Thursday, August 27, 2015

Milk Allergy & a Rough Day

Last night I got 3 hours of sleep. This is not all that unusual, although it is a bit worse than usual. I *attempted* to nap this morning as I wanted to be as coherent as possible for the kids' paediatrician appointment. Well, the first 2 hours were spent breaking up fights between my oldest two. Then, Elianna informed me that Brielle (who was in her playpen) had gone "number 2" and ripped off her diaper and had thrown it on the rug. It's her newest skill. Nice. So I spent the next hour cleaning that up and bathing B. At 11 am I still hadn't drank my coffee and thus was feeling the ill-effects of my caffeine withdrawal. I feel like a bit of a bear-cat before my morning coffee. Just keeping it real, here.  I took a minute to scarf down my coffee with a piece of cake for breakfast since I was too lazy/tired to make toast. I hopped in the shower because, well, the combination of my greasy 3-day hair and the morning's unpleasant events made it necessary. At this point, I was starting to run late for the appointment, so I quickly fed the kids a couple of leftover biscuits to tie them over until after the appointment. Our appointments were running late, but thankfully the children managed to refrain from acting like a bunch of hooligans in the waiting room. They saved all their hooliganism until after we were in the doctor's office, and I was trying to have an important adult discussion, which I have little experience with these days. Okay, it wasn't quite that bad...I'm sure he's seen it all. During the doctor's appointment, Brielle managed to fall off a chair (a toddler chair) and scream, bang her head on the corner of the doctor's desk and scream, make strange at the doctor and scream, all while Nathanael and Elianna argued over whose turn it was with some dinky toy. I hate dinky toys.

 "Oh, and is Elianna going to be going to school. Grade 1?"

"No, actually we are home schooling this year. Nah, make that road-schooling. We figured we should take our circus act on the road this year..."

Okay, so I didn't respond quite that way. Oh, but I wanted to.

All this to say Brielle will be entering the ranks of the dairy-free. I have long suspected a milk allergy may have something to do with her major sleep issues. I had cut her milk way back, especially in the evening, but it still didn't seem to be helping that much. Today at the pediatrician's we found out that her blood test showed a milk allergy. Thankfully, it's not too severe, but it is definitely enough that we need to go dairy-free for her. I cook with lots of dairy, so this will definitely add a bit of meal planning stress. However, if this fixes her sleep problems, I will happily welcome some minor inconvenience in the meal department. She didn't show any issues with eggs or wheat, so that's good.


We'll live and learn and life will go on.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

I'm am still lamenting the star of the end of summer. I can't believe that we will soon officially kick off a new homeschool year. Most public school kids are back to school in one week around here. I am not planning on officially starting until after the long weekend (later than public school kids). We may fit in some school here and there in the meantime, but I'm mostly focusing on getting some character charts and chore charts/routines in place. We also want to take some time to just hang out as a family, enjoy the last of harvest, take some combine rides, etc. The flexibility of home schooling is definitely a major plus, so we will try to make the most of the remaining warm weather.

Monday: Tuna Stroganoff (a new frugal and fast favourite), corn on the cob, green beans

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza, carrot sticks

Wednesday: Southwest Chicken & Rice Wraps (another frugal & fast favourite) using leftover chicken from the freezer, Corn on the Cob, Veggies & Dip

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, eggs, bacon or a frittata)

Friday: BBQ turkey (I'm going to attempt to bbq a turkey for the first time), Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Something simple or out to eat

Friday, August 21, 2015

Faith Stretching - Part 3

Well, the answer was no. Another door, window, crack in the wall, whatever it was closed.  Read part 2 here. Honestly, we are pretty disappointed. This really did seem like such a good thing for us. That's where faith and trust and hope come in even when I feel very crummy. Pressed but not crushed...perplexed, but not driven to despair. Perplexed. Yes, that about sums up the way I feel about my life right now.

Somewhere behind the clouds the sun is still shining, right?
Sometimes, though, it is hard to keep hope alive.
I feeling pretty bummed today, fighting back the tears of yet another disappointment. Two significant doors closed in two weeks.  On second much for fighting back the tears...

God is still good...even when the answer is no....and I don't understand why it couldn't have been yes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

(Not) Back to School Bootcamp

I received my parcel of home schooling goodies last week, which is always really exciting for everyone. I was so, so pleased to see Elianna grab the first reader (First Steps, which is the first of three Pathway readers for Grade 1), open it up, and READ it. She even took it to bed with her to read at night. I was kind of shocked, actually. I knew that reading had started to click with her, and we had been slowly working through the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book. However, I was unsure of how much of it was really sinking in until this past week. It is a huge relief for me to see her starting to enjoy reading and getting better. My approach to phonics/reading for this year (Grade 1) is to not push her too hard since she has already mastered the phonics basics. Instead of ordering Grade 2 phonics/spelling/language arts, I stuck with Grade 1 choices that would really emphasize what she has already learned and build her confidence. As far as education goes, reading is one of the most important things to really master, in my opinion, and I want her to not just "get by" but develop exceptional reading skills and a love for reading.

