family life, holiday, home, kids, Ramblings, Uncategorized

The Great Conundrum

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I am really struggling with a great conundrum. Are you ready for it?

I really want to decorate for Christmas, but it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

Don’t throw stones at me! I’m not sure what it is this year. I am so ready to put up the tree. However, I am also hosting our families for Thanksgiving. Our tree will go up in our basement, which is away from where everyone will be for our Thanksgiving meal.

That’s acceptable, right?

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The kiddos are super excited for Christmas. Addi picked a Christmas movie when we were at the library this week. We have been watching a few Christmas movies here and there. Christmas music has been on since before Halloween.

There is currently 3 or so inches of snow blanketing the outdoors, which only adds to my strong desire to get festive inside. The snow looks so beautiful clinging to the tree branches and rooftops. It’s magical.

Pure magic.

If we find time, I think we will at least get our tree put up. Maybe.

Do you decorate before Thanksgiving, or are you a strictly after person?

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family life, homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Kids in the Kitchen

I love spending time in my kitchen. It is my happy place. I love baking bread from scratch and cooking up delicious meals for my family…and sometimes, the meals aren’t so delicious! I used to make homemade egg noodles pretty frequently, but haven’t made them in quite some time.

Harper has recently taken an interest in helping me in the kitchen. She helped me make the cake for Addi’s birthday party. She’s so much fun.

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Look at her sweet face!! She was so excited to use the rolling pin.

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I loved watching her watch me and what I was doing. She asks so many questions in her sweet little voice. IMG_0103

Egg noodles don’t have to be perfect. Once I had finished cutting them one way, I let her have at it. She actually ended up not pushing hard enough to cut most of the noodles, so I had to go back over them. She had a blast.

I am a HUGE fan of getting the kids involved in the cooking. My mom always had my sisters and I in the kitchen with her. She never worried about perfection if we were making something. She wanted us to learn how to cook. I want the same for my kids. I want them to be confident in the kitchen. The older girls are at an age where we feel comfortable letting them stir things in pots or pans on the stove top while we watch. I’m wondering when the fear of injury will go away.

My favorite day was when they learned how to make their own toast. Addi especially loves to make toast for herself and her sisters. I love that I can go a little slower on those mornings. They love feeling a sense of independence, and I love seeing them grow.

Do you encourage your kids to join you in the kitchen? I really can’t recommend it enough! Cooking is such a valuable “life skill” for everyone to learn!

baby, kids, recommendations, sponsored, Uncategorized

Kick Some Booty Rash

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I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links

When I found out that I was pregnant the first time, I felt a little overwhelmed. I was 21 years old and had been married for a year and a half. I was THRILLED because I had always dreamed of being a mom. But I was also filled with so many questions. What brand of diapers is best? How do I feed this human? What if she hates me? What if I never sleep again? Are you really going to let her come home with me? I have no idea what I am doing!

I remember creating our registry. Scott and I took the list that Babies R Us (may they rest in peace) was nice enough to give us for guidance, and went to town. We scanned things that looked cute. Then, we got to the diaper aisle. Good grief. I literally scanned a bunch of the brand of diapers with the cutest designs. Diaper cream? “Butt paste sounds funny.” My sister said she liked it for her daughter. Ok, we’ll go with that. And that, my friends, is the story of how Boudreaux’s butt paste became our brand of choice for the past eight years. EIGHT YEARS! I actually dug through old pictures to find where we had Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in the background. Here’s baby Chloe almost eight years ago. It’s such a fuzzy picture, but you can see the “vintage” label.

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All because of the eye catching name, we have had Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in our home for all of these years.  While the labels may change, the product is still amazing. Now, our youngest is mostly potty trained. She still wears a pull-up at night. Because of her sensitive skin, she still gets diaper rash. We still use Boudreaux’s butt paste in those situations. I love the rash kicking kit because of the incredible butt brush.

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I know what you are thinking. “Is it really that difficult to just use your fingers to putt diaper cream on?” No, it’s not. But, it is a heck of a lot nicer to use the butt brush and be able to continue putting pajamas on without worrying about smearing diaper cream everywhere! This mess-free silicone applicator helps parents, like me, to gently apply a thick and smooth coat of Butt Paste® on baby’s booty to form a protective barrier from wetness. It has a really cool suction cup so that you can stick it to the top of your wipes container while you finish diaper changes.

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Thanks to my nephew for his cute tush and toes.

