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Our unwelcome visitor - Irene

I have been meaning to get these pictures up but Irene kept me quite busy between taking in outdoor furniture, Home Depot and Bj's runs and picking up branches. Here is our past week!

We started out at Home Depot buying piping to try to move the down spouts away from our foundation to prevent water coming into the basement.  Next we went to WalMart for emergency drinking water. Two days ahead of the storm they, as well as most grocery stores in the area, were sold out of water.  We finally found water at BJ's.

Well, in the end we got quite lucky! For us Irene was just another nor'easter that brought a lot of stress but not alot of damage. Somehow, we never lost power and our basement stayed dry, a miracle in itself. We did lose some branches, and a lot of leaves.  My poor trees look like it should be november.  A couple neighbors lost a few trees, but I know it could have been much much worse.

Our side yard during the storm, this was still a stream the next day.

I was not so happy when these branches started coming down. DD developed a fascination with our windows while the branches were blowing around on the dog run right outside the window. In the end the only damage was to the dog's run. The weight of the branches did it in.  Even I will say it was interesting watching some of the branches blow all the way to my neighbor's yard, across the road.  Smart me parked one of the cars in their driveway or I wouldn't have found it so funny.

DD had great fun with the boxes of goodies I found stashed in the basement. Buddy unfortunately just wanted the rain to end so he could go outside.

Now that our visit is over, I am working on painting the breezeway and finishing up planning the last of the first week's work boxes.  Since Irene messed up fed ex I have had to plan around a couple shipments like our "All About Spelling". We also have a trip to Old Sturbridge Village coming up that I am doing some research on in hopes of creating a lapbook. Crossing fingers this might make her more comfortable and interact instead of waiting till we are on our way home to get involved.


School space

This being our first year of homeschooling we were trying to set up a work area and workboxes. While I doubt we will do a lot at the desk, this will give us some needed organization.

Above the desk there are plans for a large corkboard. The US map is for our US Geography and  is surrounded by her colorings for each state.  Currently the map is on a small cork board that is on hooks that used to hold some pictures.

The desk, made by 4D concepts, and the chair from Ikea were a Christmas present to my daughter two years ago. I believe we found it at Walmart. She uses it to store craft projects, coloring books, and other art supplies that are hers.  While it was in her room it got quite messy and was a dumping ground. I am hoping that being out here in everyone's view will help prevent that.

The workboxes are to the left of the desk. I believe I had found these in K-Mart many years ago. These I had used in her closet for shorts and pants until her clothing got too large for them last year.  I divided the bottom draws into two blocks each to form 10 drawers.

On top of the workboxes is a set of trays I just picked up from Ikea. They will be storing completed papers,  assigned reading books, her calendar binder and underneath fits her US atlas for geography.

On the desk is my old laptop we just installed educational games and links for her school work on, a light since the corner tends to be dark, and her magazine holders that have scrapbooking stuff to go to her aunt's.  Underneath the desk I put a shoe box for her current craft projects/presents hoping to control the amount. 

In front of the workboxes is a yoga ball.  My mom had given this to me, but I have seen them at Marshalls before. This is just a way of getting it out of the way when not in use. She spends a lot of time sitting on this to watch tv or do school work. It also gets used quite a bit for super girl to strengthen some muscles.




Changing our eating habits.

One of our goals with homeschooling is to change my Daughter's diet.  As a toddler she would eat anything I gave her. As she gets older and we notice more sensory issues, we have also noticed her becoming a picky eater.  Now, that wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that every day an item on the like list (that she asked to have on the menu) was receiving "I don't like that" when it was put in front of her.

There are  many ideas floating around about SPD kids use food as a method of control and also that the tastes and textures of the food might be too much for them to handle. I think it might be a bit of both with my daughter.  I have also noticed that the better she eats, the better she acts, and the more she's willing to try. On the other hand, the more junk she eats, the less she wants to eat period. 

The first thing we are doing is eliminating food coloring, soy and maple (I am allergic to these so chances are she will be). There was very little soy/maple in our house to start.  The food coloring was a major issue. I gave her a week's warning and last night we dumped out all her candy and ice pops.  We made an agreement: no food coloring for a month and then we will talk about how it affected her and us.

 The second thing was an idea I picked up from Growing Up Homeschooled, which was a taste test. Now, I didn't think this would work with my daughter.  Part of the problem with having an only child is not being able to use peer pressure or competition. This being said, I was game for anything, so we went to the store and she picked out 5 apples.


 I let her be in control of the types and the number.  I also picked a fruit she will sometimes eat.  Next step: to make it look like something mom did not come up with. I did a search online and found this form.

I cheated a bit and took the stickers off the apples to label the columns with. First we touched, smelled and tapped on the apples to fill out the first three rows. After that I cut a couple slices off of eat apple and made the rest disappear into the fridge.  She then proceeded to taste and smell (again) each apple. This gave her practice in being descriptive as well as working on eating habits.


After she was done filling out her chart and labeling her favorites from 1-5, I gave her some peanut butter and she almost cleaned out the bowls.

That night at dinner she also tried a tomato. This caused a very horrible face, but when I suggested she eat some more salad to wash it down with, she did and avoided the tears that where threatening.

Now, the reason for this working with my daughter? I can not be sure if it was her mood, the fact that afternoon snack is always when she is the most hungry, the lack of pressure to eat anything, or if it was just fun. Either way it worked!  She has been asking for apples ever since. You can be sure we are doing more of these soon.


The fall clean out - Part 2

Like the rest of life, a project that started out as a couple hours turned into three days and we are not even done with all of it yet. Her room is perfect.  Now I just have to finish the rest of the house. Her desk was moved to my living room; yup, there goes the adult room.  Logically she mostly draws and colors on the floor and we were looking for a desk to put a computer on for school time.  This gives her more playing space and lets me keep a better eye on the school work and clutter filled desk. Her stuffed animals moved to the breezeway along with her books.  This space is going to eventually be a play area and I am hoping to cut down on her allergies. These two areas will take a bit longer to complete with furniture and picture rearrangement and some much needed storage ideas floating around.


Now on to her room! We did some major rearranging.  The old layout got tight as she got taller and needed more leg room; not to mention maybe it offered a bit to much privacy when it came to clean up time.  The toys all got put in fabric bins to keep them from falling off the shelves, (Thank you Kmart they where only 2.50 each) and we added some drawers next to her bed for a night stand. Her bed (mine growing up) is scheduled to be replaced/repainted as soon as I come up with some ideas.


(Pardon me while I am still learning all the functions of this blog please Click here to see full pictures.)

I am so proud of her!  She got rid of about 2 garbage bags full of stuff so far, and packed away another couple totes of stuffed animals/dolls.  You will more than likely see a post on Sensory and clutter soon.  I did not realize, until a post on SPD connect, that the two go together.

So what do you think?





The fall clean out - Part 1

I had decided with the start of the school year a couple weeks off, and having a rainy Sunday on hand, I would tackle my daughter's room. Now, this is something that gets done a couple times of year, but for some reason it was worse than normal, or at least how I remember normal.


As you can see when you walk in, the door didn't open all the way, there were piles of stuff spilling out of the closet and everywhere else, and the book shelf was overflowing, along with her desk drawers. So I started with gutting the room and dumping it all in the living room. Then I tackled the closet, as anyone with kids knows once in a while it takes a mom's touch to get it all folded back on the shelves. I packed away into the attic all the winter clothing that was hanging out on the top shelf.


 So we now had a clean closet, a very tired girl, and an empty room; but walls that I have been putting off painting for years. An old friend had painted them while I was pregnant and they were never finished off. The plan was, when the breezeway/playroom was finished, we would paint. Since plans keep changing, I decided the room was already empty, so why put it off longer. Off to Home Depot we went. Now this part I was dreading... a 7 year old choosing between a couple hundred paint colors. Well, thanks, Behr, you made it easy. (No they are not paying me) Behr came out with a line of Disney paint, and anyone that knows my daughter knows that if it has Tinkerbell on it, it must be bought. This worked well for me since I knew it would go well with the Tinkerbell bedspread and her pink and purple curtains. So Atta Boy Blue was bought.  More to come once the room's finished and put back together.