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Ways to help Hurricane Harvey Efforts

Over the last week, we have all seen the devastation Hurricane Harvey left in its wake on the news and social media. I know many of us want to help, and while you might be familiar with some of the more mainstream ways to donate, I have compiled a list of some other ways you can donate or help thanks to the power of crowdsourcing amongst my Facebook friends! If you know of any others, please feel free to add them to the comments below!

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photo by WikiImages

  • Mennonite Disaster Service: While they are unable to accept material donations at this time, they are accepting donations and also have a link if you are interested in volunteering.

 

  • Samaritan’s Purse: Samaritan’s Purse has disaster units there. You can follow the link to donate, learn more, and sign up to volunteer.

 

  • Undies for Everyone: Want to provide a specific donation but don’t know where to start? Undies for Everyone is accepting donations for underwear for those that have lost everything. You can purchase by going through the Amazon link or learn more on their Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

  • Church of the Highlands: This listing was sent by a friend who has a friend in the church. They are on the ground in the Houston area and have been, coordinating with other churches in the area to provide help. 100% of donation goes to the effort, nothing towards overhead.
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Target’s May Beauty Box is live!!!

*posts may contain affiliate links

You may remember that I reviewed the Target Beauty Box not that long ago. These boxes come out once a month and are full of awesome full-size and sample size products. You also get a coupon for a beauty purchase. It is really worth the money in my opinion as I have actually found some great products by getting them. The new box is on the website, and I wanted to share with all of you so that you can get it before Target runs out of them!

52378314As you can see, there are a lot of goodies in this box. You can click here to order. I already ordered mine! If you do snag one, please be sure to tell me what your favorite product from it is!

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The Perfect Family Picture

I had such lofty ideas of getting a cutesy spring photo of my kids the other day on Easter. For once, I actually coordinated the outfits and was so over the moon that I needed to save the moment because this seriously may never happen again. I mean my oldest is almost 14 and too cool for everything. My almost 11 year old is not going to want to match her baby sister much longer. Also, do you know how hard it is to match an almost 11 year old to a 2 year old? It is almost impossible! In fact, I am pretty sure the sales clerk thought I was nuts! Okay, so maybe my desire to keep them cutesy and little is a bit much, but still I need this every once in a while! Sibling matching outfits! It’s the dream!

Well, the picture did not turn out as planned. My son just needs a pitchfork to look like that iconic farmer painting dude. And the girls…well, let’s just say that this was the best shot!

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Notice the blue tongue of my older daughter from too much candy consumption. Then there is Crankles who just keeps doing weird things with her hands. Their expressions! Oh my word. On the upside, it captures their personalities, and in the end, that is what matters. I do wonder if they would be embarrassed later if this picture would end up on the wall. Eh. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

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Fairy Garden Fun

I have what people call a brown thumb. This is problematic right now because our new house has several flower beds. I decided that since I am not really good with plants, I might do some other things in those gardens that don’t interfere with the plants that seem to grow on their own. Thank goodness they do that by themselves.

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I have been noticing Fairy Garden stuff everywhere…at Target, Home Depot, and even the dollar stores. Miss Crankles volunteered to be my partner in crime on this project, and she happily picked out pieces to start our project.

We decided that the fairies needed some houses, so we grabbed a few houses, and I am going to paint some more at ceramics class.

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To make it more interesting, I told her the fairies lived there. Then we set a fairy figure by the swing set so that he could push any fairies on the swing that may come upon our little garden.

We also thought they needed a place to sit, so we positioned a table and chairs. Then we placed another fairy there to await company.

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To finish the start of our fairy garden, we put a little bridge with a fairy to welcome others to our little fairy garden.

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The key to making this fun has been telling a story as we have been creating this garden. Miss Crankles is small, but she has a big imagination and loves being told how the fairies are going to visit the garden at night and stay in our little fairy houses and swing on our fairy swing. Adding whimsy to your life can make you feel like a kid too. Telling her the story and seeing her excitement makes me want to believe that maybe at night while I sleep, the fairies will play in the little garden we made.

What kinds of things do you do to spark imagination? I would love to hear your story in the comments below!

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The frustrations of Testing

By Delia, Contributing Writer

Sometimes I feel quite helpless as a parent.  Last night was one of those times.  My 10 year old daughter was melting down in a big way and everything I did seemed to make the situation worse.  It all started because I farted on her blanket.  Albeit not on purpose but I did not even realize that I was sitting on it.  Well I started laughing, not at her but at the situation, and she starting getting upset.  Well, things just escalated from there.

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photo by eslfuntaiwan (pixabay)

No matter what my husband and I said to her she seemed to start crying worse.  Now, these meltdowns have been going on for a little while and we have been seeing a therapist to try to help us help her.  So I try to pull out the bag of tricks that the therapist has suggested and nothing works.  She just continues to cry.

