First Day of Grad School

By: Tina Michelle Cameron

Hi everyone. Well, today I embarked on my new educational adventure. The first day of Grad school at The University of Alabama. I am in the Master of Science Program with a concentration in Nursing Administration. My first two assignments are partially done- an introduction video which should have been easy—90 seconds, how hard could that be? Well, 18 takes later—nailed it!! Then successfully uploaded it to a new site that I am not at all familiar with.
I have been under the weather since Saturday afternoon and still feel crappy today as I write this (double ear infections, sinus infection, and eye infection, dizziness, low grade fever and terrible scratchy throat), so I will finish the other half of the assignments tomorrow. I am ahead of the due date—yea me! This is my goal for grad school and to not procrastinate on any assignment.
I procrastinate when it comes to house work and have been known to wait to start an assignment, but I am trying to avoid this. I have a wonderful boss who has her MSN degree and she has been very supportive and has made herself available for questions, etc. I am very thankful for Theresa. She is an amazing nurse manager.
Switching back to first day of school, I have so enjoyed seeing friends and family members posting on social media first day of school pictures of their sweet children that I have watched grow up. So, on Monday, I decided to do a first day of grad school photo. My neighbor saw me struggling to take a selfie, so he offered to take some pictures and my friend Hannah let me borrow her chalkboard sign. It was fun to do, and I have gotten wonderful responses on social media for posting it. I even shared it with the Bama by Distance Facebook page and the other grad students have since started posting their 1st day pictures!20190821_211209 (1)

I hope all your children have a wonderful year of school. May God watch over all our students at each school and university and keep them and the educators safe. Thank you to all the educators for what you do. I am a proud mom of a future educator.
I have included my 1st day of grad school pictures—enjoy!20190821_172041

Back To School Allergy Awareness Tips

By Rachel Sircy

education-662458_1280It’s that time of year again, when kids and teachers across the state are heading back to school. For an increasing number of parents, the school year is a time when they worry about their child’s health and safety. Our schools are attempting to become safer places by installing metal detectors and having police officers on campus, but what about those kids for whom the danger is ever-present and lurking in the lunchroom?

For those of us with food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies, staying healthy and safe is a constant battle. But there are things that we can do to keep our kids (and let’s not forget those teachers and school staff who may have allergies also!) from coming into contact with the wrong foods. If your child or someone you know has a food allergy which may be flared up at school, DON’T BE PASSIVE! There are steps you can take to help protect your child and everyone at their school.

  1. Contact the school and let them know ahead of time who your child is and what kind of food allergy they have. Be prepared to provide a doctor’s note. Let the school know how sensitive your child is to their allergen and then offer advice on how to control the situation at school. Don’t forget to provide the school with your child’s emergency medications, if they take any.
  2. While you on the phone with the school, see if they would be willing to promote food allergy awareness through programs like Be a PAL. There are tons of resources to help kids understand what food allergies are and how to help and protect their friends, from pamphlets and worksheets to coloring pages for the littlest learners. They are great classroom resources! Visit:
  3. If you and your child don’t have a food allergy, but find out that someone in his or her class does, then try to be mindful when providing snacks for your child and especially when providing treats for the class. Take a few minutes to learn about the allergy and how you can avoid it. Peanuts and nut allergies are extremely common and there are very simple methods for avoiding exposing nut allergy sufferers to their allergens. There are plenty of alternatives to nut butters on the market, including soy butter and sunflower seed butter (Tastewise, I prefer the sunflower seed butter. Enjoy Life Foods has a ton of products, including individually wrapped snack bars made from sunflower seed butter, which I can personally say are quite tasty. I would guarantee your kid won’t know the difference.)
  4. Remember, school time isn’t the only time that we need to be mindful of allergy sufferers. Any school function could be a place of exposure. So be sure to pack allergy-friendly snacks and treats for any of your child’s after-school programs, including sports practices and games, dance lessons and recitals, etc.

Those of us who may only have celiac disease and not food allergies are still aware of how hard it can be to feel comfortable and safe in a world filled with stuff we shouldn’t eat. So, let’s be even more careful to stand up for our allergy-suffering friends!  Happy back to school!

Feel This Moment!

By Shannon Boatwright

So this lil idea kept nagging at me over the summer…

…and I’ve learned that when one of my creative visions keeps popping into my head, well, it means that I’m meant to make it happen!  At the end of the school year/start of the summer, I kept seeing all these fabulous lip sync challenges that the police stations were doing across the country and they looked like so much fun. So I proposed the lip sync video idea to my awesome principal and she was all about making it happen, totally game & as supportive as could be!

