Getting a Child Ready for Kindergarten with Growing Expectations

Kindergarten is a big milestone no matter if children are homeschooled, public schoolers, or private schoolers. I will have two kids going into kindergarten next year. My oldest Connor has autism and my other little guy, AJ is in constant hyperactive mode. Getting Connor and AJ ready for kindergarten next year has proven to be no small task.

The evolution of Kindergarten over the years

Over the years, I have heard my family and friends talk about how much kindergarten has changed over the years. I’m starting to see that first hand now. Apparently, nap time in kindergarten is a thing of the past. Today’s standards for kindergarteners are higher than the standards when I was in kindergarten. Does anyone else feel that way?

As a mommy of two little boys who struggle academically, that scares me a little bit.

What I’m doing to help my boys?

I want my boys ready to conquer the world of learning. In an effort to help my boys get caught up I do what I call “homeschool lessons” at home after the boys get home from half-a-day preschool.

How I handle the lesson plans

To plan the at-home lessons I follow the interest of my children. So for example, Connor has a lot of interest in the beach lately so I use that in lessons. Today for math we counted seashells. For fun, we even made our own island out of blankets. I also use whatever show the boys happen to be focused on that day. My boys love Octonauts so I used that in my dialogue while teaching today.

Every day we do activities in wipe-off learning books, tracing pages, and read a lot of books. I typically use games as rewards for doing school work and chores. My boys thrive during learning time with background noise so while we do lessons we listen to music usually on Pandora or off a Seeds Family Worship CD.

What the Lessons Do

  1. The lessons give my boys extra academic teaching to help prepare them for what is to come
  2. The lessons give me a preview of what day to day life would be like should we choose to homeschool our children.

Materials I Recommend

Wipe-Off Books

We use wipe-off books to help cover many different subjects.

Tracing Pages

I use tracing pages to work on handwriting skills.

 

Read Books

We read a lot of books. I mean A LOT.

Seeds Family Worship

We use Seeds Family Worship to work on scripture memorizing with our kiddos. It works well for any kiddo who loves music.

Dry Erase Boards

Dry Erase Board and Markers are wonderful to help kids learn.

Games

We play games that encourage fun, learning, and life skills.

A Family Decision

The choice of how to educate children is a very important decision that each parent has to make at some point. Each option has pros and cons. Every family is different. What works for one family will not work for another. Nobody knows your child better than you so nobody else is more qualified to decide how to educate your child. Be encouraged. Do not be swayed by those around you trying to persuade you one way or the other. Do what you feel is right for your family.

Our Decision

My husband and I are committed to our children and their education. As of right now, we plan to let our boys finish preschool in the public school system. We are praying for clarity for which direction God wants us to go after the boys complete preschool. How did you decide?

How did you get your children ready for kindergarten?

 

Gift Guide for the Mommy in Your Life

Are you enjoying your Christmas shopping this year? Do you have a mommy on your list? I’m a mommy with three children, all of which are 5 and under.  When people ask me what I want for Christmas I often go into a daydream state for a few seconds thinking about the things on my wish list. Am I the only mom who does that? What is on your wish list?

I tend to stay away from things like necklaces because I love to be practical and remain simple in all things including gift wish list. Besides, when I see a necklace or jewelry, in general, I think “choking hazard”.  Am I alone in this? Here is a list I personally would love to receive.

Gift Guide For Moms with Young Children

Click on the photos to learn more about each present idea.

                                                      

       

       

      

      

                          

       

Gift Guide for Kids on the Autism Spectrum or ADHD

Christmas is around the corner. I love to shop but shopping for a child on the autism spectrum or attention issues can be a challenge. I have a 5-year-old with autism and a 4-year-old who struggles keeping focus and attention. These boys can at times be a pretty hard puzzle to figure out. We like to use every opportunity we can to help our boy’s personal development and education. So, because of that mission, we like to get gifts that can be both fun and help growth take place.

