Monday, January 16, 2012


Wow, what a week this has been.  I fully expected to have several weeks rest after my last foster kids left before getting any phone calls.  I was SO wrong!

Just 16 days after the 9 and 13 year olds left, I got the first call of the week.  A 4 year old boy came to join us Saturday night, and my DS and he had some good times Sunday.  Monday I figured out what I needed to about his preschool and got the bus situation squared away.

Monday night I took the boys to Cloverbuds, where they learned about New Year's Resolutions and made little time capsules.  While we were there, I got a respite call for 2 more boys, ages 4 and 14.  I said, Sure!  So before we came home, they were with us.

Tuesday and Wednesday I washed their clothes and got to know them a bit.  This 4 year old is not in preschool and so is with me all day while I homeschool Luke.  It worked out well, though, since he isn't a morning person and pretty much stayed out of the way and quiet while we did school work.

Wednesday night during my handbell rehearsal, I got another call, this time for a baby!  This was the first time we've had one under 2, and has required a lot of extra work.  We had to get out the crib, stroller, dishes, bibs, toys and clothes from the barn and wash everything.  And then put the crib together.  And put the harness back in one of our car seats.  That didn't' get done until today, but luckily the DCBS let us keep a loaner so we could get everyone to church and back in one piece. 

This big 14 month old definitely has his own personality.  I can already tell he's pretty smart and its going to get him into a lot of trouble! 

From the sound of it, the only boy we will have for a significant length of time will be the first 4 year old, but we will see!  We will have them all for at least the rest of January, but after that its up to the judge.

Supervised visits start tomorrow for 2 of them, and the other 2 will be on Friday.  I'm glad we can arrange it so I don't have to make 4 separate trips (none of these kids has the same parents or last name).

I feel good about how things have gone so far...especially with a 4 day weekend thrown in!  We had snow Friday, so school was cancelled, and today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I really think boys are just easier all around than girls are!  The only things stressing me out are all the appointments I need to get set for these kids, and the baby who is teething and cranky.  I am thankful that he is now going to sleep pretty easily in his crib, although its not without loud objections.  All the baby stuff that I have to do with him does seem easier this time around, even though its been 6 years since my son was this small.  Its all coming back to me now....

FIVE boys.  And its not nearly as bad as it sounds! Please pray for each of them, as they miss their Mommies and Mamaws and Nanas, and for me as I try to fill those roles.

The Juice Fast

I successfully did a juice fast for a whole week!  Okay, maybe I cheated a *little*, but I did drink fresh juices for a week :)

The day before the fast I ate only fruit, veggies and nuts.  Then I followed the recipes from Get Healthy Through Fasting and Detox (by Dr. Colbert) faithfully for the first 3 days or so, before realizing that some of them just didn't taste good so I doctored them up a little.  When it came to the end of the fast, I was planning on breaking it over 3 days like the book suggests, but we got several new foster kids and I had to start cooking so that went out the window!

My weight loss was 9 pounds, and while I probably won't keep that off unless I get serious about doing a regular T-Tapp routine, it was a great start to a healthy year.

My husband did the fast with me, which made it much easier to stick to (thanks, honey!).  Of course, being a man, he lost more weight faster than I did.  And will probably keep it off without exercise!

My new weight maintenance plan is to eat when the baby eats, which means I eat mostly what he eats, and slowly since I have to feed him between bites :)  

I still plan on doing a full 21 day fast later this year, perhaps the first week of summer.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Getting Healthy in 2012

One thing that I love about the other moms using Ambleside Online for homeschooling is that they are so down-to-earth and willing to share about just about everything (using the yahoo groups).  Time and time again, the Amble Ramble group gets on the subject of more natural, eco-friendly or healthier living.  So often, in fact, that a couple months ago they spun off into a separate yahoo group just for that topic!  Its open to all, so join us here.

I have learned so much over the past 10 years or so about healthy living.  I converted my home to Melaleuca products in 2007- for cleaning, for toiletries, for vitamins, supplements and snack.  I truly love this eco-friendly, long-lasting, affordable products!  (Yes, I can sign you up as a preferred customer :)  I trust that the air inside of my home is NOT more toxic than polluted outside air, thanks to Melaleuca, unlike most American homes.

Around that time, I also starting reading Dr. Mercola's newsletter, which is crammed full of great information.  I also like Dr. Axe and his newsletter and videos. 

In 2009 I was introduced to the value of essential oils.  I signed on with Young Living (and yes, I can enroll you there, too :) and have learned some about the various ways to use the oils, but still have a LOT to learn about them.  YouTube has a plethora of videos by Young Living distributors and is a great way to find out more.

In 2010, I joined the Ambleside yahoo groups and my mind has been filled to the brim with new (to me) ideas.  Going shampoo-less (which is called "no poo" LOL), using only vinegar and baking soda for just about everything, growing all your own food, making clothes and much more.  Then they got on the subject of juicing and recommended some resources to learn more.  I watched Food, Inc, which confirmed my choice to buy organic whenever possible.  Then I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary about the power of juicing your foods.  (Still on my watch list - Forks Over Knives and Food Matters)

My DH was on board with trying a juice fast!  So, we borrowed a juicer, bought a book recommended by a friend, and are trying it out this week!  The book is "Get Healthy Through Detox and Fasting" and has the when's, how's and why's of juicing and fasting answered, along with recipes and daily scripture to help you through it.  If you can't get the book, try tips and recipes from here.

