Wednesday Wow: Teens should Volunteer

My teens are always looking for ways to stay busy. We left off on Monday talking about ways teens can volunteer, make a difference and even learn something while helping others. The list continues here:

FFA Offer CLT D30

Hospitals

Many hospitals have volunteer programs to help patients both inside and outside the hospital.

ore medical careers and gain work experience. Contact local hospitals to learn more about opportunities in your area.

  1. Libraries

Many libraries need help reshelving books, running children’s programs, making books available to the community, and so on.. Contact a local library for volunteer opportunities in your area.

  1. Senior Citizens Centers

Many senior citizen centers offer volunteer programs to provide friendship and community activities to senior citizens. If you would like working with senior citizens, call a senior citizen center in your neighborhood and see what kinds of volunteer programs they have available.

  1. Animal Shelters

Many animal shelters are non-profit or government organizations, and therefore they welcome volunteers to help take care of animals, keep facilities clean and work with the public. Call a local animal shelter for more information.

The United Way

is a nationwide umbrella organization for thousands of charitable organizations. The United Way raises billions of dollars and distributes it to these charities. There are local United way affiliates across the country and they need volunteers. Contact your local affiliate for more information.

Red Cross The American Red Cross

helps people in emergencies – whether it’s half a million disaster victims or one sick child who needs blood. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country. Contact your local Red Cross for more information.

The Salvation Army

provides social services, rehabilitation centers, disaster services, worship opportunities, character building activities for all ages and character building groups and activities for all ages. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country.

Environmental Organizations encourages volunteer support to help with environmental activities. You can help in many ways: by helping lobby on conservation issues, by leading hikes and other activities, or by lending a hand at the Chapter Office. Contact the local office of an environmental organization near you.

Political Campaigns

If it’s an election year, there are thousands of opportunities to volunteer in political campaigns around the country. You can learn more than you imagine by helping a candidate win election.. Pick a candidate whose ideas you believe in (either on the local, state or national level) and volunteer to be a part of his or her campaign.

Web site creation

Many small charities and organizations do not yet have web sites. You can help by learning how to create a web site and volunteering your services. You could also raise money to pay for the web site, or seek help from a local company in the form of a donation.

After all that volunteering. Be sure to reward your teen. Mine still LOVES Disney On ice! They will be here next week! Get your tickets!!!!

Visit us them Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce or themed pictures for ticketing information.

(We gave away a family four pack. Winners= will be announced THIS Friday in the Friday Four Blog post)

Cassie helps Ms Artie!

Cassie helps Ms Artie!

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Wednesday Wow:Homeschooling Questions and Answers

The homeschool community has grown exponentially in the last ten years, and the resources available to homeschoolers now can seem endless in scope.

Garden and plant home school class by Aura Agape The homeschool community has grown exponentially in the last ten years, and the resources available to homeschoolers now can seem endless in scope.

Thinking about homeschooling, so have many others parents just like you! I have put together a few tidbits and hope it helps you in your decision to educate your child.

Home schooling does not  mean that you are non public school….every child has different needs, and every parent has different capabilities.

We home school because we want all of our children to have a quality, well rounded education with minimal distractions, that would prepare them for real life experiences. For us, we wanted to focus on Nutrition, Culture, Physical, the environment, Math, Science, Finance, and Technology.

Literary Circle at our local library hosted by the UNCC early educators interns.

Literary Circle at our local library hosted by the UNCC early educators interns.

Having them at home ensures character development too which is also essential. At Kelle’s Higher Learning, we make it work for us. I guarantee you that we don’t stick to a clock to tell us how long to teach/learn. Some times it more, sometimes it’s less than the 8 hours.

Discoveries

After years of using math in their daily lives, homeschooled teens are well equipped to teach themselves higher math. Don’t worry about it when they are ten.
You will question yourself a lot. Maybe several times a day in the beginning. This is normal. Find a fellow homeschooling friend. Support each other. Tell each other that it’s okay to sometimes feel that your children didn’t seem to learn anything on a given day. They did, and so did you!

