Monday, July 30, 2012

CPS and Blogging

Did you know that blog readers can turn bloggers in to Child Protective Services based upon what they read?  I looked into this after a friend mentioned that this happened to her.  In my search, I found THIS ARTICLE.  I have nothing nice to say about this.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate Princess Abbey's 13th birthday with cupcakes and ice cream following twirling practice.  My second baby will be an official teenager, and this also marks the start of the path of high school.  Yes, it's early for high school, but I want all of the Princesses to graduate high school and get some college under their belts before life starts to happen.  We have one graduate and three more to go.

 My baton twirling company is having a ribbon cutting ceremony in two weeks.  I am so excited!!!!   I don't know why I had not thought to turn my love of twirling into a full fledged business, but I'm glad that I jumped in with both feet.  Great things are happening!

We now have a homeschool Girl Scout troop.  We even have my old troop number.  This means that  we will get to have our meetings and outings even when school is in session.  Love it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

PreK-1st Butterfly Lapbook

After going over some of the lapbooking stuff yesterday, I decided that Princess Tarja and I would have fun doing a BUTTERFLY LAPBOOK.  After all, little princesses usually love butterflies.    Before we began, I made a POCKET LAPBOOK, then printed all of the work sheets and activity pages that were suggested on the site with the lapbook instructions.  We learned about the letter "B" for "butterfly" and "C" for "caterpillar".  We learned about the life cycle of butterflies, and watched THE LIFE CYCLE OF A MONARCH BUTTERFLY on youtube.  We actually found several, similar videos as well as a couple of cartoony ones. 

Princess Abbey took a test about human population for her Forestry and Wildlife Conservation course.
Later, we rented the movie, "Little Women", because she has been interested in the series, "Little Men".  I really want her to read the book, but her book list for this year is a mile long. 

Princess Melody had to turn in a paper for her World Civilizations course about the different dynasties in China.  I typed it up for her while she got ready for work.  It was an interesting paper, so I bet that she got a good grade. 

Princess Abbey's birthday is coming up.  I don't have a clue of what to get for her or what to do for a celebration.  If you have any fun birthday ideas for a thirteen year old girl, please share them in the comments.  Thank you!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Getting Ready for Lapbooking

I love lapbooking, but for the past few years, I have not had a printer to be able to print out some of the neat pages and templates that I find online.  Day before yesterday, I found a printer on sale and was also able to use a coupon for it.  Now, I'm ready to start lapbooking.  My favorite site for finding free lapbook units is HERE.  If you aren't sure what a lapook is, you can find a few videos on youtube to help clarify things for you.  Here is one that simply demonstrates what a lapbook is.  HERE is a nice video that shows how to include a pocket with your lapbook, which I wish that I had known about a long time ago.  Finally, I stumbled across THIS mom's video about how she puts together a unit study and how lapbooking fits into that.  I like this video, because it appears that she approaches unit studies about the same way that I do.  Basically, you decide what you want to do, gather your resources, and get after it.  If you are a person that likes crafting, especially scrapbooking, then you will probably enjoy lapbooking with your children. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Way Learning Happens at Home

I post on this topic quite a lot, but it's been awhile, and I believe that I have some new readers who might also be new homeschoolers.  I remember how awkward everything felt when we first started homeschooling Melody.  It didn't helped that we lived just two blocks from the school and could hear sounds from the school throughout our new homeschooling day.  It felt like every finger was being pointed at us, and my confidence had a lot of holes in it.

That was over 12 years ago.  WOW!  What a difference that time and experience makes.  At any rate, I have learned over time that a tremendous amount of learning (for anybody, not just homeschoolers) takes place outside of all of the books and assignments.  One example is that Princess Abbey has had a sweet pen pal for about a year.  The pen pal is another home schooled girl and they write to each other via "snail mail".  How many kids do this anymore?  Before Abbey seals up her letter, I check it for errors.  She corrects it, and sends off the clean copy, normally saving the graded copy with the rest of her school assignments.  Yesterday, she decided that she wanted to also send a postcard from Dinosaur World, which is where we went on vacation last month.  She didn't know how to address a postcard, and I was extremely busy fixing dinner, so she looked up the information that she needed online, and did it herself.  Doesn't this make more sense than if I had said, "OK, Abbey!  Today we are going to practice letter writing and addressing postcards!"  We aren't unschoolers, but this act of learning what one needs to learn when they need to learn it is a great deal of what is behind their ways of homeschooling. 

