Category Archives: health

Latest happenings…

I am LOVING New Mexico weather! I have friends from back in Michigan telling me how they got dumped on with snow today, like 8 – 10 inches worth, in the case of one family we are close to . . . While *I* was out running errand with no coat, rather, I was wearing an open sweatshirt hoodie, lol!

Other happenings . . . It is becoming so apparent that being a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew is a tremendous blessing. So far, each and every product I’ve been given to review has been perfect for at least one of our kids, and some work well with more than one of them. Be watching for a BUNCH of upcoming reviews, starting about two weeks from now.

My husband is now recovering from his second back surgery over a six week period, and is hoping to be back to work in the next few weeks. At least this time around, the incision appears to be closed up, and he got his stitches out yesterday, so he feels like it may have worked better this time. I hope so . . .

We have been enjoying getting to know the taste of foods that we’ve never had before, I have now had pizza with green chili peppers on it! And I liked it! 🙂

We’ve finally managed to connect up with the family who adopted the biological siblings of our two youngest children, so we will be trying to maintain contact via email, phone, snail mail, and hopefully Skype if they can get that going on their end. Our boys are excited at the prospect! 🙂


Filed under adoption, education, family, health, home education, homeschool products, Kids


I’m working on adding some structure back into our home education. Being totally unstructured has worked for a while, but not as well as we had hoped it would. It has allowed the boys to learn many things on their own, according to their interests, but they really, really like doing things like lapbooks and unit studies, so even though there are some naysayers who believe that using any curriculum or structured assignments is not “real” Unschooling, it’s what we’re going to do.

We’ve begun easing back in with some things that I will be reviewing for the schoolhouse review crew, for example, a Spanish program (which I too, am doing!), because with our move to NM, we feel Spanish is a good choice for foreign language.

I have my stepson working with a CD curriculum for math that is an upcoming review. Last year, when he was being diagnosed with several things, the psychologist did a number of educational tests as well, and although he was seen as quite high in just about everything else, he needs to get caught up in math.

My eldest, who is actually 20, is going to be working with the 3rd grade cursive Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. We had tried an earlier, printing version of it when he was very young, but he just couldn’t do it, due to his disabilities, but I think this version may be a good one for him. I’ll let you know how it went when I write the review! 🙂

I am pulling out the kindergarten and then the first grade Abeka phonics and numbers books for my twins. It is an excellent foundation in phonics, but when the twins first came to us they just couldn’t handle it. Now, though, they are asking to do it.

We will also be starting to build up a supply of educational games, and using them for a regularly scheduled family game night.

I have a gazillian things saved on my computer that over the years I’ve collected free from the Internet, worksheets, unit studies, coloring pages, all things the boys are now asking to do, so I plan over the next week or so to go through and see what I have and kind of rough out a plan.

For each subject, unit study, or whatever the item is, I’m (for now) making a file folder to keep it in as they do it, so I have a running record of what they are doing.

We’re Just going to kind of ease into this for now, as we’re also dealing with a husband/father recovering from two spinal surgeries within the past six weeks, and still settling into living here, but I think this will be a good decision in the long run.

Do be watching, because over the next few months I will have several reviews here for a number of different educational products, plus I’ve just been given three single products to review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine website. I’m very excited and blessed to have this opportunity, and to be given the products at no cost to me, to use and review. It will certainly help us with homeschooling on a very tight budget! 🙂


Filed under education, family, health, home education, homeschooling, Kids, unschooling

Life’s Little (or big!) Speed Bumps!

So…this past Few days have been very busy! On Tuesday, my husband had a follow up appointment with his surgeon (he had spinal surgery last month). After he went to shower and change in the early afternoon, so as to have time to rest before the appointment, we discovered that his almost closed incision had completely opened back up, was deep, bleeding and seeping. Took him to the surgeon’s office right away at their direction, of course, and they scheduled him for surgery the next morning. So… Now we’re waiting to discover what kind of infection is in there, so they can treat it. Meanwhile, he is in the hospital at LEAST through this weekend, and we’ll see after that. 😦 He’s not having a fun time at all, with all of this mess. I think he originally thought he’d be back to work long before this…

We are discovering more and more what a wonderful church family we’ve become part of out here, two lovely ladies from church came (very early in the morning) yesterday and stayed with the kids, taking them to church last night. I made it to church too, as my husband wanted me to go, and took the kids home after.

