Open Letter to Teachers about Standardized Test Scores + {Teacher Appreciation Week Printable}

Open Letter to Teachers about Standardized Test Scores + {Teacher Appreciation Week Printable}

One of my least favorite times in the school year is the end of the year standardized testing. But probably not for the reason that you would think. You see, I know that those test scores become a major part of the teacher’s evaluation. Of course, I understand that it’s important to measure student growth because that could demonstrate how effective a teacher might be in the classroom. But there are so many important things that a test will never be able to show.

So this is my open letter to teachers about standardized test scores:

FREE Teacher Appreciation Printable #teacherappreciationweek #thankyou

Dear Teacher,

We know this standardized test will never show how many hours you spent preparing lessons, making sure that each subject is meaningful to every student in your classroom.

It will never show how you stood up for a child who was being bullied. Or how you lost sleep worrying about that student.

No test can show how you took a subject that a student never understood and made it come alive for them. Or how you see potential in the children, even if they can’t see it in themselves.

No test can measure the impact you have on the students’ lives. It won’t show the kindness and the compassion and the understanding that you provide on a daily basis. And it certainly doesn’t measure your patience. Because no matter how long it took, you never gave up on the child that needed you the most.

These tests can’t measure how much money you’ve spent, out of your own pocket, to make sure that your students have lunch to eat, school supplies to use, or even clothes to wear.

These test results won’t show how you’re the bright spot in a student’s day. How you helped a child who used to dread school and they now look forward to coming every day, because they know you will be there encouraging them.

No test can measure the love and kindness that you have poured into your students – my children. It may seem that so much of your hard work goes unnoticed…but it does not. We know that what you do everyday goes far beyond…

So no matter what the test scores show, THANK YOU for sowing into our children’s lives each and every day. We know you made a difference!

Open Letter to Teachers about Standardized Test Scores + FREE Teacher Appreciation Printable #teacherappreciationweek #thankyou

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Challenger Sports: British Soccer Camp Signup + New Bonus Items

Challenger Sports: British Soccer Camp Signup + New Bonus Items

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Before we know it, school will be out and summer will be here!  So even though it’s still winter, it’s time to start looking at summer day camp programs.  This one is a must for any child that loves to play soccer!

My son participated in the British soccer camp last year and loved it.  He learned several new skills and I definitely saw a big boost in his confidence level!  So this year, he is going to go back… and so will his younger brother.

 

Challenger Sports: British Soccer Camp Signup + New Bonus Items

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

 

REGISTER FOR CAMP & GET A JERSEY, BALL, T SHIRT & NEW SKILLS APP AND 20 FREE VIDEOS!

Enroll in the most popular soccer camp in North America! British Soccer Camps have programs for all ages and abilities and feature an innovative curriculum full of skills, drills, and thrills! Register now and you will get

  • free British Soccer game jersey (value $34.95) shipped to you for free immediately,
  • brand new skill development App
  • 20 videos to help your child practice at home.
  • Soccer ball, T-shirt & poster will be given out at camp.

 

USE CODE: BSC18 at check out to get free shipping.

To Enroll, visit Challenger Sports British Soccer.

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps // Money Savvy Living #soccer #camp

British Soccer

7 Foods to Use as Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

7 Foods to Use as Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  All opinions are conveyed honestly and are mine alone.  

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

I have been trying to remove processed foods, preservatives, and artificial flavors from the foods that I buy and from the meals that I make for my family. That is why I was so excited to see the article posted on eMeals that uses natural products, that you probably already have in your kitchen pantry, to dye Easter eggs!

Usually, I just let the kids color the eggs and then we throw them out because the chemicals and dye soak through the egg shell and into the egg white. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat that and I certainly don’t want my kids eating that! This year, we won’t have to waste those beautifully colored eggs because we will be using fruits, vegetables, and juices to color our eggs.

7 Foods to Use as Natural Dye for Easter Eggs // Money Savvy Living #Easter #eastereggs #naturalfoodcoloring

Red:
Use pomegranate juice or canned cherries with syrup.

Blue:
Boil 4 cups of water. Cut 1/4 of a head of red cabbage into chunks and add to water. Stir in 2 Tablespoons vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.

Pink:
Boil 4 cups of water. Chop 1 medium beet and add to water. Stir in 2 Tablespoons vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets. OR if you have cranberry juice on hand, you can use it.

Yellow:
Boil 1 cup of water. Stir 2 Tablespoons turmeric and add 2 teaspoons white vinegar.