20 Gift Ideas for Kids on the Autism Spectrum or ADHD

  1. Connect 4– I love this game for my kids. It helps them practice patience, counting, as well as the social skill of sharing and interacting with others.
  2. Spinners By IN Global Cube Edition Black Fidget Cube– These fidget cubes help kiddos and adults like my boys to keep their hands busy so they can focus on the task in front of them. My kiddos love these
  3. Lego Chain Reaction– Lego Chain Reaction kits is a great way to the let the builder in your child come out. This kit promotes creativity and focus.
  4. Melissa & Doug Products– Melissa & Doug products are always a great option for any child.
  5. Jenga- This game is great to promote focus and concentration.
  6. Yeti in the Spaghetti– My boys love this game. They don’t even realize they are learning focus and concentration through this game.
  7. VTech Write & Learn Creative Center (Frustration Free Packaging)
  8. Sketch Wizard – Draw Anything Like a Pro, Easy Tracing Drawing Sketching Tool, Gadget for Kids and Adults
  9. Kid’s Calendar– Having a calendar has helped my boys tremendously with day to day tasks, as well as special events.
  10. Magnetic building pieces– Magnetic building brings out the creative side in my children. They love to build. This activity helps to grow so many needed skills.
  11. Lincoln Logs– Build, Build, Build… My kiddos love to build.
  12. School activity books– My boys love to do these activity books. I love it too because the books help me teach my boys concepts they will need for school. The beauty of these books is that you can find them for all ages.
  13. Toy from a favorite show- My kiddos favorite shows are Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, and Sophia the First.
  14. Sports Equipment- My son loves sports of all kinds.
  15. Swing
  16. Beanbag Chair– My boys love the feeling of a bean bag, especially when the boys need time to calm down from a meltdown.
  17. Doctor Kits– Getting kid’s doctor kits has helped our kiddos not to be as terrified when they have to go see a doctor.
  18. iPads or Tablets– iPads and Tablets have been extremely helpful to many with autism. It can be a huge difference maker to break down a communication barrier.
  19. Music- Music speaks volume to my boys. I’m a firm believer that a musical life is a great life.
  20. Experiences- Kids won’t necessarily remember every toy we ever buy them as parents, but they will remember the memories we made together. Consider instead of buying a huge “big” present to maybe pay for a new extracurricular like martial arts or take a big vacation this summer.

Every child is different. It’s all about knowing your child and his or her talents so you can help to expand the talent or interest. There are great options for every budget. Happy Shopping!

5 Habits of a Joyful Momma

Having joy in the midst of an at times crazy mom life is something that takes time to figure out and even if we, as moms, do “master it” we all still have let’s say less than joyful times. Do you need more joy in your life? Or perhaps you are weary, tired, and can’t seem to find joy in anything? If this is you, first and for most, run, don’t walk, to the Father. He is the source of all joy.

5 Habits of a Joyful Momma

  1. Quiet time
  2. Laughter
  3. Love for the simple things
  4. Celebrate every win no matter how small
  5. Have mommy time

Quiet Time

Quiet time is essential growing in your faith and our strength to face the fallen world outside our door. There are countless personal bible studies out there for every person in many different stages of life. A passage that is good for a wife or a mommy to read is Proverbs 31. It will provide a daily reminder for wives and mommies.

Learn to Laugh More

Learning to laugh more. I have to remind myself of this often. Too often the stressors of life can get us at a point where we are uptight and extremely serious. Outside of time with Jesus, I believe that in laughter is the best medicine. Laugh a lot, pray harder.

Love for the Simple Things

Life can get pretty complicated at times by nature. However, that doesn’t mean more simplicity is not possible. Simplicity in homemaking in every area of the home, especially cleaning. You can even save money by making your own cleaning products.

Celebrate every win no matter how small

This is a big one to remember when bad mommy days get you down. Every win no matter how small is still worth celebrating. This could be anything. It could be getting your child who is scared to death of the potty to sit on the potty, just once. Getting the house clean. Or even the kids eating their vegetables.

