Amy Ingalls grew up in Charlotte and has been married to her wonderful husband Matt for 10 years. She has two adorable children Renny (7) and Patrick (5). Amy is a stay at home mom who now puts her teaching skills to work as a tutor. She is certified as an Orton-Gillingham tutor who works with children with language processing problems associated with dyslexia (reading, writing, spelling). OG tutoring is often recommended when a child is diagnosed with a learning disability, specifically in reading, from a psychologist. Amy has been tutoring kids in grades K-8 for 15 years. She worked at Fletcher School for 15 years, full-time as a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher and part-time doing various administrative jobs until last year. Now she tutors 15 – 18 times a week. For more information on Orton-Gillinghan please check out, http://www.ortonacademy.org/ and feel free to ask our Smarty Mom any questions you may have.
We are thrilled to introduce you to Amy Ingalls.
As a stay at home mother of two children school-aged, how do you plan for weekend activities with your kids?
We usually have some activities planned for us (soccer games, birthday parties, church, etc.) and we work around them. The kids love to walk to breakfast with their dad on Saturday mornings (Showmars) and then we usually have one family activity (park trip, movie, Whitewater Center, Bobcats game, etc.). We enjoy going on trips as a family, whether it is a day trip to the zoo or a long weekend away. We go to Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia each fall with my husband’s family and rent cabins right on the lake. I highly recommend this trip. It is affordable and filled with lots of outdoor fun-fishing, kayaking, hiking, campfires, etc. We have also visited Chicago, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta with the kids. We have fun exploring new cities. In the summer, we spend a lot of time at our pool and we just started getting Carowinds Season Passes. In the spring and summer, we have a garden and the kids love planting and then picking veggies and herbs.
You were a school teacher prior to staying home with your children, how did that experience affect your parenting?
I am reminded that you need to be structured, organized and consistent. Positive reinforcement, whether it is praise or a reward, is much more effective than any sort of negative consequences. My teaching background comes in handy when there is a large number of kids and crowd control (birthday parties!) is needed. As a teacher, you are always planning ahead to ensure any activity is a success and I can always think of a quick activity to do on the spot. We take advantage of “teaching moments.” If my husband is working in the yard and finds a snake or salamander, he catches it, shows it to the kids and researches the animal on the internet. Then, they let it go back to its habitat.
What advice would you give moms regarding their children’s education and pre-school learning?
Have fun and read to your child! Story telling, creative play, unstructured activities and outside time are healthy ways for your child to learn. Exposing your child to animal and nature centers, parks, museums, plays, libraries, music (all types) and art are so important. It is not necessary for you to try to “teach” your child to read before they begin kindergarten. Most people do not know the correct letter sounds and it will only confuse your child. If your child attends preschool, they are gaining knowledge and hopefully a solid foundation. There are some useful prereading skills you can use during story time. If you reading a rhyming book, leave off the last word and have your child guess the word, ask questions about the story or have your child come up with a new ending. These are just a few ways to make reading time enjoyable.
What is your favorite weekday activity with your kids?
We play almost every afternoon (when we do not have a planned activity) outside in our backyard. We are so fortunate to live close to the city, but have a creek next to our house, a zipline, bridges, woods, tree swings and wonderful neighbors with kids. My husband is constantly adding to the fun for the kids. If the weather is not cooperating, we play games, listen to music, visit friends and hang out inside.
What is your favorite weekend activity without your kids?
We do not do this often enough, but we love to go out to dinner or a movie or both. We try to get away twice a year without the kids, usually to the mountains with friends one weekend and then a longer trip somewhere far away. We are planning a 10 year anniversary trip for the spring.
What is your favorite restaurant with kids?
We like Hawthorne Pizza , Zio and my kids love Boston Market. Our latest family place is Nothing but Noodles on Elizabeth Ave. Dad loves taking kids to Taqueria Mexico on South Blvd.
What is your favorite restaurant with NO kids?
Lulu in Plaza Midwood if we are going out and we get takeout at Maharani (Indian) and Rusans (sushi) or Portofino (Italian).
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?
Both of my kids are constantly cracking us up but just today my hair looked a little poofy as my clip flipped up in the wind. My daughther said, “Mom, your hair looks funny. You look like you are from the 80’s.” She was right, but I have no clue how she knows what 80’s hair looks like. Also, Patrick does a “dead-on” imitation of his dad trying to run (bad knee).
Favorite store to find children’s clothes?
Gap, Old Navy, Costco, H & M (in Chicago when visiting sister).
You have been known to find good bargains, what is your favorite place to get a good deal on clothes?
Marshalls or Nordstom’s Rack (Chicago)
Colonial Park and The Green, especially with the ice skating rink.
Favorite birthday party venue?
Dish It Out on Middleton Ave and Rays Splash Planet
Minivan or SUV?
Are you kidding? I researched minivans for a year before we took the plunge 3 years ago. I cannot say enough good things about it. It makes carpool a dream.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Being close to our families, the weather and our neighborhood.
I could not live without my…
Cell phone. I talk to my sisters and friends several times a day.
I wish someone told me sooner about…
Yoga at Yoga One!
I add to the list weekly and this past week it would be the red box at Harris Teeter. I just discovered it and now can’t go shopping without checking the movie selection! Also, for Christmas I got a Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender. I love it! So much easier than the food processor and great for soups, smoothies, etc.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
My husband said Compost Central where he gets a truckload of mulch for $8, but I would say Elizabeth Creamery on Elizabeth Avenue. Also, it surprises me that some people still don’t know that you can trade in your book/toy at Chick-Fil-A for a free ice cream.
Thank you Amy. If you have a Samrty Mom that you would like to “mominate” please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.