Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 12

 Homegrown Learners

In my life this week…Last weekend all five of us went to visit with my husband's heart donor's mother. Tina is a lovely lady who is hurting over her son, Nic's, death. It was good to spend some time with her, and I am so thankful we continue to pray for her. She is moving forward with a new marriage and a degree almost completed. But moving has meant she left the home she raised her kids in and that Nic has never seen this new home. A tough time of transition for her, and we continue to pray. I had my second counseling session on Monday and somehow those 45 minutes fly by and I feel like we've barely scratched the surface. I also saw my primary doctor on Monday and he's really frustrated with the hematologist I had been seeing which was very nice confirmation for me. I have a new hematologist, but haven't made an appointment; it's on my To Do List. I will say I am passing some milestone of feeling better and that has been fabulous. I am trying to keep my focus on the progress made and not on how I still don't feel very good. Progress made means I am on the road to feeling better and that's way better than life 3 weeks ago.

In our homeschool this week… MWF all went according to plan, but TTh we jumped the tracks. Tuesday I hit the wall and ordered bellowed a cleaning day. There were tears for everyone which I am very sad about. Thursday was supposed to be an orthodontist appointment for the boy during which the girls and I would hang at the library and school; afterwards it was on to Captain America. Except it was the wrong date for the orthodontist, so no school got done. We went to lunch, the movie and grocery shopping.

Wednesday we spent an hour on the porch working on history.
This week we learned about Constantinople falling, and so of course I had to hunt up this song for the girls. ODD is still mad at me for making her listen to such a silly song, but I doubt they will forget that Istanbul was Constantinople and now it's Istanbul and not Constantinople!

This week's art . . .
Discovered on my camera; it is ODD's work.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Friday we met with our local homeschool group to learn about Portland. ODD ran the computer portion, and YDD was unthrilled to have her picture taken.
1 - ODD and a friend being the bridge for playing London Bridges. 2 & 4 - The girls checking out the firehose that was part of this week's historical trunk. And yes that is BearBear laying next to YDD. 3 - YDD trying to foil my picture taking during London Bridges; I am calling it a draw. I got the picture, but it's not great.
My kiddos favorite thing this week was… Captain America!

My favorite thing this week was… Captain America! I deeply appreciate the family time the Marvel Universe gives us. It is often very difficult to find activities that the 18YO Aspie, the 12YO and 9YO will all engage in together. The first common ground we had was Harry Potter. Avengers and Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. and the rest of the universe is our current family bonding activity and I am thankful for it and all the people who work to make it possible.

Things I’m working on… still with the carb loading. I tried to start weaning off but my body is so not ready for that yet.

I’m cooking… soup! I have newly discovered the beauty of soup. I had heard how you just make a soup out of all your leftover produce, but the problem with that is I don't really like veggies. The idea of eating veggies floating in broth grosses me out. Enter blended soup.  My friend, Wendi, has been feeding us before Bible Study at her house and she blended all kinds of veggies into her soup. Here's the amazing part: MY KIDS ATE IT AND SO DID I. Thus began my own experimenting. I made a sausage soup that I blended all the veggies and and beans, and then added chunks of sausage. The kids just asked for spicier sausage. I've started eating a veggie soup for lunch that is onions, carrots, bell peppers [all veggies that have carbos] in broth, and then add spiciness. I blend that all up and freeze in 1 cup portions. After I reheat it for eating, I add 1/3 cup feta or gorgonzola cheese. I am eating more veggies than I ever have, and it's just the veggies I need and I love that.

I’m thankful for… my God who loves me and never leaves me. It's been an emotional week, and I would have broken long ago without the strength and presence of my God.

I’m praying for… Tina and her family. My cousin who is looking for work. My oldest daughter.

I rewarded my kids this week by…
 not requiring them to make up our lost days. We're just letting those go.

Something I am ogling or have my eye on… we are so close to a water heater and mattress, people!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)
Last Saturday, YDD and I visited the tulip field for the first time this season with her Sunday School teacher. A fun outing but cold and windy! What I love about this pictures is that I did not retouch or anything; that's what it looked like. God is an amazing artist.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday - April 10

thankful thursday

I am thankful for my husband taking lead in disciplining the boy child. I am thankful for some light shed on me by my counselor; the insight has started to impact my world. I am thankful for help. I am thankful for praying family and friends. I am thankful for a friend who just can't take the texting and picks up the phone; she makes me smile every time. I am thankful ODD talked to me this week about a really big issue in her world; I am so very very thankful she didn't keep it to herself. I am thankful we can make changes quickly; this week I dropped softball for her and looked into starting Krav Maga. I love that can happen as quickly as circumstances change. I am thankful for the anchors of music and art in her life. I am thankful for all the buds and changes Spring brings. I love noticing all those changes with my youngest. I am thankful I've never gotten back into my lights out at 8:30p and out of bed at 4:30a because my oldest girl has needed to talk later than 8p. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a blessing in DH's donor's mother's life; I am thankful we had the chance to celebrate with her last weekend. I am thankful we found a new God Time book for ODD that she likes; we've been struggling with this in recent weeks and it's lovely to have it resolved. I am thankful God is not done working in me. I am thankful He is with me always. I am thankful. As I struggle with life and dealing with all my life entails, I am thankful. Even when I have to work to find it.