In 3 very busy, short days, at the start of our school year when only the teachers had returned to school, I managed to get the footage of our superstar CMS faculty, staff & administration. Then my genius editor 12 yr old boy & I spent the weekend editing.  Needless to say, I’m very blessed to have such a talented son that can edit for me and experience paid, professional editing gigs at such a young age. And, I am thrilled that it turned out so fabulously and totally excited about the thought of it bringing smiles to others!

What a great way to start the new school year!  I just want to Feel This Moment and make this school year extraordinary!!!

#chapinmiddleschoolrocks #feelthismoment #carpediem #Pridein5

A Special Note from my Principal at Chapin Middle School, Mrs. Anna Miller:

“We are so excited to welcome you to Chapin Middle School, Palmetto’s Finest, for the 18-19 school year! We don’t want you to merely survive middle school–we want you to thrive in middle school, to realize these can be some of the best years of your life, to live in the moment, to FEEL THIS MOMENT! Enjoy our superstar cast as we welcome you to our One Happy School through our lip sync video! It’s going to be our BEST year yet!”

#WeRChapin #Remarkable #OneHappySchool #Pridein5 #Lexrich5schools

I hope all my readers enjoy this video and allow it to bring smiles to your faces! I know when we premiered the video at our beginning of the year pep rally assembly, the students absolutely loved it and it really helped to set a tone of fun and happiness! Here’s to feeling the moment! 🙂

Find the video here:

When Did You Grow Up?

 By: Ashley Whisonant

The day I have been dreading has finally come. My oldest “baby” started kindergarten this morning. I held back my tears and we walked down his hallway and into the room that will mold him into the student he will become. My confident little guy went from attendance check in to lunch choice with ease. He gave me a hug goodbye and sadly did not look back. Here are all the words I wish I could have said…

You will always be my baby. You are the one that made me a mom. I didn’t know how much I could love someone else until I met you. I am a ball of emotions. I am both terrified and overjoyed for you. All the experiences you will have, good or bad, will make you into our future young man. Remember to help others, even when it isn’t the popular choice. Find your voice and use it for good. Kids can and will be mean. Do your best to surround yourself with sweet souls. Remember to be yourself. Love you my sweet boy.

Back-to-School Excitement

By: Chaunte McClure

For the first August in seven years, I will not head back to (seminary) school. No more three-hour weeknight classes or eight-hour Saturday classes. However, I’m engaged in the thrill of gearing up for a new school year.

I’ve made a few trips to an office supply store to stock up on the one cent folders and composition notebooks. Last night I took advantage of the $5 uniform shirts and $6 uniform pants online. Because I waited until almost midnight to take advantage of the good deals, some of the items I planned to purchase were out of stock. Tomorrow I’ll rummage the rounders for the remaining items on my list, all in the name of being a blessing to some special little people in my life.

Besides the last day, the first day of school was probably one of the most exciting for me. The adrenaline rush usually kept me up late like Santa was coming to town.

I wonder if kids get excited about what to wear on the first day of school like we used to before school uniforms were required? I remember perusing the circulars for clothes I wanted (and almost never got) and planning my outfits. Uniforms must be a godsend for parents, and children too. Maybe it removes the peer pressure of having to meet others’ dress standards or being teased for how they dress or the clothing brand they wear. Based on my shopping experience, uniforms are certainly a less expensive option.

Moms, are you a fan of uniforms? Why or why not?

Back to School

By: Lara Clark

I spent a lot of time this summer at my desk, at work, in front of a computer. Our summer trip was in early June and my feet will not hit the sand any time soon. I enjoyed ALL of your trapper keepervacation pictures streaming through my Facebook feed, really I did. But I had to find my joy in other things as we ease back in to the school year.

I have found a few things that are putting pep in my step and maybe they will yours too.

1. The show Unreal. I may be late to this party, but there is a chance if your television watching time falls after the kids go down and before your eyelids go down then you may be late to this party too. UnReal is a fictional show about the making of a reality show. It feels like a behind the scenes look at the making of The Bachelor. And since I believe reality is stranger than fiction, I gotta think this show might be giving us an inside look into what makes those hot tub, smoochie girls cry buckets of tears when they do not get a rose. There is one season of this on Hulu and the second season is currently on Lifetime. If you have a Roku there is a free Lifetime app so you can catch up on any episodes you miss or fall asleep during.

