Tag Archives: Friends

Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links & Guide

**Although I try to provide as many FREE resources as possible this post may contain affiliate links alt no extra cost to you. We may earn a small commission, if a purchase is made through these links, which helps to support our blog and our family. Thank you!

Click Here for Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Weekly Lesson Plan Links Only

How we use these lesson plans:

Our school week is usually completed in 4 days. We use a Loop Schedule where we work for a designated amount of time on each subject before moving on to the next. After their work is completed for the day the kids are allowed to have independent studies were they can study whatever their little hearts desired.

Our 5th day is an optional day that we use to complete unfinished work or for other activities as we choose.


Please click HERE for a list of resources that we have purchased from Amazon and other suppliers.

Click on the links below for the series you would like to view/use. I will update these links as we get them finished.

Tip: If you want to go to a certain week/chapter or topic simply push the ‘ctrl’ and the ‘F’ button down together and a small bar will pop up. Type in the week number or chapter number you want and it will take you to it.


1. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 1 Lesson Plans

  • Language Arts:
    • Read Chapters 1 & 2
    • Discussion
    • McGuffey Primer Lesson
    • Vocabulary
    • Writing Activities
    • These week we learn about fiction vs. nonfiction
    • Make a Pioneer Journal
    •  Mother Goose Phonics: Pat A Cake
  • Math:
  • Geography and History:
    • State Study: Wisconsin
    • Research Pioneer Life
  • Science:
    • Learn about Bears
    • Learn about Panthers
    • Research Microbes and Bacteria
    • Learn about Density
    • Bonus: Why does fire burn different colors?
  • Life Skills:
    • Research Pioneer Chores
    • Making our bed
    • Interrupting
    • Memory Work
    • Fun activities: Make Butter
    • Bonus Skills: Memorizing the books of the Bible, Archery, and/or Baking
  • PE, Health & Safety:
    • Stranger Danger
    • Play Little Brown Bear
  • Music, Arts, and Crafts:
    • Crafts: Hog’s Bladder Balloons, Corn Cob/Husk Dolls, Snowflakes, and Paper Dolls
    • Art: Bulldogs, Jack Frost
    • Music: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Butter Churning Song

2. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 2 Lesson Plans


3. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 3 Lesson Plans

  • Language Arts:
  • Math:
  • Geography and History:
    • State Study: New Hampshire 
    • Research School in Pioneer Days.
    • Continue to research Louis Pasteur.
    • Work on Speech
  • Science:
    • Study the Digestion System.
    • Heimlich Maneuver
    • Research Maple Trees
    • Research Maple Syrup Collecting
  • Life Skills:
    • Research Pioneer Children’s School Lunches
    • Maple Syrup
    • Setting the Table
    • Good Table Manners
    • Memory Work
    • Make Pancakes
    • Bonus Skills: Memorizing the books of the Bible, Archery, and/or Baking
    • Learn how to measure dry and wet ingredients
  • PE, Health & Safety:
    • What happens when you don’t bathe?
    • How to take a shower.
    • Happy,Healthy Kids: Fresh Air
    • Play Hot Potato
  • Music, Arts, and Crafts:
    • Crafts: Leaf Crafts, Tin Lanterns, Whittling
    • Art: Maple Trees, Leaf Rubbings
    • Music: Pop Goes the Weasel

4. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 4 Lesson Plans

  • Language Arts:
    • Read Chapters 8 & 9
    • Discussion
    • McGuffey Primer Lesson
    • Vocabulary
    • Writing Activities
  • Math:
    • Group Activity
    • Ray’s Arithmetic Books
    • Fractions: Word Problems
    • Learning Your numbers 1-20
    • Learn to Write Your Numbers
  • Geography and History:
    • State Study: Indiana
    • Research history of Square Dancing.
    • Continue to research Louis Pasteur.
    • Work on Speech
  • Science:
    • Study Animal Tracks
    • Animal Track Activity
    • Study the Skin.
    • Study the Sun
  • Life Skills:
    • Research Pioneer Laundry Day
    • Soap Making
    • Sorting Laundry
    • Foolishness
    • Memory Work
    • Make Hasty Pudding
    • Learn to Braid
    • Bonus Skills: Memorizing the books of the Bible, Archery, and/or Baking
    • Learn how to read a recipe
  • PE, Health & Safety:
    • Benefits of square dancing
    • Benefits of Natural Light
    • Try Square Dancing
    • Try to jig
    • Play Four Square
  • Music, Arts, and Crafts:
    • Crafts: Knitting
    • Art: Flowers
    • Music: Buffalo Gals

5. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 5 Lesson Plans


6. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 6 Lesson Plans


7. Little House In The Big Woods Adventure Week 7 Lesson Plans


**BE SURE TO SAVE A FEW SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK FOR YOUR  PORTFOLIO!  TAKE PICTURES OF BIG PROJECTS!

As always we try not to charge for any printables or resources that we offer but we do appreciate any donations that you may feel like giving. You can use the ‘Tip Jar’ link on the Home Page or send a donation via Paypal to ‘happy2bmyownboss@yahoo.com’. Thank you so much for your support!

