Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good news, bad news

It's been one of those weeks, and it's only Tuesday.  Our ceiling is leaking in the living room, most likely due to something going on with the plumbing from our upstairs "master" bathroom.  It's the smallest bathroom in the house, yet strangely gets the prestige of being the "master" because it's in our bedroom.  You know who actually has a master bathroom?  Yep, the kid.  He doesn't have to live in fear that his toothbrush might one day fall off the sink and land in the toilet.  You have no idea how many new packages of floss I've lost to our toilet because there is literally an inch of space between the sink and toilet.  In fact, I almost hope it's the toilet's fault that my ceiling needs to be re-done just so I can laugh all the way to the landfill with it.  Nope, I'm not a hippie liberal enough to reuse it as a planter box.  Sorry.  On top of that, there is something askew with the wheel on my car.  Isaac got his first stitches yesterday due to a split chin from gym class.  They are the type of stitches that will need to be taken out this weekend.  Ah, Saturday fun.  And whatever is wrong with my right ear seems to be immune to any of the medicine prescribed to me.  Oh, and Andrew came home from the dentist today with news of needing to see an orthodontist.  That's the bad news.

The good news is that none of this is a big deal.  Just annoying.  I will take stitches over broken bones and head injuries any day.  I'll admit to being spoiled enough to have two other bathrooms to use while we figure out what's leaking.  Oh, and what's that?  I have health insurance and a pharmacy that doesn't charge for run of the mill antibiotics that may or may not work.  Did I mention dental insurance?  Yep, we have that, too.  Sounds like my bad news is really just a bunch of reminders to be grateful.

If that's not enough to be grateful for, then certainly the fact that Isaac is officially reading and spelling should qualify as good news.  He's got the phonics bug- trying to read and recognize words everywhere we go.  Our conversations are consumed with how to spell things, what vowels are and do, and examples of blends. You would think we were grooming him for a junior spelling bee championship, but it's all his leading.  Tonight he whined because I told him we couldn't do flash cards until after dinner.  Huh?  Oh, and our most heated argument today was about whether the 'h' in 'hop' came at the beginning of the word or not.  I feel like I'm raising a mini version of my husband, who is a compulsive corrector in all things intellectual.  I actually imagined having to hide my "beach trash" literature from them in the future, so as not to get picked on for reading memoirs of female comedians.  I'll have to hollow out a copy of War and Peace to keep them in.  Andrew would have no trouble believing that it'd take me 5 years to finish that book.  It's the perfect plan!  Meanwhile, Nerd and Nerd, Jr. will be discussing 14th century history and the political climate or something else I don't understand.  Wow, I think I just scared myself out of reading bedtime stories to Isaac tonight.

As bitter-sweet as it is to watch Isaac grow up, I guess the good news is that all those boring old educational Christmas gifts we bought him have really paid off.  In addition to the videos, books, and flashcards, Isaac has been using his V-tech laptop almost every day.  That toy became far more usable once we found the volume control and learned that we can turn the carnival music off with the push of a button.  He's been frequenting the phonics, math, and brain booster games on the computer.  I have to admit that I'm relieved that I no longer have to play memory with him as it is one of the brain boosters on his laptop.  I love my son, but playing memory with him made me want to spoon out my eye.  I was also pleased to find a language game that demonstrated basic conversational phrases.  In level 1, it demonstrates questions like "How are you?" and a response to that question.  In level 2, your child can pair the phrase to the appropriate response.  Maybe I won't have to write those social stories after all.  Now that's good news.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Consistency is key

... but it gets a little boring.  Since all the winter germs have been hanging around our house, getting comfy, we've been watching the LeapFrog and Meet the Sight Words videos on repeat.  That Leap character sure is annoying, but I put up with his anamorphized, high pitched voice because my visual learner gets what he's saying.  Still, the monotony of our current learning routine needs a little shake up.  For me.  Isaac doesn't seem to mind one bit.  This always drives me to do the American thing; add things to my Amazon wishlist, of course.

A friend of mine suggested this Magnetic Word Builder to me after Isaac wouldn't stop playing with the alphabet one (trying to make words) at the house she nannies at:

Next, I found these color coded, multi-sensory reading rods used for word and sentence building.  These look like they would work well for a kid who just has to touch things.

Lastly, I found this sight word game that looks easy enough to make at home.  I especially like the add-on ideas that the first reviewer suggests.  Check it out. http://www.amazon.com/POP-for-Sight-Words-Game/dp/B0032EKAJ2/ref=pd_sbs_op_5  

That's all I got so far.  Ask me how the social stories are coming.  Ha! Oh, winter, you're pretty, but you are the most un-motivating of seasons.  And for that I will blame you til my death.  I have, however, managed to play several enjoyable games of Busytown Eye Found It! with Isaac this weekend.  Best pre-school game ever.  It's quick and either everyone playing wins or Pig Will and Pig Won't win so not even my over-competitive tendencies have a chance to sneak in.  In fact, the game is based on team work to race to Picnic Island before the pigs eat all the food.  This would be a great game for siblings as there is very little to argue about, and the rules are incredibly simple.  It works just as well for one parent and one child.  Especially if you are a parent who typically does not enjoy kid's board games- one that dreads Candy Land and watches the clock during Chutes and Ladders.  This is the game for you.  Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sick Day, Part II

This is what today's sick day looks like.  A picnic on the floor with a Nalgene of water and math puzzles.  After this, Isaac requested writing words.  This time he chose beach-themed words: water, sand, pail, shovel, etc.  This lead into writing some of the alphabet and fixing some backwards habits, which quickly lead to being silly and mommy taking a break.  I have to admit that I have nothing to do with this educationally themed sick day- it has been all Isaac's leading.  I would be lying if I didn't tell you that our morning started out with How to Train Your Dragon to quell a snot induced meltdown.  I would also be lying if I said I wasn't still in my pjs, because I am.  I'm wondering if it's worth showering at 1:30 in the afternoon.  I keep telling myself that I'll get a workout in, but I think I'll be lucky to brush my teeth.  I'm teetering on the edge of this cold, too, and would love nothing more than to bury myself in the couch, pop in a Pixar movie for the kid and get lost in writing, reading, or drooling over www.modcloth.com.  How does a kid this sick still have energy enough that he needs to be reminded that he will, in fact, choke if he runs with food in his mouth?  And how can I turn that energy into a proper dishwasher?  I hope you all are healthy, but if you aren't, find a way to milk it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blame Winter

I'm so glad that Isaac already had today off due to it being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, because he would have missed school otherwise.  Ah, yes, winter germs are here in full force with a pretty intense cold.  I'm taking the opportunity to make Isaac watch all of the educational videos we bought him for Christmas.  The original plan was a puzzle marathon, but when he started melting down over me putting together the purple car I thought it was time for another idea.  He's been frequenting the LeapFrog learning dvds since Christmas, and with much success.  Thanks to Math Adventure to the Moon he can count to 100 by 10s and is going around the house making patterns with different objects.  Thanks to Word Caper Isaac can tell you which letters are vowels and what the silent 'e' does.  Today I thought it was time to break out the Meet the Sight Words dvds, and confine my snotty boy to his easy-chair under the guise of visual learning but really for my own sanity.  I'm happy to say that he enjoyed the videos and was recognizing a few more sight words by the end.  As well as visual learning works for Isaac, I'm really hoping for a quick end to this cold so that he can go back to school soon.  That way he can waste their tissues.  If you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about.

Other educational feats involve FINALLY purchasing some pencil grips (I found them at Target)!  Isaac methodically put one on each colored pencil, and we spent about an hour spelling, sounding out, and writing words with much more neatness and control.  He would name a word that he wanted to learn to spell, we would sound it out together, and he would write it all by himself inside a "buddy box"- a long rectangle drawn to confine his often too big hand writing.  Just another example of "why did it take me so long to get around to doing this?"  Ah well, when all else fails blame winter.

Monday, January 9, 2012

This is not a restaurant

This is the phrase Isaac repeats back to me when he knows he's being somewhat demanding at the dinner table.  Being on a gfcf/feingold diet is anything but vast when it comes to options, but we manage to mix or at least rotate things a little.  Isaac is only 4 so I'm pretty sure even if I fed him hot dogs twice a day, every day he would not complain much.  A friend asked me to post a menu of what a week of food looks like for Isaac.  Prepare to be bored.  Not only is my kid on a strict diet, but he's a pretty picky eater.  I will try to show you what a more varied week can look like.

Day 1:
Breakfast: Bob's Red Mill or Eco-Planet Original GF hot cereal/rolled oats with a squirt of agave nectar and a dash of cinnamon.  Coconut milk with 1/8 tsp of gfcf probiotic powder shaken into it.

Lunch: Crunchmaster Original Seed Crackers with Barney Butter Creamy Almond Butter spread.  I make them into a serving of four little cracker sandwiches.  I also give him a fresh pear and raw carrots to eat.  Water to drink.

