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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Christian!

Today my baby turns 12!  I spent several hours today looking at baby pictures and marveling just how fast time goes by.  I remember so clearly still when the doctor laid my sweet little boy in my arms.  It was truly love at first sight!  He was a big baby with a ton of hair and sweet big eyes.  He was a cuddly baby right from the start and he loved to be rocked and held.  He has the same sweet disposition yet today.
Christian was a bright, happy, and healthy baby until around 2.  At 2 years old he started to withdraw and exhibit a lot of repetitive behaviors.  At 2 1/2 he was diagnosed with severe autism along with an array of other lesser diagnosis.  It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey. 
We made a commitment to God to love Christian before he was even born.  Loving Christian is an easy thing to do though!  He has a huge amount of love to give.  He is fun and energetic with his own unique sense of humor.  He has a beautiful smile and a terrific laugh.  He struggles with many things that are easy for others but finds easy things like unconditional love and acceptance that seem difficult for many.
He is a special person created in God's image.  I learn so much from him every day.  He has taught me about the things that are truly important and to appreciate the many small miracles of life we experience every day.  I fell incredibly blessed to be his mom and honored that God entrusted us with the special gift of raising him.

Happy Birthday Christian!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week in Review

It has been a busy week here.  It was a good week of school and I feel like we are finally falling back into a rhythm that is more like what we had last year before we moved.  Tyler is once again interested in what we are doing in school and not spending all day telling me about all the other things he would rather be doing.  Christian is happier now that I have stopped doing workboxes with him.  I really wanted it to work for him but I just can't see continuing on when it causes him so much stress.  He and I have done a lot of sensory activities this week as he seemed to need a lot.  We have also been to the park almost every day this week which seems to benefit both of them and me too! :) 

Tyler has been enjoying learning about and praying for Pakistan this week.  We have even decided to extend it for one more week as there is a lot we would like to explore yet.

Here is our prayer center for this week and next.

He has been really into reading Three Cups of Tea with me.  He hasn't been overly excited about any books lately so I am thrilled he is into this one.  He made his collection jars for Pennies For Peace and has been earnestly looking for pennies to put in them for children to have schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here are his jars.  He is doing well so far.  We found out that we have a whole lot of pennies in our house.  His goal is $10.  We will count them tomorrow to see how we are doing so far.

We are going to do a fun project this week to go along with learning more about Pakistan.  We are going to make a painted truck out of a box.  Pakistan has these wonderful painted trucks which is something somewhat unique and memorable and I thought he would enjoy designing his own.  If you have never seen pictures of this interesting art and would like to check it out you can here  or hereI think he will enjoy it. 

Tyler has also been working through Amanda Bennett's Dog Unit Study this week and will be for the next couple of weeks.  I have to admit I have also learned a lot so far.  I actually thought it might be a bit boring when we decided to do it but I am enjoying it.  Tomorrow he will be researching Seaman the Newfoundland owned by Meriwether Lewis and he will be learning about the first seeing eye dog so there is a lot more than I thought to this unit.  I envisioned learning the breeds and maybe training and care of dogs so I am excited to see it explore so many areas.

He is also enjoying going through Revelation right now in Bible and grasping it remarkably well.  He is learning more about angles in math and in grammar he is doing a lot of punctuation rules.  He is loving semicolons right now for some reason and so everything he writes he tries to include lots of semicolons.  It is a little strange but I am glad he gets it.  His workbox system continues to be a marvelous solution for him and he enjoys knowing what his day looks like.

Christian as I mentioned before is happy to be without workboxes and is back to working with me during structured floortime.  I am employing a technique that I have seen work well with him when he has had at home therapy which is to bring into his room a large tote with the things I would like him to do with me and allow him to explore the bag and approach me with something that interests him.  This removes a lot of his apprehension to try new things because he can touch and explore them before he approaches me to find out what my expectation is for the object or task he has selected.  We are able to do most of the same things we did in the workboxes except this allows him the freedom to choose and the opportunity to communicate more with me.   Of course this all needs to be recorded in a much different way then the workboxes so I dug out some of the old floortime goal sheets and recording forms I have used in the past and I am making new ones because he is doing things he wasn't previously doing and so it also encouraged me a bit to look at some of his past goals and see that indeed we have made some progress.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like we are making a lot of progress because with Christian it is very slow and very small steps. 

