Thursday, August 30, 2012

Five Question Friday

Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post. Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Questions for Friday, August 24th
Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)

1. What do you enjoy doing the most with your spouse?
  • I love "dating," my husband: snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie, trying new foods at an unknown restaurant, or just simply holding hands. With two young kids, I have come to value our "date nights."
2. How do you eat your taco? From the top or from the side?
  • I eat my soft tacos from the side! I like them fully loaded, the more stuff that can fall out, the better! Don't forget the sour cream!
3. Have you ever shut off the basement light and ran like a fool because you knew someone was down there and would get you?
  • I cant say that I was ever freaked out by the basement. For me it was the barn, because I never knew what I would find when I turned on the barn lights and opened the doors. I remember once finding a huge snake, an opossum, and a lost pot belly pig...so you can only imagine going out to the barn in the dark, who knew what or who might be lurking in the barn!

4. If you could change one thing about you what would it be and why?
  • Just one thing? I would change the fact that I have zero athletic ability! I can honestly say that Ive never done a cart wheel, climbed a rope, and cant throw a baseball to save my life! (Growing up with 4 brothers, in a very sport centered family...I was the black sheep!)

5. What age do you think is appropriate to have the "bird and the bees" talk with your children?
  • I am really torn with this topic, kids need to know the information and denying or not answering their questions about sex doesn't help either. I think with my own children, I will answer their questions as they ask. I will gage my answers depending on what they ask. I will not shock them or scare them into fearing sex, but give them the "talk" when the time comes.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vlogging Mommies - Thoughts On Being a New Mom


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Join us next week as we link up again, and vlog with some awesome ladies! Check out my fellow hostesses Hanan of LilacCityMomma,Cassie of CrazyCoolCrafty, and Mindi of SimplyStavish; and join in on the fun by linking up each Thursday!

Next week, we are talking about Back to School and tips for school. Did you have a Kindergartner this year? Are your kids excited about a new year? Any tips for getting out the door? What is something you would share with other moms about communication and the teacher? Join us next week and link up, as we share our thoughts on your Top 3 Childrens Books!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Missing Big Brother

Ryan waiting at the bus stop...he really missed his big brother!

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Finally Riding the Bus!

For as long as Mikey has been able to form full sentences, he has been obsessed with school buses. I can remember him running to a front window, to watch the local school bus picking up or dropping off our neighbors. When ever we would see a bus, he would happily point at the bus and talk endlessly about it! As Kindergarten approached, most of his questions were about riding the bus!
This morning he woke up early, and put on his white hat (all Kindergarteners were given one to help identify new bus riders) and was counting down the minutes till we could walk to the bus stop. We had many adventures, at the bus stop such as: seeing a garter snake, Ryan falling down and getting two bloody knees, and tag with the neighbors. Mikey's face when he finally heard the bus approaching, and then had the bus in his sight, was priceless! He took our neighbor's hand, and didn't look back! He was getting on that bus, and nothing was standing in his way! He boarded the bus, told the bus driver  good morning, and then quickly found a seat. 
When I met him at the bus stop this afternoon, he was grinning ear to ear! He proudly told me that he loved the bus, and it was on of his favorite parts of his second day of school!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

1st Day of School "Homework"

Mike had "Homework," on the first day of school! The teacher gave each student a small brown paper lunch bag, with instructions for the child to select 5 things that they like, describes them, or makes them unique. The teacher gave many examples in her "My Bag," such as dancing, dogs, spending time with her family, hiking, and gardening.

Mikey was excited about the assignment, until I explained that he couldn't just throw 5 Transformers in to his brown bag! So, We sat down and talked about 5 things that make him unique, and I was surprised at what he came up with!

He selected a fire truck, a baseball, a dinosaur skeleton, a Christmas card with an elf, and a Lowes patch! I giggled at a few of his selected items, and was really surprised by one. When I asked him why he selected the items he talked about each item, here is what he had to say:
  1. I love fire trucks, and grandpa is a fire fighter in St. Louis
  2. We love the St. Louis Cardinals, and I know that no one else in class will.
  3. Dinosaurs are cool, and we saw them in D.C.
  4. I don't think anyone else knows what "Hammer Class," is...I work really hard to get patches.
  5. Our family has Christmas Elves, I want to know who else sees Buddy and Max, or has an elf?
In the mind of the 5 year old, I think he came up with great ideas. As a Mom, I raised my eyebrows, as I never want anyone to think his ideas are silly or that he stands out. (Thank goodness we love the Ravens, as football is a way of life in Maryland...they might let the baseball team slide.) He was confident in his answers, and told the same story each time I would pull an item out of his bag. Just for fun, we printed a few family pictures to send with his bag, just in the event he flakes out at school, or can not remember when it is his turn to show his bag to the class.

