Blog Archive

Insect Unit with Free Printables

This insect unit with free printables has been such a hit at our house. The kiddos loved each and every activity.  They had so much fun incorporating insects into every subject area in some way.

And why not? It's the perfect time of year to study insects with all of the flowers blossoming and the weather getting warmer.
Montessori-inspired Insect Activities for kids with free printables.

Here's a look at what's on our shelves!

Language

Insect First Letter Sounds
Insect themed first letter sound clip cards (free printable)
 The kiddos will place a glass bead on the correct first letter sound, for the insect shown in the picture. Nomenclature cards are provided if needed, and could be used as a separate activity.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Insect Syllable Counting
Insect name syllable counting clip cards (free printable)
 The kiddos will place a glass bead on the number, indicating how many syllables are in the insect's name.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Compound Word Insect Names
Insect themed compoun word activity for kids (free printable)
The kiddos will create compound word insect names, using the control provided.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Math

Odd & Even Numbers
Insect themed odd and even numbers activity for kids (free printable)
 The kiddos will sort the number cards into odd and even numbers.  The insects are provided as a control, in case the kiddos need to count them out to discover the answer.  There are two of every kind of insect in the bowl. As they count them, out they can match them up.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Greater Than/Less Than
Insect themed greater than/less than clip cards (free printable)
 The kiddos will use the flies provided to mark the answer on each greater than/less than card.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Fly Addition
Insect themed addition clip cards (free printable)
The kiddos will use the flies as counters, to determine the answer to each addition card.  They will place a glass bead on the correct answer.  I'm super excited that both Dinomite and Bulldozer rarely need the counters anymore.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Science

Life Cycle of an Insect
Life cycle of an insect activity for kids (free printable)
 The kiddos will use the Life Cycle of an Insect sheet to place the cards of each insect type in order from start to end of their cycles.  Four different insect life cycles are provided in the printable.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Ant Anatomy
Ant anatomy activity for kids (free printable)
 The kiddos will use the diagram provided to help them place labels in the correct places.

Source:  This fabulous free printable can be found at Gift of Curiosity.

Is it an Insect?
Is it an insect? Activity for kids (free printable)
The kiddos will sort the cards provided into two categories: Insect & Not an Insect.  I have provided a simple control card for them, to remind them what an insect looks like.  There are many other characteristics that I could have included on this card, however I wanted to stick with basics. Next time we study insects, we'll go into more detail.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Culture

50 Insects
50 Insect Cards for Kids (free printable)
The tradition continues with our set of 50 cards for every type of living thing.  Dinomite LOVES them and always makes sure I include very specific creatures of his liking.  The kiddos may sort the cards as they choose.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Sensorial/Practical Life

Butterfly Dropper Activity
Montessori-inspired Butterfly Dropper Activity
 Dinomite just learned about lines of symmetry.  I thought it would be fun to create a colored water drop butterfly, keeping that concept in mind.  If that's too difficult, they'll still have fun using the dropper, mixing colors etc.  (I only provided them with primary colors.)

Catching Grasshoppers
Catching Grasshoppers game for kids.
We've had a catching grasshoppers game for quite some time. It was a yard sale find. The kiddos love it.  Grasshoppers have suction cups on them, that you press down on the table.  Give them a few seconds and they go flying in the air.  The goal is to catch them all in the basket.

Pouring Nectar
Pouring nector activity for kids.
 I found this activity at Trillium Montessori and loved it. The kiddos will pour "nectar" aka colored water, into the tiny cups provided.  I used medicine cups so they were just a bit sturdier.

Ladybug Dot Tweezing Activity
Ladybug Dot Tweezing Activity
The kiddos will use the tweezers to transfer "lady bug dots" aka black beans, and decorate their red "ladybug."  I have placed water in the bowl to make the activity a little bit more fun and entertaining.

I'm so excited about our new unit!

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.
2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.
3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)
4. Locate the link to our Subscriber Only Freebies page as well as password to access it in the "Thank You" message.
5. Click on link and type in password.
6. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Insect Unit 2 Insect Unit for Tots Children's Books About Insects
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Kids Learning Printable Linky Party #6

This post may contain affiliate links.

Welcome to the Kids Learning Printables Linky Party #6!

I am absolutely loving the opportunity to co-host this linky party.  It is so much fun to see the amazing printables created by others.  There is always such a variety.  I love featuring them too.  Thank you so much to everyone who links up.

We didn't have quite as many printables linked up this past week.  However, those that did link up were absolutely amazing.  It was so hard to choose my favorites.  I hope you enjoy! And please, spread the word about this linky party.  I would love to see twice as many people sharing next week!

Co-host:   Montessori Nature

1. Free Copy Work-"Cattle" a Texas Poem from Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus


3.  A Bucket List for A Simpler Summer from The Chaos and the Clutter

4.  Building Animal Faces With Shapes from Therapy Fun Zone

5.  Shape Activity from Gift of Curiosity

Here's how this works!

You:
1.  Link up to 3 educational printables for kiddos.  Free, paid, and giveaway printables are welcome.
2.  Add our Kids Learning Printables Linky Party Button to your post or blog.
3.  Support your fellow educators by commenting, pinning, and/or sharing the post published before yours.
4.  If you're not already doing so, follow me on FacebookPinterest, and/or through my blog.
5.  You give me permission to use and repost images from your blog.

Me:
1.  Visit all posts.
2.  Share and pin as many links as possible throughout the week.
2.  Feature my favorite posts in next week's link up.
3.  Get to know you, your blog, and your printables for future use.

Let's get this party started!


Every Star Is Different


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It's Personal: Defeat

This post may contain affiliate links.

I LOVE my children.  They are my life.  Each one of them is absolutely amazing to me.  I can't imagine life without them.  I LOVE my husband.  He is such a brilliant man.  Not a day goes by that I don't stand in awe at the person he is.  My husband is my biggest support in all that I do, encouraging me and cheering me on every step of the way.  I LOVE my house.  We have worked 8 long years to turn an old house from the 1800s into a home for our family.  It's not perfect by any means, and still needs A LOT of major work done, but it works for us, and that's what matters.  I LOVE being a blogger.  It provides me with an opportunity to serve others in ways I could never do otherwise.  Blogging has blessed me with amazing opportunities to meet people from all over the world!  I've made new friends who are absolutely wonderful.  I am so thankful for the many gifts I have been given by a Heavenly Father who loves me.
One of the events during Princess' adoption festivities.  The kiddos did NOT want to have a family portrait taken, so they took off running.  You can see all three in the background.  (A friend was chasing after them, you just can't see.)
Yet, with all that I LOVE, and all I've been blessed with, there are still many mornings I wake up before everyone else, and plead in prayer to have the energy, love, and patience I need to get through another day.  I just can't seem to shake that feeling of defeat.  Sometimes the defeat comes from a rough day with the kiddos.  Other days it comes from feeling down about myself.  I've gained a lot of weight in the last few years, bringing me back to an all time high.  Surgery last year along with the stress of finances and kiddos have done a number on me.  When I'm stressed, I eat and don't sleep.  Finding time to exercise by myself is incredibly difficult.  And then there's Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  It has been a very difficult transition for me.  I'm not the type of mother I ever wanted to be.  This is not to say I'm a bad mother, because I know I'm not.  It's just that being the type of mother a RAD child needs is very hard for me.  There are many nights I cry in my husband's arms, as I finish another hard day with the girls.  Autism seems so easy compared to RAD.

My New Year's Resolution this year has been to learn how to take care of myself.  This has not been a simple process.  So far, just this year, seven diagnoses have been given to two members of my small family of six.  Each diagnosis has come with more work and responsibilities for me.  I continue to struggle with allergies and asthma, making rigorous exercise dangerous.   I have felt defeated in my resolution endeavors many times.

I was talking to my husband last night while laying in bed, sharing my newest feelings of defeat, after an extremely hard day with Sunshine, that came in the same week, I had already had extremely hard days with Dinomite, Bulldozer, and Princess.  I haven't exercised in almost a week.  We've had lots of junk food in the house due Memorial Day celebrations.  My house is not only messy, but dirty also, because of the holiday... I could go on and on.  I'm so thankful for a husband who will listen to me.

You see, I've been working very hard to alter our routines and daily schedule to accommodate Sunshine joining learning time activities with her autism, RAD, and ADHD behaviors. Bulldozer's horrible summer allergies are leaving him covered with rashes.  He's horribly sick, and eyes so dark, he looks as if he's been punched.  We are also still adjusting to life without a vehicle.  The struts and springs on the front end of our van have been broken for three weeks now.  We are waiting for income to pay for the repairs in June of July.

It's interesting, with all of these feelings of defeat (which are no where close to depression, just those typical of every mother on the planet), I find myself being guided to feelings of peace, blessings, and a knowledge of what I need to do to.  Thankfully, in times of defeat, it's very natural for me to cling to the spiritual beliefs and practices I have.  They bring great enlightenment.

