Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I've decided it's time to say goodbye to this blog. We are still homeschooling, but I really don't need a whole blog dedicated to sharing what we are doing for the kids' schooling. I am toying with the idea of a new blog, one that would incorporate more of my life. I haven't yet decided whether or not I will do that, but it's a possibility. I have turned off comments on this blog, so the comments don't fill up with spam. I plan to leave this blog up, at least for now. I just won't be continuing to post to it.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

He's Dead

My Gray Tree Frog, Edgar, is dead. I opened up his tank to feed him yesterday, and found that he was dead. We have had him for not quite a year. He was a rescue, and we really have no idea how old he was. I feel awful about it. I don't know if it was my fault or if it was just his time. I don't think it was my fault, though that didn't stop me from feeling terribly guilty about it all day yesterday. I fed him regularly, checked his water regularly, cleaned out his tank, made sure he had everything he needed, and took the best care of him that I possibly could. I love frogs, and jumped at the opportunity to rescue him. He had an injured back leg & did not move a lot or spend much time climbing when we first got him. However, his leg healed, and he became pretty active. I put fake plants in his tank for him to climb on & would often find him sitting in the leaves of the plants. He had rocks that he loved to sit on, moss for a soft ground, a bridge that led into the water, and of course, fresh water at all times. He loved sitting on the bridge. I would always out his crickets on the bridge for him, and he would wait until I put the tan lid back on before he jumped to the bridge to catch his food (he preferred to hunt when you weren't watching). When the crickets were all gone, he would jump up onto the bridge & sit there for a while, while he digested his food. At night, when I would go over to turn off his light, he would often be sitting on his bridge, just chilling. Then, after I turned off the light, he would hop into the water. He was a bit emaciated and definitely unhappy when he first came to us. While he was with us, he was a fat & happy frog. It sucks so much that he is gone, but at least I know that for most of the last year of his life, he was happy, well cared for, and loved.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Well, That's an Answer

So, about a month ago, we started a gluten elimination diet. I went into it with no expectations of any of us actually having an issue with gluten. It was basically just that I want to be able to say that we have legitimately tried everything, even the implausible, to find explanations/causes/remedies for the plethora of medical issues in this house. I know that diet can cause medical problems. I know that some physical & psychological issues can be misdiagnosed due to symptoms caused by diet. So, just to be able to say that we tried EVERYTHING, we got rid of gluten.

Now, I will admit that I have had some doubts about the gluten intolerance thing. Not doubts that it is a real thing or that some people have it, but doubts that the number of people who claim they have it really do. Pretty much everyone I have ever met who was gluten "intolerant" seemed to have no improvement off gluten. Their life was not better than when they ate gluten. There was no relief from pain, digestive issues, or anything else people blame gluten for. They often seemed more pessimistic than gluten eating people, as they all seem to complain about how hard their life is without gluten - the foods they can't eat, the amount of work they have to put into food prep, the lack of good gluten-free options when eating out, etc. Almost all of the gluten-free people I have met were like this. They just whine & complain about how they have to be gluten-free, but none of them seem to be better off without the gluten.

These experiences made me question how many of them really are gluten sensitive. If they really can't have gluten, why don't they get any relief from any symptoms despite the fact that they work so hard to make sure everything they eat is gluten-free? I mean, seriously, if you have a gluten intolerance, eliminating gluten should improve the quality of your life. Yes, there may still be other conditions that you have, and gluten-free eating is not always awesome, but if there is no improvement when you stop eating gluten, then.............why do it?

Anyway, I went into this whole thing not expecting any results. Boy was I wrong!

Within the first week off gluten, my fibromyaligia almost disappeared - my back, neck, & shoulders were pain free most of the time ( a huge relief considering how bad the pain sometimes gets). My migraines drastically decreased in severity & frequency. My chronic sinus & nasal congestion, which I have had since early childhood, was almost totally gone. I had more energy. I felt more like myself again. 

