Bulldozer is Baptized a Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

I've been thinking a lot about Bulldozer and his baptism lately.  Since moving to VA this boy has blossomed in so many ways.  Bulldozer absolutely loves church and shows a sincere desire to attend each week.  He's started participating in the cub scout program.  Each week he talks about his friends and loves to spend time with them.  I couldn't be happier.

There have been some hiccups along the way, and currently we're trying to help him through some difficult transitions, but when I look at how far he's come, I'm amazed.  This is the kid that wouldn't participate in primary until he was seven years old and that was only with a parent.  

Bulldozer was petrified of baptism and showed no desire until three months before his 8th birthday when he decided it was okay to put his head under water.

As I've been reflecting on Bulldozer's special baptism day, I realized I didn't ever share it with you.  There were some complications with pictures, and so only tonight did I finish editing them all.  It only took me a year.  Lol.  The pictures aren't perfect, but you see the joy and happiness in Bulldozer's eyes in almost every one.  He truly shined that day.  It was perfect!

Here are memories from when Bulldozer was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

I realized right before Dinomite's baptism that it would be wise to hire a photographer for the special occasion.  Sure I could take photos, but I wanted to be there for my son, and didn't want to miss a single precious moment.

Dinomite being my first, I wasn't really sure what types of pictures I wanted so the few that were taken worked, but I knew for Bulldozer's baptism, I wanted more.  I wanted to capture the day in as many ways as I could.

Note: All photos were taken before and after the baptism and confirmation, NOT during.
We were really hesitant about moving forward with Bulldozer's baptism.  Due to his autism, ADHD, and history in primary, we wanted to make sure he understood what he was doing and that we had other eyes and ears on him to confirm that in fact he was ready.

As part of this process we had the missionaries over on several occasions to teach him the discussions.  Bulldozer loved to have them come over and developed such a great relationship with them.  I feel this helped so much as we grew closer to his special day.
My husband Jason performed the baptism.  Bulldozer was so proud of himself for enjoying the process.  Like I mentioned earlier, it was only three short months before his special day that he decided it was okay to put his head under water.
At Dinomite's baptism, I didn't realize until afterward that not one photo of him and I was taken. Though I'm not a fan of being in pictures, I wanted to be sure I had one this time around.  Looking at Bulldozer's genuine smile, the photo was so worth it!
Dinomite with his younger cousin Cam.
The baptism was conducted by a member of the bishopric. Bulldozer chose the opening hymn/song.  An opening prayer was said and then Dinomite gave a talk on baptism, per Bulldozer's request.  Somehow I missed getting a photo of the two brothers together this time around, but the one above will work as it's my favorite picture of Dinomite from the day.
After the baptism while Jason and Bulldozer were getting dressed, two of Bulldozer's friends played beautiful music.  Bulldozer had specifically asked that they play at his baptism.  He loves these girls and their music!
Once Bulldozer was back from dressing, a talk was given on the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Bulldozer asked the mother of his two favorite girls to speak.  She gave an amazing talk relating the gift of the Holy Ghost to Star Wars and the "Power of the Force."  Everyone knows Bulldozer is obsessed with Star Wars.  He loved it!
My husband confirmed Bulldozer a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Bulldozer specifically asked all of the men in this picture to stand in his confirmation circle.
After Bulldozer was confirmed, the Primary President of our ward was the first to welcome him as an official baptized and confirmed member.  She gave a beautiful talk that included a bag of chocolate which Bulldozer LOVED.
Before the reception, we gathered everyone who was in attendance for a picture.  Due to Bulldozer's anxieties this was an invitation only baptism.  We so loved all those who came for his special day!
All of the kids did very well before, during, and after the baptism. I was one proud Mama!
Bulldozer could not imagine the day without his favorite buddy PJ, his mentor from a one-to-one program in our community.
When asked what Bulldozer wanted served after his baptism, he requested a dessert bar.  Several of the sisters from our ward made all types of delicious chocolatey treats.  Bulldozer was in heaven.
We were so excited that three sets of grandparents, an aunt, and a cousin were all able to be in attendance for Bulldozer's special day.  Some drove over two hours to be there.
All four kids with their Grandma Rose
Whenever grandparents are around we try to capture some fun photos. Knowing the kids were pretty burned out at this point, we told them they could make any face they wanted.  Here's the results!
All four kids with Grandma Toni and Grandpa  Ron
I love all of the expressions on their faces.
All four kids with Grandpa Rob and Grandma Jackie
I can not think of a more perfect baptism day than the one Bulldozer had.  He just radiated with the spirit and soaked up so much attention from all of those that love him.

