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Sunday

Montesorri Printshop Give-Away!!

I know we say it a lot but it's true!! There are so many reasons to love Montesorri Print Shop!  We use so many of their awesome printables in our daily activities and lessons.  This summer they have added one more reason they rock to the list! They are sponsoring a terrific give away.  Check out the link here: http://blog.montessoriprintshop.com/2013/06/17/win-over-1290-printable-montessori-materials-from-montessori-print-shop.aspx

What's up for grabs?

Deluxe 2 Disc CD Rom Collection includes:
  • 1287 printable Montessori Materials
    • all materials are in pdf file format
  • 4 Primary Montessori Teaching Manuals in pdf file format
    • Practical Life
    • Sensorial
    • Language
    • Math
This collection includes ALL of the materials in our store:
1.   Primary Teaching Manuals
2.   Classified Cards & Picture Cards (vocabulary enrichment)
3.   Culture
:Celebrations, Music, Peace, Visual Arts
4.   World Geography
5.   Language: Pre-Reading, Moveable Alphabet,
Phonics, Pink Blue Green Series
6.   Grammar: Primary (3-6 years), Elementary Grammar Box (6-9 years)
7.   Math: Intro to Numbers, Operations, Extensions, Geometry
8.   Nomenclature: Botany, Zoology, Other (Health, Science, etc)
9.   Science : Animals, Astronomy, Plants, Science, Weather
10. Sensorial
11. Teacher & Administration
12. Toddler






Monday

The Sound of Silence ...

So it's no secret that popularity has never been my strong suite.  As an adult, I like to think that I have begun to learn the art of managing healthy relationships inside of odd large group dynamics.  And, that I am now immune to auditioning for love and acceptance. But to be honest, I'm still a work in progress.   Drawing the line between authenticity and acceptance is not an easy thing to do. 
 
 

 
When I was younger I had always imagined it much like a line graph.  With ultimate hubris, assuming that it was my responsibility to find acceptance with everyone while somehow managing to stay authentic to who I am right now in the moment.  Impossible really. 

Especially, when you consider that we are all constantly changing, growing, facing new challenges and meeting new opportunities.  As I have gotten older I have become less and less interested in relationships that require me to be less honest about who I am and where I am in my life.  Don't get me wrong.  I am all for social grace.  I think it's important part of our social system.  But only to the extent that we do not have to deny ourselves ... ourselves.  Life changes constantly sometimes in small ways and other times in enormous ones. Not to long ago I underwent several fairly painful procedures that required I lie very still, very awake, and very quite for a not to insignificant amount of time.  No big deal, right? 

Day 1: My head raced with all things on my to do list that really needed to get done. (i.e. *Need to get the cell phone fixed, *Dr. Appts for the Littles, *School Planning, *Dinner Planning ect.)  Believe me that list goes on and on and on.  My heart raced.  I felt like runner who had just been stopped cold at the starting gate.

Day 2: I committed to dusting off the prayer meditation skills I picked up at a church conference some years ago.  Every time, one of those things I couldn't change right now popped into my head, I imagined it was a book.  I closed the book and put it on shelf in my mind.  Not forever, just for right now.  I refocused myself on the stillness I needed to accomplish.  I spent the whole time closing books.

Day 3: Those books were much easier to close and I found myself focusing on the stillness.  I was listening to nothing, not the sounds the machine was making, not even my own breathe just experiencing the stillness.  And I sobbed ... the whole time. 

Day 4:  I went in feeling every inch of the disconnection that was occurring in my life at large.  My own inability for the moment to be and do all the things I wanted to be for myself, for my friends, my community.  As I laid there, I did my best to pack it all away ... it took while.  Then the radio in my head started play "A Beautiful History" by Plumb ... just the chorus over and over again. 

"I am here
I’m holding you
You’ll make it through this
I am here
I am here"

I didn't try and pack it away ... I just listened.

Since that moment I have challenged myself to view the journey of acceptance and authenticity less like a line and more like this ....

I have also shifted my focus away from other people and right back to me.  I have challenged myself to accept myself, unconditionally right now as I am.  See that yellow dot ... my intention is for that to be me.  That is I exactly how love my children, my husband, my family.  What I pray will help me stay there is knowing not just who I am but whose I am, knowing that indeed I am never truly alone.  The number of other people, friends, family that may be in cross-section of authenticity and acceptance will without doubt change with the seasons, but the truth that I am already loved enough will remain.  I know it sounds simple and small but it's quite epic for me. 

Everyday, things do their best to creep in.  It can be hard to learn to let go of the unreturned phone call.   It stings to be left out of play dates that you surely would have invited your friends too. Or my personal favorite when I forget the one product that I went to the store for in the first place!  But none of that really matters.  Because we already have love enough for the journey.  It would be simply untrue to say I am heading into this week fearlessly.  But it is undeniably true that I am heading into this week fearfully and wonderfully made. 

 

Friday

Picnic with Claritin in Tow!

