Pull-Apart Cakes (Cupcake Cakes)

Lately, I have been making pull-apart cakes for birthdays. They are so much easier to serve and so much fun. They can also be a little bit of a challenge to design. Below are some of the cake designs we have attempted so far. Continue reading “Pull-Apart Cakes (Cupcake Cakes)”

Sunflower Pull-Apart Cake

This was the cake I made for Caitlyn’s 10th birthday party. It was a rough day with tornado watches/warnings, lots of wind, and power outages. We needed a little something to brighten our day when the weather was so gloomy. Continue reading “Sunflower Pull-Apart Cake”

Weenie Roast

What is a Weenie Roast you may wonder? Well, a church that we went to in NC would have a Weenie Roast every Fall. They had a small fire and the men would go find some nice twigs for the kids to use to roast their hot dogs and marshmallows on. It was something we always looked forward to and we love the memories that we have from those times.

My older kids wanted to recreate those memories for the younger ones so we have a Weenie Roast set to repeat on the meal schedule. Of course we also include a Weenie Roast as a camping activity. If the weather is nice I may even let the kids camp in the back yard.

We just plan it like a cookout or BBQ. We will have hot dogs, chips, potato salad, and whatever sides anyone else wants to bring or make. It is not meant to be anything fancy, just a little break to sit and relax around a fire and to make memories. I love the way a wood fire smells and that alone can trigger some wonderful memories for myself.

Those are the kinds of memories that I want my kids to have and I find that I have to be intentional in my planning of some things. If not, life gets in the way and things get so busy and hectic that I don’t feel I have time. By having it on the calendar I can plan for it and be ready for some FUN!

Here are some ideas that I have found online that can help you to make your own Weenie Roast, if you like.

Weenie Roast Party Ideas

How to Host a Weenie Roast

Weenie Roast ideas on Pinterest

weenie roast ideas via google search

Laura’s Sweet Pork

This is another favorite from the Real Mom Cookbook. I have included the link to the original recipe as well as we have changed the recipe a little bit.

My kids like this with Cheesey PotatoesCole Slaw, and some rolls. The leftovers are delicious when used for Sweet Pork Quesadillas. Continue reading “Laura’s Sweet Pork”

Pumpkin Muffins

This is a great way to use up any frozen pumpkin you may have in the freezer. You don’t have frozen pumpkin? Am I the only one with an overabundance of frozen pumpkin? Don’t answer that, please. If you don’t have the frozen you can use canned pumpkin.

I have also added the instructions for a crumb topping which is optional. My kids love muffins, especially Cinnamon muffins, so I add this to them to keep them happy. Continue reading “Pumpkin Muffins”

The Right Way vs The Wrong Way

I think everyone knows by now that I have a special needs child. He is 14 years old. Where has time gone? He can be the sweetest most loving child on most days. On other days he can be the most irritating and annoying child on the planet. He will test your patience to the limits and then some. So life can be a little crazy here especially when it comes to the toilet paper!

We quickly learned that routines were a must! He thrives on routines and schedules. He likes to know what is to be expected and when to expect it. He does not, I repeat DOES NOT, like changes. As we all know there are many changes in life and especially with this many people in our house things are constantly changing.

So what do we do? How do we handle the changes? How do we keep our sanity?

Well, we have our basic routines. We have routines for mornings, for afternoons, and for bedtimes. We also have our school routines and certain routines that we follow for extra activities. We try our best to stick to these as much as possible and give him something ‘constant’ that he can count on. By trying to keep things as normal as possible, even when we are away from the house, it helps him to stay balanced.

When there are changes we know to keep an extra eye out for him and they way he acts. He will usually give some kind of warning behaviors before he hits complete melt down stage. His older siblings have learned some of these signs are able to help me intercept when needed. We can redirect his attention and focus onto something that doesn’t upset him or we can try to explain what is going on to him depending on the situation.

There are times, like the holidays, when meltdowns are almost inevitable. We try to watch and listen for clues that one is approaching but sometimes a melt down will come out of nowhere. Once we get him through it then all is well again until the next time. The younger kids have learned that this just part of life. They know to give him space and to give him some quiet time so he can calm down and unwind. They have developed and understanding and show a lot of empathy towards him when he is struggling.

