Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gluten Free

yep.  We're joining the ranks of the gluten free.  Well, Munchkin is.  She's had diarrhea for about a year now.  It just kept becoming more and more often until it was an everyday occurrence.  So a few months ago I weighed her and found she'd only gained a pound the whole year.  Her doc recommended a gastroenterologist and also an allergist.  I cannot believe how many tests they ran and of course all of them came back normal.  He was a lot more concerned about her growth and said her numbers were close to celiac, but not quite there.  Both he and the allergist recommended a food elimination diet.
AGAIN!?  I have had to do that with all my kids now!  So I put it off until now.  I had enough people tell me about false negative celiac tests and I'm just so tired of the bathroom trips that I finally started it. Taking out dairy didn't seem to do much, but 4 days off gluten is showing improvement.  If the change doesn't last we try soy.  ugh!!  I just hope this also cures the eczema!  That'd be a win!
It's not as hard as I thought it would be, but it still sucks.  Sandwiches are my go to meal and she loves them.  For now it's turkey, cheese, and pickles wrapped in lettuce.
School was hard this week.  I think the upcoming holiday made us lazy.  But Jack did a cool report about cranberries today and is breezing through math.  He's been setting his alarm for 6:00 and doing his school work first thing in the morning so he'd be able to play the rest of the day.  I have no idea where he gets that from.  Today he announced he was going back to school is January.  I reminded him he'd have to walk in the snow and he changed it to April.  I told him he'd probably be halfway done with 3rd grade math by then and would get bored.  He asked if he could just go for recess then (he misses his friends).  I think it helped to have a friend over for 3 hours this afternoon.
Tumbleweed is...alive.  She's going through a growth spurt and pretty much cries all day.  She's like a colicky 18 month old.  That's right!  18 months tomorrow!  I could gripe and whine about how she wants to nurse all the time and drives us all crazy, but I'd rather tell you how she dances whenever I play the piano and sings too.  It's a soft "la la la" and I'm pretty sure it's how angels in heaven sing.  She keeps outgrowing her clothes and is catching up to her sister.  Someone make her stop.  I cry a little every time I have to put a favorite dress away.
Friday I'm laying flooring for a neighbor.  There's a lot of emotions about it and I wish the internet was smaller so I could tell you all about it.  But it's not.  So I wont.  But I will say, there's a line between being charitable and being exploited.
I NEED to do a chicken post.  Let you all learn from my, uh, learning experiences.  Meanwhile I hope everyone has a marvelous Thanksgiving and a lovely Buy Nothing Day :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thieves

I'm irritable today.  I spent the weekend building a chicken tractor-which is a portable coop.  I built it for a few reasons: 1) to let the girls scratch the yard while still being protected, 2) so they can get more sun, 3) the %$#$^ finches are eating all their food in the regular coop!!
Chicken wire keeps out quail and cats, but not finches.  Chicken food is fairly cheap -$15 for 50lbs.  But with the local birds helping, I'm going through feed twice as fast.  So I built a new smaller coop (called a chicken ark) with plastic mesh (it was half as much as wire mesh) and the birds are staying out.  The only problem is the girls wont lay in the new coop and I can't figure out how to keep the water unfrozen and free from dirt.
I finally found a solution for the large coop though - window screen.  I'll simply buy a roll of window screen (please tell me it's cheap!) and lay it over the chicken wire to keep all kinds of predators out.  Including the grey mouse.  That's right mouse.  I saw you and you're not invited.
Now to figure out what we're going to do over Christmas.  I need someone to feed and water my girls so we can head to grandma's house (only 45 min away, but we did plan to sleep over).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halloween

(a little late.  whatever.)

For the church party we all dressed as characters from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  No, my kids haven't seen the movie, but we own the Lego game on XBOX and my son has some of the Lego pieces.  So he was going as Jones and we saw this gorgeous Asian outfit for Munchkin ($5!!) to dress as Willie (the singer) and the rest fell into place.
Igloo went as Mola Ram the priest and carried around a heart shaped stress ball.  I went as an Indian villager and Tumbleweed was Short Round.  Isn't she adorable?

For the actual Halloween the girls changed their costumes.
Munchkin wore some dress ups from her box.  It's a red riding hood costume, but she insists she was a red witch.  Tumbleweed was a pumpkin.  By the way, we grew most of those pumpkins.  Fun huh?

 So CUTE!  I know all mothers think their kids are adorable, but, seriously, look at those eyes!
Tearing down the sidewalk.

We went trick or treating as a family for the first little bit which was a lot of fun.  Tumbleweed can only handle one block then we went home and handed out candy.  Halloween has traditionally been my favorite holiday, but I'm getting more scroogy about it.  I had a number of teenagers (some not even wearing costumes) and less than half the kids said thank you.  I'm so tired of the entitlement attitude.  Plus, someone stole the candy bowl I left out!  
My attitude was improved when the neighbors across the street invited us over for stew and suggested trying to start a block party on Halloween instead.  I know I took pictures of Munchkin dancing, but I cannot find them anywhere :(  They must have been lost in last week's computer crash :(  At any rate, we all agreed to learn the moves for Thriller for next year and I'm looking forward to it.  I'd rather spend it with friends than getting sulky over ungrateful teens :)
I'm also tired of the sugar.  I still haven't beaten the sugar addiction I developed over Christmas last year and I am seeing how having it around the house affects the kids.  So we decided as a family to limit our sugar.  We let the kids each keep 5 pieces of candy and gave the rest to their favorite babysitter.  We also decided to throw out cakes and treats after the holiday/birthday is over.  I've gotten over thinking it's wasteful.  It's not wasteful if it has no nutritional value.  Hope we can make this last!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Busy Autumn Days

I have a list of excuses for not writing.  The the chickens died and I got really depressed.  Then we got new ones and I was making sure the coop was more predator resistant.  Last week was crazy busy!  Field trip to the zoo, pack meeting, doctor appointment, Jack turned 7(!!!), church Halloween party; this week had Halloween and Discovery Museum, and I've been busy reading and actually making some of the things I pin on Pinterest....I am ready for a break!  Of course this next week is voting, cleaning the church and then doing service fpr veterans day so I think that break will have to wait.
I am just about ready to be done with K12 and create my own curriculum.  I'm trying to hang in there until Jack finishes 2nd grade math (probably 6-8 more weeks) but we'll see.  I've talked with others about Saxon and Math U See and there's pros and cons for each.  I think we'll probably stick with Singapore.

I've said it before, homeschooling is not easy.  I never quite know what to do with my girls and feel like I'm neglecting them anytime I have to explain something.  So I've been looking more at Robinson Curriculum which is more of a self-taught approach.  I don't agree with everything about it, but I'm thinking I may need to adopt some of it.  And of course since I learn toward a classical approach I am in LOVE with all those classic books on cd-rom!!!  Bottom line, right now I'm spending too much time as a "learning coach" (that's what K12 calls the parents) and not enough time as a mother.

Why haven't I just pulled him out?  Well, I feel good about teaching math, science, and history, but language arts I really need help with.  I have no idea what he should know and I honestly can't afford to buy another curriculum right now.  Can he just read awesome books and have some grammar lessons (and how much of that?!)  Any 2nd/3rd grade teacher input is welcome!! (you know who you are)
Enough of me feeling insecure.  Here's some fun pictures of what we've been up to:
FIRE STATION FIELD TRIP



HEE HAW FARM AND CORNBELLY'S



ZOO TRIP (FOR FREE!!!!)


OH!  AND HERE'S OUR NEW CHICKENS!!!
Fortune and Glory
Hoping to get 2 more of the same breed, but we haven't seen any for sale.