, and checking and doubling checking spreadsheets … until the final week, which honestly culminated in so many tickets being turned in at once that we counted from 8:30am until 3:30pm, and then resumed from 8pm until 2am, only to begin again the next morning.

But in the end, we did it.

We did accomplish arguably the most successful car raffle in school history. We started and we finished. We had some fantastic help along the way, but really mostly, we had each other, and I cannot imagine having done it with anyone else. [Me either, friend! -Lisa]

Lisa and I both vowed it would be years before we would volunteer again. But much like “the mommy amnesia” that allows you to forget the trials of pregnancy and life with a newborn thus allowing you to have another baby, here we are three years later back on the volunteer scene. We both have a bi-weekly gig in the front office, we have both signed up for numerous party duties in the classroom, AND Lisa has even agreed to chair the Booster Club Membership Sales. But we are out of the car raffle business. Permanently.