Today, I took the kids for flu shots, then to see their dad for a bit, as they were very anxious about him. We didn’t stay too long, because my husband wanted to get his pain med and rest, but at least he was able to see them and reassure them.

Came home and began working on laundry (which never seems to end), and our assistant pastor brought over a couple of meals that ladies had made and taken to the church for us (we live a ways from our church, so it was easier to do it that way). We are now warming a lasagna and a vegetable dish in the oven for tonight’s supper, and my house smells WONDERFUL! 🙂

When my husband is finally better from all of this, I intend to become involved in that ministry, as I have been in previous churches. For any of you considering where you can minister, it is a very important ministry, too. You never know how much it means until you are the recipient of caring people who take the time out of their busy schedule to fix and bring your family a meal when life is a bit overwhelming, whether because you’ve just had a baby, or just come home from the hospital, or you have a husband in the hospital and a bunch of kids to manage at the same time. Ever since the first time I was on the receiving end of this ministry I’ve known what a blessing it is, and always tried to be involved in the giving end of it, too, and I always will!

Right now, I have one child reading one of the new Hardy Boys books he got for his birthday, and the other three are playing and watching Veggie Tales, which allowed me time between laundry loads to write this. As you can see, I meant it when I said I intended to be more intentional and frequent with my blog writing! I’m trying to average at least once a week and go up from there.

Have a good evening, everyone, and remember to see the blessings more than you see the troubles! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, family, health, Kids

Fret not…

As my closest friends already know, my biggest spiritual struggle is with worry. An old friend back home in MI used to regularly quote the words “fret not” at me…unfortunately, it’s still a major struggle for me.

My husband is struggling to recover from major spinal surgery, and instead of concentrating on his recovery is having to spend much time on the phone with both the surgeon’s office and the administrator of his medical leave. The surgeon wants him to be recovered more before he goes back to work (his incision isn’t even healed shut yet, and it’s only been one month, today, since his surgery), and the administrating company at this point has only agreed to extend his paid leave through tomorrow. So, I am worried primarily about his recovery, because if they make him go back too soon, I don’t believe he will completely recover, making the surgery a waste. I hate bureaucracy so very, very much…

We’ve been trying ever since we moved here to NM to find out how to transfer our guardianship of our adult, developmentally disabled son to a judge here. I made a call this morning to an organization I was referred to by a lady I met at a Scrapbooking day, but the person I need to speak to is out of the office until next week, so I left a voice mail with our phone numbers, and information about what we need. Hoping they can help, worrying, because we are now running out of time to get this done within the timeframe the original judge gave us.

I miss my best friend. I haven’t seen her since May, when my kids and I visited her for a few days before we left MI, and had three birthday parties in three days, for my twins and two of her kids. I miss getting to spend time with my best friend. I know it will never again be like it was, being able to see each other fairly often, even though we lived 2 1/2 hours apart. Now, it’s about 1700 miles, and several states. I miss having someone to talk with, who understands my life. I miss my other friends, the ones who were there to get together with me for just fun get togethers, even if just to go out for girl’s time… I’m lonely, and I feel like maybe I’m just being selfish.

I miss taking piano lessons, but I had to leave my piano behind when we moved, and we haven’t been able to replace it. I even miss practicing!

I am weary.

Lately, I’ve been very stressed and anxious, and am trying to give it to the Lord, but I have such a hard time leaving it with Him!

