#WorthRevisit: Mrs. Quimby’s 6 Best Back-to-School Tips for Parents (and one from me)

Worth revisiting today: a back-to-school article I published at RealHousekeeping.com earlier this year. Two months in, this is a good time for students and parents to evaluate those homework habits.
Back-to-School-Tips-from-Mrs-Quimby-@realhousemagEven though my personality has always been way more Beezus than Ramona, I’ve always loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series. Now that I’m a parent, I notice the many ways Ramona’s mom has been a sort of parenting mentor for me.

Mrs. Quimby is absolutely not a helicopter parent. She fosters independence in her children when it comes to schoolwork, helping around the house, and entertaining themselves. Here’s how she does it:

Set clear expectations. In the Quimby household, everyone knew what was expected of them regarding homework, study, chores, and behavior. There were no surprises, and routines were in place to make sure things got done.

Hold firm. Mrs. Quimby, while compassionate, stuck to her guns regarding things that mattered: respectful behavior, schoolwork, chores, and saving money. Temper tantrums did not sway her. Once, when Ramona squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink, she made Ramona spoon it all into a container and use it until it was gone.

Be prepared. Ramona’s parents always made sure she had plenty of paper and crayons—the supplies she needed as a primary-grade student. I take my cue from Mrs. Quimby by stocking up on extras of the items on my children’s school supply lists, and I make sure to lay in a supply of poster board at the beginning of the school year to avoid those Sunday night runs to the office supply store.

Step aside. Mrs. Quimby knew that schoolwork was not her job. She created the environment for study, made sure everyone was prepared, then required her children to do what was assigned them. No hovering, no hand-holding, no nonsense.

Allow for a mess. She stepped over a large sheet of paper stretched across her kitchen floor for a couple of weeks while Ramona, along with her dad, illustrated a map of the state.

Leave room for kids to learn from their mistakes. Mrs. Quimby wasn’t one to hover over her kids, protecting them from ever making a wrong decision. She knew that mistakes can lead to learning experiences, and she (wisely) didn’t make a huge deal about it when they did. There was the time that Beezus, wanting to avoid a home haircut, saved her money to get a new salon ‘do…which wound up going very wrong, Mrs. Quimby offered a shoulder to cry on and a closed mouth. No “I told you so” lecture; just a listening ear.

I get the feeling Ramona’s mom would wholeheartedly endorse my own homework policy: “It’s not done until it’s packed!” I’ve been repeating that sentence several times a week for nearly two decades now. It’s all about the follow-through, kids!

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worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Monday Recap: 8/17/2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

At CatholicMom.com:

Book Notes: Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag

walk softly carry great bag

Here’s my review of Teresa Tomeo’s purse-sized devotional, Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag, and interview with the author. This is a book you’ll want to tuck into your favorite handbag!

Tech Talk: Never Miss a Homily Again

Good Friday Homily large

A growing number of priests and deacons have begun offering the text and/or audio recordings of their homilies online, so that people who didn’t get to hear the whole thing can catch up later–and people who want to prayerfully review it can do that as well.

Book Notes: Saint Clare–beyond the legend


My review of a biography of St. Clare that delves deeper into the significance of her life rather than following a timeline.

At Cook and Count:

spicy honey chicken (1)c TITLEOn the Grill: Spicy Honey Chicken

sesame tahini cookies (4) TITLE smallerSesame Tahini Cookies

At Dynamic Women of Faith:

catholic drinkie book

My review of The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Home Brewed Evangelism by Sarah Vabulas.

At Real Housekeeping:

big batch savvy spaghetti and meatballs RHBig Batch Savvy Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Try the recipe–and join the discussion in the comments box about roaster ovens!

Book Review: Real Life on a Budget

Real Life on a Budget coverReal Housekeeping contributor Jessi Fearon has written a winner of an ebook on budgeting and frugal living. Real Life on a Budget is packed with advice for establishing a household budget, living within your means, and finding ways to save for the unexpected.

Whether you purchase this book for yourself or as a gift for a recent graduate, newly-married couple or young adult just starting out on his or her own, there’s plenty of sound advice here.

I like to think of myself as a fairly frugal-minded person (yesterday, for example, I saved $63.07 off my grocery bill by using coupons and purchasing items on sale, and I already use dollar-store microfiber cleaning cloths on my Swiffer dry mop) but I’ve learned a lot by reading this book. My favorite chapters: “Identify Budget Wreckers,” “Breaking Bad Money Habits” and “Don’t Be Cheap!”

