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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

REVIEW~ IndoctriNation from Great Commision Films

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/-2015%20CREW/IndoctriNation%20cover%20500_zpscmnb8ttw.jpg 
I was given the opportunity to watch and review this great documentary I have seen and heard about for some time now.  The film is called, IndoctriNation from Great Commission Films.  I will admit I procrastinated in watching it because that's what I do sometimes.  But, I was so impressed with it I not only watched it twice in one day, but I've already shared it with 2 other families that I know will benefit from watching.

Basically in this documentary Homeschooling Dad of 7, Colin Gunn decides to take a field trip with his Family across America in a big yellow school bus to seek out some answers regarding our public school system.  He wonders can the school system be fixed or should we abandon it altogether?  He shows us with the help of some pretty influential people just how the public school system is influencing their vulnerable students.  These Students are our Kids!!!  We should want to know what they are doing with our kids 5 days a week for 12 years.  I was surprised about a lot of things in the film, but there was a lot of things I was like yep I know, been there, seen it, heard it and that's why my Kids are homeschooled.  I promise.... you will be Completely SHOCKED at most of what you will Learn from this Film.  Just wait until you see what kind of lollipops they are handing out to Elementary aged children.  Even though this film is heavy and shows the ugly in the public school system right from the start you don't feel judgement from Colin if your kids are in the school system.  You get the feeling straight away that there is no finger pointing only showing you what's behind the curtain.

Let me just say now that I was in Several public schools growing up.  Moving all over because my Dad was in the Military until my parents died and then I went to several different schools because I was in the Foster care system.  I know what goes on, I have seen things and have been apart of things that were easy to get into because even 20 years ago Teachers were spread so thin. 
We decided to bring the kids home when Mahala was in the 2nd grade.  She was so board with even gifted curriculum and the Teachers honestly had nothing else she could do.  She was basically reading and helping out the Teacher.  She hated it and I was shocked when she brought it up to me about educating herself at home.  Ok..... Now let's hop over to the other side of town and my then 6th grader with dyslexia and an auditory processing disorder is at his desk grading papers and writing out flashcards for the other students in his Special Ed class.  Are you kidding me?  When I found out that basically the Teachers felt he was doing all he could do, that we shouldn't press the issue because he would be fine under the no child left behind act.  I was furious!!!  I told them I was pulling him out.  And in 1 year he went from a 4th grade math level to Algebra 1.  Now he's in college, works full time as a Behavioral therapist with kids on the Spectrum and to think that they said he had already reached his learning capacity.  I'm thankful I didn't listened to them.  Homeschooling means more to me then just keeping my Kids safe from outside influences.  It's about giving them the opportunity to soar as far as they possibly can, not be confined to the standards the Government thinks is age appropriate for them.

I watched this first with Mahala who is 15.  She is heavily involved in the church youth group and with missions.  She comes to me often to talk about things her peers are doing, saying and even questions that they ask her.  A lot of her friends are struggling even in the church.  Just because they are in the church doesn't mean they are fine and safe.  There is no one band-aid when it comes to our Kids.  I wanted Mahala to see first hand the challenges that Christian students face every day as they struggle to maintain their own beliefs and values in such an anti-Christian school system.  Did it help her to watch it?  She cried, we prayed and she felt passion to do something more, to make a difference in her Friend's lives. 

Some of the things I loved about the film is the candid shots of Colin's Family as they journeyed across the country.  The sprinkles of interviews, facts and quotes don't get lost as he dives into the History of the school system.  I learned so much about how the brick and mortar school house came into existence.

IndoctriNation is 102 minute long DVD that is intended for adults.  It does talk about highly sensitive issues like abortion, homosexual relationships, violence, drugs and alcohol.  I think any Parent would walk away well informed about what goes on in America's public schools after watching this documentary.  

We all Love our Kids and want only what's best for them.  We want them to be safe and happy no matter where they are or who they are with.  If you have Kids..... watching this is a good step in making your decision about your their education.


 You can purchase the IndoctriNation DVD for only $19.95.
You can also follow along with IndoctriNation through these social media outlets.

 
Crew Disclaimer
IndoctriNation DVD Review

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Unveiled Wife ~ Book Review

Marriage is a mosaic you build with your ­spouse—millions of tiny moments that create your love story. #unveiledwifebook - http://unwf.co/uwquote1

 

 

Jennifer Smith has been a huge inspiration to me.  And has helped me on my journey to SAVE my Marriage.  I found her online late one night while searching for answers and help for my own problems brewing.  I mainly found a lot of Husband bashing forums.  And I needed hope to continue my marriage not a bunch of angry wives filled with hate ready to pull the plug.  And then there was the Unveiled Wife Blog. 
I read Jennifer's story and even though our struggles were not the same we shared a common bond...We loved the Lord.  She was full of Faith and Affirmation.  I needed that right now, it was vital for me.  So, I signed up for her emails and found the encouragement and hope I desperately needed.  I made the decision that night to cling to God even though I was ready to walk away.  I had big decisions that needed to be made and I felt so alone and overwhelmed at the time.  But, Jennifer's emails of prayers for my Husband made me see things in a different light.   
Jennifer's Love story helped me to Love my Husband like the Lord does.  I was able to step away, hold onto the Lord and begin to heal while my Faith wove my Heart tightly to the Lord's Word.  
When it came to my attention that Jennifer had a New book coming out I was thrilled to be able to Read an advanced copy and give a Review.  This Book is Outstanding and written in a way that feels like an afternoon with your girlfriend chatting and sipping coffee.  I truly believe her style of writing is the warmest and most sincere that I've read in quite some time.  She's transparent and authentic when it comes to sharing her journey with Aaron.  I enjoyed reading about how they met and fell in love.  So sweet and precious, but let me say that they are hit and I mean hit hard in their marriage as their foundation is quickly shaken up after marriage.  Struggles with intimacy, pornography, unrealistic expectations, financial issues, moving and feelings of inadequacy set in.  The Devil just sits and waits to make his move and when he finds his chance he can ruin even the seemingly strong couples.  
Anyone who has ever had Disappointments and Sin in their marriage NEED to read this book.  If you have ever thought about giving up on your marriage and settling for Divorce, you NEED to read this book.  You can pick up your copy of The Unveiled Wife HERE.     
The Unveiled Wife is Truly a Beautiful Love Story, you will be able to witness a couple grow their love despite their hardships.  Get a copy today and see what the Lord has to reveal in your marriage.
 Take a Look at the first few pages of her book HERE!
2 Corinthians 3:16
 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  

