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5 Things To Be Thankful For In August

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August is my birthday month and my husband’s birthday month so there are lots to be thankful for in August. Besides our birthdays here are 5 August related things I am grateful for:

1. Thankful for NO snow!

I am not a cold weather person at all so I soak up the heat as much as I can while it lasts. I would rather be sweating then freezing cold plus nothing beats the feeling of the sun shining down on you.

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2. Thankful for living near the shore!

Yes, I am from Jersey so I don’t call the beach the beach but I call it the Shore. Before you even get the image in your mind, I don’t mean the Jersey shore as seen on MTV because families don’t party and get drunk on the beach. We have only had the chance to have one shore trip this summer but we had a great time until our sunblock failed and suffered through a week of sunbun. (Maybe I should do a review of sunblocks that fail for super pale skinned peeps like my family??!)

3. Sunday Family Hiking Days

To help ease my body back into working out, we started a family hiking day almost every Sunday since Father’s Day. In addition to helping my body work out, it is a chance for us to bond as family since we are dealing with the stepdaughter/stepfather resentment situation right now. It has been great to get into nature and explore our surroundings. I always feel at ease being outdoors just hate the bugs and bug bites. Evie loves being in the carrier and looking at everything that passes her by.

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4. Getting Ready For Back To School

This year is even more exciting…. for me at least because Danyella is going back to public school! She is not a happy camper to stop homeschooling but I just can’t do it mentally, physically or emotionally anymore. At least she is going back to a school that she attended in the past (not the school I pulled her from!) and will have her best friend to enjoy her 6th grade year. (This will be a more in-depth post in the future)

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5. Pumpkin Everything is Coming Soon!

Yes! Yes! Yes! I am one of the crazy pumpkin loving people who if the world would let me, I would enjoy pumpkin everything all year round! Typically, the end of August brings back my much-loved Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. My local DD, next the dance studio, will sneak pumpkin flavoring from other locations just for me and “Christina” to enjoy as much as we can. Pumpkin season here I come!!

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What are you thankful for in August?

 

 

 

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Crunchy Mom in the Works

am I a Crunchy Mom_

It is my first official post back since my hiatus and so much has changed in my mom world that I need to catch you all up on! From starting Evie on foods to changing to cloth diapers to Danyella going back to public school! Not all of these will be talked about today but I can’t wait to talk about Evie’s World (singing Elmo’s World in my head because it is on repeat in our house!) with this first post.

What is a Crunchy Mom?

Have you heard of the term Crunchy Mom? I heard it about a year ago when I decided to start blogging more consistently and was surprised at the meaning. In my mind, a Crunchy Mom was some who wasn’t always nice, told it how it was and didn’t hold back. Boy was I wrong!!!

By social definition, a Crunchy Mom is a mom who loves to baby wear, uses cloth diapers, breastfeeds, makes everything from scratch (think soaps, sprays and anything else that you can buy at Walmart!), co-sleeps, feeds her family all-natural and organic everything and no electronics for kids. Its is pretty determined kinda mama. What I thought was a Crunchy Mom is actually a Salty Mom!

I give those Moms so many kuddos for being able to do all of that and keep their sanity! It is definitely a committment to a Mom’s kids and family to be a Crunchy Mom. That kinda dedication is one that I wish I could say that I want to have for my family but the reality is completely different.

I have started to walk down the path of the Crunchy Mom but not yet ready to get in the car and drive down the Crunchy Mom highway…

Here is what I do that counts as a Crunchy Mom:

I kinda breastfeed…. well Evie wouldn’t latch correctly so I have been pumping everyday, every 3 hours since she was 2 weeks old.

Both Doug and I baby wear and are proud baby wearers! I started off with the K’Tan wrap and then we have moved to an Infantino soft carrier. My goal is to one day own a Tula or Lillebaby carrier! We take Evie everywhere in her carrier but she loves our Sunday morning nature walks the most.

