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Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Egyptian excavation

Although I have a very small budget for my three youngest children to participate in extracurricular activities and purchase all the latest gadgets and learning materials, I still make a concerted effort to incorporate a wide variety of experiences into their daily lives. We enjoy watching Animal Planet together and learning little-known facts about wildlife and we spend a lot of time watching PBS, reading books, researching topics on the Internet and anything else I can think of.

I always look for cost-effective and interesting ways to keep this going. My son receives Lego and Boy Scout magazines in the mail as well as a National Geographic (I think that’s the one) magazine about animals. My youngest daughter, 4, gets National Geographic’s little kids Discovery books that feature a different animal each month along with hand/eye coordination activities, information/fact cards about other animals and learning games. One of the things I really enjoy with the children is the Little Passports packet that my middle daughter Amareah receives.

When Amareah was about 4 years old (she’s 7 now) she showed interest in other countries and cultures. It started with International Day at head start when they learned about China. It was something about the Chinese culture that stuck with her. About a year later when we went to a Disney on Ice show Mickey and Minnie skated out and perched under a cherry blossom tree with their kimonos on while Minnie twirled a parasol, and Amareah pointed and said to me, “That’s from China.”

DSCF6093That’s why when I learned about Little Passports, I just had to order it for her. It’s a global adventure for kids that includes monthly packages containing stickers, letters, souvenirs, photos and much more. The first package came with a travel suitcase, an introductory letter from Sam and Sofia, a world map, travel passport, stickers, activity sheet and access to online games via the boarding passes (which, by the way, I keep forgetting about).

I’ve put Amareah’s map on the wall in her room and every time she receives a package we take the enclosed sticker push pin and place it on the map. Then we review the other places she’s “visited.” I’d also like to be able to add real push pins for states she’s actually travelled to.DSCF6098


DSCF6099Her most recent package was about Egypt and I think Amareah had the most fun with it. There was a clay pyramid that contained a little pharaoh, which had to be excavated using little tools. Before they began chipping away at it I read the letter to Amareah and her sister explaining different details as I read.



They were excited to begin:


It took the girls at least 20 minutes to see the little metal piece peeking through.


More than an hour later they were finally making progress. They were so tired from chipping away at it that they were laying their heads on their arms. I tried to get them to take a break, but they refused and continued with their mission from their prone positions!       


They got this far and couldn’t get the piece out so the excavation leader (i.e., me – super mom!) came to the rescue.

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One of the things I liked – and didn’t like – about this project was the amount of dust. I was sitting nearby and I could feel the dust going up my nose and covering my skin. The girls were so dusty that it looked like they had actually been in the dessert. I explained to them that what they did was very similar to what actually happens when archeologists are exploring ruins, etc.DSCF6105 














The excavation team:


I am very pleased with Amareah’s monthly packages and the information she is learning about different countries and cultures. It’s also good that her siblings – and myself! – benefit from it as well. Do you have something you do to open up the world to your kids? Or something that explores their interests? Please tell me about it in the comments.

Disclosure: This IS NOT a paid post or a sponsored review. I purchased a Little Passports’ subscription for my daughter and thought you’d like to read about it. You can review my complete disclosure policy.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Autism supplements

Many people believe that Autism can be cured and/or greatly assisted by changes in diet, nutritional supplements and, overall, more natural remedies. Now there are physician designed and approved  supplements for autism available to the public and they are touted as safe and effective.

The available Autism supplements are formulated to help counter the adverse effects of poor eating habits and other nutritional challenges related to autism. And these prove very effective for autistic children who are very selective about what they consume.

If you are looking for vitamins that are tested and approved by medical professionals then it behooves you to take a good look at these supplements.


What’s the problem? (Co-)Parenting, health

This post is part vent, part update and part health and weight loss journal. Please be patient with my vent. Thanks for reading.

