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So You’re Running A Bake Sale: How Not To Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Any parent will be familiar with the feeling of foreboding that arises when they have to provide something for a fundraising event. Whether it’s for a school, church, or a local sports team, you’ll happily give up your time and your skills. You want to make sure that new roof and those new uniforms are secured. But you look at the part you can play in it and question whether “moral support” might be the best you can offer.Running a Bake Sale

There’s always one hyper-organized parent, usually a Mom, who has a list. And they’re darned sure they want everyone to know it. “Well, Parent X is going to run the hot dog stand. Parent Y knows a guy who runs a fairground, so we can get rides free of charge. Parent Z is liaising with local businesses to get sponsorship. We’re just waiting on you to tell us how you’re helping out!”

Said with a smile, of course, but one of those double-edged smiles that make you feel like Parent Zero. So you blurt out “Oh, that’s perfect. I’ll run the bake sale!”

“Why Did I Say That? I Don’t Even Bake!”Running a Bake Sale

We all like to think of ourselves as domestic Gods and Goddesses. TV shows have convinced us that anyone with spare time and a rolling pin can bake perfect pies and cakes if they put their mind to it. Even if the last time you tried to make flapjacks, you ruined every baking sheet in the house.

The biggest worry about taking on the responsibility of a bake sale is that unless you own a bakery, it takes up a lot of kitchen space and time. You don’t realize how many different things are on a baking stall until you try to make them all. Cakes. Pies. Cupcakes. Muffins. Traybakes. Cheesecake. Tarts. Cookies! And there is always some try-hard whose macarons ( are to die for.

“I Don’t Have The Time To Do All Of This!”Running a Bake Sale

All forms of cooking, baking included, are more than anything a simple matter of math. Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner prep always starts early because you have the same number of ovens, pots and pans, but more to cook. So if you want to crunch baking time down, you need to increase the number of ovens.

To make the math more advanced, you need to consider the space into which these ovens must fit. If you know a few people who have halogen ovens, it’s worth calling around. They take up less space than conventional or counter-top ovens and also do the same job faster. If you’re prepped ahead of time, with batters and mixes made, then an army of halogens can speed the process.

You’ll also be well advised to pick up a cupcake maker. While time and heat are crucial in making bigger cakes, cupcakes and muffins require a lighter touch. Checking out for a model that suits you could save so much time.

“I Can’t Do It Alone!”Having a Bake Sale


At a certain point in your planning, you will inevitably look at everything that has to be done and realize something. For everything to be fresh-baked and at the event on time, you’ll need x amount of ovens, y amount of plates – and an extra you.

Rope in a friend who owes you a favor. Guilt-trip whichever child was the most painful birth. Play on someone’s sentimental attachment to their hometown. Whatever it takes, get some assistance. Stare down anyone who suggests this is cheating. Do you think Emeril Lagasse does it all on his own?

Even if whoever you rope in is less of a baker than you are, there is something they can do. Maybe they can’t mix batter, but they can pour it. They can free up space by taking things out to the car. They can rapid-cool a sponge cake so that frosting can be applied. If they need more convincing, you can pay them in baked goods.Running a Bake Sale

Once you’re safely on the other side of the event without ruining the day, and things have been done to a relative level of success, it’s time to take stock of the situation. Running a bake sale is no small task. If you have managed to do it successfully, you can always be confident of doing it again. The thing with baking is that practice makes perfect.

So maybe you won’t be putting yourself forward to test your baking abilities on TV just yet. The next time a fundraiser comes up, you don’t need to hide behind a pot plant until you’re found. Baking is a useful skill to have at moments like that.

Running A Bake Sale

Save Art in our Schools with Schoola

Every child deserves an active, happy and creative childhood, one that involves safe and secure environment to create with friends and classmates. Some schools are able to provide a wide array of activities, classes and courses for their students. But budget constraints prohibit some school districts from providing the additional funds needed for play equipment, materials for art programs and instruments for music classes. Schoola is stepping in to help with this very problem.

Schoola is an online shopping destination where a family can turn their children’s outgrown clothing into money for their school.  Donated clothing is sold and a percentage of your sale is given directly to your school of choice. Families can clean our closets, shop for non-stop growing kids and benefit their community in just a few easy steps.