Recognize that with every little win you are that much closer to the goal.

Have mommy time

Taking care of yourself is a big part of being a joyful momma. When we have mommy time we relieve stress. This could be anything from going to the store alone, a couponing class, a woman’s conference, or even just dinner out with the girls.

Joy is all around us. You just have to search and accept it. Have a joyful day.

Jesus is the source of all JOY.

7 Practical Tips for Simplicity in Life as a Mom

 

Awe, the mom life… Am I right? And your reading this thinking she is crazy with the kids yelling, crying, or making messes around you. Haha, I know. Sometimes the mom life is anything but relaxing. However, there are tips that can lead to simplicity in the mom life.

7 practical tips for simplicity in the mom life:

  1. Stay away from overbooking yourself
  2. Plan simple but healthy meals
  3. Have a cleaning routine
  4. Have simple budget
  5. Ask partner or friend for help
  6. Make to-do lists
  7. Have mommy time. Take care of yourself.

Stay away from overbooking yourself

Growing up my family was always on the go doing everything we could do. The difference for my family now and my family growing up is I had teenage siblings when I was a baby because of that my mom had extra hands to help. When I got married and had my first child I planned to be involved in everything. I quickly realized that was not realistic. And it’s okay.

As a rule, we as a family are involved in a couple of activities each week like small group bible study and family gatherings, things of that nature. My husband and I have our children involved in church, music- because we believe a musical life is a great life, and martial arts.

So we keep it simple. We have more home and family time than go time. I believe that’s important. It allows us to build deeper relationships with our children and each other. It’s important to cultivate relationships. There are many free family ideas out there.


Plan simple but healthy meals

Meal planning can be a monster within itself especially when you add children to the mix. Many children like mine are picky eaters or have dietary restrictions beyond their control. That makes the meal planning chore more of a pain. I used to make different meals for everyone in my house. The only way that happens now is if there are leftovers that need to be eaten. Since I have picky eaters we tend to stick with very basic meals, such as sandwiches, hot dogs and mac n cheese, quesadillas, pasta, pizza, and putting the two together, crock-pot pizza.


Have a cleaning routine

Having a cleaning routine doesn’t mean you have to have everything planned down to the minute. It simply means that you have planned out what you will have clean before the day is over. If you have a routine it won’t be so overwhelming when you look around your house. Pick the cleaning product that you love best or make your own cleaning product and simply clean. Keep in mind that life can throw some crazy curve balls in one day and you might not get all you planned done. That’s okay. Give yourself grace. Kids will not remember if the house was always clean, but kids will remember the memories they made while making the messes.


Have a simple budget

Finances are one of the biggest stressors for a marriage and family. Keeping it simple is the best way to tackle it. There are countless resources out there to overhaul your finances. Now, let me be clear I’m not an expert and I certainly do not have it all figured out. It’s a process that we have to constantly go through as seasons of life change.

I have used many resources through the years. One resource I highly recommend is the Money Matters book and course. Using a source like this will walk you through the decisions you need to make step by step. A book I loved reading was Love Your Life Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want by Rachel Cruz, daughter Dave Ramsey. This book is all about setting your priorities right, being realistic, and not playing the comparison game. A blogger I often find engaging on this topic is Money Peach. Money Peach has many free resources that can encourage you.


Make to-do lists

Making list is something that helps me stay grounded in the simple life. You can make a list for anything such as, to do lists, cleaning lists, honey-do list, kid’s chores, grocery lists, idea list, gift ideas for yourself or family, and even baby name lists.


Ask your partner or friend for help

As humans, we all struggle with pride. I take pride in being independent. So asking for help is not my strong suit. To put this into perspective for you, on my wedding day my dad told my hubby “sorry, she’s very independent.” My hubby told me this after the fact. I just chuckled but I can’t say it’s not true. But hey, I have improved, he helps do the dishes now.

