Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Touch Math Giveaway

Though my girls are going to private school this year really hasn't meant that I've given up homeschooling completely. Actually I have turned to what is called Afterschooling, or now since we are having snow days...part time homeschooling.

Honestly after eight years of homeschooling I just can't give it up like that. Its like asking a school teacher to stop teaching and then asking them what they are going to do with themselves after they stop. They eventually find something to replace that. Well I'm doing my best continuing on the learning path with my daughters all the while fullfilling my need to educate.

TouchMath has been a blessing for our family. I had found TouchMath quite some time ago on the web and had looked at it and dismissed it because of the price tag. It wasn't until my third daughter began having difficulty with math that I turned once again to TouchMath. We were very fortunate to get most of the program from our school district. They were happy to oblige us with copies of the math program. I'm not sure what edition is was or what level it was but it was enough to get my daughter up and going and to get confident once again in her math abilities.

I was happy to see her enjoy the math and she happily jumped at the chance each time I brought it out. My youngest daughter was about 3 at the time and she too wanted TouchMath. So I did manage to find the Prek math program on Ebay and bought it. She is 4 now and she still loves her TouchMath and asks to do it everyday.
Even as I type right now my girls are on a snow day and sitting at the table coloring the Holiday TouchMath cards and doing the subtraction snowflake maze for 'fun'. Little do they know they are learning something.
TouchMath is an amazing math program. I surely wished I had something like that for math when I was a kid. I think I would have been much more confident in math that's for certain.

With that glowing review there is a TouchMath giveaway being offered on another blog. These are for the Touch 2 Learn Numerals. These are 3 D numbers for the kids to touch and learn the points to where each number should be counted. It also includes a Base 10 tray with the kit.

How do you win this? Easy. Go to the Doman, Aba, Dayhome and Homeschooling Momma Blog and read about the new TouchMath Software for Kindergardeners and follow the steps listed in order to register for the giveaway. Its that easy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Season

The Thanksgiving Season is already upon us. The girls have completed 50 days of school at St. Thomas and not any one of them have complained that they have wanted to come home. Which is a good thing. We honestly have a good little school here where we live and its a shame that more families don't give this little school a chance in what it offers. They do many wonderful things for the kids and the families alike. Just recently they had a fun hay ride for Halloween and the kids got to dress up and have a Halloween party.
With this time of political correctness public schools are turning away from celebrating the holidays that we use to celebrate in our youth.

My feeling on this is that this it he United States of America. This is our country and if others come to our country then they need to live by the American way. Not the other way around. Of course we need to respect one another but if we went to their country we would be forced to believe what they believe and practice whatever religion that is the religion of that country. No where else in the world can you go to a country like ours where Americans give up their right to live as Christians for other people.

Okay I'm off my soap box about that but really. Back to my topic at hand.
The girls are doing well at their new school. They are thriving and just really enjoy it. The only thing they don't like , and me too, is getting up early. I'm just not an early bird person at all. Never have been and I don't think I ever will be. I do just fine getting up at 8 am thank you.

So this is the very first thing I am thankful for this season. I'm always thankful for each and everyday that God has given me on this earth. Even if its not the kind of life I wish. I'd love to be well and pain free but I'm on the road to recovery and that I am thankful for too.
I am thankful for my daughters having such wonderful teachers. I am thankful for my family and I'm always thankful for the roof over my head and the food that I have to create wonderful creations for my daughter's school lunches and our bellies.. :>)
I am thankful for the wonderful friendships that I have gathered throughout the years with our VACTERL families. Without them I would not be able to give the best care I can for Maggie.
I have so much to be thankful for. I really do. So much so that I can't really type it all. Those are just the things that come to my mind as I type right now.

So for fun. List the things that you are ever so thankful for ......

Friday, October 8, 2010

National Pierogi Day!

Hello all. For all of my Pittsburgh and Polish friends it is National Pierogi Day. And in honor of National Piergogi Day I made our own pierogis for dinner tonight. They turned out really good. We haven't eaten them yet but they look and smell delicious.

First you need your ingredients to make the pierogi. I like to use the King Author flour. Its pure flour without Bromide( BAD stuff, in most breads unless the ingredients on the bread bag says unbrominated(Wegmans has these)burger and hot dog rolls etc. Bromide is BAD stuff for your body). You want 2 cups of flour in your bowl. Next you want some salt. I like the Himalayan and Celtic Salts, these are REAL salts, not refined garbage. So you want 1/2 tsp of salt. Next you want to mix those two together. Add one egg, your soften butter 1/4 tsp cut up in little pieces and 1/2 cup of sour cream. I had forgotten I had some plain Greek style yogurt in my fridge. You can use that too and actually its more healthier than the sour cream. Mix it all together. I used my hands if you have a food processor with a hook you can use that too. You want to keep mixing it until the dough is NOT sticky anymore. This can take up to 5 to 7 minutes.
Once your done with the dough , wrap it in some waxed paper and let it sit in the fridge for at least 20 to 30 minutes. You can make this a day ahead of time too and use it the next day.

While your waiting for your dough to settle. Cut up about 3 to 5 potatoes. I cut 5 russet( that I had here in the house and it made A LOT! I even made 2 batches and still had some left). Wash, and cut the potatoes and boil them til their nice and soft.

So while I was waiting for my tastey spuds to cook I choppped up some onion(shhhh, don't tell hubby HATES onion) and chopped up half of my lovely garlic that I got from my mother in law's garden. Yum. I sauteed the onion until it wasn't much of an onion. Sauteed the onion first as the garlic cooks up much quicker. Once the onion started looking 'softer' I added the garlic to the pan.

Once the potatoes were done and the onion. I got my trusty mixer out and started to mix those puppies up for about a few seconds. Then shut off the the mixer, added my onion/garlic mix to the potatoes and mixed those puppies up again. Shut if off, added some cheese to the mix. I thought I had some cheddar in the fridge but I didn't. So I settled for the taco cheese I have. Still tastes pretty good. Mixed that up , there really isn't a set amount of cheese. Just add to your taste. You can add a little salt and pepper to your liking too. To top it off I cut up the parsely I had in the fridge and ended up with that yummy mix. MMMM.

Okay so the mix is all set and by the time your done doing all of that your dough is ready to take out of the fridge. Assuming you are doing this all in one day like I did. I used my favorite rolling pin, a pastry/bread cutter that I had gotten from Pampered Chef, but you can use a cup , jar or anything that is circular to make your pierogi.

Roll your dough to about 1/8 inch thick. If your super human. If your not and your like me try to roll it as thin as you can. Then cut out your circle to make your pierogi.

Add your mix. About a tablespoon or so to the middle of your pierogi. I used a fork to hold the dough and slide when I folded the pierogi. It really worked well in keeping it from squishing out of the pierogi when you fold it in half.

After folding them in half, use your fork to press the edges together. It gives the pierogi a more interesting looking look. Plus it keeps that darned filling in there too. If your pierogi isn't sticking together then your using to much flour to roll out your dough. If you did, that's okay. Just use a little water on the fork and then press.

Then viola'! Your pierogi is all done. If you plan on making them for dinner after your done. Go ahead !Boil these babies for about 8 to 10 minutes or when they start floating at the top of your pan. You can boil them , bake them, fry them. A true Polish person does not fry their pierogi though, they boil them. You can also eat them with a side of sour cream. If your like my dad who is the human 'garbage can' you can eat them with sour cream and salsa(which is pretty good by the way). Add a little butter to them. Be creative.
If you want to eat them later like me. I used my bread pan and put waxed paper in it and added my pierogis to it then wrapped them up nicely. I wrapped up some to put in the fridge for dinner and then the other half in the freezer for another day.
So there you go. Have a great National Pierogi Day!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Missing my life

The one thing about thyroid disease is that it takes your life from you.
I once had a wonderful life. One that was full and vibrant and enjoyable. Along time ago I had energy to enjoy life and have fun. I felt on top of the world and enjoyed doing everything and anything with my family. Especially my children.

