We are a group of 200+ homeschool bloggers that love to blog about homeschooling. We get the amazing chance to review homeschool products, and share how they work with our family.
If you have been around my blog for a while, you might remember that I was also a member of the crew back in 2011/12. However I stepped down because Wesley who I was homeschooling at the time transitioned to public school. Also to be honest I believe back then I was too green of a blogger and homeschooling mom to manage this responsibility to the level I needed to.
So now that I am homeschooling Zakari, and we are comfortable with the fact that we are going to be homeschooling for the long run, I decided to apply to be a member again. I feel now I am more experienced as a blogger to offer my readers a better review experience. However I still have lots to learn, but I’m walking into this endeavor with the heart of a student, ready to learn.
What can you expect from the reviews I share?
I hope to be able to give the point of view of a special needs mom. Using my position as a mom homeschooling a child with autism I can share how we have used these products, and what adaptations we may or may not have needed to make. With the numbers of autism families turning to homeschooling, I hope this will be a helpful point of view.
What Do I Hope To Gain From The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew?
As a blogger there are so many reasons why this is an amazing opportunity. And no its not about the free product. (But I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a nice perk.) But my two main reasons are:
I love the thought of working with experienced homeschool moms. My real life community of fellow homeschool mom’s is small, so this is a great way to get adult interaction and meet people who have been where I am. Even better to get the wisdom of mom’s who have been where I currently am.
Being a Crew Member is great way for my to start taking my blog more seriously. I have been wanting to take my blog to the next level for many years but just never have had the tools to do so. The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew requires me to take my blog as a career(I was going to say job, but that didn’t seem like the right wording). I’m not only required to write reviews, I’m also required to stay active and post at least once a week. With this new position, blogging has gone from a hobby to commitment. The only way to experience growth in any area is to be consistent.
I want to take the chance to thank the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew Leaders for selecting my application. Its an honor and a blessing to get the chance to work with their team.
(This is not a paid for article, we paid for our stay at the Canad Inns Grand Forks.)
Day In The Life
In the past I avoided doing a lot of “Day in the Life” of aka DITL. But then I started to think about this blog, and what I want from it. My blog is a place for me to share my journey. The regular DITL stuff is part of my journey. I learn so much about myself, my kids, autism,and what life means to me during those regular days.
I also learn a lot about my family and myself when we go away together. By blogging about this trip, it allows me to go back and see how far we have come. I hope to share more about our journey. I also hope by sharing I can help other autism mom’s along the way. Even if it is just seeing real life struggles happen to other mom’s and that your not alone,
Mama Can’t Stand When People Stop Her From Preparing
Wednesday we were suppose to spent cleaning the house and getting ready to leave for a long weekend away from home. But Wes and my dad went back to the hubby shop to get a part for his car then we went back to his place to hang out. Travis and I drove around and went out for lunch. Then I had to do some last minute running around. You know, make sure we had enough gluten free snacks for Z, pick up some raw cat food for my dad to feed the cats while we were gone, etc. We came home in time to make dinner. Next thing I knew my parents dropped Wesley back off at home and we had to leave to go pick up my stepdaughter.
I’m the first to admit I was stressed out. I wanted to have everything done early on and get to bed early. But as we came home from getting Chloe, it was time to get Z to bed. I was frustrated and anticipated a long night up finishing up the house. But while I did bedtime routine with Z, Travis and my big kids made sure the last bit of the house was picked up, which left me with only a few small things to do. I love that they are old enough to help out more. This meant I was able to get a good night sleep which I was so grateful for.
Mini Vacation: Grand Fork, North Dakota Here We Come.
Thursday morning we all piled in the van, made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s for coffee and headed south to North Dakota.We listened to an awesome Spotify playlist hubby had put together the night before. While waiting at the border, I’m sure the people waiting in line next to us must have thought we were crazy while we danced to the Village People’s YMCA.
After we crossed the border we stopped in the border town of Pembina, North Dakota. I had to stop at the parcel pick up service and get all the homeschool materials I had bought on eBay and some Facebook Homeschool Buy & Sell groups. It saves me so much money having them shipped there instead of to Canada. Look for a post in the future how I save money on curriculum this way.
We of course had to stop at the truck stop in Pembina for a washroom break. There my hubby with his sweet tooth grab us some American treats. Even though I am following Weight Watchers, I allowed myself to enjoy a few treats here and there. The big kids chowed down on some candies and chocolate while we jammed out to Disney Music.
Are We There Yet? YES!
Finally we made it to Grand Forks. We were too early to check in to the hotel, so we stopped in at Walmart.
School Supply Shopping
After we picked up some food for the hotel, I brought the kids to the school supply section. I had done most of their supply shopping the week before, there were a few things I knew I could get for cheaper, or better quality on our trip. The kids picked out there zipper binders, and I was sure to grab an extra to keep as a backup should one of their zippers break. They both wanted the fancier, aka more expensive ones. But they both managed to destroy their binders last year, so they got the cheaper ones with the promise if they take better care of their supplies we could splurge next year and get the fancier ones.
It is Just a Pencil… NO! Its a Ticonderoga
I was also able to get some My First Ticonderoga pencils for Zakari. Last year I based on a recommendation from Erica at My Busy Bees and Me, I order a box of these pencils. I searched high and low, at every store in Winnipeg, Canada I thought might carry them. But I came back empty handed. So I had to turn to the internet. They were expensive and the cost of shipping nearly put me in cardiac arrest. But in the end they are worth the cost.
So this year I decided I was going to look in the USA and try and avoid the extra cost if possible. I was able to find 2 packs for $1.50 a pack. Since I had paid over $1.50 a pencil last year, I bought a case at this price. For kiddos like little Z who have fine motor skill issues, these pencils are worth the cost. He has a much easier time keeping a proper pencil grasp with them.
Can You Say Chick fil A!!
It was still too soon to go check in, so we went to get lunch at my favourite American Fast Food joint Chick Fil A. Honestly it’s a blessing to my waistline and wallet we don’t have a location in Winnipeg. Little Z loves the fries and grilled nuggets there too. I swear I do the happy dance anytime I’m waiting in line at Chick Fil A. We also have to plan ahead for Z. He really can’t have many proteins at other restaurants when we are on the road. But of course it is closed Sundays. So we have to buy extra grilled nuggets on Saturday to put away for the next day. When we got to the window, I indulged in my Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and waffle fries. When it comes to Chick-fil-a I forget all about Weight Watcher. Afterwards we headed to the hotel.
Check In & Tim Horton’s
We arrived at the hotel 20 mins before check in. We decided we would try and check in on the off chance our room was ready. Of course it wasn’t, but they had us choose which theme room we wanted. Travis picked out the Circus room. The front desk staff said they would call the cleaning staff and have them clean that room next. After waiting for a few minutes we decided to go get some coffee at the American Tim Horton. They sure know how to roll out the red carpet for us Canadians in Grand Forks. Bringing us the comforts of home.