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Giving Family Experiences-Our New Christmas Tradition

What do you do when you don't have space for anything else in your home and the holiday season is approaching and you're already freaking out about all of the kids' triggers related to the holiday season?

Since our move in June, we are slowly working on making our house a home, painting and furnishing it room by room.  But until that process is finished we have piles of stuff everywhere.

All of the kids clothes AND our clothes are piled high in the master bedroom.  Rows and rows of shoes line the floor in the front entryway.  Stacks of books lean against the wall and floor in several rooms of the house.  Toys are in plastic bins in any place that there is a space.  Paperwork is collected in bags or left on the computer desk.

We do not need or want anymore stuff.  Just the thought of more toys, books, and other miscellaneous items makes me anxious.

So, we're doing something else this year for Christmas.  Instead of giving the children gifts this year, we're giving them family experiences.  It's our new Christmas tradition!
Giving Family Experiences-Our New Christmas Tradition
This post contains affiliate links.

Giving family experiences for Christmas will also help with managing anxieties, PSTD triggers, autism struggles, and behaviors related to Reactive Attachment Disorder.  It's amazing how the process of giving and receiving gifts affects a child's ability to function in different ways.  

If you're not familiar with our story or your family is struggling during the holiday season as well, be sure to check out our book, Holidays and PTSD: A Parent's Guide to Survival.

I am so excited about this alternative with so many fewer triggers for everyone!

Our Plans

Here's how we've worked it out.  Grandparents are giving specific experiences aka family passes to some of our favorite places.  We as parents will be giving the kids a vacation where we will use a majority of the passes.

We will also be spoiling the kids with the luxuries a vacation can bring such as eating at their favorite restaurants, staying in a hotel, participating in special activities we wouldn't normally do.

And just in case you're wondering if the kids are on board, or if we made this decision ourselves, we let the kids decide.  Yep! That's right! They chose vacation over presents.  I'm smiling from ear to ear just thinking about.

Goodbye holiday stress!

Hello fun and relaxation!

Now before you get all worried that my children will not receive any gifts for Christmas, know the agreement is that each person in the family will buy one small gift for everyone else, which will be opened on Christmas morning.

Each person will also receive their stocking filled with fun goodies which seems to be what was most important to each kiddo.

Our Christmas vacation will take place the first week in December when my husband is able to take time off and when it's least busy with kids and college students still in school.  This will hopefully make up for the fact that Daddy has to work every holiday until the end of the year.

How to Come Up with Family Experience Ideas

Though your family may not live where we do, we hope that these family experience gift ideas will provide inspiration for you. Consider the following questions when coming up with family experience ideas.

  • Where would your family go if you could pick a mini vacation destination?
  • Are there special places of interest close to doctors, specialists, and/or therapist offices?
  • What are your children interested in currently in regards to history and science?
  • What places have age appropriate activities where your children will feel comfortable?

When asked where they wanted to go for our Christmas vacation, the kids decided unanimously voted to return to Williamsburg, VA.  It's only three hours from our home.  We have friends in Richmond that we visit along the way.

All of our children's specialists are located in Charlottesville, VA so we go there often.  Natural Bridge is located only minutes from our home.

This year in school we're studying American History because the kids have begged and pleaded to learn more about it.  Anything related to American History is the "cool" thing right now.  We have the musical Hamilton to thank for this.  I'm enjoying every moment of our studies!