Another example is that when Princess Melody determined that she wanted to buy a parrot, she started researching the different types of parrots and their care.  At the same time, she began budgeting and saving her money for the effort, because she was learning that not only did she need a large sum of money for this special pet, but that she would also need things like food and supplies that other types of birds don't often need.  She actually started doing this research before she ever mentioned parrots to me.  What an interesting, unassigned science project that Pitbull, our half moon conure, has tuned out to be!

Then, there are the obvious things that go on around the house such as the care of younger siblings, household management, personal finance, sometimes even the operation of a family business.  Even taking care of plants, pets,  cooking, learning to drive, watching historical movies, playing physically challenging games on the Wii, all count in the big picture of homeschooling. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Music Bullet, Struz, and Homeschool Science

I like to post reviews about things that I try and love, even if I'm not asked to do so.  Granted, I have done many requested reviews for books and products, but when I find a new item that I really love, especially if it makes my life easier, I get excited and want to make sure that everybody knows about it. 

First of all, I bought myself a pair of Strutz about two months ago.  They are fabric cushions that slip onto your feet so that the cushion part goes directly under the arch (or where one should be), on your foot.  You wear these under or over socks, and with your shoes or barefoot.  The first day that I wore them, I had some relief from my heel pain.  They were a little uncomfortable, and I had to take them off after walking around all day.  HOWEVER, by the very next day, my heel pain subsided considerably, and I began to wear them all the time.  Not only did my heels stop hurting while I was wearing them, but I can now remove them for a day or more, and still do not suffer as much pain as I did before I found this amazing product.  To give you some background info about my heel pain, and how impossible it should be for a pair of cushions of any kind to fix them, I was a hard core baton twirler growing up, and suffered multiple injuries to my ankles and feet.  As I had children, got older, and fell victim to hypothyroidism, I gained a considerable amount of weight.  Couple this with the fact that I have had a few more ankle injuries for various reasons.  Add to that a serious case of diabetes, and it would stand to reason that cushions would not be able to help me. For this level of relief, I spent $10.00.  I'm here to tell you that Strutz are an answer to prayer.

The next item up for business is the Music Bullet. We have lots of technology in this little house, and lots of people using it.  I have tried other little speakers for mp3 players, and was disappointed every time.  The Music Bullet was cheaper than others that I have tried, and really does make my phone and laptop sound like a big stereo.  Amazing!

The next thing is the Reli On series of diabetes testing supplies at Sams and Walmart.  I have been using these cheap supplies for nearly two years, and am very happy.  I treated myself to a new glucometer yesterday for less than $10.00.  Really, I feel very lucky in this department. 

With that said, here is where I get to the homeschooling part.  Science and health lessons can be found in a wide variety of ways in the homeschool.  A good place to start is to learn about those topics that affect your family.  For example, children on ranches need to learn about the animals and plants that they are raising.  It is useful and fun to learn everything that can be found about household pets.  Little Tarja doesn't just tell people that she has a bird or a dog.  She says that she has a blue heeler and a half moon conure.  I personally think that is awesome for a four year old child.  When I was going through high risk pregnancies, we learned about how the fetus was growing each  month, what to expect with a newborn, and what to expect from my pregnancy.  My two older girls have  fairly extensive knowledge about diabetes, just from being exposed to myself and other diabetics.  Incidentally, this is the "school work" that has the potential to save their lives.  More science that my children have had in their homeschooling involves things like making colloidal silver and then using it to do things such as retard mold or disinfect baby toys.  First aid is always a good topic of study.  You children will have an emergency at some point in their lives.  Do they understand anything about allergic reactions, drug interactions, or wound care?  I anything happens to us, can they summon help, be safe, be clean and eat?  In my opinion, household science and health is just as important as the 3 R's. 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Home At Last

Ivana and Tarja are both doing much better.  The infections that courses through their little bodies have been brought to a halt, and they act like they feel great. We made it home late yesterday afternoon.  Both are on antibiotics for the next 10 days.  These antibiotics taste and smell horrible.  Even the pharmacist compared the taste to rotten eggs.  I discovered that the baby will take hers hidden in her baby formula.  I tried ovaltine for Tarja.   One dose worked that way, but when I gave her the next glass of miracle milk, she started saying that it tasted funny, and would not drink it.  I went to a nearby convenience store, bought her one of her favorite little drinks that comes in a sport bottle, and doctored it up.  So far, she has finished most of that drink.  I don't know how we're going to get through 8 more days of this.  Both girls also have antibiotic skin cream for their wounds, and Ivana has eye drops. 

