Monday, November 25, 2013


I got this book several years ago & have read it each year to my son.  I don't remember where or how I learned of it, but I really do like it.  Plus it's a true story.  I always love a great true story.  If you've never read this book I recommend it highly.  You just might want to make it a family tradition each year.  :)

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Most of the time my hubby & I have hosted Thanksgiving at our house.  My hubby was already doing that when I first met him & had been doing so for quite some time.  I have always allowed him to do the turkey, but I used to always do all the sides, which can be exhausting.

At some point we decided we were tired of hosting it every year & we took a break for a couple of years & then it was sometimes yes & sometimes no.  Last year was supposed to be at our house & then I got the flu from my son & my poor hubby was on his own cooking & he transported everything to his sister in law's house!  I felt so bad but I was incredibly sick & couldn't even get out of bed for more than a trip to the bathroom.  

This year we are hosting it again.  I like to prep as much as I can ahead of time to keep the day as sane enjoyable as possible.  I realize most people don't cook from scratch, but I like to & also need to in some cases.  

So for this year my plans are:
Monday--made gluten free bread flour mix, make cornbread, make 2 loaves bread, make pie crusts, chop celery & onion, & cube & toast corn bread & bread.
Tuesday--relax, do Thanksgiving crafts with my son
Wednesday--Bake 2 pecan pies & 1 triple berry cobbler, make gravy, saute celery & onion & assemble stuffing (minus broth)
Thursday--assemble potato dish, bake stuffing & potatoes, add turkey drippings to gravy

Hopefully all goes as planned!!  
(My sister in law is bringing yams & a green salad, so that lessens the amount of work I have to do!!)

Gluten Free Products

I've been working my way through the products that I use, determining what is & what isn't gluten free & getting rid of what isn't.  I thought I'd share my list so far for anyone else who might be reading this & need the info also.

Neutrogena Naturals Face Wash
Listerine Original Antiseptic
Spry Xylitol Rinse (ALL Spry products are gluten free)
Closys Oral Rinse
Everyday Minerals makeup (I use some of their eye shadows)
O'Keefe's Working Hands
Dimetapp allergy & cold elixir
Eos Lip Balm
Desert Essence tea tree oil & neem toothpaste
Kiss My Face lip balm
Cover FX pressed mineral foundation
Benefit Erase Paste concealer
Derma E (ALL products)--I use a facial moisturizer & eye cream from this company
Kirkland Conditioner
Kirkland Shampoo
Kirkland Body Wash
Everyday Shea Lavender Lotion (the unscented variety is also gluten free, but I've seen a lot of reviews online saying it smells awful)

Alba Botannica (do not keep tabs on the presence of ANY allergenic ingredients/contaminants)--I was using quite a few products from this company, am still using one that I'm trying to find a replacement for
Burt's Bees (do not keep tabs on the presence of ANY allergenic ingredients/contaminants)==I was using their lip balm & had a lip gloss
Maybelline (they won't give a straight answer, just some vague legal run around  the bush nonsense)--I love their cheapie waterproof liquid eye liner......
L'Oreal (they won't give a straight answer, just some vague legal run around  the bush nonsense)--I used to use voluminous mascara, haven't used it in a long time, but still have some in the house, that's why I contacted them
Garnier--(they won't give a straight answer, just some vague legal run around the bush nonsense)--I was using some of their hair care products 
Chloraseptic Spray (both menthol & cherry flavors)

I am still waiting on a response (been waiting quite a while) from Ocean Mist Cosmetics (I have a blush & some eye shadows from this company) & Lure Beauty (I have blushes from this company).  

I still need to contact Bare Minerals as I use a few products from this company as well--mascara, warmth, eye shadow primer.

I am sure there are still other items I need to check on......the dish soap that I have horrible reactions to comes to mind......

I should point out that no one really knows if using gluten free topical products is helpful or necessary to those with gluten issues, but I would definitely rather be safe than sorry, especially if there's a cumulative effect with multiple sources.  And my son & I sure do have sensitive & irritable skin, so I think for us we really need to play it safe.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Homeschool Preschool--Unit 14--King David--Part 2

I am using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven, Bob books beginning reader books, various forms of Spanish, & reading aloud (usually from a chapter book) to my 4 year old son.

This week/unit focuses on the letter L & David.

This is the continuation of unit 14, since we only accomplished one day of the unit last week & then I got sick.  So on Tuesday we continued with our fingerplay.  We read about David bringing home the Ark of God in the Bible.  We had a craft in the curriculum where we made the Ark out of a small box.  (I used a mouthwash box)  This was 'masking tape L' day--which my son loves.  He had his little toy turtle walk all over the "L".  We were then supposed to dance around & sing praises to God carrying the Ark we made, but I decided to just incorporate that with our song time at the end of school time.  So we moved on to reading, he read another Bob book.  And then we did Spanish & then our songs--a song about Psalm 150, the books of the Bible, God made the universe, & the 10 commandments.  Later I will read aloud.

 I had meant to do a craft on this day, but we didn't do it.  It was really cute, making David's harp.  But it just seemed like it wasn't meant to work out for us.  It had a lot of prep work involved, which I was working on 2 weeks ago, because we were supposed to be doing this school day last week.  And every step of the project had things go wrong for me.  And then I had needed to buy yarn, to make the strings of the harp, & it seems I never got around to doing I just decided today to just let this one go.  It's not the end of the world.