All of my kids love science, and show a particular interest in zoology, botany, and astronomy.  There is no better place for them to learn about these particular topics than some of the experiences we've listed below.

With the children ranging between the ages of almost six and almost eleven in age, we work hard to find places where both the oldest and the youngest can enjoy themselves.  All of the experiences below are sure to be a hit for all.

Important Reminders!

When purchasing tickets and passes, it's important to remember the ages of the children.  Sunshine will be six years old in November.  Dinomite is turning eleven in January.

Be aware of varying prices for in state versus out of state residents.  At some places being a resident of the city or county can provide opportunities for huge discounts.

Consider a special experience within an experience.  Most places offer an initial price for entrance but also offer other unique opportunities that must be paid for.  There are so many ways to make an experience extra special!

Family Experience Gift Ideas

We have come up with five different types of family experiences that meet the needs of our own family and are realistic in regards to where we live.  If we still lived in the city, movie theater passes, a gift card to the bowling alley, concert or show tickets, and a few other items may have made our list.  Unfortunately those aren't really practical or possible here.

Here is our family experience wish list this year!  I'm sharing it on the blog for a few reasons.
 I hope you are inspired!

Historical Sites & Museums

1. Annual Passes for Colonial Williamsburg
The kids love Colonial Williamsburg.  We've been there twice before.  During our last trip they all begged to ride in one of the carriages.  They also expressed interest in renting clothes to wear for the day so they could look like colonists from the time period.  Both of the experiences mentioned above are not included in the annual pass.

2. Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Virginia Residents American Heritage Annual Passes
We visited Jamestown and Yorktown during our last visit to Williamsburg and the kids had such an amazing time.  They have all asked to return to one or the other or both.  All four of the kiddos can't wait to come with a little spending money to use at the gift shops.

3. Monticello Annual Family Pass
This historical site has so much to offer and explore during every season.  The gardens are of particular interest to Sunshine who is the botanist of the family.  The older three children love learning more about Thomas Jefferson.  He's one of the main characters in the musical Hamilton.

4.  George Washington's Mount Vernon Family Membership
George Washington has been an adored hero in our home for quite some time.  This can be attributed to the kids' love for the musical Hamilton as well, but also their following of the last Presidential Election.  It is amazing how visiting the actual places where our Founding Fathers lived brings history alive and help the kids make connections they wouldn't otherwise make.

5. Nauticus Family Plus Membership
The boys are so excited to visit Nauticus.  They are quite obsessed with war and battles right now and have been asking to visit a place like this for a long time.  I love that it offers excitement and adventure for both the girls and boys.

6. Science Museum of Virginia Supernova Membership
All four kiddos love science, particularly astronomy.  This science museum is the perfect place for them to explore, learn and have fun!  It's also in Richmond which is on the way to Williamsburg.

Amusement Parks

All of the kiddos are excited about returning to an amusement park as it's one of their favorite places to go.  This park in particular holds a special place in their hearts because it's Peanuts Character themed and age appropriate for everyone. 

For those who don't know both boys have read through all of the Peanuts comics.  All four kiddos love the Peanuts movies, and Sunshine specifically loves all things Peanuts related to holidays.

Hotel Packages

We took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge during our last stay in Williamsburg. They didn't want to leave.  Whether the gift card is used towards a night's stay in one of their Kid Cabins, or used for the arcade, bowling alley, or breakfast buffet, you can be sure the kids will love every minute of their time there.

Zoos & Safaris

All of the kids miss visiting the zoo on a regular basis, since we moved from NY.  This zoo has so much to offer. Dinomite is begging to know when we can go.  There are so many fabulous animals to see here and they can feed them (extra cost), which is an added bonus.

The kids have visited the Virginia Safari Park twice and each time they beg to go back.  They love all of the animals there and jump at the chance to feed them (extra cost).  There's nothing quite like the up close and personal experience you get with animals here.  It may mean going through the car wash afterwards, but it's so worth it!

