So I’ll admit that I’ve never been one to over think things on the holidays. We’ve always had gifts from Santa on Christmas, baskets from the Easter bunny on Easter and distributed candy to the neighbors at Halloween. But last year, I started giving a little more thought to the whole business of Halloween candy. It started when I read this blog post about what exactly has to happen for us to have some chocolate. And then we have a little guy with dairy allergies, which makes a lot of Halloween candy off limits. This year, with my 5-year-old in the middle of some very expensive dental work, I’m just over the whole candy thing. Period. I’ve already convinced her to sell her stash of candy to the local pediatric dentist so that she can buy a new toy (which is way more exciting than candy), and I want to do my part in putting thought into what we distribute from our own front door. But I don’t think that means we need to be the lame house on the block that hands out packages of baby carrots to eager kids. Here are 25 toys and snacks that make for fun Halloween candy alternatives. (This post contains affiliate links.)Read More»
We’ve had so much fun this month reading and learning about China. As always, we begin our learning when our monthly kit arrives from Little Passports.
Yaya was super excited when she began to read the letter from Sam and Sofia and discover that they were “visiting” China, as two of her real-life besties traveled to China this past spring when they adopted their adorable baby brother. (We were even able to borrow some of the books from our list from their collection!) We had no troubles finding a great selection of books from the library that include informational books, folk tales and even a “Look and Find.” Here are nine of our favorites! (This post contains affiliate links.)Read More»
My views of adoption have evolved since we “officially” entered the adoption world back in 2012.
In 2012, I saw things through rose-colored glasses. I believed the best of intentions in everyone — whether it was agency workers, in country staff or adoptive parents themselves. I believed that love could cure everything and I wished that everyone would consider adoption.
It’s been a little over two years, and thought that’s a relatively short amount of time, I see things very differently now. I’ve experienced what it is to parent a child from a hard place and how it takes more than love — it takes patience and resources and work. I’ve come to know lovely, well-meaning adoptive parents who wanted to “save” a child but not actually parent a child, and seen how difficult that can be for everyone in the situation.
These past two years I’ve also connected with a number of local Congolese people, adoptive parents, and my son’s birth family following a third party investigation. Through all of this I have learned that people often don’t have good intentions; where there is money to be made and people in poverty, there will be people who are preyed upon and taken advantage of and sickening corruption that will ensue.Read More»
This past week, I began teaching a writing class to a group of fabulous middle-school children. I LOVE writing (probably no secret, given that I have a blog and all), and when I teach something that I’m passionate about, I really, really, really want the students to love it as much as I do. So you can imagine how my bubble
was slowly deflating burst when, upon doing our introductions and ice-breakers, the majority of my students uttered the words, “I hate writing.”
Writing is — for me at least — the subject I studied that I actually use most in my daily life. Yes, I’m a music teacher and a mom. BUT, I have to put together brochures for potential students, maintain a website, send e-mails to the parents of students, my kids’ teachers, etc. And then there’s the writing that I do that I get paid for — blogging, online articles and local parenting magazines. In fact, I would argue that most people write as part of their daily lives and career — whether they’re homemakers or engineers.Read More»
With a crazy end of the summer and sending off my firstborn to kindergarten this week, I’ve been majorly slacking on our book lists! This month, Yaya and I have been learning all about England — one of my favorite places on earth. There are so many fantastic historical figures, authors, playwrights and musicians from England, making it a fascinating country for our little one to learn about.
As always, our study was inspired by Sam and Sofia’s journeys around the world, and the monthly kit we receive from the Little Passport’s World Edition. After finding England on our Little Passports map, we did some written activities and built a cardboard model of Big Ben that were all included in our kit.Read More»
A couple of weeks ago I was on vacation to Glacier National Park, and blissfully unaware of so many of the hugely awful things happening in the news. Thankfully, I have a brother who realizes that — even when I’m not on vacation in a national park — I don’t have time to watch the news very much. He takes it upon himself to keep me informed of current events via text, e-mail, or sometimes even calling me up to say, “Turn on the news.” It was through his text messages that I learned that one of my favorite actors had tragically taken his life.
Still reeling from this sad news, I received a text message from him the following day with a link to an article entitled, “America is Not For Black People.” I read it out loud to Joel as we drove through the winding roads of Glacier, my hands trembling as I learned about Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed — and left in the street for four hours — by a police officer. Sobs caught in my throat as I read about John Crawford, a 22-year-old father of two who was shot and killed by police officers in Walmart while he held a toy gun in his hand, which was mistaken for a real gun. By the time I finished the article, I was nearly hyperventilating.Read More»
I’ve failed my kids in a lot of ways, and each day I beg Jesus for forgiveness and ask him for the strength to be a better mom tomorrow. But whether it’s discovering my 5-year-old underneath the covers with a flashlight in hand as she devours Ramona the Pest or listening to my 2-year-old “pretend” read while he stands on the bench of the dining room table with his Bible storybook open, I feel like I did one thing right: my kids love books.
I have always loved to read myself, and raising kids who love to read is something that has been important to me. Literature is a way to learn about the world, connect with others, build empathy and compassion. Here are some ideas for how to raise a reader. (This post contains affiliate links.)Read More»