Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Day In the Life...April Edition

Welcome to another edition of a Day In the Life. The theme of Tuesday is music; however, we did not get that much music time today. We are in review mode around here, with only two more weeks left to our school year. I am really looking forward to a break from lessons. We have a very busy summer with lots of firsts and exciting adventures planned. I will reveal our plans soon. 

7:00 am to 8:00 am ~
I rotated the laundry, got my royal wedding fix on GMA and ate breakfast. The kids ate breakfast and played with the gladiator stage that Tom Sawyer made with his theater class. Each child gets to take it home for a week. It is great that Tom Sawyer got to take it home during his birthday week, and it can be the centerpiece of his birthday party table.

8:00 am to 8:45 am ~
We finished watching the movie "Squanto the Warrior's Tale" (History). It was much better than I thought a Disney movie would be and an excellent review from the beginning of the year. (I rarely let them see Disney movies and instead show them classics, but I liked how Disney handled this movie.) I was pleased to see how much they remembered. The kids also looked at their interactive Easter e-cards from Grandma. We are all a little behind getting to email, as usual.

8:45 am to 9:00 am ~
Everyone did their morning chores and got all of the laundry put away. I sat on hold with a doctor's office. Does anyone else feel like they spend a ton of time on hold?

9:00 am to 10:15 am ~
I read two chapters of Pigs Might Fly to the kids (Literature). They then did four pages each in their Explode the Code books (Language Arts). We are trying to complete all of their workbooks before the end of the year, so we will not have to do any of them over the summer. They then did one page each in their math books which are almost completed (Math).

10:15 to 10:45 ~
The kids played outside with the dogs, while I made a picnic lunch and swept the first floor of the house. 

10:45 to 11:30 ~
We traveled to our vision therapy appointment, which is about 25 miles away. We listened to "Hallelujah Handel". This was also a review from our study of Handel earlier in the year. We were fortunate to find this music CD at the library.

11:30 to 12:30 pm ~
Little Red Ridinghood had her vision therapy. She is doing well and making great progress. She will complete the program in about two more months. In the exercise shown below, she is looking at a picture with one eye and tracing it with the other eye. This exercise helps the eyes work together to complete a project. The rest of the kids watched Cartoon Network or the Disney Channel in the waiting room. We don't have cable TV, so this is a big treat for the kiddos. Tim does his best to keep the shows somewhere near appropriate.

12:30 to 1:30 pm ~
We ate our picnic and did errands on the way home.

1:30 to 4:00 pm ~
When we arrived home, there was a package for Tom Sawyer from his grandparents. It held three new games for his birthday. We played "There is a Moose in the House" and then had a nice rest time. After about an hour, we started working on making Confetti Eggs for Tom Sawyer's birthday party. Uggg!  I had to blow out four dozen eggs. Then we dyed them. We will add confetti to them later, and then the kids can have a "battle" with them outside at his birthday party on Saturday. The rest of the afternoon was spent outside. 

4:00 to 5:00 pm ~
The girls had their reading lessons and everyone did a 10 minute pick-up of the house. I started dinner and Daddy came home!

5:00 pm until bedtime ~
After dinner, the kids and Daddy played a long game of softball. I am not sure what happened, but the game ended in grumpy, over-tired children who were quickly bathed and put to bed. 

Thanks for visiting our Day In the life.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Return to Lapbooking

Our family really enjoys lapbooking. Somehow, I got away from it for most of this year. I didn't intend to ignore this really meaningful way of learning for us. Recently, with the crisis of learning a new diet and with a puppy in the house, I was forced to look for a simpler way of doing school and remembered lapbooking. Thank goodness for I love this site. They have so many wonderful books with lesson plans and lapbooks already to go. For the last month, I have picked a different FIAR (Five in a Row series) book each week, and we have rowed through and lapbooked it. The kids also have had a blast looking through all of the lapbooks they have made over the years.

We did a unit study on Japan using FIAR books for three weeks. We rowed through Grass Sandals, Grandfather's Journey, and A Pair of Red Clogs.

You can see in the picture above one of the origami cups (green) that the kids made. They even ate their snacks in them.

Below are the children's Haikus.

Tom Sawyer's ~

rocks at the bottom
water falling off a cliff
hot dinosaurs drink

Goldilocks' ~

two dogs play in grass
the day is warm and sunny
to dogs play with toys

Little Red Ridinghood's ~

Lincoln Logs are fun
she plays with them everyday
she loves Lincoln Logs

We also finished a great lapbook on Johnny Appleseed. I am glad that we are enjoying lapbooking and that my children are still learning so much in this very busy season. We only have three more weeks of school.

The wonderful news is that Tom Sawyer is showing noticeable improvement with his special diet.  His face is free of strange color changes and his mood is much improved. He is being very cooperative with the diet. I am really proud of him. It is so hard for him to give up his favorite foods. I am keeping him out of all grocery stores, since it is painful for him to see all of the foods (even gluten-free ones) that he no longer can eat.  The diet is easier for all of us to handle with such marked improvement so quickly.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Animal Shelter Field Trip

Our field trip group went to the animal shelter last week. Our county has a brand new Humane Society made up of several buildings. We visited the adoption center building, which was the same place where we found Boomer. They asked that we bring a donation of an item off their "Wanted List" in exchange for a tour. The list was long but somehow everyone attending brought bleach -- lol -- I guess we all had our minds on clean cages!