Restaurant Gift Cards

Buffets are the ultimate happy dining experience for us. The kids LOVE them.  When asked which buffet is their favorite, the answer is always the same:  Golden Corral.  It just so happens that a Golden Corral restaurant is literally two doors down from our favorite hotel in Williamsburg.  We eat there every time we visit.  I love that it has something for everyone.

There are very few restaurants in the world where everyone in our family can eat with food allergies considered.  KFC is the kids' favorite fast food place.  Whenever we go on vacation, KFC is almost always involved.

Chili's is a favorite restaurant from NY that the kids miss dearly.  During our last vacation in Williamsburg, we discovered that they have one there.  The kids were delighted and can't wait to go next time we're in town.

We are all so excited about our Christmas plans this year.  It's our hope that the kids will enjoy the experiences so much that this can be a tradition that continues over the years providing great opportunities to travel all over the United States and beyond!

I'd love to hear about family gift experience ideas that you have!

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the posts below.
Family Christmas Traditions Christmas Visual Schedule for Kids Preparing Children for Their First Fine Arts Experience Christmas Movies for Kids Free Christmas Shopping Planner for Kids Holidays and Birthdays
Our New Christmas Tradition-Giving Family Experiences

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What Is Going On?

I feel I owe you an explanation.

For the last six months I have barely written a post a month.  There may have been one printable pack created and shared during this time.

A couple of times I thought I was back and even announced it in a newsletter, but then I disappear again.  If you subscribed to my newsletter at any time during the last six months, you may have received one or two newsletters from me.

My social media presence is sporadic at best.

So, you may be wondering...

What is going on?

What is going on?

Big changes!!!

On April 1, 2017, we had no reason to believe or lives would be changing in any way.  Yes, we felt stuck.  Things weren't the greatest.  But, we were keeping our heads above water.

On April 30, 2017, our home was put on the market.  Did I mention that before this occurred we did an entire kitchen renovation in less than two weeks?

We felt inspired to move.  The move wasn't to a new street or new town.  It was to a new state.  Our family was moving from NY to VA.

In June, 2017 an offer was put on our house in NY.

To pay for the move (and because our new home was about half of the size of our old one) we sold almost everything we had.

We moved on June 23, 2017.

During the month of September the exterior of our home was being painted.

A new job!

My husband started work on June 26, 2017.

This was a HUGE time of transition for our family.  Not only did we move from NY to VA, but we moved from the city to the country.  Our new home was half the size and had nothing in it except for mattresses with bedding on the floor.  My husband went from working with me full time at home to working full time out of the home.

I love change.  I love a challenge.  But I must say all of these transitions paired with having to help my children work through these transitions was just a tad rough.  I may have cried on a daily basis for a few weeks.

Jason's training for work lasted two months.  He worked five days a week 9 AM-5 PM while I spent my time caring for all four kiddos on my own, in a home with no furniture, no vehicle (we only needed one in NY), out in the middle of nowhere.  Did I mention the kids were trying to adjust to all of the changes too?  Just imagine all sorts of "fun" behaviors.

I finally figured out new routines and schedules, when on September 1, 2017 my husband was switched to the night shift working 6:30 PM to 5:00 AM, Monday through Thursday.

Yeah... I was not happy.

For those who don't know my husband is an emergency services counselor.  He is called in emergency mental health situations when a person is considered a threat to themselves or others and is involuntarily brought to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.  At times he also goes to evaluate someone at the local jail.  If a person needs to be hospitalized or receive other help, Jason arranges this.

In all fairness there are some perks to the night shift. If there is no emergency, my husband remains home.  It's only if he receives a call that he goes out.  However, on average, about twice a week he's gone all night long and needs to sleep as much as he can during the day.

The adjustment to Jason's new schedule has been slow for all of us.

On September 11, 2017 our house closed in NY FINALLY!  Paying for two homes for any length of time is stressful and not fun.

The beginning of September our first large piece of furniture arrived.  We now have a dining room table with benches!!!  (I'd been working on smaller pieces up to that point.)

The start of a new school year!

The beginning of September we started our new school year at home.  Before this we worked feverishly to create a new classroom with workspace for everyone.

