Thanksgiving STEM Challenges
Fall, Free Printables, Freebies!, Homeschool

10 Thanksgiving STEM Challenges

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Feeling a little burnt out from homeschooling with the days leading up to Thanksgiving? Don’t want the kids sitting in front of the television for hours while they are home from school? Don’t worry, this the perfect time to change up the norm and give your kids a few Thanksgiving STEM Challenges.

Why STEM Challenges?

STEM Challenges (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are an excellent way to integrate various learning skills and styles into one activity. They also work well when you are working with multiple ages/grades simultaneously or when you want to get your kiddos from in front of electronics.

Thanksgiving STEM Challenges

Introducing STEM

When I was growing up, we made it our best effort to stay out of sight on the days leading up to Thanksgiving and especially on Thanksgiving Day as our mother was hustling and bustling about preparing for dinner that evening. We resorted to watching the classic Thanksgiving Cartoons and the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

At this point, most kids are familiar with the term, STEM. The question is, “how do you get your kids to willingly do a STEM challenge when they are off from school?” My best technique for getting my kids to do work (I mean have fun) over the holidays is creating a STEM Exploration BasketsThe basket consists of various items that can be used to build and create such as popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, balloons, toothpicks, and more. I also include the directions to each activity that explains a variety of challenges for the kids to complete. Task Cards are great for providing both guidance to complete a task and independence for kids to explore. Check out items for your Exploration Baskets and grab three Task Cards below!

FALL STEM

Finding STEM Challenges

Finding STEM challenges is super easy. The internet is filled with STEM challenges for all reasons and seasons. Take a look at these 10 Thanksgiving themed STEM Challenges to get your kids exploring!

Candy Corn Catapults–  Great way to use up the candy corn and get their minds moving. 

Hand Turkey Geometry – Sneak in a little math over the holidays with this classic hand trace activity

Butter in a Jar What a great way for the kids to help get things ready for Thanksgiving and learn a little science.

Taste-Safe Cranberry Slime Find out what happens when you mix the fun of slime and yummy cranberry sauce in this slime-tastic stem activity.

Turkey Balloon Rockets The stem challenge is a great activity for all your kiddos regardless of age.

Easy Fall Sink or Float Your littlest scientist will enjoy making hypothesis and experimenting to see which of their items sink or float.

Turkey Egg Drop– a fun twist to the classic egg drop is a great way to keep the kids busy while dinner is cooking.

Turkey Lego Build Lego’s are a great way to keep the kids thinking and engaged for hours. Toss in a turkey and you will have them building for ever!

Candy Pumpkin Buildings Explore engineering strategies using these tasty treats and see how strong your structure is.

Thanksgiving Dinner Table Who knew paper could be so strong? Test your building skills to see if your dinner table is ready for your feast!

 

I hope you enjoy these STEM Challenges. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful day to come together and reflect on the past and look to the future!

CHIME IN: Do you have any other STEM Challenges or ideas to keep the kids engaged?

Click the link to grab some items for a STEM Exploration Baskets

>>Download STEM Exploration Basket Task Cards Here<<

 

Looking for a way to introduce your kids to Random Acts of Kindness?

Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool

FALL WRITING PROMPTS

FALL WRITING PROMPTS

As the season is changing, so is the energy level of my kiddos. It seems every year when November rolls in, my kids begin to anticipate the holiday season and try to slack off of their work. This year, I made a decision to be prepared! I have created a variety of Fall Writing Prompts and activities to complete when the days get a little bit chaotic or I notice their attention span fading.

After completing my Review of Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing, I know I need to make writing a priority in our studies. These fun and engaging Fall Writing Prompts will give my children a change of pace over the month of November. I think they will be a great way to incorporate the techniques and skills learned in our writing workshop.

The Fall Writing Pack comes with:

  • 2 write and draw activities for younger children
  • 1 “I am Thankful for…” writing prompt for younger and older children
  • 1 Blessings Worksheet
  • 4 Story Starters
  • 1 Cinquain Poem Activity

Take a Peek

      

It really is my hope that as my kids work through these writing prompts they will not only develop their writing skills, but will also begin to think about some of the things they are thankful for. We also plan to use these activities in conjunction with the Random Acts of Kindness Calendar.