About a month ago, our diaper supply started to dwindle down to 2 packs left. We are super grateful for the diapers that we received as gifts that lasted us the first 6 months of Evie’s life but the cost of diapers is just too much for my blood and wallet. In my mom’s group, there are some cloth diaper moms that show off these cute baby bums with their diapers. I decided to try a 4 pack of the pocket diapers and inserts and have loved it. Yes, it is a learning process of where the snaps work the best and when to double up on inserts for overnights. I can’t wait to start buying more cute designs to cover my Evie’s little bum!

Co-sleeping…. yes Evie and I co-sleep because this is the only way I would get any sleep and survive the day. Since Evie outgrew her Rock N Play, she won’t sleep in her Pack N Play and would cry all night until she was sleeping next to us. Add to the fact that Doug works overnight, so it is all me at night. Life is easier when she sleeps with me. I did this with Danyella and I plan on moving Evie to a regular crib one day but right now this works for us.

All natural Mama right here! I was doing this before the term Crunchy Mom was a thing because Danyella had severe skin allergies. I learned how to make my own soaps and lotions from scratch (no melt and pour soaps here) to know exactly what was going onto Danyella’s skin. This is where my body product line was born. With Evie, I have been steaming and pureeing all of her foods. We a slowly starting to eat little pieces of food that I make her like pancakes and other yummy foods. Evie is my little foodie!

What I am not doing as a Crunchy Mom:

If it is on sale or a good deal, then I will buy organic but if it’s not then my family gets what they get for food to eat. I am definitely not going down the organic road because it doesn’t fit into my budget.

As I said early, Sesame Street plays on our TV all day because Evie loves Ernie and Elmo. Yes, I am one of those moms that lets her kids watch TV so that I can get something done during the day. Having a husband that works at night and most days works before he goes to his night job and finds a couple of hours to sleep, I am home with the kids 24/7 which can be so hard to get things done. Danyella is a big help with Evie but she will be going back to school in a couple of week. Then it will be Evie and I all day which if Elmo helps her stay occupied for a few minutes so I can wash dishes and clothes or write this blog post then I will take it until she wants to play with Mama again.

I kinda laugh because I am more than just a Crunchy Mom but I am a Dance Mom, a Salty Mom, a Baby Mom, an embarrassing Mom (according to the tween daughter!) and a million other names to call me as a Mom. What kinda mom are you?

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My Mental Vacation From Blogging

I can’t tell you how many times I have started and deleted this blog post, both physically on the computer or mentally while I am trying to get my brain to settle down to sleep. When I decided I needed a mental, emotional and physical break from blogging, it was going to be for just a couple of weeks while we got through the end of dance season and recital. Well those couple of weeks turned into over a month and now nearly 2 months…. Even now I am not sure that I am completely ready to come back to blogging at a full-time capacity.

This past couple of months have been overwhelming and exhausting for every part of my life. Physically, I have been dealing with my body reacting to my lack of iron because I need a new set of infusions. In order to get the infusions that I need requires finding a new specialist. Anyone that has dealt with needing a specialist, knows that this is no easy feat and can’t be accomplished overnight. And before you even want to suggest it, no my type of anemia can’t just be cured by taking iron pills or eating more iron rich foods. Those things are like a band-aid that only helps for a few moments of energy. This type of anemia causes my body to literally be so exhausted that it I am weak most of my waking hours. My arms and legs feel heavy and go numb quite often (pins and needles feeling that hurts so bad). No amount of sleep helps to stave off the exhaustion which doesn’t help when you have a teething infant who has trouble sleeping some nights. This will be a future, in-depth post soon. (Which this is the tip of the medical issues going on)

Continuing with the medical issues, my mom was diagnosed with an autoimmune liver disease called PBC and will need a liver transplant. After 2 years of testing and misdiagnosis, we finally have answers to why her body has been acting the way it does but at the same time its a bittersweet result. This disease could be genetic which means, my siblings and I should be tested for it. Plus, to see what my mom will need to go through in order live a comfortable life is heartbreaking. We still have a long road ahead of us…

Next on the stress train…

If you have read some of my previous posts from earlier this year, you know that we had moved from the house we called a home for 2 years into an apartment. Our parting with that house was not our choice but one that forced on us because of our previous and then new landlords not following the laws of the state. We have had to go back and forth in court with the new owner/landlord of the old property.  Which the Judge taught him some lessons in breaking the laws and thinking he was above the law. Fingers crossed that the situation is over now because that took a huge mental toll on me. Which contributed to the rise in my anxiety and depression.

