Weekly Wrap Up

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In my life this week…origami! The kids started making origami boxes and soon, the counters were full of them! They even experimented by making the largest one they could (using a newsprint roll) and the tiniest ones possible. In the end, we had so many boxes that we used them for the kids who came to our Easter egg hunt to put their finds in!

Origami BoxesThe weather certainly was interesting with it being warm enough for the kids to play outside (in their homemade bunny ears!) on Monday and then build snowmen by Tuesday!

homemade bunny earsI had a really important meeting on Monday with the social worker in charge of our family supports for disability. I won’t know for a week or so what the outcome is for sure, but there were a lot of people praying and the meeting went a lot better than I was expecting it would. I am thankful and relieved.

In our homeschool this week…We’re continuing our study of Canada. We are reading the book Run by Eric Walters (about Terry Fox) and it is excellent. I’ve cried at least three times while reading it out loud and the kids are getting pretty used to that. We have watched some footage of Terry running and will be watching the Terry Fox movie sometime this coming week.

We are also beginning our learning about the Federal government (the three branches, the House of Commons, and some vocabulary).

The kids have memorized the poem The Lamb by William Blake which was perfect for Easter. The older ones worked on their Daily Grams and all of them continued to work on Math with Teaching Textbooks.

We watched the movie Winged Planet, a documentary about birds.

The kids made mini Resurrection gardens.

mini Resurrection garden

I had the kids do a very interesting experiment. I was challenged by Sarah from the blog Little Bins for Little Hands to do a Sensory Bin Challenge with the kids where I give them a bin with only white rice and let them create their own with no instruction from me. I decided to make 5 bins and let each of the kids create their own. The results were so interesting! It was neat to see each of the kids’ personalities and sensory preferences show through! I’ll be posting more about it including pictures of their finished bins on April 30th.

about to start the sensory bin challenge

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…Snuggle Puppy had jui jitsu on Tuesday and Thursday. The kids had Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday. Miss Optimism had her girls Bible Study on Thursday. All the kids had piano lessons on Tuesday.

Friday, one set of the kids’ grandparents and their great-grandma (visiting from Saskatchewan) came to visit.

Saturday morning, Snuggle Puppy had a jui jitsu tournament. He won gold in both his events! He seems to have a fair amount of natural talent since he’s had about four months of classes so this week, we started him going twice a week instead of once a week.

proud tournament winnerSaturday afternoon, we hosted a huge Easter egg hunt. Earlier that afternoon, Miss Optimism had made a snowman. There was snow covering our entire yard. By the time the hunt started just two hours later, all the snow had cleared and the kids were able to have a muddy, messy, but fun time! In total, there were 71 people here for the egg hunt and meal afterwards so it was a bit of chaos, but it was a lot of fun! Again this year, I forgot to take a single picture which I’m really disappointed about but at least the kids have the memories of it! My friend Shannon had come over two nights before and we had filled eggs. There were 466 eggs hidden this year!

Easter collage

Sunday, there was a breakfast at our church before the service and after, we came home and relaxed. I’m actually typing this Sunday afternoon wearing my pyjama pants! The kids played outside and flew the new kites they got from their grandma for Easter. Am I the only one who can’t help singing “Let’s go Fly a Kite” every time I even think about kite flying?!

Happy Easter everyone! He is Risen!

I’m cooking…well given the big feast at our house, the better question might be what I’m not cooking! Between that and our regular meals…Pizza Casserole, Sloppy Joes, Ginger soy salmon, Scalloped Potatoes, Pepsi Ham, Sweet Potato Casserole, Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts, lemon cookies, gluten free Rice Krispie Easter treats, gluten free Chex mix, Charcutterie with crostinis (Granola Girl helped make the crostinis), gluten free Peeps S’mores, meatballs, Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates wrapped in bacon (delicious), devilled eggs (Miss Optimism helped me make them this time), Asian salad.

On the blog…I’m running a huge homeschool giveaway right now, shared our tips and tricks for saving money on expensive sensory products, posted my Butternut Squash Casserole recipe (gluten free), and opened up about the obstacles that keep me from being the mom I want to be.

