Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For my friend Rebecca.....Cat Herders Day


My friend Rebecca has a blog called Herding Cats.  So, when I began researching for December's calendar for the new HSS blog, I was amused to find a day that's been set aside for Cat Herders.......that day is tomorrow, December 15.

Herding cats is an adage referring to an undertaking that is exceedingly difficult (or impossible!) because of the sheer number of uncontrollable variables involved in the task. Cat Herders Day was established to honor all those whose lives can be compared to herding cats.

Poke around Rebecca's blog....I think you'll soon see why her life is like herding cats!  (Though, overall, I'm sure she wouldn't have it any other way!)

So, Rebecca, you have a day just for you!  Come tomorrow, I hope you celebrate to the fullest!  Enjoy YOUR day!


Friday, December 9, 2011

We went to see a pre-release screening of War Horse!


Earlier this week, dd13 and I went to a pre-release screening of War Horse.  It was worth every mile of the 2.5 hour drive to get there!   It will definitely be a movie that we will own!  I'm sure that we go see it on the big screen again when it officially comes out  this CHRISTmas.

There were 3 or so curse words and some war scenes that were pretty intense (hence the PG-13 rating).  But it was not a bloody/gory movie.   It was stunning to see it on the big screen.  You felt like you were dropped in the middle of the war zone, as the theater shook with the bombing and gunfire.

In comparison to the book, they cut out a few things, added a few things, and changed others, but they did a good job.  Even knowing the story from having read the book, we still laughed, cried, and cheered.

Hope you get to go see it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homeschoolers invited to preview War Horse!

If you live in or near select large cities, you may be able to preview the upcoming movie War Horse!   It's being shown in select cities next week on Dec. 8.  Click here to see if there's a showing near you.  It's rated PG-13 because of violence (it is WWI!), so use your own judgment concerning your children's sensitivity to horses dying and war, etc.

If you can't make it to a screening, it does premier on CHRISTmas Day in theaters everywhere!

Also, watch the Homeschool Movie Club website for free, downloadable curriculum that is currently being written by the author of Apologia's Marine Biology!

School so far....

We're still plugging away at school.


We recently started Mystery of History Volume 2.  We're doing OK so far on our read aloud/video/audio list. 

The girls watched Paul, The Emissary (a tad much for them).   We finished Beric the Briton, the Jim Weiss audio that we  listen to in the car whenever we're out and about.   We have read Forbidden Gates, the story of Stephen the first martyr.   And we finished Twice Freed, the story of Philemon and Onesimus.

We are now on Pearl Maiden for our read aloud.  I read on a blog that it was pretty violent, so did some pre-reading and found it to be no worse than Beric the Briton or Twice Freed.  All three talk frankly of Christian persecution, gladiators, and the arena.  For our car audio, we have started   For the Temple (also by Jim Weiss).  Both Pearl Maiden and For the Temple deal with the destruction of the Temple in AD70.


This week we watched the second part of the Mankind section of Biology 101, so we've been studying anatomy and physiology.  Really this series is very basic and has been a good review for us.  We like the many cool facts he throws in.  LOVE the fact that it's literal-6-day-creation based!

The girls continue to do their co-op science as well.  DD14 is half way through Unit 4 of Mike Snavely's Creation or Evolution (which I'm teaching at co-op).  Truly I thought the kids would enjoy the lecture videos more than our working through their workbooks, but the workbooks generate great discussions!   DD11 continues the Science 4 Real Kids Biology with her co-op class.  Occasionally, you'll hear her practice some of the vocabulary words, like  rough endoplasmic reticulum!  What a mouth full!


We continue our Fix-It, which we do once per week.   The girls are getting better at catching errors!  We did Week 11 this week.  They are enjoying the modernized tale of The Frog Prince.

We throw in Winston Grammar now and again, mainly for review though I admit DD11 never really "got" the parts of speech before.   She's doing a bit better since starting Winston Grammar.  We did Worksheet 11 this week.