Lavender:
Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.

Orange:
Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 teaspoons white vinegar.

Green:
Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 teaspoons white vinegar. OR if you have spinach on hand you could use spinach in boiled water.

 

*You should note that using all natural dyes tends to yield lighter colored eggs. If you would like darker colors, you may want to let them set overnight in the refrigerator.

 

 

If you are looking for colorful cookies, without using food coloring or dyes, check out my Easter Drop Sugar Cookies.  I use blackberries, strawberries, lemons, and limes for color and flavor!  And they are so pretty too!

Drop Sugar Cookies ~ 1 easy reicpe, 4 delicious flavors // Money Savvy Living

 

More Easter Fun!

 

 

Use the discount code: MEALS15 for 15% off. Also, if you purchase a subscription to eMeals right now, you will get a FREE EASTER MENU.

Valentine’s Day Glitter Slime

Valentine’s Day Glitter Slime

Do your kids love to play with slime?  I think pretty much every kid loves to play with slime, right?!  So instead of the standard boring green or yellow slime, we are getting a bit festive for Valentine’s Day, because, after all, nothing says “be mine” like some Valentine’s Day glitter slime!

Your kids may love playing with it, but do they know how it’s made?  That is part of the fun— mixing all the ingredients together and actually making the slime!  Your kids can get messy, and maybe even learn something too!

This is a fun science experiment, but you don’t have to tell them it’s actually educational.  That can just be our little secret…

Here is what you will need to make the slime:
  • clear glue
  • baking soda
  • contact solution
  • large paper plate
  • plastic fork or spoon
  • glitter
  • food coloring *optional
  • plastic bag (for storage and later disposal)

Directions:
  1. Mix 1 cup of clear glue with a ½ teaspoon of baking soda. 
  2. Sprinkle in the glitter.  For Valentine’s Day, we are using pink glitter and pink, red, and silver heart-shaped glitter.  
  3. Add contact solution, 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  4. Combine on the plate until the mixture is somewhat stiff, yet gooey.
  5. This is where the get-your-hands-dirty part comes in… now you need to pick up the slime and kneed it with your hands— and pull it and stretch it until it is very elastic-y.

 So pretty and festive!  Happy Valentine’s Day! 

 

*Make sure to dispose of this concoction in a plastic storage bag. You DO NOT want to pour this down the drain, as it could cause a blockage.

5 Reasons Your Family Will Want to go see the Harlem Globetrotters

5 Reasons Your Family Will Want to go see the Harlem Globetrotters

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Going to see the Harlem Globetrotters play is a great event that the entire family can enjoy!  And as the mother of three boys, I knew this would be a big hit, but what I didn’t expect was how much more than basketball the Globetrotters show would actually be…

Anti-bullying message

Much of the Harlem Globetrotters show was very much geared towards kids and giving them encouraging messages.  One of those little talks encouraged kids to stand up to bullies.

Never give up

“Zeus,” number 30, shared how he was cut from every basketball team from 7th grade to 10th grade, but he grew and finally made the team his junior and senior year of high school… and, now plays for the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters!  You just never know how your circumstance will change, so keep trying— a great message for all kids to hear!

Girls can do anything

“Hoops,” number 6, is the 15th woman to be a part of the Globetrotters.  Her story is very inspiring for all the girls in the crowd because she is proof that girls can do anything that a boy can do.

Great basketball

If you have any basketball fans in your family, they will definitely appreciate the great basketball skills that the Globetrotters showcase: the classic and iconic Globetrotter basketballs spins on one finger, shooting from the 4-point line, and passing the ball from player to player before finally taking it to the hoop!

They even showcase dribbling skills and trick shots using trampolines to soar to the basket…

Family entertainment

Besides great basketball skills, the Harlem Globetrotters are very entertaining.  Throughout the 2-hour show, they bring up kids (and adults!) from the audience and have them participate in games and little side skits that make the basketball game even more entertaining.

You may even get to come up and dance to “YMCA” with the Globetrotters:

Here’s just a sample of what you will see at a Globetrotters game:

You don’t want to miss out on this family fun!  Find a show near you by checking out the Harlem Globetrotters website here.

Right now, you can get your tickets SAVE 25% for ALL Harlem Globetrotters Games with promo code: FUNFAM

And you can even go down on the court after the game and get autographs from all your favorite players!



Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun

I am always looking for fun and affordable places to take the kids– and if they have fun activities for adults too, then that’s even better!  So I was pretty excited to find Make Believe, located in Parma.