We had a nice weekend here.  Yesterday my husband got up early and he and Tyler went out to breakfast at I-Hop and then went back out to the pumpkin farm we visited last weekend so that Tyler could go on a hayride and get a pumpkin.  Christian really does not enjoy hayrides so he stayed home with me.  It was nice father and son time for Tyler which I think he really enjoyed.  Then last night we watched Faith Like Potatoes together which is an inspiring movie.  It starts a little slow but once it gets going it is just amazing!  Today we caught up on some little things here.  I baked an apple pie which was fun because I got to try out my new apple peeler.  I am really geeky that way when I get a new kitchen gadget I get all excited!  We also went and got a new thermometer today as I have major flu phobia.  It is a Temporal Scanner which you use one the forehead.  Christian is next to impossible to take a temperature on so I wanted to make sure we had something that we could use for him if we need to.  Tyler also had an Elvis ornament that he wanted to get so he was able to get that today too.   

We had a big milestone in our house this weekend.  Tyler shaved (with the help of his dad) for the first time.  He has been getting a lot of comments on his hairy upper lip lately and so we thought now was a good time.  He is not overly comfortable about it all.  My husband used his electric razor with him because we don't want him to cut himself and make him more apprehensive about it all but he complained a lot about the electric razor tickling him too.  If anyone has been through shaving with an autistic child I would love to hear about your experiences and any advice.  Christian is just around the corner too and I really have no idea how we are going to do that.

Well it seems this is a rather long post.  Sorry about that!  I am going to go to bed now.  I was hoping to catch up on my blog reading but I guess that will have to be tomorrow.

 Have a blessed night!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Tree Painting

Today we sponge painted fall trees.  I have been wanting to do this with them for awhile now but it keeps getting pushed off.  Today I was determined to finally paint with them.  It was lots of fun.

We used the kind of sponges you would use in the shower with body wash and red and yellow paint to make the leaves.  It was interesting to see the sensory differences in my two boys.  I am not sure if you will be able to tell from the pictures but I will try to explain.

This was Christian's painting and even with me guiding his hands he barely pressed down.   He is very tactile defensive and doesn't like to press hard.  He is a lot better about touching things then he once was but you can still see a lot of defensiveness when we do things like this.

This is Tyler's painting.  He is a child who can't process any information about what he feels unless he presses hard or grabs with all his might.  He has to feel everything.  When he colors he pushes the crayon through the paper so when he paints he also lays it on heavy.  I had to put his out in the sun to dry.

I am often fascinated by these differences.  I marvel at two kids with similar diagnosis and significant sensory issues that approach things in such different ways.

I did enjoy the fact that Tyler added a leaf pile at the bottom of his painting and that he wanted to add kids and a dog playing in the leaves.  He also added a squirrel in the tree just for our dog Lucy.  LOL I really loved that!

Now the paintings are hanging in our private collection (aka the living room).

Kid art is my favorite kind of art!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Sensory Boxes

I was blog searching the other day and I saw this neat idea for a Halloween sensory tub.  Christian just loves sensory tubs.  We have done rice, pasta, beans, sand, and all sorts of things.  The one I saw was at Chasing Cheerios.  We went to Michaels on Sunday and they were having a big sale on fall and Halloween stuff so I picked up some things to put in our tub with black beans. 

He is really  loving it!

I also knew that Tyler has a hard time when I create a sensory activity for Christian and not for him.  Even though he is high-functioning he is still a sensory seeker so I made him a box of his own and a math activity to go with it.


I got the foam Halloween stickers at Michaels also and then I made him a worksheet to go with.  I had him dig out the stickers and sort them out on a large sheet of paper.

I had him count out the different stickers and then do the math problems.  The problems were about fractions, percentages, and probability.  He enjoyed it and he buzzed right through it.

I don't like the creepy side of Halloween and we don't really celebrate the holiday itself.  Our kids don't enjoy trick or treating either but they do enjoy these type of seasonal activities. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trip to the Pumpkin Farm

Today we went to Mike's Farm.  I am not sure if the Great Pumpkin would think this is the most sincere pumpkin patch out there but it is definitely one of the busiest.  We haven't been there in awhile but we know that it is usually very busy this time of year.  Little did we know!  I took pictures because I knew no one would believe it otherwise.  I know I wouldn't. 

This is where we parked.  It is just one of several parking areas and we could just slightly see the actual farm buildings.  When we saw this parking lot we should have left but we are a persistent little family.  So we journeyed on and then we saw them!!! 

There were sooo many people!

 The wait in line just to get a ticket to get on the hayride was about a half hour.  Then you had to wait in another line just to get on the hayride for about 30 to 60 minutes.  Then when you got off the hayride you got to stand in another line to have your pumpkin weighed so you could pay for it.  This was not going to work out for us.   We did enjoy walking around though and visiting with the animals.

Here are my guys in the covered bridge they have there.

Tyler "driving" one of the tractors they have for the kids to sit on.

The main building has a beautiful wraparound porch with a bunch of these rockers.  It is very pretty.

Here you can see the tractor and the big trailer they use to take people on hayrides out to the pumpkin patch.

They even have a stage in one of their barns!  Here are a couple of guys playing country music.  It fit nicely with a trip to the farm.  They also have a bunch of animals for the kids to feed and pet.

This chicken brought a big smile to Christian's face.  It is always interesting to see what captures his interest.

It really is a fun place!  They have a restaurant that is know for some of the best food in the area.  They have a bakery that makes some of the best fudge and other goodies.  And then there is the gift shop!  Oh how I love the gift shop!  They have tons of Christmas stuff but they also have so much more.  I had to snap a couple of pictures inside for you but this is only a small part of the whole shop.

I especially love all the candles!

If you are local or even close to local and have never been there I encourage you to go.  They also sell Christmas trees at Christmas and they have a hayride with a big display of Christmas lights. 

Lots of fun! 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pennies for Peace

We have really been enjoying our new prayer center to help us focus on praying for a new country each week.  Next week we will be praying for and learning about Pakistan.  Last year while my husband was deployed to Afghanistan I read a lot of books about that part of the world because I wanted to connect with what he was experiencing.  The book that really touched me the most was Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.  If you haven't read this book I want to encourage you to do so.  Greg has an amazing story and he has used his life to do so much for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  In preparing for next week I was looking for resources we could use and was surprised and delighted to find out that his book is now available in a young readers edition      and a children's picture book edition  .  I can't wait to share this book with my boys! 

I like to emphasize to Tyler when we are praying for a specific place that often times we can also help in a practical way.  For instance last year when we were learning about Africa we were able to contribute to buy bed nets to help stop the spread of malaria.  Next week as we pray for Pakistan we will be collecting pennies for Pennies for Peace to help Greg be able to do more for the people he loves so much.  I think almost everybody has a pile of pennies lying around somewhere that you could use to help too.  The Pennies for Peace 
  website has some great resources for helping your kids to understand people in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to understand how they can help also.

I would also like to share two videos with you before I go.  The first one is a song sung by Greg Mortenson's daughter Amira.  It really touched me very deeply.

The second video is the story of Pennies for Peace. I am really looking forward to see how many pennies we can collect and to help children have a better future!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Candy Pizza

Tyler and I had a lot of fun today making this fall candy pizza!

It was fairly easy to make and turned our beautiful and very tasty!

Here are the directions if you would like to try it too.

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line a pizza pan with foil and grease with shortening.  I used a silicone baking mat on top of my pizza pan instead of the foil and shortening and it worked well too. 

2.   Cut a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough into 1/4 inch slices and arrange them on your pizza pan.  Press the dough down with floured fingers to form a crust.

3.   Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

4.  Let cool completely on pan for 30 minutes.

5.  Use foil or silicone mat (in my case) to lift crust from pan.  Remove foil or mat and place on tray or plate.

6.  Spread 3/4 cup peanut putter over crust.

7.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup of candy corn over top.

8.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Toll House Swirled Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Morsels over top.

9.  In a microwavable bowl, microwave 1/4 cup of vanilla frosting for 10 to 15 seconds and spoon drizzle over pizza.

10.  After the frosting hardens some you can slice the pizza into triangle slices.

11.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fun With Homeschool Friends

This morning we met up with some friends from our homeschool group to enjoy time together and a scavenger hunt.  How fun is that!  Thankfully the rain held off until this evening and we enjoyed a great time together.

Tyler had a great time catching up with the kids he hasn't seen in awhile.  Here he is chasing Andrew.  He was a little hard to photograph because he was on the move a lot!

Here he is swinging with Danny.

Here he is playing soccer with Angel, Danny, and Mr. John. 

Look at that!  He actually stood still to get his picture taken.

Christian had a great time too.  Partly because one of his favorite people came with.

His partner in crime (Daddy) had off work today and was able to join us.

These two are always up to something! :)

And sometimes he even enjoys hanging out with mom. :)

The last picture I have is of two people we really enjoyed visiting with.

This is John and GingerThey are super people and parents of three beautiful adopted children. 

  I know I missed taking pictures of some people but it was very nice to see everyone!  It is a blessing to have this small group of special families!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Math

Tyler had a fun math activity in his workboxes this week and I thought we would share.  
I bought some mini pumpkins at the grocery store the other day although this would work equally well with regular size pumpkins.  I then made him a  worksheet  to go with the pumpkins.  The activity focuses on measuring the diameter, radius, circumference, and area of a circle.  It was lots of fun!
The first thing he did was to put each pumpkin on a piece of paper and traced around it.

Next, he measured the diameter and radius.  After that he took string and put it over the traced circle so that he could measure the circumference.

He was then able to calculate the area of each.  He did great!  He really enjoys these hands on activities.

