The “Skinny” On Diaz #10 – ETA 9.18.18

Author Archives: JoAnne


Home School vs. Catholic School vs. Public School vs. Public Online School

29 Jan, 2018
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I just had to write a blog on the different types of schooling out there. Let me start by saying that we were very blessed in that when my first two children were tiny my husband was a Principal of a Catholic school which had a full day pre-K program. So our boys were able to attend pre-K in a Catholic school for a few years before my husband relocated jobs. After that time, I opted to homeschool my oldest for the first half year of Kindergarten. I was pregnant with twins at the time so after the twins were born we opted to put our children back in (a new) Catholic school for the second half of Kindergarten as well as for my second child to go into the pre-K four program. Ever since then all of my school aged children (8) have been in Catholic school with the exception of this past year my oldest being in a Public Online School.

Let me start by saying that if you are a devout Catholic or Christian I firmly believe that homeschooling is the best option. Actually even if you are not a devout Catholic or Christian I believe that our children can learn more and at a faster pace if they are homeschooled. It is just my personal belief after having watched my nieces/nephews be homeschooled as well as for the short time that I homeschooled my child.

Here is my personal list of pros and cons for homeschool:


  • You can pack more into a day teaching one child from home since it is usually 1:1 attention.
  • Your schedule can be flexible.
  • This is ideal if your child has a hard time learning because all of the attention is on him/her.
  • Your child could potentially finish school earlier than most kids.
  • Cost: low cost for materials and virtually saving a ton of money by not having to buy many school materials and/or school clothing and etc.
  • Long-term it seems that homeschoolers get great stats on their SATS and etc. thus getting them into better colleges and getting grants and etc.
  • Your child can still attend sports and the like in a public or other school.
  • No transportation needed!
  • You and only you form your child in the way that you want to morally and ethically.


  • If you are not an organized individual this could be horrific. You have to be organized to be a home schooling parent!
  • Social aspect. I personally disagree if you have many kids at home or if you find a co-op BUT I do that children who do not have co-ops or siblings could run into lacking a social life or etc.

For me personally Catholic School is next in the running for me. Here is my personal list of pros and cons for Catholic Schools:


  • Catholic Education. For me this has always been more important than anything else for me. While I appreciate academics I was not into school and I (think) I turned out OK. I am more worried about my children being good people vs being A students.
  • Uniforms! While people think they may be more expensive they can actually be cheaper than regular school clothing! This is especially the case if the school has a uniform swap. I personally have saved a ton of money this way.
  • Education. Depending on where your student goes the education could be better in a Catholic School but again this depends on where your child goes. Not all Catholic Schools are the best academically.
  • More individualized attention depending on the school. Some Catholic Schools (especially privately run non-diocesan schools) have very small classes which can result in better individualized attention which can result in better education long-term.


  • Cost. Usually Catholic Schools can be expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the tuition but many times there are other fees like HSA/fundraising fees.
  • Education. Some Catholic Schools may be great for teaching ethics and morals but the education, the academics could be lacking.
  • Bullying. As in any environment which is not in the home or online you have the big chance of encountering bullies. What I have noticed in some Catholic Schools is that some children are raised in very privileged ways and because of that they can come off as snobby and/or outright bullies.
  • Sometimes you have to drive your child/pick your child up from school which can stink!

I have never had my children in Public School but I have visited them to check them out. Also, I attended public education my entire life so I can only speak to this from that aspect. Here is my personal list of pros and cons for Public Schools:


  • Education. Depending on where the school is located I have seen some fantastic education within the public schools.
  • FREE. Did I say free? What could be better than free? Lol.
  • Better options for special needs children. Some Catholic Schools simply cannot offer extra classes or individualized programs or instruction for special needs children.
  • Transportation. If you are lucky you don’t even have to leave your driveway!
  • Better Anti-Bullying programs. It appears to me that Bullying is taken more seriously in the Public School system and that teachers/staff have better training and programs around Anti-Bullying efforts.


  • Education. Some public schools are just not rocking it because unfortunately sometimes tenured teachers are just lazy and do not want to actually teach the children.
  • Bullying. I think the bullying seems to be worse in public school. Not too often do I hear about children bullying or killing themselves in Catholic Education but I do hear about it a lot in public education.
  • Free-for-all when it comes to trying to protect your children from things like sex, drugs and rock-n-roll in addition to things than may go against your faith as a Catholic or Christian like homosexuality and etc. I do realize that some of these issues are already in the Catholic Education system but it is not as prevalent as in the Public School system.

