Monday, January 27, 2014

Who is that Girl?

Many of you know that my daughter is rather shy.  Has been since she was little.  In fact, for years, getting her to go to her preschool class or her class at church was very difficult.  She would cling to my leg and refuse to let me leave for at least the first 5 - 10 minutes of the class.

So what's a mom to do?  Find things for her to do that take her out of that comfort zone and help her to learn that other people won't bite.  We started off a few years ago with a lego-based homeschool class where the students gave a presentation each class.  Being who she is, she would cling to my leg and speak very softly at first, but as she got to know the people in the class she would stand straighter and speak louder.  For that class I was always in the room so she knew she had me there if she needed.

This year she is taking 3 homeschool classes and I am not able to go to many of them. Hubby is in the building helping with our son's class, so she knows if there's a big problem she can get him, but she doesn't have someone there to hide behind now (and she's okay with it).

But the thing that I think has helped her the most so far is joining Girl Scouts.  I was in girl scouts years ago and I remember earning the badges, but I don't remember the emphasis on confidence building.  Perhaps that's because it's rather subtle (to children), perhaps the Girl Scouts have changed over the years, or perhaps it has to do with the troop leader. 

Whatever the case, my daughter has made new friends (and rather quickly for her I might add).  She's also participated in three walkabouts (door-to-door selling of cookies) and you would NEVER know she was that shy little girl from just 3 years ago.

Don't get me wrong, she still has moments where she's shy, but boy is she coming out of her shell.  And this Mama is really happy to see what she's capable of.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Finding the Right Fit

My regular readers know that my family homeschools.  We started homeschooling right after my son finished kindergarten.  We were in a very transitional time for our family with lots of moving and traveling and even the prospect of moving overseas.  We didn't want our kids school-hopping and figured that once we settled somewhere, we would enroll our kids in a school nearby  (most likely private but we weren't sure).  Well, three years later we are still homeschooling and it's really working for our family.

Why?  Because it's allowed us to help focus on our kids strengths.  It's allowing us to help our kids figure out NOW "what they want to be when they grow up."  That allows us the flexibility to tailor our days in such a way that we spend time working on things that will help our kids in their future career.  Our children are 9 and 7 so we realize that things may change.  And for our 7 year old her dreams for the future have changed somewhat.  But for our 9 year old, he's only become more sure of what he wants to do.

Our 9 year old wants to build and program robots.  And with the help of his father he's already working on that.  So what does one need to learn to do that?  Programming skills of course, but also how electronics work.  So what have we done?  We allow him to dismantle broken electronics and try to fix them or find alternative uses for them.  In fact, one of his favorite things to do is go yard saling with his dad looking for electronics things that he can use for parts.  I'll have a post in a couple days with some of the things he's done lately (My mind has been blown by some of the things he's done, I'm sure yours will be too).

Son watching Daddy fix the air conditioner (he's always watching Daddy and learning)

And what about our daughter?  Well, for a long time she wanted to be a vet.  So we started to foster kittens.  The thought was that she would learn what it's like to take care of an animal.  Fall in love with it.  And then have to give it to someone else.  The fostering process has taught her though that perhaps being a vet isn't the right fit for her (oddly enough because she doesn't like to clean up after animals).  So now she's thinking about becoming an animal trainer or an animal photographer. 

We are still fostering kittens and she gets to help mold their behavior (you know keep them from jumping on the counters and making them more friendly) and she's also taking pictures with a camera we gave her for Christmas.  She is very crafty, so secretly I'm thinking the photographer route might be her thing (as in going to the safari and trying to take pictures of animals for National Geographic and such) but I'm not trying to push anything at this point.

This cat came to us feral at 7 or 8 weeks old and hadn't been handled by a human.  She LOVES my daughter
One of the things that's helped my family with this sort of thing the most is that when we moved to Florida we ended up connecting with a homeschool group.  The women who lead this group have a heart for children like you wouldn't believe.  Not just homeschooled children but all children.  Their catch phrases are "Raising leaders from cradle to college & parenting with the end result in mind." 

Jenni and Jody are awesome ladies and have 9 children between them, ranging in age from 26 down to 2 years old.  One of them has a child who recently passed the bar and is now a lawyer and one has a child that is autistic, so they've definitely been there done that and experienced just about everything in between.

They also have a website where they regularly post blog articles about all kinds of parenting topics.  They have a radio show on Saturday's that are also released on their website as pod casts for those who aren't local.  And they are also on Facebook at

Do yourself a favor and at least look at their website or Facebook page.  If you like what you see, follow them.  That way you will see all their new articles and any other interesting news from them (a book is in the works, as are conferences).  Hopefully they can help your family like they've helped mine.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

They Grow Up SO Fast

As any parent can tell you, kids grow up so fast.  I can't believe my son is turning 10 in less than a month (mostly because I can't be old enough to have a 10 year old)!  And my daughter lost her first tooth (albeit late and with the help of a dentist).  My nephew is talking in full sentences and I've missed it (sniff).  But all of that is for another day, because today is about another big thing that's happened in our house.

After living with us for the last 7 months, my parents have been able to find a place of their own.  In fact, they spent their first night at their new place yesterday.