In May 2010, I started writing down my thanks in a single notebook. I had been writing them in my journal but found they got lost in there. When I wanted to go back and read what I had been thankful for, I got mired down in the trouble I was pouring out to God. I grabbed a spiral notebook and just started writing in it. This notebook does not contain all my thanks; I have never carried it around with me or written in it every day. It is a tool that helps me in practicing the discipline of thanksgiving. It is a record I've gone back and read when I need encouragement. I am thankful that this week I filled that first notebook and started a new one.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 4

 Homegrown Learners

In my life this week…the week started with learning that the lab screwed up the sample and the hematologist's couldn't be bothered to tell me for a week. Add to that, the hematologist and his office were rude in the aftermath of the lab screw up and you get a very rough start to my week. I've since repeated the test and am waiting again for results. I'm also waiting to hear from my primary's office about my new hematologist because I am not working with this guy any more after this test. I haven't felt great again this week, so I quit trying to taper off my carbs. I am pleased we made it to church and Bible study last Sunday. Apart from the health garbage, my life has been pretty quiet this week.

Last weekend, DH and I ran away to a local used bookstore and I am so excited to come away with this stack of history books! I also got the kids a couple The Far Side Gallery books, and DH has a stack of fiction. A friend moved and left us her store credit, so the whole stack of books cost me .25 and I have lots more credit to spend later!

In our homeschool this week… we studied The Rus [who were Vikings who settled down with Slavs] and enjoyed it. I learned stuff I didn't know like Russia only had 2 ruling families. We're getting very close to studying The Black Plague which ODD is very excited about, so I expect we'll zip through whatever is between The Rus and The Plague. We are going to have to be careful with history in order to finish by the end of June. I've got some thinking to do about cramming stuff in or letting it go into summer; I also need to talk to the girls about their preferences. YDD and I had a meeting, and she decided to pick Life of Fred back up. ODD continues to work through LoF: Mineshaft on her own; she has 7 more lessons and then it's onto Fractions which I need to page through and preview.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… give your child room to fail. I am working on loosening the reins on ODD and her working independently. IT IS HARD. I nagged reminded a bit yesterday and she got caught up on the week's lessons. I am trying to clarify expectations now in the early days so I can/will completely let go in the coming weeks. I so need to let her fail so she can learn what she needs to do to succeed. I am making babystep progress in this area.

This week's art . . .
1 - Sneaky art: YDD left a little princess in my kitchen utensils. 2 & 3 - My older kids were ragging on me about my music, so YDD [the family defender] began campaigning for my freedom to listen to what I want.
ODD went to see the movie, Divergent, on Sunday in costume. She went as a Dauntless.
Favorite resource this week . . . ODD continues to work on learning Japanese without a formal curriculum. [I am hoping to buy her Rosetta Stone for the Fall.] She continues to use the Hiragana flashcards she made and Tae Kim on Youtube. She's been repeating videos until she gets it, so she's moving slowly through the series. I've been very pleased with her willingness to work with less than exciting resources. This is one of the reasons I'm so determined to get her Rosetta Stone.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… today Dad taught our local homeschool group about first aid and CPR:
1 - DH teaching. 2 - ODD practicing hands only CPR. 3 - Our local homeschool group; love having a local group. 4 - YDD right in the middle with the turquoise shirt. 5 - DH teaching JQ [Wendi's daughter]. 6 - ODD and a buddy listening to DH teaching. These two got even more snuggly later.
What we are reading . . .
Both girls read these at different times this week. I love putting children's nonfiction in their hands because it easy exposure to a new topic they can pursue deeper if they want, but which expands their horizons for now.
The Virtuoso by Grace Burrowes is the 4th book I've read in the series and I am going to track more down once I post this.
My favorite thing this week was… seeing my seeds sprout in my greenhouse.

What’s working/not working for us... Google Calendar continues to be a pain and a blessing. The calendar sharing is great. It continues to malfunction on my iMac which irritates the daylights out of me, but it is functioning fine for the kids and DH. Hopefully today DH will be able to fix my issues, but he did have to call in a Mac expert [his brother].

Things I’m working on… finding time to plants some flower seeds and put into my greenhouse. YDD loves to garden flowers, so we're going to try starting some from seed this year. I've had a hard time getting around to it though.

