Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gluten-Free Roller Coaster

It's been an interesting ride trying to figure out if Maddy is indeed allergic to gluten. At first, Tad thought he had the allergy so he cut gluten out of his diet for a couple of months. When he finally "cheated" and had some donut holes (you would think would be a horrible gluten choice), he was fine. So he eventually added gluten back into his diet and seems to be fine.
Maddy on the other hand, poor baby, has been very sick on and off. When we thought Tad had the gluten allergy, we then thought that Maddy might have it too since she has always had a sensitive stomach. So, on and off we have taken gluten out of her diet and then added it back in. But over the last 2 months or so, she has been very sick on and off, and it doesn't seem like they were cases of the flu. Each time, she will throw up and have diarrhea at the same time, and once she seems to have everything out of her system, she is fine and doesn't have other symptoms of being sick. She would do that, be fine for a few days, do it again, be fine, etc. Over the past few months we go back and forth between thinking she has the allergy or is just sick, or can handle a little bit of wheat. We are not sure. Again, her blood test for the allergy came back negative.
About 2 weeks ago, we were out most of the weekend and just let Maddy eat what she wanted. Bad choice. She was so sick after that gluten-filled weekend. It took about 3-4 days of being sick, and she looked pale, layed around, and didn't want to eat. Now that could have been more "symptoms" and maybe she really was sick, but I don't think so. Her stomach was hurting so bad for days. And she had a lot of wheat in that weekend.
Another thing I have noticed lately is that she has a lot of congestion. Every time she sneezes, she is cupping her nose and running to the bathroom because strings of snot come out her nose. That seems odd to me. But even though it's been a week and a half since she has had wheat, that is still happening. But her stomach seems better.
So, that's where we are at. Not exactly sure what is going on with her. But she seems better/totally fine when she isn't eating any wheat. So should we continue with more blood tests? Just completely keep her off of wheat? (which isn't the easiest thing to do, so I kind of want to be sure she has the allergy. That is why I have gone back and forth between giving it to her and not...) The doctor also suggested doing a food diary, a poop diary (exciting, huh?), or that they could test her poop. For now, we are just keeping her on a gluten-free diet because she seems fine when we do that!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 15

I am so sad I had to miss this week! I had pretty much everything ready and prepped and I was planning on going to CC. My oldest, Maddy, who is 6, hadn't been feeling good all day, but when you are a tutor, it's kind of hard to miss since you have so much material that is prepped, and you've learned it all week. My younger two were battling colds, but I was really thinking we could make it. Well, Monday night, Maddy started her usual diarrhea and vomiting which has become somewhat routine for the past 2 or 3 months. I knew then that I couldn't even go and teach and have her lay down in the back. We think she has a gluten allergy even though her blood test came up negative for it. We have gone back and forth on the issue, sometimes thinking she is okay with it, and then changing our minds when she is so sick, but it doesn't seem to be the flu.
So anyways, I called one of my faithful parents who is there every week, usually with her husband, since she was the most familiar with how I teach. She willingly accepted, and I'm just glad I had everything laid out for her so hopefully it wasn't too difficult! So, here's what she did this week!

Week 15

Timeline: learned new hand motions and practiced with the Timeline song

History Sentence: did hand motions and sang the song with the motions (on the subject cd)

Latin: played duck, duck goose. The "ducker," as they patted each child on the head, would say each Latin sound for each child, and when the got to the end, the child they patted last had to say "singular, first declension" and then would get to run and become the new ducker. I wish I could have been there for this one! I will have to use it again!

Geography: used plastic fish/dinosaur to find new geography, traced/colored with dry erase marker, reviewed old geography, glued stamp in passport for the week (I just print off passport stamps from google images and try to get them to coincide with the location for the week we are learning)

Math: (metric measurements), printed off worksheets from CC connected, reviewed by having them put a finger on each thing as we said it.

Science: went over the worksheet for mountains on each continent, put the kids in pairs with a ball and for the first pair, the first child would say "everest" and throw the ball to the second child who would say "in Asia" several times so the two go together in your head, and so forth.