Here is some information about Boudreaux’s butt paste that I did not know:
Created by a pharmacist and father of four, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste® was born from the need for an effective and safe solution to treat diaper rash. Made specifically for parents who don’t want to settle for anything less than the best, it uses a combination of efficacious ingredients that allow it to be tough on rash and gentle on cheeks. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste® is formulated without dyes, parabens, preservatives, phthalates and talc. Parents rely on this trusted and pediatrician-recommended diaper rash to help soothe and relieve rash discomfort from the first use and beyond. Boudreaux’s® is part of C.B. Fleet Company, Incorporated, Consumer Healthcare Company.

You can buy your own rash kicking kit over on Amazon! The rash kicking kit comes with the butt brush, original, and maximum strength butt paste. If you try it, be sure to leave an honest review! I am sure you will love it as much as we do!

Boudreaux's

Friday Favorites, kids, recommendations, Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites- Kid Edition

 

amazon favorites kids

 

I’m going to change up the Friday favorites for a few weeks and share my favorite amazon purchases. Because I shop on Amazon frequently, I am breaking them up in different categories. Last week, I shared my favorite home purchases. This week it’s on to kids. These are things that we have purchased from Amazon and LOVE.

Water Magic books // These are similar to the Melissa & Doug water wow books. These also have scent added to them, so they are multi-sensory. These are my favorite for road trips and long waits. They are virtually mess free; the biggest risk is a younger child unscrewing the lid and spilling a little water. They keep our kids quite for HOURS in the car.

Puzzle Pouch // I love that these puzzles have big enough pieces for a toddler to put together. You can easily clean them up and put them back in their zippered pouch– perfect for throwing in your bag! (These are currently in my cart, I haven’t yet purchased them. They come HIGHLY recommended though.)

Trampoline // This is so fun for kids. It does have a weight limit, so make sure your kids aren’t above that. All of my daughters have loved jumping on this thing. It’s a great way to get out energy, and it’s small enough to have inside in the LONG winter months.

Ok to Wake! clock // Our older kids were getting out of bed absurdly early in the morning. It was driving me crazy. I finally bought this clock and told them that they were not to leave there room until it was glowing green. Over time, they started sleeping until the time the light came on. It’s been a sanity saver for sure!

wood table // This table has held up through a lot. It is sturdy and strong. Chloe will still sit at it to play with Harper. It’s sturdy and doesn’t add any more bright colors to a space, which feels like a huge win. I like color, but sometimes my senses need a break!

sticker pad // These are another great thing to take on trips. We also love the faces. These keep kids entertained for so long. They still have a little mess, but nothing too terrible. I love having these on hand in the winter when we get a little stir crazy.

Bath Caddy // This bath caddy was my favorite purchase. I was sick of the crummy solutions to bath toy storage. This allows your bath toys to dry off and drain. Plus, if you have really little ones that take baths together, you can divide the tub in the event of an argument.

headphones // These are our favorite kids headphones. Chloe and Addi do each have a kids kindle that they get for a certain amount of time each day on the weekdays. I don’t want to listen to the obnoxious games, and this is a great solution. They have a sound limit, so your kids can’t hurt their ears. They are so soft and come in a lot of colors.

magnetic toys // This is a favorite toy of our kids by far. They can build whatever their mind imagines. It is so fun to see what they come up with. They are a perfect STEM toy. I love fostering creativity in our kids. The magnets in these are incredibly strong, so they can build really tall towers without them crashing down from the weight.

 

All of the above links are affiliate links. That means that should you decide to purchase anything, I will receive a small commission. Your price never changes, but it does help support my family and me. I truly am so grateful for your support of this blog and my family. It means the world to me. 

 

 

ADHD, homeschool, kids, recommendations, Uncategorized

ADHD: What Has Helped Us

ADHD

Here we are, 18 days into the ADHD and dyslexia diagnosis. I immediately started implementing some of the things that were suggested by the doctor. I also did some research for my holistic ways to help with ADHD since even the doctor didn’t feel medicating would be necessary for her. I am so thankful for that. I am NOT a doctor, so don’t take this as medical advice. I am just sharing what has worked the best for us.

10 minute breaks- I started doing ten minute breaks in between every subject. Listen, when this was suggested, I honestly wanted to cry and scream. “It is already a battle and takes way longer than it should for school. Now, I’m supposed to add in constant breaks?” Do you know what happened on the first day? She finished HOURS earlier than she had without these breaks. It has continued. The breaks are just enough for her brain to get a break, and then she is ready to dive back in and learn. We are finishing school at the time we should with these ten minute breaks sprinkled throughout the day versus less breaks and finishing at least two hours later than we should. Hallelujah.

