The children that libraries build

farmsteadlady:

Good read about how our across the pond friends are following in our footsteps and cutting library services.

This constantly bewilders me…..my county has 2 libraries that have Sunday hours. Pity the child with limited/no internet connection at home that remembers on Sunday afternoon that he has an assignment due on Monday. I can recall as a child in NJ, many a Sundays spent at the library (of course that was pre-internet days). But still, libraries serve many functions in our communities and should be treasured instead of being dismembered by a swipe of the budget ax.

Do you and your family use your local library?

Originally posted on Lost in Ephemera:

While idly browsing through my Twitter feed this evening, I came across this:

It got me thinking about the value of public libraries for young readers and the disastrous consequences closures/service reductions could bring. It also got me reflecting on why I chose to work in libraries in the first place.  It may be quite a personal story but, given the circumstances, I think it really highlights the importance of public libraries, including the chance for escape and the opportunities they offer young people.

My family never had that much spare money when I was growing up, despite both my mother and stepfather working. Both worked in a takeaway and, because all other immediate family members were also working there and cheap/free childcare was (as it…

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10 Heartfelt Sentiments for National Grammar Day

farmsteadlady:

Some Thursday humor as I belatedly celebrate National Grammar Day!

Originally posted on The Snail on the Wall:

Today marks an important day for word users and language speakers everywhere. It’s National Grammar Day! There are all kinds of ways to celebrate this special occasion: Proofread an e-mail message before you hit “send.” Show some Facebook friends you care by correcting their grammatical mistakes in the comments section of their posts. Read a grammatical page-turner, like  Woe Is I or  Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  Try your hand at a quick Facebook editing contest hosted by Grammarly, called “Edit This.” Or, for goodness’ sake, just take care to craft a structurally sound sentence with all your commas and apostrophes in the right places.

In honor of the holiday, here are 10 heartfelt sentiments to send to someone you love. Enjoy!

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Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Punctuation is everything. 1. 'Woman, without her man, is nothing.' 2. 'Woman: without her, man is nothing.'MjAxMy1hNzVkYjUzYWVmYjNkNjMw_5196504e1dc4e

In honor of the day, tell us—which grammatical mistake makes your skin crawl?

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Why is Walmart so expensive?

farmsteadlady:

I will admit that I am a bit biased as I am a frequent shopper here but I will say that I think Scott hits the nail on the head. Organics do cost more but is it the organic industry’s fault or our own because we have allowed conventional foods to be manipulated for our convenience?

Originally posted on Scott's Compost Pile:

kicking-the-can-down-the-roadIn my eternal scan of the Internet for MOM’s data and feedback, I came across this blogger’s post: Why is MOM’s Organic Market so expensive?  I hear this question in one form or another all the time.  If you read reviews of MOM’s on Yelp, Google, etc., there is always someone who gives us a low rating because we’re “too expensive.”  For example, “The staff is very friendly and helpful, but the prices are a little high,” and “If you’re into paying high prices for their so-called organic food, then come here. It’s been proven that organic foods are not as healthy as regular food, cannot be proven to be organic, and they don’t taste better. So convince yourself in believing in the organic hype and shop here.  My rating would be lower except they do have a lot of produce, even if it’s overpriced hype.”

MOM’s has a price…

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Feeling Good

I could break into song and sing Nina Simone but that may drive the few of you that read my dribble away. ;-)

Today is the warmest it has been in some time and amazing how a few rays of sunshine can lift spirits. I know the dreaded polar vortex seeks to make a return tonight but I am going to enjoy the moment for now that the thermometer reads above 40 degrees. I am not anti-cold or winter but let’s just say I was born in the summer and love running through the grass barefoot. I do know that the seasons are necessary and provide a nice rest for the ground and this won’t last forever but I must say these artic blasts have been a doozy.