English: has, have had: (we did this last week and the kids loved it), we just said them over and over as a class faster and faster until I put my one finger over my mouth and the kids would too and would have to stop saying them, I was trying to "catch" any of them still saying them.

Grammar Review: They sat in a circle and threw the ball to each other to music, when the music stopped the person with the ball had to choose a CC question out of the bag and answer the question.

At the end we do stickers on their reward charts (and whoever I just couldn't get to pay attention or obey doesn't get a sticker. I have had to take stickers away on occasion, but it's good incentive because if they miss a sticker, they don't get to pick out of the treasure box, which we do every other week.) Then we do cleanup chores and sitting with backpacks in their chairs. If we have extra time, sometimes we will read a book at the end or play a game. Or review presidents.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Art of Losing Things

Just so you know, this is not a picture from my house!!

If Tad and I got paid for losing things, we would be rich by now. We specialize in losing things in deep, dark places, or even random places, or even obvious places and we should remember where they are! It is just amazing to me how fast things disappear into the oblivion around here.
Just yesterday we lost something important and spent a good deal of time looking for it. We looked through boxes, through piles of papers, in the garage, in purses, etc. and I happened upon it this morning with my sleepy eyes that weren't fully awake yet. It was on top of the microwave. Duh!
We usually have certain "spots" for important things, to make it less easy to lose them. But man oh man, if we don't put them in those spots, it seems impossible to find them. We just forget. I just forget, where I put them when I'm cleaning. I'm the master cleaner/hider of all things important. When I get going, especially if someone is coming over, I just grab piles of things and either put them away, or if there's no time, I just shove them places. Sometimes it seems like they do disappear; like pacifiers for instance. We had bought Judah so many pacifiers and lost them and bought them. I feel like I should be finding them in random places, but alas. Who knows what happened to them. (And by the way, we just finally weened him off of them! Well, I will give all the credit to Tad, because I was still hanging onto his obsession with them!)
So, judge all you want. Call us messy, unorganized, cluttered, forgetful, or irresponsible. But I just had to brag. Because I am a pro at losing stuff!

What bad habit are you a pro at?? Go ahead, brag in the comments section!!

image credit

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Greek Chicken Pasta

Man, it's been awhile since I posted a recipe on this here blog! I have been out of the blogging world for awhile just being busy with family, holidays, school, and life with 3 kiddos! But, you all know my big passion for food. Cooking food, eating food, making recipe lists, coming up with new menu plans and menus for entertaining. Watching cooking shows and The Food Network and of course, The Pioneer Woman. And if you didn't know this already, she has her own show on the Food Network now. And her second season just started. Yay for her!
So, I will give you this recipe for some yummy Greek Chicken Pasta. Tad and I love anything Greek. Or feta cheese. Or artichokes. Yum! I will say, I added the marinade for the artichoke harts into the pasta as recommended by many other reviews, but I don't know if I would do that again. I don't know if it needed that much acidity. And it was a good recipe, though it seems like it needed something else to give it a kick, and I haven't figured out what that is yet. But for a quick, easy, weeknight meal, try this recipe!!

Greek Chicken Pasta

1 pound uncooked pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (14 oz) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken. Cook, stirring until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Bring the heat down to medium-low, and add the artichoke hearts, tomato, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice, oregano, and cooked pasta. Stir until heated through, season with salt and pepper, serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Again, some reviews said they added the marinade from the artichoke hearts; that is totally up to you! If you do that, you might want to eliminate the lemon juice, but maybe just taste it and see how you like it! Enjoy!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sleepy, Grumpy Mommy