For 4 weeks we were mostly gluten-free. I once accidentally ate something that contained a little gluten & had a headache and wrist pain that evening. My husband had gluten a few times, especially in the first week or two, since he was really not happy about the elimination diet.

Last night, after 4 weeks gluten-free, we ordered pizza. I had a headache, had been busy, was working on schoolwork, and simply didn't feel like stopping everything I was doing to go into the kitchen to cook dinner & do dishes. So, I decided we'd order out. I figured that seeing as we had been on the elimination diet for four weeks, it was a good time to try some gluten-containing food and see if there was any kind of a reaction. After all, the improvements may have been coincidental, and the only way to truly attribute them to gluten would be to eat gluten again & see if there was any change.

Within 30 minutes after finishing dinner, my congestion was worse. I started having digestive issues. My back, neck, and shoulders started to hurt, and by 45 minutes after dinner, the pain was almost debilitating. When I told my husband, he was shocked at how quickly the pain had come on & how severe it was. He looked at me and said, "Well, it looks like we have an answer." 

Yeah. We have an answer. Apparently, I cannot eat gluten. I am still in pain today. Though, it is  a little better than yesterday. I am still having digestive issues, and I am still congested. For the last 4 weeks, I have not had to deal with these issues, and my body got used to that. it is not appreciating this very much. 

I am happy, though. I have an answer. After years of dealing with these things, I have a way to really help. I can get rid of my congestion without daily medication. I can prevent the debilitating fibro pain, instead of just trying to treat it when it flares. I can prevent at least some of the migraines. I can actually improve the quality of my life just by avoiding gluten. 

Honestly, a gluten-free diet isn't too bad. I like the gluten-free bread that I made. We found a frozen gluten-free pizza that is actually pretty good (for frozen pizza), and I am sure homemade pizza will be great. I like some of the gluten-free cereals, like Chex (except the Wheat Chex, obviously), and Cream or Rice is a fine substitute for Cream of Wheat & Cocoa Wheats (which I typically eat instead of oatmeal in the winter). I am not a fan of the gluten-free hot dog & hamburger buns we have tried (either store-bought or the ones at the local fast food places), but am cool with eating my hot dogs/sausages/brats/burgers without buns. We found gluten-free noodles we all like. Really, this won't mean a ton of changes for me.

I seem to be the only one in the house that is affected by gluten. They will eat many gluten-free foods, since I am not buying & preparing tons of extra foods just to accommodate my dietary needs. However, they will still get to eat gluten-containing foods. I will just avoid some foods, and for some things I will have to get both regular & gluten-free versions. 

It is a little strange knowing that I will now have to be on a gluten-free diet. I am not looking forward to explaining to family & friends that I cannot eat some of the foods I have always eaten & loved at our cookouts or family get-togethers. However, they will adjust. I will still be there, will still eat, will still bring a delicious dish to pass, I will just be a bit pickier about what I eat. Now that I know how severely gluten affects me, I am willing to make these changes and face the derision of certain unsupportive people in my life to improve the quality of my life & health.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Just a Quick Hello

Things have been busy & hectic lately, and I simply haven't found time to update my blog. Over the next few days, I hope to update the pages about the kids' school, with the info for what they are doing now.
I know it has been months since I posted. We have just had so much going on. It hasn't been big stuff, and not much of it is noteworthy. There has just been lots of little stuff that keeps me busy day after day.
So, I will try to get better about posting. I just haven't had much time to do it, and honestly haven't had much to day. Things are much the same around here as usual.
So, this post is really just to say a quick hello, and let you know that I have not forgotten about my blog. I will be posting again in the next few days to try to update you somewhat on what has been going on here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

U.S. History pt. 2 (5th Grade)

While we are not done with the school year yet, we are done with the work for some subjects, such as Science & History. This year was U,S History, continued from last year. We normally do many projects and activities for History, but this year, we did only one.

