Category Archives: e. Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Thank you gifts

Tomorrow is the last day of school.  I can’t believe it’s here already!  My youngest had his kindergarten graduation ceremony yesterday and my oldest had his 5th grade ceremony today.  Looking back on this school year, I realize I have so much to be thankful for…

My youngest had a great first year of school – in fact he loves it!  He is now a reader, reading all the time (even over my shoulder, so I guess it’s a good thing I’m not into that shades of gray series!!!).  He sings his school songs all the time.  He loves math.  He’s made friends and is much more outgoing in social settings.

My finishing second grader has gone from reading below grade level to reading almost 2 grade levels above!  He has shined academically for the first time this year, even earning the opportunity to represent his class in the Math Bee.  He has become much more confident.  Like my youngest, he loves school, has made more friends and has become much more outgoing in social settings.

My soon to be middle schooler has thrived this year.  He has gone from hating school to actually saying he wants to be a teacher.  His behavior has improved tremendously.  He’s getting along better with the other students.  He’s learning how to cope with his anxieties.  He’s learning to be more flexible.  He’s understanding what it means to be autistic and how to function in the classroom and other social settings.

I attribute all of these things to their teachers.  Their teachers have loved them, have encouraged them, and have supported them.  In addition, their teachers have encouraged me, supported me, and really partnered with me as we help my boys grow.  And so at the year’s end, I like to give them something to let them know just how much I appreciate them.

Unfortunately, this year, funds are really tight and I just didn’t have the money to buy an adequate gift or gift card for all 3 of their main teachers, in addition to my oldest son’s emotional (autistic) support teacher, para-professional, guidance counselor, and art teacher (who has been amazing with him).  So I hit Pinterest and various blogs for inspiration.  And here’s what I created, adapted from what I found:

Thank you to Tip Junkie for leading me to the printables for these! And a huge thank you to eighteen25 for creating and providing the printables and ideas!

Well, I’m assuming most of you already have this year’s teacher gifts under control… so maybe these are for another year.  Or, what I love about these, is that they really would work as an appreciation gift for anyone… and I’m sure you have lots of people in your life that you are thankful for!

So here’s what I did…

First for the Fish Candy Gram… I bought swedish fish from the bulk section (after comparing the price per pound in the prepackaged bags) and filled treat bags with them.

Using my paper-cutter, I cut scrapbook paper to 4×6 and folded it in half.  I then put it over the top of the treat bag.  Next I used a hole punch to punch two holes through both sides of the scrapbook paper and the treat bag.  I threaded some ribbon through the holes without tying it.  Next I glued a swedish fish in between the 2 punched holes.

After that, I took the “You are o”fish”ally the best” saying that I had printed onto red card stock and trimmed it down and glued it on.  I was done, but then decided to write a note on the inside of the scrapbook paper.

For the chocolate bar… I used eighteen25’s printable again, but I printed it on scrapbook paper.  (It was 12×12, but I trimmed it to 8.5×12 to send it through my printer.)  After printing it, I trimmed it down.  Next it was time to wrap the candy bar.  To save money, I bought a 6 pack of chocolate bars.

These didn’t have the outer wrapper and the inner foil wrapper, so I just covered over the wrapper.  To do it, I trimmed the scrap-book paper, wrapped around, and glued it shut.

Lastly, I glued the “You deserve chocolate!!  Thank you for all you do.” printable onto the front.  I left the back blank.






Easy peasy… Cute and fun.  But those alone, probably wouldn’t express how thankful we are, so we wrote cards for them as well.

♥Becki, thankful mom

Thankful Thursday: Mrs. S & Friend S

Yesterday I got an email from the elementary school principal inviting 5th grade parents to a middle school orientation.  Thankfully it’s not until March and they are just telling us now to make sure we have it on our calendar.  I am not ready to be a middle school mom.

I think under normal circumstances it would be difficult enough… but this is for my oldest son, my Asperger’s son.  I keep telling myself it will be OK, but I’ll admit my heart is pounding in my chest right now thinking about it.  I’ve never been a worrier about the future… I figure it’s not worth my energy now to worry about things that may or may not happen – I have enough to deal with today!  But this… this definitely gets my head swirling around in the “what if”s.

Academically, he has always been strong.  His problem has been his social skills, his work ethic, and his temper when he feels out of control of the world around him.  Problems started back in kindergarten with a handful of bad tantrums at school, got slightly worse in 1st grade with his interactions with other students, even worse in 2nd grade, and then fell completely apart in 3rd.  He did not want to go to school.  Wasn’t going to sleep at night because it meant waking up and going.  He hated it there and made sure everyone knew it.  He was teased and bullied and then he teased and bullied others.  It got to the point where I was being called in at least 2 times a week to calm him down because they couldn’t handle him.  He started having grand mal seizures while sleeping and the neurologist said that stress and lack of sleep would set them off.  Well, he wasn’t sleeping because he was stressed… so that was a set-up for disaster.

So I did the only thing I knew to do… I pulled him out of school and home-schooled him.  Thankfully, I knew someone who did the same thing with her son and she walked me through what to do.  We made it through 3rd grade by the skin of our teeth.  Then my son told me he wanted to go back to school for 4th grade.  I was terrified, but we sent him back.  The first day was uneventful and fine, but then on day 2, he started falling apart again.  After a week or 2, I emailed the teacher, the principal, the director of special education, the director of pupil services and I think even the Superintendent and told them that I was not planning on homeschooling him again and they needed to figure out how to work with him at his school or to find a placement that could (translation: work it out or spend $50,000 -100,000 of district money sending him to another school).

