Monday, January 30, 2012

living with a child on the spectrum...

...Severity that is not thought to be severe, is severe, when one lives with the difficulties thereof daily, compounded by the ignorance of those who do not understand...

Do not seek to make judgement against that, or upon that, which you cannot understand.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

No, We Can't review

No, We Can’t, by Robert Stearns and published by Chosen Books, is a book that seeks to explain the myth of coexistence between Christians and Muslims. As the world continues to change, Christians must remain steadfast in their devotion to the word of the Lord and to Biblical principle. As believers we need to be deeply concerned with the affairs of our world and care about the culture clash that is occurring and will continue to occur.


One thing the Bible call Christians to do is to be truthful. John 16:13 states “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  You must be vigilant to be truthful in all things. The author of this text would lead the reader to believe at one time that there existed in this world a greater emphasis on tolerance being more important than truth. This is where I choose to disagree. To be tolerant at the price of truth is equivalent to a lie, in my opinion.

Stearns explains how coexistence between the two aforementioned religions and cultures is a myth and cannot really happen. The book explains how what is really occurring in this world is a war – for dominance between the two religions. Stearns predicts a time will soon come when Islam and Christianity will clash in a fight of peril. What we can and need to do as Christian soldiers of faith is explained in detail in No, We Can’t!

I believe this book is a must read for those who sit in the middle of these two cultures. The world is waiting on edge to be pushed in one direction or the other and dominance of one view of the world may save or lead to damnation.

I received this book for review from Chosen Books for this independent review and in exchange for no compensation other than my honest review and opinion.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Essential Guide to Healing review.

The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping all Christian to Pray for the Sick, written by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark, is a guidebook that explains to Christians how to apply Biblical principle and word to the ministry of healing. The Bible is full of stories of how people are inexplicably and miraculously healed. The Lord still moves in this manner today, as he did then. This book serves as a guide to inspire and lead Christians in applying the scripture and prayer to become a healing force.
The 253 page paperback text is published by Chosen Books, with an ISBN of 978-0800795191. Though there are many books written and published on the topic of prayer healing and evangelists that can heal, this book should be thought of as an authority on this topic. If you are a Christian who has an interest in studying divine healing through the Lord Jesus Christ and in His name, then this book will become a great asset to your personal library of developing an understanding and appreciation for healing others through prayer and practical application. 
The Essential Guide to Healing  -     
        By: Bill Johnson, Randy Clark
    
 
Pastors Bill and Randy use personal stories to weave a personal approach to this text. The layout of the book is different for others in that it switches back and forth between the two authors and you are able to understand their varying views and see the applications of their learning as the writing unfolds. The writing comes from the basis of scripture and their personal accounts of healing interventions. Testimonies of healing in the name of Jesus are used to explain how each pastor became involved in healing and how to apply the learning individually or to larger groups of people. There is reference to prayer intercession sessions that are short to longer intervals of prayer.
As well the reader will be exposed to the historical background of healing intervention and the power of divine healing through the name of Christ and the power of the Spirit. The steps provided for the process are described in the book in easy to understand apply sequenced instructions. An example of this is learning how to implement a five-step model of healing prayer and recognizing the authority that faith in belief has in healing. The reader will be inspired by the personal accounts related in the book. Through the training provided by Pastors Bill and Randy in this text, any Christian can learn to be an instrument of healing in the name and power of Christ. God is still very much active in the process of healing today and still moves through His people.
I received this book for review from Chosen Books for this independent review and in exchange for no compensation other than my honest review and opinion.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I GOT A CHICKEN!!

I got a metal chicken!!!   A big, metal chicken!! I got this chicken from the famous Chicken Man artist, Ernest Lee, from South Carolina.

 
It is about 4.5(+/-) feet tall. We will have to secure it better in the ground, so eventually it will be moved to another yard location.

And, no, I did not get another real chicken...


The metal chicken will be able to keep the goat company!!


And the metal fish yard art the hubby bought for me might need some friends soon as well!


:) 




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coffee Compost Mushrooms and Tree Huggers!!

A few weeks ago, when I went to get my allergy shots, the nurse called me a 'hippy, Mother-Earth loving, tree hugger.'  I have been called many things in my life, but never one of those things and never all together as that day. It made me think long and hard about if this is the way people really view me? 