Thank You Lord for Unveiling me.......

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith began UnveiledWife.com, a web-based Ministry for Wives everywhere, in March 2011. She writes weekly Marriage articles including Encouragements, Devotions, and Prayers. She Authored The Unveiled Wife, Wife After God, and 31 Prayers For My Husband. She is passionately devoted to encouraging wives all around the world to develop God-centered marriages. Jennifer and her family reside in Central Oregon. Social media is a large part of Jennifer’s ministry for Unveiled Wife via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, where she serves a community of over 450,000 wives.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Birthday Boy for the 8th Time


 
Kaden is now 8 years old....that's so crazy to me.  Where does the time go, I mean come on.  It seems like only a few years ago I was bringing him home from the hospital.  Life with Kaden has been anything but boring.  He has kept us on our toes since day one.

The first few weeks was normal, nothing to crazy except I had a huge kidney infection that landed me back in the hospital.  But, when he was about 4 weeks old he started getting sick.  After being shot down by the Dr. and hearing how it's just leftover amniotic fluid in his lungs I insisted on x-rays.  I then was told he had pneumonia and we started an antibiotic only to later that night rushing him to the emergency room.  He was admitted and given the diagnosis of RSV.  At almost 5 weeks old that was a very scary diagnosis.  
Weeks after being in 2 different hospitals his little body was giving out.  I was so terrified and mentally exhausted.  My heart was so heavy with anxiety and fear.  Between the continuous high fevers and the tubes and wires that kept our little boy's life going I had this constant battle in my head for his survival.  It just couldn't be any other way, he had to heal and recover. 


I remember the night Kaden's pediatrician came in way after hours.  I was shocked to see him because it was almost midnight.  He came in and asked us to go for a walk.  He told us that there was honestly nothing else that could be done.  That there was no way his little body could go through even one more night of fevers and that his oxygen levels were so low even on the machines.  His lungs were closing more and more every day.  Medically he was up against a wall.  A Minister came in to talk with us and I refused to give up and I wasn't ready to let go.  I begged and cried to God.  At this point in my life I knew God, Loved God and Believed in the one true God.  But, unlike today I didn't truly believe that God was in charge and already new what he had in store for sweet baby Kaden.  I felt like it was all on my shoulders to pray harder and put my faith in the Dr.s.  
After hours of prayer and phone calls they released him and sent him to a special children's Hospital PICU.  He was among so many super sick babies.  I was overwhelmed and felt so small.  There were so many sweet babies in their own fight for life.
I tried to let go, I tried to except so that it wouldn't hurt so bad when we left this hospital in a few days without him.  But, I couldn't....I hadn't slept horizontal in almost a month.  The beeps and buzzes of the hospital machines became a gauge to how he was doing and even the hour of the day.  We just existed and tried to stay above water as we waited.  I was waiting for his sweet body to give out completely and then we would do what?  What comes next I remember thinking, how do you recover from this?  I couldn't think about this, I had to stay focused on him healing.


And praise God after several days Kaden's lungs were finally clearing.  Oh my gosh, he has a chance I thought.  I remember having this exploding feeling of excitement, shock, thankfulness and relief all at once just rumble through my whole body.  Thank you Lord for carrying our baby boy right back to us.  

As he spent a few more days in the PICU his lungs grew stronger and clearer.  We moved to a regular room for several more days and it was then that we realized just how much weight he had lost.  He was just a shell, literally a shell.  Once he was able to feed on his own and keep it down and his oxygen rate was normal he was able to come home.  We had our very own miracle baby.

I look at him now and even though we have our challenges he will forever be our miracle baby....he is our Kaden.  I believe after his battle with RSV is when his Autism began.  I believe that with all of my heart.  I have some upcoming post regarding the development of Kaden's Autism.  

We Love You Buddy....You are Our WHOLE World!!!  Happy Birthday!!!!



Friday, February 13, 2015

My Patience is being Appreciated!

I am sitting right now on hold with the Big Bad insurance company once again.  I was sitting here thinking as I listen to a mix of 80"s and elevator music that I have spent probably weeks and weeks of my life just sitting on hold.  One bad song after another, shewing away screaming kiddos and dogs that need to go pee all just so I can either get something approved.  

All of our customer Representative are busy assisting other customers.  They will be with you shortly, please stay on the line.  Over and over again....and you wait and wait.  I especially love when a voice comes on the line and you think it's the rep only to be disappointed with a high quality ad.  Do you ever experience that?  Please tell me I'm not the only one fooled by that. :)

Oh, that just told me how Special I was to them and that they appreciated my patience!!!  :)  That's such a nice touch.  I drank all my coffee and still nothing.... So, I push the Speaker button and piddle around the house with my phone strapped to me.  Just waiting and praying that the music will stop and a real person will come on and help me and my child.