In my time away from blogging, I thought long and hard about my blogging. I love creating things, like crafts, gifts and food that I can share with others BUT that wasn’t the point of starting my blog. When I started my blog, it was to talk about my life as a mom and everything that goes with it. At that point I was a single mom, so it focused on that but since then I have gotten married and had a baby. My blog became a source of stress as I tried to figure out what I was going to write about each day…. this is not what I wanted in my blog.

Taking this break, has allowed me to assess what I want to see in my blog and social media accounts PLUS refocus my attention on my handmade business. My business and blog are a passion of mine that I love to share with others. Now, I want to get back to sharing things that I love and enhance my readers and customers lives.

With my blog, you are going to see me go back to my roots and talk about life as a mom, an entraprenuer and my family. This is my ideas on my blog schedule without killing myself mentally:

Savings Sunday: Yes, we will be getting back into the swing of savings since I fell off the bandwagon and then got ran over by the wagon…. LOL! I am going to focus on different ways to save money for the upcoming back to school and holidays.

Mom Monday: This is my big post of the week because this is where Moms can know they are not alone with dealing with family situations, babies, tweens and more!

Teach Me Tuesday: I am going to post Teach Me Tuesday posts, focusing on upcoming holidays twice a month (1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month) which will be geared more towards adult crafts rather then kid crafts.

Wednesdays: Take a break from week and have a nice drink or glass of wine!

Thankful Thursday: During this break of mine, I have gotten back into Yoga and practicing my self love techniques. I will be sharing tips on self love, positive living and how to enjoy your life because that is the most important part of living…. enjoying your life.

Feed Me Friday: Don’t fret, you will still see some of my delish recipes because I really do get enjoyment out of it. On the Fridays that I don’t have my own, original recipe then I will share recipes that you, my readers will enjoy.

Saturday: This is dance day in my mom life which starting the end of August, Danyella dances from 9 in the morning until we don’t know when this year…. no time for blogging when dancing is to be done!

I am contemplating starting a series about my handmade business, not so much business tips but featuring some of my creations that will make great gifts for the upcoming holidays. On my Facebook page, I will be featuring a product a day, at a sale price which is a great thing to look forward to!

You will see more interaction on my Facebook page and Instagram page which will feature more of things that I am making like my very first Crochet A Long. I have always missed out on the timing to partcipate in one or didn’t like the project but I made sure to take the time this year. This CAL is going to be creating a textured afgan which is a first for me! Each week (on week 3 now) we get another “clue” or instructions for another section of the pattern. It has been so much fun getting the clue and seeing the afgan take shape which I will update on my Facebook Page each week.

Another fun thing we are doing this summer is a family camping trip. Currently, we are scouting out new locations because our trip to Hershey park got flooded and most of the rides will be closed for the next couple of weeks plus the campground is severly damaged and the rain is expected to continue this week. We are looking at the shore (yes I am from Jersey so I don’t call it a beach) or staying at a local campground.  Wherever we end up going, you know that my social media will be featuring lots of fun photos!

I look forward to a fresh start and look at my blog and to chatting with all of you!

Take the time to give yourself a mental vacation from life. It will recharge your mental, emotional and physical juices for a fresh outlook on life.

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Going Back to Public School plus June Student Writing Prompt

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It is June and for most students that means the school year is coming to an end. Also, June is the start of the Summer season which kids look forward to but parents who need to occupy the kids do not. Whether school is still going or has ended for your student, it doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop when school stops.

Danyella’s homeschooling school year ends at the end of June but she is will be going back to public school starting the end of August. We will be using the month of July to prepare for her testing back into public school. Which she is fighting every step of the way.

This decision to go back to public school was not an easy one because of Danyella’s anxiety and difficulties in Math. At home, I am able to take the time to explain the work to her but at school the teacher may not have that time to go one on one with her. I am scared she will get lost between the kids in the school especially going into 6th grade and they will be switching classes and having multiple teachers.