Save Art in Schools with #clothes4school

Yick Wo Elementary School in California has had to do without Art Class.  Art is special for developing minds. It teaches children to follow what is in their heart, self-expression and independence. Art and creative classes aren’t a luxury, they are needed to help sculpt the strengths and skills in our children’s minds. Art has been proven to improve enhance test scores, social skills, critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.  Yick Wo Elementary students come from a multitude of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Providing a creative space where everyone can work and learn equally brings them together with no boundaries or expectations.

“School has a lot of rules to follow but in art you can be free. You can see what you have in front of you and then turn that into something different,” says fourth-grader Orly.

Saving Art Class at Yick Wo Elementary School with

Shop on today a you’ll be giving back directly to Yick Wo Elementary. For every transaction made from this post $1 will sent to support those students art program.

Do you have a clothing donation to make?  Request a Schoola donation bag(postage is covered) from here and Schoola will donate $1 to the Yick Wo fund. PLUS 40%  made on the sale of your clothing donation will go back to the school of YOUR choice. That’s a Win/win in my book.

All children deserve the opportunities to reach high, create big and learn from each other. Help Yick Wo Elementary School or even your own school with some simple shopping this Back to School season.

End of the School Year Lunch Box Notes #Printable #kidsinthekitchen

There’s a ton going on in our home. The weather is gorgeous so we’ve been spending lots of time outdoors. We’re using the fire pit and smoker to make dinner. Shaun is super involved in sports 3 nights a week. This means less time in the kitchen working on traditional meals. But that means I’m working on different ideas for #kidsinthekitchen like these Lunch Box Notes geared towards the end of the school year.

We occasionally do notes in their lunch. I like it to be an unexpected treat to bring a smile to their face. These notes will hopefully give them a little boost to get through the rest of the day because the end is near. The last day of school is coming up quick.

This is a printable so just click on the image and print. I’d recommend printing on cardstock.

End of the School Year Lunch Box Notes #printable #kidsinthekitchen

Come join me and my co-hosts, Sarah of Play to Learn with Sarah, Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

Follow Melinda Babiak’s board #KidsintheKitchen on Pinterest.

Linky Rules, #kidsinthekitchen
#KidsintheKitchen Weekly Linky

#ad Tyson Project A+ Program plus Chicken Parm Pockets #Recipe #Clip4School #CBias

I’m the type if mom that plans out the family meals for the week to include  homemade mashed potatoes & mac and cheese and made from scratch pizza dough. I like being able to prepare balanced meals that everyone will enjoy.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not the first to admit I rely in some cheats to get me through a busy week.

Tyson is definitely one of our go-to brands for convenience foods for these exact moments.  Another reason I’m stocking up on Tyson favorites right now is the introduction of their Project A+ program for schools.

The Tyson Project A+ program is one of the simplest ways to support your school. Just clip and redeem Tyson Project A+ labels from packages of Tyson® products. For every label we receive, we’ll give your school 24¢ – and your school can use the money for whatever it needs.

Tyson Foods Project A+ program

These funds can be used school trips, school supplies, musical instruments, athletic gear and more.  Schools everyday are faced with budget cuts and the decision on what academic or extracurricular activity is going to have to suffer.  Getting started is simple.  Register your school, assign or volunteer as the administrator for the program and educate the families to clip and save the labels to cash in for CASH.  Set goals, make it a competition, spread the word, engage the families. Do whatever it takes to #Clip4School.

Tyson Foods is stepping up and giving schools and their communities the chance to make a difference by doing what they already do, shop for groceries to feed their families.

My grocery list usually consists of the things we need to get through the week but I like to toss in some “just in case” items such as Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Fries or Chicken Wings in case our dinner plans have gone awry.

I used Tyson Foods Crispy Chicken Strips for a new meal idea, a twist on Chicken Parmesan.

Tyson Foods Crispy Chicken Strips #Clip4School

Chicken Parmesan Pockets #cbias #clip4school

Chicken Parmesan Pockets

  • Crispy Chicken Strips (25oz package)
  • 2 tubes of refrigerated Pizza Dough
  • Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
  • Pasta or Pizza Sauce

Chicken Parmesan Pockets #cbias #clip4school

Start by cooking chicken strips according to package directions.  Divide each pizza dough into 6 pieces and roll out into 6×8″ rectangles.

Chop cooked chicken into bite size pieces place a small handful on each rectangle of dough and top with sauce and cheese.

Pull up the corners to the top and press edges onto each other to seal closed.

