Friends, If you have school aged kids or soon to be this is a must read and support. I have personally signed a petition with intention to send my own children to this fantastic program next year. The people behind this program are amazing, authentic and trustworthy.You can come in to the store this week to sign the petition required for funding.
Hello Eco Chic reader! My name is Jared Austin. My wife Leslie and I have known Chrissy and Eco Chic for many years now. Chrissy was our Doula for our oldest son Kellen. The support Chrissy gave us through the labor and delivery process was invaluable. Chrissy and Eco Chic continue to support us in many ways, which is why I am grateful for the opportunity to let you all in on a new and exciting educational venture here in Vacaville!
I have been an educator for nearly 10 years and have worked for two high performing, nationally recognized schools, Buckingham Charter Magnet High School and Natomas Charter School. I started teaching at the age of 20 and for the past 3 years I have served as a middle school Principal. Our childrens’ education has been an on-going discussion between Leslie and I, since our oldest son, Kellen, was born. Out of these conversations has sprouted the vision for an Independent Charter School that will provide our children, and countless others, with a quality education. Our goal is to start a school in Vacaville that will be high-performing, mission driven, and provide a safe learning environment. As a charter school, we can provide innovative curriculum, maintain a student focus and would be able to cut through all of the red tape traditional public schools face. During my years in education, I have worked with amazing mentors who are nationally recognized for their contributions in creating innovative public educational models where students thrive. Therefore, I reached out to Bob Hampton, one of my mentors. Bob has a long history in Vacaville with a tremendous amount of experience. Bob was appointed to the Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Easton’s statewide Charter School Advisory Board. He was also the statewide President of California Network of Education Charter (CANEC), the forerunner of California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), the nation’s largest charter support and advocacy organization in the nation. As a consultant for CCSA, and as a charter operator and developer, Bob has worked with a variety of start-up charter schools throughout the state to ensure best practice and sustainability models were in place. Bob also has grandkids who are approaching the age of starting school. Together Bob and I talked with various Vacaville community groups, friends and families. We found that we were not alone in our desire to provide Vacaville residents with a high quality TK- 8th grade charter school option. Thus, the concept of Kairos Public Schools Vacaville Academy was born. Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a period between, moments of indeterminate length during which something special happens. We feel this metaphor aptly reflects our vision for KPSVA as a school where each student actively pursues learning with the goal of “The Time is now,” the school motto. We believe the Time is now for Vacaville to open a high quality, academically rigorous TK-8thgrade charter school that parents, like myself, can fully embrace. Kairos is a school committed to create conditions under which students can flourish. It is our intention to open Kairos Public Schools Vacaville Academy as an educational option for families who want try a different method of education, to break away from the norm and focus on what is best for their child.
We hope this gives you a glimpse of our vision and you would like to be apart of it. Eco Chic is one of the locations you can visit to sign our charter petition and help make this dream a reality! "Our task is to educate their (our students) whole being so they can face the future. We may not see the future, but they will and our job is to help them make something of it.” – Sir Ken Robinson
Co-Founder, Kairos Public School Vacaville AcademyClick here
to like our facebook page!
It is no secret here that we atEco Chic love Mason Jars
. We may have mentioned them just a few times
. We love to use them to decorate, to store snacks, to craft with, and of course to drink out of. I am a bit of a clumsy gal. And when I say a bit I mean a lot. I make my kids look like they are the neatest things in the world and trust me that is not true.
One day I was browsing Eco Chic with my Mama and I saw that Chrissy had stocked the Cupow drinking lids! I was so insanely excited. For a long time my family has been telling me I need a sippy cup for adults. Well this is basically it! I mean that is totally not the main function but it works the same!
I have to say I just love love love these lids. My Mason Jar is immediatley transformed into a travel mug which makes getting out the door even easier. School mornings are a bit hectic around here and I rarely have time to grab a drink to bring with me in the car. Now all I have to do is slap a lid on it and I'm out the door.
I adore Cuppow drinking lids for a number of other reasons as well. They are BPA free so I'm not worried about toxins. Cuppow is an American company and their products are USA made. They are environmentally aware, the lids are made from recycled food grade plastic, and they commit 5% of profits to charity. To learn more go ahead and visit their site, here.
Not local, how about we ship them for free this week??
We did just stock the bnto ones as well (turns a mason jar into a lunch container) These are amazing. You can throw your humus or salad dressing in the container that sits on the top and under is your salad or veggies. The list of ideas goes on an on!
In the spirit of ideas, how about we give one away??
Post on our blog and page How you would use a Cuppow Bnto and we will select a winner next week! Good luck!
Cuppow drinking lids are a total win-win for me. It's convenient, super easy to use, and so useful. Are you feeling the Cuppow love yet? Tell us how these great lids are making your life better.
~Eco Chic Rachel
I firmly believe that every person has their "thing". For my hubby it's cleaning like a pro, for my dad it's making every person he meets feel like part of his family. For me it's organizing. It is just something I do. I'm always looking for a better solution.
I'm often asked how I stay motivated to organize and re-organize things in my home. My answer is easy; organizing things makes life easier and ultimately gives me more free time.
Think about it this way, what is more satisfying to you: easily finding a spoon because it is neatly organized in a drawer or searching through a messy drawer for 5 minutes to find that same spoon?
So the next time you see a spot in your home that you know could use some work instead of putting it off go ahead and tackle it! You can do it and I promise when you are done you'll feel great!
What motivates you to get things done?
Did you know your skin is the largest organ on your body? Crazy to think that the largest organ on your body is also the one that is exposed to the most wear n' tear. I have crazy sensetive skin and so do my boys. Ever since I had Cole back in March of 2012 my face has been the most sensetive it has ever been! I was breaking out with pimples, ezcema, dry spots all kinds of wacky stuff. I tried a few "green" facial washes and nothing was working well. Then I happened to stumble over a blog post by Frugal Faye
and VOILA instant relief. Ok well not instant but pretty close.
She outlines how and why to oil cleanse greatly in her Oil Cleansing 101
post and I think you should all go check it out ASAP.
photo sourced from http://frugalfaye.com/2013/06/04/whole-home-detox-the-oil-cleansing-method/
I started by using her exact formula and then was out of castor oil one day and decided to just try coconut oil. I had read on other blogs of people just using coconut oil and thought it was worth a shot. BINGO! Worked great and I have not gone back since then. I have to say not using harsh, toxic chemicals on my face makes me feel SO good! Not to mention it is so much more economical.
How many of our readers use Oil Cleansing to clean your face? Tell us all about the different variations you use!
~Eco Chic Rachel
That first year of a babies life there are SO many changes. They go from these snuggly little newborns that can't do anything to rolling, walking, eating, talking toddlers. It's really insane! No other time in your life do you hit so many milestones. One of the big milestones, and one that parents most look forward to, are those first bites of solid foods.
In the past those first few bites have consisted of white rice cereal and pureed vegetables. Well as the years have gone on and the research has improved we are finding more and more that this may not be the best first foods we can give our little ones. We are also learning that pureed foods is not the only option. In fact giving your baby small, age appropriate, chunks of food is a perfectly valid form of first foods.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, or an expert of first foods. All I can do is tell you my experience.
With Trav, we did traditional purees. His first food was mashed avocado, followed by mashed sweet potatoes. With Cole I had read a lot about Baby Lead Weaning and we decided to try it. His first food was also avocado but it was cut into small cubes. For us the major advantage of Baby Lead Weaning is that Cole calls the shots. I'm not shoving a spoon in his mouth because I think he should eat. I simply put the food on his plate and let him decide if he will be eating or not. I also have found he has a much wider palette then Trav does because I'm giving him what we are already eating. Since I don't have to make something separate he gets a much wider variety of food and spices. I remember with Travis I would make a huge batch of purees on Sunday and he would be eating the same two or three foods all week.
So if you are embarking on Baby Lead Weaning or just have a toddler you want some new finger foods for I have found a great recipe
to share with you from 100 Days of Real Food
. I make these muffins often for the boys and I to have as a quick breakfast and we all LOVE them!
