Round It Up – A Round Up for 7/14/16

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Round It Up - A Round Up

I love to periodically round up the interesting things that I come across to share or discuss. As always, inclusion on the list does not mean endorsement, just that I found it interesting and worth reading, and I’ve broken them down into categories. I’d love for you to comment your thoughts on anything or leave a link of your own to something that you think is worth reading today. Today I’ve found 21 excellent things to include in a wide variety of categories! Enjoy this round up! 🙂

Food

Revolutionary Blueberry Cherry Muffins

Meal Planning Tips to Save You Money

Tips for Freezer Cooking so You Won’t Get Soggy Noodles and Black Potatoes

44 Easy Dinners That Don’t Use the Oven

Current Events

Tensions Between Police and Blacks Are Likely to Worsen, Obama Says

Cleveland’s Police and Courts Prepare for Unruly Visitors

Republican Officials Brace for Chaos at Convention

Senate Approves Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction Crisis

I’m a While Mom Raising Three Black Children, and Here’s What I Mean When I Say Black Lives Matter

Why the prognosis for all Aleppo’s children – sick or healthy – is grave

Rio mayor wants Pokemon Go played at Olympics

Deals/Giveaways/Freebies

All About Reading – Level of Choice Giveaway

Free Redbox Movie Rental

Family Fun Magazine for $4.95 a Year (I subscribe to this magazine and love it!)

Have you checked out my Motivated Moms review and giveaway yet? Find out why it’s my favorite chore system and enter to win your own!

Free Aquafina Sparkling Water Product Coupon

Free Ebooks: Be Available, 101 Quick & Easy Cupcake and Muffin  Recipes, Time Management, plus More!

Humor

Stubbing Monkeys

Health

Mom Aims to Raise Awareness After Dental Accident Costs Part Of Her Vision

People Doing Good Around the World

Aussie’s ‘fun idea’ inspires a movement

Kids

Cat Coloring Pages for Kids

Which link did you find the most helpful or interesting? 

Impress Them On Your Children – Deuteronomy 6:7

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Deuteronomy 6:7 - "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Am I making an impression? Do they really listen? Am I having a positive effect on them? These are things I wonder all the time. I wonder them in many areas of parenting, but as you may have guessed from Deuteronomy 6:7 up there, today I am talking about littles and faith.

It’s not hard to understand why I wonder these questions. Sometimes, in the day to day of it, it’s hard to see the big picture through the momentary frustrations. And if you’ve ever been to church with small, antsy children, you might wonder if they are even hearing or learning anything at all. You might wonder if the messages about God’s grace and forgiveness and salvation are being listened to or if they’re just going in one ear and out the other.

I know I’ve wondered. Some days I wonder if my kids even know the meaning of sit still. And I’m sure that everyone in church must be aware of their antics. (They’re probably not. Once again, I fall into the trap of thinking that people are thinking about me way more than they actually are.) Some days I cry in the car on the way home from church because it feels like the kids will never learn how to sit still and not fight with each other in the middle of church.

And I know, I know it’s their ages and that Allen, especially is still super little. And I know that this is something that will get better with time (bigger picture) but in the moment, that doesn’t necessarily make it feel any easier. In the moment, it still feels very hard.

So anyways, I wonder all of this. And it’s not just about church I wonder – I wonder when we read Bible stories if they really understand what they mean or when I talk about God if they really understand that. I want and try to do what Deuteronomy 6:7 talks about – talking about God’s word in our life no matter where we find ourselves. Weaving it into every area of our lives.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, when they get older.  You start to realize that yes, God is making an impression on their little hearts. And then, when I watch Dominic, I really understand what it means to have a childlike faith in a way that I couldn’t understand when I was still a child. I see his enthusiasm to want to talk to Jesus. I see his desire to praise Him when he makes up little songs about God (Song prayers, he calls them). I see that something is clicking when he says that Jesus died to forgive our sins. I even see glimpses in Allen, who has learned to say Amen. Not a huge deal, but it shows he is paying attention, he is observing. I’m grateful to God, that He gives me these moments of small encouragements.

When you baptize your child, you are putting your faith in God, in the Holy Spirit, that He will work faith in your child’s heart. But I admit, I struggle with seeing the big picture in the moment of weakness – Satan whispers in my ear that they aren’t really learning anything. Or worse yet, he whispers that I am a failure, that I am not doing enough, that I’ll never do enough to impress the Word of God on their hearts. But these are lies, from the father of lies. While it’s true I’m not perfect, God’s word is powerful enough to overcome my human imperfections and it never returns to Him empty.

So, I will choose to continue impressing these things on my children, imperfect as I may be, because the Word of God? It’s bigger than me. And I’m so, so glad for that.