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

When you walk into Make Believe, there is a sign that tells you all about the world of imagination that you are entering.  Each area is set up to be an imaginary world to explore:

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

For the Grown-Ups

This place is definitely set up to be fun for kids, it is also set up with adults in mind too.  While the kids are playing, parents can visit the Lollipop Bistro.

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

Don’t let the name fool you… you can order wine and beer here– and the list is pretty extensive too!  There is also a lounge area by the front entrance that has massaging chairs, several televisions hanging up, and lots of sofas, chairs, and tables to sit back and enjoy your drink while your kids have fun!  Seriously, I think you could probably make a date-night out of taking the kids to Make Believe!

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

So besides the cool area for adults, one of the first things that I noticed when we got there was how clean it was.  Now, I was there on a #hosted visit, so I got a tour and some behind-the-scenes info… While I was there, I found out that they really focus on cleaning, and it shows!  Make Believe feels and smells clean– even the bathrooms are clean!  If you have been to enough of these types of fun zones for kids, you know exactly what I am talking about regarding the cleanliness.  Some places have sticky floors, you just feel like your kids will get sick from all the germs that they picked up and you really don’t want to have to use the restroom.  That is definitely not the case with Make Believe.  Make Believe was Clean. Clean. Super clean.

Ballocity

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

Lots of fun to be had climbing around in here: balls popping around, climbing in three levels of tunnels, and ending with a big slide!  Parents can even go in with small children– and that’s definitely something that you can’t do in most of these types of play zones!

Arcade

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

Kids big and small can enjoy the arcade games… you might even win some tickets to cash in at the Treasure Chest prize center!

High Ropes Course

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

The high ropes course is suspended 15 feet in the air, above the arcade and laser tag areas.  This was definitely a favorite and the kids probably spent an hour climbing around on the ropes course.  Adults are welcome to take part in this activity as well, but don’t forget to wear your athletic shoes (no socks or flip flops allowed).  Each area has employees running the attraction, but the Make Believe employees are especially helpful in this area– if your child gets stuck or scared, one of the workers will be right there to help out.

Ninja Wall/ Rock Climbing Wall

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

Scale the wall like a ninja or climb up one of the sides… this will definitely test your physical fitness.

Laser Tag

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

Laser tag is multi-level and has metal grates in the floors that you can shoot opponents through.  Glow-in-the dark paint and scenery make this a really fun area!

Bumper Cars

IMG_0925These bumper cars are easy to operate (my 5-year-old hopped right on and rode around in it with no problem at all!) and the impact is a bit softer than what you might remember from the old-style bumper cars at the county fair… these bumper cars are basically surrounded by a large inner tube to absorb the impact, not hard rubber that has no-give.

Mini Bowling

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

 

Party Time

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

There are several sizes of party rooms and different themes, ranging from medieval times to outer space, to a room with a disco ball…click here for more information on what Make Believe offers for parties.

 

Make Believe in Parma: Northeast Ohio Family Fun // Money Savvy Living

 

We had a blast!  Plan your trip to Make Believe today…

#MakeBeleiveParma #NEOFamilyFun #familyfun

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: A Review

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: A Review

My son loves to play soccer.  He started out playing in the school’s recreation league, but this past spring decided to play in the travel soccer league.  While all of his coaches have been great, we knew that we wanted to get in a little extra training over the summer with a soccer camp— and that’s when we found Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp.

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: A Review // Money Savvy Living

I had already registered my son, Chase, for British Soccer Camp when a friend told me that their kids had done it last year and they thought it was great— a good reference from a personal friend is always a good sign!  And our experience turned out to be a very positive one as well… starting out with security.  Each child had to be signed in and signed out by the parent with the coach.  No matter what program my kids participate in, I appreciate knowing that they are safe.

Review of the daily activities

Every day, the kids started out practicing foot skills.  This was a very effective part of the program, because just after one week of this camp, I have noticed an improvement in my son’s control of the ball as he plays.

practicing foot skills

practicing foot skills

Chase said that one of the new skills that he was taught during British Soccer Camp was the Ronaldo Chop… if you don’t know how to do that, here’s a video to give you a quick overview of the move:

Each day there was also small group training sessions.  Since there were two coaches, they split the group, part of the time, between younger and older kids to work with the kids more at their level.

small group instruction

small group instruction

During the foot skills and small group instruction, the coaches gave direction for improvement and encouragement for skills that were well-performed.  Being able to work with the kids in this small group setting and give specific instruction in a positive manner also boosted Chase’s confidence throughout the week.