I’m cooking… I tried freezing cookie dough for the first time this week. They froze great, but it will be interesting to see how they bake up whenever I get around to doing so.

I’m thankful … ODD can make an entire meal [fish and rice]. I am thankful for all the kitchen skills my girls have learned this year. I am thankful DH has time and skills to teach a class to our local homeschoolers today. I am thankful for the events on the calendar this weekend. I am thankful for the increased independence ODD is showing. I am thankful for lots of good moments this week:

1 - YDD cold enough that she wears a coat and yet no shoes; makes me smile. 2 - YDD checking out our new little sprouts. 3 - YDD covered in books; she requested I take this picture. 4 - Me and my reading buddy. YDD and I often spend time reading together like this. 5 - ODD up a tree which was lovely after seeing her all grown up for going to the movie! 6 - ODD so happy to have a loaf of bread to herself that she ate without slicing it. 7 - YDD adding coffee grounds to our berry patch to help make acidic soil.
I’m praying for… patience. The hematologist that I got referred to was rude and obnoxious. His office has not been forthcoming with information. I am waiting for the results of a test and then I am switching hematologists. I figure I will need to interact just a bit more with this office and I am praying I am patient through it.

Something I am ogling or have my eye on… we finally got a new printer! We've been with a partially functioning one for over a year and just without for a few months. Wednesday, DH came home with this [which he found on sale at Costco]:
HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus: ODD really needs the scanning capabilities and the rest of us are just happy to have a printer again.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share … this is my life with my health right now:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thankful Thursday - April 3

It has been a week dealing with rude doctors and messed up test results and feeling lousy. I've cried more this week than I have in a long time, and I am thankful for a friend's advice to blow and no sniff. I've struggled with being thankful this week, so writing this will likely take longer than usual. But it is a good use of my time so here goes.

I am thankful for little green sprouts in my greenhouse. I am thankful for readily available simple carbs even if I am tired of ingesting them. I am thankful for insights and suggestions from our counselor about the boy; I have some hope and I haven't for a long time. I am thankful for friends' sympathetic outrage; it did help me weather the idiot doctor easier. I am thankful working in the kitchen has been do-able for me. I am thankful YDD has been cuddly. I am so very thankful I do not have the obligation of a job outside my home. I am thankful the girls' activities have not been impacted by my health. I am very thankful for my primary doctor. I am thankful my husband can teach our homeschool group this Friday, and I am thankful everyone is excited about the class. I am thankful for the blessing and gift of music. I am thankful for the work my son is getting done in the yard. I am thankful for my appliances. I am thankful for all the bills my husband just paid off. I am thankful for the joy YDD gets and spreads with her sneaky art. I am thankful for friends checking in with me. I am thankful for epsom salt and my jetted bathtub. I am thankful for my terry-cloth bathrobe. I am thankful for friends who share my love of gardening. I am thankful I have a high tolerance for pain even though it makes my husband nuts. I am thankful I can choose to trust God even as my emotions are all over the place. I am thankful my faith does not rest on how I feel at the moment but rests on my actions, thoughts and choices.

thankful thursday

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - March 28

 Homegrown Learners

In my life this week…there's been nothing much exciting. Still waiting for the results of a test the hematologist wanted to do. Still feeling crummy. Trying to adjust to YDD all of a sudden deciding to sleep upstairs by herself; she had been going to sleep with me and than Daddy would move her upstairs when he came to bed. One night, she just wanted to do it different and I am taking the change hard. It is a good, healthy change that shows her healing, but I wasn't expecting it and I no longer have my little buddy. I need a new bedtime routine because this week I've just stayed up too late reading. While I can get away with that for a little while, sooner or later that will become a problem.

In our homeschool this week… we had a pretty good week studying which is satisfying. In Story of the World volume 2, we worked through The Forbidden City of the Ming; next week we jump into the first Russians and we're all looking forward to that. The rest was just practicing math and spelling and reviewing the Crash Course science videos we've watched.

Monday we took advantage of the lovely weather to do a bit of school outside.
1 & 2: my girls playing a video game together and clearly having a ball! 3: YDD cooking; she's making scrambled eggs in the microwave. 4: This week's class with our local homeschool group. We learned about surrealistic art.
This week's art . . . ODD's artwork is up on our library's website which was pretty thrilling to see. She also spent a day turning two line art drawings she and a friend did into one digital drawing.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… no art class for ODD this week because it's Spring Break for our local public school. This meant she got to take a friend with to Youth Group on Tuesday which she was pleased about. YDD had another counseling session.