Over the years, I have learned to seek of my hubby and friend. The time I learned this lesson the most was when my son Connor had a medical emergency that required several ER visits and eventually a transfer to another hospital. Our friends and family were there for us during that long week. And not to mention the weeks following when Connor was diagnosed with autism.

Friends are very important in the mom life for encouragement and support through the hard times and the good times. I’m grateful for every friend that I have been blessed with in my life. Some great ideas to make new mom friends are to join a local mom group like MOPs, get involved at a church near you or mentor a younger mom.


Having Mommy time

Take care of yourself. It’s as point blank as that but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard to follow through. As a busy mom, I completely understand. This is a huge stress reliever for us moms once we get over the fact that our babies are home without us. I try to have mommy time once a month. Some months it doesn’t happen but most of the time it does.

For me, mommy time can be as simple as writing a blog post during nap time, walking around the mall for an hour, or going to the grocery store with no kids in toe. But I do think the occasional big mommy night out with friends is also needed. What is your “Mommy time” mean? What do you do?


Being a mommy can have challenging times but it is the most important job in the world, in this humble mommy’s opinion.

I love the mom life!!

How to make Crock-Pot Pizza quickly for your family?

Crock-Pot Pizza Recipe

This recipe is a staple in my home. It’s quick. It’s fun. It’s kid-friendly. It takes 20 to 30 minutes of prep time because you will need to cook the noodles and meat beforehand then combine all the ingredients. The dish takes about 2 hours to cook on the high setting.

Ingredients:

  1. Pasta noodle
  2. Pasta sauce
  3. Pizza sauce
  4. 2 pounds or ground meat (at least one pound of ground beef)
  5. Pizza toppings
  6. Mozzarella and/ or cheddar cheese (add to taste)
  7. Optional Garlic powder and Italian (seasoning to taste)

The awesome part of this recipe is you can make it your own. Choose everything from the type of noodle all the way to the toppings you put in the crock-pot pizza.

For my family, I stick with the basics because I have kids that are picky eaters. I use medium egg noodles, 2 pounds of ground beef, Preggo pasta and pizza sauce, and pepperonis. This is one recipe I use to get my kids to eat hamburger meat and get a little bit more substance than their typical PB&J.

Want to save this recipe for later?

10 Ways to Make Extra Money from Home

 

Making extra money is becoming easier and easier these days. If you don’t think so let me explain. Earning extra income still takes time and effort but it is easier, especially if you are internet savvy. But even if you’re not there are so many opportunities for you to make extra money for yourself or your family.

10 Ways to make extra money:

1. Swagbucks– Swagbucks is a very easy site navigate where a user can find videos on numerous topics, coupons, deals, and links to shop online at everyday stores like Walmart. As a user interacts with the website the user earns points that can be redeemed in many different ways for real gift cards or money via PayPal.Join Swagbucks!

You Can Get Free Gift Cards For Shopping, Searching and Discovering What’s Online at Swagbucks.com

2. Donate Plasma– Donating plasma is a great way to earn extra income while helping others that need people like you and me to donate to help literally save their lives. Disclaimer: remember to do your research before donating to insure your own safety, as well as the safety of those who receive the donations. There are many different restrictions on medical history- so read through all the safety restrictions. If interested you can find out more by clicking here.

3. Blogging– I highly recommend this… Obviously 🙂 … Blogging is awesome. I absolutely love it. Blogging is perfect for moms that stay home because you can work on your blog whenever you have time. It’s very flexible and fun. My friend, Suzi, has a great course on monetizing your blog. To read more about the blog course click here.

4. Babysit– Do you love children? Do you have a background in education? If so, then babysitting maybe the perfect fit for you to make some additional income for your family. This is a great way to help out fellow parents while helping your family. This would be a great fit for parents with only one child to provide your little one with more socialization and potential friends.

5. Have an online garage sell– Are you a hoarder? Do you want to declutter your life? Social media makes this so easy these days. There are countless swap pages in most cities. Having an online garage sell is the perfect way to bypass the mess of a traditional garage sale. This is the perfect way to clean the clutter out of your home and make extra money at the same time.