No matter how long I wait I always speak to the Representative kindly and with respect.  Their job honestly is not easy, I understand.  But, it truly is a pain to wait for 20 minutes or more, especially when it's regarding your child's health or a financial concern.

What do you do when your on hold?  How do you pass the t-i-m-e.......

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Panini for Me


I am not the most Organized Homeschooling Momma, I know you already know that.  And I don't know what happens to time during the hours of 9am and 1pm.  But, we seem to get caught up in some time warp thingy.  Almost every single day one minute we are cleaning up from breakfast and then the next we are all starving and wondering how is it possible almost 1pm.
So, with all that time traveling going on the Kiddos and I are starving....not to mention that the Hubby comes home every day for lunch too.  The sound of the garage door going up is usually what snaps us back into reality.  Then I run to the kitchen trying to think about what's in the fridge from last night.  And how can I take what's in the pantry and whip up something tasty and not B-O-R-I-N-G!!!
The other day the garage door started going up and I was thankfully at least in the kitchen so that bought me like 3 extra minutes of planning!  :) I decided to make a Panini!
I grabbed:
Fresh French loaves of bread from the pantry
In the fridge I snagged mayo, Dijon, sprouts, lettuce, cheese, butter, shaved ham and pastrami
Out on the counter I had cucumbers, scallions and tomatoes
In my spice cabinet I pulled out sea salt, pepper and garlic powder

**In a small pan I quickly sauteed the scallions that I sliced long ways.  (I like this way for sandwiches)  As soon as there is color on the onions I turn the heat off, and ass a good hand full of sprouts to the pan with a shake of salt and pepper.
**After I get that out I throw the meat in just to warm it up a little so it will melt the cheese better.  Just a little heat goes a long way!
**During all this, I have Mahala help slice the brad and squirt on the layer of Dijon and mayo.  Kids love to help....let them!! 
**I turn my panini grill on or on days I don't want to get that big thing out I just use a regular pan on the stove.  It just wont have the cool groves! :(
**I thinly slice my peeled cucumbers and wash my lettuce and tomatoes.  I also slice my tomatoes too.
**Layer however you want.  Some of my kids like lettuce some don't, I have one screaming for no scallions and one wanting extra.  So, I love that the sandwich can be customized to their liking.  I usually will have the older ones build theirs after I get Kaden's and Hubby's finished.  
**I like to use butter, I know some people like olive oil.  I butter the grill and place the sandwich down.  Then I rub butter on the top of the sandwich and sprinkle garlic powder and sea salt on the top.  Lastly I lower the top grill plate down and the sizzle sizzle begins.  It smells Heavenly!!!!

I serve this by itself, along with last night's salad, chips, fresh fruit or fresh veggie sticks.  It may sound like a long process, but I promise you from start to finish I get 5 sandwiches done and on the table in 15-20 minutes.  To make it even faster, just plan and be prepared.  All the cutting can be done earlier on and honestly you could even build the sandwiches the night before and then at lunch time get them out and press them.
Give it a try, panini sandwiches are so fun to make and even more fun to eat.  The crispy bread and warm goodness inside is worth it.  Let me know what your favorite sandwich is?


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Homeschooling on the Spectrum is Colorful!!!

I'm asked all the time about homeschooling Kaden.  What's it like to keep your Kiddo with Autism home all day long?  Well, first of all it does take patience.  Not the kind of patience that you need while your on an 8 hour flight in front of a defiant youngster that has the lungs of an Opera singer and feet like sledgehammers.  Or the same kind of patience you need while you wait for your tax return to come in while your juggling a few late bills.  You just need your normal Parent Patience, nothing God didn't equip you with.  Yes, things will get ugly from time to time.  There may be days, even weeks where you only think about getting out of your night clothes.  But, even on those days, with the right systems in place and support you can do it.  

We felt like it was the Best thing for our little guy to stay home.  I wont get into it on this post, but, Kaden has never been to public school like my other two and we plan on keeping it that way.  
So, how do I keep going even through the bad days?  Here are a few ideas that we use daily.

First of all I want to clarify that Kaden is High Functioning.  So, not everything I suggest will work for every Kiddo.  There are a ton of things I've tried through the years and these seem to make our days smoother.  

OUTSIDE- I did not structure outside time daily for my typical kids like I do with Kaden.  We do things like gardening, chalk, art and reading time outside, breakfast/lunch, trampoline, bike riding.....you name it, you can do it outside.  I have found for Kaden the sensory part of being outside balances him when he is over or under stimulated.  Not to mention change of scenery and fresh air!!


Their Interests-  Whatever they are interested in, run with it.  If they love horses, make everything horse related.  If they like to build with blocks, you can use it for math, tape letters on them and build words together for spelling.  You can use their interest as a reinforcer for appropriate behavior during each subject.  Kaden loves experiments, math and building.  We tend to do a lot of projects to keep his intrests.  He can take sandwich making to a whole new level with all of his project skills.  We tell him he could have his own cooking show one day.






Food-  Yes, food is important.  I make sure he has healthy snacks and a good breakfast and lunch.  Another fun twist is having him in charge.  I have him help anywhere it is safe for him to help.  By giving him more control, not only does it keep him occupied and engaged, it also teaches him life long skills that are necessary.



  Make Learning Fun-  It can be done, trust me.  Everything doesn't have to come from a book, have them experiment with all of their senses.  A lot of Special Needs Kiddos have Heightened sensory needs.  Kaden learns best when he can touch, smell and see what he's learning in action.  We try to live out our Science and some History.  Even Math can be baking and cooking.  Measuring and budgeting.  Spelling can be grocery lists, card lists or letter writing to their favorite fictional character.....Kaden's would be to SpongeBob or Ferb.  We also take time outs to do a little free play with educational toys.  For me I have chosen puzzles, legos, any kind of art, piano, reading, outside play or anything that keeps the mind going, but not having to learn new information.  This way they get a little relaxation while working out their brain muscle.  Kaden, if you can't tell has to be constantly doing something at all times.  Even if he is watching a show he will have his tablet on and a book in hand.  So, I have to work at keeping him stimulated in order to prevent meltdowns.


