Friday, December 6, 2013

Dear Baby Girl: My Dream for You

Dear Baby Girl, 
   I have dreams for you. I have hopes for you. I want to give you a good life. I want you to be generous. This may be the greatest gift that you can give yourself. Giving of your money, things, time, blesses others and blesses you too. It makes you feel good inside your heart. That is God’s way of letting you know you are doing something right and good. 

   I want to you think about others. How they think, what they must be feeling. Be compassionate, be loving, be like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Sometime as adults we have shallow philosophies. We think that we cannot like or love someone who thinks differently than us. We shy away from those who are look or act differently.  We sometimes forget that God created all people and Jesus asked us to reach them with His love. Baby Girl, we can still love those people with the love of Jesus. We do not have to agree with them, or participate but it is not our job to punish them. Show them kindness, show them love, show them Jesus. 

  I want you to be compassionate. I want your heart to be big. I want you to consider others. I want you to take nothing for granted for it all can go away at any moment. 

  When you have nothing, I want you to be thankful. When you have plenty, I want you to be thankful. Remember that there is always someone who has less than you have, who hurts more than you hurt, who struggles more than you struggle. Pray for them and have a thankful heart. 

  I want you to be happy. A happy heart can be found by being generous and thankful. It can be found by loving others and taking care of them. It can be found by sharing Jesus. It can also be found by being content. Baby Girl, this is a hard one. Contentment is becoming a lost state. We always want more, want bigger, want better. That can be a great thing when striving to meet a goal. It can be a detrimental thing when we put our wants before others needs. Or when we constantly feel sad and restless because we are never satisfied with what we have. We never enjoy today because we are too busy waiting for tomorrow to get here. Take time to stop and be happy with today, with a moment. Even when your circumstance is not ideal or even very hard, find something to be content with. Something that satisfies you. Be patient in those times, because I promise it is a small part of your journey. Follow God and keep Him with you and He will always see you through. You can have a happy heart even when things seem to be falling down around you. It is very much a choice. Something that has to be worked at or strived for sometimes. Sometimes it is very easy to be content, everything seems right in your world. Other times you will struggle to find one thing that you can be happy about. Keep looking, it is there. 

  I want you to smile. A smile says so much about you. It says so much to other people. A genuine smile that is filled with compassion and hope and love can be that one thing in someone’s life that gets them through the day, that gives them hope. Baby girl, a smile is free but is priceless as well. 
I want you to have dreams and goals and work hard to meet them. I want you to find joy in the journey. I want you have a sense of accomplishment. I want you to succeed. But I also want you to fail. As hard as that is for me to say, the truth is there will be things in life that are hard for you, things that you will not be good at, things that hurt. You practice more, fight harder, decide not to give up. You learn through failure. You learn compassion and empathy from your experiences. Your failures do not have to define you, but it is up to you to decide that. I want you to choose to let them make you better. 

  I want you stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I want you to strive to be selfless. I want you to serve others. 

  I want you to know who you are in Christ. He created you; He has plans for you. Tune in to Him. Follow Him. Love Him. Love Him more than you love Daddy and me. Love Him more than you (will) love your husband. Know His word. Believe it. Share it. Stand up for Him. Loving Him will make all the other things easier, natural. 

  Baby Girl, people will take advantage of your generosity. Use your discernment, but keep giving. Your compassion may cause you pain. You may become a bully’s target after standing up for a friend. Don’t let that hinder your kind heart. Not everybody is going to like you, and you will not understand why. Don’t worry about it. Remember who you are in Christ. There is nobody in this world that owes you anything. Remember that. Be thankful for even the little things. Work hard for the things that you want. Smile and laugh. It is good for your soul and for others. Go on adventures, read as much as you can, pay for a stranger’s coffee, dance in the rain, and love Baby Girl. Love, love, love. It is truly the greatest gift you can give. 

I Love you more than you can fathom, 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thankful for the Heartbreak

I am seeing people posting all over Facebook about what they are thankful this time of year. Tis the season after all. I am thankful for lots of things: people in my life, food to eat, a home to live in, a job I love. But mostly I am thankful for our Baby Girl.

