Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sad News for our Frog Family


It's been a few weeks since we welcomed frogs into our home.  It's been a really interesting journey and I have mixed feelings on whether or not we should have gone down the road of amphibian ownership.  Let me start with the bad news...

Mr. Lump has passed away.

Here's the scoop.  Adisson came running downstairs on Friday night telling me that he could only find 2 frogs.  As a reminder, we own 3.  I told him he was a goofball and that he need to check again.  Still only two frogs.  So I looked.  I looked and looked and looked.  There was absolutely only 2 frogs in that tank.  What I thought was impossible, a frog escaping, had happened. 
 
Next problem, where on earth was the frog?  The biggest concern was that a cat had eaten it.  We didn't want to lose a frog and a kitty in the same night.  After a lot of searching (WHERE COULD IT GO? IT'S A 2 INCH SEMI-AQUATIC FROG?!), he was located under the desk that the tank sits on, squished by a roll of newsprint we keep under there.

He had crossed over into Froggy Heaven.

And I had a terribly sad 12 year old.  He impulsively decided that we needed to find new homes for the frogs since he proved to be too irresponsible to care for them.  I assured him the fault was mine and he should keep the frogs.  He has since agreed that keeping them is the best idea.

So, what happened?  The tank hood has been concerning since we bought the whole lot of stuff.  It just kind of rests on the top of the tank with a small hole in the front and a much larger opening in the back to allow for a filter to fit there.  Well, we aren't housing fish.  Apparently with the new filter that we installed the day before, the air tube rested too closely to the side of the glass and must have enabled Mr. Lump to shimmy up and out the opening, onto the desk, and down to the floor.  He then got tangled up in the paper and was squished in the weight of the roll (I assume).

As a result, we have purchased a screen top that fits securely on the tank.  We're able to put the hood on top of the screen so we can still use the lights provided by the hood.  However, there is NO WAY Blaize or Garrett Bobby Ferguson is escaping from their home.  

For goodness sake.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reasons to Attend NCHE Homeschool Conference & GIVEAWAY!




It's finally here, the moment you've all been anxiously awaiting.  This is the moment I declare my best reason for attending the NCHE Homeschool Conference.  I've already shared Reason #5, Reason #4, Reason #3, and Reason #2.  I'll wait no longer.  The time is now.  It's happening TODAY, right here.  

Ok, ok, enough already.

My NUMBER ONE REASON for attending the NCHE Homeschool Conference is this:

When I leave the conference on Saturday night, I feel like 
SUPERWOMAN

Is that not the answer you were expecting?  Let me explain a bit more.

After two days of workshops, sessions, vendor booths, fellowship with homeschool friends, I feel like I CAN DO THIS!  I CAN HOMESCHOOL MY SONS!  It's good to have this feeling because I've been homeschooling them since...forever.  

At the conference, though, I hear that I'm not the only parent that struggles with homeschool burnout, math anxiety, testing concerns, reading skills, science abilities.  I AM NOT ALONE!

I'm remind that I'm doing the best I can for my sons, that I'm offering a tailor-made education, that no one on this planet is more concerned about them than me, their mother, their teacher.  

Last year's keynote speaker told me that I can raise three sons who grow up to be ordinary men and that I will have done what is asked of me.  It was eye-opening, earth shattering news for me -- I DON'T HAVE TO RAISE A WORLD CHANGER!  I just have to raise my sons up to be good people, strong men to care for themselves and their families, and considerate men to care for others.  I have to raise men that love God.  
And that's good enough.

I leave the NCHE Conference each year ready.  Ready to tackle our problem areas, ready to have fun, ready to try new things, ready to bust open geodes, ready to dissect owl pellets, ready to play with Thinking Putty, ready to sword fight, ready to RAISE REAL MEN!

If you have ever considered attending, if you attend every year, if you haven't been in a while, if you've never attended a homeschool conference, if you are just thinking about homeschooling...

you need to be there.

And now, I'm offering you chance to win the opportunity to attend this event for free. 






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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reasons to Attend the NCHE Homeschool Conference #2





Ok, so there's been Reason #5, Reason #4, and Reason #3.  Today, I will share with you my Top Two Reason to attend the NCHE Homeschool Conference.


Drumroll....


