Cooking, Health, and Homeschooling. Does that sound boring? It’s not, actually. Well, not to me.

  • We had a dinner last night that was extremely satisfying.  I must say, we haven’t had many of those the last couple of weeks, and I am gaining such an appreciation for simple meals.  It’s just so hard to manage ALL of Fiala’s allergens, and make a semi-normal dinner that accommodates all of them.  Yesterday, I slow-cooked some pork — kind of like barbeque without onion or garlic (seasoned with paprika, dry mustard, cayenne, brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, and a couple of cans of diced tomato).  Martin said, “It’s barbacoa!”  Not quite, but I appreciated his thumbs-up.  Then, I shredded it, and we put it on tostada shells with refried beans (FINALLY found some garlic-free refrieds) and a veggie mixture of shredded cabbage, green chiles, red bell and yellow bell peppers.  It was dreamy-good.  Then, I ate more of the meat for breakfast.  And lunch.  Breakfasts used to be so easy, but it is HARD to find something — other than grits — that is rice-free, egg-free, gluten-free, garlic-free, soy-free, apple-, pear-, banana-, and peach-free, etc., to eat for breakfast.
  • Today, I had a good homeschooling moment.  It lasted for about 20 minutes, actually.  I told myself, as I saw it unfolding, “Hold onto this, because when the times arise when everything is falling apart and stressful, you’ll forget that times like this exist!”  So, I did.  I took a mental snapshot.  Grant was at the computer, doing typing.  Wes was at the kitchen table working on math.  Audrey was at the table, too, playing play dough.  Fiala was napping.  I was in the family room with Ethan, folding laundry and giving him spelling words.  It was really pleasant.
  • We did our annual spelling test with Spelling Power yesterday.  I typically say that if the child tests two years or more above his grade level, he doesn’t have to do “official” spelling for the whole year (we then just do spelling correction as needed, when it pops up in other written work).  Wesley, who is in 3rd grade, tested at 1st grade 3rd month, and frankly, I was pleased with that.  The boy read an entire Hardy Boys mystery in an hour and 50 minutes yesterday, but when he went to spell “grab,” he tried it as “ga” and then was stuck.  Hm.  Consonant blends baffle him.  Basic spelling rules don’t stick.  Oh, well.  We’ll keep working.  I think a key for him is actually just going to be whole-word memorization, which goes against all of my phonics beliefs, but if that’s what we gotta do, that’s what we gotta do.  Grant, ostensibly in 5th grade (though doing 7th grade math, and 80% of the rest of his school work with his 7th grade brother), tested at 9th grade 4th month.  Ethan, my 7th grader, tested at 8th grade 2nd month, and was CRUSHED.  Tears, sullenness, shoe-gazing, the whole nine yards.  After I spent the last 24 hours trying to encourage him and cheer him up and point out his myriad of other strengths, and that, actually, testing at a year over his actual grade level wasn’t BAD… well, I swayed over into the, “Get a grip!” side of exhortation, and told him he needed to stop moaning over his “faults” and have the strength of character and perseverance to just meet with the challenge and DO IT.  Ugh.  Motherhood is about equal parts being as tender as kitten fur, and as tough as a boot camp drill sergeant.
  • OK, well, Fiala’s yeast infection wasn’t quite cleared up in 12 hours.  It’s been almost 48 now, and it’s still not quite gone.  But, it is dramatically better than it was, before I started using gentian violet.  But… I accidentally dumped — well, actually, it was more like a dribble, but when it is runny and darkly inky… well, it looks like “dumped” — some on her thigh, which then ran down her leg, then she bent her knee all the way up to her chest, and now a good 20% of her entire body is covered in gentian violet.  The funny thing was, I was considering putting some behind one of her knees again, as a treatment and preventative against further impetigo, as it was looking badly again… and, well, the whole dumping thing decided it for me, because it’s now covered.
  • After re-reading Pride and Prejudice a couple of weeks ago, I am now about halfway through Persuasion (again), with many thanks to my dear friend Kathy, who gave me copies of the books for my own.  🙂  It occurred to me yesterday that I was rather cleansing my literary palate with Jane Austen after my recent bad run-in with Charlotte Brontë.  Hahaha!

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on September 2, 2009, in Allergies, Babies, Books I'm Reading, Character Development, Dairy-free, Family, GFCF, gluten-free, Homeschooling, Medical Stuff, Motherhood, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. ok about the SCD diet – I don’t think Ven’s gut is all messed up. I think MINE is and it’s causing him problems. that’s why I’m doing the SCD diet. I’m kinda supposed to avoid eggs b/c i have some bile duct issue – but good grief that’s nearly impossible to avoid ALL grains, ALL soy, ALL sugar and ALL eggs. I can only eat so many veggies and meats. we’ll soon be in the poor house with the amount of money I spend on food. seriously, everytime I try to slack and each cheaper we pay for it. we end up with someone(s) being very sick and ear infections and bellyaches galore. temper tantrums and night terrors, and rashes and itching and lots of crying it just isn’t worth it, you know? so the SCD just seemed to fit our needs. truth be told the first time i read it I thought it was silly. it’s only now that I’m off of just about everything in the book and faced with a baby who borders on coilcy that i’m thinking “hey maybe this isn’t so wacko?” heh

    I LOVE reading your blog. I justlove it. whenever i see you update I think “yeah!” b/c I know you’ll say something that somehow relates to something I needed to hear and/or know about. funny how that works isn’t it?

  2. glutenfree4goofs

    I laughed so hard about your Ethan. My Ethan is so like that! Hot or cold hardly any middle ground. I’ve been banging my head against the wall over his extreme emotions being more the boot camp mamma than anything. Ay yai yai. We call it the “crinkle the eyebrows, look at the floor!”

    How do you “test” to find out the grade level they are working at? We have the IRI (Idaho Reading Indicator) but it doesn’t spit out that info.

    Glad you are feeling better, didn’t comment but I have been praying. 🙂

    Jessie at Blog Schmog

    • Jessie ~ I used Spelling Power, which is a $50 book, and worth every penny. It is a multi-level program — works from 2nd – 12th grades… it’s hard to describe the system, but it works so well. I’m really cracking open all the “prescriptive” parts to the book to try to figure out my 8yo.

      There are two different 50 word tests (you only need one each year) and you have your child keep going until s/he misses 3-5 words (three in a row, or five in close succession), then check the key to find out where they’re at. Then, it sends you to another test (if needed) to fine-tune their level, and lists of words to test from there. It’s not your standard list of words per week and test at the end. You only work on the words (in a very specific way) that the child gets wrong. 🙂

      Hope that makes sense!!!

      The trouble with my Ethan is that he does SO WELL in so many things, but when he comes upon something that’s difficult for him, he absolutely crumbles into discouragement. He has NO perseverance. I didn’t either at that age, though!!

      • glutenfree4goofs

        I read your comments to my hubby and he said “Are you sure she isn’t talking about our Ethan?” We laughed. Our mission for school has been (among other things) to find out how our children tick and help them learn to self motivate. It doesn’t work when Ethan is only motivated to buid lego’s or master his bike tricks and if something challenges him (that he didn’t pursue) he crumbles, like you said.

        A friend of mine showed me her copy of “Discover Your Children’s Gifts” by Don and Katie Fortune. Upon reading the title I didn’t think it was what I was looking for but I wrote two pages of notes in the short time we had and found it to be immensely helpful in understanding especially Ethan.

        It is not about “spiritual gifts” but instead they refer to a person’s personality as their “personality gift” and I found the book to be right on. I would guess your Ethan has the personality gift of compassion. One quote I wrote down pretty much sums up my son “idealistic but instead of wanting to line up with God’s laws they want to line up with their wishes… usually so idealistic they are unrealistic, they want a world that does not exist.”

        Anyhow, maybe you could find it used. I believe you would enjoy the insight into your children’s personalities.

  3. I was going to comment on Ethan too. My oldest seems to that but my 11yo girl is the worst! I feel like I tell her to Suck it up about 20 times a day. I have tried the tender thing with her and it is a no go. Just makes her more emotional.

    I can feel the homeschool moment thing too. We are changing to the workbox system. It seems to have helped some, but I am still getting all my ducks in a row on that one. lion cub loves going to get his next envelope (we use those instead of boxes, cheaper and less storage area.) and it is nice to have everything ready each morning. We are accomplishing more, but it sure is taking longer.

    On the whole meal thing. It never ceases to amaze me that you are willing to do that to continue to nurse. What an awesome Mom!! Especially with so many people to feed on that special diet. BTW make your own refried beans. Cook in crock pot overnight and then smash and add seasoning (leaving some plain for your Private Purple hehe)

    I will be googling that genatian violet stuff. Do you have a particular website that you like for all things natural? There are so many times that I want info and just not sure where to start.

    • I don’t have a ONE go-to website. I wish I did!! It seems like I’m a weird mix of natural, but not New Agey, if YKWIM. So, I just end up using Google a lot. It’s funny how being natural attracts both Christians — who give glory to the creative God, and the crunchy, humanist type.

      Do you put lard in your refrieds? Or just season them?

      And, with the peace of this school year (three weeks into it), I’m observing that as much as I LOVE finding one product/system that works for me, my kids really benefit from me mixing it up from time to time!! It’s given me a lot to think about…

      • I just now got back to checking your answer. I don’t put any oil or lard in them. I leave just a little of the juice and throw them in the food processor. Super smooth and creamy and tasty. I use penzey’s taco seasoning, but I know allrecipes has a ton of suggestions that way you can make sure that there isn’t any garlic in it.

        Do you google natural remedy for _____? or something else. When I try that I seem to get the same websites every single time.

  4. I just love you Karen. The quote about mothering being kitten fur and drill sargeant is a keeper – it’s going in my quotes file. It needs to be put out there where every mom can read it. SO true – and comforting to know that it’s true for everyone. You are one of my heroes! Kathy

  5. Hi Karen,
    Here is a home schooling link you might find interesting.

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