Monday, April 22, 2019

Homemaker Monday ~ 4/22/19

Hello! I hope your Monday is going brilliantly. It's been wonderful so far here. The weather is just gorgeous, the temperature is amazing and the sun is out. After such a long rainy winter I'm loving all this beautiful sunshine. 

I'm hooking up with Sandra again this week for her Happy Homemaker Monday Series. For all those stopping by to say hi, thanks! 

The weekend was long but fun. Mike spent all day Saturday working on his parent's rent house yard, the previous tenants hadn't mown it in what looked like a year. Sunday he spent a few hours back at the house helping clean up the place and then it was date night. We went out for dinner, window shopped, then came home watched some movies and enjoyed each others company without kids around. 

This week is going to be a short one as far as being home for us. We leave Thursday afternoon for New Orleans and won't be back till late Sunday.  Kyla has an appointment with her retina specialist on Friday and then we are taking the rest of the weekend to enjoy the trip. 

On to the week's plans. 

The Weather...

Monday: Mostly Sunny, High of 80, Humidity 37%, it is absolutely gorgeous out today, I think I may go take a nap in the hammock later

Tuesday: Cloudy, High of 80, Humidity 63%
Wednesday: Cloudy, High of 80, Humidity 66#
Thursday: Thunderstorms (100% chance of rain), High of 71, Humidity 86%
*In New Orleans Friday through Sunday*
Friday: Showers (40% of rain), High of 79, Humidity 74%
Saturday: Mostly Sunny, High of 80, Humidity 70%
Sunday: Partly Cloudy, High of 82, Humidity 66%

Reading This Month...
  • Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss 
  • The Book of the Unwinding by JD Horn
  • The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
  • Tarnished City by Vic James
Movies or Shows I watched over the weekend...

For Streaming Saturday I watched Definitely, Maybe a cute romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. 

I also watched The Silence and Mama with Hayley, she's currently wanting to enter the world of horror movies so we started with something she could handle. She loved them and wants more. 

And Mike and I watched a few episodes of WestWorld. 

On my TV this week...

Historical Docs. on YouTube
Switched at Birth
Captain America: Winter Solider
Avengers: Age of Ultron

*I'm working my way through the Marvel movies in chronological order, the hope is to get them all done before going to see Avengers Endgame. I have ten to go and nine days to do it in. Yes the movie comes out this weekend but we won't go see until the following Tuesday, less crowded.*

On my to-do list...
  • Clean out entertainment stand
  • homeschool
  • prep house for the weekend trip
  • call insurance about rates
  • figure out where one of my curriculum orders got delivered to. Say's it arrived but I don't have it and Hayley needs her math book despite what she thinks lol

I got Hayley's blanket fixed last week so that's one less thing I have to do. 

Really happy with how well this fix looks. 

This week I plan on continuing working on the ripple afghan. I'm getting closer to being done. I may actually get it done by the first week of May if I really buckle down on it. 

Looking forward to...

Sleep? Does that count? It's been a long weekend with many late nights and I'm dragging today. I'm also looking forward to the weekend in New Orleans. It's always a fun family trip. 

Our last trip to New Orleans during Christmas last year. 

Looking around the house...

All my daily chores are done thank goodness. The blinds are open letting in that wonderful sunshine. Mike's in his office working and the girls are both gone so it's quiet. 

From the camera...

All the rain from the last few months has our local river up really high. It's crested at 46ft higher than normal levels. Thankfully we have nice levees that keep it all back and we are still 10ft from flood levels. 

Song of the moment...

P!NK has a new album, Hurts2BHuman, releasing on the 26. One of the songs on the album is Walk Me Home. 

I'm so in love with this song and the video is brilliant. It is so artistic, which is no surprise coming for P!NK. I love how they've 'cut out' all the dancers so it looks like she's floating at times or how it's just the shadows of the dancers next to her. It gives it such a stunning effect. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Streaming Saturday: Definitely, Maybe

Each Saturday I  highlight a movie or documentary from different streaming services that I have found interesting. Picks will range from mainstream movies to lesser-known documentaries

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie: Definitely, Maybe
Genre: Romantic Comedy

This was such a cute movie and I don't know how I haven't seen it till now. 

