Summer Activities List (Printable)

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We’ve started our summer holidays from school now so here’s my annual Summer Activities List, filled with free or low-cost activities for sunny and rainy days:

2015 Summer Activities

Each of the activities are ones that my daughter loves doing, and my son (who has Autism) will also do (not sure if he likes them all but the smiles are awesome!).

Like my Facebook Page and please share any photos of activities your family does throughout the summer. Would love to see great family-time this summer! I’ll also be including videos of us doing these activities too on my Youtube Channel too so be sure to subscribe there.

Something Lovely at #Starbucks…and it wasn’t just the #chai!

If you follow me at all, you know that I prefer Starbucks chai…but I also enjoy the environment/ambiance at Starbucks locations. Regularly, I start up conversations with others about nothing in particular, but it’s still nice. I wanted to share a lovely experience my best friend and I had on the weekend, where we saw someone….

The Kids’ #Christmas Gifts for their #Teachers and EAs

Every year, the kids and I bake a loaf for each of their teachers and Educational Assistants as the gift before Christmas break. My daughter saw me looking through Pinterest one evening and saw cute decorated jars. When she asked what they were, I told her that they were hot chocolate mixes that people give out as gifts. She immediately asked if we could make them for the teachers and EAs for Christmas…and still bake something.

So, this year, we made individualized hot chocolate containers:

And still made pumpkin loaf too!

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Merry Christmas and thank you to my kids’ teachers and EAs!!

My Daughter’s #SecretSanta Gift

My daughter is part of a club at school called “The Junior V Club”…strangely, she doesn’t know what the “V” stands for, and she keeps forgetting to ask the teacher who runs the group. Basically, the group gets together as a safe place for the girls to talk and express their feelings. At the beginning of the school year, they decided to choose two “raise awareness projects” for the year. My daughter’s suggestions were Autism and anti-bullying. Mama Pride! My son’s Autism-specific class is at this school too, so the school population itself is quite aware of special needs.

My daughter told me on the weekend that the Junior V Club was doing a Secret Santa gift exchange, with the following guidelines: $5 limit and the gift needed to be made by the giver. So, my daughter asked if we could go to the dollar store to get craft supplies to make a gift. She found a coin bank in the shape of a house that she wanted to paint and decorate.

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Of course she wore her Santa hat to paint and decorate…

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She was so proud to take her gift to school yesterday, especially since she didn’t know the fellow club member very well. Apparently the new friend loved it.

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My daughter received two handpainted decorations for the tree. So cute!

Activities-Based #AdventCalendar (#Autism)

Last year, I switched to an activities-based Advent Calendar. In 2012, I realized how silly the chocolate-filled, store-bought Advent calendar was for three reasons:

  1. the chocolate is cheap and tastes awful
  2. my kids are at their dad’s every other weekend so that means I just throw out the chocolate from those days (why can’t Lindor make an advent calendar?!!)
  3. (and more importantly) my son doesn’t eat chocolate so he didn’t participate

This meant that every morning, my daughter would eat a yucky piece of chocolate while my son ignored the whole lead up to Christmas.

When the opportunity to make an Advent Calendar came up last year through a local mom’s group, I jumped at the chance. We all know that I’m not a crafty person so, when the mom leading the workshop put the canvas and all the materials down in front of me and told me to “just start”, I looked at her with a blank expression and asked her “how?”. Thankfully, because I’ve known her for years, I wasn’t offended when she looked at me as if I had three heads. 😉

After getting over my initial fear, and her showing me how to do some things, I jumped in. Three hours later, our new Advent Calendar was created and ready for use!

Advent Calendar

My daughter was hesitant last year, because she thought she would miss the chocolate but, a few days into the Advent Calendar, she was hooked. This year, she kept telling me how excited she was about the Advent Calendar this year. She even squealed with glee on the weekend about it starting today…and then she didn’t even notice it when she got up this morning. She asked me about it so I looked above her head, then she jumped up and squealed again. Tonight’s activity is to make a snowflake craft. I’ll post pictures on social media throughout the month of the activities we’ll be doing.

Also, people have asked for it so, here’s an “Autism-approved” list of activities that my family can manage for the Advent Calendar:

2014 Activities-Based Advent Calendar

Like me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to follow our Advent Calendar activities this month!

