Sunday, September 25, 2011


Could someone please hand me an energy drink AND a cup of coffee?  In 10 days my mama and one of my brothers are coming to spend a week with us! I'm so excited as we NEVER get company regularly. I am a challenged housekeeper so I'm trying to get the house looking spiffy. My mom will be staying in our room as that way she can have her own bathroom and hopefully she will remember to keep all her money and important stuff out of harms way. With both of my kids being older sometimes people forget that stuff has to be out of A~mans reach.  Heck sometimes I forget! My brother (who had back surgery a couple months ago) is staying in A~man's room so he doesn't have to bother with stairs.  Needless to say his room needs scrubbed top to is long over due. Honestly his room looks the neatest (shhh he's much neater than Z and I) but everything needs a good scrubbing. This will be tricky as I will have to do it when he is not around as it causes him GREAT anxiety to have his room cleaned. (but he is so happily surprised when I have deep cleaned it) So I will have to do it Tuesday evening while everyone is at soccer practice. Any prayers or words of encouragement would be appreciated. Hubby, A~man, and I will be staying in the basement. While the rest of our house looks relatively neat (yet needs scrubbed down almost as bad as A~man's room;) the a nightmare. hahahaha! No,no nothing like the show I've seen a couple time "Hoarders" but it's going to take a lot of work. Such a nice excuse though to get the house back in order!

OH add all of that into our normal weekly activities and that's where I will need the energy drink. This week we have scouts, soccer practice, soccer game, an apple orchard field trip...I'm forgetting something. Oh yeah I have put off planning the Girl Scout camping trip I volunteered to do....hoping mid October after family leaves will not be too late to go camping.

I haven't even MENTIONED homeschooling. This week I have a light week of sit down work mixed in with our computer curriculum . While my family is here I'm not even going to plan sit down work. Our house is fairly roomy BUT with people wandering around I am going to keep things basic. I think we will keep doing our language arts and do some fun learning games.  Of course the kids read everyday but besides the computer I will let the school books have a rest for the week they are here. Our priorities will be spending time with our visiting family!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I curse (haha) the day I discovered the tab STATS. I must stay away. I have more looks than ever...but hardly any replies. Hopefully something I say helps, blesses, or makes someone laugh. Even you Goth people watching me....snicker.

It's been awhile since I posted about a Prader-willi syndrome issue and what do you know an issue popped up tonight. A~man is doing well with his drum lessons. I cannot say enough about the young man teaching him. So patient. On Thursday nights hubby takes A and Z to church and A~ gets lessons as the church band practices. Seriously my son loves music almost as much as his desire for food. (not joking) Meanwhile I get almost 3 hours of complete SILENCE. This is a novelty. I do some work online and clean house. I love this chunk of time.

On the way home hubby stopped at the store for a few things including flavored waters (the yummy calorie free ones with no sweeteners just natural flavoring) for the kids. On the way to the cash register hubby turns around to see A~ trying to stash gum into his pocket. This isn't the first time, won't be the last, but it rarely happens at a store. I'm grateful as shopping with A~ has always been more tantrums than the average child which I believe is not the norm for PWS. A year ago he pocketed a small toy at the toy store. We didn't discover it until we were home but we called the toy store (small/local) and told them NOT to be nice when we came to return it. It seemed so hard on the owner as they all LOVE A~ they have known him since he was wee. We buy a lot of our home school educational games there. We love this store. I was grateful though that in this case the lady was stern with him.