Ryan Reynolds plays a father, Will Hayes, going through a divorce. After a hilariously funny incident at his daughter's school, she demands to know the story of how he fell in love with her mom. Her hope is that if he tells her the story he will remember why they got married and they won't get a divorce. Will finally gives in and tells her the story but with one condition, the women in the story have their names changed and she has to guess which one is her mom.
I laughed, cried, booed and cheered on the characters as Will related his story of falling in and out of love with three women over the course of a few years. The best though, at least for me, was the daughter's reactions to different tidbits of her father's journey.  The movie reminded me a little of The Princess Bride with the way she always broke into the story to share her dismay and hopes on who her mother might be. 

Definitely, Maybe is a feel-good movie. I love that it shows you can truly love more than one person in your life and that even if it doesn't work out it doesn't mean it wasn't real or that it was a mistake. It also shows that it's never too late to fall in love again. 

If you're looking for a fun movie to relax with and giggle at, I can't recommend this one enough. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

What We At This Week 4~19

It was a really good week of eating at home. The girls and I had one eat out meal while Mike was gone but the rest of the time I cooked or in one case heated up store-bought pizza. However, I was horrible and forgot to take a single picture of what we ate. So what I'll do is share and link to the recipes I used this week.  Which I guess is better than nothing right?

Sunday: Slow-cooker creamy lemon chicken recipe by Dinner, then Dessert

There's something about spring that makes me crave citrus in my dishes. I love the fresh taste that the lemon gives this dish and with it being in a slow cooker it's really simple to start it at the beginning of the day and not have to think about it again till dinner time. I usually serve it with a strach and a veggie.

Image from Dinner, Then Dessert

Monday: Pan-fried pork chops, asparagus, and roasted potatoes

The only picture I managed to take this week was of the asparagus.
I may have slightly overcooked them but there wasn't a one left by the time dinner was done. 

Tuesday: Pancakes (regular and chocolate chip), sausage and bacon. I've been using this recipe from This Gal Cooks for chocolate chip pancakes for years now. I always make a few for me before I add the chocolate chips for the girls.

Wednesday: Pizza...tried to cook two, one ended up burning thankfully neither Kyla or me ate much so the one was perfect. Just no leftovers but that's okay.

Thursday: The girls and I ate out before Kyla headed home to her dad's and step-moms. We all wanted something a little different which wasn't a big deal. We ate at the house, so hitting the drive-thru was pretty easy beings they are all on the same road. I opted for Sonic, Kyla wanted Chick-Fil-A and Hayley is a Raising Cane's girl through and through.

Friday: Instapot Cream Cheese Spaghetti recipe by Plain Chicken, this has quickly become a family favorite. It can be cooked on the stove top but I love the ease of the instant-pot because fewer dishes y'all.

Image from Plan Chicken 

Saturday: Mike will be home from his business trip and it's a 50/50 chance we will end up going out as a family or curling up and watching movies all day together. If we stay home I plan on cooking hamburgers and fries.

What did you eat this week? Any good recipes to share because I'm always looking for more.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Slow Thursday

Today's been a rather slow day. We got some early morning showers that seemed to last all day. Thankfully so far it hasn't been as severe as they thought it was going to be for our area. 

I worked on my monthly goal list today. 

The closets have been cleaned out, the pantry has been cleaned and reorganized, and after I get Kyla from school I'll knock out the entertainment center. 

The pantry before the cleaning. 

I also remembered to call the OMV today about Kyla's learners permit. She took her driver's ed class about six months ago and I know legally she can take her road test to get her actual license. But I just don't think she's quite ready yet. She is doing really good and I even let her drive the two-hour span from our home town to Pine Bluff, Arkansas a few weeks ago on our way up to Bentonville. While she is gaining confidence in her abilities, as am I, she still has a lot to learn in regards to driving while having retinitis pigmentosa. That I just feel 16 is way too young to be turned loose on the roads with no supervision in the car. 

