May 5, 2014

Ask Amanda & Mommybites

Need ideas for summer educational activities. Click here for my latest Ask Amanda column!

Apr 21, 2014

Ask Amanda & Mommybites

Want some great suggestions for books that are under the radar? Want to take the “read less travelled’? Click here for my latest Ask Amanda column on!

Mar 17, 2014

A letter to my only child


Our time together is quickly coming to a close. And, while this new life grows and kicks inside my body, I mourn the loss of us. We spent three and a half years together without distraction. My attention was solely on you. My actions infused with some sternness so you knew who was in charge but mainly love and adoration for the person you are becoming. It will never be the same.


The mistakes made in the thousands, the “what ifs” and “what if nots” combined with the fierce instincts that kicked in the second you were born. You were there for it all. You experienced it with me. You made me a mother. I learned how to fail and how to succeed; how to laugh when there is no other option and how to cry when it gets too hard and too overwhelming. I learned how to protect and proudly defend, even if it was at the expense of relationships in my life. I did it all for you.


We spent the first two years of your life with our roles being mommy and son all day every day. We gallivanted around town, danced, laughed, went to gym class, shopped for groceries, played in the park and took naps during the day. We were each other’s companions. We were each other’s world.


When I went back to work, putting you in daycare was like putting a knife in my heart. Whimpering in the car as I left you for your first “trial day”, crying and calling my name, I knew it was the right decision but could not rationalize that to my guilt ridden self. My whole world was about to change, now filled with classes of students instead of 2 year old gym classes, I couldn’t wait to get to school to see you and hug you. Even through the terrible twos tantrums, shoes being thrown at me in the car and constant sickness from the all-day petri dish where I left you, I felt as though we were on a journey together, fighting to become adjusted to our new reality. It was us against the world.  And I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime.


Your bedroom, carefully decorated for you and only you, will soon be a shared space. Your safe haven, strewn with books and toys and stuffed animals will be once again filled with onesies, diapers and pacifiers, just not for you. The glider where we spent many nights feeding, reading and you falling asleep on me will now be in my room, for lack of space with your sibling’s crib and whatnots. Will you ever forgive me?


As I plan for the anticipated labor and arrival of your sibling, I worry more about you and where you will be than my own discomfort. Who will pick you up from school? What will you think when you see grandparents at the end of the school day and not myself? What happens if your new soccer class starts the day I deliver? Will we still get you there?


Our days and nights, scheduled to the point of insane redundancy but beloved as there is an actual beginning and end to our day will soon become one bleary eyed day into the next. Our time together in the morning will have another companion. Will we still sing on our way to school and work or will I be too tired? Will we still talk about the sun and clouds and direction we are traveling or will it be drowned out by the sound of cries and gurgles?


Do you have any idea what is about to happen? Do you really understand that there is a baby growing inside my belly? There is no way to really prepare you for what is about to happen and as the impending day grows closer, I find myself missing you already. I want to soak up as much of “us” as I can.


It will never be the same but, it will also never be different. My love for you will not change, it will grow. Seeing you as an older brother as opposed to an only child will be the greatest sight. Watching this little person stare at you and follow you and look up to you is part of the reason we wanted to bring he or she into the world. You will grow up together, sharing toys and experiences, fighting and laughing. You will talk about how bonkers your father and I can be and vent to each other when no one else understands. You will love and hate each other at the same time. You will love each other always. You will be each other’s world.


And what a wonderful world it will be.



Mar 5, 2014

Is your child Kindergarten ready? Ask Amanda!

With Kindergarten registration around the corner for many parents, are you having doubts? Do you question if holding them back a year is the right decision? Read through my thoughts on the topic with my Ask Amanda column with!


Feb 3, 2014

Ask Amanda Answers Again!

Ask Amanda is now in its second round of questions! 

Take a look at our latest installment by clicking here







Jan 9, 2014

Ask Amanda




I am thrilled to announce that TheMommaFiles and Mommybites are now featuring an “Ask Amanda” column. Each month I will answer questions from parents eager to know about the latest educational ideas & activities. Take a look at our first question and answer post by clicking here.

Dec 26, 2013

Mommybites & TheMommaFiles

Check out my latest article on Mommybites entitled Thinking Outside the “Ice” Box. It is filled with lots of fun filled activities for these cold, winter months that are upon us! Click here for the full article.

