"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Monkey Wrench.

It has been another crazy week in our home.  My grandmother was in and out of the ER.  She was finally admitted with pneumonia and CHF but has improved and was discharged this past Friday.  I felt in somewhat of a "funk" this week and found myself unmotivated to do more than just what was necessary for us to function. 
I know my biggest problem is the fact that I need to put more work into my relationship with God.  I need to pray more, I need to read more, and I need to make a point to get some more "alone" time.  I've been slacking in that area and I'll be the first to admit it.  After "slacking" this week, I KNOW I need to do more.
Friday was the icing on the cake for our week.  For those of you who don't know, we were a part time homeschooling family.  Our son went to public school for therapy and socialization.  It never sat well with me that he was in public school.  I always worried about what was going on and what he was exposed to.  His teacher had become someone we grew to trust.  She was supportive and treated our  Peanut as if he were her own child.  We had decided that once he was too old (5 years old) to be in her class, we would them pull him out of school and homeschool full time and utilize private therapy.   Everyone knows that as soon as you get comfortable with life, a monkey wrench will be thrown into the works, and that's exactly what happened to us on Friday.
I was driving the kids to their Music Therapy group when my phone rang.  It was Miss Courtney which was unexpected especially because she is currently on maternity leave.  She was calling to tell me that she had been reassigned to another class and that meant Peanut would no longer be in her class.  The new teacher is a new hire to the school district and she didn't know the person.  She called because she wanted to make sure I knew ahead of time.  I think she called because she new our plan.  I also think she called because "He" has a plan.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

My mind began to race.  What are we going to do?  Whats the right decision?  I called babes to tell him.  We decided to both pray on it first and then talk together.  I hung up and began to pray silently in my head (I didn't want the kids to know what was going on until we made our decision).  That night I went online searching for options and resources.  I posted on numerous discussion sites, reaching out to other families who homeschool their children with Autism.  I got a great response.  The more and more I prayed, the more and more I felt better.
 Of all the responses, one woman posted something that really hit home for me.  It's so simple, but so true, and I believe it is something we should all live by.  What she wrote was this: "In the end you and your husband need to decide what the Lord wants you to do for your children. Their autism was not a surprise to the Lord so don't expect Him change His plan."

Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

We have our decision.  We know what we are going to do. We will be notifying the district this week, that we will be pulling Peanut out of the school completely.  We will not even utilize drop in therapy services if offered.  We are going to provide it all on our own.  I know, it sounds like ALOT, and your right it is but my kids are worth the work.  God gave US these children, and it is up to US to care for them and help them to maximize their potential.   I have created a therapy plan.  I also created a 36 week academic plan for this upcoming school year and I'm hoping to get a few lesson plans done tonight.
I'm feeling really good about our decision.  It's scary, but I think it's what we are supposed to do.  God has a plan, and we need to trust in that.
I will be putting our summer "school" plans on hold and we will start up in September.  I need a little time to organize our home, our schedule, and our plans.  I need to start up a new ABA program for Peanut as well, which means evaluations.  I'll share our plans and our journey as we go.  Pray for us.  I know there will be stumbling blocks along the way, but I also know we are not alone.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (NIV)

I'll share as we go!

God Bless!!

Mommy Provost

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Using our listening Ears...

This week in our home we focused on the letter D and dinosaurs (see my previous post, D is for Dinosaur!) , the number 4, squares and the color black.  We learned a memory verse from Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without disputing." 
Here is our wall with the themes for this week.
I figured while we were on the subject of doing what you are told, it would be a good opportunity to expand on the concept.  We read the story of Peter Rabbit and then made a set of "listening ears" which the kids loved wearing around the house.

Peanut wore his ears around the house for the rest of the week.

