Friday, April 24, 2015

Wrapping Up Our Kindergarten Year

Although this year has not gone quite accordingly to my original plan, I feel that despite the challenges we've faced this year, it has been an okay year on the home school front. I'd like to be finished by the end of June, but realistically I'm hoping to be completely finished everything in the next 10-12 weeks.

Finish A Reason for Handwriting (Kindergarten edition) - done

Finish our Singapore Math Kindergarten Curriculum (Book A is done...We are on Unit 22 of  32 for Book B. I paged through the units and am going to aim for at least 1 unit per week. I have found this math curriculum to be quite advanced, so we have taken our time through it as I want to be sure she really gets the concepts before moving on. It will be interesting to see what Grade 1 will be like. I am planning on sticking with Singapore again for next year. I have heard that Singapore is quite tough to switch to for the later years if a child did not start with it right away, so I figure I will start with it in the early years, and if it's not working for us, I'll switch to something else later on. So far, I'm quite happy with it.

Finish Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (We are on Lesson 77). I have found that one lesson per day is too overwhelming for Elianna, so we are working through a bit of a lesson each day. I'm hoping to do 2-3 lessons per week to finish off the year. I'm quite happy with this choice of curriculum for teaching reading. It is completely open-and-go and has the child reading at a Grade 2 level by the end. My only complaint is that the book is a bit boring, which is probably why her attention is hard to hold for the lessons. She is a very energetic kid.

My original plan was to complete the entire Heart of Dakota curriculum (the book for ages 5-7) this year, but that did not happen. I plan to go through that more next year and just use the Grade 1 options for reading, writing, and math. That's kind of the plan for now, anyway. I have a lot of things to look into yet for next year.

So yes, we mostly focused on printing, reading, and math this year. Of course, I added in the usual days of the week, months of the year, talking about our world, weather, seasons, etc. This was done in a more informal way as we just went on about our days.

The things I really wish I would have accomplished are the chore system and character charts/routines. I just haven't gotten around to that yet.

Here's me "keeping it real." This is Debbie Downer, chiming in now. I still choose to blog once in awhile... not because I have the time for it (because I don't really) but because I still find it semi-therapeutic....and ahem, I could probably use some therapy. And thus, I blog. This has been the most challenging year of my life. I doubt it will be the worst year I'll ever go through, but so far, it has been the worst. Brielle still cries (often screams) a lot every single night. 400 plus days and probably only 5 times where she slept for 6-7 hours in a row and didn't scream for what feels like forever. Usually, her sleeping 2 1/2 hours in a row is a "good" night for her. Last night pretty typical for us...

7:00 ish - put Brielle to bed (crying, but she does fall asleep on her own within 20 minutes or so)
9-10 ish -  Brielle wakes up...starts screaming...we wait awhile in hopes she will go back to bed, but she never does. We give her gripe water, tylenol, something to drink, whatever we think she might need. Put her back to bed (usually crying again...but I try to rub her back and sit beside her shushing her and calming her down, which usually works at this point). Eventually she calmly falls asleep and then sleeps for about 2 hours. Then, "IT" begins. Yes, "IT."
12:20 a.m. - This is known as the dreaded "mighnight hour" around here. It never fails. Between 12:18 and 12:28 a.m. Brielle will wake up. It's very predictable, which is interesting. This is when the fun really begins. She wakes up screaming, and I mean screaming. Craig tries to deal with her for the next hour but she keeps crying. Ear plugs are useless because she is loud.
1:40  - Still screaming. I get out of bed. I try to calm her down. It sort of works. I put her back to bed. She cries. The rest of the night is a blur.

Between 2 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. I am up with Brielle at least 2 more times, trying to calm her down and help her get herself back to sleep. Nathanael gets out of his bed once. I put him back to bed. Elianna wakes up from a nightmare. I get her back to bed. Next thing I remember is standing in the kitchen just before 6 a.m., thinking "oh great, the sun is up and I haven't slept yet" and then going back to bed. I don't have a clue why I was even in the kitchen (probably was getting Brielle a drink of water or something). I finally get to sleep around 6 a.m. I wake up at 7:15 a.m. Everyone is up for the day. Time for breakfast. And what I mean by "breakfast" is survival...and strong coffee.

Soon I plan to eliminate dairy from her diet to see if that will help. I am also going to take her to the doctor. She will see her pediatrician in June, but I am definitely taking her to a family doctor before then (in the next few days) because things have just gone from bad to worse it seems.  I'm also considering the chiropractor or something, too.

