Math Mammoth ~ REVIEW

There is one particular subject that I dislike the most.... I would rather eat a handful of worms then to complete one lesson of it.  If you know me then I'm sure you know the answer is Math.  I have struggled for years to squish the Math shame I felt as a kiddo out of my mind.  All of my Kiddos have the same struggle with Math that I did except for Kaden.  He actually helps me out from time to time. :)  Since I am Math challenged I love a good Math curriculum for not just my Kiddos, but for me too.  Kaden and I have been working on the Light Blue Series Grade 5 Math curriculum from Math Mammoth.  I'm excited to share my Review and experience with the Math Mammoth curriculum we used.


Coffee Chocolate and Target

We have been busy with school and organizing our home a lot since Christmas.  This has kept us super busy, but sometimes you just need a break.  That was Mahala and I today.  We jumped in the van, drove around for a little while taking pictures.  Then we headed over to Target, picked up some snacks and of course did a little shopping.  Afterwords we drove around more while chatting it up and enjoying our newly found Love....coffee M&Ms.

Life can get so busy and we can sometimes let the little moments pass us by.  Especially when you have a kiddo with special needs.  I try to grasp as many of those as I can with my Kiddos.  Kaden takes a lot of my time, so it's nice to grab Mahala by herself just to hang out.....no agenda, just being together.  When we got home we painted our nails and played a few hands of Uno.  

I look forward to many more of these days, even when she's in college and a Mom herself.  I know we will always find the time to step away and have a little Mom and Daughter Time!!!


Home School in the Woods ~ REVIEW

 photo ProjectPassport-RenaissanceReformation_zpssg15ypo0.jpg 
The other day I downloaded my next Review product from the Amazing Home School in the Woods.  I just love everything I have ever used from them.  This time I was able to take a little journey with their HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance and Reformation.  I always set out to teach History in order with the Kiddos and then something cool like this comes around and I get off track.  We were wrapping up American History later this month.  But, this was a pleasant side track...we are going on a trip....a History Trip. 


Meltdowns Are Like Having Knives Under My Nails

Part 3
If you haven't read part 1 and part 2 you can do that now.

You can always tell a shift in Kaden's mood....it's like a change in the wind.  And when it starts NOTHING can stop it, nothing.  I have retracted the words I said or request I asked.  I've promised all kinds of things to turn his attention elsewhere.  But, that's one of the differences between a Tantrum and a true Meltdown.  Here is an example: I'm making breakfast and it's a little bit of scrambled eggs a toast and sausages.  He doesn't want the eggs because they look weird today.  Ok, then you want just sausage and the toast? I say it cheerfully because any thing that is not perfect in his eyes can go south real fast.  And sure enough he has that look as he starts breathing deeply and louder.  He balls up his fist and starts hitting his leg as he starts looking around.  Watching you might say he looks embarrassed, overwhelmed, maybe even disoriented.  But, from what?  He doesn't want the eggs, I have said cheerfully that's ok....but we are about to be apart of an apocalyptic situation.  He stomps to the living room and on the way he bangs the wall with his head 3 times.  I have recently been trying to actively ignore him during a meltdown.  That means I don't say stop please or talk to him UNLESS he is about to do something that will cause bodily harm to himself or someone else.  And at that point sometimes we have to restrain him. 
This particular moment of head banging I was quiet, trying not to feed into it, but once he went into the living room he started to run towards the fireplace.  He rammed it with his head and then I stepped in with a warning that I understood he was upset, but that he needed to let out his frustration in a way that would not cause him more pain.  After 20 minutes of screaming, clawing his legs and arms with repeating phrases of it's not fair, why and I can't do this anymore he ran upstairs.  Punching the walls, tearing through his shelves, knocking everything over in his path.  But, I stay quiet...and a few feet away from him with Mahala a few feet away on the other side.  This is our daily life.....daily!  After almost another full 20 minutes it gets quiet, I walk into his bathroom to pretend to put something away.  It's my way of checking in without sparking him again.  Depending on what's going on I will engage him or back away longer.  This particular day I noticed he was under his lego building table, rubbing the carpet with the back of his hand.  No other movement or noisy, so I attempted to communicate with him.  We always go off topic, never about the situation.  Wow, Buddy I have noticed your sink is a lot cleaner today.  Is the toothpaste holder working better then the old one?  BOOM....he looks up at me and I see my sweet Kaden, he's back!  He starts rattling off the pros and cons of the new toothpaste holder.  What they should do to make the old one better, asking when he goes back to the Dentist and then mentioning other random things as he wiggles himself out from under the table.  It's done, it's over life can continue.  And we do...and later on we will come back to the meltdown and ask him how he felt and what we could all do to prevent it from happening again. 

This specific meltdown was not that bad, they can become so intense that I physically get hurt.  It's a scary place to be and we go there almost every day and if it happens once it will happen several times that day.  In the middle of the night, while we are out at a store.  All we can do is try to keep his world as predictable as possible. :)  Later that afternoon when I talked to him about this specific meltdown he said that it was overwhelming him.  What was overwhelming Kaden?  I couldn't eat the eggs they looked wet.  I had not seen them look like that before.  You had the option to not eat them though.  But, I can't eat just a toast and a sausage.  That's not a complete breakfast.  So, I asked him what could we do differently next time so we don't have to go through all of this meltdown stuff?  I don't know.  That's usually what he will say, so I'll ask if I can suggest something, he'll say yes and then I will give a few options and then ask him what he thinks about them.  We talk about it for a short time only because if he starts feeling like a "bad kid" he will become depressed and that will start the anger all over again.  It is important for him to feel like we have come to a resolution and that there is hope for a better outcome next time.

After we talk and think of new strategies I usually clean him up, neosporin and band-aids get used and I get him some water and then 9 times out of 10 he starts cleaning up his mess without me even having to tell him to.  And while he picks up he apologizes and then starts talking about other things like nothing every happened.  Because in his mind he is done and ready to go forward.  While Mahala and I are still processing everything that went on Kaden usually finds a corner and crashes.  He's exhausted and honestly so are we. 


Faith In Every Footstep ~ REVIEW

My book shelf has been filling up fast this past month or so.  This next book I'm Reviewing for you was a huge surprise to me.  I was able to get my hot little hands on Faith In Every Footstep, written by Wesley Banks through Fly By Promotions.  It was a huge surprise because I couldn't get into the story....at first.  Chapter one just went over my head, chapter two was a little better, but it wasn't until chapter three that I felt like I was right there in the mix with this superstar rookie musher, Kyle Walker and his pack of dogs.  Not just any dogs, but a rare breed called the Carolina Grays that was discovered in the low lands of South Carolina.  They are all amazing dogs, but one is extra special and that's King, he's the leader in the pack.  This Kyle Walker and his pack were ready to race over 1,000 miles against other teams in one of mankind's toughest races....the 2003 Yukon Quest.  


A Walk Down Autism Lane

Part 2
You can read Part 1 now if you haven't yet.

Imagine you wake up roll over and you see Kaden staring at you and in a loud mono-toned voice he tells you he has been waiting for 13 minutes for you to wake up and he needs ham for breakfast.  He hops off the bed grabs his tablets and he walks Homer downstairs to feed and let him out.  I'll lay there in bed a minute trying to focus my eyes and I hear him holler it's 16 now.  Meaning 16 minutes he has waited and this makes him crazy.  In his mind life is a huge scheduling board that must remain the same.  Everything is a list of commands to him, a path of directions that need to be followed.  And when there is a kink in his loop then there is a disturbance in the universe.  He feels icky inside and things that don't stand out to you and I are jumping out at him, loudly blaring, screaming and burning his skin, making his life unbearable.  All of that is going on inside him while I'm trying to get my butt out of bed without falling down the stairs.....I'm so not a morning person!!



