Life in my Shoes

Life in my Shoes

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crazy Halloween HIGH!!!

Okay, so we've seen some highs since we thought we had gotten a good handle on Ashlyn's blood sugar levels since her diagnosis this past February. I mean, come on, we've been at this for 8 months now. We've learned TONS of stuff, so we've been given the green flag to make our own adjustments in her insulin as needed.

But when you see this........




and can't believe it, so you try again and get THIS.......




it kinda makes you think you have no idea what you are doing.



Actually, we (her daddy and I) are pretty confident that what we were seeing here was a combination of a couple of things:

  1. She has needed a bump up on her bedtime Lantus anyway so she's already running a little high.
  2. Her eating schedule was off today.
  3. She had a big birthday party this morning.
  4. She had the "Fall Festival" at our church this afternoon.
  5. I kept finding her grabbing a bite of brownie here, or a piece of candy there.

At least.......that's what we're thinking. After getting that sky high reading, we did of course treat it with lots of insulin and something a little healthier than candy for dinner, so by bedtime her reading (82) was back in her target range of 80 - 150. Just the craziness of this disease I guess.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Great article about ADHD

I recently found the following article in our local issue of the Thrive magazine. It explains the issues that a child or an adult struggles with if living with ADHD. I love how this article so clearly explains that the main problems are the lack of "executive functions". I used to think that these things were a lack of character in my children and that with consistent and firm discipline, these issues would resolve themselves. I'm not so cavalier anymore. After years of trying all the different appropriate discipline methods, I have observed that some things are NOT issues of willful disobedience, but are functioning problems inside the brain. How can you tell the difference?? I will give you examples from my home after each of the listed executive functions below.


http://www.dfwthrivemagazine.com/showarticle.asp?artid=47


The Eight Executive Functions
  1. Inhibition: Ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time (If the thought to tease her brother pops into her head when he is already upset, Lexi will ALWAYS do it. If the doorbell rings, Grant and Lexi drop EVERYTHING instantly every time and RUN to the door and yank it open!)
  2. Shift: Ability to move freely from one situation to another and think flexibly (Grant gets crazy angry if he's focused on an activity and we need him to stop and give another person a turn.)
  3. Emotional control: Ability to manage emotional responses by tempering feelings with rational thought (Grant gets crazy angry if focused on an activity and it's time to give someone else a turn and we ask him to stop. Then ANY discipline for that behavior no matter how calm you are only escalates him and makes him screaming mad.)
  4. Initiation: Ability to begin a task and independently generate ideas (If I tell Grant or Lexi to go clean up their room, they might get to their room, but then start to play instead of clean. They don't know where to start. This is not a problem with 5 year old Abby.)
  5. Working memory: Ability to keep information in mind until completion of task (If I ask Lexi to make her bed, pick up her clothes off the floor, brush her teeth, and get on her jammies she will get on her bed and play with the stuffed animals.This also affects how long Lexi can remember math facts.)
  6. Planning: Ability to manage current and future-oriented task demands (It never occurs to Lexi that she needs to begin working on a deadline days or weeks before. It doesn't hit her until we're ready to walk out the door. She never remembers to work on her Master Club projects until Wednesday afternoon.)
  7. Organization of materials: Ability to impose order on work, play and storage spaces (Lexi could never find her pencil..it was always on the floor or in the other room where she took it to see what was going on out the window. Lexi's belongings are ALWAYS strewn across the floor and getting lost. She's leaves things out all the time and her baby siblings tear it up.)
  8. Self-monitoring: Ability to monitor one’s own performance and measure it against expectations (I'm not sure that this is such a huge issue in my house. Both Grant and Lexi seem to be aware of other people watching them and worrying about what others think of them.)


*Source Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel, authors of the book Late, Lost and Unprepared


These all still sound like issues that every child deals with, but in my children which are NOT ADHD the problem can be straightened out with correction, and isn't something that goes on for years!! With my children who are struggling with ADHD, I found thoughts going through my head like this, "Why does this child not GET this??" "Is he learning disabled??" "Why am I so ANGRY with this child??" "Why did she DO that?? She KNOWS we don't allow that in our family." "Why am I so TIRED??"