Most nights, if I'm lucky, I get 3-4 hours of sleep total (and pretty much never in a row). Even beyond sleep deprivation, I'll just say it has been very, very difficult, and I hardly recognize the person I am. Since Brielle's birth, it has been survival mode every single day. I hate it...I hate survival mode, but it is what it is. Survival. And I have survived. We've eaten a whole lot of pancakes this year. We survived. Worst of all, I feel like I missed an entire year of my life and couldn't even enjoy Brielle's first year, which makes me incredibly sad. I am in the process of taking steps to get my health back on track. I just want to feel like myself again. One day at a time. More like, 5 minutes at a time. What keeps me going is knowing that this will not go on forever. Better days are up ahead somewhere even if it feels a million miles away right now. One day she will sleep through the night, and it will be wonderful. It will be wonderful. It will be wonderful.

Debbie Downer...out.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Leftover Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Lentil Soup (left out the oil - E)

Monday: Crockpot Beef and Broccoli Alfredo (S) over Egg Noodles for family, Cauliflower for me

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Egg Roll in a Bowl with Rice (E or Crossover)

Thursday: Grilled Steak, Grilled Veggies, & Coleslaw Salad (S), Potatoes (for rest of family)

Friday: Pizza on Sourdough Bread (E)

Saturday: Leftovers or Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese (S - make mine on THM Bread in Mug)

Breakfast Choices
Oatmeal, Greek Yogurt, Fruit (E)
Cookie Bowl Oatmeal (FP)
Fried Eggs & Bacon (S)
THM Pancakes (E)

Lunch Choices
Greek Chicken Salad on Bread in a Mug (S) with Salad
BLT lettuce wraps (S)
Protein Shakes (FP, E, or S depending on recipe)

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas (E or Crossover)
Popcorn with Butter (only a little butter!) (E or Crossover)
Celery with Peanut Butter & Roasted Almonds (S)

Chocolate Cake in a Mug (S)
Vanilla Crumble and Berries (S)
Cheesecake Berry Crunch (S)

My first half-hearted week of THM was a bust. I could hardly believe it. I skipped the chips, ice cream, potatoes, bread, pasta, etc last week (other than a couple small cheats on Sunday), and I gained. If I don't see results after this week, chances are I will be not be sticking it out for another week, and I'll be going to something like My Fitness Pal (calorie counting). This mama has some serious work to do in the health department. I have so many things I need to get a grip on (schedules, chore charts, organizing, etc.) as I truly feel like my life has fallen apart these past 2 years. I hardly even recognize the person I've become. But rather than tackling everything at once, which I am so tempted to do, I have chosen to only focus on my health for now, so if I blog about anything, that's likely what it'll be about for the next while.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why I'm Giving Trim Healthy Mama Another Chance

Yes, as the title suggests, I'm giving the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way of eating another chance. Here are my reasons (as pathetic as some of them may be....):

1) I have a huge container of whey protein powder in the fridge to use up...Fat Stripping Frappe, anyone?

2) Too many people are getting insane results with this plan...I want in on the action

3) The plan has exploded in popularity and is becoming much easier to follow due to

  •  Tons more recipes on Pinterest and blogs (not just recipes in the book)
  •  THM launching their own line of THM products (with distributors in my home province that carry their products, which also means reasonable shipping for the hard-to-find items like Dreamfields pasta)
4) Our 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up this year

5) I am so frustrated with my weight/health and want to get back to being a fit & healthy person

6) I suspect I have very high cortisol levels....insulin-resistance...adrenal fatigue (if it's a legitimate problem)....dawgone exhaustion...etc...The THM way of eating (low-glycemic) is much more conducive to addressing these problems as opposed to strict calorie-counting

7) I'm bored and I need a new hobby....experimenting with THM foods and recipes is my new hobby as is evidenced by my whipping up THM Pan Bread, Bread in a Mug, and Chunky Cream Pops this afternoon. Oh the kitchen mess, the kitchen mess....regrets.

8) Lunch today convinced me that this way of eating might actually be doable for me 90% of the time. Lunch was Greek Chicken Salad on THM Bread in a Mug with Skinny Chocolate for dessert. It was so insanely deliciously that I could hardly believe this was "diet" I am becoming more convinced. Supper tonight is pizza. For the crust I will be using mostly whole-wheat homemade sour-dough (5 minute artisan bread recipe - the fermentation process eats away the carbs) and part-skimmed cheese. Okay, not gonna lie, it's not exactly the same as my typical pizza, but I know I have to make some changes in order to see progress. It's a pretty close 2nd place to my regular pizza, and it's miles ahead of the cauliflower crust pizza in pizza department. 

I know the key to me sticking with this plan is to not be too crazy strict with it and to find away to make quick and simple recipes. I am not going to worry about eating at other people's houses much or going out to eat, which we rarely do anyway. I have a few ideas on how I'm going to make this work for me, which I will try to share on the blog. 

I'll try to keep you updated on my new "hobby". Try, being the key word. I've been dog-tired lately. Trying to wean Brielle, the continual potty-training fiasco with Nathanael, and lots of screaming/not sleeping in the night (Brielle's upset tummy) is taking its toll. 

Keep on keeping on.

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