To Read or Not to Read?

downloadHopefully, you know the answer to this question! I have to admit though, I am not an avid reader. As a matter of fact, I am terrible at taking the time to soak in a good book. As a child, I would read some, but it wasn’t my first choice. My mom was a kindergarten teacher, so I was read to before I was born, but it has never been my thing.  I am a mover. I don’t sit well, and reading requires me to quit moving. And if I am going to quit moving I would rather write or draw, because at least I can move my hands.

For me, it is not too big of a deal. However, when trying to raise kids to love reading…it becomes a bit of a problem! Add to it that my husband isn’t a big reader either, 2 of my 3 kids have been diagnosed with dyslexia, and testing is pending with my 3rd, the reasons to skip reading mount up. Whether it was my thing or not, I did read to these 3 while still in the womb and we read many, many, (MANY) books when they were smaller. They are at the point now where most kids read to themselves. Mine need more help, though. I’ve researched all of the different tests they do these days. How to measure fluency, comprehension, and speed. In addition to reading a certain amount, we are looking at each book to determine its AR (Accelerated Reading) score and making sure we read a specific amount of time so enough AR points are earned. For kids that love reading and are great at it, this is awesome! For kids (and their parents) who have amazing gifts that aren’t quite as measurable in this way, this is pure H-E- double hockey sticks!!

But it doesn’t have to be! I have been working on a study that asks me to choose one thing about myself on which to concentrate for the whole year and to see how this transforms throughout the year. My word is CHOICE. In all things I have a CHOICE to have a positive or negative perception. I have a CHOICE to complain about something I may not like about the school or be thankful that we have amazing teachers bending over backwards to help us figure out how to help our kids to reach their potentials. I have a CHOICE to see this situation as a setback or an opportunity.

With my 1st daughter, I thought I was going to lose my mind! I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to get through the smallest of books with her. I had read to her since conception. I ate healthy while I was pregnant and fed her organic food as she was able to eat from the table. She was exposed to tons of sensory expanding activities and loved beyond measure. She had always done amazing in preschool and Parents As Teachers. She more than excelled! She could write, cut, and do just about anything with not only one hand, but equally well with both. She was learning Sign Language and Spanish, and had her own art and reading room under the stairs. Her own personal hideout. Why couldn’t she read the smallest of words?Why did she skip all over the place in books?  Why did she write her letters backwards and have barely legible handwriting? Was she just being stubborn? What did we do wrong? What didn’t we do for her? Wow! The torture we put ourselves through.

In second grade, we moved her from a small private school to our public school that has many more resources and teachers trained in this type of thing. I won’t lie, it was hard and time consuming. Especially with two younger than her at home while we were building a house. But, we got so much time together and I slowly learned it wasn’t our fault and she was doing the best she could. We worked with doctors, did vision and primitive reflex therapy, played with reading tools, and we read and we read and we read. She went from a sweet, and overly timid 2nd grader who could barely read or spell to a vibrant 4th grader that loved life and brought home nearly all A’s. She went from living in shame and embarrassment because she couldn’t keep up with her peers to donning a huge braces-clad grin and holding her shoulders back and standing tall with confidence. I still believe it is a confidence that she gained because she learned to overcome. She learned what happens when you work hard to get past adversity and how to listen to people put in your path to guide you through difficulty.

She learned to READ!

There are some things in life you really need to learn to do; reading being a huge one! You have to read to do so many things! To quote Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more that you’ll know. The more that you know, the more places you’ll go.” It was unplanned for all of us, but my daughter’s journey to learn this necessary skill taught our family to trust our gut, the rewards of perseverance, that some of the most amazing talents aren’t measurable, and a person can shine brightest when faced with difficult situations.

Now, I will make the CHOICE to not only relish the time to take in a good book with my kids, but to hold on to these lessons as we guide our next two through similar trials. I am so excited to watch their lights shine!

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Happy Reading!!

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P.S. Click on these images below to find more fun posts on reading!!!