Encourage Self Learning-  We have always encouraged self learning with our Typical Kiddos, so doing the same to Kaden just came naturally.  Do we expect perfection?  Absolutely not, not even for our Typical Kiddos.  We just want to foster their Love for knowledge and their desire to learn the unknown.  Even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.  Here is a picture of Kaden looking up the word Fart.  Yes, you read correctly.  And if you try to say you never did something like that when you were a Kiddo I wouldn't believe you. :)  He wondered out loud if that word was in the dictionary.  I wish you could have seen the smile that was on his little face when I popped my head up and said that I didn't know, let's look it up with a few other words.  I keep a running list of words in my planner for him to randomly look up.  This is great for dinner making time when he wants to go do something that is just impossible at the time. 
 





















Plan B-  Always have a Plan B!!!  Life isn't going to go as planned most days.  And that's ok, what's important is that your Kiddo knows you LOVE them.  Learning comes naturally to Kiddos when they are nurtured.  We were supposed to be doing Math one day.  I couldn't get him to focus and I could see a meltdown in our near future.  I decided to grab some leftover Christmas gumdrops and toothpicks.  Almost an hour later he had created his masterpiece.  Afterwards I took a handful of gumdrops and toothpicks and challenged him to come up with as many correct geometric shapes as possible.  He made 11 different shapes including a 3D figure of what he wanted for his Birthday.  I call that success!!
 

I want to leave you with all things are possible!  Homeschooling your Kiddo with Special Needs is an opportunity for you to have a front row seat and see how they interpret the world around them.  
*Plan what you want to do for the week, not the day.  
*Have lot's of fun outside and inside by scheduling in things that they love and are interested in.  *Make food apart of their learning and give them healthy options and choices.  
*Kick up the Sensory dial a few notches to keep them on their toes and encourage them to learn for themselves.  
*Give them lot's of tools to learn about their world around them.  *And finally remember what is truly important here....Your Kiddo!  His self-esteem and confidence are being built everyday.  Give them courage to set forth and take the world on one day at a time.  Happy-Schooling!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bible Art....



Who has ever heard of Bible Journaling?  Not me, not until one day I saw this beautifully painted Bible on a friend's instagram feed.  I was like W-H-A-T!!!!  It reminded me of the time I was introduced to scrap-booking.  Never heard of it before in my life and then Bam it was all I could do to not run to the nearest craft store and stock up on stickers, cardstock and little diecuts.  I was a mess for nearly 2 years and 9 albums later.  Then life hit, Lupus hit and a little thing called Autism.  I haven't printed a single picture in almost 10 years, except a few for Skylar's graduation party. 

Recently though with my new life situation I have become more free with my time and the creative juices are flowing like the Mississippi river in early Summer.  No, I take that back....it's like a gushing geyser!  Ok, I know that might seem a bit exaggerated.  But, I will tell you this one thing.....I have put more paint on things in this house then I ever thought possible.  I've gone through 3 glue guns this year, filled up my photo drop box not once, but twice AND I've hung pictures for the FIRST time in 15 years on almost every room in our house.  Even the ridiculously small toilet room.  Yes, even that room.... right by the tiny window, next to the re-purposed toilet paper holder I fashioned out of a sewing machine table leg.  I am that hard core....I scare myself.  

I used to be like this, I was the artsy fartsy one in the bunch.  I had spunk and spark coming from every part of my being.  Over the years all of that was sucked from me, leaving me dry, mundane and just existing.  I am so thrilled to report that I am No Longer just existing, I am living!!!  And loving every minute of it!!!  

I still have bad days, triggers from the trauma of what I call my past life.  But, I refuse to let it control who I am in the present and future.  That is why I feel so Passionate about this whole Bible Journaling thing.  I've read the Bible many times before.  Somethings I remembered and could easily recall.  I felt like I basically understood the Bible as a whole.  Since our life change Bible reading is much more then just reading a few verses or chapters so I could cross it off my to do list.  I remember thinking hopefully God could see me now...crossing off Bible Reading!!!  Yay for me!!  Now, it's literally my main course in my meal for the day.  My daily vitamins I guess you could say.  I run down the stairs to read each day, so I can drink in the word with my eyes.  It feeds my heart and soul, it gives me strength and courage.  

Then I get to do what I love to do, and that's add color.  I draw whatever comes to mind... how I feel about the passage, my thoughts and interpretation.  It's so personal and to have this kind of connection where you are using your logic and creative parts of your brain just makes the scripture stick in your memory.  If you asked me about something I read 3 weeks ago I could recall it and probably tell you the book in the Bible that it came from.  By illustrating my connection to God's word each day, my life has become filled with passion, love, strength, courage, desire and fulfillment.  
How do you spend your time with God?  Are you excited to open up his word each day?  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Word Games Make English Time Fun



This is such a fun game....the kids all had a great time thinking up words and spelling them all out.  We have had this game for a few years now.  Being able to watch Kaden grow his vocabulary and spelling skills has been a real treat.
I love games where all the kids can be involved and having fun while helping each other out.  Group games Rock!

Right now we pull this game out once a week or so in place of English workbook time.  What are some Spelling/English games you play with your Kiddos?


Friday, January 23, 2015

The Bandage Has Been Ripped Off....and It Hurts!

