Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Little Things Thursdays: #84

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. Special Education Teachers are Brave
Handing Elijah a pile of shaving cream and telling him to have fun with it is totally not my idea of a good time. Yet, all of the sped teachers do this activity with their students. You give everyone an apron and a big pile of shaving cream, and let them explore it as a sensory activity. The kids love it! But I can't imagine trying to wipe down 12-17 kids after. Holy moley!

Let me tell you though, those tables are CLEAN when they are done!

2. Ellie...and Some Really Big Shoes
Elijah decorated these shoes last year as part of a class project. Then they came home in his backpack. For months, they have been floating around our house as different kids wear them. I keep almost throwing them away, but these are the most favorite dress-up accessory that we own. And I don't know why! We have a whole TUB of dress-up clothes and shoes, and yet these ginormous men's shoes with paint on them that the teacher found at a thrift store are the highlight.

Why do I bother buying these kids anything to play with?!

3. Caleb's Cardiology Follow Up
There is really nothing to say here. His follow up went GREAT! The coils are where they need to be, his blood flow is perfect....he got a clean bill of health! One more follow up in six months, and he will officially be DISCHARGED from cardiology! So excited when we finally reach that day!

4. Ishum Family Dinner
Sean's grandparents, aunt, and cousins drove in from Illinois for the weekend a couple of weeks ago. We had a big family dinner so that we could all visit, and the kids had a grand time getting to know their cousins, Christian and Gabriel. I also figured out how to work the timer on the camera to snap this photo of all of us!

5. Frozen Pajamas
Abby and Ellie
I have seen Frozen so many times now that I can watch the whole movie in my head while I'm asleep. This movie is crazy popular at our house! All of our kids love it, but Abby and Ellie especially identify with it. Ellie likes to point out that she's Elsa (Ellie/Elsa...get it?) and Abby is Anna (same concept Abby/Anna). And they are sisters just like Ellie and Abby are sisters.

IT'S MEANT TO BE!!!
Lol! So my friends on FaceBook know that we have a Frozen obsession over here. Last week, Stephanie who is a real life friend and a blogger from Moments That Take My Breath Away, emailed me that her daughter had grown out of her Frozen pajamas...and would we like them?

The level of joy reached new heights in this house when the girls got out of the bathtub and saw their surprise pajamas. There was singing. There was dancing. There were multiple impromptu hugs because it had *finally* happened. There was even a little gazing into the mirror to verify that the pajamas were, in fact, real. They were officially Princess Elsa and Princess Anna (Elsa is a princess at our house).

How hard is it to get them ready for bed right now? Let's just say that Ellie's first request when I picked her up from school this week was, "Can I go home and wear my Elsa pajamas??"
Abby and Ellie

6. Young Living August Order
 Well, our CSA plan didn't quite work out this summer, so I don't get to share our produce bags with you...but at least I get to share my monthly haul from Young Living! It's my favorite day of the month! I try to get something new each month, just to explore the different options they have.

This month, I got a bottle of Thieves cleaner, and I LOVE it! It takes anything off of the counters, and it's so concentrated that a capful will work for a whole spray bottle of water. I even took in some of the cleaner to my kids' teachers and they've commented that it works better than other cleaners they've tried.

I got the small bottle this month to see if I even liked it. Looks like I'll be getting the big bottle next month since I gave away so much of this one!

I'm also starting to prepare for cold and flu season. If you look in the photo, you'll see Di-Gize and Thieves. Di-Gize helps with vomiting/diarrhea/stomach aches and Thieves helps protect against germs. I'm trying to start collecting what I need now so that we are prepared come winter. I can't say that I'm looking forward to it this year, but at least I don't feel as helpless!

And then I got everything below for free as the August promo items with my orders. Supplements for bone and joint health, and two each of Eucalyptus Blue (respiratory oil), White Fir (great for muscles), and Peppermint (which does just about everything). I love grabbing the free stuff!

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 26, 2014

Beginning of the Year "Teacher Questionnaire" + Printable

I knew I wanted to do this when the kids started school, and I'm so glad that I did!