Head over and grab your copy!

 


 

Are you also looking for some fun, hands on activities for your little ones?

Click the picture below to snag some FUN Fall Learning Activities for the preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

 

 

Take a look at some fun Fall Activities & Books on Amazon!


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Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool

FREE Random Acts of Kindness Calendar

Random Acts of Kindness Begins

Last night I abruptly woke from my sleep after finally dozing off only minutes before. The realization that November was finally here shook me to the core. As much as I absolutely love this time of year, the realization that the year is almost over had me thinking of all of the things I still needed to accomplish. For the past few years, our family has made it a point to incorporate service learning into our home school. (Read more about how in my guest post here).

This year, we decided November would be a time for our children to make their large scale service ideas a little more intimate. My husband and I decided we would create a calendar with 30 Random Acts of Kindness for our children to complete throughout the month.

 

 

Having a large home school family can sometimes lead to the kids getting easily frustrated with one another. There is often constant bickering and arguing over the smallest things. It is our hope that this Random Acts of Kindness Calendar will give our children a chance to find ways to love on one another, as well as, spread kindness in the world around them. Each act included on the calendar is something that even our younger children can take part in. We really are looking forward to a great month!

 

We hope you enjoy!

Christel “Chaos Coordinator”

CHIME IN:

How does your family incorporate random acts of kindness?

What random acts of kindness should we add to the calendar next year?

 

 

Do you have little one? Check Out Our Fall FREEBIES!

 

 

 

 

 

Evan-Moor Daily 6 Writing Trait
Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool, Review

Review: Daily 6-Trait Writing (Homeschool Writing Tips)

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links use cookies to track clicks and qualifying purchases for earnings. Please read my Disclosure Policy, Terms of Service, and Privacy policy for specific details.

 

“Where is this story going?”

“Your essay doesn’t sound like a 7th grader.”

“You have way too many topics in this narrative.”

Within two weeks of our 4th year of homeschooling, I found myself completely frustrated at the quality of writing samples my 7th graders were producing. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Then it hit me! I realized we had spent a tremendous amount of time on core subject, such as math, reading, science, and history, but failed to integrate formal writing skills and techniques into our academic studies. My oldest children became reluctant writers and were now not strong writers. I wanted to find a gentle way to develop their skills without bringing added stress to them or me.

In my search for writing curricula, I came across many outstanding programs. However, as a large family, cost was something that had to factor in my decision. I was given the opportunity to review Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Grade 7 Teacher’s Edition (e-book). It ended up being the perfect fit for our family!

 

 

What is Evan-Moor?

Evan-Moor was conceived in 1979 by two friends and colleagues. Joy Evans and Jo Ellen Moore, who desired to create educational materials for struggling students in their classroom. After being rejected by several publishers, they decided to independently publish their first six titles and eventually begin their own publishing company. Their passion for quality and affordable educational resources has led to over 500 titles, as well as digital resources, e-books, center kits, RTI resources, and an interactive learning platform for 1:1 learning model.

 

A Little About Daily 6-Trait Writing

Before receiving a copy of this book, I was stumped on how I would incorporate another subject into our school day and had no idea when I would find time to plan the lessons for my 7th graders. Upon opening my e-book, I was delighted.

Daily 6-Trait Writing is comprised of:

  • 25 weeks of mini lessons divided into 5 units.
  • 5 lessons/unit that build upon the previous lesson. The units focus on the essential writing traits, Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Voice.
  • Consistent weekly format for each lesson that focuses on 4 days of a specific skill within the trait and a writing prompt on the 5th
  • Detailed and well written lesson plans to explain each writing trait
  • A Scoring Rubric to give teachers and students clear guidelines on writing expectations.