There is a lot of this going on in our house lately.  Life has been a bit overwhelming without the band-aid of video games.  We are sticking to a new rule of no video games during the week and only when time permits on the weekends.

A little back history....Skylar grew up with that same rule and so did Mahala until Kaden developed an interest when he was 4.  Skylar, almost 21 attends college and has a successful job working with children on the Spectrum.  Mahala is still at home learning with me and like Skylar doesn't seem to have any real challenges on or off the computer.  Kaden on the other hand has a problem.  Let me explain what we have seen.

In the beginning we just thought he was so darn cute in the big office chair.  The headphones were so huge and they squished his little checks together and made him have a fishy face.  At that time he showed no real interest in people, his toys or anything else for that matter.  But, all of a sudden our boy literally emerged from behind the couch to see what the Big fuss over this box with a screen was all about.  We were happy he wanted to do something "typical".  

At this point he had just started ABA therapy.  He wasn't potty trained, wouldn't let you hold him, never focused his eyes on your face, he was repetitive with movements and with talking.  Kaden was a toe walking, twirling kid running scared of any little sound or movement.  I remember when his days consisted of numbers and sequences all day long.  The fear of water and physical touch was a nightmare to navigate during bath time.  He was totally disconnected with the outside world.

So, A few hours a day of Video games became a little bit of heaven for not only me, but the whole family.  It became the only reinforcement that worked during his 30 hours of therapy a week.  We used it as a reward for participating in therapy and for doing things that were way outside his comfort zone.  A few hours turned into 4 or 5 hour each day and slowly increased over the course of 2 or 3 years to the present.  Now he is almost 8 and would spend most of the day playing.  When he wasn't playing he was talking about playing.  And when he wasn't doing that he was very aggressive to himself and property.  Now before you ask, no he didn't play violent, crazy games.  Minecraft was his favorite and only game.  It was okay for him for about 15 minutes and then he would get frustrated or overwhelmed about something regarding the game.  One time he misplaced something in a chest and we spent 3 days going through all of his hundreds of chests looking for the item.  Even though in the end it really was only important to him, not really important in the game itself.

For the past year we have been going through a Family crisis I guess you can say.  Game time became like a band-aid, because we could find time to deal with what was going on in the Family.  Between therapy, the older kids and video games Kaden was taken care of while we healed from trauma that we were going through.  During all this we would take away his game play all together because of behavior and within a day we would see an incredible decrease in negative behavior.  He would have little fits of rage, but after several days he was a new person.  And then we would give in again after having a few weeks of such amazing behavior.  We would think he deserved a little break, only to be slapped in the face with cold reality that video games have this negative effect on him.  Now, we have tried several kinds of games and he doesn't seem to get worked up over them.  It's the computer games that seem to do it to him, unfortunately it's his favorite game...Minecraft.

Now we are focused and on the road to Family recovery so that means getting Kaden healthy and happy too.  Which is why we took the no video games during the week and only for a few hours on the weekend approach.
What we have found after a few days of rage was that he has this major need for physical activity.  He's been riding his bike, using the trampoline more and goes outside just to look at stuff and explore he says.  He has played with play-dough, painted, actually build with his legos and just snuggle.  Here is an example, we had our weekly review with the Therapist we worked with when he had ABA therapy.  She was amazed because for the first time in 3 years he sat with us at the table and talked about random stuff from the week.  He shared an upcoming movie trailer and even invited her to a game of chess.  Who was this kid???  And how can I keep him out here with all of us?

I'm not going to lie, the past few weeks have been some of the hardest to get through.  He has soooo much energy that sometimes he just runs around the couch screaming or talking about a subject that we have no idea about.  He is in a constant state of motion and silence is something I have not experienced except when I drift off to sleep finally.  But, at least he's not in a coma in front of a screen.  I'm not saying all kids are like this, but mine is.  And I want him to be alive and awake....feeling all that the world has to offer him.  And our Family will huddle around him as he experiences life in a whole new way.  :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Girl has a Blog

Mahala has a New Blog that she is working on.  She just posted a few pictures on her latest post.  I'm so proud of her.

Life Behind the Screen

Monday, January 12, 2015

Accidentally Delicious.....


If I had to describe my cooking style in 2 words I would say Accidentally Delicious.  I grew up in the South, so I have a love for food.  Some of the Best foods come from the South, but living on the West coast for the past 14 years has added a little charm to my pot.  You haven't lived till you have tried one of my double fried chicken sandwiches smothered in an avocado sauce and loaded with fresh garden fixings and sprouts.  Did I mention it's not really fried and it's crammed into a homemade sourdough hoagie roll????

Most days I take a poll with the Fam and then grab whatever protein won.  A quick look in the veggie bins, garden tubs and Pantry rounds out the meal.  I then see a vision....I have a feeling, a hankering. 

I always start with the Holy of all Holies..... GARLIC!  I feel Garlic can go in ANYTHING!!!!  I draw the line at cereal and homemade poptarts.  But, besides that I honestly feel it just works.  My next foodie favorite of all is the pungent onion.  Yes, not as Wham Bam as Garlic, but it definitely adds a presence to any meal.  And of course salt and pepper, the seasoning not the music group.

My other can't live withouts in the seasoning cabinet...like I would never be able to cook without them! 
Spanish Paprika
Basil
Saffron
Cayenne
Sage
Curry
Rosemary
 Fresh Chives and Cilantro are also a daily must!
Of course there are plenty of others, these are just ones that I use day in and day out.