I add in some dark chocolate chips on top for just a touch of sweetness and to fool Trav into thinking they are regular cupcakes. Works like a charm! Are you running to the kitchen to make these?
After posting on Facebook about Chia seeds I decided to whip up this blog post and giveaway tonight!! Enjoy
Remember that commercial “cha cha chia”
Yeah thats the one we are talking about when we say CHIA seed!!!
We LOVE Garden of Life. You may purchase this and many other great products here!
This bag will run you $13.95. These seeds are a powerful superfood and can be put into:
mixes and batters
Used as an egg substitution They are full of:
Additionally, chia’s a good source of folic acid and niacin as well as the following minerals: iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and magnesium.
Great for hydration
(put some into your lemon water)
As well as for babies.. add some to their oatmeal or yogurt to help them stay fuller longer! Did you know MOST chia seeds on the shelf are imported and not organic?
Not garden of life!! My favorite protein superfood packed smoothie:
1 scoop coconut oil
Garden of life chia seeds
1 scoop almond butter
Raw meal or superfood
Here is a great chia seed fruit salad from The food babe http://foodbabe.com/2013/01/21/chia-seed-fruit-salad/
Make sure you keep your Chia seeds in an airtight container for optimal freshness!
Forgive my 9pm snap shot of my Chia seeds!! Wanted to show you how I store mine! I have another jar of them in the tea/smoothie pantry just for drinks.
ENTER BELOW to Win your very own Bag of Garden of Life Chia Seeds!
Free of chemicals and Gmos!
Share our page and make sure you tell us about your LOVE for these little seeds!
Finally the water has parted
Ok just to clear this up I will NOT be blogging day 2 or 3..
I just want to capture day one and maybe a few others :)
I “decided” (see what I did there) to do homeschool with my Noah (3rd grader) for a few days as I needed to start with the 6th grader anyways. This would give us a feel for how it would be with 2.. how he would do etc.
So here we go..
7:45am Noah “mom just tell me what to do so we can get this over with”
8am i wake up the 11 year old.. just letting you know we need to start in a hour
8:05 my printer is not working so I ran to my moms to get Gabes math dittos
8:10 Noah doing subtractions and “this is so dumb, really mom”
8:30 my 11 year old before breakfast sits at the table.. crazy hair and in a daze... ok mom now what. Are you organized, do you even know what your doing?
Me: Not really but I have a general idea
I now have Gabe doing some dittos, noah working on the computer and both of them mumbling how horrible this is... mind you its MATH and for heavens sakes is 8.12 we should be at the beach.
Now Mistake #1 DO NOT START WITH MATH... the hardest and least fun (to me anyways)
Mistake #2 I should have thought about curriculum in July NOT August.. but I want just ONE month where school is not even a thought or topic! Actually I should have given this a test run for heavens sakes!
Mistake #3 Did not watch any you tube, pinterest or wonderful perfect mother videos that would show me how things all work together
Mistake #4 Thinking I could do this and romanticizing it in my mind
Mistake #5 see mistake #2
Into the second hour we moved into social studies and they learned about womens rights (time4learning.com) as well as the underground railroad (odessy)
Note: the boys listened to this while in a fort and eating snacks..
one in a fort under the bed and the other in a corner.
This was my “this is why homeschool is amazing” No desk and rules but still learning.
We had great discussion and writing time after that.
Gabe did a paper on the redwoods and did lots of googling on specficic redwoods while Noah and I read about plants and roots. I then had noah go pick out the largest leaf in our yard and the smallest leaf.
Note this was off the cuff.. i had no lesson plans just what dittos/readings/subjects to do.
Noted there was lots of silliness, potty talk and blah blah blah inbetween some things but we go thru it.
11ish back to math with gabe.. lots of mom really I don’t know what a= or what the square root of 8 is.
Me: Oh lord jesus.. this is the moment we call the public school and see if they have a spot. I do NOT do math
Gabe: so mom do you even know this stuff or what?
me : actually no BUT its in that book somewhere and thank goodness you are taking on site math tuesday and thursday!!
