Spring Cleaning Your Marriage.....

Wow, what a crazy few weeks it has been.....I had my surgery and lived through it!!  YAY Me!  And now I'm busy pulling myself together and getting through the last few weeks of full-time school before we switch to part-time Summer school, I homeschool if you didn't read about that before.  Lot's of cleaning, organizing and working in the yard too.  I love this time of the year because your home and yard can be kind of compared to a dusty old Marriage that gets weeded, spruced up and tended to.  That's what we did and it saved our Marriage.  We plucked out all the distractions and behaviors that caused negativity and stress in our relationship.  We fixed all the cracks and leaks by filling the gaps with the Lord, support from  our Mentors and therapy/Recovery groups.  We got all pretty and fancy by working on ourselves personally with self-care.  And finally we are sitting back and enjoying this Beautiful thing called Life Lived Together.  Reading, playing games together, exploring our city on the weekend, camping, cooking, meditating on God's word and just loving life together.  These are the things we look forward to every single day....thank You Jesus!!!


GREEMU From Devonian~ REVIEW

I have been weeding out all my chemical filled products for over a year now.  And I love adding new healthy ones to my bathroom counter.  I did just that a few weeks ago when I was given a bottle of a plant-based green alternative for Emu Oil called GREEMU from Devonian.  You can get this and other products like this from Koru Naturals.  I have been using Emu Oil for years, some people love the benefits of Emu, but don't necessarily feel great about it being animal-based.  I don't really care that it's from an animal, but I value plant-based health and beauty products and really wanted to give this alternative a try.

YWAM Publishing Heroes of History~ REVIEW


Oh this sweet Family of mine is filled with anxious readers.  I can hardly keep enough unread books available to Kaden.  This next Review was specifically for him, even though the whole Family joined in on the fun.  We were given the opportunity to Review a Physical copy of Heroes of History Orville Wright book and a Digital copy of the Unit Study Guide that goes along with it.  Both products were provided to us by YWAM Publishing.


Writers in Residence ~ REVIEW

We have been busy around here lately trying to prepare Mahala for the possibility of College in the next year or so.  And part of that is making sure everything we sought out to learn and do has actually been accomplished or at least attempted. :)  The other day I asked Skylar, who is 2 years into College...to share with me what he wished we would have spent more time on in our homeschool with him.  What could we have done to better prepare him?  He said a few little things like time management and organization.  But, the Huge change that he said would have made his life in College a lot easier was implementing a Writing Program.  He has Dyslexia and we did a lot of his work orally so we never really talked about the importance of writing papers, researching, journaling and such.  Even though I do all these things every single day...I figured it


A+ Interactive Math ~ REVIEW

Today I get to tell you about an effective way for your Kiddos to brush up on their Math skills and close those pesky Gaps they've been dragging around with them.  Last year I was blessed to be introduced to the good people over at A+ Interactive Math.  I loved their product back then and I get to share another one of their amazing products now.  A+ Interactive Math gave us a year access pass to try and review 2 of their Math Mini-Courses.  There are several to pick from and since I would be doing this with Kaden I chose the Measurements and Conversions Mini-Course (2nd-6th grade with 23 lessons) and the Ratio, Proportions, Probability and Statistics Mini-Course (3rd-6th  grade with 14 lessons).


Paws Filled with Love and Compassion

This past February marked 2 years that we have had Kaden's service dog.  Time has went by so quickly, it's amazing how he was born to be in our Family.  He means so much to us all, especially Kaden.  When Kaden is overwhelmed, scared or excited he reaches out for Homer.  And Homer is right there beside him, keeping a watchful eye on his boy.
The other day we went out for a hair appointment.  Kaden doesn't like being out in public, he is bothered by all the sounds, smells and sights.  He will bring headphones, his tablet and books to distract himself the best he can.  But, when Homer is with him he can offer his companionship and a little trick we call pressure!  We have been working on a command we call pressure and that is when he stands over Kaden and lays down on him.  Usually it's his back, but sometimes it's his legs or tummy.  Here he is leaning up against him with his head across his back.  Homer is 60lbs, so the deep pressure and warmth from his body is soothing to Kaden....not to mention his fuzzy magic ears are lovely to touch. :)

We are so thankful for Homer, he has changed Kaden's life.  We are able to do more with Kaden then before.  This Summer we are going on a cross country trip, Homer will be a lifesaver as his traveling Buddy!  When we went to Disney last year it was so cute how he would constantly look up at make eye contact with Kaden.  Disneyland was a long trip, this year we are going to Disney World and of course Homer will be right there with him.