We came back about 30 mins later, and now it was after our actual check in time and our room still was not ready. Before I could even say anything, she handed us 5 free vouchers for the breakfast buffet. We waited about 15 or 20 more minutes and then we were give our key, and our package (3 pizza vouchers and passes for the water park). We made our first trip upstairs with our luggage, and the kids. Afterwards I went back down with the luggage cart and brought up all my parcels.
Box Day! Homeschooling Mom Simple Joys
While the kids picked their bunks, and Travis relaxed, I got down to business with all my boxes. I wish I had taken a picture. It was quite ridiculous actually. 16 packages, 3 were full curriculums(Two levels of Bookshark and 1 Calvert). I had to load up one of those luggage carts to get it all up to the room in one trip. The boxes had taken up the whole back trunk of the van and I knew it could be condensed into fewer boxes. I even brought a large clear tub to package all the chapter books I had purchased. Apparently I purchased more then I thought, because the container didn’t hold them all. Nothing is more fun for a homeschool mom then going through 16 packages of new curriculum and read aloud books.
Wishbone, Magic Tree House, Puppy Place, Kitten Corner, Bailey School Kids, Usborne early chapter books, the list goes on. It was so nice to be able to get all those books for a fraction of the cover cost.
Soon all the new and wonderful homeschooling materials were all packed up, and everyone else was rested up. Z was standing at the window that looked out into the pool area longingly, ready to get going. So once everyone was in their swimsuits we headed downstairs to explore the pool. We were just outside the pool doors when I was stopped by a woman. She asked how long we were staying and I told her till Sunday. She then handed me 2 free pizza vouchers that were to expire on the Saturday and asked me if our family would use them. They were leaving and didn’t want them to go to waste. We thanked her and told her we would make sure they were used.
We continued to head to the pool area. For being a hotel pool, it was awesome. There was a large climber with a huge bucket on the top that poured down on the kids every 10 minutes or so. If you were brave enough you could climb to the top of the structures and slide down one of the 2 fun slides, But not without the risk of getting doused in gallons of water. The structure also had switches and valves that allowed you to adjust the water flow from all the fountains and spouts.
And Then We Were Flushed…
Then there was the huge toilet bowl style water slide. Riders jump on a tube (either singles or pairs) and blast down a dark tunnel. In the middle of the slide you would go around and around like your being flushed down a toilet. After each round your tube gets turned this way and that way. You never know if your going down the bottom forward or backwards.
Once your sucked down the bottom you come splashing down into the lazy river and float off. Travis and the big kids loved this slide. I couldn’t even tell you how many times they went down.
Zakari on the other hand was not crazy about it. Travis took him down once and then he refused to go again. Whether this was a sensory thing because of his autism, or just a typical fear many kids his age have I don’t know. However our method stayed the same. We gently help him get out of his comfort zone. If afterwards he is still uncomfortable with it, we accept it and move on.
So every once in a while Travis or one of the big kids would come and watch Z for me so I could go down could enjoy the slide and lazy river too. I think the kids thought it was entertaining when I would scream while going down the dark tunnel to enter the toilet part of the slide.
Kids…. Enjoyment at their mother’s expense.
Kiddie Pool, Learning to Swim with Autism
The kiddie pool was beach entry style. It had a double slide, 3 spraying fountains, teeter totter and a single baby swing/jumper. This is the pool that also leads to and from the lazy river.
Zakari spent hours in this pool floating, sliding and playing on the other pieces available. Because he was able to touch the bottom of the pool, he felt comfortable practicing floating.
When it comes to learning to be comfortable in the water, I find that with Zakari, he needs to be in a safe zone where he can gently push himself. If we try to push him he panics. But if he is allowed to his own devices, in a safe and supervised manner, great things can happen. While we have to sometimes push our children with autism, we also have to allow them time to explore and discover on their own. This method doesn’t work so well during a 30 minute swim lesson, and the instructor does have to push him along a bit. But we do our best to give Z lots of opportunities to have free time in a pool where he can touch the bottom.
The Big Kid Pool
Finally the slightly deeper pool was the pool my oldest hung out with other kids he met. It was about 4 feet deep, and the big kids enjoyed meeting people while playing water basketball in it. Next thing you know the group of them were going down water slides together and running under the huge bucket of water and getting soaked together
Traveling With The Big Kids
After a few hours of swimming we all started getting hungry. I ordered the big kids a pizza from the hotel by the pool and we went upstairs to get changed. By the time we got everyone sorted out, I ran downstairs and picked up the pizza. The big kids hung out in their room playing video games, and listening to music while Travis, Zakari and I headed out. I love that my big kids are old enough to stay back and hang out if they want. Sometimes they just want to relax while we have running around to do and we don’t have to drag them against their will with us.
Walmart and Supper Run
First stop for us was back to Chick-fil-a to get Z some grilled nuggets. Then we went to Walmart to get some snacks for the hotel. We did not want to have to spend too much money poolside on snacks if we could help it.
I just about fell over with how expensive produce was. It seemed that fruit cost the same price at home, but you have to add 25% to that price for exchange. Cereal, candy, junk food, all seems to be so much cheaper in the USA, but produce is another story. Yikes.
We grabbed a few things we needed, and then went across the parking lot to the Panera Bread drive thru. We had eaten at Panera Bread once when we were in Philadelphia and really enjoyed it, especially my husband. After we were served we took our dinner and Walmart purchases back to the hotel. Once again the soup and sandwiches were delicious. We both really hope Panera decided to start opening up shop in Canada some day.
Magic Tree House. The Perfect Book
Reading as always been a great way to get Z to relax. It also helps him fall asleep. So when we travel I always bring some books to read aloud. Zakari loves the Magic Tree House, so it seemed like a no brainer to grab the next one in the series to read. I didn’t even look to see what the next book was about.
When we started to read Buffalo Before Breakfast (Magic Tree House 18), I realized that it was about the Lakota Native Americans who lived in North Dakota in the 1800’s. I could not have planned that better. We were able to talk to Zakari about how this story took place in the same location we were, but hundreds of years ago.
As I read he drifted off to sleep. Honestly having my child fall asleep in my arms while I read to them is the best part of my day.
Rough Early Morning Wake Up
Around 4:30 am, Little Z woke up and had no idea where he was. He was in one of those startled states, where you cannot console him. After about 45 mins of trying to settle him, I was scared the big kids would be woken up, or the people in the next room could hear him. I did not want to be kicked out. So I quickly threw in my contacts, grabbed my purse and took Z to the van. As soon as we hit the fresh air, he seemed to snap out of it. He settled down, and I drove around, not sure what to do at 5:15 am.
For a little while drove around parts of Grand Forks I usually don’t travel. During that little journey I found a thrift store I never noticed before. Mental note, find time to go check out the books there… While I was in the parking lot checking out the times, I text my mom, and told her to call me if she was up. She’s one of those crazy people that choose to wake up at this time, ON PURPOSE!