Oh yes, back to the title of this post...

Though I am a bit perfectionist, I'm not very organized. I'm not very neat. I'm not terribly structured, either. I have horrendous penmanship. It is chicken-scratch to the extreme. All this to say, I need to create some structure in my life. Elianna is now in Grade things are getting serious this year...haha.

(Not) back to school boot camp will consist of the following:

A Blessings Chart (rewards for good behaviour)
If/Then Chart (for consistent discipline)
Some sort of chore chart
Some sort of routine in place for school

I plan to create and then implement the Blessings chart and If/Then chart for the first week, chores and intensive chore training the second week, and then back to school after that. I hope to ease the kids into this all and get this in place before we officially start school. Of course, "life" might get in the way of my plans. Regardless, I will at least try.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Faith Stretching - Part 2

Remember this post where I was praying for a very specific mountain to move?  Well, we finally received our answer. The Lord said no. Was it hard? Sort of, but not really. In some ways, "no's" can be easier than yes's as they are usually more obvious answers. We had a great talk with our kids about how sometimes God answers our prayers with a no, and that we need to trust Him because He knows what is best for us. You know how the saying goes, "When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window."

The same day the door was closed, a surprising window opened. At least, it's open for now. We were surprised. I actually get kind of embarrassed talking about our life these days, because, quite frankly, there is a lot of drama. I really need to journal everything because it would be so cool to look back some day and perhaps see glimpses of God's leading. God's timing regarding some things is incredible.  So, we pray again. We pray again for a different, yet very specific mountain to move. This time, there are a few mountains that we would like to see move. Pray for wisdom and clear answers. Friends, I thought that what we were praying for a few months ago would be the perfect "yes" answer in my finite mind. That answer was a clear no. Now, there is a possibility for something we never even considered before, and it could potentially be the most perfect and unexpected answer. Really. It could be that perfect. Yet, God might say no again. But maybe, maybe, this time He will say yes. So, we will pray in faith.

Friends, the Lord is good even when the answer is no. 

The Lord is good, though our failings and falterings are many...though "nothing good dwells inside me, that is in my sinful nature."

The Lord is good.

His mercies are new every morning.

Great is His faithfulness.

Even when the answer is no.

P.S. If you feel led, we would appreciate your prayers for us regarding this new "mountain".

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Slow Down, Summer

It hit me today how quickly summer is flying by. The fact that the first snowfall could be only 8 short weeks away is freaking me out a little. I'm trying to not dwell on it and enjoy the days as they come, taking full advantage of the beautiful weather whenever possible.

I finally got my act together and filled out the paperwork for registering for the home schooling year, which I will mail out tomorrow. I also ordered all my Grade 1 material today, which will be shipped out tomorrow and arrive in the next week or so. I am a bit nervous about the upcoming year as I am still kind of a bird-brain, all-over-the-place, undisciplined, exhausted "mess" most days. I really, really hope Brielle gets her sleep act together soon, but I'm not holding my breath...

This gal loves animals of all sorts. Kitties & puppies are favourites, of course. Today, she showed me a sticker and asked me if it was a narwhal. A nar  - what?! Sure enough, it was. Then, we proceeded to watch a youtube video about narwhals. creatures those things are. She can rattle off facts about animals like no one's business. Tonight while we were reading a story about animals, there was a picture of a flamingo. She told me that pink flamingos have pink feathers because they eat plankton and "allergy" (she meant algae. haha.) I didn't really believe her (though I didn't tell her that), so I just googled it now. Sure enough, she's right. I think she learns most of this stuff from Wild Kratts, but her ability to retain all the information is incredible...and scary.

And this crazy boy loves 4-wheelers. Oh, does he ever love 4-wheelers. And boats. He cracks me up, and it's honestly so hard to stay on top of disciplining him because he's such a comedian. Today, he and Elianna were arguing over what to name their toy dog they were playing with. Elianna wanted to call it Lasagna, but Nate insisted that no, it's name was BIZ-zonya!).

What can I say...the baby stage is over. Makes me sad, in a way. She is a toddler. That is becoming more and more evident every day. It's fun seeing her personality come out. She can be such a tease sometimes. Poor girl is still struggling with tummy issues at night most nights.

I pray that summer is long this year. Normally I am wishing summer away for the cool days of my favourite season, Fall. Not this year. Time is flying by far too quickly. I wish it would slow down, but time waits for no one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Menu Plan

I'm feeling kind of uninspired with regard to meals these days. For the next month, I'm going to do my best to use what I have in the freezer, garden, and pantry and see if I can cut our grocery bill down a bit. This next month or two are going to be extremely busy with harvest coming up. I got really behind on the housework and laundry over the long weekend, so I'm hoping to take a break from the internet to get things back in order around here and then start on preserving the garden things that need to be dealt with (chokecherries, for example).

Monday: visiting family

Tuesday: Moroccan Chicken & Lentil Soup

Wednesday: Pizza, Veggies & Dip

Thursday: leftovers

Friday:  Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Something simple (pancakes, grilled cheese, etc.)

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