Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ten Books to Celebrate Thanksgiving with Kids

Here are some super cute Thanksgiving day books to share with your children.

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes.  

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks.  This book is such a perfect book to share with your children.  Children will learn to be thankful for turkey, hugs, and more, but most of all their family.  Thanksgiving is the perfect time to for children to express and share gratitude for the people and things in their lives. 

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting

Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn't realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it. 

10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

"Looky!" says a silly turkey swinging from a vine.  Gobble gobble wibble wobble.  Whoops! Now there are nine."  Girls and boys will gobble up this hilarious counting story about ten goofy turkeys roller-skating on a fence, doing a noodle dance, and more.  A delightful counting book for children.

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland

In this colorful book, a child shares his list all the things for which he is thankful, especially at Thanksgiving.

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing.

Follow along as the feast is prepared, cousins are greeted, and everyone gathers around the table for the fabulous Thanksgiving dinner filled with yummy food and wonderful family time.

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.

This is a story about puppeteer, Tony Sarg, the inventor of the huge helium filled balloons that everyone loves to see at the Macy's Parade.   In brilliant collage illustrations, Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America.

T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone.

Join in as the elementary school puts on a play that tells the story of the first Thanksgiving from A - Z.  Kids will celebrate Thanksgiving from Harvest to Pilgrims to Turkey and enjoy the colorful pictures as they read along.

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. 

Maggie and her grandmother each invite a guest to their Thanksgiving dinner.  The dinner includes Grandmother's own cranberry bread, made from a secret recipe. 

The book even includes Grandma's secret cranberry bread recipe...yummy!

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson.

A fun Thanksgiving take on a classic tale (I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly).  The old lady swallows a pie, a squash, a turkey and more....she grows bigger and bigger with each thing she swallows.  Kids love the rhyming verse of the story as well as the bright, colorful illustrations.

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy

A great counting book for children.  Ten little pilgrims and ten little Wampanoag children are getting ready for their first Thanksgiving feast.  The pilgrim children hunt for geese and ducks, while the Wampanoag children gather berries and nuts and dig for clams.  When dinner is ready, all the children enjoy turkey, pumpkin, cornbread and cranberry stuffing.  Before they eat, they give thanks.  This story has a wonderful rhythmic text and beautiful illustrations (by Lynne Cravath).  Perfect for young children learning about the history of Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2014

14 on the fourteenth.

1.  I'm afraid of heights, sometimes the dark and the boogey man.

2.  I love subbing and thought I would be okay with subbing once I got my degree, but the more I sub the more I'm itching to have my own classroom.

3.  It's no surprise that when I was a child I loved playing "school" and pretending to be a teacher.  I would line my dolls and stuffed animals up and teach them.

4.  Even though I'm not teaching yet, I've been building up my hoarding stash of school supplies.

5.  I often have a hard time accepting compliments from people - why? I have no idea, but it probably has something to do with thinking I wasn't good enough when I was a kid...and my low self esteem.

6.  I am seriously afraid of failure.

7.  I see a therapist....and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  It's good for the soul.

8.  I love my church, there are so many activities for all ages...the worship service is wonderful and the praise band that plays and sings each week is incredible.

9.  I really, really, really hate math.

10. I have horrible organizational skills...seriously! One would think a mother of many would have organization down to a science...but, uh, not me.

11. I have ADHD - which might explain the lack of organization and the potential hoarding ;)

12. I have so many post-its that my post-its have post-its and yet, I still forget stuff.

13. I swear A LOT, but I try not to.

14. I hate surprises:
            I always sneak to the last few pages of a book for the ending
                      I read spoilers about my favorite shows
                                I always debate fast forwarding a movie to watch the ending
                                         I'm a big time snooper when it comes to presents

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

festive fall tree

this tree was so fun to make.

you will need:
white construction paper
brown paint
a paint brush
red, green, yellow, and orange paint
four shower puffs

first paint your child's hand and arm (up to the elbow)

then press down on the paper....this will be the tree.

next dip one of the puffs into the orange paint
and dab it on the paper (at the top of the tree for leaves)

continue using all the different colors of paint.

you can even use some brown paint too (since fall leaves are also brown)

this was such a fun project.  it came out great and looks fabulous too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

oh, and by the way....

these two are 17 today...

how the heck did that happen?
I only blinked for a second.

happy birthday babies....

zach and sarah

no slowing down.....

my life has been on full spin cycle for months.
no wonder i've been so stressed out.

first, rich got hurt and needed another back surgery...then, whitney moved in
and she came with her own set of issues
which we worked through and she is in a much, much better place now.
and then i started a new job (while still in school).

