Fall Preschool Activities & Pinning Party

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Welcome to the Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party! I invite you to join in the fun, sharing your favourite pins and checking out all the fabulous ideas that are shared.

This week, I’m actually typing this while on vacation. We took a long road trip to Vancouver Island to visit some family and to get a break. We are both working while on the trip so taking turns taking care of the kids and it’s working really well. I am wishing we could do this all the time!

Last week, there were again some wonderful ideas linked up and we found that there were quite a few that would be great to do with your preschoolers during this season so that is what Angela and I decided to feature this week.

Fall Preschool Activities as featured on the Toddler & Preschooler Pinning Party

Autumn Coloured Playdough from Our Little House in the Country

Corn Painting Fall Activity for Kids from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

Fall Leaf Shadow Matching from Totschooling

Acorn Cap Jewels from Dabbling Momma

14 Autumn Crafts & Activities from In the Playroom

Fall Bible Activities from Christianity Cove

Fall Bucket List from My Bright Firefly

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By linking up, you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) to use in a featured collage.For this week’s pinning party, you can link up to 3 pins (or posts if you prefer) relevant to parenting toddlers and preschoolers. This can be anything from activities to child-friendly snacks to parenting tips. Then, visit some of the other pins linked up to get new ideas and help others find these great ideas too by repinning! Sharing the love by pinning your favourites really helps everyone.

Toddler & Preschooler Moms - THE place to find family friendly ideas!The Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party is THE place to come to find all the best ideas from Pinterest each week. You can find the pinning party on the following blogs:

Angela Teaching Mama

Sharla The Chaos and The Clutter

Last week’s most clicked posts were:

14 Autumn Crafts & Activities from In the Playroom

Fun Toddler Activities from Living Life and Learning

Free Preschool Handwriting Worksheets from One Beautiful Home

If you were mentioned as a favourite, you are welcome to grab the most pinned button below.

The Chaos and The Clutter

<a href=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/archives/category/tender-moments-with-toddlers-preschoolers” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/TPmostpinned.jpg” alt=”The Chaos and The Clutter” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>

You may also want to follow my Pinterest boards where I pin many of the ideas linked up here.


5 Steps to Finding Joy in the Chaos

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

I’ve written this today because I needed the reminder myself. The tagline of this blog is “finding joy amidst the chaos of everyday life” but I can be honest and admit that lately, there has been very little joy in my home or in my heart. It has been a season of trial, a barrage of one thing after the next, a time when I don’t even have time to catch my breath from one crisis before I am faced with another. I had grown weary.

5 Steps to Finding Joy in the Chaos

I have not been the picture of a joy seeker or modelling joy to my kids. I want to teach them that joy does not just come with easy circumstances, with shiny new things, or with perfection, but that joy can be found in the midst of even the driest desert, the darkest night.

Choose joy.” It’s a phrase that’s being said a lot, a movement even, but saying it and actually doing it are two very different things. Hearing someone tell you to choose joy when you are hurting only makes you feel like more of a failure.

Choosing joy is just plain easier when life cooperates with you, when things go your way. When it seems like everything is an uphill battle, choosing joy no longer feels like second nature. I’ve been giving some thought as to why joy feels so fleeting lately and it does seem that the general wisdom is true. That happiness is in relation to our circumstances but that true joy comes from within, from God, and isn’t changed by circumstance.

That a bad day is a bad day but can’t rob someone of an inner joy. That negative words spoken by someone else can’t rob someone of an inner joy. That loss or sadness or insecurity can’t rob someone of an inner joy. True inner joy is something we can only rob ourselves of. That sounds harsh and judging.

I am actually only judging myself, chiding myself for robbing myself of joy these past months, of believing that because my circumstances were hard and felt overwhelming, it was an excuse for me to live in sorrow, wishing for a life I don’t have and longing for the life I used to have. This is not what I would call a recipe for happiness!

Last week, at the peak of hard times, when I was not coping well, The Husband suggested that we take a road trip to Vancouver Island, stopping to stay with relatives along the way. The Husband loves travel so his solution to every problem is to book a trip of some kind. I didn’t see how it could help. He would be working on the trip, which would leave me still taking care of the kids. We would be in a vehicle for over 48 hours with kids who haven’t been getting along. Nothing led me to believe it would be relaxing or help anything. I felt like it would just be a way of us running from our problems but bringing them with us.

I was wrong, so wrong. I have rediscovered my joy. My circumstances haven’t changed. I still have 7 kids, 5 with special needs. I still have kids who are STRUGGLING, even here in the beautiful mountain scenery. I still look ahead and see a lot of unknowns. I still have fears. But I found my joy.

