Back to School Prep

Here in Atlanta, we have just a few week’s left until the kids head back to school, which brings me a little sadness and a lot of joy!! It also means that it is time to pull out my infamous lists and get ready.  As with anything else Back to School Prep is a process.  Here are  my FAIL PROOF STEPS.

PURGE –

If your kids are anything like mine, they love to hold on to things.  So step one for us is ALWAYS THE PURGE.  This part generally just applies to clothing and where clothes are concerned, a fashion show is in order.  I have the kids pull out all their things and try them on to see what fits and what needs to be sent to Goodwill.  For the most part,  all the short sleeve and warmer weather clothes are generally getting too small but a lot of the fall things can still fit. We normally purchase school clothes twice a year, when school starts and then again before Christmas to take us through the colder months.  You can also use this time to get rid of half used notebooks, old binders, pens and pencils that have seen better days, and ultimately anything that you really don’t need anymore.

MAKE A LIST –

By now, most schools should have provided you with a general list of what your little ones will need for this school year.  Once, you have gotten the Supply List set aside, it’s time to tackle School Clothes. Only you will know just how much your child will need to make it through the year, but as a rule, I always try to do no less than 8 pairs of pants  and 10-12 tops.  My girls haven’t really been interested in dresses or skirts up until now, but this year my middle “schooler” has informed me that she wants to change up her style a little so I will be allotting some money for that, as well as some accessories.  Can I just say that she is growing up .. way too fast?  Speaking of Accessories, I find that it is so easy to forget to add these to the list, but undoubtedly you will need them.  I mean you always need new socks and new under things to start out a new year.. or just always.. am I right?

SHOP –

This year in Georgia, we are not having a Tax Free Weekend, as we have grown accustomed to before the new school year starts.  And, although I am one of the people that found this disappointing, life goes on. Whether you are on a strict budget or not, there is never a good excuse to pass up a good sale.  If you start early enough, you can get pretty much all your School Supplies at severely discounted rates.  Now, keep in mind you may have to hit up a few stores to pull it off.  But, trust me it is worth it.  We always like to buy a little more than is needed to take us through the School Year, and maybe even into the next.   Where clothing is concerned, the hunt maybe a little more intense depending on how picky your little dresser is.  But, generally I have found back to school shopping to be the perfect time to stock up on jeans and tees for great prices.

MENTAL PREP –

My oldest daughter is the most sensitive of my brood.  Transitions tend to be more traumatic for her, even though the older she gets the easier it gets.  But, at my house mental prep starts with readjusting bed times.  Creating new schedules for the upcoming year, discussing expectations and pre-planning as much as we can for the first week.  We also start pulling out our books, going over some of what we learned last year as a refresher and making sure any Summer Projects have been completed.  Don’t be deceived, even though Mommy’s are often the most excited of the bunch, they also need to get their minds right. Especially if you have been at home with the kids all summer , you too have to get used to early drop offs and fitting all that you have to do within that tight time frame, before pick ups occur.  I learned this the hard way, because every year I get so caught up in the joy of my alone time, that I take weeks to get back on track.  This was the first summer that I managed get a lot done, simply because I prepared for what was to come.

What is your process for getting your little one’s ready for the start of a new year?  I would love to hear all about it.  Be sure to share your tips in the comment section below.

Sharing the Gift of Faith with my Tween Daughter

Sharing The Gift OF Faith With My Tween Daughter (through Tween Devotionals and Quality Time)

As a Christian, I am always, always, always, reevaluating my walk with Christ.  I mean lets face it to be like Christ, is no easy feat, I often feel like I am not doing enough.  Basically, it is just me acknowledging that I am a work in progress.  I fall down and get up.. like pretty much everyone else.  But, the constant in my life despite has always been my faith.