CALMThis is a supplement that I started trying for one of my daughters that struggles with her big emotions. I realized that it would probably help with ADHD, and it sure does. It is basically a coated piece of chocolate; no yucky flavors or textures. I don’t do this every day (hello, expensive)– just on days that I can tell we may need a little extra help. It’s so great, and I highly recommend it if you have a child with big emotions that overwhelm them also!  I also really want to try out FOCUS, but I haven’t yet. The Relax-a-saurus is also a good option, but I personally am not a fan of all of the ingredients I can’t pronounce. It’s much more affordable though, so do what you need to!

FOCUS roller bottle- If you are new here– I love essential oils. I immediately sought out advice from other moms who found oils that worked for them. This focus roller bottle smells wonderful and helps so much. It is 5 drops of lavender, 5 drops of cedarwood, and 5 drops of vetiver in a roller bottle; then topped with a carrier oil. These are all really calming oils, so this would be great at bedtime as well. If you also use oils, you should check out the pocket reference. I use this all the time for finding oils to help with ANYTHING.

Wobble Seat– I bought one of these three years ago. Goodness the wiggles. I hated it at the time because she would play with the seat more than sit on it. It was just one more distraction. I pulled it back out after the diagnosis. It’s great. This disc sits right on top of the chair. She can sit in her seat and wiggle as much as she needs or wants to. This is great if you have kids that like to tilt their chair as a form of wiggling. No more flipped over chairs.

 

Again, I am not a doctor. I am not giving medical advice. Check with your doctor if you have any questions.

Doing these things has been such a game changer in our homeschool routine this month. Her grades have already improved. She feels more confident. Our days haven’t been perfect, but I don’t feel like I want to quit homeschooling anymore. I honestly was so fed up and feeling like I must be failing in every way. Now I know that we all just needed some readjusting for everyone to thrive.

Also, I realize that not everyone is like me. Everyone’s situation and experience is different. If medicine is what your child needs, then please don’t feel like you are doing wrong. Some kids really need it, and it saves them from a lot of struggle and hurt. If these things had not started helping my child, then I would have talked to her PCP about going the medication route.

Homeschooling has given us so many freedoms and options when it comes to the diagnosis’s. We have more options than the parents of kids in public or private school. I recognize and understand that. I am simply sharing our journey, so please don’t feel like you are being judged or making the wrong choices. We are all in this together and doing the best we can. We’re on the same team. ❤

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homeschool, kids, sponsored, Uncategorized

Nat Geo Kids

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I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

I’ll be honest. I practically begged Moms Meet to select me for this program! As a homeschooling parent, I am always looking for really great educational books for my daughters.  I never struggle with getting rid of “stuff” in our house until it comes to books. Save all the books! National Geographic kids is so cool, and I literally jumped up and down when I saw that I got selected to share this with you. The pictures in their books are so incredible. The facts and information that they give are wildly entertaining. I also never knew that there were Nat Geo kids novels!

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The National Geographic Kids Almanac is the most popular kids almanac on the planet. It is such a great boredom buster for your kids! Even if they aren’t at the age for reading, the pictures will captivate them. Did you know that a group of leopards is called a leap? The almanac is filled with all kinds of fun facts like this. Kids are invited to participate in the Lions Forever Almanac Challenge for a chance to win a $500 gift card to host a lion conservation party! You can head to natgeokids.com/almanac for more information on this opportunity. The contest ends on December 3, 2018. The website is full of really cool videos, games, and extra information.

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The almanac is so visually eye catching. It is presented in a way that there is something for every kid. It’s such a great addition to our homeschool library!

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Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret engages your kids on all levels. The narrative, code-breaking, puzzles and storyline will keep your child engaged and encouraged to observe, reason, and problem solve. The novel features kids and cultures from all around the globe. It is fact-based fiction that is inspired by the real-life adventures of real National Geographic explorers. Every book contains a Truth Behind the Fiction section and profiles real explorers and their work. You can send your pre-order or purchase receipt for The Nebula Secret to National Geographic Kids and receive a FREE digital issue of National Geographic Kids magazine that features Explorer Academy games. Email your receipt to exploreracademy@natgeo.com to take advantage of this special offer. Since I know many of you will ask, this novel is geared towards ages 8-12.