I caught a glimpse of it in the Rocky Mountains, in creeks and in rivers. It grew in the silence of the vehicle over the course of many hours as I filled my ears and my heart with worship music and took in the creation around me. It crested up, feeling like it would overflow as we drove the winding roads from Tofino to Nanaimo.

It’s probably fitting that my joy was hidden on this Island, the place where I spent my newlywed year, where my second son was born. Logically, I know that my joy isn’t about a location and that I could just as easily have found it at home, but caught up in a cycle of hopelessness, I couldn’t see it there. I needed a change to help me push the reset button.

my viewThis is my view as I type this…my girls splashing in the pool, the sun beating down, surrounded by huge trees, and hearing the sounds of my boys as they fly kites on the beach. Yes, it’s obviously easier to feel joy here when some of my obligations have been left back home. Today, there are no appointments, no phone calls from telemarketers, no errands to run. There are still dishes and laundry to do and supper to make, but homeschooling consisted of me reading the kids a story and them writing in their journals about the trip. There are fewer complaints from them about this life than the chores and humdrum at our house.

There are things however, that are universally true about finding joy in the chaos. There are things that I can do when I am back home that can help me to find my joy even on a hard day. I am writing this as much to remind myself when I’m back in the muck and the mire as I am to help others.

Be Grateful

Driving through the picturesque mountains in the fall provides a lot to be grateful for. The colours, the trees, the wildlife, the sound of running water (one of my favourite sounds on Earth), God’s creation all around me, silence in the vehicle (no small miracle!) …there was no shortage of things to be grateful for.

Even when you are living right in the chaos though, there are still things to be grateful for. One trick to doing this when you are at a low point is to compare your life to that of someone in a less fortunate situation. When I find myself feeling sorry for myself, I often think of some of the people I met in Ethiopia. In that one thought, I am given dozens of things to be thankful for, clean water, food, access to health care, education choices for my children, a warm house, clothing.

Focusing on thankfulness increases joy in a simple and effective way.

Create Silence

I had forgotten how healing silence can be. There is so little silence in my life that it was as if I had forgotten what it sounded like. I was craving silence. At home, I didn’t know how to find quiet. I didn’t know how to find peace.

When you have 7 kids, silence is not something in large supply! Now that I have experience how healing silence can be, I have thought of ways to create it when I’m back home. Often at night when my kids are in bed, I will watch TV or listen to podcasts or get the kitchen cleaned while music plays. There is always some kind of noise. In some ways, silence has been disconcerting because it has been so rare and feels unfamiliar. I plan to sit in silence more often after the kids are in bed or before they get up.

Silence can help you gather your thoughts, pray, breathe, process something that has happened, and prepare for what is ahead.

Create Margins

Ouch. I am supposed to be an expert on self-care but like many “experts”, I am better at preaching than practising! I have no margins in my life. I had filled up the calendar, filled up the spaces, filled up the hours and given myself very little wiggle room. I had done that before, when I had help with child care.

When I lost that help, I didn’t take anything out of the schedule. This put me almost at a breaking point. Right then, two of our kids were given new diagnoses, which meant dozens of new appointments had to make their way into an already bursting schedule and it felt impossible. Now that I am away from real life for this little vacation, I have realized that it didn’t just feel impossible; it actually was impossible. I am one human. I cannot possibly be in two places at one time, nor can I function with no sleep because I have filled all my waking hours and some non-waking ones. Something has to give. My sanity is what was giving!

I don’t yet have a solution for this in my own life, but I am working on it. For others, I can say that without margins, there is no room for the unexpected, no room for the sick days or emergencies, no room for the surprises, and no room for joy. Create margins in your life so that you can enjoy the moments that come along and aren’t too busy to notice them.

Be in the Moment

This one is so hard. With all the distractions like phones and e-mail and electronics, it can be hard to be present in the moment. Another challenge for me about being in the moment is worrying about the future. When we recently found out about our daughter’s hearing loss, I spent time researching the hearing aids and FM system she was getting, but I also spent time researching (and worrying about) the cochlear implants that may be in her future and went on a rabbit trail of what ifs that would make your head spin. None of that helped me or helped her. It is going to be what it is going to be. She will go deaf when she goes deaf and we will face it at that time. Me obsessing over it now will only steal joy from today.

So be in the moment. When your child calls your name, look up. Pay attention to what they are saying. Look them in the eye.

Live today instead of worrying about what tomorrow will bring. Today is hard enough. Matthew 6:34 says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Ain’t that the truth?!

