Category Archives: Journey

Just Be Kind

I wanted to take a moment and share something that happened last week…

But first, I want to start by saying that I know how lucky I am.

My boys are Autistic. Chances are you know someone who is Autistic. The current rate of Autism is 1 in 44. Think about that. 1 in 44. I heard last week that, due to teacher shortages, our local elementary schools will have 40 kids to a classroom. That means, statistically, there will be one child with Autism in every classroom. I was reading an estimate that by 2025 the rate will be 1 in 2. That is still sinking in.

Why am I lucky? Chances are when you think about what you know about Autism, whether that be from stereotype or personal experience, what you picture isn’t pleasant. You might picture stimming or objects being lined up. You might picture kids who can’t speak. You might picture a child having a meltdown. You might go a different direction altogether and picture a brilliantly artistic child, the math genius or musical savant. But, let’s be honest, most people don’t picture the pleasant side of Autism. They picture what they’ve seen, the public meltdowns. This is where I consider myself lucky, if that is even the right term. My boys don’t tend to have public meltdowns.

Don’t get me wrong, they have their meltdowns. Boy, do they! They just tend to hold it together long enough to have them at home, geared toward us. In a place where they feel safe and are with their people. I consider this lucky because I typically don’t have to deal with the world watching our absolute worst moments.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it. Those who see Monkey get mad and take a swing at mom, they don’t see a child with Autism. They see a little boy not getting his way and behaving badly. People see Mr. Man stimming, something he seems to be doing more and more as he gets older, and they don’t understand what he’s doing. It looks strange, if you aren’t use to it. I get it.

To put it simply, most people don’t know how to respond or interact. I get that. Funny thing is, that not knowing how to respond or interact is EXACTLY what my boys struggle with in every single situation. Most people will try not to make eye contact or avoid us. I get it, it’s fine. I honestly prefer those who ignore us to those with the made-up PHDs that try to bestow us with their genius advice.

He just needs a hug (Um….sure if I want to get punched in the face.)

Really, he needs consistent discipline (Oh, they have PLENTY of that. Consistency is our life!)

He really needs less screen time (I am sure he does, but sometimes I just need to get something accomplished without a fist going through a wall. I guarantee he has less screen time than you think).

All this to say, we all know Autism can be hard, we’ve gotten use to the stares, we’ve heard the mean and unnecessary comments.

But back to last week…

We were at church. There has been a change to the teachers in the boys’ class. A necessary change, an understandable change, but all change is hard. Monkey was struggling with the change and seeking comfort. In that situation comfort was his brother. Mr. Man didn’t want anything to do with his little brother in that situation and they began to fight. We have been working really hard to get Monkey to understand that if he is getting frustrated with a situation, he can walk away. We clearly need to go back and clarify that because he walked out of class and came to find me. He crossed in front of a woman sitting near us to get to me. Later, after calming him down, I took him back to class. About 10 minutes later, I see one of the teachers walk in. Knowing she was there for me, I get up to leave and catch the woman’s eye as I walk past. Monkey is clearly not able to stay in class and we walk the campus for awhile, stomping on ants (great for anger) and chasing birds.

Eventually, we end up sitting back in service. Headphones in place, I thought we’d be fine… it’s always fine. Until it wasn’t. Monkey decided he wanted my phone. He’s been using it to type to me when he is too upset to talk. I got a lot of angry emoji’s and a few bad words. Then, he decided he was going to play a game. Not wanting to set the precedent of leaving class to play on my phone, I quietly told him no and took my phone. Wrong choice. You see, telling Monkey no isn’t allowed.

I spent the rest of the service keeping him quiet as he either flailed on the floor (a moment in which I wondered to myself at exactly what point in life I had given up on the idea that the floor is dirty) or repeatedly bit my arms. Again, eye contact with the woman nearby. This time, I was the one to quickly look away as I attempted to hold back my own frustration and tears. Church ended and we exited, post haste. I handed Monkey over to my husband so that I could use the restroom, knowing I wouldn’t get another chance until we were all safely home and calm.