Stealing is just a part of PWS as hard as it is to write. Fortunately we do not have an issue with it often as hubby and I have both grown eyes in the back of our head. As far as a punishment he did not get the flavored water. When he got home and hubby told me I prayed with him before bed. I prayed for him and he prayed for God to forgive him (which God graciously does and He understands A~'s limitations) and to help him do his best. That is what we all should pray for right? For God to help us do our best.

~~~ for any lurkers (excluding any of my local/online friends although I would LOVE a comment from you too;) I would love to see a new person make a comment. Just to say "hey!" (as we say here in the south)

Oh and a picture for your viewing pleasure of the weather we have been having.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The power of the brick....Lego brick that is!!

The hubby and kids have been busy! They are entering a Lego Creativity Contest. I wish I could take credit for this activity...but I can't hahahha. I'm so proud of them. They have had a lot of fun with it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tricky words

Teaching a child that is on the autism spectrum is definitely challenging. Sometime when learning about sound alike words and how to spell them it can really throw a child for a loop. Take flour/flower or blew/blue for example. The words sound exactly the same but they have completely different meanings. Homophones (that link will go to some fun online games to practice homophones!) can be tricky to read also. When my son was first starting to read I taught him a lot of sight words. Some of his cards would have the word on one side and a picture of the object on the other. This would also be a good way to teach about sound alike words.



I plan on making some cards like this on heavy paper to use for both of my children. For A~man I will use it for reading and for Z~girl who is at a different level I will use it to teach spelling. On the other side of the card I will have the correct spelling. For the words like the next two I would incorporate sentences as they could be a bit abstract.

                                         She blew the dandelion.

                                              A pretty blue butterfly.

I see a game just waiting to be created with this!  I will post about it after I brainstorm a bit.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Big IQKids


This last month we were given the opportunity to try out the website and review it for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine . The program has both free and premium programs as described from their website-

The primary differences between the BigIQkids FREE and PREMIUM programs are the ability of the PREMIUM program to monitor the progress of the student and advance that student only when mastery of the subject matter has been achieved. Additionally, PREMIUM members have their progress tracked, saved, problem areas identified and these findings are reported via email to parents and/or teachers. The PREMIUM program offers students customized buddies, full game page access and the ability to save game coins and gaming high scores. These functions help double the fun while mastering core academic subject matter. The PREMIUM program has very LIMITED advertisement an no ads are displayed during lesson interaction.

The cost on the premium programs run from $39.99-$49.99 per year for each child using the program. Each lesson takes between 10-15 minutes to complete but does not progress to the next level unless the child has achieved mastery in each individual section. I really like that part about the program.


In the spelling section you can add your own spelling words if you already have a spelling curriculum to reinforce the learning of the words. Or if you would rather there are premade lists for each grade level. I used the premade lists based on what level my two kids are at in that area. After introducing the spelling words there are games to play and a spelling bee.


 For Math you can set it up to the level that they are doing on their current curriculum or just like spelling you can set it to your childs grade level. The math was drills which both of my children need practice with.  It was a little frustrating for my son at first until I found a way to reduce the amount of problems he had to do each time. (at first it was too much for him to do)

For U.S. States it teaches the location, capital, spelling, abbreviations and general facts about each state. You can personalize this to add additional state facts to be included in the testing. You will receive emails telling about the progress your child is making in each subject. The website also makes reports available on the site to see your childs progress. For each activity completed a child earns a game token to use in the game section. They are also able to make a personalized Big IQ Buddy similiar to the one below-


My favorite part about the the program was Spelling.  When it introduces the word to the child it also gives other information like the definition, synonym,antonym and the word used in a sentence. To practice the word it uses a game similiar to hangman,word searches, and word jumbles. So not only is the child learning how to spell the word but they are learning about vocabulary. Both of my children really liked the idea of earning a game token for each activity. Their favorite game was the crazy taxi game. In the weeks we have been using it I have really noticed an improvement in their spelling.

We liked the geography part ok but I was disappointed that the names of two cities from my home state were mispronounced. I'm not sure if that was due to the robotic voices or what.  Also the woman's voice in the game area made both children crazy. The intonation made her sound as if she was either being sarcastic or talking to toddlers. Both kids would race to start a game so they didn't have to hear the voice. We also had issues in one of the spelling games because you have to go to full screen in order to see the complete list of words. It took us a long time to figure out how to see the upper words in the word search.

I highly encourage anyone insterested in Big IQ Kids to go to the TOS Homeschool Crews blog and check out others opinions on this learning program.

Disclosure~ We received two memberships to Big IQ Kids as a TOS Homeschool Review Crew member to help us do this review. As greatful as I am to receive this opportunity it did not influence my opinion of this program...and that's the truth. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I do not know of a word I hate more than this word. Well....saying the Lords name of course I hate more. I cringe when we are out and I hear it. (oh and I do not mean when it is used to explain a diagnosis but that term has changed to intellectually challenged I believe)  I cringe when I read it on Facebook...or anywhere. I saw this video posted on FB and it is so powerful. Such a wonderful young lady this is.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thinking of traveling across South Dakota? (Part I)