Naturally, most parents are thankful for their kids, but I think I might have a little bit of a different perspective. My husband and I suffered three heartbreaking miscarriages starting in 2011. You can read Our Story here. I wanted nothing else in life. With every passing month, every negative pregnancy test, with every trip to the fertility doctor, I wanted a child more and more. With every positive pregnancy test I got more nervous. Loosing pregnancy after pregnancy takes a little excitement out of that little stick with the word "pregnant" on it. I spent the first 4 months of this last pregnancy over analyzing every little twinge I felt.

So, what I am trying to babble out, is that I cannot change the fact that we had our hearts broken by loosing three babies. But what I can do is be thankful that those losses led to diagnoses which led to a successful pregnancy. I can be thankful that they made me more aware of just how special her little life is. They made what we all know... a child is a precious gift from God... they made it really real for me. My heart is so full of thankfulness to God for finally blessing us with this little baby that I cannot even seem to ramble it all out on here.  I cannot even imagine what it was like before her. I find myself saying, "What did I do before she was here?" I now have a tiny glimpse of how my Heavenly Father feels about me. How much he loves me. So much so that he sacrificed His Only Son to die on the cross for ME! For MY sins, so that I might choose to live in Heaven with Him forever. WHAT!!???!! Go ahead, begin to TRY and wrap your head around it. His ONLY SON! The love that I feel for Baby Girl... I cannot imagine loosing her, let alone giving her up to die for someone else's sinful life. I am reminded of the words of the song below.  Take a minute to watch and listen. Blessings to you this Holiday Season!

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away 
As wounds which mar the Chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Preschool: Handprint Pumpkin Patch

For a simple little Fall fun, throw together this simple craft.

Paper plates
Orange, green and brown paint and paint brushes
Small squares of white paper (I used card stock)

Have kiddos paint the plates orange. Help them paint their hands green all but one finger. Paint the remaining finger brown for the stem. Press onto the white paper. Cut out the handprint and staple to the top of the pumpkin plate. Viola! I hung some green yarn between to look like vines, but will use green curling ribbon in the future.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Preschool: Pumpkin Number Identification Exercise/Evaluation

Feels like forever since I posted! Well, that is because we welcomed our Baby Girl into our lives in the middle of August. We are so in love and a little sidetracked. She has become the most interesting thing in our lives!

But I am back to work and excited to be back into the swing of things. This week, we got in the fall spirit with some fun pumpkin activities. I wanted to share just one with you today. That is all I have time for before Baby Girl needs me again. :) 

 To prepare, use copy paper to make some pumpkin seed shapes and number 1-10. You will need one set for each student. You will need to copy a large pumpkin reproducible onto orange paper (1 per student as well). Set up your table like this: set of number mixed up, the pumpkin and a glue stick.

Working one on one, ask student to find the seed with the number one on it. If they can identify it correctly, have them glue it into their pumpkin. Proceed with numbers 2-10. If they are having trouble identifying the numbers, you want to try to point to a seed and ask them, "Do you know what number this is?" That helped some of the children who had a hard time understanding the directions. Sometimes it just needs presented in a different manner. 
 This is a great little way to evaluate number identification. I pop these into the children's portfolios.

If a student identifies the number incorrectly, I just gently correct them and move on to the next numbers. Helping them identify them along the way. If they know none, often times I will practice 1,2,3 with them for a while and then see if they can identify the number one after that. 

The kiddos really seem to enjoy the "game" whether or not they get to glue seeds in. They don't even know they are being evaluated! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stationery Card

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Must Haves for My Preschool Classroom

Well, it is that time of year again! Preschool is right around the corner! The new school year always excites me! I LOVE opening up boxes of supplies before school starts! It is like Christmas! I always forget some of the things that I request and am excited to see them! I wanted to share with you some of my favorite classroom essentials! Click on the item name to link you to where you can purchase them.

I seriously use these EVERY SINGLE DAY in school. 
I used to have round tables and I would place art supplies for Table Time or art projects on the trays and it helps keep the mess contained. Clean up is simply taking the trays off the table and then you can put supplies away later, but the tables are ready for use again right away. 
I also use these when we are doing messy projects like liquid watercolor. Each kiddo gets one and when they are finished, they can slide the whole tray in the drying rack. Easy, contained mess. They make great portable centers as well. 

This is probably my all time favorite find. Glue jars with brushes. While I think students should be exposed and taught how to use glue bottles, these are great for my age group (3-4). They are able to use them independently and I don't have an issue with them using too much glue. I use these every day as well. I can't imagine my classroom without them. You can also put paint in them. Stock up! 