Advertisements

Life in 2016

Reflections of 2016

December 30, 2016

December 27, 2016

December 21,2016

December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016

December 3, 2016

December 1, 2016

November 28, 2016

November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016

November 20, 2016

November 18, 2016

November 8, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions

I know most of us set goals and make resolutions at the beginning of the year. I know we have the best of intentions when make them but often times we start out strong and then just kinda let our goals fade out of sight. Sometimes we just keep procrastinating on getting started and before we know it the year is gone.

This year I am setting my intentions on becoming a better mother, a better friend, a better steward of my blessings, and a better keeper of the home. I also have other goals like losing weight, being more faithful in my prayers and devotions, and getting our homeschool stuff more organized. Some of these goals are being carried over from last year. I did make progress on them but I know that I still have a long way to go. Many of them are written down in my prayer journal and I try to pray about them on a daily basis.

Here is a quick list intentional goals that I have made, as I know that I must set my mind to wanting to do something and praying that God will lead me and give me the desire and willpower to accomplish things according to His plans for my life.

  1. Create more peaceful routines.
  2. Create routines and activities that help each of my family members to develop and grow in their own unique ways.
  3. Create a place home that is calm, peaceful, and nurturing. A place where everyone who enters can feel safe, loved, and cherished. A place where my friends and family can find rest, comfort, and peace when then need it.
  4. Create a budget and routine that allows me to be a better steward of my blessings.
  5. Create a more dedicated time to prayer and devotions.
  6. Create a better schedule for planning, organizing, and rotating our homeschool activities.
  7. Create a better schedule for my daily workouts. I would like to lose 10-15 pounds.

I know that I must work at each and everyone of these in order for them to be achieved successfully. Some of them will require research and work on my part while others just require me to get motivated.

I have already started on many of them. I have read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so I wanted to get a little head start on it. I am also reading some books to give m inspiration and ideas to motivate me towards my end goals. I will list these at the end of the post.

When you set your goals try to be as specific as possible and find ways to hold yourself accountable. It is also helpful to break the goals down into short term goals so you can evaluate your progress and make changes as needed to reach your end goal. Be sure to ask your friends and family to help you stay motivated.

Remember that it’s OK if your goals and resolutions change through the year. Sometimes we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and then just quit or throw them out the window because we feel like a failure. Don’t give up, just sit down and revise or rewrite your goals. Life happens, circumstances change, and so many things are beyond our control. Just focus on what you can control and make the best of it.

Books I am currently reading.

Starting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the Year

First Light – Women’s Daily Devotional & Journal First Light – Women’s Daily Devotional & Journal

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

The Lifegiving Home Experience: A 12-Month Guided Journey

The Organized Homeschool Life: A Week-By-Week Guide to Homeschool Sanity

Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God: A Guide to Developing Your Biblical Potential

Reflections of 2016

Can you believe that this year is almost gone? I can’t but I am ready to start 2017 with a fresh, positive, and energized outlook. I know in my heart that this new year will be better than last year. I also know that God has some truly amazing things in store for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us in the upcoming months!

We have been through alot this past year. The year started off really rocky. There had been some nasty rumors and gossip that caused us to leave our church and lose contact with some people. It was also filled with some nasty messages, hateful comments, and posts from people who chose to believe the rumors.

I’ve learned to forgive even if you don’t feel that they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness lets you move on and heal from the pain.

My oldest daughter finished up boot camp and then DD17 and DS21 took a road trip to Missouri to bring her back home. Then we had a lot planning to do for DD19’s wedding. It was really hard to stay strong for my kids and my family but I refused to let the chaos and nastiness get me down.

I filed for divorce after being separated for nearly 2 years. It was a painful and difficult decision that I prayed a lot over. It was not the outcome I wanted but it was what needed to be done at the time to protect my family and myself from his behaviors and actions. We have come a long way since then and are working to be the best parents we can be to our children.

I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am in and wherever I may be. I will change the things I can change, focus my attention on God, and let Him handle the things I have no control over.

Our family got larger with the additions of a niece and a nephew, both of which I absolutely adore. There was a camping trip where I got to go salt water fishing for the first time and I loved every minute of it. This was a welcome relief prior to the stresses of the wedding where we had last minute changes that threatened to ruin the whole thing. I am pleased to say that it was a success and it is now a beautiful memory for us to cherish.

During those stressful times I found out who my true friends were and became closer to my best friend. She really came through for me when I needed her. I had another friend who also came through and was a lifesaver, quite literally, and he was the calm in my storm on a few occasions.

There was a brief romance where my already tender heart was shredded and ripped apart. This was harder on me than my divorce as it came at me unexpectedly and then it was over without any warning or explanation. I lost someone who I considered to be one of my best friends with the end of that relationship. I know that my questions will continue to go unanswered and I know that there would never be anyway to get back what it was that we had. It still brings tears to my eyes but I do treasure the moments we had.

I am learning that it is much easier not to question God when something happens but rather to embrace it and trust that He knows best. 