I think I'm going to spend the rest of my evening between the pages of The Book of the Unwinding. 

It's the second in the Witches of New Orleans series by J. D. Horn. The series deals with different types of witches from the greater New Orleans area, your typical witch, voodoo witches, and swamp witches and the failing magic that seems to be happening all over the world and what lines they are all willing to cross to save their own magic. If you like sci-fi fantasy type books, this one is great. And the author's knowledge of the French Quarters is amazing. He really put in the work to get it right. 

I'm about halfway through this second part of the series, it's a hard to put down kind of book. 

What are your plans for the evening? Anything exciting? Let us know in the comments below. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What I'm Crocheting

It' s been a busy week so far and it's only Wednesday. My days always slip away from me when Mike is gone on business. I'm counting down the days till he gets home and passing the time crocheting. I had a few readers ask me to show the ripple blanket I'm working on so I figured I'd show it and a few of the other projects I have going.

This was my first ever completed project (I've only been crocheting a little over a year and am still a little slow so an afghan this size took a lot of time lol.

Hayley immediately claimed it as hers and has slept with it on her bed every day since. Until last week that is. She brought it downstairs looking forlorn and plopped it in my lap saying look. 

One of the first squares I ever made has come loose. So it's now a top priority to fix, I was able to get the correct yarn today and now I have to figure out a way to fix it without taking the whole thing apart. *lesson learned...tie better knots*

The next project is my Christmas Ripple Blanket. My mother gave me this great crocheted owl basket and the yarn that is in it for Christmas.  I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the blue skein yet but the green and red were just screaming for a simple Christmas themed afghan. 

I love owls and love having them nestled all over my house.
This one has a permanent home in front of our fireplace. 
I'm moving a bit faster on this afghan, though learning the ripple stitch took a lot of trial and error. I am loving the simple colors and the repeating pattern that is emerging. I'm about 1/3 of the way done with it. If I sit down and actually focus on it I hope to be done by the end of next month. I need to get it finished so I can start on a baby blanket for a friend. 

Then last, but not least, are the stuffies I am working on. The grey body and black head will one day be a really cute penguin, the variegated yarn body will be a floppy cat, and the little brown blog...well that's the poop emoji I'm making for one of the kids in my family. The emoji one is nearly done I just need to add the eyes and mouth. I'm going to scour my files, folders, Pinterest boards and notebooks for the other two patterns and hopefully turn them up. *take away lesson here....always remember where you save your patterns*

Y'all getting the detached penguin head to balance on its body was loads of fun.

My biggest issue is making myself sit down and crochet. I get distracted really easy and even though I love doing it I have a hard time remembering to do it. I keep the ripple blanket at my feet by the couch and it's helped so far. 

Do you craft? 
How do you keep yourself motivated while working on projects?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Homemaker Monday ~ 04/15

Whew, what a weekend. The south was hit pretty heavy by massive storms over most of Saturday.  Texas got crazy hail, Louisiana flooding, and Mississippi had a tornado. Pure craziness.

I think I'm finally getting over this awful cold I've had all week and just in time because my poor Hayley bug is coming down with the same cold and Mike's ran off to Arkansas for business this week.  Today's going to consist of a doctor visit and lots of rest for her and lots of snuggles from me. 

The weather...

Well after the crazy storms this weekend it looks like the next few days are going to have a lot of humidity before some late storms

  • Monday: 75 sunny with a bit of humidity
  • Tuesday: 78 mostly cloudy and even higher humidity 
  • Wednesday: 75 cloudy and even higher humidity like around 76% going to be a miserable day
  • Thursday: 71 morning storms and again high humidity... got to love living in the south
  • Friday: 67  partly cloudy and low humidity! 
  • Saturday: 75 sunny and more low humidity perfect day to get out and enjoy Easter weekend

On my reading pile...

I hope to get done with one or two this week. 

  • Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
  • The Book of the Unwinding by JD Horn
  • The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
  • Tarnished City by Vic James

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend...

On my TV this week...

Mike and I have started WestWorld on HBO; if he's able to get it while in Arkansas we are going to watch an episode 'together'.  I've also slowly been working my way through Switched at Birth. 

