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I Brake for Moms
November 29  |  
When I was in teacher credentialing school I received barely any instruction about dyslexia. This is tragic because the International Dyslexia Association says that “as many as 15 to 20 percent of the population as a whole ... have some of the symptoms of dyslexia.”My first real experience with dyslexia was with a smart third-grade girl named “Estella.” Estella was supposed to be in fourth grade but the school held her back because she read at the kindergarten level.

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November 22  |  
I want to teach my kids that the holidays are about more than an excuse to pig out. When I think back to past things I have said, I shudder.“Pumpkin pie counts as a vegetable.”“If we were Shakers, we would eat apple pie for breakfast. This is a history lesson.”“Eggnog has protein. Drink up.”“A midnight turkey sandwich is about tradition, not calories.”“It would be rude not to eat those cookies because Grammy worked hard to bake them.”

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November 15  |  
There is a new guy in my life. He is handsome, physically fit, a good listener and totally committed to me. I am of course talking about my poodle, Merlin.His devotion is so steadfast that he even keeps me company when I fold laundry. Merlin stares at me while I brush my teeth. When I come home from the grocery store Merlin is at the window, awaiting my return.

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November 8  |  By Jenny Bardsley
When dinner and the home cook need an upgrade Getting dinner on the table in the middle of school, work and kids' schedules is a complicated task. It is tempting to fall back on simple, repetitive recipes that are easy to prepare and you know your family will eat.

For me that means my tried-and-true schedule: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Wheatless Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, Fish of Fridays, Spaghetti Saturdays and Sunday Chicken Dinners. Can you tell I have been stuck in a cooking rut?


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November 1  |  
Last year on Halloween I woke up, threw on a pair of jeans and an orange sweater, and headed down to breakfast to discover my husband wearing the exact same outfit.“We cannot go out in public like this,” I declared.He looked at me over the brim of his coffee mug. “I don’t have time to change. I’m late for work.”“I’m in a rush too!” I had permission slips to sign, two school drop-offs and a pile of laundry to deal with.

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October 25  |  
Lately I’ve been exploring the notion that almost all of life’s problems can be solved by one simple prescription: “Go for a walk.”Kids are driving you crazy? Go for a walk. Need to lose weight? Go for a walk. Feeling depressed? Go for a walk. Can’t sleep? Go for a walk.

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October 18  |  By Jenny Bardsley
I hate it when people preach about the sacredness of family dinners. My family sits together at the dinner table seven nights a week and it hasn't magically turned any of us into angels.

My daughter has not grown to love butternut squash because she has been exposed to it 16 times like the experts advise. I still carry an extra 3 pounds despite designing meals around organic vegetables and lean protein. Where is the dinner-time Utopia I was promised?

I am sure...

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October 11  |  
Multiple generations have been inspired by 'Boys in the Boat' Sometimes it feels like I spend all day in the car. School drop-offs, pick-ups and errands; thank goodness the price of gas has dropped or I'd be broke. I'll admit there are days when the thought of one more trip to the grocery store makes me want to scream.

But lately driving the mom-mobile hasn't seemed so bad. That's because I'm listening to Daniel James Brown's bestselling book "The Boys in the Boat" on audio CD. Earlier this year the Everett Public...

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October 4  |  
Adopting perfect pup can be a tough magic trick
Before I attempted adopting a poodle I was warned how difficult it might be. “Fill out an application at every rescue organization you can find,” one friend told me. “Be prepared for a home visit,” said another.I shrugged off all of this advice with a how-hard-can-it-be attitude and logged onto Surely the perfect dog was waiting for us in a 20-mile radius to be picked up that day.Wrong.

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September 27  |  
At my house once the clock chimes 4 o'clock every minute counts. Snack, homework, outside time, dinner, television and bed — we try hard to stick to a routine, but it's difficult not to let extracurriculars smash our schedule to bits.

How much is too much? I ask myself that question every time I look at our family calendar. How much homework? How much TV? How many chores? How many activities? The answers seem like they should be easy to determine and yet they...

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September 20  |  
There are many reasons to dance for joy at the doctor’s office — a clean biopsy, a positive pregnancy test, or a successful vasectomy all come to mind. But is approval to get a poodle worthy of such jubilation? My kids definitely think so. Our potential for dog ownership weighed heavily on their minds this summer when my son was tested for allergies.

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September 13  |  By Jenny Bardsley Special to The Herald
Sometimes the easiest jobs are the hardest to do. For me, the simple — yet extraordinarily difficult — chore before me is sorting through four moving boxes. They come from a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease who has transitioned into a memory-care facility.