I have only had my child in Public Online School since September but here is my personal list of pros and cons for Public Schools:


  • FREE. Did I say Free?
  • Free materials! Not having to buy not only the books but zero supplies is truly amazing! I absolutely hate supply lists. I dread them like the plague. In addition, who can complain about getting a free computer, free head set, free printer, free printer ink and no rules about that computer? Meaning they do not block any site from the computer so in personal time the child can do what he/she wants on that computer.
  • Recorded sessions. If a child misses a class all classes are recorded so the child simply watches the sessions later that day. If a child needs reinforcement on a topic this is also great.
  • Free tutoring after school. Yup! You got that right. Teachers and staff have open hours after school online for help with grades, getting grades up, and tutoring in general. This is a huge plus for someone like me who is not good at helping my child with things like Math!
  • Recorded chats. This goes hand-in-hand with lack of bullying. All chats – private or not- are recorded. So, for example if my child says, “I was bullied today.” All I have to do is go and look at the chat. It is a perfect trail!
  • Lack of bullying. Because of the above and because most likely a good amount of children who attend Public Online School were likely bullied there is a mutual respect for the students amongst each other. I have had ZERO bullying issues since September and I find that miraculous.
  • Opportunity to get better grades. In the school that my child is in he is allowed to retake tests and quizzes. This is huge for those children who may be great at school for participation and etc. but not so much when it comes to testing.
  • Personalized coaching for the parents. Each family is assigned a coach and it is truly amazing. The coach meets with you weekly in the beginning and eventually monthly. They go over your child’s academics, attendance and etc. This has been a Godsend!
  • Social events. They host regular social events that the kids can meet up with each other and either learn or have fun together. These are basically glorified field trips but it is nice when you are in an Home Schooled Environment.
  • Online one-stop shopping teacher conferences! Oh yes, from the comfort of my own home I jump online and am able to meet with ALL of my children’s teachers at one time. It is great to hear what they say individually but also collectivity.
  • Convenient in that it can be done anywhere. I oftentimes send my son to my parent’s house for him to do school there.
  • Asynchronous days. There are days when the student does not have live sessions so he/she can work at their own pace.
  • Personal learning time which equates to extra time for students who need it or extra free time for students who don’t. I love this because some children learn faster than others so if my child is done why should he have to wait for others? That’s when personal learning time comes into play and those that need help get it and those who don’t have free time.
  • No transportation.
  • You get reimbursed for Internet! That is right. They pay for your entire Internet Bill during school months!


  • Getting used to it and being disciplined for parent and child can be rough. The first few weeks were rough for me because I had to be with him all the time. Then in became a little rough in trusting him to be on his own and do everything he needed to do.
  • Discipline. Kinda of like the first bullet but more so in that just like anyone who works in the real world or from home you can be distracted by technology. So it may be easy for your child to get distracted by people at home, the TV if there are near one, or technology.
  • Education could be less received. I do not say the education is lacking for I have witnessed the classes BUT because it is in online learning environment some children may not receive the amount of education they could because they may not learn the best that way in an online activity.
  • Social aspect. Needless to say my child has 8 siblings so he does not suffer in that regard but obviously I have to make more of an effort to get him together with other friends because he is missing that social aspect. He doesn’t miss it in that he asks for it but the fact is that he is not physically present with other children on a day-to-day basis.
  • If your internet goes down and you do not have a back-up plan it stinks! Attendance is strict so your child can’t use poor internet connection as a way out of class. It just won’t happen!
  • Sometimes there are technical difficulties and that does disrupt class whether it’s your internet that is lacking or some issues the teacher is having.
  • Attendance is NO JOKE. No snow days for you! Lol. And if you miss a certain amount of days (3) without a valid excuse you can get kicked out. Attendance is very strict in the online world!

With all of this said some people may think that I believe that Public Online School is the best. That is not necessarily the case. I believe if one can do it Home Schooling is the very best. After that if you have a great Catholic School with a great Priest leading it with great academics and a serious anti-bullying program in place and practiced then that is wonderful. After that I firmly believe that Public Online School has a tremendous amount to offer our children especially in this day and age of technology. I always say if my children have issues where they are they will also go to Public Online School. I personally am too busy with my job and my other children and household chores to home school but I can definitely be a help to my children who attend Online Public School.

I hope this blog gave you some insight on the different options of schooling out there for you. This is just my personal opinion so take it or leave it for what it is worth!