That being said,  if I were to tell you what my gift is, I probably would not saying preaching or ministry.  But, as a Mom, I feel like it is my responsibility to share my faith with my children. Growing up religion/faith was taught to me in a very totalitarian way.  There were very few gray areas or room for explanation and or deviation.  I’m not condemning this way of thinking, but, it is is not how I wanted to share my faith with my own children.  I wanted us to be able to talk about it and make sense of it together.

This year my oldest daughter started Middle School.  Since, I do morning drop offs, after dropping off my youngest at elementary school , my older daughter and I would get to her school with about 20 minutes to spare before her day began.  I had no idea that this window, which at first seemed like it would be a pocket of wasted time, would turn out to be such a blessing for the both of us.

She was transitioning from Elementary to Middle School, which means that she was already quite nervous about all the change.  So we prayed about the transition, we prayed about her finding her way through this NEW BIG school.  We prayed about her making friends and being happy.  And, when we came up on some rough patches through the year, we prayed about that too.  Then one morning I had a light bulb moment and started to search for Devotions for “Tweens”.  I am not sure I actually expected that to be a thing, or to find one.  But, I did.   When the first book arrived from Amazon, we were both so excited.  Almost every teen girl .. is equally as excited about the “tween” title.  I skimmed through the book before our first reading together.  And, I knew it would be a good fit for us.

So each morning after pulling into our Spot in the School Parking Lot, we took turns reading to each other from these devotionals and discussing it.  Some days the discussions were deep, some days they skimmed the surface.  Some days we didn’t read we just talked about things that were on our minds.  But, I would not have missed this time for anything.  And, at the end of the day.  I feel like I was able to share with her something that could carry her through anything life had to offer, similar to what my Mom in her own way passed down to me.

These are the two books, that took us through this school year, the links below are clickable.  Do you have any Teen/Tween Devotions that you loved and would like to share?  Leave it in the comments below, we would love to check them out.

 

you-re-god-s-girl-a-devotional-for-tweens-wynter-pitts-paperback You’re God’s Girl – Clickable Link For Girls Like You - A Devotional for Tweens - Wynter Pitts

For Girls Like You – Clickable Link

Mommy Hears and Understands

Mommy Hears and Understands

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Each May, BHSM, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role of the American Speech – Language – Hearing Association in providing life-altering treatments. The theme for this year is “Communication, The Key to Connection.”   I am sure like most people, this month probably has little significance to you.  And up until my eldest daughter was born, it had little significance to me either.  However, in October of 2004, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, with all her fingers and all her toes.  She was perfect in my eyes.  She was more than even my wildest dreams could have conjured up.  She was all sugar and spice rolled into one.  As she grew older, like any parents we anxiously anticipated her first words.  Every mother longs for the day when they hear the words Momma cross their little ones lips.   But, those sweet words would be delayed.  Obviously concerned with the delay, we spoke to her pediatrician and she agreed that our daughter needed to be evaluated by a Speech Language Pathologist.  The tests that were needed were difficult at best for a small child, who was terrified of strangers.  It was a trying time.

After some time, she was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder.  Honestly, they might as well have told me that she had Astronaut’s Disease, because I had no idea what it meant, and or what it entailed.  I consider myself to be pretty bright, but even after they explained it to me, I was still grasping at straws.  If I were to give you a layman’s description of what it is, it would go a little something like this, how she hears and processes sound is different than you and I.  Even with the diagnosis,  I had no idea what lay ahead of us.  At the age of 2, she was assigned her very first Speech Language Pathologist. We could not have known what a significant role her SLP would play in her developmental progress.  She was able to relate to her as her therapist and on an interpersonal level.  Pulling her out of her shell, and getting her to be open up and  try new things was key. She started to attend Speech Therapy twice a week for an hour, and slowly her vocabulary began to grow.  We finally were able to hear and understand her.  But, it was no easy feat.    Learning to pronounce and enunciate her words was difficult for her.  After a while we could understand her, and those that were around her frequently could understand her but it was still hard for a stranger to pick up on what she was saying.