Homeschool Copywork~ REVIEW


My next Review is a Lifetime Membership from Homeschool Copywork.  Copywork is something not new to me, but new to my Kiddos.  I grew up with copywork being apart of my daily routine at school.  That's how I learned to write cursive.  My Kiddos though focused more on dictation and not necessarily copywork.  Well, that all changed a few years ago after Kaden's diagnosis on the Spectrum and while working with him and his handwriting.  He still struggles with his writing, but I find if we "practice" writing he get's frustrated, bored and the whole day can go from bad to worse quickly.  But, that scenario was about to change....it started to change with this Review several weeks ago.  


Exclusive High School Diploma~ REVIEW


 I can't believe that this time in 2018 we will be getting ready to celebrate Mahala's High School graduation.  Well, if all goes according to plan....hahahaha!  I'm sure it will and that is why I'm so excited to be able to order her an Exclusive High School Diploma from HomeschoolDiploma.com.  Graduation, like many other celebratory times is an extremely busy time in a family's life.  There are so many things to plan, purchase, organize and set up.  I'm a little flustered just thinking about it all. :)  But, no worries....with HomeschoolDiploma.com you have access to not only high quality diplomas, but Graduation announcements, labels, thank you cards, Graduation apparel, tassels, keepsakes, class rings and even gifts for your Graduates at your little finger tips. 


What's Cooking? 4/11

 It's Friday!!!! Usually this is the day I plan the next week's menu.  That way I feel organized and ready to shop on Saturdays.  Well, that's the plan....

This next week is filled with tons of Doctor's appointments and that is going to take a lot of fuel!!  So, for this next week I am focusing on Protein and having Healthy Snacks for those moments when hunger strikes while sitting in a waiting room or in the car.

Morning Meals: 
Monday-2 slices of Sprouted Bread with protein spread and SugarFree Jam with Egg Whites scrambled with Veggies

Tuesday-Egg White & Bacon Muffinletts and Protein shooter(3oz )

Wednesday-Protein Berry Smoothie with almond milk

Thursday-Greek Yogurt with Berries on top of GF Overnight Oatmeal

Friday-3 Egg Omelet stuffed with veggies, sausage and a smidgen of cheese

Saturday-2 Full Eggs 2 Pork Sausage and Mushrooms with Onions
Sunday-Protein Smoothie with Coconut Milk

Afternoon Meals:
Monday-Turkey/lettuce Roll Ups (everything in a regular sandwich with out the bread)

Tuesday-Salmon over a Green salad with nuts and seeds

Wednesday-Turkey sandwich with Sprouted bread without mayo or cheese and small salad with lime juice

Thursday-Cobb Salad with everything:chicken, eggs, bacon, tons of veggies.....

Friday-Protein Smoothie with Almond Milk

Saturday-Caulicrust Tuscan pizzas...Artichokes, meats, tomatoes, basil, red onions and fresh mozzarella

Sunday-We usually have our Big meal after Church and then a lighter dinner.  Roast with Mushrooms, radishes, carrots and CauliRice

Monday-Cajun Salmon with Asparagus and Brussels

Tuesday-Italian Wedding Soup with Parmesan crisps

Wednesday-Chicken and Bok Choy over Caulirice
Thursday-Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Veggie Skewers with Quinoa

Friday-Cheese burger salad!!!

Saturday-BBQ pulled pork sliders with roasted veggies


Snacks this week:
Jerky, cheese, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, veggies with PB, protein shooters, nuts, smoothies


Like a Lullaby for His Soul

I remember this picture from 4 years ago.... Kaden was so excited for Summer to get here.  He would play with his sand and water table for hours.  I remember we had brought back some sand from Malibu and used it out in his table.  Even to this day when we go to the beach he loves the sand close to the water.  Letting it run through his hands and scrubbing it on his arms and legs.
There is something so innocent in his eyes when he truly latches onto something.  When he finds that thing that comforts him, intrigues him or connects him to one of us.  
The other day we were listening to a piece of classical music.  He told me that the music was like a lullaby for his soul.  And he put my hand on his chest and his on mine.  And he asked me how my soul felt listening to the music.  I just hugged him and told him my soul was very happy and relaxed.  Moments like these make the hard days easier to get through......Thank You Jesus! 


