Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mystery Gourd Game

Here is a fun game for fall that I made up to include in Tyler's workboxes for tomorrow.  It is to help him work on writing descriptive sentences.  I bought a bag of gourds today at the store and thought about how different each one looks and thought this would be a good opportunity to work on using more adjectives.  Here are the instructions if you want to check it out.

The Mystery Gourd Game

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Here I am!

I am still here! I want to start by saying I am deeply touched by the fact that people I don't even know would follow my blog and be truly concerned enough to email or comment when I haven't been here. I also truly appreciate those who have prayed for us and in particular Tyler's health. I have been so frustrated by the whole ordeal that I have needed a little time to pray about it all and work it through in my mind. I am sorry if I have worried anyone in the process. I am happy to say that although Tyler is not feeling 100% he is doing a little better. We are still working through trying to get our doctor back and should hopefully know by the end of the week so we can continue testing to find out what is causing his stomach and headaches. I was encouraged today by a phone call I received from the Naval hospital requesting more information about our situation. I was told that usually these requests are pretty much denied right away as they try to fill up patient loads for their doctors first and I am sure in the process save money. Apparently though something in our paperwork sparked something with one of the people there that have to make a determination in our request. The lady that I talked to asked me a bunch of questions about why we wanted a civilian doctor and what doctors our boys had seen in the past. They also want to see a copy of their original autism diagnosis so Tim will be faxing those over to them tomorrow. I was told that we are being given more of a chance than most get but that we may still be denied. I am encouraged though. If not we will switch back to Tricare standard which is what we had before but we will also be incurring a lot of extra cost on our part. I am sure there are those who are wondering why it is so important to us that they not be seen at the Naval hospital and I am not sure if I have explained that in the past. I don't want to in any way bash the Navy though as I have truly met some wonderful people that have served in the Navy. For our children however it has not been a workable solution. The waiting room at the Naval hospital is loud and crowded which is difficult for both of them and for Christian in my opinion way more than he can tolerate. Also when they have been seen there before they have had multiple doctors making it difficult for them to get acquainted with our boys and their needs. Lastly we have had a very difficult time getting any referrals for additional therapies or treatment. I hope that makes sense. We believe it is the best option for them.
I also want to update everyone on Christian and his wall eating. My parents have generously offered to pay for the rest of the vinyl beadboard for his room and Tim went to Lowes and purchased that yesterday. We will work on putting that up this weekend. Christian has had to be out in our living/dining area all day and does not appreciate having to be supervised all day so I am sure he will be ecstatic to be able to be alone some in his room again. I have also been doing a lot of observing and thinking about what may have suddenly tipped off his mad rash of Pica. He has always eaten inedible objects but has been really into it the last couple of months. I am concerned that maybe I am causing him anxiety by pushing too hard with him. I have decided to lay off the workboxes with him for awhile and see if that helps some. I love and truly believe in the workbox system but with Christian it has a bit of a negative past. He had a teacher in public school that had been trained by Division Teacch and was using that system with him at school. She however never adapted the system for him or his needs so it created a lot of confusion as to what she expected from him. He unfortunately learned to finish the tasks he was presented with without learning or retaining anything. Also when he was finished their was no praise and he was pretty much removed from the rest of the group during the t the school day. I believe this really left him with the feeling that he was being punished for something and since pretty much the only thing they had done with him was the task boxes he associated the two. I truly hoped that enough time had passed that he would not still feel that way when I did boxes with him but I am finding it still frustrates him even when they are task he would like if presented during play. So I think we will continue to work within the confines of Floortime which he feels safe in. Tyler flourishes with the structure of workboxes but each autistic child just like every nuerotypical child has different needs. I guess that is one of the reasons we homeschool anyway. I get very frustrated when I see a single approach presented as the sole answer to educating or treating those with autism. My two are so different and especially in the way they learn.
So that is my update for now. I have more to tell but I need to go get some school stuff done. I promise to try to get back on here tonight or tomorrow morning and update you on our last week, my birthday, and our fall so far.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

America Needs to Know That Their Government Isn't Taking Care of our Military Families