Our family not only suffers from food allergies but also some seasonal allergies.  Given the high pollen counts we are definitely glad to have our Claritin on hand to help us enjoy our outdoor spring adventures.  As a member of the Claritin mom crew, I had the pleasure of hosting a spring picnic planning mommy meet-up. 

We had so much fun sharing healthy tips for seasonal allergy planning provided by Claritin, reveling in the awesome kid friendly allergy cool packs, and sampling several of our favorite allergy friendly recipes.  Below you will find 6 of the recipes that our moms shared.  They print out as 5 x 7 recipe cards and are completely free to download!  Enjoy the recipes scroll down and keep reading for tips on how we picnic with food allergies.  :)



As a mom with a child with food allergies picnics can be filled with a bit of anxiety, because they are a natural environment to share and taste other families foods. I am always appreciative of families that pack with our allergies in mind, but never rely or expect that. Here are a few things I do to make sure we don't miss out on the fun but do our best to stay food safe:

1: Bring your own blanket and make it a big one!

This is one of those realities that makes me feel like a heal, but we rarely sit on other peoples blankets.  The reality of crumbs or chips that could harm us is just to great.  I typically explain this reality to our little friends and most have no problem sitting close but not with us if they have allergens. 

2: Pack extra water, wipes, hand sanitizers and towels.

Mom's rarely look unfavorably at having extra wipes on hand.  This way you can not only keep your littles hands clean but you can also help little friends contain any present allergens remaining on their skin.  Of coarse, for those with severe contact allergies this may be of no help.  We discussed this process with our allergist and I highly recommend you do the same!  Every allergy is unique and some require complete containment and separation from the allergen.


3:  Have your epipen and anti-histamine protocol in the thermal!

I literally pack my thermal complete with a medicine bag that includes several doses of anti-histamine as directed by our allergist and an epipen twin pack.

4:  Bring enough to share and bring a few recipe cards.

I am often surprised when people are stunned by how  delicious and kid friendly allergy foods can be.  This inspired me to always pack with sharing in mind.  I keep a record of any of the top eight allergens that are present in the recipe for my fellow allergy moms.  Having the card ensures that if someone likes what they taste they can recreate it at home.  Got to  love the idea of non-allergy moms cooking allergy friendly by choice :)

5:  Don't forget what you didn't know before your child had a food allergy.

People almost always want to include, help and share.  But don't forget that food allergies are complex.  When you first started looking at food labels, were you shocked at how many items contained hidden allergens?  Did you understand that foods sitting to closely in the fridge can contaminate otherwise safe foods?  Did you know how to properly sterilize cooking vessels to ensure that they would be safe for cooking specific to your allergy?  Probably not.  Most people don't.  With that in mind we rarely eat foods made in non-allergy homes.  When we do I always make sure that I am comfy enough with the person that I can ask some down right rude questions.  My rule of thumb has become if they aren't close enough to understand the need for the rude and frankly invasive question that accompany how they prepped the food, the best answer is thank you but no. 

Sending out a big thanks to Claritin for inspiring such an awesome play date and congratulations to all our moms and kiddos that won Claritin cool packs!

Thursday

Searching for light ....




As splash park play dates and summer fun get under way I am called to remember a precious family and little playmate taken to soon. Today June 6th is the day that Charlie went to heaven.  This year Kate asked that we commemorate Charlie's heaven day by sending biodegradable wildlife safe floating lanterns to heaven in honor of his life.  Since I have class today, I elected to take my boys and my niece out to the beach yesterday evening to send our lanterns in honor of Charlie.   In Chinese culture red symbolizes joy and energy and white symbolizes mourning. We sent one of each.

I have no words to express how cold the truth of Charlie's passing is to me.  How it shakes me to my core even still to embrace the reality of a beautiful, wonderful boy taken from the loving arms his mother and father at such a tender age.  From the moment this tragedy occurred there have been no words that have ever been able to bring light to the darkness of this moment.  All the platitudes that I have thought seem empty and hollow against void.  The truth of the embrace of eternal, everlasting love is all that comes close to shining through for me. 

As we giggled and struggled to figure out how to get the lanterns off in a fairly windy day one of the guys from the guard station came to join us.  (We had contacted them ahead of time since we were at the beach ... if you decide to this it's important you notify the lifeguards or Coast Guard so they do not mistake your tribute for a flare)  We successfully sent 2 out of the 3 up.  As I watched them almost magically drift towards the cloud a few tears found their way to my cheek and I said "Thank You, God for Charlie and for holding him and his family."  My son looked at me and said "Can I have a big hug."  The answer was a resounding yes and a group hug that included the poor little guy from the guard station.

To learn more about Charlie and his awesome family you can check out Kate's Blog: http://www.embracinglifesjourney.com/ shop at her etsy store for some precious baby blankets, toddler aprons, bags and more: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShopCharliesPlace

The Wasting Nothing Philosophy

Playing, cooking, reading, exploring, loving, laughing, and making a mess with your little one is NEVER a waste of time! It is priority one! It's not just about getting to know your little one. It's about letting your little one get to know you!