God bless,




Mourning The Old You

10 Oct, 2017
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I recently went out to dinner with my sisters. It was such a great time because we never really get a chance to see each other. My sister recently got a job so she was very pumped up in sharing all about it. She too was someone who for the majority of her life has solely worked from a home office. Now she is working partially from home and partially from an office. I must say that while listening to her I felt totally pumped up and energized from a work related aspect. She has such passion and drive for her job and what she does and I could not help but feel a little nostalgic because that is how I used to be.

Growing up I loved to work. I started working as a babysitter at the age of 11 and from then on out I have never stopped working. Even when I was laid off for a few years I was still working as all Moms do – working in the home as wife and Mother. But I always had a deep work ethic and a love for working in general.

There was nothing worse than being in a job you hated or working for a company or in a department that you did not like. So I never ever followed the rule of staying in a job for a long period of time just so it looks good on your resume. Heck no! I always did what I wanted even if that meant I only worked for a job a short time. That mentality began when I was in High School and I was working for Flemington Department Store. I was only there maybe a month or so (it’s a blur so I do not remember). I asked for time off so I could go down the shore with my friends after prom. When the owner refused I quit right there on the spot – no notice or nothing. Who wouldn’t let a kid take off for prom? It’s like a freakin rite of passage for goodness sake! Sure, I was young so I didn’t have to work per se because my family supported me but I loved to work. I wanted to work so it stunk that I had to quit just because he was being a jerk. lol! There was a little more to the story than that but I didn’t regret quitting like that and I do not regret it now.

I have currently been at the company I am at for just over five years. It feels like so much longer only because I am literally the longest standing (non) employee in my department. I have to say the past year or so we have seen the least turnover which has been great because this new team really works great together. Before that we had constant turnover not only in the department but in the company overall. I have been blessed to have just remained stable in my position.

Because I am a contractor I get paid per hour and I never get a raise. I also have not changed titles or positions in the duration of this contract. While I am very happy to have a job and while I feel very grateful that I can work from the comfort of my own home and around my kids’ schedules I have to say after listening to my sister I did kind of mourn my old work self. Being able to get raises, paid time off; being able to strive for goals and try to get bonuses or promotions… I gotta say, I miss it. Would I want to go back to that? No. Do not get me wrong but I would be lying if I did not say I was a wee bit envious listening to my sister’s new awesome job.

When you are a stay-at-home working Mom like me it can be very very hard. You are always in your office maybe without co-workers but always with at least one kid around. You don’t get to travel (though I have constantly joked with my boss about sending me to Texas to meet them all!). There are no paid meals, hotels, mileage. You don’t get to see your co-workers (though I will meet with my counterpart every so often since she is not that far away). Your work is always there, at home, with you. That can be tough.

If I never worked in Corporate America I would not know any better. Free breakfasts, coffee and morning chats with co-workers, celebrating baby or bridal showers at work. How about working out at the company gym and getting a hot shower and ready there in peace and quiet without kids nagging you? I mean, come on, I did not even shower or change my clothes at all yesterday! Having the ability to run errands at lunch without my toddler trying to jump out of the grocery cart!  So I do, I do miss it all even if only a little bit!

For over twelve years now I have been mourning my pre-pregnancy body. I have been up and down. And I do not know if it is the latest plus size craze or what but I have finally kind of come to the fact that “it is what it is” this, my post-pregnancy body. Does this mean I won’t try to diet again and lose weight? No. Because I have always been like that even before I got married and I thought I was fat! But I have kind of given up on the fact that I will look or weigh the same that I did when we first got married. And that is ok.

So I guess since the mourning of my body was kinda over I had to pick something else to mourn over so I chose mourning over the loss of my old work self. lol!

I know me…if I survive raising all of these children I will never stop working in some capacity. Who knows? Maybe one day I will return to the workplace fulltime and be happily yet miserably stuck in an office cubical begging for time off and to work from home. For now, I guess I will just strive for new work goals in the main job that I have as Wife and Mom. It may not be the same as Corporate American but it will most definitely be rewarding.

God bless,


P.S. Wife and Mom in caps on purpose! ;)



Why This Mom Respects Taylor Swift

25 Aug, 2017
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So…I normally do not blog on other people. I think I blogged on a musician once before. I should be blogging on baby/kid pee and poop like I intended to but today I just can’t. Today I just have to blog on Tay Tay, aka Taylor Swift.

So recently in the news I read about how Taylor Swift cleared out all of her social media accounts. I found it fascinating- in general but also because I knew she had something up her sleeve. I did not pay too much attention to it like the die hard fans did but, once again, thanks to the news and my insomnia, I was able to see her do her mic drop in the middle of the night and watch the magic unfold.

