Saturday, October 14, 2017

Silent Loss

This is not a normal blog for me.  I want to share something personal but I believe we must break the silence.

Are you, or a loved one, a statistic? One in four women suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss during their life. The month of October is set aside for Pregnancy and Infant Loss with the 15th being the specific day dedicated to remembering families and their infants that died due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or other infant loss. On October 15, a wave of light starts at 7 pm (local time) with candles being lit around the globe to honor the infants lost.

I am one of those one in four women.  My little baby would have turned five years old the summer of 2017.  If I had not lost my little one due to miscarriage, I do not know what my family would look like today. Would we have a four year old and a two year old to chase around our teen?

It was around Christmas.  It was already a difficult time for me. I was no longer in control of my chronic anxiety and depression.  I had taken a leave of absence from work.  Seeing the positive pregnancy test was the silver lining to the rain clouds.  Unfortunately, right before the Christmas holidays, I started bleeding.  My obstetrician's office was closed for the holidays so I waited till after Christmas for my appointment.  I spent most of the Christmas festivities at home on the couch or in bed.  I was already in a dark place and this made it even more difficult to do those things that people expected of me. Christmas breakfast, dinner, and family visits were not important to me.  I was suffering and no one really knew what was happening.

After Christmas, I had my doctor's appointment and my miscarriage was confirmed.  Days dragged into months. It was recommended that I not try for another baby at that time due to my depression.  I had trouble being around pregnant mothers and babies.  It was a sad reminder to me of what I had lost.  Suffering from depression only exacerbated my reactions.

Time passed and we were expecting our now four year old son in the autumn of 2012.  At each turn of my pregnancy with my son, I was scared that I was lose my baby. After all, it had already happened once.

I am now the proud stepmom of a teen and two little ones.  I have not forgotten my loss even though I never got to see my baby.  Every loss is important.  If you, or someone you know, has suffered an infant loss, let yourself grieve and heal.  It takes time.  I am still healing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Halloween Craft: Spiders!





My littles love to paint so when I saw this idea, I knew that they would enjoy creating their own spiders.

Materials 
  • toilet paper roll
  • black, washable paint
  • googly eyes
  • paper 
  • glue 
Steps 
1. Gather materials.

2. Cut toilet paper roll to create spider's legs. 
3. Use toiler paper roll as a stamp to create spiders on the white paper. 



4. Allow to dry. 
5. Glue on googly eyes.  I let my littles tell me how many eyes they wanted. 


6. Allow to dry.
7. Display for Halloween. 

Resources 
Need some more ideas?  

Crafty Morning's Toiler Paper Roll Spiders 
Sweet Rose Studio's Paper Fan Spider 
I Heart Crafty Things' Paper Plate Spiders 

Sweet Rose Studio's Halloween Craft List 





Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pole Arms and Stained Glass Windows


For my stepson's 15th birthday, we hosted a Swords and Wizardry Light-themed party. In addition to purchasing items to decorate our house, I also made several decorations with the help of my husband and daughter.

Trident and Pole Ax

Using old cardboard from my teen's dresser, I traced and cut out shapes to make a dagger, pole ax, trident, and shield.

I used old paints of varying shades of gray and black as well as some silver paint to add depth.

This project took several hours over the course of multiple days as I waited for the paint to dry so I could add another coat.
Pieces ready for paint

Painting process

Stained Glass Windows 

After researching a variety of DIY stained glass crafts on Pinterest, I decided to modify how we would make our own for the kitchen. We purchased two pieces of poster board and using stencils, I traced some shapes which my husband cut out.

Designed, traced, and waiting to be cut by my husband.

I used recycled tissue paper from previous birthdays and holidays to create the coloring glass effect.

My daughter helped choose the colors. 


I would recommend cutting the tissue paper to closely match the shape of the design.  It will help give it a more polished look.

This project took several hours to complete from tracing, cutting out the shapes, and cutting and gluing the tissue paper.

