Friday Freebie: Fitness tracker

It's hard to stay in shape as a homeschool parent or work at home parent.  Hop on over for a free fitness tracker to help you chronicle all of your food, exercise, water intake, and supplements!

A new freebie to help you stay in shape:

Earlier this week I wrote a post suggesting several ways to try to stay in shape as a homeschooling and/or work at home mom.  It's rough to fit it all in for sure, but another thing that helps is adding in a fitness/food diary.

As Kristen Kirkpatrick mentions in this article, we can sometimes be fooling ourselves with how much we are eating. We are on the go and tend to forget what we ate and when.  Dessert time rolls around and we think, "I've been pretty good!"  We may actually be forgetting the extra calories we treated ourselves to at lunch.

Staying in shape for the homeschool mom

Tips and ideas for staying in shape at a homeschooling mom or work at home mom.

So what do you do with all your free time as a homeschool mom?

Ha!  I know, I am laughing at that too.😉  I had no idea how large a chuck of my time homeschooling would eat up.  I pictured playing a few videos for my kids and then cutting them loose to scribble away on their papers while I knocked out dishes.  Right....

I have fibromyalgia, which means I am in some major pain if I don't exercise regularly.  When the reality of homeschool hit hard, it was the first thing to go.  That couldn't last without me crumbling physically.  If you've homeschooled for any decent amount of time, I am sure you realize how hard it is to pour from an empty cup!

Finding my footing

I started to figure it out somewhat and fit a little bit of exercise here and there.  It wasn't easy, but I was getting in just enough time.  Soon I was a work from home on top of the homeschooling -- holy moly... What in the world is a mama to do?  I honestly needed to fit both things in, and on a tight budget!

10 signs you're an Autism mama...

You know you're a mom when (special needs edition)...

1) Legos are everywhere!

2) Screen time brings more joy than Santa.

3) People want to know why you use a stroller for "such an old kid" at Disneyland.

4) Every attempt at a family photo looks like this.

5) Sensory everything, all the time.

6) Sensory seeking = tons of messes to find and clean up.

7) Checking the behavior trackers sent home make you crazy nervous.

8)  Intense toothbrush fear ends up in multiple oral surgeries at a young age. 😖

8) Everything gets needs lined up.
8b) Everything.
9) Touching pumpkin goop is breaking news.

10) The sight of your children putting each other first melts your heart to the extreme!

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Friday Freebie: b&d Letter Reversals

Looking for free worksheets for b & d confusion?  Click on over for your download now!

New printables are ready for you to download!

I created a new set of printables for my son, who sometimes struggles with letter reversals.  Hopefully, these can help you too!  If you are already a newsletter subscriber, then you already have the password.  If you are new around here, subscribe in the form to the right to receive your password.

Keep your eyes peeled for more similar resources down the road, and please share this link (not your download) with anyone that you know would be blessed by this resource.

Looking for free worksheets for b & d confusion?  Click on over for your download now!
Grab your free worksheets over here!


Late Development: late doesn't necessarily mean never

“The path of development is a journey of discovery that is clear only in retrospect, and it’s rarely a straight line.” ― Eileen Kennedy-Moore

Should I just give up?

Sometimes developmental milestones may not ever be met, other times we simply need to hang in there long enough.  Once upon a time, I lived in a placed called denial for a few good months.  I always just chalked K's lack of speech up to being a late bloomer.  Too many thoughts in his head maybe.  Right.

The day I accepted my gut feeling was right all along was a hard day.  I called mom for reassurance, only to hear, "I think you are right."  My shower that day hid the gallons of tears I shed while wondering if I would ever hear the sound of his voice.  Despair overwhelmed me and my mind switched over to the constant expectation of "never."

It looks nothing like I had imagined...

My son found his voice, albeit late, and many hours of intervention later.  There are milestones that likely will never be met for us (or for others of you).  Hang in there!  Keep trying, and when you can't take it anymore, take a (well deserved!) break.  You may see no rhyme or reason in the how and why of now, but the "future you" may see beauty in the chaos that once was.

Maybe your child won't recover or learn some skills.  Maybe life will be different than you pictured...  I suppose optimism is my coping method of choice, but I find it has served me well!