So, the meal up above started out to be one thing and then turned into this and since then has become one of our Family's favorites.  I had bought cubed steak to make country fried steak for dinner one evening.  When we got home I realized I forgot the milk....you have to have milk.  Darn!  Well, it's all out on the counter, so we are having something tonight...now we have this more then the country fried steak. :)

Whatcha Need:

Cubed Steak
Onions
frozen Green Beans
(Optional Mushrooms)

1/2 cup of water or beef broth
1 tbsp of flour
1/2 stick of butter

Seasonings on the meat that I used- (approximate measures)
Paprika 1/2 t
Sea Salt 1/2 t
Pepper 1/2 t
Cayenne 1/4 t
Garlic Powder 1 t

I sliced the cubed steak into strips, placed them in a bowl and sprinkled the seasonings on.  I never measure, which is why I NEVER share recipes.  I promise to get better at this!!  What I always do to check my seasonings when I make a new dish is I prepare a tester piece.  So, for this meal I would cut one of the strips in half and cook them up first.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.  I EYEBALL everything, I know how much I need of a seasoning in my hand to give my dish the flavor I want.  Next time I will measure, but first I need to find the measuring cups.....now where did I put them.....hmmmmm?

-Okay, after you eat your tester piece adjust your seasonings if you need to. :)  -Then add your flour to the bowl of meat. - Next you need to add the butter to your pan to melt.  Once it sizzles toss in all your floured, seasoned meat.  Spread it out and make sure your pan is on a low high/high med heat.
-Next you need to slice your onions and optional mushrooms if you want.  I use frozen usually with this because it's too easy.
-After 2 minutes or so on one side stir the meat and add the onions.  Stir occasional because you want the meat to brown evenly.  As you stir and a little bit of water or beef broth.  That along with the butter, meat juice and flour will make you a nice little gravy.  If you see little clumps of flour, just whisk them out with your spoon or spatula.  -Once you see that the majority of the meat is cooked and the frozen beans and put on med/low heat until beans are tender.  Add a little water or broth throughout if needed until you get a nice sauce/gravy going.

The whole meal takes about 20 minutes, super fast and way delicious.  We serve it over rice most of the time, but have ate it with yummy mashed potatoes too.

Enjoy, let me know if you try it with your Family! :)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

God Shaped Hole


Every since I was knee high to a grasshopper I've had a Special relationship with the Lord.  I remember nights singing to him until I would fall asleep.  I'd tell him all my secrets most little girls would whisper to their Barbie dolls or friends on the playground.  I would secretly pray to him when an ambulance whizzed by or when I caught a glimpse of tragedy on the nightly news.  

This all came about I'm sure because every single year I was in a new school, new town, new house....thanks to my Dad serving in the Navy.  I never connected with people, never had the sleepover, back yard birthday party experience.  It was just me, my parents, and the Lord.  I never realized how important my relationship would truly become one day.  How I would need to depend and lean on Him so much.  That one day I would not be able to breathe without him filling my lungs first.

Even as I grew up and became a young adult God was my center rock.  As life changed and I married there became a distance between God and I.  Almost like a child moving out and starting their own life.  Coming home to visit only when laundry needs to be washed or a late bill needs desperately paid.  That was me in my late 20's and early 30's.  Autism, Kids, making my Husband happy, homeschooling, health matters, money, just life in general became my primary focus.  God was just for church, nightly prayers and the daily distress pleas.  

I lost my relationship, Not my Belief.  

It took something drastic in my Family to bring me to my knees.  To fall at the Lord's feet and have the Veil lifted from my eyes.  I had been running scared for years instead of living in light.  It's a Beautiful thing to wake up without a heavy confused heart.  I have this amazing sense of Peace!  

We all have a God Shaped Hole that we try to fill up with  
 money, addictions, other people's love and approval, material things, desires, job titles, fame, likes and friends on social media and ton of other things that make us Stay in Denial.  

But, when we realize that Nothing fits in that hole but a relationship with God we will then find Peace, Wholeness, Acceptance, Love, Contentment, Grace, Satisfaction, Thankfulness, Hope, Health, Friendship and Clarity.  I have this right now, just like I did as a little girl.  
Have you ever experienced this kind of Spiritual Transformation?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Prep and Plan with God

Showered and dressed....no make up, but ready to start the New Year's Eve preparations.  Food, games, movie watching and did I mention food?  Oh and we will fast forward through all the garbage to watch the ball drop in New York at midnight.  

I remember a time when I had so much anticipation and wonder for the New Year.  This year is different...I have a plan of action for my life and our Family.  We have BIG things coming up.  Moving to a low key destination, becoming more self reliant, finally finishing my book.  All this while we wrap our arms around God as tightly as possible.

It's all really exciting and not overwhelming like it would have been 2 years ago for us.  I believe we feel this way because we aren't trying to be in control.  Trying to be the one in control has been our problem in the past, giving up control has freed us from ourselves from messing everything up.  God already knows the beginning and the end, so why should we stand in the middle waving around our 2 cents.  

As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Glittery Breath of Stars

We always say that we will do xyz when we lose weight, get that new job position, have more money, more time or the kids are in school or out of the house.  And sometimes we aren't given a choice, we are forced to do xyz out of circumstance.

My xyz was to grow Spiritually, I wanted to know things.  I wanted to experience inner peace or at least be in the room with it minus Kung Fu Panda playing in the background.  I just figured one day I would get around to it.  That it would become a priority when there was a free spot in my schedule.

My first meditation experience was almost like a roller coaster ride.  It was full of highs, twists, turns and at the end I floated on the effervescence of inner peace all day.  I was so surprised of the mind blowing theater system I obviously have been toting around with me my whole life I had to call my therapist.  She confirmed I had a reel of unlimited tickets to my own personal mental theater.  Now, I have to tell you I have never studied Meditation, Spirituality or anything really that would make me an expert in anything I write here on this blog.  These are just my own thoughts and opinions.  I have locked up my feelings and denied myself the ability to share my thoughts and experiences because I knew I lacked text book knowledge.  That's part of my broke down core values I have cleaved to since birth.  But, through the Miracles I have experienced this past year I have let those go, healed my heart and washed my soul.  This is why I can share my process with you now.