Enjoy this Stage

I should know this one by now. As the mom of an adult who just yesterday (or at least it felt like yesterday) was laughing for the first time or taking his first steps, I should know better than anyone how quickly it goes. Yet some days, I forget. It gets hard and I get sucked down into that hard and I forget that this stage passes and that I need to enjoy it while I can.

You can’t get these days with your kids back. Even the tantrums at WalMart or the tuck-ins at the end of the day when you’re already so tired or the mess that never ends will someday be a thing of the past. Enjoy this day. Find the good in it wherever you can and hold onto that.

Finding joy (and keeping it) amidst the everyday stuff like dirty socks and whines and a growing to-do list is hard. Keeping hold of your joy when hard times come is even harder, but it is possible. I hope these tips help you to find joy in whatever your circumstances are today.

Support for Homeschooling Adopted Children

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

I started homeschooling before adoption became a focus in our lives. When our oldest bio. son was ready for school, the school that I had been planning to send him had a three year waiting list. I reasoned that since Kindergarten was not mandatory in our province, I would homeschool him for the year while I researched other schooling options for him. Somewhere in the course of that year, schooling options were forgotten in all the fun of homeschooling! When our next son began his schooling journey a few years later, homeschooling was an easy choice.

I had been homeschooling for seven years before our adopted children were old enough to start their school adventures. By then, I saw a lot of benefits to homeschooling them, (more so even than homeschooling my bio. kids) because of their special needs and in order to further work on attachment. It wasn’t really a sit-down, muddle-through kind of decision, but one that I fell into naturally. Over the years, I have discovered many additional challenges that have come along with homeschooling my younger five kids. There have been times where I have gotten through just by the tips of my fingernails, barely able to hold on.

Homeschooling Adopted Children Support Group

Homeschooling adopted children comes with its own unique blessings and challenges. One example of something that can present a challenge to homeschooling is that there are several special needs that are more prevalent among adopted children. Another is the quandary of perhaps needing to send a particular child to public or private school for a season to give the homeschooling parent (usually the mom) a much needed break or to access special services that are available within the school system.

Trying to navigate the waters of indecision or guilt alone is not a journey that anyone should have to sail alone. It is for that reason that I started the Facebook group Homeschooling Adopted Children. I began the group as an online support system, a place for people to go where they feel safe to share their frustrations, ask questions and celebrate with each other the small victories along the way.

I also started the group because I have been writing a book on Homeschooling Adopted Children for over two years now which I was hoping would be a help to people but it is taking me longer to finish it than I was hoping for so I wanted to find a way to help people in the meantime. And to be perfectly honest, I am as much in need of this type of support group as anyone else!

There is something about connection, about finding out that you aren’t alone that brings a sense of belonging and that awesome feeling of “me too!”. If you have adopted, are adopting and are homeschooling or considering homeschooling or even have homeschooled, please come and join us. You will be welcomed with open arms!

Homeschooling Adopted Children

Free Fall Printables & Pinning Party

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Welcome to the Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party! I invite you to join in the fun, sharing your favourite pins and checking out all the fabulous ideas that are shared!

Last week, there were some great free printables linked up that are perfect for fall! If you have a preschooler, you will especially want to check out the daily learning workbook. It’s 32 pages and so cute!Free Fall Printables as featured on the Toddler & Preschooler Pinning Party

Preschool Daily Learning Workbook from One Beautiful Home

Apple Do-A-Dot Printables from Gift of Curiosity

Apple Pack Language Activities from 3 Dinosaurs

Fall Playdough Mats from Totschooling

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By linking up, you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) to use in a featured collage.For this week’s pinning party, you can link up to 3 pins (or posts if you prefer) relevant to parenting toddlers and preschoolers. This can be anything from activities to child-friendly snacks to parenting tips. Then, visit some of the other pins linked up to get new ideas and help others find these great ideas too by repinning! Sharing the love by pinning your favourites really helps everyone.

Toddler & Preschooler Moms - THE place to find family friendly ideas!The Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party is THE place to come to find all the best ideas from Pinterest each week. You can find the pinning party on the following blogs:

Angela Teaching Mama

Sharla The Chaos and The Clutter

Last week’s most clicked posts were:

50 Free Fall Printables for Kids from Look, We’re Learning

Our Daily Home Preschool Schedule from Cutting Tiny Bites

Flour & Oil Easy No Cook Playdough Recipe from In the Playroom

If you were mentioned as a favourite, you are welcome to grab the most pinned button below.

The Chaos and The Clutter

<a href=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/archives/category/tender-moments-with-toddlers-preschoolers” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/TPmostpinned.jpg” alt=”The Chaos and The Clutter” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>

You may also want to follow my Pinterest boards where I pin many of the ideas linked up here.


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