Mom To The Rescue & Walmart Therapy
But Grand Forks is not very big, so that did not take me long to drive around. Finally I decided to take the long way to the new Walmart that is a bit further from our hotel. I stopped to see what time Kmart opened at, and drove through the older area of the city. This whole time Zakari was completely content. I hoped my family was getting in some good sleep.
As I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, my phone rang. It was my mom. Such perfect timing, she had wanted me to look for some American groceries for her. I figured now was the perfect time, since Z and I were just killing time. Before I went into the store, it was great to just vent to her. I’m not naturally an early riser. I’m also not always the most pleasant person when I’m awoken before I’ve slept enough. So it was nice to talk to her and get my frustration of my chest. I was able to get back into happy mama mode.
School Clothes Shopping
We walked all of Walmart, and got my mom’s shopping done. While looking at the boys section, I found some fresh t-shirts for Wesley’s back to school wardrobe. Before leaving I grabbed some stuff for Zakari and I to eat for breakfast. I’m love to say I bought some health fruit for myself, but that would be a lie. Besides like I said before fruit is SO expensive here. I had a delicious glazed yeast doughnut. You know what, I don’t even feel bad. I was tired and needed a sugar rush. Good Old Weight Watchers got kicked to the curb. Well not completely, I only bought one doughnut. Before Weight Watchers I would have bought a package, ate a few, and brought the rest back to the hotel. Not this time.
Pumpkin Pie Pop-tarts to the Rescue
I was about 6:50 am when we had seen all there was to see at Walmart. So I googled Targets hours and was surprised to see they opened at 7 am. I knew it would take me about 10 mins to get there. So we checked out and took off. At Target I was able to find a few school supplies that were a good price. I also once again smacked Weight Watchers in the face. I mean come on, who can turn down Pumpkin Pie Pop-tarts.
It was still early, and I didn’t want to head back to the hotel yet, so Zakari and I went to a grocery store and did the aisles. When we got back to the car Travis called me to check to see if we were OK. The kids were still sleeping, but by now it was almost 9 am. So we hit up the Tim Horton’s, (because that’s what a good Canadian does when they need coffee)and head back to the hotel.
Traveling with Autism
Mr Zakari seemed to be in a much better mood. It is hard traveling when your little one has autism and anxiety. But setting realistic expectations is so important as a parent. It is hard when you have all these big plans and sometimes they are too big of plans for our special kiddos. Thing is to go in baby steps and that with practice it will get better.
Roll With The Punches
Even traveling with neurotypical children can be a challenge. I have learned we just need to roll with the punches. Some times I just want to lock myself in our house where it is safe. But that is not what is best for our family. Zakari needs to learn how to go out in and deal with the over stimulation the world has to offer. But we have to help him him learn to cope. These experiences mean so much to him. Even though he doesn’t talk about them, we know it is meaningful because of how he behaves after. He loves looking back at pictures of himself weeks and even years later. Or when we return he asks to do things we have done before there.
No matter how difficult it can be sometimes to travel with a child with autism, the life experiences are much more important. Both to the parents and the kid.
What We Bring To Help Our Son With Autism:
Ear Defenders: When things start to get too loud, we can easily help him block out some of those noises by putting on a pair of ear defenders. I know some kids wear them a lot, but Zakari just uses them to regulate himself and then he takes them off.
His own blanket and pillow. The comforts and smells from home helps my son relax and eventually fall asleep.
Books: As mentioned above this is a great coping strategy for our son. I cannot encourage people enough to read to your child with autism. Even thought they may not seem like they are listening, they really are.
Catnip Fennel. Now I take this with me everywhere we go. It is so helpful for dealing with upset tummies and it helps calm the nervous system. It is a product that has helped us so much over the years. During those meltdowns that we cannot figure out the cause, a lot of the time Catnip Fennel is able to help defuse the situation.
Breakfast Than Back To The Pool
We came back into the hotel room and I got the big kids up. Zakari looked out the window longingly at the pool again while every got ready.
Friday was an awesome day to spend by the pool. The kids swam their hearts out. When lunch time came around we ordered pizza, fries and chicken strips by the pool for lunch. The kids waited for the bell to start ringing so they could run with the other kids under the giant bucket and get soaked. Everyone had so much fun.
At dinner time the kids wanted Pizza, so seeing we still had the free vouchers we had gotten at check in and from the woman in the lobby we didn’t see any problem with that. Travis and I ordered Buffalo Wild Wings. It was so yummy. I just love their food. Another restaurant that we don’t have in Canada.
Little Too Busy Saturday
We woke up Saturday morning, and after lazying around we decided to head down to the pool. Before we left we noticed the lazy river and the kiddie pool were taped off. I called the front desk and there had been a pool fouling, so we needed to wait till it was properly treated.
Finally after an hour or so the pool was reopened. We went down and it was BUSY. Thursday and Friday we had been so spoiled. There was a good amount of people at the pool. Today the pool was swamped with people. Zakari was not having it. Several times he asked to go back to the room. So I decided to take him back and we went shopping.
Thrift Store Shopping
After we went back to the hotel to change, we headed to the car. I wanted to check out the thrift store I had seen on my early morning travels the morning before. We arrived, and of course I went straight for the books. Sadly I was only able to find one book we were looking for. I was impressed with some of the toys they had. They had some real classics from when I was a kid. But I knew we didn’t really need them, so I left them behind.
Little Z was tired. Of course when I had suggested a nap in the hotel, that was met with him jumping on the bed and running around like a crazy head. I really could have used a good nap, but now that we were out I wanted to at least check out Kmart. Sears was the last stop I made. They had just 8 days before they closed their doors for good. We looked around a bit, but Zakari was just not having it. So we headed back to the hotel.
This weekend was just meant to be a get away. Get in some swimming, eat some good food and hang out as a family. The kids were not hungry yet, and we wanted to take them to the arcade at some point in the evening. So Travis, Zakari and I went out on our nightly supper hunt.
We stopped at Chick-fil-a because we needed to get Z chicken for that night and Sunday because, they are not open on Sundays. Then we tried The Noodle Company. It was just OK. I’m not sure I’d go back again. But I’m glad I tried it.
Arcade & Dippin Dots
The one thing Chloe wanted to have while we were in the USA was Dippin’ Dots. So when we got back we went to the pizza place/ arcade. We had two vouchers left for pizza, so the kids each ordered one. While we waited we loaded up the arcade cards and the kids had a blast playing all the games.
We got Chloe some Dippin Dots for helping us out so much with Zakari at the pool. She went up the play structure with the slides and huge dumping bucket all weekend to keep an eye on Zakari. With my contacts I couldn’t keep up with Zakari and not get chloride water in my eyes. I did not want to lose a contact, nor do I like water that much.
When the pizzas were ready, the kids cashed out their tickets, and we went back upstairs.