We're sailing along with Lightning LiteratureTom Sawyer is complete, as is the first section on poetry.  This week we also finished Alice in Wonderland.   I printed out Fortunately For You's Reading Records to go along with their Lightning Lit workbook pages for Alice.   We'll be moving on to The Bride of Yellow Sky, then take a break from literature until after the New Year.

Foreign Languages

DD14 continues with Getting Stated with Latin, though she's beginning to struggle with remembering all the words and forms now that so many have been introduced.  She's on lesson 63.  She doesn't want to do any other foreign language, except maybe Greek (at least Greek roots and prefixes/suffixes).  She sees no point in learning any other.  When she's done with the Getting Started book, I'm wondering if I should look into Visual Latin or The Latin Road to English Grammar????

DD11 continues with her Spanish, using and occasionally,  She loves Spanish.  I think she particularly likes seeing how much I remember from my high school classes, oh way back when!  This week I also started her on Mango,which we can access for free through our local public library.  She is thinking about majoring in Spanish when she goes to college. I'm still debating if I should get Rosetta Stone or Tell Me More for her.


DD14 continues with VideoText Algebra and Life of Fred Beginning Algebra.  Both are fairly short, so she's been able to do a lesson in each every day.  Some days she struggles, some days she doesn't.  She recently started the second module of VideoText.  She's on lesson 52 of LOF (using the Companion book).

DD11 is, at the moment, only doing Life of Fred: Fractions.  She's really struggling with it, despite the fact that we made it 2/3 through the Math-U-See Epsilon book last year.  I keep wanting to start Epsilon back up, but I had hoped LOF would be a good refresher for her.   I'm not sure when to start Epsilon again!   She has also been working through the Challenging Word Problems Book 2.  I like how it shows to break the problems if I could just get her to actually do it like they do.  Sigh.  She's half way through the book.


We have unfortunately let our PictureSmart Bible slide right now.  We've just been so busy (or sick) and it seems to be the one we slide....though the girls do ask for it!  At least they do their PBS mail order Bible studies.   We also have started our Advent readings.  We are currently reading Tabitha's Travels  from the Jotham's Journey series.  When we're done with it this year, we will have been through the trilogy TWICE!   Six years and the girls STILL love and always beg for me to read it!  New this year to our Advent traditions is our Cradle to the Cross Wreath for Advent and Lent.  These are made by Caleb Voskamp and are soooo beautiful!


The girls have both been active in their 4-H group, having more meetings than usual this time of year.  We did a fundraiser in October, and then we had another fundraiser this week!  The October fundraiser went well.  This week's didn't go as well.  While we did not have as many people attend as we had hoped, we did make $350.  We were able to purchase a personalized horse halter for each club member. The kids will also have a pizza party and be going ice skating for their CHRISTmas party this year.

The girls have also been involved with their Youth Group each week, studying the Bible and building relationships through fun and games. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grab 'em while you can....Ryann Watters: 2 hardcovers for only $10...for a limited time!

I know we've talked about these before, but if you missed out or your kids are older now, you might want to grab this deal while you can!!! My girls, my mom, and I all enjoyed the two books and look forward to the third!

If you want to read some of the books before you buy, head over to the Ryann Watters download page and read a couple chapters.

(BTW, they are going to made into movies. They started filming last year, but have since re-cast most of the lead roles (with some more well-known kids!) and have increased their budget! They are scheduled to start re-filming in April 2012. Woo hoo!)

ONLY WITH THE SPECIAL CODE until the Inventory runs out!

If you are looking for a great Christmas gift for friends, relatives or even a donation to your church or school library, you can’t beat $10 for two hardcover books… signed by the author and color bookmarkers. That’s 74% off the retail price of $37.98.

To make way for the paperback editions we are selling out the remaining hardback inventory at this special price for Christmas. Go to through the “Shop” stone and click on the 2 book Christmas Special. Then enter this code on the third page in the “Coupon” block: christmas2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cool clouds!