Our Week So Far

It has been a busy week here so I am not sure where to start.  I guess I will begin with today and go backwards.  We got up this morning with the thought that we were just going to do a couple of subjects and bake cookies.  I did prayer and Bible with Tyler and then spent some time with Christian.  I am trying to get him interested in some of the new tasks I have for him but he is being a little resistant to the new boxes.  One box is sorting socks and attaching a clothespin to each pair and for some reason he really dislikes that one. We are enjoying singing and signing some new fall songs together.  I have a great book called Piggyback Songs to Sign and it has some simple songs that have some easy signing with them.  Christian can't do the signs himself but he likes me to make the signs with his hands for him.  We are especially enjoying a song called Leaves are Falling on My Nose which is sung to the tune of Jingle Bells.  It is a lot of fun. 

Right around lunchtime I got a call from the doctor and I was so excited because we have been waiting for our referral to a specialist for Tyler.  It turns out to be the nurse and the doctors office calling to inform me that as they were processing the referral through Tricare (military health insurance) they were told that they were no longer his Primary Care Physician and therefore they can't give him a referral.  I was listening to her and getting more upset by the minute.  To beat all Tricare had told them that I had changed his PCM.  I told her I hadn't and that I would call Tricare which I did (after I calmed down a little).  The man at Tricare tells me that not only is our doctor now not our PCM but she never was.  Needless to say I was about ready to lose my mind.  Here it turns out that when we changed over from Tricare Standard which is like regular health insurance to Tricare Prime which is more like an HMO last month and we were told we could pick out a doctor from THEIR LIST (which I did) the Naval Hospital here in town decided to refuse our choices without notifying us.  I didn't even know they could do that! The only reason we switched in the first place is because we were told we could pick our doctors.  Stay tuned because this story only gets better.  My husband then calls the Naval Hospital and ... gets an answering machine!  They finally call him back and he explains the situation to the lady and she says that should be no problem to clear up but she can't do it so she will have someone else call him back.  So another person calls him back eventually and tells him that he MIGHT be able to change it if he will come over to the hospital and fill out a request form stating why we want our PCMs changed.  After he fills out the form apparently someone has to approve the change and in around a week or so if it is approved they will allow Tricare to change it.  In the meantime Tyler can't see the doctor unless we take him to the Naval Hospital which is NOT going to happen.  No offense to the Navy or anyone in it but we have had too many bad experiences there.  Christian also can't go to his checkup so that will have to be rescheduled too.  It makes me so mad!  Tyler was in the middle of needing more testing and now he is going to have to wait even longer and the man at the Naval Hospital didn't even seem to care.  I guess if we have to switch back to standard coverage and pay out of pocket expenses again we will.  It doesn't seem right though.  My husband has served for 18 years now and we should be at least able to get good medical care.

Well now I got myself all upset again and can't remember what else I was going to type.  Let me see.   School this week has been pretty good.  Tyler really loved learning about Habakkuk the other day in Bible.  He was even able to see the parallels between now and Habakkuk's time.  We also did a fun experiment about chemical reactions that went very well.  Christian is very energetic this week so we are doing more floortime than workboxes.  That is okay though.  I think it is time we both enjoy.  Especially when we do anything with music. 

I have been working on reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus still.  I am reading it very slowly because it is so good and I want to make sure I take it all in.  I have been reading about what it truly meant to be a disciple of a Rabbi in Jesus' time.  It completely engulfed their whole lives.  I have been thinking about how many of us that call ourselves christians try to live without really giving our complete lives over to following Christ.  It has given me much to think on and pray over.  If you haven't read it I really encourage you to. 

I am looking forward to this weekend. Friday night I am going out to Olive Garden with the ladies from our homeschool group.  I can't wait the pasta is calling me.  They also have pumpkin cheesecake there for fall and I love anything pumpkin.  Also on Sunday is my birthday.  I am not sure what we are doing yet but I would just like to do something fun as a family. 

That's about all I have to say for now.  I'm sorry for the lack of pictures.  I keep forgetting. 