My first experience was pure relaxation.  It was just me, my eyelids and the night.  Being my first time I didn't use a mantra or chant anything special I just sat there and breathed.  I knew how to breathe, actually my therapist told me I was a pro at breathing.  In the beginning I didn't think it was much of a compliment.  But, now I know Breathing is life....all of life.  It's the difference between life and death.  And before last year I wasn't living...just existing.  Ok back to the meditation....I looked forward with my eyes closed.  Because of my trauma therapy I had been doing for a few months I was used to relaxation techniques by now.  And my favorable eye position(I will explain all of this later in another post) was straight ahead, right between my eyebrows.  And as I sat there and breathed deeply and slowly I imagined white light entering my body with every inhale.  And the white light supported me and filled me with love and awareness.  When I exhaled I envisioned different negative words that had filled my head my whole life.  I was ready to let go...halleluiah!!!

As I was enveloped with warm fuzzy self love I noticed something shoot across my line of vision...my closed eye vision.  I focused on it for a breath and then all of a sudden I noticed my view widening to see not just one little dot, but thousands.   And I saw a bright blue, glowing ring at my right side.  It felt like I was in a warm bath, I had nothing but peace and childlike feelings of bliss.  I thought Wow, this is really happening!  As I continued taking in the love and light a glittery, gold shimmering wave filled the sky I had developed on the inside of my eyelids.  I formed pictures and patterns.  I saw this huge Tiger and it looked as if it was trying to comfort me.  I felt a sense of kinship with him, there was love in his eyes.  Protection in the Tiger's movements....I was thinking really this is happening?  I could have stayed in this place for days, it felt like there was no time there only pure joy and fulfillment.  

With several more deep breaths I opened my eyes.  I was instantly aware that my skin was warm to the touch, even sweating a bit.  There was a tingling sensation around my head and my arms.  I remembered vividly what just happened it was an experience not a dream.  I went to write my experience down and I looked at the clock.  More then 5 hours had passed, I thought it was 20 minutes at most.  I was shocked to realize how much time had passed.  

What an experience....I at first thought how can people do this every single day and get anything else done.  I honestly thought everyone had this kind of experience right out of the gate.  But, not everyone does.  Meditation for me is a daily thing, twice a day you will find me soaring through the stars in my head.  Not 5 hour long trips all the time.  Sometimes it's a Blessed deep connection with God and I'm focused on scripture or my daily mantra.  So many options, so many outcomes that all begin with just one breath!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Re-birth for the New Year

Has it truly been this long since I've checked in.  I guess I've been more Manic then I thought.  Truth is I have been taking care of business I have ignored for years.  I have finally listened to that still small voice that tells me what I should be when I grow up.  Yes, I'm almost 40 and I have re-birthed myself.  Can you do that?  Obviously so, because that's what it feels like.  I wish I could say it's less traumatic then the first birth.  But, I think everything has it's twists, turns, bumps and close calls.  
So, I have experienced rebirth through Christ when I was 16 and this past year I have re-birthed myself with the hand of God.  Now I feel as though the sky is the limit, nothing is truly in my way.  I was in the way all these years.  I have removed my fear and all the lies I've told myself and have totally been given a path to allow even my dreams to come true.  
I have lot's of things in the works.  The year 2015 is going to hold so many new things for me and my Family.  I can't wait....this is the first time in my whole life that I actually know that the New Year has more to offer me then the previous.  I'm Ready!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snake Oil from Out of the Box Games ~REVIEW

 



Yay....A fun new game to add to our towers of Family Fun!!  Yes, I said towers....we have 2 closets filled with games.  So, when our package from Out of the box Games arrived the Kiddos tore into it and played the new Snake Oil game immediately.  We have enjoyed several games from Out of the Box Games in the past, we are thankful to have the opportunity to review this one.

Out of the Box Games believes that games should be easy to learn and fun for the whole family to play together.  With BOLD BRIGHT colors and easy to figure out instructions their games deliver just that.  I know one thing I dislike is having to read complicated directions 10 times and still not honestly get the concept.  I have yet to play one of their games and have that experience.  I also appreciate that they create innovative and entertaining board and card games that our whole Family has had fun playing together.  I love that game play is usually an hour or less and encourages communication between your Family.  I love seeing the Kids make memories with each other, laughing, cutting up and having a blast.  Out of the Box Games have been around since 1998 and have earned several prestigious awards for their games.
 
Snake Oil has earned recognition from Parenting for High Potential, Mensa Selected and several magazines and groups. It's recommended for ages 10 and up and is only $19.99. Kaden is 7 and he needed a little help here and there, but it wasn't anything that a little teamwork couldn't fix.  I will say that a few cards had words that I would prefer to not be in his vocabulary.  So, you may want to take a quick look and toss any that you don't feel is appropriate.  I think there were 5 or so we tossed.  You need to have 3-10 players and a game can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes.  We have some long winded Salesman in our Family, so our games usually take a little longer.  :) 
 
 
Let me tell you how this awesome game is played....in Snake Oil, each round is played where one player is the customer and all of the other players are the "Snake Oil Salesmen"Kaden was so interested in this Snake Oil Salesman Business.  He asked a million questions, I was impressed that inside the game box was a nice little explanation.  Did you know that there was some truth to the name?  
 
Hmmmm, anyway back to the game and how it's played. The object of the game is to “sell” your thought up product to the customer. The Salesman who is able to close the deal with the customer is the winner of that round.
 
