Aug 31, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Gratitude Sunday
Sunday's heart felt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.

Here are some things I am grateful for this week:

1. Two days of fun with a big cardboard box

2. This beautiful young girl that I am proud to call my daughter.  

3. Living in a community where there is an annual celebration right in my backyard.

4. New friends for my kids to play with.

5. Young girls who are such good little helpers.  

6. Learning the things that make my beautiful autistic son happy (balls, music, chocolate milk and blankets)

Aug 30, 2014

Saturday Photohunt: Joy and Youth

The Saturday PhotoHunts for this week are:  Joy and Youth.  My first thought about these two themes is that they should be easy to combine as there is nothing so joyful and full of youth as a happy child. 

Aug 29, 2014

Wow . . . so easy

I was out shopping with Prince Charming and the kids yesterday, getting things for homeschool and for our new place when I started to chat with Prince Charming about the movie, Temple Grandin, that I mentioned here yesterday. I talked about her squeeze machine and how it soothed her and comforted her when she was upset (she has autism) and I said, that I wished I could find Little Prince's version of a squeeze machine.  Something that could sooth him and comfort him when he feels like he needs it.

Well fast forward a few hours of shopping and Little Prince is in the shopping cart as I pick up a few towels and put them in my cart.  He turns around in the cart and he sees blankets like the ones he has at home.  He plucks one up, puts it in his lap and cuddles it.  And in minutes, he is asleep.

I started to think about Little Prince and his blankets.  It struck me then that his blankets are his squeeze machine.  When he is upset, he balls a blanket up in his lap, rocks, cuddles it and it makes him feel better.  Actually, if he can, he will have a blanket in his lap, most of the time.  When we were out and he was tired and overwhelmed, one quick cuddle with a blanket relaxed him to the point that he fell asleep.

Between the movie and that realization, I decided from now on when I am out with Little Prince, I will add something else to my Little Prince bag (which currently contains bottles of chocolate milk, diapers, and changes of clothes) from now on it will also contain a small blanket to sooth him when he needs it. 

I want to give him what he needs, to make him feel safe and secure and content, and how easy is it to poke a little blanket in my bag to take with me?  He can't talk to me, but if I pay attention, it is so easy to give him what he needs. 


This Moment: Mommy's Little Rockstar

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

Aug 28, 2014

No Limit

I watched the movie, Temple Grandin yesterday.  It was the story of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who went on to become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.  A few things struck me about Temple, she didn't talk until she was 4 (Little Prince is 2 1/2) and life wasn't always easy for her, and people were sometimes mean, but there were always kind people along the way too and she had a determination not to let the mean ones stop her from accomplishing her goals.  There were no limits to what she could do.  She was incredible.

I would love to pass that determination on to my kids.

Princess Belle sat down and watched most of the movie with me and it sparked conversation.  We discussed similarities and differences between them.  I talked to Princess Belle about how in Temple's life as in Princess Belle's there are mean people.  But that as long as Princess Belle has a few good people on her side, it will be okay.  And we talked about how there are no limits to the great things she can accomplish.  How we believe in her.

It opened my eyes to the great future ahead Little Prince.  We just have to meet him where he is and then I am confident he will show us all the wonderful things he can do.  And, I can't wait until he can talk and I can know some of the things going on in his head.


Aug 26, 2014


I am tired and this may not make a lot of sense, but I have been thinking about some things.

I have read  few blog posts lately that have me thinking about me and my kids and the way I am with them.  I know that I am doing my best, that I love my kids and that they love me and that we are happy.  But I was thinking about how important it is to truly listen to my kids.  How important it is to really hear what they have to say and to give them permission to feel what they feel.  Let them know that in this busy, crazy, world, there is at least one place that they are heard and listened to.

So if my child is scared, or overwhelmed, don't brush it off, hurry them along, or something similar, listen to them, hear why they are feeling the things they are feeling and help them through it.

If my austistic child needs to look at all the birthday cards before we leave the store, take a few minutes, let her see them, give her that.  She doesn't want to be annoying, this is important to her.

If a ride is too loud, or overwhelming, or crowded for my child, give her permission to say no, and we will do something else instead.

And if my non-verbal boy tries to hold onto my neck, shaking and crying because the escalator is scary, take the elevator.  If he lets me know in his own way, he is scared, pay attention, comfort, take the time.  If he is in the kitchen having a snack after I get home from shopping and he starts to cry when I leave the room, then either take him with me, or sit down with him.  The thing is, he is such an easy going boy, and so quiet that it would be easy to view him like a little doll that you take around with you.  But he is a little person, growing and learning and seeing this world.  He needs to know that whatever way he finds to communicate with me, I am listening.  I hear it and I am trying. 


Aug 25, 2014

Book Review: The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner

Publisher: Astor + Blue
ISBN: 978-1938231018
Pages: 310
Format: eBook
Rating: 4
Age recommendation: Teen, Young adult, Adult
Barnes & Noble:

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review "The Car Thief" by Theodore Weesner. 

Alex Housman is a 16-year old kid who has already stolen fourteen cars. He skips school on some days, unbeknownst to his father who spends his after-work hours drowning his problems with alcohol. After being caught by the police, Alex is sent to the home for delinquent boys. Eventually released from the home, Alex shapes up his act only to fall into the rut again. The Car Thief is about hopelessness and hope, life going on in an imperfect world.

This story is different, one that isn’t easily forgotten. Looking through the lenses of Alex, the world seems grey. However, in the midst of the emptiness, we read about the characters who are kind, who care. These characters are the glimpses of hope and light that appear periodically despite the darkness.  In reading it, you could also feel Detroit and Flint, Michigan ooze from the pores of the pages. Alex’s father works at the Chevrolet car manufacturing plant and you can feel how the car culture embeds itself into the community.