Don't be afraid to investigate further if you are struggling with your children. You are not alone, and there are lots of things that you can learn to do differently that are much more effective than what you are doing now. The Lord has a very special plan, an important purpose, for your child's life. It's our job as the parent to help prepare them for that purpose and help them reach their God-given potential. I'm still on that journey!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homeschooling Modifications

Last year was such a nightmare for me in the area of homeschooling, that I was desperate NOT to repeat it. Too much emotion, too much chaos, too much going on, not enough effective teaching, not enough peacefulness. It was a year I wish had not even been a blip on my radar.

So in an effort to make things better, I've done several things to modify our learning experience.

First and foremost, I took my 12 year old daughter and 7 year old son to a Pediatric D.O. to have them tested for learning difficulties. I have already discussed our findings in my posts here and here.
With those findings, these are some of the modifications that I have made to our homeschooling efforts:


1. Ever since my 12 year old daughter (ADHD-inattentive Type) was in the 1st or 2nd grade,
I had been using the ACE (or School of Tomorrow) curriculum with all of my children.
Now, I was in a Christian school my entire school career that used ACE, so I
am completely comfortable with how that program works, and
how to use it effectively. It was GREAT for me.
With that being said,
it was a DISASTER for my ADHD children.
They just absolutely could NOT work on their own and I about went clinically
insane trying to figure out how to get them to complete ALL their work!!
We tried everything from yelling to privileges being taken away to losing recess time.

SO, after consulting with other homeschooling parents and researching some things
online, we've switched to Math-U-See for........Math.
Can I just say right now.....that it is a GOD-send!!!
My children ALL love it.
I'm using the Primer Level for my 5 and 7 yr. old.
My 9 yr. old is in the Gamma Level,
and my ADHD 12 yr. old is in the Epsilon Level.
Every lesson has a video they can watch to learn the concept, then they have worksheets
to go along with the new concept
(which are not overwhelming in length which has been a great change for us),
PLUS there are these amazing manipulatives they can keep their hands busy with!!! Check it out at www.mathusee.com.

We have also started using Shurley English for ........English.
I have a wonderful, amazing friend who recognized I needed some direction
and some help with my children,
so she graciously volunteered to tutor my ADHD-ers this past summer
because they had fallen so far behind.
She used this English curriculum with them and my daughter just FLEW
through this stuff.
So I'm using it with all my children this year.
My 5 and 7 yr. olds are using Level 1,
and I'm using Level 4 for both my 9 and 12 year old.
My 12 yr. old is pretty familiar with this Level because of the tutoring, but
she forgets things more easily, so I'm fine with the repetition for her!!
Shurley English uses a different approach to teaching English which includes
little "jingles" to teach the parts of English and sentence construction. I think it's
really concentrated so they are learning more.....faster!!
Check it out at www.Shurley.com.

I always start our school morning with "chapel time" where we go over our monthly
scripture passage we are memorizing together, do our pledges,
hear a Bible or Character story, and do some singing. This captures everyone's attention
and gathers them all together in one place. Then I can go right into lessons with my younger
ones, while my older two keep an eye on the two babies (3 and 20 months), and clean
up the breakfast dishes. Then we switch after lunch. So far, it has been working okay.
We still have some attention issues to iron out, but we're only into our 7th week of school.


Finally, once we get our new core curriculums firmly in place, I plan to add some
History, Bible, and Science lessons using a method called Lapbooking.
Have any of you ever tried this?
Some of the things I want to teach with this this year are:
Texas State History
Little House on the Prairie Series
The Chronicles of Narnia


2. Another thing that we have implemented is a "new" system of discipline. We have tried lots of positive reinforcement type chore charts, behavior charts, etc. This idea is similar to that and not created by me. It's a ticket system where the children earn rewards for good behavior
and chores completed, and loose tickets for poor behavior or chores not completed. I found this idea here and have modified it to fit our family's needs. Grant has especially responded well to it
and is like the ticket POLICE now. He's very aware of his sisters infractions and enjoys looking for ways to earn more tickets.