On Wednesday we continued with our fingerplay.  Then we read in the Bible about the prophet Nathan telling King David that God was going to punish him for his sins.  Then Lil J read a Bob book, he did really well.  He's really starting to gain the confidence he was lacking.  We did 'hide & seek L', which he's really good at.  We did a strange activity where I demonstrated on paper what he needed to do & he did his own version on his own paper.  We drew a yellow oval on the left side of the paper.  On the right side we wrote "NO" & below it we drew a sad face.  Then we connected a line from the word "NO" to the sad face.  As soon as we were done Lil J was asking me what it meant.  I have no idea what the yellow oval is about.  But the "NO" & sad face represent David's sin & David's sadness over his sin.  We skipped an activity, it just emphasized the same as the drawing & the Bible reading.  Then we did Spanish.  And then we did our songs.  There was no song scheduled for today, so we just did the books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  Later I will read aloud.  

On Thursday it was raining & I struggled to get school started, just such a lazy comfy morning, but we did get going a little past 8AM & we continued with our fingerplay.  We read the same passage in the Bible again today, focusing more on God's forgiveness.  We did both devotionals for the letter L.  I drew an L on a paper & put glue on it.  Lil J stuck banana puffs on it.  We discussed how God wants men to respect women & examples of respect & the fact that David did not respect Bathsheba.  He read another Bob book.  We did Spanish & there was no song to go with today's lesson, but we still did books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  Later I will read aloud. 

On Friday we finished off the week with our fingerplay.  We read about Absalom in the Bible.  He practiced writing "L" & "l".  He read another Bob book.  He is really enjoying the Bob books.  He seems to really like anything with characters & these books have that.  He looks forward to continuing with & learning more about the characters, just like with his devotional.  Then we did Spanish & then our songs--no song for today's lesson, so just books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  Later I will read aloud.  

We will most likely take a break next week from school.  I have some Thanksgiving crafts to do, we always read the Squanto book, & I have lots of food prep to do.  So it will be a busy, busy week for sure.  Plus we are going RVing this weekend, so I can't get a head start on anything!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gluten free beauty products

I've recently purchased a few new makeup items that are gluten free.....Cover FX pure pressed mineral foundation & erase paste concealer by Benefit.  Buying makeup is a rare thing for me these days.  And I'm happy to report that I'm really liking them.

I saw Rebecca Black using them & reviewing them on YouTube & I really liked what I saw.  For anyone interested in Gluten Free living I highly recommend looking up Andrew Cordova & Rebecca Black--they have a podcast, a magazine, & are both on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram (I LOVE instagram), etc.  As a woman I really appreciate Rebecca sharing info on beauty products.  There's so little info out there on those types of products.  These two people do what they do simply to help others, they don't make money on any of it, they just love to help people & they do a great job at it.  They have helped me tremendously.  I must say I am really not into podcasts.  Podcasts & videos are super hard for me to watch & listen to with my son.  But I make a point to follow their podcast because it is so full of useful info.  I highly highly recommend following these two if you have any interest in the gluten free life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Preschool Apps & Modern Technology in Preschool Learning

I'm pretty picky about not letting my son play on my phone or the computer.  I know there are a lot of educational apps out there & people get so excited, saying how smart it's going to make their kid.  I'm pretty picky about sticking with old fashioned type ways of learning.  When I homeschool my son we use actual BOOKS.  

I will add that I am VERY anti-video-game & a lot of these modern educational apps, etc is just leading them towards video games from an extremely young age in my opinion.  All in the name of education.  

I am not judging anyone that wants to use modern technology.  I just don't trust it & I strongly believe that the old fashioned way produces much smarter people.  

There is an anti-reading/anti-book movement taking place that I absolutely loathe & I refuse to allow my son to join in that camp.  My son LOVES books & that's just the way I want to keep it.  

The one exception I've allowed is when it comes to learning a foreign language.  I do want my son to be fluent in both English & Spanish.  And since I'm NOT fluent in Spanish I struggle to teach him.  If I was fluent I could simply just talk to him in Spanish, but I am unable to do so.  We do practice Spanish words & I do read aloud to him in Spanish.  Even if I don't know what I'm reading my pronunciation is still very good.  But I feel I'm lacking, so I have downloaded an app on my phone that teaches Spanish.  We don't do it a lot, however, it's just an occasional fun thing.  It's great when we're stuck somewhere & he's getting antsy.  Or if I'm under the weather & need to keep him entertained.

And I am planning to order a CD Rom program of Spanish instruction when my son gets a little older.  Of course I am also planning to do Spanish workbooks as well, when he's old enough to do so.  I do feel like the modern technology really helps to reinforce a lesson like this in a way that I personally am unable to do so.  This is a tough one to simply learn from a book alone.    

Another Library Trip

Our library books were due yesterday.  So we headed back to the library to return them.  After our last visit I took a look at the library's website.  There were a lot of neat features there, one of which was that you can request a book from another library in the same county.  

I can recall my first trip to the library.  And I can recall the very first book I ever checked out from the public library.  (I cannot remember what I first checked out in my school library--I remember loving the school library when I was in elementary school.  I do recall some of the books I checked out from the school library, but not the very first one.)  Obviously it's a very old book & is no longer in print today.  I have looked for it online before, to try to purchase it, but wasn't successful at finding it.  The library we've been visiting is very new & doesn't have this old book BUT another library in the same county had TWO copies!!  I put in a transfer request for the book.  A few days later I received a text message on my cell phone telling me that it was available & would remain available until a certain date.  The final date of availability was after the due date of the first round of books we checked out, so I decided to just pick it up when I returned these books.

So yesterday I asked at the desk how I get a book I requested.  I was told there was a bookshelf where requested books were located.  They are organized by the first 3 letters of the last name of the person requesting.  I quickly found the book!!  What a fabulous system!!

I must say that back in the early days of library use things were very different than they are today.  Back then there were no computers.  There were the drawers of cards listing each book.  I have no idea if requesting books from another library was a possibility back then.  But there was no internet to do it from home like I did!  I must say that I REALLY REALLY REALLY miss the card catalogs at the library.  I have actually never learned how to look up books on the computer systems.  So I usually just browse at libraries now, rather than looking up anything specific.  (I did, back in the 80s I think, learn how to use the computer replacement of the card catalog, BUT it was a weird microfilm type system, which no longer exists today.)

Anyways, I grabbed the requested book, then took a browse in the book store.  We grabbed 4 books (for $4!!) & then headed to the children's library section & picked out some more books to check out.  Last time we checked out a Franklin book.  We already have 3 Franklin books (from kids' meals at Chick-Fil-A) & my son REALLY likes Franklin.  He loves turtles in general & really enjoys Franklin books as well.  This time we checked out SIX Franklin books & then a Little Bear book (my son loves watching Little Bear & has one Little Bear book).

The 8 books we checked out

The 4 books we purchased

Forest Fire

This was the very first book I ever checked out from the public library.  I can remember my first trip to the library when I was a kid.  And I remember how much I loved this book.  I have looked for it over the years online, to purchase, but it's obviously out of print by now.  The library my son & I have been visiting didn't have it, but we were able to request it from another library branch in the same county.  That branch actually had TWO copies of this!  I'm excited to be able to share this book with my son.  

Spiritual Warfare: Attack on Family

It is clear to me that there is a huge attack in force on the family.  It's been going on for some time.  I'm aware of it with the whole women's lib movement, but I would bet it was going on even before then.  

Obviously if you attack the family the children are the ones who suffer the most.  And what better way to destroy the people, the nation, the future generations?

At the root of a lot of it is selfishness.  As you peel back the layers of our sinful hearts selfishness is at the root of most of it.  It is appalling how selfish we all are.  I know I've mentioned the book "Respectable Sins" in the past.  It is really eye-opening in regards to this topic.  I am planning to re-read it soon, although that will take a while with a 4 year old underfoot.  I get precious little time to be able to read & most of that is limited to my Bible & devotional, as it should be.  

Aside from selfishness is our tendency to be like sheep.  Most people are just following along, doing as they see others doing. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY: Monday, November 18, 2013

Outside my window...  it's clear, sunny, with a high of 68 F, although I must say it feels much warmer than that to me

I am thinking...  about gluten & how challenging eating at people's houses is going to be for the rest of my life & my son's life

I am thankful...  for my son--motherhood has taught me sooooo much

In the kitchen...  not much going on.....last week I was fighting a bad cold (sinus congestion & sore throat) & yesterday I was 'glutened' I"m not gonna be well again for some time now

I am wearing...  my pink Hummer tshirt & black sweat pants

I am working on...  getting well enough to take my son to the zoo

I am going...  back to the library tomorrow.....have to return the books we checked out & I requested a book from another library & it's supposed to there for me

From the learning rooms.....  no school since a week ago today has occurred, but I'm planning to pick it up again tomorrow

I am reading... nothing aside from my Bible & devotional....but I want desperately to finish off the book my pastor wrote, Turn Around At Home

I am hoping...  to recover from this glutening episode in record time!

I am looking forward to...Thanksgiving!!  I LOOOVE Thanksgiving, I love to cook, I love to eat, & it's fast approaching.

I am learning.........  that I need to put my health & my son's health of great importance & do whatever I can to protect our health from gluten

Around the house...  no housecleaning taking place today.....trying to rest & recover.....laundry is in full force today

I am pondering...  Christmas plans

A favorite quote for today...  The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it & they are saved ~Proverbs 18:10

One of my favorite things... playing with my son

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Praying hard that I can take my son to the zoo, and a library trip tomorrow

I am praying for:  lots of friends & family

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Converting to gluten free products--part 2

I know I posted before that I was switching over to gluten free body wash, shampoo, conditioner, & lotion.  I am so grateful to Costco for selling body wash, shampoo, & conditioner that is gluten free, paraben free, sulfate free, etc, etc.  They are not the most natural of products, but they are much better ingredient-wise than most of what you find in the average store & they are effective & super affordable.  Having difficult hair as I do, I have to say that many of the natural hair products just don't work at all for me.  And many of the natural body washes don't lather well.  And I absolutely adore the Everyday Shea lavender lotion I am using.

I am little by little trying to determine what is & isn't gluten free that I'm using.  It feels a little overwhelming to try to figure everything out all at once.  It almost seems impossible as well.  I know that seems like an unbelievable statement, but it's really hard to stop & think of every single product that I come in contact with.  It's sort of a gradual realization over time as I'm using each product.

I'm close to eating gluten free for one year now.  And it's been challenging but I feel I have learned a ton of stuff about eating gluten free in the past 11 months or so.

And now I'm feeling I should ensure that everything else I'm using is gluten free as well, whether it enters my body or not.  (Especially for my son, but he's very simple--just body wash, shampoo,  lotion, toothpaste, & mouth washes)  I did contact Neutrogena Naturals regarding a face wash I use by them--I use this one when I'm wearing foundation because it has a makeup remover built into it, which isn't very often these days.  They did verify that it's gluten free, although they couldn't guarantee that no cross contamination occurs along the way.  Since I don't use it very often, & I know that statement is mostly to cover their butts in a legal sense, I feel ok with continuing to use it.  (Most restaurants that offer gluten free menus also have the same legal disclaimer, that they cannot guarantee the foods are gluten free, but in most cases I don't react & I am very sensitive)

My toothpaste is clearly labeled gluten free, so I didn't have to check on that one. I am surprised that more products aren't labeled as gluten free when they are in fact gluten free.  Especially the brands you find in health food stores.

I did contact Alba about my face wash a while back & I never got a response.  So I contacted them again, this time including other Alba products that I use in the question--unpetroleum, sun screen, lip glosses & lip tints.  I had actually never realized how many Alba products I use!  I am hoping they all check out as gluten free.

We use 3 mouthwashes/rinses.  I decided to ensure that these are gluten free, especially since they go in our mouths (Lil J only uses 2 of the 3).  I was thrilled when I went to the website for Closys because it clearly states gluten free on the main page of the website, in big & bold print.  I had never heard of this product prior to reading the book "kiss your dentist goodbye" & I had no idea that it was such a healthy & natural product.  But based on what I read on their website it certainly is.  I just wish it wasn't so hard to find.  I emailed listerine & spry to check on the gluten status of the mouthwashes I use from them. Listerine responded saying that I need to call them on the phone with my question. I should be able to do that this coming week. 

I was fighting a cold recently & as I took my dimetapp that I take for sinus congestion I found myself worrying that it might not be gluten free.  I didn't have a reaction, but still called pfizer the next day & they verified that all of the dimetapp products do not contain gluten & there is no risk of cross contamination.  Thank God for that since the liquid children's cold & allergy formula is the only thing that helps my sinuses!!

And for now that's all I can think of that I haven't checked on as of makeup is gluten free, well all the bare minerals stuff I everyday lip balm is also......but I'm waiting to hear from Alba about the lip gloss & lip tint that I use for special occasions.  (if my lips are extra dry I use the alba unpetroleum on them, so I'm also really hoping that one is gluten free as well)

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY: Monday, November 25, 2013

Outside my window... It's sunny & clear....,& in the 30s!!!

I am thinking... About life & relationships & how good God is--I feel like I've been punished for years for something I hadn't even done & the truth is finally being revealed-my God is restoring the years the locusts have eaten so to speak. 

I am thankful... For my life, my family, my friends, my son

In the kitchen... Tons of prep work for Thanksgiving begins today

I am wearing... Jeans & a red Levi's tshirt

I am working on... Thanksgiving mind is racing

I am going... To spend my day in the kitchen, aside from swim lesson for Lil J & laundry 

From the learning rooms..... School is breaking this week-hopefully we can do some crafts & definitely will read the Squanto book

I am reading... Nothing aside from devotional & time :(

I am hoping... To get lots accomplished today so tomorrow & Wednesday can be much easier days 

I am looking forward to... thanksgiving, I so love this holiday, it's not a big flashy materialistic holiday-just about reflecting on thankfulness & gratitude & eating with family & friends

I am learning......... How to be more flexible, it's a good thing

Around the house... Need to do some small things on our motorhome (our other house)--hopefully before our next trip

I am pondering... What the future holds

A favorite quote for today... "Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness" Proverbs 25:5

One of my favorite things... Cooking & baking--plenty of that this week

A few plans for the rest of the week: Thanksgiving prep, crafts, swim lesson, church on Wednesday

I am praying for: lots of family & friends 

Learning Styles

Back in 2006, when I was in college, in the LVN to RN transition class to be exact, we had a guest speaker one day.  Surprisingly, it had absolutely nothing to do with nursing or medical anything.  But it amazed me & will always be one of the most informative lectures I've ever sat through.  

The speaker was just a guy whose expertise was in people's learning styles.  Since nursing school is tough (crazy tough--20 super long chapters of reading every single night & tests on those 20 chapters every single day) our teacher felt it would be beneficial for us to be able to study more effectively & that's why she had this guest speaker join our class.  

I can't remember all the details & the guy had brought quizzes, etc, to help us determine how we best learn, but I do remember being amazed that some people learn best with absolute silence & others learn best with lots of 'distractions'.  Everyone is different & if you can determine how you best learn you can maximize how/what you learn.  

Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.  And I can clearly see in my son that he needs lots of sensory stuff/distractions going on while he is learning.  But knowing what I do, I can help maximize his learning rather than yelling at him & forcing him to learn the same way I best learn, which would not be to his advantage at all.  That sort of makes me think of public schools & that's probably a big part of why it's such a failing system.

I encourage everyone to look into this more, I am sure there's plenty of info out there somewhere if you look for it.

SB 48 AB 1266

When SB48 was passed into California law my pastor decided to put up a fight.  He began a statewide campaign.  When the government passes a law without the public voting on it we have the right to collect signatures.  And if we collect enough signatures we can get the law on the ballot to be voted on by the public.  

Sadly (& shockingly I might add) we didn't get enough signatures to repeal SB48 & it was put into law January of this year.  

So once again the government (or should I specify that Governor Brown was the responsible person) passed AB1266 into law.  Once again my pastor jumped into action.  My pastor feels that when he stands before God & is accountable he can at least say that he tried to fight the evil laws, irregardless of the outcome of the fight.  

This time we have collected enough signatures--so long as the government doesn't find a loophole.  Apparently for any error in the signature collection paperwork the government will automatically deduct 15% of the total signatures for each error.  This could be someone signing on the wrong county, someone signing more than once accidentally, not filling out their info properly, etc.  

So we continue to pray & wait for the final outcome.  

Gluten Free Baking

As I've said many times I LOVE to cook & especially to bake.  I've been doing both since I was a teenager.  I can remember in my childhood watching my mother ask my sister to help in the kitchen & she never wanted to.  And I would be begging to help & she would never let me.  (That's a trend in lots of areas of my childhood)  

It wasn't until I was a teenager & my parents had divorced & my mother was no longer cooking that I was able to learn on my own how to cook & bake.  

Almost a year ago my son & I had to go gluten free.  While I did have someone trying to tell me that all we need to do is heal our guts & then we can eat gluten again, I know this isn't true, at least in our case.  In our case this is a genetic disease & it is forever.  My whole life I've had lots of health issues & as I've learned more & more about gluten issues I can see that all of my health issues have been related to gluten.  