As I left the restroom, something happened that I haven’t had happen in ten years of being an Autism parent. The woman who I know was watching the whole episode walked up to me and gave me a big hug. She said these words, which I will never forget, “I don’t understand. I don’t. But I see you, and you are doing great.” Full of frustration and covered in bite marks, I let the tears fall.

I have heard the rude comments, the mean comments, the comments that come from people who can’t understand. But NEVER has someone told me, I don’t understand but I see you and you’re doing great.

Being an Autism parent is isolating. Most of the time we prefer NOT to be seen, because the world isn’t kind. But knowing, in our lowest moments, that we ARE seen and that somebody understands that we are trying our best, even if they don’t understand the situation. That is a priceless feeling.

For those who are uncomfortable with how to respond to us when our kids are having a hard time. Just see us, just now we really are doing so much more than you see, but above all… just be kind. It does so much more than any advice ever will. Just be kind.

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Another Season

Autism… again.

Here I leave yet another doctors office after hearing those same words, different child. 

I can honestly say I was simultaneously not at all surprised and still shocked. I mean, I couldn’t  live in our house for the last 4 years and not have seen that coming, but I didn’t think it would come so fast. Sure, I had spent months on the paperwork side trying to get things done. Trying to find a way to help Monkey with his anger before something major happened. But spoken into the world in such a passing and casual way…

I didn’t know what to think.

Sure, I saw the similarities. But they are also SO different. Night and day different. But then isn’t that how it always is? One is sensory avoidant and the other is sensory seeking. One struggles with academics and the other is scary quick. One struggles with anxiety and the other one is so ADHD that I am tired. (That actually came as a side note, ‘Oh, and we are definitely dealing with ADHD, too.’ 😒 You think?) I know the school Psychologist said it last year, but I don’t think I really believed him. I honestly didn’t expect the Psychiatrist to agree so easily.

I didn’t know how to feel.

I could circle back to the millions of questions, but I have already spent too much time there. 

It doesn’t change anything. He’s still the absolute funniest kid I know. He has the absolute best smile. He is the protector, the ‘Dragon Chaser’. The keeper of the time. 

He can also be the angriest kid I have ever met. That is why we started down this path. No child should be that angry. But how do we help him tame that anger?

No, nothing has changed. But perhaps now we can move forward. Have more laughter and smiles than screaming and tears. 

That is my hope for my our future. But, I am pretty sure we are going to need more coffee first.

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World Scrunch Map: A Timberdoodle review

Monkey and I have been working really hard on learning the difference between a continent, a country and a state. I thought I would take a moment to review one of the products we are using to learn this. The World Scrunch Map, from, is a fun little portable map that is designed to be used anywhere you explore. What is so unique about this map is that you don’t need to worry about little hands folding, creasing or otherwise destroying a beautifully made map. This map is made out of water and tear resistant material and is designed to be scrunched into its very own portable pouch, no need to fold! This beautifully designed political map measures 36 x 24 inches and is a great addition to any classroom.


Pros: There are so many! We really love this map. It’s durable, beautiful and easy to read. The boys love that it looks like an “adult” map and we love that we don’t have to worry about them destroying the “nice” maps. It scrunches so nicely into its cute little carry case, which hangs on a hook from our school cart. I also love how the map wraps around to show how one side connects to the other. This gives the children a better view and understanding of the bearing straight than a typical flat map.

Cons: I really don’t have many cons and even the few I have are minor. First, even though it says tear-proof, given to two boys who are fighting over it, the map can be stretched and distorted if pulled too much. (I’m talking extreme roughness here, not usual movement). So, while it’s tear-proof, it’s not indestructible. This is minor as I would expect most products to have a hard time standing up to our extreme boy behavior. For a typical child handling situation, it is plenty tough. Second, we own both the United States and World Scrunch Maps and I feel like the US Scrunch Map has more vibrant colors. I wish this one was a little more vibrant. Again, minor complaint.

