Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Overcoming Dyslexia

Today's Works for Me Wednesdays is being pre empted by something that I hopes will work for us...Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.


Our nine-year-old, H-Bob, has been receiving vision therapy for convergance issues for the past six months and has made great strides in her reading. We decided to let that speak for itself before tackling any other underlying issues. Perhaps it is now time to look for those. Mild dyslexia very well could be the next issue she will be working on to overcome.

Overcoming Dyslexia explained dyslexia in such a clear way and detailed what it is and what it isn't. Of course with it being summer and no access to district testing, we're not going to wait but jump in right now to implement some of the overlearning strategies outlined in its 417 pages and see how that affects H-Bob's reading fluency.

Our children are such amazing creatures and they all come with their own individual  wiring and unique layers. God put them together and certainly can help us figure them out. So here begins yet another journey.

So...I'd love to connect with other homeschoolers or parents and teachers who have tackled dyslexia. What works. What doesn't. How homeschooling has helped..or even didn't. What type of intervention worked best. Lay it on.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Homemade Popsicles

Did you lick them frantically to keep up with the drips? Or did you chomp your way through them? Everyone seems to have their own way to gobble up popsicles, kids and adults alike. They all seem to have their favorites too. At our elementary school, they would sell popsicles during lunch recess...who would ever hear of THAT now? To this day some of my favorites...when I do indulge...are those that we had back then.

The Big Stick.



Root Beer Twin Pops.



Orange Creamsicles.



But today I try to stay away from such syrupy sweet confections and all the garish food colors. But I do fancy ice cold things. So the answer is a homemade popsicle with only what I want in it.

I scoured the web the other day for recipes and came to the conclusion that a basic fruit popsicle is the easiest and healthiest. No recipe needed. Although this concoction sure looks good:


Put your selected fruit in the bowl of a food processor. Whir it up until it is pureed. Add a little sweetener. Some is good in that it softens up the texture of the finished popsicle so that you are not sucking on an ice cube. Some berries benefit from the tang of a little lemon so squeeze some in as well. And the last ingredient which I think makes all the difference is to add some dairy. It too keeps the finished popsicle from being too hard and just plain MAKES it if you ask me.

I have some ancient Tupperware popsicle holders which are nice in that you pour in your puree, cap them, pop them in the freezer, and walk away for four hours.



If you use Dixie cups on a tray, you will need to let them solidify somewhat before you stick in your popsicle sticks...although now they're just called craft sticks.



There are some pretty cool molds out there, but the Dixie cup version just looks classic.



A friend mentioned that leftover smoothies would be great to freeze as popsicles. I couldn't agree more.

So since the ice cream man does not make the rounds out in the boonies where we live, and I hate to pay the pretty penny for store-bought popsicles with all their fillers, we will be making plenty of homemade ones this summer. And filled with fruit, who can complain.

What was your favorite popsicle as a kid, or what IS your favorite one now? Or have you given them up as an adult. It will be fun to compare answers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Homemaker Monday - June 27, 2011



I'm linking up today with Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and Happy Homemaker Monday.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

It's is the 60s right now. Forecast is for high 60s and rain AGAIN.


Click for Oregon City, Oregon Forecast

Things that make me happy:

I'm purging one cabinet or drawer a day. I despise clutter, but is so easy to let it accumulate during the school year. Summer is my time to fling.

Book I'm reading:

I'm devouring Raising Your Spirited Child. It seems all of our kids would fall under one aspect of being spirited or the other. I'm finding it helpful to share it with Goat Princess, our fourteen-year-old. It's good to know you are not alone.

What's on my TV today:

Not much as usual.

On the menu for dinner:

I still have a portion of sturgeon left from hubby's fishing trip last week. Time to be creative with it. Far tastier eating it fresh than freezing it for later.

On my To Do List:

The u-pick fields are just now opening for strawberries. We pick an awful lot every year and freeze them. Today the girls have dentist appointments and one has a CYT Bible study right after dinner, so the trip to the berry field might have to wait until tomorrow.

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:

The broccoli in the garden is ready. I clipped a recipe from a magazine with an Asian twist to try.

In the craft basket:

These are the coolest looking reversible bags/totes. I would love to find time to make them.



Looking forward to this week:

Getting those berries in the freezer, weekly activities with our church, and finalizing H-Bob's fourth grade curriculum for next year.

