Raising Memories

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Chapter Books to Read to Your Kids (Westly: A Spider's Tale)

I had a goal to read to my girls this summer, as much as possible. I was on a hunt to find good chapter books that I could read to them, that would be interesting to both of them (ages 6 and 9). We found several that we really enjoyed (and are continuing to read now that school has started), so I thought I would share some of the books that we've really liked.

It has been a really nice experience to just relax together and read. The books we've been reading all seem to have lessons woven throughout them that apply to our lives. We've been able to discuss these by talking about the things that are happening to the characters and thinking about how we would react or whether we think they could have made a different choice for a better outcome. Reading together is also a good way to expand vocabulary as new words come up.

One of the first books that we read this summer is a new one called Westly: A Spider's Tale, written and illustrated by Bryan Beus and published by Shadow Mountain.  This story is about a caterpillar named Westly who is expected to become the next king of the butterfly kingdom. Just as in our lives, things do not always turn out the way we expect them to, and Westly's life takes a turn he never saw coming when he finds out he is actually a spider!

I love that this story teaches that sometimes we are meant to be someone or do something that we hadn't imagined for ourselves, and that sometimes those unexpected outcomes can be far better than what we had in mind originally.

Westly's story is a great example of how you can make a difference when you are determined to, and that things can turn out even better than you expected, right after they seem to be getting worse than you ever expected they could!

(A lesson for my kids, and a lesson for me!)

I will be sharing some of our other favourites in future posts but in the meantime, 
I would love for you to leave a comment telling me some 
favourite books you've loved reading with your kids!
(or that you intend to read to them when they're old enough) 

Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided for review purposes, but this is not a sponsored post and all opinions shared are, as always, my own.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

When It's Hard to See Past What You Can't Do

Yesterday morning on our way to the school bus stop, the girls and I passed a neighbour on the side walk. We said good morning to him and walked past him. I noticed that he was perhaps struggling with a garbage bag that he was carrying on his lap as he controlled the wheels of his wheelchair with his hands. I wasn't sure if he was having trouble or just moving slowly and I didn't want to offer help if he was fine. I waved goodbye to the girls as the bus drove away and then turned to head home.  This neighbour had not moved very far from where we passed him and was slowly wheeling his way up a hill. As I approached him, I smiled and asked if he would like some help with the bag he was carrying. He quickly accepted my help and thanked me as he put the breaks on his wheelchair and unhooked the bag from a climbing hook he had attached it to at his waist. I was able to carry the bag (which contained sticks & wasn't very heavy) to where he needed it to go. As I walked home after he thanked me, I thought of how happy it had made me feel to be able to help him. I thought of how frustrating it could have been for him to struggle to do this task. I think I can relate to those feelings as I've been struggling this week with my physical ability to do things.

A little over a week ago, my fingers started hurting again. It had been quite a while since I last had problems with them.  I would have a few days here & there when they would hurt a bit and I would hope that that wouldn't turn into a full-blown flare-up. Luckily I haven't had a lasting flare-up in a good while (I'm not sure how long it's been, but probably close to a year if not more).

This time however, I have a whole new symptom. My finger tips became tingly last Tuesday and it hurt to touch anything with them, even gently. This has continued and over this weekend, the tingling spread throughout my fingers. By the end of day yesterday, my fingers and hands hurt without touching anything, and touching things just made them hurt more.

I've been avoiding wearing jeans because it hurts to button them. If I wear shoes with laces, I ask Ken or Talia to tie them for me. I've been pressing buttons with my knuckle and typing with my fingernails, to avoid the pain that pressing causes for my fingertips. We laughed the other night when I had to resort to holding my toothbrush between my palms in order to brush my teeth without pain. It looked ridiculous and was funny, but at the same time it kind of made me want to cry!

I suspect this may have something to do with circulation because I have that slightly throb-y feeling from my armpits down my arms.. like my arm's about to "fall asleep" and get pins and needles (but it doesn't). Yesterday Katrina leaned against my arm (gently) and I had the sensation of having my arm in one of those blood pressure trackers you see sometimes at a pharmacy.