We ran to town one day a couple weeks ago and had to go back to get our camera!  I have never seen clouds such as these!  It was as if God was shaking a huge gray blanket and had stopped in mid ripple.   By the time we got the camera, the clouds weren't quite as amazing, but we took pictures anyway.  Truly, the camera did NOT do those clouds justice at all!

Eppie has arrived!

My sister-in-law bought a pregnant cow last summer, and few weeks ago the cow gave birth.  Unfortunately, we were not there in time to witness the actual birth, but we dropped our schoolwork as soon as we heard and raced over......just in time to see the calf all dark and wet and being licked (and licked, and licked, and licked.....) by Mama.  The calf was named Eppie.  (Yes, from Silas Marner if you recognize the name.)

Toby is really Tabby!

Well, it turns out that the kitty we rescued way back when is actually a girl!  So she is now Tabby.  Or Toby still, when we forget.  Toby Girl when we remember to add Girl to the end of it.  But we are trying to remember to call her Tabby.

She has turned out to be the nicest kitty.  The girls can do ANYthing with her!   She will sleep on her back in their arms.  They can carry her upside down.  They can even dress her up.  She takes it all in good stride.  Except being on a leash...she's fine if she's doing the leading but won't budge if you pull on her.


 The Cat in the Hat!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes.....

My friend Rebecca has a list of things she's heard her kids say.  (Go down her right column to read funny!)

Well, today in the car, this is what I heard....

Older daughter says  "__Sister's name__, can I smell your shoes?"

Younger daughter hands over the muck boots and older daughter takes a whiff.
"They don't smell as good as Daddy's!"

I thought I was going to die laughing! 

(You have to know that we had just gotten back in the car from the Tractor Supply Company, where younger daughter just got new muck boots.   And, you have to know that Daddy also recently got a pair Muck boots, a different brand.   So, as horse-crazy as my older daughter is, she was not trying sniff the barn smells off of well-worn boots!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arabian horse drawing

DD14 hasn't been taking art lessons the last few years, but she continues to draw.  It's been awhile since I posted one of her drawings.   Here is her latest.....

ETA:  Guess I should tell you the story behind the picture.

The boys in her Sunday School class were bragging about being able to draw, so the student minister leading the class asked them to draw a picture and asked Elizabeth to draw a picture (He has seen her work before!).  So this is what she drew for class.  Well, the next Sunday School the boys had forgotten to draw something AND they did not believe that she drew this picture! So, the minister is going to allow dd14 to draw in Sunday School class next time.  LOL.

But shhhh....don't tell, but one lucky family member will get this for a CHRISTmas present this year!

Coming soon....the Homeschool Share BLOG!

Did you see that new button over there? ------------>

Woo hooo..........Homeschool Share is getting its own blog!   There will be featured writers giving practical advice, book reviews, freebies, giveaway contests, and more.  My role at the blog will be more behind the scenes.  I will research the various special days of each month.  Of course, Ami is the creative one who will beautiful the calendar and make it presentable to you.

We'll let you know when important days like National Cupcake Day you have an excuse to make and eat cupcakes can schedule some fun days with your kids throughout the month.  We'll also let you know when you can take advantage of some of the units at HSS.  We might even through in a reminder to just do something fun! 

I researched for October and Ami made it all pretty.  You can download it here.    For today, it says to get outside and includes a nature scavenger hunt!

So watch for the'll be coming your way soon!  Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A list of the books I read aloud for Mystery of History (MOH) Volume 1

Because my sweet friend Ami is a list of the chapter books that we read for ancient history, MOH1.   They are arranged in the order in which they were read.

Adam & His Kin  by Ruth Beechick

The Golden Bull  by Marjorie Cowley

(not read, but we should have:   The Secret Scribe)

Gilgamesh The King / The Last Quest of Gilgamesh  by Zeman  (I believe there is a third book that came between these two,  but we did not read it.  These are picture books.)