 

 

 

How We Used Daily 6-Trait Writing

I decided the best way to introduce writing to my children was to allot time for a writing workshop in our home school schedule. I scheduled 20 minutes of instructional time 4 days a week. Using the scripted lesson plans, I was able to go over each section of the lesson for the day with my children. I also used this time to give them a chance to ask questions and collaborate with one another. I found this set up, reduced the amount of anxiety they had over writing. They were able to share ideas and thoughts with one another, which helped strengthen their skills.

We also made sure we went over the assigned page at the end of each writing workshop. This was done to help me make sure my children really grasped the concept taught.

Having only a 4-day school week, I thought my children would never complete the Day 5 Writing Prompt. To my surprise, they eagerly made their corrections and turned in their work on our scheduled Exploration Day.

Incorporating Younger Students

Somewhere around the 3rd week of reviewing the materials, I decided to incorporate my 4th grader in our writing workshop. Although we did not have a copy of the 4th grade Daily 6-Trait Writing. I felt he would benefit from the same consistent format the material provided. I managed to adapt some of the questions for him in advance. The well thought out lesson plans and easy to follow student pages made this transition a seamless process. I did, however, allow my 4th grader to verbally respond to several answers during our writing workshop. To my surprise, this had very little impact on his final writing sample.

 

A Few Last Thoughts!

I always was familiar with Evan-Moor products but never took time to see if they were a fit for my family.  I found the Daily 6-Trait Writing to be an excellent resource and tool to develop and strengthen my children’s writing skills. In addition, being able to have an open and go format and a scoring rubric for assignments made me feel more confident when teaching my children. It also gave my children a well-defined guide when writing. As a mommy who lesson plans from the bed sometimes, having an e-book format made planning so much easier.

Daily 6-Trait Writing was such a blessing to be able to review and incorporate in our school. I am looking forward to continuing this program throughout the year!

Check back HERE to stay updated!

 

CHIME IN:

What steps have you taken to incorporate writing skills into your home school?

 

 

Looking for a way to keep the kids engaged?

Try The Never Bored Kid Book Series

The Never-Bored Kid Book, Grades 3-4 - Activity Book

Yours Truly,

Christel “Chaos Coordinator’

 

 

Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool

Fall Freebies for Preschool and Kindergarten!

These Fall Freebies are a great way to help your little learner gain valuable skills.

 

Pumpkin Alphabet Match is a hands on matching game that helps little ones work on uppercase and lowercase recognition.

>>>> Download Pumpkin Alphabet Match <<<<

 

 

 

Pumpkin Count is a self-paced board game that focuses on number and number word recognition. 

>>>> Download Pumpkin Count <<<<

 

Looking for literacy activities for older kiddos? Click the picture below!

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Family, Free Printables, Freebies!, Homeschool

Listen So Your Kids Will Talk: Back to School Conversation Starters

Over the past few weeks, I have spent countless hours preparing for the upcoming year. I created a home school planner to keep me organized, research and purchased our curriculum, battled the stores to find school supplies, created a file folder system, and even managed to be a Beta Tester for this amazing course called, Organize Your Life with Trello (which truly changed the way I look at organization). Raise your hand if you can relate. It doesn’t matter if your child is in traditional school or home school, it is easy to forget the importance of Back to School Conversations.

What is the point of designating time for Back to School Conversations?

Back to School Conversations are an excellent way to get a handle on the direction and goals for the upcoming school year. It sets up a dialogue between parents and children and creates an avenue for families to create tangible plans and task before the school year even begins. These conversations aren’t just for older kids, even your preschooler has thoughts about their school experience.

You may be saying to yourself, “…but we homeschool. I know my child’s plans because I created them.” The fact is, Back to School Conversations gives your child voice in the planning. It gives them the floor to express their likes and dislikes and lets you witness them maturing before your eyes.

If your child is in a traditional school setting (like my older children) or if you are homeschooling your child (like the rest of my squad), taking time to have an intentional conversation about school should be at the top of your to-do list before the year officially begins.

So, how do you get started? Check out these Tips for a great conversation.