Overall, we love this map. It’s beautiful, durable and stores great! At a price point of $9.99 it’s a great addition to our education! *Sadly, due to demand at the time of this post, this map is only available as part of the 2020 First-Grade Curriculum Kit and 2020 Nonreligious First-Grade Curriculum Kit (which are great kits, check them out!) Hopefully, this product will be available for individual purchase again, soon.

Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a discounted World Scrunch Map in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.

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Take Time To Smell the Coffee

I love coffee. I blame my parents….I’ve been drinking it since I was a kid. Terrible, I know, but I LOVE coffee. Partly because of the memories. I had my own special cup and got to sit with the big people. Coffee made me feel special. I LOVE the aroma. When I smell coffee, I feel my body relax. I am a chronic migraine sufferer. I also struggle with chronic fatigue. There have been many days when coffee has been my lifeline… more literally than I care to admit. I remember days when I would make coffee and one of the boys would ask, “Mama, your head hurt?” Such sweet concern. Days when I would be cranky and one of them would say, “Mama, do you need coffee?” I guess I passed the love to the boys. Most kids play with pretend food, my boys had a toy cash register and would play “Making coffee”. You can say I have prepared them for teenage employment.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with one of my college friends and share a cup of coffee. I haven’t had the opportunity to do this for FAR too long. I realized something that day. How many times have I not invited someone over because I’ve been embarrassed about the condition of my house? A LOT. My friend’s kitchen wasn’t clean and I didn’t care. I understood. In reality, we all do. As we talked, her two year old overturned all of the toys in the other room… ALL of them. Insert smile. I remember those days. She knew I understood and we enjoyed our morning.

How many of us can relate? ALL of us! But we still allow these things to keep ourselves separated from others. We don’t connect. How many times have we talked about the crazy loneliness of young motherhood? Yet, we usually do this to ourselves. If you’re one of those people who somehow always has a miraculously clean kitchen, awesome! Don’t judge the rest of us. We judge ourselves enough and we let that fear of judgement keep us from the simple joys of a cup of coffee with a friend, an understanding ear and a few minutes of normal adult conversation. If you are like me (I am just beginning to realize that many more people are than I thought) realize that your friend’s kitchen probably looks just like yours and she doesn’t care. Somewhere along the line authenticity got lost and we feel the need to pretend life is perfect. In case this comes as a shock to anyone, life isn’t perfect. It’s just the opposite and it’s usually messy.

If I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that we can’t let stupid things like a messy kitchen stop us from spending time with people. Because the chance may not come again. I don’t want to look back and realize I missed the opportunity for friendship because I was preoccupied with a messy house. We all need to do each other a favor, stop pretending and enjoy the coffee.


Filed under Decluttering, Journey

To Your Health

Another area I want to focus on this year is my health. I have had medical “stuff” much of my life. 2 years ago, I felt I was getting myself on the right track. Then, I ended up in the hospital having emergency surgery. My progress stalled. I lost momentum during my recovery.

There are 3 things I plan to focus on and make changes in this area. The first area is to drink more water. Why is this SO hard?!?! I just don’t get it. This should be the easiest thing in the world. So, why do I fail so miserably? Exercise is another thing I plan to focus on. I thought I could make a habit to walk a mile a day, but this has been proven more difficult than I first thought. However, I have been fairly successful at 2+ miles 4x a week, so I call that a positive change. The third way I am working to make changes is with diet. I have seen WAY too many people die of cancer in the past 10 years. I truly believe this is connected to our diet and the junk we put into our bodies, among other things. And yet, it is still so difficult to change these bad habits. I will say I have been doing better about breakfast. I have tried several brands of shakes over the years and haven’t enjoyed any of them. I have found success in making smoothies using YourSuper mixes. I did their 5 day detox before Christmas (I am so not a detox person) and lost 7 lbs. It all came right back over Christmas, but this was the first time in 8 years that I lost weight, so I know I can do it! I also noticed that I have more energy and less joint pain while using YourSuper. Success! Lunch is hit or miss depending on if I have a veggie bowl or leftovers, and we won’t discuss dinner as I have yet to figure out how to balance what I want to eat and what my family will eat. My aim is to eat mostly plants and minimal processed foods/sugar. These habits are hard! Small changes.