Within a week we had an IEP meeting with a whole lot of professionals.  The result was that he was moved into a support classroom with an Emotional Support Teacher, Mrs. S.  This brings me to the thankful part of this post…  Mrs. S. has been a lifesaver for my son.  She loves him, she guides him, she protects him, she’s his advocate, she’s his cheerleader.  She senses his mood and his needs and figures out how to approach him.  He has started not just making it through but thriving again at school.  He no longer wants to “blow up the school” (fyi… those were his words… but don’t worry, no one ever perceived a real danger there) and doesn’t even mind going.  Sure, he’d rather stay home and play video games, but what 11-year-old wouldn’t?  He even has said that he’d like to be a teacher one day.  My eyes get all teary thinking about where we are today compared to where we were.

Through Mrs. S’s guidance, he has also formed friendships.  He has one friend that stands up for him to the other kids, who will listen to him talk about Mario for hours, and seems to genuinely enjoy being around him.  This friend (who I’ll call Friend S) happens to be that same boy whose mother had helped me in 3rd grade when I home-schooled my son. Friend S has impacted my son in a way that I don’t even know how to put words to it other than I am thankful.  So through tears I type that I am so thankful for Mrs. S and for Friend S.

But, here’s why I’m so scared for next year… Mrs. S doesn’t move up to middle school with my son.  She stays at the elementary school to be a blessing to many other families.  And Friend S, well his mother got a teaching job at a Christian school and he’ll be going there next year instead of our middle school.  So we’re back to square one.  Yes, there’s an autistic support teacher there, so hopefully it will be OK… but what if it’s not?

“Breathe,” I tell myself as my heart speeds up again.  God has promised never to leave or forsake my son (or me) and I suppose that means even in middle school.   So I’ll try my best to live in today and thankfully, it’s only January and I have 2 1/2 months before that orientation…

♥Becki, imperfect mother of an Asperger’s child

Thankful Thursday: Purposefully being thankful

The Jack-O’Lanterns were hauled away in the trash truck this morning.  Candy was dropped off at the Dentist office to be delivered to troops.  Costumes were put away.  Halloween is over.  Most of the stores are in full fledge Christmas mode now.  I’m mentally making my to do / buy list.  I’m planning on ordering our Christmas cards this week (well, considering we’re at the end of this week already, maybe I’ll get it done by next weekend…).

But, I want to make sure that I don’t skip over Thanksgiving.  Not that I would ever “skip” the Thanksgiving meal – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes – YUM!  That’s my favorite meal of the year.  But I mean the spirit of Thanksgiving.  I want to make sure that I am really focused this month on being thankful… then hopefully the attitude will carry on through the remainder of the holiday season, and then next year, and then the year after.

You see, I’m ashamed to admit that thankfulness doesn’t come naturally to me.  Complaining does.  Back when I was working before I had kids, my department took personality tests to help us understand ourselves and each other better.  I forget the terms they used and the name of the personality I had, but basically it said that I see what’s wrong with everything.  The description stressed that it didn’t mean I was a negative person, but it meant that I looked at a situation and could see what was wrong with it.  Oftentimes I could also see the solution – but not always.  The description said that this personality was a very important one to have on a team because it tended to prevent and fix a lot of issues.  But that it’s not always the most popular personality because people don’t usually want to hear what’s wrong.

When I read that description, I realized it was pretty accurate.  I then became determined to “cultivate” my strengths: analyzing situations and preventing or fixing problems.  But that I needed to “minimize” my weaknesses: tendency to be negative and complain, focusing on what is broken rather than on what is right, pointing out things that really don’t need to be pointed out, not being appreciative or thankful.  And now, 12ish years later, these are still qualities of my personality that I’m very aware of and still pressing on in to be the woman God created me to be.

So as I see what’s “wrong” with everything around me, I’m trying to focus on being thankful for what’s “right” about it.  So here are some of the things I’ve been complaining about lately – and what I’m trying to replace my thoughts with…


Choosing what to make for dinner… Thank you God that we have an abundance of food that I not only can feed my family, but I can choose what to give them.

Various issues at my boys’ school… Thank you God that my sons get to go to such a clean, safe school with intelligent, friendly teachers.  

Cleaning, laundry, cleaning, laundry… Thank you for a home and for clothes to wear.

Political issues… Thank you that I live in a country with so many freedoms.  Thank you that we do not live in fear of bombs and missiles and other combat weapons.

Church issues… Thank you God that I live in a country where I can freely worship you.

People… Thank you God that you forgive me when I mess up.


I don’t complain about you, my “readers” but I am thankful for you.  I’m thankful for your encouragement to me, because like I said before this is more or less a glorified journal, but having readers helps to hold me accountable to focusing on areas in my life that are not perfect… because I have not already achieved perfection, but I press on!


P.S.  I wrote about laundry, complaining and thankfulness before… I think that was a better post than this one – check it out by clicking here.

Also, along the same lines, here is a poem, author unknown, about thankfulness that I love:

Be Thankful For:
The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
The taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed.
The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.
The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.
The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.
Getting too much email bogs me down but at least I know I have friends who are thinking of me.