Other than that I'll probably throw on some history documentaries from YouTube and maybe some Pandora music while I clean house and homeschool.

On the menu for this week...

  • Pan fried pork chops, asparagus, potatoes
  • Instant Pot Cream Cheese Spaghetti
  • Pot Roast, veggies, rice and gravy
  • slow cooker creamy lemon chicken breast
  • breakfast for dinner (pancakes or omelets
  • one night eat out
lunch is leftovers or easy fix meals like shells and cheese with chicken strips and veggies

On my to-do list...

  • Clean out pantry
  • Clean out entertainment stand
  • Homeschool
  • Call OMV about Kyla's driving test, see how long she has to take it


Going to try to knock out a heavy portion on the Christmas ripple blanket I'm working on.
Also, have a penguin and floppy cat that both need to be worked on...if I can remember what I did with the patterns

Looking forward to...

Friday when Mike gets home, a long weekend off, and lots of momma daughter bonding time with my girls. 

Looking around the house...

I can hear the tumble of the washer machine and Hayley getting ready for our trip to the clinic. The blinds are all drawn and it's cool in the house. Peaceful. I need to tidy up a bit, put off my nightly pickup to cuddle with my sick monkey last night.

From the camera...

During all the storms this weekend we lost a local elementary school. No one was on the property when it started so no one was hurt. It's so sad but it's also been amazing to see our community come together to support this school and its teachers and students. 

One of my simple pleasures...

Sipping a cup of hot tea while watching the ducks waddle through the front yard

Song of the moment...

This song fits me so well when I'm having anxiety issues and my mania is acting up. I can feel the 'crazy' building and there are times where the need to lash out is so strong. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Streaming Saturday: Struggle The Life and Lost Art of Stanislaw Szukalski

Each Saturday I am going to try to highlight a movie or documentary from different streaming services that I have found interesting. Picks will range from mainstream movies to lesser-known documentaries. 

Streaming Service: Netflix
Genre: Documentary
Title: Struggle The Life and Lost Art of Stanislaw Szukalski

Alongside his father George, Leonardo DiCaprio brings to light the history of a surrealist artist and sculptor from Poland who due to his eccentric beliefs, contempt for the masters, and the occupation of Poland during World War II faded from the art communities spotlight in the late 1930s. 

The documentary tells the story of how Gleen Bray stumbled across Szukalski in the early '70s. Bray filmed Szukalski in the last years of his life, documenting his story of fame in Chicago and pre-War World II Poland. 

Birth of Thoughts

The thing I loved most about this amazing man was his strength to follow his passion no matter what others thought of him. He was a child prodigy, admitted to Krak√≥w’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1910. In the documentary, he recalls that his professor would chastise him for not working off a model and that if he couldn't work with one that he needed to left. Szukalski smiles at the camera with a quirky grin and says he turned and left because he would never work with models.

Up until the moment of his death Szukalski bucked the status quo and refused to make himself palatable just to gain notoriety or to even be accepted by anyone. Throughout the film the viewer gets a distinct impression that he was a very much a man you took as is and if you didn't it was your loss.

If you enjoy art, biographies, and documentaries I highly suggest this two-hour film.

Bow Arrow to Opression

Inside Portrait of a Man

Friday, April 12, 2019

How I Meal Plan and What We Ate This Week

How I Meal Plan

Meal planning is one thing I've learned to embrace over the years of my being a grown up. When Mike and I first were married I ran my kitchen in a rather haphazard way on a very slim budget but as the years progressed I realized that my take on cooking needed to change. I learned about meal planning through a housewife group on Cafemom (yes I've been around *that long* lol). After some hiccups, I figured out what did and didn't work for us.

I can't do a strict seven-day meal plan where meal A is for Monday and meal B is for Tuesday. It feels too constrictive to me and the family. There are some nights, like Tuesday, I have something like a slow cooker lemon buttery chicken with roasted asparagus planned and Mike will see the thawing chicken and declare he is making gumbo with it. This used to frustrate me to no end but I've learned to flow with it. 