I'll be honest.  I'm happy they found a place.  Happy for them, because now they have their own space to do with as they like.  They no longer have to worry about whether we will approve of something.  I'm also happy for us because pretty soon we will be able to move my daughter into a bigger room.

At the same time, I'm a bit sad.  After all, it's been nice having my parents around.  I've had company when hubby was at work at night.  I've had an extra set of hands in the kitchen, cleaning, and running errands.  I've also had someone available to babysit pretty much at the drop of a hat.  And most importantly, my kids are going to missing having lots of time with their grandparents.  I didn't spend that much time with my grandparents because we lived so far from them, so 7 months of living in the same house gives them a relationship I'm happy for.

The good news is that their new place is only 4 miles (and about 10 minutes) from our house so it's not like they live states away as before so although they are not living in the same house as us, the close relationship can continue.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Paying the Piper... Yet Again

My regular readers know that over the last 7 months, my daughter has been to the dentist MANY times in order to get fillings.  To the tune of $1000+.  Today we got to add another $200 to that amount. 

Why?  Because when she was 2 she bumped her tooth.  And a couple years ago when we were living in our camper she bumped it again.  But apparently that time she damaged the nerve and last week the nerve revolted.  It started to swell and her gums started to turn dark red.  Never a good sign. 

Friday, I got in contact with her dentist and sent her a picture slightly more detailed than the one below (I love email and tech save medical professionals).

You can see the swelling above her left front tooth.
After she looked at it, she confirmed my suspicion that the tooth was going to need to be pulled.  Luckily, it wasn't too bad yet so we didn't have to schedule something over the weekend.  So, first thing this morning I was able to get her an appointment for this afternoon to get her tooth pulled.  She did great (as usual)!  She is somewhat of a pro at this point with all she's had done.

What you may not be aware of is that my daughter is 7.5, and until today she still had all her baby teeth.  That's right, she hadn't lost a tooth yet.  And I will say this, it's gross interesting to see a tooth pulled that wasn't set to fall out on it's own for some time yet.  It still had the root on it!  Of course my son thought that was a little cool.

Although I am a bit bummed this tooth cost money to come out, we were able to catch it in time to prevent damage to the adult tooth.  And apparently it had a small cavity that was starting to affect the tooth next to it.  So I'm just going to tell myself that it saved me some money.  Yep.  That reasoning works for me. NOT!  Anyway...

And of course, there's the joy in my daugther's face when she smiles and shows her missing tooth.  At the rate her teeth are going, that would have happened in another year or so if it happened naturally.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Luigi to the Rescue

As my regular readers know, we purchased our home almost 2 years ago.  At that time, we knew we would need to make some fixes.  Some immediate (replacing stained carpets).  Others over time (adding a ceiling inside the garage to make it cooler in the summer).  It was a short sale, so it's to be expected.  Then there's the matter of personal taste issues that can be dealt with either as things go on sale or break.  The kitchen is one of the biggest and more expensive personal taste areas we wanted to deal with.  With money being tight, all projects have been put on hold unless something breaks.

Well, we've been limping along 2 things in the kitchen and I finally got fed up with it and hubby agreed it was time to deal with them.  The first thing that needed to be addressed was a cast iron sink.  The problem (besides I didn't like the color) was that the coating was chipping which caused rust to form when water came in contact with it.  Considering we are speaking of the kitchen sink, it comes in contact with water on a very regular basis.

The second issue?  The kitchen faucet.  It's been leaking for about 2 months now.  We found a way to make it stop leaking, but it was a pain to remember.  Again, when we bought the house we knew the faucet had to go.  Not only was it installed wrong (the handle wasn't lined up the way you would expect it) but it wasn't the style we liked.  Unfortunately, the kind we like is apparently not made anymore.

Original sink and faucet. 

Chipping and rust on old sink
But we lucked out... we found one at a yard sale for $5!  We had to use a few parts from the faucet we removed, but it's working GREAT!

And the sink?  Well we got that when my Aunt and her boyfriend were moving across the country.  Hubby found it sitting loose in their shed after they had moved out.  Hubby figured it might come in handy in the garage some day (once we get water out there).  When I realized it was the right size for the kitchen, I suggested he rethink its destination.

I'll be honest, he was a bit reluctant.  Then I told him it was what I wanted as my Loot Day gift and he gave in.  Having my dad here to help didn't hurt either since the old sink was probably 100 lbs.

Sink is out.  Had to make the hole a little bigger.
 And we found a few added benefits of the new sink and faucet too.  The drains in the new sink are offset enough that plates don't plug the sink.  While replacing the sink we also purchased new drains and stoppers so the sinks actually plug correctly (the water used to drain out in about 5 minutes).  And we also discovered that the old faucet wasn't letting much hot water through.

We also used the opportunity to change the "handles" in front of the sink.  The previous owner had black handles everywhere but right in front of the sink where they were yellow white.  My guess is they were all white at some point, but they couldn't reach those to switch them without removing the sink, so we did it while we had the sink out.  And all this for $40 and a few hours of hubby and my dad's time.

And for all his reluctance, he's actually enjoying the new sink and faucet too.  Now if only I can get him back in the habit of doing dishes on a regular basis again ;-)

New sink and faucet.

So what do you think of the end result??