Monday, November 24, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like.....


CHRISTMAS

Baby, it's cold outside! So what's a mom to do with her home bound children? Make crafts of course! There is something so special about this time of year.  I love the cozy days at home, snow falling outside the window, cups of hot cocoa, Christmas music playing in the background.  Perfect opportunity to sit down and make some memories with the kids.  The December Art Pack from Funshine Express is chock full of super fun holiday crafts! Each kit contains enough craft materials for 4 children to complete 8 different crafts. 

December's Projects:

Joy Holiday Card
Seasonal Stocking
Elf Shoes
Starlight Picture Ornament
Jolly Gingerbread
Jingle Bell Stick
Magic Reindeer Food
Reindeer Clip


Kits are $19.99

Buy any Monthly Art Pack and receive October's Art Pack for FREE! Use code: OCTART at checkout.  (Equal quantities apply, offer good while supplies last)

Don't forget to mention you heard about this offer from Happily Domestic blog!

Click on logo to shop:

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

When my cup is empty...


"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers MOMS from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Do you ever feel like the historically famous Pony Express motto was actually written for us? I do. Rain or shine, happy or sad, sick or well we mom up. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I'm not the only one who sometimes feels like it's all a little too much. Pinterest says I'm not alone when I go to the bathroom with an audience or develop "shower schizophrenia" when I get into the shower while my kids are supposed to be napping. I hear noises. Know what I mean? I love my family so much. My children are my greatest joy! I love watching the them learn new skill and discover new things. I love that I still get a thrill every time my husband walk through the door. I know I'm not alone with those feelings either.
Photo credit to someecards.com
You see the thing is I already know I will miss this. My oldest is only 3 1/2 and I don't know what happened. One night I went to bed a newly wed and I woke up the next morning with 3 children. It was that fast! But the truth is that in the whirlwind of changing diapers, nursing, potty training, potty training accidents, playing referee, constant instruction, cleaning (or not), night wakes.... that's when I find myself wishing they were older. I lose my motivation to live my day intentionally with a purpose. I find myself turning on the tv and leaving it on just so I can have some peace. When it feels like my life revolves around everything I'm not doing, that is when I start thinking in terms of survival rather than joy.

It's usually when the kids have spent a day or two in front of the tv and I start feeling tempted to lock myself in the closet that I realize I've forgotten about myself. I've forgotten about my needs, I likely haven't showered or peed alone in days, I probably haven't been out of the house for a week or more, I may have gone days without talking to anyone over the age of 3 besides my husband and I may have gone days without drinking enough water, eating enough food and definitely I haven't exercised. I'm slowly learning how to pull myself out of these funks and how to catch myself before the burn out actually happens.

Get in The WORD:
This one should go without saying but as a mom of 3 children under 3... It's easy for me to realize that I haven't been in the Word since the previous weeks Sabbath teaching! So right now I am trying to read the weekly world wide bible study and am also reading some of the psalms every day. Or if I can't read I listen on BibleIs, a really great iPhone app that plays the bible out loud. We love the dramatized option. When I have the time, I get on www.biblestudytools.com and I look up the original translation of any words I am curious about to try and get a deeper understanding.

Worship:
Even more uplifting than getting in The Word is worship for me. Starting the day out genuinely praising my King changes the entire dynamic of my day. I have a few playlists (this one here and this one here) that I enjoy listening to that really help bring me into worship. I play these sometimes all day long and we dance together while I let the Spirit stir my heart.

Sleep:
I am genuinely exhausted. This weekend I hit what I like to call The Wall.. I could hardly get out of bed the entire weekend and slept as much as possible. My sweet and loving husband really helped with the kids and let me rest. I slept in, I napped, I napped some more...  I skipped our usual time together and went to bed early and then slept in and napped some more. I realized after this weekend that I need to be more intentional and responsible about my sleep habits. I need to actually go to bed on time. It's so easy to stay up later then I should because I crave that alone time, time alone with my husband or simply to clean without interruption. The problem is that it's backfired and now Im too tired to function properly in the day. My current goal is to be in bed by 10pm, phone free (no scrolling pinterest before bed!) so that I am asleep by 10:30pm.
Photo credit to someecards.com



