This is not the typical post today. Its not a topic that I like to dwell on and most days I handle it well. But lately, for some reason, it has been a powerful force of emptiness and grief. (cue the violins….)
Many of you are aware that my husband and I adopted our beautiful daughter. I can not put into words the love and appreciation we have for her birthmother. I am grateful that our daughter came to us through adoption… It really was such a miraculous experience. As she gets older the desire to expand our family grows. I long to be able to provide my Boo with a brother or sister, but I physically can’t. It seems as if pregnancy and babies are all around me. In a 12 month time period I will be an aunt four times. Each of these babies are a miracle and my sisters and sister in laws are (or will be) the best moms. It seems like neighbors, friends, and extended family are being blessed with pregnancies. Most of the time I am OK with the cards we have been dealt. I have an illness that requires me to be on medication that could potentially harm a fetus, so being infertile is a good thing, right? (sense the sarcasm tinted with humor?) It is so easy to want to throw myself pity parties. I hate being asked by others when we are going to have another child or told we will only be the parents of one. I hate being the last one to know when a friend or family member is pregnant because they don’t know what to say. And I especially hate seeing children born and later are abused and neglected.
Life is full of inequality, isn’t it?
Those who know my little family may also know that my husband is attending a local university. After firmly deciding NOT to go to college awhile ago (gasp! I know!! A teacher’s worst nightmare!) he went back to school last year and will walk away with his BA in math this spring. I am SO proud of him. Not only does he go to school full time, but he financially supports our family with a full time job. And he has three calling in church. He does a lot for us! And I wanted to do something special for him, in return.
Then the idea came.
After spending 25 days counting down to Christmas, I thought…why not count down to graduation? There are only 15 weeks in a semester. 15 weeks until graduation. It wil be here and gone before you know it! We have recently had a family restaurant night that you may have read about in a previous post. It was SO much fun! My daughter put on her princess shoes, brought her purse, and was daddy’s special dinner date for the evening. I decided that our special countdown to graduation would be a special weekly daddy/daughter dinner at various restaurants. Of course we would be eating at home, but we would bring in the atmosphere (as well as the menu) from each of our restaurants.
Last week, at our first official restaurant experience, we recreated a local pizza parlor. The menu was our favorite pizza, root-beer in a pitcher, yummy garlic bread, and either a chef or garden salad. The dessert menu consisted of our favorite doughnuts from a nearby bakery.
glancing over the menus
My daughter gave me a penny from her wallet for the meal.
It was the best penny I ever earned
It had all the appeal as if we had actually paid money to visit these locations, with all the convenience of being at home. And we still get a fun daddy daughter date night in each week since my husband is on a very busy schedule (we see him two nights of the work week while he works from home- the other three days we don’t see him at all!)
It has been a lot of fun so far- one down, fourteen more to go!
I had the opportunity to do a blog review for CSN stores
recently. My daughter is REALLY into pretend playing restaurant and store- so I thought a cash register would be the perfect tool!
I ordered the learning resource pretend and play teaching cash register. I chose this because of the educational tools it offered- a coin recognition slot to be precise. I took it out of the box and was really impressed with the size of the buttons and the overall look and feel of the toy. However, the cash register was not recognizing coins correctly. I contacted CSN stores and was able to receive another cash register. My daughter LOVES it! However, she loved on it a little too much and we were again struggling with the coin recognition slot working correctly. After taking it completely apart, my hubbie was able to sorta fix it…. it recognizes coins with about 95% accuracy. All in all, a great toy for kids- the coin recognition educational aspect is great in theory, but the register’s coin slot is not as durable as I would like. However, working with CSN was great and because I received the toy for only a few dollars, I am not complaining! And if you don’t care whether or not the slot will tell you if you have inserted a penny or a nickel, then this is a great pick for you!
CSN stores contacted me and allowed me to donate the first cash register that I had ordered. The next day I happened to hear of a family who lost both their jobs and was able to use it for Christmas. The Lord works in mysterious ways!
Good news for all you homeschooling parents out there. In case you didn’t know, YOU can order from scholastic book clubs! Why would anyone want to do that? You get books at exceptional deals! I recently bought 12 books for $13! I am doing a literacy 12 days of Christmas project for my daughter and her cousin and needed to get some cheap Christmas books. (I will be posting more on this later). I was not disappointed by the price, quality, or selection!