3. Something that I've read in my ever increasing research on ADHD is that these children NEED a routine. I still don't completely understand why because they are so distractable and can change what they are doing in the blink-of-an-eye, but nevertheless, THEY DO. There is a particular comfort in knowing what is coming next hour, when the next meal will be, when bedtime is, etc. So I have tried being much more strict about our daily schedule. I try to have all my children up, dressed, fed, some of our chores done, and at the table for chapel time by 9 am. We're not always successful, but usually pretty close. Then I immediately start working with Grant and Abby at the table for a little while, give them some time to run around outside, and then get back at the books. When I break their lessons up into smaller chunks of time and give more outside breaks, Grant does a LOT better.
This last week when I was sick and not staying on our schedule, he was awful almost everyday.
I found that I HAVE to be rigid or we all pay the price.
Reading time for these two is usually at bedtime. Grant learned to read this past summer with
his tutor, and is so much more confident with himself and actually ASKS to read at bedtime.
Lexi is reading at bedtime too. I like her to be in my bed by 9:30 pm (or earlier) so she can read for an hour. She NEVER falls asleep easily and I've even started giving her about 1mg. of melatonin before bed to help her sleep. She has now read all the Little House on the Prairie books, many of the American Girl books, the entire Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and is now slowly making her way through The Fellowship of the Ring.
Ashlyn (who is 9) has been plodding her way through some of the Boxcar Children books.
Bedtime is a great time to get that reading in.
Another thing that I've read is that ADHD children need their SCREEN TIME LIMITED. That is so hard with a son with ADHD because they typically LOVE their computer games. Grant would sit there all day and play online monster truck games or skateboarding games, etc. So I've experimented to limiting his time on the computer to ONLY on Saturday for about an hour, and maybe some during the week if he's earned it. He also doesn't see but MAYBE a half hour of TV in the morning before lunch, and then some at night after dark. That has actually been a big help for him too!!

4. Finally, the biggest modification that I have tried this year is moving our house arrangement around. Our house is much smaller than you'd probably think it to be (1400 sq. foot), so my space is extremely limited. I needed more space for all my homeschooling materials, and just couldn't figure out how to squeeze more storage into my already crowded dining area.
So I switched my dining furniture into my living room and my living room furniture into the dining area.
We have actually adapted quite well to it, and enjoy have a cosier reading room type effect in our new "family room".
I also moved the existing bookshelves from the living room into our (my husband and my) bedroom and then purchased another set to put into the new school room on either side of my china cabinet. This gave me loads more storage space and opened up a roomier place for our table to be. We have much more space for schooling now, plus the little ones are sort of kept together better in the back of the house closer to the kitchen and outdoors too!!
This has helped relieve some of our space issues.


Not the prettiest room on the block, but much more functional for us!!!



Working at the table together.....peacefully....a rarity!!




Our flags for pledges, flanked on either side by two of our favorite past presidents!!




Organization is a HUGE issue for ADHD children and this is my attempt to teach them
how to organize their school folders.

With all this being said, I want to be sure to communicate that our struggles are not completely
eradicated!! As I mentioned before, if we get off schedule for whatever reason my son is horrid.
I can't explain the reason why, but I think it has to do with some of his anxiety issues.
I'm still looking into some dietary changes for us to see if that helps him to calm down more too.
He also is so much calmer in the house if he can spend LOTS of time outdoors. I'm considering figuring out how to get more outdoor play equipment in our backyard to lure him out there for longer periods of time. He loves being on a bike, scooter and skates too. I'm also desperate enough to see some changes in him that I'm thinking through maybe, someday, in the future, not this year, but sometime, possibly getting a small dog for him. He loves little animals.

A great resource that I also recently joined that I want you to know about is:
This website has an email list you must join to ask questions and find support from loads of other parents who are homeschooling or just trying to raise their children with ADHD. I have found lots of ideas, and found lots of encouragement in this online support group.

I want to encourage those of you who are homeschooling children with special learning needs or not, it's always a challenge. I have always had to be 4 steps ahead of my children and it's exhausting and overwhelming most of the time. But the tiniest of victories are so sweet, and I know that this is what the Lord has called our family to do. I know that He has a plan for my children and I can only do the best I know how to do with His leading and then get out of His way and watch Him do the miracles in their lives!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"The Promise"

I have always been fascinated with and moved by the art of dramatic production. In fact, I minored in it when I was in college. Growing up, I didn't have a lot of opportunities to participate in drama, so when I got to college, I couldn't wait to learn that craft. It is so much fun putting together a performance that has a strong message and that moves the audience.

This past Saturday evening, my husband and I and our two oldest girls had the unique opportunity to attend a performance of "The Promise" in Glen Rose, Texas. It is the story of a grandfather who takes his granddaughter and grandson on a hike in some of the historic areas of Glen Rose and them tells them the story of Jesus Christ. Then the characters and events in the life of Christ are re-enacted around the family as "Grandpa" tells the story.

Can I just tell you that I haven't been as moved by a dramatic production
since my college days?

I have seen many a religious drama in my day and the one word that characterizes
the majority of them would be.......cheesy.

There are many reasons a religious drama can come off as cheesy.......poor acting, poor directing, not enough resources for quality properties and staging, or a script lacking strength and continuity.
Let me assure you that "The Promise" had none of these qualities. It was superbly written, superbly directed, superbly acted, and utilized state-of-the-art technical equipment.

But most impressive to me was the atmosphere. The theatre was an amphitheatre design and it was located way back in the boonies amid rock formations and unsettled country. The entire staff and crew went out of their way to make you feel at home and communicated how grateful they were that you came so far to experience all their hard work. It truly was an unforgettable experience.

A must see when you come visit the great state of Texas!!



My daughter snapped this picture of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.
My girls got to sit on the very front row because we had a connection and I couldn't believe how close they were (though she said she did zoom in on this picture).



One of the many live animals utilized throughout the performance.




"Jesus loves the little children.....all the children of the world"



The crucifixion scene with Satan laying on the stairs......ever present in every scene.
Very powerful.



Jesus joyfully risen from the dead and his disciples rejoicing.



Here we are almost at the end of the performance. One of Lexi's favorite friends, Emily,
played the granddaughter, Lisa. That's her just to the left of Jesus!!



After the performance, Lexi and Emily.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Super easy and elegant wedding gift

Last weekend, I had both a baby shower to attend, as well as a wedding. The wedding was of a young lady who had been a part of my husband's church youth group many years ago, and she was marrying a young man she used to bring to the Bible studies in our home when these two were like 15 or something. Now they are getting married, and I wanted to take along a gift that was a little more personal than the toaster off her gift registry from Target (not that she was registered there).
So I remembered way back when I first got married and had lots of time to craft things and had been introduced to this craft by another newly married friend. I knew right away that I wanted to revive this for our little bride. Here's what you do:


Framed Wedding Invitation

All you need is the frame you want to use (I used an 8x10" picture frame for an approximately 5x7" invitation), a self-stick mounting board for needlework (again I used the 8x10" size), enough fabric to cover the mounting board (I purchased a 1/2 yard of party taffeta and had some left over in case of a mistake), and some spray adhesive.



I cut the fabric down to size, peeled off the paper and stuck it to the mounting board.
I then turned it over and tried using hot melt glue to nicely fold over and hide the raw edges.




Then I turned it over, sprayed the back of the invitation with the spray adhesive, mounted it on the fabric covered board, and put it in the frame.

VOILA!!!

Can't be any easier than that.



I love the simplicity of this project and how creative you can get in designing something very personal and unique to each bride.
Next time I'm going to try some of the fancy scrapbooking papers with seasonal and textured themes instead of fabric. I saw some yesterday that are VELVET!!!

The costliest part of this project was the frame itself. But I found it on sale too, so the entire project cost less than $20. I bought my supplies at the JoAnn Fabric and Craft Superstore.

Happy Gifting!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fun and Easy Baby Gift

I love babies!! So of course, I love baby showers. I have always kinda struggled though to find the "perfect" baby gift for that new mommy. It took me a very long time (I think I'm mentally challenged in the area of figuring out the simple things!!!) to figure out that I should just come up with a really simple idea and make a bunch of them ahead of time so I would have a gift on hand every time and not have to run out and find something special.

This idea is not created by me. I first saw this when a friend of mind asked me to help her figure out how to make these on her own from a sample she brought to my house (Thanks, Rhonda!!!). It was really easy to put together, but it was a very long time ago too. So I ran across this project again at my local JoAnn Fabrics Superstore......which have I mentioned that I wish I could just LIVE there!!

So I thought I might share with you this little idea as well as keep a record of this for myself so I don't forget how to do it later on down the line.

Easy Hooded Bath Towel

I started with just a simple bath towel and hand towel. For the first several I make, I'm buying the least expensive I can find as Wal-Mart.




Start by taking the hand towel and folding it in half and pinning along the top selvage.




Stitch along the selvage removing the pins as you go. Then turn inside out and lay the hood out as a triangle.



Pin the long side of the hood to the top selvage of the towel (laid out long ways).



Stitch along the pinning, attaching the hood to the towel.




That's all there is to it!!! Two seams!!! No finishing raw edges. Couldn't be easier.
So for the fun part!!
Our local high school has a vocational program for mentally/physically challenged teenagers
where they teach them all kinds of skills. One of the skills is how to use a fancy embroidery machine. You can take your projects in to the teachers there, go through the catalog and look at the gazillions of pictures they can program into the computer, and then they teach these teenagers how to embroider your designs on your projects for you.
The cost: CHEAP!!

For BOTH the hood and the back on this hooded towel it cost me $7.00.
I couldn't have been more pleased!!!









As you can see, this version of the hooded towel doesn't exactly fit a newborn. I'm going to be experimenting with some different folds and maybe even cutting the towels down and finishing the edges with contrasting bias tape for added color. I'll keep you posted with the new designs!!


Monday, October 19, 2009

"First Responder's Sunday"


Have I mentioned before how much I love our church? It has been such a blessing to us on so many different levels, and yesterday was no exception.

Every couple years they honor all the first responder's of our community with a "First Responder's Sunday." They/We invite, invite, invite as many EMT's, firemen, and police officers as we can for a powerful message, a catered lunch, and a chance to represent their departments with vehicle/equipment displays. It's a great time for the children to see all the different types of emergency vehicles used in their community, and to get to know the men and women who have trained to help them in the event of an emergency.


Sorry this picture is so dark and grainy, but I wanted a picture of the color guard and pledges during the morning service.


My wonderful husband talking to the children in front of his department's police vehicle.



The life-flight helicopter made a special landing for us.




There was a delicious catered lunch of Texas BBQ for all the first responders and their families.



My husband with our special speaker, Mr. Emery Esse. This gentleman was a Detroit SWAT member and has an amazing testimony. He gave a most powerful message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ from being a Shiite Muslim!!!
The gentleman on the right is our Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Raymond Barber.



Modeling his sheriff's badge.



Getting his fingerprints scanned for his child safety ID.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comments??

I LOVE comments. Comments are grand.
Comments are the voices in your head talking back to me as you read my posts.
I tend to think that everyone taking the time to read my blog would be thinking lovely, encouraging, thought-provoking, positive things,
but then I tend to see through rose colored glasses on occasion too.
So, I'm going to experiment.

I've had several folks mention to me that they have tried to leave a nice comment, but couldn't figure it out. So I began investigating and discovered that I had set this thing up to receive comments only from those who are registered users on certain thingys....ummm....forums??......ummm......social networking sites?? I don't exactly know. All I know is that I could sign in but other people could not.......SO......I changed it.
Mind your manners now!!! I don't want any of that crazy, mean, ugly stuff.
Suggestions, yes. Corrections, fine. Cuss words, no.
I mean it.
I will delete your mean self so fast it'll make your head spin!!

So for those of you who are new at this, here is what you do:
Click on "Thoughtful comments or questions" at the bottom of the post.
At the bottom of the empty box where your comment is to go,
you will see "Comment as" with a little box that has a arrow to expand
and give you some options.

Click on the arrow, then click on "Name/URL".
You can then type in your name and leave the "URL" space blank.
Then you can type in your comment and you should be able to publish it without any problem.

I apologize if you already know how to do this, but I know there are
several in my reading audience who are "Computerly Challenged"........and you KNOW
who you are!!

