How to Make a Sweet and Simple Braille Valentine

25 hand made Braille Valentine's Day CardsWhat can be sweeter than a home made Valentine’s Day card for a preschool Valentine’s Day party?  Hand made Valentine’s written in Braille.

I’ve never really considered myself the, “Crafty Mom.’  I like to think of myself is the, “Creative Mom.”

What did I do to create these adorable sweet and simple Valentines?

Step 1.  On the unlined side of a 3×5 index card, I wrote in Braille, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” on the top left, and, “Love, Marley,” on the bottom right.

Step 2.  I measured, folded, and cut rid construction paper just big enough to glue behind the card, hiding the lined side of the card, and creating a red border around the white.

Step 3.  Marley placed tactile bubble heart stickers on the top right of the index card.

Step 4.  Marley glued the index card onto the red construction paper.

Step 5.  With a hole puncher, I punched two holes on the bottom left and tied a red bow.

Step 6.  Daddy wrote the same words in print on the back of the card.

I thought about glueing Hershey kisses onto the card, or taping a heart sucker to the back, but decided against adding any extra sugar since I knew she’d be coming home with a box full of sweets.

I shared the photo on Facebook yesterday.  My mom called after seeing the photo and asked where I’d bought them from.  She said they looked professionally done.  I told her, “Nope, they were a Marley and me project.  They were simple.  They were easy.  They were fun!”

 

 

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Marley and Me, and a Frustrated Mommy

Yes, this mommy is frustrated in this episode of our Marley and Me series.  Frustrated is putting it nicely.  After arriving back from our three week vacation, we had a huge stack of mail waiting for us at the post office.  One of these pieces of mail was the letter from the school district letting us know where Marley would be going in a few weeks.  To our surprise, she’d been assigned a school in a completely different part of town.  If roads around here actually went through instead of dying and starting up again, it would be a 10 minute drive or bus ride (that’s if we let her ride the bus, you REALLY don’t want me to get started on that issue.)  Instead, the way the roads are designed down here in the south part of town, we have to go North ten minutes, west ten minutes, and back down south another ten minutes to get to the school she’s been assigned to.  Why is she to go to a school so far away when there are two very good schools that are offering preschool just a mile from home?  After a week of phone calls, messages, and the run around, I’ve come to this conclusion.  Nobody knows anything about anything.  I was under the impression during Marley’s IEP that she would be going to a community based program with, the word I hate to use being “regular” kids.  Instead from what I’ve gathered from other moms, and confused receptionists, each school’s preschool is for a different type of disability.  The school our address is zoned for is offering a preschool program for autistic kids.  A mommy friend is forced to send her daughter on the other side of town because she need speech therapy.  Umm, correct me if I’m wrong but, doesn’t that defeat the point of that they are called, “Community Based?”  Apparently, if I want Marley to get the IEP, she has to go to this school they’ve assigned her too.  I’m speculating when I’m saying this, but does this mean she’s going to be in school with other blind and low vision kids?  This might be the county’s cheaper and easier solution, but this isn’t what we want, nor is this how her education plan was presented to us.  We want our daughter in a mainstream, a “normal” school with “regular” kids.  My husband wants to say f**k the IEP.  I want to say f**k CCSD.  I will probably be spending the next few weeks getting more and more frustrated with each phone call that I have to make.  I will send Marley to school and see how it turns out to really be, and we’ll see where it goes from there.  Wish me luck that I don’t blow up on anyone.

First Day of School, Not Here in Our House Though.

Today was the first day of school for most kids in Las Vegas.  Both parents and kids were full of excitement and maybe just a little bit of anxiety this morning.  Alarm clocks buzzing, lunch bags and backpacks getting double checked so that nothing is forgotten, new shoes laced, tied, and double tied for plenty of playground fun, and we can’t forget about those first day photos getting posted to Instagram, Facebook , Twitter, and texted to grandparents.

But none of that happened here in our house.  The kids and I slept in until 8:30am.  My husband and I enjoyed a big breakfast and coffee out on the patio while the kids ran around in their bathing suits splashing in the rain and the kiddy pool water slide.  Now Jackson is napping, Marley is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, hubby working in the garage, and I’m cranking out this blog.

Why isn’t Marley starting school today?  Well…here’s what I told my next door neighbor when she asked me this morning.

Marley is still only three, and not turning four until November.  This means she won’t be starting Kindergarten until fall of 2015 because of the age cut off here in Nevada.  As a stay at home mom, I don’t think it is necessary to send her to two years of preschool.  We spend a few hours each day working on preschool activities, and also incorporate learning into everything we do; from trips to the grocery store, gardening in the backyard, or strolls through the park.  I run a neighborhood mommy meet up group so the kids get plenty of socialization.  My husband’s work schedule gives him quite a bit of time home, making it easy for us to go camping, hiking, to museums, visit local orchards and farms, and take countless road trips exposing the kids to hands on learning opportunities like our upcoming trip to the Astronomy Festival at Great Basin National Park.  We are even giving a little bit of thought about homeschooling our kids completely.

I go back and forth on homeschooling.  There are so many pros and cons  to consider.  As a blind parent I will definitely have a few more challenges with home schooling than a sighted parent.  I can’t read handwriting, so I will have a tough time teaching my kids how to write.  I am not very tech savvy, and a lot of the curriculum comes from online sources, including PDF format which aren’t screen reader friendly.  However, homeschooling would mean we would have more control over our children’s education.  Nevada has one of the worst public school systems in the nation.  We can continue to incorporate learning in our frequent family trips.  We won’t need to worry about things like bullying, unhealthy school lunches, transportation, etc.  Like I said, so many pros and cons.

So for the next two years, at least until I need to make a decision about Kindergarten, my kids will be getting their education here at home.  I’ll talk to more parents who have chosen to homeschool and do the research so that we can make the best decision for our family.  For the next two years we won’t need to worry about alarm clocks on Monday morning delegating the start of another week.  I am going to suck up every moment of our family quality time.  Whether those moments may be adorable, annoying, or aggravating, they’ll be gone before I no it.