Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Wrapup

I know most people do a Weekly Wrapup, but this weekend just needs to posted about.  First, the hospital visit for Matthea.  If you didn't read the last post, Matthea has a feeding tube and we were going Saturday to see if she was ready to have it removed.  Well, we saw a doctor who agreed that it was time and told us that we'd probably need surgery and referred us to the surgeon. We saw the surgeon on the same day...btw, can you believe THAT?  Amazing I know...just across the waiting room from the doctor. Anyway, more amazing things to come. The surgeon took a look at her sight and told us that she probably would NOT need surgery.  Yes, you read that I took out the last feeding tube EVER from my daughter and she threw it in the trash herself!  We didn't have a camera...we had no idea that Saturday was going to be the DAY!  We do have a follow up appointment with the surgeon on Wed. to make sure the sight is healing correctly. If all looks good...we are cleared!
So, for a last minute unplanned celebration, we walked in the drizzle (which we could care less that we had no umbrella) to TGI Fridays and went crazy with food orders!  There WILL be a planned party at our house later after we get the cleared checkup and I'm even going to have a Celebration Giveaway to celebrate as well. More details to come!

Can't top off that, now can I?  So, I won't....I'll just add some pics of other things we did this weekend for fun.
Listened to The Pond for a few hours. We have their cassettes.
I know, cassettes? Yes, we got them free from a library that
was upgrading...

Built a scarecrow together..well, minus Matthea.
She was Scared.To. Death.

Made a pumpkin jar craft together. Matthea tearing paper.

Final product. Got the idea from here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Homeschool: Coats and Scarecrows!

This week we finished up our Fall Theme. I'm kind of sad, because we so enjoy making fall crafts. (Ok, I really enjoy making fall crafts!)  But, we must go on. I'll probably do some more fallish things when US Thanksgiving gets closer.  
Bible:  We looked at Joesph's life.  I had her make a colorful coat out of paper. First, I had her cut strips of paper into little squares. Then she glued them onto a coat shape.  We then glued the coat onto black paper.  This was a two day activity as she was tired after cutting. So, day two was gluing.  
You want to go out and buy one just like it, don't ya!
I met with the PT this week and she gave me some specific goals for Matthea to work on.  I'm excited because, well, I'm doing some already. I don't need to add too much.  The other reason for excitement is a clear direction. So, next week I'll make my lesson plans more around her goals.
Scarecrows Theme:  This week we looked at some scarecrows. We made two different kinds. The first is made with felt glued onto the back of a tin can lid. This was really to difficult for her as the felt and glue were just too sticky.  But, he still turned out cute...I just have to say that I did most of the work. Oh, I plan to put a magnet on the back for the refrigerator. 

The other one was with a paper plate. I didn't have just plain white paper plates, so I used the backside of a "Dora" Birthday Plate.  I think if I was going to do it again, I'd go and buy white plates. But, it still worked.  I precut out shapes and then she glued them on. I helped with placement.

This one is a girl scarecrow. I braided her hair.
We still are working on numbers 1-5 and practicing saying them.  Also, working on the concept of two things.
Also, still continuing with saying the uppercase letters and matching lowercase a,b,c,d to the correct uppercase.
Writing: still working on the tracing concept.  But, will be changing this up a bit next week.

We also met with a ST this week. She is from the States and has been a huge help in directing us in speaking. We are working on /m/, /p/, /b/ sounds adding vowels to it. An example is /bah/, /ba-by/, /bye/, /boo/, /bee/, etc.  She does well with all, but the /oo/ is the hardest. The ST also told us we could go to the next horn in her horn therapy.

Thursday, Matthea got to participate in the Storybook Parade at the Son's school.  If you didn't get to see pics of that click here.

And tomorrow we will go and visit the surgeon to see if Matthea can remove her feeding tube.  If you are curious about what it looks like and what I'm talking about click here.  Since that post we saw the surgeon and he wanted her to not use it for six months. During that six month time, she has had one pneumonia episode that was NOT related to aspiration. And nothing else until a few weeks ago when the weather changed and she tried to empty out the swimming pool in Taichung. She came down with bronchitics. She is better now.  The other issue was weight.  She hasn't lost any weight, but she hasn't gained any either. So, I'm a bit nervous as to what this surgeon will say.  I do want what is best for her and am prepared to have to wait another six months...but, I'm also hoping to have a huge celebration.  So, for now while I wait...I will just trust in the Lord to show us what is best for Matthea. Because, He loves her and knows her better than I do.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Storybook Parade

Today was The Storybook Parade at the Son's school. Matthea got to participate as well. Below are some pics of them...books and costumes, ya just gotta love it!
Matthea, the Fierce Lion!