My daughters are 8, 6, and 4 years old. My 8 and 6 year old loved it. We read a chapter before bed each nigh. It was obviously too advanced for my four year old, but she would come and go enjoying parts of the story.

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I have found myself reading the Weird but True book.  I brought them over one day that I was babysitting my nephews. The seven year old didn’t want to go to bed because he wanted to continue reading. I went to a football game with his family and brought the 2019 Almanac for him to look at (because most 7 year olds don’t want to watch a football game or cheerleaders). He was quiet as a mouse reading through the Almanac.

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This girl was so excited to pick up this National Geographic Kids book from the book fair. She kept jumping up and down, and I gave up on getting a clear picture of the whole cover. ha!

I encourage you to pick up any National Geographic Kids book that strikes your fancy. They are all so incredibly well done and get two thumbs up from all five members of our family!

ADHD, dyslexia, homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Our Journey to a Diagnosis- Part 3

You can read part 1 and part 2 if you’d like to catch up.

When we had last left off, the first part of the screening was complete. We went back to finish up the screening, which was very much like “part 2” of the journey. The only  difference is that my daughter was EXCITED to go instead of feeling nervous and unsure. That was a huge load off of my mind. At the end, Dr. C said she had all of the information she needed, but that it would be several weeks before she would have the scoring completed to give us the results. With the time of year, there were MANY kids being screened, and she was pretty swamped. I finally got the call that the results were ready, and we scheduled an appointment to receive them.

I really wanted to ask her to just tell me over the phone so I could be ready with questions, but I resisted. I’m working on my patience. ha! Our appointment was yesterday. Dr. C is so sweet and gentle. She wanted to go over what tests she performed and how our daughter scored on them. I’ll share the list, which could vary by where you live and what your doctor feels necessary. I’m guessing it’s pretty similar across the board, but again, I’m not certain of that.

WISC-V
This tests verbal comprehension, visual spatial, fluid reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. Our daughter scored in the 81st-99.6 percentile in all but working memory and processing speed. This is apparently very common in children with ADHD. Those percentiles were DRAMATICALLY different. The full-scale IQ is given. They also give a “general ability index” where they remove the scores for working memory and processing speed. According to the information we were given “The WISC-V is an individually administered, comprehensive clinical instrument used to assess the intelligence of children.”

WIAT-III; selected subtests
This tests Early Reading Skills, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Composition, Word Reading, Pseudoword Decoding, Spelling, Listening Comprehension,  and Sentence Composition.  According to the information we were given “The WIAT-III is an individually administered clinical instrument designed to measure listening, reading, writing, and mathematic skills.” She was only given select tests for reading since that is the area of concern with dyslexia.

BASC-3 Parent Report Scales
Conners 3 rating scales- parent

These were two large forms that I filled out during the first day of screening.

 

Then, she read went over her findings with us. Based up on her testing and findings, our daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD and a mild specific learning disorder, with impairment in reading (which is how they say dyslexia now).

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I said in my brain “I knew it.” When your mama heart tells you that something is going on, listen. But, I always second guess myself and kept thinking “what if I’m way off?” I certainly didn’t want them to find anything. I don’t want to see her struggle. But, I was prepared to hear it.

What I didn’t really prepare myself for is the “what now?” feelings. I have never struggled with any of these things. ADHD has many options for treatments and ways to cope with it. I am not going to talk about those on here because, quite frankly, I don’t want to hear the opinions of others in regards to whatever decision we make. Plus, every child is different and what works for us may not work for you. What works for you may not work for us. She did suggest frequent breaks during the school day and giving her an outlet for extra energy.

I would love to hear any tips for dyslexia, as this is COMPLETELY new territory for me. We were obviously given some tips. Here are some examples:

-Give her additional time to finish reading assignments
-Allow her time to read books that interest her
-Encourage her to read aloud to herself or someone else
-Encourage her to sound out letter-by-letter words that she doesn’t recognize
-Talk to her about what she is reading and praise her for doing it
-Use a reading device to help her gain familiarity
-Use large print to help with sounding out words (never thought of this one!)
-Provide extra space for writing
-Allow her to orally answer test questions
-Reduce stress and anxiety by allowing her to integrate coping skills

 

Dr. C said that it’s really good that she’s homeschooled because it allows her the one on one attention that is really beneficial for these circumstances. (I almost asked to get that in writing for all of the anti-homeschooling people in my life.) It was nice to have her full support. I had another fear going into the testing. Because I am a mom, and we all doubt ourselves constantly, I have worried that I’m failing her in every way. Having these test results given to us and seeing that she is far above average in every other subject outside of reading and spelling made me feel a huge sense of relief. She is thriving. I never doubted how smart she is, but I doubted my ability and decisions as all moms do.