Now I am not enjoying life like I once did. Its a sad, lonely and horrible road for me. Not to mention very scary. If I could talk to my thyroid I would tell it to leave me the heck alone. Go away! Let me live my life and be the best me I can be and the best mom I can be.

I so miss my life. I miss being the fun loving, always going everywhere and doing fun things mom I was. I still am but not to the same extent. I miss homeschooling my girls. I sent them because, one, they wanted to give it a try and two because I was losing my energy to even do it anymore. I wasn't being an effective teacher like I once was. It makes me sad to even think about it.
I miss spending my days on homeschooling boards reading about the latest curriculum and trying to decide whether it would be a good fit. Instead I spend my days on thyroid yahoo groups in hopes that I can get this all figured out, and trust me I wonder some days if I need to become a chemist to figure it all out. The complexity of thyroid disease is sometimes so above my head that I miss those simple days of just worrying whether we had the right math program or not.

Of course I'm doing something about it. I'm trying to find an actual physican that will help me heal my thyroid. I really don't want to take it out. I really don't. I read everyday the heartbreaking stories of those who have. I am very fortunate this time that I was able to start researching before even agreeing to any type of surgical procedure. This one out of a couple that I've already had myself , would of been the one I most regretted if I had gone ahead and done it.
I can't stress to anyone who reads this how much you NEED your thyroid. It controls all of your body organs. It controls your metabolisim , in a strange sense its almost to compare to your soul.

Once taken out your energy levels are never the same. No pill on earth can replace your thyroid gland. Its as if your soul is taken from you and you are left as a shell of a person. Its also very sad that many doctors don't take the time to really read, research and do what really and truely helps the patient. They'd much rather take out the gland so they can line their pockets to pay that next bill. Forget the fact that you may start out feeling better, and then later down the road it catches up to you, or forget the fact that there are high risks such as losing your parathyroid glands, or their function. Losing your vocal cords and the ability to read well. If those things happen its not the doctor's fault. Its all par for the course risks that you signed up for.

Its sad really. To know you can lose so much when you get sick. I hope and pray that the path I take is the right one. The one that will get me back to feeling like the awesome momma I was.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dear Dr. Endo

Dear Dr. Endo ( or should I say evil Endo?),
I received a letter from you in the mail today from your office (which I threw out by the way). It said that it wanted my blood work so that you could continue giving me quality care. Um, yah, right.
I'd like to know your definition of 'quality' care. Is it having your patients walk out in tears and breaking down crying in their car after an appointment with you, after you tell them that taking their thyroid out was better than dying?
Is your 'quality' care having the doctor tell me that they didn't understand the report from the hospital? Which by the way I understood just fine when my primary care doc and I went over it. Really it was written in English and I didn't need a degree to understand it and my ENT understood it just fine when he told me that he saw nothing 'scary' in there, and monitoring it would be just fine. He even let me know how I felt was not that of people coming in with just nodules and that something was going on that needed to be taken care of first because he could take out my thyorid but it won't make me feel better. In fact my ENT really worked at discouraging me from having it taken out, even though he left it up to me as to whether I want it taken out or not So hmmmm.
Which leads me to the next thing. You joke me by just checking my T4 levels and nothing else. The thyroid consists more of than just T4. What about my Ft4, or my Ft3, or my RT3? Or heck what about T3 in general? Its been years since anyone has ever checked that. It seems doctors don't check that anymore. How about my adrenal glands, pitutitary, my iron levels for peat sake? I ask for these to be looked at and doctors poo paw it ,or just totally ignore me as if I just didn't say anything to them. Guess what? I am more than a thyroid, I am a person and I have more organs than just a thyroid.
Is your 'quality' care that where you poke my neck with needles when I tell you that I am very very sensitive when it comes to my neck. I even had a tough time having the sono done. Even more so when the biopsy has more false readings anyways. Is your 'quality' care telling me that your going to remove my thyroid and then put me back on the same poision(Synthroid) that has most likely put me in this position to begin with? Even more so then when I told you it had stopped working for me years ago.
With all of that said, Dear Dr. Endo, I will not grace your office with my presence. What I will do is pray for all of those women and men who do go to your office. I am a consumer and expect you to listen to me so that I can heal myself. If you cannot listen to me or help me then I will just do what I can to heal myself, and pray that I will get the money soon to see a doctor who really knows how to treat my condition. I have a family to take care of , four beautiful children and a husband, who need ME very much and not a shell of me.
So if you throw this letter out too that's fine, just letting you know that I will NOT be coming back.

A well read consumer

Monday, September 20, 2010

St. Theresa's Little Flower Faith Folder Giveaway and Afghan Give away

The one memory I have growing up as a child was that of my mother in her garden on the side of her house. In that garden we had all sorts of flowers but my mother's most prized possesion was her roses. This must of been a love passed down by mother and child as my grandmother had her roses on the side of her house as well. Both when my mother and grandmother passed away several years ago we even made it a thing to make sure that there were roses on their coffins and on their headstones.

So when I saw this giveaway on the Shower of Roses website it brought back those wonderful memories of when I was a child watching my mother tend to her beautiful roses in our garden.

We have done a few of the Faith Folders and they really did turn out great. I will have to dig them out of our Lapbook collection and post them pics here.

Also on the website the author is also giving away a beautiful afghan to commemorate the Feast of St. Theresa as well.

" I have given nothing but love to God and He will repay with love. After my death I will let fall a shower of roses." St. Theresa Lisieux (April 1895)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Maggie's first day of school

Boy, oh , boy. How could I forget my Maggie pie's first day of preschool? Here are some beautiful pictures of my peanut girl. She started preschool on September 7th, 2010.

Preschool is going well for Maggie at the moment. She is really progressing and isn't so fearful of being there. Drop offs are usually really good for her and her teacher says she fusses sometimes but calms down.
I'm hoping we can continue preschool but I'm not sure as we still don't have a nurse for her for school. As it stands I go over to the school to cath her at 10:30 or whenever she has a poop accident. Which has only been once so far.

Its really getting old going over to the school three or four times a day. It really has defeated the purpose of it all and as it stands I'm just getting worn down and tired. Don't get me wrong I love my baby girl and will and have done anything for her but I am human. I can't go anywhere and am stuck at home. I hope that this all works out but I'm not so sure.

My proud Maggie girl..

Maggie and Daddy

Maggie waiting to go up to class

Maggie sitting at her big girl desk

Here is to a good 2010, Maggie Reed. Mommy loves you so very much.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Living with Thyroid disease

I'll admit our blog is a bit all over the place at the moment as I'm not homeschooling this year. The girls decided to give school a try and I have been needing to work on my health.

The past 7-8 years now I've been batteling with thyroid disease in one fashion or another. The first was I was diagnosed with thyroid disease when my 3rd daughter was born. I believe I've had it for a long time previous to that but that's when finally the first time in my life I was diagnosed. I was a good little patient, taking that little tiny pill called Synthroid. For the first three years I actually felt really well on it. I didn't question what I was put on , all I knew was that finally the first time since I could remember I felt 'awake', and alive. I was losing weight with diet and exercise and I felt normal. Of course that's all my doctor said, " you just take the medication , come in for some blood tests once a year and all will be well."

Then I had gotten pregnant with Maggie. A very true blessing even though I had a few rough spots through it. I just knew something wasn't right. In the end I was right as always and Maggie was born with what is called VACTERL association. Which is basically multiple birth defects. It wasn't until about 6 months after Maggie's birth with all of the stress , lack of sleep from a sick baby and many hospital stays with her I noticed I wasn't feeling my 'normal' self anymore. I started gaining weight and somewhere along the line I began developing a goiter. I've probably had it for a long time and just noticed it more when it bothered me a little bit on one side of my neck.