I've done my best not to over-use my hands and to hopefully let them heal from whatever is wrong. It is discouraging to feel sort of useless. Ken has to do a lot of things for me that I cannot do without pain. I just hang on to the hope that this will pass (just as painful periods have passed before).

This weekend, we listened to General Conference. Elder Bednar spoke about "why...it is wonderful to have older men of great spiritual maturity and judgement serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored Church of Jesus Christ..." Although the talk was about the leadership of the church (who are generally old men), I found some encouragement in a story he shared. He had been speaking with Elder Hales on a previous occasion (when Elder Hales had been recovering from an illness) and he asked him, "What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?". Elder Hales responded,
"When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most." 
This was a reminder to me to do the same during this time that I cannot do what I can usually do. I went to see my doctor yesterday and I'm hoping that although we haven't come to any conclusions in the past, we may be able to figure something out now that I have a new symptom. We've started on some tests.

Another thing that stood out to me while listening to Conference was when Elder Gary E. Stevenson (who was just called as an Apostle) spoke. He was talking about his feelings over the days since he received his calling and how inadequate he felt. He says,

"As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can't do, but rather what I can do."
As I go through this physical "trial" in my own life (whether it lasts long or is over quickly), my goal is to try to focus on what I "can do" and not on my inadequacies; and to try to do what matters most, since I cannot do all of the things I want to do or usually can do.  I know this will be much easier said than done, but I'm getting it down here so that I can look back on it, should I become discouraged.

I wasn't sure if I would write about this, here on the blog, but after my little experience yesterday morning, I felt I should. Perhaps my experience and these quotes that were encouraging to me, could be encouraging to someone else who reads this.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

October 2015 Sharing Time

Welcome to October's Link Party!

Link Party News

I will continue to run monthly link parties that you are welcome to add to weekly or whenever you think of it throughout the month. However, I will only be posting them once per month for a while. So, if you show up here on the weekend and Sharing Time is not the post at the top, that doesn't mean there's no link party!  
Just click on the "Visit This Month's Sharing Time Link Party" button near the top of the sidebar! ---->

Some Great October-y Posts to check out:

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll Video & Photo Tutorial!

The Ultimate List of FREE Thanksgiving Printables!

Cinnamon Roll Tutorial with Lots of Frosting!

Decorative Thanksgiving Blocks

Earlier this week, I shared this easy after school snack that we love!

Now, on to the October link party!  I love to see what fun things you've been up to!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cheesy Tortilla Chip After School Snack

My family is made up of cheese-monsters! We all love a good cheesy snack or meal.  Last month I shared a favourite after school snack from my childhood (these chocolate chip cookies) that could be made ahead and frozen. This month I want to share another after school snack from my childhood. This one is really quick and easy to prepare right before you eat it!

We made this snack with Ivanhoe's high quality aged cheddar cheese and it was delicious! 

Here's what you'll need:

- Tortilla Chips (or Crackers)
- Shredded Ivanhoe Old Cheese
- Sour Cream (we used the extra thick Gay Lea Gold Sour Cream)
- Salsa

And the preparation is ridiculously easy:

1. Shred the cheese (my kids love this job)

2. Sprinkle the cheese over the chips (or crackers).

3. Microwave the plate in 10-15 second intervals (this plate took about 30-35 seconds) until cheese is nice and melty

You can stop there if you or your kids are happy with them that way- and we usually are around here!  But if you want to add a little something extra...

4. Put some sour cream & salsa in little dishes for dipping and enjoy!

See?  So easy!!  And SOO delicious :)  I think it's a comfort food for me because I have memories of feeling like this was a special snack (read: not straight out of a box or bag ;) when I was a kid.

New Product!  Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese

Gay Lea is excited to be introducing their newest product, Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese.  If you love everything about cottage cheese (lots of protein, low calorie, etc.) except for the lumpy texture, you're going to be excited about this one!  You can get it in special flavours like Vanilla Bean and Salted Caramel too, so I'm excited to try it out!  The product will be available at most major grocery stores in Ontario except for No Frills and Walmart.

You can check out the Gay Lea Website for great recipes and more information on their products. They also send out monthly newsletters featuring great tips and coupons!

Do you have a certain snack that brings you back to your childhood? :)

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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