Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Openhouse Down...

Last night was Adam's openhouse at the new smaller school we transferred him to. At the other school, the bus got there an hour early and that's way too much time to get into trouble. The kids were not supervised during that time.

He was also acting out in class and doing rude and defiant things for attention. He hasn't been all that excited about this new school, but the reports from the teachers at openhouse last night were all positive. He has some work to get caught up but they all say he works in class and isn't disruptive. Yay!

He doesn't like the school because it's all computer taught but there is a qualified teacher for each class, and they change classes for each subject just like any other highschool. But he can't entertain or interact with anyone during class time as easily since everyone is on a computer and most of the students really want to get their work done. However, if they get their work done early, they have free time. They can interact or play approved computer games, e-mail etc.

Adam in the student lounge.

One of the classrooms.

Checking his computer.

I don't know if you can see clearly, but when we get home at night there are always 6-12 frogs right at the edge of the house by the steps.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Twins at School

Kaleb's teacher went to the same kind of chart as Kayla's where they get a sticker per half hour or so. Kaleb did really well on Friday, which was his first day doing this. Our conference for today is postponed until we see if this makes a lasting change or not.

Kayla didn't do so well Friday. And she hurt a child by grabbing and yanking on his backpack. She seems to be impulsive and she's unintentionally hurt several children so far.

The twins brought home a homework packet Friday! Six math pages to be done during the week. We did the first one together. Kaleb settled right down and did it with me so got to do his next homework project. Kayla just started putting dots all over her page and then wouldn't erase them so she did not get to do the "me" project with us.

Jessica had A LOT of algebra homework. Note the 20 oz bottle of dew voltage. Takes a lot of empty calories and caffeine for college math!

Jasmine had to write 25 definitions. It took 4 hours. The teacher said there would be a bit of spelling homework each day. A bit? Okay, so Jasmine has some issues, but how quickly would any other student write 25 definitions?

We were going to have a neighbor family join us for jet skiing Saturday but it drizzled all day. So they came down and we cooked out here.

Everyone is back to school today. There is open house at Adam's school tonight. Jasmine has softball practice this week but dance doesn't start until next week. Rick and Tyler are off to Dragon Con over the weekend so the rest of us will have to entertain ourselves.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What We're Eating

I encourage each of my children to cook once a month. We put the recipes in a file, and I'll run a copy for each when they leave home. The twins don't cook yet, but if one of the others decides not to cook, they don't get to try what the others make the next month. That might sound harsh, but if you don't work you don't eat--but you really do eat, it's just a sandwich instead. Jessica often cooks more to help out.

This recipe came out really bland and tasting pretty much like canned baked beans. I added bbq sauce to the recipe in hopes of livening it up. Very easy to make and filling although bland. The original recipe calls for lima beans where I put great northern or black beans. I was going to try it with the lima beans but couldn't find any! Not sure how that would change the taste.

Hamburger and Bean Dish
1 lb ground beef
1 med onion chopped
5 slices bacon
15 oz can butter beans drained
15 oz can kidney beans drained
15 oz can great northern or black beans drained
28 oz can baked beans
1/3-1/2 c packed brown sugar
¼ c ketchup
¼-1/2 c bbq sauce
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven 350F. Cook beef and onion in 10" skillet over medium heat until brown. Drain. Place beef in ungreased 3 qt casserole.

Cook bacon over low heat. Drain and crumble.

Stir beans, brown sugar, ketchup, bbq sauce and Worcestershire sauce into beef in casserole. Top with bacon. Cover and bake 40 minutes.

Beef Bake with Garlic Dumplings
1 lb ground beef
1 ½ c mixed vegetables
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ tsp pepper
½ c milk

1 c original Bisquick mix
1 pouch Betty Crocker roasted garlic mashed potatoes (from 7.2 oz box)
1 c milk

Heat oven to 400F. Spray 11x7 (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Brown beef and onion over medium heat in skillet. Stir in mixed vegetables, soup, pepper and ½ milk. Heat to boiling. Pour in dish.
In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and dry mashed potatoes. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 1 cup milk on high 2 minutes. Stir hot milk into Bisquick mixture with fork until soft dough forms. Let stand 2 minutes. Drop dough by teaspoonful onto beef mixture. (makes 12)
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until dumplings are cooked and lightly browned.

The recipe calls for whole tomatoes but I wrote in diced for next time. Stewed might work better too.

Easy Italian Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 med onion chopped
1 box Hamburger helper lasagna
5 c hot water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1-2 c frozen or canned corn
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 sm zucchini chopped
additional Parmesan cheese if desired

In 4-quart pot, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain.
Stir in hot water, contents of sauce mix pouch from Hamburger Helper box, tomatoes, corn and cheese. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in contents of uncooked pasta pouch (from Hamburger Helper box) and zucchini. Cover; cook 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle each serving with additional grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Makes 4-6 servings

Spoke too Soon?