Honestly my biggest concern as I faced the fact that I had to give up gluten forever was baking.  Would I have to give up baking?  I was very's almost therapeutic for me.  I had no idea what I could possibly replace it with.

As I dove into gluten free baking (& was amazed at how wonderful it could be) I realized it's very different in some ways & I've tried hard to forget everything I know about baking & move forward learning anew how to do it gluten free.

I truly don't understand why there's so much gross stuff out there that's gluten free.  It's no wonder that when people hear "gluten free" they automatically assume it's yucky since so much stuff out there is so gross.  Part of me wishes I could market my gluten free baked goods just to help prove how good gluten free can be.  

My ultimate dream would be to have a place like Panera or Corner Bakery that is totally gluten free.  It would have soups, salads, sandwiches, & the sweet treats as well.  I doubt that that dream will ever become a reality, but it sure would be nice & it's fun to dream.  


I am definitely a product of the whole dumbing down of the govt.  I have always felt that I got ripped off when it comes to my education in school.  I can remember my older sister & brother discussing things they were learning in school & I would think to myself "someday I'm gonna be learning that" & yet in most cases I never did.  

Granted I didn't apply myself as much as I should've/could've from 7th grade onward BUT I was aware of what was being covered in my classes......and there's an awful lot that wasn't covered.

I love to learn & I am a smart person--in college I had exceptional grades with an extremely heavy load of difficult classes.  I have always wished there was a learn on your own program that would fill in the gaps that I missed in school.  

One of the biggest gaps I'm aware of is grammar.  I can remember learning grammar in elementary school but we never learned about it again after that.  All the English classes after that focused on spelling & vocabulary words & reading literature.  There was some composing involved as well.  But there was NO grammar.  

So in elementary school I learned the very basic parts of grammar.  But there's all kinds of stuff that we never touched on.  It was assumed that we would learn it later on....yet we never did.  And even as poorly as my grammar education was I can clearly see that what's being given in schools now is far, far worse.  

Grammar is something that's important to me.  I do try my best to use proper grammar--at least as much as I'm aware of.  I am certain that I make errors that I'm not even aware of.  And when I'm rushed & don't proof read what I've written (moreso with typing than with writing by hand) I do find that I make stupid mistakes that I never should've made.  

And in the younger generation I see improper grammar all over the place.  Even with super basic stuff.  And I don't see teachers correcting it either!!  It's crazy to me.  All the words with apostrophes are used incorrectly these days.  And that's just a basic understand of what you're actually saying.  I don't understand why that is so poorly understood nowadays.

And now you add on all the texting & online abbreviations to the already poorly taught grammar & I fear that future generations to come will be an absolute disaster when it comes to grammar.   

Homeschool Preschool Unit 14--King David--Part 1

I am using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven, Bob books beginning reader books, various forms of Spanish, & reading aloud (usually from a chapter book) to my 4 year old son.

This week/unit focuses on the letter L & David.

On Monday we started off the week with a new fingerplay.  We read about David becoming King in the Bible.  Lil J read another Bob book.  He did really well this time, he's starting to gain the confidence he needs, realizing that he really is able to do it.  We discussed what we read in the Bible, he practiced writing "L" & "l".  I walked away for a moment while he was writing the Ls & came back to find him going crazy with it & he told me he was adding grass, LOL!!  He did 'count on me', drawing & counting jewels (diamonds).  But I must say it didn't explain why it was jewels......I don't get it & couldn't explain it to my son.  Then we did Spanish & since it's Veteran's Day we discussed what that means & he colored a Veteran's Day page.  (I had looked for a craft, but couldn't find anything, so I settled on this coloring page)  Then we did our songs--a song about David, books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  Later on I will read aloud.

I started getting sick on Monday evening & was very sick on Tuesday & Wednesday.  I considered doubling up on Thursday & Friday & getting caught up, but I was still very tired & just didn't feel like it. I decided to just rest & next week I'll take off Monday--my busy laundry, housecleaning, swim lesson day (& I think I'll try to squeeze in some grocery shopping) & then pick up where we left off on Tuesday & finish off the rest of the week as usual.  

On Thursday evening I started feeling lousy again & am not feeling well as of Friday morning, while posting this. Praying I get well fast for our eventful weekend we have planned. 

My biggest regret was that I had promised to take Lil J back to the zoo on Tuesday of this week.  I'm normally up at 4 or 5 am but not when I'm sick of course.  Lil J came to my bed on Tuesday morning & put his face in mine, saying "mom, wake up, let's go to the zoo" over & over again.  I felt soooooo bad, but there was no way I had the energy or strength to go.  Hopefully this coming Tuesday we'll be able to go.  

On a sidenote: next month I am planning to move the swim lessons to Friday mornings rather than Mondays.  The swim instructor that Lil J likes best (& she is an amazing instructor, she really pushes him to advance & do better) is only there on Mondays & Fridays.  So that will make Mondays easier.  But I'm debating on whether or not I should condense school into 4 days per week.  We could do it Monday thru Thursday & then not have to worry about it along with the swimming......just a thought but I think I might give it a try soon & see how it goes.  I know the curriculum I'm using starts out at 5 days per week but a couple of years in it changes to 4 days per week.  I think it's to accommodate extracurricular activities (or just plain old life I guess).  But I've been considering doing it now & since we have the swim lesson causing us to do school so late in the day I'm thinking I might as well just condense it to 4 days as of now.  This is the first month I've done the swim lessons in the morning (on a weekday I mean, for his first year of going there he went on Saturday mornings) & I love doing it in the mornings, I'm just wondering if life would be easier if we condense the school week.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Choo choos

My son LOVES vehicles of all sorts--cars, boats, big rigs, construction vehicles, buses, motorhomes, the list goes on & on & on, BUT his absolute favorite has to be the choo choo train.  There is just something about trains that REALLY excites him.  Thankfully we live close to a train track & he gets to see trains up close & personal on a very regular basis.  Before you assume that the reason he loves trains that much is simply because he lives so close to them I can assure you that we also live in a zone of perpetual construction & while he does love construction vehicles--"orange trucks" is the generic name he has given those--they still don't match trains.  

Because he loves them so much I am always on the lookout for train related stuff going on.  On Facebook I am now following tons of homeschooling & fieldtripping pages & groups.  And somewhere on one of them I saw that there was some sort of train related thing going on at the fairgrounds last weekend.  I didn't know details & didn't know how much it would cost, but we went & asked at the gate.  It was totally free, not even a parking fee, which I've never seen before.  And it ended up being actual original steam trains that they are planning to restore & actually have running within the next 5 years.  Some were open where you could go inside, but some you could only view from the outside.  There was a magnificent passenger car from the 1800s, but we couldn't go inside.  It was hard to view from outside as well, but we could see the curtains, there were seats & beds, etc.  It looked like something out of an old western movie. 

All in all it was amazing & my son LOVED every moment of it.  He loved the caboose the best of all.  I cannot believe how MASSIVE & LONG the engines were back in the 1800s!!  I've never seen anything like it before.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I love cooking & baking.  And I love cookbooks.  I don't usually follow a recipe exactly as it's written, but I do like finding inspiration & new ideas in recipes.  As a teenager I first learned to cook & I did so from cookbooks.  So I've naturally turned to them over the years when I need new ideas.  Creativity is something I struggle with in most aspects of life, but recipes in a cookbook supply the much needed creativity for me.

There have been times in my past where I've ended up with too many cookbooks & found that I hadn't even made a single recipe in some of them.  So I've given a lot away & only kept the ones I REALLY REALLY like.  

As a teenager learning to cook I was a vegetarian.  I did have a vegetarian book that had some recipes in it, but mostly I cooked out of Italian cookbooks by Marcella Hazan (who recently passed away).  Since I was a vegetarian I had to modify most of the recipes, since they often had non-vegetarian ingredients used.  I think learning to cook like this was a good thing for me & has allowed me to modify most recipes, truly making it my own.

Last year or so I was a recipe tester for a vegan cookbook.  I have to admit it was HARD because I had to make the recipes EXACTLY as written, no deviating & making it my own.  But I did manage to test enough recipes to get my name in the book & a free copy of the book (& I think maybe my recipe blog? I can't remember now)

When I went gluten free I it fairly easy to cook food.  It wasn't all that different from cooking as a vegetarian--just omitting & changing what didn't fit.  However, I really do love to bake & gluten free baking is a whole other ball game I must say.  

So I did invest in a gluten free baking book.  It covered sweets & breads.  It's a great book, I recommend it highly--it is Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts.  I found that baking gluten free could actually be really good.  And I quickly mastered baking my own bread.  

As time went on I did feel the need for more ideas, more sweet treat recipes.  At the same time I didn't want to end up with tons of cookbooks like I have sometimes in the past.  Somehow I ran across Kyra Bussanich & learned that she had been a 2 time winner of the TV show The Cupcake Wars.  And she had a cookbook, Sweet Cravings.  This book is all sweets baking, no breads.  And it has a wide variety, which is really nice, & the recipes are labeled Easy, Intermediate, & Advanced.  I have made several recipes from this book & I do recommend it highly.  

I was making my own bread for some time, but I knew it wasn't the best it could be.  It wasn't bad per se, but I had higher hopes & knew I needed to find some more info that would take me to the next level of gluten free bread baking.  As I glanced one day at the book shelf at my local health food store I spotted a book, The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Bette Hagman.  I bought it & it has really helped me to perfect my bread making skills.  In the past, as a gluten baker, I had always wanted to delve into the world of sourdough baking, but never got around to it.  I am now baking gluten free sourdough bread & loving it!  

So I do feel that those 3 book cover gluten free baking very well.  One is both sweet & savory baking, one is just sweet, & one is just savory.  However, I did purchase one more cookbook.  There was one aspect of cooking that I didn't feel confident in mastering on my own gluten free.  And that is Asian cuisine.  So I bought The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell.  I do recommend it if you really want to cook Asian food gluten free.  It helps you to understand where gluten may be hiding in Asian cooking that you need to be aware of.  And it has a wide variety of recipes.  I do wish it had more basic, well known, Asian recipes.  It's a little fancy schmancy for my taste.  But it's still good for me to learn from & spring forward from since I really do love Asian food.  

I know that there are tons of recipes available online & I do sometimes use those.  I also used my birthday money to subscribe to 2 gluten free magazines & I will be using recipes from those as well.  But sometimes I still find a good old fashioned cookbook the best way to go.  Online the recipes are very hit & miss, some are great & some are awful.  They usually haven't been thoroughly tested like recipes in a cookbook have.  I sometimes worry that the younger generation will make them become obsolete, a thing of the past.  It is already very hard to buy cookbooks.  I want to look at them, flip through them, but there are very few in print at bookstores where you can look at them.  In fact, of the 4 I own I only bought one of them in a store where I was able to look at it.  The other 3 I had to purchase online.    

I am also still holding onto some of my old favorite gluten recipes & cookbooks.  Occasionally I think about throwing them out, but then I think about converting them to gluten free, especially some of the baking ones.  At some point I know I will get around to attempting that.  I am sure that I will get rid of some of them when I am ready to start trying to convert, but certainly not all of them.  

Long live the beloved cookbook!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY: Monday, November 11, 2013

Outside my window... it's a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold, I have all the doors open & Lil J's bedroom window open, it's glorious

I am thinking... about the fact that it's Veteran's day & how to best convey that to Lil J in school time today

I am thankful... for the Veteran's who fought for my freedoms

In the kitchen... need to make some flour blends four flour bean mix & my french bread/pizza crust mix are getting low.....gotta feed my sourdough starter as well

I am wearing... jeans & a black top with a blue cami under

I am working on... being more attentive & intentional on teaching my son important things in life

I am going... to take Lil J to the zoo again tomorrow, can't wait!

From the learning rooms..... still learning about David this week, I think I'm gonna take the whole week of Thanksgiving off, but I picked out a lot of Thanksgiving day crafts that we can do instead & we have the Squanto book to read as well

I am reading...still "trying" to read the book my pastor wrote (Turn around at home I think it's called) but haven't gotten any reading accomplished at all recently

I am hoping... for a great & memorable holiday season for Lil J

I am looking forward to... Thanksgiving!!  I LOOOVE Thanksgiving, the cooking, the eating of good food, the family togetherness, a time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for--so often in the busyness of life I don't spend enough time focusing on all that I have to be thankful for

I am learning......... how to make gluten free SOURDOUGH bread & I am LOVING it & getting really good at it!!

Around the house... Got all my housecleaning done yesterday so I wouldn't be so crazy busy today with swim lesson & laundry & school, etc

I am pondering... how to best teach my son to love reading

A favorite quote for today... With love, help each other--Galations 5:13

One of my favorite things... sillyness with my son

A few plans for the rest of the week: another busy weekend coming with riding on Thomas the train on Sunday & 2 birthday parties for little nephews turning 2!!

I am praying for: several friends with serious health issues

Friday, November 8, 2013

Zoo Membership

For some time now I've been wanting a membership or annual pass to somewhere.  It's funny how I never in my life thought of such a thing, but now that I'm a mom, especially a stay at home homeschooling mom, I want to be able to just go & not have to worry about having enough money to go.  And I want to go frequently.  I want to know that the costs are covered & we can just up & go & enjoy ourselves.  Also, there's the advantage of not having to feel the need to stay all day long & "get your money's worth".  Lots of shorter trips are a better thing with a young child.

The big issue has been on WHERE to do this.  I really prefer the idea of a zoo as opposed to an amusement park.  Amusement parks are fun, but for somewhere to go frequently I prefer the quaintness of a zoo.  Amusement parks are flashy with lots of stuff they want your kids to beg you to buy, etc.  At the zoo you can simply appreciate nature & God's creation.

After a lot of deliberating I had set my hopes on the San Diego Zoo.  It's closer to me than the LA Zoo.  Plus an annual pass to the SD Zoo would also work at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  And the Safari Park is actually about a half hour closer to me than the zoo itself is.  So I knew I'd probably be spending more time at the Safari Park rather than the zoo.

I have taken Lil J to several very small "zoos".  There's one in San Dimas, it's free actually.  And there's the O.C. Zoo, which is very small & very cheap to get in.  Lately Lil J has been begging to go to the zoo.  So on Thursday of this week I took Lil J to the Santa Ana Zoo.  I had never been there before.  Anytime I hear mention of it people always add "it's sooo small".  But we've never been to this one so I decided to go check it out.  (We did take him to the SD Zoo about 2 years ago, but only that one time & I did take him to the LA Zoo recently with my sister in law)

It is small, although larger than the one in San Dimas & the OC Zoo, but it's VERY nice.  And it's so close to home for me, no hour & a half drive.  And the best part of all?  Lil J had a blast, he's begging to go back again!!  So I discussed it with hubby & decided to do a membership here & later on, when he's a little older, we can do a bigger zoo membership, when he's bored with this one.

So I am happy to say we are members of the Santa Ana Zoo.  This also gets us free admission & discounted admission to a lot of other zoos, including the LA Zoo & the Big Bear Zoo (I've been there, but long ago, before I was a mom).  So possibly while travelling in the RV we can visit some other zoos.  All in all I am thrilled & can't wait to go again, in the next few days I'm sure.  I'm hoping the passes arrive by then.....if not maybe my receipt will work??  I think I'll email & ask about that......  (I did email & they responded promptly that that will work as long as I have my photo ID as well)

In addition to animals, they also have a small train ride & a carousel.  I knew Lil J would want to go on the train, but wasn't sure about the carousel.  I thought he might not want to go.  Or if he did go that he would cry.  I was soooo happy to see that he wanted to go & he didn't cry.  He had a blast & can't wait to do it again!!

This eagle is HUGE; I don't know that I've ever seen a bald eagle up close like this before.  This one is injured & can no longer fly, but he's beautiful nonetheless.

I wish my kid liked hats, but he doesn't.  I wanted to buy him this conductor hat, but I know he'll never wear it, so I didn't.  I did, however, buy him the binoculars.  His cousin has binoculars & ever since he saw them at his cousin's house I've never heard the end of how much he needs a pair of binoculars like his cousin, LOL!!  

They had a little playground that he really loved as well.

Homeschool Preschool Unit 13--Young David

I am using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, various forms of Spanish, & reading aloud from a chapter book for my 4 year old son.

This week focuses on the letter K & David.

We started off on Monday with a new fingerplay.  He read the sentences portion of reading lesson #87.  We read in the Bible about David.  We did a craft that was in the curriculum, with some sheep, clouds, flowers, & a river.  He practiced writing "K" & "k".  There was an activity to act out what we read in the Bible.  I've been skipping these type of activities more & more as time passes.  Part of me feels guilty, since it seems like it would make learning more fun.  BUT I did some pondering on this & I do believe I am making the right decision, as my kid just gets super distracted & unfocused & doesn't get much learning out of it when we do these activities.  So I think from now on I will continue to discuss these rather than act them out.  I just think it's the right decision for my kid/situation.  Then we did an extra craft, making a sheep, since David was a shepherd, watching over sheep & goats.  Then he read the sentences/paragraphs portion of his reading lesson, then we did some Spanish, & then music.  I don't think I'm going to have time today to read aloud.  Mondays have become insane with the swim lessons thrown into the mix......I think next month when I renew swim class I will have to move it to another day, as I already have tons of laundry & house cleaning on Mondays. 

On Tuesday we continued with our fingerplay.  I made the big decision to skip reading for a little while, unless Lil J asks to do it.  It's just not going well at this point & I need to do some praying about this area of school, possibly leaving our current reading curriculum behind in the process.  (I honestly think at this point he is reading so well that we don't even need curriculum anymore we could just move to emerging reader books at this point I think)  So we read in the Bible about David & discussed what we read.  He did 'hide & seek K' & 'count on me'--drawing music notes (because David played music on his harp) & counting them.  Then we did Spanish & an extra craft, making a toilet paper roll sheep.  Then we listened to our songs--Psalms 23, books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  Then I read aloud from the little house in the big woods.  And that's a wrap for Tuesday.  Lil J did mention that we skipped reading, but when I asked if he wanted to do it his response was "no thank you, maybe later". 

On a side note, when we do our songs Lil J frequently appears to not be paying attention (this is frequent with lots of things actually, but if I question him I find that while he is very active & busy he is still listening) & I sometimes wonder if how much he's paying attention.  But on this day, without realizing, while I was singing God Made the Universe, I kinda wasn't paying attention & said the wrong thing--I think I said God made the fish & the birds on the 4th day rather than the 5th.  And in the midst of whatever he was doing Lil J snapped to attention & started correcting me.  It was a wonderful moment, because once again it proved that he really is listening & learning & retaining info.

On Wednesday we continued with our fingerplay.  We read in the Bible about David & Goliath.  My son has been looking forward to (& constantly asking WHEN it was coming) for this Bible reading for some time now.  I think he will be covering it at church very soon, but at least we finally got to it in preschool.  He was very excited today for that.  Then there was a 'math activity' that had little to do with math & lots of activity, so I skipped it & just discussed the key idea of it instead.  It was 'masking tape K' day, which my son loves.  He had animals walk on the K.  Then there was a strange activity where he draws a shepherd's staff on one side of the page & 5 stones on the other side of the page & then draws lines from the stones to the bottom of the page.  The idea is that you draw the line to show that David hit Goliath with a stone & Goliath fell down dead.  This was kinda weird to me, we did do it, but did a lot of discussion after drawing this, because I didn't feel the activity conveyed the meaning at all.  On Tuesday I took Lil J to the library for the very first time.  I decided to see if he could/would want to read one of those books as his reading lesson.  He said yes & then tried to read "Frog & Toad Together", but after reading about 2 pages he said it was too hard.  So we did Spanish & then our songs--a song about David, books of the Bible, God made the universe, 10 commandments.  (Today while doing our songs Lil J announced he was going to dance, but instead sat on the couch looking at library books, but he was clearly listening all the while).  Then instead of reading Little House in the Big Woods I read Frog & Toad Together.  When we were all done Lil J started talking about skipping his reading lesson.  I asked if he wanted to do 100 Lessons & he said not today.  I asked if he wanted to read more of Frog & Toad & he said it was too hard.  But he ran & got his devotional & asked to read that.  So that's what we did & he loved it & did really well with it.  I was very pleased.

On Thursday we continued with our fingerplay.  We read about David & Jonathan in the Bible.  We did a lot of discussing about David & Jonathan's friendship (there were 2 activities that were to be acted out that I instead chose to discuss).  I was supposed to make a cotton ball "K" (or "cloud K" as Lil J would've called it) but I'm all out of cotton balls at the moment, so instead I just did a glitter glue "K" on black construction paper.  Lil J liked it a lot.  Lil J keeps pointing out that we haven't been doing reading lessons, but then when I ask if he wants to it's almost as if he gets fearful of it & always says "no thank you" or "maybe later" or some such response.  And when we read things that have words he doesn't know he gets very discouraged.  He is extremely smart & is able to read extremely well for his age.  I'm not sure what the issue is, BUT for today I pulled out the first set of early reader books I got at Costco a while back.  I had planned to start them when we finished the reading lesson book, but I wasn't planning on that being anytime soon.  But I'm really thinking it's time to just abandon this reading lesson book.  It served it's purpose well, but it's no longer doing so.  So when I pulled out this book Lil J was resisting & acting almost as if he believed he couldn't do it.  Luckily these books start out extremely simple & super easy & almost TOO easy for him.  But the look on his face when he realized he COULD do it was priceless.  I am hoping & praying that these books are just what we need right now.  Then we did Spanish.  Of his library books he chose Franklin & the Duckling as a read aloud book for this day.  And then we did our songs--a song about David, the books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  While we did our songs he sat on the ottoman looking at one of his library books.  I must say it is amazing how much shorter our school time is without the reading lessons in the 100 lessons book.  Prayer that these Bob books early reader books work out well would be much appreciated.  

On Friday we continued with our fingerplay.  He read another of the Bob books.  We read about David not killing Saul in the Bible.  We did both devotionals.  He practiced writing "K" & "k" again.  We discussed the situation of Saul wanting to kill David & yet when David had the opportunity to kill Saul he didn't, because it wasn't pleasing to God (there was an activity here that I chose instead to discuss).  Then we did Spanish & then our songs.  There was no song for today's lesson, but we still did books of the Bible, God made the universe, & 10 commandments.  I now have the 10 commandments song memorized I am happy to report.  For read aloud time he wanted Freddy the Fire Engine.  It's a short one, so I'll probably read something else aloud later on today.  

Onward to next week.....where we learn about King David........