Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Class Thankful Quilts

My volunteer art lessons this last week were on Pilgrims and what little they actually had.
We talked about fabric and where it came from. How they made different colors and then what they did with clothes when they wore out and couldn't be fixed.it was really interesting to watch their reactions.
I found this cute book at the library. Its called " That Summer" and written by an imaginative guy by the name Tony Johnston and beautifully illustrated by Barry Moser.
There was no way I could read the whole book because it is a story about a boy spending the last summer with his Grandmother and his really sick brother - who died- but this part of the story I could make it through without sobbing. Plus it is a great description on what goes into a quilt.
.... "How do you make a quilt?" Joey asked. "Cut scraps into shapes of all the things you love," Gram said," then join them with thread."
So in the hallows of the night when he could not sleep Joey pieced a quilt - a patch with an owl because he loved it's call, the cow he squeezed from clay (first grade), and his fishing pole and a lightning bug and a country road and his baseball glove."......
Since I knew that I didn't have time to actually teach kids HOW to sew and how to MAKE a quilt square, I came up with this idea. I gave them 9 3" squares in a rainbow of colors, 2 5" squares - they could choose their 2 colors and one 12"x12" black square. These were the instructions I gave each class.
1- You have to stay within your 12"x12" paper.
2- Anywhere on your quilt square you need to write 1 thing you are thankful for.
3- The square needs to represent you in some way. And you need to have fun and be proud of YOUR square.
It was so fun to hear the quiet chatter of little brains at work. They were so cute creating. They are thrilled with their squares. But they were even MORE excited to see their squares made into a quilt. Even if it's a paper one.
1st grade:

2nd grade:

3rd grade;
Pix to come

Special Ed: 3rd-6th grades
Pix to come

I'd like to encourage you to borrow that book... And even more - to make a quilt with your kids... Even if it's a paper one.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reflections... Great program. Greater mess!

Now that all the finishing up, cleaning up and refinding tables that were long buried, I'd like to share my kids projects. Well... A couple of them anyway. And I'll have to update this when I get their literature back up on my computer.
The theme was "Together We Can....

Wrote "Me and My Sister". A little poem about things she can do better when with Keriana.
I got a call yesterday and this piece has won at her school level and will advance to District competition. Of course I started crying and her smile got that much bigger... She really needed that news. She's had a rough patch lately.
Chey really wanted to sew something. But just could not work everything. -though she tried... Then she said she wished she could just make cupcakes. Wah lah!
This project won at school level as well.

Keepable cupcakes by Cheyanne. I think she could start a business!!
Chey did a visual art but I didn't get a pix of the picture. I'll post it when I get it back.

He went sports theme..
Together we can score a touch down.

His 3 d was "...play ball together"
Pix to come I forgot to take one. Bad mom!


Visual Arts

3D "...help flowers grow"


"...plant flowers."

Yep!! I'm pretty dang proud my kids have a little bit of my love of arts nestled in them somewhere.

Now you think about it... Together we can.....????

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bedroom safe Jack-o-lanterns

I ran across this cute project in a magazine. My kids love it- but they couldn't cut it. Older kids could.

Wonder what could be done with Milk Jugs? Here's an idea!

After your kids have drained a gallon, wash with soap and let dry. Then peel off the sticker as best you can.
Spray paint orange and let dry 24 hours.

Hold can 6" from jug and let coat one dry about 15 min before adding coat 2 or you end up with drips. The drips DO add to the spooky -ness though.
Have your kids draw what they want their jack-o-lantern to look like.

Using an exacto knife, carefully cut out your shapes. NOTE: the jug does weaken with every cut. Go slowly and carefully.

Get a small flashlight and duct tape it to the top of your bottle. I used a piece 1/2 width and I stuck it to my pants first to get rid of some of the sticky so the tape wouldn't leave residue on my flashlight.

The original instructions said to use brown craft foam for the pumpkin stem. Since I didn't have that, I used a paper towel roll cut to the size of my flashlights. I got three stems from one roll.

We then added chenille wires for vines. We curled them around pencils, but you could leave them straight or use raffia or whatever you have laying around. Quick, fun and mold free! Yea!

My kids are thrilled to have their "Halloween room spooky pumpkin things"..... Keriana says. And Tristin told me "you just have the best craft brain".... I'm a smiling....

Happy Haunting!