By no ones measure are my kids social misfits. I have a stay at home mom support group with children very close their age, and because of  the kids next door, their friends at ballet, 4-H and Karate there is no reason to ever be concerned about that.

Another concern I hear is whether their child’s SAT/ACT’s results will get into college. Every year, colleges across the nation and the world are opening their doors to homeschoolers. Many of the most prestigious colleges around the nation have accepted homeschoolers: Brown, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, the United States Military Academy at West Point, UC at Berkeley, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Yale, just to name a few. My son was homeschooled for just two years and today he is at Hampton University . So, trust me, it’s ok.

The key to homeschooling both older and younger kids together is all in strategy. Teach them how to learn. For example, when were are doing science projects, the older ones get the research part of the assignment. The younger ones get to help create it! Everyone enjoys it!

Homeschooling is an act of love. It does require loads of structure, determination and immense creative skills. It's a very personal decision, and you must be comfortable with yourself.

Homeschooling is an act of love. It does require loads of structure, determination and immense creative skills. It’s a very personal decision, and you must be comfortable with yourself.

To get started in North Carolina there are three requirements that homeschools must meet: 1st visit the NCDNE here’s the link: Click Here!

Once you give the state notice of your intention to homeschool, wait for your “license” to begin. If you are living on a budget as we are and have multiple children as we have, do yourself a favor and get free/ affordable help. Many businesses and even libraries offer free help for students of all ages. Try K12, Connections Academy, Insight or Kaplan. They all offer free programs. Khan Academy is our favorite! They are a not-for-profit educational organization that believe in providing a high quality education for anyone, anywhere.

Being  home schooled allows children to work at different levels. My 6 year old is doing division, multiplication and reading well on a first grade level.

Being home schooled allows children to work at different levels. My 6 year old is doing division, multiplication and reading well on a first grade level.

Don’t forget educational games. There are so many amazing ways to engage your child in learning while they are having fun, thanks to technology and the internet. These green friendly options allows us to be more mobile by just googling: free learning software for kids and free preschool curriculum, a truss of goodies come up. I suggest Jumpstart. It’s an affordable software and a few of the lessons have hard books and match games. Also check out local newspaper for opportunities available to you as a homeschooling family.

Reading comprehension skills in action.

Reading comprehension skills in action.

Homeschooling is a lot of work. But it’s worth it. Every time I’ve considering putting them back in public school, I go back to thinking of the reasons why I chose to homeschool in the first place and start on my lesson plans for next week. In closing, if you try it and it doesn’t work, put your ego aside and send them back to public school. You can always move to a better school zone*. If you need more detailed information on this topic get it my upcoming guide I’ll share it here on this blog post in the comment section.

Wednesday Wow! The Total Children’s Wellness Fair is on it’s way!

I’m so excited! Right about now, everything is falling in line. Yesterday, I secured the location for this year’s fair! It is nothing less than favor!  In my mind, the Total Children’s Wellness Fair is incredible. It addresses all seven (7) branches of wellness in one day by bringing together the community children, commercial community ,and the service sector for a colossal of healthy fun and under cover education in a progressive engaging format! Obviously, it’s catching on, and it feels great to know that someone else sees the value/ need! purposee Going into our 4th year I expect an explosion of

creativity and teamwork…..our children deserve it! Nutritional, Social, Spiritual, Environmental  Educational, Financial and Physical wellness is and always will be vital to our children survival. If you choose, call it clicheísh, but it’s true, our children do not come with instructions, someone has to fill in that gap for the ones that have no resources or guidance.That’s where the Total Children’s Fair comes in at. The value is to provide realistic life skill strategies and identify local resources that are available to the under served and to support them by sharing knowledge, resources, instruction and time. It’s a win for all! The community partners get to educate their future consumers and the visitors get an opportunity to discover 1st hand why their habits should change…or continue. And you know I’ll have breastfeeding as a highlighted as well as the grand finale of the “She Mechanic” workshops there. Guy’s this is all about empowerment for all children from the unborn to the college student.