As the years went by, she continued to make progress.  When it was time for her to begin Kindergarten, we let the school know immediately about her speech delay, and provided them with her diagnosis and all the necessary documentation.  Soon into her first year it was evident that she was struggling.  As you know, Speech, Communication and Comprehension are huge components of the educational process.  It literally was hindering every part of her experience and it was heartbreaking.  With the help of an exceptional team, by the first grade she had a functioning IEP (Individualized Education Program).  For the second time, a new SLP was introduced into our lives.  And again, what she brought to the table made ALL the difference in the progress that my daughter would make. The SLP would sit with the teachers to see what they were teaching and how she could help.  She would incorporate the lessons being taught into their daily sessions.  To say she went above and beyond, is a drastic understatement.  She was able to pick up on her moods, her strengths and her weaknesses and she nurtured her in a way that I can not explain.    God knew exactly what we needed to make it through the journey.  And, when it was time for her to retire I was devastated.  I was truly sad to see her go and I was not sure how the change would affect the progress that we had already made.  But, she made the transition seemless and we went from one blessing to another.

The greatest blessing in this test for us, as a family and for our daughter has been receiving Speech Therapy.   We have been extremely blessed to have been paired with SLPs who have become more than what there jobs required, but true friends.  I always say that the way to any parent’s heart is through their children.  It is not often that you run across educators who have a genuine love and concern for your child.    Now, I am coming at this from the Speech side of things, simply because that is where our diagnosis took us.  But, Auditory and Speech issues affect children all across the board.  As is the case with most disabilities, early detection is very important.  There are many programs available to you, if you feel that you child could be struggling in this area.  If you think your child may be struggling with Speech and or Hearing Issues, check out this website, which is full of useful information and resources.

If our journey, that we are still on, has taught me anything it is this, it truly takes a village.  And, we could not be more thankful for ours.  Every Journey will be different, as no individual is the same.  Want to know more about Auditory Processing Disorders?  Here is the first book I read about it at the start of our journey.

“INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENT TO A GROUP EFFORT – THAT IS WHAT MAKES A TEAM WORK, A COMPANY WORK, A SOCIETY WORK, A CIVILIZATION WORK.” – VINCE LOMBARDI

5 Ways Being A Mom Has Changed Me

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Being a Mom has changed me, in fact it honestly continues to change me every day.  Before I had kids, I was very confident in the fact that I knew almost everything, but, boy was I wrong.  I am not sure that anything can adequately prepare you for motherhood.

Perspective:  Being a Mom has forever changed my perspective on life.  I no longer believe that things are just black and white.  In fact, the gray areas far surpass any other.  Through the eyes of my children, I have seen things in ways that I don’t think I ever would have otherwise.  Because they are still so young, and tend to see the world without cynicism and fear.  And, because of them I try my hardest to be less judgmental and dogmatic.

Patience:  I am not sure you can successfully parent without some kind of patience.  Yet, I fear this will be a lesson I will continue to learn for my whole life.  There is no way that you can hear your name called over and over again, in various octaves and within 3 minutes, without having to exercise patience.

Understanding:  I think the older we get, the less sympathetic we become. We start to become easily annoyed with things that we feel require simple common sense and effort.  But, after becoming the parent of little people, I find myself being a little more compassionate towards other people’s plights.

Forgiveness:  Crayons on Walls, Vaseline all over faces… General messes… and the older they  get hurt feelings… Motherhood is a daily exercise in forgiveness.  I know I am not alone in feeling this way.  You clean up a room, only to have it destroyed moments later, by the cutest little thing you have ever seen.  Or you drive your teenager all over town, only to have him throw a hissy fit, because you won’t get back in the car to take him somewhere else.

Love:  I know it sounds cliche, but children do teach you the true meaning of unconditional love.  You love your spouse, or your significant other, but… you have very real and very definable expectations where they are concerned. Not that you do not have expectations of your children, but when they fall short you are the one who has to be there to pick them up, dust them off, and give them that needed push to get back on the horse.