Awhile back a friend of mine that homeschools mentioned that she would like to visit SD this summer so I thought as a former South Dakotan (is that a word?) I would do a post on some of my favorite places. I'm also hoping to make a South Dakota lapbook this next year for a potential vacation next summer.  Traveling across the country is a wonderful addition to homeschool curriculum and online US learning games in learning more about the geography and history of our great country. Most of the places I have been to are the Black Hills, Badlands and surrounding areas. OK I'm also a bit homesick as I have not been able to go to SD in a few years.

Let's start in eastern SD. The largest city in SD is Sioux Falls. I admit I have only been there a couple of times that I can remember but it is known for it's hospitality and is located on the prairie of the Great Plains at the junction of Interstate 90 and Insterstate 29. I do remember as a teen going there shopping as it has a large mall. (the things we remember from our childhood hahah)

The next notable place I would like to mention as we travel down Interstate 90 is Mitchell. In this small town is located the Corn Palace. This was originally created in 1892 as a place for early settlers to display what they had grown. It was a way to prove the fertility of South Dakota soil. Every year the outside is stripped down so new murals can be put up yearly. They use the inside for community events and sporting events.

Next traveling a bit north/west is the state capital which is Pierre. Now I am going to tell you the correct way to pronounce it. I have not run into many people from outside this state that can correctly pronounce it. It is pronounced PEER. Most believe it is pronounced like its french spelling but it is not. (can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine? hahah) Pierre and Fort Pierre are the two oldest settlements in SD. You can actually stand in the very site where Lewis and Clark met the Teton Sioux. I remember going to the state capital building in 8th grade and being amazed.

Continuing west keeping your eyes open as you may see one of these jumping across the prairie.

OK I admit after living there for 20 years I never saw a jackalope. I'm embarassed to admit it took many years until I realized they were not real. (or are they?)

The next place I would like to show you heading west is the Badlands.

 I grew up about a half hour from the Badlands. I have fond memories of riding horses in this area. Also I remember going in our pasture halfway between the Badlands and the Black Hills and finding arrow heads. I look back at that in amazement! If you go from one side of the state to the other it is amazing the changes in terrain. I do not think ranger programs were available when I was a child but hopefully soon I can take my children on a guided tour of this beautiful terrain. By now if you are traveling in the summer you might be getting thirsty.

HAVE YOU DUG WALL DRUG? Have you ever seen a sign or bumper sticker advertising Wall Drug?  Yes that is very cheesey but I admit as an adult now if I see a bumper sticker (and I have even in NC) that I just have to smile. Every summer my parents would take me and some of my nieces and nephews off to explore Wall Drug. It advertised FREE ICE WATER. But in reality as a child I went there for the delicious donuts and the backyard full of crazy animal and people figures.I also got some pretty nifty souvineirs whenever we went there.

Stayed tuned for part 2 of traveling across South Dakota!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

a dream come true?

For the last few years we have been praying that we could find someone capable/willing to teach A~man either guitar or drums. (he has both) Anyone I have approached just wasn't receptive. A~man LOVES music and has since he was a baby. I can't tell you how many guitars the boy has had over the years. He now has two that he takes very good care of. Also with some help from the grandparents we bought him a drum set last Christmas.

Today in church a young man who is the drummer at church asked to talk to my husband.  To say A~man has been obsessed with this young man "C" and his drumming is an understatement.  At one point he was so obsessed with C that I tried my best to keep him away from him as it can get to be too much. Anyway "C" wants to give A~man drum lessons after church service on Sundays and also on Thursdays when the band practices. Oh and get this...for FREE. He said that he will be leaving the church band in a year as he is going on tour or starting his own band. (which I believe as a few band members that just left are in Germany right now touring...they are GOOD!)  He has hopes of A~man playing with the church band one day. I do not want to put limits on God but I'm not sure about that part. I believe he COULD play well...he is very musical. The obsessive talking and ADHD make me wonder if he could do it. I REALLY hope that A~man is able to be quiet and listen and observe...he learns so much from watching. He actually sounds pretty good on his drums without lessons.  We will see.

Here is a picture that was taken at Christmas when he got his drumset.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Record keeping your homeschool journey

We are going into our sixth year homeschooling. Up until now the only record keeping we have been doing is the required homeschool testing results we put each year in a binder. Also any psychological testing and behavior goals we have received from our sons developmental pediatrician and psychologist. In NC homeschool portfolios are not a requirement but now that the kids are middle school age I am thinking that tracking their monthly/yearly progress might be a good idea. In the next few months I am going to be putting one together and would love any ideas from homeschool experts out there.

Friday, September 2, 2011

OK I'm gonna post a picture

I haven't posted a picture in awhile. This is what I used to sell on ebay and to online friends. (this isn't what our new friend creates but it would look wonderful WITH it)

Note my lovely redhead model who NOW will only wear a skirt/dress when bribed. Now her attire consists of graphic t-shirts and cut offs. I'm not complaining. It could be much worse.

in a blog funk

I have so much to possibly blog about but have been at a standstill. I do not know where to start and what to say. It seems like we have had to deal with a lot of social special needs issues the last month and it has made me wordless. (I'm not normally wordless when I type;) Not sure where to start with all that or what to write. I also have a lot of new things I want to try this year but that will have to wait until tomorrow. (stay tuned I may need advice from expert homeschoolers)

So I will just blog about some fun exciting NEW news! Well it's not exactly new but it has been something in the back of our mind for a couple of months. We learned from a friend of a friend of a friend at church that someone was looking for a seamstress. I will share more specific information later (after asking permission) but this very talented woman sells on etsy and also has her own website. She does have another person sewing for her but they cannot keep up with the orders. That is where hubby and I enter the room. The products are simple (I'm teaching hubby how to sew and he is liking it! bwahaha) yet so wonderful. (do I have you in suspense yet?)She also seems very interested in something I used to sew and sell on ebay when the kids were little. The only issue is I am not a speedy seamstress...I need to change that!

Phew. Hopefully I am over my funk now.