Along the way I had my blood tested and the 'good ole' docs told me all was fine. So obviously it was all in my mind. Not. It wasn't until this January that I just crashed. My blood pressure went sky high and I could barely move. I was sick. Along the way I still took my Synthroid because that's all the doctors will prescribe you because " It helps everyone." Not.
No matter how much I've begged and pleaded with doctors not one of them will prescribe me dessicated thyroid hormone , nor will anyone check out other things like adrenal glands and ferritin(iron) in me. I'm sure its because of my insurance. Actually I know it is. Why would we want to heal people? No its much easier to just run T4 tests, and check red blood cell count and end it there and wisk me off on my way. Or how about rip my thyroid out? That will 'fix' it.

I'll tell you I have lost most trust in the medical establishment these days. Why not rip the thyroid out and once they've screwed me up, put me back on the Synthroid that literally made me feel horrid and then they'll send me on my way. I mean really.. I have four children that I need to take care of and depend on me.

I have read quite a bit on the subject. Joined a group a while back called Thyroidless and have learned so much about what happens to people once they get their thyroid out. Its very sad and its heartbreaking to see these ladies/men suffer so much after they get it taken out. Doctors/Endos have this cold attitude that you can live without it. Not true if your body isn't doing what it needs to be doing to keep you alive and your medicine working properly. Its nothing for these doctors to take a thyroid out and wisk you on their way because after all their work is done and their pockets are lined with your thyriod( money).

There is hope and possibility to 'heal' the body and treat the thyroid rather then just rip it out. Postassium Iodine seems to be the thing that helps the body heal and rid itself of the toxins that build up in the body that leads to thyroid dysfunction, disease, cancer , goiter etc. Its sad to see so many women get mislead by the medical community on how to treat this. Don't get me wrong conventional medicine has its place. Its what saved my baby girl. Some of her birth defects would have killed her had she been born in someother life time before now. Most kids with her Imperforate anus defect didn't make it very long after birth. So it has its place but they sure still have a lot to learn about thyroid. The master gland. Without this gland your body wouldn't function properly at all. It controls your organs so its not like an appendix or tonsils that if they take it out you'll be fine. One will be dependent on this medication for the rest of their lives otherwise you die. Enough said. I'd much rather keep my thyroid thank you.

I will admit I wish I didn't have this problem at all. Some days it seems like to much to bear. I have spent countless hours reading about what I can do to heal myself,what to take and so on. But to me its not helpful if I can't go see a good doctor that can help me. The worst thing is I just can't afford it because these type of doctors ( holistic) don't take medical insurance ( I don't blame them). We can barely make ends meet right now. Its hard enough having to save for Maggie's medical trips let alone for me. So I'm sorry if I sound like I'm having a bit of a pity party , but I feel lost, hopeless and everything you can feel when you are faced with medical problems and no way to get the right treatment. Somedays I feel like I am going to be reduced to having my thyroid ripped out and to live a shell of a life because I can't afford to pay for a 'good' doctor. But I can't fold into that because I don't want that taken away from me. I don't want to be ill with cancer or anything like that either. My girls need me and I need them. My husband needs me and I need him. It just doesn't seem right that after having Maggie and dealing with everything that I have do deal with her that I get sick with something. I am MOM, I am supposed to be on my toes to take care of my children. After all God gave me them to care for.

I'm not sure what to really do. I would have to come up with the money to test my adrenal glands. For the dessicated thyroid , for the vitamin supplements,,, and the list goes on and on. Its just frustrating. I try so hard to lean on God. I will never know why this has happened. For all of the places on my body to get weird growths , my neck. The most sensitive part of my body. On my thyroid, the gland that controls my organs, and lord knows where ever else. None of my doctors have been the least bit helpful in any respect.

That leads me into reading the book of Job. What an amazing man. I bet if he were alive today he would have a blog or a Caringbridge page documenting his trials. Here was a man that lost his family, everything he had, including his health. He had friends who told him to blame God , yet he wouldn't. In the end he overcame his health scare, went on to gain back everything and then some of what he had and reestablished a family of his own and lived for a hundred some years. Yet in the end he learned that somethings in life can never be explained as to why they happen the way they do. He knew that it wasn't God's fault. I think Job best said it when he proclaimed : " But you smear me with lies, You are worthless doctors all of you! I wish you would just stop talking ; then you would really be wise! Listen to my argument and hear the pleading of my lips. " Job 13:4-6
If these doctors today would just stop and listen to their patients that maybe, just maybe they could help people more then just throw them on medication and line their pockets with taking organs out that need to be healed and not taken out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

School and Fall

I will admit this is not exactly my favorite time of the year. But I can say that I do appreciate the cooler temperatures. Its not to cold and not to hot, but just right.

The girls have been doing really well with school. Maggie started her first week of school last week. Its been a bit of trial and error for the most part since she has started. It also has been a little frustrating too since we do not have a nurse for her either , nor do I see one taking on the job to come in and out of the school once or twice a day.
So I'm taking this in stride and hoping for the best out of it all. If it gets to be to much , to stressful or just not woth it all anymore I will bring her home.

Even though the girls are doing well in school they are showing signs of wanting to come home. They will finish this school year but they've been hinting to how much they miss their mom being the teacher. I told them we will reevaluate at the end of the school year. See how they feel about everything then and go from there.

I'll admit I do miss having them home and teaching. I guess its just something I have always done, but in the same breath I will eventually have to get used to it as they won't always be little for ever.

I'm hoping this time away will give me the time to work on my health so I can feel better and be able to have the energy to teach. Thyroid disease is an ugly disease. Its very frustrating and confusing to deal with. I've been looking into alternative ways of treating my problem so that I won't have have my thyroid taken out. To me at this point I feel like its just not a very good option as I need my energy to care for my family and most of all Maggie. God gave me her to care for her. If I don't have the energy to care for my baby girl then what will I have left? How will I be able to make sure she gets the best care she can get if I can't function? I can't so I NEED to find a way to get well. So please pray for me and most of all my family. I need the wisdom to find the right things to treat my thyroid problem with and my family needs a mommy who can feel well and be the best mom she can be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8/25/10- First Day of School

Well there you go folks. That day has finally arrived here in the Reed Family household. Time for school.
Marilyn, Katie , Hannah and Maggie all woke up , got their breakfasts as I made their lunches for the day. They were super exicited and Maggie was disappointed that she wasn't going to start today.She won't start until September 7th but that's okay.
She learned that she can watch what she wants on t.v and play with the toys while her sisters are gone and not have them yell at her. She is a little whinney though so she is definitely going to take a nap this afternoon for sure.

It is so strange not to have them here at home. After homeschooling for 8 years I have found that I'm not sure what to do with myself without the girls. I'm sure I will figure it out but in the time being I'm just going to get some much needed house cleaning done. Its kind of nice to be able to clean stuff up and not have the kids tear it up behind me. For the first time in 8 years my kitchen table is clean.

I am so looking forward to hearing how their day went. Its only 10:24 and am thinking about them already. What are they doing? Are they having fun? What are they learning about right now? Have they met any new friends yet? The only thing I know is that at 9:30 am they have snack. I'm sure I'll get lots of papers to read tonight about what they do , when they do it , and how they do it. LOL.

We will see how this all goes. It doesn't feel quite right but in the same breath it needs to be done this year. I need to get my health in check so I can be the best mommy that I can be that's for sure.

The girls this morning

The girls met up with their friend Alicia.

Out in the parking lot

In the Multipurpose room waiting for their teachers to line them up.

Here is to a great school year for the 2010-2011 school year. I can't believe how my babies are growing up. Maggie starts September 7th, and was a little disappointed that she wasn't starting today. I told her all in due time because I have a feeling that me leaving isn't going to be the easy part for her. Or maybe it will and she'll surprise me. Who knows?

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Countdown is On!

