}

Arctic Sensory Bag

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Last week when I made our arctic sensory bottle, there were some really adorable items from the arctic toob that didn’t fit in the mouth of the bottle. I wanted to be able to use them, so I decided to make an arctic sensory bag with them. I also used what was left from the expired coconut I had used as the “snow” in the sensory bottle.

This arctic sensory bag uses a rather unconventional items as the "snow". It is a cute activity to add to a winter or arctic theme unit.This sensory bag is particularly easy to make because it requires very few materials.

Materials needed:

Place the flaked coconut and items from the arctic toob into the resealable bag. Remove the excess air and seal.

If you are creating this sensory bag for younger children, you will want to seal the bag with duct tape or heavy, clear packing tape after closing it so that they aren’t able to open it. You may also want to fold the tape over the other sides of the bag as well to reinforce it. I choose to use good quality freezer bags for my sensory bags rather than sandwich bags because they are more durable.

This arctic sensory bag and the arctic sensory bottle would work well for a theme unit on the North.

Arctic Sensory Bottle

Spicy Lentil Soup Recipe

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We went cross country skiing with a group at a wilderness center and it was actually a lot of fun. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy cross country skiing but I did. What I didn’t love was the cold so when we went to my sister-in-law’s afterwards and she had hot soup ready, I was very thankful. My sister-in-law made this spicy lentil soup. I immediately asked for the recipe. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one that day who asked for the recipe. It’s that good!

This spicy lentil soup is so delicious and especially hits the spot on a cold winter day.This spicy lentil soup is so delicious and especially hits the spot on a cold winter day.

Spicy Lentil Soup Recipe:

Saute 2 chopped onions in 2 tsp. olive oil

Add 3 garlic cloves,
2 tsp. ground cumin,
1/2 tsp. paprika,
1/2 – 1 tsp. cayenne pepper.

Cook for 1 minute.

Add 7 cups chicken broth,
1 1/2 cups dry red lentils (rinse first),
2 Tbsp. tomato paste,
1 bay leaf.

Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Discard bay leaf.

Blend half the soup in the blender until smooth or use a hand blender in the pot for all the soup.

Return to saucepan and stir in 1 can evaporated milk.

Simmer 5 minutes longer until hot.

Add salt and pepper.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

If you are looking for a lentil soup that is less spicy and has more vegetables, my healthy lentil soup recipe is delicious as well.

Ocean Sensory and Learning Activities

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I decided to feature Ocean sensory and learning activities this week. With the beautiful weather, it’s easy to be dreaming about an oceanside vacation!

I’ve divided the activities into sensory and learning, but many of them fit into both categories. The ocean is so much fun to learn about and to explore. You will likely enjoy these activities as much as your kids will.

I decided to feature Ocean sensory and learning activities this week. With the beautiful weather, it's easy to be dreaming about an oceanside vacation!

Ocean Sensory Activities

Shark Sensory Bag from here on The Chaos and The Clutter (pictured)

Ocean Floor Discovery Bin and Sensory Play from My Nearest and Dearest

Jello Ocean Sensory Play from Teaching Mama

Ocean Sensory Bottle from here on The Chaos and The Clutter

Getting Smart about Sharks (Free Printables) from The Natural Homeschool

Sand and Water Ocean Sensory Bin from Mom Inspired Life (pictured)

Super Simple Ocean Sensory Bin from Fun-a-Day

Ocean Sensory Tray with Frozen Rice from The Imagination Tree (pictured)

Gelatin Ocean Sensory Tray from No Time for Flash Cards

Ocean Slime from Buggy and Buddy

Frozen Treasure Find from here on The Chaos and The Clutter

I decided to feature Ocean sensory and learning activities this week. With the beautiful weather, it's easy to be dreaming about an oceanside vacation!

Soapy Sea Foam Sensory Play from Two Daloo

Ocean Sensory Table from Stir the Wonder (pictured)

Ocean Sensory Writing Tray from The Imagination Tree (pictured)

Rainbow Fish Sensory Bin from Mom Inspired Life

Mini Aquarium in a Bottle from A Little Pinch of Perfect

Under the Sea Ocean Slime from Little Bins for Little Hands (pictured)

Ocean Playdough from Mom Inspired Life

Shark Coloring Pages for Kids {Printables} from The Natural Homeschool (pictured)

I decided to feature Ocean sensory and learning activities this week. With the beautiful weather, it's easy to be dreaming about an oceanside vacation!

