Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas and My New Favorite Cookies

I think I have found my NEW favorite cookies! I saw these on Pinterest and they looked so yummy. They are a cookie, but the texture is almost like a brownie. It's like two great things combined.  I made a double batch the first time and we ate every one! I made a second double batch and gave out to neighbors and friends.  Here is the site with the recipe I used. Classic Crinkle Cookies

Christmas was nice, not too hectic.  Our youngest was up at 2:30 trying to wake his sister to find a gift that was suppose to go into my stocking. By 3:00 he was in our room trying to get us to wake up (LOL) He went and got on the couch and slept until 6:00. That's a very reasonable time to me to wake up, so we all got out of the bed. The oldest child was the hardest to get up! He thought it was crazy to get up at 6:00. I tried to remind him what it felt to be nine and want to be up early.  By 7:30 all the gifts and stockings had been opened and the traditional cinnamon buns eaten. Here are some pictures that followed, before it was time to eat.

The middle child wouldn't let me take any pictures of her. I hardly have any pictures of her lately:( The inside cat jumped out the middle's window and ended up on top of the tree house.  When I called his name he ran across the top and climbed down the front (LOL) Issac helped my husband with some of the cooking. We ended up having ham, smoked & grilled turkey, mac & cheese, scalloped potatoes, green beans, cooked mixed greens, rolls, sweet potato, apple, cherry & chocolate pecan pies. It was a nice day and a very nice dinner.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Life without therapy

Issac has been in some sort of therapy since his first birthday. At some times it was all three, ST, OT and PT and other times it was just two or even one. Today I got the call that they are releasing him from OT because he's met all the goals he has. He just went back to OT about two months ago after not having been in for almost two years. He had met his goals then, but his handwriting was still hard to read. He didn't seem to be progressing at that point, so we decided we'd just keep moving forward. We went to see a Developmental Pediatrician about 4 months ago and she felt that Issac absolutely needed to be back in OT. It was amazing to see the progress he made so quickly. People will often say that kids will read or learn other skills when they are ready. That's almost what this seemed to be, that he was ready to be able to write. When my mom saw his writing shortly after he started back to OT she almost didn't believe it was his writing! He's been working on typing and that is coming along slowly. He's a little frustrated that he can't type faster, but I explained that right now it's better to be accurate than fast.
For almost nine years we have been going to therapy one or twice a week. The older kids grew up in some ways at the therapist. They've always packed a bag with school and taken it along with them. It was a huge part of our life. It's great that Issac has done so well, but to think that there is no more therapy just seems odd.  I know without a doubt if Issac hadn't been in therapy all these years that he wouldn't be where he is now. I hate to think about the kids that don't get therapy.  We have had so many wonderful therapist. They've all connected with Issac in different ways and on different levels. He's even had two different ST's with the same name!
We've got some things we'll keep working on to help strengthen his hand muscles. The plan is they will call us in six months for a visit. I feel good about this because we've had lots of regression issues in the past. This way there is already a plan to check on him. If he's started regressing then we can go back and if he's doing well then we'll continue to move forward. It's strange to think about no therapy anymore, but it's a good strange. I guess this is the start of our new normal :)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Update on us

It's been a busy little time around here.  Trying to get our school done before the holiday break started.  Also,  trying to find some "fun" things to do to help celebrate the holidays.  the kids have a few things for school to finish next week because they were procrastinating a bit this past week. I'm anxious to relax, read, bake, etc.  Issac and I have been reading Bartholomew's Passage A dear friend introduced me to and gave me Jotham's Journey probably 10 years ago. Ever since we've read a different one each year.  We have finally gotten our tree and manger put out.  My husband redid our daughter's bedroom floor and she painted her room right after Thanksgiving. We've been delayed getting our decorations out!

I received some exciting news yesterday.  I was asked to be part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and I'm so very excited about this new journey.  This is a chance to meet new people, be able to experience curriculum that we might not otherwise be able to and do something that is totally different for me :) Issac is loving geography right now, so I'm hopeful that we might find something he really loves through this experience.

I also received a call yesterday from the UDN asking me to be part of their Participant Engagement Group.  This will be a year long commitment and the first meeting will be in Boston!  Here is Issac's page from when he participated in the study back in November 2015.  I'm very excited as well as anxious and nervous to go to Boston. I have NEVER traveled alone before and I will have never met any of these people either (LOL) I think this will be an amazing experience.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Review: A Path Among Ancient Rocks

I recently applied to be part of a homeschool curriculum review team, Schoolhouse Review Crew This past week we have been using A Path Among Ancient Rocks-Everyday Easels Book 1 from The Old Schoolhouse 

 This item can be found at The Old Schoolhouse Shop I used this with both our 9 year old son and our 15 year old daughter.

My son and I used this item every day this past week.  I really liked the way it included different subjects. We were looking at pieces of art while also doing bible, science, geography and english.  We don't typically do much art because I feel we just never have the time. It's a sad excuse because I do feel that art is important. This was a week to incorporate art while still feeling that we get all the "basic" subjects done.  Our son really enjoys anything related to geography, so that was his favorite part. He can spend hours looking and talking about maps, interstates and looking at a globe.  The english was harder for him.  He has struggled with reading and comprehension, so I really believe that was part of his struggle. It was also a little hard for him to come up with the details when asked about the different works of art.  I had to coach him for the answers more than maybe the average parent would need too.  Our son really enjoyed the art projects. There was one where you used painter's tape to make trees. You then painted everything not taped with blue paint. When it was dry, you removed the tape and painted the trees brown.  Here is a picture of his work of art.

Our daughter didn't seem to have any struggles, but she is older.  She was able to compare the different works of art without issue.  She was able to do the other subjects easily and come up with lots of interesting responses. She was able to do the work on her own and didn't need my help.  She doesn't really enjoy unit studies, so this study wasn't a favorite of hers. In general she likes all her subjects separate.  I do feel that unit studies could work very well for our son. It might sound strange, but I felt more productive this past week knowing that we included art in our school week. This study made me realize that we can incorporate art into our everyday life in an easy way.  If you are interested in checking this unit out head over and check out A Path Among Ancient Rocks

If I had to say anything negative about the unit it would be in having some type of schedule.  I briefly skimmed the unit and then we started from page one. Before I knew it we were done with the unit sooner than I expected. I would like to see some type of a schedule that would have a "recommended" plan for the unit. It might be nice even to have two options as a suggestion for ways to use this study.  I know everyone doesn't always follow the plan, but if there was a suggestion of the best way to do this unit that would have been great. I think we did more each day than we were suppose to have done.I also didn't really care for having english included.  That is a subject that seems to have a much larger range of usage, so I think it's harder for that to work for a larger range of people. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this unit. Like I mentioned previously we typically don't do art because it just always seem hard to fit it in the schedule. I enjoyed sitting with my son and looking at these works of art.  I felt like he really enjoyed this unit because everything was around a main theme. I've not typically been a unit study fan and that might be why my daughter didn't care for it. This study has opened my eyes to them again and I'm going to bring more of them into our school time. I'm thankful to The Old Schoolhouse for giving me this chance to use and review A Path Among Ancient Rocks.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Update on us

It's been a crazy few weeks here. My mom came a few weeks ago because my aunt had to go to Duke for another pancreas procedure. Things went well for my aunt and my mom was here to visit for a few days. It seemed like we just got back into school and our routines when it was time to go to my mom's for Thanksgiving. We drove up, enjoyed Thanksgiving with our family, and back home again we came :) Trying to get back into our routine when dh decides he'll fix our daughter's floor that's been needing to be fixed for a while. She wants to paint her room while everything is out, so that became the plan. The only negative is that we already have very little space, but now everything from her room is out in the house :( The painting is done and he's hopefully getting the floor finished today, so we can get it all back in place. I feel like anything I touch or any place I move is going to cause some pile to fall (LOL) DD's 15th birthday is next Sunday, so my mom will be arriving for that on Friday, if all goes well. The kids also have their drama play this week, so that adds to the normal crazy that is our life :) Somewhere in all this we need to try and get out the Christmas decorations. Hopefully this week will be a great one!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My first Rafflecopter

I'm going to try my first Rafflecopter for the book, The Raven, by Mike Nappa.  I recently read and reviewed the book and really enjoyed it.  I thought this would be a good time and way to hopefully get a few more followers to the blog :) I hope you all enjoy and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Raven

This author is new to me, this is only the second book that I've read by him.  I really enjoy his writing so far.  The title really jumped out to me for some reason.  I don't know if it was the Edgar Allan Poe relationship or quite possibly it was the cover of the book.  This cover really stuck with me.  When the book starts we find The Raven being beaten by some Ukranian men because of an item he pickpocketed  from a very influencial man in town.  They are interrupted when Trudi Coffey of the Coffey & Hill Investigations shows up.  She saves The Raven and he falls in love with her instantly.  She warns him that the Ukranian's will come back and suggests that he call her ex-husband, Samuel Hill, for help.  In the meantime Samuel is over visiting Mama Bliss because it in the anniversary of her grandson's death.  He has no idea at the time how intertwined he, Mama Bliss, The Raven and his ex-wives's lives are about to become.  This book is full of mystery, intrigue and history.

