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My daughter’s second grade teacher hand-wrote a classroom update to the parents each week, her name signed with a beautiful cursive flourish. She used a wooden pointer to teach U.S. geography and phonics. She had an upright piano in her class and played it regularly. She was the only teacher in the school whose classroom did not have an interactive whiteboard.


This all ran anathema to the modern classroom. As Lewis Buzbee writes in the 2014 “Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom”, “Whiteboards are the rule these days, and all to the better, it seems, if only for their lack of screeching. But the whiteboard disallows a long-standing classroom rite: cleaning the erasers.”

When I pick up my daughter now as a fourth grader, a highly-digitized classroom equipped with iPads, I long for her second grade days. She and her classmates were always delayed, helping to wash the chalkboard and clapping those vestigial erasers. They were part student/part maintenance, and they appeared to love it.

In fact, I heard very few complaints about these “old school” methods, especially from fellow parents. I can understand why the parents favored this experience: clapping erasers, coloring freshly Xeroxed pages, cranking the pencil sharpener. Our own second grade years came rushing back.

I well remember getting “locked out” of school when I volunteered to clap erasers with my own second grade crush. It’s possible I let a door-holding eraser slip out of place to extend my chore time. Oops.

Nostalgia aside, there was another reason I think we were so happy for our kids’ uniquely undigitized teacher. We all had a chance to catch our breath. We’d been texting fellow playdate parents and e-mailing pediatricians throughout our children’s lives. We’d been downloading and uploading forms since before our children were born. The same goes for our digital native offspring, born effectively with a tablet device in their hands.

At parent-teacher conference, my daughter’s teacher apologized: “I’m sorry I don’t do that texting. You are always welcome to call me, though!”

I told her it was a relief. It had been wonderfully welcome to not have to be hyper-conscious of how much screentime both my kid and I were spending in the name of her education. In the years since the Classroom in Analog, I’ve realized how much my kids’ teachers can steer the ship.

I have the deepest respect for educators and understand the immense pressures they are under to communicate constantly above the din of the whirring propellers of helicopter parents. It can be invasive, though – the text blasts and newsletters and reminder slips that litter our inboxes and kitchen tables.

The emotional and financial toll of raising a child is no secret, even to those who are not in the business. But rarely do we mention the administrative side of parenting.

Writer Jen Hatmaker is among the few who have made a public plea to reduce the sheer volume of paperwork that educating a child entails. Hatmaker appeals to the teachers: “Teachers, we need to make a deal that after April testing, we don’t have to do anything else.”

I wonder how realistic this might be?

The flood of reminders…can we agree to a tapering system for both teachers and parents alike? Might even our kids be tasked with remembering a few things rather than piling the onus to bring in five dollars for the Valentine’s Party on the parent?

And might the goal of pumping more iPads into classrooms and educating more app-savvy kids be offset by a little bit more analog in their lives? If not a piano, then perhaps a real, tactile deck of cards (versus one that a mouse clicks to shuffle).

We might not all get a teacher with a texting embargo, but maybe we can hope for a little more balance, inside the classroom and out.

The ’90s notion of the “information superhighway” promised media convergence and limitless access to all who traveled it. Within the framework of our children’s education, though, we and their teachers are tasked with setting the speed limits. The challenge is remembering that we get to decide where the exit ramps should be.

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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This month isn't just the start of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow mamas-to-be expecting in 2019:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega 

The Spy Kids actress and mom to 2-year-old Ocean will soon have to get herself a double stroller because PenaVega and her husband Carlos are expecting again.

"Holy Moly!!! Guys!!! We are having another baby!!!!" captioned an Instagram post. "Do we wake Ocean up and tell him??!! Beyond blessed and excited to continue growing this family!!! Get ready for a whole new set of adventures!!!"

Over on Carlos' IG the proud dad made a good point: " This year we will officially be able to say we have 'kids!' Our minds are blown," he write.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

In January Counting On Jessa Seewald (formerly Jessa Duggar) announced via Instagram that she is pregnant with her third child with husband Ben Seewald.

We love that she was able to make the announcement in her own time, not worrying about speculation about her midsection. She's been over that for a while.

[Update: January 18, added PenaVega]

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The shape appeals to kids and the organic and gluten-free labels appeal to parents in the freezer aisle, but if you've got a bag of Perdue's Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets, don't cook them.

The company is recalling 49,632 bags of the frozen, fully cooked Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets because they might be contaminated with wood.

According to the USDA, Perdue received three complaints about wood In the nuggets, but no one has been hurt.

The nuggets were manufactured on October 25, 2018 with a "Best By" date of October 25, 2019. The UPC code is 72745-80656. (The USDA provides an example of the packaging here so you'll know where to look for the code).


In a statement on the Perdue website the company's Vice President for Quality Assurance, Jeff Shaw, explains that "After a thorough investigation, we strongly believe this to be an isolated incident, as only a minimal amount of these packages has the potential to contain pieces of wood."

If you have these nuggets in your freezer you can call Perdue 877-727-3447 to ask for a refund.

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