Let me start by saying I have always liked Taylor Swift. I think her personality is just adorable and I think she is a very talented singer and songwriter. I have enjoyed watching her evolve over the years. Because of her music I have also been able to help my children with bullying and other issues. When Shake It Off came out it was a great way for me to prepare my kids for school in the morning and to unwind at the end of the hard school day. I have always taught them to have killer confidence but Taylor’s music has so helped me with reinforcing that concept through music and on my kids’ levels.

Because I follow the news daily I always know what is going on in the Entertainment world. I have known about the Taylor verse Kanye/Kim (Kimye) issues as well as the Katy Perry issues. I have always thought that she, Taylor, has handled herself gracefully despite what and who she is up against. Have I agreed with everything that Taylor has said or done or even wore? No. I may be a fan of hers but I treat her like everyone else in my life: if you have flaws (and we all do) I will find them and though I will not love you any less for them I will admit they are there and just like my flaws they need to be worked on but hey, that is what life is all about; it’s a journey in bettering ourselves,  in evolving ourselves. Am I right? While I do love the song Roar (sorry!) I do not really like Katy Perry. I do not like what she stands for and how she handles herself but hey that is me. I have also followed Kim Kardashian over the years but only because I love watching all things fashion and make-up. And as with Katy I do not like what Kim Kardashian stands for and how she likes to think she is religious but everything she does and “sells” including herself goes against everything religious and then some.

So that brings me to the point of my blog today: why I respect Taylor Swift. In the middle of the night last night some of her fans thought this- her new song- was not her and that she is better than that and etc. I get it BUT have you seen how she has been treated? Not only with the Kimye/Katy issue but her sexual harassment suit which she only asked for $1 for? And which SHE WON. That was not about money for her; it was about the truth. Just look at her video from Look What You Made Me Do – she is not even in it (unlike Katy’s bizarre video of Swish Swish?!). Why? Because this is not about her. She doesn’t care to be in the video. What she cares about -and it is very clear- is being an artist and conveying whatever message she has to convey. I am a writer. I am a blogger. I am now an author. Some of my best “work” has come from bad relationships, bad friendships, and my postpartum depression. If I was told not to write on those topics well, I may not write at all. Writing is therapeutic for me just like I am sure it is for her. So people want to tell her not to write about the feuds in her life?! Why not? If you think about it – not only does she release her own issues, per se, via it but she touches so many of us with her songs, her lyrics. Additionally, she makes a ton of money off of her well, feuds and break-ups and hey, that is OK. Why wouldn’t it be okay? Take lemons and make lemonade out of them, right?

Just look at some of the lyrics to her latest song:

1. “Look What You Made Me Do” – The title is epic. THEY made HER do this SONG. Yes, oh yes they did! Her response to “them” is a totally epic song!

2. “The role you made me play” –  How many times have you played a role in something, against your will? Hello? Duh. Perfect.

3. “Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time“- We do. We struggle in life and we have no choice but rise up from the dead after someone or something has hurt us.

4. “I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!” - This is fantastic! It’s like a reminder to yourself not to deal with the toxic people in your life. It resonates with people.

5. “You ask me for a place to sleep Locked me out and threw a feast (what?)” How many times have your closest friends or family taken advantage of you like that?

6. “But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours”- Let’s face it: karma is a b#$%h and what goes around comes around (all hail!).

7. “I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams” – Insanely great! And for those who are like OMG I can’t believe she turned bad this way just listen to Bad Blood! This is just a perfect extension of that.

8. And last but NOT LEAST, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.” “Why?” “Oh, ’cause she’s dead!” (ohh!)” -This was the cream of the crop! She is not the same person as she was before. She never will be! And guess what? She won’t be the same person tomorrow and that is ok.

People have to stop holding on to the young, shy, “perfect” Taylor and realize that she is growing up and clearly holding her own in a very intense business and her talent is shining through because of it all!  She remains true to herself, she fights for what she believes in, and she is very generous with her fans and the like. I respect her for all of that and more.

One twitter user (@PikaRosie) said perfectly in the middle of the night, “Right now Taylor is probably sitting in her apartment with a cat on each leg stroking them while maniacally laughing at everyone’s reactions.” Amen to that! Because Taylor is that – just a simple girl in an apartment with her cats who happens to make the most incredible music in the entire world! Just look at how her song has been trending in more than 66 countries since midnight!

Thanks Taylor for making me laugh all night at your awesome fans! And thanks for giving me another great tune to listen to. Rock on with your bad self!