School supplies : Check

School Uniforms: Check

Tugging on Mommy and Daddy's heart strings: Check

With 9 more days to go I think the reality is beginning to hit me that my little girls are all goingn to school. The older girls are enjoying every last minute of their summer vacation and Tim and I have been preparing for everything they will need for school. I'll admit it was quite a bit more work then I wished for but its worth it and I think they will have a positive experience with school this year.

It was quite a roller coaster ride when it came to getting nursing for Maggie. Since our school doesn't staff a full time nurse I had to go private. That didn't come without its 'fun'. First we had to get the diagnosis which led to our trek to Cincinnati. Once we had that getting the ball rolling for nursing was less then fun, but we managed and insurance is going to cover it. So this week we are going to interview nurses hopefully and find someone we are comfortable with.
I am hoping that everything will go alright for Maggie with even going to school in the first place. Whenever she gets sick it always ends up in some drama either taking longer to get over to ending up in the hospital. So we'll see. Even if we just get preschool in it will do Maggie a world of good. It really will.

Speaking of school right now our school is participating in a contest to see if we can will $500,000 dollars. What a blessing that would be. Our little school building is about 80yrs old and is in need of an overhaul. Unlike public schools we don't have money set at our finger tips to fix it up. We depend on fundraisers and everything to just keep it open. Its been sad to see so many Catholic schools close. Less families have the money to send their children to private school. Not that we have lots of money. We surely don't. We took advantage of the scholarship program that they have, which I think not many people realize it exists. So that was how I was able to manage to get the girls into private school. Otherwise we would have never of been able to afford it either. But it would be such a miracle if our little school wins it. So on the sidebar of our blog is a Kohl's Cares button. Click on that button. I'm not sure if you have to type in the name of the school and state but its St. Thomas of Corry, PA. And you have a chance to give 20 votes. You can only give 5 votes per school so don't worry if your school is participating as well as your school can only get 5 votes per person. So vote away and help our school get a much needed makeover!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3 more weeks!

I can't believe in three more weeks the girls will be going back to school. Not so sure about whether Maggie will venture off to preschool yet or not, but the other three will be going.

We've been doing some school shopping and getting prepared. The only think left are book bags, lunch boxes, and school uniforms and shoes. The girls are really excited yet at the same time a little nervous with this new journey. I know they will do absolutely fine.

Unfortunatley Maggie isn't any better off from our trip to Cincinnati at the moment. Don't get me wrong I am so happy that she isn't pooping 24/7. But she isn't out of diapers. We basically traded in one problem for another of course. So we get the constant pooping out of the way but add in cathing every four hours to keep her bad kidney from damaging her good kidney. Plus the fact that we aren't quite sure what to think of the motility problems she has been having. Hopefully we'll get the results of that sometime this week and we can get it figured out. If her blood work doesn't show anything we will do a trial of Flagyl and see if it helps at all or not. If that doesn't help then her GI would like to scope and see if this is allergy related. Sometimes allergy cells can get into the esophagus and GI tract and can lead to diarreaha ( a.k.a hypermotility). If nothing shows up with all of that then her GI suggests looking into her motility then. Even so if it happens to be motility related its not going to matter what type of testing we really do because there really isn't much to do to fix it, other then what we are doing now(Immodium and Enemas). If this is the case that will really stink for Maggie. Even though we went to Cincinnati, saw the Colorectal guru guys and went through the whole bowel managment program. It doesn't mean that Maggie still won't have accidents, and we all know how embarrassing accidents are. The older she gets the more its going to matter to her.

I can say if we do manage preschool for Maggie this year I will guarentee that it will be the only grade she attends brick and mortar school. With all of the hassle this has been, trying to come up with ways for diapering, which turned out going to Cincinnati. Then adding the cathing, trying to get a nurse for her to do this, insurance , insurance denials,. Its just not worth it in the end. Its a darned shame because Maggie will have so much to offer the world, yet I find that the world has nothing to offer her.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Life Flashing Before My Eyes

Yesterday was quite a day. It started off like any day of course. Getting up, getting the kids their breakfast, giving Maggie her meds and then sitting down to my computer to check my emails for the day. I never know who is emailing to ask me whatever question it is they have for the day.

Of course as I sat down to my computer I felt this wave of nausea and thought to myself " Oh goodie, the stomach flu." It started off very mild with some diarreaha( I know to much information), and ended with throwing up once(thank goodness). It was a quick lived stomach flu and that I was very grateful for because if anything, I mean anything, that anyone here in this house gets sick with I'd rather it not be the flu. It doesn't bother me that they throw up. Just when children get sick it doesn't start with them feeling nauseated and walking to the bathroom to do their business. It usually ends up with someone throwing up all over their beds, the floor and all of their toys that occupy the floor. It also most rarely ever starts during the day. Its usually in the middle of the night at 2 or 3a.m when you've just started in a REM cycle and are at your most comfiest.
Anyways, my stomach flu was short lived and I was finally able to stomach some ginger ale. Of course we had a tiny bit left in a bottle and I poured that into my cup and slowly sipped on that. Then later on I thought, what the heck, I'll have a few pretzels. That I did have and was starting to feel better. As fast as I felt better I began to feel light headed and my ears began to ring. I felt as if I were going to throw up and stood by the sink hoping it was just going to pass. I've had that almost going to pass out feeling before and if I stood in one place, breathed, or sat down I was most always fine and it passed. Not this time it didn't.

All I remember was bending down at the sink and that was it. All of a sudden I was laying on the floor starting up at the ceiling. It was as if I were just waking up in the morning and was looking around the room. Except I wasn't waking up from a full night's sleep. I was laying on the floor in the kitchen with my husband calling my name .. Tracy, Tracy. The first words out of my mouth weren't " What happened, or "Where am I?" or anything like that. The first words that came out of my mouth were" What???!!!!" Then I quickly got up on my feet and walked into my bedroom and layed down.

After everything was all said and done. I laid in bed with Maggie and just cuddled with her. I felt as my life flashed before my eyes. One minute I was at the sink and the next minute I was on the floor. I don't remember a thing. It was like as if I had went to sleep and woke up. I will admit, I know that people pass out all of the time, but it sure did scare me into thinking how limited my time on earth is here. What if that had been something more serious and I didn't know it?
I wish I could of said I saw a bright light, or an angel, or the Lord, but I didn't. I don't even remember anything going black. It was just crazy,and scary all at the same time.

It also scared me into thinking about who would take care of Maggie if I died? Tim tries to help but cathing a little girl and doing enemas make him feel uneasy. I'm the one who pretty much is in control of her care, making sure that she goes to her doctor appointments, her medications, scheduling surgeries, etc. I know Maggie's meds and enema recipes by heart ( though I do have them written down too). Ugh. At the age of 34 I shouldn't have to worry about these things. I should be enjoying life with my children not worrying about things like that. But I do unfortunately.
I wish God knew what he was doing. If he gave me a little child with health problems then He should at least give me good health at the minimum so that I can take care of her.

Oh well, I move forward and keep going. As my mother in law said " I'm one tough cookie". I'm not sure if I hit my head as it doesn't hurt, but between my shoulders and a part of my bottom. I'm sore.

Friday, July 9, 2010

How the summer flies by

Wow! All I can say is I can't believe how much time has flown by already. The girls have had so much fun this summer. They were in the Alice in Wonderland play. Which by the way they did fabulous. They worked so hard on that while Tim and I were gone with Maggie in Cincinnati.
That all went well too. I always enjoy going down there. Cincinnati is such a live and bustling city. It just seems to interesting. More so then the little island I live in here in Corry, PA.
Anyways our trip yieled answers and of course new medicines, procedures and equipment. I'm finding out that we need more room to live in and store stuff. Maggie just keeps us on our toes every day. She was a trooper through all of the testing and such. Mommy had to learn how to cath and do enemas all in that 10 days we were gone. There was even a moment that I had when I broke into tears because I was just so frustrated with it all, and my sweet, sweet little girl looks up at me and says " Smile, mom." So I looked at her and smiled and she then turns and says, " See, mom, I knew you could smile." With a bright beautiful smile on her face. She was the one going through all of this stuff and she was telling me to smile. Bless her little heart. I just hugged her and we laid on the hotel bed and cuddled. God has given Maggie such a beautiful personality. She has to have it to get through life.