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Sports in our House

I often reflect on the busyness of my family’s schedule…this is the life we have chosen. Do I like being at home? Absolutely! And we do Sports Momthis, but I am an extremely social being, as are my kids; especially the younger two. My husband and I feel very strongly about teaching our children to have a healthy lifestyle: eat healthy, exercise, sleep, etc. We are both have a passion for watching and playing sports.  I love volleyball, basketball, and getting a good workout in the gym. He loves volleyball and baseball. We enjoy the feeling of stress being released as we strengthen our bodies and build relationships with teammates and friends. These are lessons I want my kids to learn. I want them to learn to take care of themselves; to work hard, to work as a team, to be dedicated, and find a passion that gives them confidence and joy.

My babies all do different activities based on their own unique personalities. So this mama does a lot of running. To us, it is worth it. We coach whatever we can and spend time practicing with them when we are at home. I have even tried to do some of the fancy dance twirls with my younger daughter. She gets a good laugh since I was clearly always a little bit more of a jock. Are there days I think we need to pare back on our constant schedule?Without a doubt. I am mindful and we step back as needed, but are certainly not perfect. Is this for every family?

Nope.

But, I am beyond thankful for the opportunities for our kids to find something that drives them and this is just our thing. As long as they love it, I will love it with them because this time of having them with me every day will be gone before I know it. They will be leaving our house in the blink of an eye and I pray that they will have many fond memories, learned life lessons, and passions that drive them along the way.

Smiles

Condiment Packet Organizer

This is so super simple, but I still thought I was a genius!  We don’t eat out too often but when we do, we seem to accrue a plethora of soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, dressing, barbecue sauce, and taco sauce packets! Some of them get tossed, but I like to keep a few on hand as they come in super handy to put in school lunches! I tried several methods to store these mini-sized condiments, but they always ended up flying out of the fridge at me. That is, until sheer brilliance struck! Check this out! Yep, a cracker box! That is it! I cut it off at about 2 inches, filled with packets, and placed it in the closable compartment in my fridge door.  You can fancy it up with washi tape or duct tape.  But if you just want to get ‘er done, here ya go!

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Happy Clutter Catching!

Smiles

Super Easy DIY Post Earrings!

I have two daughters that love to wear all kinds of fun earrings (and I don’t let my younger one wear dangle earrings yet). Being the DIYer that I am, I thought it would be fun to create our own post earrings. Doing it ourselves was super quick and easy, not to mention it will make a great gift that can be tailored to fit the recipient. We were able to make a couple of the specific earrings my girls wanted and it was so much cheaper!!!  Post EarringsWhat you need:

  • E 6000 adhesive (Found with crafting adhesives, usually in the sewing section in big box and craft stores. On a side note, this little product is awesome to glue rhinestones on dance costumes!!)
  • Earring posts (They come in different sizes, so you will want to get the ones that fit the size of the object you are going to place on the front of the earring.  For the Christmas trees below, I used a post with a small attachment circle and still needed to trim the edges just a little bit.  For the larger round jewels and 3D stickers I used a post will a larger attachment circle.)
  • Earring backs
  • Whatever fun things you can find that you would like to see on an earring!

Post Earrings

Use the E-6000 to glue your earring ornament to the post and let it dry… That’s it!

My girls have been so excited to have fun earrings donning the colors of our favorite teams, seasons, holidays, and passions at a fraction of the price!!!  These are going to be perfect for stockings and Easter baskets!!

Happy Crafting!!

 

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Party Silverware Organization

I am always looking for better ways of organizing my house, life, schedule; basically my entire life! One of the things we enjoy doing the most is sharing our home with our family and friends! We have people over often, and are always looking for something or someone we can celebrate just to enjoy our loved ones!  Sometimes we will simply celebrate a beautiful summer day or a fresh blanket of snow! One of the things we needed host our guests was a serviceware caddy, as the plates, napkins, and Solo cups holding the silverware took up too much space and the cups kept tipping over. I wanted to find a  compact and attractive solution. I was shopping at a local home goods store and found this super cute and potentially efficient kitchen caddy.  It is even portable! The problem? The dividers were only a wire at the top and open the rest of the way down! The plates and napkins fit beautifully in the back, but the “divided” front was a mess!  My solution was to recycle some orange juice containers and spruce them up with some fun duct tape to keep our silverware in order in an attractive way!