If you were 5, and had to pick 5 items to introduce yourself to a group of other 5 year olds, what would you select? What 5 items do you like or would describe you? (As an adult it would be fun to introduce ourselves this way at a conference or small group!) Would you have difficulty only selecting 5 items? Did your student have home work on the first day of school?

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Mike's First Day of Kindergarten


Today was the First Day of Kindergarten for Mike! It was a half day, as part of the gradual entrance program for Kindergartners. The morning was spent stowing away supplies, learning how to raise his hand, what is a "smart board", puzzles, how to walk in a single file line, and a visit to the cafeteria. It was a great way as a mom, for me to get a hint of how his day will go. Tomorrow is the true test, as he will ride the school bus, and have a full day of school! Crossing our fingers for a great year!
*1st Day of School sign art design was created by One Sweet Party.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

{Book Review} Ambition's Not An Awful Word

This inspiring and hilarious tale contains humorous rhymes that compare and contrast astoundingly vivid visions of achievement with the challenges and difficulties that children encounter in real life. The story focuses on young Zack Zage, who’s “busting his buttons” with excitement to speak to the class even though he’s stuck at the end of the alphabet. He can’t wait to tackle even the most mundane tasks with the fervor of a wildcat. “What I want to be” is the question of the day for Mrs. Grundy’s fourth grade class.
  • An astronaut! Of course! - But the cheese on the moon turned out to create a sticky situation. And Mrs. Grundy wasn’t amused.
  • How about a chef? - But the only thing Zack has ever cooked is a weenie on a campfire.
  • Perhaps he’d try being a cowboy? - But not until all the stalls are cleaned and the work is done.
Ambition's Not An Awful Word will have you and your kids laughing out loud. The nimble verse is attention getting and memorable. The illustrations by Adam Watkins are fabulous and provocative. And, there is a tongue-in-cheek glossary that is unforgettably funny. This book is a gift to all the parents who have struggled to stay awake while reading a bedtime story to the kids.

The kids and I sat down, and really enjoyed Ambition's Not An Awful Word! The boys laughed at all of the wild dreams of Zack, and loved the page about becoming a Chef. My youngest asked if he too could become an astronaut, due to the rocket ship that was illustrated on the page! (The illustrations are bold, and draw you right in!) As, I mom I knew the wording was geared toward an older grade school child, but the great news...there is a glossary at the end of the book! The boys and I looked up every word that they didn't understand, and really took our time enjoying looking up all of the new words! The book is fantastic, and reminds us all to follow our dreams. The writing and illustrations can be enjoyed at any age, and your fourth grader will love this book!

About the Creators

Zack Zage grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Duke and an MBA from UNC - Chapel Hill. He was a corporate banker, custom home builder, horse trainer & judge (hunter/jumper/equitation), and the inventor of: PLAY IT SMART - Chicago Tribune's 10th Anniversary Top 10 Game of the Year 1993 and NICKEL & DIME POOL - Family Fun Magazine's 1994 Best Game of the Year.

Adam Watkins graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2004, where he majored in Illustration. Included in his many awards are the 2004 Best in Show CCAD Art of Illustration Show and a 2006 Gold Addy Award.

* I was not compensated for this review. I received a hard cover copy of the book for my personal review, to share my thoughts and opinions.
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Getting Ready, Kindergarten Awaits

We are getting ready, as school starts tomorrow morning! The day has finally arrived, and I think I am we are ready. Lord knows, Mikey is...he is very excited, and has asked about a million times what time we will leave to go to school. His questions are endless: of who, what, when, and where? Many times I do not know the answer, and simply answer with, "We will know soon enough!" I hope he gets some sleep, as I doubt I will. (I am just as excited, if not more excited than he is!)