Huge Homeschool Giveaway 2014

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Homeschool Giveaway

It’s that time of year again, when we all are searching for next year’s homeschool curriculum. And we only know too well that money is tight when you are living on one income.

So now is your chance to get a head start on next year’s homeschool curriculum with this HUGE Homeschool Curriculum Bundle!

We are looking for (2) winners! Each winner will be receiving one of the bundles which is retailed over $350.00.

We teamed up with the best homeschool companies available to offer our readers this incredible bundle pack, and they all have been very gracious!

Check out these great prizes!

shining dawn books early spring bundle

See the Light Cartooning

All About Reading

Philosophy Adventure

Math EssentialsAmerica's Math Teacher

    • Christian Heroes series 2-for-1 Special – Gladys Aylward and George Muller by YWAM Publishing

Christian Heroes Then and Now

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Be sure to enter this generous giveaway! I will be picking a random winner on April 25th at 12 AM. All entries will be verified. Winners will be contacted via email and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.

Creative Ways to Decorate Eggs and Pinning Party

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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!

Every year, our family plans a huge Easter egg hunt so this week, the kids and I are busy decorating, planning food and filling eggs. We haven’t decorated eggs yet this year but we may just be using one of these ideas shared last week when we do!

Creative Ways to Decorate Eggs

Onion Skin Dyed Easter Eggs from The Harried Mom

Torn Tissue Paper Eggs from Capri + 3

Hot Crayon Easter Eggs from Parenting Chaos

 Chocolate Easter Eggs from In the Playroom

Marbleized Easter Eggs from Where Imagination Grows

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:

Learning Games and Toys to Promote Pre-Reading Skills from Growing Book by Book

DIY Recycled Raisin Box Puzzle from Tot Schooling

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>

Thanks for linking up and sharing in the fun! You may also want to follow my Pinterest boards where I pin many of the ideas linked up here.


Money Saving Sensory Solutions

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Equipping your home to adapt to a child with sensory needs can be expensive. I was astonished to find just how expensive some of the sensory tools were. Four of our kids have Sensory Processing Disorder so the search for sensory solutions that wouldn’t break the bank is a journey I have been on for many years now. I have managed to come up with a lot of low cost options that work just as well as the items that are sold by specialty stores for a fraction of the cost.

Money Saving Sensory Solutions

Here are some of the items we have adapted or found a lower cost solution for:

Weighted vests, capes or clothing

Many children have a much easier time regulating themselves when they are wearing weighted vests or clothing. Sewing your own may save money. I don’t know how to sew though.

If you are like me and don’t sew, you can buy a vest with pockets such as a fly fishing vest and add weights to the pockets.

Weighted neck rolls can be as effective for some children as weighted capes are and are usually much less money.

For some of my kids, wearing very tight fitting outfits underneath their clothing is as effective, if not more effective than weighted clothing. We accomplish this by buying gymnastics suits that are a few sizes too small and having them wear them under their regular clothes. In this way, they still get the feeling of the extra pressure. Gymnastics leotards that go down to the mid-thigh (biketards) and/or have sleeves are what we’ve found to work the best.

You may be able to find second hand gymnastics outfits online, in consignment stores or from friends whose kids have outgrown them. As with all things sensory, it’s best if you can have your child try it on before buying. Avoid things with itchy fabrics like glitter or sequins.

Fidget toys and chewelry

Actual sensory fidget toys are ridiculously expensive! This may sound like the wackiest thing ever, but pet toys can make excellent fidget toys. They are often rich in texture and durability and they are a fraction of the cost of fidget toys!

Obviously, I am recommending that you buy new toys from the pet store or online for your child, not have them play with your dog’s toy!

We make our own sensory balls for pennies. I have full instructions for making your own here.

make your own sensory balls

Knobby balls are fairly inexpensive and can be used as fidget toys or for sensory activities.