6. Sell on Etsy– Do you love to do crafts? Do you have a hobby to build? Selling on Etsy is a perfect option for anyone who loves crafts. There are many different categories that you can sell projects on Etsy. The one thing to consider is that to make a profit from this option you have to have a decent amount of time to devote to your very own Etsy shop. To start your very own Etsy shop click here. 

7. Write an eBook– Do you love to write? Writing an ebook may be for you. I personally love this option. I am currently working on two ebooks myself. Stay tuned to pressonmedia.net to be one of the first to receive a copy of my ebooks.

8. Teach an online course– Do you have an education background? Do you have a hobby that many want to learn about? There are many different platforms available to where you can create your very own online course. This can make a big difference in your finances.

9. Sell Photos on stock photo websites– Do you love photography? Selling photos to websites like istockphotos.com may be for you. It’s as simple as taking your camera with you on your walk. Put your hobby to use for your pocketbook.

10. Become an Uber driver– Do you love to drive? Do you know your way around the town you live in? Becoming an Uber driver in your spare time may be a good option for you. Drive your way to more income. To learn more about Uber click here.

Start a Mom Blog eBook & Course Review

This mommy blogger course is AMAZING! I took this course as a previous blogger that could never figure out that big question of “How do I make money from my blog?” even as a trained writer. This course filled in all of those gaps that I couldn’t seem to fill by myself.

Suzi, the instructor, is so helpful. This is not one of those courses that expects you to figure it all out by yourself. She makes herself available to her students to answer any questions. Believe me, I asked a lot of questions.
The course comes with video presentations that walk you through everything you need to know to start making money with blogging. There are 18 lessons filled with everything you need to know and all aimed to help you  to be the best blogger you can be.

Checkout the layout of the Blog by Number  course to the left. It is so easy to navigate. This makes it easy to refer back to a section if you need.

In the intro of this book Suzi makes it clear that busy moms can do this and be successful. She also provides basic schedule for you to use for your blog or to use it as a basic example. The intro also comes with a warning to not compare yourself to other bloggers or you will find yourself burned out. I fully agree with this. It’s so easy to be envious of other people and blogs but own YOUR blog and be proud of it.

This course comes with a copy of Suzi’s eBook that is full of helpful affiliate links that will help you have a successful blog. All of the links are highly recommended by Suzi and are products she uses for her blog.

In addition to the book, the course bundle comes with extras including, a virtual workbook and FREE stock photos.

To start your mom blog, write your first post, and start reaching your financial goals TODAY click here. You will be so glad you did.

Start A Mom Blog ROCKS!

How to give your Child a Musical Life

 

Music speaks volumes in my home. I grew up loving music and singing. My kids are no different. They absolutely love music.

My children can be pretty wild at times, especially my boys. Do your children have times of the day when they just go crazy? Is it just me?

I often use music to help during this time. Certain songs brings a calm to my home. In fact we often listen to music throughout our day. I know there are arguments out there about music still being media and parents are supposed to be limit media, and normally I agree with this however, I believe that music speaks in many different ways and if presented the right way to children it can be it’s very own category.

We all know the basic songs and rhymes used to educate children. ABC’s, Wheels on the Bus, and Ring Around the Rosie just being a few songs that are often sung at preschool and kindergarten classes everywhere. The kinds of songs my children love to sing outside of the basic educating songs everyone knows are Seeds Family Worship songs, ANY christian artist, Disney songs, and songs that this mommy makes up to encourage my kiddos to follow directions, teach them a subject, or just to be plain silly with my kiddos. I love to encourage my kid’s silly sides and their imaginations so I am not afraid to get a little silly with my kids. You shouldn’t be either.

How do you use music in your home? In our home we use Pandora, Youtube and Amazon music to fill our music needs. Another way to encourage music in your child’s life is to sign your child up for music lessons.