On the other hand, I don’t think she is truly thriving in a homeschool setting because she fights me on doing anything and everything. I have tried to find subjects that she enjoys but she loses interest. She just wants to rush rush rush through all of her computer and written work. She tries to put the minimal amount of effort into whatever she is doing and it has caused fights between her and I.

Danyella feels that she should just be unschooled and learn when and what she wants to learn. That is not my style as a homeschooling parent. Don’t get me wrong, if unschooling works for you and your family that is great but for my child she needs the structure of a school environment. If I left her to unschool, she would sit on her iPod or watch tv all day and learn nothing to succeed when she is an adult.

In New Jersey, there is no structure for homeschooling and no monitoring unlike our neighboring Pennsylvania. So, I have had to create all of her lessons and pay for all of the materials to teach her at home. That adds up just on ink and printer paper alone. Then add the monthly fee for the homeschooling school that I found for her, workbooks, field trips, projects and other things and we easily put out $2000 a year on homeschooling.

When she goes back to public school, she will be going with her best friend and back to the first elementary school she attended where the students and teachers still remember her. I know she has anxiety about this big change in both of our lives but I think going back to this school will help her with the transition.

One thing that I will continue to have Danyella do, even when she is back in public school, is daily writing prompts. I think it is important that kids have time to write everyday whether it is journal writing or prompt writing. They need that outlet to get things out. Writing prompts have been a great way to get Danyella’s creative juices going and she doesn’t realize that she tells me things through the prompts like things that she likes/dislikes. These are things that she wouldn’t just tell me if I asked her.

Here is the June Writing Prompt which is good for 3rd-5th probably even 6th graders: June Writing Prompt PDF

May Writing Prompt (2)

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Track Your Spending Challenge

Track your spending challenge

Ever wonder where all your money goes? You get paid one day and it’s gone a few days later. You paid some bills and grab something to eat and ran to Target…. where did it go??

Does this sound familiar to you? It sounds familiar to me and my family. We get paid one day and then poof it’s gone but you don’t know where it all went. What I failed to realize that those cups of Dunkin coffee and donuts or stops at Burger King all add up! Do you know what you spend your money on?

Yes, it is easy to say oh this is only a $1 or $2 so what’s the big deal. Well after 5 of those its only $1 adds up to $5 which enough to buy milk and bread for the week in my house. The coffee I love to grab with a bagel and donut on Saturday mornings… $8! If I bought coffee, bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store and brought them with me the break down would be about $2 for my breakfast. (I totally don’t need the donut and its an impulse buy every single week lol) I could use that other $6 towards groceries, gas or savings.

For one month, I am taking a little notebook that I bought a while ago (yes we have a collection of those that I wasted money on) and tracking where my spending goes every day. This will help me see, on paper, where the money goes and where I can cut back on spending.

I am breaking it down into 5 categories:

Household/Groceries (g)

House Bills (b)

Transportation/Gas (t)

Misc Spending (m)

Saving (s)

In my notebook, I will record day by day what I spend money on and use my codes to keep the categories straight. This way at the end of the week and month, I can easily track where the money is spent. At the end of the money, I will be putting this into a spreadsheet on my computer so that I can lay out my budget plans for next month. My goal is to add more into our savings for incidentals and vacations.

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Check out my facebook page which will be updated on Sundays with my tracking numbers and watch where I am spening my money: Kaella Facebook Page

Are you ready to start tracking your spending and see where your money goes?

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Do You Need A Lifestyle Audit?

Have you Audited Your Life Lately_

I am sure most everyone has heard how you will repeat the same bad habits or cycle until you do something to change it. How do you change those habits or the cycle of life you are in? You need to evaluate and audit your lifestyle!

What is working in your life?

  • Do you love your job and it brings you happiness?
  • Do you love being a mom and taking care of your kids?
  • Do you love the hobby you participate in?
  • Do you love taking a walk everyday?
  • Do you love to take the time to read?

What isn’t working in your life?

  • Do you love your job but not your hours?
  • Do you love being a parent but need other adult interaction?
  • Do you dread going to play basketball with your league?
  • Do you look for excuses to get out of something you used to enjoy?
  • Do you avoid doing things because you know you won’t enjoy them?

These are all questions to ask yourself when you are doing a lifestyle audit!