I don't know about you, but the mountain of paperwork that goes with having kids is staggering. I think we should all agree that giving birth to kids is more like giving birth to never-ending forms. Seriously. But one thing that I did appreciate about our latest round of paperwork from the school, was that the teachers wanted to know about our kids and what their strengths, struggles, and preferences are.
So I thought, why not return the favor?

I think it's pretty well known that teachers are underpaid for what they are asked to do. They buy a lot of supplies out of their own pockets and skip doing anything special for themselves. I learned this first hand during summer school. I took my kids to school one morning, got drink orders, then made a run to the Sonic Morning Drink Stop (or whatever they call it) for $1 large drinks. I think I ended up getting 10 drinks for $10, and it was one of the highlights of their week. Friends, they sent me thank you notes. Thank you notes because I went and got them a $1 drink to thank them for their hard work. If that's not humbling, I don't know what is.
So when school started back up this year, I knew I wanted to collect a little more info to have on hand. I gave all the teachers and paras in our four classrooms the same Teacher Questionnaire that included birthday, favorite drink, favorite snack, favorite color, and the open ended question of what would you do with an extra $10?

The replies have been really eye opening. It's given me some good ideas of things to keep an eye out for at consignment sales and in clearance aisles (for the classroom) and I now know that one para shares my love for Hot Tamales candy while another one is allergic to peanuts.
We have 4 teachers and 6 paras this year between our four kids. If all it takes to show these women how much we appreciate them is a box of provolone cheez-its, cool ranch doritos, and some fresh green grapes (all favorite snacks according to the papers they sent back), then I'm happy to surprise them one of these days.

Want to love a little more on your kids' teachers and paras this year? Please feel free to print out my Teacher Questionnaire to get some ideas! It's nothing fancy, but it's the perfect way to start building a relationship with them!

If you'd like the PDF version of the Teacher Questionnaire, you can find it here.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Meal Plan: 8/24-8/31


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: Yogurt, Peaches, Raisins, Graham Crackers, and random leftovers. :)
Monday: Leftovers. We had a bunch of leftovers from last week, so we finished them off tonight.
Tuesday: Stuffed Pizza
Wednesday: Jalapeno Cream Cheese Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Tossed Salad
Thursday: $0.50 Corndogs from Sonic (Nationwide Back to School Promo!), Tatertots from my oven
Friday: Pasta with Beef Sauce, Sauteed Green Beans, Biscuits
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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Letters from Dad: #17

(Once a month, I invite Sean to take over the blog and write a little note to our kids. I love that he is willing to leave little nuggets of wisdom for them to look back on when they are older!

Dear Children,

This month, you started your first full year of full-time preschool. Last year, you went half days, four days a week for a partial semester. This year, you are going full days, five days a week.

The school you are going to is so big compared to your old school. You all walked in, your little 3½-year-old-selves, like it was old hat. Daddy could not have been more proud and yet sad at the same time. Only 3½-years-old, and you little kids are already taking on the world. You kids are so awesome. I wish you could stay young forever and never have to know responsibility, but each day you will learn a little more and a little more.

Already, three of you are doing so well with using the potty. Yes, there are still accidents but you are rocking the whole potty thing. You kids are also doing so well with picking up your toys 70% of the time. And all of you are always so good about offering to help around the house. Caleb loves doing yard work with Daddy. Elijah likes to take the recycling out to the “bicycle man”. Ellie likes being a little “mommy” and helping with the laundry. Abby is always there to give out a hug, a smile, or a song.

I think of each of you throughout my day, and I just smile. All four of you make me so happy.

Love,

Daddy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Young Living Peace & Calming Essential Oil Giveaway

Okay! Y'all said that you were interested in essential oils, so we will continue doing giveaways for them! Every month, you can come back here and enter to win a bottle of oil to use in your own home. I bought an entire Everyday Oils Essential Oils Collection to giveaway on the blog so that's 10 months worth of giveaways right there!. This is the same set of oils (with the addition of Stress Away) that comes in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit, which is where I started.