His backpack is ready to go, poor kid looks like he will fall over as it is stuffed with new school supplies.. He cant wait to see what kind of back pack everyone else has. He is of the mind that all boys should like wrestling, and carry John Cena back packs like him. (I explained that he might be the only one...) He has also asked what will the other kids bring to school, as he doesn't understand that there was a list. I never thought that the "what will everyone be bringing?" be such a big deal to him. I'm not sure if it is wanting to fit in, making sure he is "normal," or if it just comes down to general curiosity?

Mikey has told Ryan that he can not go to school with him. This broke Ryan's little heart, and I was surprised at the depth of hurt in Ryan's eyes. Little brother is of the mind that he was at orientation too...met the teacher, and also has a back pack filled with goodies. (Toys) I sat with Ryan, and calmed him, explaining that he would attend preschool, next Fall. I told him we would be just ask excited about him going to school, as we have been for Mikey. He seemed to be okay, and I am hoping he isn't too broken hearted over the next few days, when it all sinks in. Who knows, maybe he will love big brother going to school and all of the extra time with Momma?

Crossing my fingers, for a smooth trip out the door! Our first day of school is a half day, and part of a gradual entrance program. It is a good way to give him a taste of what to expect, and how a full day of school will go. It will run like a full day of school, just cut in half!

Anyone one else starting on Monday? Should I take tissues? Will I be the only one taking way too many pictures? Any tips for how to suck it up, and cut the apron strings?

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Friday, August 24, 2012

{Book Review} Help Your Kids Get Better Grades

HELP YOUR KIDS GET BETTER GRADES is the first grade improvement book of its kind for middle and high school students and their parents. It covers critical learning, studying and testing skills rarely taught in U.S. schools and colleges. It is short, easy to read, understand and implement. This book covers the basics you absolutely need to know in order to become a successful student.
Learn How To:
  1. Implement a proven learning, studying, and testing method.
  2. Make sure your high school transcript qualifies you for college or advanced training.
  3. Find out what learning style best suits your personality.
  4. Properly stock and set up your study places.
  5. Find out your reading speed and ways to increase it, while improving retention.
  6. Adopt an easy-to-use and maintain note-taking system for lectures and readings.
  7. Discover proven strategies for preparing for and doing well on test and exams.
  8. Reference the most helpful study guides and websites.
  9. Review dozens of related topics that will help you become a successful student.
  10. Monitor and evaluate student progress.
I can't but think of my nephew as he heads into 8th grade this year, as this book would be a great way to kick off a great year of focused learning. He has always been a good student, but as this year is the final year prior to high school, I know that this will be his most challenging year to date. In a time when there are many distractions, a book that clearly spells out what to focus on is a key to a successful year. There are numerous tips and suggestions such as: how to avoid stress, listening for content, note-taking, and where and how to study. It is suggested that the parents read the book , first and then share the book with your student, answer any questions, and then start a year of great grades and success!
Gary E. Howard was a teacher and administrator at the high school and college level for thirty-five years. Although he turned down the appointment as President of one college, he served as the Dean of Instruction at two others. After he retired, he vowed he would try to find out why U.S. students test below those in most other industrialized countries. He spent several years reading and reviewing most of the grade-improvement books currently available, and researched what educational system is followed in other industrialized countries. Most of these countries follow the British system of education, because most were colonized by the British. This system follows a simple philosophy: How can you expect students to learn if you do not teach them how to learn first? It also stresses learning, studying and testing skills at all levels of education. Mr. Howard decided to write a short book using this information that would help parents mentor their kids. It would also provide instruction on these three skills and cover the best ideas gained from his review of the grade-improvement books.

Check out WantBetterGrades.com or Amazon for details or purchasing in bulk.

*I was not compensated for this review. I was sent the book to read and review, all opinions on the book are my own.

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Cirque du Soleil - Dralion! - Where East Meets West

Wednesday, August 22 through Sunday, August 26

Cirque du Soleil and 1st Mariner Arena proudly present Dralion

Fusing the 3000 year old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts, with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion (pronounced “Dra-lee-on) draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show’s name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West. - Press Release

Cirque du Soleil has arrived in Baltimore, for seven performances only, from August 22-26, at 1st Mariner Arena! There are numerous acts that will ignite the senses and awaits your viewing pleasure such as: Aerial pas de Deux, Dralions, Juggling, Trampoline, Aerial Hoop, Diabolo, Hoop Diving, Skipping Rope, and Bamboo Poles. Stunning characters in lavish costumes, which will weave the story in and out of the show symbolizing the four elements; Yao (Fire), Azala (Air), Gaya (Earth), and Oceane (Water). The show features Eastern and Western music, which is performed live at each show!