So, now that you are free to speak and I have removed the binders, LET ME HEAR
YOUR THOUGHTS!!!!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sovereignty

For many years I have had this little poem tucked in my Bible. It's not the most brilliantly composed piece of poetry, but I believe it is well-loved. Having studied textiles a little bit while in college for my Home Economics degree (which I'm pretty sure is obsolete now), these words have extra strength and meaning for me. It encouraged me this morning, I hope it will you:


The Weaver

My life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Honeymoon is OVER!!!!

I really don't know what is going on other than we must be adjusting to life POST "honeymoon". I just can't get a "good" blood sugar reading from Ashlyn, no matter WHAT I try.
For those of you who aren't familiar with diabetic terms, the "honeymoon" is known as that period of time after initial diagnosis when your pancreas kicks back in a little and erratically produces a little more of its own insulin. Then you have these really low blood sugar readings and have to back off of the synthetic insulin. This could last for weeks or months or even a year or more. It just depends. Nobody knows.
For us, Ashlyn's honeymoon period kicked in several weeks after diagnosis in March. After every meal her blood sugar would drop to 40 and take HOURS to edge back up even with eating or drinking 15 g. of carbs every 15 minutes. It was EXCRUCIATING.

So we backed WAY off on the injected insulin.

Last week our endocrinologist informed us that she is formally OUT of the honeymoon period.
Her looked at her numbers while we were there, and said she was "obviously underdosed" even though her A1C was 7.5%, so he tweaked her ratios from 1:16 at dinner to 1:13 and upped her Lantus at bedtime to 9 units.
Nearly two weeks later, there is not much difference. She is still waking up to numbers over 200, and jumping up by dinnertime to over 300.....consistently. I changed her breakfast and lunch ratios today, and she had a better lunchtime reading but dinner was still over 300. We changed her Lantus a couple days ago to 10 units, but I'm thinking that we're going to have to go up to 11 units here pretty soon.

How far up will she go?? I have no idea. I guess that other children take tons more and in comparison we're still on relatively low amounts of insulin. We met a family with a boy Ashlyn's age who is on 21 units of Lantus, and the endo told us he has teenage boys (as patients) who are on 80 units of Lantus (obviously big, busy guys!!).

Our goal is a blood sugar reading of 80-150, so I guess we'll just keep plugging along here in search of the elusive "good" numbers.

On another note, I'm interested in talking with my Aunt on my mother's side who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a young girl in the early 50's. I'd like to hear how things have changed through the years for her, how she started out reading her blood sugar since they didn't have meters back then, and how she was instructed to manage her blood sugar. I wonder how much insulin she is on now and how this disease has affected her quality of life. That little interview would make for a good blog entry in the near future. Stay TUNED!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe



Peanut Butter Popcorn

I know, I know.....you're thinking......"Huh?", or "Gross", or "On POPCORN?".
But let me just reassure you......this is De-LISH!!!
I've been making this since AT LEAST the summer of 1987, and it
has always been an old family favorite......well, my side of the family!
Super easy to make and worth every minute of it.

(Oh, just TRY it!!)


1/2 cup corn syrup (I know, I know....haven't tried it with honey yet)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
About 9 cups of popped popcorn (I used two bags of microwave popcorn)



In a saucepan mix the sugar and corn syrup together. Heat until boiling.



When it begins to boil around the edges, remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. The sauce will be nice and thick, but pourable. Move quickly though because
it sets up and gets stiffer pretty quick.



Pour sauce over popcorn and fold around until popcorn is evenly coated.
Enjoy the yumminess...but be careful.....it's addictive!



Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Days of School


I don't know if you can read the jolly little apples on their pictures,
but it says,
"Welcome back to school!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Back to school!!!

We actually started back to school on September 8th. That was a couple weeks later than I usually start, but let me tell ya.......I was really nervous about this year. I was just overwhelmed with figuring out how to best meet all the needs of my children, and I wasn't sure how it was all going to work. So I gave my self extra time to get my brain wrapped around our new curriculum, and to do some major modifications to our home and schedule. I'm really excited to tell you about that in a later post because I've seen TREMENDOUS improvement with both my ADHD-ers.