2. Okay, so this one might be a stretch. These are things that are making my back to school days a bit brighter. This one is a little more literal. Last summer we renovated our kitchen and chose a porcelain white sink. Now, like everything white in my life, it does not have the same sparkle and shine it once had. A wise friend suggested I buy some Soft Scrub….in all my maidless days I have never used this thing called Soft Scrub. Well, let me know tell you- our sink is as white as the teeth of the model in a whitening strip commercial. I would say pearly white. Though this may not be a photograph of my feet propped up and a glass of wine on a porch overlooking the ocean, I might still put it on Instagram. #nofilter #lilywhite #cleansinkhappyheart

3. Saving money is not the easiest thing for me to do. Mostly because it seems like you have to have extra money to save and I am not in the business of extra money but a few months ago I signed up for Digit. Basically, you give Digit your banking information. (It is legit I did my research.) They study your account and develop an algorithm (don’t ask me?) and determine how much of your money they can shift into a savings account without you even really noticing. Sometimes it is 54 cents and sometimes it is 38 dollars all the while you don’t really miss it and the best part is when you want to withdraw your money for a little vacation you text them withdraw and ta-da it is in your account. My plan is to keep using Digit so I can afford more vacations next year and spend more time posting pics than drooling over yours.

So that’s it for me, looks like most of my back-to-school favorites are just my favorites, because let’s be honest, back-to-school hasn’t looked the same since there was a new outfit, a shiny Trapper Keeper and someone else paid the bills!

Welcome to My “New” World

By: Crissie Miller Kirby 


By the time you read this, I will be firmly entrenched in my new routine and my “new” world. I use the term “new” loosely because while the job and position are new, the location is not new at all.

As many of you know, I have spent the better part of the last year searching for the “right” job; one where I could be challenged daily and where I could make a difference in this world. After applying for I’m not really sure how many jobs, interviewing for a few, and not being selected for them, I was beginning to become downtrodden. I was frustrated. I was beginning to get angry.

Then, shortly after the 2013-2014 school year ended for my children, I received the email that would change everything for me. In a very sad turn of events, my children’s school had two beloved, and long-time, members of the faculty pass away last year. To help fill those positions (along with a few additional ones), the school was seeking a number of new teachers for the 2014-2015 school year.

Did I really want to be a teacher?

Could I be a teacher?

I cannot explain the drive and desire that came from within me to become a member of the faculty at W. Wyman King Academy. There were the obvious benefits of being on the same holiday and vacation schedule as the boys and not having to wonder how they would get to and from school; but that was only the tip of the iceberg for me. It was more than just a random teaching position; they needed an English I and II teacher. English . . .  And what position in the world allows a person to make a difference more than being a teacher?

Hmmmm . . .

I thought about it. Constantly. I could barely think of anything else.

I’ve always admired teachers. I’ve long been grateful for teachers, professors, and other faculty/staff members I’ve had in my life during my educational career; but, I just didn’t think I could actually be a teacher. I was unsure of my abilities. I was completely sure of my desire to make a difference and my love of English and grammar.

So, I did it. I applied for the English position.

And, I interviewed.

And, I was offered the position.

And, I accepted it.

Me? Be a teacher? And I was over the moon excited about it?

Yes, I was.

I mean, I am.

Our school year officially started on August 14th, so I have been filling my days and nights and weekends with school work.

And, you know what? I love it. I love the challenge that each new day brings.

In addition to English I and II, I am also teaching three middle school grammar courses, so I have 5 different sets of students each and every day. Teaching 6th through 10th graders provides an almost hourly change of pace, as each group has their own dynamics that are special and unique. There is definitely no monotony here! Being in an independent school setting provides me with relatively small class sizes that range from a low of 11 to a high of 17; it also affords me an opportunity to really get to know my students.

We are already moving in to our 3rd week of school, and the excitement has yet to wear off for me. I love being in my classroom, books and chalk (or dry erase markers) in hand. I love to see the looks on “my” kids’ faces as we work together and those light bulbs begin to flicker on. I love reading their daily “bell work” musings. I look forward to seeing what this coming year will bring and being able to share it with you. (Some of my kids want me to put them into my Every Woman blog postings!)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I commented that the location of my new position was not new. There is something a little bit surreal (and more than a little bit funny) every time I unlock the door to room number 7 at W. Wyman King Academy; a room in which I, myself, was educated less than twenty years ago. Rooms that, in a few short years, God willing, will also hold my boys, as they each have attended WKA since 4K.

You see, my new world is only “new” in theory. My journey has led me to a place that is as much like home as any other. Life has truly come full circle.

Beating the Early Morning Rush

By: Leah Prescott

Now that school has started again, many of us moms are cross-eyed from all the schedules, to-do lists, activities and just keeping it all together from one day to the next. To quote a previous blog post, I often feel “stress-paralyzed” just from writing my to-do list. As I am learning to homeschool, I’m finding ways to help keep things going smoothly and save my own sanity. Whether you homeschool or not, hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you in streamlining your morning routine!

