My 10 Favorite Family Traditions

These are traditions that I love and that i want to share with my children.

  1. Making gingerbread houses on Thanksgiving. I’m not sure when this tradition started but we love it. It is kind of a competition to see how weird our house me can be.
  2. Making my Grandmas recipe for apple, pumpkin, and cherry pie. Pumpkin is my favorite though
  3. Cutting down our own Christmas tree. Though I can’t have a live tree because of my allergies, we still help my parents cut their tree down every year.
  4. Breakfast with Santa. This is an awesome tradition. The kids love seeing Santa, there is no line since we are called up by table, and I get to eat pancakes I didn’t make.
  5. Sending out Christmas cards. This one was a hard one for me when Princess was little. We always sent out Christmas cards and I wanted to include her even though she wasn’t officially part of the family. These days I just take pictures of me and all the kids and we send out cards to friends and family. Even if the kids won’t be living in my home next year they live with me now.
  6. Going to Zoo lights. We haven’t done this since I was little. We are going to start this up again since I’m a member of the zoo now.
  7. Going to Mass at the Old Church. It is this beautiful chapel where I work. My grandma loved it and I always feel like she is there with me when we are there.
  8. Going to look at Christmas lights. After mass we alway drive around to look at Christmas lights. My dad always finds some to surprise us.
  9. Getting pajamas for Christmas Eve. This is a tradition I love. I started having the kids and I have matching pajamas, it is a lot of fun.
  10. Eating French toast for breakfast Christmas morning. I love this tradition. However, my parents always made us eat before we could open presents and I do it backwards.

10 Ways to Teach Young Kids to be Thankful

Bubba is at the age where he understands more about the Holidays. We have been working hard this month on teaching him to be Thankful for things.

  1. Teach them to say thank you. This is the first step to teaching children to be thankful. We are even working with Z on saying thank you in sign language.
  2. Thank them. Show them that you are thankful for them and what they do for the family.
  3. Model being thankful. I say things like I am thankful for Bubba, baby Z, hot chocolate, etc.
  4. Talk about what you are thankful during dinner. This helps me model it but it allows him to practice and he even says funny things like hamburgers and hotdogs.
  5. Prayer. Praying to God and thanking him for what we are thankful for is a great way to model being thankful.
  6. Go on a nature walk. Teach kids to be thankful for what is in nature.
  7. Have them do something for their siblings. And teach them not to expect anything in return.
  8. Have them pack up some toys to give to kids in need. This helps clean out your house for Christmas as well.
  9. Make food in a food kitchen. If your children are old enough.
  10. Have them do chores (and thank them for it instead of pay them). This might seem like a weird one but it shows kids to appreciate all the work that is done in the house.

10 favorite stem toys for kids

This week I’m splitting up the lists into 5 stem toys for Bubba’s age group (3-6) and five stem toys for Princess’ age group (7-12)

Ages 3-6

  1. Code-a-pillar Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ASVD2L4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0rDdAbDTEZYHB
  2. Magnetic building blocks Magnetic Blocks STEM Educational Toys Magnet Building Block Tiles Set for Boys and Girls by Coodoo-24pcs https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WJ59FH2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9sDdAbWC1730S
  3. Dinosaur take apart toys Dinosaur Toys Take Apart Toys With Tools (Pack of 6 Dinosaurs – 218 pieces) – Construction Engineering STEM Learning Toy Building Play Set – Best Toy for Boys & Girls Age 3 – 12 years old. colors very https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XMYWVGJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_TtDdAbCTCFQVB
  4. Design and drill Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00012O42W/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_KuDdAbYYTYSH6
  5. Automobile engineer Kids First Automobile Engineer Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TF8ZF94/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_BwDdAbJ75VXKW

Ages 7-12

  1. Mini telescope Meade Instruments Infinity 50mm AZ Refractor Telescope https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LY8JCII/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ImDdAbDVQPR5D
  2. Kitchen Science 4M Kitchen Science Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004NEP7NE?ref=yo_pop_ma_swf
  3. Osmo Osmo Genius Kit (Newer version available) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015ELZCJS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_svDdAb77M90JP
  4. Star Wars droid inventors kit Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYD1LRN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ayDdAbCWKVXRR
  5. Microscope Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal – Award Winning Science Toys https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B1Z6EXU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_UyDdAbDCVE7NJ

10 things that made me smile this week

I have had a very stressful but overall good week. The week before conferences is always a little crazy. But there was a lot of laughter and smiles this week.

  1. I got a lovely note from Baby Zs parents thanking me for sending pictures and taking care of him. This is why I foster.
  2. Bubba is going to get more visit time with his parent and siblings!!!
  3. Bubba has started saying how much he misses Baby Z during the day and it’s so sweet.
  4. When I ask him if he missed me he says no. Hey at least he is honest.
  5. One of my 7th grade students walked in and introduced himself to the student working at the table. They have math group together once a week and have been to school together since preschool. Oh and they are also identical twins. I could not stop laughing at this one.
  6. My 8th grade student did amazing on a major project that he did 95% of on his own. (Seriously this is amazing)
  7. I had students asking to work with. (That never happens)
  8. I learned that there is a car bottle warmer (seriously best thing I have ever bought on amazon)
  9. I found a hot wheels advent calendar for Bubba.
  10. My sister comes home in 5 days!!!!

10 times I have felt utterly incompetent this week

I try to be so positive. But this week has been hell. Being a single mom is hard. It is especially hard when you have people waiting to point out every mistake you make. This post is not meant to be a “poor me” post. Instead I hope someone reads this and realizes they are not alone. And even though it might feel like you are a failure, remember you are trying your best. 

  1.  When I tried to put my 6 month pants on my three year old. It was hilarious but not very successful.
  2. When my kids got colds. I know they aren’t the only kids with colds. But it sure feels like it when I get phone calls from caseworkers about runny noses.
  3. For the fact that my 6 month old cries in when put in his car seat. Apparently the fact he cries when his parents put him in the car seat at the end of the visit means he is unhappy living with me. 
  4. When I canceled on my friends to spend a night with princess. Actually I don’t feel guilty about this at all. 
  5. When I couldn’t get dye out of princess’ hair. I felt bad taking her back to her dads with dye in her hair. But that’s why her dad, step Mom and I are a team. 
  6. When I forgot to take a single picture of my kids by themselves trick or treating. We have a group photo I took that I love. But I don’t have a single photo I can print for their parents.
  7. When my kids ate too much candy for Halloween. I only felt guilty about this for a second. We have no candy or treats in the house so I guess a little treat is okay. 
  8. For wanting a minute alone. I was exhausting and I needed a moment alone but my kids needed me too. Self care and being a mom is a balance I haven’t figured out. 
  9. The fact that my kids have to go to daycare. Sometimes the guilt of being a working mom gets to me. However they both love daycare.
  10. The fact that I am only one person. Being a single parent can be hard but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m glad I started fostering now instead of waiting till I found a man.

Some weeks everything I do seems wrong. But I just remind myself I am doing my best and then laugh at it. 

10 Questions to Ask a Placement Worker 

It is so important to have a list of questions to ask a licensing worker. The first time I got a placement I was rediculed by the person on the phone for asking so many questions and  I let it get to me. I ended up taking a placement that didn’t work out because I was afraid to ask questions. 

  1. What are the ages and gender of the children? It is important to make sure that you are licensed for that age and that you have a spot for them in your house. Many times placement workers try to place kids with people who aren’t licensed for that age. 
  2. Why were they removed? Or why are they being moved from their current foster home? This can help you understand what the kids have been through and what has happened to cause them to be removed. 
  3. Is there any family wanting to have the children placed with them? Sometimes they will move to a family member as soon as they have a background check. This is good to know since chances are the placement will be temporary. 
  4. Is this their first time being removed? Sometimes licensing workers can give you information on the history of the case. 
  5. How did the health works check go? Does the kids have lice? Are they injured in anyway? Are there any special directions on their care? 
  6. Do they have any allergies or medical conditions? Are they coming with medication? Is there anything you need to know medically?
  7. Is a visit set up with the parents? Make sure you write any dates down for upcoming appointments?
  8. Are they coming with anything? I have had children come with nothing and children come with a couple items. In my experience there is never time for the kids to grab much. 
  9. What sizes are they? What size diaper do they wear? What formula are they on? If you know these things, you can run to the store or go through your storage. All of my foster children have come at night, so it was important to have atleast enough to get us through the night. 
  10. When are you dropping them off? This gives you an idea of when to expect them so you can start preparing.