Times Tales ~ REVIEW

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/2016%20TOS%20Crew/04-04%20Trigger%20Memory%20Co/Classroom%20SprayEDMagazine_zpsr3j9ypho.jpgAnother Math Review....I find it hilarious how the one subject I did so awful in is the one I spend 1/3 of my day teaching now.  This next Review though is somewhat dear to my heart.  Multiplication is where I came to a fork in the road.  I was standing there with a huge obstacle in my way to success...multiplication. I was just so scared of it that I ran away and did anything I could to not have to stand up in the middle of class and mumble off wrong answers to the questions being tossed at me.  I never overcame my fear and struggled all the way through college.  And my Kiddos today have similar Math anxiety along with Dyslexia for my oldest, Mahala has ADD and sweet Kaden has Autism. But, since we homeschool I can work independently with them, so they don't have to feel anxiety or shame.  The Trigger Memory Co. was so kind to send our Math challenged Family their Times Tales program in exchange for a Review.  And we all say together....Thank You!!! (Downloadable files-$21.95 or DVD format-$24.95)


Cooking Healthy Can Be Messy.....

I am nearing 90 days of healthy eating and things are pretty normal around here now.  No more running around trying to figure out what this spice is for, what I'm substituting for carbs or even which oil to use with whatever I'm cooking.  It's all just a way of life now....when I make my coffee I get out the Collagen and coconut oil without even thinking...it's just Life now.  I'm at 29lbs lost now and I hate to say it, but it's just easy living....dieting is hard, but healthy eating isn't.  It's just feeding your body what it needs to run optimally and giving it the components needed to successfully repair and nourish itself.


Memoria Press ~ REVIEW

 Reading good books is very important in our Homeschool.  We enjoy everything from the Classics, Biographies, History, British Lit and of course the more recent Fiction as well.  We have books that all 3 of the Kiddos have read from independently.  We also have several special books that we've gathered together and read around campfires, living room floors and tucked snug in bed.  Memoria Press gave our Family the entire 5th grade Literature Guide set.  The three titles were for the books The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Lassie Come-Home and Heidi.  It was like Christmas all over again when we got our box of goodies in the mail.


Amazing Changes Coming Soon!

We've been working on many New Projects over here....God's had us very Busy.  Can't wait to share them all with you....Each week you will get to see more and more of them. :)


Night Time Nourishment for My Soul

Some people have Morning routines and that’s great…I on the other hand can’t seem to remember my own name until at least 11am, therefore I have an Evening Routine.  Every single night I repair and nourish myself.  For me I need this...crave this time.  It calms me and prepares me for a new day. 

This is all new to me….before Discovering my Husband's addiction I was always running around like a crazy person trying to concoct this perfect home for my Husband to try and gain his attention.  Did it ever work?  What do you think?  Now I understand the love bank properly.  I have many banks…one for my Kids, my Amazing Husband, Myself and most importantly my Spiritual bank with My Lord and Savior.


What's Cooking.....

I have struggled with my weight my whole life.  But, it wasn't until my Lupus Diagnosis 14 years ago that the pounds really started to pack on.  I spent over 6 years on Chemotherapy to get my immune system suppressed enough to help me regain some sort of a life.  I've been off of it for almost 3 years now and have been doing a more Natural approach.  I use oils, meditation, prayer and diet to cope with my daily pain and alleviate my joint inflammation.  I also have seen the changes in Kaden when he sticks to our New Lifestyle changes as well.  For our food each week we stick to Low Carbs and High Protein and Non-starchy Veggies.  A lot of my Recipes are from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook.  I've had people ask me about what we eat....so her is a Glimpse of Our week.