12pm solar was being installed so I gave my 3rd grader an assignment that was 2 fold
1) doing a proper interview with someone
2) finding out about solar
It was great for him and he was happy to tell me about “sun energy”
While he did that Gabe finished his reading... and asked probably 2x soooo how many more hours of this.... can I just go to normal school please??!
We went over everything and had some reading time and d o n e.
Although they both said several times.. is this ever going to be done?!
Now here is the thing... I think it was a bit harder for me having such a age gap of 3rd and 6th grade and I need to figure a way to do history and science together.. maybe abeka or apologetics or something?
Also Considering I was caught up on the blog, the bills, the orders and inventory, the house was tidy, laundry was done and dinner was prepared.. we were fine.
What Im afraid of is... the days Its not.
The 4 days Im at the shop and the 2 days Im doing books, orders, inventory, marketing, blogging and so forth.
I will say the 3 hours was WORK I mean WORK I had maybe a 15 min window to check my email and social media. Im hoping we can get a better system down and figure this out
I also am still NOT sure with Noah we are giving it a second shot tomorrow and a last shot wednesday before the class list is posted 5pm. Heavens Im not sure this is for us at all.
The clock is ticking.
AND the verdict is.....
Class list was posted tonight and I'm so thankful to our local public school for making a way for them to get into 3rd and 6th.
Yes after all that it came full circle... back to me having to let go. Trusting my kids and allowing them to manage their freedoms. Boundaries have been set, tears have been had, family meeting took place and we are ready and excited for another year and for my 6th grader.. his last year in elementary school!!
We went to check the class list and it felt like home... everyone asking who is in who's class and how was your summer chit chat. Just the way it should be. My heart is content.
More to come later. I told you.... you're not married to your decision. Be free!
No fancy graphics or photos just straight talk from my heart
So it's a week since I wrote my blog post on why I'm doing a hybrid education...
What is that you ask?
Well it's part charter school, part online and part homeschool!
My older son will take on site classes 2 days a week (phew) as well as an “enrichment day” He will do the rest of his work at home. Gabe is self motivated & has never struggled with school, homework etc. I personally believe 6-8th grade is a time we need to Guard our kids hearts & minds to keep the heart to heart
connection strong. No matter if they are at home or at school.
This program for Jr High is only for 6 -8 you can’t just jump in on 7th or 8th so I kinda “had” to jump in now.. I suppose?!
My boys will not & have never lacked social encounters ... Between being at the shop, sports & church they are fine. Not that my son will not miss daily recess & friends but I feel the time him & I will get together & he will hang w friends at practice & school.
It's the 3rd grader.. My Noah.
My middle one.
He is begging me to go to Orchard (public school in our neighborhood)
One of his buddies is going there next year and its not helping!
My oldest is telling me "mom how are you going to help me when all your energy is on trying to get Noah to focus and do his work"
(Yeah he is 11 going on 25)
He has a point. Sometimes I can hardly get Noah to sit in a chair for dinner.. He is a stander ( is that a real term?!) which I'm 100% ok with. But you get my point.
I have reached out to every homeschooling mom I know, my private school friends, my friends with kids at traditional school. My friends of a friend of a friend that might have some Ah-ha moment for me!!
At the end of the day (I hate that I say that by the way)
I just want what is best for each kid for each year!!! There is no perfect school or system. I'm looking for the best for us.. All of us. Also this is not about me being super mom or choosing what's most convenient for me.
I also don’t want to be the mom that just can’t wait to drop them off either. I think there is a healthy balance with all of that.
What I want is what's best for my kids ..
Mentally, emotionally & spiritually.
Also what really matters is the core values in your home above all. A big part of my process is pro/con list, talking to teachers, moms, Noah and most of all praying & seeking wisdom!!
I'm believing God is going to make it 100% clear!
Part of me says.. You can do this!!!
It's 3 hours a day.. You have support, half of it is online.. Pull it together its going to be worth it.. lets show the world IT CAN BE DONE.
The other part of me..
Stop trying to be supermom... you can show the world 500 other things that can be done.
There is no way he is going to sit & listen to you and he is going to get distracted at every task and it will make it worse. Just send the kid to school and call it a day.
