Category Archives: Uncategorized

Picaboo yearbook creator review (and giveaway!)

A few years ago my children and I used Picaboo to make a photo album for my elderly neighbour. He is like a great-grandfather to my children.

I really enjoyed making the book and he loves flipping through the pages remembering all the fun times he has had with my kids.

I was so excited when I was asked to review Picaboo yearbooks to be used as a home school yearbook.  Untitled

As soon as I logged on I noticed the yearbook software was a little more complicated then the straight forward photo album software I had used a few years ago but I still found the yearbook software very user-friendly.

The only time I did get stumped I was able to refer to the video tutorial for help and quickly got my answer.

I choose to do a yearbook that included the past 4 years we have home schooled, instead of a yearbook including only 1 year.

The various page layout choices made it quick, easy and almost effortless to create organized and eye-catching pages. yearbook3

Picaboo offers a ton of options for backgrounds under the photo’s on each page. I chose to simply go with a plain white background under my photo’s and text. I liked the background choices, I just don’t have an eye for choosing one that makes it look good.

Adding text was simple. The software has a built-in spell checker to catch all the typo’s and spelling mistakes. It also has a ton of choices for font style. Its easy to adjust the font size and style.

This program would be great not only for homeschool yearbooks but also for keepsake books for team sports and other clubs.yearbook2

I enjoyed building this yearbook with the kids so much that I will be creating a yearbook again next year. It will make a great keepsake to enjoy.

 

If you would like a chance to create your own Picaboo year book click here

to enter: Entry-Form

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How we have fun homeschooling

Every child is unique so it makes sense that no 2 home school families are the same.

190531_10150120354033791_4366_nSome children thrive on routine, some do best with free range learning, some children enjoy paper and pencil and others love hands on learning.

In my home school I have the challenge of home-schooling 2 very different special needs children.

It has taken a few years to find a system of guiding them in a way that they both are learning independently, are allowed long periods of uninterrupted play/learning, enjoy what they are working on, 1185307_10151680175188791_2138601274_nhave lots of hands on learning opportunities and allow them the time needed to fully comprehend what they are working on.

In terms of “sit down” academics we use a self guided on-line curriculum. This allows my children to choose the order of their lessons. They have control over what they are working on and that makes learning more enjoyable.

550469_10150891628308791_1509430123_nBoth my children have a learning disability so paper and pencil work is like torture to them. The on-line curriculum is fun, interactive and the least frustrating way for my kids to learn their basic subjects.

I am a big advocate of children learning how to be independent and develop skills that will help them get a job and be independent. Through practical life skills such as baking, basic home repair, gardening and volunteering in the community my children are practising how to take care of themselves in a real hands on way while having fun.1374248_10152563195628791_1227155916881035088_n

Another way we have fun with our home-school is by interacting with children of all ages. This is accomplished through sports, classes, field trips and social meet ups. During these social activities my children develop skills like conflict resolution, how to be a good friend and team player, a positive roll model for the other children and respect for each other in a fun hands on way.

I am a firm believer that a lot of life’s lessons that children learn comes from playing 548137_10150947787508791_723773475_noutside with other kids. I like to make sure my children have long, uninterrupted, unstructured periods of time outside with their friends. These are times where they are not only getting fresh air and exercise but also exploring nature, interacting with their friends, using their imagination and having a blast at the same time.

How do you have fun in your home school?

Gluten free/dairy free zucchini mini quiche (with gluten and dairy opions)

 

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If you have ever planted a vegetable  garden that included zucchini then chances are you have ended up with so many zucchini  you didn’t know what to do with them all. Here is a great recipe that helps to put some of that surplus zucchini to good use.

 

 

Gluten free/dairy free zucchini mini Quiche

Ingredients

3 cups shredded zucchini (can even use the club size zucchini as long as the skin is still tender)
1 large onion shredded
5 eggs
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish

Mix all of the above ingredients  and fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until cooked.

For those of you not on a gluten-free/dairy free diet you can replace the gf flour with 1 cup all-purpose flour and add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.

The high cost of autism and long wait times

946079_10151919425798791_565530294_nAs a single parent  of 2 special needs children I know all too well about the high cost of accessing services that my children need and the long wait times for services that are government funded.

While there is some funding available for children with autism, the cost of the program or therapy needs to be paid by the parent upfront then reimbursed by the government in 30 days.

For example, if I wanted to send my son to a special one or two week camp for children with autism at a cost of $600-2000 per week depending on the camp, I would have to come up with the cash to pay the full cost upfront and then wait 30 days to be reimbursed by the government.

You may think “at least you will get your money back” and I agree it is nice of the government to cover the cost of the service after a parent pays for it.  The reality is that most parents, especially single parents don’t have that kind of extra cash on hand. So our kids miss out on great opportunities and services  that would help them.

Another problem that parents who have children with autism face is the incredibly long wait list for services that are government funded. We now know that early intervention for children with autism is crucial and needs to be done within the first 6 years. My son wasn’t even diagnosed until after his 6th birthday. I was told then he would be 11 or 12 before he received government funded services.