Take responsibility:
I was telling my husband how tired I am and though very understanding he said something that really got my attention. He reminded me about my vitamins and I agreed they would help. He sighed. A big sigh! That's when he said it, "You know what you need to do to be better but you don't do it. It's not that hard to take a vitamin.". Ummm... ya but I forget and I get busy and the house and, and, and..... I stopped myself and realized that while I am in a stage of life that is busy and hard, I am the one responsible for my burnout. I am blessed with a husband who will take over so I can shower and workout or even so I can just do my toe nails if I want to. I have all the vitamins and essential oils I need to begin healing the adrenal fatigue I know that I am experiencing. I can go to bed at 10pm (usually). I can choose to take care of what I do have control over so that I am the best me that I can be for my family.

So that's what I'm working on right now. Honoring my own needs so that I can be better for my family and better for myself. What do you do when you are burned out? Is this a struggle for you? What are a couple things that fill up your cup?


Written By Happily Domestic Contributor Brittney Thompson

Brittney is a stay at home wife and mother of 2 boys and 1 baby girl. She loves crafting, cooking, anything outdoors and of course writing! She and her family have embarked on a new adventure and are now in beautiful Wisconsin.


Permission was obtained  from someecards.com to use the photos contained in this post.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Star Light, Star Bright....

This was our last day learning with the "Night, Night" theme.  Tomorrow we start the 2nd half of the November Buttercups lessons which will be on giving thanks.  Baby N has really enjoyed this theme as blankets, books, stars and the moon are some of his favorite things!

Today we started our lesson out with the Mother Goose prop.  This contains a poem and pictures on both sides.

 Baby N enjoying the Mother Goose prop.  Which says:

Wake up bright
In the morning light
To do what's right
with all your might.

The back side of this picture shows the girl asleep in bed and says. "Good night, sleep tight".  Baby N looked at it this for quite awhile and kept asking me to read it.

We did an extended craft time today and made 3 crafts!  


This is the Sweet Dreams Mobile from the Buttercups kit. 
Baby N is stuffing the "cloud" with grocery bags.  

We then stapled one end of the cloud and decorated it with streamers and star stickers.

When completed I put on the song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and he waved the mobile around.

Next, he put together a Night Owl Scene.  This is also from the Buttercups kit.  The instructions said to have the child paint the stars, but I had some leftover glitter from another craft and so we did that instead. They turned out nice and baby boy has fun dumping on the glitter.

Pressing down the owl after I glued it.

I love how all the crafts in the Buttercups curriculum kit are made for little hands.  My son usually needs a bit of help, but for the most part he can complete them on his own with instruction. Crafting has been great for him.  He has learned how to use scissors (for the most part), is learning how to properly hold a pencil, and has ample opportunity to strengthen his fine motor skills with each craft project.

(Yes, peanut butter and jelly was on the menu at lunch. Haha!)

After craft time I brought out our "All About Me" flash card.  You receive 4 different cards per Buttercups kit.  These cards help babies and toddlers identify real world actions and teach them the words to go with them.  We talked more about sleeping and bedtime and finished out our lesson with a lullaby.  I played "Hush Little Baby" from Funshine's Music and Movement cd and Baby N had a good time rocking his "baby" to sleep.  Here is a video of him in action. He was having lots of fun until he realized I was filming him and then he declared, "no more!" Haha!


In the ART PACK

Our Art Pack craft for this week was "Wishing Pouches"

The boys colored and cut out a star, moon, and cloud and wrote wishes on them.  The younger two didn't really understand this, but my 6 year old wished his lego guys were real!  He was so sad when his big sister told him his wish would not come true.  Nothing like older siblings to dampen the imagination! :-(

Baby N proud of his coloring

The "wishes" go into a special pouch.  Here is Little E adding the final touches to his wishing pouch.

J Bug adding the neck strap

All done!  Time to make a wish!

Want to learn more about the Buttercups program for infants and toddlers? You can read my full review, here. Also, don't forget to enter my current giveaway sponsored by Funshine Express. Winner receives a curriculum kit of choice for up to 12 children!! Go enter, here.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Goodnight Moon....time for bed!

Goodnight Moon is one of my all time favorite bedtime books.  I was so excited to see this book incorporated into this weeks lesson plan.  For Buttercups we talked more about bedtime and I introduced the bed vocabulary card and bed signing card.  

Here are the cards displayed on the side of our schoolroom bookshelf.

I love seeing little ones use sign language. It is absolutely adorable!
Baby "N" trying to figure out the motions.

He's got it!  This is the sign for bed.

Before we started our craft, I had the boys watch a cartoon 
version of Goodnight Moon on You Tube. 

Here is the video for you to enjoy with your children: 


From the Monthly Art Pack
To go along with our Goodnight Moon lesson, the boys put together a 
Goodnight Moon window scene.

They added blue paper to green, added star stickers, a mini muffin cup for the moon and then added a red window frame.  The end result was darling!

Baby N's finished art project

So proud!

The boys also watched the animated version of another great bedtime story, Good Night Gorilla! They love this book and we read it together often.

Here is the video for Good Night Gorilla:



I highly recommend both these books if you have yet to discover them.

Want to learn more about the Buttercups program for infants and toddlers? You can read my full review, here. Also, don't forget to enter my current giveaway sponsored by Funshine Express. Winner receives a curriculum kit of choice for up to 12 children!! Go enter, here.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Funshine Express Curriculum Kit Giveaway!!!


It's time for our Funshine Express giveaway!  You've read my reviews and now it's time to try this wonderful curriculum out for yourself!  Winner will receive either a Buttercups or Fireflies curriculum kit for up to 12 children, you choose!

Buttercups curriculum kits are for babies and toddlers ages 6 to 36 months and offer 8 weeks of interactive fun!  Each kit covers 4 themes and provides everything you need including teachers manual, craft supplies, 2 books, 2 play manipulatives, and offers a multitude of activity and music recommendations to make teaching your child enjoyable.  Whether you are a parent, teacher, or day care provider you will love how simple it is to teach using the Buttercups curriculum!


To read my full review, click here.

Watch this video to learn more:


Fireflies preschool curriculum kits are for children ages 3-5 and offer everything you need to teach your child (or children in your care) for a full 30 days! Each kit covers 2 themes to keep your child interested and learning new topics.  This includes 16 art projects (supplies included), book of the month, personal journal, calender heading, alphabet sign language cards, alphabet word cards, character critter posters, 4 Spanish cards, math game, learning center materials, counting cards, wall displays, monthly newsletter, and of course a curriculum guide full of fun ideas on how to teach. Lessons are written out to show you what and when to teach on a daily basis.  Everything is laid out in a simple, non-intimidating way that will allow you to teach without much preparation.

To read my full Fireflies review, click here.

Watch this video to learn more:

You can find all my Funshine Express reviews and blog posts, here.


BUY IT:  Funshine Express curriculum kits, Monthly Art Packs, Faith Lesson Kits, teaching aids, toys and more can be purchased directly from their website, click  here.  

TOY BUNDLE SALE- Right now at Funshine Express receive 24-43% off all toy bundles (while supplies last)!!! Shop now before you miss out!

WIN a curriculum kit of your choice right here at Happily Domestic!  Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Ends Tuesday, November 25th 2014.

Thank you to Funshine Express for sponsoring this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Fireflies Preschool Curriculum Kit Review


The preschool years are such a joy, as a mom you want to savor every minute!  These years are also a very crucial time for your child.  A lot of things are going on in their growing bodies and their little brains are grasping everything like a sponge!  Early learning is key to your child's development as it can affect their overall love of learning, how they react to certain situations, and studies show it can even affect their health!  Such a precious time!  Shouldn't we all stop and evaluate if we are giving our children the very best for a bright future?

Teaching your child doesn't have to be a chore or anything intimidating.  Kids just want mom or dad to sit down beside them and read to them, help them complete a craft, and maybe sing some songs. Implementing a few simple ideas each day can make a huge impact!  Funshine Express understands the needs of children and meets those needs with their award winning curriculum.  If you have a child between the ages of 3-6 you will love their Fireflies curriculum kits!  They make teaching your child a breeze and meet all the state standards for learning.

Let me introduce you to the Fireflies preschool program:

 My little boys excited about getting packages.  
By the way- Only one of these boxes was for Fireflies, the others were Jitterbugs kits and a Buttercups kit.