My #2 reason is:


THE VENDOR HALL


Have you ever been to a homeschool conference?  Ever stood in a vendor hall?  It's amazing.  




A giant room full of resources to help you homeschool your child(ren).  Books, book, and more books.  Curricula that you can flip through, manipulatives that you can play with, more information than you thought you needed, and a plethora of helpful people.  

Looking for science items, art supplies, or workbooks?  Need some dissection goodies?!!  You can find so much in a homeschool vendor hall.  Every time I have a break or there's a workshop period that I didn't find much to apply to me (which, truthfully, rarely happens), I'm in the vendor hall.  

Each day brings me one day closer...and I can't wait to go!!  Tomorrow, my giveaway goes LIVE and you'll have your chance to earn a free registration!  




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ARTistic Pursuits (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

ARTistic Pursuits Review




I have never been more interested in an art curriculum as I have ARTistic Pursuits.  I was elated to be selected to receive Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts from ARTistic Pursuits to review as a Schoolhouse Review Crew member.


As expected, I was not disappointed!  The book is beautiful and laid out so well.  The first thing I needed to do was round up the necessary supplies.  Some items we had on hand, like watercolor paper, drawing paper, and scissors.  The rest of the items, like watercolor crayons, oil and chalk pastels, and ebony pencils had to be purchased.  You can go directly to the ARTistic Pursuits websites and buy a supply kit that corresponds with each book, to save some time.  Since we had a few things already, I just pieced together the rest.  


ARTistic Pursuits Review


When we get started on our art lesson for the day, the first thing we read is about what artists do.  This is the beginning part of each lesson and introduces the kids to new art concepts.  Then, we discuss the type of art we just read and how we see art in our lives.  There are pictures of artwork with questions to ask to help the children look closely to understand the concepts presented.  Then, it's finally time for everyone's favorite part of the lesson -- it's time to make our own art!  We were incredibly excited to use watercolor crayons for the first time so it was neat that they were used in the first lesson.  


Because the lessons and artwork were so engaging, I also participated along with the boys.  Typically, the youngest fella would skip the  listening and discussing part and only join us for the art activity, but that's to be expected from him, I suppose.  


When it was time to start our own creation, it seemed as though my boys sometimes skipped over what the directive was and really wanted to do their own thing.  With the older two, however, I tried to remind them of what we were discussing and how that should be portrayed in the art they were making.  Once reminded of the lesson we just discussed, it seemed as though the could focus on creating something that was representative of what we had read.  

As a homeschool mom, I loved everything about this book.  The reading material was interesting and easy to understand.  The questions I read to them helped them stop and really look at the piece of art.  When it was time to create, they were so excited to try something new.  My boys loved this book as well.  Each time I gathered supplies and started setting up the table, the boys came running, ready to get started.  

I've been so interested in ARTistic Pursuits for awhile and I'm not sure why I never took the plunge before this review to try it out.  Perhaps it's because I'm always apprehensive when it's time to teach art to the boys.  With this book, however, I felt like I could read and discuss the lessons with relative ease because of the layout.  It's incredibly user friendly, engaging, and interesting.  

We will continue through the rest of this book and we look forward to purchasing the second book, as well.  ARTistic Pursuits will have a place in our school plans for awhile.  

Follow ARTistic Pursuits on Facebook: ARTistic Pursuits.



ARTistic Pursuits Review




Crew Disclaimer




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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Reasons to Attend the NCHE Homeschool Conference #3



I've already shared with you Reason #5 and Reason #4.  Today, it's Reason #3!!

My third reason for attending the NCHE Homeschool Conference is

Incredible Speakers and Workshops


Oh my goodness, the speakers.  I LOVE listening to speakers during the conference.  Sometimes, I hear that I'm not alone, that I'm doing things right, or that other people's kids have struggled where mine have.  Other times, I hear pieces of information, tips, or ideas that make a light bulb go off above my head and I think "THAT'S IT!!"  

This year, I'm so looking forward to the speakers.  Here's the start of my list of speakers I cannot wait to hear this year:

Jon Erwin
Steve Lambert 
Diane Allen (I've met her!)
J. Mark Fox
Kelly Rogers!!! (I just love Kelly!  She owns the best bookstore in North Carolina!)
Dr. Marcus Ross
Robby Stanley
Hal and Melanie Young (Ohmygosh, I LOVE Raising Real Men!!)