Just go to Scholastic’s home page and create a teacher account. After you place your order, the books can be mailed directly to your home. As a home teacher and an enormous book fan, this site is great! Getting the paper book club forms bring back memories of my teaching days… 🙂 but of course you can order books online without the form as well!
It is so nice to have one thing done from my Christmas list! For all you bloggers- if you post your Shutterfly card on your blog or webpage, you will get a $25 gift certificate! Wahoo!
Holly Jolly Christmas Card
I finally updated my blog theme- it isn’t 100% what I want, but I am in such a time crunch lately! I don’t know about you all, but I am sitting in a pile of curriculum just WAITING for it to magically come together- actually, the hardest thing is deciding WHAT to teach. These little ones of ours are sponges soaking in everything we teach them. But it is my goal to get the new year curriculum posted, as well as potty trainers 101 (devoted to us, the trainers, in our child’s potty experience, kid friendly recipes, and more! 🙂
I am finally posting! Wahoo! This has been a summer full of vacations, sleeping in, and working (gotta love those jobs!). The teacher inside me LOVES this time of year- back to school gear, new curriculum, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils… August is my January. It is the time of year that my spirit is rejuvenated for the following year. All you crazy teachers out there might understand what I am saying!
I am going to be typing up a few posts this week about our “super work” toddler curriculum plans, fun activity days in August, hooked on phonics, and children’s’ beauty pageants. Stay tuned! And as always, Happy Teaching!!!
We have been doing learning trays every week. As some of you know, my daughter calls it her “super work.” (I believe I have Dora’s Super Map episode to thank for this!) Here are what we have recently worked on!
piano- first thing we do during learning time
light blue tray (religion tray)- coloring pages of Adam and Eve and the Tower of Babel (did not do- we will try this next week)
purple tray (math)- hippopotamus tangram activity
dark blue tray (alphabet)- stamp uppercase letters on the lowercase letter activity page
yellow tray (tracing)- trace first page of the Tracing Kumon workbook in a sheet protector. My Boo loves this! Yay for Kumon!!
red tray (early skills)- page from the Let’s Cut Paper Kumon workbook. Cutting is a skill we are still developing!
pink tray (art)- sort shades of purple from lightest to darkest (did not interest my Boo at all- we will try this activity in a few months)
(name)- use stickers to spell her name
piano- first thing we do during learning time
light blue tray (religion tray)- coloring pages of Adam and Eve and the Tower of Babel (from last week)
purple tray (math)- recognize numerals: spin the number spinner and jump that many times over the matching colored bean bag
dark blue tray (alphabet)- place lowercase stickers on uppercase letter activity page
yellow tray (tracing)- use a pencil to trace first page of the Tracing Kumon workbook, do second page of the Tracing Kumon workbook in a sheet protector. I also printed a letter T tracing page and she has already done this one successfully! Boo can now draw lollipops and t’s!
red tray (early skills)- cat page from the Let’s Cut Paper Kumon workbook.
pink tray (art)- since my daughter LOVES the book There’s a Nightmare in My Closet, I thought it would be fun to make a nightmare using material, yarn, googly eyes, and pom poms!!
green tray (name)- use my label machine to type and print Boo’s name
I recently went through ALL my children’s books for a community service project. It was hard- VERY HARD- to do, but my attic is lighter and the local elementary school is now enjoying over 300 books.
Don’t feel too bad for me though- we still have all these tubs full of books (that are not always stored in the kitchen),
plus my leveled reading book tubs, my upper grade picture book tubs, AND all the books in Boo’s room, playroom, kitchen cupboard (yes I do have a kitchen cupboard full of children’s books! How pathetic am I?)
p.s. Boo’s newest favorite book: There’s a Nightmare in My Closet. We just can’t get enough of it!
Did you ever have one of those afternoons, when you accidently fell asleep while reading to your tot just to have them wake you up fifteen minutes later to proudly show you this:
Yes, my daughter thought it a good idea to lick the frosting and sprinkles off all our cupcakes. While it wasn’t the BEST choice she could have made, I thought it funny enough to take a pic to remember. Life would be so different without all the sprinkles and frosting that make it so sweet.