Tips and Tricks:

I use a tremendous amount of garlic in the kitchen and prefer to use fresh cloves than the bottled variety even though it's a pain to work with. The easiest way I've found to handle it is to thinly slice off the root end, lay the clove flat on the cutting board, smash it with side of the blade of my largest knife which then allows me to just slip off the skin so that I can begin chopping. Works for me.

My favorite blog post this week:

This isn't a new post, but new to me...great looking social media icons that I updated my blog with. Now to find one for Pinterest...

Blog Hopping:

SmileMonsters.blogspot.com

No words needed:



Lesson learned the past few days:

It is wise to just stop what you are doing and be sure your child knows you are intently listening to what they are sharing with you. By far too easy to just, uh-huh, yeah, right, and then...what did you say? I've been guilty far too many times. It's not worth it.

On my mind:

I've been realizing that it is my job to know my kids inside and out. There is no one else who has been given that responsibility other than me. If it means I need to take the extra step to see things from their point of view, then so be it.

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

From my devotional that I have sent to my feed reader daily:

Allowing frustration to make us impatient with others can tangle up our lives in a hurry. It creates messes that we have to go back and clean up later. How much better it would be to respond to someone’s unkind or thoughtless remark with kind words or even silence, rather than with a hurtful or mean reply. With the Lord’s help, we can do just that. Whatever situation we are presented with, we can respond by following the instructions given in God’s Word, and then wait patiently for Him to do the rest. It pays to be patient!
Enjoy your week!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Entry for June 26, 2011

Now that I'm diving back into blogging again, I'm finding inspiration and meaning in participating in various memes. It has been exactly a year since I made an entry at The Simple Woman's Daybook. I went back and read it today. It was fascinating to see that some things never change...and yet other concerns or interests have moved on. As another fellow blogger put it...wish I had the link for you...she started blogging so that she could go back and remember. Yes, remember because time slips through our hands. Our children grow. Doors are closed. Prayers are answered. A new season begins.


Outside my window...the skies are clouding up again. The story of this year. But oh so thankful that the temps really are mild. Can't complain about low 70's.

I am thinking...that I am thankful for the meaningful people in my children's lives.

I am thankful...that we still seem to have an open door of communication with our teens.

From the learning rooms...I can see that H-Bob is grasping her reading. I need to keep up her enthusiasm through the summer. Vision therapy is paying off.

In the kitchen...there is not much going on this weekend. Simple foods. Greens from the garden. Strawberry popsicles.

I am wearing...my comfy clothes that I religiously change into the minute I enter the house from being somewhere.

I am creating...nothing much unfortunately. My creative side is starving.

I am going...to evening church services tonight. Our church holds an annual campmeeting during the summer. We'll be very occupied the next couple of weeks.

I am wondering...how soon our goat kids will sell. We had kiddings late this year, and the kids are ready to be weaned. Sometimes it is nice if that happens at their new home. Gets the trauma over in one fell swoop.

I am reading...Raising Your Spirited Child. I knew we had four of these without a doubt. But this is sure helping me understand what we have gone through and continue to do so with our most spirited.

I am hoping...to squeeze u-picking strawberries into the coming week.

I am looking forward to...wrapping up my homeschool plans for H-Bob. This is round four of fourth grade, but she learns so differently that we need to travel a different road.

I am hearing...the door slam downstairs. I'm guessing hubby and a couple of the kids plus a friend are returning from a walk down to the creek in our woods.

Around the house...things look cluttered. Some days I just want to walk around with a black garbage bag and pile it all in there. More storage has got to be the key.

I am pondering...how to find time to relax to have more time to ponder. My brain tends to get cluttered with just the immediate things of life.

One of my favorite things...is watching the garden grow, day by day.

A few plans for the rest of the week...more purging and organizing, freezing berries, eating from the garden, and perhaps trying to cook beef brisket on the Traeger grill.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...goofing off on Father's Day.



Friday, June 24, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - June 24, 2011

I love hearing from other mothers whose journeys are similar to mine. So I'm linking up with The Homeschool Mother's Journal on Fridays.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

Our football player has been off to his team camp this week, so the dynamics in the house are a little different. In other words, the empty pit is not here to feed. Our stay-at-home summer trip this week included a trip to the outlet store for Dave's Killer Bread and Bob's Red Mill which are across the street from each other. Picked up Dave's Good Seed bread at 'imperfect' prices plus buy two and get one free. Killer deal. We're trying to at least go somewhere different, see something different, or try something different each week to make up for our summer at home. That unbeatable trip to Hawaii in May cannot be topped.