Additionally, there are Vendor Workshops.  That means, if there is an item/program/book I'm interested in, I'll check to see if the vendor is offering a workshop.  If so, I have the opportunity to see that item up close and personal and ask a ton of questions!

Some vendor workshops that look interesting to me are:

Youth Digital Studios -- I sat in on this workshop last year and even though it will likely be the same material, I'll sit in on this one again.  This room will be FILLED with kids who are mad about Minecraft and parents who hope to find the educational benefit behind it.  

Bouncy Bands -- I have no idea what this is, but it sounds awesome and I'm always looking for ways to keep the boys engaged.  Educating boys is a challenge when they CANNOT SIT STILL!


Session Tips and Tricks


So I have a few tips regarding the speaking sessions.  They are as follows:  


#1.  Make a plan.  Seriously, go through that conference guide hour by hour and determine which sessions you really want to sit in, which ones would be interesting, and which ones just don't apply to you for one reason or another.  


#2.  Make a back-up plan.  There will be at least one session each day in which I'll sit down, the speaker will get started, and I'll realize this information is not what I was looking to hear.  Maybe I read the description incorrectly, maybe the speaker just isn't what I had in mind, or perhaps it's something else entirely.  If I know right away that there's another session I was interested in attending, and know where it's located, I'll quietly slip out and head to the other one.  Since I'm traveling solo and can enter a room quickly and quietly, I know I can do this without disrupting the session.  If there isn't another session I wanted to attend, I'll head to the vendor hall for an hour.


#3.  TAKE NOTES!  Seriously!  By the time school starts back up in September, some of those amazing ideas I heard in May have long flown the coop that is my brain.  If I take notes that I can go back through and read, I can suddenly remember that one awesome idea that I totally wanted to try in our homeschool.  


#4.  Buy the recording.  If the session was really amazing and you found a great benefit to the words you heard, buy the session recording.  Maybe there was a session you really wanted to attend, but you were held up somewhere else...buy the session recording.  Having these on hand can be an incredible pick-me-up as you enter the mid-year slump or the spring fog.  


#5.  Be in the moment.  Save your facebook browsing or catalog surfing for another time.  If you're sitting in a session, you are there for a reason.  Be there for that.  Listen and really hear what the speaker is saying.  If you are sidetracked or distracted, you won't get near the same benefits from that speaker as you would if you had remained engaged.  

Do you have any additional tips?




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Monday, April 20, 2015

Reasons to Attend the NCHE Homeschool Conference #4



Yesterday I shared with you my #5 reason that I'm excited the attend the NCHE Homeschool Conference next month.  If you haven't read it, click here to check it out.  Go ahead, I'll wait.  


Ok, so ready for the fourth reason?  Alrighty....


Reason #4:


Fellowship


Sometimes, when I'm struggling so much as a parent, there is nothing else in this world that comforts me as much as knowing I'm not alone...that someone else is struggling with the same thing.  When Jaxon makes my head (and heart) hurt by being so demanding and difficult, a friend of mine says "Oh no, he's not the only one.  My little princess (name withheld to protect the guilty) is a tiny terror, too!"  And we compare the striking similarities of these two adorably crazy 5 year old kiddos.  When Adisson is being every bit of the word TWEENAGER, I can look to my friends with 12 year old sons and together we smile and nod (silently commiserating with one another).


When embarking on the homeschooling journey, especially without knowing others who homeschool, or being the only one in your family that has decided that homeschooling is the best fit for your family, it can feel lonely.  You want to know that you're doing the very best that you can so without having a friend to say "Ohhh, girl, I've been there!" it's easy to feel like you're all alone.


Hanging out at the NCHE Homeschool Conference, you are SURROUNDED with people who have made the same decision regarding educating their children.  Listening to speakers, flipping through books, whatever you're doing, you're in the company of other likeminded families.  It definitely reassures the decision we've made and encourages me on this journey.