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Discovering Mod Podge

I have to admit that the saying most often associated with me is " Always late but worth the wait." I love crafts and often use them as my stress reliever.... When I get the time! For the past few years I've been on a quilting kick. Which could be why I've missed the Mod Podge rush. But I've discovered it now! And I'm enjoying every minute of it...
3 years ago for Christmas, my sister -in -law gave me a little sign holder and some wood plaques. She is so talented and I've loved changing around the signs. I've needed a few more to round out my seasons & holidays so I got cracking. I asked her what she suggested for glue - having just discovered spray adhesive as well (told ya I was slow!) and she told me about Mod Podge. Yea!
I had my Dad cut me out some wood pieces. 8"x8" and 8"x10" and he put the hanging holes in them for me too. I was just going to paint some pictures on them but then I found some cute scrapbook paper and decided to use that.

I got a piece of 150 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the sides and holes.

Then I got a small sponge brush and yellow paint and created "heat waves".

Then I grabbed my paper and fussy cut what I wanted where.

Then I used another sponge brush with my Mod Podge and used it like glue to put down my pieces.

After this dried for about 5 to 10 minutes, I applied a topcoat of Mod Podge. A lite coat just for sealant purposes. As a note for anyone who has not used this before, Mod Podge will make your plain computer paper bubble. When it dries, this bubbling will go away.
I thought the sign was missing a little something so I found some sparkly paper at Walmart for $5 a pack and used my cricut on different settings to cut out some letters.

Some of the paper covered my hanging holes and so after it had dried 24 hours I went back with my exacto knife and re-cut the holes.

I happened to go into the Dollar Tree on a day they had just gotten in some spooled of wired ribbon. Yippie! Lucky me!
I cut off the length of ribbon I wanted, thread it front to back thru the holes...

And tied it in triple knots tucking the extra under the knot.

And wa la! Fun little signage....

Here's a couple others I completed. Still working on some other ideas. I'll share those when I'm done!

I got these leaves in a big bag from Dollar Tree as well.
Then I needed to make a piƱata for a school reading program class party prize. I'll post more about it another time... But here's the end result. Yes I did utilize some Mod Podge in it as well!

Happy crafting!!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We have injections!

Chey and I have decided we have the BEST horror imaginations. We need to partner with some movie makers or something. But then again when you receive this...

... I think we are entitled to some horrific thinking!
But today went great. Our "lesson" was very good. Cheyanne even got to practice mixing her medicine. Though I will not let that happen for a while. ;•D
The nurse practitioner -Kristie- is just fab-o! She walked us thru it a few times and then, while I still wanted to practice and avoid it... Chey announced, " ok! I'm ready. Do I get to poke me?" ugh. So i get the machine ready and as I place the machine on her skin and it starts making it's noises Chey scrunched up her face in anticipation of the pain. My insides are flip flopping... The machine stops making noises and she peeks at me and says " when is it going to poke me?" I was dumb founded because I thought it had. And then I figured - with my super great luck- I did it wrong or broke the machine... Or both. And when I looked at Kristie she had a big smile on her face and announces " it did!" and sure enough, I pulled the machine away and there is a little medicine oozing from her arm. Whew.
And as me and my sweet girl are leaving she says " thanks kristie! Tomorrow mom I want you to poke me in my butt!" and skipps off. Only in a Dr.s office! :•D

