Teach For VIPKID

500_F_92723815_WKpCLmBRwjOSMt4oZoBT0pTUbSqBOAQk

Do you have a passion for teaching children? Are you looking to supplement your income? If you answered “yes” to either question then you should definitely consider applying for a teaching position with VIPKID! This rapidly growing company is based in China and provides English instruction to children ages 5-12. The curriculum is developed by VIPKID’s education department, and based on Common Core State Standards.

I have been teaching with VIPKID since March, and it has been awesome. I enjoy teaching the curriculum because it is engaging and requires minimal preparation time. The students are fun and eager to learn. I set my own schedule, and the only requirement is that I make myself available to teach at 7.5 hours a week. In addition, those hours must be scheduled during peak times in Beijing. Teachers can earn additional income through frequent contests and projects, which is also a huge plus. Working for VIPKID has been an awesome opportunity for me to work in my profession while being at home with my children.

Based on my experience VIPKID contacts prospective teachers that they are interested fast! In fact, I applied and received a response regarding the next step in the application process within 24 hours. I have included a link to the website. Check it out! Make sure to pass it on to your friends who are educators!

http://teacher-recruitment.vipkid.com.cn/home.shtml?refereeId=1253262

Until Next Time Friends

The Mommy Behind The Pen

Feel Good Foods

Summer is coming to an end and most children have embarked upon a new school year. Although one can hardly tell by this hot California weather, fall is rapidly approaching. I can’t help but to get excited because the arrival of fall means the holiday season will soon be upon us.

The holiday season is nostalgic for me. Growing up, the holiday season was ALWAYS a very big deal in our home. Friends and family from near and far gathered at our home. We played board games and shared laughs after enjoying a delectable spread of holiday favorites. Food preparation began a week early with never-ending morning trips to the grocery store. Nights were spent dicing vegetables and seasoning meats. When the actual holiday arrived the aroma of buttery candied yams, with a dash of cinnamon consumed the house. Counter tops and tables were filled with desserts and baked goods that were a true labor of love. I say not only because the food was delicious, but because my parents worked together to prepare the holiday meal. It was their special way of bonding. By the end of the day hearts were consumed with the love of family and friends, and our stomachs were full. 

Now, that I have my own little family I want my children to experience all of those special feelings and tasty foods that I enjoyed growing up. However, I must admit. My cooking skills are not even remotely close to skill set of my mother or father. Therefore, I always keep a cookbook nearby. I will also confess that I have even called them incessantly on some occasions to have them talk me through recipes, step by step. 

Last fall, I stumbled upon an excellent recipe for buttermilk pie, which is considered a southern comfort food by most Americans. What I like most about this recipe is that it’s nearly fool-proof! There is minimal preparation time, and the ingredient list is very short in comparison to most pie recipes. This recipe is so simple that it is a perfect opportunity to have your  little ones hone their fine motor skills by cracking eggs and pouring. They can also work on their counting skills by measuring. I found this recipe on Facebook under Janet’s Appalachian kitchen. I also found a direct link for the website which is as follows: http://www.janetsappalachiankitchen.wordpress.com.

Nannies Buttermilk Pie

1 3/4 Cup of sugar

1 Stick of unsalted butter (1/2 C.) room temp.

3 Large eggs

1/4 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 Cup of buttermilk

One 9 inch pie shell, unbaked

Cream together the sugar and butter till well blended. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add in the vanilla, salt and flour. Beat in the buttermilk until well combined. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet lined with foil (catches any overflow). Fill the pie shell with the buttermilk mixture, just to the top of the shell. Pour any remaining into an ungreased custard cup. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set until almost cooled before serving. Store covered in the fridge.

Here’s a look at my finished product.

1126151001 (2)

It was so tasty that my then 2-year-old kept saying “more pie please, mommy !”

What are some of your holiday feel good foods? Let’s swap recipes so that we are all fully prepared to create wonderful dishes and special memories!

