20 November 2014

A Nonverbal Learning Disability and What It Means For Our Family

If you've been reading my blog for a while then you may have noticed that these past 9 months or so it has just basically limped along.  In fact, I even took a lengthy break for part of that time.

And that was nice.

I hesitate to say I was feeling "burnout".  But I guess maybe that was it in a way.  My husband likes to say that burnout doesn't happen because you have too many things going on, but instead it happens when you are not feeling fulfilled in all of the things you are doing.  And I think there's much truth in that.

It's easy to keep going full-steam-ahead when you're pumped about how things are going.  But when you feel like every day is sucking the life out of you it's a little harder.

Last winter we began the process of having our 9-yr-old son, Mr. B, tested for what we thought might be ADHD.  It seemed like it took forever.  In reality it took about 6 months.  So, yeah ....forever.

At least it feels like forever when you're dealing with near-daily meltdowns, dissolving into tears way more often that you'd like to admit, and just trying to survive some days.

As it turned out, our son does not have ADHD.  At least not in the full sense of that diagnosis.  He has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) with a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD)--with features of both ADHD and Asperger's Disorder.  And he is on the Autism spectrum.

That was definitely not what I was expecting.  A learning disability.  That he will have forever.  That he must learn to cope with for the rest of his life.

That we, as a family, must learn to handle properly.  Successfully.

So these past few months have been filled with lots of reading on my behalf.  Lots of heart-to-hearts with my hubby.  And even more struggles with my son.

I love him so much.

And he is such an awesome kid.  He's incredibly creative and smart and funny.

It's just that often that awesomeness gets overwhelmed by his impulsiveness, his impatience...  Others often only see how he struggles socially--with being a team player, with sharing, with understanding how others feel...

I am also learning how to talk with other moms about it.  That's not always easy and lots of times they just look at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look.  But mostly they are sympathetic and understanding.  And here and there I meet a mom who really gets it because she has a kiddo who has special challenges as well.

And that is a sweet moment of grace when it happens.

I don't know how much I'll talk about this here, but as I learn more and process it more I'm sure it will come up.  I don't feel that total burnout feeling anymore, but it's a whole new learning curve for me (for all of us!).  But we are meeting the challenge, learning new normals for our family, learning new techniques for homeschooling ....just learning constantly!  I sort of feel like a student again myself these days.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about it here.  Thanks for listening.

17 November 2014

What's For Dinner {Nov 17th}

We are going into our second week back from our family vacation ...and I am still trying to get organized again and back in my routine.  We are already into the holiday season (last week we had our first-of-three Thanksgiving meal!) and the calendar is starting to really fill up.  

This week is super full, too, but I am still planning on dinner at home most evenings.  I love family dinners at home!

Monday:  Parmesan Chicken Cutlets, Steamed Broccoli, Sauteed Summer Squash, Salad

Tuesday:  {Thanksgiving potluck with our homeschool group}  Corn Casserole

Wednesday:  Potato Soup ....maybe {Mr. B is having oral surgery on this day so I'm sort of playing it by ear}

Thursday:  Taco Cups with Rice

Friday:  {not yet decided due to possible plans} maybe Homemade Pizza or Stromboli

Saturday:  {not yet decided due to possible plans}  maybe out??

25 October 2014

End of the Week Wrap-Up {week 8}

Well, the first quarter of our school year is almost over!  Yea!!

This has been one of those weeks where we were all a little tired, there was some sickness, and there wasn't a lot of exciting stuff on the calendar ...but we stayed the course and got a lot done.  Love that feeling of accomplishment!

On our "Fun Friday" we had our devotional time, did some Life of Fred, played some American trivia, worked on stories with our Story Cubes, and then wrapped up with some leaf painting.  

We had seen these cute illustrations in the current issue of Family Fun magazine and thought this would be a fun project to try--and they were!  I even did one :)  

Just find some pretty autumn leaves around your yard or on a nature walk, grab some tempera paints and fine-tipped brushes, and paint some fun woodland creatures on your leaves!  

Can you see the animals on these leaves?

Then we ended our day with a family movie (Soul Surfer), some pizza, and these yummy caramel apple cupcakes that my awesome hubby whipped up for us!  

What did you do this week?

23 October 2014

*Move On:Where Mercy Meets Your Mess* {a book review}

I was super excited to get this book from BookLook Bloggers to review (if you're a blogger and you like to read, too,  you might want to check them out).  

I had not yet read any of Vicki Courtney's books before--although I've had one in my waiting-to-be-ready-stack for a while now--so I was curious to see what her writing was like.  Move On, with it's subtitle When Mercy Meets Your Mess, really intrigued me.  And, of course, I loved the cover pic.  

I also loved every single bit of this book.   

Move On hits home very hard.  Vicki tackles some tough issues head on.  Issues that I deal with, that you deal with.  Issues such as the need for approval, personal struggles, broken dreams, shame, legalism, idols, and Christian snobbery.  Yes, tough issues.  

As someone raised in a Christian home, someone who has been a Christian for over 30 years, I have personally dealt with pretty much everything Vicki talks about.  Maybe not the identical situations, but the 'bottom lines' of those situations.  

This is a book that literally has the potential to set you free.  To break the chains of your personal messes and to help you get honest with yourself, God, and others.  

I love that at the end of each chapter Vicki offers a section titled Coming Clean where she shares 5-7 questions to really help you dig deeper into your own personal issues.  They aren't trite and safe questions, but ones that are very soul-searching.  

This book would make an amazing group study (and Vicki offers one with dvds!) ...if you're really brave and ready to take off your mask.  