Toward the end of each day, they played a “World Cup” game.  Each player got to choose a country and could earn points in the game for that country.  So, focusing on fun, while learning, was a very prominent feature of the program.

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: A Review // Money Savvy Living

final ceremony to conclude the week of soccer camp

At the very end of the week, there was a ceremony to hand out certificates and the coaches gave a bit of encouragement to each player as they came forward to receive the certificate of completion of the program.

Overall, we had a very positive experience with Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps and would certainly attend again!

Chase with the soccer camp coaches

Chase with the soccer camp coaches

How to enroll your child in British Soccer Camp

If you want to enroll your child in British Soccer Camp, it’s not too late!  There are still plenty of camps available into fall as well… you can click here to find a local soccer camp— and don’t forget to use code CAMP17 to get all the freebies!

Freebies that we got by using CAMP17 code upon registration.

Freebies that we got by using CAMP17 code upon registration.

Teaching foot skills and traditional soccer techniques in an encouraging and fun way was a focus of the coaches— so the kids are learning and having fun!

I asked Chase about what he liked best:

“My favorite part was the relays.  We practiced foots skills and we also got to compete.  Everything we did was fun!”

I know that he had fun because when I’d pick him up each day, he told me how fast time went by… and we all know that time flies when you’re having fun!

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: A Review // Money Savvy Living

*This post has been sponsored by US Family Guide and it’s advertiser, Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps.  Product review and opinions expressed in this post are mine alone. #ad

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: Register Now + Freebies

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp: Register Now + Freebies

Do you have a child that loves to play soccer?  If you do, then participating in a Challenger Sports British Soccer camp is a must-do activity this summer… and if you register now, you can gain access to a lot of fun freebies!

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps // Money Savvy Living

 

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps // Money Savvy Living

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed, and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international experts right in the heart of their own community.

In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and, of course, is a ton of fun!

Sounds like fun, right!?  But it gets even better!  When you register your child for one of the soccer camps, they will also receive over $100 in freebies: FREE SOCCER JERSEY, SOCCER BALL, T-SHIRT & POSTER with code: CAMP17 

 

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps // Money Savvy Living

Enroll you child in a British Soccer Camp today and remember to use code CAMP17 to get a FREE SOCCER JERSEY, SOCCER BALL, T-SHIRT & POSTER!

 

*This post has been sponsored by Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps.  Product review and opinions expressed in this post are mine alone. #ad

I Need a Meternity Leave from My Maternity Leave

I need a Meternity Leave from my Maternity Leave | Money Savvy Living

 

So apparently, there is a thing now called a “meternity” leave.  In case you missed it, there was an article last week in the New York Post called “I Want All the Perks of a Maternity Leave Without Having Any Kids.”

 

Umm, what?  That is like saying, “I want all the benefits of eating a brownie sundae without the fat, calories, or weight gain.”  Or “I want to get in shape and lose 20 pounds while eating fast food every day and never going to the gym.”  Or “I want to be a neurosurgeon but don’t want to go to college.”

 

Do you see where I’m going here?  You can’t have one thing without the other… So instead of having time off work to care for a newborn child, the author of this article wants to take time off to focus on caring for herself.

 

Kudos.  Take all the time off work you want, lady.  You should take care of yourself.  Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, massage, and facial.  Go buy yourself a new outfit while you’re at it.  Find a nice relaxing hammock and cuddle up with a good book.  Bury your toes in the sand and soak up the sun while you contemplate what direction to head in life.  Everyone needs a mental break, I get it.

 

But, to try to equate reflective “me” time off work with a maternity leave is beyond unwitting.

 

I will try to give this woman the benefit of the doubt though, because I remember my pre-children days—feeling that it wasn’t fair that people with kids get off work “early” in many cases, to make sure that they can pick their kids up from daycare on time, while those of us without an “excuse” had to continue working.  So I sort-of understand how she could misconstrue maternity leave as extra time off work that childless employees don’t ever get.

 

With that small concession being made, I’d like to take this opportunity to set Ms. Davies straight on what maternity leave is and isn’t.

 

First of all, it starts with a lot of pain… typically about 12-20 hours of extreme pain.  Pain so bad you are not sure that you can do it.  Pain so bad that when a nurse comes in an asks if you would like a 4-inch needle stuck in your back you gladly, even joyfully, accept the offer in order to take away some of the pain—not a “MEternity” leave yet…

 

Now, I won’t go through all the details of childbirth, however, suffice it to say, you will barely be able to walk for the next week.  But don’t worry about that because the only time you will need to get up and move is when your baby needs something—still not a “MEternity” leave….