Until Next Time Friends,

The Mommy Behind The Pen

Always Believe

sky

For this child, I prayed. Those were the words that kept resurfacing after I received a phone call from Ellis’s neurologist late last week. I wept throughout the remainder of the day after ending the phone call. Many of you know that this blog was birthed last year after I witnessed a sudden developmental decline in Ellis. I later wrote a post about his diagnosis of seizure disorder. Overall, I continue to see a tremendous improvement in his development. Per therapist recommendation, Ellis was discharged from speech therapy early. He continues to receive in- home therapy services. But I am pleased to report Ellis is again performing at age level and even higher in some areas. The seizures have decreased tremendously. However, I did notice an increase in seizure activity in the months of November and December. It could have been due to the arrival of the new baby. I also noticed some temporary changes in his behavior and sentence patterns during that time. Ellis had his second EEG completed last week. It has been nearly a year since his first EEG was completed and abnormal activity was noted. I went to the appointment extremely optimistic. In fact, I was hoping that the results would be normal, and the doctor would discharge Ellis from his care. I was wrong, very wrong. It showed more abnormal activity than the previous EEG, and medication is now necessary. When I received the news I was upset. Not because I felt sorry for Ellis, but simply because he is and will ALWAYS be my baby. I don’t care if Ellis is 50 years old, he will still be the same baby that I prayed God would bless me with, long before I even learned I was pregnant with him. When things affect our children it is only natural to become emotional. I have talked many times before about my faith in God and that phone call caused me to grip my faith even tighter and pray even harder. I believe in the power of God and I know He can perform miracles. I believe what I am witnessing with Ellis is a miracle in the making. When this all began a year ago it was hard to believe that I would ever hear Ellis talk in sentences, or see him play again. Thankfully, I have seen both of those things ( along with many other things) happen again. Ellis has even gained new skills.

Friends, I want to let you know that challenges come, and at times life is just downright hard! Sometimes we are undeserving of the misfortune and adversity we face. But yet and still believe. As for me, I will follow the doctor’s recommendations because I know that is the responsible thing to do as a parent. However, I will also continue to stand firm on my faith and believe that Ellis will be seizure free one day! I will never stop advocating for Ellis.  I will never stop believing that the silver lining surrounding this dark situation exists. I will never stop challenging Ellis to learn new things and to strive for greatness simply because – for this child I prayed.

Until Next Time,
The Mommy Behind The Pen

The Power Of One

As a mom, there are times I get so consumed with managing a household that I feel like a robot. I adhere to a schedule in order to provide consistency and stability for my children. I start chores in the wee hours of the morning while they are still sleeping in order to feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day. But it’s during those quiet moments at bedtime when I kiss my son’s cheek and hold his hands that I remember what being a mom is really about. His gapped smile makes my heart swell. His vibrant eyes are exhilarating. I relish in those moments. They are filled with joy and a hint of sadness because suddenly I am reminded that one day he will no longer want to be showered with my kisses. One day his little hands will become larger than mine. Then I grasp his hands a bit tighter and bury them in my chest. I stare at them, in hopes that I can memorize each line and crinkle. So that one day when I’m old and at the end of my life that precious memory will cause me to smile one more time.

Sometimes my son asks me to read him one more story at bedtime. Most nights I am beyond tired. In fact, I’m barely awake, but I rarely refuse his request. Instead, I acquiesce and enjoy the sound of his laughter. I store the sound of his voice in my heart because I know one day his voice will become deep and masculine. There won’t be any remnants of his child-like pitch and mild lisp to enjoy. One day he will learn to read, and no longer want me to read to him.

My daughter is growing so fast! She’s nearly 3 months old and it honestly feels like it’s been the quickest 3 months of my life. Overall, she’s a mellow baby. But there are those moments when the sound of her whimper tells me she wants a little bit more of my time. She wants one more cuddle, one more nursery rhyme, and one more silly face to make her smile. I look around the house and sigh because there are still chores I have yet to tackle. A  brief internal struggle ensues. Should I comply with her wish? Or continue with the housework that will only double, triple, even quadruple if it is left undone? I gladly comply with her wishes because I know one day she will find her cell phone – or whatever the hot gadget may be at the time and her friends more entertaining than her mom.

Sometimes I daydream about all the things our family could have if I went back to work full time. Relaxing summer vacations, a spacious new home, extra cash to splurge on visits to the spa and trendy shoes. But then, I am reminded that one day this home that is filled with toys, baby items and tiny feet running about will become an empty nest.