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September 6  |  By Jenny Bardsley Special to The Herald
Learning to speak Instagram
When I was in high school I studied Spanish. Now I’m working my butt off to become fluent in Instagram.

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August 30  |  
My first trip to Wild Waves involved nausea, near hypothermia — and a whole lot of fun.

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August 23  |  By Jenny Bardsley Special to The Herald
Every time a recreational vehicle passes me on the highway I dream about purchasing a motor home. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t share my vision.“Do you imagine yourself parking this imaginary RV?” he asks me.“Don’t be ridiculous,” I say, shuddering as I recall all of my near-misses parking the car in our garage. “You’d drive and I’d be the navigator. Or at least, I’d plug in the Garmin. Let’s not get hung up on details.”

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August 16  |  By Jennifer Bardsley
Many years ago when I was a new mom and my days were filled with co-op preschool and deep discussions with my little guy about bulldozers, there were posters in downtown Edmonds featuring prominent residents reading books. I don't remember who was in this literacy campaign, but I do recall thinking: "Since I'm a stay-at-home mom, nobody cares about what I read."

Maybe you have felt this way too — unnoticed. Every time you turn on the television...

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August 9  |  
Last night I told my husband, “The next time I suggest our family go out to dinner, splash cold water on my face and steal $60 from my wallet. That would probably be more fun.”We were driving home from the Black Angus.

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August 2  |  
I spent 14 months breastfeeding each of my babies and was rewarded by countless hours of listening to their happy slurping noises. None of that would have been possible without my sister-in-law from Lake Stevens who got me through rough patches, especially during the first five weeks.

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July 26  |  
School is right around the corner, so have fun while the sun shines Do you ever look back through life and judge your summers as good, bad or forgettable? Perhaps you spent a summer traveling, or welcoming a newborn baby into your family. Possibly a loved one died, or you suffered a horrendous break-up. Or maybe you don't remember a particular summer at all because nothing interesting happened.

We only get 18 summers with our kids before they grow up and leave. Subtract the summers when you're wiping their butts and then take away the...

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July 19  |  By Jenny Bardsley Special to The Herald
It was a hot summer evening on Puget Sound. I sat with a group of adults overlooking the water's edge and watched Mount Rainer fade into pink and purple. The lights of distant airplanes flickered high above the Seattle skyline. Indianola was hot — but comfortable, the perfect place for friends to gather. In an hour or two there would be s'mores, but right then there was only the lazy smell of sunscreen.

It had been a long day of swimming and kayaking. The tide had...

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July 12  |  
Today I feel like ranting.This whole week I’ve felt like ranting. I curse the plaques and tangles in the brain — and who knows what else — that cause Alzheimer’s disease. I cry one minute, and put on my brave face the next. I go for a walk. I drink a glass of wine. I contemplate driving to See’s Candy and eating an entire pound of chocolates.Most of all I sit and endure. After many years of watching someone I love enter dementia, now I witness their abilities deteriorate further.

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July 5  |  
I hope you have already eaten breakfast because this story might gross you out.

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June 28  |  By Jennifer Bardsley
Using a little magic to put my house in order The workers at Goodwill know me by sight because I'm an almost daily donator. I've been following advice in a book by Marie Kondo called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" that has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

Kondo's basic premise is this: If a possession does not bring you joy then it does not belong in your home. She does not believe in organizing anything until you have first gone through your...

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June 21  |  By Jenny Bardsley Special to The Herald
We've learned a lot from our TV dads over the years — which one best describes you? Fatherhood has changed a lot over the past few decades, especially when you turn on the television. But we've learned a lot from our television dads. Which TV father best represents you?

Charles Ingalls (without the prairie)

Forget the throw-away lifestyle the rest of the world lives, you teach your kids to build from scratch and fix things when they break. You might not have extra money to spoil your kids rotten, but you sing to them on a...

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June 14  |  By Jennifer Bardsley
The end is in sight. Soon I'll be done packing school lunches.

Last September I had really good intentions. If you opened my cabinets you would see neatly stacked rows of reusable containers. I kept a marker right next to the napkins so I could write uplifting messages. "Mom loves you! Have a great day!" I even bought a sandwich shaper so I could cut bread into a beehive and a cute little bumblebee. Every night I packed organic fruit, crudités and...

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June 7  |  By Jennifer Bardsley
Many resources go into putting dinner on the table.

I don't know about you, but I never go on a government website unless I need to make camping reservations or put my mail on hold. However, one government site worth exploring is the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Cost of Food page. It breaks down what average people spend on groceries by following thrifty, low cost, moderate cost, or liberal plans.

In March of 2015 for example, the data says...

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