Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've been reading a lot about self-determination and quality of life as it relates to individuals with disabilities. This topic hits home for us as parents, not just because we have a soon-to-be-teenager with a disability but because we wish to prepare both our children for the future. We've been doing a lot of talking about being responsible and what that means for an 11 and 12 year old. I, of course, have high expectations.

So one day last week I forgot to pack the kids' lunches and Nathan offered to make his own. This got me thinking of a way to help him prepare for the future. Here's what I did today:

The boys and I talked about what made a good lunch. Good means somewhat nutritious but also delicious. I then gave them each $20 and we went to the grocery store. Nathan really wanted lemonade in little pouches (found it $2 for 10). Nolan had a hankering for fizzy yogurt. We didn't find Fizzix but he saw yogurt with crunchies on top. $.85 each. He figured out that five of those would cost $4.25. Ok, I was proud that he could do the math in his head. I taught him that, you know. He also realized that it was quite a lot of his money. We looked around and found some lunch sized yogurts with crunchies that were four for $2-something. Since he is allowed to buy lunch once a week he only needed four anyway. Aaah, the savings. Both boys were excited to buy chips (as I don't usually purchase this item). Pringles were on sale for $1 a can.

They used the self-checkout to finish up and used my Bonus card to insure the savings. Nolan's lunch for the week cost just over $7 and Nathan's was just over $10. They were excited to see how much money they saved by buying things on sale. Actually, they both really enjoyed the experience. They will now start packing their own lunches each evening before bed (we'll see if that is as much fun as buying it).

The purpose of this little excersize wasn't so I have to do less work but to help them learn to navigate one more system: the grocery store. In navigating this system they were learning self-determining skills: making decisions, making choices, being autonomous, and regulating themselves (they didn't spend nearly all their money). Maybe someday I'll write a paper called Self-Determination Through Grocery Shopping. You never know.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

Well, I certainly didn't think I'd be posting again so soon. The main reason I blog is to document our life so we can look back on it later. I wanted to document this day because I enjoyed it so much, especially in the midst of what has felt like total craziness.We had snow and ice today which means no school for the boys and mom! Yeah!!! Of course this means we have one less day off in February but I think it was worth while. Nathan decided he wanted waffles for breakfast so I set him to work with the cookbook. He really likes to bake and does a great job. The above pictures show him in action. Nolan made it downstairs in time to eat. I think that was planned on his part. After breakfast we sent Nolan out to shovel and set Nathan to washing the dishes. He definitely likes cooking better than cleaning up, but who doesn't?The boys and I took this opportunity to catch up on some school assignments. Nathan is writing a paper about child labor in Africa. I was glad to have the extra time to help him. He even talked about how nice it was to have a long day to work on it. Writing is not his strong suit so these projects take a really (did I mention REALLY) long time. The hard work always pays off in the end and I've never yet regretting working hard at something.

To add a little fun to our day we took a walk to the local Friendly's for lunch. I thought it was a nice little walk but the boys weren't feeling the same. My boots are a lot better than theirs. Note to self: Get the boys some decent hiking boots.

Nolan curled up after the walk to listen to Artemis Fowl which he just got out of the library yesterday, while Nathan and I continued working on his paper. Once we were brain dead, I retired to the kitchen and started making soup and he headed for the computer for a few rounds of Wheel of Fortune (our new favorite game). Nolan headed outside with his snow board.
There's nothing like a snowy, winter day to get me in the kitchen! Here are some not so great pictures. The first is Minestrone and the second is Senegalese Peanut Soup. I've wanted to make the peanut soup for a long time. It smells delicious and I'm eager to try it. I've got bread for supper and a glass of wine with my name on it. Mike and I are deep into the 6th season of Lost. I have been caught up on my homework for school so I've been allowing myself some tv time at night.All in all this has been a fantastic day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where I've been and what I'm doing...

2009 is here already and I just wanted to pop in here to let you know that you won't be seeing or hearing a whole lot of me. Life has really changed since September in lots of ways. I went from a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to a working-full-time, helping kids with homework, graduate student.

Needless to say, there isn't a whole lot of sewing going on in my life. I have two quilts in progress and I think they'll be in progress for a long time to come. This one is my favorite (sorry about the bad picture). It has been on my design wall for a while and will be there till summer, I'm sure.
Right after the new year I began my journey toward my teaching certification....a journey that will take years and years. I'm only able to take one class at a time due to working and family obligations. It has been a really long time since college and I'm REALLY rusty on reading and paper writing. Thus, everything takes a really long time.
The other reason things take me a long time is that I'm not able to devote my time toward only my schooling. Although the boys are doing well in school, they still require a lot of my time and energy. Nathan will always require a lot of help, especially in writing assignments. The kids are only kids once and I don't plan on missing out on any part of their life if I can help it. My goals for my own life can wait until the kids are adults if need be. Not that parents ever stop parenting but I know that the time we spend now will reap a myriad of benefits later. I'm not missing that opportunity! So....Nathan and I worked tirelessly (ok, actually we were really tired) on his last book project. Here's the grade:
I promised him that once the project was finished we'd take a trip to the setting of his book: Hershey, PA. We had a great time at this new museum. If you live nearby or want a fun vacation destination, Hershey, PA is a great place to visit.
And finally, I'm still teaching a special needs class at church. Making lesson plans takes an inordinate amount of time for me. I've discovered my kiddo likes birds so this week as we begin to learn about the sacraments we're going to make a comfortable nest for this little birdie. The connection? God provided us with our home (the church) and makes us comfortable (His love) using lots of materials (the sacraments). Our Cardinal will be helping us to learn more about God's love and the life of Jesus for the rest of the year.
Well, I'd like to say that's what I'm up to but really there are lots of other things (including cleaning out a house so it can be sold...anybody interested in a fixer-upper?) that I don't really have the time or the inclination to share here. Things are good but different and very, very busy.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You know you married a geek when....

You find a Star Trek communicator pin in his long lost box of college memorabilia.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Plans, not resolutions

Nolan asked me the other day if I made New Year's Resolutions. I replied that I do sometimes. I asked him if he planned any resolutions and he said no. I then asked if he thought he was ok just the way he was, he said yes, in fact, he was!

I love it!

I don't really think about 2009 in terms of resolutions but more in plans. Since I blog to keep track of myself, here are some of my plans for 2009:
Birds: We are blessed with a number of beautiful birds in our backyard. I really would like to learn more about them and also how to attract other species native to the Northeast. I am very motivated by Dawn's blog. I think one of the plans I have is to email her and ask for advice. Bird feeders and birdbaths as well as flowers and shrubs to attract and feed the birds are part of the plan. (**this picture is NOT our backyard but the back yard of Mike's Aunt and Uncle in Colorado. The birds there are AMAZING!)

Vegetable Garden: We haven't been in this house a full year yet and I need to remember that. So with that in mind, these plans may be ongoing over many years. Our yard needs some work and I have plans for this coming year. I'd like to grow a lot more food this year including tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, onions, lettuce and I'm not sure wh
at else. My friend Amy has a great garden at her house and I may just have to bother her husband for advice. Our yard isn't set up for a plotted vegetable garden but I'm thinking of growing things around the house as it works.
Flower Garden: This really goes with the last plan but I thought I'd separate it since it really is a bit different. We have a ton of ivy in our yard and I'd like to rip it all out. I spent a few days working on a spot last spring and although it was really time intensive, the results were fantastic. None of the ivy returned. I couldn't believe it. I want to move a few plants to different spots as I don't think they are getting the right amount of sun or are getting too much sun: the roses, the bleeding hearts, and the one that starts with a P that I just can't think of right now! I also want to move or eliminate some shrubs that are in bizarre places. There is also some bamboo that must be eliminated.

Photography: I have been taking some really terrible pictures lately. My camera has many functions and I used to love photography prior to digital. I need to learn to
use my camera to its full usage. The nice thing about digital is that I can see the results of my attempts right away and I'm not wasting anything (except my time, perhaps!).
Health: This is always an ongoing struggle for me. I've already begun working on improving the health of our family by cooking healthier and going to the gym. My boys aren't interested in sports so we are active in other ways: biking, hiking and swimming. I'd like to get to the gym three times a week at a minimum. I'm signing the boys up for swimming lessons to improve their skill. Nolan is a very good swimmer but could use some help with a few of his strokes. Nathan can swim but needs more practice. They both could use the exercise.

School: I start classes on Wednesday toward my Special Ed/Elem. Ed Certification. I have quite a few classes to take so this will be a very long process. I found out that I have to take some elementary college courses because it has been so long since I've been in school: English Composition and Literature and two math classes. I actually wouldn't mind if it didn't add like a year or two to the process. I think the Composition class may help my writing so this isn't such a terrible thing. I'm going to see if these are online classes I can take.
Sewing: This may surprise some of you but my sewing goals for 2009 include sewing LESS! I read a simplicity book once that recommended no more than three goals at a time. Otherwise none of them will be accomplished. I love to sew but the reality is that I often sew for pleasure only. This isn't a bad thing but if I really want to work on the other goals I think I need to cut back to sewing when needed. This may be difficult to do and by no means will I stop doing it but I think I'd like to finish up my few projects and give that room a good cleaning. I may need to utilize the table for writing papers!

Well, that's about it. Those are the plans that have been on my mind for quite a while and I wanted to get them written down before I head back to work. I picked up a few books from the library yesterday on birds and gardening. I hope to get the kids involved in both pursuits so I picked up a few kids books in the mix. Have a great Saturday and a fantastic start to the new year.
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