I buy my groceries mostly a month at a time. Our monthly budget for two adults, one ravenous teenage girl, a budding eleven-year-old cook, two dogs, and all household non-food essentials is $600. I've tried swapping to doing a week at a time but over fifteen years of doing it as one big shopping trip, I struggle to change my habits. Instead what I do now is break into one main trip for things like proteins, nonfood items, dairy, snacks for the girls and such while making sure to leave enough for small trips. My small trips consist of things like fresh veggies and fruit, bread, extra milk, and sandwich meat and I always leave a little cushion for those weeks we want a 'special' meal.

This Weeks Meals

*this week has been hell on my menu. Despite my best wishes and hopes, I came down with what I thought was a light cold last Friday that turned into a full upper respiratory infection and bronchitis by Tuesday.  I spent a lot less time in the kitchen than I normally do, instead relying on Mike and the girls to keep us all fed*

Sunday:  Rotel pork chops with sauteed onions, roasted summer squash and roasted baby potatoes.

Monday: I sold Hayley's old day bed and trundle over the weekend and decided instead of spending it on frivolous things for me I'd spend it on a night out with the family. We ended up at a hibachi place here in town. Y'all I could bath in the yum-yum sauce that is used to top the fried rice. It's delicately sinful.

I splurged a little on my dish and got the scallops instead of the chicken. 
Tuesday: Mike took the girls out to the park for a bit then they came home and ate gumbo. I spent most of my day at the doctor due to an upper respiratory infection and acute bronchitis, I opted to for comfort food in the shape of a sonic cheeseburger and tater tots. 

Wednesday: BBQ Drumsticks with roasted asparagus, roasted baby potatoes, and tangerines as a small dessert. Mike grilled the drumsticks which made it easier on me to finish the rest of the meal.

Roasted baby potatoes are my new favorite side, so easy and so versatile. 

Thursday: Hotdogs with chili, chips, and fruit. This was the worst night of me being sick. I burned the first batch of chili and ended up feeding it to the dogs. Thankfully we had enough stuff to make more chili and Mike once again took over while I crawled back onto the couch to finish dying. 

Friday: I'm finally feeling a little better so think tonight I'm going to make pan-fried pork chops with some veggies and maybe some rice and gravy.

Not sure what we will do Saturday, it's supposed to storm a lot this weekend so probably something easy.  And I am hoping that by the start of next week I'll feel like myself again.

Did you have any good dinners this right?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

P!NK: Beautiful Trauma Tour

I have been obsessed with P!NK since she debuted in the late '90s. I could always relate to her songs, especially as I struggled with my depression and anxiety issues.  After I had my girls I made sure to introduce them to her songs as they got older. Ones like Stupid Girls, Dear Mr. President, So What and so many more. She has so many empowering songs that are great for growing girls to hear. Ones that make it clear they don't need a man to rely on, that they can be more than 'pretty' and so forth. Don't get me wrong she has some that aren't great for the below teenager ears but out of all the artist out there she's still my favorite. 

So you can imagine my sheer frantic thrilled cries of joy when I found out she would be taking her Beautiful Trauma tour to Shreveport. Y'all that's only an hour or so away from me. I asked (read begged and pleaded and bribed and near cried) Mike to please let me go. There aren't many bucket list items in my life but seeing P!NK in concert has been top on my list since I was sixteen.  Of course, my husband loves me and has known for years that I've dreamed about a chance like this and said yes and told me to take Kyla with me.

The day of the concert rolled around and  I don't know who was more excited, me or Kyla. After grabbing her a t-shirt we made our way to our seats. At first, I was a little nervous then I realized we were in the best seats in the house. Side stage at the dead center of the stage, this would prove later to be the best thing I could have ever done for us.

We were first-row side stage with nothing but rails between us. If we looked down we could see the sound crew. 
The pre-show consisted of DJ KidCutup from California and a singer/songwriter named Julia Michaels. I highly recommened both.