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Answered prayers

This week has been so full of happy phone calls it has just a bit overwhelmingly sped by. Wednesday we got the phone message that Medicaid had decided that Chey is indeed disabled and will cover her. Thursday we got the call that our insurance approved her for the hormone treatments and that we have been accepted by Connections For Growth and their distributor -walgreens ( not affiliated with the drug store on the corner) and that we should be getting all of that stuff next week.
Then Friday we got the absolutely AMAZING call that United Health Care actually changed their policy regarding the MEG and that Chey was approved for that. And they had an opening next Tuesday Sept 7 for her to get that done.
I can not even begin to tell you the amount of happy tears shed; or the heaviness that has been lifted. It is just amazing.
I've been writing a .... Grumpy (?) blog in my head and heart this week though. I have to admit that. And it is because of a (I'm hoping) innocent comment that was made to me. I was asked by someone if I was going to attend a school function. And when I replied that I was not - was asked why. I try hard not to lie, fib, white lie, skirt around the truth - whatever you want to call it - but I also try very hard not to complain or talk finances with anyone. 1) because it really isn't anyone business and 2) I don't want to worry anyone. Things could be so much worse for us. We have truly been blessed in so many many ways. Anyway, when I replied that with all Chey's summer tests and upcoming needs it just wasn't in our budget to go, I was confronted with "don't you have insurance? It can't cost you that much more for you. Besides your husband is a store manager." I honestly was completely dumbfounded. This person - having more children than I do ( I think! I don't know them well) just doesn't get it. I just replied " more than you'd think but definitely better than it could be" and I then lied to get out of there before my anger got the better of me.
This situation has gotten me thinking. I've come up with all sorts of financial break down blogs. Maybe I should post it. I think it would make some peoples jaws drop. If you don't have a child with a special need you just may not understand what sacrifices it means. Ignorance is not bliss. Well maybe it is to you, but to those of us going through something with your child - no matter what the % is of people afflicted with the same issue - it sucks! And you truly feel like you are alone!
I have decided against the financial break down because I think that's going a bit overboard. Maybe I'll change my mind again in the future because part of the reason we started this blog is so that people could understand more about dealing with special needs.
But I am done complaining. My heart is so full at the news this week that I am refusing to let the dark enter again. We are so lucky and blessed that Chey is as functional as she is. We don't need helmets, wheelchairs and diapers or bibs. We still have hope for an independent future for her. And maybe even a solution to end her seizure fight. This week of miracles has reminded me of that. We may not have the best of everything, we may not have huge overflowing Christmas's with lights in every window & covering our house, and we may not be able to buy something at every fundraiser or school function. (I volunteer enough to not feel guilty about not supporting the schools. Haha! ;•D Just TRY and beat my 25+ volunteer hours a week. Go on! I triple dog dare ya!)
My blessings are abundant and we have more happiness in our house than some may ever have in their lifetime. For that - I will forever be eternally grateful...

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Monday, August 16, 2010


I realized that I might have people checking this blog for Cheyanne updates. We've started a blog for her and her travels. Please add her blog to your list! And feel free to share with your friends. The more that know about her plight the more tolerance will spread for disabilities.
She'd LOVE to have you say hi!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chey's Test Results

Today's appointment went well. We got a lot of useful information BUT we are still no closer to "fixing" the problem.
The recorded seizures were very clear. Unfortunately, they still consider the area too big to go into and blindly operate. The seizures originate in the Parietal lobe.
"The parietal lobe is a lobe in the brain. It is positioned above (superior to) the occipital lobe and behind (posterior to) the frontal lobe. This area controls sensory and small motor..." Which kinda explains Cheys issues in some areas. A positive.
Where does this leave us?? Pretty much in the same spot as before the test. So here are the options they gave us.
1) The Dr.s still want the MEG imaging. I got precise clarification on this today. An MRI takes pictures of the brains "electric" waves. The MEG takes pictures of the "magnetic" waves. These are more fine tuned waves. Like the difference between a movie ( MRI) and a 3D movie (MEG). So they want to re-push United Health Care with updated test results to try to get them tocover this. If they won't...
2) We pay for the MEG. Approx. $10,000-12,000. .... Oh yes. Let's just do that because I have that right here in my purse. (very heaving sigh) I wonder if I could hold a bake sale?
3) We forgo the MEG and go in and do the "mapping". To "map" this area means that she would be put under anesthesia, open her skull, place all those electrodes from the video EEG she just went through directly on her brain, tape her up and let her sit in bed, take her off her meds and wait for her to seize again. 3-5 seizures. Again. Some people don't feel those things on their brains, others are in so much pain they are morphined till they seize and have enough seizures the drs are sure what to cut out in the surgery. --ssssaaaawwweeeeaaaaattt! Where do we sign up?? (yes I am totally sick to my stomach by this point).
4) We forget about brain surgery and we go for the VNS (Vegas nerve stimulator). This is basically a pacemaker for your major nerve. Every 3 +\- minutes an electric pulse is sent out and has been proven to help with seizure control. The success statistics: 2%-3% become seizure & medicine free. 60% have a decrease in seizure activity and are able to cut medicine needs. 25% are able to have more control but have to stay in meds. 15% it does nothing for. - lovely news! Thanks for that hope. (insert eye roll here)
5) We do nothing. When her seizures become worse again we can change medicines. 2 new ones have come out and there's about a 20% chance they might work. - Cheyanne is on her 11th medicine/ combo. Remember she's had seizures for 9 years. Yep the medicine is really successful! Whatever.
I do need to let you know the brain surgery success rate. 85% become seizure free. 10% the seizures become maybe one a year and significantly decrease in duration & intensity. 5% have little to no change. - I just LOVE statistics. They are yummy friends!! But I appreciate the honesty of my doctors. They really inform us about everything and then give us their suggestions. And I do like the fact that they sound hopeful, positive, and want in running every test to see this thing at as many angles as possible before we jump into ... Well... Her.
So what do we do? No clue. I really don't. No option is prefect. When we ask Chey she says " I just don't want to be broken anymore. Whatever it takes to make them go away." wow. What do you say to that? We try hard to make her understand that "they" may never go away... But we don't want to dash hopes of normalcy either. I think both Joe and I are slowly giving into the "this is as good as it's going to get" mentality. The mentality of big celebrations of small milestone reached and kept is where we are at. Like she can remember how to tell time on a clock but doesn't understand its passing around her. But it is truly hard to accept that your child, who you love to death but are trying to teach to be self sufficient, is never going to be able to be that...... Free.....