In our homeschool this week...

I've started to look at the Sonlight American history year one curriculum that has been put away for H-Bob who will be in fourth grade. Time to get some initial planning done.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

H-Bob, who will be our fourth grader, was diagnosed with vision tracking problems at the first of the year. With therapy she has gone from barely a first grade reading level to being able to read most any book in the I-Can-Read series which is around third grade. I would encourage anyone with a reader who is struggling to consider having their eyes checked. Her 'vision' is perfect and most optometrists don't checking for eye teaming. But oh what improvement she has made now that it has been identified.

I am inspired by...

There appears to be hope for Big Guy who had a successful week at his football camp. A few bumps and bruises, which are nothing in his life, but his ACL repair held up and his foot seemed to be okay. We just might go overboard with enthusiasm here with his last year of high school football now that it appears he's good to go in order to play.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing...

Hubby and I went out today to watch Big Guy scrimmage at his football camp...seems like it's all about him this week :) Nice to just get away without anyone else tagging along. I even had a purchased latte this morning.

My favorite thing this week was...

Even though the weather struggles to get above 70 degrees, parts of the garden are doing so well. That makes me smile. Lettuce, greens, a few strawberries, radishes, green onions, herbs. Great to have that available to use at any given moment.

What’s working/not working for us...

I've taken a look at the bare minimums I feel need to be done around the house during the day, so that if we take off somewhere or I spend more than the usual amount of time on a project, I still feel like we're staying at 'survival' levels.

Questions/thoughts I have...

We have accumulated a fairly good sized pile of things in our garage...pending a garage sale. But will we ever have one? Should we just haul it to Goodwill? Then I think perhaps some stuff should go on CraigsList. Why is it so hard to part with stuff after you realize you no longer need it? It should be a way at looking at any purchase you make realizing that when you're done with it, you shouldn't expect any value from it at the end.

Things I’m working on...

Each day I tackle one drawer or cabinet in the kitchen to purge and thoroughly clean out. The tortoise wins the race! And this method is working. The kitchen is almost finished. By the end of summer, I'll feel like I've accomplished a major job throughout the house.

I’m reading...

Determined to start reading those library books!

I’m cooking...

Hubby took some clients out sturgeon fishing this week and brought home his share of sturgeon. It's a great white meat fish similar to halibut. Takes on about any flavor you wish.

I’m praying for..

I'm going to be thankful...and not ask for anything else...that Big Guy came through his football camp unscathed.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

A proud mama moment when Big Guy received his All Team award at the closing ceremony of his football camp today. It's been a long haul in coming. Yep, he's the big redhead.







Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Of Horses and Stalls

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I'm going with that, because when I'm asked if I work, I tend to stumble and mumble something about a barn and some horses and part-time and the fact that it's not a real job...



But it is a job...an actual paying one. Twenty-plus hours a week. But true enough, it is hard to describe. So here goes:

I'm not a morning person and having the responsibility of fifteen of these faces staring at me for their breakfast doesn't make for a great start to the day, so granted I can be pretty grumpy first thing in the morning. But considering the morning portion of this job is wrapped up even before my kiddos are awake and that I walk all of next door to get there, it's a perfect fit. The getting up early...well, I'm working on that.



But the latte I bring with me each and every day certainly helps.



At least I don't have to be a short-order cook for them in the morning. It's either grass hay or alfalfa. The only bother is keeping tabs on their portions so they get neither too thin or too chubby. It can happen. Show horses have to keep up their figure you know.



Yes, these for the most part are Arabian or part-Arabian show horses, and they have the supplements to prove it. But no time for foggy brain here. Everyone gets a completely different supplement ration. Mind boggling actually.



Show horses are spendy, their owners spend plenty of money on their training and care. They kinda get what they want. That includes two buckets of sparkling clean water every morning. So they have to go from this...



to this.



Two buckets a piece. Trust me, it builds plenty of arm muscle.

As speaking of working out, they live, eat, and leave their remains in a 12' x 12' area. So that requires their stall to go from this...



to this...



which builds even more arm muscle.