Packing Up To Go
When we got back I started packing and organizing our stuff. We wanted to be up early and be able to try the breakfast buffet we had free passed for. The big kids ate their pizza and enjoyed one last night of snacks, video games and movies.
Sunday Rough Morning
Zakari had a rough night. I almost wanted to pack up the van and head home in the middle of the night. But Travis talked me out of it. Luckily we got him settled and he finally fell asleep. Only to wake up again at 4:30 am. He wanted me to take him to Walmart again. Of course I didn’t want this to be a habit he got into. But even if I wanted to take him, I couldn’t, Walmart was closed until noon.
Once I read him a few chapters I was able to get him back to sleep. But now I’m worried. Travis and I have not slept well enough to be driving him as safely as we would like. Travis had a pounding headache at this point and needed time to sleep it off.
Late Check Out
I called the front desk and explained that our son had a rough night, we were not sure if he was feeling well or not. We ask for a late check out. They were amazing, they said that even though they don’t do late check outs, they would give us an extra hour or two. We were so grateful, so even though we slept through the breakfast buffet, we were all well rested.
We packed up the trolley, brought all our luggage and my packages to the van, and then checked out. Overall I was very happy with our stay. 3 hours away from home and the kids had a blast. Perfect mini vacation.
Last Minute Shopping
Once again I’m so grateful for big kids who are old enough to babysit. I wanted to run into Sears and have a better look. Travis was not with me the day before so he wanted to look around too. But Zakari was NOT interested in shopping at that moment. So the big kids babysit him in the van. We of course left it running and they locked the doors behind us. All of them were happy playing on their iPads while we spent a few quick minutes looking around. We stopped at the candy store in the mall and went back to the kids.
Afterwards we made one last stop at Walmart. Of course Zakari loves Walmart, so he insisted on coming with us. We grab a few snacks for the road and some more Tylenol to keep Travis’s headache at bay.
McDonald’s, Worst Service EVER
My big kids wanted to have McDonald’s for lunch before we left the states. I swear that was the worst managed McDonald’s in North America. They messed up our order twice, over charged me, and when I asked for something for compensation for our wasted time I was offered 3 free coupons for ice cream or cookies. Offered might now be the right word. The manager rolled her eyes at me, then said she guessed she could get me some coupons. A few weeks later when I went back down to the USA with my parents, they stopped their for coffee and they had an equally terrible experience.
Plus I had a ridiculously hard time cashing in those coupons, they tried to make me wait for a manager to get off their lunch break which would be in 30 mins. I explained that these coupons were given to me for wasting our time. He was able to get us the cookies. At least they were good, but I refuse to ever go to that location again. I will drive down the road to get coffee from now on.
Last Supper Before Heading Back to Canada
Travis and I decided, after long, and painful deliberation we were going to try Erbert and Gerberts. I’m so glad we did! It was so much yummier then Subway.
We ate, filled up our tank and hit the road home. All I could think was, well the moment of truth is coming up. I have to declare what I spent to the border patrol. Which means I have to admit to my husband how much all those boxes cost.
Back Home Again
We landed up making good time, and getting home safely. We were all glad to be able to sleep in our own beds that night. It was so much fun being able to spend time with our kids.
What We Would Do Differently
This was a learning experience for us. We want to take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge next summer and this trip was a great practice run. This winter though we might head back to Grand Forks Canad Inns.
However we will be doing a two things different.
Going for 2 nights instead of 3. I think we all had our fill of swimming after the second night, and the money we save in hotels can allow us to do this trip more often.
I would not go on the weekend again. Saturday was WAY to busy for Zakari. Looking down to the pool on Sunday, it also seemed crazy busy.
What is your go to tip on traveling with a child with autism?
Summer Life With Autism & Year Round Homeschooling
Summer is officially over. My big kids are back at their respected schools, and Little Z is back to the homeschool grind. Well not that we really stopped learning since we are year round homeschoolers. But we did pull out the new curriculum a few weeks ago.
Life has been very hectic the last few months and I had taken a long unplanned hiatus from blogging and YouTube. I just felt that I was being pulled away from this platform. Instead I needed to put all my energy into my family. Last September my body was getting so run down. I got sick 2 times that month. It made me see I had to slow down.
Now with this fresh start of a new school year, I am hopeful that moving forth with this blog is the right thing to do. I miss sharing about our lives and journey. It is therapeutic to me, and I need that right now.
Attack of the Disappearing Blog
Something that made me realize how important this site is to me was when it went down. A few months ago my credit card number information was stolen. Someone in the UK had a blast buying things off of Google Play, and grocery shopping. So obviously my credit card was canceled, and fraud claims were put in. Thank goodness I didn’t have to pay anything for that. But when I received my new credit card, I forgot to change the number on my host site. For some odd reason I did not receive any emails from the company saying this was going on and my site was taken down. Thankfully I noticed soon enough and was able to do a disaster recovery.
The thought of my site that I have worked on and off on for the last 8 years being *poof* gone made me sick to my stomach. This made me realize I needed to get back here and start sharing our life journey again. Even if what I write about helps only one other mom, it’s all worth it. Plus on a personal level, its a log of how far my family has come during these last 8 years. I explained it to my husband as if all our family pictures burned and I had no way of getting them back. I’m so grateful to have my little piece of the internet back safe.
All About Day-camp
This summer just seemed to go by so fast. In July, Wesley was involved in two day camps.
The first full week off of school he attended a camp for kids ages 10-14 years old. They had 1:1 camp counselors that switched each day. This way the kids would focus on building relationships with their peers, and not as much with the adults. The best part was Zakari’s old ABA tutor, and the respite worker that took Wes to camp last year was a counselor there! They worked on social, life and planning skills. Some of that activities they were involved in were Skyzone Trampoline Park, archery, bowling, Shapes Gym, swimming, and sports. Lunch preparation and cleanup tasks were rotated so campers actively participated. Something else that impressed me was they showed the kids how to do some basic auto maintenance like checking oil, tire pressure and adding oil and other fluids to a car.
Two weeks later Wesley started a second one week day camp. A van came right to the house every morning and picked him up, and dropped him off in the evening. This was so helpful to me as a busy work at home mom. The camp two weeks before had me orchestrating a drop off and pick up schedule with my family and my ex’s family. It was one less thing to worry about. He spent his week learning to cook with camp friends, enhancing independence, trying out adapted sports, and allowing him to develop & grow friendships with the staff and other peers. They visited the Human Rights Museum, a local water park, and spent the day at Camp Manitou.
Zakari earned a total of 25 books and a back pack. Plus his group earned $700 worth of books for less fortunate kids. It was such an awesome program we can’t wait till next summer to participate again!
As his mother I’m most excited about the Hey Jack! books. They look great for a kiddo who grew up on the Doman program. The writing a large and clear. I believe these will be the first chapter books he reads to be aloud this year. Thank you again Abby!
Where Did August Go?