See I'm ok with it not being easy because ya know what neither choice is easy & for our family what matters most is character & integrity! If you get a b/c with effort and have character & integrity I'm ok w that vs a A with an attitude and toxic heart.
Here is where I am at right nowHybrid PROs:
Gets to bond w siblings
Lots of flexibility
Gets to spend 1 on 1 time
There is tutoring if needed
There is helpful teacher/support
He can get things done at our pace and retain it better
Learning thru life (at the shop)
(I will certainly hire a help to do some “teaching” and help with lessons etc.)Public "traditional" PROs:
Social & friends
Can learn lessons & grow by experience
I can focus on helping gabe & doing what I do between the shop, clients and mercy
Will learn from a teacher and in group setting as well as more structure
Our local public school is AMAZINGCons Hybrid:
Lack of focus
Pressure and time for me
Taking away from helping G and Mercy … not to mention my own list
Public School System
LOTS of dittos and not a lot of hands on learning or more montessori style
So there we have it.. did I even make a firm decision. No.
What I have done is a process and I include my kids in that process.. Im also hearing their hearts and leaning in... waiting. Decision Posted Tomorrow.
Mindy is the face of SWEET + MARIE photography. She can remember sitting in between her aunt and uncle on road trips as a kid and when something beautiful came into view thru the front window, she would blink and make a shutter noise. If there isn’t a camera of some sort in her hand, it’s most likely baking supplies, an iced americano, or something she glittered.
I hate to be the party pooper here, folks but in case you were hiding on a tropical beach with no wifi, summer is ‘bout over!
I know, I don’t want to admit it either, and I’m really not looking forward to a daily alarm clock again, so let’s just team up and help each other out.
Today I’m sharing my tips on helping you get great back to school pictures. Take one tip and fly, or soak ‘em all in, I hope they learn you something. Because if all you do is nail one good shot, then that’s proof that you did it! You got them to school, maybe clean coiffed and new shoes. Hopefully on time. Pat on the back, good job mom or dad and I’ll see you next summer with an umbrella drink in hand.
1. Be prepared. Make sure your camera battery or phone is charged and you have a memory card that isn’t full. Silly to mention, I know, but there was that one time that one Mom got all the way to school to realize she forgot a memory card. Oops!
2. But if you forget, recreate or set your own tradition! There is no reason why ‘back to school’ photos HAVE to all be taken the morning of the first day. It’s such a hectic time anyhow! Take your pictures after school, the second (third, fourth…) day, or how about taking the kids for a walk in the halls one of the evenings leading up to the first day.
Once they know their class, get the photo in front of the classroom door, the hallway pic, and the marquee shot later in the day when the light is 100% more amazing anyhow. This is probably the best bet for your upper grade students, as the only chance you’ll have of shots of them at school, is when no one is around to see you taking them. Another plus to doing this, you won’t have to worry so much that first morning, and you can simply be in the moment.
3. What should you photograph? Don’t just stop at the typical backpack shot on the front porch or that one with the teacher. Make a list beforehand if you would like, or google ‘back to school photo list’ and see what others have created for you to be inspired. I’ll include a fun sample at the end of this post for you. There, did part of the work for you.
Capture the small details that change yearly, step back and get the big picture, pick the same shot you can capture every year to chronicle growth and don’t forget the emotions – all of them! I’m a big fan of the idea that kids do not have to be looking at the camera or smiling to make a memory.
4. Whatever tool you use, learn it, know it! Want to know the best camera out there? It’s the one you have with you. Ah, so sly, right? But it’s true. Your fancy new DSLR or your iphone is great as long as you know how to use it to get the results you want. So practice.
camera phone pics - from back in the day
To help you get started on the technicals of it all, here are some basic tips. But fair warning, these BASIC - but still most likely overwhelming - tips are just a scratch on the surface:
Kill the flash and play with natural light. The classroom doorway, the overhangs in the hallway or under a big tree are great for providing you with open shade and natural reflectors (walls, concrete, etc) that will bounce light onto your subject. So turn off your flash and use it! In your home, get close to a window and see what happens when you put the subject between you and the window, sit with both you and your subject having the window at your sides, then put the window to your back and your subject facing you and the window. Very different lighting outcomes!