Here is our worksheet if you would like to give it a try.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I am praising the Lord right now because I just got off the phone with someone from the Naval Hospital and I was told that we have been approved for our boys to be seen at doctors out in town.  She said that she had a stack of 12 similar requests sitting on her desk and we were the only ones that had been approved so I truly believe this is a God thing.  This means that all their medical bills will be paid when they see civilian providers and that we won't have to pay a deductible.  This is a huge blessing and it also means that hopefully we will be able to get them some of the extra services that would benefit them.  This also means that Tyler can continue with the testing to see what gives him his headaches and stomach aches.  Thank you so much to those who prayed about this!  This is truly an amazing answer to our prayers. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

learning about Nicaragua

This week we decided to learn about and pray for the country of Nicaragua.  I didn't know a great deal about Nicaragua prior to this week so I was also interested in learning more.  I did remember the United States and the dealings with the Contras and I was also familiar with Daniel Ortega and some of the things he has done.  What I didn't realize was what a beautiful country Nicaragua actually is and how rich in natural resources it is.  It saddens me to know that a country with so much potential is so impoverished.  Tyler also enjoyed praying for and learning about Nicaragua.  It was especially important to him that we pray for good leaders there.  He was pretty upset about the fact that Mr. Ortega has tried to change their constitution for his personal benefit.  This was a great opportunity for us to discuss term limits for a president and we had a nice discussion about when this was established here in the United States also and why it is so important.  I love it when we have opportunities to have great discussions like that. 
I did want to share some of the resources we used this week so that you also could enjoy learning about Nicaragua and hopefully you will also be moved to pray for them.  We discovered there is a lot of need for prayer there.  One the first resources I discovered was on Time For Kids it has a great science experiment about pollution and the lakes of Nicaragua.  It also has a worksheet we completed about Nicaragua's volcanoes.  We did this coloring page of the beautiful Nicaraguan flag.  I also made a few worksheet of my own for Tyler to complete.  The first one is a map activity .  The second one was a worksheet to learn more about the Nicaraguan Flag .  And the last one was a sheet of research questions for him to work through.  We had also wanted to make some Nicaraguan recipes this weekend but it was just too crazy around here so maybe even though we will be starting a new country this week we can still squeeze these in.  The recipes I had wanted to try with him were Gallo Pinto which is red beans and rice and Patel De Tres Leches or cake of three milks.  A couple of more resources I found for learning about Nicaragua are:
1. EdHelper
2.A great printable activity about migration during the Contr/Sandanista Wars (this is for older students)
3.Prayer point for Nicaragua
4.Operation World Links for Nicaragua

Hope you decide to check out Nicaragua!  This week we are going to be praying for Afghanistan.  We know a little more about this country as my husband spent most of last year there.  We are going to use The Kids of Courage: Bold Believers book to guide us along this week.  It is a great resource and I am looking forward to it.  We really are enjoying our prayer time together.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Arachnophobia Anyone?

You have heard of daddy long legs no doubt!  Well, here is daddy, mommy, the kids, a few cousins, and a great aunt or two.
This picture was taken this morning outside one of the back windows of our house.  It doesn't bother me much as long as they are outside.  My husband on the other hand is fiercely afraid of spiders so... I bet this little family will be moving on when he sees them tomorrow!
Sorry if I disgusted anyone.  We live about twenty feet from the woods now so I am actually starting to get used to all the additional nature lessons.  I had no idea these little guys reproduced so fast. 


I have been really bad about posting pictures lately.  So I thought I would share some tonight.  This will also make my mom very happy!   She lives for pictures of her grandbabies.  Right mom?

Christian has the best smiles!

Here's Tyler at the park.  He barely ever lets me take his picture lately so I was grateful to get this one.  He is going through a self conscious phase.  13 is such an interesting age.  Still a boy but working on being a man. 

All my men!  Love them so!  Not sure what they are staring at though.

Hey that rhymed.  LOL

Lucy, who truly believes she is the next Mozart, working on her next concerto.  Our dog has a lot of personality!

I love pictures of Christian sleeping.  Maybe because he hardly ever does.  He looks just like he did when he was a baby.  Warms my little mommy heart.

Christian and daddy cuddling together.

Tyler doing some questions on Free Rice .  He has been really enjoying this site.  He has finished all the countries on the Compassion International site so we were happy to learn about this  one from Leslie's blog . He loves knowing that he is helping to feed the hungry. Thanks Leslie!

A very happy Lucy at the park.

Tyler writing in his prayer journal.  Snuck this one in on him.  He thought I was taking a picture of our prayer center. 

This is the last one.  Even though he's not smiling I kind of like this one.  He looks so deep in thought.  What I wouldn't give to know what he thinks about!

That's all for tonight.  Tomorrow is Friday and we have had a good week here.  Hope you have also!  I am going to bed now.  I will write more tomorrow.

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