I would be remiss if I did not say that being a Mom, is one of the hardest jobs that I have ever had.  It is challenging, it is rewarding, and sometimes it is a thankless job.  There are days when I feel unappreciated and burnt out.  But, the ups far outweigh the downs, and for that I am forever grateful.  God entrusted me with these little souls to love, to cherish and to mold, and even when it’s not easy, I intend to do just that.

How has being a Mom changed you?

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Teacher Appreciation Week - Free Printable Teacher Gift Tags

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week!!  A week to celebrate one of the most noble professions out there.  I have always been in awe of teachers.  It truly takes a special kind of person to invest in the lives of  children, who are not their own over and over again.  That is exactly why I always try to make a big deal out of this week.  For their time dedication and devotion to my babies, I am extremely grateful.  There are so many great ideas all over Pinterest for Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas.   If you are looking for some ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest Board.  No matter what you choose as your gift,  these Super Cute Gift Tags are a sweet addition.  Grab yours today!!

My oldest child is 20 years old, so , I have see my share of teachers over the years, enough to know that having a good teacher in your child’s life is a blessing.  My middle child has some auditory processing challenges and having an amazing team has made all the difference in her progress through out the years.  My baby girl is just in the 1st grade but we’ve been  pretty lucky there, as well.  I tend to hold my little ones a little tight.  So it makes me breathe a little easier just knowing that these kind of teachers still exist.

Teacher Appreciation Week Tag Supplies Free Printable

To Download your Own Copy of the Printable Teacher Gift Tags Click Here.

“IT IS THE SUPREME ART OF THE TEACHER TO AWAKEN JOY IN CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND KNOWLEDGE.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Happy Earth Day!!

Earth Day Coloring Sheets 2017 Mockup

It’s Earth Day!!  Time to celebrate and teach our little ones about one of our most valuable resources and how to preserve and care for it.  Grab these Coloring Sheets and tell them how they can do their own small part to help.  Here’s some history/information I found on the origin of Earth Day.  Click the Link for the Coloring Sheet you like, Right Click and Save to Your Device and You Are In Business!!

Recycle  Plant

Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.  The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995)—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.

Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book.

Content Provided by EarthDay.org  Follow the link for additional information.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!!

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Hero Image

Every year on March 17th, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  What began as a religious feast day for St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland has become an international celebration of Irish culture.   I will admit that I am not normally “gung ho” about St. Patrick’s Day, but aside from the fact that I enjoy Corn Beef and Cabbage, there are now so many family friendly activities centered around this holiday.  From the  grand St. Patrick’s Day parades to the local street festivals, there is more than enough to see, learn and participate in.  And, if you happen to be kid free, there’s more than enough Green Beer to go around too.  (Yuck, I hate beer, but to each his own, I guess.)

SO LET’S GET FESTIVE !!

St. Patrick’s Day Attire:  Don your Green attire, or risk getting pinched.

St. Patrick’s Day  Traditional Irish Meals/Deserts/Cocktails:  (Clickable Links)

Corn Beef and Cabbage

Irish Beef Stew

Chocolate-Stout Cupcakes

Emerald Isle Drink

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Traditional Irish Recipes and Drinks

Photo Source 1: ChewOutLoud.com 2: TasteFoodBlog.com 3: MarthaStewart.com 4: TheOdysseyOnline.com

Let your little ones get in on the action, and download your 2 Free St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets.

Celebrating St. Patricks Day Coloring Sheets

Luck of the Irish

Irish Blessings

For more St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets follow this link here.

Friday Favorites – Week 363 – Easter Bunny Luncheon for Kids

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Friday Favorites – Week 362 – DIY Succulent Gift Idea

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Friday Favorites – Week 360 – Indoor Winter Picnic Basket

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