Successes I have seen so far in 2021…

*Instead of having a meltdown, Mr. Man and I walked through his anger and completed a 5K together.

*Mr. Man will ask for a smoothie everytime I make one. This is a great way to hide veggies and other good stuff!

*Both boys discovered they LOVE kiwi. This is after they told me they would never try it because “That’s SO gross!”

Our kids are watching us. What changes are you making for yourself and them?

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What Are We Teaching Our Children?

You are your child’s first teacher. Whether or not we homeschool, we do teach our children. Everyday. Our children watch everything we do and, even though it sounds cliche, actions speak louder than words. What do we silently teach our children through our actions? 

How many times have you been cleaning the house, only to have your children ask “who’s coming over?”

Or is that just me?

Are we teaching our children that we only need to clean when someone will see our homes? Are we teaching them that our clutter is okay for those we love most, but it’s not good enough for others? That we shouldn’t take pride in our own homes? 

Let’s take it a step further. Are we teaching our children that the judgement from others is something they should expect? That we should fear and cater to this judgement? My children are judged constantly. Let’s face it, we are all judged on a daily basis. Sadly, it’s part of life. But I don’t want my children to accept this judgement as an acceptable norm and change because of the it. Sometimes making a changes IS a good thing, as in the case with a messy house. However, I want my children to decide to make a change because they recognize that the change will benefit them, not as a reaction to the judgement of others.

What are you teaching your children? I’m pretty sure none of my questions made it into the weekly lesson plans, but many of us teach exactly this. Are the lessons we are teaching them the ones we want them to learn? How can we change our actions to teach lessons that will equip them with the tools to create a brighter future?

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Reclaiming My Home

Last time I wrote, I mentioned the three areas I planned to focus on this year. I didn’t give specific goals because I feel that any progress is better than where I began. I want to focus on progress, not just an end result. Focusing on the goal, or end result, leaves me feeling defeated when I fall short of that goal. All progress is worth celebrating and I didn’t want to undermine the progress I am able to make. In this post I want to focus on one of these three goals. Decluttering with purpose.

This is the area where I have seen the most progress over the past six weeks, which is very exciting. We’ve been working on decluttering our home for awhile now. When I say awhile, I mean like a couple of years. Ugh! It never ends! But I can finally say that it does gain momentum and there is a tipping point where you can feel the hope.

I am almost…gasp…40 years old and I just recently realized two things about myself.

  1. I am a collector.
  2. I am a minimalist at heart.

Wait….what?! Yep, that’s me…and no, it doesn’t work. But then I always say we don’t do “normal” or easy. Let me go back and explain. As a child, when I got one of something, I had to get the whole set. To be honest, I still struggle with this but am making progress. Even in the video games we play as a family, I find I prefer games where I have to collect items. One the other side of my personality, I have always enjoyed minimalistic surroundings. I just never understood what that meant. I love hotel rooms with their sparseness. I like tiny houses. Not because they are small, but because they force you to have very little. I remember once staying in a friend’s guest room while my parents were out of town. The room had a bed, nightstand and lamp. That was it. I remember how calm and peaceful the room felt. I never really understood until recently. I do better in environments with less STUFF.

So, I have been working hard to reclaim our home, my sanity and a sense of peace. It hasn’t been easy. I probably kept around 90% of my childhood things. Yep, it was that bad! But I am making progress. Step by step. One habit at a time. My local Buy Nothing Project group has been my best friend this month. Today, I gifted the last of the boys baby clothes. The last of the favorites kept “just in case”. I also gifted a ton of craft supplies. I don’t have the time or room to work on any of my million projects, I am spread in far too many directions. By deciding which hobby was most important, I am able to free up time and space to actually enjoy that hobby. I realized that I had to narrow my focus or accomplish nothing.

Our house is old. It has issues that need attention. This year we finally got to painting the exterior, we replaced the AC unit and had to dig through 2 feet of concrete to replace a broken sewer line. Besides realizing that I just wasn’t able to maintain our house with the amount of things in it. It also came to realization that it is very hard to accomplish any of the smaller fix-it projects when your house is cluttered. It takes too much effort to physically get to the project. We have one room of our house that still has painters tape and painting that remains unfinished because I was told, at 8 months pregnant, to get off the ladder and not paint. So there it sits, unfinished… 8 years later!

I was one of those people who didn’t want anyone over because it meant cleaning up, or clutter shuffling, and that was too overwhelming. My husband is a board gamer. He likes to have people over for game nights. In order for us to do this without overwhelming stress, I have to deal with the excess and get to a point where I can focus on maintenance. I enjoy hosting. I want our home to be the house where the boys want to hang out with their friends. Where my friends drop in for coffee. I don’t want the stress and panic of Oh, no! Someone’s coming over!

It has been six weeks since I have become intentional about decluttering and reclaiming my home. One habit I have gained… Do the dishes, every night. I know this sounds obvious… but I HATE dishes. Like, I would avoid them until I had no other choices. Partly because it took attention away from kids who either started fighting or destroying other areas of the house. However, once I decluttered down to 1 days worth of dishes, I HAVE to do them more often. Doing them daily means they don’t take as long AND they are easier because dried food is way harder to clean. Wow! I am a slow learner.

I can’t believe I am even sharing this before picture…. I am SO embarrassed!

It was THAT bad!

When I purge, I find I am not as overwhelmed or stressed. I can clean like a normal person and not feel like I have to move things and organize first. The more I minimize, the more I can breathe. I don’t feel as tense. I see progress and I see hope.

What has helped me get to this point? Believe me there is still much further to go, but I have gotten to a point of hope.

  • During the past year, I have found The Minimal Mom on Youtube and came to the realization that I am a minimalist at heart and don’t need to collect stuff. In fact, I am happier with less.
  • I have found A Slob Comes Clean podcast and listen to Dana when I clean and while I am out for my walks. Very motivating!
  • I am creating new habits, little by little. I do my dishes-!

Maybe for the rest of the world this seems obvious. I often wonder why it has taken so long to start figuring this out. I don’t know, but I am grateful I am, because I am finally beginning to feel at home in my home.


Filed under Decluttering, Journey

2021: An Update

As we head into a new year, it has come to my attention that i have fallen off the face of the Earth. No, I am still here, but I have been neglecting my writing and posting. Why? Excuses, excuses, excuses…. Yeah, there are a lot of reasons, but all are poor excuses. Mostly a mix of new endeavors to steal my time and focus. None of which panned out because I was trying to do things via avenues that were not me. Also, I was in a bad mood. I mean 2020….need I say more? I find it very difficult to write when I am in a bad mood.

For this post, I will just give a short update on everyone and talk about where I plan to take this blog this year. My word of the year is Simplicity. We have been working really hard to remember to focus on the simple things. I want to continue this throughout the year.

Mr. Man

Right before the school year started (and I mean RIGHT before) we decided that, as well as homeschooling had served us, there were ways in which I could just not provide what he needed. On top of this, the additional focus Mr. Man needed meant Monkey was not getting the attention he deserved or needed. I could no longer feel like I had to choose between the needs of my children. So, we enrolled Mr. Man in a local Autism school. Yes, in the middle of Covid, when everyone began to turn toward homeschooling, we enrolled him in school. We just can’t do “normal”.

With Covid and remote learning (another post entirely) the year has been anything but normal. However, Mr. Man is currently attending in person and is happy and showing amazing progress. We have never had a time when the mention of going to school didn’t send him into huge meltdowns. He is now brushing his teeth, getting dressed and putting on shoes BY HIMSELF, every morning. That speaks volumes.


Monkey is still a challenge. He’s very smart and very stubborn. He hasn’t wanted to do school with mom and we’ve been forced to try different approaches. At this point, Charlotte Mason and Montessori styles have been working the best. It’s been ROUGH to say the least. Mr. Man’s online school schedule threw Monkey’s routine out the window. Monkey has been begging to go to school and we actually looked into enrolling him at a nearby Montessori school for next year. Sadly, have decided against it. He is still struggling with his anger and emotional outbursts. The school didn’t sound too willing to help him with these struggles, even though they claim to work on the social/emotional development of the child, as well as the academic. They expected him to have already acquired these skills prior to enrollment. So, we will continue to school Monkey at home and focus on strengthening his skills and building habits that will help him accomplish his goals.

Mama Bean

I have been learning a lot about myself the past six months. How I function best and my limitations. It’s a slow process, but am seeing forward movement. For now, I remind myself to focus on the simple things in life. Playing basketball with the boys, watching the ducks as we sit by the lake, and enjoying a cup of cocoa with Monkey in the early morning hours before anyone else wakes up.

In 2021, I plan to focus on 3 areas.

  • My health
  • My writing
  • My house (decluttering with purpose)

I hope you join me on this journey. Looking forward to a year of self-improvement and new adventures. What are you looking forward to this year?






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What I’ve Learned in Quarantine

It’s been a weird couple of weeks. It’s funny how life can change. So fast, and yet stand so still at the same time. I’ve had a lot of time to think the past two weeks. One minute you’re waiting for your husband to come home from work to start your weekend and the next you are in quarantine.

You see my husband came home from work thinking he was extra tired. He didn’t sound right and I made him take his temperature. He never gets sick. EVER. He had a fever and a cough soon followed. Given the nature of our world right now, I immediately sent him into our room and told the boys they could not go in. The mental games that occurred the next 48 hours were awful. You can’t NOT go there….not now. We told ourselves it was silly because any germs he had were likely all through the house anyway, but we couldn’t not be cautious. The boys both have histories of breathing difficulties.

I waited. Waited for it to get worse. I heard day 4-5 were bad. I focused on the boys and reminded myself to take it one night at a time. On the evening of day two, we got word that one of his co-workers had just tested positive for Covid-19. My heart stopped. The funny thing was, at this point he was feeling better. But now, we had this threat and it wasn’t faceless. Had he actually just caught a minor thing, but now we have to worry about a bigger bad knocking at our door in the next week? So, we had him tested. At this point, his fever had gone and he really did seem fine, except for the lingering cough. We actually started thinking there was no way he was positive, he was barely sick. But he stayed isolated as a precaution. Day 6, test results came in and confirmed he was also positive.

At this point, I had to laugh out loud because I knew how lucky we were. To say he had a mild case is putting it… well, mildly! But we knew the boys and I were not clear yet and we settled into our 14-day quarantine. We were lucky, we know that. Our battle was much more mental than physical. My husband was going more than a little stir crazy. Mr. Man, who has his own emotional and mental struggles on the best of days, was not understanding why we were keeping daddy locked in his room. He started to test me, big time! I became the enemy. I was screamed at, spit at and had things thrown at me, often. Just a typical day. Monkey, who is pretty independent by nature, became ridiculously clingy and whiny. I have seen him hug on his dad more in the past week, post-quarantine than I have seen him do his entire five years.


Monkey needed to play a game with daddy.

Quarantine life doesn’t look much different for us. I prefer to stay home and avoid going out when I can. But it felt different. It was so odd to know that you can’t just go to the grocery store when you forgot to order something. No one is going to stop in and help you if you need it or give you a break when the kid is having a REALLY unstable day.

I learned a few things this month. I learned that there are a lot of people in this world who are jerks. I have other words, but I’ve settled for that one. People who are quick to treat you as though you have a scarlet letter, but also sit there and tell you you are stupid because the hell you are going through in your mind isn’t real.

I learned that we have some amazing friends. Truly. Friends who will keep you fed, not because you are too ill to cook for yourself, but because you are exhausted from sleeping on your crappy couch and trying to suddenly handle everything as a “single” parent who can’t even hire a babysitter so you can have a coffee break when you need it.

We are lucky. We are blessed. I tell myself that every day. We tangled with this threat and are still here. We both still have our jobs. Life is pretty much the same. But maybe that’s the problem…

Because along the way, I also realized something else.