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” Psalm 37:7

This is SO hard for me, the whole “fret not” thing! I do not do well with the whole “just in time delivery” concept, it makes me very anxious. I guess the only thing I can do is keep trying, but it’s just so hard…


Filed under Birthdays, Christian faith, family, health, scrapbooking

Stressful Park Day, With a Surprising Conclusion…

So…My children and I have attended regular park days on Mondays since a couple of weeks after moving to New Mexico, with an unschooling group. It was made very clear in the description of the group that “pushing a religious agenda” was not allowed, so we have carefully not done so, rather choosing to simply do our best to live our faith and testimony, and talk about it only if a door is opened. At the same time, I’ve tried very hard to respect different views, whether they be political or religious, by not mocking them. I believe strongly that healthy debate is a good thing, especially here in the USA, but it truly bothers me when those who are adamant about non violent behavior seem to believe there is an exemption for those who choose to be verbally violent (at least in my opinion) in the way they mock someone else’s faith. To quote, for example “I can’t believe that 82% of people in this country are so stupid as to still believe in the rapture”. I believe in it, and at that point, I chose to say so. I was also told (by someone who was being very angrily sarcastic) that it was not Christian to disagree with mandated government-funded health care. It did, in fact, get to the point where I raised my voice right back, although I did subsequently apologize for that. I do NOT believe it’s un-Christian to disagree with forced government-run health care, or even government mandating that everyone MUST purchase health insurance, or be made to pay a fine for not doing so. I think if someone can afford to buy it, but chooses not to do so, then they should not be able to ask the taxpayers to cover their costs if they need medical care. I do wish everyone had access to whatever healthcare they needed, but I believe that the government is inefficient, at best when it comes to running any sort of aid. All that said, again, I believe healthy debate is a good thing. I grew up on it. My parents encouraged it, and we had very lively discussions around the dinner table and elsewhere. I also believe, however, that when one must resort to treating someone like an idiot because of their deeply held faith, they’ve lost the argument,whether they want to accept that or not. I believe that twisting what the Bible says in order to say another person is not acting in a Christian way is not a strong argument, either. I got to the point where I basically threw up my hands and said “whatever…”, and was about to pack up my kids and leave, and probably not come back. I have NEVER done to anyone in this group what was done to me today, no matter how strongly I disagreed with them. I’ve never rolled my eyes when someone refers to the “goddess” as in “if the goddess had wanted me to do (whatever it was) she would have given me (something, I don’t recall what that was)”. I’ve debated, as kindly as I could, the issue of abortion, Obama care, etc, as calmly and carefully as I could. In return, I’ve been yelled at for asking about whether it was the law here to only use call phones hands free while driving, yelled at when I said I hadn’t gotten used to not having to save pop bottles to return for deposit (yelled at that I should be saving them for recycling), and now verbally mocked for my Christian faith, and yelled at because of my deeply held views, both faith wise and political views. This came close to being our final park day, which made me sad, because I’ve come a lot of times because my kids love going, and have friends there. It is one of the few places they have since we’ve been here where they can have an extended, weekly time of fun and play with kids who accept them in spite of all their differences (they are special needs children, with issues ranging from fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar, ODD, OCD, etc). What changed my mind, you ask? Well, after things calmed a bit and someone got the subject changed, another mom who has only been coming for a few weeks came to me and very quietly told me she agreed with me, and asked me for information about my church. The Bible says we are to be the salt and the light in the world.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on on a candlestick, and giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
And for those who wondered why, if we’re under grace New Testament) the Old testament is relevent to our lives today:

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law,, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

I believe this means we are to influence others by our testimony, and living our faith. I do try very hard to show my faith and testimony in the way I live, the way I treat others, and in the ways I react to what others do to me. As a result, unbelievers have told me that they can see my faith, they can see that I do my best to treat others with a grace that appears to be what someone claiming to be a Christian should be doing. I hope that one day, when I stand before Him, the Lord will say to me “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. And I pray that the lady who came to me today will come visit this Sunday evening for our Christmas candle light service. I invited her, after she asked me several questions about our church, and about where it is. And I came to the conclusion that her doing so, even after the derisive, mocking way I was treated for daring to disagree, means God has me there for a reason, at least for this season in my life.


Filed under Christian faith, education, family, health, home education, Kids, Politics, unschooling

Hey, spring!

Welcome spring! Hear the sarcasm there? Spring officially began this past Sunday, and we had a winter storm last night. It is so beyond time for winter to give it up and move on.