I had to insist on her going to her room to try to calm herself and she escalated more.  When she came down, she was somewhat calmer but escalated again.  She had herself so upset that everything that her father and I said just wound her right back up.  She was so upset that she could not fall asleep more than two hours later.  She finally fell asleep after 9 o’clock which is over an hour late.  I finally calmed her down by lying with her in bed with music playing.

While trying to put my little one to bed, I think I found out what part of the problem is…PSSAs.  My daughter puts entirely too much pressure on herself and does not like the testing environment.  She cried that she did not want to go to school today because she did not want to take the PSSAs.  If this continues during the rest of this week and the upcoming weeks of Math and Science PSSAs, I will definitely have to opt her out of PSSAs for next year.  She did not go through this last year but I guess there is more stress this year.

I can’t tell you how frustrated I was.  By the end of it I wanted to burst into tears with her.  I had to keep my cool though so that I could help her.  If your child is going through this, know that you are not alone.  If you feel helpless in trying to calm them down, know you are not alone.  I have sought help and am praying that things start to improve soon.  

 

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The Importance of One on One time

Tomorrow (weather permitting), my big kids have theater practice for pretty much the whole day. This gives me and Crankles the perfect opportunity for Mommy and Kid Date! I do this with all my kids. I find some time and take them out for lunch or a movie. Sometimes we go shopping or go to the park. The important thing is that we are doing it together and without the others.

Crankles gets a lot of my time as she is little, but she does not get the one on one time with me unless we do things like this. She is little, and she is not much of a people person. She also hates shopping and being in public. Starbucks is our special place. We get a treat, and I sit and talk to her. I do not get out my phone, unless she wants me to take her picture. (If you do not believe me that she likes to have her picture taken, please see yesterday’s post.) She looks forward to it, and I love seeing her face light up when she sees scones! (If they do not have scones, cake pops and cookies are acceptable to her, but not banana bread.)

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For Sissy, we go window shopping. Sometimes we do movies together, like when Neverending Story hit the big screen last fall. With Bubby, he and I get to do some cooler things now that he is older. Last fall for one of our dates, we went to one of those haunted forest places. I think this summer, we will probably do paintball. Most of the time, we go to a diner. The important thing is to find something you can do together and have fun with it.

My kids look forward to these times, and I do too. These are the times where the kids open up more about their feelings and what is going on in their lives. Crankles does not do this so much yet, but she is little. It helps you continually bond with your kids and let them know they are special even when sometimes it does not seem like it when a million things are happening at home. As our kids get older, it is our chance to connect or re-connect, to be completely focused on them.

I know life gets busy, and sometimes it is hard to fit everything into it. However, this is one thing that if you can fit just one a month with each kid, you will be glad you did.

What do you like to do with your kids for one on one time? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

 

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Put some fun back into homeschool

It is that time of year where we get pre-occupied with holiday parties and get togethers, and our kids start to get a little bored with homeschool. It is very easy to want to take a break for a while, but instead of giving into the break, maybe you should step back and find some ways to add life into your homeschool day once again.

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Have you done a lot of field trips? If not, take a look at your list of field trip ideas. You can also see what new exhibits local museums or zoos have and tie it into your lessons. My kids and I recently got a family membership to a zoo about an hour from here, and we are looking at getting a membership to the natural history museum as well. Part of the reason for doing this is that both places have reciprocal memberships with other zoos and museums giving us options for field trip days. Sometimes we can find places that have events or exhibits that complements our lessons for the week.

Make sure you stock up on craft supplies. Right now the weather is starting to turn where I live, so we are not spending as much time outdoors. When you start getting frustrated, take a breath and get a project for the kids to do. Then you can go back to the lesson later.

If lessons are getting hard to push through, maybe this is a good time to take a look at your teaching methods and/or curriculum. I am not saying to change curriculums. Sometimes, you just need to change the approach, be creative. After all, that is what homeschool is all about: the ability to be flexible. Recently, we decided to delay the start of the next book in our history curriculum so we could focus more on 19th and 20th century history. Another book we are using discusses it, and the kids want to learn more. Again, it is about being flexible.

Finally take a look at your munchies! What are you serving for lunch and snacks? Is it getting boring? Then mix it up a bit! We started doing bento boxes recently because the kids have been having fun doing different themes with them. We are also trying to tie in foods to our lessons. This week we will be having a Boxcar Children lunch with dried meat, brown bread, butter, and blueberries. The kids are looking forward to it. When we are all happy, our homeschool day goes better.

I hope you find these tips useful, and if you are having the mid-year blahs, I hope you can breathe life into your homeschool day once more. Do you have anything to add to the list? If so, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below!