The Thirteenth Amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment
Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose
Surviving the Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
The Great Chicago Fire
Liam's Watch : A Strange Story of the Great Chicago Fire
The Great Fire
The Great Chicago Fire: In Eyewitness Accounts and 70 Contemporary Photographs & Illustrations
PBS - the Great Chicago Fire
History.com - Great Chicago Fire
Susan B. Anthony: Voice for Women's Voting Rights
Women Win the Vote
Women's Right to Vote
The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage
The Fight for Women's Suffrage
Women's Suffrage & the 19th Amendment
Secret History: World War I
Lusitania: Saga & Myth
The War to End All Wars: World War I
World War I
America at War: World War I
World War One - History Wiz
World War I: The Great War dvd 4 discs
Man, Moment, Machine dvd
Prisoner B-3087
Angel Girl
Secret History: World War II
Machines & Weaponry of World War II
WWII Survival Tips
America at War: World War II
The Big Book of World War II
World War II
The Illustrated Timeline of World War II
The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
World War II: An Interactive History Adventure
Emil & Karl
The Cat with the Yellow Star
Always Remember Me
The Secret of Priest's Grotto
Run, Boy, Run
Beyond Courage
Hitler Youth
Smoke & Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust
Oskar Schindler
The War
Dirt on Their Skirts
Women at Play
The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
A League of Their Own dvd
Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic
Kaspar the Titanic Cat
The Titanic
Iceberg Right Ahead!
Ghosts of the Abyss
Titanic Voices
Titanic: Disaster at Sea
Story of the Titanic
What Sank the World's Biggest Ship
You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Titanic
888 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions about the Titanic
Can You Survive the Titanic: An Interactive Survival Adventure
Titanic: Voices From the Disaster
How to Survive the Titanic
Shadow of the Titanic
Ghosts of the Titanic
Titanic: Legacy of the World's Greatest Ocean Liner
Explore Titanic
Born in Belfast (Netflix Streaming)
Titanic: Blood & Steel (Netflix Streaming)
Titanic: How it Really Sank dvd
A Night to Remember dvd 2 discs
Titanic dvd
Titanic: The Complete Story dvd 2 discs
Titanica (Netflix Streaming)
build the Titanic 3-d puzzle

The 1920s Decade in Photos
Why Did the Great Depression Happen?
How the Stock Market Works
The Train Jumper
Born and Bred in the Great Depression
Striking Back: The Fight to End Child Labor Exploitation
Black Tuesday
The Great Depression
Children of the Great Depression
The 1930s: From the Great Depression to the Wizard of Oz
Going to School During the Great Depression
The 20s & 30s: Flappers & Vamps
The Great Depression DVD
You Wouldn't Want to be a Chicago Gangster
Al Capone and the Roaring Twenties
Andrew Carnegie
John D. Rockefeller
The Prohibition Era in American History
Black Duck
Moonshiner's Son
Biography: Al Capone: Scarface dvd
The Men Who Built America dvd 2 discs (History Channel)
Tycoons & Barons dvd
Oscar DVD
The Untouchables DVD
Public Enemies DVD
The St. Valentines Day Massacre DVD
Prohibition Netflix Streaming
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech in Translation
The Civil Rights Movement
Miles to go for Freedom
Martin Luther King Jr.: A Dream of Hope
My Uncle Martin's Words for America
I Have a Dream: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders
What was the March on Washington
Rosa's Bus
The Bill of Rights in Translation: What it Really Means
Rosa Parks: Freedom Rider
Coretta Scott King: Civil Rights Activist
An American Hero: The True Story of Charles A. Lindbergh
Amelia Lost
Amelia Earhart: Queen of the Air DVD
Amelia Earhart: Legendary Aviator
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Genius: A Photobiography of Albert Einstein
Odd Boy Out
Einstein's Big Idea DVD
Einstein Revealed DVD
Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy
Charles Darwin: Naturalist

Forensics (5th Grade)

While we aren't done with this school year, we have finished the work for a few of the subjects, such as Science. This year for Science, he chose to study both Chemistry & Forensics. This is what he did for Forensics.