Snack at school: Glutino GF pretzels

Dinner: Moist chicken breast (he likes to put mustard on his), broccoli with Earth Balance Spread on it, and mashed potatoes made with Earth Balance Spread and S.O. Delicious Original Coconut milk.

Snack: Homemade or store bought gfcf chocolate chip cookie.  It is cheaper to make small batches of these than it is to buy them.

Day 2:
Breakfast: Jimmy Dean's Turkey Sausage Patties (2), fresh strawberries, coconut milk with probiotic powder.

Lunch: Hebrew National hot dog sans a bun, pureed winter squash from the freezer section, and Glutino pretzels.

Snack: Meijer brand kettle popcorn.  It's dairy free, not all brands are.  Since this is a day packed with protein, a snack with a little sugar in it like this is usually fine and super easy to send into school.

Dinner: GFCF mac-n cheese with leftover chicken breast shredded into it.  Yes, I try to pack the protein in wherever I can.  It helps mellow out stomach yeast, and aids in concentration.  Isaac loves to eat raw broccoli with EB spread on it, so I might throw that on the side of this meal, too.  Water or coconut milk to drink.

Day 3:
Let's pretend that on this day I was feeling really ambitious and threw together some original Chebe bread rolls.  It's a mix, and very easy if you're not lazy like me.  The mix is found in the baking aisle at Meijer with the gfcf food, or at Foods For Living, or on Amazon.com.

Breakfast: Sausage/Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese Shreds breakfast sandwich made with the above rolls.  The usual milk/probiotic cocktail to drink.

Lunch: Tuna sandwich made with Helman's Real Mayo and the Chebe rolls, Beanito Black Bean Chips, and half of a clementine orange.

Snack at school: Glutino Pretzels

Dinner: Brown Instant Rice, a turkey-burger with ketchup, fresh strawberries, and carrot juice to drink.

Day 4:
Breakfast:  An almond butter and Chebe roll sandwich, fresh pear, usual milk cocktail.

Lunch: Mug scrambled eggs (literally whisk an egg in a mug and microwave for 45 seconds) with ketchup on top, two strips of turkey bacon, and fresh berries.

Snack at school: Crunchmaster Original Seed Crackers.

Dinner: GFCF pizza made with individual Kinnikinick frozen crust, marinara sauce, and Daiya Vegan Mozz Shreds.

Snack: Some sort of raw vegetable.  He frequents raw broccoli with EB spread.

Day 5:
Breakfast: Cherrybrook Kitchen gfcf pancakes with EB spread and agave nectar, usual milk cocktail.

Lunch: Hamburger made in a pan  and served on last Chebe roll, Oreida regular french fries, and canned peaches in lite syrup.

Snack at school: Beanito Black Bean Chips.

Dinner: Tilapia Cheese Soup.  Basicallly make a thin version of the sauce for gfcf mac n cheese with the Daiya Vegan Mozz Shreads, add onion power and baked tilapia.  Carrot juice to drink.

Day 6:
Breakfast: Turkey bacon, fresh fruit, milk cocktail.

Lunch: Nachos made with Beanito chips, ground meat, and melted Daiya Vegan Shreds.  Raw broccoli and butter.

Snack: Fresh fruit or Kinnikinnick vanilla gfcf animal crackers.

Dinner: Tinkyada spaghetti with EB spread on it and gfcf meatballs made with gfcf bread crumbs, and a veggie.  Isaac is picky about veggies and cannot handle corn so that usually leaves broccoli, carrots, or squash.  I would freak out about this, but Temple Grandin lived off of Jello and yogurt for years and still ended up smart.

Special Snack: S.O. Delicious GFCF Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  I love this kind because they sweeten it with agave instead of sugar.

Day 7:
Breakfast: Same oatmeal as Day 1, milk cocktail.

Lunch: Hebrew National hot dog, Glutino pretzles, raw veggie.

Snack: Fresh strawberries

Dinner:  Meatloaf made with gfcf breadcrumbs, rice, steamed broccoli.

Crunchmaster crackers are awesome to make cracker sandwiches with just about anything- tuna salad, chicken salad, almond butter, dairy free cheese, etc.  There is a lot of gfcf food out there, even in the freezer section for easy prep, it just depends on what your kid likes.  Amy's brand makes some tasty things. I just got a special diet cookbook for Christmas so I'm hoping to get some new inspiration for meals for Isaac.  Hope this helps give you an idea of what a week of food looks like for my gfcf/feingold diet four year old.