Oriental Trading Great For Allergy Aware Classrooms

So you already know I’m a blogger and freelance writer.  But did you know I’m also a Transitional Kindergarten teacher?

It’s true.  In fact, I’m starting my 9th year of teaching at a local preschool and it’s no exaggeration to say that every single day is an adventure all of its own!

When my son started at mother’s day out/preschool almost 13 years ago, he was one of the few if not the ONLY child with food allergies on the roster.  During my 9 years of teaching, I’ve seen the number of children with food allergies at our school increase. This school year is no different.

So as I began back to school preparations, Oriental Trading reached out to see if I needed any classroom supplies and if I’d be willing to blog about them.  Honestly, their timing couldn’t have been better.  Oriental Trading can be a go-to for me because it mostly takes food allergies out of the equation.  But they were an even bigger blessing this year, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey where so many families in our neighborhood lost their homes in flood waters.  Many of these little ones have been through so much and a special back to school pick-me-up is just what the doctor ordered for my class.

Courtesy of Oriental Trading’s Learn 365, I was able to give my students this special back to school treat.

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Enjoy Life Debuts New Chewy Bar Flavors That We Love

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know I am a fairly devoted Enjoy Life fan.  I especially love their sugar cookies, seed and fruit mixes, and chewy bars.  It makes me downright giddy to have safe, yummy, AND portable snacks that make my family happy!

Enjoy Life is never one to sit back and get complacent with the products they have.  They are always pushing the envelope to make their existing products better and introduce new products as well.

The folks at Enjoy Life were kind enough to send me a free sample of three new flavors they are adding to the Chew Bar family:  Caramel Blondie, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed.  Not only are these new flavors, they’ve added some innovative ingredients including their Pure Life Balanced Dry Blend (TM) flour made from sunflower kernels, cassava, sorghum, and quinoa.

Have food, will travel. Took this picture in our hotel room on vacation with our Enjoy Life Chewy Bars.

Interested?  It gets better.  Continue reading

Safety Lessons From Hurricane Harvey Natural Disaster

We are almost a week post-Hurricane Harvey here in Houston and life is anything but normal.

I haven’t seen a national newscast in more than a week, so I don’t know what is being said and shown, but here’s a window into what is happening in my Houston neighborhood.

Homes in all directions are standing but eerily bare.  The downstairs, and sometimes upstairs, framework of the house is all that is left inside after wet sheetrock, insulation, wooden floors, cabinets, and more have been quickly removed.  Piles of trash (destroyed furniture, insulation, tile, etc.) so fully line the curbs of houses, the structures themselves are hard to see.  A stench of mold, water, sweat, and tears permeates the neighborhood…literally.

But in front of those piles of trash, the streets are lined with bumper-to-bumper cars of friends and neighbors that are helping each other.  Facebook is inundated with people asking who still needs help with their houses or who could use some cold water or cleaning supplies.  Neighbors and groups from different states are driving in and banding together to prepare and deliver lunches.  Hot meals are being delivered for free to those hardest hit and the people who are helping them.  Families are reaching out to house complete strangers because they need to feel safe and have nowhere to go…and won’t for months.  Continue reading

Hurting Hearts in Texas: How You Can Help

I am writing you this post tonight from my home which is really a miracle in itself.  You see, Houston is home.

 

At this very moment, our homes (many not in flood zones) are filling with water and washing away a lifetime of memories and belongings that are held dear.

Our highways are so completely covered in rising water that neighborhoods like mine are surrounded with water with no real reprieve.

We sit anxiously by our phones to listen for life-saving flood and tornado warning alerts unable to rest.

We are straining our eyes into the inky blanket of night looking and listening for the rush of water that shouldn’t ever come, but because of the perfect storm just might.

Our grocery stores and pharmacies are closed because they are inundated with flood waters and we wonder how we will be able to get the necessities if we can’t get out and no one can get in.

Many of us are without power, and some for the foreseeable future.

Even though the rain is softer now, it is still falling and trees that have rain-soaked roots are giving way and toppling over- some narrowly missing our houses, some not.

We are carefully measuring out the food we have to make it last until more comes.

Our churches and schools and airports have closed.

We are hugging our people and telling them everything is going to be alright, when we don’t really know how alright it’s actually going to be.

BUT…

Houston is so much more than home to me.  Houston is HOPE! Continue reading