Homeschooling regulations are very different in VA than they are in NY.  This is something we're still getting used to.

All four kids are working in the same space now with the same shelves.

Though our start has been slow and I have yet to share any of it, I promise it's coming.

We've been running into technical difficulties that have frustrated the process immensely.

Due to technical difficulties...

In NY we had the fastest internet available.  Here in the mountains of VA, we don't.  Sometimes the internet works.  Sometimes it doesn't.  When it does work, what used to take me five minutes, takes me thirty minutes.  This has been extremely frustrating and has caused me to evaluate what I do and really streamline my process A LOT.  

Somehow between NY and VA we lost the paper holder to my printer and therefore could not print anything.  Finally after a month of unpacking I surrendered and bought a new one.

This month the printer is leaving huge streaks of ink through every paper I print.  We've put one call in to have it repaired, but know another is coming.  Without a printer, I can't print materials for learning time or share our journey with you.

Oh did I mention my laptop battery also died and so I was waiting for a week for that to arrive?

So what now?

I am not one who functions well when my house is not in order.  Seeing as we only have beds and a dining room table, besides the learning space we've created, I'm not at my best.  Jason and I are working as quickly as we can to paint and furnish each room in our new home, but it definitely takes time, especially when you're trying to keep four special needs children on routines and schedules.

We are also trying to ensure that the kids stay on schedule when it comes to learning and homeschooling.  Their education is a top priority.  As we've had to adjust to Jason working outside of the home there is so much less time to create materials and blog about them.  Add in sleepless nights and behaviors...  We're doing our very best, but I just can't seem to keep up like I used to.

I literally have at least twenty posts to write that include new printables, activities, Montessori home inspiration ideas for families with special needs, and all the fun things we've been up to.  It's just finding the time to write the posts, when the internet is working that's been the challenge.  I'm constantly choosing between painting and blogging.

Our family only has one transition left to go through in regards to schedule changes.  Jason takes on weekend shifts starting in October twice a month where he will work Friday evenings through Saturday evenings on top of his regular weekday shifts.  

In the meantime I will be trying my very best to write when I can.  Please don't give up on us. We have so much to share and give.  This is a temporary situation that will resolve itself with time (and furniture).  

Over the past three months I have thought so much about the direction of this blog and where I want to take things.  I have so many amazing things planned that I think you will absolutely love.

Thank you so much for your love, patience and support!  I miss you so very much.  As we've gone through so many transitions lately, I can't believe how much I miss connecting with you.  It is such an honor to be a part of your life!  We can't wait to be part of it again soon!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below!

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The Montessori Floor Bed and Special Needs

Anyone who's considering implementing Montessori at home knows that Montessori floor beds are a big deal.  Whether you have a baby or a toddler they're encouraged as part of a Montessori bedroom.  But what if you have a special needs child?  Believe it or not the Montessori floor bed and special needs go hand in hand.

The Montessori Floor Bed and Special Needs
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Why We Chose to Use a Montessori Floor Bed with our Special Needs Children

Even before we implemented Montessori into any aspect of our lives, both of my daughters used a floor bed.  The idea came naturally to me as we were having significant issues using a crib with each of them.

Princess would lodge her limbs into the sides of her crib between the rails, so much that it would take an adult to loosen and free them. I was so worried she was going to break a limb.  Every morning I'd wake up to the same situation.  This was when she arrived in our home as a six months old foster child.

The only solution I could come up with was to put her on a mattress on the floor.  It was absolutely amazing to me how this solved our problem and so many others so quickly.  She loved the independence she gained as she was able to move on and off the bed as often as she liked.  No longer did she feel trapped or confined.  Most importantly she was safe.

Sunshine would scream for hours EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT when she was placed in her crib.  In the morning she'd wake up screaming as well.  There came a point when I couldn't take it anymore and realized that the crib may be a PTSD trigger for her.  Sunshine came to our home as a six month old infant from foster care as well.

