Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adjusting to changes

What a time it has been these past weeks while Joe has been gone. We are adjusting alright, some days are certainly better than others though. We are settling into a routine that is working well. I homeschool both of the children in the mornings. For Micah, that is time used for therapy. I set him in the high chair and work with him as Abbie works on her Pre-K schoolwork. Some days, Micah is not cooperative, but we work it out.

I had to take Micah to the ER last weekend. He had a fever of 101.9F and turned out to be sick with strep throat and was dehydrated. They gave him fliuds through an IV and he is now taking Ibuprofen and Amoxicillin. On Aug. 30th, he has to go to a surgery center in Edmond, OK, so the dentist can do his dental work. Being very young and not cooperative about opening his mouth for them, they hae to sedate him. Nice part is that all his dental wok will be done at one time. Now, I have to find a way to get him to allow me to use a toothbrush instead of the infant one that goes on my finger.

Abbie caught a "leaf hopper" in jar today to take to Grandma's. Being Wednesday, the kids are having their visit with Me-maw and Pop-Pop. Abbie was so tickled to have the leaf hopper to show them. For some reason, Me-maw didn't look quie as excited about taking it home.

I made out a list of canning recipes yesterday, along with the shopping list for them. I decided that this year I am doing holiday canning to use as gifts. I am looking forward to it. Autumn canning is always my favorite. I start making more soups and stews for our dinners and then can up the extras. I went out and bought the newest Ball Blue Book and chose recipes out of there to do up. Now, I am looking at the pantry an wondering how to best expand the shelf space in that small area. I am sure that I will get it figured out. Just a matter of being creative in where to place the shelving.

Micah's physical therapist came by on Tuesday to see what his needs are. On Friday, she will be back to start the actual therapy with him. I am looking forward to getting her help with it. She seems very easy going and Micah took to her really well.

Thank you for the letters I have been receiving lately. I am getting them answered by and by. With our days beginning to calm more and the weather not being so excessively hot, I am finding more time to sit and answer the letters.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I wanted to apologise for not posting the comments sooner. I was unable to get to the library last week, so they had to wait until today to be posted. I moderate all comments due to having problems in the past with both AD-type ones and vicious verbal attacks that are not appropriate for the blog. So, just as a reminder, I usually am able to spend time online at a library on Wednesdays only.

We have a lot going on. Micah is now enrolled in the Early Intervention program, but we are going into it with little hope for any benefit for Micah. Being rural as we are, the options available are not as plentiful as to those in a city. I am taking steps to change this for Micah. I will post more as we go along.

Joe is now truck driving again. Today was his first day in the trainer's truck. I am looking forward to seeing how it went for him.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Frugal Food Bible" review

I wanted to share with you a really awesome book that I found at the library today.  It is called, "Frugal Food Bible - Practical Advice for Feeding your Family During Hard Economic Times" by Better Days Books (ISBN 978-0-6152-1899-1).  If you can get this book through your library or book store, it is well worth time and effort!  I don't often recommend books, but this is one that I am planning to add to our home's personal library.
The front cover intrigued me when I saw it.  Pictures of ads from the days of the Depression and World War 2 were evident.  I was equally curious as I read on the cover that it contained advice "From Americans who survived and thrived in tougher times than these" and that the book contained "over 400 pages of classic frugal food recipes, household hints, money saving tips, backyard gardening guidance and more."
In scanning the table of contents, I learned that this gem of a book is actually 4 books combined into 1 publication.  The first section is the book, "The American Frugal Housewife" by Mrs. Lydia M. Child.  This publication was originally published in 1832.  The writings and values are ones common of that time, but are very important to us today.  Simple recipes using the basic larder stock are a blessing during times when grocery money is running low.  By incorporating many of these recipes to our regular meal routine, we can cut our food costs greatly.  Mrs. Childs includes information on topics such as simple remedies, how to make soap using wood ash lye, and how to clean/maintain your home in a more simple manner.
Section two contains, "Foods that Will Win the War and How to Cook Them" by C. Houston Goudiss.  First published in 1918, this publication contains great information on how to conserve your food resources.  It was written at a time when the nation was dealing with war and basic supplies were limited.  The frugality of these ideas and recipes can benefit us today as well as it did our Grandparents' generation.  There are recipes that show you how to make breads and other foods without wheat, sugarless recipes, and meatless meals.  One item that may interest you as well as maybe your children are the butcher charts that show where each cut of meat comes from.  For example, did you know that bacon comes from the belly area of a pig?  One feature in this section that caught my attention were the dinner menus.  These menus are hearty in their content but are a nice way to plan out your meals.  I will be trying some of these in the near future to see what ones we like.  It will be nice to have new meal ideas to add to our repertoire.
Section three is "Home Vegetable Gardening" by F.F. Rockwell, originally published in 1911.  It touts itself to be "a complete and practical guide to the planting and care of all vegetables, fruits, and berries worth growing for home use."  In the 1st part, a good basic instruction is given, complete with a planning chart to show how far apart to plant the rows of vegetables.  The 2nd portion teaches about vegetables, how to start from seed, when to plant, etc up to the harvest and storing of the vegetables.  Part 3 is about fruits and berries.  Much like the previous part on vegetables, this one gives great ideas on the planting, tending and harvesting of the fruits and berries.  There is also a calendar showing what to do each month to maintain and grow the fruits & berries.
The fourth and final section is "Cassell's Vegetarian Cookery - A Manual of Cheap and Wholesome Diet" by A.G. Payne, B.A., originally published in 1891 in England.  One of the purposes of this particular publication was to provide information and recipes not only for those who were vegetarian by choice, but the vast number of those who adopted the vegetarian diet out of necessity. This section is nearly all recipes sectioned similar to any good cookbook. 
Overall, the book is one of the best resources I have found recently to teach how to use basic ingredients found in most home larders and turn them into meals the family will enjoy.  The recipes are not as detailed as today's cookbooks are, but they are easy to understand.  There are some recipes with call for ingredients such as corn syrup, which today we may not choose to use.  There are substitutes today that can be used in the corn syrup's place.  The basic recipe would stay the same though, which is a great resource.
As I mentioned, I don't recommend many books, but this one is a keeper.  I will definitely be looking for it to purchase. 
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Need "Sneaky" recipes

Problem:  Micah is a very picky eater.  He loves cookies and such, but refuses to eat vegetables and even meat.  
Solution:  I want to collect some creative ideas that will allow me to sneak good things into bar cookies or other foods that I know he will eat.  One example is a bundt cake recipe that I saw on a vegetarian website that has about 8 different shredded veggies in it. 
Preferences on the recipes:  As some of these may be the only way that I get Micah to eat healthier things, I am especially wanting things that are low sugar or use natural sugars such as honey sparingly.  I am also hoping for healthy preparations, such as recipes that are not fried. 
If you have a good recipe to share, please submit it as a comment to the blog so that I can have it posted with your name to give you credit. 
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Friday, August 6, 2010

A New Start

Friday, August 6, 2010
It is hard to believe that Joe's no longer working locally.  Thursday was his last day at his janitorial/grounds keeping job at a business 10 miles from home.  In 2 days, he will begin his new job with an OTR (over the road) trucking company.  He will be gone 6 weeks at a time.  What a change that will be making.  We've done this before.  Abbie was an infant then.  Joe left trucking when she was 2 yrs. old when still expecting Micah.  Micah has never known his Daddy to be gone for periods of time longer than a regular work day.  The adjustment will take a bit for both of the kids.
I am preparing myself for the time apart also. I am going to be getting us on a more set routine/schedule.  Not only will it help me get things done, but Micah thrives in the structured setting of a consistent routine.  I will be starting Abbie's Pre-K homeschooling on Monday.  That morning, the Sooner Start coordinator will be arriving to see what Micah's therapies needs are, along with our immediate goals for him. 
I chose to do the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling with the kids.  We will be reading a lot of books and working on projects as a basis of the curriculum.  I am including lap books and file folder games into the curriculum.  For the first week, we are going to be doing 2 lapbooks.  The first is a devotional lapbook for the Creation story.  The second one is on the topic of Ants.  I ordered at the library the Aesop's Fables book containing the story of the "Ant and the Grasshopper" to read to Abbie.  The lapbook I found online didn't have any math related projects, so I am making my own.  I am drawing my own math worksheet.  On the sheet will be a series of ant hills.  In each I will draw or use ant stickers to add between 1-10 ants on the hills.  There will be a line drawn under the hill where Abbie will write the number of ants on that hill.  Later, that same idea can be used by having 2 sets of ants and one hill. Abbie will add the 2 sets of ants and write the answer in the hill.  Pretty basic, but will add the math to the lapbook.
I am finding that planning the lapbooks to be a lot of fun.  One thing that I am realizing though is that I need to start early to plan them.  Not having a printer, I have to take the jump drive with the files on it to a office supply to make the copies.  The other option is to use the items found online as a guide, then hand draw and make my own.  With this in mind, I am carefully choosing which items to print out.  Mainly the very involved ones.  The easier ones, I am simply making my own.  I bought a box of file folders from the office supply store to use for the lapbooks.  As I get components made, I will start adding them to a file folder.  When it is time to make the lapbook, I am hoping that the items will be ready for Abbie to use.  My goal is to make the lapbooks a minimum of about 2-3 weeks in advance.  Come winter, I hope to have a ready supply of them so that I won't have to go out and make copies in the winter weather.  I will likely work on the lapbooks and file folder games after Sunday.  It will give me something to do in the evenings after the kids go to bed and help pass the time until I am tired enough to sleep. 
I am looking forward to the therapies starting for Micah.  The way Sooner Start works is to teach the parents what to do and guide them in how to teach their own children.  This is exactly what we were wanting.  I am going to request from the speech therapist that if possible, she bring me as much PECS information as possible so that I can study ahead on it.  We have only 8 months to help Micah learn to pay attention long enough for us to teach him the PECS communication system as well as teaching him how to use PECS.  I feel a bit like we are under pressure here.  There is no guarantee that once he is no longer eligible for the Sooner Start program at age 3 (in April, 2011), the Head-Start therapists will teach it to him.  It all depends on what amount of time & resources they have available to him.  He won't be enrolled in the program, but would be going for therapies only.  That is the main reason why I am wanting to learn as much as I can so that I can use it to teach him.  He will be homeschooled along with Abbie and the information for PECS will be a blessing.
Overall, the upcoming change is being planned out as best as possible.  I have ideas for helping the kids to know when Daddy is coming home.  One is to use the PECS idea and have a picture of Joe to place on the calendar on the day he is due to be home.  We are going to put up a map of the USA on the wall and use push pins to show where Daddy has gone each day.  Joe plans to text us each day to say where he is so that Abbie can see on the map.  Once she is older, we will turn it into a project for homeschooling.  For now though, it is simply a way for her to know where Daddy is and when he will be coming home.
For myself, I plan to stay busy as best as I can.  Once we are on a steady routine, it will be easier to get more sewing and such done. I have been wanting to sew, but by evening it is too hot to use the treadle or I am too tired from the day's activities.  Typically, I sew more in the cooler weather. I really want to get back to having a set time to do it.  This will be a chance for me to do so.  Another source of comfort for me is writing letters.  I have a few pen friends that I write to and have others wanting to exchange letters with me.  I love it!  On days/nights when I feel lonely, I am able to pull out the letters and read them.  They uplift me and are such a blessing. I never feel so lonely after reading a few of them.  Thank you to those who have already been writing to me.  I am getting the letters answered as quickly as I can.
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