I do love the Earth, and we do much to recycle, compost, reuse, and be green in the household. Most of the time the effort is more about me calling out to other family members: 'That is recyclable!' or 'That can be fed to chickens/go in the compost/go in the recycle bin.' I could even see the tree hugger part perhaps. I refuse to buy anything any longer if it will become a waste product. If it is not something we will fully consume or use, eat, feed the leftovers to the dog or cats or chickens, recycle, or put into the compost...I try not to buy it at all. As such, our recycling is overflowing each week and there is almost nothing ever in the trash for the dump. I like this concept. Nothing gets wasted. Everything needs a purpose, or a repurpose, or it no longer belongs or needs to come into my house, on my property, or home with any of my family members.

And we have made many life changes: like, having the chickens, composting, making much our food from scratch (butter, mayonnaise, some cheeses, etc.), eating raw foods, joining the co-op, planting some things, etc. But, I cannot wrap my mind around the hippy part. So, I will choose to digress...

So, here is the neat next thing...at the 14 Carrot store, I found this box where you grow your own mushrooms from recycled coffee grounds. How much greener can you get?  Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it appears. And I am skeptical about this project...but venture on we must!! 


And the directions seemed so simple...


So, we followed the ever so simple instructions...




Then, we found the spare paper inside  - which had other and different directions. Did I mention that the new found directions were different??


So, we begin again and did the new directions...




And then about 20 hours later...



So, now we have to mist the box thing everyday and in 10 days, I am supposed to have edible mushrooms. I remain skeptical, but am going to wait with anticipation. I will update this in 10 days or so...stay tuned.

I have recently decided I want a shitake log...until I can figure out where to get one or how to infuse a hardwood log with spawn myself, this box mushroom kit will have to suffice. I think the next thing would obviously be to figure out how we could just use our spent grounds to infuse them with spawn ourselves or I wonder if you need something more??

And this still does not make me want that metal chicken I still do not have any less!!  And, I still have not figured out if I am a 'hippy, Mother-Earth loving, tree hugger'???  What do you think??

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sweet Sunday Shabbat!

So, technically Shabbat was yesterday...but, we are just getting to it today!  After a weekend of feeling ill and resting for most of the time, finally at midday, we become a somewhat useful family again.

We used the leftover buttermilk from last week to make buttermilk pancakes for brunch (more like lunch). I had to use unleavened flour for these, so I had to add the baking powder, a bit of yeast, and some salt to cook them properly. We had some raw peanut butter the child and I had ground and made about two weeks ago. It went well on the pancakes! Yummy!


I noticed yesterday that the jar of honey has began to crystalize. I boiled it down this morning while the pancakes were cooking.


I removed the comb and poured off the honey into one of those left over cute plastic honey bear containers.



The last step of this process - which will have to occur later, as in not this morning - is to extract the remaining honey from the comb and melt it down for the wax within for candling...or just eating the thing with the peanut butter one morning?!?!

Mind you, that while the honey and pancake operations were occurring, the child was helping to make the newest batch of butter behind me in the kitchen. It was a busy scene in there this morning. We changed up the butter recipe by adding a half batch of EVOO to soften the batch. After separating off and squeezing out the excess buttermilk and transferring it to a jar for later use, we washed and salted the butter as usual, then returned it to the mixer bowl to add the EVOO. The end product was a much creamer spread, which retains the health values of the natural product. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Curriculum Choices for the Year!

What we are using this year...the child recently finished 7th grade and has started lessons for a combined 8th grade/high school curriculum.

For literature, we are reading classic novels and completing literature unit studies as we go. Vocabulary and spelling is built off of these and comprehension strategies and skills. I use educational websites, EdHelper, and published curricula novel unit studies with these. We get all the books on in electonic format from RFBD or LearningAlly or in an audio reader from the public library. These are exceptionally useful for the dyslexia and reading learning disabilities. Some of the ones we have chosen to read this year are:
  • White Fang
  • Call of the Wild
  • Tom Sawyer
  • Huckleberry Finn
  • War of the Worlds
  • The Hiding Place
  • Treasure Island
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Island of the Blue Dolphin
  • The Pearl
Currently, we are reading Treasure Island. He also chooses novels for independent reading time and completes those at leisure. He has read two novels of his choice this month so far and is in the middle of the third one now. We also read from the Bible about once per week together as a family.

The following website is a great place to find book units: http://www.mce.k12tn.net/units/units_with_books.htm. It is a public school site, but the book units are pretty good.

For Latin, we are continuing to use the Visual Latin curriculum. I was asked to review this earlier this year and he completed the first 10 lessons. He will continue to use the lessons for 11-20, to complete Latin 1 for his first foreign language credit.

For the writing and language components, we are using the Latin Road to Phonics curriculum series. The child is not liking this much. But, I can see where it is beginning to take effect with him in the structure provided within the curriculum. I am reviewing this one and using it through the process. I like that he has to scaffold skills in this curriculum and will be learning to diagram sentences. I think the diagraming  sentences will help him to see the visual aspect of language to make more sense of it.

For math we are using Elementary Algebra, Edition 5 by Larson. We are also using the Chalkdust Algebra teaching DVD to supplement the Algebra instuction. For Physical Science we are using the Advanced Physical Science curriculum kit from Exploration Education. It comes complete with all the kits and equipment needed. Awesome kit and very hands-on. For Geography, we are using the Around the World in 180 Days by Apologia.

And, let's not forget we still have homeschool activity days with the support group, and speech therapy and occupational therapy. He is involved in Scouting and with the youth group at church as well. And we still have the therapy dog, which helps at home.

I love this puppy, for the way she loves my child!

Homeschooling with Aspergers!

People have asked how we homeschool a child with Aspergers...to me it seems like a stupid question, but living and working around the quirks of this disorder are now second nature to me and it just seems like a normal part of life.


When I talk to others, I learn, often to my surprise, that what I often accept as normal is not what can often happen in other households. Other children do not apparently experience some of the sensory things others do. Now, I should know this. My older son was an NT (neurotypical). But it seems like a lifetime ago since the eldest was small. The boys are 7.5 years apart. It is often like I have raised two only children. They are so different. One could never compare the two.

One thing we did recently, was to get what we refer to as the swing...


 
This is something we have thought about getting him for about three years now. We have always stated we could not afford it and moved forward. This past fall, we went to the fair and saw these swings again in one of the vendor buildings. As always, my son immediately sat down in one, moved to another, and so forth, until he had tested most of them out. He came back to settle in one.

We have seen many versions of this same swing style. He always comes back to this same style. It cocoons him in some ways through the hammock'ness' of it and it allows him to swing and bounce a bit while being suspended and partially side wrapped. It does help to calm him. He will sit for hours in it. He reads in it and has done some of his homeschool assignments from this swing.

So, after finally deciding to buy one, I do have to admit it has been one of the best investments we have gotten.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Things to do this year...

Ideas I like or think I would like to try in 2012:

The Biggest Loser's Baked Eggs in Turkey Cups      Baked eggs in turkey cups.

Pinned Image    Canvas portraits.

Pinned Image     I can't find the link to this project, but I am so going to make this for next winter...or maybe, for this one. Isn't it adorable?

Pinned Image    I saw this one with a suggestion from someone to spray paint a clear coat on it for protection and to add the bow to match your home decor. That way...it could hang year round on the wall in any room in the house. Too cute.

Pinned Image  Saw this on pinterest...bananas covered with peanut butter and chocolate. I wonder if you can freeze these babies?

chicken overs recipe   Chicken bundles recipe.

  Repurposing a yucky looking mirror...DIY.

Pinned Image   Okay, so it will prob not happen that I will get one of these in my house in 2012...but what a nifty idea for storage space. :)  Could not find a link for this one. I do so like this idea though.

a basic recipe for fresh egg pasta    I want to learn to make our own pasta...might as well...self-sufficiency is becoming the key to homemaking here.

Pinned Image   Yummy!! 



Homeschool ideas for fun with the child:
Pinned Image     Liquid density experiment.

Pinned Image    Visual DNA genealogy project.  This one was really kinda creepy, but interesting in the way small details are easier to note through pictures.

Pinned Image  Walking water experiment.

Pinned Image  Of course, anything that makes a mess and is still fun is always a good activity to do...right?

Pinned Image    Add just because...so, why not??  We had so much fun with egg osmosis...I figure we could do this as well!!

Useful Uses for Whey!!