The month of August just flew by. From the 3rd to the 19th, Wes was off with his dad. He spent time at his dad’s place, then a week at a cabin, and then out to Gimli for a car show before he came back home. Between the 12th and the 22nd my stepdaughter was off to Disney with her grandparents. So during the time it overlapped that they were both gone Zakari was an only child. I think it was nice for him to get our undivided attention.
The kids are blessed with an aunt who owns a pool and loves to have them over to swim. Three times during the summer we went over there and lounged in her pool. It is fun to see each year how the kids have developed their swimming skills through all their swimming lessons during the year. Even Little Z was more independent in the pool with his life jacket. I did not have to be standing and holding onto him the whole time. I was able to float or sit on the side of the pool within arms reach and enjoy everyone’s company. Its sad the cooler weather is blowing in and the pool is closed for the summer.
Forget August, Where Has September Gone???
Like I said we have started school. Zakari was the first to start. We were so excited to dive into his new Bookshark Kindergarten curriculum. We started a day early on Tuesday September 4th. This curriculum is just such a perfect fit for my son. Several of the books these last few weeks have sucked us both in. I can’t image what we would have missed if I had just put him in the Grade 1 level.
A week later we introduced Calvert Grade 1. No, I did not purchase the whole Calvert curriculum new. $1500 US dollars is way out of my budget no matter how good the curriculum is. But I was able to get all the textbooks & most of the materials from a mom on an American homeschool Facebook group for $80 US shipped. I had looked at this curriculum years ago when Wesley was homeschooling kindergarten, but the price tag blew my mind.
Next up was Wesley. On September 5th he went off to his first day of grade 8. Guys, he’s in GRADE 8 now! I’m not entirely sure how that happened. This is his last year in middle school, then he is off to high school. He also started back up with piano & his once a week evening group at the local school gym. Two weeks ago we met his new teachers at the school BBQ. I also met one of his buddies that he has lunch with. I hope he’s off to a good start.
Then on the 7th we sent Chloe off to start grade 7. She’s already had one overnight camping trip with her class, and seems to be enjoying school. She’s soaking in book after book. I love that she shares my love of reading.
Portage La Prairie Here We Come!
September means Zakari’s favourite place is open again, the Portage La Prairie Aquatic Centre. We have already taken the 1 hour 20 mins journey out there. He loves that place so much. I look forward to several more visits between now and June when they close up again for the summer.
What Does Year Round Homeschooling Look Like For Us?
So I mentioned that we are year round homeschoolers. Because Zakari is a creature of habit, we have decided that homeschooling year round is in his best interest. This allows us flexibility throughout the year. If either of us is having a bad day, we can put the books away without fear of running out of time.
However year round homeschooling this past year allowed us the time to go through two full curriculums. We started the year with Bookshark PreK, which we finished in April. Between April and August we started and completed Build Your Library Level 0.
Homeschooling Year round allowed us to enjoy all the books in the PreK Level and still hit and complete our kindergarten year. So we not only stick to a routine that worked for him, and allowed flexibility, we also completed more this year then we would have if we stuck to a strict 36 week school year.
Weight Watcher Journey
Something this summer that I did for myself was joining Weight Watchers Online. My weight was climbing past my comfort level, and my body was starting to rebel. I’m happy to say I was able to lose 22 lbs since the ending of May. 18 lbs was thanks to Weight Watchers.
A few weeks ago I joined a meeting group, and I hope to get down to a healthy weight again. I’ve already been able to get past a frustrating plateau, and the scale is going down again. It’s amazing what years of stress and poor self care can do to a body. I feel now is such an important time for me to get back on track. The healthier I am, the more I can do for my family.
Starting Our Family Holidays
This year I took 1 week off of work. Part of it was spent going to doctors and dentist appointments. You know, all that stuff no one wants to really do. I’m happy to say check ups went well, and neither of the boys have any cavities. Although Zakari gave both doctors a run for their money. Thank God for patience doctors.
Waiting at the dentist.
Boys and Their Toys…
But we were sure to add in the fun stuff. Wesley saved $600+ dollars of his own money and wanted to buy himself his dream RC truck. My dad took him over to my uncle’s house to try out his RC truck and learn how to take care of them. Then on the Monday of our holiday we met my parents at the local hobby shop and with my dad’s expertise he picked out a Traxxas Rustler VXL.
Since Wesley has gotten his truck he has enjoyed spending time with my dad in the country, tearing up gravel and dirt, drag racing with my uncle and cousin, and just spending some quality time with his grandpa. Even though my dad’s main hobby now is RC boats, he loves spending time with Wesley racing his truck. He even fixed up his old RC race car he use to race when I was a kid. Since they are from the late 80’s they are not as quick, but even with a few modifications using today’s technology he was able to make them faster than they use to be.
Long Weekend Trip To Grand Forks
On the Thursday of our holidays we drove out to Grand Forks and stayed at the Canad Inns. But that trip deserves its own post, so stay tuned!
What did you do this summer? How has the start of the school year for your family?
Wow it has been a very long time since I have last updated. I think about writing often, however with all of Z’s programs and homeschooling, mixed with my day job I have had very little time. That being said I also kept this blog in secret. I know that sounds absolutely crazy, it’s posted on the Internet for crying out loud. But I don’t share with many people in my real life that I keep this blog. I have been a Secret Blogger. I didn’t even tell my hubby. He knew I did reviews and stuff, but he didn’t know the details.
The other day I decided that I need his help. So I shared with him my blog and YouTube channel. He is very knowledgeable in computers and I’m hoping that the two of us can work on this blog and my YouTube channel as a team. He’s also been wanting us to work on a project together but we couldn’t figure out what we could realistically do. This seems to fit the bill and I’m so excited to start really getting involved in the blogging and vlogging world.
Last year my goal was to write here and post a YouTube weekly. Every time I got notification that I had a new YouTube follower I felt guilty there hadn’t been any new content in such a long time. But because of the fact I’ve been so shy to share what I do with my hubby, I never had enough time alone to write and edit. Now I’m hoping because we are going to be doing this as a project together I can jot down a rough post in the day and we can edit it together in the evening. Even if he’s not part of the editing process at least I can just sit at the kitchen table and not be embarrassed of my work.
It was so silly of me to keep this to myself as he has been extremely supportive since I’ve shared my projects.
So I’m excited to announce that in the next few weeks you can expect the following post:
– The last installment of what I thought about the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course. I can’t believe how disorganized I have been. I took this course in Sept 2016, yet I have not written about the last day of the course. To make it worse I started sharing about our most recent trip, before finishing the first.
– Finish writing about our trip to Philadelphia with Little Z. We had 2 days before our appointment that we did some traveling and visiting with friends. I have so much to share about the evaluation, Lecture Series II and the programs we received.
– Why we are not going back to the IAHP for our 6 month reassessment.
– How we have changed our nutritional program to better serve Little Z’s needs and how we added in Ozone water.
– Why we love a literature based homeschool curriculum.