On the plus side, I’ve lost about 30 pounds since my surgery, to add to the 20 I had to lose before the surgery. The other day I cleaned out a whole load of stuff from my closet. None of it fits anymore. I’m down from a size 30 to a 22/24 in most things. I did have to buy a couple skirts and tops, and am getting a new swimsuit so I can exercise in the pool at the Y, but I’m not buying much as it will be too big in a short time.

I’m off of most of my Meds now, the only things left are thyroid and cholesterol pills, and my night time insulin.

So, hey, spring, let’s see you here…like now!


Filed under exercise, health, weight loss

Three weeks post-op

I know, I said I’d be better about posting once I was past my surgery, but at first, I really wasn’t up to sitting at the computer desk, and was just really tired. I’m feeling better now, about 3 weeks out from surgery, plus my husband Mike bought me an iPad when the tax refund hit, so now I can blog right from my living room, or wherever, and not have to wait until I have time to sit in the office at the computer.

So, about surgery… The day before I was scheduled to check into the hospital, we took our kids to stay at my dearest friend’s home with her and her 3 children, where apparently they had a wonderful time. They are something of a handful, though, and she’ll be getting a pretty good thank you gift just because we love her even more for doing this. Anyway, from her house, which is about 2 1/2 hours NW of us, we then went about the same distance SE from her, to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, because I had an appointment for my final weigh in before surgery so they could see I was still at or below the weight I was at my scheduling appointment. I was a bit below it, so I was good to go for the next day. We went down to patient services to see if we could find out what time surgery would be instead of having to continue waiting for the phone call, and since they were about ready to call anyway they went ahead and told me I needed to come check into the hospital at 5:30am for surgery at 7:30am. We had reserved one of the on campus apartments for the night, so after finding a store to buy me some broth, we went back to the hospital to check into the apartment. We’d gotten up SO early to drive the kids to our friend’s home that we were exhausted, and actually went to bed at 8:00pm, setting the alarm for 3:30am, so Mike could have something to eat, and we could both get showers. We were checked in at the surgical lounge by 5:30, and it wasn’t all that long before I was taken back for prep. Mike was allowed to be there with me, until time to go to the operating room. Once they took me there, Mike went and checked us out of the apartment, as he was staying in my hospital room with me until I was discharged. My surgery took about an hour longer than expected because of my previous hysterectomy, the surgeon said there were a lot of adhesions, but the surgery did go well. While inside, they discovered what appeared to be some cirrhosis on the liver, so they took a biopsy. At my follow up with the surgeon two weeks later, he said it came back yes, that it is cirrhosis, but very early, that at this stage I’d just be told to lose weight, which is what the surgery will help me to do. At my one week post-op with my primary care physician, me blood pressure had been so good he had me stop taking the meds for that, and my blood sugar levels were so much better that he took me off my daytime insulin and lowered the night time one from 28 units to 12 units, pending my next appointment one month later, at which time he can re-assess.

I was told not to step on the scale for a couple of weeks, that I’d just get upset, because they pumped me so full of fluids the entire time I was in the hospital that my weight would actually be up, but of course I did it anyway, and they were right. But the fluid weight is gone now, and I’m starting to lose actual weight. I had to go out the other day and buy a belt, so I could wear what I have longer, LOL! I had to buy it in the big men’s section at K-mart, but that will change.

I’m on the road to saving my life, and that’s a very good thing.

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Day 2…

Coming toward the end of day 2 of my seven day clear liquid diet for surgical prep. I can have sugar free jello (made with protein powder), sugar free popsicles, low sodium broth,crystal light for six days, then the day before surgury, just the clear liquids, no protein.   As you might guess, this is FUN!!!!!! It will be worth it though, during the surgery and after. I’m getting tons of support from my HFH bariatric patient support group on yahoo, and from my CCU friends (the best home education yahoo group around!). 

The other day we had the guardianship hearing for our eldest son, who just turned 18. He is developmentally disabled, and cannot be on his own. It went well, we now have full guardianship that doesn’t expire, and a back up guardian who loves him and will take him, should something happen to us.  Now we just have to get to work on the legalities of making sure our other kids will go to her as well if something happens.  This is the same wonderful friend (or as we told the judge, “chosen family”) who will be keeping our children while I’m in the hospital.  (better pray for her, LOL!) I don’t have a lot to say no, but will try to really write about this particular journey after surgery, the good and bad, the changes I make, etc.