Ocean Learning Activities

Ocean Currents Science Experiment from Life Over C’s (pictured)

Free Shark Games for Kids {Printables} from The Natural Homeschool

Exploring Buoyancy with Sharks from Little Bins for Little Hands

Exploring Layers of the Ocean from KC Edventures (pictured)

Make a Wave Sensory Bottle from Hands on as we Grow

Alphabet Ocean Sensory Bin from Mom Inspired Life

Hands-On Sea Life Lessons from The Natural Homeschool

Storytelling Seashells from The Educator’s Spin on It (pictured)

Sea Turtle Life Cycle Sensory Bag from The Preschool Toolbox

Sea Turtle Life Cycle Ordering from Rainy Day Mum

Shark Beginning Sounds Song from Growing Book by Book

“Land, Water & Air” Activities & Printables from The Natural Homeschool

Sensory Bins ebook

What I Wish You Knew About Parenting a Child With RAD

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Parenting children who have RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) has been the single most challenging thing of my life. I had read about it, attended seminars about it, talked to other parents who were walking it, but none of that could have prepared me for the reality of it. Because I was not prepared even though I had all the head knowledge, it’s hard to write about this knowing that no matter how carefully I choose my words, they will not be able to fully convey what living this journey is like. I am also carefully structuring my sentences so that they speak in generalities and not about my children in particular.

What I Wish You Knew About being a parent to a child who has RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)I hope though that in sharing this, others who are parenting kids who have Reactive Attachment Disorder will maybe garner a bit more compassion and understanding from those around them who read this.

This is what I wish you knew about what it’s like to parent a child with RAD:

  1. Children with RAD present very differently outside the home. They are often described as “charming” and “delightful” by others when things in the home are decidedly different. This dichotomy can further isolate parents as they worry that others won’t believe them if they share what the child is like at home.
  2. Children with RAD often have poor boundaries and therefore are socially indiscriminate. What you may see as “friendly” and “cute” may actually be a case of mommy (or daddy) shopping. We would appreciate if you would direct our kids back to us if they try to hug you or sit on your lap. We realize that you are trying to help by picking them up or returning their affection, but you may be further damaging their attachment to us. When in doubt, ask us.
  3. We know in our heads that love will not be enough to fix this, but our hearts often feel differently so we try to pour enough love into our child to replace what is missing.
  4. Parents of kids with RAD carry tremendous guilt. It is a heavy burden to carry the weight of something that was done to my child by someone other than me in a time before I even met them.
  5. These parents second guess everything. I know that all parents second guess, but when you are parenting kids who have RAD, it borders on compulsive and it is draining.
  6. Parents of kids who have RAD sometimes (or often) think they are losing their minds. Kids who have RAD can be expert manipulators, Philadelphia lawyers and extreme triangulators. This can lead to questioning of one’s sanity and second guessing facts that you know to be true. It also puts great strain on marriages or relationships with other caregivers.
  7. Parents of kids who have RAD are proficient detectives in their own homes. They need to be in order to keep from going crazy (see #6 above).
  8. We are tired every minute of every day. Our child’s hypervigilance can cause us to also become hypervigilant as we attempt to avoid any possible trigger for them. Our child’s emotional needs are often greater than the capacity we have as human beings to meet them.
  9. Parents of kids with RAD don’t tell you how bad things are because they don’t trust that you would understand the reasons behind their child’s behaviour and they would rather suffer silently than have you judge them or their child. We don’t tell you the worst because we want to protect our child’s privacy. Whatever we are telling you, imagine it at least ten times worse. Words like “rage” and “aggression” may be codes for “completely out of control for hours” and “physically violent”. We may be sugar coating in an attempt to protect. I would rather have you think that I’m a bad parent than have you think that my child is a monster.
  10. We love our child who has RAD. It hurts our hearts to be constantly rejected by them, but we hold on out of hope that healing is possible. We sometimes see a glimmer of the wonderful child that we know is in there and it makes us fight all the harder to love them through this.

If you are parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, what do you wish others knew? Leave your suggestions in the comments so that others can learn from them.
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Recognizing the Signs of Reactive Attachment DisorderRecognizing the Signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder