Monday, November 24, 2008

Chicken in the Sticks???

This morning as we started our Thanksgiving break the boys were building with Lincoln Logs and Mega Blocks while listening to Hallelujah Handel followed by Tchaikovsky Discovers Amercia.

A song came on that Haddon recognized and he asked, "Mom, what's the name of this song? Isn't it Chicken in the Sticks?" To which I answered, "No sweetie, it's actually called Turkey in the Straw."

Lol! I had to leave the room so he couldn't see me giggling! :)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nutrition 101 - Part Four: More About Dyes

I have thought of a few more things in regard to dyes; I thought I would share them before moving on to the next topic.

First of all, I did remember to check, and Life cereal is still made with dye. Crazy!

Medicines...Can you imagine how much dye it takes to make a bottle of pain reliever/medicine that pretty purple/red/pink color? The dye-free products shown can be hard to find and unfortunately I have yet to find a less expensive store brand. We buy the national brands and pay a little more. I do try to use a coupon and pair those coupons with a store sale; then it's not too much more expensive than generic. I have not found a solution to many other over-the-counter and prescription medicines that come in every color from cotton candy blue to electric orange. I think that will be rapidly changing as consumers are demanding more dye-free options. If you know of other medicines that are dye-free, leave a comment! I would love to stock my RX cabinet before flu and cold season hits. :)

Instead of dye (and corn syrup) filled breakfast bars or toaster tarts, try Healthy Valley Organic Bars/Tarts. They are not whole wheat, but I have yet to find a ww version my kids will eat. These are great for mornings when we need a quick breakfast to get started with school or when we are out the door for church. These paired with fresh fruit and an organic drinkable yogurt make a great start to our day.

For the occasional treat when we go to the zoo or on other field trips we love the Florida's Natural line of "fruit snacks" and "fruit string". We discovered these when we were on a gluten free diet and my kids have loved them ever since! They are 66% fruit ingredients and have no artificial dyes. They do have a little corn syrup but you can't win them all! Like the medicines, these can be a little hard to find so I stock up when I see them.

For a quick lunch my boys love Back to Nature's 100% Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese Dinner. I cut up nitrate/nitrite free chicken or turkey hot dogs, mix them in and presto - a gourmet meal (if you are under 10 years old, anyway!) :) Annie's also makes a whole wheat mac and cheese. We don't like it as well but it is a good second choice.

Unfortunately you can find dyes in just about everything from vitamins to dairy products like ice cream, yogurt, flavored milk, butter spreads and cheese. Some breads and salad dressings have dyes and many pre-packaged "treats" are loaded with dye. The key is to start reading labels - every label. And beware if a package says "artificial colors and flavors" because sometimes that is all the warning you get.

I'll move on to something else in my next post. Happy hunting in your grocery store!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!

Today is the last day to cast your vote over at the Homeschool Post for the Homeschool Blog Awards. Voting ends at midnight tonight. Go and cast your vote if you haven't had a chance before it's all over. :)

Join Us at the HSBA!


Kids Who are Different

Kids Who Are Different

Here's to the kids who are different,

The kids who don't always get A's,

The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers,

And noses that go on for days...

Here's to the kids who are different,

The kids they call crazy or dumb,

The kids who don't fit, with the guts and the grit,

Who dance to a different drum...

Here's to the kids who are different,

The kids with the mischievous streak,

For when they have grown, as history's shown,

It's their difference that makes them unique.

--Digby Wolfe


Monday, November 17, 2008

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. Well it's the 17th and halfway through the month but I couldn't miss the opportunity to support MOD (and my precious friend, Darcy, and her Trouble) in their efforts to bring awareness to this issue.

I do not have a preemie; all of my boys were born at the exact same day of gestation - 37 weeks and one day. All three! But I have a few friends who have had prematurity touch their lives in varying degrees. It is heartbreaking to see babies who could have, would have, even should have been born perfectly healthy if given their nine months. But something happened, even though their mommies did all the right things, and they came to us too early.

If you want to learn more about why you should care about prematurity click on the purple tag above and read an informative post from Darcy. And then read this one and then follow up with this one (and be sure to click on the link to learn all about Kyle). Then read Darcy's post titled, Why I Missed My Own Son's Baptism. This one is a don't miss but please make sure to have a Kleenex in hand if your eyes are still dry. They won't be after you read her story.

I am blessed to call Darcy a friend and have even had the opportunity to meet her. But I can't wait for the day when I can meet her Boybarians and hug them...especially that little Trouble!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Book Review: Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World

Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons is the best book I have ever read on the subject of ADD/ADHD. It provides not only help but hope! So many of the things Thatcher does that most people, including myself, have always found quirky to downright irritating are actually common in the world of right brained learners (which Thatcher tested very strongly in the checklist given by the author). In describing ADHD children it was as if Mr. Freed had been a fly on the wall in our living room for years.
The child with genuine ADD typically has just two speeds: full tilt and collapse. He consistently has a short attention span, which means he fails to hold a thought for more than a few seconds. He rarely finishes a task, bouncing like a pinball from one activity to another. He doesn't have a built-in "brake" in his brain that tells him to look before he leaps. His lightning-fast visual mind flashes from random thought to random thought; his thought patterns are like a brain storming session run amok. He is nonlogical, nonsequential and nonverbal (although he talks constantly), physically and socially clumsy, and hopelessly disorganized. He may or may not respond well to medication. Rather than being labeled as ADD, this child might be more accurately termed a "hyperimpulsive random visual processor." Whatever you choose to call it, it's a tremendous challenge to parent and teach this kind of child.
p. 25-26
Amen, Mr. Freed! As a mom I have always known "what" Thatcher did but not always the "why" behind the "what". After reading this book I feel I truly know my child so much better - what makes him tick and how to get inside his head (and subsequently his heart!). I also learned that I am a strong left-brained learner which has been a cause of much of my frustration. He learns so much differently than myself and the things the author explains I don't know that I ever would have figured out on my own.