Beautiful things DO happen when great people work together! -QC Supermom

Now it’s time to really get busy. If you guys know me by now, I have to have a personal  “Oh Wow” moment  during the fair & I think I have it (no hints just yet!)

tcwf

In the meantime, there’s space for anyone and everyone to help out! If interested contact me now to learn how you can join us!

Wednesday Wow: What’s in the Compost

In our home, food shouldn’t be wasted,dirt is vital to life and everyone can help compost . I just can’t say it enough! WE COMPOST!

I love the idea of saving money and reducing waste by composting certain food scraps and yard waste.We even get a little exercise in as well. Teaching these natural life skill to my children is important too.

Compost1

We have been composting since December. For the most part, its been easy, inexpensive and exciting to see how everyone can work together toward a common goal of seeing  this labor of love grow healthy and strong.

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Up until yesterday, I have been very proud of our compost bin. Everything was going well. The browns and greens  were beginning to break down and the kids were taking an active part in helping maintain and waiting to feel the “heat.composting3“.

Even my husband had began to respect my back yard operation. I loved all that rain we got the other week. It helped the compost and our water bill a great bit.

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 So much that I realized that I was getting too low on leaves (the browns). I did recall the helpful lady from the city saying that I could use ripped up strips of newspaper (not the sales ads) but I didn’t want to. So riding to the market I seen a huge 3 row pile of leaves & promised myself that I would pick at least one bag up. Two days later, I had it. I did seem heavy to navigate into the van, but I guess I was so eager to get it home that I paid it no mind. I was thinking  “OOOh this bag is huge-I scored BIG! ” Once I got home and my daughter asked to empty it. She came back to me and said “Mom, the leaves aren’t suppose to smell. I think you have a body in there!”

composting1

Needless to say, I’m too scared to check it out. I’ve brought my newest table scarps in locally & saving it in a bag on the other side of the back door till I get someone to investigate it for me. My stomach is too weak to pitchfork any corpse, and I don’t want my kids to see death like that……YUCK!  I’m thinking the hopes of seeing this 3 ft, labor of love  turn into a dark, crumbly mixture of decomposed organic matter, to control weeds, provide nutrients to plants, improve soil and save water is now a pipe dream. Any tips? Can I save my compost, and look forward to making compost tea or should I call animal control to retrieve whatever had the bag heavy and smelly? Oh, the woes of a fresh composter……

New gardeners learn by by trowel and error.

-QCSupermom

I waste less-I compost Black Gold!

Compost is a soil conditioner, mulch and fertilizer all wrapped into one. It feeds the soil microorganisms that help plants stay healthy,  adds nutrients to the soil, and helps clay soil drain better and sandy soil  retain water. Plus, composting reduces your contribution to the waste stream by  recycling yard and kitchen waste into the world’s best soil amendment.  My Wipe Out Friend, Nadine once said-  Just dig a one-foot hole  in the yard and cover it with a board or bricks until it is full of organic waste. Once your hole is full, bury it with soil, and dig another one to keep composting all winter long. But it wasn’t tht simple. at least not for me it wasn’t.

I tried composting before. My husband idn’t appreciate it much. Everytime I collectedwhat I thought was a good supply, he threw it away. I got crush in spirit, but would keep trying, hoping that the next batch would be a winner. But they all would have the same results….in the trash!  finsi waste

See, we had a garden and I really wanted something good and affrodableto ensure our lots growth without any chemicals. As new family farmers we didn’t know much. I remeber hearing about compost and seeing these dirty looking bins at other gardeners lot at the community garden. Then I seen a posting for a free composting class and quickly secured my spot. I figured if I learned to do it the right way, maybe he wouldn’t trash my stash. Ok….fast forwarding to last weekend. Mary Kay and Shelly came to my house and  gave me the greatest gift ever; knowledge!

 

See what we did-1 5 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11a 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Built the composting bin.

For a compost system to work, it needs a healthy mix of browns and greens, moisture, oxygen, heat, and an assortment of decomposers which will turn kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient rich compost.

Winter composting also pays off by having a supply of organic material ready to  use for spring planting.
Position the compost station in the best possible place.  The sun and its warmth  are crucial to the composting process. Choose a place that allows the compost  station to catch full sun for as long as possible.

The two basic elements that make up compost are green garden debris (grass  clippings or old annuals) and brown garden derbis (dry leaves). Green  ingredients are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. Adding  too many greens can make the pile smell bad. Do not add animal waste, meats,  oils, dairy, diseased plants, weeds that have gone to seed, or plants treated  with pesticides or herbicides to your compost.

Collect stuff: leaves and compost waste lie raw food. Not blood or oil based items.Over time, the materials in our compost bin will naturally degrade.

As you can see, everyone helped! We asked questions & listen to the answers and enjoyed the hands on workshop!

1. Should I cover it at all as it get cooler? I just read that -Insulate the compost bin.  This can be done easily by either gluing or stapling  insulating material to the inside of the bin.  An inexpensive insulator can be  made by simply using foam wrapped in black plastic.  The black plastic will heat up and the foam will hold the heat.

2.  When do I add soil to my compost pile?

Read more HERE!

Ever heard of a counter top compost column? I think it’s a great starter for kids.

and here –Nine Ways to Get Plants and Trees for Free.

 

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OK  ya’ll till next time!    …..looking for the STEAM!  QC Supermom

Friday four: Going GMO Friendly

October 2012 marks the third annual Non-GMO Month, and the celebration could not be more timely.

The Fresh Expo was a great start! It got my mind  running. I got empowerment. I would really feel like a failure if I didn’t take advantage of the information I learned. The recipes seem over whelming, as well as the idea of the upfront expense but bottom line I gotta start somewhere so that my kids will thank me later.

Continuing from Wednesday, my last post, here’s what we’ve been up to in the QC.

We watched  Food Inc. last night at the Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension   with a few friends and my children. We do good, in the light of  shopping but I think we can do better. We have habits that are not aligned with the overall goals of our family. Being a mom of daughters, it’s even more of a goal to teach them how to eat well at  a young age. (Yes, it’s equally important for my son’s to learn as well.)

Here are four things to know when you are playing GMO roulette!

1.Educate yourself. Did you know that researchers in France just published peer-reviewed research showing that Roundup herbicide and GMO Roundup Ready crops can cause tumours, multiple organ damage and lead to premature death? For the most comprehensive, up-to-date resource on the web for news like this about the GMO issue, check out the Non-GMO Project’s Facebook page. If you’re not on Facebook, you can watch the home page of the Project’s website for the same news feed.

This is a conversation I had with a college friend:

  • Renee/her: Read a book over the summer called Seeds of Deception. Scared the you know what out of me. Great read but only if you want to know the truth and unfortunately people find it easier to ignore.
  • me: You’re right Renee. We watched Food Inc. again…..I’m certain that we will be going GMO free 100% real soon. I feel that to not make a change after learning is child abuse.

2.Support mandatory GMO labeling efforts. Tell your community about it! Find out if there are any mandatory labeling efforts in the works that you can support in your state. And no matter where you live, be sure you’ve signed the Just Label It petition to the FDA!

3.Host or attend an event. Check out the Non-GMO Month events calendar, and consider adding an event of your own. One powerful but easy idea? Host a film screening in your living room. Invite friends over to watch Genetic Roulette or The Future of Food and serve Non-GMO Project Verified snacks! Last night, I took all of my kids to watch Food Inc.  Lisa Leake, of 100 days of  Real Food, was there as a guest speaker. What a realistic and down to earth mom she is. I brought home some amazing literature to share with my sahm’s.

4.Find a Non-GMO Month Retailer near youMore than 1,300 natural food stores across the U.S. and Canada are participating in Non-GMO Month this year. These retailers are offering clear labeling, educational materials, and great deals on verified products. Show your support for their efforts by shopping at their stores and thanking them for being part of Non-GMO Revolution!  We frequent Earth Fare because of their coupons and other community engagement incentives.

Here’s more tips to get you started:

CLICK HERE!

Also, be sure to stop by my facebook page to win prizes from

Swircles & Happy family!

The FRESH Expo! The review

GMO stands for “genetically modified organisms,” and foods that contain  ingredients with GMOs are considered GMO foods.  GMOs are used in many crops,  including soybeans, corn, potatoes and canola. GMO is NOT Good For YOU or your loved ones! Give it to people you don’t like instead.Let them eat that garbage! 🙂

The Fresh Expo this Saturday did a great job in explaining it all!

For months I was hearing about the No GMO trade show & never really gave it much thought. I know someone on the planning team & I already knew that we would attend if for no other reason to support her. Although the idea of getting loads of goodies were enticing!  I really didn’t think it would be a big deal! At most, I expected to get enough samples to share with my sahm’s that did not make it out. Boy was I selling myself short! It was one of the best expos that I have ever attended. …..and I had all of my kids with me!

Just to back up & set the tone:        Just in case you don’t know who Iam. Let me tell you who I am.

I am the 37.85 year old  mother of 9 kids. 8 living. 1 one college, 1 passed from a AIH issue in ’05. 1 is a bit chunky. One of our son’s have an ugly kidney- it works  well though. My husband is semi veggie, the rest of us eat meat, but no red meat. We live off one income- I home school  somehow I find time to organize educated play dates for kids for Queen City Stay At Home Moms and I blog!  In 2005 I lost 78 lbs. , I eat at Earth Fare On Thursdays because I love the Family Night deal and I always ask why and love to figure it out myself.

Here’s what I expected: How can I & why should I care about GMO’s being in my families food. Lord knows there’s enough for me to worry about already with our diet. How much more of an expense will this be for my family? Will I realistically learn how to implement anything I learned there once I got home.

Here’s what I gained from being there: It’s all about education! GMO is a bad thing. It’s when food is tainted! Here’s is my husbands definition is;

When scientist alter/modify the dna/genes of a organism, i.e pants and even animals. for alternative motives.

  1. Increase profit
  2. Increase food supply
  3.  Decrease the number of farmers

High-Risk Crops -Click that link too- (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

ALSO high-risk: animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed.  It’s important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer. If produce is certified USDA-organic, it’s non-GMO (or supposed to be!) Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer’s markets where you can be ensured the crops aren’t GMO. Even better, if you are so inclined: Start organic gardening and grow them yourself. In other words, give processed foods the boot.

“Freedom, democracy, and choice is taken away. It’s taken away from the farmer by not allowing them to have their seed. It’s taken away from the consumer by not letting them have labeling to say what they’re eating. If there was labeling of GM foods, no one would eat it.”

Here are some links to help you begin your own research on the topic:

Say No TO GMO!

Genetically Modified Food Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

The Organic Report

Pregnant & nursing moms READ this link!

Don’t feed your own body cancer magnets!

And here’s news for the allergy suffers! I got that from off of Oprahs page!

GMO’s Are Poisonous.

 GMO Studies have proved GMO’s to develop cancer and die faster then rats who arn’t being fed GMO’s

My husband says that I am strait from the laboratory 😦  Yes , he was joking!

Here’s what I putting in action from today:  Reading and research more. Gardening pesticide free and sharing the information that I learned with as many moms as possible! Most of all making sure that any mom that I am in contact with knows the information that I now have which is simple Charlotte  is a great place to eat and here are the best place s to go! 

Check out this awesome slideshow of a few of my favorite vendors there! The photos were taken by the amazing Mimika Cooney of MiMika Cooney Photography   Thank you Cynthia, for inviting me, and everyone that engaged me in a few words and samples to share! Mom’s want to feed our families well. We want to know which products to stay away from. Because our dollars are limited, we need direction, clear direction & as long as I am Mrs. Kelle Pressley, QC Supermom, and there is someone that offers real life resources, I promise to spread the word. See you  all  soon!

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