Nikon D700, 50mm 1.4, ISO 800, f2.0, 1/150, SOOC
Get off the DSLR green box. Also known as SAY NO TO AU-TO! There could be a million paragraphs on this alone, but to get the shots you want, you have to take control over the settings. Try turning that dial to Av or A for what is called aperture priority mode and scroll until you see the lowest number possible – this is the WIDEST aperture
(lowest f-stop) available for your lens and in a nutshell allows the camera to bring in more light. If you’re indoors, you most likely have to increase your ISO
. But watch out for that, as the higher you go with ISO the more you increase the chance of grainy pictures. See I told you it was a lot, are you still with me? If your images are blurry, that’s because your shutter speed
(the numbers that read 1/200, 1/500 etc) is too slow. You will have to either move to better light, increase ISO, get a different lens
, or make your kids stand still by freezing time and then use your elbows as a human tripod. Yea, that should work.
If you’re still stumped, you can lay in bed as a teenager and take a million photos of your ceiling fan until ‘it clicks’. I heard that works. Or you can also read your manual on what all those icons mean. How about google? Heck even try youtube. You can learn just about anything on youtube, including how to get a six-pack in 3 minutes. Smartphone users should make sure they’ve played with all of their menu items to see what they can do. And there is that nearly limitless world of fun apps and filters. Instagram, PicTapGo, VSCO...
5. The 3 GETs…
GET on their level: don’t shoot everything from your perspective. Try placing the camera on their desk towards them, on the grass towards those new pair of shoes.
GET creative but still let them be kids: one year, in the midst of poo poo attitudes on that first day photoshoot, I blurted out, ‘now jump for joy!’ and thus began our annual jumping photo.
GET in the photo: Guess what? You’re part of the memory, too. Chances are, you did all the work to get them to this point! So chronicle the smiles that are holding in the tears and those extra tight hugs that linger. Years from now, when they’re showing your grandkids their back to school pictures, give them a sweet memory beyond all those embarrassing outfit choices.
Disclaimer.. this is my argument for homeschool. Weather I'm going to do it with one child, all or none is to be determined. I truly believe that each child and each year deserves thought, prayer and discussion!
1. Be with the kiddos more
2. 1 on 1 education
3. Learn thru life
4. Great for busy families
5. Affordable “higher” education
6. We set the pace, the curriculum, can move head
8. Focus on areas they need help the most in
9. Not dealing with 5,000 fliers and handouts random holidays etc.
10. Instilling your core family values more than you are putting out “social fires”
*I do firmly believe we should not shelter our kids and they should have street sense, talk about real life and culture. School (public/private) gave me many chances to talk to my kids about why, why not, how etc. when things came up*
I have said "I will never ever homeschool" more times than I can count and who knows I might be signing my kids up & dropping them off 30 days into this!!
All I know is I want my boys to get the best opportunities, love, education and spend their time as best possible.
I don't know that we will do this for years to come but I know it's what we are to do this year... well for my 6th grader for sure. The 3rd grader is still in the air!
See that's the main thing..
If we are so set on them only doing 1 thing or 1 school for all k-6 then you won't have options when things are not as you hoped.
I am a believer in consistency, structure and commitment.
I also believe that these precious years are fleeting and we need to make the most of them.
A day in “traditional” school last year looked like this for me:
7 am wake kids up
- nag about 55 minutes
8ish leave for school - including wake mercy up to take them to school
2:50 get kids
- short convo on how the day was with Noah saying 99.9% of the time how boring and horrible it is
Snack & homework QUICKLY because we have practice ..
Noah (2nd grade) lots of tears, eraser shreds all over & minimum of 30 min spent on a good day doing dittos.
Hurry get ready for practice or game.
Make lunches & dinner in a rush..
Get kids home from game or practice to nag them.. Hurry to because you have school in the morning!
I know this is just part of life but something in me says.. there is better, there is more!!
So what do you think.. homeschool? Private? Charter? Public?
How did you decide??
I will be posting my decision process in the next few days, so stick around!