In September Wesley started back up in Trampoline at our local gymnastics gym. He’s still loving the sport and is excited to go every week. Since Wesley alternates his weekend between my home and his dad I’m only responsible to bring him every other week which is less on my plate. He’s old enough now that I can just drop him off and pick him up and hour later. So the whole thing requires very little from me.
Wesley is also back in piano lessons this year. We allowed him to take the summer off, and I’m a little more relaxed about his practice schedule. I vlogged about him wanting to quit last summer. As his mother I was torn. On one hand I don’t want to make him do something he does not want to do anymore. On the other hand I know so many people who quit piano, that now regret it. So we are working through to find the right balance.
Both boys are back in swimming lessons with SwimAbility. They finished their fall season right before Christmas, and they just started the winter session 2 weeks ago. I cannot say enough good things about this program. All the volunteers are amazing. You can tell that they really want to be there. The boys have been part of these program for 4 years now out of 3 different city pools and we have not had one bad coach. That is so rare to find such an amazing group of people. Wesley also attends summer camp offered by this program. This year will be the first year Z is old enough to participate in that as well.
Welcome to the Family!
Apollo & Artemis
In October we introduced two new members to our family. We adopted two Canadian Sphynx kittens, whom we named Apollo and Artemis. They are quite the characters. It’s like living with two wild toddlers. My husband describes them as a cat tumbleweed. These two are not like any cat I have ever met.
Originally we were just going to just adopt the male kitten Apollo(cat to the right in the photo above). On the way to my herbalist house, who happens to also breed Sphynx kittens, my husband was against it. He spent the whole way there trying to convince me this was a bad idea. However growing up I had always dreamed to have one of these sweet kittens as a pet. In my mind it was such a wonderful opportunity. There was no way we would ever be able to get one of these beauties from a person I trusted, for the price she was willing to sell him to us for.
When we arrived the breeder took us up to her room where these kittens were. They were just so small and sweet. They would be ready for us to take them home on Thanksgiving Day. While I was snuggling my little boy, my husband kept being drawn to this female kitten with a black and white stripe down her nose. After a bit the breeder told us that she would understand if we couldn’t, but she would love it if the male we were taking and the female that my husband was drawn to could go to the same home. He seemed to think this was a great idea. I on the other hand wasn’t so sure.
So the ride home was much different then the ride there. Now my husband was trying to convince me why we should adopt both kittens. Well needless to say, I have a rubber arm. When we got home I text messaged the breeder and made payment arrangements. So a week later we brought home two kittens instead of one.
Gizmo with the kittens
Our Devon Rex Gizmo took a little while to adjust to them. She’s been an only child so to speak for the last 9 years. So bringing these two home was a real game changer for her. We took it real slow. They have learned to tolerate each other. I don’t think Gizmo will ever love them, but she is willing to live with them, as long as they stay out of her bubble.
Now to talk about Little Z’s progress.
Little Z has been doing amazing. We have noticed even more changes since altering the supplementation program that the Institute gave us. Because Zs blood work came back so amazing, we were on only a few basic supplements. I really felt that he needed a bit more in this area and joined a biomedical Facebook group to learn more. No clearly I don’t just jump on the bandwagon and purchase a supplement because somebody on Facebook says it’s good. However I’m able to find what other families are using, and then do my own research to find if that is a product that would work for my child.
Ideally I would have him on an herbal plan like I’m on with my herbalist. But sadly I know this would be a waste of money as I would not be able to get the herbs into him due to the taste. Like his hearing, he taste can also be hypersensitive at times. So for now he is on the supplements I have researched myself and one herbal supplement that my herbalist recommended that I can get into him.
Since making these changes in his supplementation, we have noticed huge changes in his behaviour and his ability to follow directions. He’s still a busy boy, but less wild. He actually plays with toys now. He’s building better relationships with people and overall we are getting to know the real Zakari.
Little Z on the incline floor
Last week my dad delivered Zs crawling track that he built for us. This was one of the missing keys to our Institute program. So over the last week we have been using it to get in our military crawling. At first I was concerned about Z’s lack of coordination when it came to military crawling. Currently when we have him doing his creeping(crawling on his hands knees) he is able crawl in a cross pattern. But when we started military crawling he was all over the place. So I went on our Facebook group for parents on the IAHP program and spoke to one of the black jackets (aka staff that specialize in the physical program).
Currently on top of our IAHP program we have been working through Bookshark’s PreK homeschool curriculum. I love the literature-based approach to homeschooling. This was a major adjustment for me as I learn best using a workbook approach. But I quickly realize that this was not going to work for a little Z.
Now while we do love Bookshark, we are planning on switching to Build Your Library Kindergarten after we finish Bookshark PreK. Now I’m usually of the mindset, if its not broke, don’t fix it. But over the next few weeks I will share with you why I feel this is the best course of action for Little Z. I will also share with you the critical thinking math program we are working through that is great for kids who are not ready to write just yet. Also we have found a few series that we are reading aloud before bed, and both of us are enjoying them.
Have you ever changed curriculum even though the one you are currently using works? Let me know in the comments below.
Look forward to sharing more with you in the weeks to come.
I love reading blogs! Back when I was a teenager I joined a website called teenopendiary.com. I really didn’t write all that often. But what I did do was save my list of favorites and go check on them everyday to see what was going on in their lives.
Then I got busy with college and work, and well teenopendiary.com just didn’t seem like a place for an 18 year old college student.
Then I got pregnant with Wes. I was 19 years old and while I had a good job and knew I could support us, my friends were all in a different place in life. I felt alone.
That is when I started writing on OpenDiary.com, the parent site of TeenOpenDiary.com. There I was able to meet people who were the same age or close to that were going through the same thing as I was. It was a real community. To this day, even though OpenDiary.com is no more, I am still close friends with many of the women I meet on this site. We become mothers together, we were there for eachother during pregnancy losses, divorces, marriages, custody battles, and the joys and trials of raising our children.
This was my early introduction to blogging.
A few years after Wes was born I started reading some stand alone blogs. And in 2010 I decided I wanted to start my own stand alone blog and share what I had learned over the years. I started my blog Doman, ABA, Homeschooling Momma.
In late October 2014, I decided to purchase my own domain and webhosting services. But I realized that Doman, ABA, and Afterschooling Momma(switched to Afterschooling in 2012) just didn’t roll off the tongue, and there were too many spelling variations for Momma. So that’s when EarlyLearningMom.com was born.
Even though I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now about parenting, autism, homeschooling, and afterschooling, I am NO MEANS an expert. There are regular blogs I read for ideas, and all sorts of information on how to raise my boys.
Here are my TOP 6 Educational Blogs I Follow:
Planet Smart Pants
Planet Smarty Pants– Natalie from Planet Smarty Pants blogs about her adventures raising her only child. Her daughter is only one year younger than Wes, so while I was a working mom I read her blog quite closely, picking up tips on how to afterschool my child while keeping up the demands of being a mom who works out of the home.
