Feb 142018

Whether it is you and your Super Hero celebrating this day together, or if you are showing your appreciation for others, I hope your days holds lots of sweetness.

If it doesn’t, here is a great recipe – rated two thumbs up by in-house experts, Jack and George:

  • Heat up a cup of milk.
  • Add a packet of hot cocoa mix of choice.
  • Top with whipped topping.
  • Garnish with left over sprinkles or bits of chocolate from your pantry.

If you happen to dilly-dally a bit too long, arguing that you do not want to finish your supper because you are “too full”, then see what your brother is getting and decide to get a move-on…well, you might just miss out on the whipped topping.  In such a case, adding extra bit of chocolate to your hot cocoa and sprinkles on top will work as well.  FYI: the chocolate of the xoxo variety tends to not melt unless stirred; it also sinks. This can mean another yummy surprise at the end, just when you thought your were done.

Personally, I like to think I am more of a smooth dark chocolate with a hint of almond flavor.  How about you?


On a more serious note, in case no one has had the opportunity yet to tell you, let me just say:

You are appreciated, loved, a friend, and a welcome addition to my life.  You have a purpose, and are a blessing to those around you.

If you are not feeling this way, I encourage you to look for someone to help today, someone to smile at, someone to spend some time having a conversation with.  If you are not sure where to start, might I suggest the cashier at the local grocery store or someone at the nursing home.  Simple actions can mean a lot in the lives of someone else.

If you are in a lonelier place please give these people a call.  They are there to help, not judge.  There is animosity in these calls, yet they connect you with others who truly care about you.  Unsure of what to ask or talk about, here are a few questions to get you started.  It may feel strange to take that first step, to ask for help, but it is a good path to start back traveling. You are worth it!


Feb 162016

Rockome Gardens heart arrow

This post was originally set to be shared last week, before Valentine’s Day. However, a cold going through the house, a half day of school for George, my husband needing the computer for a school paper, and other things rose up to delay it being written.  Even if it is too late for Valentine’s Day this year, I hope you can take some inspiration away either for next year or for a future get together you are planning.  Sometimes, keeping things simple and schedule free works really well.

Last week I stepped outside of my comfort zone and invited some other kids over for a Valentine’s Day Party.  The goal was to make Jack feel less left out, and more like he can still have a life even if he is schooled at home.

One of the challenges of schooling only one kid at home is the lack of instant people to populate a ‘party’.  If there were 2 or 3 or 7 kids being taught here at home then it would be easy to have fun all on our own.  Having your mom and you at a part does not rank high on the coolness level when you are 6.  That becomes more like a fun activity than a party.

One of the challenges of home schooling one kid while sending the other to public school is the feelings of missing out when your public school sibling comes home with all these treats from the latest holiday party.  And you are not allowed to have any, which only makes it worse.

So, out of my comfort zone I stepped.  Messages were sent, invites given, and we awaited word.  To be honest, I only spoke to 3 families, with 5 kids between us.  Next time I am going to try reaching out to more.

The morning of the party, I had not heard back from anyone.  “Will anyone even come?” my inner voiced asked, always in doubt as to whether anyone will say “yes”.

I prepped Jack for the possibility that no one may come, as I had not heard a peep from any of the families.

It got to be party time and no one came.  I said, “Give it a few minutes, maybe they are running late.”

10 minutes later I get a text from Family #3, “We are running late.  Our keys are lost.”  Yes!  “Hey, Jack ….”

I let out a sigh of relief.  I would not have to resort to Plan B, which would have been more work for me the next day (7 kids and only me to supervise) and involve several families I know who send their kids to public school. (It was to be a half day for George, so I knew the mom’s would not object to someone offering to watch their kids for a few hours for free.)

I set the house up with 3 different stations, Montessori style.  The activities were there if the kids wanted to do them, but they did not have to do any of them.  They could also do as much of one station as they wanted to, if their hearts desired.  It was to be a completely child led morning.  I would make lunch, but the rest was up to them.

