Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not Back to School Pictures

We switched over our school year about a month ago. Here are the students.

Princess Pink--First Grade

Wild Thing--Third Grade

The Crafter--Eighth Grade

Friday, July 6, 2012

Is your specimen ready?

Princess Pink was looking at a furniture store sale paper with her Barbie. She was helping Barbie decide how to redecorate her house. Princess Pink said, "So Barbie, let me show you some samples for your house. Here's a carpet sample. Here's a curtain sample. Here's a stool sample. Here's a couch sample." For the record, she was looking at bar stools.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Health Update

I meant to update in March, but I'm a bad blogger. Besides, there's nothing much to update.

Anyway, I've been wheat free for 5+ months. I have eliminated most other grains as well. I have rice or quinoa about once a week. My sugar consumption is down. My fruit and veggie consumption is up.

My joint pain is mostly gone. I am able to exercise more. Exercising more caused my treadmill to die, so now I try to sneak in YouTube workouts when I can. I do a mix of cardio and Pilates. My family is not supportive. Between the laughing and using me as a hurdle when I'm in plank position, I feel like strangling them.

My energy levels are up some. I get beyond survival mode quite often, but I don't have tons of energy.  I may have to accept that I won't. Unfortunately I still have major crashes where I feel like I'm sleep walking. Allergy season was very bad for me.  Sometimes, I have a crash for no reason. One day I was washing dishes and a wave of fatigue hit me that was so strong that I couldn't finish them. I had to rest before starting supper.

I haven't lost any more weight. I lost 4.5 lbs the first month and have stayed there. I need to lose 5 more pounds to be where I would like.

I still haven't found a new doctor. I don't have the time or money to go and try out different ones. If the doctor is not a good fit, I have to wait a year to try again unless something major happens.

What's next? Keep on keeping on. It has been suggested that I need to give up caffeine. I don't want to. I looove coffee. I don't want to give it up. I drink 2-3 cups a day. I'm willing to cut down to 2, maybe even one. I guess I could do decaf. I'm not ready yet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Even Standardized Testing

I keep thinking about something that happened a few weeks ago when we did our yearly standardized testing. There is a business in our area that helps organize group testing for homeschoolers at churches and co-ops. We test with them at a church in the next town. I was a proctor for the eighth grade.

There was a girl in my class who liked to talk about herself. A lot. The stories she told seemed far fetched and braggy, but the other kids didn't seem to mind. The second day, we were waiting to get started. She said that she had never been in a church before. She described how her mother said that she was free to choose her own religion, and she didn't know much about Christianity. 

Now I've been a Christian for a good many years, and I can take you down the Roman Road, but God told me to keep silent. So I sat there with my mouth shut. That was difficult. Then one by one, the other teens started to witness to this girl. They told her about Jesus and what He has done. They described their relationships with the Savior. And I just sat in the corner silently rejoicing that teenagers were sharing the Gospel with this girl.

We homeschool moms complain about having to do standardized testing. It's a disruption and a large expense. But because we have this requirement, a 13 year old girl entered a church for the first time and heard about salvation. God can use anything, even standardized testing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Angry Birds Party--Finally

Back in February, Wild Thing was having some behavioral issues, and we had to cancel his already belated birthday party. Fortunately, he was able to earn his party back though it was very, very belated. We held it a couple of weeks ago. The Crafter and I made a Pinterest board for the ideas we gathered from around the web. Here are our interpretations.

I love doing cupcake cakes. It makes serving so much easier. Also, there's no fussing about someone getting a bigger piece.

Cupcake Cake

The Pigs

The structure is made of Little Debbie Peanut Butter Bars and icing. A FaceBook friend gave me this valuable hint. The pigs and birds are made from Wilton fondant that we bought at A. C. Moore with a 50% off coupon.


The Birds

We did minimal inside decorations. We only put balloons up in the doorways. We sent a balloon home with each guest.

Balloon Decorations
The menu was bagel pizzas, baby carrots with dip, and Babybel cheese birds.

Red Bird Pizzas

Babybel Cheese Red Birds

After eating, we played games. We broke the pig pinata. We played pig in the woodpile. That was my brilliant idea for getting a pile of wood moved to it's summer location. Then the kids played capture the egg and pin the snout on the pig.

Pig Pinata--filled with eggs

Goody Bags
filled with pig and bird pom poms, Angry Birds fruit snacks, coloring pages, and Skittles

A good time was had by all. Wild Thing was very happy with his party. The Crafter is ready to plan the next one.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alligator Down!

My kids like to take their stuffed animals out to play. (I know it's weird, but that's not the point.) Wild Thing thought it would be fun to take Methuselah the Alligator tree climbing. He took his beloved stuffed alligator up the magnolia tree. (Yes, that magnolia.) This time Methuselah fell. The neighbors' dogs were waiting. They got Methuselah and took off. They went for the belly and ripped out his stuffing. Only the skin was saved.

Methuselah's namesake was Methuselah the Alligator from Life at the Pond.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Not Just a Toy

I bought this little gadget on a whim last summer, but I never posted about it. I got it out this morning because the kids wanted to look at the insides of the flowers that are blooming.

It's a zOrb digital microscope. I bought it on Amazon. The price fluctuates considerably, and the blue one is usually the cheapest. I caught it for less than $20. The microscope plugs into the USB slot on the computer. You can either continuously view the images on the computer screen or push the button on top to take pictures. We've had a lot of fun.

Wild Thing's Eyelashes


Blue Jeans


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Hate Being the Bad Guy

We've been preparing an Angry Birds Birthday Extavaganza for Wild Thing. His birthday was after Christmas, but we always have his party in February so he doesn't get skimmed over. It was going to be some party. Lots of themed food and games and lots of friends were on the agenda. We even bought primary colored fondant to make edible Angry Birds.