Reading her book while we waited for the classes to come to the gym.

A Pirate from Salty Dog

And, well, couldn't leave out our Diva. She
wasn't able to go because she is in Chinese
school...but hopefully, next year we'll see what
her favorite book is....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another WIP Day

WIP: Work in Progress
Not a great week in this area for me. In fact, I've been feeling rather guilty for not looking at some of my smaller projects and getting them mailed off.  Got to make a list and stick with it. *smile*, I love lists.
As for the novel...I decided to start on it during the NaNoWriMo contest.  I can continue to pre-write in the journal before it starts. Plus I could do a little on chapter outlines, that way I would stay focused on the task before me.  I have 5 days left before the challenge starts.  YIKES! I need to get on those chapter outlines....and my goal to get two articles out in the mail before the writing frenzy begins.

QBR: Quick Book Review
I finished two books this week.  The first was Masterpiece by Elise Broach and the second was The Tales of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
Masterpiece by Elise Broach was a good fiction read about James, a boy, who can't draw and a beetle that can. Their adventures all start when James' mom discovers the drawing and believes it is James'. And the adventure continues when James is asked to draw a replica of one of Albrecht Dürer's drawings. The story is not just about art, but about friendship among two very unlikely beings. It did have a bit of a slow start, but I was hooked after the third or fourth chapter. I'm thinking about reading it out loud to the Son once it hits the library shelf.

The Tales of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo was wonderful. I did read this out loud to the Son. I loved the author's voice in this story. To read a lengthier version of this review, click here. It was on my FitG list.

TGC: Tips Giveaways Contests
Tip of the Week comes from Amy at The Green Bathtub. She highlights the idea of retyping your novel into a different document.  Go here for more details on this editing tip.
1. Marcia is offering her October Critique Giveaway. Two lucky winners receive a manuscript critique of up to 1000 words of a children's magazine story, mid-grade novel, YA. Go here for more details.
1. Only a few days left for NanoWriMo and PiBoIdMo.  Which I need to sign up still....
2. Susan Field's Back From Hiatus Contest.  She is offering free non-fiction books on the art of writing. Go here for details.

Intriguing, Yet Incredibly Nasty

The son has been complaining about his ears. So, today we went to the ENT doctor.  I wish I had taken the to his chair were all these metal instruments. One was "L" shaped and was a tongue depressor of sorts. I was thinking... medieval? They had a stack of these, just like the ones in the picture below.
Lack's tongue depressor.Image via Wikipedia
He has narrow car canals, the doctor informed me, we need to go into the other room to use a machine.
I wanted to ask, Is that why he can't hear me when I'm calling him to set the table?

We go from medieval to modern technology. I'm. Not. Kidding.  The son lays on his side while the doctor uses these binocular like camera that shows a picture up on a flat screen TV.  I sat and stared at the inside of my son's ear. I saw the ear drum! The real ear drum. Of course, I wouldn't have known had the doctor not told me...but I saw it.  Isn't that so cool?
But, I also saw all the yellow sticky discharge. And I witnessed that sticky substance getting sucked up in a tiny vacuum. GROSS!!!
It was like a live shooting of Discovery Channel.
So incredibly nasty, yet too intriguing to look away.

So, the diagnosis? He still has a bit of an ear infection, but we now ear drops. Yay and Goodie!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

When Three Halves Make a Whole

We've been watching "Jon and Kate Plus 8" recently. We've never watched it before. I'd heard of people chatting about it on various social medias a few years back. But, I live overseas and it is just now airing...I'm not even sure what season this is.  I do know that, sadly, they are split now.
But yesterday's episode reminded me of our family a bit. One of the older daughters proudly shouted, "I and Daddy are the only Asians in the family."  I cracked up because, well, all eight of those kids are Asian.  But, it reminded me of some family moments...
1. When Marcus was 3 he was convinced that he had black hair and brown eyes.  This belief did not change until he was probably 5.  He would argue with us daily.  By the way, he was totally blond hair with green eyes...

2. He also has informed us in the past that he is half American, half German, and half Chinese.  I know, I know...his math is a little off...but here is where he gets it.... I'm from the US, Uwe is German, and Marcus was born in Beijing and has lived in Asia his entire life.  Now that he is older he just says he's part German, part American, part's a TCK thing.Go here or here to learn more about Third Culture Kids.

