Thursday, November 17, 2011

Free Thanksgiving printables!

It is so fun this time of year to come up with creative things to do with the kids to celebrate Thanksgiving.   What a great opportunity we have this time of year to build character into their lives learning about something as rich as gratitude.  So lets have some fun with it!

Here are some great printables from Paper Glitter that have something for everyone!
A thankful placemat for the kids to color, dinner invites, printable banners, place cards, menu sheet, cupcake toppers, water bottle bands, food labels, you name it it is here!  It is all in one FREE downloadable file.
I have already printed off the banner, and place mats and hope to do the rest as I know the details to fill them in. (You can personalize much of with whatever text you want!) Talk about looking like you put so much planning and effort into it!  Fortunatly a few clicks of the mouse will have you all set up!

Looking for kids printables like word searches, mazes, coloring sheets and games?  Here is a great list to help you find some printable fun!  I plan on printing them all!  I know my gang and one will not do!  So I plan on making a sort of coloring book place mat with a pile of these fun sheets stapled together.  My kiddos will love it!
find this great place mat at Whatever Dee Dee wants
Activity Placemat for Thanksgiving
This fun one is from Family Fun magazine just click here for it!
Free printable coloring page from Karla Dornacher.
Go check out her blog as she has a lot of really cute free coloring pages!

Mix a little leaning and fun.? You can find this one at Super Mom Moments.

How about some other Thanksgiving ideas the kids will enjoy?

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This "fill in the tale" is from Family Fun as well.
I love the idea of this Thanksgiving skit from Oopsey Daisey.  Kind of like readers theater.  the narrator reads the Thanksgiving story and every character chimes in with their characters repetitive line.  Fun easy way to add the story of Thanksgiving in and get on the spot participation from everyone there.  I have already tprinted this out for us to do. Should be a lot of fun and great for the little kiddos to practice their reading.

Looking for some elegant printables for place cards, drink / cupcake flags, food labels, etc..
Blog catch My Party has a whole free downloadable set in the following theme.  

Hope you have found something useful here!  Please comment and let me know if you did.  I tagged all of these on my pinterest account so if you are interested in what other cool Thanksgiving and Christmas ideas I have found please follow me and check out my Christmas and Fall holidays board!
Happy Thanksgiving planning!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November is national ADOPTION MONTH! Find a way to celebrate it!

There are an estimated 140 MILLION ORPHANS WORLDWIDE right now, and there is so much we can do to bless them even if you are not at a place to adopt.  So this November as we celebrate Thanksgiving lets remember all we have to give thanks for and find a way to give back to these little ones.

My Husband and I had the privilege to add to our family through adoption 2 years ago while we lived overseas in Vanuatu working with Youth With a Mission.  We now have 4 kiddos with 3 having been born from the body and one having been born from the heart.
You can find Bella's adoption story HERE.

Here are some easy ideas you can use to celebrate

1) Adopt  If you have been wanting to adopt GET STARTED! Here is a great link to Focus on the Family's I Care about orphans website that helps give you a good overview of where to start if you are considering adoption.

I know it is a long process and it involved a lot of time, money and effort but it is SO SO worth it.  By the way if any of you are wondering if you can love an adopted child as much as one with your own DNA believe me it is the easiest thing once you hold the child in your arms and accept them as God's gift to you!

For those of you who do not have the option of adoption at the moment here are a few other ideas that you can implement to celebrate National Adoption Month.

2) Donate to & Pray for someone trying to adopt.  There are so many people trying to adopt that are fundraising so if you can't be one of them consider donating to the cause and help a child find a loving home.  Don't know anyone but interested in helping someone?  Here are friends of mine trying to adopt from Ethiopia
Lisa and Matt They adopted their daughter Koral in Vanuatu with me while I was adopting Bella and they were both newborns!

3) Sponsor a child overseas through a researched child sponsorship program.  Do your homework as even some of the major names have NOT received very high grades (they use a letter system) for the actual amount DIRECTLY benefiting the child sponsored. Please consider sponsoring through a smaller organization where your funds go directly to the children in need, and do not get eaten up in salaries, overhead and advertising.  These are a few I recommend
Hohidiai Childrens Home in Indonesia through IFCUS
Josh and I have worked with IFCUS hands on and know and trust the leaders.

FOVC Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children.  This great ministry was started by a Colorado couple who adopted from Ethiopia and wanted to more for their adopted children's homeland.  I am very excited to get behind this group personally and LOVE what they do and HOW they do it.

My Home
YWAM Thailand A wonderful organization that cares deeply for the orphans and children in need.  It is a volunteer organization that works tirelessly for the needs of the children they help.

4) Read adoption stories on Focus on the Family's website  or My Crazy Adoption (Bella's story is featured here along with loads of other AMAZING adoption stories)and let them open your eyes to the amazing things God is up to around the world with adoption.