Despite the frigid temperatures, the show must go on and that includes heading out of the house. Last week we braved the chill for another round of 4-H Microsoft classes. These classes have been informative to the kids but also to me. I am excited about the skills they have picked up and I am thinking of how to incorporate them into their schooling. Thinking a video montage of their work as an end of the year project. :)

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Switching gears, I am 2 weeks and counting in terms of being gluten free. I feel so much better (hence the post title). I am reading more labels and my kids are helping and making me laugh through the process. Last week we went to the feed supply store for some chicken goodies and my son wanted some Starburst. I purchased 2 packs and he gave one to his sis. The rest of the convo went like this:

Son: “mom, what flavor would you like?”
Me: “thanks but I am not interested”
Daughter: “you know she isn’t eating gluten”
(Both furiously reading the wrapper)
Daughter/son (in unison): “mom these are gluten free”
Me: “that is good to know but I still don’t want any”

They are reading more labels now as well.  Hubby is also being supportive – he promptly ate most of the gluten free snickerdoodles that I made.  If you follow me on Instagram you will see some of the yumminess that I have been making.  I made brownies on Saturday and they didn’t even make it to Sunday evening so I must whip up another batch of those like stat!  You will also see the gluten free goodies that didn’t make the cut.

I so enjoy Pinterest and bloggers that share their gluten free recipes….huge thanks to all of you!  My favorite right now is Gluten Free Canteen.  I like Lisa’s baking style and her momma’s brownies are just super duper amazing!!!

Wishing you and yours a great Monday and that we will all look forward to Thursday when the weather patterns are due to change and become more seasonable.

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Take Charge of Your Health

Our health is something that we often take for granted, especially when it is good.  Of course, when we feel out of sorts, most of us will go to the doctor to see why we feel the way we do but sometimes we are given a diagnosis and possibly a treatment plan without any real indication as to what caused our malady in the beginning.  I pray this post will help someone else but it is written more for my own catharsis….

In 2009, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  You can see how easily I accepted the diagnosis in this post.  I pretty much blinded believed the doctor and moved on with life, a life content with taking a small synthetic hormone pill thinking, trusting, believing that all I was feeling was all of sudden going to right itself and I would be *normal* again.  It is a bit hard to be normal when every time you look in the mirror, your elongated neck has a lump in it but I had come to accept what was staring back at me.

The little pill made me feel somewhat better but I continued battling digestive issues.  When I say digestive issues, I mean i-s-s-u-e-s.  I could eat some foods and within minutes they were racing out of my body at the other end.  I often suffered in silence because of the belief that moms are superheros who are immune to getting sick with anything more severe than the common cold.  I would be careful of what I ordered if we went out and I started making mental checklists of where bathrooms were located.  It all came to a head one Sunday when we went to a local restaurant and I partook in some fried goodies that were divine!! After the meal was consumed, I started getting that rumbling, bubbling feeling in my stomach and I knew that I needed to head home to the confines of my own lavatory.   Since hubby was paying the bill, I had my dad break speed limits to get me home where I barely made it, if you know what I mean.  I convinced everyone, including myself, that I just couldn’t eat fried foods.

String together many more incidents like that and I was at my wit’s end.  I went to my primary doctor and she tested me for celiac disease and it came back negative.  So, she told me I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  She also indicated that there wasn’t a cure so I needed to watch what I ate for the rest of my life.  During this same period of time, I was always feeling sluggish/fatigued, irritated by everything/everyone, low libido, and various joint pains.  I just felt blah at most times but the show must go on so I put on my Stepford wife smile and kept moving.  So, you are probably wondering where this is all going?

I like food, I mean I really like it!  So this latest diagnosis did not sit well with me.  So, at the urging of my mother, I went to a naturopathic doctor/master herbalist.  She was fabulous!!!  She gave me some herbs to get rid of parasites (she felt were the cause of my tummy issues), thyroid support herbs, and a few other things.  Well, I felt better than I had felt in years.  Oooh, I was dancing down happy street convinced I had finally found an answer.  In this state of euphoria, I had forgotten all about my thyroid because my goiter had actually shrunk.  I was on the path to healing and skipped right down the path with glee.

Well, let’s just say I hit some speed bumps.  I started feeling sick again and the tummy issues returned so did the other issues.  At the same time, another homeschool mom and I were discussing thyroid issues because she was hyper and I was hypo.  Amazing what we live with when we don’t have to….I had never delved in-depth into my thyroid condition but our conversation caused me to spend a bit of time on the internet – also known as the place for self-diagnosis or confirmation – depends on what you are looking for.  ;-)

Site after site, blog after blog, people were healing their thyroids via what they ate and more than a few found that a gluten-free diet was essential to improved thyroid health.  Of course, I then had to wonder why my primary and internist (they work in the same practice) never made a connection between my thyroid and my digestive issues), but that is neither here nor there – why? – because they aren’t the ones sick.  I am and I need to take charge of my health so that I can feel better.

So, as of today, I am on day #4 of being gluten-free.  Let’s just say, it has been somewhat difficult because I wasn’t ready for this transition.  I had to make a birthday cake for my son on Tuesday and it was torture to not partake in it or the pizza ordered for dinner but I did it.  I know that there are tons of gluten-free options out there but I am considering this change for my daughter as well and she has a bean/legume/nut allergy – so not all gluten-free items will pass the bar.  Thankfully, I love to cook so we will be doing some experimenting as we find what works for us.  Amazingly, there is so much information out there that it can cause your head to spin.  Who knew there are so many ways to make gluten-free all purpose flour?  Don’t believe me, google it.  :)

Here are a few sites that I found helpful regarding the connection between Hashimoto’s and gluten:

Repair Your Thyroid

Changing Your Diet – Addressing Hashimoto’s

Reversing Hashimoto’s Naturally

Here are some sites that may be helpful if you find yourself trying to navigate the gluten-free waters:

Gluten Free Girl

Gluten Free Easily

Art of Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-Free Goddess

We must all delve deeper to get to the why of what we are experiencing.  So, if you are suffering from anything, I encourage you to take charge of your health.  Not only for you but for those that love you and you love!

I am not a medical doctor and if you find yourself battling thyroid or other other medical conditions, you should seek professional advice from trained medical personnel.

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The Week That Was

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Wow, the first week of the year was a busy one!!!!  So busy in fact, all the planned blog posts fell into the polar vortex that was a big part of last week.  We literally dove right in to the week with an out of the house activity everyday.  So, yes, even on those frigid days – we left the house.  This is far from typical – on average we do leave the house 3 days out of the week .  So, what were we doing, you might ask…….let me tell you.

Monday – our speech club resumed from holiday break.  So, we schooled in the morning and then speech club for the afternoon.  I teach the juniors and being our second semester – we gently introduce them to speech categories like extemporaneous and apologetics.  We also delve into debate as the semester continues.  For many, this is their first introduction to these categories, so we aren’t hard and fast with the rules like NCFCA is for the competitors.

Tuesday – this was a c-o-l-d day but piano practice beckoned.  I dropped the kids off and did some grocery shopping since I was already out of the house.  Returning home and sitting in front of the fire was a treat.

Wednesday – this is our co-op day.  We started our winter session so that meant new classes.  I am teaching a math class based on Math Counts and I still have the little ones for PE/Health.  I knew that I wasn’t scheduled for anything for our 3rd hour so I thought it was nap free time.  This is one of the reasons reading is important boys and girls….once I finally read the entire class schedule, I realized I was scheduled for Moms in Prayer.  I had no idea what this was but went off to meet up with the 2 other moms.  God knows what we need and this hour spend in prayer for our children, the children of the other moms, our co-op, and others was truly a blessing.  I am excited that this session, I can stand in the gap with the other moms. (If you have never heard of this group, it is international, click the link to learn more.  We adapted it for homeschool purposes)

Thursday – this was our first meeting day for our 4-H Trailblazers club.  It is a homeschool club and we are excited about the opportunities ahead.  There were a few other new members that were welcomed and the installation of new officers.  The kids participated in a geospatial teach back done by the older kids and engaged in planning for this year.  I continue to pray that this will be a nice fit for our family.

Friday – we headed off to the Microsoft store for another class via the 4-H program.  It was a movie making class and the kids had a great time.  They allowed them to take the Surface tablets and go around the store and take pics or video and they used MovieMaker to edit the movie, add special effects, music and more.  All of the kids did a great job and were given flash drives to put their movies on and take home.  We played ours on the tv for hubby when we returned home.  He was amazed at what they had done.  :)
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Whew!  The weekend had more to-do items and Friday night included dropping off/picking up the Princess at a birthday party.  All in all, I am thankful and grateful for the opportunities, safe traveling mercies and the relationships that were nurtured during the course of the week.  Hopefully, I can adjust to our new schedule quickly and develop a nice rhythm for our family.

I’ve also been reading up more on my thyroid condition – more to come on that later.

Happy Monday!!!

Homeschooling – The Mid Year Review

January marks that mid year point in our homeschooling journey where we take a moment to look back and see what is working, what hasn’t worked, what can be tweaked, and what needs to be tossed out the window.  This is our 7th year and trust me, there have been lots of evaluations and things changed mid-stream.  So, during my most recent look back, I was once again amazed at what God showed me about what we are doing and what we should be doing.

Bible/Character

We started this school year using the KONOS Obedience unit study for Bible and Character.  We thoroughly enjoyed it and when we were nearing completion, I wondered what we were going to use next.  I decided to continue with KONOS and purchased Volume II on Ebay.  We are going to start with Responsibility because honestly, I see some holes in that area.  The holes exist not only in schoolwork but also in other areas of their lives.  If they don’t learn responsibility they will be irresponsible and frankly, there are more than enough irresponsible folks in the world, so I don’t need to add two more.  ;-)  As a part of learning responsibility, I will create charts on the skills that we want them to learn and gauge whether how well they are doing them until they can do them proficiently.

Math

The funny thing about homeschooling is that homeschoolers often say that one of the reasons that we chose homeschooling is because we realize all children are different and learn in different ways.  Now what is funnier than that – when we forget that and continue with a curriculum/program with another child because it was such a good fit with another child.  Yes, my son and daughter have been using the same math curriculum and quite frankly, it was working for both of them for awhile.  Now my son hit a bump in the program – knew how to do the problems but just wasn’t interested.  He was going through the motions and being that my  husband and I (& others) feel he is gifted in math, I didn’t want his flame to burn out.  He & I had a chat and he indicated that he would like to do math on his own.  After my initial shock, I delved further and told him I would think about it.  A few days later, while at the local thrift store aka homeschooler hang out area (seriously ran into 2 families that day), God gave me the epiphany that I was trying to ram my square peg (son) into a round hole (the math program).  This epiphany came after son figured out the cost of an item dealing with percentages (it was a sale day) rather quickly and could it explain it so well that the other mom asked me what I was doing with him for math and I had to admit that he likes to go off on Khan Academy and tinker around with things beyond his grade level.  Hubby and I have decided that since he is ahead of his grade level in math that we are going to let him try his hand at using Khan Academy for his math program.  I am listed as his coach so I will assign him work with a due date and he will be responsible for completing it.  We shall see how this works out for him and for me.

Surprisingly, our other items are remaining the same and the kids have given them the thumbs up.  We are adding in 4-H which should prove interesting.  It is a homeschool club so the kids know most of the kids in the program but we will see how it fits into our schedule and lives.

The not so surprising part is that this week being the first week of the year means that we will be out of the day everyday because of one of the activities that they are involved in – it is all good stuff but let’s just say that I will be tickled pink when Friday evening arrives.

So, what has your mid year review revealed?

Living a simple and creative life

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