Thursday, June 27, 2013

Busy Week for Us

Don't know if you noticed but I gave the blog a makeover last week.  The green was up for a long time and I was extremely tired of the look, so I created a new look using blue.  Not sure how long I'll leave this one up but I like the site a lot better now.

This has been a busy week for us.

Monday I completed a review item that took me all day to create.

Tuesday we took a trip to Charleston for Laycie's neuro appointment and we had a field trip day.  We left Jackson with Grami and the big kids, Grandma and I went to visit Charles Town Landing and the Angel Oak.  It was a lot of fun and there is a blog post coming about that day very soon.

Wednesday, I played rest with Laycie who was exhausted from Tuesday and also played catch up with wedding photos that I have not had a chance to work on since Laycie's seizure two weeks ago.

Today, I am working on catching up things that are behind in the house: laundry, dishes, cleaning in general.

Tomorrow night I have a wedding rehearsal to attend and photograph and Saturday is the big wedding event which I'm totally excited to be photographing for the beautiful bride and groom.  So tomorrow will be spent prepping by cleaning the camera lenses, charging the battery, making sure memory cards are clear and packing up all the things I need for the event.

This week has been full of excitement but fulfilling in life.  As soon as it slows back down, I will play catch up with our blog posts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Baker Publishing Group: The Adventures of Lily Lapp Series {Review}

From Baker Publishing Group, written by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher comes the story of a kind and mischevious Amish girl you won't soon forget.  Every day with Lily Lapp is a new adventure.  Life with this little girl is never boring.

Come see what life with Lily and her family is like in The Adventures of Lily Lapp Book One: Life with Lily.  Five year old Lily lives on an Amish farm in upstate New York with her parents and her little brothers.  Lily has a new little brother that she isn't all that sure about.

Seems life has a lot of change in store for little Miss Lily.  New baby, a new teacher and her eyes are opening to a whole new world around her.  Lily Lapp is growing up Amish.  Come see what Life with Lily is all about!

Book two of The Adventures of Lily Lapp series is A New Home for Lily.  Sweet little Lily is seven now and moving to an entirely new community.  It's hard being the new girl in town.

See what life is like for Lily now, in a new town where she has to learn to make new friends all while still finding adventures to keep her busy.  Lily meets Aaron Yoder, a boy who drives her crazy and later Lily finds heart to help rescue.  Lily also receives a new gift: another baby brother to love and grow with in her many adventures, though Lily has yet to understand why God doesn't give her a baby sister.

The Adventures of Lily Lapp is a wonderful series with more books to come.  Each adventure with Lily is better than the last, as readers watch Lily grow up and follow along with her life and her mischief through her story.  Lily's books will be a wonderful addition to homes every where.

These books are written with children ages 8-12 in mind.  At 272 pages, they are rather good sized chapter books.  Each chapter has a title, allowing young readers to break the stories down into manageable portions.  This also allows educators/parents to assign chapters to read a little easier.

My 10 year old could not wait to read about the life of Lily Lapp and immediately jumped into reading these books.  I allowed her to read them for leisure.  We will definitely be adding more books from the Lily Lapp series into our home in the future as they are released.

You can purchase The Adventures of Lily Lapp books through Baker Publishing Group for $12.99 in either paperback or ebook format.  For this review, we had beautifully printed paperback copies that I suspect will be read again and again in the future.


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Summer Time Ways to Keep Your Cool

It's Summer time in the South and that means it's HOT.  Temps go up into the 100's down here and the humidity makes it feel much hotter!  So in order to beat the heat, we must find ways to keep cool in the Summer heat.

Some ways we like to keep cool in the South are:

1. Water sprinkler fun!  Just hook a hose to a water sprinkler or create your own so that the water keeps you cool in that Summer Sun.

2. Take a swim in a river, lake or pond.  Only with adult supervision, of course.  For swimmers that are still learning to swim well, be sure to use a life vest for safety!

3. Popsicles are a great way to keep cool in the summertime.  Make your own by freezer juice, Kool-Aid, pudding, yogurt or another drink of choice in an ice cube tray or a small cup for a cool treat.

4.  Water balloon toss.  Fill them up and toss them to see whose pops first!  It's a guaranteed way to keep cool while having fun.

5.  Drink lots and lots of water.  This one is the most important.  No matter how you choose to keep cool in the Summer heat, always drink plenty of fresh water.  Room temperature water hydrates your body faster, allowing you to cool down without causing that brain freeze headache that comes from drinking ice cold water when you're hot.  Stay hydrated and safe through the summer by drinking lots of water while playing, working and living in the Summer months.

Now that I've shared these five ways to keep cool, tell me how you and your family beat the Summer heat?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Life with Epilepsy {Epilepsy Awareness}

I could keep quiet about Epilepsy.  I have for a long time.  I could let it go and move on, keeping all that I feel inside.  But what good would that do?  And who would I be helping by not sharing my thoughts and feelings.

Speaking out lets others know they are not alone.  There are many Mother's out there who go through the same things I do daily.  Many who deal with a lot more than I have ever had to with my children.  I speak out so they know they are not alone.

Over the years, people have commented how I should work.  How can I work and leave my daughters who could drop into a seizure at any minute?  This disorder doesn't work on a schedule.  You can't see it.  You don't know when it will strike your child down.

And I'm sorry but bosses don't understand when your child simply isn't feeling well.  They don't understand when you call 10 minutes before work to say "My child just suffered a Grand Mal seizure and I can't make it into work today".  Or for a few days for that matter.

People also tell me "oh you need to put your kids into school".  That's always easiest to think.  But in reality, if I'm dealing with my one sick child, I can't make it to school to deal with my well child.  I can't make it to the bus stop to see they are dropped off or picked up.  I can't deal with a school system who's focus is on attendance, not the fact that my child or his/her sibling was sick so we just couldn't make it in.

Then there is the stress that school in a classroom with 30 other students brings my child.  I know what it was like to be in Public School and have Epilepsy.  It was not fun and my teachers were rarely understanding even when they tried to be.

I did enroll Emmalee in public school briefly.  Every day she came home tired and frustrated.  She began having migraines because of the long hours, lack of structure and lack of relaxation time after school was done.  Her seizure activity spiked and I quickly took her back out.