Tools of the trade are simple.



Clothes for the job are simpler.



What's not so simple at times is reading the personality of a 1,000 animal capable of moving at lightning speeds when their 'flight' mechanism kicks in...while you are in their space. Ears are a great indicator if you are welcome in their space or not.



No room for false moves or letting the mind wander. Your peripheral vision is your best friend. But sometimes that isn't even enough. A new horse to the barn. A tendency to kick at imagined fiends. You might leave with an injury to remind you to pay closer attention.

Or a daily reminder to ask for divine help before entering the stall of a particularly quirky mare.



When everyone is fed, watered, and happily content in their clean space, then it's time to either rake or sweep up the mess that I make...



so it looks like this...



and haul it out here.



Here is where the magic of composting happens. Pretty sure I can get you a free ticket to some of the best soil amendment around.

And then it happens all over again come dinner time.

So do I work? Yes, I guess I do.

Do I enjoy it? Yes. I tell myself it's a great full-body workout that I get paid for doing. And it more than fills my needs to be outdoors in the fresh air and around animals.



Will I always be doing this? Probably not. It was an answer to prayer to help out with the co-pays and deductibles for the five surgeries we have had in the last three years.

Now it' your turn. Have you had employment land in your lap just in the nick of time? And the biggie...was it really what you wanted to do or was it just best to not ask questions and take what you were given and be grateful? Love to hear your story.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Single Sock Club

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Do lone single socks in your household have a way of mysteriously multiplying? Do you ever wonder how it is possible to have 20 odd socks with no mate? Or make that probably more like 30 plus socks languishing around?



Well, here's my no-sweat way to deal with this infuriating problem. It is a little like out-of-sight, out-of-mind, but that's okay in this instance. I keep a basket...just so happens to be a wooden one...downstairs into which gets tossed all lone socks while I'm folding laundry.

So here' the routine: when I'm done folding a load of laundry and if there are single socks...no, make that WHEN I have single socks, I simply pitch them into the basket. Nothing to trouble myself with. Then about once a month when I find myself noticing that the basket is getting pretty full, I sit down and start matching socks. I'd say fifty percent of the basket gets handled. Now...I haven't figured out a nifty trick for dealing with those leftover socks, but I could throw them away...or save them until we paint our goat pens for county fair...or turn them into sock puppets...or stuff them with rice to heat up for sore necks...or...you get the idea. It blows my mind that we could possibly have that many unmatched socks elsewhere in the house, but I guess it is what it is.

But overall, this little practice immediately deals with lone socks, keeps those said unmatched socks from wandering off to create more lonely socks, and keeps me from tearing my hair out over the apparent inability for both socks to make it in the laundry at the same time.

So, how do you deal with the single sock club in your house?


I'm linking up today with We are That Family and Works for Me Wednesday. Head over that way for more good ideas.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Protect That Head. Get a Brain Pad

This post probably won't grab your attention unless you have an athlete at home. But if you do, listen up. I just ran across something that makes me feel a whole lot better about my son's high school football career...the Brain Pad. At first I though it was a helmet insert, but no, it's a mouth guard with a space built into the back of it to pad the mandibular area of the jaw with air space in the event of impact.

photo credit BrainPad.com

Why the big deal? Our son during a routine spring football practice took a shot to the jaw last week. The hit was enough to give him a headache that worsened through practice and was still there the next morning. I contacted the team's athletic trainer who administered the ImPACT test and confirmed he had a slight concussion. Wow. That's not good. But at least it was caught. And by the way, if your athlete's school does not have access to ImPACT testing, I highly recommend you do some investigative work yourself and present your findings in support of the testing to your school. It's that important. But onward...

This mouth guard is specifically intended to absorb 40% of the shock in a hit resulting in less jarring to the brain. Now you are probably wondering why I allow my son to put on some gear and do battle on a hard surface against other teen boys who at times can be larger than him. Well, unless you have a husband or son that plays football, it will do me no good to try and convince you that I'm not crazy. We'll save the topic of actually playing football for later. But my son is going to go out and do battle, he is going to have the best gear possible. He has his own helmet...top of the line and air cushioned...but it sounds like this revolutionary mouth guard is the missing piece. I'm just amazed that I had never heard of it before.

photo credit BrainPad.com

I read the testimonials which included bull riders being trampled and thrown...but no concussion. Teams who have outfitted all of their players and had a significant reduction in concussions. Extreme sports from snowboarding to martial arts to BMWX riders. All the same. It works. If it is all so true, then coaches should make every effort to have this type of protection in every kid's mouth all the time.

