Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Little Things Thursdays: #83...Back to School Edition!

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?

We are changing up Little Things Thursday this week! Instead of doing my normal numbered highlights, I'm going to share some photos of our first day back to school. It was the highlight of the week for ALL of us, so I think it's fair that it's on Little Things Thursday!
Abby, Elijah, Ellie, and Caleb


Caleb and his teacher, Mrs. Pena

Caleb was (very happily for us!) placed in a classroom this year with one teacher and two paras. Most classrooms are one teacher and one para. The new special needs process coordinator came to find us this morning and introduced herself. She had read over Caleb's IEP paperwork and our concerns thoroughly over the summer, and let us know that she purposely placed him in a classroom with an extra para. She was so kind and let us know that we could contact her at any time with concerns, and she would work with us to make sure that Caleb has the best shot. At this point, we chose not to share his diagnosis because we don't want him to be labeled in the school district, but we are really appreciating their sensitivity to his needs and our concerns with how they placed him this year. We will greatly miss Miss Mary, his teacher from last year, but I have a really good "mommy gut feeling" about Mrs. Pena after meeting her. Mrs. Pena and at least one of the paras are experienced special education teachers. I'm feeling optimistic about all of it right now, and praying this ends up being a big year for Caleb with big strides toward his goals.


Miss Sarah and Abby

Abby is back with her Miss Sarah and Miss DeAnn this year! She refers to them as "hers." We went to the school for "Meet the Teacher" last night, and Miss DeAnn walked out into the hall as we were trying to find out way around. She crouched down, threw her arms out, and yelled, "There's my girls!" and Abby and Ellie took off at a dead run to give her hugs. :) Yeah, it totally made me tear up! While Abby was with Miss Sarah and Miss DeAnn for the school year and summer school, Ellie was only with them for summer school. Unfortunately, in spite of the requests that Miss Sarah and Miss DeAnn made on our behalf, the school district wouldn't allow both girls back in the same classroom for the regular school year. But at least they were able to get Abby back! We seriously love these sweet teachers and the way they look out for all of our kids. Especially, Miss DeAnn. She considers our kids to be practically hers while they are at school, and that does SO much for my comfort level. I joked with her today that I was going to write her down on school paperwork as my emergency contact, and she was all for it. :)


Elijah and Miss Brittany

Elijah had Miss Brittany and Miss Kelsy for summer school since they co-taught a classroom for that month. Both teachers really wanted him back in their separate classrooms for the school year, but Miss Kelsy told me that Miss Brittany won. LOL! I love that these ladies love our kids! It's SO wonderful to have Miss Brittany's familiar face in Elijah's classroom and know that he is in good hands and is actually WANTED as a student! 


Ellie and Miss Kelsy

Ellie loved her teacher from the last year, but Miss Jessica had to move on to another position. We spent all summer wondering how Ellie would end up with this year. We requested to have her placed with Abby in Miss Sarah and Miss DeAnn's classroom, but that was denied by the district. However, we feel very blessed that she ended up with Miss Kelsy! When Miss Kelsy lost out on Elijah, she started pulling for at least one of our kids in her room...and ended up with Ellie! Ellie and Miss Kelsy seemed to connect right away, and the match looks like a great one! I know Ellie will do well in her classroom!

What can I say? God is good and is taking care of the details even when it seems like everything is up in the air. We are excited for our new school year and hope to make some huge steps in our therapies over the coming months.

Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Meal Plan: 8/17-8/24


If you are looking for some of the strategies that help us decide what to eat every week, make sure you check out our Meal Tip Series!

Sunday: Popcorn, NatureBox Snacks, and Leftovers
Monday: Chicken Tikka Masala, Tumeric Rice with Peas (this meal is AMAZING!!!)
Tuesday: Sub Sandwiches, Southwest Salad
Wednesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches, French Fries
Thursday: Chicken and Cheese Ravioli, Salad, Bread
Friday: Homemade Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Saturday: Leftovers

What is on your menu this week? Leave me some inspiration!
This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Back to School Snacking with NatureBox


School starts back up on Wednesday!

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little excited at the prospect of a couple of hours all to myself! With so many kids learning to use the potty, I am spending all of my time emptying potty seats and handing out M&Ms. That means that NOTHING else in my house is getting done.

Plus, my kids have been begging to go back to school, so I think all of us are very ready for Wednesday to come.  Let's just hope that we can keep that excitement going all year long!

One very BIG change this year, is that the state of Missouri has increased preschool from half a day to a full day. I'm still deciding how I feel about that...hmm....but the kids really need their therapies, so I'm hoping that this is a good move. Especially for Caleb.

But what that means is that my time with them everyday is shortened. They will eat lunch at school, but snack time when they get home is on me, and I want to make it special!
This last week, NatureBox sent our family one of their boxes. They have a monthly subscription service that you can sign up for, and they will send 5 full-sized packages of snacks of your choosing from their NatureBox Snack Catalog, or you can choose to let them surprise you! Since they let me pick our five snacks, I decided to ask for a few items that looked particularly yummy:

-Carrot Strawberry Fruit Chews
-Honey Crunch Crisps
-Sunshine Chips
-Lemon Pucker Pistachios
-Cranberry Almond Bites

I wanted to try a selection of salty and sweet snacks to see what they tasted like. They ended up being really good!
Every Sunday night, we keep dinner really simple and just do snacky type things. Tonight, I opted to feed the kids yogurt and offered them the NatureBox snacks to see what they thought. Hand's down, the most popular among our kiddos were the Carrot Strawberry Fruit Chews and the Honey Crunch Crisps. Sean and I tried everything as well. We really enjoyed the variety, but Sean's favorite were the Lemon Pucker Pistachios, and I can't decide between the Cranberry Almond Bites or the Honey Crunch Crisps. So good!
Clockwise from top left: Abby, Ellie, and Elijah (Caleb wasn't feeling well)

All that to say, there was definitely something for everyone in the box, and it made for a fun Sunday night snack-themed dinner! And since they are all small pieces and easy to eat with fingers, they would make great snacks for after school errands or if we come home and just want something easy to snack on until dinner. Even better, I really like that all of the 100+ snack choices are nutritionist approved and contain only wholesome ingredients with no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. Healthy AND tasty snacks? That's awesome!
And, I wouldn't be surprised if NatureBox snacks make an appearance at future Sunday night dinners. Since I can change up our snack choices every month, I know the family won't get bored, and I'll still get my night off from cooking!



Fine Crumbs: Promotion is good for 50% off your first month to month box or $10 off your first box in your first prepaid subscription. New and US subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.”

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just Between Friends Consignment Sales...Time to Start Shopping for Christmas!

This is a sponsored post by Real Mom Media and Just Between Friends. Thank you for supporting our family and our blog! As always, all opinions and words are entirely my own.

This is your official notice! The fall consignment sale season starts NEXT WEEK!

The fall sales are always a really big deal for our family. Not only am I shopping for winter clothes and shoes, I'm also doing all of my Christmas shopping and birthday shopping at the fall sales. The next sales don't come around until after the kids' birthday, so I really have to be strategic about how I shop.
Hand's down, Just Between Friends is my favorite place to do my Christmas and Birthday shopping. They have a huge selection of gently used toys that are in great condition. Honestly, I can't rationalize spending money on brand new items because the used ones are just as great! If I have $30 to spend on each kid for Christmas, I can get them 1 new toy or 4-5 used toys. It's kind of a no-brainer. In fact, I always encourage the kids' grandparents to shop the sales and save money on our kids as well.

And besides that, my kids would rather not wait for us to figure out how to take all of those plastic ties off of the new items in boxes.

So yeah, I know it's still August, but I already have Christmas on my brain. If you want to join me at one of the Just Between Friends sales in Kansas City, you can find details below. And if you don't live here, check their website for the sale nearest to you!

The Pavilion at John Knox Village
Open to the Public from August 22-24

Lee's Summit, Missouri -- Twitter Party
Wednesday, August 20th from 12pm-1pm CT
Use #JBFKC to follow along!
Lots of giveaways for front-of-the-line passes, and JBF Bucks!

Visit the Lee's Summit JBF FaceBook page for the pre-sale festivities!

Overland Park International Trade Center
Open to the Public from September 11th-14th

Overland Park, Kansas -- Twitter Party
Tuesday, September 9th from 8pm-9pm CT
Use #JBFKC to follow along!
MORE giveaways for front-of-the-line passes and JBF Bucks!

Visit the Overland Park JBF FaceBook page for the pre-sale festivities!

Shopping Tip! Click through to the JBF website for the sale you want to attend. They have tons of early admission passes for military, teachers, first time moms, even parents of multiples! They also have a schedule of when the consignment sale items start going on sale. Smart shoppers can be one of the first in the doors AND save even more by going back when items are marked down 50%!

So I have to ask, does anyone else out there start Christmas shopping this early? :)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Just Between Friends of Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. This program is in partnership with Real Mom Media (www.RealMomMedia.com).  All opinions are my own.For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Little Things Thursdays: #82

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?