The Golden Goblet   by  Eloise Jarvis McGraw

The Laughing Princess of the Desert   by Anna Tyra Adams

Where I Belong by Rebecca Kenney

Tirzah by Lucille Travis

Cat of Bubastes by Henty  (We listened to Jim Weiss' "thoughtfully abridged" version.)

Assigned reading:   dd10 read His Majesty the Queen
                                   dd13 read Abigail's Secret Journal
                                   both read  Princess at the Well     and     Timna

The Hittite Warrior  by Joanne Williamson

Mara, Daughter of the Nile  by  Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Rachel's Secret Journal 

Adara  by Beatrice Gromley

God King by Joanne Williamson

Rise of the Golden Cobra by Henry T. Aubin   (I edited a couple of small things)

To Ride the Gods' Own Stallion by Diane Lee Wilson  (There were a few places I edited)

Victory on the Walls by Frieda Clark Hyman

Archimedes and the Door to Science by Bendick

The chapter Julius Caesar from Well Loved Tales of Shakespeare by Miles

Julius Caesar and the History of Rome  -- Audio by Jim Weiss

The Bronze Bow by Speare

Sparrow Alone  by Petersen

Out of Darkness by Petersen

Saturday, October 15, 2011

List of Read Alouds for Mystery of History Volume II


Well, we finally finished Mystery of History, Volume 1 from last year.  I honestly have no idea how we got so far behind!  But we're ready to move on to Volume 2 finally.

My problem is this......I have an insane amount of books I want to read aloud to the girls this year!  Yeah, they are ages 11 and 14 and read VERY well by themselves...but we like read alouds, and there's just something about hearing it!   Besides, the girls generally would have never even picked up the books we read last year on their own....yet, they ended up loving almost every title we read for MOH1!   I hope it's the same this year!  They really help make history come alive.

Below is my list of books for this year (with a few videos/audios thrown in.)  I know there is NO WAY I can read all of these this year.  And I don't want to bog the girls down with assigning them to read lots of chapter books, as they have their assignments for Lightning Literature.  (That's why the most of the assigned ones on this list are picture books or very quick reads.)

I need help in narrowing this list about half of the chapter books!   So if you see anything on this list that should definitely not miss reading or that you would recommend skipping, please let me know!  I really want to read the best of the best...what will be most memorable to my girls.  (Most of them I have not pre-read, so I'm not sure of the content and would love any insight there if you've read a title and could warn me of anything that might be of concern.  I've tagged a few of them with "pre-read" so I can remember to definitely check them out prior.)

ETA:  A few folks have told me of books they really enjoyed, so I have made their titles bold to mark them as a "don't miss" title.  

2011- 2012 Mystery of History Read Alouds Read Aloud Pages Own / Library Comments
Week Lesson Title or Assigned?

Weeks 2-4: Should I read aloud Ides of April/Beyond the Desert Gate/Eagle of the Ninth/Silver Branch/Lantern Bearers? We own some.
1 3 Paul the Emissary
Video Lib
Beric the Briton Audio Audio Own by Jim Weiss (62AD Roman invasion of Britain)
2 5 Forbidden Gates Read Aloud 126 Own Stephen, the first martyr
2 5 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 1, Polycarp
Twice Freed Read Aloud 190 Own Paul/Philemon (mentions Stephen's stoning)
2 6 Pearl Maiden Read Aloud 371 Own culminates in the siege/destruction
2 6 For the Temple Audio Audio Own by Jim Weiss
3 7 Masada: The Last Fortress Read Aloud
Own Pre-read-the subject was handled well.  We will read aloud.
3 9 Escape from Pompeii / MTH Vacation Under the Volcano Assigned
4 12 Saint Valentine (Sabuda) Assigned
5 14 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 3, Constantine
6 16 Rescue in the Mayan Jungle Read Aloud 144 Ch. Lib.
6 17 Augustine: The Farmer's Boy of Tagaste Read Aloud 93 Own
6 17 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 6, Monica & Augustine, Christian Mother & Son
6 18 The Indestructible Book
Video Own
7 19 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 7, St. Patrick
7 19 What Really Happened in the Middle Ages Read Aloud
PDF Chapter 1, St. Patrick, Sower of Light
7 20 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 2, Attila the Hun
8 23 Sword in the Tree Assigned
8 23 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Audio?
Lib Audio by Dufris (12 hrs.) or abridged by Naxos
8 23 Black Horses for the King Read Aloud 217 Own
8 24 What Really Happened in the Middle Ages Read Aloud
PDF Chapter 2, Theodora, Empress of the New Roman Empire
8 24 Anna of Byzantium Read Aloud
8 25 Across a Wide and Dark Sea / Marguerite Makes a Book Assigned
9 29 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 8, Muhammad
10 30 Saladin Assigned
11 32 Dragon Slayer (Beowulf) Read Aloud 108 Own
12 34 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 9: Boniface, Missionary
13 37 Son of Charlemagne Read Aloud 208 Own
13 37 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 10, Charlemagne
13 37 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 10: Charlemagne, Protector
13 38 Shadow Spinner Read Aloud 219 Own
14 40 Raiders from the Sea Read Aloud 191 Own (There are others in the series, but do not own them.)
14 40 Beorn the Proud Read Aloud 208 Own
14 40 Viking Adventure Assigned
14 42 The Namesake: A Story of King Alfred Read Aloud 269 Own
14 42 Augustine Came to Kent Read Aloud 184 Own
14 42 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 1: Alfred the Great, Christian King
15 43 The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow Read Aloud 240 Own AKA The Story of Rolf : A Viking Adventure
16 46 What Really Happened in the Middle Ages Read Aloud
PDF Chapter 3, Good King Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia
18 52 Leif the Lucky Assigned 56 Own
18 53 Tales from Shakespeare Read Aloud
Own Macbeth
18 54 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 17, El Cid
19 55 The Shield Ring Read Aloud 234 Own
19 55 The King's Shadow Read Aloud 259 Own
19 55 Striped Ships Read Aloud 226 Own
19 55 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 19, William the Conqueror
20 58 Paula the Waldensian Read Aloud 191 Own (for mom to read....Rora—great book, though sad)
20 58 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 14, Peter Waldo
20 59 Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine Assigned 187 Lib Royal Diaries Series, France, 1136
20 59 What Really Happened in the Middle Ages Read Aloud
PDF Chapter 5, My Grandmother the Queen, Eleanor
20 59 A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver Read Aloud 200 Own
20 59 The Hidden Treasure of Glaston Read Aloud
21 61 The Lost Baron Read Aloud 297 Own
21 61 Boy Knight: A Story of the Crusades Read Aloud 324 Own (AKA Winning His Spurs)
21 62 Robin Hood Assigned
Own (Could listen to Jim Weiss' audio of Robin Hood)
21 63 The Perfect Sword Read Aloud
Lib Pre-read?
Apple & The Arrow Assigned
Trumpeter of Krakow Read Aloud 208 Own
22 64 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 15, Francis of Assissi
22 65 Phillip's Crusade: The True Story of the Children's Crusade Read Aloud 316 Own
Wings Like a Dove (Chosen Daughters series) Read Aloud OR Assign? 205 Own Jeanne D'Albret (not covered in MOH2)
22 66 Adam of the Road Read Aloud OR Assign? 317 Own
Otto of the Silver Hand Read Aloud 170 Own MA Germany
24 70 The Book of Virtues Assigned
Own The King & His Hawk pages 37-39
24 71 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 27, Marco Polo
24 72 In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace & Bruce Audio Audio Own by Jim Weiss
24 72 Girl in a Cage Read Aloud 234 Own Robert the Bruce's daughter, Marjorie
24 72 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 26, Robert Bruce