The tour started with the rules for visiting animals. Our tour guide also told us interesting facts about the center. Some of the unusual animals that have come into the processing side are raccoons, pot-bellied pigs, goats and a boa constrictor. I was pleased to find out that, once they make it from the processing center over to the adoption side, there is no time limit on how long they can sit there until they find their forever home.

We then visited the cat room. There were tons of cute cats, and our group was divided into three visiting rooms. We were then able to pet a cat. My girls were delighted. I like cats but am really more of a dog person and my dh likes cats but is allergic to them, so playing with a kitty was a special treat for my kids. The visiting rooms were so nice. They were like screened outside porches.

We then moved onto the dog room. Again, we got to visit with a puppy in one of the visiting outdoor rooms. The kids got to come forward and pet him one at a time. We also got to watch volunteers training an older dog to prepare him for adoption.

What a fun field trip! We had a smaller turnout this time, because so many people were afraid they would come home with a new pet! lol!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Tim!

I am playing catch up here.  The card reader went wonky and I couldn't get my pictures to load. 

This past week Timothy turned 21!  What an amazing journey it has been.  I have talked loads about what a miracle it is to have him here with us, so I won't rehash it.  But, we are so blessed to have him alive and well.  Timothy wanted to have a party with his fencing friends.  He decided on a medieval theme.  I think he chose that theme so he could have lots of meat at the feast. LOL!

He has a really nice set of friends.  Most of them are from larger families and are homeschooled/or from strict households.  They are really well behaved and do well with multi-age groups.  It is so nice to see in this day and age.  They had no problem including the little kids in their activities (plus parents and grandparent as well), and everyone had a super good time.

They started the party off with a fun game of Amtgard.  Basically, (from my perspective) they chase each other around with padded foam sticks and hit each other.  I am told there are all kinds of rules, levels, and a national organization but, this is what it looks like.

After Amtgard, everyone went on a neighborhood scavenger hunt.  This was so much fun.  We broke into teams and received our lists of things to look for and a map of how far we could go.  I am so glad I came up with this idea because it fit the time perfectly.  Everyone got a President's gold dollar for completing the mission.

On Timothy's actual birthday, we went on a long nature walk in a local state park.  Timothy loves to be outside, and this was a perfect way to celebrate his big day.  Even when he was an infant, the outdoors was a calming place to him.

Tom Sawyer is like his big brother in many ways.  He also enjoys the great outdoors and has a birthday coming up at the end of April. 


Boomer is turning out to be a wonderful dog for Tim.  Tim is growing by leaps and bounds with this new responsibility.  Boomer is growing by leaps and bounds, too.  In fact, we got a bit of a surprise at the vet's office.  She said that he was a Labradane.  You read that right.  Boomer is a lab/Great Dane mix.  I guess Tim got his big dog after all.  On the bright side these dogs make great family dogs and he is a quick learner. He is doing very well in puppy kindergarten.  He weighed 35 pounds at his vet appointment (that is a six pound gain in two weeks)!!  However, he does have a lot to learn, as the photo below proves.  What happens when the table is not completely cleared after dinner and the puppy is left unattended for five minutes?

Good thing I am an animal lover. LOL!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Here We Go!!

We have suspected food allergies with our Tom Sawyer for years but have been unable to figure out exactly what was wrong. Our pediatrician, whom we like very much, has not been helpful in this department. I have tried figuring out this issue on my own but with limited success. Last month, we got a referral to an integrative physican who is also a pediatrician. She specializes in children with complicated medical/family histories and uses alternative meds and diets. She has ran a RAST blood test and stool test. The doctor will also be taking a hair sample for a hair test at our next appointment. So far, the allergy blood test results are in and they are alarming. Tom Sawyer is very allergic to wheat, chocolate, gluten, eggs, oats and rice.  He is mild to moderately allergic to corn, soy, yeast, milk and peanuts. In addition, he has a deficiency of magnesium, vitamin D, and iron. She said he was the second most allergic child she had ever seen. To my dismay, she used the word "dangerously allergic" about some of the foods!

The first step is to work on his gut and try to get his intestinal track working better. This week I will be pulling wheat and gluten (we pulled oats a year ago) and starting to fill his body with probiotics, zinc and digestive enzymes to try to get his intestines to stop leaking. In the coming weeks, we will continue to pull all of the high allergy foods and reduce the mild allergy foods to one time a week. We will continue to work on healing his gut with supplements. This is going to be a long process and starting this in one of our craziest months of the year (three family birthdays and Easter) is really making my head spin! 

Since I always try to see the bright side ~
  • We have a great doctor helping us who will see us every few weeks.
  • Our insurance covers the doctor visits and most of the tests.
  • We homeschool, which will make controlling his food intake easier.
  • The Squirrels-Nest (an allergy sweets store) still exists and my kids' safe Easter candy is already ordered.
  • My husband supports 100% the changes we will have to make (I just love him so much). I think many fathers might not be so accommodating to their diets once again being changed.
  • Tom Sawyer was not allergic to fruits, meat, and veggies.
  • He likes fruits, meat and veggies.
  • Many food items are made with potatoes, which he can eat.
  • This means his behavior, health, and learning abilities will likely improve.
We would appreciate your prayers while we make the necessary changes to our diet and figure out how to shift our finances to be able to afford the supplements and special foods. (My husband is employed at the VA Hospital and may be furloughed if the government shuts down on Friday.) Also, please pray that I will find foods that he likes and that he will make a smooth transition to a new diet. I hate seeing his little body struggle so much.