Pray

Before you embark on connecting with your child, parents should take time to pray for guidance. Raising children is something that I don’t take lightly. I see it as a huge God-given privilege and feel the only way to be successful is to seek Him for wisdom and guidance. I want our conversation to run smoothly and have God at the center is the key. The best way for me to accomplish that, is seeking Him first.

Make an Announcement

I am notorious for having impromptu, super deep conversations with my children after dinner, while driving home, shopping in the grocery store, or just hanging out in the living room. Some of our fondest memories are from these moments.

Over the years, I found Back to School Conversations worked best, when I informed my kids of the meeting and told them the purpose upfront. Making an Announcement gives kids a chance to also prepare for the meeting and think of any questions or concerns they want to bring to the table.

Make it Special

Back to School Conversations are a great time for a heart to heart with each child. This intentional conversation is one that should be well thought out and made special. In fact, it can be turned into a yearly event the kids look forward to. Select a place that will lend to minimum interruptions. Depending on your family dynamics, a one-on-one over ice cream in the yard might be perfect. Perhaps, dinner at your child’s favorite restaurant or a picnic in the park will work best. Whatever the location, the most important thing to remember is having a candid and open conversation with your child.

Open the Lines of Conversation

When you ask your child for their opinions or feelings, are you genuinely seeking their input? Back to School Conversations are meant to be a time where your child has your undivided attention and your unbiased listening ears. Although the conversation is designed for you to get them excited and ready for a new year, it is also a time where you can really connect with your child and develop a stronger relationship. Our family likes to begin by seeking God and asking Him to guide the conversation and end by asking Him to cover us throughout the year.

Back to School Conversations gives children a designated time to spend with you before the hustle and bustle of school begins. It allows you to praise their strong points and assess their weaknesses. Don’t be surprised when your kids open-up and tell you what is really on their heart. They have been waiting for this moment!


Listen So Your Kids Will Talk is designed to give families a tool to implement upfront and honest dialogue about the upcoming school year. Filled with journal pages, 15 suggested open-ended questions, 25 questions to ask your child at the end of each school day, and a few Bonus Lunch Notes, Listen So Your Kids Will Talk is a perfect book to get you ready for Back to School!

Download Your Copy Today!

 

 Now that you’ve gotten some great tips and resources about Back to School Conversations, head over to

Michelle at With the Huddlestons

and read about Ideas for Homeschooling Multiples, and be sure to snag her freebie – Activity Printable Bundle

 

 

 

Free Printables, Freebies!, Homeschool, Organization

FREE Home School Planner!

Can you believe summer is almost over?

Home school Planning for the upcoming school year is in full force in our home and my kids are already bummed that it is August. For the record, I am not a naturally organized person. However, disorganization causes me great stress and anxiety. Go figure! You would think being a mother of eight children would give me some sort of organization super power.

Organizing materials for the upcoming school year is by far one of my greatest challenges. I spend countless hours preparing and planning, all to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. Organizing our school for this Chaos Coordinator and naturally unorganized mom is accomplished using my Sanity Savers for Home school Planning.

 

Take Time to Investigate

Being responsible for the education of my children is not something I take lightly. Most home school parents are often questioned about their ability to teach their own children. I even had well-meaning family members attempt to quiz my children on the spot, just to see what they knew. Being the child of an educator and having worked in the education field for almost 20 years, I am adamant about making sure my children are getting a well-rounded education. As you plan your year Take Time to Investigate. There are so many options available! Read the scope and sequence, take a sample lesson, speak with other parents and read published reviews. Don’t be afraid to select material from different publishers and authors. This year we have incorporated material from long-standing Christian publishers all the way to easy to incorporate resources from Evan-Moore like the Teacher File Box.


Get the Kids Involved

Homeschooling multiple children on different grade levels and abilities can become quite tricky. Each one of my children, including my twins, have a very different learning style and extremely different interest. When planning for the year, I always take time to check in and ask my kids what they are interested in exploring and learning during the school year. Giving your kids a voice in their school year empowers them and gives them a sense of ownership of what they are learning. Getting the kids involved doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Even more, simple conversations over breakfast, during a drive in the car, or before bed is all it takes to pick their brains and give you insight into their world.