But, alas, the party shall not be. Wild Thing pushed his luck and took his chances. Despite the warnings and the loss of pinata whacking privliages, he continued down the road to destruction. He was already having a bad attitude over his school work when we discovered melted glue sticks on the wood stove.

The Historian sent him to work the wood pile. I complained that I didn't want to do anything else for his party. The Historian agreed and cancelled the party. All guests were contacted. All the favors were put away. Losing the party was a natural consequence of his behavior.

So why am I the one who feels like a slug?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One Month (Mostly) Wheat Free

In an effort to take control of my health I've begun a wheat free journey courtesy of  Wheat Belly. I have had no obvious wheat products for one month with the exception of the occasional test noodle when cooking for the family and one flour tortilla during play week.  I have cut down on other grains, but I still have some oats and brown rice.
  • Down 4.5 pounds:  It's not the dramatic weight loss you read about in the testimonials, but I'll take it.
  • Reduced sugar cravings: I can't tell you how many times I've tried to get rid of sugar in my diet. I would eat "healthy whole wheat" and by the end of the day I would attack for anything with sugar. I would end up eating boxed cereal at bedtime so I could sleep. Now I have lost most of my cravings for sweets.  I still like sweet things, but I'm good after a bite or two. That's a good thing.
  • *TMI ALERT* I'm, um, regular. That loss of fiber that was going to ruin my digestive tract has had the opposite effect.
  • *TMI ALERT* I didn't bloat last month. I usually gain around 3 pounds of water weight before that time of the month.
  • My shoulder doesn't hurt anymore! I had an almost constant ache in my right shoulder for over a year. The pain was attributed to repetitive motion (a.k.a. too much computer). I noticed it was gone when I was putting on my coat last week and I didn't wince when I put my arm through the sleeve.
No Change:
  • I haven't noticed a significant change in my average energy level. I have been busier than normal with the Crafter's play, work, and having major landscaping done in the yard. I pray more energy is coming.
  • Hip and knee pain are still my companions, especially when it's rainy.
  • Female issues are still issues.
  • Eating away from home is challenging. Restaurants are manageable. I can usually get a salad with grilled meat. Eating at someone's house is another story. I either have to bring my own food or hope they have safe foods. Then I have to explain. Then I have to politely decline "just one homemade roll." I worry about appearing rude or unappreciative.
  • I'm in this diet change by myself. I hope they will come along at some point.
  • I miss crackers. I miss cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, and soup with crackers. 
I have been exercising approximately four days a week. I mostly walk on the treadmill in my bedroom. I want to do some exercise videos, but my family is not supportive. They peek in and laugh at me. The TV is in the living room, so I can't really hide.

So all in all I'm doing better. I will update again next month.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Play's (was) the Thing

Another Christian Youth Theater (CYT) play has come and gone. I am not exaggerating when I say that Sleeping Beauty has been our lives for the past two weeks. Wild Thing, Princess Pink, and I did get a break from waiting at the 3 hour rehearsals because of the generosity of a friend. The Crafter was able to ride with her and her family. I remain grateful. If you happen to be reading this, chocolate is heading your way when we get back on regular schedule.

This year the Crafter was the sky/sea, a maid, and a jewelry salesperson. The Crafter and her friends performed brilliantly last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

We had a surprise last Tuesday. One of the cast members was sick and the Crafter was called in to do Princess age 8. She did beautifully. She mastered a dance and a few lines in only two rehearsals. The sick cast member recovered and was able to go on Thursday, but the director allowed the Crafter to perform the princess role on Friday. That was the night our AWANA girls came to see the play.

Needless to say, we were and are still tired, but CYT is worth it. Sleeping Beauty was spiritually twisted to be an allegory of Creation to Revelation. The Gospel is clearly presented. The princess must choose between the Shepherd, Jesse, and Prince Tromperie, the Deceiver. When the princess says "I want Jesse," Tromperie causes her to fall asleep--death. She is awakened for her marriage at the end of the age.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Unexcused Absences

I've been a negligent blogger once again. Suffice it to say...

the Crafter turned 12 in September,

we welcomed a new neice on her birthday,

Princess Pink turned 6 in November,

we celebrated Christmas,

and Wild Thing turned 8 shortly after.

2012 Health Goals

I've been tired for 6 years. Nothing is really "wrong" with me according to most of my bloodwork and the medical profession. In October 2010, I was diagnosed with iron deficient anemia despite having a normal hemoglobin count.  Since then I have tried several supplements with little success.

This year I am taking charge of my health. I cannot be the wife and mother God wants me to be if I continue this way. I could take the physical tiredness if it weren't for the mental fog.

Goal #1: Continue with supplements (iron and vitamin D) to get my levels up to normal.

Goal #2: Greatly reduce wheat. I've been reading Wheat Belly and it makes a lot of sense. It will be difficult because the Historian is a bread man.

Goal #3: Daily exercise. Daily. No matter how I feel. No matter how tired I am. I must make myself do this. I must not let my family distract me.

Goal #4: Find a new, supportive doctor. I am dreading this. It took me forever to find the one who finally ordered the blood test to figure out the iron stores deficiency. There are several reasons why I am not going back to this provider. The office is too far away, and there have been some questionable practices by the office staff.  I need someone who will look at my entire picture, not just the female issues.  When I mentioned joint pain, she said that she didn't deal with "stuff like that".  I need someone who is supportive of natural care and doesn't reach for the prescription pad by default. It's a tall order.