Although a camera ham, Sassy was not too interested in wearing her ears much.
We spent a good part of the week working with fine motor and sensory activities.  Another of the kids favorites this week was playing in gluten free cornmeal.  It has a nice texture different from sand.  I took a bag of cornmeal and mixed it with a handful of uncooked rice (to help soak up some of the moisture in the cornmeal), and put it in a cookie sheet.  We have acquired multiple bins of different sensory "fun" materials at this point (more on that in a latter post).
ohhhhh  cornmeal!

We had a busy but fun week.  Peanut started his Summer program through the school district.  I'm finding communication to be a bit of an issue, but nothing that's not manageable. (We definitely miss his fall teacher, Miss Courtney.) Sassy's new behavioral therapist Nicole ( Sassy calls her, "Mc Cool" )  is fantastic to say the least and has been awesome enough to even leave us with homework to work on with Sassy (which I love).

Peanut saw his DAN! doctor this past Friday and his appointment went very well.  His stomach issues seem to be on the mend and things have improved greatly!  You know it's a good appointment when you leave only after 45 minutes, and you don't have to buy any new supplements!

Peanut's Therapeutic Listening Therapy is doing great!  He seems to like it (most of the time) and I believe we are seeing results already (more on that in a latter post as well).  I have many different blog ideas in the works.  More than I'm sure I have time for but they will all eventually get done.  In August we plan to see some friends from Florida when they come up to visit, have a family vacation week, and (drum roll please!) begin to push potty training with Peanut!!

This week we move on to the number 5, the letter E, the color yellow and our theme is emotions.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming weeks.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful, fun and happy summer!

God Bless!

Mommy Provost

Thursday, July 21, 2011

D is for Dinosaur!

This week we are learning about the letter D, and so the theme of our week has been dinosaurs.  This has made Sassy very happy because one of her many obsessions is dinosaurs.  I am not done everything for the week, but I have had some requests for the big dinosaur activity we did this week so I decided to post it a day earlier. 

These are some of the books we read this week.
I made a dinosaur lapbook for the kids.  I got most of it from 1+1+1=1 .

First, I read, "God Made Dinosaurs." to the kids and we talked about the process of finding Dinosaur fossils.  We then broke it down into steps (as they are described in the book) and we did the same.

The first step is to draw a map of our "dig site."
Peanut did a great job drawing out his map!
After our maps were drawn, we walked through the house and used our map to find the dig site.  Once we found it we had to take pictures of the site.

After our pictures were taken, we used our special tools (aka: paintbrushes) to carefully brush away the sand and find the dinosaur fossils.

Sassy was very happy to have found a dinosaur!
Peanut got really inventive trying to find the small dinosaur bones that were left over.

After the dig was completed, they each got a certificate naming them both junior paleontologists!

We then began our D is for Dinosaur project and made dinosaurs out of the letter D.

You can find this project at Homeschool Creations

They both did a wonderful job staying focused through the entire activity!

Here is our finished product!

So that is the Dinosaur portion of our week.  I'm hoping to post the rest of our activities tomorrow!

God Bless!

Friday, July 15, 2011

This week in our home.

It has been a crazy few weeks in our house.  Our schedules have changed dramatically, we had a fun filled fourth of July, Sassy's therapy's have all started up, Peanut began Therapeutic Listening (see below), and we started our new Homeschool Program.  Next week we will finally start to settle in to our new schedule and I honestly can't wait!  I'm having so much fun spending the days with both my children.  I can't wait for the day when we are exclusively homeschooling both children and I can spend every moment with them.  I have to say they truly are amazing human beings! 

This week we learned a memory verse from Genesis 1:3 ("And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.")

Our memory verses. (The kids cut them out and taped them together- good fine motor activity)
The kids loved cutting out their memory verses and are very proud to have them taped on the wall.  We are using parts/ideas from the curriculum we purchased (Horizons ) and combined it with some of my own ideas and things I have discovered online.  I decided that we would use our "letter of the week" as the first letter to our weekly theme.  This week we learned the letter "C" and our theme was Community Helpers.  This was a bit more challenging than I expected.  Apparently our children don't recognize police or firefighters in uniform.  After discovering this I narrowed our concentration to Police and Firefighters and spent a lot of time talking about how they can helps us in our community.