Who doesn't Love a Game Night with Friends and Family?  It's one of my Favorite moments in my week for sure.  We always incorporate games into our daily homeschooling, but at least 2 or 3 times a week we like to gather everyone around the table to play or read.  Several months ago we were introduced to Chara Games and we love that they are Built by a Family for Families.  Not to mention that they all have a Christian Theme.  I've Reviewed two of their other games in the past that you can look up by using the Search Feature on my side bar.  But this one I'm sharing today was given to me as a Prototype.  You can go Right Now and help Jump Start production of UNAUTHORIZED during their Launch on KickStarter.  How exciting.....I know right!


The Art of CursiveLogic ~ REVIEW

You know I am all over anything creative, fun and has anything to do with pretty pens!  Recently I was able to preview some Samples of an awesome creative outlet from CursiveLogic, The Art of CursiveLogic.  Sure you can use this for your kiddos, but this one my friends has Adults Included written all over it.  

Light after darkness...The Art of CursiveLogic sample pages I was sent were Beautiful, honestly my jaw DROPPED!  It was like Magic under my pen as the color filled the lines for some of the most enchanting pictures I've seen.   


Medication is now on the Agenda

part 1
Well, we did it....we put Kaden on Medication.  We have struggled for nearly 7 years trying to keep him safe and unmedicated.  But, enough is enough and there comes a point when you have to just try something out in left field even when it is something you really don't want to do.  It's for his own good....he needs to be safe and I have to do all that is in my power to make that possible.

Kaden has High Functioning Autism....he is so smart academically, emotionally he has some deficits that effect him socially and sensory wise.  I could be here all day explaining that to you.  So, over the next few days I'll share with you exactly what his meltdowns look like and why we struggle with his safety.

If you have any Questions or Comments we would Love to hear them! :)


I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! ~ REVIEW

Do you have little kiddos or slightly older ones that you might want to cozy up to and enjoy a heartwarming moment with?  I can say yes to both of those and I had a special surprise come in the mail the other day to help me create a little walk down memory lane.  I have always read to my kiddos, it's been a special bonding we have all shared together.  But, as they get older they tend to read more on their own.  At least that's what happened with my oldest.  My middle child I have tried to hold onto it longer and Kaden is just stuck with me for life reading with him.  :)

The other day a new book to Review arrived called, I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! published by Zonderkidz.  I was given the opportunity through FlyBy Promotions and I was so excited to tear into it.  But, I waited for Kaden to get home just to see his reaction.  Background story for those of you who do not know he has Autism and doesn't freely give out hugs, affection or even pats on the back.  His first reaction was this is a kiddie book and rightly so it is geared for kiddos 4-8 and he reads at a high school level.  But, I asked him and his 16 year old sister to gather on the couch and let's read it together.  Grumblings aside he agreed and Mahala was already snuggled up on the couch with her throw blanket.

My first impression of this precious book is that it is so Beautifully Illustrated right off the bat with the sweetest book jacket.  The first and last few pages were covered in Bear paw prints.....and yes Kaden counted them all, at least he tried to.  I appreciate the quality of the thicker pages, less likely to tear with little hands turning them.  The Author, Caroline B. Cooney shares that this story was based off of a verse she had written a long time ago for her now grown children.

The story begins with a little boy running to his Mom saying,  
  "I'm going to give you a bear hug. 
A show you how much I care hug.  
A good night, 
Sleep tight, 
Way beyond compare hug."
So cute and the words just flow...I found we would end up reading out loud together.  It brought out a playful side of Kaden that I don't normally see freely, so it was magical.  We have read this book at least 30 times in the past few weeks.  We keep it downstairs beside the couch and I have found him just flipping through the pages reading to himself.  Another sweet excerpt from the book is, 
"I'm going to give you a horse hug.
A grab the mane,
Race through the rain,
Yes oh yes, of course hug."

And at the end of this sweet little boy's hugging adventures you see him getting all tucked in bed ready for sweet dreams.   These illustrations are warm and touching thanks to the mighty talented Illustrator, Tim Warnes.

 I Love this book, it would make a great addition to any family's library.  I'm thinking this would be a perfect baby shower or birthday gift.  This would work as a Valentine or would look great in an Easter basket.  Another sweet idea would be to have your kiddo give it to their Mom or Grandma for Mother's Day coming up.  And let's not forget Dad's and Grandpas need hugs on their Special day too. 

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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.