I hope everyone is having a terrific fall so far.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Our Prayer Center

Probably the best part of every homeschool day is our morning devotions and prayer time.  Since the first day we started homeschooling we have always began with a devotion time and then we discuss prayer requests and pray together.  I think it makes for a much better day when we begin by putting our hearts and minds in the right place. 

One of our favorite resources for prayer which is also the first resource we used is Windows on the World

We just love this book.  It has a section for each people group and has such beautiful pictures and enchanting stories.  Now that Tyler is a little older and wanted a little more information for the last two years we have been also using Operation World

This book follow a yearly prayer plan and so we look up the date and find the country or area we are supposed to pray for on that day.  Next, we locate that country on our globe and discuss what continent it is on and other geographical features.  Then we read in the book about all the different facts about that area.  Last we read some of the answers to prayer and challenges to prayer for that region.  Not only are we praying for people but we are understanding who they are and where they live.

Some of our other books and resources we use during prayer time are Hungry Planet, Material World, Light the Window, and VOM Kids of Courage activity books.  If you go to the Voice of Martyrs Kids of Courage website you can go to the downloads section and sign up to download their great activity books which are a lot like unit studies.  We have done several of these and just loved them.

So that is what our morning prayer time has been composed of until tomorrow.  I have been so inspired by some of the things I have seen people create with trifold board lately that I got inspired and pulled out one I had laying around.  I created a new prayer center for us to use with our morning prayer time.  Here it is:

I made all the sections using my computer and laminated them and hot glued them to the board.  Certain sections have velcro on them so they can be changed out each week.  Those are the country name, the map, the flag, and the picture sections.  For the other sections we will use dry erase markers to record the information.  Here are some close ups of the different sections.

As you can see this week we will be praying for Bhutan.  We attached the name on with velcro and then printed a map of Bhutan and attached that also.

Here you see the sections where we will record the population and the spoken languages or at least the main ones as some countries have a whole lot of languages.  We have also attached a flag from Bhutan.

Here is probably my favorite section because I just love pictures!  We printed these off the internet so we could see the wonderful people and sites of Bhutan. They are attached with velcro also.

Below our pictures we have some more spaces to fill in information with our dry erase marker.

On the third fold of our center we have space to record our prayer requests for the week.  I also included a heart with Matthew 7: 7-8 just to remind us that God wants to hear our prayers and he is listening and faithful to answer.

I hope you have enjoyed our prayer center. 

Have a great night!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Safe Room

Well, we think we have found a solution to making Christian's room safe for him to be in alone.  Our son Christian is autistic and eats wood and most recently drywall.  He had almost eaten an actual hole in one of his walls recently so we are in a bit of a desperate situation.  We had bought and installed corner guards for the corners and window sills he originally started with but we weren't anticipating him actually starting to eat the walls.  We have looked online for vinyl wall panels and found some but they are expensive and we can't wait for the shipping.  We went to Home Depot this weekend and found some vinyl beadboard paneling there.   It is still rather expensive but it was  easy to install and now at least one wall is covered.  It is the wall by his bed which is the one he has been really going after.  It was about $130 to do the one wall so we are going to have to do this as we go along.  It does look nice though.  It still looks like our home and not an institution which I am happy about. 

Thankfully his bed is plastic too.  I am glad God was looking out for us when we bought that.  I would hate to think what a wood bed would look like right now.

We do have a couple more door frames that need to be covered in our hallway too.  I wasn't going to post pictures but I feel words just won't do it justice.  Try not to wince!

This is the door by our laundry area.  He did this in about 5 minutes!

This by the door to a closet.  This one actually isn't that bad compared to some that we have already covered.


We are taking him to the doctor for supplements and I am trying all the sensory ideas we have used in the past but until we find something that works we are glad to be making progress on his room.  He doesn't like not having his own space to be in at least some of the time. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Planning a Homestead Math Activity

On Tuesdays I like to include a fun hands on math activity in Tyler's workboxes.  I got the idea for this one from an old magazine.  I used Word to print out the instructions and put some construction paper, scissors, ruler, and glue in his box.  This activity works on measuring, perimeter, and area.  He really enjoyed this so I thought we would share this one. 