Great for families to create awareness with their children and fodder for good discussions.  Pray for the families you read about and those you know who have adopted.

5) SHOP FOR THE CAUSE!  Make your Christmas money work! Use it to buy from sources that support adoption like moms on Etsy who are using their profits to help fund their own or others adoptions.  Here is a link to all the Etsy shops selling handmade goods to support orphans or adoptions.  My friends blog  JUST LOVE 127 has opportunities of how to shop and have the proceeds benefit their adoption from Ethiopia. Or check out Wynne Elders Jewelery fundraiser featuring "Noonday Sun".  Noon day sun gets it's name from a verse in Isaiah "When you satisfy the needs of the oppressed your night will become like the noonday sun"  Just Google it and you will find tons more opportunities to SHOP FOR THE CAUSE!

6) Find out about the needs of the foster care children in your area.  Many foster children will never be reunited with thier families and face years of transitional homes.  Could you be one of those homes and love on those children?  Could you bless a family in your area that takes in foster children somehow to lighten the load.  Could you be an emergency placement home to foster children needing an immediate safe place for a very short time while a foster home is being found?  Look into the needs and opportunities in your area. Check out I care about Orphans for waiting children in your state.

You can pray for these children around the world that need homes and shelter and love.
 Go to Pray for an Orphan and sign up to see photos and adopt a child for prayer.  Learn about orphans around the world and how you can pray for them!  Again I say...DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER!!

These are some of my favorite blog buddies who have adopted...
Lisa at JUST LOVE127 My close friend who is currently adopting from Ethiopia and who came and adopted her baby Koral in Vanuatu while I was living there and was adopting Bella. Want to donate to an adoptive family..look no further.
Rory of Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care You guessed it a GREAT blog about adoptive hair care and other related adoption issues
Amanda of Bacon Tidbits A dear friend from Alaska Who is a self described "homeschooling mama to 6 fantastic kiddos. Including our baby girl and boy who joined our family one year apart and are 4 months apart!"  Great parenting resource!
My Crazy Adoption is a wonderful adoption blog filled with adoption stories, and support. Bella's story is on here as well.
Braner party of 7 A gal in Durango Colorado who has adopted 2 sweet kiddos from Rwanda and has a zest for life!

A father to the fatherless…is God in his holy dwelling…
God sets the lonely in families…
Psalm 68.5-6

Leave a comment and let me know what your family plans on doing to celebrate National Adoption month.  

Please celebrate on behalf of the worlds 140 MILLION ORPHANS who need you to do something!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow...

This is me and Dahlia my now 4 year old when she was little.  My children are now 1,2,4  and 7.
My kids have been sick and yesterday I spent the better part of the day on the couch holding my sick baby and cuddling with my 4 year old while another sick kiddo slept and one played outside.  It wasn't a very productive day and the house had to be cleaned that night, but that time was precious.  Later that night I found this poem on pinterest I didn't see an author and I think it has been around for some time. It gave words to my thoughts.  Sometimes it takes an illness to slow us down long enough to just sit and enjoy our kiddos.  Lesson learned.  I want to savor these special days, because all too soon they will be out on their own and we will be missing them.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Freebie Friday! Printables to have some fun with the kids!

It's freebie Friday! So here are some fun things for the kids to do.  I love Friday!  We homeschool and Friday is a day off.  We just do extra during the week and have a day that only has Bible class and art on the schedule.  We really enjoy it.  Sat has dance classes and other things to do so this is our truly free to play day.  We can get a slower start, work on art projects and not have to worry about being anywhere or accomplishing anything major.  For our art class on Fri I usually work out of a "how to" style art book (drawing, painting, etc..) or find something fun from pinterest for the kids to do.

My kids are working on the snowman paper doll as we speak.

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These snowmen are from Danielle’s Place of Crafts and Activities I had to zoom in (in google chrome) to 144% to make this bigger( to fit a full page) before I printed it out.  These are fun to print out, color, cut out and paste onto construction paper how you like it, or keep as paper dolls or use as a pattern on felt to make a make a felt "paper doll" with changeable clothes for a felt board.  If you do use it as a pattern for felt you can blow it up before you print it so it is larger and then once you have cut out the shapes from different colors of felt use a permanent marker to draw in the missing lines.

Check out these fun Thanksgiving themed printables I found from reading with kids!

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Or some fun actives or Thanksgiving place mats for the kids.
Thanksgiving Word Search Placemat
Or try coloring these free mandalas from Art is Fun. These are fun for markers, colored pencils or water paint.  Even moms like these! Fun to laminate for place mats as well.