 I have some things to look forward to as the girls continue to heal.  Remember that amazing job that I applied for a few posts back?  While we were waiting for the ambulance the other day, they were calling me to go sign my hiring papers.  Other people were leaving messages on my voice mail and email about wanting twirling lessons for their little girls.  In addition to those good things, a fellow homeschooler has started a full fledged support group here, AND my paperwork is all set to begin our homeschool Girl Scout troop.  To say that I am excited about some things would be a huge understatement. 


Friday, July 13, 2012

Ivana and Tarja's Road to Recovery

Since my last post, we have been at pediatric unit of the Coventry Hospital in Lubbock, Texas.  If you read my last post, I mentioned that Princess Ivana was sick.  I took her to the doctor Monday morning and was told that she possibly had a staph infection that originated from a little sore on her chin.  The doctor gave her a big shot of penicillin, and said that she would be ready by the next morning, and made an appointment to see her again the very next day to be sure of her progress.

By the next morning, she was considerably worse.  Two doctors from the clinic checked her over really well, and called a pediatrician in Odessa to see if he could see her right away, but due to short staffing, we were told that we should head to the emergency room at Medical Center in Odessa.  I went and got the King from work and we were off to Odessa. 

The ER doctor in Odessa was a jerk, and acted like he didn't really want to deal with us.  After running a few tests, he came in to say that he couldn't really figure out what was going on, and that he had summoned an ambulance to carry she and I to Lubbock.  Even in just the couple of hours of time that had lapsed between our visit to the clinic, and the doctor's decision to send us to Lubbock from the ER, her condition had shockingly worsened. 

The ambulance came to get the baby and me.  The King went home to organize the other three Princesses, and discovered that Tarja had developed the same condition.  He loaded her up in the truck and brought her to Lubbock with him.  As soon as he got here, he stayed in the hospital room with the baby, while I took Tarja to the ER of the hospital. 

After many tests, and teams of doctors looking into the situation, including an infectious disease specialist, it was determined that both children are infected with staph.  We don't have a clue as to how they got it, or how it became this serious.  Ivana has been on IV antibiotics for two, going on three days.  Tarja is getting the same medication in oral form, and has not been admitted to the hospital.  She is in the room with us, however, and doctors and nurses have been checking on her, even though she was only a patient in the ER. 

At the time of this writing, both girls are making fast progress.  Special thank yous and hugs to all of our family and friends who have been helping, and who have taken the time to pray for us.  It really does mean a great deal to me, and even though we can't have visitors, and are so far away from home, I don't feel like I've been in this alone.  There is a possibility that we could go home today. 

My mommy review of the hospital is a good one.  I have never been in a hospital or hospital unit that was specifically set up for children.  This one is all about the babies and kids.  The staff is very sensitive and friendly, not just to the little patients, but to us, as well.  They frequently pop in to ask if we need anything.   The only thing that we are lacking is a place to sleep, but all of our other needs have been met, and the girls are getting well a lot more quickly than I expected. 

At this point, I have no way of knowing when we will go home or what our orders will be when we get there, but I'm really hoping that we are nearing the end of this.  I look forward to reuniting with the rest of our family, and to being able to sleep in my own bed.  Tarja has been crying for the other Princesses.  She is lost without them.  After all, they are the Four Princesses. 


Monday, July 9, 2012

General Motors Diet: Day 3

Epic FAIL. Fasting blood sugar: 169.  This day was filled with worry, work, and bad food eaten in between work and worry.  However, on the diet front, I have the stuff to begin again tomorrow.  Maybe the damage wasn't too bad.  Even so, there is nothing wrong with fruit and veggie days, so I will not be discouraged, and will still weigh in and see if I've lost anything by Saturday or Sunday. 

On the home front, Princess Ivana needs your prayers.  This is the first time that she has been truly ill since birth, and today actually marked 6 months for her.  Her little body is riddled with infection that started from a tiny little blemish on her face.  The doctor gave her a shot that is supposed to have her well by morning.  I deeply and truly hope so.   We go back to the doctor early in the morning to check on her progress. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

General Motors Diet: Day 2

Fasting blood sugar: 167 (better than yesterday, but hopefully will keep working its way down.)

Stress tends to be a diet buster, but even though I was up off and on all night with Princess Ivana, I seem to be hanging in there pretty well.  I can tell that after day 1, I have shed some water weight.  Breakfast for day 2 is a baked potato, which is something that I don't get to have very often on my usual diet.  I made broccoli soup and some fresh green beans last night so that it would be ready for today's all day veggie consumption.  Today is the day to eat all veggies and no fruit.  I think that I have finally found the secret to sticking to this crazy diet.  That secret is to fix the soup with veggies that I love, and stock the fridge with fruits that I love. As of the time that I'm writing this particular paragraph, I realize that I have not had anywhere near enough water to drink today, so I will get on that right now.  So far, I have had my baked potato, a bowl of broccoli soup and  a diet coke. 