Fireflies preschool curriculum kits are for children ages 3-5 and offer everything you need to teach your child (or children in your care) for a full 30 days! Each kit covers 2 themes to keep your child interested and learning new topics.  This includes 16 art projects (supplies included), book of the month, personal journal, calender heading, alphabet sign language cards, alphabet word cards, character critter posters, 4 Spanish cards, math game, learning center materials, counting cards, wall displays, monthly newsletter, and of course a curriculum guide full of fun ideas on how to teach. Lessons are written out to show you what and when to teach on a daily basis.  Everything is laid out in a simple, non-intimidating way that will allow you to teach without much preparation.


With your first order you will receive a starter pack to help you set up your learning area.  This includes calender display base with numbers, weather display, number display base, and color & shape display bases.  All pieces are laminated for durability.


October's Teacher Pack

Themes included in this particular kit:

Hats Off to You
Web Wonders

Crafts come individually wrapped with all supplies and instructions.

This is the front and back of the family newsletter.  Each newsletter offers activity suggestions, book recommendations to go along with the monthly themes, songs, recipes and more!  If you teach at a daycare center or preschool, these newsletters are a great way to keep families connected to what you are teaching their children.

With each kit you order you will have the choice of either a personal journal or practice worksheets.  These are great and teach all the beginning writing skills your preschooler needs to know.

Our Experience:

My boys are ages 4 and 6.  My 6 year old is officially a kindergartner this year, but he still enjoyed all aspects of this curriculum along with his younger brother.  There are several things I especially love about this curriculum (besides the obvious...comes all prepared and delivered to your door).  I love the multiple themes. The added variety of 1 extra theme per month makes it a little more interesting to both the child and the teacher. I also love how Funshine Express incorporates holidays into their monthly themes. Children enjoy holidays and it is fun for them to look forward to the occasions with fun crafts and games.


When we first received our curriculum kit the first thing I did was set up the classroom with the new calender poster.  Each morning when we start school we always sing the days of the week song and the boys take turns adding the number piece.  It's always a fun time and the simple act of counting days really helps with early math skills. 

We then check the weather and add the appropriate card on the chart.  
I love how this chart is set up because you get to see how the weather changes during the week.

Here are some of the other activities we enjoyed this month:


With the Hats Off to You theme we learned all about the different types of hats and the people that wear them.  Firemen, doctors, chefs, cowboys, policeman, etc...so many of us wear hats!  We also made several different hats throughout the month.  Here are the boys wearing the crowns they made.

Party Hat

We played a fun matching game to learn about community helpers and the hats they wear.


The boys made chefs hats and had so much fun pretending to cook at their play kitchen.


We learned all about triangles on triangle day. We sang a song about triangles, did some simple math using paper triangles and made these fun "Terrific Triangle Guys" which came in the kit.

Here is Little E doing his busy work in his personal journal.

Here I am reading the book of the month, Miss Honey's Hat.  This book is very charming and everyone enjoyed the story, even my older children.

Fantastic Fire Truck Craft

One of the major topics covered in the October kit was fire safety.  Fire safety is such an easy thing to teach children and yet something we often over look.  I was glad for the opportunity to sit down with my boys to discuss what to do in case of a fire.  This is something I will continue to teach through out the school year as it is so important!

We also learned about spiders!  The Arachnid Lacing project was so much fun. 
Great fine motor activity!

The boys showing off their spiders.  Their faces crack me up!

This is a small taste of the many activities, crafts, and learning you will experience using the Fireflies preschool curriculum.  For only $50 a month (price based on 1 kit for 1 child. Discounts given for additional children) you can't beat the price for a full 5 day a week program! It certainly receives this mama's stamp of approval! 

To learn more about Funshine Express, their Fireflies program and the other programs they offer, visit them on their website at www.funshineexpress.com. You can also connect with them on FacebookPinterest, or their new blog, here!

STAY TUNED- FUNSHINE EXPRESS GIVEAWAY COMING SOON!!!!

Disclaimer - Funshine Express sent me a Fireflies kit in exchange for this review. All opinions are mine, I was not committed to write a favorable review. I received no other compensation. I am disclosing this information in compliance with the FTC Regulations.
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