THE MESS!!!!
Partyware Organizer

Partyware OrganizerWhat you need:

  • Orange Juice Cans
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors

Partyware Organizer1.  Wrap the orange juice cans with the duct tape.Partyware Organizer

2.  Put the new silverware holders in the caddy!!!

Whew!  Mess averted!!!

 

Happy Hosting!!

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Ba- Humbug!

bah-humbugThe last few months for our family have been quite crazy. Between sicknesses and surgeries (both of which brought this Mama down), I can’t seem to get caught up with anything. Not cool when this Type A, busybody has taken on quite a few extra commitments while spearheading a house full of furry and non-furry kids. I seem to be
running in circles putting out the proverbial fires and not making the time to plan- and if I do circumstances keep changing.

Have you ever had that feeling of everything being out of control and not knowing where to start, so you just …don’t.  Maybe if you sit on the couch and stare at the wall it will all just go away…

Add the holiday season on top of all that and you might find yourself sympathizing with Mr. Scrooge. There are gifts to be bought and wrapped, decorations to go up, food that needs to be made, cards to be sent, cookies and candy to prepare, travel and holiday plans to be made while watching the budget, your waistline, and keeping a great big fa-la-la-la-la smile on your face because the holidays are a happy time. It can be a lot to handle on top of the bills, laundry, grocery shopping, work, basketball, piano, school (plus extra programs), gymnastics, dance, etc. still have to happen…and remember to keep being happy!!

Can you breathe right now?  I think I need to go hyperventilate in a paper bag! Earlier this week I sat down with my crew for a little family meeting. I told them that, regarding Christmas decorations, the tree was up with minimal adornments and they might get plastic bags for stockings…and that’s all. While I have been running in circles, they have been leaving food, trash, clothes, toys and papers everywhere. Their laundry comes to me all balled up, sometimes wet from whatever water in which they decided to play, and is typically quite disgusting. I found 2 half full cups of milk that were a single chunk of coagulation- one of which was growing fruit flies. Dishes were in every room, and since I had not been able to get to the basement after my ankle surgery, they trashed it- including my things! Mom finally met her limit!

As we discussed why I didn’t even care if Christmas happened this year. We actually all connected. I went through my flaming list and they listened (possibly because their dad was staring them down). I told them that my favorite part of the day is picking them up from school because I have missed them all day. I look forward to their hugs, kisses, stories and songs. I loved having them home over Thanksgiving, and am so excited to have them home over Christmas…but, they have to do their part. When I explained my frustrations in a loving way (and believe me it was a firm loving way), they got my point. It wasn’t nagging, but saying it like it was, “I want to enjoy you, and I am not doing anything else that will create more work for me if you don’t do your part because you guys have been disgusting.”

While they have, for the last few days at least, been “doing their part” my perspective has shifted. My stance on their household participation has not changed, but how I choose to view it has. There very likely will not be anymore decorations put up, a few of my non-urgent commitments my have to wait a little bit, there may not be as many cookies and candies, the house may not meet my standards all of the time and the Christmas cards… well, we’ll just see.

But it will all be ok.  

The Earth will not quit spinning or open up and swallow me if I don’t get the Oreo balls made.  And if more decorations don’t get hung it is less I have to put away. Ultimately, stepping back from the life/holiday chaos and seeing if for what it is helped me gain perspective and will allow me to remember what is important. My  faith, my family, and my friends. My babies will be grown soon, and I would be broken to know I got too lost in the busy of this world and missed those precious moments with them and my husband. I am thankful for this lesson. Not just for me, but hopefully it will be passed on  to my sweeties so that they will be able to keep priorities in place and FEEL the love of their family, of their friends, of life, and of the true meaning of Christmas.  love-1415561__340

Smiles- Merry Christmas