 

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

As the QUEEN OF PROCRASTINATION, this Sanity Saver was something that I had to learn the hard way. At the start of last school year, my 1-year-old son was hospitalized because of his Chronic Medical Condition. This unexpected event significantly impacted our home school because I was drastically unprepared. Before school began, I only planned for the first few weeks of school. I figured I would have enough time to get lesson plans done, material ordered, and copies made. During our hospital stay and the subsequent weeks after coming back home, my children were barely getting any school work done because I did not have time to even think about lesson planning. One major Sanity Saver for Home School Planning is to Start Early! Use your down time to begin researching curricula and checking in with your children to see what is and is not working.

 

Use FREE/Low Cost Planning resources

As a large family momma, I have come to appreciate the beauty of FREE! I am all about finding a good resource or item at a low cost or free. When preparing for the year, it took me awhile to find planning tools that fit my many needs and style. As a blended family dealing with some High Power Blending, our children’s schedule varies because of visitation schedules. We have found that a four-day school week is the best option for us.  The fifth day serves as a catch all to complete anything that was not completed, possibly because of the visitation schedule.

Incorporating Circuit Learning into our home school has opened the door to our children exploring interest not covered in their core courses. Courses such as puppetry, coding, sewing, woodworking, animation and more are added to their weekly list. Circuit Learning essentially allows my children to select three areas of interest to explore for a pre-determined time.  Once selected, they rotate through each interest area during the week after all core work has been completed.

This year, I decided to utilize the File Folder System to organize our materials. I purchased a simple binder, dividers, hanging file folders, and manila folders.

Check out a short video on how I use the File Folder System!

 

I have created The Chaos Coordinator’s Homeschool Planner. This amazing FREE printable home school planner provides you with simple planning pages to get you ready for the year.

 

 

The last thing I did to organize and plan for the upcoming year was participate in a course that seriously changed the way I look at organization.  Organize Your Life with Trello totally helped me create a system that got rid of all my little sticky notes and journals, ditched my paper clutter, and left me with my task list at the tips of my fingers. Click the picture to check out the mini class! You will LOVE it!

 

No matter if you are new to homeschooling or not, planning is important to a successful year. So Chime In:

 What are you doing to plan for the upcoming school year?

Faith, Family, Freebies!, Organization

6 Sanity Savers for Getting to Church on Time!

And We’re Off…

The blaring sound of the alarm clock is ringing in your ear! You jump out of bed, run through the halls shouting for the kids to wake, hurry, and get ready for church. As you load up into the car, you notice that one of your lovely children has somehow managed to wear clothing that looks like it has been balled up in a corner for days. Your tires screech into the church parking lot, your children file out of the mini-van like circus clowns, and you manage to make it to your seats just as the first note is played by the worship team.  You think to yourself, “Hey, at least I made it, but man we could use some sanity savers to get here!”

Does this scenario sound a bit familiar? Do you find your family consistently just making it to church each week? Are you so flustered by the time you get to worship that you are unable to really receive all that worship has to offer?

As a large family momma, with 6 kiddos still home, this was our normal for so long. I started to dread going to church. It felt like another task and obligation added to my already overflowing to-do list. I was so overwhelmed with the thought of getting there, that I couldn’t even hear God over the silent sound of the chaos that came into the sanctuary with me.

Two years ago, our family moved to a new state. In the process, we also had to find a new church home. Through God’s infinite wisdom, he led us to an amazing new body of Christ.

It was at this time, my husband and I realized that we needed to come up with a new outlook on  “HOW” we would make it to church. We were very clear about why we were there, but we knew that we no longer wanted to continue the chaotic mornings.

We prayed, met with our children and brainstormed a list of all the things that created chaos in the morning. Then, the real work began. We knew that it was now or never. We worked together and created a list of 6 Sanity Savers for Getting to Church on Time!