yep, this momma right here...is a working girl again.
it's just part time as a substitute teaching assistant, but
it has been so much fun...i really love it.

not only do i get to hang out with my favorite kind of people


but i get paid to play all day ha!
who wouldn't love that kind of job?!

seriously, though it's a perfect job for me.
i get paid experience - which will come in handy when i finish my degree
i get my foot in the door with a great community company
i get to network and meet tons of interesting people
i get tons of ideas from crafty, loving, trained professionals in my chosen field
i get lots of little people hugs and so much more.
there are so many benefits to this job, it's crazy how it fits perfectly into my life.

nothing makes my day brighter than walking into a room and having 20 or so little faces smiling and screaming....yay -  ms charlene is here!!!

i seriously do love it.

i often have to pinch myself to remember that its not just a dream
this is my reality now.

it's funny how when you find the right fit for your life how everything just seems to 'feel' better.
i don't think i've ever been happier with my career choice.
i love being a mom and i love 'staying' home and being here for my kids whenever they need me
i love being a wife and caring for my husband.
but i also love this opportunity...and i know that this is my 'calling' in life.

i have always loved children
(gee, who would have guessed being a mom of 6, right?)
i'm so glad God was able to finally get his message across
and that i finally listened.

life is so full of adventure and fun
and i'm glad that i can enjoy it.

my whole point in sharing this is
i'm busy,
but i still love creating and sharing
and while my blog has been hit or miss lately
(okay --- really miss lately!)
i'm still around and i will share when i get time
and i truly appreciate all of you who are hanging out with me

Saturday, October 18, 2014

weight loss redux

here's my little confession....
not that it's any big deal, because i am human, after all,
but i am back on my diet (yep, nutrisystem) - only this time i'm not endorsing it.
i'm just doing it on my own.

i went back and forth on whether i wanted to share this publicly.
not that it's any big deal or secret, but i did gain a little bit of the weight back
after i went off the diet...not much, just 10 pounds {gasp!}
like i said that's not much in the grand scheme of things.

problem wasn't with the diet or really anything that i did wrong.
it's just that i was under a great deal of stress and my body decided
it didn't want to play along.
i'm human, like i said
i think it happens to the best of us

i wasn't going to say anything publicly about it, because i was embarrassed
that i gained some of the weight back,
but like i said its not like the diet failed me,
or anything i did wrong, my body just had enough of the stress.

the more i thought about not sharing, the more i knew that i had too.
not just for me (needing some accountability)
but for those that struggle with their weight.
it's a lifelong battle for some of us, unfortunately.

some of us are blessed with good genes and some of us...
eh, not so much.

while undergoing all the pressure i was going through
with school, my husband re-injuring himself, my kids, my life,
and about a dozen other things, i ended up having a lot of anxiety and chest pain.
even ended up in the er one night...i thought i was having a heart attack

turns out, it was what they call costochondritis, which is just a fancy name
for we can't find anything wrong with you, so we will make up a new name for
this unsolved mystery.  i underwent a battery of tests...
ekg, stress test, ct scan, blood work, chest xrays, etc.
they couldn't find a damn thing wrong with my heart.

not that, that's a bad thing, right?

all that anxiety and stress just added to my misery and pain, and weight gain.
you know those commercials about stress and belly weight...um, yep, it's true.
most of the weight that i gained was all in the belly area.

but not to fear, i am back on my diet...and i'm back to walking...i'm on anti anxiety meds
and life is slowly getting back to normal - whatever that may be.

like i said, i am writing this post to hold myself accountable (publicly)
and to tell folks that crap happens....and you can either just let it keep happening
or you can get up and fight.
i'm choosing to fight.  i will conquer this weight and when i'm through
i'm going to walk away like a boss!

feel free to join me - follow me - share your stories with me, etc.
we can do this - together.
i got your back!

in the meantime,
lace up those walking shoes,
drink some water
remember, life is a journey
and there are lots of bumps along the way.
so, hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fruits of the Spirit

Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed and stressed out...mostly about life in general,
I think sometimes we all need a little reminder that we don't have to do it all
and that we certainly, don't have to do it all on our own.

As moms, we are always trying to do too much and most of it is just not necessary.

we strive to be our best with such super high expectations of ourselves that when we 
fail (and let's face it, we all fail, no one is perfect)....we feel defeated.
we feel like we've let someone down, be it our children, our spouses, ourselves.

Recently, when I was feeling stressed and beating myself up about 
not accomplishing all my goals for the week and for overeating due to the stress, which followed by self loathing,...which led to me yelling at everyone for my lack of control and patience....which then led to a little scolding from my hubby for being so unkind to not only our kids, but to him as well.