For myself, I am a creative person so I am having the same routine everyday feels like it kills my creative brain cells. I do not thrive in that situation and end up never finding the time to be creative because I lose that drive from focusing on my routine. Its a fine line to be a creative work at home mom and have the same daily routine with kids. Evie loves having a routine where she is fed, takes her naps, baths and bedtime at the same time everyday. With holidays and summer parties, there are days where her schedule is messed with and boy do we pay for it with a baby that refuses to sleep.  With Danyella being homeschooled, she has to have a routine or she will try to get out of doing her schoolwork (common occurence with a sassy tween). So what’s a creative mom to do when her kids need a routine? Find little ways to break up my routine so I don’t get into that blah feeling and avoid my creative side like changing up how I do my day each day. Plus, I tend to end up staying awake way to late after the girls are asleep to accomplish some of those mundane chores on my list that I avoided earlier in the day.

Now it is your turn! Print out the Lifestyle Audit PDF that I created for you to take a look at what is good and bad in your life. This will help determine what you need to change and what can stay the same to make your life the best it can be for today.

Lifestyle Audit

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Thankful For Our Armed Forced and How We Support Them Throughout the Year

Thankful For Our Armed Forces

This is not my typical Mom Monday post but more of a combination Mom Monday and Thankful Thursday combination post. Why am I doing this type of post today? It is Memorial Day which means we honor our veteran soldier and every soldier is the son or daughter of a Mom.

In our family, we are thankful for all that the soldiers have done to protect our rights and freedom that we enjoy everyday. I have many friends that went into the service after high school or after 9/11. I am grateful for the time and service they have committed to every single person in this country. 8cad8f35e8c3b88dbced403f30505fc4

As a way of giving back to the soldiers and to teach my children to support others, we joined Soldier’s Angels. Soldier’s Angels is an organization that supports our troops, veterans and their families. A few years ago, I was looking at ways to teach Danyella the importance of volunteering plus incorporate other skills, like letter writing, into her homeschooling. After doing a lot of Googling and research for organizations that write letters to soldier, I found Soldier’s Angels. This was exactly what I was looking for plus more.

Soldier’s Angels not only supports our troops through letter writing but many other ways. The way Soldier’s Angels works is there are different teams set up that a person can join. The different teams help different aspects of our soldiers and their families such as the Deployed Angel Team, the Letter Writing Team, Angel Bakers, Chaplain Support Team, Ladies of Liberty Team (exclusively for female deployed soldiers), Operation Top Knot (virtual baby showers for soldier families), Adopt A Family (holiday support), Sewing and Craft Support Team, Cards Plus Team (holiday and birthday cards), Living Legends (for families of fallen soldiers), and the Special Operations Team (for special forces soldiers). Plus there are programs for veterans and Wounded Soldiers. There really is so many ways to support our troops through this organization.

Along with volunteer opportunities through the teams, there are local ways to help plus donations of money are accepted. In addition, there are many different drives throughout the year, like a blanket drive for soldiers and vets in the hospital. There is even a special beer that when sold 100% off the profit is donated back to Soldier’s Angels for our soldiers. The beer is called Homefront IPA and you can click here to find out more.

To our SoldiersPast, Present and FutureThank You and God Bless You

One of the teams we have joined is the Deployed Angel Team which sends letters and gift packages to our deployed soldiers. We have adopted different soldiers from different services through the years. Sometimes we get letters back from our soldiers and sometimes we don’t because of how busy or the location the soldier is in. We love coming up with different themed packages every month to send our soldier.

The other main group we belong to is the Letter Writing Team which has been a great thing for Danyella to work on her letter writing skills and handwriting while support our troops. This is fun because we will have the system randomly choose our soldier so we have gotten all the different services and recently received our first female. We always include our address and my email so if the soldier chooses, they can write us back. We have received cards, letters and emails from different soldiers which always gets us excited. Something crafty and unique is that we take pages from adult coloring books to make into envelopes with washi tape so they can use the picture to brighten their day.

We have been part of the Operation Top Knots team which is really fun when I make things for other people’s babies. Danyella loves to shop for little gifts for the siblings. Plus the Cards Plus team is a fun way to send cards to others and sometimes we will get cardstock and make the cards.