As to the fun stuff we've been doing since we've gotten home. The girls continue to go to swim lessons, gymnastic lessons. We go to the lunch time at the Y for lunch and swim. Today we went to the library to check out some books. The girls always enjoy going. They really do. We're hoping to go see the play Annie Go Get Your Gun, which is put on by the Community Play Theater.
The girls cheered on their friend Abbey this year for Little Miss Corry. Marilyn didn't get to run this year. But she'll try again in a few years. It was fun to cheer on our friends.

The girls will be starting school on August 25th. I'll admit its still July and I already miss homeschooling them. Even though I've been doing bits and pieces of stuff with them throughout the summer. I'm not sure how to let go. I really don't. I'm sure I'll manage somehow. Right? I think I may just keep Maggie home. I haven't fully decided yet. I'm trying to determine if its worth sending her yet or not. I probably will but that little voice in my head or my gut feeling whatever it maybe. Is telling me to keep her home, yet at the same time she needs to get out a little bit. Maggie's life has been being at home and hospitals. She doesn't know how to play with children her age at all. She shuns anyone who isn't mom, dad, or grandma. So I feel like I'm in a pickle in a way I guess.

Well time to end it here. Its almost midnight. I need to quit staying up so late.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Its Summer Time!

All I can say is Wohoo! This is my favorite time of the year. Its warm, there is no snow, and lots of fun things to do throughout the summer. We've started out our summer with the first Vacation Bible School of the year. I wished I could say I have pictures but I don't. Our flash on our camera broke so its hard to get good pictures on it. The girls had tons of fun with the Egyptian themed VBS this year. They are looking forward to more throughout the summer. The girls are also participating in the free lunch program at the YMCA. They get a free lunch and swim or gym. They enjoy that a lot. Its a shame more people don't take advantage of it. The food has really improved from last year. Last year was mostly sandwhiches, which of course were made with white bread. My girls aren't used to that. I've always used wheat bread. This year they have had chicken alfredo, spaghetti and lasagna to name a few things.

We are also going to Cincinnati here with Maggie on Wednesday. This is a 'business' trip only. Meaning that we are going down for medical stuff and not for pleasure. I'm hoping we can get a plan going otherwise I'm not sure if Maggie will be able to attend preschool or not. We'll be there for about 10 /11 days so I'm hoping something will be accomplished there for being there down that length of time. I'll admit I look forward to going though because Cincinnati is really a nice place. We will be staying at the Raddisson hotel, which is located in downtown Cincy. So we'll be closer to the hospital this time.

I will admit that this summer is already going by super quick. By the time we get back from Cinncinati it will be almost July. Then we'll have August and then its back to school! Such a short amount of time to enjoy the summer. Which also leads to the fair! The Spartansburg fair is always so much fun. We've been going to this fair for a little over 12 years and its always a great way to end summer vacation. The fair isn't a big one , but its just right. Of course it gives us all summer long to work on our crafts and grow our vegtable to enter into the fair. The girls always enjoy that part. Which reminds me, I need to get the fair book so we can go down our list of stuff. I've also was inspired to get our tags for our entries in such a neat way. There are a few families that enter under ever catagory. They come down , get the entry tickets , and then put them on everything before they even come to the fair. So simple, yet so inspiring. So that will be our method of delivery. It will make it so much easier. Each year we go and get the entry tickets and sift through them only to find out that we forgot something at home or we take up to much time in line.

Well that's it folks. Summer is hear and its meant to be enjoyed! So we definitely plan on enjoying it that's for sure.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pennywise Give a Way

Why not do something fun and educational this summer? Sign up for the Pennywise Giveaway. I copied and pasted the info from their blog as I don't know much about the item other then it looks pretty cool if you like to disect dead things.

This week at, we’re giving away an Ein-O Science Nature Explorer kit.

Explore 10 Gritty Activities

- Nature Lab (plants)
– Growing Plants
- Plant Survivors
- Bug Eye
- Nature Lab (bugs)
- Light Shelter
- Antzville
- Germiniator Lab
- Plant Preservations
- Bug Viewer

Visit the Pennywise Blog to enter today...

Monday, May 17, 2010

If you teach a 3yr old a Kata?

If you teach a 3yr old a Kata , can they do it? Absolutely. Tonight Miss Maggie impressed me by learning her very first karate kata at the tender age of three. Of course she will need to keep practicing it and refine it but I was so proud of her.

Maggie looked so darned cute in her karate Gi and her Sensei thought it was the cutest thing he has ever seen. He's also convinced it helped her do better with her karate too. I'm also so proud of how far she has come as well. When we first started Maggie was so scared of the Sensei's. She was scared to take gymnastic class. She's been scared to do most things. But now this evening I was able to sit and visit with a friend of mine while Maggie lucked out and had one on one attention with her class since the other two kids didn't show up this evening. She had her teachers all to herself. She didn't cry or anything. She is even going and doing her gymnastics all by herself. I no longer have to sit next to her to do warm ups and there are no tears. Maggie still has a long way in learning to trust those who aren't her mom, dad or grandma. But this sure is one awesome positive start that's for sure.

Maggie loves her karate class as well as the older girls. They are determined to get their Green Belt. I wish I could help them more at it. I've been able to find a few videos on the strikes, kicks and such that they need to know. But not to much. If I could just find a good video on Goshin JuJitsu to help us practice more.
In all actuality I need to get my butt moving and start taking karate myself. I've held off because I don't have anyone to watch Maggie after her class. But if there is a will there is a way that's for sure.

Dishonest Curriculum Sellers

Okay. Well I can't post who they are on other boards. But this is my blog and I will all let you know that I just have delt with one just recently.
I had never bought from Homeschool Classifieds before and was looking for a cheap copy of the Saxon 6/5 book to use with Marilyn over the summer to catch her up in math a bit here.

So I responded to an add where someone was selling the tests, answer key and book for $13. What a good deal I thought. I patiently waited for my books and they did come. Problem was when I looked at the package it was to small to be holding three books. It had a small tear but nothing big enough for a book to fall out of. Surely the seller must have packaged it seperately. So the good seller and buyer I am I promptly emailed the person to see if I just needed to wait for the student book.

Nope. She responds with I sent the book with the others. Umm, nope. I would know if there was three books. I would have told her I recieved three books and to have a great day. So being the person I am I ask her to check to make sure the book didn't get taken off the pile by a rouge toddler or child. I had that happen to me once when I sold something. Here to find out my toddler took it out of the box and hid it under her 3rd sister's bed. I promptly found the book and sent it to the person and profusely apologized. Had I not found the book I would of refunded that part of the money so the buyer could of found another book.

This transaction did not go this way at all. I was pretty much had. The woman never apologized once for the book not being there in the first place. I even kindely took pictures so she could see that it didn't fall out of the package and that there was no possible way she of packed three books in this package. I also asked if it was the packaging she packed it in. Which by the way DONOT wrap books in a grocery bag and expect it to come through the postal system unharmed in anyway. Know that if you sell something I bet that person would rather have to take a pair of scissors to get through the layers of packaging tape that you wrapped around it then to have a packaged damaged or a book lost or whatever.

Anyways so the woman insisted she put the book in there and that it was my problem and she wasn't going to do anything further to help the problem. Even after I told her I spent my last $13 on school books. It is my last because I don't want to buy anymore school books with my girls going to attend brick and mortar school this year.