I know everyone can't live life like we do.  I strive to be there for my girls, for all my kids, but that's not possible for every family.  Neither is homeschooling.  I am thankful I can do these things and be with them.  I am thankful I don't have to leave them alone.  I never try to begrudge those Momma's who have to do otherwise and I support everyone no matter.

These are simply the reasons that I do the things I choose.  It's worked out well for me.  Josh works hard so that I can be here for the kids, so I can be here when Laycie has a seizure.

Until you have a child with a medical issue, it is hard to comprehend what life is like for a Momma who does have one.  You can't walk in shoes that your feet have never fit into.  It's my hope with my blog and my Epilepsy posts that I am helping others to not feel alone and I'm helping others understand what we as Special Needs Momma's go through every day.

If I can encourage one Momma to not feel alone.  If I can help one Momma find her voice in this fight.  If I can help one Momma feel blessed even in the light of darkness than I have met my goal.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ideas for Homeschooling Your Preschooler

Homeschooling your preschooler should not be a hard thing to do.  Providing fun experiences, playing games and simply being together is often all that is needed to educate a child at this age.  The following is a list of ideas to do with your preschooler:

1. Take a walk together.  Experiences like these allow your child to view nature up close and absorb the details of the world around them.

2. Play games together.  This builds self-confidence and promotes relationship skills.  Games can also be used for learning ABC's, counting and much more.

3. Fix lunch together.  Choose safe foods that a child can help you make.  My children like to spread pb&j onto bread for our sandwhiches or lay ham and cheese on crackers for us to enjoy.  This promotes life skills along with self-confidence and also relationship skills.

4. Create cards to send to loved ones.  Young children are often not ready to write and draw but with an adults help they can manage to create something unforgettable to share with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, siblings, cousins, and other loved ones that live far away.  This teaches a child to give back to their community.  It also helps them to learn writing skills and social skills such as the almost lost art of writing a letter.

5.  Bake and ice a cake to take to a neighbor together.  This is another way to give back to those in the community teaching children important socialization skills, as well as cooking skills they will need someday in the future.

6.  Read books together.  Learning to read is an important skill and children learn faster when they are read to.  This promotes family bonding and also begins a love of reading in a child.  Another bonus is that children can learn about other cultures, animals and skills through books chosen to read together.

7.  Take a field trip to a museum or other place of interest.  Exhibits, nature walks, state parks, and so many other places provide hands on learning experiences that children will absorb and learn with better than any textbook could provide.

8.  Simply go to the store together.  Children can learn lots of things in a store.  Counting, adding, subtracting, following a list, search and find needed supplies and so much more.  The store is full of educational experiences for a child.

9.  Play at the park.  Sometimes it's just good to take a break and simply spend a little time at the park.  Playing is a huge part of learning for a child.  Parks allow the child socialization experiences, physical activity, balancing skills, following direction and so much more.  Park days are some of our favorite days in homeschooling.

10.  Build a Lego village.  Doing simple things like building houses with blocks, roleplaying with dolls, pretend cooking and more allows a child to develop necessary skills for life.  Play should be fun and unique and allow a child to use their imagination.  Play is an important part of individual development for any child.

These are only a few ideas to use in your home preschool.  The important thing is to get your child thinking and moving.  Paper lessons are great sometimes but they should not be the bulk of your preschool homeschool.  Allow your child activities that make them think, react, socialize and get involved.  Those skills and experiences will build a lifetime love of learning.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Darkness That Lurks {Epilepsy Awareness}

How do you do it?

How do you tell your baby, one of the prettiest, sweetest girls you know, the child whose older sister proclaimed as our angel the day she was born, that she won't die?  How do you even deal when those words come from the mouth of your beautiful 5 year old daughter?

My Momma heart breaks for her.  My Momma heart wants to scoop her up and hold her tight and keep her safe forever.

I want to SCREAM.  I want to SCREAM to God, "WHY?!  Why my daughter?  Why my precious baby?  Why does she have to suffer with this?  Why does anyone suffer?"

I can't reassure her that she will wake up from the next seizure.  I can't reassure her that there won't be another one.  I can only tell her about Heaven and all the great things that await her there.  Even when I don't want to because I pray deeply and hard that she will not know for a long, long time.

"Momma, who turned out the lights?", she asked me. "Was it you?" "No, baby."  "Was it Daddy?  Why would Daddy cut the lights out on me?" "Daddy didn't, angel."  "Oh, Grandma did it then!"

All this past week she has been terrified of the dark.  It didn't take me long to figure out what she meant.  Her whole little safe world went dark last Tuesday morning.   She couldn't see for almost an hour.  Her eyes dilated so much that she wasn't able to see anything but a black abyss.

And it hits me: just how terrified she was.  That this seizure affected her sight so badly.  That the next one could honestly leave her blinded for good.  That I'm thankful this seizure didn't leave her blinded for life.

It hits me that she could have died last Tuesday.  That she stopped breathing on me.  That there was nothing I could do and no amount of CPR could stop her brain from overloading and her body from seizing.  It had completely taken control.

All I could do was watch and pray.  All I can do now is wait and pray.  I do daily and she has prayed too, wholeheartedly.  We all have.

Tomorrow morning, or rather in a few short hours this morning, at 7:30 am, it will be one week from her worst Grand Mal since she was 4 1/2 months old.  One week has passed.  Multiple conversations to make her forget and feel more at ease have happened.

Every day we have the same talk.  "Momma, it was dark." "I"m so sorry, Laycie."  "But you didn't turn out the lights on me?" "No, baby." "You will keep on a lamp for me." "Always, if it makes you feel better."

And I do.  She sleeps in the bed with us for now, until we know this monster called Epilepsy is controlled again.  I leave the light on for her and for me.  It helps me see if she's breathing.  It helps me see if she's a little too still.  And it puts her little mind to ease.

I don't know what the future holds.  I don't know how to calm her fears other than talk with her, listen to her, be with her, every waking and sleeping minute.  And pray, for her and with her every time she needs to do that and even when she isn't even aware I am.

I'm thankful that God has blessed us with more time.  I'm well aware of the Mothers that weren't given that chance.  My heart aches for them and for all the Momma's who must watch their babies suffer so much.