Sanity Saver #1- Pray

When our family first started on our quest to get to church on time, we knew that we had to first come in agreement with the will of God for our lives.  Our family didn’t want church to feel like one thing we could check off each week.  Learning God’s word is important to us and we realized we needed to treat it that way. We took time as a family and prayed, asking God to order our steps and help us come up with a plan that worked for our family. We knew that this step needed to be the foundation for controlling our chaos. With God’s direction, everything else would fall in line.

Sanity Saver #2- Manage Your Mindset

Saturday nights are notorious for events to take place. Everything from a wedding reception, birthday party, cook outs, family game nights and more, are planned for Saturday. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that my husband or I have woken up on a Sunday morning too exhausted to go to church. We would look at one another hoping the other would be the initiator to get the house moving. It never worked. Our kids are also involved in sports. In our community, a lot of teams would hold games or practices on Sundays, right during the middle of church.

This is where Manage Your Mindset comes into play. After we decided that we were going to make church a top priority for our family. We knew we had to shift how we planned and scheduled our time. Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t stopped going to special events and spending time out as a family. Our kids also still participate in sports and extra-curricular activities. We have just changed our tactics! We no longer stay until the party is completely over unless it is truly necessary. So, instead of leaving at midnight, we now leave an hour or two early. We also have decided that we would not sign our kids up for activities that required participation during church. At first, some of our kiddos were a little upset, but after reminding them about “why” we were making these changes, they got on board.

Sanity Saver #3- Organize Your Wardrobe

When you look in your family’s closet, what do you see? Too many options for church? Too little options for church? Absolutely no clue because things are toss all around. Organize Your Wardrobe is something that might sound like a daunting task. With 6 kiddos and 2 adults in our house, this Sanity Saver lived up to its name. Our church does not have a formal dress code; however, I still like my kids to look presentable when going to church. We decided to go into the closets and pull out clothes that were designated “church clothes.” These items were placed on hangers and put to the side. This allows the kids to be more independent when it is time for our Saturday night routine of pulling out our church clothes. All clothes are taken out and hung on the over the door hook, like this one all the way down to socks, underwear and shoes. When we rise Sunday morning, the hassle of scrounging for clean clothes, matching socks or shoes is eliminated!

Sanity Saver #4- Lend a Helping Hand

With 6 children in our home, we have managed to create an instant buddy system. Outside of being a good sibling, we ask that each of the older siblings helps with one of the younger kiddos. Task can range from helping a little one put on shoes and socks, overseeing morning hygiene, such as washing their face or brushing their teeth, or being a mother’s helper and entertaining the baby as I get dressed. Regardless of the task, the idea is to be a help and not a hindrance to getting out of the door. Ultimately, my husband and I give the kids a once over, but having helping hands makes a world of a difference.

Sanity Saver #5 – Basic Breakfast

When I grew up, my mother would cook an elaborate breakfast on Sunday mornings. I am talking about eggs, bacon, biscuits…the works! It was almost without fail that we were late or really cutting it close to church. Although I love the memory of those great Sunday morning breakfasts, I decided to forgo the Sunday morning breakfast routine. Those Super Breakfasts are not scheduled for Saturdays or days where we have nowhere else to go. In our home, we have a Basic Breakfast using recipes from Easy Kids Breakfast: Quick Healthy Recipes which can range from pre-made casserole dishes, cereal to toaster waffles. I find that this Basic Breakfast makes our mornings run much faster and smoother! I even use an amazing free Recipe Binder that Cara Harvey put together over at A Purpose Driven Mom.

Sanity Saver #6- Plan to Arrive Early

If you are on time, you are late! This has become our new motto for our home. Gone are the days when we say church starts at 9 am. Yes, Sunday School starts at 9 am. However, it takes approximately 15 minutes for our family to find a parking space, take the kids to their classes, drop the baby in nursery, walk to our classroom, and find a seat. If we plan to get to church at 9 am, we are not leaving any time for all the possible obstacles we face, such as, traffic, last minute bathroom breaks, a whiny 4 year, or my favorite, a baby blow out! Although it only takes 10 minutes to drive to our church, we have set it in our minds that we will arrive early. Since I am the one who absolutely HATES mornings, my husband is the gatekeeper to ensuring that everyone is up, moving, and out of the house by 8:30 am.

Being a mom to many is not easy task. Getting us all out of the door on time is an adventure. Regardless of your family size, time management and organization are essential to relieving stress and chaos in your home. Take some time out and call a family meeting. Discuss what is important to your family and develop a plan.

What are some Sanity Savers your family has put in place?

Need Help Getting Started?

Download my Sanity Savers Worksheet

 



4 Self Care Time Outs for Moms
Family, Freebies!, Self Care

4 Self Care Time Outs for Moms

Hey Mom! It’s Time for a Time Out!

Most moms would agree that they don’t have time for self care because they are too busy caring for everyone else. Almost six months ago, the day after Thanksgiving, I found myself rushed to the hospital believing I was having a stroke. I remember the urgency of the nurses and technicians as they were examining me. I was experiencing slurred speech, left sided numbness, blurry vision, and an excruciating headache. While laying on a stretcher in the emergency room, the only thoughts running through my mind were:

“The kitchen sink has a pile of dishes!”

“The baby needs a bath.”

“There is no way I can stay here. The kids have a party to go to next week.”

As my blood pressure continue to climb well past the mid 200’s and I could not even speak or see clearly, my mind was still consumed with all of the things I needed to accomplish at home.

I don’t know about you, but for the most part, each day, my mind is filled with all of the things that I need to accomplish for those I love. School, finances, extra curricular activities, church, and so much more are always at the forefront of the day. From the moment I open my eyes to the time my head hits the pillow at night, my loved ones take the front seat.

Time for a Self Care Time Out

After what seemed like an eternity and an MRI, the doctors informed me that I did not have a stroke, but was experiencing the symptoms of having extremely high blood pressure. I was also told that because of my uncontrolled blood pressure over time, I now had damage to my heart and was at risk for heart failure. If I did not make major life changes, I would not be alive to see my children grow up. My tears stung my face as the doctor explained my next steps. First and most importantly, it was necessary to take TIME OUT for me! This mommy needed to become a task and priority on her own task list.

In order to accomplish this Time Out, I knew my self care plan could not feel like a chore and it needed to be flexible. After much thought, The Self Care Checklist was created. Focusing on only 4 areas of things I enjoyed the most, I was able to develop a gentle reminder to take care of myself.

 

Time Out #1            Eat Something Tasty

I come from a family where food is not just for nourishment. It is an experience! Most of the people in my family are chefs, so food is always delicious and plentiful. After several years of some really tough points in my life, I became an emotional eater. Along the way, I lost sight that I needed to be more mindful about what I was consuming as well as how much I was consuming. Thinking about what I was putting into my body became my number one on The Self Care Checklist because I knew that what I ate was going to have a huge impact on how I felt and my long term health. I started by making a list of the the Top 6 Foods I love to eat. Then, I found a healthy alternative and put those on my list. Each of the things on my list are foods I enjoy eating, but are also healthy. So, whatever you enjoy eating, find a healthy alternative and write it down.

Time Out #2            Read a Book

Hmm.. let me guess. The last book you read had brightly colored pictures, super heroes, animals, or famous cartoon characters. If that sounds about right, this Time Out is for you! Researchers at the National Library of New Zealand  say that reading for pleasure “improves literacy, social skills, health and learning outcomes.” Who in the world has TIME to read a book for pleasure? Well, certainly before being Forced Into Self Care , reading for pleasure was the furthest thing from my mind. There was just too much to be done in the course of day. Then it hit me, reading for pleasure was the perfect way to momentarily forget and unwind, even if just for fifteen minutes a day. Don’t forget about the awesomeness of e-books and audio books. There are tons of ways to take this much needed Time Out.