Bake for 12-18 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with extra sauce and veggies for a balanced meal.

Modify this recipe to suit your family’s tastes by adding roasted red peppers, chunk mozzarella, spicy  marinara or Tyson Food Grilled Chicken Strips instead.

What meals can you change up just by using one of Tyson Foods many many wholesome choices?

What Happened to the Teachers Dress Code?

I walked the halls of the kids school the other day and wondered how to tell the difference between the teacher, students and parents.

I’m sitting in the drop off line at the elementary school and see the group of adults helping kids out of the car and into the school. I’m seeing jean shorts, sandals, tank tops. I go into Shae’s orientation and the conversation goes into dress code. Her teacher actually said, “don’t mind that i’m wearing flipflops just don’t send your kids to school in them”, a do as I say not as I do mentality.  The woman at the front desk was wearing these wildly embellished faded and frayed jean shorts. Inappropriate was the first word that came to mind.

teachers dress code

what not to wear

In the halls of the high school Sabreena, Shae and I were leaving the guidance counselors office after a quick meeting. We were approaching Sabreena’s previous counselor and who I thought was student because they were wearing a football jersey and micro mini jean skirt. As we passed the duo their conversation didn’t hesitate and the counselor proceeded to talk about how she didn’t like how someone was acting and ending it with “She’s just a bitch“. I head spun to look at them both. The other person was a teacher and they both instantly realized what happened. It wasn’t a fine moment for either of them.  Sabreena rolled her eyes and shook her head, disappointed in who were supposed to be the leaders within the school walls.

Growing up I remember teachers in business attire. Men wore trousers, button down shirts and often ties. Women wore pant suits, dresses and sensible shoes. There was never a bedazzled tee in sight.

Teacher have a responsibility to do more than just educate. They are there to inspire and mentor and support. Teachers should be conveying a sense of authority and professionalism each day in front of students, staff and families . How seriously can I take a teacher when she’s wearing leopard print leggings.

My HS junior year history teacher was a ball buster. She was only 4’10” but she gave off a sense of power and confidence with her bold shoulder pads, crisply ironed slacks and no nonsense attitude. I don’t get that today from teachers. I wonder if teachers has lost their passion. I wonder if they are just going through the motions. Impressions are everything.

Attention teachers: Don’t be my kid’s friend. Don’t try to relate with a younger generation by wearing your ipod headphones around your neck. Don’t ask my kid where they got their sweater. Don’t think by keeping a copy of 50 Shades of Gray on your desk you’re suddenly cool.

Back to School with Boys and Girls Club of America

There are many ways to help the Boys and Girls Club of America. One of the simplest is to complete a quiz about all the things you may or may not know about The Boys and Girls Club of America and it’s history. For every 5 correct answers school supplies are donated to a member of the club.

school supply donation page

JCPenney is also teaming up with the Boys and Girls Club of America by letting shoppers round up their store purchases to benefit the Club.

boys and girls club logo
For the last 150 years the Boys and Girls Club of America has evolved into so much more than and afterschool program. Our local facility hosts summer camps, swim teams, dance classes and childcare and more. With nearly 4000 locations around the USA the Boys and Girls Club of America makes available many different activities, events and sports accessible to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in a safe and healthy atmosphere.

The Facts:

Unique Characteristics of a Boys & Girls Club
• Clubs are community-based and building-centered.
• Clubs provide a safe, affordable place for young people during non-school hours and during the summer.
• Clubs are led by paid, trained youth development professionals.
Boys & Girls Clubs provide young people with:
• A safe place to spend time during non-school hours and the summer as an alternative to the streets or being home alone.
• A chance to play, have fun, laugh and learn.
• Opportunities to build new skills that raise each child’s belief that he or she can succeed and receive recognition for personal accomplishments.
• Ongoing relationships with caring adults and connections to new friends in a positive environment, reinforcing a sense of belonging, personal accountability, civility and civic responsibility.
• Generation-changing programs that support a commitment to learning, positive values, healthy habits and high expectations for success as an adult.

Step up this Back to School season and do something to help kids who need it with donations, quiz taking, back to school shopping or volunteering your time.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Boys and Girls Club. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Heavy Workload

Sabreena is working on her Junior year class schedule. This is what it’s looking like
AP English & Composition
Honors Pre-Calculus
Honors Chemistry
AP Biology
AP United States History
Honors Spanish IV
Drafting and Design CAD II
Art Fundamentals
heavy school workload
This is a full workload with no room for rest. If she were to drop the Art and extra Science she could take on different fluff classes like Study Hall, Food Prep or Wardrobe Planning. Yes Wardrobe Planning is an option at this school but there are no Computer Science courses available. She’s looking at a career in Engineering possible Architecture so I think too many fluff classes are going to hurt her in the end.