For now she sleeps, though it's still very much restless and we wait patiently to see if this monster is lurking or controlled for now.  Only time will tell.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Memoria Press: Geography I {Review}

Memoria Press has been creating Classical Christian Educational materials for Western Civilization since 1994.  Their products focus upon simplicity, affordability and quality and are designed with flexibility in mind for homeschooling families who know little about the subjects they are learning about.  Memoria Press products provide high academic standards for learning.

For this review, The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew was offered a choice between Memoria Press' Prima Latina and Geography I.  I chose Geography I for us because it was more fitting to the ages of my children.  It is also a current interest in our home education.

Geography I arrived boxed nicely together in a few weeks.  Our box contained a teacher's guide, student text and student workbook for Geography I and a Teacher's Key and Student Workbook for the United States.  The set is soft-covered with crisp white pages inside.  Most of the print is black line master.

Geography I's teacher guide contains the answers to all of the questions through the Geography I Student Workbook.  In the back of this book are quiz and tests for review of the lessons learned.  There is no other lesson information in this guide aside from the answers to the questions and the quiz and tests provided in the back.  

Geography I's student text covers The Middle East, North Africa and Europe.  The student text breaks each of these continents down into countries.  As you work through the text, the student learns a little about each continent.  They learn first the Story of the Land which tells the history of the land.  Then they learn the Land of the Story which tells specifically about the land itself.  Each section also includes Fast Facts to tell you quick facts about the area.

Each of the continents is broken into countries.  Each countries page tells the student about the history of that country and then tells what the country is like today.  There are also Fast Facts included for each of these countries, as well as a picture of the area, a flag to color in and a map on the opposite page showing the country and area covered.  This repeats for every country and continent shared in this text.  

At the end of the Student Text is a colorized section of country flags for review and also to help the student know what color to color the flag for the country they are currently learning about.  Lessons are approximately two pages long, though they are thorough on information provided about each continent and country.  

The Student Workbook is where the work is at.  In the workbook, students must identify and label the countries on the continent maps.  They must break each country down, sharing capitals and facts.  This is repeated for each continent and country covered through Geography I.

The United States set is a review for students learning in Geography I.  Just like the Geography I teacher's guide, the United States teacher's guide provides the answers to the student workbook and also quiz and tests through the back of the book.  There is no lesson guide provided in either of these teacher guides.  Lessons are provided through the accompanying workbooks and student texts.

The United States Student Workbook is a States and Capitals Review text.  In this workbook, students will review the states and capitals of all of the United States.  These are broken down into regions to make the review easier for the student.  There is a United States map as a whole included in the front of the workbook.

These books work together to provide a full curriculum for Geography I.  Depending upon the teacher and student, this curriculum could be covered in a matter of weeks to a year.  The lessons are not long and can be completed quickly and easily.  Review expectations were for us to use this curriculum 3-4 times a week through the review, which allowed us to cover much of the curriculum before the review period ended.

Geography I is for students in grades 4-8.  My students that used this curriculum were ages 10 and 12.  I also did work with my 5 year old, allowing her to listen while we read through the country and continent information and providing her maps to color as we learned about each country.

We enjoyed using Memoria Press' Geography I in our lessons because the lessons themselves were not long and the information we learned was just the right amount as to not be overwhelming each day we worked on them.  Our lesson week began with discussion of the continent and completing the workbook pages to go with it.  Then we worked through countries, taking our time to learn more by looking them up online and checking the news to see if they were mentioned recently.  After doing this research, the kids were left to complete their worksheets for lesson.  I placed the worksheet into dry erase covers so they could both complete the necessary worksheets for this curriculum.

Memoria Press offers Geography I as a part of their 4th Grade Curriculum.  It can be purchased as the 4th Grade Geography set for $48.00 plus shipping.  This set includes the Geography I teachers guide, student text, and student workbook, along with the United States States and Capitals Review teacher's guide and student workbook.  Geography I covers The Middle East, North Africa and Europe in the text.  To view more curriculum from Memoria Press, please visit their website!


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Educating the Small

Children are amazing.  They can hear the quietest whispers.  They can smell things that we sometimes miss.  They absorb the smallest details of everything.

God gave them these sensitivities for one reason: to learn.  It's a fact that children will learn regardless of how they are educated.  They will soak up knowledge from everything that surrounds them.

Educational experts today will tell you that children should begin to learn as soon as possible.  This is true.  They should.  But not through text books and forced education in a building that allows them no experience with the real world.  Children should be presented with experiences that allow their minds to broaden and feel and exist in the world that was created especially for their senses to be developed in.

From the day we are born, we are learning.  We look around and take in everything that we see, touch, feel, hear and taste.  We learn from these things.

If something tastes bad or gives us a shock when our tongue touches it, we learn not to taste or do that again.  If something hurts when we touch it, we learn not to touch it again.  If something is loud when we drop it, we try not to drop it again.  As the opposite if it feels soft, we want to touch it.  If it tastes good, we want to eat all that is offered and then some.  All learning experiences.

Today's world is indoctrinated into believing that from birth, children must be prepared for schooling.  What is missed is that children are already learning.  Worksheets and a teacher standing at a blackboard are not necessary for education.  Neither is a room filled with one to two adults and approximately 30 children.

What is needed, in my opinion, is a person that will allow a child to experience the wonderful things the world has to offer.  The experiences that God intended for children to have in His world.  A field trip to the park to beach to play in the sand and collect shells to count.  A walk down the road to pick up pine cones and see what birds are flying by.  Even examining a puddle after the rain can bring about a learning experience that a child won't soon forget.

These are experiences my children and I have every day through homeschool education.  Yes, we are lucky to be able to enjoy these things.  Maybe you could too?  Stop thinking about the educational path that society wants for children and begin to look at all the educational things to enjoy while they are still young and with you.  Children grow up too fast to waste time doing anything else.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birdcage Press - Art Up Close: Museum of Modern Art {Review}

Birdcage Press specializes in unique books and games for children.  Brilliant museum-quality images are presented on every product, allowing children to learn about some of the greatest creatures and works of art in the world.  The award winning products at Birdcage Press are unforgettable.