I was going to wait awhile before offering Peace & Calming as monthly giveaway because it's one of my favs! I wanted to build up to it. But it's the first essential oil blend that I fell in love with, so I can't wait any longer! Plus, with school starting back and the anxiousness and stress that kids may feel dealing with that, I thought that a calming oil would be an appropriate choice for the "Back to School" season.
I love this blend, and for good reason! It has some really pretty citrus notes combined with the deeper notes of Ylang Ylang and Patchouli. It helps to relax and soothe tensions, and is an awesome blend to use at night while trying to fall asleep. And the scent is fantastic! Did I already mention that??

How do we use it in our home? Here are a few of the ways:

-Peace & Calming was the first oil that I used for sleep. I have a tendency to lie in bed while my mind goes a million different directions. I'm so jealous that my husband can just decide to "turn his brain off" and go to sleep. It just doesn't work that way for me. I use Peace & Calming behind my ears and on the inside of my wrists, and it shuts my brain down. I'm out like a light in 5 minutes. It's awesome! As a mom, every single minute of sleep counts!

-Anxiety has become one of those things that I deal with now that I have kids. One of the oils that I use to help combat that, before I need to pull out my Xanax, is Peace & Calming. When I feel an anxiety attack coming on, this oil is an important part of how I get back on top of it. I typically go all out in a situation like that and put it behind my ears, on the edges of my ears (never IN your ears!!!), on my temples, and on the inside of my wrists.

-I find Peace & Calming to be great for stress relief when I diffuse it. Even though it knocks me out at night, it doesn't make me tired at all when I need to be awake. Just calm, relaxed, and happy.

-This is one of the oils that I use with my kids when their sensory issues are on overdrive. It helps them calm back down quickly. Storytime at the library? A trip to the zoo? Yeah, Peace & Calming is in my bag, for sure!

-It was the key oil that I used in the hospital when Caleb was coming out of surgery and was super combative. Even with the anesthesia working through his body, Caleb responded well to Peace & Calming, and we were able to keep him from thrashing too much and moving his blood clot.

-Another benefit? It helps with headaches too!

Peace & Calming does so many more things besides just helping with depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It can also help regulate blood pressure and balance hormones. Plus...it just smells really, REALLY good!

Seriously, I've been sitting here sniffing it while writing this post. :)

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a chance to score your own bottle of Young Living Peace & Calming Essential Oil!

It's important to note that I use Young Living Essential Oils with my family. Not all oil brands are created equally and many can cause problems to worsen if they are not true, 100% essential oils. Even if the label says "100% pure" they are only required to have 5% essential oils in them per regulations. Please visit this link for more info on why we chose Young Living and how we believe it is the best, most effective, and most affordable essential oil option out there. 

But first...
If you don't have your starter kit yet, you need one! I pulled this bottle of Peace & Calming straight from the oil set in the starter kit, and if you think this oil is neat with all that it does, you should see what the other 10 oils in the kit do! Head here to get the details on the Premium Starter Kit and the extra $40 Welcome Kit that I like to send to new oilers for free! I've had some people messaging me to find out what exactly is in the free $40 Welcome Kit, so I took a few photos:

Yeah, it's pretty awesome! :)

~Giveaway!~
Would you like to win some Peace & Calming oil to use in your home? I'll be sending one winner a 5ml bottle of Young Living Peace & Calming Essential Oil to use and enjoy! Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. 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 Tuesday, September 2nd. The winner(s) will be randomly chosen and contacted by email, and will have 48 hours to respond to the email with their information so that the prize can be forwarded to them. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States. This giveaway is not endorsed by Young Living Essential Oils and is solely sponsored and administered by A Beautiful Ruckus. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

The information contained in these posts are for educational and entertainment purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques discussed are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. Please do your own research and make your own informed decisions when you are considering lifestyle and health changes. Particularly if you are pregnant, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a doctor before starting any new protocol. Any links leaving this site are the opinion of the author of those sites and should be treated with the same caution as what you read here. This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

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.
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