I gave him a piece of regular sized brown construction paper which represents his piece of land.  He also was give a chart that stated what things he needed to fit on his land.  It gave the measurements for each object so he could measure them and then cut them out. 

He needed to write the name of each object, the perimeter, and the area on the rectangle.  He also chose to make a small picture to identify the object.  When he had cut out all the objects he arranged them on the paper (his land) and glued them down when he was satisfied with their locations.

He did all this pretty independently except I did kind of tell him it might be a problem if he placed his vegetable garden too far from his house and barn.  Although I am sure the animals would appreciate it!

This his finished map.  He liked it so much I am thinking next week we might do a zoo, amusement park, or shopping mall.

If you would like to use the instructions I made for Tyler for this activity you can get them here:

Build Your Own Homestead

Monday, September 14, 2009

Test Results Back But Still No Answers

We got the results from Tyler's blood tests back today after an agonizing weekend of waiting.  I called the doctor's office on Friday and they said they didn't think they would have them back until Monday and I wanted to cry.  I just want to know what's going on so we can hopefully fix it.  I thought the gluten free diet was helping he was having a lot less headaches and stomach pains but then Friday night he had a major headache.  You could see from his eyes and face that he was in a lot of pain and then this weekend his stomach aches were back too.  All day today I couldn't wait for the results and then this afternoon the doctor called.  She said he doesn't have celiac or diabetes.  She did say he appeared to be low on hydration which is interesting because he drinks water constantly and she also said he has a high hemoglobin count.  She is now referring us to a pediatrician who can evaluate his results and order more testing.  Tyler is definitely happy to be off the gluten free diet and daddy even ordered him pizza from Papa Johns tonight to celebrate.  We still don't have any real answers though and he is still in pain.  I can't stop myself from playing amateur doctor so I spent a good hour searching the internet for his symptoms and now have myself wondering if it could be his kidneys.  It probably isn't though and I just need to wait for them to do more tests.  I just am feeling kind of helpless about it all.  I really think I have control issues! 

This weekend we just hung out at home because Tyler wasn't feeling great and we just aren't sure how much we should be having him do right now.  We did watch some football.  Unfortunately I think all the teams we like lost.   We also did some researching on more wall  covering for Christian's room as he is now eating the drywall.   Did you now you can actually buy vinyl beadboard that looks like wood?  Who knew?!  I think that option is a bit costly for us though but we did call Home Depot and they have a vinyl paneling that might be more affordable.  Having autistic children has taught me about things I am pretty sure I otherwise would have had NO clue about.   Hopefully his doctor will have some answers about a supplement or something to help stop his craving to eat us "out of house and home" literally. 

Christian and I did find one of Tyler's old boardgames today to have fun with.  It is Veggie Tales Don't Sink in the Sink!.

Christian loves Veggie Tales!  We didn't play it the traditional way but he had fun sticking the little character pieces in the slots and watching some of them sink.  We played this for quite some time and had a blast.  Christian also got some cool new toys this week from Grandma and Grandpa from Enabling Devices  but we haven't had a good opportunity to check them out yet so I will try to post pictures of them soon.  They have a lot of neat stuff for special needs if you have never checked them out stop by their website

Tyler did his workboxes today but was only able to accomplish 7 of his 12.  I didn't push it because I know he isn't feeling great.  Friday we didn't do workboxes but spent the afternoon learning about 9/11.  We watched the CNN coverage of that day on the internet and then walked about it and did some lapbooking.  I think it is the first time he has actually seen what happened.  He handled it well.  I think better than I did.  I felt the tears coming a couple of times.  Today we were talking about Ptolemy and his geocentric model of the solar system and how it was accepted for over 1,600 years mostly because nobody wanted to challenge it out of respect for Ptolemy.  Often  things in science can go right over Tyler's head but for some reason he really got the fact that we can't just accept science not based on data because we are scared to challenge it.  I was excited that he got that because I feel that is really important.  I think to often people accept evolution which has no true scientific basis because they are afraid to challenge it.  I am happy to know that my son isn't just 
going to believe the status quo.