The only reason I haven't exercised this week, is because a friend took me to the store to get groceries.  Prior to that I was walking around town running errands every day. The exercise was fabulous and cleared my head in ways I desperately needed.  Having no vehicle forces me to find time to exercise, because it's the only way to do things now.  Now that the week's groceries are gone, I will be walking daily again.  Having no car is actually a blessing right now.

The junk food from the holiday will be cleared out of our house today.  Snacks will go back to being fruit and/or veggies.  With the start of a new month, I'll be creating a new summer meal plan that is healthy for everyone, accommodating Bulldozer's allergies.

I tried out the new schedule that I thought might work for summer, on the kiddos yesterday.  It will NOT work.  At least I've eliminated one option, and can move on to another in hopes that by next week we'll be set.

Sunshine's RAD behaviors seem to be trumping all other behaviors during learning time, but I can do this!  I've done it before.  Princess has prepared me quite well.  Yesterday was so weird, in that I was experiencing Princess at 2 1/2 all over again.  I couldn't help but acknowledge just how far she's come in two short years.  It gave me hope that Sunshine will too.

Just because several different aspects of life seemed overwhelming this week, causing other things to slide, doesn't mean I can't try again next week, or even today.  I know how to overcome feelings of defeat. I can overcome them.  This doesn't mean that they won't come back again, but I find this is something I'm always going to have to deal with, because I'm a mother, (and I'm hormonal, just like every other woman on the planet).  What better lesson to teach my children, than to overcome those horrible feelings, pick up the pieces, and try again.

If you've had one of those weeks, or days of feeling defeated, you're not alone.  Your reasons may be different, but the feelings are the same.  We need to stick together, cheer each other on, and fill each other's hearts and heads with love, and a knowledge of that power that we hold, as women and mothers, to continue to fight to be the best we can be!
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Childhood Trauma and Mother's Day

My husband and I have two beautiful daughters, adopted through foster care.  Before we were certified to foster, we took classes, learning about many of the struggles and difficulties our beautiful girls might have, as a result of their past trauma.  Both girls have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

We were warned that holidays could be very difficult, especially Mother's Day.  Being new and inexperienced in the journey, I was unaware of what "difficult" actually meant.  Over the years my daughters, especially my first, have not been hesitant at all in giving me a crash course.

I didn't think there would ever be a day when I wished holidays didn't exist, but over the past few years...  The thought has definitely crossed my mind more than once.  Instead of surrendering to the horribleness that Mother's Day can dish out, I decided to fight back.  Here's to surviving childhood trauma and Mother's Day.

Childhood Trauma and Mother's Day-7 Ways to Make the Most of Mother's Day
This post contains affiliate links.


7 Ways to Make the Most of Mother's Day


1. Acknowledge the elephant in the room

Talk about birth mom.  If you have pictures, stories, and/or other information, share items with your child.   As long as your child has a sincere desire to learn more about her birth mom and will not be triggered further and escalate to unsafe behaviors, it's extremely important to talk about things.

If your child wants to write a letter or do something special to celebrate or acknowledge her birth mother, make time for this first thing during the day or even before Mother's Day.  This way everyone can move on and have chance at enjoying the rest of the day.  Be sure to save letters or other items your child creates for her birth mother, as these will be an important part of the healing process.

If your child is triggered and/or not functioning, initiate your safety plan.  Safety plans may vary depending on the behaviors you're are seeing.

2. Put the past in the past if the child is able.

(If not, move on to step three.)

There are two kinds of pasts: pre-adoption and post adoption.  Help the child sort through which past is which.  Put away all pictures and items used to acknowledge birth mom.  Introduce the child's post adoption past by reviewing the child's adoption story. If you have not written your child's adoption story, do so.  If your child is old enough to help, allow her to do so.

Create a scrapbook or photo album that includes pictures of you and your child.  Go through it together if your child is willing.  Be sure to create two copies of the scrapbook or photo album, one for your child and one for yourself.   If your child decides to destroy the album you give her, you still have a copy.  Reflecting on happy memories together can be very therapeutic for both of you.

Each year update the albums with pictures before Mother's Day.  This can be so therapeutic for you, as you reflect on positive moments as a mother of a child with trauma and PTSD.

3. Bring the child back to the present if needed.

Use a sensory oriented anxiety kit to refocus senses on the present.  Include items that ignite as many senses as possible in positive ways.  You may need to use these items several times during the day to help your child stay safe.