 

  1. Use it in any bread or bread type product that calls for the addition of water or milk.
  2. Freeze it for later use. I like to make whey ice-cubes to freeze it in easy to use pieces.
  3. It can be used in stews and soups in place of some broth or water.
  4. Can be used in place of milk when making mashed potatoes.
  5. Can be used in homemade smoothies and frosties.
  6. Can be used to pour over chicken feed, cat food, or dog food for extra pet treat!
  7. Diluted with water, it makes an excellent feed for your plants and helps your compost when added to it.
  8. Use it to make ricotta cheese. It is the base of ricotta. I have not tried this yet, but it will happen soon.
  9. Use it as a meat marinade...great when combined with pressed garlic and onions.

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For friends and family :)

Some friends and family members have emailed or commented a want to know some of the recipes we have been using. So here are some of the easier ones...

Some people have laughed at how we came to doing this in this family...but, oh well! 

Butter...so very simple. :)  This was just something I wanted to try at first. We have made several batches by now. It gets easier each time. I use heavy whipping cream. I have used ultra-pasteurized, and organic, with the same results. We made butter for cooking and used the fake vegetable oil spread stuff for many months. One night there was left over fake stuff on the spoon and I threw it in the sink to go to bed and to deal with the dishes in the morning. I left them in the sink to soak. In the morning when I got up, the fake butter was still in solid form on the spoon after soaking all night in hot, soapy water. It made me think about my arteries and how the stuff did not break down. Yuck! So, I became committed to having to use real butter from then on out and not the fake stuff.

In the mountains, we bought some 'real butter' at the grocery store. Later, I read the ingredients and oh...I could not even pronounce some of them. Hence, we are back to making all the butter...the main ingredient - cream. So, this one is really easy. Beat the cream until it makes whipped cream and then keep going. After about 10 minutes, it becomes more difficult to beat and the buttermilk separates from the butter. A few more minutes and then you drain the buttermilk away from the butter chunk. Wash the butter. Squeeze any additional buttermilk away and then lightly salt. I froze the extra buttermilk into an ice mold to make buttermilk cubes to keep for cooking later - like for biscuits, bread, pancakes/waffles.


Mayonnaise  - this came about from the overabundance of eggs we had a month or so ago. Now, that it has gotten colder, the chickens have cut back on egg production. Mayonnaise consists of one whole egg, beaten with the electric mixer and slowly dripping in one cup of EVOO very s-l-o-w-l-y. Did I mention the EVOO has to be dripped in --s--l--o--w--l--y--. If you do not do so, it will flop! In the mayonnaise I add a dash of salt, a teaspoon (or so) of  ground mustard seed and a pinch of sugar. If you add whey to it, about a teaspoon to tablespoon, and let it sit out for about 7 or 8 hours, it will allow it to become lacto fermented naturally and the shelf life in the fridge can be extended a little beyond a month. Without the whey, it needs to be used within a week or two.


I tend to like the flavor better than store bought mayonnaise. The child tends to like it better as well. It is incredibly easy to make. And, I know where the ingredients come from. It does tend to have a yellowish color...probably because the color of my egg yolks is a vibrant yellow. :)

The mozzarella is always a tough one. Now farmers cheese is so easy...it is nothing more than heated milk base with vinegar added to forms the curds and the simply separating the curds and saving the whey. You can add a bit of salt to it for flavor. I also a bit of EVOO to keep it flavored lightly. Farmers cheese will last about a week or so in the refrigerator and tastes a bit like something between cream cheese and a soft white ricotta. It is great on toast, bagels, and crackers. It is also good in lasagna and on spaghetti. I like to eat it on tomatoes with fresh EVOO and fresh basil.

Mozzarella is much the same process, but includes the addition of rennet and citric acid. The curds have to form slowly and then be brought to a temperature capable of being handled. Then the curds are drained from the whey and drained in cloth. You microwave the curds to help them form elasticity for about 30 seconds and then remove them from the microwave and knead the excess whey from the curds. You do this several times and salt it after the second or third time. After it begins to become able to be stringy and stretchy and shiny, you can knead it tightly into a mold and press with a weight. I used an older plastic cup and weighted it with cans from the cabinet.








This is the leftover whey. I decided to freeze some into cubes for use later. We use it for many recipes of baking. The cubes makes for about a tablespoon each for measurement purposes and store well in baggies in the freezer. The other is all the whey still left after one ice cube tray full. I will fill up more later and freeze it tomorrow. :)