  Thank you for all those who have prayed for Tyler!  It means so much to me.  I would appreciate your continued prayers as we continue to go through more testing.  It really helps to know that there are people out there going to God for us.   

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still waiting

We are still waiting for Tyler's blood tests to come back.  It is amazing how slow time can go when you need it to be fast.

We took his urine sample over to the doctor this morning.  It is about a 30 minute drive each way and Christian doesn't always do well in the car so I took along a bag of Veggie Crisps (his current favorite snack) in case he got upset and needed to be diverted.  He never needed them though.   He did great except for rocking back and forth a bunch.  He was actually quite funny for a little while.  He became fascinated with the handle that flips down in the back seat. ( I think it is to hang your dry cleaning on.)  Anyways, he sat there flipping that up and down and singing his own little song- da da da da de da dade.  I would love to know what goes on in his mind.  I know it has to be interesting because it inspires him to some pretty creative things.  I am watching people look at him as they drive by and as much as I would like to say I am above caring I am always happy I have my autism awareness magnet on the back of my car.  It serves as my little explanation for my child's apparently fascinating behavior.

Also today I was putting away individual bottled water out of a case of water into the cupboard we store it in when Christian walks up and just starts handing me bottles out of the case.  He never does anything like that unless you specifically say, "Christian pick up the water.  Now, give me the water."  He didn't just do it once or twice either but he emptied the whole case.  This might not seem like a big deal for most small children let alone an almost 12 year old but for him it is huge!  He actually helped me all on his own after figuring out what I was doing and he finished the whole job.  I gave him a big bear hug.  It is so neat to see him start to make these little steps! 

Tomorrow Tyler and I are going to work on a 9/11 lapbook.  Boy that date stirs up some memories.  I think I will blog more about that tomorrow though.  We just need a nice day of normal school amid all the uncertainty of his health.  He is also getting a little discouraged by the gluten free diet.  He is craving pizza so I guess I will have to start scouring the internet for gluten free recipes.  I also need to find out if there is a recipe for cookie cutter type cookies because we usually make some for fall and he will be brokenhearted if he can't have any.  I guess it gives me something to do while we wait and pray. 

Well, I guess I should get going.  I started reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus the other day and I am really getting into it so while I wait for Christian to fall asleep I am loving some time to read.

Have a blessed night!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Update on Tyler

I took Tyler to the doctor this morning and she isn't sure what is going on with him.  She did take three tubes of blood and is going to check for Celiac, diabetes, and some of the other common suspects.  We also need to get a urine sample and bring it back. (Yuck!) 

I did like the doctor and she seems to be willing to explore whatever tests we are interested in having done.  Tyler seemed comfortable with her also.  He did not enjoy getting his blood taken.  Fortunately they have a very large nurse there!   He made a big scene about it and then when I asked him afterword if it hurt he said, "no!".  You have to love it! 

So now we wait.  She did say if the blood came back  and didn't have any answers she would give him an MRI if that is what we want. She is also going to see him once a month for now and monitor his weight. 

I am glad we have found a good doc and I guess we will just wait and pray now!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Please Pray!

I am sorry I haven't posted on here this weekend.  Tim has had off work and so he has been staying up with Christian at night (which is usually when I get on the computer) while I catch up on some of my sleep.  

Tomorrow morning I will be taking Tyler to the doctor.  He has been having headaches and stomach aches that have been gradually getting worse.  He is not great at explaining what is going on with his health due to his autism but from what we have been able to access we believe that he may have celiac disease.  This would not be a huge surprise because celiac disease is prevalent in autistic people and because my husband also shows a lot of symptoms of celiac disease.  We removed gluten from Tyler's diet starting on Saturday to see if it would help and he has said that his stomach pains have decreased some.  I ask him his pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 and on Sunday night he said they were a 5 and today he said they were a 2 and not as frequent.  He also said his headaches have subsided some.  He has been a real trooper about it all.  He has spent most of the weekend not feeling well and he has also endured the change in his diet very well. 