My life is busy. It’s full of Pokemon, Mario, Zombies, and Avengers. One of my kids has decided that he IS going to be King when he’s older. There’s wrestling, farting, and burping. It’s loud and it’s crazy. Most of the time, I am okay with that. Most of the time, I love it. I certainly wouldn’t change that. BUT.  But, I have also realized that even though I love being surrounded by my boys. There is no sparkle. There is no me. I realized today that I had a list of things I needed and wanted to do, but spent the entire day doing for others and never got to my stuff. Even if I had the time at the end of the day for the things I planned, I was far too exhausted. I realized that some of the things on my list have been waiting for me for over a year.

I know I’m not the only mom who feels that way. I know I’m not. We spend our days pouring ourselves into everyone else and all that is left is exhausted and defeated. We’d rather crawl into bed than attempt to do any of the things that would put a little bit of sparkle back into our day. So, I decided to do something for me….

I have recently been introduced to Color Street Nails. You may be familiar with it, you may not. But for me, my nails have always been an issue. They are brittle and break easily. I am rough on them and I refuse to spend a ridiculous amount of money to make them look good. I don’t really spend much on anything like that. However, my job is on camera and I cringe when I hold something up and notice my nails. It’s silly I know. But once in a while, I want to pamper myself. I NEVER get to do anything girlie and Color Street has given me a way to have a little sparkle in my overwhelmingly BOY life. I know I am not the only one who needs a little reminder that it’s okay to take some time to do YOUR thing. It’s okay to pamper yourself and it’s okay to have a little sparkle.

So for today….my family is fine. They are healthy, life is returning to normal and we pray it stays that way. For me, I have decided to do something for me. I have decided to re-open my old Etsy shop with some new reminders that its okay to pamper ourselves. We work hard, Mamas! I’ve also decided to become a Color Street Stylist. Maybe I can make a little to do something fun, maybe I just work toward getting a discount on my own sparkle. Either is good, because I enjoy it and it’s for ME. It’s okay and I refuse to feel selfish!

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Smart Cookies: A Timberdoodle Review

265-750-3_800x800Bored? Like puzzles? Love cookies? Look no further… I am always on the lookout for activities that my boys will like but also get them to think. Smart Cookies is a single-player puzzle game that helps children learn to follow step by step clues to solve puzzles and build deductive reasoning and logic skills. The game contains 9 quality made cookies in 3 colors and 3 patterns. The players use a clue book to follow the clues and figure out where all the cookies are placed on a 3 by 3 grid. The suggested age for Smart Cookies is 6+ and is part of Timberdoodle’s First Grade Curriculum Kit.

I must admit, the first time we tried this game I thought I knew what I was doing and didn’t read the directions. Wrong! I thought the game was a Sudoku style game in which no row or column could share a similar attribute with another cookie. This is how I originally taught the boys to play and I was pleasantly surprised by how well they did. Mr. Man struggled some with his attention to the attributes, but after several attempts, he really started to get it. Monkey had no issues and was placing cookies at speeds that (pleasantly) concerned me… I definitely need to get him some Sudoku puzzles!


THEN, I realized we were playing the game incorrectly… oops! I thought each clue was an individual puzzle. However, the book gives step by step clues that you must follow to solve the entire puzzle. As long as you do not violate one of the clues, colors and shapes may share the same rows and columns, unlike Sudoku. This need to follow the clues step by step was great practice for Mr. Man, who often reminds me of a ping pong ball. However, it was very difficult and tiring for him. Monkey was still able to solve the puzzles easily, but they didn’t hold his attention as long as our first attempt. The puzzles get harder as the children move further along in the book and new rules/clues are added.

Everyone really enjoyed Smart Cookies and it definitely exercised their minds and made them think. Anything that I can find that helps Mr. Man reign in some of his impulsivity and force him to follow step by step direction is a win as far as this Mama is concerned. These are the skills we need to work on daily in our home and Smart Cookies is definitely a fun way to do that. It is also a great activity to help recognize attributes and build spatial awareness.


Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a discounted copy of Smart Cookies in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.

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