Then I attempted online dating which I quickly learned wasn’t for me. I did meet a couple of really nice people and I went on a couple of dates but we didn’t really click. I quickly found that dating by text is not for me either. I need to be able to see the person and hear their voice. I want to know that they are not a figment of my imagination. I did make a friend through the dating site and we still text on a semi-regular basis.

We had another camping trip where I took the five kids and myself. It was an adventure that we all enjoyed and thankfully survived. There was moment that I wasn’t sure if I would make it as I had fallen in the river. Luckily I had a life vest on and I was able to stay calm until someone was able to reach me. The crazy thing was that he was able to walk out to me but I was just a little bit too short to reach the bottom.I think I swallowed my yearly quota of river water that day.

I’ve had many more episodes of the gossip mill. There were days and weeks that I felt I should just write a soap opera about my life. I finally realized that the problem wasn’t really with me but with the ones who were starting and spreading the rumors. This was a big turning point for me and the way I handled the stress and drama from those situations. I also had some painful revelations about family and friends.

Then there was the flu bug that hit us around Thanksgiving. I was upset that we were not able to visit with family but fortunately God did give me the strength and supplies to make our own impromptu dinner. I wasn’t able to eat but I made up for that at Christmas dinner with my daughter and son-in-law. That was definitely a dinner to remember as the police showed up twice!

I have learned to be ready to receive a blessing at any moment and any time.

These are just some of the ups and downs of my past year. There have been a lot of firsts like the salt water fishing, a low country boil (I actually had twice this year), and online dating. I can say that I have lived, loved, been loved, and have been truly blessed. Life has taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and God’s will for my life. There have been many surprises, good and bad, but all in all it was a wonderful year.

I hope you can also look back on the past year and see what has happened. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve experienced and then think about what you want to experience in the 2017. I pray that each and every one of you will be blessed abundantly in the upcoming year. I pray that God will touch your lives and supply your needs, whatever they may be.

 

 

 

December 21, 2016

Well today did not go as planned or as expected. I have been waiting for a melt down from DS14 as he had a doctor appointment last week, a lab appointment this week, and all the excitement from the upcoming holiday. Today was the day.

I did get up and have my morning quiet time with little noise from anyone. As soon as he heard me enter the kitchen it started. There was no warning, no signs, no gradual warm up as we sometimes have. It was full blown yelling at me through his bedroom door. I greeted him as usual and instructed him to go to the bathroom, trying to keep on our normal routine and praying that this would be it.

Unfortunately it was not, it was just the beginning and we went through a mega meltdown, much bigger than I had anticipated. Everyone did the best they could to stay focused on their school work and to continue on with the day as normal. Once he was calmed down he decided to be extra sweet but wanted to stay in his room.

I have learned that these moments,when things are so trying and exhausting, are when we realize the awesome power of love. By not over reacting to his outbursts he is able to feel the love that we all have for him. It helps him to calm down whereas if we reacted by screaming or yelling it would only fuel his frustration and push him further over the edge.

I don’t blame anyone for the way they react because prior to having him in my life I may have reacted in a similar fashion. I may have thought he was just a spoiled brat trying to get his way. Knowing him as I know him I can usually tell when we are building up to a melt down. I also know a lot of the things that can trigger a melt down. I do my best to help him avoid these things or prepare for them in advance but there are times that things pop up and can not be avoided or prepared for.

I know that he does not enjoy them nor does he fully understand them. I can only imagine how it must feel to completely lose control and not understand what is happening. The only way he knows to respond is to yell, scream, hit, kick, or act out in other various manners. So we will just continue to work on learning ways to calm down and more positive ways to express our feelings.

I am extremely thankful that his melt down occurred at home instead of at the doctor’s office, the lab, or anywhere else. It is so much easier to help him through these if he is in familiar surroundings. Not too mention that the tension and comments from strangers do not always help very much in those situations.

When naptime finally arrived I was exhausted and all I could think of was a nap for myself. I knew that there were some things that really needed to get finished though. I enlisted the help of one of Santa’s elves, aka DD17, and started to wrap gifts. Then my friend came by for a visit. Just talking to her helped to reenergize me and lift my spirits. We exchanged gifts and one of the ones she had given me will definitely be one that will give me encouragement in the future.

After wrapping I finished up a couple more things on my To-Do list and began to make dinner. DS3 & DS4 were extremely interested in learning about all the herbs and seasonings that I was using. We also learned about kitchen safety around the hot stove and how it important it is for them not to play with the stove or the oven. I have found that including them in the dinner prep and trying to answer the questions they have makes them more interested in trying new foods and dishes.

The kids also learned how to make your own bread crumbs as Momma could not locate the container of Italian bread crumbs in the cabinet. They asked for mashed potatoes instead of salad too. I did not have the energy to peel the potatoes so we made some instant potatoes to go with dinner. (By adding a little sour cream it makes them almost as good as from scratch.)

While preparing dinner we were serenaded by DS14 who was singing his versions of his favorite Christmas carols. He also made me aware that he was hungry every five minutes or so. At one point he also started an argument with his little brothers about reindeer genealogy… lol… they have been researching reindeer a lot this week. I’m sure someone will need me to ask my friend, Google, for the answer to settle the argument.

The boys had a lot of fun playing with all of the empty shipping boxes from the gifts we had wrapped. They rearranged them again and again to make houses, castles, and a variety of other structures. Not too mention that DS8 helped the little boys hide in the boxes so they could scare Momma a few times. (Did I mention that the empty wrapping paper rolls make great pretend light sabers, too?)

My older two went to town to run a few errands and just came back with some ice cream and chicken gizzards. I love how thoughtful they are! I’m gonna get out some hot sauce, eat a few gizzards, maybe a bit of ice cream, and then snuggle in my warm cozy bed.

So all in all, it was a pretty good day. The melt down was definitely not the highlight of the day but I have to take the good with the bad. I’ll take a melt down at home over a melt down in public any day.

December 6, 2016

What you did see…

Today was St. Nicholas Day and it was the first time we have celebrated this at our home. My kids were so excited as I had let them put their stockings out last night. They have also been anxiously waiting to put up the Christmas tree which was something I had promised we would do today. I posted some pictures of our St. Nicholas day so everyone could see how much fun we had. We did have fun and we made some memories that are sure to last.

What you didn’t see though was the chaos behind the scene.

You didn’t see me trying to stay calm while dealing with several issues  like a bad case of vertigo for the second or third day in a row.

You didn’t see how I spent several minutes trying to calm down a temperamental child who was upset because I had not come into the kitchen by 7:00.

You didn’t see how I dripped cool whip all over the floor while making the special Santa Pancakes for breakfast.

You didn’t see the drain that overflowed all over the carpeted bathroom floor.

You didn’t see when I spilled tea all over the freshly mopped floor and all over the fridge I had just wiped out.

You didn’t see when I dropped my lunch in the floor as well.

You didn’t see when my second attempt at lunch was a chocolate Santa.

You didn’t see when the chicken scraps got dumped before I even reached the chicken pen because the handle came off the pail I was carrying.

You didn’t see how close I came to just calling it a day, giving up, and going back to bed.

You didn’t see how DD17 and I worked hard to set up the train set under the tree only to find that the train was missing. (The kids didn’t mind as toy trucks work well on train tracks too.)

You didn’t see how frustrated and aggravated I got because of the slow internet when I had an important matter to take care of.

You didn’t see how I confided in one of my friends about how frustrated and aggravated I was feeling.

You didn’t see how I had to rush to finish dinner because I had an emergency errand to run.

You didn’t see me rush to the hardware store for some plumbing supplies 5 minutes before they closed only to find that they didn’t have what I needed.

You didn’t see me have to drive 30 minutes in the opposite direction to the next nearest hardware store.

You didn’t see how my dinner consisted of a leftover cookie and a Coca-Cola. (I hadn’t had a soda in over a month.)

You didn’t see how long it took to clean up the mess from the backed up drain, the piles of dirty towels I had from cleaning up the mess, or the overflowing sink of dirty dishes because we couldn’t wash anything until the drain was fixed.

What’s important is that my kids didn’t see me frustrated, aggravated, or upset either. They didn’t see me lose my temper over things that happened.

They did see me keep promises even though unexpected disruptions kept occurring. They did see me staying calm and taking care of said disruptions as they came along.

I am human, I make mistakes, I get upset, and things happen that I have no control over. I can’t always control what happens to me but I can control how I react to them. I am not perfect and I don’t ever want anyone to think that I am or that I try to portray my life as being perfect.

When you look at the pictures on social media and you think about how perfect things look just remind yourself that you aren’t seeing the whole picture. You are just seeing one small moment of time. Don’t compare yourself, your family, your house or anything else with what you think you see in someone else’s picture.

Enjoy each moment and make the best of every situation good or bad. Life is so much easier if you do.

December 5, 2017

Good morning ya’ll! Today is a work in progress for me. I woke up with a bad case of vertigo and then both of my legs were asleep! This made it quite a difficult, and probably hilarious, trip to the bathroom as I really had to pee. Anyway I am feeling much better now, Thank you Jesus!, and our morning is going along quite smoothly. I am almost afraid to say that as I don’t want to jinx myself.

I have the Christmas music playing, the kids have had breakfast and are playing quietly in the play room, there has been no tattling, and the kitchen is clean. DS4 brought the hamper to the laundry room (without being asked), loaded the washer, and took the hamper back to his closet. What is happening here? Did I mention that DS21 was home and carried the trash out to the road? I really hate doing that task and I am so thankful he was here and that he took care of it.

Instead of questioning, I will just thank the good Lord for his blessings and enjoy this moment of blissful peace. These moments are few and far between but I am thankful for each and every one of them. What are you thankful for today? Take a few moments and think of at least five things to thank God right now for. You will feel so much better. Often times we remember Him when we need something but we forget to thank Him when things are going good.

Is there someone in your life that you are truly blessed to have? Let them know how much they mean to you. Do a little something special to show them how much you appreciate them. This will not only make you feel better but it will also encourage them and lift them up. The holidays can be really stressful for everyone for a variety of different reasons and you never know when your actions or words can be just what they need to go from having a bad day to having a great day!

In another note, I am also working with a couple of different companies to receive some products for our homeschool activities and for my special needs son. I will be reviewing these items and hopefully showing how we use them in our daily life here. I am so excited for these opportunities and pray the God will continue to bless our family and use our lives to bless others.

 

Routines

I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a  ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.

How do we find a balance? Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.

I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections  and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.

My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.

During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids. I was OVERWHELMED!

Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.

Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘show place perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a life saver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.

My house is not ‘show place perfect’ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’.  I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.

The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.

I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working I probably haven’t been able to work that on it yet, but keep checking and I will get them up.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Kids’ Morning Routine 

Daily School Routine

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

Monthly Routines

Yearly Routines

Laundry Routines

Yearly kids chores by age

Age appropriate chore charts

FlyLadyPlusFlyLadyPlus for iPhone

FlyHelper | Personal Organizer for Android

He marches to the beat of his own drum

As many of you probably know I have a special needs son. He has Down’s Syndrome and ADHD among several other diagnoses. He just turned 14 and he is almost as big as I am. Mentally though he is only about the level of a 3 or 4 year old. As frustrating as things can be for me I know that it must be extremely frustrating for him as well.

When he first came to live with us in 2010 I wasn’t prepared, I thought I was, but I wasn’t. I didn’t get any kind of instructions, no special training at all. What I did have was a lot of love and determination to do whatever was right for him.

It was a very hectic and chaotic time those first few weeks. He wouldn’t sleep without medication, which we did not have for the first week or so. He would just run around the house creating mass destruction. Not to mention the fact that his little sister had also been placed with us and she had been diagnosed as emotionally disturbed. She wasn’t even two at the time.

He was not potty trained and he would not tell you when he had soiled or wet his pull up. It took us over a year to fully potty train, we still had and still have times when he refuses, but when he reached the goal of being able to wear ‘real’ underwear the change in him was remarkable. He had gained self confidence and a sense of independence that he had never known before. Even his teachers commented on his new attitude.

He was mostly non verbal at the time also. I bought the Your Baby Can Read Dvds and began to play them everyday. Amazingly his speech began to improve and he began talking more and more everyday. And he hasn’t stopped! He can communicate pretty well now unless you want him to explain why on earth he was playing in the toilet or with cat poop in the play yard.

The placement was only temporary at first.  We had good days and we had bad days. The good days were few and far between. The bad days were often really bad and exhausting. I was thankful for every little tip his teachers and doctors were able to give me.

Eventually we started to develop a rhythm. Then he would do something totally unexpected. We knew that he did not sleep well and he had a history of getting up and sneaking out at night. Fortunately he has never tried to sneak out of the house but he has gotten up at night. (We actually installed a cheap alarm on his door that we turn on at night to alert us if he sneaks out of his room.)

There was one night his older sister found him in the kitchen making a ham and cheese sandwich, but he had put horseradish on it instead of mayonnaise. Then another night right before Thanksgiving he had gotten up and decorated all of the pies with blue icing.

When he got accustomed to our routines and when he began to feel safe we started to see improvements. They were slow, very slow, but every bit of progress was so exciting. Then we would have relapses and he would go back to his old ways and behaviors. It was so frustrating. I would often just sit and cry and pray to God for help and guidance. He would touch me and renew my strength and patience each and every night so I could wake up refreshed and ready to face the next set of obstacles.

I read up on every article I could. I talked to the doctors and specialists. I carried a huge notebook around with me everywhere so I could write down everything they told me. I checked out books at the library and took notes. Then I would try out a few ideas and suggestions at a time. If it worked that was great, If it didn’t I just crossed it off and tried again with something new.

I might add a little note here that what works today may not work tomorrow with him. Each day is a new day and he has a toatlly different outlook, personality, and attitude from day to day. So I just kinda have to judge him when he gets up in the morning to see if he needs a hug or if he just needs me to stay away.

I found ways to encourage and motivate him. When everyone said he couldn’t be potty trained I knew he could. I wasn’t trying to prove a point that I was right and they were wrong but rather prove to them that he was capable of more than what they believed he was. They told me I just needed to accept the fact that he would always be in pull ups.

He also hated and still hates loud noises. With that being said he is one of the loudest kids I’ve ever been around. He hums, he sings, he yells, he makes all kinds of noises at all times of the day with no apparent rhyme or reason. Let me get up and turn on my exercise video in another room and he is yelling at me to be quiet.

Normally he stomps through the house making as much noise as possible everywhere he goes. He sounds like a raging elephant unless he is trying to be sneaky. Then he can tiptoe and sneak up on almost anyone.

During that first year we also had another sister placed with us. She had her own set of challenges with being almost blind in one eye from a dog attack, ADHD, and ODD. I know that bringing her into the home helped him feel more secure as he was constantly asking about her but she also required a lot of attention. He did have some major relapses but we eventually worked through them.

His behavior is good most days now.I can remember the first doctor’s appointment I took him too. He was literally climbing the walls. I’m serious, I went straight to Wal-mart and bought one of those monkey backpack leashes for him. Yes, I got a lot of criticism for putting my child on a leash but I’d rather have him safe then be explaining to the paramedics how he ran away in the parking lot.