Station #1 was a Craft Activity.  A table was set up in the middle of our dinning room with crazy scissors, construction papers, coloring pages, glue, markers, and crayons.  They could color pictures, make bookmarks, make cards for people, or whatever else they could think of.

This activity was left up for a few days as Jack and George were really getting into it.  In the end it was only taken down because my husband needed the table back.

Valentines craft children

Station #2 was making Lollipop Flowers. Thanks to Katie at Ruffles & Truffles, I had a tutorial to follow.  While doing this in order to take pictures to show you, I placed and rolled the sucker in step #4 from the right side, or end, of the crepe paper.  Every other time I did it, I rolled from the other end, which I found easier.  Maybe the difference was all in my head, but I did want to mention it in case you were wondering.

This was also what I did for George to take to school for his class valentines.  For him I was unable to find a bag us suckers like the ones below and used the small version of Tootsie Roll Pops instead.  I did not like the look of them as well, since their wrapping sticks up off the sucker some.  Live and learn.  The kids did not care as candy is candy, that was all they was their only concern.

Lollipop flowers valentines collage

Station #3 was Decorating Cupcakes at a table in the kitchen.  I picked up an assortment of decorating items.  The amazing part was it taking me 4 different stores to find sprinkles and other decorative additions.  I was thoroughly shocked that it was so hard to find.  It got to be to the point where I was thinking of other crafts we could do.

These turned out to be a hit.  So much so that the pictures below are actually of ones Jack and George made after the party; the others were eaten immediately after they were made.

valentines cupcake decorating children collage

In the end the day was a success.  I liked the set up as it took little work for me once things began.  Next time, I think I will head to a local park and invite a somewhat different set of families.


Feb 032016

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At the beginning of the year, I made it a point to start celebrating the various holidays throughout the year.  I had Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving pretty well down.  For activities related all the other holidays, though, I rarely did much, often forgetting about them until a day or two before.

Let me give you an example using the next holiday that will be coming up soon.  Valentines Day is a holiday my husband and I often forget about.  For example, the first year we were married we were doing our taxes when we realized the date, February 14.  Yup, we were spending our first Valentines Day as a married couple doing our taxes.  Romantic, eh?

With it already being into the month of February and Valentine’s Day once again approaching, I need to get on the ball and actually implement the thoughts I have going through my head in regards to activities with the kids.  In years past, I have had them make cards for school, or color hearts and attach them to pencils.  That was as far as I went.  And for the record, making home made cards with your Kindergartner for their class of 20-something kids may sound like a great skill building activity, but it is over rated.  The only skill you end up working on is your patience.

One of my favorite things about Valentines Day are those little heart candies.  They hold no nutritional value, they are a bit corny, but there is something about them I have a hard time refusing.  This year, one of my planned activities is to buy a bag of them and give one to each kid every day.  It will not be anything big, but will make a great quick moment to stop and remember to say, “I love you” every day.

Not only will I be able to find these wonderful little hearts at the store, but Swagbucks has also cooked up a batch that is sure to make you feel great.  They call them SwagHearts!

Collect all 5 candy heart-themed Collector Bills and you will earn a 20 SB bonus!

For those of you who are wondering what Collector Bills are, let me explain.

How Do I Get Collector Bills?

It is simple.  Search the web through the Swagbucks Search Engine through Friday, February 12th at 11:59 pm PT/Saturday, February 13th 2:59 am ET, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector Bill valued at either:

  • 8 SB
  • 14 SB
  • 25 SB
  • 32 SB
  • 39 SB


What happen when I get a Collector Bill?

When you win a limited edition Collector Bill you will receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bill” ledger.  Collect all 5 bills an you will instantly earn a 20 SB bonus!

Is it possible to collect the same Collector Bills multiple times?

Yes, you could collect any of the Collector Bills multiple times by February 12th, and you receive the value of the bill each time.  After all, who does not love candy!

Pro-tip: Default your search engine on your browser to Swagbucks to get collectors Bills and SB every time you google “What time is the Super Bowl?” without even thinking about it.

Happy Searching!