The moral of this story is if you can't be honest, don't sell. Homeschooling families aren't made of money and we need to get the curriculum for our children for a reason. Also don't sugar coat it and tell the person who bought from you if your co-op has an extra book that you would send it. What about homeschooling boards that sell these items? You could have easily have gone on Homeschool Classifieds, Well Trained Mind, Vegsource to find another book to send to me. I took the time to find you so I could buy my wares from you.
Plus if you are a dishonest seller, know that the money you are taking is the last of what someone may have for a while..
Isn't that right

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pennywise Learning Giveaway

This weeks giveaway for the week of May 7th. I copied this from the blog as I have never used the product but it looks oober cool.

This week at, we’re giving away an Ein-O Science Nature Explorer kit.

Explore 10 Gritty Activities

- Nature Lab (plants)
– Growing Plants
- Plant Survivors
- Bug Eye
- Nature Lab (bugs)
- Light Shelter
- Antzville
- Germiniator Lab
- Plant Preservations
- Bug Viewer

Click here to Enter

Finding the right math program

I'll admit, after all of these years homeschooling you would think I would have it all down pat as to what curriculum works best for us. Sadly after eight years I still have much to learn as what curriculum really works best. We've had our fair share of duds as well as that great curriculum.

I've found that I really like Christian Light Curriculum. I think for the price and how the curriculum is put together its well worth it and children really learn quite a bit from it. I really liked the Christian Light Math when I used it with Marilyn. Thought it wasn't her favorite her math skills really improved quite a bit that last half of the year.

I have found that curriculums like Calvert and K12 , though very good in their own right are to time consuming for families that have more than two children. Sometimes it can be to time consuming for even those with more than two. I think it would work well if I just had one child. But since I live in the real world I don't I have four and the more independent the curriculum and the less lesson planning I have to make the better.

With all of this said the girls are going to go to private school this fall and the school uses Saxon math. I used Saxon once before with my 2nd daughter Katie and it worked REALLY, REALLY well for her. I had used the K and 1st grade and she just thrived with it. What made me stop using it you ask? Well for one we were with a cyberschool for 1st grade. So I was juggling both Calvert math and Saxon so it lined up with her tests that we had to send back to the school. It worked just fine for 1st for us but by the time we got to 2nd grade we had Maggie and well,,, I then only had time for one math program and Calvert won out since I had to turn in tests to the school. So for the past 3 years its been nothing but tears for math for Katie. Her believeing that she is stupid when it comes to math and in all honesty that's not the case at all. Saxon works for Katie and it also works well for Hannah. I used the K12 math with Hannah last year and it worked just fine with her but not this year. Hannah needs more review just like Katie.
So if you've read this far you will no doubtly guess that I caved in and bought Saxon for the girls. The point is two folds as it will help them to just dive right in with math when they go to St. Thomas this fall and it will help catch them up on the things they just weren't understanding.

So for now Katie is loving math once again. That lightbulb has finally turned back on once again for her. Hannah is understanding math much better finally, and Maggie loves her K math.
I also bought the 6/5 for Marilyn in hopes it helps her. I feel she is lacking in something somewhere and after taking the diagnostic test this is where she placed. Not sure if it was lack of taking the time to do the test or if this is really where she is but we'll go with it and move on from there. I'm not sure if Saxon will fit Marilyn well or not. She is such a picky kid when it comes to school books in general. I think in the end Marilyn is just going to have to get over it and do the math.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pennywise Learning Giveaway

The homeschooling company Pennywise Learning is giving away one Complete Zoo Adventure Guide. I don't know much about it other then from what I've read about it on their blog. So I have copied and pasted the review of this really neat curriculum from their blog.

Sometimes The Best Learning Happens Outside The Schoolroom!

With the Complete Zoo Adventure, a family field trip to the zoo becomes an unforgettable learning adventure with this unique, evolution-free guide to the incredible world of animals!

Did you know:

•That the flamingo’s pink color comes from the food that it eats?
•That the hummingbird’s heart beats 1,000 times per minute?
•That the polar bear has a third eyelid that acts as “sunglasses” to protect it from snow blindness?
The Complete Zoo Adventure sets the stage for learning with “Before the Zoo” preparations, gives you the tools you need for an awesome “At the Zoo” experience, and then continues to deepen the understanding of God’s Creation with fabulous “After the Zoo” activities. Truly a complete guide like no other!


•7 Devotionals
•27 Encounters with God’s Creatures
•“Looking Ahead” – 7 Creation Foundation Lessons
•Detailed Professional Educator Guide
•27 Scripture Memory Aids
•12 Name Badges
•Over 35 Reproducible Activity Sheets
•27 Field Fact Cards
•3 Field Journals
Spiral Casebound • 9 x 9 • 150 pages • 4 Color • Authors: Gary and Mary Parker

You will need to visit the Pennywise blog to enter.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Maggie's first Lapbook!

Horray! Maggie made her very first lapbook with her mommy. Though coloring it was quite a chore for her. I can't blame her though as she may not have the muscle strength in her hands due to her hypoplastic left thumb. But she did it and I am so very , very proud of her. By the pictures you can tell she was proud of herself too! The lapbook we chose to do was The Carrot Seed which we got off of the website

The sides:

The inside of the lapbook: We talked about different kinds of vegetables, what seeds need to grow, we talked about different sizes, large, medium and small, the vegetables that start with the letter C, and there is a cute little pull up carrot in the lapbook too.

On the bottom flap we talked about the colors of brown and orange.

Here it the back. I did manage to google a few carrot worksheets from
Plus the Itsy Bitsy Book as well. The seed minibook is from a template from Homeschool Share's lapbook templates and may beans, apples,and tangerines gave their life to sit in this minibook.

So there you go. Maggie's very first lapbook. Our next lapbook we are going to do is called Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb Book. I think it will be pretty fitting to talk about her hand differences with her going to preschool. I know there will be some inquisitive kid that will notice that she has what we like to call a cartoon hand. LOL.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lapbook Giveaway

To celebrate Mother's Day. Lapbook and the Hearts at Home website is holding a giveaway for one of the Homeschool in the Woods Lapbooking CD's.

If your not familiar with Homeschool In the Woods they sell a hands on curriculum for History, Sciene, and Art, and Bible.
We actually own about three of the History Cd's that they sell and let's just say they are really fun to use.
My oldest really enjoyed the Explorers CD's. The history is included along with notebooking pages and lapbooking templates. Also included are some hands on activities that we really enjoyed doing. Last year Marilyn made an adobe hut, which we entered into the fair which recieved first place. We also made glow in the dark constellations with glow in the dark puffy paint.

So check out the giveaway and enter today! Click here : Lapbook Lesson Giveaway

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where the Red Fern Grows

Phew! We are finally finished with our Where the Red Fern Grows Lapbook.
It was a labor of love for sure as I didn't have many ideas to spawn off of since there aren't many lapbooks on the literature for the upper grade levels. I had only found one lapbook that had been made by a school teacher online. So it helped a little bit in getting the ideas that I needed. Though I still feel like there could of been more to our lapbook it did turn out nice and I hope it spawns ideas for others.
Though we are done with it its still a work in progress because a friend of mine just so happened to have a literature guide that went with the story. So I am printing some things out of that for the girls to do and save in their lapbooks. I wished I had it from the get go because it really would of helped with what to put in their lapbooks. Still I can't help but to be impressed with what we did do with it.

Bascially all we did was read the book as a read aloud. I'm sure at some point the girls will want to read the book again. Marilyn pretended as if she didn't like the story but I know better. Katie and Hannah enjoyed listening to the story. After we were finished with the story we began work on the lapbook and in the meantime we managed to find the DVD movie of it at Walmart. It was just sitting there all by its lonesome self on a shelf. As if it were meant to be there for me at that very moment. Talk about luck, huh?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TOS- Homeschooling in the Summer

Hello everyone. So its Monday and the question of the week for the The Old Schoolhouse is: Do you homeschool through the summer? Why or why not? What do you do?