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gun Safety and Intro to shooting

Joe has been talking for some time about getting our kids out to learn how to handle and shoot some guns. He was raised around them and has wanted to do that with them. Our biggest fear is that we put a gun in Chey's hand, a seizure hits and rapid firing commences while she stiffens and we can't remove the weapon. Plus I've been a bit uneasy about putting a loaded gun into the hand if a 6 year old... We found these as compromises. 1 BB pellet riffle and 1 BB pellet gun. Both simulate the loading of a gun. Both have safeties like real guns. Training without explosive power. And both have a bit of recoil when fired. Again great training without complete damage power.
This afternoon, since Chey is off playing at Grandma'S, Joe gets the kids all excited about going to " find" a place and go shooting. We don't know where to go. We haven't lived here long enough to have explored back country areas... But off we go. We drove toward Morgan, took a turn off, drove thru herrison (?), past some resivore lake thingy (there were boats on it but it was small. I don't know!!), past a monistary ( not kidding!!). We drove by some national forest campgrounds and a dinner that advertised cold burgers and warm beer with a life-sized Indian teepee behind it. During the drive we went iver gun safty and whys and hows and found out later we were being tuned out anyway.
Finally, after about an hour ( the country was beautiful tho!) we found a big atv/snowmobile parking area with some great trails. There were even concrete outhouses! Sweet! We packed our arms and off we went.

We found a nice little outcove and set up our waterbottles and cardboard boxes and started loading our weapons. Joe tried a few shots then handed the riffle to Tristin. He got his bottle sighted in and POP! Missed.. But succeeded in hitting himself above the eye on the recoil and started crying. Then he says "dad. I think the little gun is made for me."

After a quick lesson from Dad, he was right and did great.
Then it was Keriana's turn. Dad helped her hold the riffle ...

... And sight it all in and POP! One water bottle sprung a leak... She started giggling so hard and I was seriously releaved that Joe was holding the gun and that it was a single load weapon. Someone would have lost an eye. And you have to admit any military person or avid hunter is going to be seriously envying her outfit.
Ana then got a turn at the hand gun.

Same outcome as the riffle. A great shot. Both kids were about 50/50 on shot accuracy.

But Ana's arms got tired... And found that this was still a safe and easier way to shoot. They were Pretty psyched.

Until the bushes started shaking and Ana needs to go potty and we find the bathrooms locked tight. So I got to teach her the fine art of wilderness urination. Ahhhhhhhhh... The joys of parenting.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The LORD's time...