Week 1:
Forensic Science - Who's Who & Chapter 1 (This book is one of our spines for Jay's study of Forensics & so will be used often. I will abbreviate it as FS in future weeks)
The Case of the Digital Deception
Cool Crime Scene Basics
Cool Eyewitness Encounters
Cool Written Records
Cool Forensic Tools
The Circle of Blood

Week 2:
FS - Chapter 2
Fingerprints: Dead People Do Tell Tales
The Case of the Plagued Play
Fingerprint Kit
Fingerprint Activities from Detectolab Kit

Dea joined in on the fingerprinting activities. They had a blast with it. They learned how to use an ink pad to take a person's fingerprints & how to collect fingerprints from surfaces. We did eventually get all the fingerprinting powder washed off everything. I didn't get pictures of this largely because my fingers were covered in ink & fingerprinting powder.

Week 3:
FS - Chapter 3
The Circle of Blood
Blood Brother

Week 4:
FS - Chapter 4
The DNA Gave it Away
The Case of the Missing Moola

Week 5:
FS - Chap 5
Autopsies: Pathologists at Work
Corpses and Skeletons
The Case of the Mystery Meatloaf

Week 6:
FS - Chapter 6
Gut-Eating Bugs
The Dying Breath
Detectolab Kit

Week 7:
FS - Chapter 7
Crime Under the Microscope
Solving Crimes with Trace Evidence
Guilty by a Hair
Bad Hair Day
Detectolab Kit

Week 8:
FS - Chapter 8
Detective Work with Ballistics
Bullet Proof
Lost Bullet

Week 9:
FS - Chapter 9
The Case of the Disappearing Dogs
Bill Nye season 5 episode 1

Week 10:
FS - Chapter 10
Cybercrime: Data Trails DO Tell Tales
Do You Read Me?
Roll Call

Week 11:
FS - Chapter 11
Solving Crimes Through Criminal Profiling
The Angel of Death

Week 12:
Forensic Anthropology
Famous Forensic Cases
The Bone Detectives
The Case of the Ruined Ram

Week 13:
Police Lab
Science Beats Crime
Frontline: The Real CSI DVD

Week 14:
Careers in Forensics
Careers as a Medical Examiner
Forensic Science Investigator

Week 15:
Crime Scene Investigators
Killer Wallpaper
Can Science Stop Crime? DVD

Week 16:
Scene of the Crime: A Forensic Mystery Where You Crack the Case
Detectolab Kit

The rest of these sites were used throughout the study whenever he wanted to, had time, or the content correlated to what he was studying that week.


Chemistry (5th Grade)

Whil we are not done with the current school year, we are done with the work for a few subjects, such as Science. This year for Science, he chose to study both Chemistry & Forensics. This is what he did for Chemistry.

Week 1:
Crazy Chemistry
The Summer I Shrank My Grandmother
ACS Multimedia materials
Chemicroc games

Week 2:
The Elements Chap 1 with activities
Hunting the Elements (DVD)
The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry

Week 3:
The Elements Chap 2 with activities
The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
Periodic Table
Periodic Table
Periodic Table

Week 4:
The Elements Chap 3 with activities
Forgotten Genius (dvd)

Week 5:
The Elements Chap 4 with activities

Week 6:
The Elements Chap 5 with activities
Chemistry Decade by Decade

Week 7:
activities for review & that we hadn't had time for in previous weeks

Week 8:
The Elements Chap 6 with activities

Week 9:
The Elements Chap 7 with activities
Chemical Reactions (episode of Bill Nye)

Week 10:
The Elements Chap 8

Week 11:
The Elements Chap 8

Week 12:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 1

Week 13:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 2

Week 14:
Carbon Chemistry  Chap 3

Week 15:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 4

Week 16:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 5

Week 17:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 6
Organic & Biological Chemistry

Week 18:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 7
Organic & Biological Chemistry

Week 19:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 8
Organic & Biological Chemistry

Week 20:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 9

Week 21:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 10

Week 22:
Carbon Chemistry Chap 11

The rest of these sites were used throughout the study, whenever he felt like it, had time, or the content correlated to what he was studying that week.