Category Archives: Parenting

4th Grade/G.A.T.E.

Em’s day was full of firsts! First day at a new school, first day in a school uniform, first day as an upper-grader and first day of G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education). And she was excited, for lack of a better word.




Last night we packed her backpack to the brim with all of the supplies from the list I was given last week. She commented that it was heavy and I told her that it gets worse when she goes to middle school and has one textbook per class. When we arrived at her classroom this morning, many of her classmates had rolling backpacks, so we just might go that route. Especially since there was a gift for each child on their desks. Books, books and MORE books! I’m hoping they only come home occasionally.


Luckily her school started on a Wednesday, which means session is over at 12:25, so we have time before gymnastics to go shirt shopping. The information the G.A.T.E. parents were given at orientation and the registration packet I received last week never mentioned that the uniform shirts are to be purchased from a specific vendor due to an embroidered school logo. So now we have to return all of the shirts I ordered 5 weeks ago and buy new shirts in Anaheim. Yay communication…

I’m sure Em will have a great time in her new class. I just hope school-to-parent communication improves as the weeks go by.

Lazy or Efficient?

I hate shopping. I’ve said it before and anyone who’s gone shopping with me knows it all too well.

So now that Em is changing schools and moving up to the upper-grader world, I had a TON of shopping to do to prepare her for G.A.T.E. in the 4th grade: school uniforms and classroom/school supplies. As soon as I knew Em was accepted into G.A.T.E., I did some research and found that Walmart has a section on their website that will tell you what colors your school has deemed appropriate to wear. So with the exception of a couple items (which I found at Target’s website), I had all of Em’s school uniforms for the next year ordered; they’ve been in her room for weeks, waiting for Em to return from her dad’s house.

Earlier this week I got a call from her new school asking me to come by and pick up her registration paperwork. Included in the packet was a list of things she needs on the first day of school and things the teacher needs for the classroom. Knowing that Em returns today and school starts this coming Wednesday, and knowing our combined schedules, shopping for – and FINDING – everything we needed was going to be a challenge if not a stressful experience for me. Remember, I hate shopping.

So, I went to my beloved Amazon. I don’t know why I delayed for so long enrolling in Amazon Prime, but it was one of the best decisions I made this year. Because when you get a school supply list one week before school starts and you HATE shopping like I do, Amazon Prime quickly becomes your best friend.

  • Small Post-it Notes
  • Red pens
  • 2″ binder
  • Highlighters
  • Stapler
  • Blue Pens
  • Pencil sharpener with lid
  • Binder dividers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Scientific calculator
  • Two-pocket hole-punched folders
  • Scissors
  • 1″ binder
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Lined paper
  • Black pens
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Erasers
  • Spiral-bound notebooks
  • Printer paper
  • Pencil pouch (no boxes allowed – huh??)

Most of these items were eligible for Amazon Prime. I ordered all of them on Wednesday, it took me all of 15 minutes while I watched a Doctor Who episode. And all but 2 items will be on my doorstep before school starts Wednesday morning.

Call me lazy, but I like to think of myself as efficient. I know what stresses me out and I know how unhealthy that is for Em and me.

Sanity Tip: Food Prep

As a single mom, dinnertime for me can be stressful. With my daughter’s crazy gymnastics schedule, it can be difficult to get dinner prepared and served in enough time for her to eat and get ready for bed at a decent hour.

I’ve been buying food at Costco and separating the bulk items, vacuum-sealing them into portions for two and freezing them for future dates. But nowadays it’s not always just two of us eating in my kitchen; sometimes “Brad” eat with us, too. Occasionally that means I have to defrost more than enough for the three of us and then use up the leftover portion the next night or so. It can leave us uneven for a few days.

Tonight I had an “Aha!” moment.

I’d bought some tri-tip last week and put it in the fridge with the thought that I would cook some on one night and freeze the rest for another time. Just as I was getting ready to put them into the oven, a thought struck me: why don’t I cook all of the meat but leave the ones we won’t eat tonight slightly undercooked? My mom had suggested that to me when we first moved out of their house, and I’ve done that many times. But I took my food prep one step further: individually vacuum-sealed pieces of meat!

It really seems like such a “duh!” moment. But I’m quite glad I finally thought of it!



Score one point for Mama! Or, rather, five points. One for each portion.