This was a lovely is a coming of age story. I found "The Car Thief" to be poignant and beautiful and saddening all at the same time. I really liked the simple honesty in the telling of this story. Overall, I feel like the The Car Thief`s poignancy and honesty make it a book for all to read. It feels timeless and ageless, meant to reach a wide range of people. I think we all suffer from the pain and shame of life and can easily identify with Alex's need to reconcile and move on.

Aug 24, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Gratitude Sunday
Sunday's heart felt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.

Here are some things I am grateful for this week:

1. Story time with my kids

2. A fun night of popcorn and Doctor Who with Princess Belle and Prince Charming. 

3. Sweet naps when the play is just too big for the day.

4. Fun days with where all my kids enjoy playing with their friends, even Little Prince.  

5. BBQs with friends.

6. Cool summer evenings.

7. My funny babies.

8. A new pair of shoes that help my feet hurt less.

Aug 23, 2014


Princess Belle and I had a mommy/daughter day today.  She has a pool party tomorrow and due to her recent insistence on growing like crazy, she didn't have any swimsuits to wear.  So shopping we went.  At our first shop, the suits were $90!!!  At the end of summer, for a 12 year old who probably won't fit into them again next year.  At the second shop, they were $150!!  I told  her that if I bought one of those, she would have to promise not to grow any more.  She tried to angle for a bikini, saying that if it was a bikini, she promised.  LOL, I don't think so.  There is no need for her to have a bikini.  Finally, we found a sale!  We bought her TWO swimsuits for way way way less than any place else!

It was actually fun to shop with her and chat about things and get time to be alone with just her.  She really is a cool person.

Aug 22, 2014

This Moment: Sweetness

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

TOS Review - Happy Kids Songs

Recently, I was happy to be given the opportunity to review Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-On Activities to Build Character, Social And Emotional Skills (Retail price $13.95, currently available for $12.56)
Happy Kids Songs Review
from Happy Kids Songs. Additionally, I received 15 songs total as music downloads from three of their eight available CD sets. The music is by Dr. Mac and Friends and are sung by children and adults. Each set is available for $4.95, or .99 per song:

Happy Kids Songs Review
Friends and Sharing (Set 1)

Happiness and Attitude (Set 5)

Happy Kids Songs Review

Manners and Character (Set 6)

Happy Kids Songs Review
The book and CDs are geared toward children ages 3-8, but don't be surprised if children 0-9 also enjoy them. Since, they are music and my family is very musically oriented even Little Prince and Princess Belle enjoyed them!  And since social skills are an issue in my house, I love these!! 

It was easy for me to download the music and then play the songs while I worked around the house.  The girls would listen to the music, sing along (loudly and enthusiastically LOL) and even dance a little. 

Happy Kids Songs  is a product that is truly aptly named, because the three downloadable MP3 sets I received, indeed, contain quality, upbeat music to teach social and emotional skills to children from three to eight years old. They have produced eight albums covering a variety of topics such as talking, listening, bullying, fears, sharing, happiness, attitude, and more.

Some of the songs are sung by grown-ups and some by children.  Each is only a couple minutes along with clear, easy-to-sing along with lyrics.  So my girls could understand the message of the songs while enjoying the fun of music.  Since my little Princess Magpie is a thinker, it was fun to hear and be a part the conversations inspired by the songs.

The approximately 80-page workbook was really fun and had activities that corresponded to the songs to reinforce the lessons learned about character, friendship, manners, sharing, talking, and listening and more appropriate social behavior and socialization skills. The workbook covers all eight albums, including a total of 40 songs.
Happy Kids Songs is on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Overall, this was a success in our home, I loved that the tunes were catchy and stick in your head, I love the lessons and I enjoyed the conversations they inspired. 

Happy Kids Songs are available to download for $4.95 per album (or $0.99 per song). The Happy Kids Songs workbook has a retail price of $13.95 (currently $12.56).
To decide if the songs are a good fit for your family, we'd recommend listening to the samples available here and signing up for the free song and activities here.  

Many of us on the TOS Crew reviewed Happy Kids Songs. Check out what others thought on the Review Crew Blog
Crew Disclaimer

Aug 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Tots and Me

I went back to August, 2008 today for my Throwback Thursday Post.

Princess Magpie was only a month old back then and was simply beautiful, she was such a delight!

And Princess Belle was sweet and so excited to finally be a big sister.  Little did she know it would happen 2 more times after this!


Aug 19, 2014


We went to our old stomping grounds today.  It took 2 buses and it was across town, but it was a fun day with the kids.  The bonus was that I was able to go to Target for the first time ever and that was fun too.  They had a lot more variety there than the Walmart I go to does and the prices are comparable.

I was also able to go to Scholars Choice in the same mall and get all the things I needed to be ready for homeschooling next month.  Including packs of paper in each color which is fun for holiday crafts. 

Aug 17, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Gratitude Sunday
Sunday's heart felt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.

Here are some things I am grateful for this week:

 1. Silly dressup days with daddy's boots

2.  Dancing at a community festival

3. Fun in the sun

4. Bubbles in the sun

5. An organized pantry with lots of food in it.

6. The lights of the city on the harbour outside my window at night.

7. Looking out my window, watching boats come and go in the harbour.

8. Seagulls and other birds in my yard every day while I have a coffee with my neighbor. 

9. Buses that take me everywhere I need to go quickly and easily.

10. A laundromat that is not expensive that forces me to take some time every week to do nothing but wait, fold and chat with neighbors.

11.  Sitting by the open window in the evening and enjoying the smell of a nice cool breeze.