We would love to join all of the teams but there isn’t enough time or money in our budget to do them all. We support as much as we can and have taken breaks from supporting when life has been a roller coaster for us. Then we let our team leader know that we are ready to rejoin and we are good to go.

If you are looking to support our troops in little or big ways this is a great organization to help with that. If you are looking for support for a soldier or soldier’s family you know they always accept soldiers with open arms. For $1 a month which helps keep the organization running, you can help our soldiers while they keep us free and safe. I hope that you consider helping our troops today. Our troops spend their time and put their lives on the line for our comforts and freedom so cherish those soldiers and what you have in your life. f88ed0df7d85767390146686dfdc6764

Click the photo or any of the links to go to the Soldier’s Angels website and find out more for yourself or a soldier you care about.

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5 Kid Friendly Summer Activities That Won’t Break the Bank

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Don’t break the bank this Summer trying to keep your kids occupied and entertained. Here are 5 activities that will get you and the kids out of the house but won’t cost a lot of money. Bonus points for the air-conditioned activities to keep you cool while the kids are having some fun!

**Please note that I did not receive any compensation or anything in return for the suggestions and links that I provided. This is just helpful information from one parent to another parent or caregiver.

Fly a Kite: Let’s go Fly A Kite, Up To Its Highest Point… yes I totally had to sing that for you! On a more fun note: kids love to accomplish things and feel that wonderful feeling of doing it. Flying a kite can be a challenge that you can both do together because it requires getting that kite up in the air and keeping it up there. On a really windy day, flying a kite is a fun activity and you can find kites at walmart for $5.

Visit Your Library: Another great place to stay cool and keep the kids occupied is your local library. Both our local library and county library hold summer programs for free or a small fee. The local library has a reading program that the kids have different activities that they need to accomplish every week, bring the sheet to the children’s librarian and prove they accomplished these tasks. Then they get a sticker and small prize. They also get entries into a larger weekly prize or the big end of the summer prize (last year was a gift card and a tablet). Our county library holds different crafts and other activities throughout the summer which the kids love to make and take home.

Watch a movie: I mean go to the actual Movie Theater and watch a movie in their air-conditioned facility. The Regal Movie Theater hosts $1 movie days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am throughout the summer which is awesome on the budget. The movies are all kid loved movies and some are from the current year. This summer they have Paddington 2, Despicable Me 2 and 3, Sing, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Trolls, and a bunch of other awesome movies. Here is the link to see the schedule for the one closest to you: Summer Movie Express

Visit a museum: Many museums either allow kids in for a discounted amount or free as an educational encouragement for families. We love to go into New York and visit the Met which has suggested rates but kids under 12 are free and students with an ID can pay what they can which being an adult college student, I qualify for which is great. Check out museums near you and see what they offer for kids/students/families.

Local fairs and events: The town next to ours has a free Music in the Park one night a week. We can take a blanket or chairs and snacks or they sell snacks and ice cream for $1-$2. It’s nice to watch the sun go down while listening to a local band that’s kid friendly plus we support our local bands.

What free or budget friendly activities do you have planned for the Summer?

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100 Act Of Kindness Days

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Danyella has been dealing with bullying and mean girls the past year so as her mother, I have been working on her self-care routine through her school work. She doesn’t realize that when I have her write a positive sentance everyday… its self care. She doesn’t realize that when I have her take 15 minutes before bed to write down her feelings…. its self care. There are many way I have incorporated self care into her homeschooling routine but self care isn’t just about what we do for ourselves.

Self care is doing things for other because it is good for our soul. It doesn’t mean you need to go all Oprah and giveaway cars, electronics or other awesome gifts (unless you can afford it). You have heard the stories of the people who start the giving lines at Starbucks where the car in front of them purchases their order for them and then it keeps on going. Or the person that surprises a child with a new bike that their parents can’t afford to buy them.

These little acts of kindness make us feel good about helping others and to see the smile on someone else’s face makes those acts completely worth it. Yes, we do need to make sure we are happy and secure in ourselves but doing things for others when they don’t know it’s coming or asking for it adds to the happiness we feel in our lives.