Before having these in my classroom, I would collect baby food containers, cupcake liners, basically anything that I could toss to put craft items in for crafts, projects, centers, etc. 
These are sturdy disposable cups that can hold glue or paint as well as buttons, pompoms, rice, etc. They make your life easier. No rinsing out a million paint cups. Each kiddo can have their own. 
I order several hundred a year. LOVE them!

This thick, textured paper is a little pricey, but totally worth it. It makes water color projects vibrant  and less messy. Check out those colors! 

Best. Tape. Ever. It does not pull the paint off the wall, yet it sticks to everything. Trust me... buy tons of this tape!

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite classroom essentials are! I love to try out new products! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Preschool: "My Favorites" Project

During the first month of preschool, we focus on learning about and appreciating our differences and uniqueness. We learn about ourselves, our friends, our families. As a "getting to know you" project, I send this take home project home with my students. When they come back completed, we spend the last 10 minutes of the day allowing students to present their project to the class until everyone has taken their turn. This is a great way for the class to get to know each other and a great bonding experience while they work on the project at home with family members.

Provide each child with a paper cut out of a person. I included t-shirts as well. Instructions were included to decorate the cut out with the child's favorite things.

Here are some of the projects from last year.  I love how unique each one is. Just like each child!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mike Wozokswi Popcorn: A Monster's University Snack

Super easy! Super yummy! Super fun!

Pop a bag of popcorn and let cool in a large bowl. Mean while, melt some white chocolate in the microwave on 50% power. I start with intervals of 45 seconds and stir in between. When completely melted and smooth, add some green food coloring. I used lime green gel, but any will work.  I added a little cinnamon at this point too. Just a few dashes. Stir to make your chocolate green! Then drizzle over popcorn and stir to coat. Dump out on wax paper and let cool and dry for about 5 minutes. Throw in an apple Juicy Juice Mike Wozowski style and you have got a perfectly fun snack! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Patriotic Pasta

Want a super easy, super fun 4th of July lunch? Try this Patriotic Pasta!

Put on two pots of water and bring to a boil. Add red food coloring to the water in one pot and blue to the water in the other.  I used a very generous amount in each pot. Add the noodles and cook as usual. Check noodles several times and add more color if needed. You can use regular food color or gel colors, both work great, but gel always gives a more vibrant look! Drain, butter and serve! So simple! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Firecracker Popcorn

Firecracker Popcorn for Independence Day! 

1 Bag of popcorn, popped
1/2 stick of butter or margarine
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup of light corn syrup
red and blue food color ( I used gel)
( You can add a little vanilla, cinnamon or salt if you want)

Melt butter over medium heat, add sugar and corn syrup. Stir to combine, turn up heat a little to bring to a boil. Let boil for 1-2 minutes, rapidly. Put a little red food coloring in one bowl and a little red in a different one. Mix half of the syrupy mixture into the red color and half into the blue. Stir to combine. Place popcorn in a large bowl and spoon red mixture overtop. Stir to coat. Then repeat with the blue.  Enjoy! :) 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gender Reveal Party!

We found out what the gender of our baby was around 18 weeks. We planned a gender reveal party to reveal it to our family. We found out on Friday and kept it a secret until Sunday. UGH! That was hard!

We bought pink and blue everything! Cups, napkins, plates, plastic ware and tons of candy for a candy bar.

We decorated with pink and blue balloon creation, pink and blue confetti for on the tables and pink and blue streamers. 

I also had two tables filled with pink and blue dress up items. Guests were instructed to grab a few things off the table to dress up in to express their guess. So if they thought it was a boy, they would choose some blue. If they thought it was a girl, they would dress in some pink things. 

We took a group picture and then chowed down on lots of yummy food! 
Then after the meal we headed outside for the reveal. We filled a pinata with candy the color associated with the baby's gender. 

 Everybody has a bag, blue or pink depending on their guess of the gender. 

 Can you see the color of the candy on the ground??

 Here, I will help you out. Here is our Facebook reveal photos. :) :) :) 
Our little girl will arrive sometime in August. 

We could not be more excited! Out of 13 grandchildren on my side of the family, 10 are boys. So it is time for a girl! :) :) :) We can't wait!