But I thought I'd share something fun we did this year to get everyone excited about our first day. We added another student to our "school" this year, and she was just thrilled and delighted to be starting Kindergarten!! So on the night before we began, we had a "BACK-TO-SCHOOL PARTY."

Now, lest you think I put hours and hours of planning into this, let me just put your mind at ease. This was just a tiny soiree in our schoolroom/dining area that involved only our family. But the children got so into it, and we just had fun together. Here are the little details:


BACK-TO-SCHOOL PARTY


Menu: Tuna and cheese sandwiches (because Tuna travel in "schools")
Alphabet Soup
Watermelon




Games: Be the first to spell your name from the letters in your soup, and
scavenger hunt for markers that mommy hid through-out the house.





Decorations: I didn't really go all out with this because of a lack of time, but I did
use our tins of markers, and pencils, and pens as centerpieces.




Dessert: "Schoolhouse" Cake

I did actually have a pattern to make this and it went together so quickly. The children
were so excited about this cake.



It wasn't a big 'ol stressful deal to put this together, but it did a lot to help me have fun
with it and get into a great frame of mind for starting another schoolyear. The children enjoyed
it too......







Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe

Crock-Pot Chicken De-Lish

Okay, so just to warn you ahead of time, the pictures for this dish are not the greatest.
They look kinda gross if you ask me, but for some reason, I didn't get great shots of this.
But let me just say that it is so AMAZING!!! YUM!!!

Oh yes, and this is the recipe as it is written, but I doubled it and it fits in my 5-quart crock pot just perfectly!

1 - 6 ounce package chicken flavor stuffing mix
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I left these out)
1 medium red or green sweet pepper,
cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 chopped onion
1 - 10 3/4 oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup


1. Prepare stuffing mix according to package instructions, EXCEPT
REDUCE WATER TO 1/2 CUP. (Stuffing will not be completely moistened.)
Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, zucchini, pepper and onion.
Stir in soup.






3. In a 3 1/2, 4 or 5 quart crock pot, place half the chicken-veggie mixture;
top with half of the stuffing. Repeat layers.





4. Cover. Cook on low setting for 5-6 hours or on high setting fo 2 1/2 -3 hours.
Makes 6 HEAVENLY servings.

I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this recipe. It's like Thanksgiving in a crock-pot!!
Terrific, hearty comfort food for fall!!! I love to chop everything up on Saturday night,
throw it together on Sunday morning, and come home after church to the delicious aroma of this
dish warming in the kitchen!!!!





Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some more updates.....

Back in August, I posted about my war with allergies.
I thought someone who might be following this little problem might be
interested to know how my strategy is working.
Well, let me just say......EUREKA!!

It seems to me that this little theory about getting a jump on allergy season
by getting your medications into your system BEFORE the season starts is the KEY!!
I started my medications (Rhinocort Aqua Nasal Spray and Generic Zyrtec) on August 1st.
I have been faithfully watching the ragweed pollen counts in our area go from
8 grains psi in August
to over 400 grains psi in September
with only minor discomfort.
Now I must admit that two weekends ago, I did start feeling that prickly, burning itching on my face and in my eyes, and had people mention that I sounded a little congested to them.
That has become my personal red flag that there is an infection beginning that is blocking
the ability of my antihistamines from being able to fully work properly for me.
Fortunately, I had two days worth of antibiotic left over from my last sinus/eye infection/allergy
problem back in February, and I tried taking it to see if it made a difference.
The itching, prickly, burning went away, and I've had no other major
issues since then, even though the pollen counts are still sky high!!!
I did also add an OTC eye allergy drop and it has helped me tremendously.
I hadn't ever seen this particular product before (Wal-Mart brand of Claritin 12-hour eye drops) and so far it works great
and is much cheaper than my prescription eye drops (Pataday).

One last tip: Last year my husband decided to try the "Filtrete" air conditioning filters
that are supposed to be really great at trapping airborne allergens in the air in your house.
I was a little skeptical, but I have actually noticed that that has helped me too. We've tried to be better about changing that out about once a month, and compared to other filters we have tried, this seems to be much better.

How are you faring this allergy season? How have you found that you can best manage your allergies?