3.  Megan, my youngest, is now telling us the same. By the way, she is adopted from mainland China.

4. And then just this morning Meg tells me that her skin is white!  I cracked up because well, it's NOT.  Just a year ago she figured out that she was Chinese...or at least that the Chinese had the same hair color that she did. You can read about that here from an older post.

And just for fun, here is a fairly recent pic of my half German, half American, half Chinese crew....again, it's a TCK thing...

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Homeschool: Applesauce, Rain, and Pumpkins!

It's Friday again...REALLY?  We've had a complete week, which is something we've not had in a while. So, I warn you....lots of pics.  We just continued with Apples, Noah's Ark, and Pumpkins this week since we've missed a few days here and there.  
Apples: We finished a project that she actually started last week, but got tired of doing. First I prepared red strips of paper and made large lines. Together we cut the strips into squares.  We use the safety scissors for my safety and hers. She is able to use them ok. I have to hold the paper though and direct her cutting. She gets a little too excited. Of course, no pics of this since I'm holding paper with both hands. 
After she cut all the strips. She glued the pieces onto an apple shape. I just drew out a simple apple shape on white paper.
Gluing on the squares. It's a sticky job and she loves
it.  Notice my apple has some extra lines...
 After she finished gluing all the squares on, I cut around the apple shape..extra lines disappeared. *wink* I gave her a stem piece and a green leaf that I cut out of paper. She then glued these together to make an apple. Of course, I helped with placement. But, she had a pretty good idea of where it was suppose to go.
The materials.
The finished product.
 On Wednesdays, I try to do something in the kitchen with her.  She learns about steps and following them to make something to EAT!  We made applesauce!
Washing the apples. We used 4 parts water
to 1 part white vinegar. She loved spraying.
Needless to say, the apples were not the
only thing that got washed. 

She watched me peel and cut the apples up. She
got to practice patience as she waited.  Then she
put them into the blender.

Then we turned on the blender. Notice my hand
ready for any action! 

She had fun with this part!  We saved some for
the Sibs when they came home from school.
 Another activity we did with apples is making prints with them.  This was not as easy as I had thought. I think that when I cut them in half I should have used a large knife and made one straight cut.  Anyway, she had fun with it. We used tempera paint, so of course no pictures of her in the process due to her excitement with paint.
 For Bible, we just continued with Noah's Ark. This was a great week to study Noah's Ark and the rain. It seriously has been raining nonstop for at least 5 days now. I wanted to build a real boat to go out and pick up kids from school because a stroller and an umbrella just didn't cut. I still got soaking wet.  The mega typhoon, MEGI,  that hit the Philippines missed us this time, but still dumped water on us like water thrown from a bucket...(and still is as I'm writing).
I cannot take any credit for this activity, except for changing the scenery.  I got the idea from Mama Jenn's blog. She used the raindrop effects with umbrellas. If you want to check that out go here.
First, I precut the boat shape. Then Matthea glued it onto blue paper.

Using a white glue, you make drops on to the
paper.  I only had the really thick glue, so I added
some water to help thin it out.

Then we hung it up on the board to drip and dry.

And there you have it.....rain. *smile*
Remember the large Ark we built last week and hung on the wall. It needed a rainbow to help finish it off, so we painted one. Well, actually I painted it and then let her help add details. *wink*
This is what we used. I LOVE this. I had forgotten that we had
it and just found it in the closet last week. It worked perfectly
and she had a blast doing it. I still have two sheets left, so I think
I'll have both girls painting this weekend since it will still be raining.

The brushes were just a perfect fit for her. And it was "mess-free",
which I LOVED! The color only appeared on the paper.

Our rainbow and a bit of sunshine on the wall.
Then today, I read Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs.  Matthea just has this thing for we made a pumpkin patch of our own. I got the idea from this website.  We used fingerpaint and had much fun.
We still are working on speech development through flashcards and any words that have the /m/, /p/, /b/ initial sounds.  We started using the Horn Therapy again and are on horn #3.  She was able to do the appropriate amount of toots today, so will probably go to horn #4 next week.  If you are interested in this type of speech therapy, you can go to Talk Tools website here.
Numbers: We are counting to five, using flashcards for recognition, and trying to understand the concept of "How Many".
Letters: She recognizes all uppercase letters and tries to say them. We've started on lowercase and only at the letter "d"...this is not as easy.
Fine Motor: we've continued with coloring circles and tracing lines.
Gross Motor: we are working with her PT on balance issues.  Going up and down stairs are still something that she has to be watched carefully with, but she has improved so much.  She likes to dance the "Hokey Pokey", so that has been fun with using her legs...I usually have to hold her hand, but I've seen a slight (very slight) improvement with this.
Eating Issues: We've been working on self feeding. I've let her use a spoon and she is getting better...still have messes, but that is ok.  And, we see the surgeon on the 30th regarding having her feeding tube removed. I'll keep you all updated as to if and when that happens.
OK, I feel like I've just given my IEP for the world to look at.  I won't bore you all with that every time, but probably every few months I'll post it to help me keep looking forward and moving forward in the direction that is best for her.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010


WIP: Work in Progress
Still working on the pre-writing journal of my MC. It is going really well and I've enjoyed this part of the writing. But, I'm anxious to get started on the actual novel...I feel like I'm a kid who just got a new bike and needs training wheels...only her parents haven't bought them yet, so she's knows she should wait a day longer until her dad puts them on...but her heart just wants to jump on and give it a try.  Not sure if I'll listen to my head or heart on this issue...may just jump in and start writing.  But, I do have a goal to finish this journal exercise by the end of this's gotta end sometime soon.

QBR: Quick Book Review
I read Three Cups of Tea, the Young Reader's Edition by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin and adapted by Sarah Thomson.  If you want to read the review...well you have to go here at FitG to read the full review. But, the quick version is, "Inspiring!"

TGC: Tips Giveaways and Contests 
This is a new category I am starting...seems like a good place to start it. It will mainly pertain to writing and reading...but could include homeschool and randomness...
Today's Tip comes from my very wise 9yr old. Last night he started reading The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischmann. I had him read aloud to me. After the first chapter this is what he says, "Mom, do you know how important the first two sentences are of a book? That is why I liked this book and want to keep reading it."  (Yes, my mouth hit the floor!)
So, the tip? Nail those first few sentences. I know we hear that over and over and trust me, I know this...but to hear it out of the mouth of my son scared the socks off me. I wanted to run to all my stories and rehash those first sentences. Btw, where did he get this from? His teacher...nice job, Mr. Klump!

Giveaways: I was giddy as a girl who'd just won a good book a few days ago....because I DID win a book. I won It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder from Marcia Hoehne's blog.  It's my first blog win and it's so exciting....

Contests: I have a few here that are writing contests that all start November 1st ...
1. PiBoIdMo: Picture Book Idea Month.  30 picture book ideas in 30 days.  Check out the details here.  I'm thinking about doing this one.
2. NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  Right a novel in 30 days...I'm tempted, so very tempted...just might do that one, too! Which would mean not jumping on the bike and taking it for a ride...Want more details go here.
3. Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest 2010.  This is a fun contest to go along with NaNoWriMo! For more details go here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Homeschool: Ark, Apples, and Pumpkins (Repost)

OK, this is a reposting because my earlier post was blank...what is up with that? I know I was suppose to post this last week, but the week was shorter with Matthea having bronchitis and the weekend was a cleaning marathon. Love Hate thing in my life. Love the clean apartment, hate the cleaning...but until the cleaning fairy comes, I must do the dreaded chores...
But, this week we did do a few things. I tried to focus a bit more on the speech development. Many of you know that she is speaking more words, so I made some flashcards for her. I got them from this website and laminated them. We are working on first sounds /m/, /b/, and /p/.
For Bible we looked at Noah's Ark.  We built our own paper ark and hung it up on the wall.  We will be adding some animals to this as we begin to study various animals in the next few weeks. So this display will change a bit.
Gluing the ark together..I helped with placement.

Finished ark...notice the black spot on her nose...yes, permanent
marker from letting her draw the "nail" marks...Free Tip of the Day:
Toothpaste takes off permanent marker...
We've also been working on basic coloring skills, like coloring in the lines. I know, my artistic friends are flipping...I'm not constraining her, I promise. I give her lots of time to color however she likes.  But, coloring in the lines gives her the idea of making a recognizable picture.  We have started off with we made apples.

Here is what she gets...then as she gets better at coloring I
increase the size of the empty space.

Fast and Furious...

She LOVES showing off her work!
Another fun fall food is pumpkins! For some reason she loVes them! Her favorite movie right now is It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! So, to practice gluing and some pumpkin fun, we made pumpkin faces out of paper. I cut all the pieces and she glued them to her pumpkins.

Putting glue on the stem.

Guess what this is...we have a little bit of
personality, ya think?

Yes, it is a nose!

Two of the three pumpkins she finished...

Of course, we had to add them to our fall tree...
note the extra pumpkins were made by the kids
from previous years.
 And then as a surprise, my awesome husband brought home a little treat for me after a hard day at the hospital...did I mention he is the BEST? Cause, he is...
CHEESEcake from Barb's Bake Shop...if you are in Taipei and
part of the Bethany community, her cheesecake is the best in
Taipei.  She is making homemade goodies and selling them so
two of her daughters can participate in sports tournaments this
school year. (Note: her cheesecake does not come in heart shape,
nor with the berries...that is just my wonderful husband's addition).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WIP, QBR, and the NTUH

WIP: Work In Progress
Well, I believe I shared that I got my novel synopsis back from my instructor with some good critiques.  I've spent the last two weeks keeping a journal of my main character from three years ago in his life. I'm hoping this bit of pre-writing will help to enter the brain of my MC.  It has been good, but I haven't been able to write everyday like I wanted to. So, my goal is to be able to spend time everyday working on it, even if I can only get 100 words in.

QBR: Quick Book Review
I did some reading while we were on vacation. None of which were on my FitG list, but good reading just the same.
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass was a fun read. I was curious throughout the whole book as to why the two kids kept repeating the day of their 11th birthday.  And I loved the use of consequences throughout the whole book...lots of examples of bad and good choices and their consequences.

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischmann was a fast read.  Loved the fascinating fact that many princes actually had whipping boys instead of receiving the swat themselves. Great story using a true fact.

It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder was a great read! I love the book cover! That was why I picked it up at the library. I wanted to go and make cupcakes while reading the thing is that there are cupcake recipes at the end of the book!  Oh, if you want a free copy go on over to Marcia Hoehne blog. She is having a giveaway contest that ends on Oct. 17th for this exact book!
And one other fun things...there is a sequel coming Fall 2011: Sprinkles and Secrets.  Can't wait!

NTUH: National Taiwan University Hospital
Yes, we had to go and see the doctor this week.  Both my son and daughter had issues. My son has complained about his ears ever since we've returned from our vacation. So, off to see the ear doctor. Marcus was a brave guy.  They brought out a metal tongue depressor that was "L" shaped. They sucked the water out of his ears. The pushed and pulled on them.  No tears...told you he was brave. But after all that, we learned that the ear canal is swelled and they couldn't see inside. (I say they, because two different doctors looked at him).  He has antibiotics to decrease the swelling. We go back next week. YEAH...not really. Matthea has been coughing since our vacation. And the night before she had a fever with it. So, her appointment consisted of x-rays, which is like a torture chamber for her. And her diagnosis is....Bronchitis.  So, a bag full of meds for her. I was loaded down with medications by the time we left. And this all took only 4.5 hours to complete (this does not include the half hour trip there and back). We ended up eating at the hospital....thank you McDs!

So that wraps up my week....I'll probably post a homeschool review either later tonight or in the morning. It all depends on how much I get done today and if the little patient is feeling up to doing anything more today...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homeschool: Milkshakes and Fingerpaint

I usually try to post on Friday afternoons what we've been doing in homeschool with Matthea. It is a way for others to see and to keep me accountable to actually doing something with her. So last week we did have a little bit of homeschooling even though we went on vacation for a few days and big brother had the entire week off.  One morning was spent with Papa going to the store to buy ingredients to make a pineapple milkshake.

Getting ready for her job....

....of putting in the pineapple chunks...
or should I say, squeezing the pineapple chunks into it. 

They had quite the mound going....

The blender startled her, but she loved watching it.

But, drinking it was the best part!
Then on Friday we started our Fall/Autumn unit. I read the Bible story about Adam and Eve and eating the fruit a.k.a. The Fall...(kind of funny, eh?). Anyway, afterwards I let her fingerprint an apple tree.

First, she glued the precut trunk onto paper.

Then she used green paint to make the leaves.

Then using hand over hand, I helped her make
small red circles that represented the apples.

Finished Apple Tree
Then, we went up to our apartment and got out the tree and leaves that we had made a few years back when Marcus was in Kindy...and I let her hang up the leaves.
She LOVED this! 

Our fall tree.  It is outside our apartment. It will
continue to change as we study pumpkins and
scarecrows these next few weeks. So, you WILL see
this tree a few more times. =) 

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