Other low cost things that work for fidget toys include playdough (this recipe for homemade Lavender Scented Playdough is calming as well), silly putty (you can make your own easily), pencil toppers or pencil grips, sponges (from the Dollar store!), ribbons, stones, beads (also from the Dollar store), rubber band balls, and baby toys.

Lanyards can double as chewlery and are much less expensive. My kids also like using those coil keychains that are often given away by companies at Trade Fairs as bracelets that they can chew on.

One of my readers suggested buying teething beads in the baby section and stringing them onto a pretty ribbon to make a necklace (homemade chewlry).

Seat aids

Some of our kids have Movin’ Sit cushions but they are a bit pricey. Another solution is to buy therabands (exercise bands) and put them around the legs of the chair or desk. An even cheaper solution is to do this with scraps of stretchy fabric or old nylons. This will provide your child with sensory feedback when they swing their legs.

Bean bag chairs can be another solution for sitting but they also tend to be a bit pricey.

Textured disks like the kind you can buy at Ikea make good seat disks.

You can fill a large sock with rice to make a weighted lap snake. Those microwaveable heat packs also make good weighted lap pads. These can help with staying seated and feeling more regulated while seated.

Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets are expensive. There’s really no way to sugar coat it. You can make your own if you know how to sew or you can make a very heavy quilt or blanket. My aunt made some heavy blankets for our kids using old jeans. The denim is very heavy (and free if you collect ripped jeans from people you know).

If you don’t know how to sew (and don’t have an aunt who will make you blankets out of denim!), you can also try buying heavy down comforters when they go on sale.

If you do decide to buy a weighted blanket, be sure to let your child try it out before you spend the money on it as some kids don’t like them. Only two of our kids with Sensory Processing Disorder like them but two ones that do, love them! I was able to purchase our weighted blankets from Innovaid and were allowed to try them first to ensure that the kids would like them.

Larger sensory items

You can save so much money by making your own things from items you can buy at hardware stores, fabric stores and Dollar stores. Examples include such things as making your own hammock, platform swing, tire swing, rock climbing wall, ball pit (you can also make a simpler one using a blow up pool or playpen and balls or cut up pool noodles), parachute, and lycra swings. (Click on each of the words to be taken to a tutorial for how to make these yourself.) You can make a crash pad by filling a duvet cover with foam pieces.

There are some things that are almost essential to have when you have a child with sensory needs but that just are expensive. These include such things as trampolines or mini trampolines and the Hop Bouncer. For items such as these, my best suggestion is to check Kijiji, Craigslist, eBay, Freecycle, the local paper, swap and buy and sell groups online, and garage sales. This should make the prices much more affordable and enable you to save for them and pay cash instead of going into debt to buy new ones.

Other sensory solutions

You can make your own sensory tunnel or tube (often called a Sensory Sock) using stretchy fabric for a fraction of the cost of buying it.

Use old couch cushions for compression sandwiches.

Create your own sensory bins, sensory boards and sensory bottles.

Ikea has some great sensory solutions that are quite inexpensive such as a swing and rings that can be hung indoors, their egg swivel chair, tunnels and small tents, a great hanging chair that swings as well as surrounds them like a small hammock (it’s called the EKORRE), and items such as textured cushions, and soft lights.

For the anxiety often associated with SPD or ASD, I highly recommend my anti-anxiety kit for kids. It works so well with our kids and can be customized to what works with your own child. You can make yours very inexpensively.

Create an Anti-Anxiety Kit for Your Child including free printable relaxation prompts

Instead of buying expensive noise blocking headphones, try inexpensive ear plugs, cotton or ear muffs.

Drums can be a good outlet for kids with sensory needs but can be made using household items like ice cream pails, pots and pans, and empty coffee tins.

You may also be interested in reading:

Surviving Public Bathrooms with a Child with Sensory Issues

Must Haves for Kids with Sensory Needs

Resources to Teach Kids About Emotions and How to Manage Them

If you are looking for other tips on sensory needs, you may be interested in following my Special Needs Parenting or Sensory Processing Disorder Boards on Pinterest.

What money saving sensory solutions have you found?