The Schoolhouse Review crew was given their choice of products from Birdcage Press to use for this review.  Games containing photos of great works of art, animals and Ancient Egypt were available for choice.  Each game allowing a different form of play and lessons unique to itself.

I personally chose Art Up Close: The Museum of Modern Art for our review product.  I thought my oldest daughter would greatly enjoy this particular game.  Since she wants to be an artist, I thought this game would be a great way to introduce her to different artists and artworks that we may miss normally.  Needless to say, she really loved viewing each of the cards during this review period.

Art Up Close is thus named because the game presents the cards as the "normal" art piece complete with the Artist's name, the pieces name, and the year created.  The accompanying card match shows an up close piece of the artwork which allows the player to see more detail in the artwork.  It also makes the player think about the details to figure out which piece of art the up close piece belongs to.

Art Up Close can be played as a game in 5 different ways.  You can play memory with them, where the players match the cards to create pairs in order to finish the game.  You can play Old Master which is Old Maid without the maid.  You simply chose a card to be the Master and go from there.  You can play Painting Pairs which is a lot like Go Fish.  You can also play Treasure Hunt, where the players are dealt works of art and must try to find the matching pieces.

My youngest child's favorite game was Memory, while my oldest two enjoyed playing Painting Pairs and Old Master.  My artist took the cards and thoroughly went over them detail by detail.  She laid them out and worked on creating her own works of art by examining the details on the cards she had chosen.  Each time she chose a new piece, we researched the piece online to learn more about it.  She enjoyed having the artwork to get her started in learning more about the artist, artworks and year.

This card game was able to be used in so many enjoyable ways by all of our family.  My children are ages 5-12 and each one benefited from it in some way.  Even I enjoyed learning more about the art pieces portrayed throughout the game.

Art Up Close: Museum of Modern Art is available through Birdcage Press for $10.95.  This art deck includes 48 cards featuring artists like Picasso, Monet, Klee and more.  The recommended age is 5+.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Epilepsy Monster Strikes Again {Epilepsy Awareness}

Days at Luv'N Lambert Life appear fairly normal.  There is no general chaos or drama unless it's caused by the outside world.  We go about our days, living and enjoying life with little issue.

But there is a hidden danger that lurks here every day.  It strikes when I least expect it.  It completely wipes my child out and hinders my days and weeks.

Epilepsy is our hidden danger.  You don't see it physically in my children on a daily basis but it's there, lurking, waiting to strike when I let my guard down and think everything is ok.

Yesterday morning it hit us again.

Monday night went as planned: dinner, kids baths, kids to bed, get things laid out for therapy on Tuesday.  It's our routine.  We do it every week.  No problems.

The kids went to bed.  They were staying over at Grandma's house.  Laycie, as always, slept snuggled next to Jackson and Grandma in Grandma's bed.  All was well and everyone slept nicely.  I slept at our house, not 100 yards away.

Morning came and my phone buzzed heavily.  I honestly thought it was my alarm telling me to get up and get ready for therapy.  It wasn't.  The phone said "Mom".  My heart dropped as I answered it.  All she said was, "Get over here NOW!"  My mind raced to think "which one of my babies is hurt.  Oh God, please let everything be ok!"

I knew better.  I knew something was wrong.  I ran into the house and yelled to my Momma, "where are you, what's wrong".  I could hear her calling Laycie by name.  It was all like a terrible nightmare.

I walked into her room to see my baby, my tiny sweet precious girl laying with her legs straight down, arms pulled stiffly up to her body.  Her lips were grey, blue.  Foam was pouring out of her mouth.  Vomit mixed in.

She was seizing and there was nothing I could do.  I remember saying, "is she ok? Is she breathing?"  No, at that point she wasn't.  Her heart was beating, her breathing had stopped and she was stuck in the midst of this seizure that we couldn't stop.

Poor sweet Jackson was laid at the end of the bed just looking around.  He had no idea what was going on, as this is his first experience with his sister's Epilepsy.  He looked from me, to sissy to Grandma and wondered why no one picked him up though he was smiling sweetly.

Laycie was our only concern at that moment.  I had left my phone at the house, so I grabbed my Mom's.  Thank God it was charged.  I dialed 911.  A man answered.  I left the room, my baby with my Mother and ran to get my Mother-in-law, all while telling this kind man the details of our emergency.

On the way, I told Winston and Emmalee to get up.  I remember telling Emma, "your sister is sick, get Jax now".  My sweet strong, Emmalee who went through all of this so many times herself is now on the other side, watching her sister suffer.  And my rock Winston who I could not have made it through without.

I remember telling the 911 dispatcher my address while running across the yard to my Mother-in-laws.  I remember telling him my number.  I remember telling him "my 5 year old is having a seizure, please God hurry" "she isn't breathing, she's blue, she's foaming".  I am quite sure he thought I had probably lost my mind by this point.

I remember standing in front of my Mother-in-laws door thinking "should I knock or just walk in".  I knocked, then I reached for the handle.  "Is it locked, oh please don't let it be locked".  As I reached for the knob I could hear the dogs barking so I knew she'd be getting up to see what was wrong.  I called for her.

She was coming down the hall and asked "what's wrong".  I told her "Laycie is having a seizure.  I need you to come now".  I turned around, left and ran back to my baby.  She followed.

I ran back into the house and updated the dispatcher on Laycie's condition.  She was still seizing.  Her body jerking uncontrollably while my Mom talked to her, trying to console her.  She was still pale.  We rolled her back onto her side.  She was so still but she was breathing again.  I remember taking a breath at that point and thinking "thank you God, it's almost over.  Please don't let her go into a another one."

The dispatcher was still on the phone.  At some point I ran to our drive to see if the first responder was arriving.  I remember him telling me the fire truck would come first.  At this point they weren't there.

I ran back inside.  Laycie was still but not seizing.  I ran back out and the fire truck was pulling in.  The dispatcher hung up.  I waved the fireman over.  I told him she was inside.  I led him to her and let him work.  I could hear my Mother-in-law saying "the ambulance is here".  I heard her telling me "you need to get dressed so you can ride with her to the hospital".  I ran out, waved the ambulance to the back.  I ran to get dressed.  I grabbed my purse, my phone, threw on clothes, grabbed Laycie a dress and ran out the door.