Speed chores

Speed chores

1. Speed-Chore System: Our mornings were getting off to a slow and frustrating start because my definition of “clean your room” was very different from the seven year olds’ definitions. I created a series of index cards with various lists and tasks for the kiddos to complete. For example, each child has a card for their own room which includes tasks such as: “make bed, close all drawers and closet door, neaten dresser, put laundry in hamper, return toys to bins, place books on shelves”. This helps them to check over the details and be more thorough. They are faster and more motivated now that they have a list to go by. We have a card for each room of the house, as well as a general chore card for each child that they can complete each morning. Cards are laminated and kept in an index card box. (I included a motivating phrase like “Great job!”, “So much neater!” or “Thank you for being such a big help to me!” on the bottom of each card because I know my girls respond well to written praise!) We also have optional “extra chores” that can be completed after the school day and we plan to pay them for these small jobs.

Outfit organizer

2. Outfit Organizer: Of course, I found this handy organizer second-hand, but it can be purchased from Amazon. The girls and I attacked their closet this summer and purged any worn-out or too-small clothing items. We like this outfit organizer because of the large pockets which we filled with multiple outfits per day. Now, instead of searching out matching pieces, they can easily grab a whole outfit first thing in the morning. They won’t be stuck with one choice, but have several options per day. The girls are taking over putting away laundry so that they are able to pair the pieces back together before they are returned to the closet. As a mom to twins, with clothing and closet co-ownership issues always facing me, this has made a huge difference.

Frozen sandwiches

Frozen sandwiches

3. Frozen sandwiches: Some of you could share some amazing lunch ideas that would put this tip to shame, but it helps me on the busy mornings when we are rushing out the door. My kids like frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you can buy at the store; however if I make them myself I can control the ingredients (think whole wheat bread, homemade jam, nut-free butters) and save money. I have two different sandwich presses that I like for this, one from Pampered Chef and one from Amazon. The trick is to flash freeze all the sandwiches before placing them in a large zipper bag, so that you can remove them individually as needed. They stay nice and cool until lunchtime when they will be perfectly thawed. We like to use Itzy Ritzy sandwich bags to carry these along with us. There are plenty of other ideas that could work well for this including: hummus with meat, chicken salad, peanut butter & honey, and fresh fruit with cream cheese. I still make fresh lunches for my kids a lot of the time, but it is great to have a rush-morning option in my pocket (or freezer).

Frozen sandwiches

Frozen sandwiches

If you have tips to help me keep things going smoothly each day, PLEASE share them in the comments! I am the poster child for disorganized and need all the help I can get. Here’s to a fabulous, low-stress, high-learning and fuss-free school year for us all!

Back to School

By: Katie Austin

It’s that time of year when summer is coming to a close, when daily routines consist of packing lunches, participating in after-school activities, and completing homework assignments.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that summer began? Where did the time go? Time flies when you are having fun, and it goes even faster as you get older.

I bet that when I mentioned school you thought I was talking about my son, Brandon, who is starting his senior year in high school. I will definitely take the opportunity to talk about him because I am so proud of all that he is accomplishing as he gets ready for his next chapter.  Actually, the student I am talking about was me! Yep – I am back in college as a part-time student at the University of South Carolina.  I can’t believe that I am once again a student who has homework assignments and tests.  I thought it was time to tackle another bucket list item – finishing my Computer Information Systems (CIS) degree.

Why go back to school? I want to finish what I started so many years ago.  I figure that if I can beat cancer, I can certainly finish my degree!  However, you don’t need cancer to motivate yourself to accomplish what is on your bucket list.  Pick one thing, make it a priority, tell yourself that you are important and that you can reach any goal you set as long as you continue to believe in yourself. Since I have a job, I can’t go back to school full-time, so I plan to take 2 or 3 classes a semester. I’ll keep chipping away at my dream of one day walking down the isle with my degree in hand. I will get there one day, and I will take it one step at a time until I reach the finish line.

This semester, I am taking 3 classes. I start my day at 5:00am, go to work, attend classes in the evenings, and get home between 8 and 9pm. One of my classes is Business Writing, which is every other Saturday starting at 9:00am and ending at 1:30pm.  I am sure many of you are thinking “Why take a class on Saturday?” For one, it is only every other Saturday and, most importantly, there are only 9 class days needed to complete the course. Despite homework, projects and the occasional quiz/test, it has been the easiest of my classes.

Are any of you back in school or taking classes outside of work?  Or are you tackling a different item from your bucket list?  Please share your story and your tips to stay motivated!

Wishing everyone a blessed day and hope to hear from you soon 🙂