Natalie also host link ups for other blogs to share what they have been doing to afterschool their children.
1+1+1=1 – If you’re looking for ways to teach your toddler, preschooler,or kindergartener this is the site to visit. There are so many resources that Carisa as created for her own children available for free right at your fingertips. She also has an online store where she has a membership only powerpoints, and several bundles of more educational materials. The prices are very affordable.
I have printed out plenty of her printouts when Wes was younger and in more recent years have started using some of her ideas with Little Z.
DomanMom : Liz from DomanMom is someone I have looked up to in the early learning movement since I embarked on my journey. Her two boys are just a bit older than my two boys. So I’ve been watching her blog very carefully over the years. Be sure to also check out her YouTube Channel, which is filled with awesome educational videos for your little ones.
Early Learning with Marta, Eaton and Nathaniel
Early Learning with Marta, Eaton and Nathaniel: I love Marta’s blog, I can’t say that enough!! Her youngest is just a bit older then my Little Z, so I’m often snooping around her blog looking for ideas. The stuff her boys are able to do at such a young age blows my mind.
If I had to describe her style of teaching her boys, I would describe it as very montessori.
larrysanger.org: Larry’s blog is not strictly a early learning parenting blog. However he written a 140 page Essay on how he taught his young son to read at a young age. Trust me, the 140 page essay is worth your time to read. We are lucky he has decided to share it for free instead of turning it into a book for purchase. He is also the creator of the FREE online reading program Reading Bear.
Figur8: If you are looking for early learning information this is the blog to go to. I have been reading it for years and I keep finding new info I missed. Whether you are looking for brain training, child development, early learning ideas, etc. You will find it here.
Who do you regularly follow? I’m always looking for new learning blogs to check out.
Wow! How is it already the end of 2015. I feel like I was just writing my 2014 10 Top Blog Post a few months ago. In reality, it has been 12 months!!
Reflecting back to 2015, I want to take the time to thank all my readers for continuing to come around and read about my adventures with Little Z and Wes. I know I’m not always consistent with my updates, but I am so grateful for your patiences.
Here are this years Top 5 Post!
#5 Preschool Prodigies eBook And Bells Review : This was such an awesome experience for Z and I. We had the chance to review Mr Rob’s music program. Little Z and I received a set of musical desk bells and since then we have been learning music and having fun!
#4 New Years Goals/Bucket List : Well in my 2016 Bucket List Post, I confess that I did not do very well on this list in 2015. I managed to complete 8/52 challenges. However I have learned from my mistakes, and I have not given up. This year I have created a binder, which includes the list printed out, as well as charts to help me stay on track. 2016 is a whole new year and I plan on nailing it this year.
#3 Toddler Tula Vs Ergo Carrier. My Experience with My Favorite Baby Carriers. : This post is actually a late 2014 post, but it still made the 2015 list due to popularity. I love babywearing! Babywearing kept me sane for the first 3 years of Little Z’s life. It’s how I was able to run my daycare, host birthday parties, and get through the newborn/infant/toddler stage. Sadly this year Z has decided he no long wants to be worn. So that is a stage in our life that is over now. While I did sell the ergo, I have both the Cuddly Wrap and the Tula, no babies are planned in the near future, however I’m not ready to give them up.
#2 NACD With My Nine Year Old. Helping Your Child with Reading Comprehension. I wanted to cry the day my oldest said he “Hates reading.” As an avid reader, I could not comprehend how someone could actually hate to read. However, if you are not not understanding what you are reading, of course it is not going to be enjoyable. Currently we are on vacation from the NACD due to the awful Canadian dollar, however we still incorporate some of their programs into our day.
And my number 1 post of 2015 is:
#1 NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old : This post received over two times the amount of views my #2 post received. I found the NACD really got me on the path to teaching my son in ways I had never thought of. While we are on vacation, I am still using a lot of strategies they have provided me. Rereading this post reminds me of a few others that I should be still working on. I am so excited to be able to get back on board with them again.
I know it’s been a while since my last post. I do apologize. I have been active on Instagram and Youtube. I’ve had a reader or two requests I not completely switch over to Vlogging. I’ve been dying to get on here and blog, but since Little Z has decided he’s too cool for naps it’s been hard. Hopefully once Little Z is in full-day ABA I will be able to really get back to blogging. For now, I hope the sporadic post and the more regular Instagram and Youtube posts will be acceptable.
In the past, I have talked about our Learning Binders. But I do have to say in the last month or so we have really picked it up with these binders. Z is really responsive to a Glenn Doman Inspired style of learning. I also realized if I’m going to get him to take that next step to reading books on his own, I have to create more homemade books for him to read. So that’s what I’ve been doing. If you’d like to see what they look like, watch the video above. I show you what I have in the binders and what my homemade books look like.
One thing I did not mention in the video is font size. For the few that I made from scratch, I now realized I have to adjust the print size and reprint. I just notice the larger print keeps his attention much longer. SO even at 3.5 years old, large print is still important.
So to break this down a bit more we have:
1) Learning Binder to present Encyclopedic Knowledge, poems, and work on couplets, sentences, and skip counting.
2) Story Duotangs (3 prong folders) to present homemade books. I was able to speak to the IAHP via Facebook messenger. What we are doing after confirming with them is presenting one book a day, reading it 2-3 times, and retiring it to a place where Z can retrieve it himself and read when he wants. I’m sure once the books become longer, we might be reading them fewer times in a day, but for now, this seems to be working. The rep from IAHP also told me if he seems to be bored with a certain book, retire it sooner.
3) I’m currently creating 100s of word flashcards. I’m going to create a binder that breaks down words based on different topics, and another binder with the current words we are working on. We will flip through this binder to introduce new vocabulary. I was hoping to start today, but I did not want to start till we have at least 200 flashcards ready to go. My printer died at 76 last night. I will make a video showing this in more detail when it’s ready. However, I think this method, binder style, will help keep all the flashcards organized, and simple post its on each divider will allow me to know when to retire words.
So the learning binders will be less strict. I’m not interested in running a traditional Glenn Doman Encyclopedic Knowledge program. But when it comes to reading, since Z is responding well, I want to encourage it.
One thing I think is worth mentioning is this. If your child is not labeling items during the day, and by this I mean is not pointing out and labeling dogs, squirrels, bulldozers, naming items like forks, or describing actions, etc. You might want to include pictures with your words. While Glenn Doman does not worry about comprehension, other programs like the NACD do. Z is able to label 1000s of items, but with my oldest, this was not the case. At the end of the day, he can read and decode at a high level but sometimes still struggles with comprehension. I also believe not introducing Doman Style books to him affected things as well with my oldest.
If you’re trying to figure out how you can afford to print out all these flashcards and books check out my friend Liz’s(otherwise know as DomanMom) post. She was able to help me pick an awesome printer. While the ink cartridges from Amazon have caused me nothing but trouble, I have been able to purchase some from the local ink shop for a lot cheaper than my old HP, and they allow me to print out so many more pages for that cheaper price.