At first, I placed Sunshine in a typical toddler's bed, but she began freaking out the moment a toy or blanket fell off the bed and would refuse to get it.  We didn't know it then, but due to an abnormality on one of Sunshine's eyes, she is vision impaired and struggles with depth perception.  She also has extreme sensitivities to vestibular input.  

Sunshine could not tell how close the floor was from the high bed she was on.  Nor was she great at balancing to figure out just how far down it was.  Once we removed the frame and box spring, she could see where she was in relation to the floor, and had no troubles retrieving her things when they fell.

After we saw such success with the girls, due to behaviors and other issues we ultimately ended up using Montessori floor beds for the boys as well until they were no longer developmentally appropriate.  The girls still use them today.  They seem to be the solution to all of our problems including transitions, destructive tendencies, and a lack of safety awareness.

The benefits of a Montessori floor bed for children with special needs.
A preview of Sunshine's new bedroom.  She requested that her walls be bright yellow like the sun.
Montessori floor beds are usually recommended for infants and toddlers, but when it comes to children with special needs, some can benefit from a floor bed for many years after that.  Consider the following points when deciding if a Montessori floor bed may be right for your special needs child.

Chronological Age

How old is your child?  If your child is currently an infant or toddler, and you're wanting to implement Montessori in the home, the floor bed is a perfect and easy way to start that process.  Using a floor bed allows your infant and toddler to gain independence and a better understanding of the world around them.  

For safety reasons, you may choose to put a baby gate in the doorway of the bedroom.  This provides reasonable limits and peace of mind.  If you're worried your infant may fall, place a nice soft rug beside the floor bed to prevent accidents.

The only time I would not recommend a floor bed is if your child is hooked up to medical equipment with wires and cords while sleeping.  Unlimited movement around the room may pose a safety risk.

Developmental Age

Your child may be chronologically five or six but developmentally only two or three years old.  This is often the case with children who have developmental disabilities such as autism.  In these cases a child may not be fully ready for a big kid bed even though they may be five or six years old.

There may be a lack of safety awareness, sensory issues, or struggles with muscle tone and gross motor skills.  A Montessori floor bed is perfect in these circumstances and can promote development and independence in so many positive ways. 

Emotional Age

There are children who may be cognitively and developmentally age appropriate but are extremely delayed in the area of emotional functioning due to trauma or mental health issues.  At times when the emotional age of the child is delayed, there can be destructive tendencies, a desire to harm one's self or others, rages, and so much more.

When parenting a child like this it is so important to provide a safe place for the child to go and calm down.  A room with a Montessori floor bed is just the thing!  It is soft.  It's low to the ground.  If it's moved or turned over, no harm can be done to the child.  The bed itself can be pushed around the room to provide necessary sensory input when needed.  

And yes, we've experienced all of this first hand,  Sunshine is chronologically almost six, but emotionally only two years old.  Princess is eight years old but emotionally only three.  The Montessori floor bed has been a sanity saver for all of us as we have tried to help the girls through the most difficult of times.  It brings great comfort knowing that they'll be safe in their rooms because of the Montessori floor bed.

If you have not considered a Montessori floor bed for your special needs child, I invite you to consider the benefits of it.  I could go on and on about how it has helped each individual child in our home.  It was definitely an inspired aspect of an infant and toddler room AND for those who are still developmentally and emotionally infants and toddlers.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the posts below.
Special Needs The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Autism and Montessori Practical Life at Home

The Montessori Floor Bed and Special Needs

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10+ Ways to Teach Land and Water Forms

I'm about to introduce land and water forms for the fourth time.  I've created and used several Montessori-inspired land and water form printables over the years, which you can download for free at any time.  
All of them have been used in conjunction with fabulous and free Land and Water Cards from Montessori By Mom.

But this year we're varying things up a bit to help those who haven't quite grasped concepts in the past, and also to help those who don't learn the same way that older siblings do.  In my search for great ideas I came across 10+ Ways to Teach Land and Water Forms.  They are absolutely amazing and sure to be a hit.  I just had to share them with you.
10+ Ways to Teach Land and Water Forms
This post contains affiliate links.