My kids are not at a point yet where they are ready for private music lessons so we do a preschool music class once a week at a friend’s home. It encourages not only their love of music but also their social skills. This is very helpful for children who struggle with being social or behaving the right way in a social situation. My oldest son, Connor, has autism. He loves music. For him, music breaks down barriers in many areas of his life. How does music change your child? How has music impacted your child?

Music speaks to the soul.

 

How to Raise Grateful Kids

Raising children is no small feat these days. In today’s world it is all too easy to have a wave of entitlement constantly over kids. My goal is to avoid that wave or at least teach my children how to battle it with gratefulness. Is this a concern of yours?

There are many ways to combat this issue of entitlement, or how my hubby likes to refer to it the “I want, I get” mind set.

1.Live life so you can bless others. Show the value of being content.

There are many values to leading a simple life. One of the best values is having the ability to bless others. In our home we keep our budget down to minimum needs (i.e. food, water, shelter, transportation, insurance, electric) with only a few entertainment expenses per month such as Netflix and monthly date night.

Being content with simple needs met is something that is hard to find in today’s culture. We are very careful and limit what programs our children watch and how much TV they watch because children are smacked in the face with ads that tell children what they “need”. We do not have cable. We pay a monthly subscription to Netflix for less than half the cost of a typical cable bill.

However, I find value in turning off the TV and just playing. Let the imagination grow without the TV’s help. Children learn through playing and doing. So in other words, parents don’t have to give their kids the latest and greatest things for their children to be successful in life. Encourage innovation and hard work over handing over the cash. I read a book recently that really put this concept into perspective for me. I would highly recommend, “Love Your life, Not Theirs” by Rachel Cruz. If you would like to check it click here.

There are many resources out there on this topic. The key is to talk to children about money and pass down good money managing habits to our children. A good resource that my hubby and i loved reading is “Smart Money Smart Kids…” by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruz. If you are interested in this book click here

2. Find ways to show what it means to be grateful.

Being grateful brings joy not only to others but the one who is grateful, however sometimes children (especially mine) need reminders about what being grateful means. I look for ways for my children to visually learn this concept. This should be different for every age group. My kids are 4, 3, and 1. Currently we read a lot of books on the subject, help family and friends with age appropriate projects, and our children have responsibilities around the home. The part when the learning comes into play is when my children sees the response of their helpful actions. Positive reinforcement, in other words.

If you have older children some ideas that might fit your kids better are service projects- cleaning up your street, volunteering at a homeless shelter, getting involved in the a ministry at your church, go on a mission trip, or simply give a friend a ride to where ever they need to go. It can be that simple.

3. Manners. Manners. Manners.

Another way children can see gratefulness in action is by watching response of those around them when children use their manners and show respect. This is something my husband and I have worked very hard on with our kids. We have an expectation of respect and manners in our home to the point that our one year old says please and thank you every time it is needed. We worked so hard on this because our two oldest children struggled with speech issues early on in their preschool years so that became an outlet to work on speech but became an expectation.

4. Teach the value of hard work.

The value of hard work. When I was growing up hard working used to be defined by the effort, time, and commitment you put into a task. These days it’s getting harder and harder to see the value in hard work, especially, in the younger generations. My parenting goal is to raise my children to be people that have work ethic and character that stands out in the crowd.

To help our children understand the value of hard work they each have chores they are expected to do each day. For more details on how to give your kids age appropriate chores click here. You model hard work when you stay up doing housework or you go to work every morning even though it’s hard to leave your sweet little ones.

5. Lead by example.

For my children this is the biggest factor. My husband and I work very hard to insure we are living out what we constantly preach to our children. However, we are not perfect. We absolutely do make mistakes. Daily. We are open and honest with our children when we make mistakes. How do you lead by example?

To sum it up. This is obviously not the only ways to teach your children gratefulness. And it is important to remember all of us, both parents and kids, are not perfect and we are all going to have ungrateful times. There are many more ways to encourage gratefulness out there. How do you teach your children to be grateful? Share your tips and tricks.