** I received this book at no charge for my honest review.

Book Review: Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

Pilot Kacey Fairing had a horrible crash in Afghanistan and is trying to recover from the mental turmoil it caused in her life.  She heads home to Mercy Falls, Montana to spend some time with her daughter and try her piloting skills at search and rescue for a while. She doesn't expect to return right in the middle of a horrible flooding situation. She is put to work immediately.  She doesn't expect to run into the love of her life, Ben King, who abandoned her years ago.  He left to become a country music star, but has returned home to help his father.  The two still have a connection even after all those years, but there are lots of hurt, anger and secrets to be exposed.

** I was given this book at no cost for my honest review.

Book Review: Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

I LOVE the Men of Valor Series.  Every book in this series has just been fantastic.  I think many woman want a man that is going to be their protector and that's what all the brothers in these series have been.  Finn has recently left the Army Rangers and is struggling with some emotions from the time he served as well as where to go next.  He's off to spend a month in the wilderness and his brother's think he'll go crazy! He thinks it will be great, but he never imagined all the drama that would come with it. His first night he's awoken by a woman's screams. Instincts kick in, he grabs a weapon and goes to the rescue. After rescuing his neighbor, Dana Lewis, from her nightmares Finn isn't sure this plan was a great idea. He feels the need to make it up to Dana for breaking into her house in an attempt to save her. They slowly become friends and it's great for both of them. They are both struggling with issues in their own lives and with the help of the other they are starting to heal.

** I received this book at no cost for my honest review.

Book Review: Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson

Where Two Hearts Meet is the second book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams Series.  I really enjoyed the first in the series and enjoyed this one as well.  I really like how the author, Liz Johnson, makes the characters come alive.  I think my favorite character in this book was Caden.  She's the chef at the inn and has amazing talent and a big heart.  She teaches a cooking class to some of the teenagers on the island. When she finds out the inn is in danger of having to clue due to finances she wants to do whatever she can to help. As luck would have it they find out that the inn is going to be reviewed and they know that this will make or break the inn. Caden agrees to do anything she can to impress. When Adam shows up in her kitchen one day it unsettles Caden like never before. Knowing they are going to have a critic arrive soon, they all believe it to be Adam.  Throughout the book Adam is giving special treatment because they all believe he is someone else. He is fighting his own personal nightmare trying to get back to the love of his life, writing!

** I was given this book at no charge for my honest review.

Book Review: Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson

This book made me very sad when I first started reading.  Prosperity left her home to go unite with the man that she planned to marry.  He had been sent by the army to Key West.  There is nothing holding Prosperity to her home, so she decides to not wait for her fiance, but to go to him.  It's not an easy journey and when she arrives she finds that he has married someone else.  She is broken, defeated, hurt, has no money and nowhere to turn.  Fortunately for her she meets Elizabeth.  She takes her in, becomes her friend and helps her work on a new life.  She also meets a local doctor who becomes a friend and somewhat of a mentor to her.  She starts her new life as a housekeeper in the local hospital. Imagine the shock when David sees her and has to explain his actions.  This book has heart ache, love, physical and mental challenges and lots of twists and turns.  It's an easy read and one that will be enjoyed when finished.

** I was given this book at no cost for my honest opinion

Book Review: Another Day Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

A few months ago I read A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard. I have to admit that I had a hard time finishing the book. It was one of those books for me that when I read the back it sounded great, but when I was reading it the book just didn't enthuse me.  When I read the back of this book it sounded great, so I thought I'd give her another try :) I have to admit that I enjoyed this book way more than A Fool and His Monet. I really don't have a reason to explain it because most of the same characters are in this book, it has a similar plot, etc. I really do enjoy the characters that are in these novels and I feel like there is an underlying mystery with one of the characters.  The mystery that we are reading about is about painting forgery and there are many twists and turns through the book.  Serena has a love of art because of her grandfather and she investigates art because of his death.  There is a love triangle between Serena, Nate and Tanner.  There is enough mystery to interest us, but not enough for us to figure out who is really the love of Serena's life.  I'm looking forward to the next book to learn more about the romance and hopefully figure out more about Serena's grandfather.

** I was given this book at no charge for my honest opinion.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Therapy Update for Issac