Some of the warning signs are in the picture above. I had not made it into the bathroom to do my morning Swish & Swipe and apparently the toilet paper was on the ‘wrong way’ and which was enough to send him over the edge a couple of days ago. He then proceeded to shred the toilet paper all over the bathroom, unfold all of the towels, and turn everything around backwards. Why? I don’t really understand why but I’m sure it made sense to him in some way.

After spending a few minutes in the bathroom he came out and went to his room and shut the door. This wasn’t normal and when I opened the door he was folding his socks and lining them up. He just kept saying something about ‘the wrong way’. It wasn’t long before someone found the mess in the bathroom.

After this event his older sister had me show her how to ‘properly’ fold the towels so that she can help to put them away right. She also had me show her a couple of other ‘tricks’ to cleaning and tidying up the bathroom to help keep it the ‘right way’. She is also displaying empathy towards him and towards me by trying to help with this.

 

Being a Momma of many can be tough. There are some days that are tougher than others. This day was no exception but I also know it could’ve been worse if we didn’t have our routines in place to help him. By helping him we are also helping each other. When one family member is struggling it causes the rest of us to struggle as well.

Something as little as the toilet paper roll can trigger a meltdown which can lead to a ‘bad day’. I know there are so many people who argue about what the right way is for the toilet paper. In our house it is the picture on the left, no exceptions!

I encourage you to look for things that you can do to help others in your house, no arguing about what is the right way or the wrong way, just do it.

Inauguration Day

The inauguration of the President of the United States is a very important day to remember. This will be the first one we have had since we began our homeschooling journey. We do not have TV service but I may try to stream it online so we can watch at least a part of it.

I think it would be interesting to research the new president and find out some interesting facts about them as well. Below are some activities I have found:

INAUGURATION DAY! ONE-DAY-MINI-STUDY (Grades 1-12)

Homeschool: January on Pinterest

United States presidential inauguration

Inauguration Day Bingo for Kids! (this one was for Barack Obama but may give you some inspiration for your own BINGO.)

Inauguration Day — Facts and Fun Activities 

Inauguration

The Our White House Inauguration Celebration Kit for Kids!

Hail to the Chief: Inauguration Lessons (lots of neat links to check out!)

Images for Inauguration Day ideas for kids

10 Inauguration Day Resources

Inauguration Party Ideas for Kids (This was for Barack Obama but I’m sure it could be changed to fit the incoming president.)

inauguration day for kids (YouTube)

A Happy Tale

Let me tell you a happy tale

Of something quite funny

Something quite strange

A tale of a cotton tailed bunny

Out my back door I did go

And what should I see

All fluffy and brown

Came hopping up to me

I stared in shock and awe

Not quite sure what to do

Ran back into the house

To grab my phone before he flew

I snapped a picture or two

He came right up to say hi

He cuddled with the cat 

Such a sweet little guy

I caught him right up

And showed him some care

The kids came to see the bunny

With plenty of love to share

I knew without a doubt 

He was someone’s dear pet

So on Facebook I did post 

So they could come and get

The post was shared

Got a couple of likes and a love

Before long the owner was found

With a little help from above

They were happy as could be 

To have him back at home

Safe and sound in his little spot

No more to wander or to roam

Now you’ve heard my happy tale

Of something quite funny

Something quite strange

A tale of a cotton tailed bunny

Momma, come sit with me.

‘Momma, come sit with me.’ That’s what my 3 year old said today at lunchtime. He had been picking at his sandwich and sticking around the table after everyone else had went to their rooms for lunch. He gave me that sweet smile with those little blue eyes just a sparkling. Who could resist that smile?

Not me! The neverending To-Do list can wait. The basket of unfolded laundry can wait. The dirty dishes in the sink can wait. The chores that need finished can wait. The millions of other things running through my mind,at any given moment, can wait.

Right now he needs me and he is asking me for my time. I admit that sometimes I feel like I am spread pretty thin. I feel like I just can’t do anything more than what I am doing right now. It’s hard being a Momma.It’s hard being a single Momma. It’s hard being a special needs Momma. It’s hard being a single special needs Momma! Yes, I said it’s hard. It’s almost downright impossible on some days. But then there are the good days or the little moments like this.