I said a little prayer asking for grace and grabbed my Bible.

I placed it on the table and let the pages fall where they may, 
hoping for some Godly sign to bring me peace of mind.

this is the verse that popped up....

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
 - Galatians 5:22-23

Wow, God really has a way of hitting home, doesn't He?

I realized that while I was yelling at my husband because I felt so out of control, that God was working through him to show me just what I needed to see....

Instead of blowing up at me for yelling at him, my husband spoke to me with a kindness and understanding patience.  He didn't lose self control and blow up at me for blowing up at him.
He showed me compassion and love and gentleness and patience and goodness and kindness.

As I was reading the verse in the Bible and praying, I thanked God for showing me mercy through my husband.

I knew I needed to take a break from the stress, the homework, the need to "do it all" and just relax.

I went to the art closet and gathered some supplies and just let the creativity flow.

painting is so relaxing...

I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to paint, but God did....

I painted a tree and then took an apple and stamped it on the tree.

Next, I printed out all the words of the fruits of the spirit and glued them to the apples.

I hung my painting on the fridge, as a virtual reminder for when I'm feeling overwhelmed or stressed
and lacking self control.

God speaks to us all the time, we just need to open our hearts and listen.

Monday, September 22, 2014

need to please disease

Do you suffer from the "need to please" disease?

Lord knows, I sure do.

I say yes to almost everything and I almost always end up feeling overwhelmed
and stressed and emotionally drained trying to "do it all."

And on those {very} rare occasions that I do stick to my guns and say no, 
I feel sick to my stomach and incredibly guilty.  The guilt almost consumes me.  
It eats away at my soul and my spirit fills with dread.

The other day, I took Nicholas shoe shopping at the mall.
After we purchased his new shoes, 
we walked past the bookstore and the lure of the bargain bin had me hooked.
The next thing I know a half hour had passed.
Not that I had enjoyed the time as Nick was looming over me the whole time.
He insisted on standing next to me like an overbearing shadow all the while asking me if he could borrow three dollars for a deck of cards from the card shop.

I kept telling him no, not today.
he kept asking....begging
and saying he would pay me back as soon as we got home.

It wasn't the money I was worried about
I simply just had no desire to stop there.
I really just didn't "feel" like it.

I didn't even want to go shoe shopping, but the boy needed them so we had to go.

As we were passing the card shop on the way out
Nick proceeded to beg and plead some more.

I refused and as we walked to the car, that overwhelming cloud of doom grew bigger and bigger.
I could feel my heart racing, my anxiety level rising and my "mom guilt" kick in.
I didn't give in to him....
but, I sure wanted to.

The rest of the day, I felt horrible.

his endless pleas of 

it's only $3 mom
it will only take me five minutes to run in and back out.

kept playing in my head like a broken record.

I was consumed with dread, sick to my stomach with an empty void where my heart should have been, for not pleasing my child's desire to just "grab one deck of cards."

Even though that day I said no,
I often find myself saying yes.
yes, to so many things
things I have no desire to do
and no time to fulfill
often those things go undone
(which leads to even bigger issues).
but I can't help myself, 
it's almost ingrained in my mind to say yes.
I somehow feel obligated to say it.

Why do we let ourselves feel so consumed by this need to please and let it overwhelm our souls to the point of physically and emotionally destroying our well beings. 
It's such a sickening disease - this need to please.

That's why when I saw Lysa Terkeurst's new book "The Best Yes" I just knew I had to read it.

Do you suffer from the "need to please" disease?
You can join Lysa and her team in an online Bible study group.
it's free, you only need the book, a Bible, a highlighter or pencil, tablet and a desire to seek a "cure."

find out more here....

Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies

*Disclosure: I am not being paid for this post....I'm just sharing, because I felt led to do so.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

tie dye fun...

one of our activities this summer was tie dyeing t'shirts.

the kids have been asking to tie dye for....forever, so i bought a kit and we went to work.
actually, sarah did all the work, we just decided what pattern we wanted and wrapped the rubber bands around the shirts and sarah did the rest.

there are a ton of ways to make your own diy tie dye, 
but we chose to go the easy route and use the kit.
probably less mess too ;)
not that i'm afraid of a mess when it comes to art,
however dye is another story....

we are currently drying ourselves after showers with tie dye towels, btw - ha!

later on during the summer,
actually it was the first day of school, i think
we made a tie dye rainbow cake.

*it was my intention to post this during the summer for club mom activities, but i was super busy all summer and barely had time to keep up with my life, let alone this blog.

but i will post it on the club mom page now, in case anyone is looking for fun ideas.