If I were to do this project again, I would use black poster board to prevent seeing the shape of the tissue paper when the poster board is hung in the window.  I would also use two pieces of poster board for each 'window' so that the tissue paper is in between them for durability.









Sunday, October 8, 2017

Schoolhouse Teachers: Small World Sensory Science Lesson: Construction

Schoolhouseteachers.com is a site that offers a wide variety of courses (over 300!) to meet your homeschooling needs. From preschool to high school, the Schoolhouseteachers.com site can help parents and students learn about such subjects as the American Revolution, Shakespeare, Algebra, and French.

With more than 30 science classes to choose from, your kids can find TONS of way to get into science! From All About Animals and Bug Science to Science Experiments and Wondrous Weather, we have science for all ages. Who knows? You might discover they want to try all the science classes. Don’t worry if they do—ONE membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com includes ALL of them!

My two littles and I are using the Small World Sensory Science Lessons to learn more about the world around us. Working with sensory bins and activities involving beans, oats, pom-poms, rice, and other sensory materials, we will be exploring such topics as farms, oceans, and ponds.

Using the lesson on Construction, we explored digging and building with trucks, cars, and beans, painting with tire tracks, and sweeping up our mess of lentils and beans.

Kitchen table set up for exploration. 

I put out a variety of beans on different sized trays and plates and provided them with some toy vehicles and plastic lids and caps to scoop up the beans. My daughter was content for a while just placing the beans in the front end loader as well as picking up any of the beans that fell onto the floor. 



We also practiced sweeping with a broom and dust pan since my 4 year old accidentally knocked over the plate of lentils.  




My daughter remarked on more than one occasion how 'shiny' the beans were as she played with them. When we were all done, we poured all the beans into a big plastic container for future lessons.  

Having the foil down on the tray, made for very easy clean up.  I would highly recommend this method. In the future, we will do some of the other activities suggested in the lesson and read books about construction vehicles.  

Become a member of Schoolhouseteachers.com and see all that Small World Sensory Science Lessons have to offer for your preschooler. 

Note:  I am an affiliate of Schoolhouseteachers.com and receive compensation for new members.  This post contains affiliate links. Thank you.




Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trips: Washington Crossing Trip

We visited Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey twice this spring/summer.  As a history major in college, I love visiting historical places and as a former zoo employee, I also love visiting nature parks.  Washington Crossing State Park provides a bit of both history and nature for visitors.


The Visitor Center has ample parking, beautiful lawns and trees surrounding it, and a nearby picnic area.  Inside we were able to explore two areas with American Revolution Era artifacts including weapons and clothing.


Visitor's Center

On our second visit, we arrived just before their musket demonstration ended.  Everyone in my family enjoyed getting to see (and hear) the firing of the musket.



Musket Demonstration

Johnson Ferry House  

A short drive from the Visitor Center is the Ferry House which is open to the public and furnished with period furniture.  It was probably used by General George Washington after the December 25, 1776 crossing of the Delaware River.




Front Entrance of the Johnson Ferry House


In the kitchen, they had a mortar and pestle set up to grind corn.
A selection of flowers, fruits, and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

Bedroom upstairs

Bedroom upstairs

Kitchen Garden 

Nature Center 

Washington Crossing State Park is also home to a Nature Center which houses a variety of natural artifacts including different animal skulls to examine and touch, turtle shells, stuffed birds, and nests, among other items.  There is also a section with puzzles, books, coloring sheets, and live animals.

There was a deer outside the Nature Center.  We were able to see it out the window before it returned to the woods.

Bee's hive set up. 

Exhibits showing the seasons and natural artifacts that can be found in the area.
There were several animals including a corn snake and several different aquatic turtles. 



Felt puzzle 
Completing a puzzle of insects 




We saw several different birds on each of our visits to the Nature Center. 


There are several different bird feeders outside the front of the Nature Center. 


Park 

There are also two playground areas with swings and climbing areas for the children.  We spent time playing there on both visits.



Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey is a great place to visit with the family. We brought our lunch on both visits, picnicking near the river, and toured the Park itself after lunch. For individuals who like to hike, there are also numerous trails of varying difficulty with abundant wildlife. 



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Recommended School Supplies

Every teacher has different requirements for their students but there are some basics that you should always have during your career as a student whether you are in elementary school, high school, college, or are home schooled.

Items to leave at home 

  • tape dispenser
  • stapler
  • three hole punch
  • extra 3-ring binder
  • glue 
  • glue sticks
  • crayons, colored pencils, markers 
  • scissors 
  • pencil sharpener 
  • index cards 

Items to carry with you 

  • pencils
  • erasers
  • pens
  • highlighters
  • notebooks
  • folders
  • loose leaf paper 
  • 3-ring binder 
  • portable three hole punch 

  • mini tape dispenser and stapler (if you find them necessary)
  • portable pencil sharpener  
  • white out 
  • post-it notes 

Different Note-taking Materials 

3-Ringer Binder
These are fantastic for using in a class where your teacher provides you with handouts that you need to keep organized by unit or chapter.

One Subject Notebook
This type of notebook is good for those classes where most of the work will be completed in one place.

Three or Five Subject Notebook
This type of notebook is good for those classes where you will be taking a lot of notes or need to divide up individual classes into one notebook.

Tablet or Laptop
Using an electric device is great because you can organize notes, digital handouts, websites, and other materials provided by your teacher immediately.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Veggie Tales Themed Birthday Party


We celebrated my son's fourth birthday party with the Veggie Tales.

Here is the link to my Pinterest Board: Party Ideas - Veggie Tales.

Food


Cheesy Chicken and Rice 

I based my dish off of Mandy's Recipe Box's Slow Cooker Cheesy Rice and Chicken Casserole.

BBQ Ranch Drumsticks 

I based my recipe off of The Frugal Girls' Crockpot BBQ Ranch Drumsticks Recipe.

Burgers and Hot dogs 

We had to have Mr. Lunt's Cheeseburger at the party for guests.

Crackers and Cheese 

My 4 year son and 2 year old daughter enjoyed the tray so much at her party in April, they requested it at my son's party.

Veggie Tray

Mr. Twisty's Twisted Cheese Curls  

Goliath's Pickled Potato Salad

I usually like making potato salad for our family parties.  This was a perfect chance to make a different version.


Dirt Cups 


Bob the Tomato Cake 



Games and Crafts


The fantastic thing about this version of 'pin the tail' is that there really is no wrong place for the children to pin the hairbrush.  (Especially since Larry doesn't have any hair.) 
Pin the hairbrush on Larry


Decorations

As usual, I had my children help me make decorations for the party.

Moe and the Big Exit Coloring Page

Various Coloring Pages 

Coloring Pages of Junior, Larry, and King George and his Ducky
I decorated balloons as characters from the show to decorate both inside and outside the house.
Balloons 
I painted paper towel and toilet paper rolls to create characters from the show to decorate the kitchen.
Veggie Tales Toilet Paper Rolls 
I prepared materials for the guests to make their own Veggie Tales Stained Glass pictures to take home.  Unfortunately, we did not have time to make the craft. 

Veggie Tales Stained 'Glass' craft 
Veggie Toss

I recycled the box I painted for my daughter's party as a hay bale and turned it into a basket.  We purchased some cheap, plastic fruits and veggies for the children to toss into the basket. 

I used my teen's Veggie Tales toys to decorate the dining room table and the living room.  (My littles love being able to play with these figures.) 




Resources 

Veggie Toss Idea 
Twintough's Instagram Photo of Larry, Bob, and Peas Desert
My Dirty Apron's Veggie Tales Party 
Mom's Quest to Teach Veggie Tales Balloons
Mom's Quest to Teach Veggie Tales Toilet Paper Rolls
Mom's Quest to Teach Veggie Tales Stained Glass Craft 



My son received the Larry plush for his birthday.  My daughter promptly decided she wanted it and my 4 year old son gave it to her.  So sweet.