Despite the long wait times a lack of formal therapy my son is now very high functioning and this was due to his exposure to other children and informal therapy he has received his whole life, but I will get into that in more detail in another blog post.

There are private agencies who provide services for children with autism so that parents can skip the long wait times, unfortunately these services are very expensive.

Below are 2 links. One talks about the high cost of autism, being greater then the cost of cancer, stroke and heart disease and the other link talks about the long wait times for children with autism.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/09/autism-costs-more-cancer-strokes-heart-disease

http://globalnews.ca/news/1374051/mother-describes-troubling-wait-times-for-autism-intervention-program/

 

 

 

12 reasons every pregnant woman should consider a midwife

There are still people out there who believe if they use a midwife then they MUST have their baby at home. Not true, my friends. You can have a midwife and deliver your baby in the hospital or at home. Your choice.

During my pregnancies with my first 2 children we were under the care of midwives. It was the most amazing experience for all of us.

My daughter was born via c- section after 32 hours of active labor (she was stuck) and the midwife was in the operating room with me.

My son was born (vbac) naturally and my midwife was there supporting us the entire way.

Weather you are planning a natural birth or have medical complications that call for a c- section your midwife will be there to support you every step of the way.

Here are 12 of the many reasons every pregnant woman should consider a midwife:

1) Having a baby under the care of a midwife is statically safer.

2) Midwives are women. I don’t care how great a male doctor is, he DOES NOT know what it is like to be a woman and to be pregnant

3) You have access to your midwife 24/hours a day, 7 days a week.

4)Midwives will come to your house for the first week after your baby is born so you don’t have to leave the house when you are tired, sore and feeling gross.

5) The regular appointments are 30 minutes to an hour! Each visit. That gives you all the time you need to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have about your pregnancy.

6) Midwives let the whole family be as involved as you want in the appointments, labor and delivery

7) You have the choice to deliver your baby at home or in hospital. Your baby, your body, your choice.

8) Its free (in Ontario) to have a midwife care for you

9) Frees up doctors time to help sick people

10) Midwives deliver a lot more babies than a doctor does, there for have far more hands on experience

11) A midwife will access all the extra services you may need during your pregnancy and delivery

12) Midwives spend years in university studying only pregnancy, labor, delivery and newborn care. They then complete a long internship in midwifery care. They are the pregnancy and baby experts.

Below are some great links with statistics and information on midwife care. Some include midwife care in a hospital, some home births and some combined.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/midwifery-benefits_n_3787058.html

http://thestir.cafemom.com/pregnancy/130981/midwife_shares_shocking_facts_about

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/midwife-led-care-best-for-babies-and-moms-researchers-say-1.1368417

A short survey for homeschoolers to complete by Kristan Morrison, a researcher of alternative forms of learning.

The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Please share with other homeschoolers. Katie

My name is Kristan Morrison and I am a researcher of alternative forms of learning.

I have written about the Albany Free School, unschooling families, and democratic education in general.

I am also the board president of  a contemplative/progressive school here in SW Virginia.

I am absolutely committed to exploring and chronicling the work of educational pioneers.

I am currently working on a research project about unschooling families- particularly their roles in facilitating their children’s learning as well as their roles in greater societal change.

I have developed an online survey that I am using in order to get some basic information, but also to set up some contacts for some narrative interviews (via telephone).  The survey can be found here:

http://radford.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3jxhpMrMLwhfgeV

If you would rather not do the survey and go straight to an interview, that is definitely do-able as well.

Simply contact me at:  kmorrison12@radford.edu

or (540) 831-7120

and we will set up a time that is most convenient for you!

Thank you so much in advance!

This 2 minute video will show you what its like to have autism.

1653765_10152065043308791_523728391_nYou need to watch this video.

Even if you don’t have a loved one with autism or haven’t met anyone (yet) with autism you need to watch the video.

The next time you see a child who looks “normal” out in public or at home having what looks like a temper tantrum think of this video.

They could have autism.

They might not be the “spoiled brat” who isn’t getting their own way.

Some people think that an autism parent saying “my child is over stimulated” is an excuse for bad behavior. Watch the video. You would be over stimulated too.

The next time you think an autistic child should behave and live up to YOUR standards remember this video.

Watch it over and over until it sinks in.

How would you feel if every moment of your life was like this?

Wouldn’t you be entitled to some quirks, needing to withdraw and the occasional meltdown?

http://www.faithit.com/autistic-for-2-minutes-couldnt-believe-how-it-felt-groundbreaking/#.UyMeCE_zOO8.facebook

Food allergies or not you need to read this article

As the mother of 2 children with food sensitivities and an adult living with multiple food sensitivities I loved this article.  Like so many other parents of children who have special dietary needs, I have been there.    

Many years ago, when we just started the food sensitivity journey
Many years ago, when we just started the food sensitivity journey

Even if you are fortunate enough to have dodged the food allergy bullet, you still need to read this, as the number of children diagnosed with food allergies and sensitivities continues to rise.

http://www.scarymommy.com/kids-with-allergies/