Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

October 24, 2016

Discussion Questions about Race and Justice for Families | An American Girl Story - Melody 1963: Love Has to Win

We recently had The Talk with L. 

And, inadvertently, with M, who caught a good bit of the conversation because she was in close proximity. And by "had The Talk," I mean "some semblance of information was relayed from me to the girls that was mostly biological and probably not complete but let's hope they don't get tested on it any time soon."

Since starting this blog, I've run the gamut of parenting seasons. And I'll be honest: none have been easy. Sure, some are easier than others. But they all bring their own challenges. When the girls were babies, it was the overwhelming physical challenge of trying to keep them alive and stop them from crying and sneaking in sleep sometimes. 

Now that the girls are older, I find the parenting challenges to be deeper. We're at the stage of imparting knowledge and guiding them so that they'll be mostly functioning adults that make mostly good decisions and generally contribute to society in positive ways. 


A lot of this season is having hard conversations. Some are uncomfortable (Lord help me when they finally connect that while women have eggs and men have sperm, they have to, at some point, unite to make a baby) while others are more momentous, because these conversations are building blocks that will have lasting effects on how the girls will look at culture and history and the world and the people in it, so don't screw this up okay?

With various events over the past few years playing out over media, it's important to me to have conversations about race and justice with the girls. Not because they'll accidentally see it, but because it's important and I want my girls to know what is right, to speak out for the good of all and to be agents of change. They are mostly unaware of the harsh realities for people of color in our country, and I know that comes from a place of privilege. I'm so aware of it. And my girls need to be aware of it, too, because they have classmates for whom those harsh realities are life and privilege is not their friend.

So we do talk about it, and we try our best to be very honest and real about the topic. But it often helps to have a springboard for those conversations, especially when kids are young. 

When I saw that American Girl had come out with a new movie about Melody, a 10-year-old African-American girl living in Detroit during the Civil Rights Movement, I was excited to jump on the opportunity to make this a learning moment.

We got to finally watch the movie on Amazon this weekend. And it was fantastic. Melody's story did not hold back, shedding light on what life was like in the 1960's for black and brown people in America. We stopped the movie several times to talk about what we were watching, answer questions and share our thoughts. At a few points, L was frustrated at the unfairness of Melody's situation. 

So we talked about it: the history of black people in America, slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, Dr. King, and that while we've come a long way, there is still a long way to go. 

You know, just your normal run-of-the-mill Saturday night, right?

Above all, we left the movie with the challenge that we have a part to play in, as Melody says, making this country a better place for everybody. A challenge I take seriously, and will continue to challenge my daughters on.

I feel it is important for white families to be having these conversations with their kids, so that we are raising our children to be part of the solution. Our privilege often hinders us from having these conversations because we can choose to ignore the issues and not be affected. Yet, by doing so, we are affecting the continued issue of race and injustice in this country. Watching Melody's story is a great way to begin having those conversations.

To help facilitate conversation with your kids, I wrote up a few discussion questions that we found important and engaging as we watched the movie. Some are more nuanced for older kids, but you know your kids best. However you choose to have these discussions, just make sure you are having them! I hope these questions help spur on good conversation with your kids.

Discussion Questions for
An American Girl Story - Melody 1963: Love Has to Win

1) Why did Melody's Papa say black people were safer on the moon than in Detroit?

2) Why were the kids in school mean to Melody?

3) What did Melody notice about the mannequins at the clothing store? How is Melody's shopping experience different than yours?

4) How did it make you feel watching the way Melody's family was treated?

5) In response to girls saying she doesn't belong at school, Melody says, "I belong everywhere you do." Is that true today?

6) What did Melody mean when she says "The Pledge of Allegiance is a lie"?

7) What differences do you notice between the school where Melody goes and the school where most of the kids in her neighborhood go?

8) What is it mean to be "indivisible?"

9) How can you work to make this country a better place for everybody?

September 12, 2016

Treat Yo'self: 5 Healthy After School Snack Ideas with Giant Food Stores {GIVEAWAY}

*This is a sponsored post* 

I'm not sure about your kids, but my girls come off the bus ravenous. Before even getting a "Hello, Mom! I missed you! Let me tell you about my day" (which, let's be honest, never happens), I get a grumble that resembles some form of "I'm hungry. I need a snack. Stat."

There is a balance to be had when whipping up after school snacks. On one hand, kids are hungry after a big day at school, and need nourishment. On the other hand, it's close enough to dinner time that I don't want them chowing down and totally ruining their appetite.

So, I try my best to "treat" the kids with small, yummy snacks that will tide them over until mealtime. I like that it's a way to give them something special as a reward for working hard at school.

Giant Food Stores is a great resource for healthy after school snacks. I love their Nature's Promise organic brand, as there are so many tasty options that have a sneaky helping of nutrients, too!