4. Make plans for the day ahead of time.

Use our special needs event planner to make plans for Mother's Day with your child.  Planning should begin a few weeks before the holiday before external triggers factor in.  Making plans with your child should allow you opportunities to talk about the day and how difficult it is.  You may be able to address issues before they start.

Some children may need a countdown to the big day to help with anxieties and triggers.  If you notice anxieties and behaviors increase as you grow closer to Mother's Day, review the plan.  Make a visual schedule for your child.  Help her know that she will be safe with you.  Your child may also need a social story.

Keep in mind plans should not be elaborate.  Mother's Day is going to come with issues.  The goal of planning ahead of time is to show your child that she can be successful at surviving the day and can have fun at the same time.  Success will look different with every child.  Plans may be as simple as cuddling up in a blanket and watching a movie together at home with a special treat.

5.  Celebrate the child.

Mother's Day is supposed to be about celebrating the mother, but that is incredibly difficult if not impossible for a child with trauma and PTSD.  Change things up, give your child a gift to celebrate her.  After all, you are a mother because of her.  I like to give a gift to each of my children that is a reminder of my happiest memory with them throughout the year.


6.  Create traditions.

Create simple traditions that your child can look forward to from year to year.  In our home the photo albums and gifts are what our children look forward to most.  We also try to make a special dessert that everyone enjoys.

7.  Celebrate yourself before Mother's Day by yourself or with your spouse.

You deserve to be celebrated, however your child is not capable of pulling that off right now.  This doesn't mean you need to punish yourself.  Celebrate Mother's Day by splurging on yourself before the big day (when your child is not triggered).  Your celebration can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be.

If your spouse is able to join you, plan to do something together.  At times this may not be possible because of child care etc.  In those cases, acknowledge that your spouse would do more if it were possible, and that there will be other times in life to celebrate together.

Bottom line, you are worth celebrating!  Just because your family may not celebrate the holiday in traditional ways, doesn't mean that you can't spoil yourself.  If funds are tight, get creative and find a way for you to do something for yourself.

Mother's Day may always be a holiday where you find yourself walking on eggshells worrying about what triggers and behaviors the day may bring, but there are ways to make it tolerable.  You can survive it and eventually conquer it!



If you enjoyed this post, you may want to consider purchasing our book:
Book: Holidays and PTSD:  A Parent's Guide to Survival

You may also enjoy the posts below.
PTSD Support and Resources for Families

Reactive Attachment Disorder Support and Resources for Families

7 Ways to make the most of Mother's Day when parenting a child who has trauma and/or PTSD
Read More »

Insect Unit for Tots with Free Printables


Sunshine has been begging for her own insect activities just like her siblings.  I was finally able to make her wish become a reality.  

Check out Sunshine's Insect Unit for Tots with Free Printables!

She couldn't be happier. 

I'm so pleased with how each and every activity and printable turned out.  

We hope you enjoy them too!
Insect Activities for Tots with Free Printables

Here's what we've been up to!
A is for Ant
A is for Ant Activity for Kids (Free Printable)
Sunshine will press her finger into the washable black ink, and then use it to make little ants on the letter A.  Three finger prints in a row makes one ant.  I'm interested to see how she does for several reasons.  Sunshine doesn't like getting her hands dirty.  She has weak finger muscles, rarely using her pointer finger.  And, I can't forget, she's scared of ants.  I'm hoping by the end of the week this activity will improve all of the above concerns by just a little bit.  And, perhaps, she'll even be able to identify the letter A when she sees it.

Source: I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit for Tots Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Bumblebee Number Match Up
Bumblebee Number Match Up Activity for Kids (free printable)
This is by far my favorite activity and printable on the shelves this week. I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  I have had absolutely no luck teaching Sunshine to count.  To this day, I have never heard her count to three.  However, when I ask what a number is, she always responds with a number.  When we do sorting and match up activities she does fabulous.  Perhaps, she can pick up numbers a different way.

There are ten flower number cards.  Each bee, also has a number on it.  Sunshine will match up the bees to their corresponding flower cards.  The bees attach to the flowers with velcro.  I won't start with all ten cards, probably only four. When she has those mastered, I'll introduce more.  As she does the activity I can give her a very basic mini lesson about how bees collect pollen from flowers.

If your kiddo can count, I've included bumblebees without numbers to use as counters.  These can be placed below the cards.