What to Learn More About the Doman Method?
Click HERE to fill out a quick form and a representative from Doman International will contact you to set a FREE 30-minute consultation.
Disclaimer: This page may include affiliate links. I appreciate it when my readers use them as it provides me a little compensation and no extra cost to you.
I do well when I set goals with powerful start dates. I’m not talking New Years Resolutions. I’m talking about solid written down goals or a bucket list. I also don’t do well when my house is disorganized. After Christmas, my house was Chaos. I was nearly having anxiety attacks over it. So when you see goals that involve organizing my house, its because it is really important to my mental health. This is why they are on my list.
52 week check list. No particular order. Basically pick whatever I feel like doing that week.
I don’t want to let 2015 slip away. Hopefully with this I will get 52 projects or experiences done with my family. Wish me luck!
1) Clean and organize my bedroom closet and drawers.
2) Clean front entry closet and Linen Closet
3) Clean and organize all the kitchen cupboards
4) Create a clutter free kitchen.
5) Clean and organize laundry room and basement bathroom
6) Read 12 books. Children’s chapter books with my son does not count.
7) Clean out garage so we can park both cars in.
8) Donate 30 garbage bags worth of items to the Canadian Diabetes Clothesline.
9) Throw out or recycle 50 grocery bags worth of junk. (Day to day kitchen and bathroom waste do not count)
10) Organize all my bills and paperwork into binders
11) Finish my shutterfly photo book for 2014 and create as many books necessary to organize 2012 and 2013.
12) 52 week money challenge.
13) Banana island for one week.
14) Pay off $5000 on my line of credit
15) Get back on the Dave Ramsey Budget
16) Take my kids camping or to a cabin
17) Potty Train Z
18) Pay off and cancel my Sears Mastercard, after cashing out the points.
19) Crazy glue the tracks to the train table downstairs in my daycare area to an elaborate town.
20) Clear all the NAET autism kit for both boys.
21) Exercise 160 time in 2015 for 20-30mins.
22) Lose 20lbs
23) Take an online course about blogging. (Started Jan 6th)
24) Blog 160 times in 2015
25) Create 100 YouTube Videos.
26) Read 12 Chapter books WITH Wesley.
27) Get 150 Facebook Likes on Early Learning Mom Page
28) Get 200 Twitter followers
29) Give up fast food for 6 months. (Hopefully forever) Subway and Pita Pit are OK.
30) Try the one photo a day challenge
31) Get Wesley back on the allowance system and teach him how to handle money.
32) Make it out to Hawaii to visit my Online Bestie.
33) Learn to cook 20 new dishes.
34) Babysit one night for my local Bestie so her and her hubby can go out.
35) Organize and clean out the laundry room.
36) Attend the Hi Neighbor Parade and check out the strip.
37) Take the kids Strawberry Picking
38) Visit Penners Pumpkins and Scarecrow Forest
39) Take a ride on the Steam Train at Assiniboine Park
40) Learn how to make my own blog banners
41) Take the kids to the Snake Pits
42) Visit the Steinbach Aquatic Centre
43) Take the kids bowling
44) Visit the Farmers Market at Birds Hill
45) Set up the window bird box
46) Donate Blood
47) Help the kids create Christmas Shoeboxes for the needy
48) Get a Family Photo taken
49) Take Wes to Skyzone
50) Take Wes to do Archery
51) Take Wes for Ice Cream for the first time at Dairy Queen
2014 has almost come to an end. For my family it was a great year. But I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring us. I thought I’d look back this year and see what the top 10 most popular post on Early Learning Mom were.
This years #1 post was a review/giveaway for an app called FarFaria.
Thank you so much to my readers. The last few months of 2014, I came back to my blog and got serious again, and my readers welcomed me with open arms. I have plenty of goals in place for 2015, so stay tune for a fun pack year at Early Learning Mom.
Have a safe and happy New Years Eve and all the best in 2015.
I know many of you are still in Christmas mode, and the thought of making New Years Eve plans are on the back burner. Especially once you become a parent. New Years partying is over now that the little ones are in the picture.
Well I’m here to say you can still have a wonderful evening! Kids and all!
On New Years Eve my hubby bartends every year, so its just me and the boys. So I decided to plan ahead and come up with some ideas to do with the kids to make the evening more fun!
1) Movie Night!
I plan on looking for some old classic movies I use to watch as a child. Beethoven, the Original Home Alone, Little Rascals, Camp Nowhere, Halloween Town, Mrs. Doubtfire. I’ll let the kids pick, but I want them to experience some of the movies that were big when I was a child.
2) Buy discounted Christmas candies and bake goods:
So what is movie without awesome yummy movie treats,
Ok so I’m not much of a baker. I’m not going to lie, the kitchen is not really my forte. I land up under cooking, overcooking, or messing up the recipe. Wasting baking supplies, and messing up the kitchen.
So this year, I’m going to the grocery store right after Christmas and buying a bunch of Christmas baked good that are discounted and freeing them. Then in the morning on Dec 31th, I’ll pull them out of the freezer. Presto! Yummy snacks and a cup of hot chocolate on the side. Perfection! I mean I guess I could do popcorn and chips, but how is that any different from any other movie night.
3) Drink out plastic wine glasses, use sparklers, & wear party hats.
I noticed the local dollar store here sells all sorts of New Years Eve party gear. So I decided to go buy New Year Eve party hats, some glow sticks, sparklers and fun things to ring in the New Year with. I’m also going to look for some “fancy” plastic wine glasses to drink apple juice out of.
4) Balloon Count Down:
So my 9 year old has really enjoyed his chocolate advent calendar this year. This was an annual thing for me as a child. However since up until this year Wes had a dairy and gluten allergy, he was not able to enjoy this tradition until now.
Since he enjoys the countdown so much, I’m planning on setting up balloons from 6pm till midnight. Every hour on the hour we will pop a balloon to celebrate the last hours of 2014. Pausing the movie or whatever we happen to be doing at the time and popping the balloon.
If the sound of popping balloons is too scary for your child, may be set up paper bags with activities to do every hour on the hour. Be creative!
5) Time Capsule:
This year I’m going to do something new. I’m going to sit down with my 9 year old and we are going to write about our favorite things that happened this year, and some goals for next year. We will then open it up New Years Eve 2015.
6) Board games:
What a perfect time to pull out those new board games your children might have gotten for Christmas and try them out. If they didn’t get any, pull out an old favorite. Young children love playing board games with mom and dad.
These are just some fun ideas I plan to do with my kids this year. Remember its suppose to be fun, so keep it that way. If your little one cannot stay up till midnight, plan to celebrate at a different time. Set up your count down till 10pm instead(or as early as you need to.) Sometimes you can PVR fireworks from other time zones, or find some on youtube.
What are your ideas for a child friendly New Years Eve 2014.