A few years ago, I attended the conference with a friend.  I really felt encouraged and uplifted by the time spent together.  This year, I would love to do the same with my amazing friend, Dawn.  :)  What about you?  Do you attend homeschool conferences with a friend?  Do you meet up with people while you're there?  Have longstanding dinner plans on Friday night after sessions end and the vendor hall closes for the evening? :)





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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Reasons to Attend the NCHE Homeschool Conference #5

A few years ago, we moved to the lovely state of North Carolina.  Shortly after our arrival, I started looking for homeschool conferences in the state.  I was thrilled to find that the North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE) Homeschool Conference takes place less than two hours from Fort Bragg.  The bigger question I had, however, was it worth my time to attend?  


Our first year in North Carolina, I was only able to attend the conference for one day.   It was undoubtedly worth my time.  The following year, I attended the whole weekend with a friend.  Last year, I attended as an official Conference Blogger.  This year, I'm fortunate enough to be a Conference Blogger AGAIN!  


This week, I'm going to share with you my top five reasons for attending the NCHE Homeschool Conference.  At the end of my top five list, I'm going to host a giveaway!  You'll have a chance to earn a FREE REGISTRATION to the conference!  You don't want to miss it.  


Let's get started.  


My #5 reason for attending the NCHE Homeschool Conference is....


Reflect and Refocus.


So, it's evident that I attend the conference without my husband and children.  I use this weekend as an opportunity to reflect and refocus.


Did we meet the goals I had set for this year?  
Are we happy with our current choices or do we need to switch it up?
Did I schedule enough, too much, or perhaps not enough?
Did my guys enjoy our year and have fun memories?
What are my goals for the coming year, for each child?


At home, I can't seem to find four minutes of peace and quiet to reflect on our homeschool year and make plans for the coming year.  For me, 3 days and 2 nights away, focused entirely on homeschooling, is the break I need to come back to the table ready for a new year.


I keep thinking we will start attending as a family, but right now I really use this time to think and plan and I'm hesitant to give that up.  Do you attend homeschool conferences?  If so, do you attend by yourself, with your spouse, or bring the whole family along?


Check back tomorrow for Reason #4!!










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Friday, April 17, 2015

Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

Star Toaster Review

Lately, it's been a bit of a struggle to find a reading program for my oldest as he just doesn't seem to be interested in reading like he once was.  Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster, however, looked like just the ticket to spark his interest again.  I was right!

Orphs of a the Woodlands is an interactive online book.  Once logged in, kids are asked to fill out an application to become a spy in the WAK Underground.  That got my guy interested immediately.  My oldest son was the one using this program, so he got started reading a chapter right away.  At the end of each chapter, there are jobs to complete.  What was the purpose of the jobs and of the book?  To rescue the Orphs of the Woodlands -- little orphan mice in need of care, shelter, and food.  

When he finished a chapter, the Help Wanted page with job listings would appear.  The jobs are completed to earn gold stars which are used to care for the Orphs.  Jobs are arranged by subject including math, science, language, thinking skills, life skills, arts, and vocabulary.  The jobs have multiple answer options to review the material covered in the book.  Once the job is complete, the gold stars are awarded!  Gold stars are then used to purchase items and land to provide for the Orphs.


Star Toaster Review

In addition to reading and completing jobs, there are projects available to complete in Ivythwaite (the woodland settlement).  Adisson was able to learn how to best utilize his gold stars to maximize their effectiveness by completing projects.  The goal is to provide for as many Orphs as possible by enlarging the settlement and building more orphanages.

What did Adisson think about Orphs of the Woodlands?  He found it very interesting.  He liked the jobs at the end of each chapter and enjoyed earning more stars.  As he continues using the program, he says he's looking forward to some of the projects available in Ivythwaite.  


Star Toaster Review


I thought the whole premise of Orphs of the Woodlands to be incredibly engaging.  Also, I liked the set-up and arrangement of the program.  Reading a chapter, then completing fun (but very educational) jobs, and finally working on interesting projects seemed like a logical and sensible way to layout the book.  Plus, the rescuing and care for orphans really makes the reader feel like they are working on a neat project.  It's fun and intriguing and learning disguised as playing a game.  That's a home run for me!

I still have the capability to add Zander to the program, but his reading skills aren't strong enough to do all of the reading himself.  I think this would be a fun way for him and I to work together on some educational activities over the summer.  The reading may be a bit difficult for him, but I know he would really enjoy the whole idea of the book, so we'll read it together.