From the moment the show opened, every detail was flawless and performed with an artist’s mastery of skill. The use of Eastern and Western influences was evident throughout the show; through the music, costuming, and dance. Each character and act was unique and artfully told a tale within the main story of Dralion. There were moments of comedy, surprise, and feats strength and agility. Words cannot express the sights, sounds, and emotion that you will experience throughout the entire show!

I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth the performers train and learn the skills required to spin, tumble, juggle, and balance in each act. Grace, agility, and amazing speed are in each and every moment of Dralion! The performers were brilliant, and often defied the laws of gravity and nature!

At the curtain call, I was left speechless, and could only shout Bravo, as the performers and entire cast took their final bows at the opening night of Dralion, in Baltimore! Dralion will not disappoint as it bears the unmistakable signature of Cirque du Soleil!

Want to see Dralion?
  Where: 1st Mariner Arena  

  When: Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30 p.m.
            Thursday, August 23 at 7:30 p.m.
            Friday, August 24 at 7:30 p.m.
            Saturday, August 25 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
            Sunday, August 26 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

  Who: Everyone

  How: Purchase tickets at the Arena Box Office, call 410-547-SEAT, or
          visit Ticketmaster.com

  Cost: Adults – $35 to $80
              Children (12 & under) - $28 to $65
              Military, Seniors & Students - $31.50 to $67.50

For more info: Please visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/dralion

*I was not compensated for this review, but was given two tickets to the premier of Cirque du Soleil- Dralion; in Baltimore thanks to Weinberg, Harris & Associates and Macaroni Kid NW Baltimore.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kindergarten Bound!

The big day is almost here, my son is Kindergarten bound! We went to Mikey's school, for Kindergarten Orientation, and to meet his teacher. When we entered his classroom, he was sent on a scavenger hunt to explore all of the great things inside his classroom. Mikey was pleased to see lots of books, puppets, art easels, and bathroom in his classroom. (It's the small things that make the boy happy!) The most exciting part, was when he found his name on his book bag hook. As a Mom, I am still struggling with the fact that he is going by the name of Mike...and no longer wants to be called Michael or Mikey.



He is excited to start school, and can not wait to ride the bus! Mikey has been counting down the days, and seeing his classroom helped to answer the many questions he has been asking. I am please with the number of students, and the even balance of boys and girls. From the looks of his classroom, his teacher has a very busy year planned!

When do your kids start school? What concerns do you have as they head back to school? Did you send a thank you note or small gift to school for the teacher, for the first day of school?
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vlogging Mommies - Swim Lessons?

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Join us again next week as we link up again, and vlog with some awesome ladies! Check out my fellow hostesses Hanan of LilacCityMomma,Cassie of CrazyCoolCrafty, and Mindi of SimplyStavish; and join in on the fun by linking up each Thursday! Next week, we are talking about what it was like to be a new mom for our first child. As a new mom did you make everyone use hand sanitizer, prior to holding your baby? Did you have high expectations about what it would be like to be a mom, and you were clueless or way off reality? Join us next week and link up, as we share our thoughts on being a new mom!

Wordless Wednesday

Images supplied by Supreme Awesome Guy

Images supplied by Supreme Awesome Guy 

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Campus Shift - Saving College Students on Textbooks

Campus Shift Saves College Students from Being Trapped by the Broken Textbook Market

Unlike used book sites Campus Shift also checks e-book prices, projects resale value
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – To help fight increasing higher education costs, Campus Shift is making it easier than ever for students to find the best prices on textbooks. Campus Shift, an online community that helps students find cheap textbooks online and on their own campuses – in addition to other services, searches dozens of online vendors to find not only the best new, used and rental price of a book, but also the best e-book price, and the price that the textbook is being sold back to vendors for at that time.

Using Campus Shift gives students the tools they need to sift through the murky textbook marketplace because finding the lowest price available is not as simple as it should be. While one textbook might be listed at an incredibly low price through an online vendor, that same vendor could be selling another book on a student’s shopping list at a price higher than the campus bookstore or any other vendor.