Cleaning Up Our Act

Last night was Bath Night....for Kaden.  We have finally got it up to 2-3 nights a week if we dangle the right book in front of him.  Every since he was a tiny baby he hated baths.  I think it's mainly about the possibility of getting water in his face or head that freaks him out.  The crazy thing is.....he Loves playing in the rain or sprinklers....even in the pool he's fine as long as it doesn't touch his face.  But, the shower is %100 out of the question unless I put the mister on and that basically means I get a shower too.  So, we try to stick with a bath with no bubbles, Epson salt only mixed with whatever essential oil the night needs. 


You Can Eat It...But Don't Touch!

The other day I made homemade Wonton Soup.  It was so amazingly good, Gordon Ramsey would have asked for 3rds.  I love cooking, it’s who I am, what I do to show my Love and Devotion.  I feed my family three times a day. We cook together sometimes, but I really enjoy working alone and then serving it up family style.  With that said....everyone knows if you touch the stove, fridge, pantry, or even a darn pot holder while I’m cooking I will rough you up!  Please do not come in the kitchen and bug me…..please.  My Hubby used to come in and randomly stir something or turn the temp down.  I’m like what are you doing.  Don’t mess with my area dude.  


Rainforest Journey from EdTechLens~ REVIEW

Kaden has been able to broaden his knowledge and horizons a little bit the past several weeks.  We have been using an online program called Rainforest Journey from EdTechLens.  They were kind enough to give Kaden a year long subscription to their 3rd grade program.  I can't wait to share my thoughts about it in this Review.


Demme Learning's Math-U-See Digital Packs ~ REVIEW

Math is the hardest subject for me to teach.  I went through all of Highschool without taking a single Math class.  I thought I had it made and had struck a gold mine.  In reality I was slighted and when college came around I was not prepared.  Teasing in Middle school and Elementary is what pushed me into the corner of Math shame and even though Mahala isn't teased here at home.  I see the same facial expressions and hear the same sentences of shame and frustration that I remember all too well.  For 3 years she has worked on Algebra, she is still stuck.  Program after program, she hits a wall, gets frustrated and then gives up.  And I feel helpless, because


Little Ol' Me......

Several years ago I had this Buddy of mine who found tons of quizzes and fun tid bits of fun facts online.  Like every day we would chat numerous times a day, email back and forth and spend a fair amount of afternoons sipping coffee and chit chatting.  Of course that all happened between diaper changes, toilet cleanings and mystery goulash makin'.  One day she brought over this quiz about your name and what it means.  It was real generic, but had a website that you could go to for a more "in depth" look into the mystical powers of your name!  HAHAHAHAHA  We took it and I was pretty amazed.  But, there was a lot that I just didn't believe.  It said a lot of things that I would hope I was, but I couldn't see it.  Flash forward 10 years and I see it, know it and Believe it!  It's funny what the years can do to you.  Not only add a few wrinkles, but add some wisdom too.


Grapevine Studies~ REVIEW

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/2016%20TOS%20Crew/03-08%20Grapevine/Part%201%20New%20Testament%20Overview%20Birth%20of%20John%20to%20Jesus%20Ministry%20Level%203_zps76gjv5kq.jpg Last year we Reviewed a Bible Study that I personally loved, but for Kaden it was a little more challenging.  After the Review period something happened, I'll share more in a minute.  I'm thrilled to say that Kaden has had a 2nd opportunity to try this Bible Study out from Grapevine Studies.  We were given to Review the New Testament 1: Level 3 Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry.  This program by far is unique and creative with the use of Stick Figures drawn by your Kiddos to teach them about the Bible.  Like I've said before Kaden has read through the whole Bible twice at least and can have total conversations regarding Biblical events.  He's just turned 9 years


Here to Help Learning~ REVIEW


I asked Skylar the other day what are some things that he wished we would have done in our Homeschool to better prepare him for College.  He's half way through his 2nd year and doing great.....but he did come up with a few things that I should probably do with Mahala and Kaden.  The #1 thing was WRITING!!!  He said every class there is writing involved, "Mom my papers have papers due".  Essays here, project write-ups there and of course the daily note taking in every single class.  I didn't really "do" writing with Skylar, we did more verbal essays and projects.  So, what do you think we are doing over here in the Manic house????  You guessed "write" if you said Writing!!!! :)  I was thrilled to be able to Review an online writing program called Here to Help Learning.  Just in time too! 