Star Toaster Review


Are you interested in checking out Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster?  Well, you are in luck!    If you click the photo above, you can sign up for your own FREE TRIAL!  Then you can see how awesome it is by sharing it with your child!  Below you'll find the social media links.  You should definitely follow them on facebook as I've seen several neat ideas (including yummy recipes) come across my timeline!

Social Media Links: 

Star Toaster Review



Crew Disclaimer


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Start Reading from Memoria Press (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

Memoria Press Review


I love opportunities to spend some quiet time with my youngest guy, especially when they have an educational purpose.  When the opportunity to review the First Start Reading set from Memoria Press was announced, I was definitely hoping I'd have the chance to included.  I was thrilled when my name appeared on the list.

Truth be told, I was not at all familiar with Memoria Press prior to this review.  Our style of homeschooling is a bit different than the type of books found at Memoria Press.  Prior to the arrival of the books, I spent some time looking over the products online.  I very quickly realized that there was so much more available than I knew!  This definitely piqued my interest and when the books were delivered, I was thrilled!  


Memoria Press Review


Jaxon had recently started asking to learn to read so this first reading set was incredibly timely!  As soon as I told him the books were for him, he was ready to get to work.  He turned 5 a few months ago, so he's become more and more interested in having schoolwork similar to his brothers.  Unfortunately, his zest for learning waxes and wanes sometimes.

When the books arrived, the first thing I noticed was the quality.  These books are very high-quality.  The set comes with one teacher manual and four books for the child.  The teacher manual covers all four student books in the set.  I love when a teacher's manual is a laid out with student page example, which is how this manual was designed.  Additionally, the manual has the "script" I can use to go over the material with my little guy.  This aspect is useful because it reminds me to say things I would probably forget.  This set from Memoria Press teaches consonants, vowels (short and long), common words, and printing.

We start with the letter shown at the top of the page and discuss the sound it makes.  We review by saying words that begin and end with the letter sound for the day.  Jaxon thinks this activity is funny so he enjoys when I read through a list of words and he has to tell me yes or no as to whether or not the beginning sound or end sound are correct.  After the discussion, we move on to the writing.  Let me tell you -- it's been great to work on writing and reading as one cohesive unit.  It seems like such a simple idea but not one that I've utilized in the past.  It's working so well for him, too!  After the writing, we move on to coloring.  Truth be told, not always one of his favorite parts, but he really enjoys the following activity -- drawing.  He take this opportunity to draw a picture representing the sound/letter we've been discussing.  

Jaxon's favorite time to work was during homeschool co-op while his brothers had class..

As previously mentioned, it's been a little difficult to get him to work consistently because we're also dealing with some behavior issues.  However, he absolutely enjoys this set of books.  He's not the only one.  I'm a new fan of Memoria Press.  As I get started on planning next year's school schedule and making curriculum choices, I'll definitely keep Memoria Press on my list of resources.  

If you are interested in following Memoria Press on social media, you can find their links below:

Memoria Press Review



Crew Disclaimer


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Our Foray into Owning Frogs


Recently, Adisson attended a workshop at a local park to work on his Reptile and Amphibian Study Merit Badge.  He enjoyed his afternoon learning about lizards, snakes, frogs, and the like.  I later asked his Scoutmaster what requirements he had completed at this interesting educational event and I was informed that the only requirement he had left to complete was Requirement #8.  

Sweet!  Just one requirement and he can finish up this Merit Badge?!  Hot dog!!

Wait a second.  Do you know what Requirement #8 is?  Let me tell you. 

Choose one: 
  1. Maintain one or more reptiles or amphibians for at least a month. Record food accepted, eating methods, changes in coloration, shedding of skins, and general habits; or keep the eggs of a reptile from the time of laying until hatching; or keep the eggs of an amphibian from the time of laying until their transformation into tadpoles (frogs) or larvae (salamanders).
  2. Choose a reptile or amphibian that you can observe at a local zoo, aquarium, nature center, or other such exhibit (such as your classroom or school). Study the specimen weekly for a period of three months. 
Hold the phone.  Did I just read that we needed to get a reptile or amphibian or visit one each week for three months?  We live out in the country and it's a bit of a drive to get to any nearby nature center or zoo (and I couldn't commit to that each week, anyway).  So could only mean one thing...if he wanted this merit badge, he'd need a reptile or amphibian.  