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It is small things like:

Giving a friend a hug when they are down

Holding a door open for a mom with kids in each arm and on each leg

Writing a letter to a soldier serving our country

Leaving a cold bottle of water for the mailman in the summer

Making a meal for someone who is ill

Donating food to a food bank

The possibilities are endless….

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Danyella and I are starting our 100 Act of Kindness Days challenge today. Each day we will find something nice to do for someone else. We will record what we did and how it helped someone else. I want to teach Danyella that among all the mean people in the world, be one of the nice people. Who wants to join us in this challenge?

Here is the pdf printable of chart we will use to keep track of our days: 100 Act of kindness Days PDF

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When Your Child Loses Their Passion For Something They Love

oatmeal cookies (1)Does you child have something that they love to do more than anything else in the world? Playing a sport? Creating art? Reading books? Participating in an activity like boy/girl scouts? Have you ever experienced your child lose their passion for this activity?

This past week, I have experienced Danyella telling me that she doesn’t know if she wants to dance anymore. What the What?? This must be someone else’s child because my child would NEVER say this about dance but she did.

Here is some background story about why this is so unbelievable to me….

Since Danyella was little she LOVED to dance. In order to get her to start walking, I put on Happy Feet and this child danced before she could walk but the movie encouraged her to walk/waddle around the house. As she got older, she experimented trying different things like gymnastics, soccer and girl scouts. She liked them (ok not soccer, she ran the other way) but nothing gave her a spark to wake up and want to do it everyday.

A little over 3 years ago that all changed. She asked to take a Musical Theatre class at a local dance studio so I signed her up for that and a Jazz class. Danyella loved her classes and she was naturally good at dancing. We added a ballet class to her line up and she couldn’t be more in her element. Just a year after dancing, Danyella made the studio’s first ever Mini Elite competition team. She takes 7 classes a week plus competition team or the special recital team’s rehearsals. On Saturdays she dances for 11 hours with breaks throughout the day. This is when my kid is in her element. She is a great dancer and quick to pick up choreography.

Now after 3 years, she lost the spark she had because of a couple of girls in 2 of her classes. She still loves to dance but now she only wants to dance in her room. She dreads going to her first 2 classes on Saturday mornings because it feels like torture to deal with these girls. The nail in the coffin is that next year she only has one option for ballet and it forces her to be in the same class with the same girls with the same teacher that doesn’t seem to care to control the class. She doesn’t want to go at all next year.

When my child is unhappy then I am unhappy!

What to do what to do? Danyella doesn’t want me to say anything to anyone for fear that this girl will hear that her mom opened her mouth and will retaliate against her. Well, she should know better because I will open my mouth. I don’t want to see Danyella avoid doing the thing she loves because a few girls have ruined this year for her. I will advocate for my child because when she dances, she has a magical spark about her and twinkle in her eye. You know that she doesn’t have to dance but she choices to display a beautiful form of art for everyone to enjoy.

Yes, I could be the parent to take the easy way out and let her just quit. What does letting her quit teach her? How will she feel in 10 or 20 years that she gave up on her dream to be a professional dancer? I want her to push to be the best person she can be and for her that means being a dancer. Dance has given her friends that she can relate to and enjoy spending hours upon hours with. Dance has given her a discipline that she didn’t have before. Dance has given her a passion about something in her life, something to look forward to doing every single day.

Not only has Danyella given her heart and soul to dancing, but so has the rest of our family. Evie has become the team mascot for the Mini Elite team and dance studio. The teachers love to get the chance to hold Evie and dance with her. The other moms have become a second mom to both girls. I have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. The studio has become our second family and I don’t want to give up our second family without a fight to help Danyella get to a place where she is comfortable for next year’s classes and that she will participate in all of her recital classes this year.

Moral of this story: Don’t let your kids just quit when they have a passion for something. There are negative people in the world that will always try to extinguish your flame but when they do just relight it and burn them with it. Ok not literally burn them but you get what I mean…. make them realize they can’t force you or your child out of what they love. Fight for your kids dreams and passions!

There will always be Negative people trying to extinguish your flame. Reignite that flame and show them No One can extinguish your passion!