 

…like a diaper change, fed, cuddled to sleep… so maybe only like once every hour—AROUND THE CLOCK—will you need to force yourself to get up and move around to care for your helpless newborn even though you are truly the one who needs the pampering at this point—definitely not a “MEternity” leave….

 

Once you are all healed up—in 4-6 weeks—you can go back to your active lifestyle.  You are finally able to work-out again—and you’re probably gonna want to because you will still most likely be carrying around 15-20 pounds of unwanted “baby-weight.”  It just doesn’t drop off, much to every new mother’s chagrin.  Caring for a newborn doesn’t lend much time to taking care of yourself.  Maybe you will get a workout in and maybe you won’t.  You will even have to try to sneak a shower in when your baby is napping—that is, if you aren’t napping yourself.  You won’t feel like yourself.  You will feel like a tired, sore, deflated balloon—but you will long to feel like yourself again.  So I wish you luck on any of these endeavors because if the baby starts to cry, you have to drop whatever it is that you are doing and tend to him or her—does this ever turn into a “MEternity” leave??

 

NO.  The answer is no.

 

In fact, I think most new mothers would honestly say that they could use a “meternity” leave from their maternity leave.

 

Meternity Leave | Money Savvy Living

 

So, to get back to the original outrage—I mean article—“I Want All the Perks of a Maternity Leave Without Having Any Kids,” I am curious what Ms. Davies thinks those perks are?

 

In her article, she says, “Bottom line: Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first. A well-crafted “meternity” can give you the same skills — and taking one shouldn’t disqualify you from taking maternity leave later.”

 

Maternity leave is not about you.  It’s about your baby—taking care of your baby and bonding with him or her.  If you don’t know how to “self-advocate” before having a child, you won’t magically develop that skill upon reproducing—and in fact, having a baby to take care of will make self-advocating even harder.  You don’t have a child in order to find yourself, become self-aware, or introspective.  Having a child is not about what that child can do for you or how he or she will make you feel, it is about giving of yourself to a person that you decided to bring into this world—and maternity leave is only the start of that.

 

If you want “me” time, that’s great.  Take some time for yourself.  Do what you need to do to reflect on your life and be able to stand up for yourself—every woman should get to that point.  But don’t equate it with maternity leave.  You don’t want maternity leave, what you are looking for is called a vacation.

Kids Activity: Make Slime Using Cornstarch and Water

Kids Activity: Make Slime Using Cornstarch and Water

Cornstarch and Water Science Experiment | Kids Activity | Money Savvy Living

 

Do your kids like to get their hands messy?  Of course they do!  So that is what is so great about this project—your kids can get messy, and maybe even learn something too!  Fun science experiment!

 

Here is what you will need:

  • cornstarch
  • water
  • measuring cups
  • large bowl
  • plastic fork or spoon
  • food coloring *optional
  • plastic bag (for storage and later disposal)

 

Directions:

Mix ½ cup cornstarch with ¼ cup water.  Combine until the mixture is somewhat stiff, yet gooey.  You can add a bit more cornstarch or water depending on consistency.  What you are looking for is a substance that acts as both a solid and a liquid.

 

The cornstarch and water mixture acts like a solid sometimes and a liquid at other times. This concoction is an example of a suspension – a mixture of two substances, one of which is finely divided and dispersed in the other. In the case of the cornstarch quicksand, it’s a solid dispersed in a liquid.

When you punch the cornstarch quicksand, you force the long starch molecules closer together. The impact of this force traps the water between the starch chains to form a semi-rigid structure. When the pressure is released, the cornstarch flows again.

 

All fluids have a property known as viscosity – the measurable thickness or resistance to flow in a fluid. Honey and ketchup are liquids that have a high resistance to flow. Water has a low viscosity.  Sir Isaac Newton said that viscosity is a function of temperature. So, if you heat honey, the viscosity is less than that of cold honey. The cornstarch and water mixture and quicksand are both examples of non-Newtonian fluids because their viscosity changes when stress or a force is applied, not when heat is applied.

 

Solid to liquid… apply a bit of force… and back to a solid.

 

 

Very cool.  Very messy.  Your kids will be entertained for hours!

 

*Make sure to dispose of this concoction in a plastic storage bag.  You DO NOT want to pour this down the drain, as it could cause a blockage.

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