10+ Ways to Teach Land and Water Forms

1. Hands-On Learning on Land and Water Forms from The Pinay Homeschooler looks like so much fun!  I love how vehicles are incorporated into the work.  The printable that goes along with the activity looks amazing as well.

2. Teaching Land and Water Forms from The Pinay Homeschooler once again uses vehicles to teach land and water forms in a different way.  Such a fabulous activity for those who learn best with objects and textures!

3. Land & Water Forms from The Helpful Garden is a link to fabulous free printables to download.  There is such a variety of options depending on the needs of your child.

4. Learning About Landforms from Around the Kampfire seems like the ultimate land and water form immersion project that ties in several different subject areas and helps a child develop so many different skills.  I love this idea for my kiddos who have a one track mind related to dinosaurs or Star Wars.

5. Ocean Theme Fun! from Discovery Moments includes a picture of a land form activity where rocks are used.  What an easy and fabulous way to create land.  No salt dough or clay needed!

6. Super Teacher Worksheets has some fabulous printables.  I really like the one that includes cutting and gluing as part of the activity.  My kiddos always seem to need extra practice with those skills.

7. Learning About Land and Water Formations-Montessori Outdoor Explorations from Montessori Nature introduces a wonderful way to learn about land and water formations at the beach!  If you have a child who loves being outside and you have a beach nearby, this may be the perfect way to teach land and water forms.

8. Crayola provides instructions for a fabulous land and water form art project that includes cutting, gluing, textured paper, etc.  The final product looks amazing!

9. Life At Sea Week III: Pirates from Every Star Is Different includes a great land and water form activity using felt cut outs.  This works great when you have limited space, and also when you have a child who may not be the safest with materials.

10. As I was looking on Pinterest I saw a photo of Land and Water Form Cupcakes using blue and green colored cake batter.  Sadly it had no link.  However, I wanted to be sure to mention it here because if there's one way to help two of my kiddos learn a concept it's to make cupcakes.  I'm guessing Land and Water Form Pancakes would also be an option with this activity.

Land and Water Form Resources

Other Land and Water Form Resources

If you're looking for more resources when teaching about land and water forms, be sure to check out the list of materials below!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.

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10+ Ways to Teach Land and Water Forms

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Gift Ideas for Boys

Bulldozer's birthday is this month. I can't believe he's turning 9 years old. It seems like just yesterday he was being put in my arms for the first time.  Our tradition of making wish lists continues this year with these gift ideas for boys.  Bulldozer is more excited than ever about his wish list.  He sat down with me and picked out every item.

Gift ideas for boys.
This post contains affiliate links.

Gift Ideas for Boys

When Bulldozer was little he was obsessed with cars.  Over the past three months it appears the obsession has returned.  I admit I'm kind of excited. There are so many fun car related things for nine year old boys!  And you never know if the obsession continues, we may have a future mechanic on our hands.
Car themed gift ideas for boys.

Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile

Hot Wheels 20 Car Gift Pack

Car Science

NASCAR 7-Piece Race Flag Set

LEGO Speed Champions 2016 Ford GT and 1966 Ford GT40 75881

Cars 2: The Video Game for Nintendo DS

Bulldozer loves superheroes and has for a very long time.  His biggest concern right now is that he doesn't have ALL of the Marvel movies that he loves so much.  His brother and him take turns picking a movie to unwind with each night before bed.  The movies below are ones he's already seen and loves.  He just doesn't own them yet.
Marvel Superhero gift ideas for boys.

Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron

Marvel Thor The Dark World

Marvel Iron Man 2 Purchased

Marvel Captain America The Winter Soldier Purchased

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Doctor Strange

At our new home we spend at least three hours a day outside.  Bulldozer has noticed that we're a little short on sports equipment that he likes, especially when it comes to playing sports games as a family every night after dinner.  The items below are the basics he's requesting.
Sports themed gift ideas for boys.