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Getting closer!

Well, for all of my thinking about how it would be too long of a wait between my last consult when I received my surgery date and the actual date, it’s suddenly almost here! Of course, it was a long time to have to maintain the 20.2 pound weight loss, and of course I was not able to do it, so now I’m working on getting the last of it back off. My surgery is the 27th, with my weigh in on the 26th, and I’ve got 6.1 pounds to go, but I think it’ll be fine. I had more than that to lose a little over a week before my scheduling date and did it. All fast food is out of my life, and I’m buying a Ninja blender from Sam’s as soon as I can afford it, so I can make my own slurpees with my Crystal Light and protein powder. I like the Ninja because it’s not too large, and has several different functions. The one I will use for this crushes and shaves ice.

So, this past Monday was my oldest son’s birthday party. His actual birthday is on the 13th, but there was a museum exhibit he wanted to go to during his party which ends this Sunday, so we just did the party early.  For his party food, he chose chili dogs, chips, koolaid, and the chocolate/peanut butter cake for which I was a finalist in the Flint Journal Bake Off in 1995 (I think it was that year!). I pre-planned for myself so as not t self sabotage myself. I bought a Dole Salad Kit, & some individual sugar free jello cups. I determined ahead of time that I would have one chili dog, no chips, no cake or ice cream. Instead, with my one chili dog, I had salad, water, and for dessert I had my sugar free jello. And The following night when the kids wanted cake for dessert, I again did not have any. Yesterday was MY birthday, and I went to lunch at Olive Garden, where I had water with lemon, a stuffed mushroom appetizer, and the soup & salad special. No dessert. I asked Mike (my husband) if he and the kids would just please finish up the cake after their lunch while I was gone, though, because otherwise I might well have given in to temptation.  They had Dijourno’s Pizza for supper, and I had a salad with pecans & multiple kinds of berries in it. So really, two birthdays, and I did great, I think.

Today I ordered part of the protein powder I will need for the week before surgery (when I will be on clear liquid diet only, with protein powder for the first part of the week), and the month or so after, from I ordered the unflavored so I could use it in anything. I will have to order more, but couldn’t afford (today) to order all that  I will need. I ordered 4 cannisters, and will need at least 8 or 10 before being back on regular foods completely. I will need to take in at least 80 grams of protein per day.

I’m also re-reading the binder full of information I was given at the first meeting I went to about the surgery. Every time I read it I see something I missed the first time, so it’s a good thing to do.

Now that the actual date of surgery is so close, i’m feeling excited about it, and nervous about it, too. I’m not looking forward to that week before surgery, but I’m so looking forward to after!

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Filed under Birthdays, health, weight loss

Been a while…

So, it’s been a while since I’ve put anything on here. I often don’t really feel I have anything very interesting to say, so I neglect to come and just write.

It’s just past Thanksgiving, and we had a nice time. My cousin Kathy and her little boys came for the holiday, as is becoming a very nice tradition. Instead of doing all the prep and cooking, etc, my husband suggested I take it as a less stressful day and just order a pre-made meal from one of our local stores, so I did! It was very good, cost considerably less, and reheating everything took a total of two hours (turkey, spiral sliced ham, loads of sides). I’m thinking this may become a nice tradition, too!  I even bought foil baking pans for everything to help with clean up.

As I feared would happen, though, I have regained part of the weight I lost before my surgery consult, so I now have to get back on the wagon and be tough on myself. I have until January 26, 2011, which is my pre-surgery weigh in to get it back off.  I can do it, I did it before, it’s just tough. I’ll need to dump about 14 pounds. I’ll be doing the meal replacement protein bars and protein powder, lots of fruits and veggies that are mostly water, drinking tons of water, being careful again about my portion sized, etc.  And I need to get back on the wagon with the exercise DVD’s. It’s getting close. I’m nervous, but excited.

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Filed under family, health, Uncategorized, weight loss