Will It Work? Helping my Hyper Active Son

First I should explain that my son, Brett, has never been diagnosed as anything but a red-head. Spend a few minutes in his presence, however, and I think you’ll agree that a prescription for medication would be easy to get.  And while meds have their place, this isn’t a route I want to take for my son.  We chose homeschool and I tell myself this is how little boys were meant to be.  But I worry.

Will it work?  My journey to help my hyper active son.

Still a red-head!

So the first time I looked at a poster from the Brain Balance Achievement Centers it felt a little too good to be true.

I should first explain that Brain Balance is a program designed with the theory that ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Dyslexia and other childhood disorders are actually the results of the same problem– an imbalance in the development of the right and left brain and their ability to communicate with each other.  At the center they test each kiddo, find the weak side of the brain, and unlike other programs that build on a child’s strengths, they intensely build up only the less developed areas.

The literature they gave me, the YouTube testimonials, even the mom in the lobby all assured me that Brain Balance had made a life-altering difference in the lives of children with even severe disorders.  But the program isn’t covered by any insurance and the cost is not cheap.  Plus the nearest center to our house is 90 minutes away, one direction, and the investment in time and money for driving, in addition to the daily homework exercises is a little overwhelming.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this post.  If you’re parent you’ve been there, the I would do anything for my child if I thought this was the right thing, but IS IT? feeling.  We’ve signed the paperwork, written the check, and been to the center a few times and I’m still not sure how I feel about it all.  Maybe cautiously optimistic?  Perhaps I feel a little scammed.  Can there be an easier target than a desperate mother?  I think time will tell.  And my plan is to tell you.

Will it work?  My journey to help my hyper active son.

He’s totally worth it– but is the program?

If you’re struggling, wondering, hoping like I am, I’ll be writing occasionally to let you know how this journey is going.  I’m hoping you’ll see how I went from fearing to believe to another one of those enthusiastic YouTube moms, but if not then maybe I’ll spare some of you some hard-earned cash and a whole lot of time and frustration.

I will tell you we’re going all in.  We’re doing the exercise every day, following the nutrition guidelines, providing lots of time for rest and recreation, and generally giving this 100%.  If it doesn’t work it won’t be because I didn’t try.

Here’s just praying it works.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

This Situation is Critical!

It’s literally the most important thing that happens on our farm and it’s happening now!  Just ask the little red hen, if you want to eat the bread, first you have to plant the seeds!

Planting time on the farm

Our Case IH tractor pulls a John Deere planter– proof that it can be done! 🙂

Planting time is the most intense season on the farm.  There are an estimated 10 days that are just right for planting corn in our area.  Even if we had perfect conditions (which we won’t) and no break downs (that won’t happen either!) there is no way we could plant all our corn in 10 days.  But we try.

Planting time on the farm

Daddy has added lots of Precision Planting parts to the planter, making sure every seed counts!

During the first two days of our planting season the tractor ran around the clock.  Grandpa traded off with Daddy in the middle of the night so Daddy could get a few hours of sleep.

planting time on the farm

Anna helps Daddy check that the planter is working by digging up a row and looking at the seeds.

It’s also not just putting seeds in the ground that is so time-sensetive.  Daddy got out of bed a the usual time the next morning so Grandpa could put on fertilizer and crop protection products, which are every bit as critical.

planting time on the farm

Daddy drove away with a piece of pizza in hand– no time to stop for dinner!

Monsoon-like rains put an end to our field work late Saturday night and this morning there is snow on the ground.  Like I said, we won’t be getting ideal weather!  The weather man says we should be in the mid 60s again in two days with lots of wind as well, so the ground will dry out and we’ll be back in the fields.  While not ideal by any means, the snow shouldn’t stop the seeds from growing once the weather warms up.

Just please weather, do warm up!

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My Journey for the Perfect Homeschool Curriculum

Be still my beating heart- our homeschool curriculum for next year has arrived!  As a mom, foster parent, and former kindergarten teacher you can be sure I have opinions on education–  if you’re not homeschooling, hang in there, I have opinions on games and toys too. 🙂  My first year homeschooling I created my own stuff.  I have a degree in early childhood, I’d taught kindergarten, and I was pretty confident I could handle it.  Yes, you may all laugh.

My Journey to find the perfect homeschool curriculum.

Mommy wasn’t the only one with a happy smile when our order came!

We had a great kindergarten year, but honestly first grade needed structure.  But oh my, there is SO MUCH stuff!  You can school online, or just on the computer with CDs, or you can read aloud to your kids all day, or you can give them workbooks, or you can sit down and cry because of all the overwhelming decisions.

I don’t want to know how many countless hours I spent researching just the right program.  What I do know is after filling most of a notebook and downing three quarters of a bottle of tylenol over a two-month period I had pretty much decided to use a different company for each subject to get the critical thinking, phonics foundation, hands-on approach I was looking for.

And then I found Timberdoodle.

My Journey to find the perfect homeschool curriculum.

A friend reviewed their Block Builders set on her blog.  I clicked around for a while until I found their first-grade core curriculum.

It had everything I’d already picked out for my son.

My Journey to find the perfect homeschool curriculum.

It was tempting to bang my head against the desk in frustration of all the wasted hours, but I was too thrilled to be angry.  In addition to the math, reading, history, and science they also had fantastic extras.  The Block Builders, but also mazes for building fine motor skills and games for memory retention.  I ordered Thinking Putty for my kinesthetic learning to use while listening and beautiful books of illustrated history.  I added writing and geography, which I hadn’t planned but have been favorites all year.

I ordered Christmas presents, Easter gifts and birthday surprises for my kids, niece, and nephews.  We had a great first grade year and I can’t stop looking at the pile of stuff for second grade!  I even ordered most of the kindergarten kit for Anna.

I’m not on their blogging team and can’t be till I can secure 26 more followers (if you can help with that…), so this really is just my opinion.  I’m sharing because if you order a core curriculum before April 15th you get a free Boogie Board, which I never would have spent money on but here’s the pic of us about two seconds after we opened our box.

My Journey to find the perfect homeschool curriculum.

Boogie Boards were the first things to come out of the box and held the kids’ attention well enough I slipped the Easter gifts out and they never knew!

So I just wanted to share, in case anyone is questioning the millions of choices for the perfect homeschool curriculum.  Order from Timberdoodle.

Categories: Family, Homeschool | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Heartbreak of Foster Care

I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently: lots of funny looks and tiny head shakes. Its not something I write about on the blog, but since there’s interest, I’ll answer. People don’t get why I’ve opened up my home to a foster child.

I understand that. I really do. And maybe I can explain it to you and maybe I can’t. I went through a process to get here myself. Basically it boils down to this.

Love is always worth it.

But to open yourself up for heartbreak? People tell me “I couldn’t do that.” Well, I’ve said that too, so coming from the other side, and with no malice, let me just say, yes. Yes you could.

We choose not to.

The heartbreak of foster care

I mean, there’s nothing glamorous about it. You voluntarily allow a child into your home whose parents are probably less than stellar. They come with lice (or worse). They don’t know how to eat at the table properly. They probably cry for parents you wish could be locked up for decisions they’ve made. It means child services in your home, scrutinizing you in ways no one does for a biological child.

But take a second to consider the alternative.

The Heartbreak of foster care

Where else would they be? A fellow foster parent recently posted to her Facebook page “We don’t do it because we aren’t afraid of heartbreak, but because we are afraid of what would happen to them without us.”

Pretty much.

Foster kids are generally at the bottom of the social ladder. Who really wants these kids? Less than a week after the ink dried on our license I was holding a five month old in the middle of the night, tears streaming down my face as I both fed him a bottle and scrolled through my Pinterest account looking at pictures of Prince George. Just a few months apart, but the world ADORES the Prince of Cambridge. No one wanted the tiny life in my arms.

He literally was “the least of these.”

foster baby

In the hard moments that’s what I cling to. This little guy isn’t just a foster child. He’s my little piece of Jesus, right here in my house.

But apart from all of that, people still want to know.

Will I get my heart broken?

It already is.

His tiny smile and great big losses. The phone calls for another child who needs a home. Every news report. Every Amber alert. All heart breaking.

If he goes back to his bio parents I’ll cry because I will have lost him. If we adopt him I’ll cry because he will have lost his bio parents.

Heartbreak is really just part of living.

But hopefully I’m teaching all my kids a really important lesson. Be compassionate. Take care of those who are weaker than you. Share.

kids and foster child

And love.

Because I’ve looked into the eyes of an unwanted child and I know.

Its always worth it.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , | 419 Comments

Free Farm Family Printable

Grrr, this was supposed to post on Friday, during Thank a Farmer week, but there were… technical difficulties.  (As in I almost took my computer outside to stomp on the concrete, but oh well!)  At any rate, better late and all that!!

Free Farm Family printable

I love this little saying and needed a print for my dinning room, but alas, there were none to be found.  (At least, not for free!)  So as my thank you to farmers and ranchers everywhere I have rectified that situation! Just download the PDF file, print on cardstock or other nice paper, and trim to fit the frame of your choice.

Free Farm Family printable

And really.

Thank you.

Free Farm Family printable Faith green Free Farm Family printable Faith grey Free Farm Family printable Faith tealFree Farm Family printableFaith yellow

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Disclaimer on this Video!

It was awesome to hear this song, “Thank a Farmer” by James Wesley live at the AFBF annual meeting and I made a note to share it on the blog during Thank a Farmer Week.  However, I must add this disclaimer, we are NOT growing daughters in tank tops and tight blue jeans on this farm!  I feel I should warn potential young suitors that Daddy has a Case IH gun safe in the garage.

Thank a Farmer

Just so you know.

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Snowy Days

I know I’m not the only mom out there going just a little bit stir- crazy! Sure, we homeschool so we’re here all day all the time, but it’s just not the same being stuck inside while the wind howls around and snow beats against the windows! So yes, Missouri Department of Transportation, it was absolutely essential that we leave the house for a little while! Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that simple.


This is daddy driving the tractor in front of us to plow the snow so we can get to the roads. So very grateful to have our own snowplow or this would be one crazy mama!


So ready for spring!

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Farm Fun Valentines

Its February!  The thing I love most about February is that we’re just that much closer to spring, but Valentine’s Day is right up there. 😉  Just for fun I’ve made a free, farm-themed Valentine’s Day card printable.

Farm Themed Valentines

Click here to download Farm Valentines.

And happy closer to spring!

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Little Help Holiday Recipe

Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever!

I kid you not, the nutritionist at Hy-Vee said you could eat as much of this chocolate as you want.  So of course I bought the two ingredients necessary to make this snack, and upon discovering my children can make this almost completely on their own, we have made it for five different events.

It’s nutritious, fast, easy and kid-friendly.

Best. snack. ever.

First, buy chocolate.  Dark chocolate.

And while you’re at the store, get those little clementine oranges.  Some of you probably know them as Cuties.  And get diapers.  And probably eggs and maybe shampoo.  Just trying to help…

Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever!

Melt the chocolate in a double broiler, microwave, or in a glass measuring cup hooked to the side of a pot by its handle for your own double-broiler-in-a-pinch.  Whatever works for you.  Just remember that water is the enemy of melted chocolate so make sure whatever you use is perfectly dry and that no water can splash into it while you’re working.  If you get water in the chocolate you will need to throw it out, which is tragic to say the least.

Then spread out a sheet of wax paper, peel the clementines, and remove the glass from the hot water if you are letting your kiddos do this.

Next, dip!

Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever! Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever!

They take an hour or so to set up on the counter, but if you put them in the fridge or in your freezing cold garage, they’ll be ready in minutes!

Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

San Antonio Bound!

Sorry. I know it’s late. But believe it or not this is what I’ve been doing today.


In case you can’t tell that’s us preparing a display of the Where Does Your Pizza Come From? day we did last July. Our project was submitted to American Farm Bureau and it was chosen as one of 20 projects to be displayed at the annual meeting in San Antonio in January! We are pretty excited about this honor, especially since it involves going to a warm location in the middle of January! 😉


So tonight we were up at the Farm Bureau office, gluing and cutting fabric in a very farmer-like fashion! The strips of brown fabric are precisely cut to the size of the grain head, and the windrows behind the combine are precisely cut to the size of the tractor’s front wheels. It turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself!


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