I Disclose

Last Minute Shopping at Dollar Tree

glitter glue school suppliesDon’t forget about teachers and child care providers for the holidays. We all know teachers and educators are way underpaid for the work that they do so I try to make it a point to show some appreciation during holidays and end of the school year. This year we made homemade gifts to enjoy with the whole family but gifts that are useful like school supplies for teachers are greatly valued.
teachers school supplies dollar tree
Teachers tend spend so much money out of their own pockets for school supplies. As a parent I want my child to get the most out of learning so I want to help in any way that I can. I try to help the teachers stock up on basics like glue sticks and erasers but also make it fun with stickers, stamps, festive pencils and art supplies. Dollar Tree is one of my favorite spots to stock up not just for the classroom but for home. We do workbooks and crafts at home and need lots of the same things they use in schools.

This year I shopped for stocking stuffers at the Dollar Tree. I got Shae coloring books, Shaun is getting a couple animal encyclopedias and Sabreena will be seeing new nail polishes and make-up brushes. Shopping for yourself, your family or others Dollar Tree has a little something for everyone.

I Disclose

Back to School with Lunchopolis Giveaway

The kids go back to school soon and with that comes better meal planning for lunch time. Lunchopolis lunchbox by Enviro Products sent us 2 systems to review to ensure they take along healthy food choices in a safe and convenient way.

I prefer fruit and veggies for snacks but often toss in yogurt, pudding, granola bars, cheese and crackers as additional options and treats for the kids. This systems give me container sizes that are perfect for lots of choices or the option to not use the containers for the times things are prepackaged. My only upgrade idea would be to fit in a small cup for dip, dressing or peanut butter. My kids like apples and peanut butter but there isn’t an easy way to transport it.

This system is perfect for adults too. The sandwich box is perfect for leftovers or a salad and the smaller containers keep healthy non-vending machine options right at your fingertips. Shop for Lunchopolis insultated lunchbox systems at New Wave Enviro. Keep the planet clean and green with less waste and trash.

WIN your own Lunchopolis lunchbox by Enviro Products by telling me a healthy lunch option for kids.

To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must fulfill the first REQUIRED entry above. Please note the changes to the entries and frequency, entries that don’t follow rules will be disregarded/ignored/deleted.

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  • Follow Mom and Dad and Enviro Products on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway 1 time per day, please leave your twitter link each time, tweet a form of this message:  Back to School @NewWaveEnviro Lunchopolis lunchbag #Giveaway @lkwhtmomfound & @anddadtoo 
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Your entries must follow the rules or they won’t be eligible for prizes. This contest ends 11:59 pm, Monday, September 5, 2011. The winners will be emailed and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. This contest is open to Continental US residents only. For complete rules please read our contest rules page.

I Disclose

Is It Time For Me To Go Back To School?

Harvard - I will never go here but Sabreena might!

I graduated college in December 1996 (typing that made me feel old) and moved right into the work force. I thought I was ready to enter the work force which I was at the time because at that point I was so tired of school the thought of another two to three years was daunting. Looking back I wish I would have furthered my education by continuing school and worked towards a Master’s degree.

The good thing about being older is I feel like I know more and would excel in a graduate program if I decided to attend but the biggest problem that I have right now is time. With a wife and three kids with one three years away from college herself it seems so unattainable. I see so many schools offering nursing degree online, finance degrees online, etc. Almost anything you want a degree in you can do online which is awesome for people with limited time. The problem for me here is discipline. With no class structure I would need to be good at pacing myself and currently I don’t do that very well and the blog has taught me that. I am typically a procrastinator and do everything the last minute which wouldn’t work in an online graduate program. I would need to be on top of all of my class work, projects, etc because at the end of the day I am accountable for myself. The professor could care less if I do my work because they are there for the people who want to do the work.

So that is my story and one of my biggest struggles. Do I go back to school? Is it worth it? Do I have the time? Would I do well? All of these questions have derailed me from applying to graduate school. Hopefully one day soon I will move past these questions and apply.

I Disclose