By the time, I got back the EMT was carrying her to the ambulance and she was crying uncontrollably.  But it wasn't a cry, it was a scared, rhythmic whine.  She wanted her Mommy but I couldn't hold her.

I jumped onto the ambulance first.  Then the EMT lifted her in, along with herself.  She laid her on the gurney and buckled her on.  She handed her a huge stuffed bear, as big as my Laycie and she snuggled right into it.

I realized about the time we got down to the mailbox and I began to breath again knowing she would be ok for now, that I still had my Mother's phone.  Everything had happened so fast that I had forgotten to hand it back to her.

When we arrived at the ER, Laycie's eyes were still dilated and she was still doing her rhythmic whining.  They lifted her into a bed.  It wasn't long before the ER doctor came in.  He asked all the usual questions.  I told him I simply had her brought in to be monitored.  He asked "what kind of monitoring are you expecting?"  My honest emotion to that question was "what the hell?!"  I replied, "I want her vitals checked and I want her here in case she seizes again to be sure her seizures are controlled".

Laycie's seizure was a Grand Mal.  It lasted approximately 4-5 minutes.  She was postical for 3 hours.  She was completely unresponsive when the first responder arrived.  My Mother said he insisted the EMT's carry her in.  Other than us, he saw the most of the results of her seizure.

It took Laycie 30 minutes to become responsive, other than the rhythmic whine she had in the ambulance.  Her first response was to shake her head.  It was barely visible and she would only tell me yes to simple questions that I asked of her.

It was another 30 minutes before she would speak to me.  She couldn't see me because her eyes were so dilated and out of focus.  She couldn't speak because her seizure had locked that part of her brain at the time.  She couldn't take her medicine because she couldn't open her mouth.  She wasn't able to control that part of her body.

She didn't talk until her Daddy came in about an hour after arriving at the hospital.  She was so happy to see him.  She lit up the room with the expression on her face.  He climbed in the bed with her and she snuggled right into him.  It was then she started talking.

She was quiet and slow but she was coming back to herself.  We were finally able to give her her meds which she took with applesauce, though she wanted her usual yogurt.

She wanted to eat so her nurse brought her juice and crackers and found her a sausage and cheese biscuit.  Laycie ate the sausage and picked at the rest.  Her tiny body was so tired though she was trying to gain control of it again.

After eating she snuggled up to her bear the EMT's had given her and took a nap.  It only lasted about 15 minutes but when she woke back up she was back to herself again.  She wanted to get off the bed.  She wanted to go home.  She kept trying to pull her wires off and put them back on.  She was ready to be Dr. McLaycie, as we often call her at home.

Her least favorite part, even though she tried to prepare herself, was having bloodwork done.  She did so well though.  She tried not to cry but when the needle went in she lost it.  Poor, sweet angel.

It wasn't long after that we were able to go home.  She'd had no seizure activity in the ER.  Her vitals were all good and strong.  The ER doctor called her med team at MUSC, who advised them to tell us to increase her morning dosage on her meds and to call and schedule her next appointment to be seen.  So that is what we are currently doing.

We came home and we've been relaxing together ever since.  She's laid in Mommy and Daddy's bed and watched tv.  She's eaten well and has a strong appetite.  The med increase is making her excessively thirsty.

I've tried to encourage her to sleep but she's scared.  I asked her why and she told me a Monster tried to take her over.  I can only assume she means her seizure.  I've held her and talked to her until she felt safe enough to sleep.

I've personally struggled to go to sleep.  I'm terrified of her having another seizure and being alone in it.  Or worse, not waking up from it.  I worry that I will wake up to find my baby not breathing.  It is a living nightmare.  A horror movie come to life.

Every twitch she makes, I wake up and check to see if she's ok.  I refuse to disturb her other than checking to see if she's having a seizure and I won't leave her side for long.  When I do, someone is with her: Grandma, her brother, sister or Daddy.

Right now I'm in watch overdrive.  She on the other hand, appears to be back to normal.  She feels great, she says.  The only set back is her fear of sleep and the thirst from the meds.  I wish I could feel as at ease as she does.

She now carries her big white bear with her everywhere.  We've named him Mr. Snuggles.  In one day, they've been through a lot together.  I imagine they will go through a lot more.

I'm sharing our story so that others have an idea of what a family and a child with Epilepsy goes through.  Everyday people see my child and think "there is nothing wrong with her".  I only wish that was so.  You can not see her disorder.  It attacks when we least expect it, when we let our guard down and begin to think it's ok.  But it's there.  It's a daily part of our lives and we are always looking, waiting, preparing for it's attack.

Other Momma's who do this daily understand.  But not everyone gets the picture.  My hope is that our story, our blog, our life helps give you a better understanding of what Epilepsy really is.  And my prayer is that you never have to experience it first hand.  SEIZURES SUCK!

God bless.

<3 dana="" p="">

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Christianity Cove {Review}

Christianity Cove brings Jesus to life for children all over the world.  Their unique Sunday School curriculum can be found in many Sunday and Christian School classrooms.  They strive to make Jesus real, not just a person children read about in books, but someone they can personally know in their lives.

Christianity Cove offers many products that can be used with children in many age groups.  The Schoolhouse Review Crew was offered our choice of two of these products to review in our homes.  I personally chose to use their Bible Science Experiments and their Make and Take Bible Craft curriculum with my children ages 5, 10 and 12.

Bible Science Experiments provides lesson plans for 25 different and unique science experiments that show the glory of nature through God's vision.  Experiments ranging from optical illusions, shadows, using a color wheel, harnessing the power of air, and much more are provided in this Bible Science Experiments downloadable PDF.

This curriculum begins by telling the reader that every child is a natural scientist.  Children are provided fun, hands-on experiments to complete that show the world through God's creation.  Lessons are backed up with scripture related to the experiment being completed.  Every lesson has a different verse to accompany it.

Lessons also begin with a list of necessary materials.  The steps to complete the experiment are listed next, followed by an answer to the experiment questions.  An explanation of the experiment from the scientific viewpoint is also provided.  The last section for every experiment is the Understanding God section which provides reasons for God's plan in nature.  This is repeated for each of the 25 Bible Science Experiments.