What we are reading . . . I've been staying up and reading which means I've read 4 books this week!
1 & 2 The Heir and The Soldier by Grace Burrowes: the start of a series that I read book 7 of a few weeks ago. I enjoyed both. 3 Dark Witch by Nora Roberts: I reread this because book 2 is now out and I wanted to refresh. 4 Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb: the latest in her Eve Dallas series and good as always.
1 So You're About to be a Teenager by Dennis & Barbara Rainey: ODD "I found this book boring because I already know 98-99% of the information in it. It is a good book though! Try and give it to your kid before he\she starts developing. It is written for someone who hasn't started going through puberty. 4 out of 5 stars." 2 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: ODD "This story is set in WWII. The main characters are two women, a pilot and a spy, who are best friends. As with all WWII books, it's super depressing. This is definitely a  young adult book, with swearing and suggestive themes. I enjoyed it, 4.5 out of 5 stars." 3 Kat and the Emperor's Gift by Emma Bradford: "This was fun and outlandish but not unreal" This fit with our recent studies of the Mongols and China. YDD read it in about an hour and is reading the other books in the series now. 4 The Beautiful Warrior by Emily Mccully: Another history book. YDD liked it because it was about a small female being a successful warrior. The artwork was beautiful.
What’s working/not working for us... we're still working on ODD being more independent with her studies using Google Calendar. I've had a ton of trouble with Google Calendar crashing on me this week which has been very frustrating, but it's working fine for ODD. We're experiencing a big test this week. Friday afternoons are scheduled self-directed study time. ODD wanted to work on her art on Thursday, so we made a deal: Thursday was her self study day and Friday she needed to do all of Thursday's work. It wasn't easy for me to not micro-manage, but I know I need to let her try this and blow it before we get to high school.

I’m baking… I did make 4 loaves of bread this week and got some in the freezer which was awesome. ODD baked 2 loaves with some help in Friday. I made her a deal: if she baked 2 loaves, she could have one of them for herself to eat without slicing it. She's been asking for her own loaf for weeks.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
"Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister,  but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be." From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.  I love this line and most especially love the word unDursleyish; makes me smile every time I hear it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday - March 27

thankful thursday

I am thankful for the meal delivered by a friend last night. I am thankful for the stress eased by that one meal. I am thankful for the tasks I was able to get done instead of cooking. I am thankful my family enjoyed the meal greatly. I am thankful for the chicken bones from the meal because I needed some for making more chicken stock. I am thankful I enjoy cooking; that hasn't always been the case in my life. I am thankful for the independence exercised by my girls even while I struggle to adjust. I am thankful for the improvement to my health even while I struggle with continued symptoms. I am thankful for many moments of positive interactions between my girls this week. I am thankful for the opportunity to deal with character issues and faith questions as they arise. I am thankful I can drop whatever I planned to have an important conversation; this happens more and more with my 12YO. I am thankful for all the garden work done last weekend before the rains started this week. I am thankful I can bless a friend with fish my family doesn't like; it's a weight lifted from my shoulders to get that out of my freezer.

ODD: I am thankful we homeschool so we can eat when we need to eat. I am thankful for antibiotic eardrops.

YDD: I am thankful flowers are popping up. I am thankful for sleeping upstairs.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Garden Party - March 24

I am posting this a day early, but I can't wait until tomorrow to share! I was able to spend this past weekend gardening and it made me very tired and happy! The main project was the berry patch:

1 - The berry patch after my boy had spent some time getting the rocks moved out. 2 - Saturday morning before we started getting to work, rock free. 3 - Sunday afternoon after raspberries and strawberries were planted. The raspberries are against the fence and each have a white tag; they look like sticks. The strawberries are scattered throughout the bed; we're hoping to end up with a matted row and strawberries all over. I also added 3 brick stepping stones so I can get to the back of the bed.
My husband and I were cracking up about planting sticks, but I can't wait to have raspberries. I have very fond memories of picking raspberries with my grandfather; sun warmed raspberries are the very best.

Some bulbs were very determined to grow and came up through the black plastic and rock that were in the bed. I decided to dig up the bulbs [which I am pretty sure are Spanish bluebells] to be planted elsewhere in the yard this fall. 
I assembled my greenhouse [#4]. I cut up paper towel tubes and filled them with potting soil [#5, 2 & 3]. I have 3 variety of tomatoes and 1 type of bell papper planted and under a light [#1].
I have only 4 garden boxes which always end up being fully planted with tomatoes. I am slowly expanding my planting area so I can plant more stuff and still have 32 tomato plant in my boxes.

Left - oregano and tulips. Middle - a small patch of spinach. Right - more tulips.
YDD loves tulips and is my most interested gardener. The older two help as directed, but YDD loves to pour over the tulip catalog and plot and plan what we buy next. The tulips that are flowering surprised us because I didn't realize how short they would be. They are working well in the pot on the left, but are getting overshadowed in the one on the right, so I am pondering where to move them.

I have decided to turn this patch of lawn into my kale and chard patch.  The spot where I planted spinach is just to the left of the cardboard.
Next garden jobs is planting carrots and prepping the kale & chard patch.