Source: I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit for Tots Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Ladybugs are Red
Ladybugs are Red Painting Activity for Kids
Sunshine is still unable to identify her colors, however, she can sort them beautifully.  When asked what color something is, she always responds with a color, even if it's the wrong one.  This activity (I'm hoping) will help her discriminate between colors and also help with fine motor skills.

Sunshine will dip her brush in water and then select the correct color to paint her ladybug.  A ladybug figure has been provided as a control.  We'll see how she does!

Source:  The free printable for this activity can be found at My Favorite Coloring.

Insect Two Piece Puzzles
Insect Two Piece Puzzles for Kids (free printable)
Sunshine has mastered the one piece knob puzzles, however she's still not ready for multiple piece puzzles.  In this activity, she'll sort insect pieces and match up the correct halves.  Chances are I won't use all six puzzles at first, but as the week progresses, I'm hoping she'll work up to that.

Source: I created this printable as part of my Insect Unit for Tots Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Decorating a Butterfly
Decorating a Butterfly Activity for Kids
This activity is to help with Sunshine's fine motor skills, especially her grasp.  She will place the pom poms in the spots provided, decorating a butterfly.  I had her practice this one already to see if she would become frustrated with it, and to see if the pom poms would fall out too easily.  The only time the pom poms did fall out was when she wasn't looking, and accidentally hit them with her hand.  Otherwise, the activity worked beautifully.  As she decorated her butterfly, we practiced color identification.

Note:  Sunshine no longer puts objects in her mouth.  If your tot does, I suggest using food for this activity such as Trix Cereal, M&Ms, etc.  Just like with all activities in this post, make sure you are supervising your tot 100% of the time.

Insect Play Dough Activity
Insect Stamp Play Dough Activity for Kids
A tot unit wouldn't be complete without a play dough activity.  This week Sunshine will practice stamping using play dough.  Once again, her hand and finger muscles are very weak.  I'm hoping this activity will help her increase the strength she needs for future fine motor activities.

Insect Instruments
Insect Instruments for Kids
Sunshine loves music and dancing.  I thought it might be fun to incorporate instruments with dancing, as we listen to songs like Laurie Berkner's Buzz, Buzz, Buzz song etc.

Insect Sensory Bin
Insect Sensory Bin for Kids
I'm super excited about this sensory bin.  Sunshine's not a fan of sensory bins, so I went a new route with this one.  Food is a fabulous motivator!  What appears to be dirt is actually chocolate pudding topped with Oreo Cookie crumbs.  Once Sunshine gets over the initial freak out of getting her hands dirty, I'm hoping she'll continue to play knowing it's chocolate, and she can lick her fingers if she feels the urge.  (Obviously I'll be making a new bin each day.)  I love the fact that the cookies add texture to the pudding.

That's our week!  She's so excited about it and can't wait to get started.  For those interested in the printables, follow the directions below.


Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies 

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post. 
2. Subscribe to our free newsletter. 
3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.) 
4. Locate the link to our Subscriber Only Freebies page as well as password to access it in the "Thank You" message. 
5. Click on link and type in password. 
6. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola! We hope you enjoy your free printable. 

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Insect Unit 2 Insect Unit Children's Books About Insects
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Kids Learning Printables Linky Party #5

This post may contain affiliate links.

Welcome to the Kids Learning Printables Linky Party #5!

Co-host:   Montessori Nature

Thank you to all who linked up last week.  I just love seeing so many fabulous printables.  Keep them coming!  If you know of someone else who makes printables, encourage them to share!  Here are my favorites this week:

2.  A Hands-on Study About Butterflies from Suzie's Home Education Ideas

3.  World Soccer Cup 2014 Activity Pack for Kids from Multicultural Kids Blog


5.  Color & Pattern Matching Game Printable from The Connection We Share

Here's how this works!

You:
1.  Link up to 3 educational printables for kiddos.  Free, paid, and giveaway printables are welcome.
2.  Add our Kids Learning Printables Linky Party Button to your post or blog.
3.  Support your fellow educators by commenting, pinning, and/or sharing the post published before yours.
4.  If you're not already doing so, follow me on FacebookPinterest, and/or through my blog.
5.  You give me permission to use and repost images from your blog.

Me:
1.  Visit all posts.
2.  Share and pin as many links as possible throughout the week.
2.  Feature my favorite posts in next week's link up.
3.  Get to know you, your blog, and your printables for future use.

Let's get this party started!


Every Star Is Different

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Get Access to Exclusive Special Needs Parenting Printables by Subscribing Below




HERE'S WHAT'S POPULAR ON EVERY STAR IS DIFFERENT