The good news about this is that the Princesses are helping me eat some of this fruit and veggie goodness, so hopefully my having to diet for diabetes and the addition of Bountiful Baskets to our town is helping to establish some good habits.  Incidentally, because health problems have forced us to spend some time learning about nutrition, I do count it as "health" for their school work.  Learning about the ins and outs of diabetes and the fact that it is very strongly genetically linked in our family has been a heck of a hands on science project.  Learning how to prepare healthy meals also falls under "home economics".  This goes along with learning being a lifestyle rather than something that happens for a predetermined amount of time per day. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

General Motors Diet Day 1

It's rare that I post twice in one day, but this is a special situation.  I started the General Motors diet this morning.  My fasting blood sugar was 190, which is not good.  Breakfast was cantaloupe and a Spark energy drink.  I thought that I would get to make my vegetable soup and have that in between breakfast and lunch, but Princess Ivana woke up swollen and with a rash as though she were having an allergic reaction to something.  Holy Cow! 

Princess Abbey, Ivana, and I spent the rest of the morning in the emergency room.  The verdict is that she is cutting 3 or 4 teeth, and had a sore on her chin that is infected.  Why does that cause a rash and swollen eyes?  I don't get it, but I'm no doctor.  We're doing antibiotics, benadryl and hot soaks for the chin. 

As soon as I got home, Princess Melody wanted me to take her to McDonalds to pick up lunch for herself and the rest of the family.  I told her that I am on a diet and she said, "Well, I want to go to McDonalds and get us something bad."  LOL!  OK.  She bought me a diet coke, which I enjoyed tremendously.

After McDonalds, I finally got to have my soup, which I made with cauliflower, onion, garlic and chicken broth.  I pureed the veggies to make it a nice, creamy soup, and it is wonderful.  I had soup for lunch, then snacked on leftover cantaloupe and grapes.  A couple of hours after lunch, my blood sugar was 117, which is on the high end of normal.  I have spent a lot of time emptying my bladder, so at this rate, a great deal of retained water will be leaving me. 

Ivana is doing better, with lots of love and snuggles.  The King had to take time out to take a nap with her, because he has a certain way about him that makes sick people feel better.  Ever since that nap, she has been a lot happier, but still not 100 percent well.

Supper is more of my cauliflower soup, garnished with avocado.  I don't know if avocados are allowed on this diet or not, but I'm eating them, anyway. 

I took a brief trip to the grocery store to get the potato that I need to eat for breakfast in the morning.  I will stuff that potato with broccoli, because I LOVE broccoli stuffed potatoes, and tomorrow is vegetable day. 

Therefore, I have made it from breakfast to dinner without a dietary hitch.  I've enjoyed everything that I've eaten, and do not lack for energy.  My concern is that eating so much fruit could cause more blood sugar issues, but we will see what the glucometer says in the morning.

Diets and so Forth

I'm going to post this, just to solidify it in my mind and add a little accountability to the project.  I won't disclose my starting weight, but if I lose any, I'll share how much I lost at the end of the project. 

I got my bountiful baskets order this morning, and I was contemplating in my mind about how I could use up all of these fruits and veggies before they go bad.  Not everybody in my household loves fruits and veggies as much as they should.  My homeschooled kids aren't exempt from craving McDonalds and Pizza Hut, especially since Princess Melody works at McDonalds.  However, I think that we should try to make healthy choices as much as we can. 

The most obvious way that I can think of to use all of this up in the fastest, most efficient way possible, and a way for me to hopefully enjoy some much needed weight loss is to go on the General Motors Diet.  It's a safe diet, though not a fun one.  It goes along pretty well with the paleo diet, which is what I have the most success on.  However, General Motors is lower in fat and calories and quite a bit more extreme.  It only goes for a week at the time, which is a blessing.  For those that can stand to go through the entire program for a week, it works really well.  With all of the healthy fruits, vegetables and water, it is impossible not to work.  I will mention though, that the last time that I did this, I didn't lose any weight at all, because I got pregnant with Princess Tarja.  I think that God was having a little fun at my expense, or maybe all of the wonderful vitamins that I was consuming with the fruits and veggies kick started something.   For a long time after that, we cautioned other women friends to not eat any cabbage soup, or they would get pregnant.  Hoootie hooo!! 