What we learned this week: Red, Green, Blue, the letter "C", the number 3, and Circle.
I took the cards provided by the curriculum and put them in sheet protectors and taped them to the wall for the kids to see and talk about throughout the day.  We have worksheets, activities and crafts that go with all of our concepts that I keep in a work folder and we get to what we can, and what the kids are up for at the time.  One thing I was able to do was create lap book for the kids this week.  I made them a Policeman lap book.  I got all of the printouts from Homeschool Creations.  This is one of my favorite sites to get lap book ideas and printouts for.  I was limited on time and used her lap book printouts instead of creating my own.

The activities include making patterns, colors, alphabet matching, counting and shapes.
Another wonderful blessing that has graced our family is the addition of a touch screen computer.  We began using it this week and Peanut LOVES it.  It is a great way to help develop hand-eye coordination as well as fine motor movement and control.  Here is Peanut (with Sassy watching) playing a Curious George game from PBS kids.org.  

Finally this week, the day came when we began our therapeutic listening (Vital Links) program through Easter Seals.  We filled out questionnaires and Peanut's Sensory therapist did an evaluation to determine which CD was needed for our first 2 weeks of the program.  He has to listen to the CD on random for 30 minutes twice a day.  We started Thursday afternoon so he has listened 3 times.  To be honest, I think he likes it!  I tried listening to the CD and it made my head feel funny.

Here is Peanut listening to his CD while playing in our Sensory room.
So all in all its been a great few weeks.  We got back the IgG Elisa tests and found out what may be effecting the kids GI tracts.  One of the most disappointing things we found was they were both very sensitive to Coconut so we had to eliminate it from their diets. We have now been working on finding ways to work around the various food sensitivities.  Peanut's belly was doing much better but after the 4th of July, he began to have loose stools again and we feel like we are back at square one.  We are thinking we may have to try the SCD.  We have a lab results on Peanut we are waiting for and should get them next Friday.  I'm hoping the results give us a little more insight as well.  Next week Peanut starts going to school 3 days a week to play with friends.  Sassy began her behavioral therapy, which she gets 5 days a week.  I'm very happy with the therapist who is working with her.  I'm looking forward to another great week with my children!  Have a great wekend everyone!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I saw a blog post from Lynns Kitchen Adventures  for GF Chocolate Zucchini Muffins and thought it would be something to try to use our left over zucchini for.  The recipe is Gluten Free but not Casein free or Egg free, so I wanted to share our modifications for those of you with similar food allergies.

To view the orginal recipe click HERE.
 Our modifications:
* We used Earth Balance Natural Spread for butter.
* We replaced the 2 eggs with Ener-G Egg Replacer.
* I used 1/2 cup, unsweetened Almond Milk instead of butter milk.
* We used Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips.
* I grated the zucchini the night before and let it sit in a sifter with a paper towel and a mug on top to drain as much fluid as possible.  It worked pretty well.

* I took the juice from the zucchini and I mixed it with 2 tablespoons of Agave and pureed raspberries (I defrosted a bag of frozen organic raspberries and squished them through the strainer).  I put the mixture in Popsicle molds and froze that overnight as a healthy treat for the kids.

I found  muffin batter to be pretty thick and I added another tablespoon of Almond Milk before adding the chocolate chips.  The batter made 12 muffins for us.  The directions say to bake for 18-20 minutes, but we ended up cooking ours for about 25 minutes (and they probably could have stayed in a few minutes longer).  I would say, keep checking them until they are done.  We ate these for breakfast this morning with a cup of yogurt and the kids LOVED them!  We will definitely include this recipe into my recipe binder!  Even my husband (food lover) liked them!  Let me know how yours come out!  Enjoy!