Issac recently started back to Occupational Therapy. He didn't want to go back because he felt since they released him a few years ago that he shouldn't have to go back. In just a few weeks he's made amazing strides!! He's done well with writing his letters with the correct spacing (LOL) We've worked on that for YEARS at this point and it seemed like nothing made it clear for him. His new therapist has lots of little sayings, neat visual cards and great ideas.  It's been amazing for him and he's enjoying it. Today he copied two sentences I had written and they were totally legible.  His letters get smaller the more he writes, so that needs to be addressed, but he's progressed amazingly in just a few weeks.  He's working on typing, so that he can do more since his hands get so tired.  He's been typing a paragraph a day that he copies from a book.
He also recently did quite a bit of testing for Speech. It looks like he WILL NOT qualify anymore.  For the first time since he was one, it looks like he won't be in Speech Therapy anymore! He's made HUGE strides in the last year. In kindergarten he started reading great, but when we took a break at Christmas it was like he forgot everything. We've been working ever since and reading just hasn't picked up for him. About a year ago the owner of where he attends therapy gave us some things to work on. We've all been working hard for the last year and it's just amazing the strides he's made.  I actually had to put a lock on my phone because he goes in now to read my text messages (LOL) Some of his testing is still in the low-average range, but it's not enough to qualify for him. We are going to continue working on the areas he was low in and hopefully start a new, online program in a few months that will work on those areas. I am just so proud at how much he's achieved in the last year. I know he understands he's done well, but I don't think he has any idea how far he's come.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Spelling Workout

I am so glad that I decided to go with Spelling Workout for Issac.  I used it years ago with Zachary and I've always regretted not staying with it.  I really like the way there is a pre-test, days of activities and then the final test.  I feel like it gives the kids different ways to study and learn the words.  Zachary struggled with spelling and I felt it was the program, so I moved on. After teaching for all these years I've realized now that we would have been better staying with the program and just working forward.  Issac really enjoys puzzles, mazes, fill-in-the-blanks, etc.  Spelling Workout has several options that he enjoys.  I like that they include an area for punctuation as well as short writing. It's just enough for Issac to learn, but not too much to overwhelm him.  I'm really glad I followed my gut this time :)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Review: Mommy Needs a Raise by Sarah Parshall Perry

I enjoy reading parenting books because I like getting different points of view. One thing I liked about this book was that it started out with her life before children.  I enjoyed reading what her hopes, thoughts and dreams were before children. After that the book seemed to go down hill for me.  It seemed like it was very jumbled and I never really understood the point of the author's thoughts. I really had high hopes for this book because of the title. We all realize how many hats we wear as moms and I thought this book was going to celebrate that. I just really was lost throughout the book and had to really force myself to push through it. I wanted to like it, but in the end I just didn't.

** I was given this book free for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Kit Kat & Lucy

I really enjoyed reading this book.  Lonnie Hull DuPont and her husband trade in their life in a busy city to move out into a farmhouse in Michigan.  Even though Lonnie grew up in that area it's a bit of an adjustment after many years of city life.  One day Kit Kat showed up and changed their lives forever.  They brought her into their home reluctantly and even tried to move her to a "safer" home once. When Kit Kat showed back up at their house they realized she was meant to be theirs.  She became such a comfort to their lives.  They didn't think life could get much better until Lucy showed up.  They weren't sure how they would manage two cats, but with the help of a friend, they were able to help both cats adjust.  The cats were such a huge part of their life and they weren't sure how they ever survived before. This is an easy, fun story to read and I really loved it.  

** I was given this book free for my honest review. 

Book Review: When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander

I have to say this wasn't my favorite book.  When the book first starts we see Dani Prescott syping on Brett Somers.  They meet and he is instantly friendly with her. He doesn't realize that she is following him because of an interview she saw.  His parents were killed when he was younger and he blamed the pilot who turns out to be Dani's mother.  As they spend time together her feelings of anger towards him change.  Brett had recently found out he had a child. His son had been injured and Brett wasn't allowed to see him. He would go and stand outside the hospital watching his window at night.  As the story moves forward Dani and Brett grow closer, but he doesn't know about her true feelings for him. I felt this story moved slowly and I really just didn't feel engaged with the characters.

** I was given this book free for my honest opinion.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book Review: Mattie's Pledge by Jan Drexler

I always enjoy reading books that are about Amish people. This book wasn't as easy a read as I normally like.  The characters, the setting and plot were all nicely written. I easily felt like I could be right there in the story.  For me it just didn't catch my attention like some others do.  The main characters, Mattie and Jacob, just didn't seem to engage me like I wanted them to. The plot was well thought out, but just didn't seem to jump out at me. I haven't read this author before, so it may just be her style didn't grab me this time. I think it's an easy read for anyone that enjoys these types of books.

** I was given this book free for my honest opinion.  

Sunday, August 28, 2016


I really enjoyed this book.  What I liked about it was that it wasn't a book about how to change anyone.  It was a book about understanding the mind of your husband.  I related to so many things in this book and when I was done I felt more positive about my husband. I realized he doesn't do things to annoy me, but it's just part of his nature. For some reason that hasn't sunk in all these years.  I would recommend this to all women because it truly does help to understand the mind of men.

** I received a copy of this book for free for my honest review.

Review: What's New? What's Missing? What's Different?

Homeschooling is hard and often times I've found my kids just need something fun to break up the day.  Even though Issac is in 6th grade...