Anyway, I got my bountiful baskets this morning, had fruit and a Spark drink for breakfast, and am about to make a pot of vegetable soup.  It will feel so good to shed some pounds by the end of the week, so I'm going to keep my eyes on the prize at the end.  Unfortunately, to get to my ideal weight, I will need to repeat the program several times.  In addition to this, I've been watching the Weigh Down videos by Gwen Shamblin.  So here I go on the journey to help myself to look as amazing as I feel.  I do think that it's funny that I can be so happy, and feel so great..............yet still have this weight issue.  I can be grateful that the weight (and, of course, my blood sugar), is all that I really have to worry about.  I'm not going to worry anymore.  I'm going to make my best effort to enjoy the journey, and rejoice when the battle is won.  There will be no "before" picture, but one of these days, there might be an "after" picture.  Can't wait!

If you are having the same struggle, leave me a comment.  Let's cheer each other on!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Another One of my Homeschooling Mama Lists

I've had a wonderful, but tiring day, so instead of a story about what we've done, I'm just going to give you another one of my rambling lists.

1.  The fastest way to clean a room, any room, is to fill a laundry basket with everything that is out of place.  Carry the basket around with you from room to room, putting its contents away.  Of course, if someone comes by unannounced, you can just stash the basket out of sight until you have time to put things away again.

2.  Anything that is worth doing is hard.  I tell this to the Four Princesses all the time.  Raising Four Princesses is hard, but definitely worth doing.  

3.  I thought I could be, but now I've come to realize that I can't be a "crunchy mama".  Nope.  Except, of course, when I get too much hairspray in my hair.  Then, I might be a little crunchy. 

4.  I am a short, chunky mama.  A man squeezed my arm one time and said, "My, your arms are big!  Do you lift weights?"  I said, "No.  I lift babies."  I could probably still throw Princess Melody over my shoulder, but she's taller than me, so it would be a little awkward. 

5.  I used to bake every single day.  I made home made breads, biscuits, cookies, pies, cakes, etc.  When I found out that I was diabetic, I quit baking cold turkey.  Now, I crochet up a storm.

6.  Those annoying telemarketers that call to interrupt your dinner about a special offer that you must take advantage of RIGHT NOW????  I used to be one, and I was really GOOD at it.

7. I'm currently reading a set of three books by Beverly Lewis that Princess Melody gave me for Mother's Day.

8. I believe that, for the most part, I can make time to do everything that I really want to do.

9. Colloidal silver is my new favorite healthy good thing that I keep around the house.

10. The Roku is the best thing that has happened to our TV viewing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July Fourth Stuff

We kicked off our day with a  parade.  My twirling team, The Sparklers, were in the parade, and it went beautifully.  I absolutely love my little twirlers.  We are using music by The Ventures as our theme for this year, and we used "Wipe Out" for the parade.  We ended the parade at the park that hosts our Freedom Fest.  At that point, the girls were to stand and salute the flag (twirler style) with the Boy Scouts for the opening ceremonies.  If I had a video of what took place to get them into line with the boys, we would win America's Funniest Videos, for sure.

I located the mama that was in charge of the Boy Scouts and asked her where she wanted the twirlers to stand.  She said that they should walk in behind the boys from a certain point of the center walkway in the park.  She told the three boys, who would carry the flag, to let the girls go with them to where they were to begin.  I quickly gathered the girls and sent them behind the boys.  My friend, Laura, kept Ivana for me, and then I went after them.  When I got to the other end of the park, The Sparklers were all lined up, all ten of them, behind the boys, trailing behind them in perfect formation....................while the boys stopped and looked at various vendor booths, and every so often turned to looked at the girls as if they were  a little frightened.  I stopped the girls, and asked Princess Melody (who was the leader of this incident) why they were doing what they were doing, and she said, "You told us to follow the boys."  I'm still laughing.  Be that as it may, opening ceremonies were wonderful and the twirlers looked like angels.

After that, Princess Melody and Princess Abbey, along with their friend, Princess Katie, performed a routine to Hawaii Five-O at the Freedom Fest, and then again at the Miss Sparkler pageant.

 Princess Tarja was in the Miss Sparkler pageant, and she twirled her little baton as part of her "fun fashion" event.  Tarja was such a sweet little pageant contestant, but so upset that she didn't win anything.  In fact, she was upset until time for the fireworks display, and seems to have forgotten all about the pageant after that.  Even when she woke up this morning, she was still going on and on about how much fun and how awesome the fireworks were. 

Poor Melody still had to go to work after three performances, but she held up like a tough little Princess.

Happy Belated July 4th,