Time Out #3            Get Yourself Something

How often do you walk into a store set on purchasing something for yourself and then buying something for the kids instead? Have you ever been given a gift card for a present and spent the money on someone other than you? I am guilty of this on a regular basis. My family knows that if they want me to buy something for myself, they have to practically take me to the store and buy it right then and there. Sure, there are tons of things I would love to buy for myself. I just end up thinking of all of the things the kids can use instead. This Time Out gives you permission to write down at least six things you really want. Putting those items on a list makes them tangible. It allows you to see that, although the kids have things they want and need, so do you!

 

Time Out #4              Enjoy Life

Two weeks ago, a few friends and I decided to go out for a bite to eat without our husbands and children. We chatted, caught up on all of the crazy things going on in our lives, and laughed at some of the old times we used to have. We had such a great time, we decided that we would make this a frequent activity. For many moms, finding time to go out seems like a daunting task. The planning and preparation involved feels like too much of a hassle. I have found myself cancelling an outing just because I didn’t want to go through the process of setting things up at home. After being Forced Into Self Care, I decided it was time to start enjoying life! I wrote of a list of a few activities and things I enjoy doing and made a goal to accomplish one each month. Taking time to enjoy life and do things you love will give you a renewed energy you forgot you had. Do you love walks in the park, having coffee with friends, getting a manicure? Sit back, call a friend, and make some plans.

Taking Time Out for yourself and practicing self care isn’t as hard as you think. All you need is a pen and The Self Care Checklist. Moms spend so much time pouring into their families that they often become the last person on their to do list. You are loved and you are important. Make yourself a priority this Mother’s Day!

 

Did you enjoy these Self Care Time Outs? Pin the Image below and share it on Facebook!

 



Faith, Family, Free Printables, Freebies!, Self Care

New Year! New Vision!

New Year! New Vision!

It’s the first day of a new year! Are you looking for a new vision for your life?

Have you made a resolution?

Decided that this year is the year?

I remember the new year’s eve after my 40th birthday. I resolved to finally make this the year that I lost weight. I was 6 months pregnant with my last child and I knew that he would be my last. I made a plan to begin a new way of eating, exercising, and cooking, all in an effort to lose 40 pounds by my 41st birthday. I had plans for our home, our school, and our business.

Well folks! Here I am. One year later and I have not lost anything. I am only 10 pounds lighter than I was after delivering my son. I started an intense exercise routine after being cleared for my 6 week post delivery check up. I made shakes, join the YMCA, and still here I sit. I even ended up in the hospital with my pressure so high, I almost had a stroke. Check out what I realized after that here!

Oh and those plans for our home and school, let’s just say we are still in the trenches and they have been rewritten multiple times.

No! This isn’t a post about how I have now joined a program, started a new diet, or have some exciting new opportunity! In fact, this is the opposite.

What is my New Vision?

This post is about when I realized WHY I have not accomplished what I planned. After much reflection, self doubt, tears and  prayer, I realized that all of the plans and goals I had for myself were pointless.

I realized that no matter how hard “I” tried, I would continually miss the mark. This past year, I realized that I created tons of goals for my life, but never checked in with the One who made me. I never asked God to tell me what He had for my life. My purpose and God’s purpose were not lining up because

“I never sought after Him and asked Him to reveal to me anything. “

So what do I do now? This year, I took the time to dedicate uninterrupted time to seek an answer from God. I asked Him to show me my purpose. You won’t believe how clear everything seemed. I mean it was almost instant! I became so clear on what God wanted for my life. I was reminded of the verse,

“…write the vision, make it plain…”  (Hab 2:2)

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How to Find Your New Vision

I am looking forward to what God is about to do in my life and the life of my family. I am beyond grateful to have a husband who fully supports me and also seeks God for guidance in his life. I am equally thankful for children who realize that seeking God for their purpose is a necessity. We even sat down and had them complete their “Write the Vision” vision boards for the year. (Make one with your kids using the (Write the Vision  e-book)

Now I ask you: Have you given thought to what is ahead for you and your family? Have you taken the time to seek God first?

Don’t start this year off without first checking in and asking for guidance!

Come back here often to see how things are going and find out what we are up to.

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Christel -Chaos Coordinator