Move On is available at most retailers, including Christianbook.com and Amazon.  

Disclosure: I received this book from BookLook Bloggers at no cost in exchange 
for my honest and unbiased opinion.  No other compensation was received.

21 October 2014

Tasty Tuesdays {Cuban Black Beans with Corn Cakes}

At least once a week I try to have a meatless meal for one of our dinners.  Usually this means the traditional pinto beans and cornbread and while that is one that the whole family likes, I sometimes just get tired of it.  I admit that I'm not a fan of eating the same things all the time.  I like variety!  That doesn't always fly with my family ...but I try anyway.

So recently I tried a new meatless meal and absolutely loved it!  As for the family: Vince liked it as well (although I think he would have like a big chicken breast on the side), The Princess like the beans but not the corn cakes, and Mr. B liked the corn cakes but not the beans.  {sigh}

But because I can't let my picky kiddos rule the world, I have to share it with you :)  It was yummy, healthy (well, maybe not the corn cakes), and super fast and easy to prepare!

Cuban Black Beans
2 tsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup water
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
sliced onion
sliced bell pepper
cooked rice for 4
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat.  
Add garlic; cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in beans, water, cumin, paprika, black pepper, onion, 
and bell pepper.*  
Bring to a simmer; cover and reduce heat.  
Cook for at least 10 minutes (I let my beans simmer for longer), 
until veggies are tender and flavors have blended.
Serve over cooked rice with hot sauce, lime wedges, 
and/or cilantro, if desired.
*Since my kids aren't crazy about onion and bell pepper I sauteed these 
separately and served them on the side for my hubby and me.  

While the beans are simmering, whip up these corn cakes to serve on the side:

Corn Cakes
2-1/2 cups whole kernel corn
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
In a food processor, combine 1-3/4 cups corn kernels, the eggs, milk, 
and butter; process 3-4 times or just until corn is coarsely chopped.  
In a large bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, cheese, sugar, 
salt, and pepper.
Stir in the remaining corn kernels and the blended corn mixture
 just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Spray a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat on high.  
Pour 1/8 cup batter per corn cake onto griddle (let batter spread 
naturally).  Cook cakes in batches, 3-4 minutes or until edges 
begin to brown.  Then flip them and cook 2-3 minutes on the other 
side or until done.  Serve immediately.

Have a great Tasty Tuesday!

20 October 2014

What's for dinner... {Oct 20th}

Ah ...Monday.  A fresh new week.

And this week there is not quite as much on the calendar as last week--which means more dinners at home.  I'm good with that!

Our weather here in Kentucky has finally turned very cool and fall-ish and that always puts me in the mood for cooking and baking.  I've been reading through some of my cookbooks and watching cooking shows more this week.  (I have to say I was super excited to see that Netflix has added several Food Network shows--I was especially happy to see The Pioneer Woman on there!).  

Also my little guy isn't feeling well today--sinusitis--and that, of course, means special requests and comfort foods, right?  So we'll be kicking off today with one of our faves.

Monday:  Potato Soup with Crusty Baguettes

Tuesday:  Spaghetti & Meatballs (with this sauce), Green Salad, and Garlic Toast

Wednesday:  Tostadas

Thursday:  {crockpot} Pinto Beans and Buttermilk Cornbread

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  {crockpot} Chicken Tortilla Soup

18 October 2014

End of the Week Wrap-Up {week 7}

Yea!!  It's Saturday and we got to sleep in (well, with the exception of my hubby, bless his heart)!!  And we sure did need it--it's been so busy around here this week that we are all dragging a bit in our tracks.  A slow, lazy Saturday morning was definitely in order.

These past couple of weeks have been full, full, full.  But that's what keeps life interesting and exciting, right?

Here are our highlights from this past week:

On Tuesday night we were extremely blessed by a friend (whose family could not go) who shared free tickets to a Nashville Predators hockey game with us.  We were SO excited!  It was our very first hockey game ever--I've been wanting to go for a while now.  We had an absolute blast cheering on the Preds and enjoying the game.  And even though "our" team didn't win, it was a very exciting game.  It went into overtime and then sudden death.  

On Thursday we attended a science show with our homeschool group called 'Mr. Molecules' Bing Bang Boom Science Show'.  I must admit it was more of a show than science, but it was fun and the kids enjoyed it.  'Mr. Molecules' was a bit of a spaz though (think: Pee Wee Herman) ....lol

On Friday we had our very first experience with 4H.  Our homeschool group has teamed up with our local 4H chapter to provide classes for our students in the spring semester.  However, we had one day with them this week as an introduction and to elect their class officers.  My Princess was elected as Reporter--and, boy, is she happy about that!  (Have I ever mentioned that she occasionally writes a "family newspaper" for us?).  

Overall, it was a very good experience with 4H.  I am curious as to what and how long each class in the spring will be though.  My Mr. B is a very "young" 4th grader and sitting for 2 hours yesterday in a class about public speaking was a real stretch for him.  So I'm hoping there will be classes that will be a better fit for him.  

Friday evening was a whirlwind around our house with Vince and me heading to a wedding rehearsal dinner, Mr. B hanging out with his Nana, and The Princess off to her first youth event (a bonfire!) with our homeschool group.  We all had good times :)  

Oh--and one last thing to share ...these past couple of weeks my Mr. B has really been hitting the books.  For fun!!  I mean, he's been enjoying reading books on his own!  This makes me so very happy because while he absolutely loves to be read to (and we always have a family read-aloud going) he has not been very interested in reading on his own.  So I'm super proud of his progress in this area!  

Thanks for dropping by today~I'd love to hear from you in the comments.  Tell me how your week has been!