In the middle of thinking about how I was going to vent this without going on a tangent for 500 words, I came to the conclusion that I don’t have to recant the story I just have to get my point across. So here’s my point:

DSCF5198 As a single parent of four children I work really hard to make sure they're well cared for, have everything they need including food, clothing, etc., and are happy. When someone implies that I am not doing it I take it as a personal attack and the words echo through my head like the voice of a pestering ghost.

I tried talking to my ex-husband about the way my 7-year-old daughter wants to wear her hair. It was basically just a courtesy because the fact is I don’t need his permission to allow her to choose dreadlocks. Instead of staying on topic he said ‘there’s no reason the children should have holes in their shoes, be messy or stink.’ That was in response to me telling him that my daughter – and he doesn’t know both of them have – expressed concern about how their hair looks when they come from his house and go to school on Monday mornings. The two Mondays out of the month that he has them.


The hair situation- not to mention their extreme exhaustion - is so bad that my youngest daughter’s teacher comments on it every other Monday like clockwork. She says she can tell when they were with him by the way my daughter is dressed, how her hair looks and how tired she is.

So my response to him was ‘are you comparing how they look after coming from school, going to the afterschool program and playing all afternoon as opposed to how they look in the morning.’ In the past I always sent the children in play clothes and shoes, especially during the summer, because he would either not send the items back, he would allow them to tear them up or they would disappear. A small hole in a worn-out play shoe is not cause for concern, alarm or criticism.

100_0999 My two middle children are pre-adolescent and their body odors are changing. When they come in from playing I send them right to the bath because they smell like outdoors and sweat. And it’s getting worse. So what? No big deal.

Instead of keeping on topic about my daughter’s hair, which is ultimately my decision anyway he had to start pointing fingers with inadequate information and incorrect assumptions. Since we’re making a list you know I have a list of my own, right? But I do not say anything about it because no one is perfect and no one knows the entire story. I don’t put out his inconsistencies, lack of attention to detail, lazy parenting, jacked up way of keeping their hair (all of them!) or anything else. I may vent to my friends or roll my eyes in disgust. DSCF5404

This time I only brought up the conversation because my daughter asked me to. But, once again, talking to him proved useless. I cant discuss anything with him because it ALWAYS (Yes, gigantic generalization) ends up being a waste of my time and energy.

That was a long point, wasn’t it?

Given my health issues (yea, I’m moving on to my health update), an unnecessary argument and the lack of resolution for what the conversation is really about is draining. Yesterday, when this happened I was so exhausted. I’m planning my daughter’s 7th birthday celebration, I had a veeeeeryyyy long doctor’s appointment yesterday, two of the children have honors programs this week on different days and all of this on top of everything else that is required to maintain a household and family.

So much for trying to stay stress free – doctor’s orders.

Overall, my doctor’s appointment – with the hematology clinic –  went well. I believe I mentioned that I had an excruciating headache(s) for more than a week. It began with a migraine on the left side of my head and radiated across my forehead and into my temples. It came along with nausea, weakness and additional aches and pains. My PA said it’s probably due to my Sjogren’s, which causes extreme dryness and it can effect my sinuses resulting in headaches. But, she added, it’s difficult to tell because there are so many things going on in my body. Between medication side affects and illness symptoms… well, you get the point.

The multiple myeloma is stable and I do not have to do anything additional or go through any treatment as of yet. I need to take my iron and other supplements on a regular basis because of anemia and deficiencies, which can result when something is attacking your system. I had an extremely difficult time taking meds while sick with headaches. She also gave me a plan as far as headaches to try nip headaches in the bud quickly as well as getting sinus films and migraine prescription through my primary team (I really don’t like that team!).


Health wise I am so so so so so sooooooo happy that the headaches have mostly subsided. (Did you notice I didn’t talk about my weight? Ugh, we’ll just leave that for another time.)

Well, now that you’re all caught up, what’s new with you? :-)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Get a fresh, new web design

It seems like a lot of bloggers have decided to revamp their blogs’ designs or content… must be a New Year’s trend. I’m actually going to do the same thing. How many are doing the same thing? Are you using a designer who works especially with blogs or a specialized company like utah web design?

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