Usually in the Reed family household we enjoy taking the summers off. There has been a few years (those after Maggie was born) where we had to school through the summer and we maybe were fortunate to have three weeks off before starting the next round of schooling. The last few years we've been able to dodge the bullet and enjoy our summers.

This year will again be the acception to the rule as our summer will pretty much start off with going back to Cincinnati with Maggie for bowel managment. We are going to attempt to get her in big girl undies so she can go to preschool school this year at St. Thomas. Of course if all else fails she is going to have to stay home and I'll have to homeschool preschool. With that said honestly out of my four children Maggie is my one that REALLY needs to be attending school. Since birth the poor child has been poked and prodded by strangers and so now she is four years old and now is forming the opinions that those who are different from mommy and daddy must be out there to hurt her. Who can blame her? She's only has been poked, literally prodded and has had countless tests and surgeries. I think I would feel the same way.

The older girls are going to need to continue to work on their math. Hannah is working well with her Saxon 1 and Katie is doing VERY well with Saxon 5/4 math. I do have Algebra 1/2 for Marilyn but I think I may need to back up a little and put her in maybe 8/7. I'll have to have her take the placement test and we'll have to see. This way the girls will go into school and not feeling clueless when it comes to the math. In the same breath it will only benefit them if they continue practicing math since most kids lose math skills if they don't practice them through out the summer.

We will also have to work on writing skills. I will say out of everything we do here at home this part of our homeschooling has been the weakest. My girls are NOT natural writers and they just resist this at every possible turn they can get. Boy are they going to be in for it when they go to school this year. But in the same breath I really want to help them get past this hurdle before they start school because it will be a true struggle if they don't.
I haven't decided on what to try and use yet because I can't seem to find anything that really fits what I am looking for. I'm looking for something spiral, to break down how to write sentences the right way all the way to being able to write something on their own that makes sense.
I'm possibly looking into maybe something like Writing Strands but I haven't made up my mind yet.
I'm still looking for any and all suggestions from others on the subject of writing.

The next thing we will work on during the summer is on lapbooking. I love to do this with the girls. My younger three enjoy it more then their older sister. But I make her do it just for my amusement. Plus whether she wants to believe it or not its good for her and she'll appreciate them someday when she sits with her own children someday and can remanice about the fun times and when they did this with me.

So as this year begins go to close we will be preparing for a new journey. In the meantime I'm not going to give up my reigns when it comes to homeschooling all to easily. There is always the summer time!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Preschool Reed family style

I've had some families ask me what we do for homeschooling and preschool. I will admit this was the first year I really got into homeschooling preschool as my older girls went to preschool and we just did things on the side at home. Usually working on handwriting, or letters or numbers we usually did a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

This year was a little different as I chose to keep Maggie home from preschool. Our preschool has consisted bascially of getting in what I can when I can get it in since I have three other children to teach at the moment. We haven't skimped on things though. Maggie has learned her days of the week, months of the year, how to tell what the weather is like and chart it on her weather map. We're working on colors and color patterns, number recognition, letters and their sounds, and even blending some three letter words to read. Maggie has learned so spell her name and is learning how to trace lines to spell her name and other letters.

This all sounds like a lot, but in fact we do it in such a matter of fact way that it has not seemed like much work at all. How you ask? Well I'll tell you. You can actually get these results buy remembering one simple thing. Have fun! If you can remember that you will find that your preschooler will learn so much in such a way that it almost seems effortless for you.

Here are some of my preschool secrets :

Learning Letters and their sounds- Leap Frog Videos,, Letter Factory, Talking Words Factory, Talking Words Factory 2 are all great videos and they work. In 2 weeks or less they will learn their letters and their sounds. Of course in order for that to work they do have to watch it at least once daily for two weeks.

Letter of the Week - this is a free online curriculum that teaches the letters and their sounds. It includes daily activities for each letter of the alphabet.

Number recognition- I use a combination of Touch Math and The Leap Pad Math Circus video.

I've also used websites such as Tot School to add some pizzaz to our days as well , and created our own Totbox to add Maggie's school stuff in so she can pull it out. I actually have a picture of that on the blog here and will have to dig for that photo and will post it.

File Folder games are awesome for little ones and even big kids to in order to help them learn. What better way to teach your child and not have them even know that they are learning something?
Websites such as:

File Folder
Child Care Land. com
The Resource

are great places to start with. Some of the websites may require you register for membership but these websites are free. You can also make file folder games of your own, and you can also buy premade ones as well. You just have to google them.

The next fun thing to do is to make Lapbooks. We absolutely love to Lapbook here. Lapbooks are educational and make a fun keepsake. You can be as creative with them as you want.

To learn about lapbooking you can go to
This website will give you some links and a quick tutorial on how to make lapbooks.
Also Lapbook will give you a not only all the information you'll ever need on lapbooking but also videos on how to make minibooks to add to your lapbook. If your unable to access that from their site you can easily type in lapbook on You Tube and they are on there.
Some of my favorite Lapbook websites are :

You can also purchase them already made and download to your computer

So there you go. Simplicity is the name of the game for preschool. Fun and enjoyment.
Playing with playdough, helping cook things in the kitchen with mom, learning to set a table, tie their shoes, zip their coats , jump and skip, draw pictures on paper and on the sidewalk with chalk. All of these things are equally important as much as academic work if not more important. Cuddling, kissing and lots of hugs also go along with the grade, because our little ones are little only once in their life time. So enjoy my suggestions and enjoy your little one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spiffing up the Saxon K and 1 Meeting Book

Since I am using the Saxon K and 1 right now to get the girls used to the math program that St. Thomas will be using. I found it pretty redundant to repeat myself twice everyday. So I made my own meeting book on our walls. By using some of the stuff I already have here at home, finding some things on the internet and creating my own stuff it turned out really nice. I took a video of our Meeting book wall since our camera's flash is not working so the pictures were coming out to dark even with enough light in the room.
Saxon K and 1 Meeting Wall Part 1

Saxon K and 1 Meeting Wall Part 2

Here are the links for the charts I printed out: Click on the Title.

100's Chart
Weather Stickers
Skip Counting Pages
Calendar Pages
this I forgot to take a picture of and mention. Since the K meeting book is bascially the set up of our wall plus arrows at the top where you add a number each day and do color patterns on. I am using the calendars from Touch Math because they are cute and do the job. Right now they just have January-April for the time being but each month they add a new calendar and hopefully by the time November rolls around they will have Decembers. My suggestion is to make two copies each time they bring out a new calendar. Touch Math doesn't keep everything on their websites for all times sake and plus they are celebrating 50 years this year so I think this will be up for a limited time. Of course you can find other calendars on the web if you google them. In the end if you have these items in your home or are up to creating some of the stuff this can give you an idea of a better way to do the Meeting if the meeting book is a drag ,or if you need to combine levels that are close together with Saxon math.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Getting Ready for Easter

Ahh, its finally spring and warmer weather has been showing up lately. Its wonderful to now see the sun and the grass on the ground. Its nice to not be freezing all of the time either.
We've had much to do last month. The girls spent some time with their Agora friends getting those cute little caricature pictures done. Then they also had a chance to spend a day at school! The girls will be attending St. Thomas this year. This was by their own asking so in the spirit of life Tim and I feel that we can not deny them a chance to see what it is like to go to school. So off they will go in September and I on the other hand will be busy finishing my degree. I am both excited and sad all at the same time. Excited for them because they will be having a new experience, and isnt' that what life is about? Trying new things? Sad because I just don't feel ready to give up my homeschool mom status either.
Of course I'm sure I will try to fit in afterschooling in there somehow.
The girls visited St. Thomas on March 29th and they had a great day and really enjoyed it.

