Monthly Archives: October 2006

The Halloween Scrooge, TNT & the Suns

Like surely a lot of moms out there, I’m at home w/ just the baby while my hubby has the three boys.  We don’t “do” Halloween, don’t celebrate it.  But, yearly, we’re happy to take advantage of a carnival that a local church holds.  I think this is the 4th year dh has taken the boys to it.

I also hand out candy, and every year, I buy WAY too much.  So, I kept it to a reasonable 3.5 lb bag… and whaddya know?  I was absolutely INNUNDATED with trick-or-treaters.  My bowl was empty in less than an hour, and I was wishing I could take back some from the generous handfuls I had been dishing out at the start of the hour. 

Feeling like the Halloween Scrooge, I had to turn off my house lights and come inside.

Yes, I was outside, because we have this courtyard thingie, and one has to pass through a gate to get to our front door, and I think the trick-or-treaters were intimidated/scared by the process.  No one was coming to the door, and I knew they were on the street.  So, I took Audrey out, and we stood in the beautiful, cool, clear evening, she with a box of Dots that she was shaking and chewing, me with the big bowl…

Came in, perused my blogroll, wrote a few e-mails, now I’m waiting for the SUNS game to start on TNT.  First game of the season.  I hate when games are on TNT, because that usually means they start at 9:00, like it is tonight.

We’re the only state, now, that doesn’t do Daylight Savings Time.  I agree with the policy — the desert does NOT need an ‘extra’ hour of hot daylight in the summer — but it makes keeping track of other timezones screwy, and it makes basketball games start at 9 p.m.

Anyways, baseball is my first sports-love, but basketball will do when there is no baseball…  Football’s OK, but basketball’s better.  IMNSHO.

Whoops.  Just missed tip-off.

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Gluten free snack, breakfast & lunch ideas

I just sent this to bordermama, but thought it might be a good idea to post it for anyone with celiac disease, especially those w/ kids.

We have been g.f. for nearly four years more than five years now, so we’ve been at this for a little  while.  You have to really search to keep from meal monotony.

I now have a GFCF (gluten-free, dairy/casein-free) list.  Please visit it if you need to eliminate dairy, as well. 

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Homeschooling, Faulty Logic, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Suicide, and Getting Slimed

Well.

This post was going to go on and on about the merits of homeschooling, refuting several viciously-worded posts by a certain blogger who seems to have taken it on to be the voice of anti-homeschooling sentiment in the blogosphere.  I was going to hot link this through the roof with the MANY studies that have come out touting the benefits of hs’ing, and disproving many of the negative assumptions about the development of hs’ed kids.

However, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to spend my time on that, at least not right now, and I’m certainly not to link to him, thereby giving his truly wicked-tongued rants any further audience.

One thing I did want to say was that, as I’ve pondered his words for the last day or so, I’ve realized that one of his “points” has some serious logic holes.

He blogged about a certain homeschooler who committed suicide, and came to the conclusion that the hs’ing lifestyle is what led him to kill himself.

That’s ridiculous.  If such was the case, the only kids who commit suicide would be homeschoolers, and regularly-schooled kids would never kill themselves.  But we know that this is just not true:  More than one teenage school shooting rampage has been brought about by feelings of alienation derived from negative interaction in school.

Now, I did not read this post of his extremely thoroughly, and did not read any of his comments, but I did skim through several of his posts, and he seems dead-set on ridding the U.S. from the ‘blight’ that is homeschooling.  I wanted to get an idea of what I’m potentially up against, but my Slime-O-Meter was blipping out of control, and I knew that I needed to keep my exposure to his expletive-filled vociferousness to a minimum.

Have there been hs’ed kids who commit suicide in the past?  Yes, obviously.  Will there be in the future?  Unfortunately, that is nearly certain.  However, if a study was done, I would bet my Suburban that the rate of suicide among hs’ers is *much* less than that of their publicly-schooled counterparts.

My middle son, Grant, was diagnosed when he was about 4.5 with a very odd learning disorder called Nonverbal Learning Disorder.  I blogged a bit about it here, but essentially, Grant’s developmental pediatrician is convinced that homeschooling is crucial to Grant’s continued healthy development.  He also believes that we were able to arrive early at a diagnosis (Grant was the youngest he’d ever dx’ed with this disorder) precisely *because* I’m a homeschooling mother and very much in tune with what (and how) my kids are learning.  He is also certain that Grant would be seriously misunderstood and dealt with unwisely by staff (though unintentionally so, of course) at any public institution, and that he’d probably perpetually be “in trouble” and have to be medicated.

Last note about that — kids with Nonverbal Learning Disorder have an astronomically high rate of suicide.  HOWEVER, the earlier NLD is dx’ed, and the better it is treated, those scary stats decrease to nearly nil.  NLD is similar to autism in that it is largely a communication disorder, both in processing external information, and expressing what is happening internally, and can lead to a HUGE disconnect between the NLD’er and the rest of the world. 

But, when a child is in an environment when those around him LOVE him, understand him, and are ultimately committed to his success in all of life’s arenas, and things like LD’s are effectively treated, then the secondary neuroses that can develop are kept to an absolute minimum.  IOW, catching NLD early and dealing with it rightly increase that child’s chances of success, and decrease their chances of developing neuroses like OCD and other problems that can frequently lead to suicide.

So, Mr. Homeschool Detractor, you’re just showing your ignorance.  Maybe you should check into ODD.  😆

Argh! Just because a baby is not wearing pink does not mean she’s a BOY!

I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but I just plumb do not like it when my baby is called a “boy.”

Now, I do clothe my daughter in a lot more pink that I thought I would, before she was born.  (I just got a charming pale pink chenille jacket that is tied with a translucent, shimmery pink ribbon that I can’t wait for her to wear.  😀 )  However, it seems that every time she’s NOT in pink, she gets called a boy.

She was wearing this top yesterday, at church:
Audrey Sophie in the back of the 'Burban

It’s olive green, edged in brighter green, with a colorful, appliqued, stylized flower on the front.  (It, along with the jeans she is wearing in the above photo, was a gift from my friend Lori, who has known me since we were both in the nursery at church, as babies ourselves.  She so knows me!!!)  Yesterday, Audrey was wearing this top with a flouncy denim SKIRT, and white socks that had olive and PINK flowers on them.  Three times, she got called a boy as my husband was holding her. 

Maybe it’s because she’s bald, combined with the fact that she wasn’t wearing pink…  and I know I’m biased as a mom, but I do not think she looks the slightest bit boyish.  I *HAVE* three boys.  I know what boys look like.  She is NOT a boy.  Grrr.

YAY!!! Gluten-free “regular” cereal!

NOTE, added May 22, 2014:  This post was originally from OCTOBER, 2006.  A lot has changed since then, including our own eating habits.  In the post below, I was rejoicing over finding General Mills’ Dora the Explorer cereal.  First, we have totally removed anything artificial — including preservatives and flavorings — from our family’s diet.  Secondly, they don’t even MAKE Dora cereal any longer.  Read labels.  Choose your cereals carefully, even those marked “gluten-free”.  For instance, most Chex flavors are gluten-free, but they are not organic, very likely contain GMO grain, and they now include BHT as a chemical preservative.  We no longer purchase Chex.

One of the drawbacks of a gluten-free diet is that I can no longer buy “regular” food when it goes on sale.  I used to save a good $30-40/week in coupons, sometimes more.  I still do coupons, but only typically save $5-12/week with them, since I can no longer buy many of the items for which the coupons are created, since they are what we un-affectionately call “Gluten Delievery Devices,” or GDD for short.

So, for cereal (which we eat 2-3x/week), I’m often stuck buying boxes that are not on sale.  When I can, I get myself up to Trader Joe’s for their smokin’ deals on EnviroKidz gluten-free cereal, but more often, I have to pay full price (about $3.99/box) for them (and other g.f. cereals).

I discovered this cereal a couple of months ago, and every time it goes on sale, I scoop up a few boxes.  Last night, I was *thrilled* to buy 3 boxes of General Mills’ Dora the Explorer cereal, on sale with a coupon, so I spent only $4.25 total on them.

Now, General Mills makes no claims on the box (nor on its website) that ANY of its cereals are g.f. — they probably don’t want to open the possible cross-contamination can of worms — but all the ingredients are g.f., *and* it only has 6 g/sugar per serving, which is the same as Life, Honey Bunches of Oats, and other lower-sugar cereals.  The ingredients (not counting added vitamins & minerals) are:

whole grain corn, corn meal, sugar, corn bran, modified corn starch, canola and/or rice bran oil, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, natural and artificial flavor

“Natural flavor” can be iffy, harboring gluten-derived or gluten-containing flavors, but the risk is pretty small.

I’m not really into kid-character-branded *anything* but Dora’s all right, and the product is fairly healthy, so…  we’ll gladly partake.