I think when you become a parent you truly begin to realize the value of sleep. Oh, in college you get a taste of the sleepless nights. But you can always make up for it the next night, or that weekend, and it doesn't go on for weeks and months at a time. When I had Maddy (my first), I lost sleep for sure. But it wasn't too bad. The rule is "when they are sleeping, you should be sleeping." But that rule really only applies when you have one child, right? You can't just take a nap on the couch when you have other ones awake and playing. And the more kids you have, the more chances you have of being woken up at night.
Maddy is a pretty good sleeper now. She used to have night terrors until she was about 3 or 4, but now she is old enough that she doesn't get them and she doesn't really wake up at night. She just wakes up super early in the morning. And she has always been an early riser. But ever since she was about 3 or 4, she could come out of her room at 6 or 7 and turn on the tv and color. So that helped me get a little more sleep once I knew I could trust her to come out at a certain time.
Judah has always been a really good sleeper. He takes long naps and for the most part, has slept in. But lately he has been getting up early in the morning, and sometimes getting up at night since he is in a toddler bed and he can. We recently took away his pacifier, so that helps that he isn't waking me up to find it in his bed, which he did frequently.
Ruth is a pretty good sleeper. She has her different streaks, and they depend on teething, sickness, or if she is well and happy, she sleeps pretty good and wakes up one to two times at night to nurse, and takes one to two naps during the day, depending on when she wakes up. She actually sleeps until around 9 most days, so that is a nice time for me to have in the morning before she gets up.

I was having a hard time when Ruth was teething and sick and waking up in the middle of the night and staying up for awhile, sometimes 2 plus hours at a time. During that time, Judah would wake up and need put back to sleep. And then Judah or Ruth would wake up around 6 in the morning. I was so tired, that when Maddy and Judah were up that early, and Ruth was still sleeping, I would get them breakfast and put them in front of the TV with their little table and try to sleep on the couch. I was desperate for sleep. And grumpy. And didn't feel like starting my day that early. I didn't have enough energy to get everything done that I needed to. I felt like a failure as a mom because I have so much on my plate but I did not have the energy to accomplish stuff, especially stuff in the morning before school. I would just lay on the couch until 8 or 830 since Ruth was still sleeping, and it felt disgusting! Depression was starting to set in, and I couldn't handle my emotions or anything around me.
I do feel like I'm starting to come out of it. The kids have been sleeping better at night; I just have to plan on them getting up at or around 6. Which means I need to go to bed earlier. I am not good at this, but I have been so exhausted that it has been more motivating to go to bed earlier. I feel a little bit fresher, a little bit more alive, and a little bit more like I can handle my emotions. This is the start of a new week, and a new plan. I am cutting out sugar, wheat (as much as I can), sugary drinks, eating after 7, and will begin working out 6 days this week. I plan on being up in the morning with the kids and not sleeping on the couch. I don't want to go to bed late, and I need to get more done this week, including drinking more water, taking vitamins, eating healthier and getting out of my pajamas every morning and into normal clothes! I just had a big "binge" weekend of eating at different events, and I'm ready to shed those pounds, and choose things to help me feel better all around. I'm hoping that the extra water, healthy food, exercise, sleep, and good choices will help me feel better.
So, here's to a new week. Being a stay at home mom and a homeschooling mom at that, isn't always easy. There are good days and bad days. Days where you get a lot done and feel like you accomplished much. And then there are days when it seems like you are just trying to survive and make it to the end of the day with kids who are fed, dressed, and happy. It's all part of the process, and God is there with us through both kinds of days. Here's to a better week!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Classical Conversations - Week 14

Well, we are just cruising through the second semester! We had such a good week for week 14! I had a dad who came and really helped to keep some of my more rambunctious kids focused! That always helps a tutor out! There is so much material to get through each week and the parents can be such a big help with keeping the kids paying attention so the tutor can focus on presenting the material and helping the kids play games to memorize their week's material! Yay for parent involvement! I will have to say, at first I was nervous about having to teach in front of parents, but now I see the value of having parents in the room and helping with things (especially with my baby who has had to be in there a lot!). I am so grateful for the parents I have had this year!
My class seemed a little more subdued this week and less hyper so they participated better in class! We had some fun games and it seemed like the kids were really learning their stuff! And everyone got a sticker on their reward chart and got to pick out of the treasure box this week!
So, let me share what we did this week!

Week 14

Timeline: learned new motions and sang the Timeline song

History Sentence: learned hand motions and sang with the song

Geography: plastic fish/dinosaurs to find new geography on big maps, tracing with dry erase marker, gluing stamps to their passports

Latin: played Marco Polo again since the kids enjoyed it so much last week; one kid is blindfolded and says "nominative" while 2 other kids "hide" in the room and echo "subject" while the first kid tries to find them (and of course I help the blindfolded one so they don't run into things!)

