Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Another use for Kid Art

My boys LOVE creating things and I mean LOVE. It's something I encourage and support.

They really like finger paint. We have many sheets covered in either one color or a few mixed together. I take pictures of all, save many but am still left with lots more. So, when it came time to wrap gifts this year, I reached for a big pile of it. Makes for lovely wrapping paper.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Holiday Printables

Christmas hype, you either love it or hate it. I love it. I think I mentioned in one of my Halloween related posts that I get all into it. I can't get enough of it.

Pre-kids, I actually did much more in the way of decorating (not little kid safe), parties (adult themed), baking, games and more. While I still do a crap load, the focus has changed. My Christmas village was regifted (takes up tons of place and lots of tiny breakable parts). I managed my office party this year, even had a hotel room alone but didn't really get to sleep in because we had already booked breakfast with Santa the next morning.

So I take my easy extras where I can get them. This year I was lucky enough to review the Holiday Printables from Python You might remember these guys from my Halloween Review. I hope you had a chance to try some of theirs out then. The Christmas ones are just as fabulous.

We've managed to use a few of these already and I expect to use many more in this amazing set before the end of the season. The Christmas pack, as the Halloween has printables for all ages and occasions. There are even office games like the Giant Office Race Game (imagine your coworkers on a game board). There are some I've heard of like the left-right game with presents and others that are totally new to me like the great gift grab.

And triva! There is trivia for Christmas Movies (I found some movies here I haven't seen), Trivia for about Reindeer.  And our favorite easy kid trivia (What should children not do when Santa Claus is coming to town?). There is even snow trivia, Santa trivia, Christmas books trivia, basically if it's Christmas related, they have a trivia game for it.

I love that they even included a letter from Santa. This is meant to be left beside the cookie plate for the next morning.

First Christmas together? Even that is covered with 2 Newlywed Games for Christmas (okay, so maybe I wont be using those ones this year, but maybe someday).

I think the one I'm most looking forward to is the Christmas Cleanup game. Yeah, that one will work!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Stars of Tomorrow

I thought with all the horror in today's news, people might like a little pick me up. 

They were already dressed the part, so I brought up the Village People on my computer and the minute they started watching the video of YMCA they had to try it themselves.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It makes a difference to this one

Some of you have probably seen the big glaring request to save someone called Serenity and had no idea what it was about. Well, now is your chance to learn. Serenity is a little girl who just turned 4. She should be running and playing and looking forward to a visit from Ho-Ho soon. But instead, she is in a baby house in Eastern Europe, wasting away. She doesn't know she is waiting for a forever family; she doesn't even know what a family is.

Serenity was born with Down Syndrome. That's it, an extra chromosome that in her country marks her as useless, unable to learn, a waste. I don't know what was going on in her parent's mind. Perhaps they loved her, no matter what and wanted to raise her, but were met with the obstacles of family disownment, no money for special care (and trust me the govt wont step up). They would know that she would not be permitted to go to school, could be turned away from even the basic care. Maybe, just maybe, knowing this, they hoped someone else would adopt her. Or maybe her parents bought into the hype that the extra chromosome meant she wasn't worth loving. Whatever the reason, she was left at the baby house.

The baby houses are where abandoned babies, all babies, regardless of their developmental expectations are placed. The baby houses vary, from country to country, region to region and even city to city. In some, the children with challenges are treated the same as those with an average chromosome count. They are played with, taught to walk and talk. In some they are shunned, placed in back rooms only the minimum support required by law. In all, there is not enough funding, not enough resources to give any of the kids what they need to grow and develop. Some of these special needs kids are never taken from their cribs, ever. They are fed formula or broth through a bottle, even at age 4 or 5 because it's too much effort for the one 'nanny' to take 10 out of cribs for feeding by herself.

 It sounds sad. It is. But the baby houses, even the bad ones are the good places. Between 5 and 6, they age out. For developmentally average kids, aging out means an orphanage. Not a great place. But they will be fed and cared for. They will go to school and be taught a trade. They will eventually leave. For the kids with Down Syndrome or CP or other things affecting development (physical or mental) aging out means mental institutions. Mental institutions with adults with problems. Mental institutions where they may be tied to their beds to keep them from hurting themselves. Mental institutions that they will leave only when they die.

A few years ago, I stumbled onto Reeces Rainbow. I wrote about it then Counting my Blessings  I am happy to say, the three kids I wrote about then have all found families and doing great. I read the blogs of their adoptive families, and while there are struggles, the results are astounding.

Last year, I donated to 3 orphans. I have their ornaments. Sadly, all three of those are still waiting for families.

This year, I wanted to do more than just donate a few bucks. I wanted to advocate to help one of these kids find a family. So I applied to be a Christmas Warrior, someone who would along with trying to raise funds for one child, would get the word out there about all these kids. Maybe someone reading this, a friend of a friend of a friend, would realize that a child they see is one that has been waiting to join their family.

I was allowed to be Serenity's warrior. She is just a bit older than my boys. She's never been held. She's never been tickled. She's never been loved. If she had been born in North America, she would be in a loving home, with a family. Here, there are waiting lists of people looking to adopt babies with Down Syndrome. But she wasn't born here so to be adopted, she needs a family to travel across the world to get her. It's an expensive process, running between 25,000 and 35,000. Families do all they can to raise money. Reeces Rainbow helps by helping raise money too.

Reeces Rainbow is a registered USA charity. Donations are tax deductible. If you donate 35 (or more) to a single child, you will get an amazing ornament sent to you as a reminder that you are making a difference.

The goal is to raise 1000 from the Angel Tree for Serenity before Jan 1. If you can, please help.

Along with donations, I'm part of a Facebook auction. There are many items, going to support many kids in the Angel Tree including the ones I've listed to help move Serenity towards her goal. The opening bids are low and many items have no bids on them. If you want to find the ones specific to Serenity, you can ask, or you can check each out (orphan will be named in the description). Angel Tree Auction just go to the album and click on it.

The Angel Tree works. Since coming up a few weeks ago, 10 kids have already found families willing to adopt them. Those families are early in the process, but this will be their last Christmas without a family.

Here is what it means to be a kid in Canada. Want to help fund a family to make this possible for Serenity?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We're being stalked

He's watching our every move. He's reporting back to the big boss. He's starting to create both a sense of calm and a sense of excitement at the same time.