There are Word Cards and Customer Cards.  In the beginning each player draws six cards and one of the players is picked to be the customer for that round. The customer selects a Customer Card from the deck. They share what kind of customer they are. The rest of the players combine two Word Cards from their hand and try to sell their Product to the customer. The customer then chooses the best Product and gives the Customer Card to the player whose item he picked.
 
On the next round you need to choose a new player to be the Customer and continue around the table until each player has been the customer once. Whoever has the most Customer Cards at the end of the game wins!  You can change the rules up as you see fit.  We chose to play until someone had 5 customer cards....that was a long game.  We also did team Salesman, where each person picked one word card secretly and then compared with each other to try and make something to sell to the customer.  That took a lot of teamwork and patience.
 
Here is an example for playing the Game:  You have a Sports Mascot as the Customer.  We have three Snake Oil Salesman pitching their products to the Sports Mascot.  They have a Diamond Whistle, a Safety Basket or a Robot Net to pick from.  Hmmmmmm, which one can a Sports Mascot not live without?  They are all so tempting, but I think for this round the Diamond Whistle can't be passed up, so that was the winner folks....S-O-L-D!!!! 
 
We enjoyed this game so much, I highly recommend it for your Family.  Christmas is coming and this would make a great Family Gift under your tree.  Or for a Kiddo you know that has a Birthday coming up.

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The Game we played was for ages 10 and up. For younger Kiddos check out their other version, Snake Oil Party Potion it's for ages 8 and up. 







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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Purposeful Design~Review

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Many are the Plans in a Man's heart, but it is The Lord's Purpose that Prevails.  Proverbs 19:21
I have another super treat to share with you today.....Purposeful Design has given to us a Beautiful hardback book, Purposeful Design: Understanding The Creation.  It is an award winning book written by Jay Schabacker.  He wanted to share God's Wonderful Creation to the children of the world. This book walks you down the creation path revealing all the principles of science that makes our world work.  Knowing, seeing and understanding God's Love that he has for us is so apparent in the pages of this book.   

Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation cost $18.95 and is suitable for all ages. This is a Stunning hardback book that you will enjoy years to come.
 
The Author, Jay Schabacker has done an amazing job with this breathtaking full-color book.....the photographs alone make me love this book. Then you add all the other goodies and it's easy to see why this book will sit on my coffee table stack for many many moons.  Yes, I have  a stash of picture books and book-book Favorites.  


There are seven chapters and 91 pages in this book. And each of the chapters pertain to a particular day in creation.

Chapter 1 – The First Day:
Creation of the Heavens and the Earth, the Foundation of it All ~ here you will find a little morsel from Albert Einstein....Kaden's favorite scientist and learn a little bit about just what it is that keeps us all moving around.

Chapter 2 – The Second Day:
Creation of the Atmosphere and Water ~ the beauty of the Rain Cycle is found here.  Learn about the different water on our earth and how much we have and what would happen if we had too much or not enough.

  
Chapter 3 – The Third Day:
Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation ~ The importance of vegetation is all around us.  We couldn't survive without them.

Chapter 4 – The Fourth Day:
Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars ~ So much is packed into this chapter....About our Seasons, cause of Climate changes, Stonehenge, our beloved Moon, the Tides and our stars.




Chapter 5 - The Fifth Day:
Creation of the Birds and Fish ~ Learn why birds and fish were created.




Chapter 6 - Creation Day Six:
Creation of Land Creatures and Humans ~ Here you will learn about land animals and about the human body.  Great info in these pages.

Chapter 7 – The Seventh Day ~
Here shows the importance of rest, even though it is the shortest chapter it's important.  It has some beautiful verses in it.

Every chapter begins first with a scripture for each day of creation. From there you experience all the Scientific explanations and details pertaining to that particular day with mini science lessons. I feel like this is a great way to present this subject to Children, I really have nothing but good things to say about this book.  I feel that every chapter captures the Master Designer's plan and his purpose for everything he created. 

  
This book in itself is a valuable resource that can add a lot extra to any home.  But, when you add the free Young Explorer’s Club workbook, it could totally become a pretty substantial Science study.  As I said the Young Explorer's Club is a freebie to go along with the book.  It is a PDF file that has 7 sections that correspond with each chapter. It's easy to just download and go.  Nothing really extra to plan out.  A major plus!!  Each chapter of the workbook reflects on what was discussed in the book and includes questions that are both open ended and discussion.  The Kiddos will answer either fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions too.  The Kids will also learn additional verses and have the opportunity to do some fun hands on activities.  As the Teacher you also get a Teacher's Answer Key and a Certificate of Completion for your Kiddos to have once they are finished.  That's a nice way to wrap up the Study! :)
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We decided to use this book as a Family read.  We read all the time so this was how we started our review.  First we gathered around together after dinner one night and just flipped through looking at the pictures and stopping only on the topics that stood out to us individually.  I decided to just leave it out in the living room.  I figured it would get picked up on the random....I was right.  A few days later we sat down with our workbook and decided to take the book one chapter at a time.  We did for the most part, but there were a few chapters that we doubled up on because they were just that interesting. :)  We worked though the workbook fairly easily.  I will say for Kaden the questions were a little much.  And writing sometimes is difficult for him, but Mahala is 14 and had no problem at all.  

I was going to give a Pros and Cons list, but instead I'm just going to give this book a huge thumbs up.  It's beautiful and purposeful, it explains the miraculous Creation....What is negative about that.  I feel so Blessed to have read this with my Kiddos. 

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Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation Won the 2013 Illumination Book Awards and in 2014 it received a bronze medal in the Coffee Table category from the Catholic Press Association.


 
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