Somedays I despise the LORD's time. Today did NOT go how I had planned. I had a school meeting in the am and a church visiting teaching meeting in the early afternoon. Joe had to close tonight so he was home most of the morning.
A few weeks ago, cheyanne mis-placed her iPod shuffle. This is pretty typical for her with all her things - as it is with most kids. Play with something, see something else entertaining, swap toys right where you are standing... Anyway toy one always shows up again. Right? No worries.
My sweet husband tends to forget that. Or doesn't have the patience to wait for toy one to show up again. As i do too some days. And he decided today that the iPod was to valuable for us to "just wait" for it to show up. And I am sure he wanted to motivate me to clean because I just haven't wanted to lately. So he put us all to work to find this iPod. And he threatened us with " no more fun for anyone til it's found". Honestly, I am still non- shall-ant about this. I " know" that it is in the house. I am sure all mothers know what kind of "know" I am talking about. The "gut" feeling... The sixth sense... Whatever.
Anywho, after an hour of looking here and there ( and joe's had to go to work by now) the girls and I are in their room and I get the ingenious idea that I can use this to teach them about prayer. So we all pause our efforts and I talk with them about feeling a prayer in your heart and letting the words come out. I said the prayer and we started looking again.
A 1/2 hour later, still no iPod. Now I am a little disappointed that no iPod has reappeared. But I keep telling the girls that God will help us -and is helping us. We just have to calm ourselves and be open to him. But inside, I am getting a little bit more pissy with every tick of the clock. Honestly people, I even said a few little chastising prayers including " heavenly father, I am
Trying to teach my kids about the power of prayer here! Your not helping!!". Seriously. HE missed a great & totally deserving opportunity for lightning bolts of humility.
My visiting teachers came and gave me a great lesson on strenghthing the family. Again - the Lord missed some great strike me down opportunities because I was sitting there thinking "I am trying! And I am trying to strengthen their faith in prayer and getting no support here!!" zap zap zap... But nothing Not one single inspiration.
Two hours later I has " fit to be tied". I had pulled tristin from his games, made him pray with us. Again. And I was not exactly using a calm sweet voice this time. Honestly... I was mad. I was angry that HE wasn't helping. It's a stupid little easy thing to pray for help for. He could just pop a picture into one of our minds. And poof! There. He helped me teach. If HE can do something as amazing as heal the sick, HE could help us find this iPod and help strengthen 4 faiths in the process. At this point I knew I had to step back so we went and did the shopping I needed to and ate dinner. We again prayed and commenced with looking. People I unhooked our sectional couch and had each piece on it's side cleaning& looking for this dumb thing. Cheyanne thought she left it at the doctors office a few weeks ago so i called them.
It's 630 now. We started the search at noon. I AM MENTALLY done. I sent the girls to their room to pull out every drawer and dump it and go thru every pant pocket. Tristin was sent to the closets to go through every jacket pocket. I had just finished going through the garage and my gardening shed in the backyard because at this point I don't even know. Beds were torn apart and remade. Furniture was moved and cleaned behind. Gadget drawers were reorganized. My house is pretty organized now. I even went thru my craft room. I moved the washer and drier people...
Then I walk into the spare/ barbie room. I check drawers and under everything.... Then I put my hand on the top corner of an armoire, look at my dogs and tell them I must have done something wrong. My Heavenly Father would not add a lost iPod to my overfilled plate right now. I must not have prayed right - or quieted my heart enough... And I must be needing to learn something. ( I am sure my husband is rolling his eyes about now... Actually any non- God believing person is... Especially as I finish this)
... As my hand is up there on that corner I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. And start drumming my fingers- that always helps me focus... And I feel something hard so I get up on my tip toes. There I find a pile of hard dog jerky treats that I had used for luci in her puppy training class. And right behind that pile is the stinky iPod. 6 hours and 45 minutes after the search began. 5 hours-ish after the first over-confident prayer... I learned my lesson of patience, humility and prayers are answered in GODs time... Not mine. Dang it all... Not mine.
I went running up the stairs and all the kids jump around and are sooo excited. And Chey yells "prayer answered" and Keriana says " HE's listening".... And Tristin " hurray! Now we can go to Grandma's"....
Yes babies... You are right.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Easy cheesy chicken salad

I love this! When my kids want chicken and fries I can throw this together in the same time frame.

4-6 strips of pre cooked chicken strips. ( I get tysons grilled strips in the frozen section at Costco)
3 tbls Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 1/2 tbls sesame seed oil
Garden salad
Whatever else you like in your salads!

Add sesame oil & olive oil to medium fry pan. Heat up. Add chicken strips. - this will sizzle n splash so be careful- simmer with lid on for about 8 minutes flipping the strips every 2 min or so. At about 6 minutes, if I want my chicken more seasoned, I add my seasoning. In the one I pictured above I added fajita seasoning and sesame seeds. Remove from heat and let sit in the pan while you fix your salad.
Cut the strips in the pan to bite size pieces and add to your bowl.


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