We randomly did experiments throughout this PDF throughout our review period.  My children enjoyed the process of following the provided steps, listening to the answers and explanations for each.  Most of all they enjoyed having these experiments related to bible verse and God's intentions for these instances in nature.

For extra work, I printed the verses as copywork for the kids to remember.  We looked up videos of other experiments like these to see if our results were the same or different.  We also did research online about different aspects of many of these experiments.

The experiments use many things that can be found already in the home so there isn't a lot of extra cost to complete them.  They are easily implemented and don't take a lot of time to complete.  They can be used with school-age children from Kindergarten through High School.  Children in younger grades should be accompanied by an adult before attempting any experiment.

We also worked through the Make and Take Bible Crafts curriculum from Christianity Cove.  I pulled several of these crafts to work on throughout the weeks of our review.  There are 47 crafts provided in the Make and Take Bible Crafts PDF.  They each take approximately 20 minutes to complete and are appropriate for young children.  All three of my school age children enjoyed the projects though.

Make and Take Bible Crafts provide fun and simple crafts to complete for the basic stories of the bible like Noah's Ark, Moses at the Burning Bush, Jonah and the Whale and much more.  There are 20 specific crafts that go with the story of the life of Jesus.  There are also 7 crafts that reinforce the basic christian values.  A table of contents share the craft's for each important biblical story and what page to find it on.   

Lessons begin much the same as the Bible Science Experiments PDF does, with a list of materials needed provided.  These are common items that can be found around the home or can be easily obtained at low cost.  They are needed to complete the project for each lesson and differ per lesson.

The next section provides scripture related to the lesson.  The full text is provided so that the teacher and student don't have to locate the story within the bible.  This makes the lesson easy to complete and keeps the information in one place.  A short explanation for preparation of the project is provided next, followed by the instructions to complete the project to be completed.

These lessons were quick and easy to complete.  The kids really enjoyed them and the lessons learned.  My older children new many of the bible stories but had not done some of the projects provided in the Make and Take Bible Crafts PDF.  My 5 year old greatly enjoyed hearing the stories and completing the projects.  Noah's Ark and the Fruits of the Spirit Charm bracelet were two of her favorites.

My favorite was the Sermon on the Mount "Blessed Are" Wreath.  We used the handprints of all the kids to create this project so that we could use it to view the Beatitudes together.  We have this hanging in our classroom area to keep them where we can view them often.

We greatly enjoyed reviewing both of these products from Christianity Cove.  I recommend them for using in a Sunday School classroom or a Christian Homeschool or even just for extra bible lessons at home.  They provide a fun way to learn more about the Bible.

Bible Science Experiments is available as a PDF download for $25.  Make and Take Bible Crafts is also available as a PDF download for $29.  There are lots and lots of other products to choose from at Christianity Cove so be sure to take a look around while there!


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Monday, June 10, 2013

The "U" Word {Homeschooling}

I have four children.  Three who are school aged and one sweet baby.  I chose a long time ago to homeschool them.  If you have been on my blog long, or are my Facebook friend, etc then you already know all of this.

We are not traditional homeschoolers.  I don't have time for that!  But we are homeschoolers none the less.

I came to realize recently that I don't talk a whole lot about our homeschooling adventures.  I honestly have no idea why except maybe it's because, to me, our homeschooling doesn't look a whole lot different than the everyday normal.  We play, we eat, we draw, write, color, watch tv.  This list could get pretty long.  We do all the same things you do when your children are home, only we do them as part of our schooling.

See we are Eclectic in educational style.  We are extremely relaxed.  We border strongly on Unschooling.

I can hear your sharp intake of breath.  "Did she just say Unschooling?! Isn't that doing no school at all?!  You mean she's not teaching those kids?! The shame."

No, no!  That's not what Unschooling is at all!  Unschooling is allowing my children educational freedom to learn on their own.  Unschooling is having faith in God to lead our daily studies.  Unschooling is letting my children be children as God intended for them to be.

I teach by playing with my kids or seeing to it they have the necessary tools to learn with.  I teach as they ask questions to learn more about something they want to know.  I teach by explaining that it's not proper to say "I ain't gonna play with she today" and why it's not.  This list can go on too.

What you won't see in my home every day is me standing at a black board writing out words or me standing over my daughter as she practices her writing.  You won't find me patiently waiting while they finish up a test or timing them as they learn their math facts.  You won't find my children learning rote memorization of facts they don't find interesting or us reading from a text book written just so they can be equal educationally to millions of other students.

What you will find is a library stocked with interesting books on 1000's of subjects that they can and do pick up and read at will.  You will find a stocked video area and a subscription to Netflix, along with a full channel  satellite package so they can view documentaries and other educational movies at the drop of a hat as we learn.  You will find the internet connected at all times so we can research things that catch their interest or puzzle their minds.  You will also find tons of toys for interactive play, legos for building and math, crayons, paper, coloring pages, and a working printer for challenging them to absorb their world daily.

That is the way of Unschooling and Relaxed, Eclectic education.  We learn every day about many different things in a way we love, making education something we love.  And I, nor my children, would have that any other way.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Motherboard Books: Let's Make A Webpage {Review}

Do you know how to make a webpage?  Could you teach your children how?  Is this something you need assistance in learning or teaching your children how to do?  Then look no further than Let's Make A Webpage from Motherboard Books!

Let's Make A Webpage teaches your child, or you, everything you need to know about building your own webpage from scratch.  Using CoffeeCup HTML Editor you will learn the basics of webpage building and so much more.  Let's Make A Webpage makes webpage making easy!

The first step in using this e-book is to create an interview to use in preparation for your webpage.  The student needs to choose several questions of their own creation to ask someone they wish to know more about.  This could be Mom, Dad, the neighbor, their sister, cousin, aunt, the librarian, etc.  Whoever the student wishes to interview.  

My son chose to interview Dad.  These were his questions:
1. What is your job?
2. How long have you been doing it?
3. What exactly do you do?
4. Did you learn anything during school that helped to prepare you for your job?
5. Is this the career you expected to have?