The house is quiet-ish as everyone is settling down for naps and/or quiet time. The school work has been finished and put away. He continues to nibble at his sandwich while I grab my glass of watered down iced tea. I sit in the chair next to him and he smiles. A genuinely lit up ear to ear kind of smile. Those little eyes are just dancing with ideas that he wants to tell me.

So he begins by informing me that my feet are in the water. I laugh and pull my feet up and sit cross legged in the chair.

‘Is that better?’, I ask.

‘Yes, Momma, now the sharks can’t get you.’

‘Well that’s a good thing! Thank you so much for warning me.’, I say.

He laughs and then he proceeds to explain to me how a T-Rex would catch a fish. He imitates the T-Rex while eating his fish (peanut butter sandwich) and he laughs a lot. He tells me what he wants for snack later, a dinosaur cupcake from yesterday, and he asks if he and ‘all my friends’ can go outside after naps. He always refers to his brothers and sisters as ‘all my friends’ and he draws a big circle in the air when he says it. It is so cute!

He eats a few more bites and declares he is full. Then he grabs his napkin and attempts to wipe the peanut butter off his face. I help him and he takes off running back to his room before I can finish. He jumps into his bed and curls up with a stuffed toy and his favorite dinosaur toy. Then he closes his eyes and pretends to be asleep. I lean over and give him a quick kiss on the cheek and he giggles.

These are the moments that make my day and give me the momentum I need to get through the tough days. I get a little sad as I know they are all growing up so fast. I know that before long he won’t be asking me to come sit with him anymore. I want to take the time to cherish these little moments and enjoy them while I can.

I walked back to the kitchen to jot down this post so I will have it to look back on in the future. I think about how blessed I am and how precious life is. I am so thankful that God has put me where I am right now. He has given me more than I ever deserved and I know He has so many plans in store for me and my family.

He always knows what we need and when we need it. This morning I read Proverbs 13:4:

It reminds me that I need to keep pressing on towards my goals. I can’t give up and let myself get lazy. I can have hope in knowing that if I stay diligent there will be a reward for all of the hard work I put in here on earth. This little moment with my son was just a taste of that and it was so beautiful! I can’t even begin to imagine what the future may hold for us.

Thank you Lord for your blessings on me and my family!

Fix-It and Forget-It Crockpot Chicken

I just love crockpot meals that you can throw together in a few minutes, dump in the cooker, and walk away. I don’t remember where I found the original recipe for this but I have changed it around a little to make it work better for my family. Continue reading “Fix-It and Forget-It Crockpot Chicken”

Pick-A-Trick Matching Letters And Sounds!

This is a product that we have recently started using in our home. The kids love it because it is a game but I love it because they are having fun while learning!

I have taken some pictures of a few of the different activities and features on the game. I bought this from Lakeshore Learning. My wish list is long, very long but I try to wait until I find a coupon code or a sale and use them to my advantage. They have a lot of products for just about every homeschool style/need you may have.

This first pictures are just the front/back of the case. You can see the basics and the skills that are targeted with this game.

 

These are pictures of the lesson. It goes through the alphabet and gives them a basic introduction to the Uppercase and Lowercase letters.

 

Once they finish with the lesson they can choose an activity to do:

This is Lowercase to the Uppercase activity. There are instructions to play in the beginning too, if you need them.

Once they have completed three rounds they can choose a trick for the bear to do.

The 3 year old got a little impatient but he enjoyed getting through his lesson to see the trick.

This is on the 2nd level and matches the Uppercase to the starting sound. This is an area where my DS14(special needs) really needs help.

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He helped the 3 year old with this screen. They took turns back and forth. Teamwork is important too!

This is a feature that I really like. I can print out the report to put into portfolios and to help me see the areas they may need more help with.

All in all my kids are really enjoying this and they are learning. It is important for us to incorporate a variety of different activities so each child is eager to learn.

I hope you enjoyed this product and I will continue to post about other products and activities that we are using.

Pantry Challenge Week

What is a Pantry Challenge? Well, it is pretty much what it says. A pantry challenge is a technique I have to use up the food I have in my pantry or freezer.

I set up one week every three to four months as a ‘Pantry Challenge Week’. This forces me to check through my pantry to see what may be hiding in the back. It forces me to check dates on items that I have forgotten about. It also forces me to look in the freezer. Look everywhere in the door, the drawers, and underneath the frozen bags of whatever is lurking in there. Continue reading “Pantry Challenge Week”