As our children have grown, our priorities for spending (and saving) money have changed. This book is a good shot in the arm as we take a look at our budget for the next year and our longer-term plans as well.

Real Life on a Budget releases June 30 but you can preorder now and it will be delivered straight to your Kindle on release date! It is priced at $5.99 (and if you skip takeout once this week in favor of a meal prepared at home, you’ll save at least that much!)

Author photo Jessi Fearon

About the author: Jessi Fearon is a wife and mom of two young boys. She is devoted to helping others live well and thrive on a budget while becoming better money managers.

Want to know more? Follow author Jessi Fearon on Twitter and Instagram or check out her blog, The Budget Mama.

Note: Links to this book are Amazon affiliate links, which means that your purchase of this book costs you nothing extra but gives me a little extra to spend on the necessities of life at Amazon.

The Fine Print: I was given a free preview copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation for my review, and the opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Monday Recap: 5/18/15

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

I had to take the “Morning” out of the Monday Recap, because it just wasn’t happening.

Here’s what I’ve been working on this week:

At CatholicMom.com:

Catholic-TV-appTech Talk: Must-See Catholic TV, a look at an app that gives you all 99 of CatholicTV’s programs!


At Cook and Count:

trinity rice with almonds c squareSuper Sides: Trinity Rice with Almonds is a great way to transform leftover rice into something new and delicious.



new Pyrex designAn Open Letter to Pyrex was written because this is one of those times when “new and improved” doesn’t work out that way. I need more precision in measuring devices than Pyrex’s new design offers.

At Real Housekeeping:

SS-Chicken-with-Snow-Peas-FB1Scrumptious Spring! Chicken with Snow Peas is today’s featured recipe. Skip the takeout–this cooks in less time than it takes to steam the rice.

Monday Recap 4/13

Recap logo Maybe I should change my graphic. It’s not morning–not here, anyway. But it’s Monday, so that means it’s time for a Monday Recap!

You can tell it’s spring, because two out of my three articles are on the subject of gardening. Yes, this Black-Thumbed Girl has found some success in that department!

CatholicMomcom-Contributor-blue-outlineAt CatholicMom.com:

I reviewed Margaret Rose Realy’s new book, A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac.

My Tech Talk takes a look at a few Chrome tools that make my job easier (and a little more fun!)

real housekeeping

At Real Housekeeping:

This unlikely gardener shares how to grow an herb garden in a vintage red wagon, including a great gardening resource.


Monday Morning Recap 3/9

RecapIt’s been all recipes, all the time this week! Here’s what’s cooking:

ravioli marinaraAt CatholicMom.com:

My Meatless Friday feature this month was Magnificent Marinara Sauce. We like it with cheese ravioli or tortellini.


spicy corn chowderAt Catholic Bloggers Network:

I served up a Meatless Friday recipe at CBN as well: Spicy Corn Chowder.


granma scones and teaAt Real Housekeeping:

A straight-from-my-Irish-grandmother recipe: Granma’s Irish Biscuits. Authentically Irish, perfect with tea! Don’t wait until St. Patrick’s Day to make these! Granma made them every Sunday.


pot roastAt Cook and Count:

Monday’s dinner was a Dutch-Oven Rump Roast. This is our new favorite way to make pot roast.


fish fillets with twist of lime (4) Fish fillets with a twist of lime are a nice, light way to serve Friday’s fish.


crab mac n cheese 2 For decadent taste without the price tag to match, try this budget-friendly Mac & Cheese with Crab!


Monday Morning Recap 3/2


Here’s what I’ve been writing this week at other venues:

finding Jesus logoAt Dynamic Women of Faith:

Finding Jesus: A CNN Mini-Series

FF-spice-FBAt Real Housekeeping:

Frugal Friday: DIY Spice Blends
(This was actually the week before, but I forgot to post it!)

cod piccata WAt Catholic Bloggers Network:

Meatless Friday Recipe: Cod Piccata

chicken lo mein WW (4)At Cook and Count:

Chicken Lo Mein


bakers dozen PB cookies CRUMBCookie Time: Bakers Dozen Peanut Butter Cookies



skillet chicken parm WMSkillet Chicken Parmesan