My daughter chose to interview her Grandma.  These were the questions she asked:
1. What year were you born?
2. What was life like when you were a child?
3. What were you like at my age?
4. What was schooling like for you at my age?
5. How are things different from your childhood until now?
6.  How are you and I different at this same age?

After they both conducted their interviews, we then wrote out a short report explaining all of the things they learned from their interviews.  This gathered information was used in the process of creating their webpages.  We also saved a photo of each person interviewed to use within our webpage.

The next step was downloading CoffeeCup HTML Editor to use for creating our webpages.  After downloading, we input our information, page title, etc.  Then we clicked save so that we could work with this file throughout the process.  

Then came the fun stuff: learning how to use text boxes, HTML codes, color and all the other fine details that work together to make a webpage a webpage.  These details are the simple, yet complicated things that everyone should know when building a webpage.  Let's Make A Webpage made them easy to learn and easy to use!

Through these 10 easy but thorough lessons in the Let's Make A Webpage e-book, the student learns all the important details in creating their own personal webpage. Once a student completes this program, they should have enough knowledge to be able to build any basic webpage they would like. 

In the later chapters of Let's Make A Webpage, students also learn to use animations, add in photos, how to safely use the internet and much more. These details combine to create a webpage that is catchy and attractive to the eye. And best of all it's all easier than many people may realize.

Let's Make A Webpage from Motherboard Books was written to be used with children ages 8 and up. It's available as an e-book download for $19.95. It is designed to be used with the free download version of CoffeeCup HTML Editor. This program also encourages experimenting and creativity in working with computers.  Don't forget to check out Motherboard Books other programs too!


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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Jackson is 9 Months!!

Jackson is currently in therapy because he's just a little behind in sitting, pulling up and crawling. Our therapist tells us he has low muscle tone, and is basically top heavy because of his long torso.  He's quickly catching up though.

Just this week, Jackson has learned to scoot crawl.  He pushes his feet and scoots himself across the floor.  For the last month he's been rolling himself everywhere he wanted to go.  Whatever works!

Last month, Jackson learned to wave Bye Bye and he can also do Hi!  Last week he learned to play Pat-A-Cake and this week he's learning to clap.  He loves his little games.

Every day he says more things.  He can say mmm, ddddd, bbbb.  He has said Bye-Bye a few times and DaDa.  His favorite word, though, is simply Jack-Jack.  I tell him all the time he is my Jack-Jack Love.

He's eating everything: fruits, meats, veggies and even drinking milk with no problems.  We have not introduced nuts and eggs yet since they are high allergens.  He is allergic to sweet potatoes so we currently avoid everything that contains them.

Jackson is growing bigger every day.  He is growing into a sweet and gentle boy.  He's definitely no longer a little baby.  He is a complete joy to our lives.  We have been surely blessed.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Math Mammoth {Review}

Math Mammoth was created by Maria Miller to help homeschooling Momma's who were completely lost at teaching math be able to provide a better learning experience for their students.  Being an ex-math teacher, Maria was able to create an exceptional math program that is easy to use and understand by both teacher and student.  Math Mammoth provides a complete math education that makes math easy.

Last year, we used Math Mammoth's Light Blue series for second grade.  You can read our review for that curriculum here:  This year, I chose to review Math Mammoth's Light Blue series for first grade.

I chose this curriculum for two reasons: to review math fact basics with my daughter who struggles with them and to begin my youngest daughter's education in addition and subtraction.  The first grade level of the Light Blue series worked great for both of their needs.  And since it's easy to use, my older daughter needed little help from me to work through it.  She is able to read on her own and follow through with her work.  She was also able to help my younger daughter out along the way, when I was unable to.

I chose the Light Blue series because it's a complete curriculum.  This allowed my daughter to completely relearn the concepts she struggles with instead of just working on reviewing facts that she didn't completely understand the first time.  We basically started all over with Math, only this time the lessons were much easier for her to comprehend.  And though we've only been using the program a short time, she is definitely catching on fast.

Math Mammoth's Light Blue Series for Grade 1 covers addition and subtraction concepts and strategies, whole number and place value relationships to 100, measurement of length, geometric basics, time and money.  Even though we are using this curriculum for a math review purpose, we have started from the beginning and worked through.  The program is not boring or overwhelming to my students, and as I've mentioned more than once, it's extremely easy to use and comprehend.

Math Mammoth Light Blue series is available online for $34 for the full set of Grade 1 as a download or on CD for $39 plus shipping.  It is also purchasable as individual sectional downloads through the website.


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Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Kingsbury Collection {Review}

If you love Karen Kingsbury, then you will love A Kingsbury Collection.  Three of Karen's best novels combined into one over-sized novel.  This is a collection Karen's fans surely won't want to miss.

A Kingsbury Collection includes: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side.

Where Yesterday Lives tells the story of Pulitzer Prize winner, Ellen Barrett.  Lost in her faith, struggling in her marriage and missing the past, Ellen longs for long ago times.  Ellen returns home, after her father's recent death to find changes she wasn't expecting and a future God had planned, even though she had not.

When Joy Came to Stay shares the story of the Stovall's.  Ben and Maggie have a life most people dream about.  What they don't have is the one thing that only sweet Amanda Joy can provide.  This novel brings to life the faith of child who brings others closer to God in an unexpected way.

On Every Side, newscaster Faith Evans finds herself telling the story of an one-hundred-year-old statue of Jesus.  The statue stands in a small-town park.  Jordan Riley supports the belief that this statue is a violation of the separation of church and state and wants to see the statue removed.  Battle lines are drawn but can love overcome all?

As with all of Karen Kingsbury's great novels, love and God bring others together, triumphing over all.  Karen's books are sure to restore your faith and leave you wanting to read more.

A Kingsbury Collection is available for $19.99 in paperback form.

Disclaimer: I have received a free print copy of A Kingsbury Collection from Walterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.  No money has been exchanged in this review.  I was asked to provide a blog post in my honest opinion in exchange for this item.  I'm including this disclosure in accordance with FTC guidelines.

Grumble Hallelujah {Review}

Grumble, grumble, grumble... do you find that you grumble about your life many days?  Do you often find you blame others for the issues you have?  Do you even find yourself blaming God?  Or how about asking him "why me, Lord?"