The author describes how he believes many children are moving towards being visual learners due to our culture and society. Unfortunately schools have not kept up, teaching largely the way they did for the past 100 years - primarily to auditory learners. These methods made sense in a world pre-television, pre-computer and pre-picture books where the predominate means of communication was auditory: radio, literature readings and oral story telling. Today children's brains are different and require new teaching methods. He believes that many children (if not most) who are labeled ADD/ADHD are actually visual learners who are simply having a difficult time coping in a classroom not geared towards their learning style. He believes that only 2-3% of the population are true ADD kiddos and the remainder are pseudo-ADD. They way to tell the difference is to examine, "the degree of severity" and "whether the behavior is pronounced both inside and outside the classroom."

Whether or not your child is true ADD or what he terms "pseudo-ADD" you can greatly benefit from this book. After making his case that ADD is a "learning style" he lays how to work with children who demonstrate these characteristics in a chapter titled "Ground Rules for Working with the ADD Child" and then follows up by walking though each subject one by one describing specific techniques to help these children attain success.

If you have a child you suspect of being ADD/ADHD (the author uses these terms interchangeably) this would be a great book to add to your reading list. Beware that he is a little harsh on the public school system and public school teachers. He makes a lot of generalizations and remember that there are always exceptions (although in my experience teaching ps for seven years many of his statement are true). Also, this book is not just for homeschooling parents, although he does hold a favorable view of homeschooling. He devotes a few chapters at the end of the book to helping parents help their child(ren) have a more positive experience in the public/private school system.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


I just wanted to take the time to say a heartfelt, "Thank you!" to all who nominated me for a Homeschool Blog Award over at the Homeschool Post. On Monday morning I headed over to check which of my bloggy buddies were nominated. I was honestly shocked to see my name on a list. I didn't think my blog was old enough, that I posted enough, that I ... :)

And a huge "Thank you!" to all who have voted for me as well. There are tons of amazing blogs nominated. Have fun checking them all out and if you are so inclined you can cast your vote for my blog here! Congratulations to all the nominees; I have had so much fun reading all your beautiful blogs. I wish that there were more awards to give out because I know of many more amazing and faithful bloggers who deserve to be noticed as well. The blogging world is truly incredible and I am thankful to be a part of it!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Did It!

I subscribed to all my favorite blogs in a reader! Dh has been telling me for several months now how much time I could save by doing this, but you know it's that whole change thing. :)

I am recommitted to getting back on top of household routines: meal planning, cleaning, grocery shopping/coupon clipping, laundry, managing finances and so on. I need to save time everywhere I can. Well after watching this simple video I was convinced. It's so easy; it only took five minutes to set up. I have loved it this past week. I hope the video helps a few of you, too. It's a little corny but really does a fantastic job of explaining the "What?", "Why?" and "How?" of using a reader!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thank You

Thank you for all the thoughtful comments and emails. Even though I have been quiet (in a blogging sense) this week, they have been a great source of comfort and encouragement. My body is healing; my heart is taking longer. I know only time will truly mend that, but there has been much to be thankful for in the midst of our sadness, too: my wonderful dh, my three beautiful boys, amazing friends who have showered me with love and care beyond measure, a church body who has grieved with us and so many more. Thanks to each of you who are a part of that sweet blessing. Sometimes it's in times of great sadness that you see joy so clearly.

This song was playing in the car when dh left the doctor's office after our sad news. It's from Ray Lamontagne's new CD called Gossip in the Grain. Later that night he hugged me tight and told me, "This is my heart for you," as I listened for the first time. I have listened again and again since then. It's amazing how when someone puts your experience to words it can be so comforting - even if it's in a sad sort of way. I thought I would share it with you, too. (Not a great video but it's a new song so there are not too many options on YouTube yet!)

Let It Be Me

There comes a time,
A time in everyone's life
When nothing seems to go your way,
When nothing seems to turn out right

There may come a time,
You just can't seem to find your place
For every door you open,
Seems like you get two slammed in your face

That's when you need someone,
Someone that you, you can call.
When all your faith is gone,
It feels like you can't go on

Let it be me
Let it be me
If it's a friend that you need
Let it be me
Let it be me

Feels like you're always comin' up last
Pockets full of nothin' ain't got no cash
No matter where you turn
You ain't got no place to stand
You reach out for somethin' and they slap your hand

I remember all too well
Just how it feels to be all alone
To feel like you'd give anything
For just a little place you can call your own

That's when you need someone,
Someone that you, you can call
When all your faith is gone
It feels like you can't go on

Let it be me
Let it be me
If it's a friend you need,
Let it be me
Let it be me

Let it be me
Let it be me
If it's a friend you need,
Let it be me
Let it be me
Let it be me