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Taking a moment to appreciate progress in your homeschool

Do you keep a portfolio?

I am not required by my state to keep a portfolio, but I save our work anyway to compare progress from one year to the next.  I've always been a box checker, and I suppose having this side by side comparison helps me check a mental box

Here's the real pay off though... day by day we don't always see the progress our kids are making.  Red faces and tear stained cheeks make us forget how much child A has improved socially.  Relentlessly repeating, "If you just finish the page, then you can ________."  We get so busy trying to survive another day, we so easily are tossed into the old adage, "The days are long, but the years are short."  

Seeing progress throughout the year is a great way to stay motivated through the hard seasons sure to come.  I like to take pictures on my phone so they show up in my time hop.  They always show up exactly when I need them.  Two days into a refusal to write - and boom! - I've got digital gold to calm my nerves and remind me that this is a process.

My boys treasured gains 

My oldest clawed his way to massive improvements in social conversations and structured writing.  Little dude is now sounding out his words.  The sweetly miss-spelled words make my heart sing, as last year we met a chronic refusal to even try.

What has struck you most about your child(ren)'s progress this last year?


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Sight Words Freebie: 176-200

Free sight word worksheets for your 1st grader!

New Freebie

Short and sweet today- here is the last sight words set!  If you missed any of the other 3, you can grab them all in the same spot! 


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10 things to accomplish this summer

Have any goals or things to accomplish over the summer?  As a your round homeschooler, special needs mom, and work from home mother, here is my list!  I'd love to hear what's on yours!

Do you have any goals planned for the summer?

We homeschool year round, so there are plenty of things for us to be planning, but even if you don't, there are still fun goals to meet!  Writing down your goals means you will be 42% more likely to be successful in achieving them - yay!  I'd love to hear some of yours, and will share my top 10 countdown as well. 😁  

10) Go on a walk every morning

I started going on a walk every morning as a way to get in some extra steps, some sunlight, and prayer time.  Now that my husband is deployed, I am taking the boys with me, but it's still working out fairly well.  I'm hoping to continue that over the summer and not allow myself to become complacent!

Free and Inexpensive Father's Day crafts

Free and inexpensive Father's day crafts that are adorable.  You'll love them!

4 fun Father's Day crafts

Looking for something fun for Father's day that your kids can fully take ownership over?  I buy my husband's favorite on his wishlist, but the most important part is always the homemade something from each of the boys.

I did a little digging around to see what we could make and mail over to their dad, currently deployed.  I found a couple of cute options and a freebie as well.  I wanted to link them up here in case you haven't thought about it and wanted to save a little time.

So I really like this one for older or more advanced kids,  I especially love that it includes options for other male family members. This superhero themed printable is definitely my favorite! 😍  Check out a little preview through our own project below.

Free and inexpensive Father's day crafts that are adorable.  You'll love them!

If you are looking for a cute, free, option, you can check out this cute little toolkit!  It is really simple, but also adorable.  It's great for all ages, but especially the littles.  You may even want to combine this with one of the other options.

One other free option also includes Grandpas over here; it's a cute list of the top 5 reasons your child loves Dad or Grandpa.

And a fun little DIY wrapping

To "wrap up"😏, you can check out this tutorial for a cute wrapping idea.  Either you can use it to wrap your regular gifts, a baked treat, or to present any of the options above.  It's crazy cute!


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Creative Writing for your Non-Writer

Inspire your children to write by sharing comic publications from peers!

Neither of my boys are writers...

Getting them to write is basically like pulling teeth...  When my friend Jenny posted a link to her son's Minecraft story, I wondered if it might inspire my oldest son to do some writing.

He's always like writing out his own little comics, but getting him to pre-plan, type, or edit anything was always a non-starter.  Seeing a published story from a peer lit a fire under his but and excited him to no end.

He spent the whole next week working on this project (even after school work) and wants to share it with the world!  If you have a chance, or a writer it may inspire, please feel free to download it and leave feedback int he comments.  It'll make his day! 😉

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Friday Freebie: Sight Words 151-175

Set #3 is ready to go!