Additionally, despite the current hype about eBooks saving students money, the Chronicle of Higher Education found that on average purchasing an e-book version of a textbook was only about $1 cheaper than buying the book in print. Even rentals, though appealing for their low up front cost, can end up costing a student more in the long run. Sometimes, the rental price of a book ends up being more expensive than the cost of buying a book new and selling it back for cash at the end of a class.

“The textbook marketplace is absolutely overwhelming for students and it does not need to be that way,” said Campus Shift President and Founder Derek Haake. “Students could spend hours searching dozens of Internet vendors to compare online prices, but end up getting lost really easily with the overwhelming amount of information that plagues the textbook market. We simplify the process and tell the student exactly what the lowest price will be for them online and what they can expect to be able to sell their book back for at the end of the semester. Then the student can check their bookstore prices for a comparison and make the best purchasing decision possible.”

Campus Shift is free for students to use, and a mobile site is even available to allow students to comparison shop while they are standing in the racks of their campus bookstore. The mobile site is available at http://campusshift.com/m/.  For online searches, students can visit http://campusshift.com/textbooksavings/    

About Campus Shift
Campus Shift helps college students save money on textbooks, earn money by selling class notes, and helps campus organizations, student entrepreneurs, and small businesses effectively manage, communicate, and grow their internal networks. Campus Shift is a portfolio company at the Youngstown Business Incubator www.ybi.org.

*I was not compensated for this post, but I wanted to share Camus Shift with my readers who are seeking to save on textbooks. Derek Haake is married to my best friend, a father of three, and founded this company with his business partners while a student himself.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mama Kat's Writers WorkShop - Smiling It's My Favorite!

Mama’s Losin’ It

This Week's Prompt: Aside from your kids, your husband, your coffee and your wine...
what makes you smile?

There are many little things that make me smile:
  1. I smile, when I see decadent desserts, as they call to me! I am very dear friends with my beloved sweets, and my dear husband knows that a cookie ice cream sandwich will almost always, wash away the stress of the day. There is a calm and release that just fills my soul when the fork passes my lips; when I devour cheese cake, key lime pie, or strawberry short cake. Joy on a fork, doesn't even begin to define the love I have for dessert.
  2. Holiday crafts make me grin ear to ear. I can remember working with my mom every year to make our own ornaments for our family. It is from those memories that my love for crafting grew! I could craft all the time if time and an open budget allowed! I have a never ending list of things that I want to craft, thanks to some really crafty friends and the blessing/curse of Pinterest. July isn't to early to start crafting for December holiday fun, is it?
  3. As a busy mom, the very idea of relaxation makes me smile! To devote personal time to myself has become a rare thing these days. Time curled up on the couch or a long shower without interruption, just sounds like heaven to me. As awesome as a manicure, pedicure, or massage sounds...I would just like to pee without someone pounding on the door! So, to devote time to relaxation, if even for thirty minutes, is just something to smile about.
  4. Mail and packages make me grin! I have always loved checking the mail box, and had several pen pals as a young girl. I love getting cards and letters, as it means someone took them time to sit down and write something by hand. In a world filled with social media, and smart phones; it is a treat to find a card in the mailbox. (Bills are not fun, so those do not count!) Packages bring a whole new level of excitement, as wonders are hidden inside of the box. Holidays and birthday mail is fun, but to find a surprise in the mail box any other time of the year is beyond awesome!
  5. Shoes surprisingly, make me smile. I never thought I would be one of "those," gals who love shoes. The funny thing is, that it has only been within the last five years that I have fallen in love with high heels. I love shopping, and selecting a fun, spunky, and cute pair of shoes! I never expected to have anything other than sneakers and flats, and now I love heels! When I try heels on in the store, I just squeal with excitement while a huge smile is spread across my face.
Join in on the fun and link up with Mama Kat's Writers Workshop! Get to know your fellow bloggers, and visit new ones through the weekly link up! Explore your love of writing, and join us every week at mamakatslosinit.com!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School: Share the Road with School Buses

One of my biggest fears, is putting my son on the bus for the first time as he heads Kindergarten. As a mother, I want to trust that our driver will do everything within their power to get him there safe and sound. What can you do to share the road with the school buses? Follow these 8 simple steps about sharing the road:

Safely Share the Road with School Buses
By:David Silvey

According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury. Today, as compared to years ago, school buses are built with safety in mind. In fact, a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation states that children are safer riding the bus to and from school than being driven in a car by an adult. When you are sharing the road with school buses, follow these 8 tips.
  1. Yellow and Red Flashing Lights –School buses have yellow lights to warn drivers they will be making a stop and red flashing lights and an extendable stop sign to tell drivers to stop. Yellow does not mean go faster, it means slow down. Be aware of your surroundings and always come to a complete stop. Do not continue driving until the lights have turned off and the sign is pulled in.
  2. Passing a School Bus – It is illegal to pass a school bus on the right side of the road because you cannot be aware of where the bus needs to stop to load or unload. Always wait for the bus to move to the right lane or stay a safe distance behind it. Additionally, it is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. It is vital that you stop your vehicle at least 10 feet away from the school bus to allow for riders to enter and exit safely.
  3. Railroad Crossings – In most states it is required that school buses stop at all railway crossings. Be alert when a crossing is a head and a school bus nearby so that you can stop as well.
  4. Divided Highways – You must always stop for flashing red lights; however, most states do not require drivers to stop when on the opposite side of a divided highway. Use extreme caution if you are in this situation as passengers may be trying to cross in that area, especially if there is a cross walk.
  5. Buses Need Turning Space– Just like trucks, buses have a wide turning radius. Remember to provide them with ample turning space so they can maneuver easily on the road.
  6. Watch for Children Waiting for the Bus– As the driver, you are responsible for keeping an eye on the road and on children waiting for the bus. Come to a complete stop at all stop lights and stop signs, drive slowly near bus stops and watch for children crossing the road.
  7. Slow Down – Use caution if you are driving in residential areas and school zones. Fines for speeding in an area can be hefty.
  8. Allow for Extra Time During Your Commute – School bus drivers have to follow the same speed limit rules as every other driver; however, they make frequent stops which can delay traffic. Know the bus routes in your community and allow ample travel time when school is in session.

    About the author: David Silvey is a Vice President at Allied Barton Security Services, www.alliedbarton.com, the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including higher education, commercial real estate, health care, residential communities,chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions and shopping centers.

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Monday Memories: Teachers That Stood Out

Think back...did any of your teachers stand out? When I look back, I have many teachers that stand out, each one in unique ways. I moved often when I was little, and I wish I could tell you something prior to the fifth grade, but I honestly do not have memories of connecting with any of the teachers. It wasn't until my parents moved me to a much smaller community, in the country that I fell in love with school, and really remember the teachers whom I adored.

My sixth grade teach was about the coolest teacher I could have dreamed of. She was young, single, and full of joy. I mean she just loved teaching and encouraged each of us to try new things, and to never fear the unknown. She shocked us all by telling us one day in class that although there were nineteen kids in our sixth grade class, there would be students in our group that would not graduate high school. (Truth be told, she was right...four of my classmates didn't cross the stage with us on graduation day.) As a class we bonded, and threw her a surprise birthday party at a fellow classmate's dairy farm. She was floored, not only did she never expect a surprise birthday party, but that every student in her class was in attendance. On the last day of school, she wished us well on our journey to Junior High School, and hugged each one of us goodbye.

In Junior High School I was lucky enough to have many teachers whom I will never forget. Three teachers especially stood out; they were friends and birds of a feather. One had wild colored hair that changed monthly, one put cartoons on every test, and one never called me by my real name. As the English, History, and Spanish teachers they made school fun, and I loved their classes! They instilled into each of us, no matter your age keep learning and have a blast while doing it. Travel, explore, write about, and seek to know more about everything you have dreamed about.

High school, brought a new batch of teachers, and each of them tried to wrangle teenagers that wanted to be any where but at school. I was lucky enough to connect with teachers, that to this day I wonder where they are now? One teacher had a wooden coffin in his classroom, one math teacher would let you borrow a pencil if you gave her your shoe, and one teacher sang a soda jingle she once sang on the radio for RC Cola; each of them were awesome and left life long impressions.

As my son heads to school for the first time, I can only hope that he too will love to learn because of an amazing teacher that helps him along the way! Yes, he will find them quirky, and he might even hate the home work that they assign. Teachers are rare gifts, that need to know how much we value there time and talents. They are the ones who teach more than the required lessons, and we are the ones that walk away better people for having learned from them.

Do you still recall the names of your teachers? Did one of them standout? What did you learn from a teacher, that you would share with your children?

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