Here are 5 of our favorite "sneaky healthy" after school treats:

Granola Bars

We always stock up on granola bars at Giant. I like that I can trust the ingredients in Nature's Promise granola bars, and my kids think they are getting a total treat because they are filled with things like fruit and dark chocolate! As of late, I've been particularly fond of the Ancient Grains and Chia granola bars. They are delicious and pack an extra nutritious punch! Granola Bars are also totally totable, which makes them a good on-the-go after school snack when you have activities, lessons and practice.

Carrots and Ranch Dressing

This is a great way to get kids to consume some veggies. I put out a bag of Nature's Promise Organic Carrots and a bowl of Nature's Promise Organic Ranch Dressing. It's a big hit in our house!

Granola Chips, Almond Butter and Special Toppings

I wish Granola Chips had been invented when I was a kid. SO yummy - and a great way to scoop up extra protein! Almond Butter is my go-to when trying to add something sweet but also filling. After school, it's a solid way to give the kids something that will "stick to their ribs" until dinner (which means they aren't telling me every five minutes that they are hungry. Again. Still. Always).

I scoop some almond butter in a bowl and top with things like coconut flakes and mini chocolate chips. Then let the girls scoop it up with granola chips. Win! You can also make "granola chip nachos:" spread the chips on a plate. Then, heat up the almond butter in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds, until it is thinned. Drizzle the chips with the almond butter and top it with coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, etc.

Organic Fruit Twists

Plain and simple. This is a win-win for us: they get a gummy treat, I get the secret knowledge that it's organic and good!

Yogurt Parfaits

We do this for breakfast sometimes, too. In a bowl, layer Greek yogurt and granola. Sometimes, if it's been a particularly rough day at school, I top with a dollop of whipped cream!

Now go treat the kiddos to something delicious...and HEALTHY!


To give you a jump start in offering healthified after school snacks, Giant is awarding one of my lucky readers a $25 gift card! To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below. Happy winning - and cheers to a great school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided product and monetary compensation for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

August 22, 2016

How To Build a Better Lunch Box (and GIVEAWAY!)

*This is a sponsored post* 

One week.

While the first day of autumn does not arrive for another month, my family's summer is officially over in one week. Why? Because school begins!

This year is extra special. Not only because Hubby and Chica are back to the school grind (as teacher and 3rd grader, respectively). But Bug is going to be a big kindergartener!  Our program is in its last year of half day K, so it's only a few hours a day. But it will be a big shift having to put her on the bus (NO, I'm not crying - there's something in my eye) and to have everyone out of the house every day.

One of the things I'll be trying to focus on this year is offering better lunches for the girls. During the summer, since there was more time and we didn't have to pack anything, we had some great "out of the box" lunch ideas. Produce was fresh from the garden or farmer's market, and we had the time to be more creative.

My goal is to extend the same ideas to our school lunches. And, luckily, Giant Food Stores is here to help! Not only are their Nature's Promise products chock-full of healthy goodness, but their on-staff nutritionists offer great tips on building a better lunch. 

Here are some tips on building a better lunch box this school year!

Group It Up

MyPlate is a fantastic resource for what our "plate" should look like for each meal. With the pickiness of kid's palates, it's easy to get into a habit of missing some of the core food groups. MyPlate is a goo reminder to include the five food groups each day. 

Parenting Lunch Box Goal: aim to include a minimum of 3 food groups in your child's lunchbox each day.

Section It Out

I started doing this last year and I feel like it was super helpful for both me and my girls. Using a lunchbox with divided sections or separate containers helped me think beyond the sandwich and get creative. I felt free to try foods like salads or dips and vegetables that I wouldn't be able to use in a traditional lunch box. It's also a gentle reminder to include different food groups. It's a win-win, because the kiddos like seeing the different sections and not having their food touch.

Pump It Up

Pump it up...with protein! I've been more conscious of trying to incorporate foods full of protein into school lunches. Not only is protein an important part of MyPlate, but it's a great way to keep little tummies full for longer. Almond butter is one of my favorite protein sources (I always have a jar of Nature's Promise Almond Butter in my cabinet). Pack a double protein punch by adding some some granola as a greek yogurt topper.

Think Outside of the (Lunch) Box

How often do we plateau in a lunch-making routine of PB & J sandwich, goldfish crackers and a squeezy yogurt? This is a great lunch, but the same ol' same ol' can get boring. 

Use your divided lunchbox to break OUT of the box with new ideas! Try tortilla roll-ups, carrots and ranch dressing, quinoa salad or build-your-own tacos. Sometimes a smattering of random things is a great option, too. Cut up some cheddar cheese, add some crackers, hardboiled eggs, applesauce and raisins for a tapas-style meal. 

I know several parents who have had success putting mac-n-cheese or meatballs in a quality thermos and it's still warm and ready to go at lunch time! 

Shake it up - your kids will thank you!


To help you build a better lunchbox, Giant is awarding one of my lucky readers a $25 gift card to start the school year right! To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below. Happy winning - and cheers to a great school year!

Disclosure: I was provided product and monetary compensation for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.
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