Because one of Adisson's best friends has more lizards than I do brothers (and I have a lot of those!), he's be incredibly interested in lizards lately.  He has begged and pleaded for a lizard.  I'm a bit apprehensive because I'm uncertain he's ready to offer the standard of care that a lizard needs.  Plus, he wants to carry it around since that's what his friend does with his lizard(s).  Honestly, the last thing I need with two curious cats running around is for a kid to carry a lizard through the house.

When the opportunity to purchase a trio of Fire Belly Toads and all of their essentials arose, I jumped at the chance.  The lady selling the toads said I'd need help getting the aquarium because it's heavy and upstairs...so I brought along my partner in (mommy) crime awesome friend, Dawn.  Though, if Dawn was awesome, she would have talked me out of this.  (Just kidding, Dawn is amazing!)  So as to not relive the nightmare that was picking up the frogs and their tank, let me just say that it was crazy!  And that tank was heavy, heavy, heavy.  


The lady selling the frogs said that the tank was recently cleaned.  I think that was a bit of an overstatement as it smelled like four month old ice cream vomit from a hot, sealed minivan.  Additionally, the frogs eat crickets.  Upon getting the tank home, we found DOZENS of dead crickets in the tank.  Let me tell you, dead crickets don't make a frog habitat smell any better.  Also, the crickets were entirely too large for the frogs to eat.  I suppose that would explain why there were so many dead ones inside.  



This is Blaize On Fire, or just Blaize.
Adisson named a frog after himself.
I know, right?!

Step One -- Buy stinky frog tank and frogs.  

Step Two -- Get home, try not to throw up when cleaning out the tank.  
Step Three -- Throw away all of the gravel and cheap plants and go to the pet store.  
Step Four -- Try to make the tank as pleasant as possible for the frogs.  


Garrett Bobby Ferguson.
Yep, that's his name.



Mr. Lump

I'm excited to share our froggy adventure with you as we learn how to be a family that cares for amphibians.  I'll tell you now, however, we are already talking about what new pets we'd like to add to our menagerie.  Adisson still really, really, really wants a bearded dragon.  I've always wanted a snake and recently decided that a veiled chameleon would be a lot of fun!  We'll see....


Our current set-up, but we're already thinking of new ideas!



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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Treatment Options for Chronic Illnes

I've written before about my experience with a chronic illness.  It's been an interesting few years since the diagnosis landed with a thud in the middle of a hospital room.  I have an autoimmune disorder.  I've always had it.  Honestly, when I finally found out what was going on with me, I was relieved.  There was an answer to a question I'd had my entire life.  

An answer, however, was only the beginning.  The beginning to blood tests, treatment options, and a whole lot of internet research.  The treatment that began was a monthly visit to a hematologist's office.  Once there, an IV would be started and immunoglobulin would be administered.  That process continued on for about a year and a half until we moved to another duty station (don't forget...we're an army family!).  

Upon arrival to our new home in North Carolina, I decided not to start up my treatment regiment.  Honestly, and however vain this makes me sound so be it, I was struggling with the fact that the treatment had caused weight gain.  I had a very difficult time coming to terms with that side effect that I opted to forgo treatment for nine months.  The first few months were fine.  The following six were terrible.  I was sick...A LOT.  Sickness for me is upper respiratory and sinus infections.  I mean, seriously painful and intense infections.  So I gave in, made an appointment with an immunologist on post. 

And found the most incredible doctor I've ever met.  I haven't detailed my struggle with doctors in the past because it wouldn't change anything.  The fact that I suffered with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder for the first 27 years of my life should be an indication of the struggle.  Once at Bragg, though, I finally realized what can happen when someone takes a minute to listen ...really listen...and it was life changing.  

My monthly treatment began again.  Same process as before but a wonderfully different environment.  No longer a day of dread and discomfort.  My infusion nurse is the second best nurse I've ever met (second only to my favorite nurse--my mama!) and so often went above and beyond for me.  So after a recent meeting with my immunologist, it was difficult to make the decision to switch treatment methods.  Choosing the option that was a best fit by my family was my biggest priority, however. 