Now before I go any further with the show I need to say that I had an inkling of an idea of how amazing this concert was going to be. Remember, I've been obsessed with P!NK since I was 16. I've seen videos of her concerts, seen her perform live on tv at the Grammys and etc. But I really didn't think that Shreveport, LA would have the facilities and room she needed to do an all-out show.

I. Was. Wrong. 

So very wrong. She came out flying on a neon pink chandelier y'all.

You can't really see her but she's dead center of all the shiny crystals. 
I was a kid all over again.

She didn't hit the stage till a little after nine pm and didn't leave until after midnight. Three hours she sang her heart out, engaged with the crowd, flew over us on a bed, wires and even silk ropes for aerial acrobats, and at times she was no more than ten feet from Kyla and I. Ten freaking feet people!!

Here's she's singing Fun House, one of our personal favorites.
I love how into her performance she gets. 
She did a lot of songs from her new album Beautiful Trauma, many of which I love, but she also did a lot of her hits from her previous albums. The best had to have been Try, a song that has been dear to me for a few years now. It was one I turned to a lot during the time Mike and I had our issues.  She had a dancer come out on stage with her and the choreography was just amazing and she again took to the air for a part of it.
I love how it looks like they are just floating here.

I don't have any pictures of it sadly but by far the coolest experience (minus her being so close) was the pyrotechnics. We were so close to the flames we could feel the heat as they shot into the air while she sang Just Like Fire. 

I shouted, cheered, and sang my self hoarse that night as did Kyla. It's the first concert I've been to where it's been so loud you can sing along at the top of your lungs and it doesn't matter because no one can hear you.

But y'all, all of that pails in comparison to being able to give Kyla her first concert experience this way. She didn't just go to a concert and watch some singer dance around the front of the stage with a few lights. She got a full on show. There were numerous costume changes not only for her dance crew but for P!NK as well, stage props out of this world, light shows, fire shows, and an artist who puts her whole self into her music for her fans each and every time she performs.

It's a night neither of us will soon forget and I'm so thankful that I was able to share this with my baby girl.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Why We Choose to Homeschool

As of 2016, there were an estimated 2.3 million homeschoolers here in the United States. And that number keeps rising by about 2% to 8% a year. Staggering numbers if you think about it. Here in Louisiana, there were roughly 24,000 to 26,000 homeschoolers in 2016. And again that number is rising and rising fast. 

Before  I start this I want to say:

  • Homeschooling isn't for everyone but it is the right choice for our family
  • You can still get a good education in traditional schooling

So why is everyone opting to teach their children at home? 

The reasons can vary. Some people do it for religious reasons like simply wanting a more biblical approach to things like science and history. Some opt out of traditional schooling for reasons such as school bullying, their child has autism, ADHD, or other medical conditions and they feel like their best option is to teach them at home. And then there are people like me who chose a different reason.

Stem lesson on circuity 

I've always wanted to homeschool my children. I wasn't able to homeschool my oldest, Kyla, for many reasons the biggest now being that she doesn't want to leave her high school. Hayley, on the other hand, I started homeschooling when she entered second grade. I let my doubts and fears of not being able to teach her to force me into sending her to public school the first couple of years but quickly realized we were all miserable. I put my fears aside and now here we are with her getting ready to enter her sixth-grade year and we couldn't be happier. I've homeschooled while taking college courses online and through a horrible stint of bipolar mania and depression and it's still been a million times better than sending her to public school.

So why did we choose to homeschool? 

One of the reasons was Hayley herself. My daughter was miserable at school. She'd break down into near hysterics each morning, it was more than a case of just not wanting to go to schoo and it left me feeling like I was killing a bit of her heart and soul each time I sent her out the door.

Hayley loved her teacher and she enjoyed her friends but she hated the school experience.

She hated that she would finish her busy work in the morning before everyone else and have to sit there not being able to do anything else, she had taken to quietly drawing on the back of the pages until she got in trouble for it.  She also hated that the students would never be quiet long enough to listen to the teacher. She's very much a 'sit down, shut up, and listen' kind of personality and the disrespect her classmates where showing her teacher angered her. She also would get frustrated with the constant repetition of lessons. She'd catch on quickly to a subject, she loves to learn but she'd get so bored having to repeat the same thing for days on end.