Maggie was sort of okay with it. The moment we step foot in the classroom and I took off her coat she began to cry. So I sat in with her for some time until I was able to slip away. She did well for the most part. Her teacher Mrs. Buell said she only cried when she realized when I was gone but she settled herself down, then looked a little teary eyed in the afternoon and then she finally had enough and cried around 1:30 ish beause she pooped her pants. Of course I had to come and change her diaper because she wouldn't let anyone change it except for me. So I stayed the rest of school because school was almost over anyways and she went back and stayed right until the end. I was very proud of her because that made for a long day. I'm sure we'll have to go through this again when school starts but I think she will do just fine. I really do.

Marilyn, Katie and Hannah really enjoyed their time. Hannah's favorite part was that one of the children in the class had a birthday and they all got Dairy Queen for desert ( lucky Hannah). Katie had fun and all of the girls asked if she was coming back the next day (which she wasn't). Of course one little boy had to pipe up and act like an idiot but she was fine with it and was more interested in what the girls thought of her. LOL. Marilyn said she had fun with her friend Abby and she talked to a few other girls and there were a couple of boys who thought she was pretty neat,, ;>) That's my Marilyn! In the end I think this will be a good experience for them.
Hopefully with the time I have I can finish my degree. Work on getting better with my health and maybe the 'funness' of the school will wear off and I can go back to doing what I do best,,, homeschooling. This definitely will be another season in our life. One that we will all get through with flying colors. That's for sure.

Oh yes, before I forget I ran across a pretty neat blog called Homeschool Creations. There was a really cute Easter Bunny game and thought you all would enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cartoon Caricatures.....

Today we had an awesome fun day. The girls went to their PSSA party for Agora and we were surprised with an artist that drew caricatures. So of course the girls each wanted their very own cartoon version of themselves and they turned out so cute! Of course I took some photos of the drawings and this is what they looked like!

Aren't they funny? I plan on going to Walmart or someplace that sells frames and get these all frammed. They definitely are something that the girls will look back upon with some fond memories!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The never ending winter

I'll have to start off by saying I'm sorry I haven't posted pictures in a while. Our trusty Kodak camera's flash is not working so I'm not getting very good pictures off of it. At least none that would look any good on the computer. So I'm in picture withdrawl at the moment.

We've still be pretty busy with school work. Trying to get this year done and overwith. I am still looking forward to going back to traditional homeschooling. I think I was happier when I did it that way. No, I know I was happier when I just homeschooled on my own.

The girls are getting ready for Thinking Day at Girl Scouts. They've also been busy with working on earing patches for their vests. They love earning badges. Silly girls.
We've also been busy with more physical activity. This winter has left us pretty sedintary and I don't like that. I like for the girls to be active and that is what they need. So Marilyn, Katie, Hannah and Maggie have taken up karate at the YMCA. The older girls like it, Maggie isn't so sure. But there isn't much you can do with a three year old and karate. LOL. She'll learn to like it though. Maggie has also found she really likes gymnastics instead though. She is a little monkey girl, and its good getting her out and about around other kids about her age. She really needs that because my 3 yr old thinks she's either 6,10 or 12 instead of 3.
Marilyn, Katie and Hannah are continuing on with swimming and they are enjoying that.

Me, I've been working out at the Y at least 3 times a week. I'd like to do it everyday but well being a mom that isn't always possible. So far I have lost 12 pounds and I seem like I am at a standstill with my weight again. Grrr. I'm hoping that I can lose some more here. I'd like to lose about 50lbs if I can. That would be very good for me if I could. I am glad to say these days I am feeling better. I'm not sure what had been ailing me in January. Just that I really was not feeling well at all. It could of been a number of things, my thyroid, stress, the winter weather, not getting enough exercise, not enough vitamin D or B , or heck maybe all of the above. All I know is I've been feeling much better than I had been last month. I still don't feel 100% yet, but its a work in progress. I still think I'm having hormonal issues but its so hard to find a doctor that is willing to work with me and get to the bottom of things so I can get to my old self.

Other then that we are just having a never ending winter. The snow wont' stop. It just won't get warm and just looking at the tundra of snow is getting really old. I want warmth and sunshine. I want to walk outside without a coat, hat , boots and gloves on. I'm just so glad that Feburary is almost over with. Thank goodness its such a short month.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wishing it was Spring

I think I am pretty much done with winter. I am so longing for some warm air and looking around at green grass and leaves on the tree. I long for walking outside without a coat, boots and hat on that's for certain. I am also longing for this school year to be overwith as well. I am so ready to end cyberschooling. Not because its a bad thing, its not at all. Just because I'm one worn out momma from it all.

I love having the girls home and I love teaching them more than anything in the world. I just am finding with me having health issues that I need to use something more mom friendly if that makes any sense. I just have enough on my plate right now.

Dealing this whatever is going on in my body wether it be thyroid related or not has really taken a toll on me. It has taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally. So its definitely time to beging to prioritize what needs to be done for the upcoming school year so things aren't so stressful.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Horray for Spelling!

I'll have to admit I am impressed with my girls today. I had signed them up to participate in their cyberschool's National Spelling Bee. Yes, the National Spelling Bee that you see on television. This was the school's first try at it this year. They won't always be able to participate at the national level but the school will always hold a Spelling Bee. Which is great because it really encouraged my girls to really try hard at improving their spelling.

I had fun creating a spelling file folder for them ( which I don't have a picture of at the moment because the flash on my camera went and it won't take good pictures) so they could study their spelling words. We worked on this for an entire month, and today was the day!

Marilyn impressed me by getting first place , with two other first place kids in her 6th grade class, and Katie was a runner up for the 4th grade class. Hannah gave it a try and she tried her hardest but couldn't spell egg and macaroni. I told her at least she tried her very best and she did.
Now they have this under their belt and can someday tell their children that they participated in the National Spelling Bee.

Way to go girls!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Life still goes on

Well since I last wrote I began having issues with my blood pressure going up and it just woulnd't go down. The monday before Marilyn's birthday I had to go in and have them check my blood pressure because I felt so sick. I felt weak and tired and just like my heart was pounding in my chest. It was very scary for me to feel that way.
I went in and my blood pressure reading was 152/98! Those are some scary numbers that's for sure. I've seen people walking around with worse numbers but that made me feel mighty icky. So they've started me on a low dose of high blood pressure meds.

I will admit that stress is just one of those ugly factors in my life. The past three years since Maggie was born has been nothing but doctors, traveling , more doctors and more traveling. Dealing with doctors have no clue, some clue and a clue. But the trick was finding which one. The stresses of basically jumping up and down to get them to listen to me that my baby wasn't feeling good has taken a toll on me. Which it really, really stinks. At 33 years old I shouldn't be worrying about these sort of things. I should be enjoying life right now , enjoying my children and my husband. Not worrying about things like my thyroid and all its many components.

Today luckily my blood pressure went down to 122/98. The bottom number is still a bit high but I've only been on the med for one whole day and I was told it could take 2 weeks for it to really take effect. So not so shabby there. My doctor did go over the results of my sono and said I have a couple of cysts on the right side of my thyroid but I have a "blob" a mass of some sort on my left side. I would lie if I said I wasn't scared. I am very scared. I just wish there was a quick fix to this . You know kind of like your appendix. Oops its inflammed lets just get it out of there. Unfortunately its not that easy. They need to figure out what is up , and what that blob is. I'm not looking forward to someone messing with my neck. What a sensitive area!! I am hoping that this is just hormonal issues causing it and it can be something 'fixed' with medication. But I have a feeling its not going to be that simple. Nothing for me ever seems to be that way for some reason. Its been the theme of my life.
I will admit that I'm tired of doctors, tired of medical stuff. I would just like a break and have some enjoyment in life.

All I know I can do is that is to just pray. Pray to God that he can at least help me heal myself. He doesn't even need to heal me , but if he can at least throw me an anchor and help me heal myself I would be so appreciative. I need to be here for my girls.