Treatment Options

Monthly Infusions

With this option, I visit the incredible infusion clinic, and the best nurse in North Carolina, once each month. I arrive, get prepped with an IV, and start the infusion.  Including travel time, dropping the kids off at my friend's house, getting in the clinic, and so forth the time to get it all done was about 5 hours.  The plus side?  Once I'm at the clinic, it's a breeze for me.  I'm in a comfy chair, I have a few hours to read, or really play games on my phone.  I've only got the use of one arm during that time, so I have an excuse not to blog.  :)
The downside to monthly infusions is that I struggle with disorder side effects more often throughout the month.  My post infusion side effects are also worth mentioning.   It's flu-like symptoms for 12-24 hours post-infusion.  Additionally, it's difficult to maintain adequate childcare.  My awesome pal Dawn will watch them for me anytime I ask, but she homeschools, too and I feel guilty about burdening her with 3 additional kids for the day, once each month.

Weekly Infusions

This option means that meds are delivered to my home each week.  And I administer them myself.  It's not done via IV but rather with small needles poked into fatty areas and delivered subcutaneously.  The pros?  Incredibly convenient.  I can do everything at home.  My disorder side effects are reduced as my IgG count remains on a more even keel.  The cons?  I have to stick myself with needles (yep, more than one!) every week.

I've elected to give weekly infusions a try to see how it works out.  I'll keep you posted.


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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Organized With a House Full of Boys



I love to be organized.  I like when everything has its place and people know where to put things.  With boys all over the house, life is easier if they know where stuff belongs.  In interest of full disclosure, my ideas don't always take shape.  As much as I love to get things situated around here, I still have three boys running around the house, ALL DAY LONG! Anyway, there are three areas that I've been working on organizing as a way to better get a handle on our stuff.
The Pantry

I love containers.  In fact when my Dad was visiting last year, I heard the sentence "Your sister loves containers," uttered to my brothers.  He's right, I love containers.  They make areas look so much nicer.  One project I've been working on over the last few weeks is the pantry.  I've been buying storage containers and baskets here and there until I've found a way to organize everything in the pantry.  The square containers are Better Homes and Gardens from WalMart and the baskets are Sterilite.  Below is the nearly finished result.
In the coming years, I'd like to replace all of the wire shelving with wood shelves.  That undertaking would require a husband that is available and currently mine is incredibly busy with work.  So, I'll put that idea on hold for the time being and enjoy my newly organized pantry.
The Mudroom

Our "mudroom" is the laundry room.  I love the laundry room because I've lived in several homes where the laundry "room" was a closet.  When we decided on this house, I loved the fact that the laundry room was indeed an actual room.  One way I've worked on organizing this area is by hosting a Thirty-One Gifts facebook party.  Really!  You see, I've had these upper cubbies in the mudroom that I have never figured out how to best utilize. They are too high for the kids, and me, so they are usually just stuffed with whatever random items I find laying around.  When I hosted a Thirty-One party, I was able to purchase these handy Your Way Cubes that fit perfectly in the cubbies.
The baskets on the bottom are from Lowe's and hold shoes.
As you can see, I haven't quite finished the job.  All of those random knick knacks on top of the cubbies need to be placed in the cubes.  I was so excited to take the picture when I got my order that I just pulled everything out of the cubbies and stuck it on the top. 
 
LEGO Bricks

And probably the biggest need for organization in this house is LEGO bricks.  Ohmyword.  Honestly, this picture is a bit premature because I'm in the middle of a big idea for the playroom.  However, this is how our bricks have been organized and stored for the past year or so.  I don't know if sorting them by color is the best option, but it seemed significantly easier than sorting by brick.  I don't have enough bins in this house to sort them by brick.  
These are Trofast systems from Ikea that we've had since we've lived in Maryland.  We actually have two identical units.  One is for toys and the other is for bricks.  The color squares on the tubs are to help my youngest sort bricks as he's my non-reader. 
Coming Up

Upcoming in our Organized series is how we're re-organizing the school room, which includes my office area, and the playroom.  The playroom is our last bedroom in need of paint, so it's been a project of mine for some time.  What areas of the house do you struggle keeping organized?
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