The Green Blanket

The air has been much colder these past few days. Not only does the cold air mess with my lupus infested bones, but it plays with my mind too. I have a ton of bad memories that get jarred when cold weather hits.
One of the times that hurts was when it was just Skylar and I. I was a single Mom with that boy. A scared, single Mom all alone that did what she had to do.


Taco Salad Recipe and my Reason for Being Healthy

So, it's that time of year again....when everyone vows to loose weight and get healthier.  Counting calories and buying new workout wear.  Sweating like beasts and rubbing down aching joints the next day.  I've been there done that....now I'm looking for a lifestyle change, something I can continue while on vacation, sick, depressed, during softball season, on a picnic....I think you get the picture.  Many times one of these "life situations" would happen and my diet would fly out the window.  Over a year ago I started Trim Healthy Mama, lost 15 lbs and then went on a month long camping trip that ended with Disney.  I was only on the THM plan for about 2 weeks before we left and about a week into vacation I dropped THM and grabbed a handful of hot dogs to sooth the pain and guilt away.  


Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz ~ REVIEW

 photo Faith Builders Bible 2_zpsfnudirxj.jpgOut of our whole Family Kaden probably reads the Bible the most.  Every single day he pours over it and digs deeper and deeper into familiar stories, particular profits he admires and sorting out God's purpose and silver linings even in the worst battle.  He already has a Bible, but the fact that he reads it through out the day it can end up anywhere.  And then 2 hours later we have to send out a search party to try and find it.  So, when we were given the chance to Review the Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz I thought it was an answer straight from God himself. 


Her Name was Violet

It was a week before I turned 13 that my Mom went to live with Jesus. I can’t believe it’s been 27 years. That seems like such a lifetime ago. I had just lost my Dad the year before and every since he went to live with Jesus I was running scared.  I was scared of everything, like a bundle of exposed nerves.


HelpTeaching.com Pro Plan ~ REVIEW

I don't know about you, but a week doesn't go by that I don't need supplement work or little extra add on work to whatever we are currently learning.  I love having online access to a variety of different tools during our Homeschool day while we are exploring on the road or busy at home.  The past several weeks we have been given the Pro Plan subscription from HelpTeaching.com to Review.  They have printable worksheets, online testing, activities, a game generator and much more for grades K-12.  We had a lot to go through during the Review period.... I was able to use it with both Mahala and Kaden.  Almost every area is covered...Math, English, Art, Science and so forth.


God Shaped Hole

Every since I was knee high to a grasshopper I’ve had a Special relationship with the Lord.  I remember nights singing to him until I would fall asleep.  I’d tell him all my secrets most little girls would whisper to their Barbie dolls or friends on the playground.  I would secretly pray to him when an ambulance whizzed by or when I caught a glimpse of tragedy on the nightly news.  
This all came about I’m sure because every single year I was in a new school, new town, new house….thanks to my Dad serving in the Navy.  I never connected with people, never had the sleepover, back yard birthday party experience.  It was just me, my parents, and the Lord.  I never realized how important my relationship would truly become one day.  How I would need to depend and lean on Him so much.  That one day I would not be able to breathe without him filling my lungs first.


US Elections Lap-Pak ~ REVIEW


Oh the Rainy weather has put a little damper on our School Time the past few weeks.  Luckily, I have been given the opportunity to Review HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections by Home School in the Woods.  I'm totally excited to do this with the kids for three reasons....one because we know Nothing about the topic, two because my kids do really well with Unit Studies or Topic Teaching and three it's an Election Year.  I was going to do the study with both Mahala and Kaden, because it is intended for grades 3-8.  But in the end it was just Mahala who stuck with it till the end of the Review period.  I received the downloadable version that's normally $18.95, but you can also get the CD version for just $19.95.


Healing Songs of Worship

There is a song from Kari Jobe that I run to when life is too much to handle....Do You have a song that speaks volumes of relief to your heart when it is in need?  I'm so Blessed to know that we are not alone….we can get through any struggle with the Lord.

When I walk through deep waters
I know that you will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow