The Crafty Classroom ~ REVIEW

The past few months we have been going over our cross country trip from last year.  We covered so many states, took so many pictures and journaled our whole 9 weeks.  Now we are digging a little deeper into our Nation's story by picking through each state we went through on our trip.  What's helped us on this little project is the USA Activity Bundle from The Crafty Classroom.  



You know sometimes you just want to get your Art on, but want to try something new, fun.....but simple.  We were able to get our little crafting hands on something that filled my need to create beautiful things, Mahala's need to be as detailed as possible and finally Kaden's need of squishing things with his hands.  I'm talking about the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products.  Wowsers, the possibilities with these two products are e-n-d-l-e-s-s!  And my favorite thing about this company is that all of their products are Non-Toxic, Non-Carcinogenic and Gluten Free.  For any child this is awesome, but with a child like Kaden who has Autism this is a blessing.  Because everything goes on his face, mouth, hair...you name it.  Not to mention that he is very sensitive....he even gets rashes from store bought play-dough because of the gluten.


Teal hair for us both

I have been growing my hair out for years....I constantly say to my self I'm not going to color my hair again, just let the gray hair be.  But, an inch or so will grow and then I'm running to buy a box of color.  So, about 2 months ago I cut all my hair off....I figured it would be easier to grow out my gray if it was short.  I went back for a trim with Mahala and then this happened....I know I was surprised to.  HAHAHAHA  Mother Daughter Time!!!


Marigold Bakes a Cake

I have the cutest sweetest most amazing children's book to share with you this weekend.  It's called Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough.  I don't know about you, but we like sweets over here, homemade cakes and pastries are the best.  Over the years we have baked many many goodies and Kaden came up with something special I'll share after a quick introduction of this book that needs to be on your bookshelf this week.


Mapelle Films~ Review

I Love Movie reviews and this next Movie review also came with a Book....even better!  Several weeks ago we received the movie, Trust Fund from Mapelle Films along with the book, Love Was Near.  Both are intended for ages 12+, but can be appropriate for younger kiddos if the movie is watched as a family to promote discussion.
As soon as we opened the movie we watched it that very night.  Popped some popcorn, grabbed some chocolate and we were ready for movie night!  The whole family watched it the 1st time, even Kaden who is 10 and Dad.  We all enjoyed it so much we ended up watching it a week or so later just Mahala and I. We were thrilled to find out that the Producer of the Movie, Isaac Alongi was a Homeschooler back in the 80's.  It's cool to see all the different career paths our Homeschooled kids go on.


Walking with Miss Millie ~ Review & Giveaway

Recently I was given a chance to read Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy.  This is the most tender, honest, heartfelt book I have read in awhile for this age group.  It's geared for middle school readers, but Kaden who is 10 loved it and read the whole thing in only 1 day.  We have recently read a biography on Harriet Tubman and in the process of reading Uncle Tom's Cabin together, so this was a breath of fresh air, because it was so endearing.  Straight from Kaden's mouth.... " This is a Perfect addition to my Personal Selection of Historical Fiction".  Yes, he has a "personal selection" of all genres that only he can thumb through. 

You can read Below all about the book, but I want to share with you what we felt and talked about after Kaden and I read it.  First of all it's based in Georgia, so you know we had to make a yummy Peach Cobbler.  But, we also talked for days about the precious moments of time with our loved ones that we have.  Not long ago we lost a very dear elderly friend that was like a Grandma to our Family.  She was like Miss Millie, filled with Wisdom, Love and offered an unlikely Friendship to us all.  While reading we were reminded of our sweet friend and it etched this book even closer to our hearts.  I wished that every child in the world could have a Miss Millie in there lives.  This book paved a way for us to explore the South in the late 1960's.  Kaden was able to relate to some of the characters especially with having a disability of his own.  We talked about the Politics, the Music and even some of the iconic 60's clothing.... Yes we tie-died a shirt for the very 1st time ever and even experimented with Slime!!! 

I encourage you to take a little trip in time with your kiddo and read this book together.  Not only will you experience the beauty of young Alice and Miss Millie's friendship that comes at the right time in Alice's life....when she needs it the most.  But, you will find that this book gently shows some pretty tough subjects like racism, divorce and disabilities in a way that young minds can understand and have compassion towards. I know you will treasure it as much as we do. 

About the Book: Eleven-year-old Alice has just moved to Georgia with her mom and little brother, and barely has time to unpack before she gets herself in trouble. When she's caught eavesdropping on a phone call on the party line, her mom sends her next door to apologize to their new neighbor, Miss Millie, a spry ninety-two-year-old African-American woman. To make up for her rudeness, Alice agrees to walk Clarence, Miss Millie's blind dog, for the rest of the summer. But he refuses to go anywhere without Miss Millie, so the three of them soon develop a daily routine: walking together and Miss Millie sharing wisdom and stories from her long life. 

Alice is fascinated, learning about Miss Millie's parents being slaves, and Miss Millie living most of her life in the segregated South. When she's not with Miss Millie, Alice spends her time plotting to get her parents back together—she's hardly heard from her dad since he left the family a year ago—but it's a wasted effort. Fortunately, her growing bond with Miss Millie eases her sadness, broadens her understanding of life, and gives her a true, unbreakable friendship she'll never forget.

Tamara BundyAbout the Author: Tamara Bundy is a high school English teacher with a Master's degree in writing, and is a former columnist for The Cincinnati Post (her regular column on being a mom also appeared on EWTN global Catholic radio). Walking With Miss Millie is her debut novel, and she lives in Cincinnati, OH.

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Kaden Update.....

It's been awhile since I've chatted about how Kaden is doing.  He is his regular unpredictable self, but the winds are calming down that normally engulfed us all day.... every day.  We started a few months on medication, slowly.  They gave him a smaller dose then what they would start a typical child on.  Since then it has been increased twice.  He has changed so much!!!!  It's like night and day.  He offers to help, he smiles more without being prompted, is more inclined to try something new and has been telling me he loves me.  I have noticed a change in his artwork, writing and attention to detail.  When I say detail, I mean like he picks up that I'm disappointed or that Homer needs to go outside.  These pictures below are only 3 months apart.  The one on the left is great, but there was so much going on.  The one on the right he explained about the blueberry bush, apple tree, the sun and grass....it was like a story unfolding.  

He has gone from 2-4 meltdowns a day to 2 or 3 a week and we are hoping that with this last increase he may decrease even more.  

This is only temporary, we are busy teaching him how to deal with what he is feeling.  We use a breathing technique, ice therapy, essential oils, meditation and of course a ton of sensory input.  It's a diet change, it's routine, it's prayer, it all takes a tribe.  But, God has given him to me and I know with all my heart He has also given me the strength and wisdom to give Kaden what he needs to become the man God intends him to be one day.

Meet the Chapter Books for Summer Reading

This boy of mine can be found all over the house with his nose in a book.  He reads all kinds of books and he has been spoiled lately with all the books from Penguin lately. 
Right now we are celebrating Chapter Books for Summer and these three titles bellow are super snazzy for both boys and girls.  Check them out...I tried to get a favorite out of Kaden and he just couldn't.  Which is odd, he always has a favorite, but he said he liked all three for different reasons.  So, I asked would other kiddos enjoy reading them, he said Absolutely!


Zodiac Series Rereadathon & Giveaway

Have you heard of this Series before, the Zodiac books by Romina Russell?  I had not before I was invited to join this awesome Rereadathon.  Today I am going to share quickly the first book in the Series and a few crafty projects I have in mind to do while I jump in on this Astrological Adventure.  Grab some paint, a glue gun and a tall coffee and follow along with me.


Fascinating Education ~ REVIEW

Oh High School Science, how I remember the days of doodles on my notebook and secret explosions in the back on the room.  Yep, that was me....either daydreaming or blowing up stuff.  Which is why I need all the help I can get with teaching my Kiddos.  Recently I have been using Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education.  A few years ago I Reviewed their Fascinating Biology course with Kaden and Mahala.  I was thrilled to have access once again for a whole year to try their Fascinating Chemistry with Mahala.


Home School in the Woods ~ REVIEW

I have a New Review for you today!!!  This one I'm super excited to share, not just because I LOVE everything I ever use from Home School in the Woods, but because I get to also reminisce about our huge RV trip we took last summer.  Because this time I get to Review their Make-A-State Activity that's apart of their Activity-Paks Series.  I know, I'm super lucky and I'm grateful to be able to share it with all of you.


Bible Journaling with Me

So the other day I was flipping through my Bible Journals and I was so inspired by what I wrote.  It was fun to look back over past lessons and scriptures.  Reading what I felt or how the verse spoke to me was heart touching.  I thought...why not share them with Mahala since I always write in cursive when I journal and she is learning cursive right now.  So, by her reading through my journals not only will it help her with cursive, but also spark conversation between us.  I love when we can provoke each other to dig deeper into the word. 
So, each week several times when Kaden is busy we will pull out a journal and our Bibles and read a day's entry along with the scriptures I've referenced.  She loves it and has asked if they can one day be passed down to her.  Sooooo sweet and I LOVE the idea!!!
I was also thinking of sharing on here too.....yay!  Coming soon....Bible Journaling with Sheila!!!


Escaping the Heat in California

Back in the RV for 9 glorious days to enjoy some color weather in the San Benito area.  Reading, relaxing and sketching my way back to sanity....or some form of it.  HAHAHAHA

Having the RV has made camping so much easier with Kaden.  Being able to pull in and have a familiar set up at night is the #1 most awesome part of RVing with a child on the Spectrum.  He will literally put himself to bed when he gets tired if we are still setting up camp or out by the fire.  He has everything he needs...5 pillows, weighted blanket, regular blanket, his oils and light.  He's set and can make himself super comfortable and it's all predictable.  Before, in the tent that was not the case.  Even though we tried our best I would say more then half the nights we slept in the van so nobody else would be waken by his screaming.  Why did we continue to camp then?  Because the next day it was a new happy day and he was ready to go like nothing ever happened.

The weather was so nice we brought blankets out to snuggle during the day.  I have to say I spent many afternoons looking at this furry face while enjoying the gentle breeze.  

After days of swimming, playing board games and Poker with his Sister and Dad Kaden passed out at the table as we drove home.  That's a good trip....now we are planning the next one already.  The BEACH!!!!  Oregon Coast here we come!