Franklin 6 Pack Playground Balls

Orange Throw Down Bases

26'' Rawlings Raptor T-Ball Bat

SKLZ Reduced Impact Safety Baseballs

MacGregor Batting Tee

4' Golm Pro Pop Up Soccer Goal

Second to Star Wars, LEGO Nexo Knights are Bulldozer's favorite thing.  I personally don't know much about them, but it's all he talks about.  From what I understand you collect shields. Each shield has a different power.  The more powers you have, the more you'll be able to play the LEGO Nexo Kights video game, which is what he loves more than anything.
LEGO Nexo Knights gift ideas for kids.
When it came to making his wish list Bulldozer did a search for every LEGO Nexo Knight item that includes a power he doesn't have.  Not only does he love all of the items, but he can't wait to get his hands on these new shields.

The list is divided into two sections.  The first list is items over $10.  Below is another list of items that are under $10.  Some of them seriously cost under $4.  So if you're trying to round out  gifts, don't hesitate to throw something small in there.

Items Over $10

LEGO Nexo Knights Ruina's Lock & Roller 70349

LEGO Nexo Knights The Three Brothers 70350

LEGO Nexo Knights Lance's Twin Jouster 70348

LEGO Nexo Knights Season 3 on DVD

LEGO Nexo Knights Season 2 on DVD

LEGO Nexo Knight Season 1 on DVD

Items Under $10

LEGO Nexo Knights Graduation Day Chapter Book

LEGO Nexo Knights Handbook Purchased

LEGO Nexo Knights Movie Magic Reader Purchased

LEGO Nexo Knights Meet the Knights Reader Purchased

LEGO Nexo Knights World of Nexo Nights Book

LEGO Nexo Knights The Forbidden Power Book

LEGO Nexo Knights Pocket Book of Powers

LEGO Nexo Knights Combo Nexo Power Wave*

*There is no limit to how many of these are purchased as they are mystery bags.

Now before we go any further with the next section of Bulldozer's wish list I need to explain a few things. Jason and I are not gun people.  We've never owned a gun. Neither of us has a desire to own one.  Both of us believe that guns can be useful when hunting for food, but for any other purpose, we are not supporters of them.

Bulldozer and his brother on the other hand, are obsessed with weapons.  They've shown interest in weapons for quite some time now.  We've had nerf guns, water guns, and LEGO guns, but it's definitely not the same as owning a "real" gun.

Jason and I are very big on letting our children make their own decisions in regards to their beliefs and values.  When it comes to guns, we're no different.  Both of us agree, if they have an interest in guns, we'd rather teach them how to use them responsibly than not.   And when not in use, the weapons will be kept under lock and key.

Outdoor adventure gift ideas for kids.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'd like to present to you Bulldozer's Outdoor Adventure section of his wish list. With so much land to roam and have fun with, and a barn that will be turned into the boys' own hang out very soon, there's plenty of room for them to use these items.   

Adventure Awaits Handmade Wooden Bow and Arrow Set Pack of 2 with 20 arrows

Bullseye Target Pack of 10

Walkie Talkies Pack of 2 Purchased

Bushnell Falcon Binoculars

Daisy Red Rider Shooting Fun Starter Kit

Daisy BBs

And finally, a wish list for Bulldozer would not be complete without a Star Wars section, his favorite thing in the whole wide world.  He has assured me he would love any of the items below.  Lol.
Star Wars gift ideas for boys.

LEGO Star Wars Republic Fighter Tank 75182 Purchased

LEGO Star Wars Yoda's Jedi Starfighter 75168

LEGO Star Wars Rebel Trooper Battle Pack 75164

Star Wars the Clone Wars: Republic Heroes for Nintendo DS

Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Season 2

LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Updated and Expanded

If you have a boy in your life with a birthday, special occasion, or holiday coming up, perhaps some of these gift ideas will work for him?  We know that Bulldozer's grandparents, aunts and cousins love these lists as it makes shopping for him so much easier.

And if you don't find anything on this list, perhaps check out Bulldozer's wish list from last year and the year before.
Non Toy Gift Ideas for 8 Year Old Boys Gift Ideas for 6 and 7 Year Old Boys Family Wish Lists
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