Following Dr. Colbert's plan for the juice fast (which he actually recommends only after the 21 day Daniel fast, which we aren't doing at this time), I ate only fruits and vegetables yesterday and today I learned to use a juicer.  Not hard, but it can get messy if you aren't careful!  I'm hoping to feel great by the end of the week...but right now I'm hungry, light-headed and have a headache.  Like I posted on Facebook - isn't detox and fasting fun?

Other than starting the year with a juice fast, here are my goals.  Get my cholesterol out of the danger zone - meaning I want no chance of being put on medication.  Do whatever else I need to do to not have non-alcoholic fatty liver.  My doctor said it won't be an issue for many more years, but who wants that hanging over their head?!  Get my weight down and stabilized.  Have more energy.  Lots more.  Beat the sugar addiction and learn how to eat (and cook) in a healthy (and satisfying) way.

I'm not going to kid myself and think that I can accomplish all of these things in just one year -it took my over 30 to get in this shape, after all.  But baby-steps will get me there.  After all, I've had a successful garden for a couple of years and learned how to make bread and several other things.  In addition to learning how to homeschool and deal with foster children.  Yes, its been a learnin' 2 years.

100th Post!

Wow, its hard to believe I've posted 100 blogs already!  Granted, it hasn't been on a regular basis or about a consistent subject like it needs to be to get a good follow-ship...but I have enjoyed it and that's what matters.  Its interesting to go back and read what struck my interest at different points in my life.  And if anyone is wondering, yes, I am still a Ron and Rand Paul fan!

So, onto my life at the moment.  We have started back home schooling after the winter break, and Monday was tough.  But I was patient and consistent and I won the battle :)

We are continuing with the same subjects, with just a few changes.  We hit our ceiling pretty fast with the ocarina, so turned to piano when I got a free 2 months on KinderBach.  When that ran out, I found Piano Lessons 4 Children and used it to transition to our full-sized keyboard from the miniature that sufficed to learn the keys.  DS enjoyed playing Jingle Bells over the holidays for everyone.  Also, we are about done going through Salsa episodes for Spanish, so I just found a great deal on LiveMocha so we will be incorporating that as well, although it is geared towards older children and adults.

We completed "A Child's Garden of Verses" and have moved on to "When We Were Very Young" for poetry - usually one poem a day, plus memorization of a favorite.  In phonics, we have finished all 8 advanced books on Progressive Phonics and are now working and reviewing our way through the Tanglewood reading program (click under "Really Reading" and download pdf) and using some free Scholastic worksheets for reading that I found.  For math, I am continuing to use the worksheets from Funnix Math, but when my old laptop died, the program went with it!  To keep us on track, I am supplementing with Scholastic worksheets and math games from softschools.  I love how their games are broken up by grade and lesson, and they offer free worksheets as well.

For history, geography and literature, we are continuing to read Our Island Story, Parables of Nature, the Bible, Shakespeare, Fifty Famous Stories Retold, fairy tales, Aesop's Fables, d'Aulaire books (next up: George Washington) and Paddle to the Sea.  For science, we are bird watching, reading the Handbook of Nature Study and the Burgess Bird Book (love to use this resource with the reading), and spending time outside whenever possible.  Unfortunately, most of our outdoor time is spent on the trampoline instead of calmly investigating nature, but I'll take what I can get.  Now that is has turned cold (quite suddenly, I might add), I'm going to look into better winter clothing again so we can get back out there!

Copywork is getting easier for him - he will now write entire sentences without throwing a fit, although the way he holds his pencil still makes me cringe and he refuses to try a different grip.  We are copying phrases, poems, and Bible verses that I create using WorksheetWorks.  Speaking of which - we have memorized quite a few!  Not quite the one a week I was hoping for, probably about half of that, but its way more than he was learning before (zero), so I am pleased.

In other news, we have started our juice fast and I'm feeling a little strange but not too bad yet!  Watch for a separate post about how we are trying to be healthier in 2012!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

We rang in 2012 with a new Uno game, which DS just learned to play, and a never-ending game of Star Wars Monopoly last night.  We called it a draw about 12:30 and sent the 7 year old to bed :)  It was his latest night ever!

This has been one of the better holiday seasons for me.  Our foster kids went to a relative placement on December 22nd, so I didn't have to worry about coordinating schedules.  There was no snow to mess up travel plans, and no one got sick.  We ate, laughed, read, watched movies, played games and shopped from Christmas Eve until today.

Tomorrow is back to school, taking down Christmas decorations, and starting the process of reorganizing the playroom.  I think its time to take out the toddler toys and make room for all the big boy toys (mostly Legos and games) so we don't feel cramped.  I like having a LOT of open space in the playroom for those long winter days.

January 1 is also Charlotte Mason's birthday, whose educational philosophy is in agreement with mine. Here is a great quote from her:

"The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?"

As we launch fully into the year before us, may you each be blessed....and recognize it.  May you have just enough and be exactly where God wants you.  May you love and be loved in return.