Is this a struggle for you? What are some ways that you impress God’s word on your child(ren)’s heart(s)? 

Picture from Stockvault.net. I edited it to add Deuteronomy 6:7. 

So, What’s Your Dream Job?

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The question “So, what’s your dream job?” in and of itself is innocent enough. And I don’t blame people around me for asking. Everyone’s curious and I think the assumption is that pretty much nobody is working in their dream job.

I have typically said in the past that my dream job would be working at a newspaper or working for a non-profit helping people. And while neither of those are false, I would love doing those things, I have come to realize they’re not 100 percent accurate.

But my real answer never felt good enough.

Because truth is, I love being a stay at home mom. I don’t mean it in like an “every moment is perfect” kind of way, because it certainly isn’t. There are moments that are hard. And moments where I want to quit and throw in the towel.

But wouldn’t every dream job be like that? No job is perfect and every job takes hard work. I know that people who did great and amazing things with their lives faced a lot of setbacks along the way. I mean, Marie Curie accomplished a lot of great things in her life and she ultimately died because of them, because of her exposure to so much radiation.

But sometimes what I am doing feels too mundane to be my dream job, feels too ordinary. I remember when I was in college and was first pregnant and I got some comments that I had so much potential that I was wasting by being “just” a mom. So then when I really started to enjoy being a mom, I sort of kept it inside. This wasn’t good enough to be my dream right? I wasn’t even sure I wanted this dream. I know it wasn’t the thing I dreamed about when I was a kid.

But this is the truth. I love being a mom. The good, the bad, the ugly. Well, maybe not the ugly. Maybe I don’t love every moment. And maybe sometimes it is hard. And it’s not perfect. And sometimes I send Nick a text that says, “I quit.” I’m only human. But most of the time, I love what I do. And that’s good enough for me.

This is not to say that everyone should love it. I know being a stay at home mom is not for everyone. That’s okay too. We are all gifted differently and we are all different people. Lots of people have a dream job that I would never enjoy. Like I would never want to be a veterinarian. So not my thing. But there are people for whom that is their thing. Great for them, not for me.

Being a mom is my thing. And I’m going to embrace it.

What’s your dream job? 

Me and my boys, just an every day in my dream job

 

Why I Quit Potty Training

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Why I quit potty training

Potty training. It seems sometimes like it’s on your mind from the moment they are born, when you’re changing a million diapers a day and you’re like, “I can’t wait until this kid potty trains so I don’t have to change diapers anymore.” But I’m here to tell you that I am a potty training quitter. Yup, I said it. I quit potty training. Read on to find out why I quit potty training.

It seems around age 2 the pressure starts to build. People start asking you about it, other kids around you start doing it, and it suddenly feels like if you’re not doing it too, you’re missing the boat and your kid is never going to potty train or that if you “miss your window” it will be enormously difficult.

So, all of those forces combined for me to try potty training Dominic when he was 2 1/2. It was a disaster. We were having no success and it was stressing me out terribly. I felt like I couldn’t successfully prevent Dominic from having an accident and take care of Allen, who was still little and nursing a lot. But everything I had read told me that once I had started, I couldn’t stop or he would never learn to potty train!

Thankfully, some friends helped convince me that it was okay to quit. That it was stressing me out too much to continue and that he would eventually get it and we were not doomed to a life of diapers if he didn’t potty train that instant.

So I quit. And I felt at first like a failure. Even though my friends assured me that I was not a failure. But it’s not like I have a crystal ball – or even a magic 8 ball – that could tell me how this would all work out in the future.

But I am pleased to say that after Dominic was 3 we tried again and it was completely different. It was a breeze because he was ready and if I could go back in time, I would just wait until he was ready and save us both the stress of trying to do it just because everyone else was doing it and not because he was ready.

Every day, we all face pressures around us to do things a certain way or for our kids to be doing things a certain way or at a certain time because other kids around them are. Or because of something you read. Or because of a comment someone else made to you. It’s okay to do it in your own way and your own time. I need to repeat this to myself about 50 times a day, at least, but it truly is okay.

I wrote this today, because I wish I had read something, anything like this that said quitting potty training was okay and that you weren’t dooming your kid to a lifetime of diapers! But I think there are broader points here, that sometimes it is okay to quit and that knowing your limits and knowing when to step back is a valuable skill to have. I was glad I quit potty training! Have you ever quit something and were glad you quit? 

Photo Credit: Scott SM via Compfight cc Photo altered to add text.

Guess Who Loves You Song

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Dominic makes up little songs all the time. And sometimes, I wonder, where did he get this from? Then I catch myself singing a song that I’ve made up and I’m like, Oh, me, hahaha.

This one is a simple song that I improvised to a common melody. I love it and sing it to them and I thought that other people might love it and sing it to their kids as well.