Dyslexia is a whole different ballgame that causes kids to struggle in reading and spelling, so I have to adjust and learn to teach the way that she learns. I didn’t sleep very well because my mind was racing last night and this morning about all of this information. Once we make some adjustments and see what helps and doesn’t help, I’ll write up a post and share those things. Dr. C feels confident that once we figure out what works for her, no one will even be able to tell that she has dyslexia. She won’t outgrow it, but she will cope and overcome the obstacles.

For now, our journey has ended. We have a diagnosis. We know what we are facing. We are linking arms with her and facing it head on. This will not define her. It is just another part of her sparkling personality. Will you link arms with us and pray for us as we embark on this journey and figure out what will work best for her to thrive?

If you are local and looking for someone to do similar testing, send me an e-mail and I’d love to give you the information on who we saw.

BEST SIGNATURE

homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Autumn Preposition Word Search- Free Printable

Hi, friends! I’ve got an exciting freebie for you!! To celebrate the official start to fall, I have a free word search for you from Education.com!

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Here are the links to download the PDFs for the word search and answer key:

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Prepositions_word search_autumn_leaves_answers

Celebrate Fall by using spelling skills to search for these words. Head on over to Education.com to find more resources and printables just like this.

family life, kids, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

Our Weekend in Pictures

Alternate title: Our Sunday in pictures.

Saturday, Scott and his brother left at 3 AM to go to Michigan to watch the football game in Ann Arbor. This left the girls and I solo all day. I invited my parents over for breakfast. I made biscuits and burnt scrambled eggs (lucky them) and my dad made bacon and gravy. It was so much fun having them over. We played a couple games of clue before they headed back home. Then, we loaded up and went to Target to walk around and get out of the house. I typically spend 6 days a week without a vehicle and trapped at home, so when I have it I am GONE. When we got home, I spent HOURS helping the big girls clean their room. Seriously, no one is allowed to bring any toys into this house unless they are a birthday or Christmas gift. I’m sick of spending hours with the junk my kids accumulate. Anyone else? That was our Saturday, and I didn’t take any pictures.

Sunday, we got up and went to church. I love my church family. I am so thankful that God brought us here to be with these people during this time in our lives.

The place that my mom works for throws a big family picnic each year. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the heavens opened up and INCHES of rain fell. It obviously was rescheduled. As soon as church was over, we headed home to change and go to the picnic. Unlimited fair food. Heck yes! Bounce houses for the kids to wear themselves out in were available. There were so many crafts and games. The girls got more than one pony ride.

 

 

I asked Chloe if she wanted to go play BINGO with me. She came so close to winning, but neither of us did.

Glitter tattoos and face paint may have been the favorite part. For some reason, Addi always gets super nervous and never wants to have it done. I don’t push it, so that’s why you don’t see her in these. Gah! They are so cute!! We spent ALL DAY here playing and having fun.

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I love days like this. They had a fireworks show once it got dark, and of course everyone loved that.

 

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend as well. Now, it’s back to the grind.

holiday, kids, recipes

Fourth of July Fun

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I love the 4th of July. I love dressing in red, white, and blue. I love doing fun crafts and themed food! I love holidays, and have passed my love on to my daughters. Addi has been planning cupcakes for what feels like months! Here is a round up of some fun things you can do or make for the 4th of July with little time to prepare!

 

Recipes

The easiest desserts are the classic bomb pops! They are so good, easy, and fun.

Festive Red, White, & Blue Bark

Firecracker Jello Snacks

Fourth of July punch

Tie-Dyed cake

Firecracker Popcorn

Berry Trifle

Cheese and Fruit Platter

 

Crafts

Patriotic Pom Pom Garland

Patriotic Ribbon Wand

Parade Wands

Slime

Paper Lanterns

Fairy Crowns

Patriotic Necklaces

 

Decorations

Painted Yard Stars

Painted Burlap Banner

Photo backdrop

Pool Noodle Firecrackers

 

Fun

scavenger hunt

Bingo

Bean Bag Toss

Squirt Gun Races

Tin Can Toss

 

 

Our local fireworks show is tonight, and we can’t wait. I hope that everyone has a SAFE and happy fourth of July. Remember that our freedom was never free.