The biggest driving factor behind us deciding to take a more nontraditional route of education is the glaring problems our national school system has, not to mention the poor schooling done on a state level here.

Thanks to government interference acts, like No Child Left Behind and Race To the Top, our educational systems has become more about standardized test scores and less about an in-depth education. The majority of teachers now 'teach to test' for fear of getting low classroom scores which in turn lower school scores. These low scores affect things like funding, evaluation of teachers and administrators, and even what is taught in classrooms. Teachers are no longer allowed the freedom to teach to individual student needs. There's no freedom in what they can teach because they have to prepare students across many broad spectrums to take the same test as everyone else.

Children with learning disabilities, like my daughter Kyla, are pushed through the system to keep scores high. She's a sophomore with a 5th-grade reading comprehension. Up until last year, this wasn't a 'big deal' because the schools accommodated her. She got easier tests, test read to her, longer time on projects and etc, basically instead of being taught what she didn't know she was taught that it was going to be given to her so why put in the effort. Now as a sophomore the school is pulling a lot of these accommodations and yet they are bewildered why she is near failing. They wouldn't expect a 5th grader to come in and pass 10th-grade biology yet that's just what they are asking her to do. When we talked to her counselor about it, in hopes she'd be held back, we were told no, she'd still pass even if she fails the class.

Cooking lesson at home with Kyla

Kyla isn't the only student this is happening to. It's in every school across the nation.

The ability to teach to Hayley's learning style, at her pace (which is rather fast at times), engage her in deep conversations, and the ability to maneuver our busy schedule around our school schedule is a huge added bonus.

Hayley loves to read on the floor under the table. 

There is also the fact that Louisiana has one of the poorest school systems in the country. We have a few choice public schools that are nice but even then they are lacking books for every student, pushing to test (this is why they have so much money coming in), and are usually so crowded that the school campuses look like mini college campuses.

What are the plus side to us homeschooling?

  • Hayley gets an individualized learning experience that plays to her strengths. 
  • We get untold amounts of family time together. 
  • She gets to socialize not only with kids her age through co-ps and homeschooling groups but also with adults from all works of life. 
  • Freedom to take days to delve deeper into things, like the fact that Catherine the Great was one of the first builders of rollercoasters. 
  • The ability to customize our schedule. If the weathers nice we can take off and not feel guilty, there's no need to worry about doctors excuses and if we are just having a bad day we can indulge. 
  • Hayley's learned to be independent at an early age. She does a lot of learning on her own and comes to me when she wants to discuss what she's learned or needs help. She has learned to be disciplined with her time as well. 

At the end of the day and no matter the reason it's what works best for us and makes Hayley happy. And that's really all that is important.

Monday, April 8, 2019

I am not alone

Button Poetry is a slam poetry website that helps promote artist. They are in a word, amazing. I stumbled across them right after I was first diagnosed as bipolar and quickly fell in love with their platform on Facebook, where they post short clips of poets performing their work. My first introduction was Neil Hilborn's "The Future".  It's worth the watch...I'll wait.

Isn't he amazing?

But he isn't why I am here today. I am here discussing Button Poetry because of Sabrina Benaim.
She's beyond words for me. I've probably listened to her poem, "Explaining Depression to my Mom A Conversation" a hundred times and to this day it still makes me cry. I cry because it reminds me I am not alone in the way I feel.

Explaining my depression, my bipolarism to others is hard to do. I wish I could be as brave as Sabrina is and just throw it out there so powerfully.

I bought her book Depression and Other Magic Tricks today.  I cried when I found it, cried when I got the okay to spend a little extra unbudgeted money, cried when I read it the first three times. Her words move me in a way that makes me want to scream "yes!" from the rooftops because I am not fucking alone.

On the good days I know I'm not alone. I know I have people rooting for me and people to support me. But on the bad days, it feels like I'm standing alone in a sea of people who can't see or hear me.

I guess that's why this particular poem resonates so much with me because even on those bad days when the world feels like it's on another plane of existence it makes me feel a little less alone.