Dec 12, 2013

Give peace a chance


Jack’s new phrase is “Give me a break”.  I should probably take some of the blame since once, in a joking manner, I told him to say this to his dad. Who would have thought that he would continue to use it (in context I might add) numerous times since.

Though most, if not all, of his new found sassiness is adorable the underlying message is not sassy in the least. Jack is fortunate that in his old age of 3, the extent of academic pressure placed on him consists of singing the alphabet in school and playing computer games to entertain as well as educate.

I spend my days in a far less sassy, entertaining world. I teach in an elementary school. A place where children’s art used to decorate the hallways is now filled with essays and college posters. This is not to say that preparing young ones to go to college is a bad thing and that writing long essays will damage them but where is the school that used to be slightly more carefree and playful?

The picture I paint is not to imply that students are miserable and schools resemble a prison, it is just an image of the growing demands placed not only on the teachers but on their little clients more importantly. Common Core entered fast and furious and so have the responsibilities of educators. The list of “necessities” is a mile long and the expectations of student growth is unrealistic. If adults are even  having trouble coping, how do we think the minds and hearts of 7 year old children are dealing?

I am fortunate to have an out of the classroom position.  The terms “fortunate” and “out of the classroom position” go hand in hand in teaching. If you are not  a teacher, ask one, they will know what I mean. I teach a pull out gifted and talented program to 3rd -4th graders and push-in to 2nd grade classrooms to work with a small group of high ability learners.

I see my 2nd graders for 45 minutes a week and my 3rd-4th students for 1.5 hours a week. In that short time, among the smiles, laughter and jokes (of which they are plenty), I am equally flooded with looks of overwhelming stress, pressure and demands; demands set by themselves, set by pressured teachers and pressured parents.

When your child comes home, give them a break.  I beg of you. Yes, there is a pile of homework that is far more than you or I ever received as a child or larger than I gave to my students years ago but is it more important to let them decompress or explode? Do as much of the homework as possible and then let it alone. I know the fear of teachers being upset or giving an incomplete grade is there but they are human. They understand. They are given homework of their own, believe me. I may get hate responses from teachers but I guarantee, in the back of their minds and in the quiet of their own homes, they agree. Schooling  and education in general is at a new level that is producing college graduates yes, but burnt out and overwhelmed ones at that.

With winter break upon us, use the time wisely. Take your children to a museum or a  play or a concert. Let them sleep a little later. Let them read the same book over and over. Let them relax. Give them time to recharge before the second half of the year and remember why a love of learning is way more important than any grade, test or assessment. Give peace a chance.



Nov 26, 2013

Thank You to Me

This Thanksgiving, other than being grateful for the obvious husband, son, family, friends, I am only grateful for one thing. Myself. With all of my quirky ways, sometimes stoic personality and often direct approach to life, I would not change a thing.

Last year around this time, my life was what you might call chaotic. Lots of drama, lots of tears (most behind closed doors – remember that stoic description), lots of disappointments and not a lot of happiness. It may sound worse when I write it but the point is that I was not in a place where I felt satisfied with my life. A good friend listened and simply said, it will be different in a year, I promise.

I always remember that conversation and now that we are approaching that one year mark, I can gladly tell her she was right. It was anything but an easy year to live through and I doubted her promise over and over but I not only got through it, I am happier and more confident than ever.

The schools I work in are covered in hand made children’s work, stating thanks for family, friends, toys and candy. While it is endearing and  heartfelt, the best lesson to teach our children is to be thankful for who they are. We want them to celebrate talents, strengths and accomplishments regularly but on the one day to actually state the thanks out loud, it is never to ourselves. Is this a narcisitic thought? Maybe. But is it the truth? Absolutely.

Have your children not only thank those around him or her but give a special thanks to being who THEY are. Make “I am thankful that I am …” cards and bring them to your holiday celebration. Encourage everyone to do the same and instead of going around the table doling out compliments to everyone and everything else, have guests give themselves a pat on the back. You will be surprised how much children learn from observing. Having a parent, relative or friend speak highly of themselves is the best way to teach a child how to be proud, confident and self assured without being pompous, arrogant or egotistical.

Nothing has to be too deep, just simple and honest. “I am thankful that I am good at sharing”, “I am thankful that I got a great grade on my science quiz”, “I am thankful that I get to feed my cat every day”.

On this day of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, give yourself and your little ones a large helping of self gratitude. It will make everything else taste extra sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!





Nov 12, 2013

Mommybites & TheMommaFiles ring in some holiday cheer!

Check out my latest article on – it is the Hot Topic! Click here to read!




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