God bless,


Photo credit

Riding The Wave…

26 Jul, 2017
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For those of you who do not know the subtitle of my book is called, “Ride The Wave of Postpartum Depression With A Mother of Nine” and the reason I chose that subtitle is because it is a wave; ever-changing all the time. Now that I am about 16 months postpartum I may want to start talking about my wave as clinical depression and anxiety since postpartum usually only lasts one year after birth. Ok, so maybe I can still call it postpartum mood disorder?! At any rate – here I am still riding that wave!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Josh Rivedal, the person who brought together 50 authors not once but twice to share an array of personal mental health stories. I have been blessed to be a part of Josh’s second book which will be coming out soon. (You can learn more about the book here.) Poor Josh, I had planned to meet with him several times but had to cancel do to conflicts that came up. All three times I had planned to and eventually met with him I had an anxiety about it. That just goes to show you that I am still riding the anxiety wave. If you know me you would know that I have always liked the spotlight, attention, interviews and etc. Reality show? NO PROBLEM! I mean I wanted to be a model for Pete’s sake! So there is no reason whatsoever for me to be anxious about an interview with him. But I was and I blame that on my postpartum mood disorder.

Needless to say the interview went fine, in fact it was FUN! because Josh is a great funny guy! Part of my anxiety, I think, about the interview was that in the beginning of my coming out of the clouds so-to-speak I was very anxious (the good anxious, that is) to talk about/get the word out about mental illness. But after I got the word out, and after all the excitement and promotion around my book regular chaotic life took over and I began to experience some depression again. Needless to say it was nothing as severe as the beginning of my bout with postpartum depression but it was there nonetheless. And because of that I honestly did not really want to talk about it -mental illness- (since I was still experiencing it). However, after the interview I was once again pumped up. Talking to Josh made me want to pick back up and get out there again to promote awareness around mental illness.

If you think of surfers it really is a sport that requires much skill. First off, unlike me, you have to be okay with going in a body of water that has jellyfish, sharks and the like. Without even getting on the board you can die or get seriously hurt! Forget just staying afloat in the water you also have to learn how to balance yourself on a board up against gigantic waves? I don’t know about you but I can barely hop on one foot?! If you happen to fall off the board you need to know how to go with the tide so-to-speak without drowning! Not an easy task I would imagine?! It must be really exhausting for surfers to learn this skillset and then maintain it or advance in it. They must get pretty discouraged in the beginning (or even in competitions) when they can’t seem to “ride the wave”. But then, to get back up after many failed attempts and keep on going?  Well that is commendable indeed!

So in a small comparison I guess I need to get over the discouragement I have felt in recent months and just continue to ride the wave and see where it takes me or more so, where I take it?! Sink or swim baby so I’m gonna just keep swimming!

God bless,



When You Sabotage Your Own…

17 May, 2017
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So today I was thinking about how I have, unintentionally, sabotaged so many “things” in my life. For example, I did not realize until recently what one of my triggers was for my very own mental health. Here I was, rolling along, trying to do the holistic gig and doing things that I thought I loved and thought were good for me or made me feel better mentally and yet, I discovered – through trial and error – that some of those very things were actually sabotaging that which I was working towards… 

And then I thought about how that happens in so many areas of this, our human lives. Take love for example, how many times do we “fall” in love with the wrong person? And we know it. Or, maybe we do not know it but EVERYONE ELSE does…and they tell us and yet we stay with that person. And then it ends up being a perpetual sabotage of our love lives.

Or, another example could be our “diets”. We “diet” or we hard-core exercise or we do both and then we end up pigging out and/or binge drinking. All of our hard work and dedication to get in shape has been sabotaged by our love for food and drink.

How can we forget our spiritual lives? When we mumble or “recite” prayer after prayer when really we could just sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with God, as our best friend. Wouldn’t that be better than rambling? Speaking with authentic love from the depths of our souls but maybe without actual words?

What about that job? That “career” that you long for? Did you settle? Did you allow a dollar amount or dictating parent sabotage your dreams?

As a mom and a wife I felt like my temper can easily sabotage what I want to be as a mother and wife. Screaming, losing my cool, being a bad example, cursing, kicking, and whining! I may at times be worse than our spawn!

Welp, I don’t know ’bout you but today I am going to pretend like it’s January 1st and I am going to start again; on all accounts and I am going to try my best not to let anything or anyone (myself included) sabotage the God-given desires of my mind, body and soul. After all, would our Creator really want that for us? I think not.

God bless,