There will always be a bigger home to wish for. A fancier car to work for and a higher paying job to apply for. But right now I want to enjoy every moment with my children while they are still young. I want to create special memories with them that they can share with their children one day.

Until Next Time Friends,

The Mommy Behind The Pen

 

Got Milkies ????

Whoever coined the phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk” most certainly must not have been a breastfeeding mom! Breastfeeding has numerous known benefits, for both the mother and infant. If you’re a nursing mother who finds it difficult to increase your milk supply that “liquid gold” we call breast milk becomes an even more precious commodity. Breastfeeding my first child was really difficult – no matter what I tried. I took Fenugreek, drank mother’s tea and ate oatmeal constantly. Nothing ever seemed to help my milk supply increase. Therefore, my supply of breastmilk never seemed to match my son’s growing demand for longer and more frequent feeds. I eventually decided to breast and formula feed. It worked well for him and me. His little stomach was satisfied and I did not have to fret about whether or not he was getting enough to eat. My daughter is a different story. This time, my milk supply is far more than her little stomach can handle. I have a surplus of milk, which is outstanding. However, for me, there is nothing more frustrating than milk leaking, from the breast that I am not nursing from during feeds. I feel like its nutrition gone to waste. That is why I think Milkies Milk-Saver is one of the best products on the market for nursing mothers. Milkies is a collection cup that is used during feeds to preserve the milk that is released from your non-nursing breast during feeds. You simply place the cup in your bra and it can collect up to 11 ounces of milk! How awesome is that?! I have been able to preserve at least 2 ounces of milk during each use. No more leaking milk on your clothes or using a nursing pad. After you are finished nursing you place the milk in a collection freezer bag, just as you would after pumping. I was not asked to write a review or endorse this product but I love it so much that I just had to share. It would make a great gift for a new mother who is nursing, or an expectant mother that plans to nurse her little one. They will LOVE you for it! I purchased my Milkies Milk-Saver on Amazon. You can click on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=milkies

Until Next Time Friends,

The Mommy Behind The Pen

 

 

Checking In !

Hi Friends, it’s been a while… a very long while ! I apologize for not posting more regularly. My daughter made her grand entrance into the world early December and since then I have been super busy! I miss blogging and reading all the wonderful posts from my blogger friends. I hope to be back in full swing really soon. Thank you for your patience :).

 

Until Next Time Friends,

The Mommy Behind The Pen

Trials + Reflection = Blessings + Thankfulness

There is a blessing in the storm. Count your blessings, instead of your trials.

Those words woke me up out of my sleep before daybreak about two weeks ago, and they have with me resonated since then. Earlier that week I was talking to my mom over the phone and I remember telling her that in the past two years I have experienced profound happiness with the birth of my son and the impending arrival of my daughter. But during that time I have also experienced health issues, my son was diagnosed with seizure disorder, and let’s face it there are financial constraints that arise when families transition to a single income. Moreover, I had no clue that in the days following that conversation a very close family member would experience a medical emergency. During that conversation, I remember saying, “can we get a break? It seems like there is one thing after another going on?”

Yet, I am still so thankful for those words that are now embedded in my mind and heart. I began to remember that although I am no longer making a financial contribution to my family, I am creating a foundation for my son that will positively shape him as a person. I was at home with every day during a very critical time when his health and development were impacted. I was able to take him to every doctor’s visit, therapy appointment and lab test. It would have been much harder if I were still working to get him the help he needed so quickly.

My health hasn’t been the best, but it could always be worse. And in spite of a few medical setbacks I have still been able to bring forth life. For that, I am tremendously thankful.

The family member who experienced the medical emergency is on the road to recovery, which is nothing short of a miracle. The experience caused my husband to reflect on the importance of his health, among other things. For that, I am also thankful.

If life were always perfect we wouldn’t appreciate all the little blessings. In reality, those blessings are often far greater than the obstacle. My point is that there is a lesson to be learned in every trial, and a blessing to be thankful for. Always remember It’s impossible to appreciate the sunshine if you have never experienced the rain.

Until Next Time Friends,
The Mommy Behind The Pen