So Big Guy is cleared to participate in his team football camp this week, and after some running around to locate him one at the last minute...thank you Sports Authority, he will be testing it out. To be sure, I will be anxious to hear if it also reduces the headaches he normally experiences after practice as the manufacturer of the mouth guard indicates it will. His experience will certainly be relayed to the parents, players, and coaches with our recommendations.

So now it's your turn. Do you have an athlete at home that plays contact sports? Do you go out of your way to make sure you have researched the latest in safety equipment for him or her? I'd love to hear what finds you may have uncovered.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Homemaker Monday - June 20, 2011



I'm linking up today with Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and Happy Homemaker Monday.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

The weatherman has promised some sun this week. I'm certainly not holding my breath.

Click for Oregon City, Oregon Forecast

Things that make me happy:

I've been trying to come up with some activity that is universal from our 21-year-old at-home college student down to our youngest at nine that all of us can do together at least once month. You would be surprised how hard it is to find a) a time-frame that works for everyone and b) something all ages are able to participate in. So for June, we spent a day hiking this weekend and all had a great time.

Book I'm reading:

I'm working on my magazine stack which includes Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, and Martha Stewart Living.

What's on my TV today:

We did watch the new True Grit from Redbox and then hubby wanted to watch the old version as well. Amazed at the similarity between the two.

On the menu for dinner:

I pulled out a frozen pork shoulder this weekend. And since I'm always on the quest for the 'perfect' recipe or method, I cooked half of it in the oven at a low temperature covered with foil until it reached 205 degrees internally. Good and tender but not much flavor. Then I put the other half on the Traeger grill and smoked it, gradually increasing the temperature up to 275 as my patience for it to be done wore thin, until it reached the same internal temperature. It tasted out of this world and was still drop-dead tender and easily shred. Definitely going to be my choice for now on.

On my To Do List:

I need to start planning both girls' homeschool curriculum for next year, as we need to place our book order some time in early July with the charter school.

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:

I have a lot of endive from the garden. I need to find a good salad recipe that will offset its tangy flavor that the kids are not fond of.

In the craft basket:

As much as I would love to venture back into crafting, gardening seems to take up my free time.

Looking forward to this week:

As selfish as this sounds, our 17-year-old is heading off to football camp this week, which means...I will no longer be wracking my brain for food ideas to keep him filled up. They eat at the college and pretty much get all the food they want during the camp. I told him to fill 'er up.

Tips and Tricks:

If I could remember to cold brew my coffee the night before so that I would have it ready to drink iced the next day, I would so love it. It's so easy and tastes far better than trying to ice down fresh brewed. I guess I just need some sort of a reminder system for myself.

My favorite blog post this week:

Brighton Park has a video on her site of her neice's wedding which included a surprise for the groom by the wedding party singing a capella to him. It's worth checking out it was so creative and yet special.

Blog Hopping:

Have you ever visited Food Gawker? Oh my. Do so and be prepared for deliciousness.

No words needed:


Lesson learned the past few days:

I just need to come to grip with the fact that I cannot get everything I want to do accomplished in 24 hours. It's best to just spend a set amount of time and then move on to something else. By attempting the all-or-nothing method, other responsibilities get neglected and become difficult to restore.

On my mind:

With my football player heading off to camp this week...that is if he clears his Impact test after a slight concussion last week...I sure do hope he stays safe. Being on the sidelines for half of his sophomore year with an ACL reconstruction and out his entire junior year due to his Lisfranc fracture, we all hope he can get in just one more solid year of football.


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

From my devotional that I have sent to my feed reader daily:
All of these examples caused me to realize that God often uses seemingly under-qualified individuals to accomplish His will. Perhaps He knows their weakness will cause them to lean all the more on Him, or He wants to make it clear that any success comes from Him and not any one of us. Whatever His reasoning, it is clear that God is not as concerned with our abilities as He is with our availability. If God has called us to a certain task, we ought to be willing. That is all He requires. He will supply the ability.
Enjoy your week!

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