ADDITION MADE ON DECEMBER 2, 2014:

And then I vlogged about our Advent Calendar…

New #Printables Page

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Have decided to add a new Printables Page to my blog, where I can share print-items I find useful for myself, the kids and/or our home. Would love to hear from you whether you find the printables useful and/or if there are items you would like to use. I’m hoping this will be a very interactive part of my blog.

 

First set of printables include Summertime activities:

  • in the community
  • inside fun
  • let’s get outside

 

Enjoy!

 

#AdventCalendar – Days 17 – 22

Our activities-based Advent Calendar this year seems to be a success. My daughter STILL hasn’t mentioned she misses the daily piece of chocolate – yay!

Dec 17 – we went to see Santa (again). One of the malls in town has TWO Santas set up. Weird, I know BUT one is in a storefront near the main food court. Costs about a billion dollars per child to have them take one picture per child. With my man being a professional photographer, we have issue with this. The other Santa is in a part of the mall that isn’t well used. To be honest, I have no idea how the stores there stay in business, but they all have been there for years! Very few people even know of this Santa so, in the 3 or 4 years we’ve been going, we have NEVER had a line up. Last year’s Santa there was a miserable one but this year’s was fantastic! It was his first time at this location, but had been at another mall for 17 years. His experience showed…he waited for my son to approach him, for him to answer questions and, when my son couldn’t answer, Santa switched to yes/no questions. His beard was fake but “child-proof”. We even took a picture…which I have already shared here but want to share again. A picture of Santa and I…with my son stimming in the background. Love it!

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Dec 18 – Lots of baking! The 19th was the last day of school before Christmas break so we had lots of baking to do for teachers and Educational Assistants. My daughter even asked me to bake for our neighbour’s EA too…”because she helps him so much”. Awww…

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Dec 19 – We FINALLY turned our fridge into a snowman! My daughter’s hesitation in doing this was because she was concerned about how to turn something that is rectangular into circles. When we started working on it, she declared it was like a snowman in Minecraft. 😉

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Dec 20 – Was a PA Day for my daughter but my son still had IBI. My daughter was invited to a cookie decorating party, and brought home this lovely box, filled with yummies!

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My son’s IBI had their Christmas party and this year, there were tons of activities! There was the usual singalong, but it was even better this year because each group at IBI had worked on “singing” a song. My son’s was Frosty the Snowman. He stood up with his therapist of the day and didn’t try running away…trying to jump out of the window without a screen behind him…well, that’s a different story. 😉 There was also a room set up with a “snowball fight” which he loved because he loves throwing things up to the ceiling. There was a cupcake-making room, which he had no interest in. He tried playing Christmas bingo. He liked the sensory room, where he got to sit in front of a decorated tree with his favourite movie (Monsters Inc) and just hang out.

B1513822_678609125512186_2028234477_nThere was also a cake. He doesn’t eat cake. My daughter would have loved it but she was busy at her own party. 🙂

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Dec 21 and 22 – the kids were at their dad’s. Of course, the first thing out of my daughter’s mouth was asking what was in the Advent Calendar for the weekend. I told her that it was “boring grownup stuff”. I didn’t tell her that I had two parties to attend Saturday night…but I did tell her that it was just for me to clean the house and prep to decorate, which we will be doing today. 🙂

 

Giving Back to the Community at #Christmastime

If you read my blog and/or my Facebook Page, you know that I’m a member of two local moms groups. Each year, one of the groups organizes a donation to the local Adopt A Family program. We put together gift baskets/bags for single moms, specifically for the moms themselves. I offered to be the main drop-off point this year as the wonderful mom who was the main drop-off point last year has returned to work after mat leave (it’s a year here in Canada!).

It was a bit chaotic in the days leading up to last night, collecting and storing all the donations from people. Basically, I posted on various groups I belong to on Facebook locally, and people were so generous in donating. The mom’s group founder and a girlfriend of mine came over, and the three of us plus my daughter put together 46 (!!!) gift baskets and bags, and also a box of toiletries to donate to the shelter run by the program.

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It was an exhausting 4 hours, but with wine, Christmas treats, music and girlfriends, we all had a great time. My daughter was even upset she had to go to bed (I let her stay up late to help). I promised her that we would leave one last basket for her to make all pretty in the morning. It was so cute when she declared “you girls still have lots of work to do” when she went off to bed.

My dining room floor (aka the prep area) is now covered in glitter and sparkles, I have lots of recycling to put out, etc, but I’m so thankful to be part of this program, and that my kids jumped right on board with me. 🙂