English: first three helping verbs (do, does, did). Said it faster and faster and then I would put my finger over my mouth (which is what we do to get quiet) and the kids all would do it really fast. We would say do, does, did faster and faster again and then I would try to "catch" kids by putting my finger over my mouth and seeing if anyone kept saying them. They loved this!

Science: 3 kinds of rocks, used a book, explained what they were and had them repeat after me several times

Math: Linear Equivalents, handed out a worksheet from CC connected, brought in a ruler for a reference point, said the equivalents and had them repeat, also used my foot as a reference point (just to help them remember it)

When we had some extra time, I had the kids in two teams and when I said "go" each team had to put timeline cards in order (one team had last week's cards, one team had this week's cards) and the first team to do that had to run and hit the bell.

Grammar Review: The kids were in two teams sitting on opposite sides of the room with a bell on a chair in the middle. Each team would have one kid's turn at a time, and I would ask the question and they had to run and ring the bell first to answer the question. If they rang the bell and didn't answer correctly, the other team had a chance to answer for 2 points instead of one. I was trying to prevent this young age from just running the fastest to ring the bell but not really knowing the answer. It was fun and got their energy out, and they also didn't seem bored like with other review games. 

So, that was our week 14! And as always, leave comments if you have questions, suggestions, or anything else on your mind!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Classical Conversations Week 13

Well, it has certainly been busy around here and I didn't even get around to doing a blog post about week 12! I can't even remember that far back so I think we will just skip that one and get right to week 13, shall we?
It was so nice to have those 2 months off from CC, as we needed to breath a little, celebrate the holidays, and just rest with family. After all the celebrating was done, of course!! But now, we are back to the grind again, and we are on the way towards the finish line! We are now more than halfway done!
This past week was kind of a crazy week. The kids were all pumped up about being back. I know Maddy was so excited and couldn't wait to go back. This created some craziness in the classroom, but hopefully they had fun while learning the concepts from week 13! And each week, there are highs and lows, things that worked and things that didn't, and with this being my first year, it is all a learning process for me. This week I learned that games that are individual (meaning that each child has their own turn, and they go in order) do not really work. The kids get bored waiting for their turn, and when my attention is on the person whose turn it is, it is hard to keep the others paying attention and waiting for their turn. I get that. And I definitely learned that after this week's review game. So when you get to that part, remember my mistake! If I had some older kids it might have gone better, but for the young ones, it is hard to keep them still and quiet waiting for their turn!
So this is what we did this week:

Timeline: went over new motions, sang the Timeline song on the cd
History Sentence: did hand motions to go along with the song on the cd
Latin: played "Marco Polo" with the noun cases, one person was blindfolded and would say, "Nominative" while two others hid somewhere (easily accessible) and would say "Subject" and I would lead the blindfolded one until they found them, and so on.
Geography: used plastic car or dinosaur to find Western Africa, traced new geography, glued a stamp in their passports
English: Hands on knees and kind of bounced while saying "A Helping verb helps another verb assert action (made an action pose), being (both hands out, face up), or existence (stand pencil straight.)
Math: Liquid Equivalents: Printed out a sheet for each child with the info on it, and brought in examples of a cup, a pint, a quart, and a gallon.
Science: Used a printed sheet showing the 6 parts of the earth to be memorized, said and repeated them. Tried to get them to memorize core, mantle, and crust together, and then hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere and explained what those meant.

Science Experiment: Just used what was provided for the experiment.
Fine Arts: Giotto, printed off some of his artwork from CC connected.

Presentations: Impromptu. I made up different subjects so I could hear about everyone's Christmas break, but the kids all pretty much wanted to talk about their favorite present that they got, so I let them! 

Grammar Review:
Brought in huge hopscotch squares and let each child roll the dice. Each number represented a subject (except Timeline, since we kind of review that when we sing the song), and after they answered the question they just did the hopscotch. It wasn't my best grammar review game by any means!!

Hope this helps you for Week 13!!