“The Real Story” Positive changes in Iraq video — Glenn Beck

I just changed the channel to CNN (because my beloved Da Vinci’s Inquest was an episode I’d already seen).  Glenn Beck was on, and I generally like him.  He’s a dork, and a funny one at that, and has quite an independent mindset.  Immediately, there was an amazing video “essay” of all the positive effects that have been taking place in Iraq as a direct result of the Coalition Forces’ efforts.  I kept myself braced, waiting for the “….but” to creep in, and for the tone to change to something more cynical or negative.  It never came.  It’s a GREAT little video, and you should see it.  (It’s only 2 min 45 sec.)

Hah! This is brilliant!

and profound, and in a way, funny.

Ending Slavery

I first read about it here.  Thanks onebeggarsbread!

*Perfect* task for a 5yo, or, The Game-Job

I’m really not good at coming up with new ideas for things.  I’m better at taking others’ ideas and running with them.  But, I decided that to keep my 5yo involved in today’s Friday Work Day that I would have to become a little creative.

I went through the house and tagged all the light switches with a piece of masking tape onto which I’d written a number with a Sharpie marker.  I also printed out a sheet with the numbers 1-20 printed large and widely spaced upon it.   I gave Wesley a little bucket with a rag and a little soapy water in it, and told him it was his job to find all the light switches in the house, remove the piece of tape and place it on the corresponding number on his sheet, then wash that light switch & plate.  I showed him how on the first one, explaining that he needed to use his muscles to wring out the rag.

Oh, my goodness.  I haven’t seen him that delighted in a long time.  He immediately proclaimed, “It’s a game-job!”  He set right to work, singing a made-up song that told of his own commendable, hard-working mastery of light switches.  He also frequently stopped, counting out how many he had done, and how many were left to do, giving me a report.  He even found two light switches that I hadn’t tagged.  He got the whole thing done in less than 30 minutes. 

Here’s his completed sheet:
Wes' game-job

After a good half-hour break, I did a similar thing with all the doorknobs in the house (25 of ’em), but he wasn’t quite as thrilled that time.  But, we talked about perseverance, and he eventually got it done.  I gave him a jawbreaker for a treat, and let him know how very proud I was of him for not giving up.

I’ll definitely use this “game-job” idea again.

Saving my homeschooling sanity

A few weeks ago, I was a stressed out ball of nerves.  We were getting school done for all three boys (4th gr, 2nd gr & K), but many days we weren’t done until 3:30 or 4:00.  I wasn’t getting enough done around the house, and I was consistently not getting dinner done until 7:00 or even later.

Since Grant, my 2nd grader, has always been quite advanced in a number of subjects, I do most of school with the two older boys together.  Interspersed with the stuff I read aloud is seatwork.  Up until this year, I’d get them started on their seatwork and then do the dishes, start a load of laundry, get dinner prep started, etc.  But now that Wesley is doing K, while the bigger boys are doing their seatwork, I usually have to sit down with Wesley for his work instead of doing some task around the house.

On top of that, I now have a nursing baby.  And while she is a mostly very contented baby, and an absolute delight to all of us, she still takes up quite a bit of my time and attention. 

So.  All of this came to a head a couple of weeks ago when my husband, who really is not demanding at all, kind of sat me down and let me know that things could not continue as they were.  My feelings were very hurt by this — it’s hard for me to face any kind of failure — but I had to admit what I already knew:  he was right.

So, I did some re-evaluating of how our time is distributed, and came up with some changes in our schedule.  Now,

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Yay!!!! La Posada trip plans!!!!

I was very excited when my hubby came home from work last night, announcing that he’d made reservations & plans for our impending 12th anniversary.  As we previously had discussed, we’ll be staying at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ. 

La Posada from the Track Side

La Posada Interior 

The best pics I found are on this guy’s Flikr account

It’s only for one night, and we’ll have our baby along, but that’s OK on both accounts.

Staying with our 3 boys will be my BIL, Adam.  The boys delight in Adam’s freeform parenting style and his Playstation2.  In the past, when Adam’s stayed w/ the boys, I have stocked the pantry and freezer with pre-made meals, printed out instructions about what meal comes at which time, yet come home to see the food untouched, and hear reports of how they ate every meal out because Adam “didn’t know what to feed them.”  So, I’ve learned to just expect that, and be thankful that we have someone to stay w/ the boys on occasions like these.

And, Audrey will be accompanying us, but as I remarked to my hubby last night, “When you have four kids, but only one is with you, it feels like you’re almost alone.”

Here’s the hotel’s website.  The pics aren’t actually all that great on this site, but the information about this historic hotel, designed by Mary Jane Coulter is definitely worth a read. 

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