You sing it to the melody of “Are You Sleeping?” or alternatively titled, “Frere Jacques.”

Guess who loves you? Guess who loves you?
Mommy does. Mommy does.
She will always love you. She will always love you.
Every day. Every day.

This song can easily be altered to be about any two-syllable name – daddy, Jesus, grandma, grandpa, opa, opa, so on and so forth and the pronoun I can easily be changed to he or she was well.

I feel sometimes with songs that reading the words is just not enough. Sometimes I read them and it’s like, “Sung to the tune of x” and I’m like “Uhhhh, I don’t know x in the first place!” So I’ve included a short video of myself singing the song.

A Day in Our Homeschool Life – Feb. 25th, 2016

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Every once in a while, I just like to share some pictures from our homeschool life. I just like to mix it up a lot and scatter from topic to topic on my blog sometimes. True story, it goes against all the blogging advice out there, but it makes me happy, so I’m going to stick with it.

In our homeschool, we’re working through a curriculum called God’s Little Explorers. We’re currently on week 22, P is for Pig! Here are some pictures below of Dominic coloring his pig nose (you can’t tell in the pictures very well that it’s pink) and counting out popcorn kernels to put in the corresponding cupcake wrappers.

P is for pig collage

Man, lately whenever I take pictures, I look at them like “My baby looks so old!” I can’t believe he’s almost four! Does this happen to anyone else? Haha.

Circus by Lois Ehlert Story Exploration

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Today we’ll be exploring Circus by Lois Ehlert. (Disclaimer: This and other links found within may be affiliate links, of which I will get a small portion of the funds if you buy from Amazon.) 

Circus by Lois Ehlert Discussion Questions/Summary  

Circus is a fun book! Narrated by the ringmaster, it goes through different acts in the circus, giving you a minor circus feel in your own home.

  1. What was your favorite circus act? Why?
  2. If you were in a circus, what job would you want to have?
  3. If you’ve ever been a real circus, it would be great to compare and contrast what you read in the book with what you saw at the real circus.

Science

PBS has a great physics of circuses section that I recommend checking out!

Math

There are ample opportunities to use this book for simple counting. You could count all the acts, you could count the number of people in some of the acts, count all the people all together.

We also used our snack for this unit to practice patterns. Some of the snacks they mention during the intermission are peanuts and popcorn. So Dominic and I used them to practice simple patterns. ABA, ABBA, AAB, etc.

Making Patterns Out of Popcorn and Peanuts

Arts and Crafts

The style of Circus is all in shapes. So, in light of this, we cut out shapes and made pictures with them – circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. I traced a group of shapes for Dominic to cut out and then he could glue them how he desired. I made one as well of a face.

Circus Shape Art

Music

I found this great video of some of the music that you typically hear associated with circuses. It would be great to play this for your child, maybe even in the background as you read Circus, to help give that circus feel while you read in your announcer voice. Listening to this music while blogging really got me in the mood! You could also attempt whistling Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars, like one of the acts in the book does.

History

I really struggled to find some circus history that would be approachable to a preschool aged child. It’s not a subject I’m extremely well-versed in enough to tell Dominic some history of on my own, but at the same time, he loves non-fiction right now so I really wanted to include something. I found this book Pictorial History of the American Circus by John and Alice Durant. We looked at some of the pictures in this book – Dominic especially loved the ones of the people jumping over elephants. Now, I will say this though. This is a huge book. It is also a book meant for adults. It goes quite far back in its history and you may not feel it is all appropriate for your child, depending on their age. But there are certainly many interesting pictures in the book and it may be worth your while to peruse the book and bookmark a few pages that you can share with your child.

Field Trip

The field trip option for this is pretty self-explanatory, but if you can, go to a real circus! Or there are circus museums as well – including one right here in Wisconsin.

Gross Motor Game

This is a great opportunity to practice your “circus skills.” Find a 2×4 and use it as a beginner’s balance beam. If your kids are big enough, you could help them build a human pyramid. Miss Eunice leads her marching snakes, so we also took turns pretending to be Miss Eunice and then pretending to be her snakes, slithering on the ground.

Movie/TV Tie-Ins

Netflix has several circus themed shows or episodes available. Toby’s Traveling Circus is a delightful show that you could definitely watch. Of course there is Dumbo. Dumbo was my favorite movie as a child growing up, but watching it as an adult, it is definitely not as innocent as it seemed. Clifford Season 1, episode 9 deals with the circus. Justin Time Season 2, episode 10 (the second half) deals with the circus. Peg + Cat Season 1, episode 4 deals with the circus.

I hope you enjoyed our second story exploration of Circus by Lois EhlertI’d love to hear your ideas for this book or suggestions of other books you’d like to see covered as well! 

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