I can remember several meltdowns in public places when I thought for sure someone would be calling the authorities on me. I remember all of the ‘If that was my child…’ or ‘My kid would never act like that…’ from strangers who didn’t know the situation. I just smiled and sat in the floor with him wrapped in my arms until he calmed down. Then we would finish what we could finish and go home.

This child also loves food. He will wolf down two plates of food before I can finish half of my plate. We have had to work with him to help him slow down his eating so he can digest his food better and to keep him from choking at every meal. There has only been two things I’ve found that he wouldn’t eat, one was the horseradish I mentioned earlier, and the second was a ‘Monkey Milkshake’ his older sister made for him.

I also researched food allergies and sensitivities. I learned a lot by keeping track of his behaviors and checking them with our menus. After a few months I was able to take my notes to the doctor and show them what we had found. The doctor then wrote a note to the school and we had his diet modified. What a difference that made in his behavior!

He was in public school until he transitioned to middle school. He did not like the change and he rebelled in many ways. His new teachers did not know him and his little quirks and no matter how many times I tried to explain things to them or how many notes I wrote they just didn’t ‘get’ him. (Please note that I am not condemning public school and I know the teachers have a lot put on them. It just didn’t work for our family.)

The other problem they had is that he is just so sweet and convincing at times. He was on a modified diet but he would convince the teacher and aides to give him snacks and extras that he was not allowed to have. This resulted in serious issues and he began to get sick every time he went to school. I was picking him up, taking him to the doctor, doctor writing notes, keeping him home until the issues cleared up, sending him back to school, he would get sick again, I would pick him up again and back to the doctor…. it became a vicious cycle and something had to stop..

The last time I took him to the doctor he had lost a significant amount of weight from the diet issues. I had already spoken with her about homeschooling and she agreed that it would probably be the best route for him at that time. So that was his last week at public school. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs trying to get our routine set and getting him to understand that Momma doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer.

His fine motor skills are not great but we work on that almost every day. When we first started he would absolutely refuse to write anything. He would simply say ‘I can’t’. If that didn’t work he had a pocketful of excuses that worked on the teachers at school.

‘I’m hungry’

‘My stomach hurts’

‘I’m sleepy’

‘I need to go potty’

This last one was a favorite at school. They would send him unsupervised and his older sisters found him several times wandering about the school campus alone. Sometimes the custodians would find him and ride him around the campus on their buggies. There was a time I went to pick him up for an appointment and they couldn’t find him anywhere. I tried my best not to panic but I was scared to death.

Oh, I almost forgot, maybe the favorite excuse was actually pretending he couldn’t hear anyone. I felt it was selective as he could always hear a bag of chips opening two rooms away with the door closed but the teacher insisted he couldn’t hear her. It got so bad that I took him to the doctor and had his hearing checked. I even asked for a referral to a specialist to double check. Not a thing wrong with his hearing. He just had everyone fooled.

He quickly learned that he had to at least try to do what I had asked him to do. Often I would offer a game or puzzle as a reward once he finished a certain amount of work. This was just the encouragement he needed and now most days we can get our work done by alternating ‘work’ with educational videos, games, or puzzles.

He is now reading at about a first grade level. He gets so excited when he reads a whole sentence by himself. This makes me happy because I know there are certain things that he needs to be able to do to be semi-independent. He will soon be an adult and I am not sure what the future will hold for him but I want him to be as prepared as he can be.

We focus on some reading and some basic math. We also do a lot of Life Skills. He can put his clothes in the washer and dryer. He can also fold them and put them away. He does help to prepare simple meals. He is learning to load the dishwasher but I have to supervise or else he will be licking the plates clean. He makes his bed and is responsible for keeping his room straight too.

He can now shower by himself which was a major achievement and he can do most of his basic hygiene routine without prompting. This has helped him to feel more independent. Also it helps me and everyone else as we don’t have to stand and supervise him and we can give him a little privacy. Bath time was at one time a screaming session because the water was too hot, too cold, too wet, etc. It always sounded like a scene out of a horror movie when I needed to wash his hair.

There are things we have had to learn along the way. Every morning I clean the bathrooms and do a quick check through the house. Every person has their own bathroom basket of toiletry items that they can take to the bathroom when they shower. If anyone leaves anything then he will be the one to find it and most likely destroy it. He has also been known to shave his eyebrows.

I learned early on that if there was something out of place then he would find it and it would call his name. I left a cabinet door open on my desk one time and he passed by it as he went to the bathroom. In less than two minutes he had completely taken apart my fax/copier/printer and destroyed it.

He is also obsessive about certain things at times. The toilet paper must be on the roll a certain way or else he just loses it. He will destroy the bathroom in a matter or minutes if someone has turned the roll around.

If we are moving furniture around or rearranging rooms we have to do it when he is outside or asleep. He gets upset to see the room(s) messed up or not in their normal state.

When he is playing he will line up toys, books, or whatever he is playing with in a certain order or sequence that only makes sense to him. If you ask him to clean it up then he has to do it his way and in his own time. He also does this with his socks and shoes… there have been many times when I go in his room to find an odd arrangement of clothing in the floor or on the bed.

Since he has come to be a part of our family I have definitely done many things that I never thought I would do or say. I won’t list them all but they have included things like ‘Don’t lick the wall, the window, the door, etc.’.

Heaven help us all if this child ever had to have stitches because he thinks he is dying when he gets a scratch that bleeds the tiniest bit. If he steps on a sand spur be ready to call 911. When he was in public school he had a small red spot from his flu shot and he made such a big deal about it that they had bandaged up his whole upper arm. Needless to say I freaked out a bit because I was wondering what kind of injury he had sustained at school to warrant such a bandage.

He loves to work on the tablets and the computers. The child who can’t complete his assignments without me standing by his side will be the one playing games on other sites the minute I walk away.

Movies are something that can absolutely capture his attention. He can watch a movie one time and have the whole thing memorized word for word. This is the same kid who can not remember his sight words from five minutes ago.

He loves to be outside, most of the time, except for when he doesn’t. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense but it would if you knew him. He will whine and ask nonstop to go outside. Then he will want to come right back in saying it is too hot, too cold, too windy, etc.

He is definitely a jokester too. He is constantly knocking on the wall in his room and making us believe someone is at the door. He can also imitate a variety of noises and have us thinking all kinds of crazy things are going on around us.

Sure there will be things that he can’t do but most things he can do just in a different way than others. He has a lot of trouble with buttons, zippers, and ties. That doesn’t keep him from dressing himself as I just try to buy pants with elastic waistbands, pull on shirts, and Velcro shoes. We will continue to work on these things but right now I feel it is best for him to be as independent as possible.

For now we will continue to focus on the things he can do and keep building his self confidence and independence. I will continue to pray for wisdom, guidance, and direction for what we should be doing and how to handle the obstacles that will come along.

If you will also please pray for our family and other families with special needs kids. My day usually starts about 4:00 am with him up singing or yelling, depending on his mood. It just gets busier throughout the day and doesn’t ever really end. Then there are the countless number of doctor visits, trips to specialists, and his least favorite, the dentist. We need everyone’s prayers for strength, health, and patience.

He processes things much differently than you and I do. In other words, he marches to the beat of his own drum. Someone has taught him how to ‘whip’ and ‘nay nay’ so he is dancing and saying ‘watch me whip’, ‘watch me mayonnaise’…. lol… don’t try to argue with him either because he is always right, even when he is wrong.

You can also read the following for more details about our adventures:

Our Homeschool Beginnings

Our ever changing homeschool routine

Dear special needs parent

Take a peek into my morning

December 3, 2016

Good morning everyone! It is such a beautiful day, isn’t it? I hope you all answered a big ‘Yes’.God is so good to us each and everyday. My cup is truly overflowing this morning. He has blessed us so richly and many times we just take those blessings for granted.

I am thanking him today for my family, for our health, for a roof over our heads, for food on the table, for the clothes on our backs, and the shoes on our feet. He supplies us with all of our needs and so many of our wants. Thank you Lord for being so good to me, my family, my friends, and the one who is reading this right now!

Yesterday I finally managed to get all of the Fall decor down and out to the building. DD17 helped me to carry out the totes. While we were in the building, which is a big mess, we dug out the Christmas totes and carried them to the house as well. I also restacked some of the other totes to make it easier when we need to retrieve them in the future. I am in the process of color coding our holiday decor so we can immediately tell by looking at a tote what is in it. This will help when I assign future tasks for the kids to help me with.

I am sitting at the island right now drinking my cup of coffee, typing this post, and working on my To-Do list. ( I am also messaging my friend and listening to some Christmas music as well.) The kids are finishing up their breakfast, Dutch Puff, and discussing their plans for the day which makes me smile.We do have one case of the grumpies, DS3, who kept insisting that he ‘needed’ brownies for breakfast.

They made brownies last night with DS17. Then while the brownies were baking we worked on our Advent Study, which I still need to pull out the nativity scene, and then enjoyed some warm brownies. I am really thankful that I did manage to get some of it together as the kids are enjoying it. I know when I get the nativity set out and they actually get to do the activities suggested they will enjoy this study even more.

So now we have a mountain of green totes in the Living room. This makes DS14 crazy but I have assured him that they will be out of the way soon. My kitchen island looks so bare right now, actually the whole kitchen does as it held the majority of the Fall decor, but I will use this as a chance to give it a good cleaning.

My To-Do list for the day also includes getting my stack of Christmas card addressed and ready to mail. I really hope that I can get them in the mail but that will be a bonus if it happens. I have the cards, the stamps, and the addresses on my desk so it probably won’t take too awful long to get them finished up. It is just finding a moment to actually sit down and work on it that my prove difficult.

We also plan to put up a few of our holiday decorations today. Yesterday the kids did stick Santa in the yard but someone had pulled him off his stake before we managed to get all the totes in the house. So that probably needs some attention too. We decided to wait until St. Nicholas day (December 6th) to put up our tree and the anticipation is driving the littles crazy! I don’t really know if there is a ‘right’ time to put up the tree. I figured we would do a lesson on St. Nicholas and try to incorporate the tree decorating into the lesson.

I’ve also noticed that something got into the trash bin during the night. So that will be on the top of my list to take care before the wind blows it all over the yard. It is an unpleasant task but needs to be done. Sometimes taking care of the not so fun things first will motivate me to take care of the other things on my list.

For now though I am going to enjoy a few minutes with the littles. DS3 has brought his plate to the island and is sitting beside me. DS4 is dragging sheets and blankets to the laundry room and just informed me that he had wet the bed last night. That doesn’t happen often and I know that accidents will happen from time to time.

It makes my heart happy to see that he is attempting to help with the clean up and that he is admitting what he did and accepting responsibility for it. He knows that it does affect the way I feel about him. He knows that he is loved and accepted and that we will not belittle him or make him feel bad about what happened. He also knows that we will help him clean up whatever he needs help with. He just told me that he will try harder to remember to use the potty before he goes to bed. So he is attempting to learn from the situation and prevent it from happening again.

We can learn so much from this. Life happens, accidents happen, mistakes happen. When they do happen we need to remember that God still loves us and that He is there for us. When we come to Him and tell Him what we have done, when we repent and ask for His help He will forgive us. We can use our mistakes as learning tools and try not to make them again.

As a parent we can also use these accidents and mistakes as a model of God’s love. We can listen to our children and remind them that we still love them. We can show them the same mercy and grace that God has shown to us so many times. We can show them the power of forgiveness and not make them feel guilty about things.

We also need to remember to be quick to admit our faults and mistakes. We need to apologize to them and ask for forgiveness if we have done them wrong in one way or another. This sets a good example for them. They will see that we are not perfect and that we make mistakes too.

I pray everyone has a blessed day!

Do you care enough to walk away?

We all have people in our lives that we care about and some that we truly love. These can be family members or friends. These people have touched our lives in so many ways and we couldn’t imagine life without them.

So what happens when you just can’t be around them? Maybe you’ve had a fight or they’ve moved away. It helps when you can apologize and makes things right again. Or if they’ve moved we still have many ways to communicate with them.

Sometimes though things happen that just can’t be fixed and no matter how hard we try it seems that we only make things worse. Sometimes our friends and loved ones just walk away and never really give a reason why. They don’t reply to our attempts at contacting them. It feels as though we have been abandoned. This can hurt worse than anything as I have come to find out.

Sometimes as I’ve learned that others may have been jealous of your friendship with someone. They may have been making your friend’s life miserable because of you through no fault of your own. This happens when others are selfish and desire control over another person. They may call it love but that’s not how love works.

Love wants the people in your life to be happy, love is not selfish, and love does not come with conditions. Love shows in your everyday actions towards others. It shows in the little texts you send just to make them smile, the little notes you leave to let them know you were thinking of them. Or buying them there favorite food or drink and leaving it somewhere they would be sure to find it.

Love gives without expecting anything in return. When you’ve made another person smile out of pure joy then your heart fills up until its about to burst. Just seeing that person happy is enough until it’s not and they are gone.

So, if you’ve experienced this and you’ve tried to do rectify the situation but haven’t succeeded, what do you do? If you just want an answer, what do you do?

Well, for me I’ve come to the point that I am not going to do anything but pray. I have taken this person and their situation and left it in God’s hands. I don’t know what is going on in their life and no matter how bad I wanted to be there they didn’t want me there for them.

I’m not going to cling to the ‘What ifs’ and wonder what might have been because it’s not reality. I’m not going to harass them or pour my heart to them because that would only make them feel worse. It’s possible they walked away because they cared about me and didn’t want me to be caught up in their drama. I don’t know. I do feel that if that was case I should’ve had a say in it as to whether I wanted to stay or not. Why didn’t I get a goodbye?

I do know that I valued this person’s friendship and I have some really fond memories of them. I will keep those in my heart and I will continue to pray for them. I know that I loved them and that I my love was shown with everything I did for them. Maybe that scared them? That I don’t know and maybe never will.

I know that I tried and I know that my friend knows where I am if they ever need me. We may never be able to pick up where we left off but we could still have a friendship and be there for one another.

I may never get the answers I sought as to what happened but that’s OK. I trust that God knows the circumstances and that there is a reason for these kinds of things to happen. He brings people into our lives for different reasons and I am not going to question His plans for me.

So even though months later pain is still there and my heart bears the deep scars but I know I can walk away. I know that my presence would only cause more heartache and grief on their part so I will walk away. That’s how love works. You would sacrifice your own feelings and comfort for another person’s happiness. Yep, that’s how it is supposed to work.

 

Getting Routines Started 101

‘Your first obligation as a parent is to not bring chaos into your kids’ lives.’

OK, I should’ve written this before I started on the other posts about routines. I didn’t realize, until I was writing another post, how complicated and daunting routines can seem. Truth be told we all have some kind of routine already.

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here. Continue reading Getting Routines Started 101