Welcome to the principles behind Grumble Hallelujah!  Grumble Hallelujah teaches you how NOT to grumble, place blame or even turn against the things you "think" are causing your problems in your life.  Grumble Hallelujah teaches you how to LOVE YOUR LIFE even as it's letting you down.

This is the story of Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira.  Caryn tells us how she went from crying on the floor of her kitchen to praising God through all of her storms.  Her life was disappointing and far from the original dreams she once had.  So far that she couldn't even imagine praising the Lord in the midst of all this trouble.

It was during one of her troubled moments that Caryn came to realize that all her grumbling was getting her no where.  The only way to change her life was to seek the good and praise all that was, regardless of the circumstance.  By praising God's glory, even in times of trial, Caryn was able to overcome her depression and build a stronger faith than she'd every experienced before.

Grumble Hallelujah humorously helps readers find their own praise for things in their life by sharing Caryn's heart-filled trials and triumphs, showing there is a better way to live.  Grumble Hallelujah will help you clearly see that everything, even the bad, has God's hand in it and He truly has a reason for it all.  Live life for Him and you will never need to grumble again.

Grumble Hallelujah is available for purchase for $14.99 in paperback or $9.99 for Kindle.  

Disclosure: This book was provided to me free for review by Tyndale House Publishers.  No money was exchanged in the process of this review.  I am including this disclaimer in accordance to FTC regulations.

See The Light Art Class {Review}

Dave and Pat Holt's See The Light Art curriculum is amazing.  Their teams is dedicated to bringing scriptures and the principles of the Bible into the lives of See The Light users.  All while learning important art skills.

See The Light Art Class Volume 1 teaches students the basics of Art.  In Art Class, students learn important techniques that will be used in their Art throughout life.  Each level of Art Class teaches different techniques and relates the lessons learned to Biblical scripture.  The complete Art Class program teaches everything an Artist needs in preparation for a career in Art.

See The Light Art Class Volume 1 teaches the basic tools of the trade, beginning with the basics of drawing. Lesson one prepares the artist by advising them on the must-haves to keep on hand for their personal drawing toolkit.  Things like pencil types, erasers, colored pencils and more are mentioned here.  These things will be used throughout the artists journey into learning Art.

Lesson two teaches the importance of a line.  Beginning with the simple line and expanding into different line types, curves and even thickness in size.  All these skills come together to become contour drawing, giving life to the students Art.

Lesson three then moves into learning about contour drawing and composition in Art.  Through this lesson the artist learns to synchronize eyes and hands to complete composition.  The artist learns that where things are placed in an art piece, plays an important part to how the piece turns out.

In lesson four, it all comes together.  The artist chooses a common item of choice and completes their contoured drawing using the many techniques learned in previous lessons.  This tests what an artist sees and knows about their art.

We love See The Light's art program and plan to add it to our homeschooling lessons in the future.  See The Light is easy to use.  As soon as See The Light arrives in our mail, my daughter grabs the discs and runs to view them.  She has fine-tuned many skills using this program and looks forward to using more in the future.  

See The Light is a program that she can use on her own, without input from me.  The program disc provides an instructor and lessons guide her without needing my help.  She can review the disc repeatedly and repeat techniques learned as much as she needs.  Being able to view the videos on her own, allows her to repeat as needed and work at her own pace, which is something she really enjoys.

She has also taken what she's learned through her lessons and begun teaching her brother and sister.  They view the videos together and she guides them in completion of their own projects.  This helps her develop skills in leadership and bond with her siblings.  Sharing something she knows and loves also promotes strong self-esteem for her.

See The Light's Art program has been a blessing for us.  Bringing scripture into our home, while bringing Art to life is something everyone here enjoys.  We look forward to learning more through See The Light in the future.

See The Light's complete Art Class program comes in a boxed set of DVD discs for $99.99.  This is a year's worth of lessons on every aspect of Art that an artist could need.  The program is also available to buy one disc at a time for $14.99 per Volume.  There are also discs available for teaching Art Projects and Bible Stories.  You can read our review of See The Light's Paper Jungle here.

 I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

See The Light Paper Jungle {Review}

See The Light: Drawing Children to Him is a video art curriculum like no other.  See The Light makes Art easy, even for the most challenged artist.  See The Light, truly brings Art to life.

See The Light is a Christian Art curriculum.  It focuses on teaching the student art principles while also teaching them the to see the beauty of God's creations.  We chose to review See The Light Paper Jungle for this review.  I chose this because I know my budding artist thoroughly enjoys working with paper in her artwork.  Paper Jungle allowed her to do this, while learning new techniques to use on her own.
When this video program disk arrived in our mail box, I wasted no time handing it over to Emmalee.  I knew she would get started right away and she wasted no time in rushing to the bedroom to watch this DVD on her PlayStation 2.  It wasn't long before she came running back to gather the necessary supplies to work on her project.

Paper Jungle requires the student to have various materials for completion: construction paper of a particular size in various colors, scrapbooking or similar paper, white glue or a heavy duty glue stick, scissors, a Sharpie marker, a pencil, a white eraser, leaves to study and a photo of a wild animal of the artists choosing. Through watching the video the project comes to life, along with learning about the specialties of God's creation.   Paper Jungle focuses upon the artistic styling of Henry Rousseau.

The video is broken down into four lessons, which a student would normally follow along with once a week or so for Art Class.  My artist is not so patient and had viewed the entire video in one day!  She also completed over 75% of her project on this first day.  It took a few hours the next day for her to fine tune it to what she wanted her finished product to be.

Before the week was up, my artist had created several masterpieces.  Over the review period, she watched our Paper Jungle lesson video as many times as possible until she basically has it memorized.  It wasn't long before she began pushing her brother and sister to watch it, too.  She led lessons with them on how to do the things she had learned through See The Light Paper Jungle and before long we had a ton of Paper Jungle projects being posted around the house.

See The Light has quickly become a favorite around our house and we look forward to purchasing more of these wonderful videos to use at home.  My artist already has her eye on See The Light's Horsing Around, as horses are also a favorite of hers.  At $14.99 a video, See The Light won't break the budget and will bring Art fun home for any artist. 


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