Free Mandala Design to Print and Color!
Mandala Designs to Print
Now go print off some fun!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wellness Wednesday - Cellulite busting

Want nothing to do with cellulite?  Pay attention to these tips!
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found on pinterest with no source named.

Now is the time to be thinking ahead of the holidays!
Besides our whole system could benefit from following these guidelines.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cloud dough anyone?

Sorry I have been MIA lately!  I have been working on my adopted daughters paperwork to finally get her citizenship.  It has been a bit overwhelming to say the least.  We have also had some sickness, and my hubby was out of town last week as well! I am here though.  I am constantly thinking of things to share and then forget to get a photo, or have a hard time getting time to blog!

I am hoping to schedule my blogging time in more regularly and hope to sit down once a week and plan my posts that week ahead of time.  I have a host of things I have made recently that I planned on blogging about but have not gotten around to it like... a felt topped lattice pillow, a child's apron, carob power truffles with NO refined sugar what so ever and even tonight's dinner! We had a delicious 5 ingredient healthy breakfast casserole for dinner that was loved by all. I mean to share all this with you guys. I really do.  Life just seems to get busy,as I am sure it does for you all! So for now know that these things I just mentioned are a few things you can look forward to seeing more about here in the near future.

My thoughts today were.."It is snowing and no preschool for Dahlia!  We will make cloud dough. It'll perfect for the blog too!"  So we did and we had a ton of fun...but of course the camera was out of batteries!  I thought I would share it anyway since I know that this time of year affords a lot of indoor play time, and this dough takes the most basic of ingredients which you will all likely have right on hand!

I will warn you.. IT IS MESSY!! The best thing to do would be to pour it in a large shallow plastic tub that kids can easily reach into that will contain the mess. The under bed storage boxes would be great.   I used cookie sheets and a pie plate for my three eldest kiddos and that went EVERYWHERE!! I am thinking it would be GREAT outside in summer. :) In the meantime just do it in an area that can easily be swept or vacuumed.
So here it is without further ado the "cloud dough" recipe thanks to Tinker Lab
Photo from tinker lab as well since my batteries were dead in my camera.  I guess though that just gave me more time to play with them in it!

8 cups flour
1 cup oil (baby oil, cooking oil, etc...)
optional : scented oil like lavender or vanilla etc...

Need it to be gluten free?  Use rice flour or any other soft gluten free flour.  
I loved the fun soft texture and mold able capabilities of it.  We stored ours in a zip lock bag for later use when we were done.  It should last a while, that is if it isn't all over your floor already headed for the dustpan!

Grab a chance to get some fun play time in with your kids.  You won't regret it! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Short on time? SHORT workouts that DELIVER!!

I am sure that a lot of you are on the same page as me when it comes to working out.  You started strong in spring or summer but now that school and extracurricular activities have started up again your workouts have suffered.  I went from 4 heavy duty workouts a week plus a lot of walking to a lot of sitting with Pierce for homeschool and a broken stroller that cut my walking down to almost nothing.  So two months later, after the slow accidental decline of my workouts, I am noticing a difference, in a bad way.  My clothes feel tighter and I feel just the opposite.

I cannot return ,unfortunately, to the same routine I had going.  I was doing  Zumba two nights a week and two mornings of  insanity or P-90X with friends. Now my schedule is so much tighter with preschool drop off and pick up as well as homeschool, plus a kids club at the church on the same night as Zumba, and my dance class is the same night as the other zumba class.  The homeschool and preschool drop off make it hard to get to the other morning classes so I need to get motivated.

The hard thing about this time of year is the additional, sweets and other unhealthy foods, as well as the busier schedules that comes with this seasons celebrations.  I think that what I need are some short, easy to remember, EFFECTIVE workouts I can squeeze in anywhere. I will defiantly add in walking with the kids to  pick up Dahlia from preschool when the kids are awake from their naps early enough.

After searching pinterest for some ideas here are a few I plan on using that I think will help you squeeze in a few more workouts too.

This particular one I have seen floating around for awhile in various forms.  I did this workout today and felt like it was indeed simple to understand, easy to remember and works up a good sweat.  I hope to do it a few times  a day to get some added benefit.  Maybe I can squeeze in a quick one before breakfast, mid day and evening.  This video is by .

Here is another plan that looks simple and easy to break down and fit into our busy schedules.
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Another quick and easy(BUT EFFECTIVE) workout for your legs from tan & toned.  This would work into the above schedule perfectly for the leg segments.

Here is another idea for your arms to fit into the above workout schedule from Skinny yoga girl.

Lean Arms

  To make the most of this be sure to see my post with a link to a printable diet and exercise journal, and healthy eating 101, as well as the ones on health and fitness all through out my blog.  You can find some great healthy recipes here as well..  Have fun browsing around.  Hope this helps you get motivated.