I will be honest I am really hoping this is the answer because it is something I can understand and help him treat.  He has not been himself for at least the last month and I have been watching it get worse and worse.  I am also pretty sure that he has lost some weight by the way his clothes are fitting.  He is a super eater so it doesn't make a lot of sense.  We had to wait for a change in our insurance to make an appointment with a new doctor so I am really excited to finally get him in to see someone who can help. 

So if you are up late and read this and would pray for us it would mean a lot!

Thank you!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Ginger!

Happy Birthday to my friend Ginger!

Today is my friend Ginger's birthday.  She is a great friend, loving wife, and a mother to three beautiful adopted children.  She is a gal with a big heart that is constantly loving on others.  I hope you will stop on over at her blog today and join me in wishing her a blessed birthday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Workboxes for Special Needs

I was looking for some workbox ideas for Christian this morning and came upon two web pages that look like they have some easy to make ideas. 

They are:




I'm off now to create!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Relaxed Day

We had a nice relaxed day today.  We didn't do any formal school stuff today.  We did track our newest tropical storm and a few other things but not too much. 

I made an apple pie which was something I have been wanting to do for about a week.  There is something very relaxing about cutting up all those apples.  Okay so I'm maybe just a little strange.  The smell of it baking was yummy though.  I used my little leaf cookie cutters on the top crust to make it a little more fall like.  I haven't tasted it because I am sending it to work with my husband for he and his marines. 

Tyler had lots of fun today enjoying the cooler temperatures we have had the last couple of days.  He took Lucy, our dog, for a walk and then played with her on the trampoline.

We have a great dog!  She will go down slides and bounce on the trampoline just as long as she is getting loved on.  He also read her some "bedtime stories".

She is his best friend in the world!

I have no pictures of Christian today because he has been kind of grumpy all day. 

Tomorrow we are going to do school and then we will have a four day weekend for Labor Day because we usually take off when my husband is off.  I am hoping the cooler temperatures stick around for the weekend.  It would be fun to spend a bunch of time outside. Tyler and I are also looking forward to the start of college football this weekend.  The Buckeyes are playing the Midshipmen and we are hoping it will come in here.  Go Bucks!


Have a blessed night!

The Value of a good Sentence

I am sure you have heard of a fifty cent word but have you ever heard of a five dollar sentence?  I saw a suggestion for a fun activity using both math and grammar in one of my Mailbox magazines and I just knew I had to whip something up for Tyler's workboxes.  After all can you beat doing two subjects at once especially when it is fun!

I started by making up a sheet with a special code on it that gives a monetary  value for each word in a sentence.

My hubby typed up a worksheet with a bunch of sentences to go with the code.  The first thing that he does is to use play coins and place the value for the word above it in the sentence.

Then when you are done you add up all the coins and find out the "value" of the sentence.

Our coins were a little bunched together so I think next time we will use a larger font for our sentences.  I am also going to use the coins and code when we do sentences for spelling and see if I can get some more "valuable" sentences in the future.  If you want to try this and would like the code sheet you can download it below.

Valuable Sentences

Going Nutty!

The other day I made some cute little squirrel cards with numbers on them and some little grids to do counting with.  My thought was that we could use whole nuts, the kind you use with a nut cracker,  with the cards and grids.  I am sure I saw them recently in the produce section at the store.  Tyler and I looked yesterday at Walmart and couldn't find any and today my husband looked at the commissary today and no nuts there either.  I would even be okay with acorns even though I would have to watch that Christian doesn't put them in his mouth but we don't seem to have those in our yard either.  So now my idea is on hold until we can locate some nuts.  Maybe tomorrow we will go for a nut hunting walk!

Here is a  picture of my cards with the counting grids attached.

I was thinking we could put one nut on each square of the grid.  Not too fancy but good for his one to one correspondence.  I thought it would be fun for fall.  I put the cards and grids on my Scribd account if you are interested.  I made them for the numbers 1-10.  All you need to do is cut out the grids and cards and then glue the grid to the back of the card. 

Squirrel Counting Grids Squirrel Counting 1-4 Squirrel Counting 5-8 Squirrel Counting 9-10

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Christie at Monkey School !

You have won the Fall Workbox Giveaway.  Thank you for your entry.  Thank you to all those who entered and I can't wait to try all your great ideas.

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