The Door in the Wall Read Aloud or Audio? 120 pgs. Own (Could get audio from library again)
26 76 A Parcel of Patterns Read Aloud
Lib Pre-read?
26 78 The Beggar's Bible Read Aloud 134 Own
26 78 John Wycliffe: The Morning Star Video 75 min. Lib? Bob Jones ShowForth Video
26 78 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 17, John Wyclif, Morningstar

Fire, Bone, & Bed Read Aloud
Lib 1381 Feudal System  (Update:  I skimmed, and think I will pass on this one)
27 80 Trial & Triumph Read Aloud
Own Chapter 18, John Huss, Forerunner
27 80 John Huss Video
Lib? Bob Jones ShowForth Video
27 81 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 32, Joan of Arc
27 81 Warrior Girl Read Aloud 352 Own
27 81 What Really Happened in the Middle Ages Read Aloud
PDF Chapter 6, Joan of Arc, Maid of France
28 84 Ink on His Fingers Read Aloud 127 Own
28 84 Famous Men of the Middle Ages Read Aloud
Own Chapter 33, Gutenberg


Why blog?

The message boards at Homeschool Share is having an interesting discussion about blogs.

There are a number of reasons folks blog....some do it to make extra money, some use it as a ministry, for others it is a creative outlet for their writing or photography abilities, others want to create a record of their days--perhaps for their loved ones far away or just for themselves.  I'm sure there's a whole host of other reasons.

If you've read my blog much, you probably can figure it's mostly just for me, more as a diary than anything else.  From before the girls were born, I wanted to get back into writing in my diary....and I never did.  As you can see, I'm only slightly better at writing something in my blog!  Oh well, something is better than nothing. 

So, I'm not interested in blog awards or being voted "most whatever"......this is my little place in the cyberworld, where I can jot down things we did.   And, if I encourage someone, make someone laugh, or inspire someone along the way.....that's a huge bonus.   So bring your cup of tea and stop by a moment.....maybe even drop me a note in a comment somewhere.....but even if you just skim and move on, I hope you have a SONshiney day!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum

So, we're finally in a routine for school...I think.  Here's what we're doing this year......

For our Bible time this year, we are doing the PictureSmart Bible.   This is our favorite subject!  We have finished the Bible overview and are almost done with Genesis.  We incorporate "Sword Drills" with the reading of the passages.  I love how we can each be individual in our color choices and details, but overall we end up with the same picture.   (Yes, I get to draw and color along with the girls as I teach!)

For history this year, we are continuing with Mystery of History.  We have just a few more lessons to finish from last year's Volume 1, then we'll move right into Volume 2.  The read-alouds last year were a big hit, so we will continue to do that this year as well.    So far, we have already read Archimedes and the Door to Science, listened to Jim Weiss' Julius Caesar and the History of Rome, and are now reading The Bronze Bow.    I've got a huge stack of books to read for Volume 2....I think I'm going to have to have the girls read some of them on their own!  As soon as the Volume 2 notebooking pages become available, I will be purchasing those again to.  As I read the lesson, the girls take notes on the back of the page and then write a short summary of the lesson.

For our fun math, we are doing The Life of Fred.  DD14 is doing Beginning Algebra and dd11 is doing Fractions.    DD14 has also started VideoText Algebra, a switch from Saxon.  DD11 will also continue Math-U-See, having a few lessons to finish up the Epsilon book from last year before moving on to Zeta.

For science at home, we're doing Biology 101.   At co-op, dd11 will do Science 4 Real Kids Biology Level 1.  This is the third book she has done in this series.   At co-op, dd14 is doing Creation or Evolution, which I teach. 

For language arts, we're doing a mix of things.  We're doing Winston Grammar for a basic overview of the parts of speech.  The lessons are short, which we like.  We are also continuing with Fix-It (editing) again this year.  We're doing the second story, The Frog Prince.  DD14 is continuing with The Phonetic Zoo for spelling, and dd11 will continue with All About Spelling.   I recently gave each of the girls this free Reading Assessment, and both placed ahead of their grade.   We also have some grammar pages within our literature this year.   For literature, we're doing Lightning Literature, Grade 7.  

DD14 will continue with Getting Started with Latin, hopefully finishing the book she started last year.  DD11 will continue with Spanish.

For art, both girls have art classes at co-op this year.  DD11's class will include some art history, while dd14's will focus on handcrafts.

Hopefully, we will also get IEW's Student Writing Intensive B done this year, as well as The Grammar of Poetry.  Also hope to throw in a few units of some kind this year (botany and some other literature perhaps).

Oh yeah, I decided to have DD14 work on some Equine Studies this year.  I found many study guides and quizzes on The Pony Club of America website.  I also purchased two of their manuals for her to work her way through.

I guess that's it.   What are you doing this year?

Another good movie coming this Christmas....

Speaking of movies......I'm hoping that the upcoming War Horse movie sticks close to the book.  It's a favorite book in our house, having been read by my girls and listened to on audio by us all.   We would be sadly disappointed if they stray too far from the book!

The movie comes out Christmas Day, and we can't wait!

Two movies worth going to see!

This past week the girls and I went to see Dolphin Tale, and enjoyed it very much!

Then yesterday, my husband took me to see Courageous.  It made me laugh, and it made me cry......great movie!!

I encourage everyone to get out and see these two's so nice to see Hollywood making true family-friendly movies!   If we get out and support these kinds of movies, hopefully Hollywood will produce more of them!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Praise, praise, praise!

I am in remission!!!  \o/    My CPK numbers have been dropping over the past several months, and they are the normal my dermatomyositis is now in a drug-induced remission!  And that is the first step to a drugless remission!  

Starting tomorrow, I will be cutting back on the prednisone (hurray...maybe I lose all this weight I have gained!!!), but not the methotrexate (yet!).   Prayers that the remission continues as I decrease the medications are much appreciated!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2011: Part 2--30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know


The Invisible Illness Awareness website encouraged those of us living with invisible illnesses to tell you 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

So here we go..........

1. The illness I live with is:   Well, I have 3--Dermatomyositis, Interstitial Lung Disease, and Raynaud's Phenomenon.   DM causes deterioration of the muscles in my body and often involves itchy, red rashes on the face, scalp, neck, back, and/or chest.    ILD involves excessive scar tissue building up in the lungs.  Raynaud's is a type of poor circulation in the hands and feet.

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:  late  2003?

3. But I had symptoms since:   very early that year

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:   Knowing when to say no or when to quit

5. Most people assume:  I have a lot of pain (I did initially, but not nearly as much now.) 

6. The hardest part about mornings are:   Getting up if  I haven't had enough rest.  Sometimes I just crash and sleep for many hours.   But most mornings are OK for me, it's the afternoons when my strength wears out and the weariness sets in.  Some nights, it's all I can do to walk up the steps to crawl into bed.

7. My favorite medical TV show is:   I don't watch much TV; I have no idea what medical shows there even are.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:    my Pampered Chef can opener makes life so much easier!  (Not a "gadget" but I couldn't live without my girls or husband carrying heavy things or opening things I don't have the strength to open!)

9. The hardest part about nights are:   When I have little strength left to get up the steps to bed......or when the drugs cause me not be sleepy until 3 a.m.!

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)   Varies, as I have two meds that I only take once each week, but usually around 20 each day. 

11. Regarding alternative treatments I:   Have looked into them.  I am currently only LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone).   I want to give the Antibiotic Protocol a try.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:   Tough call.  I'm not sure really. 

13. Regarding working and career:   I can't imagine working with an chronic illness.  I can force myself to go, go, go/do, do, do for a few days.....can't imagine doing it every day!  I'm so blessed to be at home schooling my girls!

14. People would be surprised to know:  Hmmm.  Let's see....I don't know, how about....  
  • That I have numb places on my toes because of nerve damage from having Raynaud's?   
  • That my body no longer regulates its temperature very well.....I often don't know just how cold/hot I am until I am extremely cold/hot.   
  • That one of my medications is a self-injection?    
  • That I've lost A LOT of hair due to the medication.  I've always had thin hair, but used to have quite a bit of's very thin now.  Off and on over the years, I have done a few rounds of Nioxin to help it grow back.  I started another round recently.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  That I have to say no to some good, worthwile work, extra school activities, etc. 

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  Homeschool.  One of my first thoughts was "How am I going to homeschool?  Will I have to put them in public school?   (See my other post this week on why I think homeschooling is the only thing that makes sense when you're chronically ill!) 

17. The commercials about my illness:  There are commercials about dermatomyositis (or myositis in general)???   Point me to one! 

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  being able to get up from kneeling or from a squatting position.  My legs just barely have the strength to do it. 

19. It was really hard to have to give up:  Milk and wheat.  Almost 2 years ago, I decided to try cutting out some things to see if I felt better.  And I did!  But wow, milk and wheat are in so many things!  It's given me a true appreciation for those with Celiac who must avoid wheat.  You wouldn't believe what all wheat is hidden in....things you think shouldn't even have wheat in them at all!! 

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  Blogging?  Can't really think of anything. 

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  Hike and camp more! 

22. My illness has taught me:  to rely more on Him, the one who strengthens me.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: I can't really think of anything.  Sometimes I get irritated when folks think I am unable to do something.  (Granted there are times I can't, and other times I can.  I know they love me and are concerned about me.)

24. But I love it when people:   Treat me normal!

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:  Philippians 4:13......I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:  Hang in there.  It definitely is a major adjustment, but it'll be OK.  Rely on God instead of yourself, seek Him, and rest in Him.  He's in control and this was no surprise to Him.  Something about this trial of yours will be for His glory and that's worth it. 

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  That I have a lot of good days where I don't even think about it.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:   When I was first diagnosed, my homeschool group prepared meals for several weeks.  It was a very humbling experience, but I soooo appreciated it!   It was an amazing blessing to me and my family!

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  I want to get the word out.  I don't think people realize just how many folks have an Invisible Illness. 

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  Honored and humbled that you cared enough to read 30 facts about little boring ol' me!



Check out her blog and learn about her homeschooling life
with Lupus and Fibromyalgia.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2011: Part 1--How can you homeschool with a chronic illness?


This week (Sept. 11-17) is Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

It's been 8 years, I think, since I was diagnosed with three (relatively) Invisible Illnesses.  I've homeschooled during the entire time.   A common question is How?  How can you homeschool with a chronic illness?

Well, in many ways it's easier.  I honestly can't imagine my girls in a public school setting.  I'd have to make sure they were on the bus at a certain time--whether I felt like getting out of bed or not that morning.  I'd have to worry about how I'm going to get them various events or help them sell fundraiser items--whether I felt like it or not.  I'd have to help them with their homework--in the evening, when my strength is all but gone.  And with the girls in public school, who knows what virus they'd bring home to wreak havoc on my suppressed immune system!

Yes, homeschooling is a huge commitment and it's definitely not an easy road, but it's the best for our family. Think about it.....I am free to choose curriculum that best suits me and my girls.  I can school around the bad days.   I can even do school while laying in bed or on the couch if I have to!  During the time I was going through testing to see what was going on, this is exactly what I did most of the time.  The girls could snuggle up on the coach or bed with me while we did Five in a Row.  They learned a lot, despite by not feeling well!   And they learned about compassion and that many hands make light work. 

Homeschooling is the only thing that makes sense for our family!