1. Reverse Airplane
Abby and Daddy

During bath time on Sunday night, I looked over to see Daddy and Abby playing the airplane game together. Totally cracked me up! Abby is always telling us, "Abby strong!!!" I guess she really is!

2. I Hate Potty Training
Oh my gosh. Am I done yet? This potty training thing is for the birds! On top of potty training, I also have to protect the important things like...toilet paper. The water faucets. The urine.

The boys especially like to go in the bathroom to play in the water and pull all of the toilet paper off of the roll. You can't see it in the photo above, but there is water everywhere...and obviously toilet paper. It's not even the worst of it though! Caleb, for some strange reason, loves playing in everyone's pee. I have to be right on top of emptying our little potty chairs, or he baptises our whole living room with urine. It's unbelievably disgusting.

3. Storytime at the Library
Clockwise from left: Caleb sitting on the librarian's lap, Ellie helping her bunnies sit on their mat for storytime, Ellie and Elijah listening to The Gingerbread Man story

After storytime activity: Elijah, Ellie, and Abby playing with the flannel graphs

Well, we decided to give it another try today. I took the kids back to the library for preschool story time. We tried this last year, and it went horribly. Our awesome occupational therapist at the time, Debbie, went with us and said that it went well, but I don't call chasing 4 kids who are running around the library a good time.

Put we now have some structured preschool under our belts, and we are a year older, so I decided to find some courage and go back. It was just me and the kids today, and it actually went pretty well! Abby and Ellie were engaged in the storytime, and Elijah was a bit restless, but did pretty well. Caleb had a harder time with the disruption in his routine, and wasn't very happy with me, but he did eventually sit on the librarian's lap for a story. He was definitely ready to leave when it was over though!

But I'd say it was successful even with Caleb's issues. That's just kind of how it works for our family right now, so I expected it. I think my mental state probably helped the success of the day as well. :)

4. Bicycle Man
Elijah

Lately, one of Elijah's favorite activities is visiting the "bicycle man." He is always looking for a reason to head out to the garage for a visit, and it's nice to have a helper assist in cleaning up the kitchen. I guess he misunderstood us when we said, "recycling bin," and now it's just way too cute to correct his name for it. So now we all refer to it as the "bicycle man."


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

{Another} Little Critter Books Giveaway!

Almost a year ago, I had the opportunity to give away two Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer. I've always loved the Little Critter world that Mercer Mayer created. We had the books and old computer games while growing up, and I'll admit to quite a bit of nostalgia connected to the stories.

Happily, I get to host a Little Critter giveaway again this year! :)
We All Need Forgiveness is about learning to forgive others for the mistakes they make. Little Critter spills his mom's upside-down pineapple cake, and she forgives him, but Little Critter has a hard time forgiving others when they make mistakes. Instead, he is angry and mean to those around him. Until he makes a big mistake which costs everyone in his class a fun surprise. He learns that accidents happen and readily forgiving others makes life a lot more fun!

In Being Thankful, Little Critter wants a lot of stuff. Like everything he sets eyes on. (What parent hasn't experienced this?) Then he goes to the farm to visit his grandparents and gets a new perspective on the simple things in life and what it means to be thankful for what he already has.

The books are available in soft cover or as board books.

We All Need Forgiveness:   Flipbook    Product Link
In Being Thankful:             Flipbook    Product Link


~Giveaway~
Tommy Nelson is offering a copy of We All Need Foregiveness and Being Thankful to one A Beautiful Ruckus reader. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. The first tasks is not optional and must be completed to qualify for this giveaway. The additional entry tasks are optional. Winning entries will be validated prior to announcing the winner with an alternate drawn if the entries cannot be verified.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest ends at 11:59pm on Monday, August 18th. The winner(s) will be randomly chosen and contacted by email. The winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email with their information so that the prize can be forwarded to them. A Beautiful Ruckus is not responsible for the delivery of the prize and is not responsible if the sponsor does not deliver. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States. A Beautiful Ruckus received complimentary item(s) for review in exchange  for hosting this giveaway from Tommy Nelson. No other compensation was provided.  This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Meal Plan: 8/10-8/16


If you are looking for some of the strategies that help us decide what to eat every week, make sure you check out our Meal Tip Series!

Sunday: Popcorn, Granola Bars, Leftover Chicken, Chocolate Chip Cookies (Yeah, I know I won't be winning any "Mother of the Year" awards...)
Monday: Italian Casserole, Green Beans
Tuesday: Chicken and Artichokes, Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday: Lemon Blueberry Pancakes, Skillet Potatoes
Thursday: Bacon and Egg Burritos, Green Salad
Friday: Homemade Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Saturday: Leftovers

What is on your menu this week? Leave me some inspiration!
This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.
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