The next 25 sight words are all set to go, and you can grab them over here.   If you missed the first three sets, you can find them on the same page.  If you'd like to share with a friend, please send a link to this page, and not the actual freebie itself.  Thank you for your help on this!

I hope you enjoy this new freebie, and keep your eyes peeled for pack number 4!

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Tips for a successful playdate

Wondering how to help your child on a play date?  Is Autism getting in the way?  Poor social skills?  Check out these tips for a successful play date!

I'm worried a play date will end horribly for us...

So have you had that really horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad play date that just made you want to hole-up forever in the safety of you home?  I am willing to bet most, if not every, special needs parents have had at least one.  I definitely have, and it still takes all I can muster some days to put those experiences behind me. 

Tips for traveling with a child special needs

Traveling with special needs children this summer?  Check out my best tips and tricks here!

How can I travel easier with my autistic child?

I see this question all the time!  My kids are quite the little travelers at this point and should probably have their own child travel blog.  😂 They've made multiple trips from New Jersey to Houston and San Francisco by plane, moved back and forth between Hawai'i and California (now to Nevada), and countless road trips around the mainland.  I suppose that's one of the benefits to military life and having family all over.

Before you Leave

"Fail to plan, plan to fail."  I know it's annoying, but it's so true in this case.  I don't go overboard, because what special needs mom has that kind of time?  But seriously, if you forget the #1 must have, you know your day of travel is doomed.

Valley of Fire Staycation

Fun staycation or homeschool field trip in the las vagas area! Valley of Fire state park.

Looking for a fun stay-cation in the Las Vegas area?

Believe it or not, there is more to Las Vegas than casinos, 24 hour booze, and adult entertainment.  If you're wondering what family fun there is to be found, Valley of Fire State Park may be just the thing you are looking for.  The nightly rate (which includes parking) is currently $30.  This month we were looking for an impromptu mini vacation before my husband deployed, and this was perfect for us.  There are no reservations, so you don't have to plan too far ahead, making it really ideal for locals.

$130 spending spree + Erin Condren

Who wants a FREE Erin Condren life planner and a TPT giftcard?!  Hope on over to enter!  Make sure to send this pin to a friend who would love the chance to win!

I wish I could enter too...

...but my loss is your gain - one less person to compete with!😉  Several of my fellow TPT educator authors in the Special Education realm are teaming up for a giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive an Erin Condren Life Planner as well as a $130.00 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card!  This seriously rocks, and I am so happy to be a part of it.  The great news - if you already follow me on Instagram, you already have one entry to claim.  Just follow whoever you'd like from the Rafflecopter below and enter the required information!

The winner will be chosen at random in Tuesday May 9 at 6:30pm MST and will be announced shortly after!  Best of luck to you!

This giveaway is sponsored by:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Sight Word Printables 126-150

Free Sight Word Printables! Great for the k-2nd grade age range.

Here is the second set of sight words!

If you missed the first set of sight words, don't forget to download those while you're at the subscriber freebie section!  The next set of 25 is now available for download, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for number 3.  If you need help with your reluctant writer, you can browse my series on that here.

My Mother's Day recommendation on Epic!

Sometimes I like to go in the parent profile and assign a few books that are perfect seasonally, or that sync up with what we are studying.  I just found a great one I would recommend if you are already an Epic! subscriber.  Mother's Day and Other Family Holidays teaches about the origins of Mother's Day, but it also takes care to mention up front that all families look different.

Do you have a subscription to Epic!?

I've written before about Epic! as a great addition to your homeschool as well as for reluctant readers.  We use it mostly for our free reading time, as we do the 20 minutes a day thing in our home on top of school work.  We do have weekly trips to the library as well, but they get bored after a few reads through their books.  Allowing them to read on Epic! also fulfills their cravings for iPad time when they've reached their daily limit.

Completely Incomplete

Incomplete before Autism: I am so grateful for a God who allows the pain of this world to be used for good.  I am grateful that He has used Autism to allow me to see how incomplete I am on my own; starting me on the forever journey of finding my completeness in Him.

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I never knew what I was missing

Thinking back to life before Autism, there are definitely some things that I miss.  Before having my son, I was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force.  There was always the potential for travel, excitement, and adventure...  I had a decent income, which meant I could do all kinds of fun stuff.  I received several awards and acknowledgement for my achievements, which I loved.😊  I also didn't realize how much I was depending on my own strength or how much I was letting my head swell.  I began to sense it and prayerfully decided to separate from the military when I had my son.

Autism is shaping me for the better

I don't mean to make light of the serious challenges Autism can present.  I've written before about not wanting the painful aspects for my son, but appreciating the good that comes with Autism.  It took me a long time, however, to realize how much Autism has also been shaping me for the better.

Summer Social Skills Activity

Have you been trying to think of a fun way for your child (or students) to practice the social skills they've learned?  Many people worry about academics, but don't let the summer slide happen to their social gains either...
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Let's get social!

Have you been trying to think of a fun way for your child (or students) to practice the social skills they've learned?  Many people worry about academics, but don't let the summer slide happen to their social gains either...

Teaching your child with Autism about death.

How do you teach a child with Autism about death?  Unfortunately, death is a reality people face daily, but our ASD kiddos can really struggle with understanding what death is and processing their feelings. Learn what what worked for us!
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Death has been a hot topic here lately...

Unfortunately, death is a reality people face daily, but our ASD kiddos can really struggle with understanding what death is and processing their feelings.  My son is concerned about upcoming deployment for my husband, and has been matching what information he knows with CNN & the maps in his bible.  Looks like we are going to be talking about it quite a bit more to prepare him for the "just in case - hope they never happen" scenarios. It's also come up in Special Needs Moms Network a few times recently, and although I've shared my free social story about funerals there, it made me realize I should also share what taught my son about death.

Resources for When Your Child is a Reluctant Reader

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Encouraging you child to Read

I don't think it's any secret to close friends and family that my boys are a bit "lazy" when it comes to work.  Honestly though, it's not laziness, it's mental fatigue.  They avoid mental work at all costs.  This is a problem when we get to subjects that aren't a preferred activity.

My oldest son is most likely hyperlexic.  He has been reading since an incredibly young age and has loved the imaginary world books open up to him.  My younger son, however, struggles with anything related to works and letters.  For a long time I suspected some form of dyslexia.  I am confident now that he is not, but it's still just not in his wheelhouse.  It's work, not pleasure.

New Resource- Read the Situation

50% off through this Sunday afternoon

If you are ready for a new social skills resource, it's here, and it's on sale!  If you own the big bundle or the worksheets bundle, lucky you get to download this one for free!  This new resource uses cut & paste plus a few write-ins.  Your child/student gets to look at the scene and practice studying what's going on, and how people are reacting.

Here are a few preview pages to check out:

Friday Freebie: Sight words!

Free Sight Words worksheets!

Sight word set #1

Happy Friday everyone!  Here's a freebie for your kids in the 1st grade range!  They were designed to have minimal writing for those that struggle with writing (or hate it).  This freebie has 25 pages, and you can plan on seeing 3 more pack roll out over the month. 😊 

Here's a little glimpse at what they look like:

Freebie: Make spelling fun!

Play while you learn

If your children are anything like either of my boys, then they don't like writing!  A friend of mine had a sneaky genius way to get her son to practice spelling.  We are now using it too, and I am sharing my templates with you to make it easier!

You make a game board for each player with the printables found here.  You can re-print and make new ones each time, but I decided to make mine reusable with some colored paper, lamination (this is the machine I use and love!), and expo markers!

If You Could Heal Autism...

Would You Want to Heal Your Child's Autism?

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I am an admin over at the Special Needs Moms Network, and that means I get to see a lot of hot topics being debated.  This week there was a post about curing your child's Autism.  The opinions in the Autism Parent community run the gamut. Some people say it is incurable, others believe it is absolutely curable, and many wonder, "What in the world makes you think we need a cure?!"

I usually share at least one of my two cents there, however, I am also aware that sometimes my whole two cents are better left for this arena.  It got me thinking about a time that one of my most treasured friends and I were sitting on our back porch discussing this same topic.