Well, Kayla had another great day, but this is Kaleb's chart. She had so much to write that she had to continue on the back. She wants a conference on Monday after school because stickers and time outs aren't working. Today he took his shoes off repeatedly--that one is easy to solve. I'd bought him cool hi tops that he hated because he can't get them off and on. I finally bought him a plain old pair of white low tops. I told him today if the shoes come off at school again he wears the hi tops.
He poked another teacher with a pencil. Got into other student's faces, refused to do work, scribbled on his work sheets. Talked through circle time etc.
I thought he was going to start doing better so asked Rick to pick up the Sure Start football registration pack. Don't think we'll need it. If he can't behave for his teacher, I'm not going to make a coach go through it.

A Better Day

Kayla's teacher started giving her a sticker every half hour that she didn't yell or put her hands on someone. The teacher said she had a good day!

I started a sticker calendar at home too, and Kaleb got all four stickers yesterday.

Much better behavior. I'm not naive enough to think that this is going to solve all the problems, but both children were very proud of themselves.

I asked the bus driver if they stayed in their seats (a big problem), and she said yes and that today she put them in seatbelts. Well, duh. If there are seatbelts, why aren't they using them? I would have done that the first time they got up.

We all have days like this!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


A few updates

My camera is drying out and is taking photos now, but still has problems with being foggy.

Jasmine's surgery went well. Once the swelling goes down she should have a "normal" nose and lip. She has a much more complicated surgery ahead that involves an expander being inserted under the skin of her neck and then removed three months later.

She Will have restricted activities during that whole three months. That means I need to switch her from tumbling to something less strenuous at dance! She has ballet already and we were going to try tumbling for whole body strength.

Dance starts after Labor Day. I'm not sure if she'll be able to do any dance after the surgeries really so I'm going to see if we can hold off on recital costumes until we find out.

I took Jasmine to school this morning, and she's going to try and stay until 11. If she doesn't feel up to it, I'll go get her. The math is so very difficult that we don't dare skip more days. I found out today that it's not just her though, all the kids are struggling with millions, ten millions and hundred millions. It seems a bit extreme for fourth grade. They are using Harcourt Go Math! for Florida to meet the Florida standards. The school has called the district but I don't know if anything can be done.

Jessica is struggling with math too. She tested high on her placement test but when she took it, she was in advanced algebra. She hasn't had math in a year and has forgotten some of it. She was placed in college algebra (not intro or the easier algebra class) and started off with grafting and factoring. She had to buy a $100 grafting calculator!

Thankfully she found some videos online that explain what she is supposed to do, so it's starting to click. She seems to be enjoying her classes but realizes that almost all her profs believe in evolution.

The twins have been home seven months today. Both teachers called again yesterday about behavior issues, and both are going to try a new behavior plan starting today.

I am also starting a sticker chart today. We have four targeted areas they can earn stickers for. A certain number will be required to go to the convenience store for treats on Fridays. And to take part in the nightly movie and popcorn. Not sure how this will work yet, but it can't really hurt. And it will help me see their progress.

Although we are getting lots of poor behaviors at home and school, I am not really discouraged because they are all normal and somewhat expected. There is no food hoarding or bizarre behaviors. No harming pets or starting fires. No real harming of other people's property. They will get into sibling's things sometimes or something may get broken when played with too roughly or thrown in anger, but there's not any deliberate destruction. They never get angry or out of control to the point where they have to be restrained.

They are acting out more at school than at home. And there is less that the teachers can do. I can remove them from an activity, put them to bed early, sit them time in or time out or issue a nap. I can take away offending objects. I can put toys in time out. The teachers are dealing with 18 students and can really only give a brief time out or a few minutes loss of recess. The bus driver is having problems with them too. I think once Jasmine is back on the bus, we will be able to deal with that.

They are, of course, delayed in their learning. They are resistant to trying things that are hard for them. Kayla will crumple up a paper she doesn't want to do. Still, I expect to see a lot of growth this year. I've asked for Kaleb to be tested for speech. He is not clear in either creole or English. He substitutes a lot of sound at the beginning, middle and end of words.

Tyler and Adam have not been very verbal about how school is going, but I think both are doing fine. I haven't heard otherwise. There is a kid's triathlon that I told Adam about coming up in November. He is interested, but it means working through some issues and showing me that he can be responsible on a daily basis. It's a very easy triathlon--200 meter swim in a very nice pool, six miles bike and one mile run. He can easily run 5 miles so it's only the swimming that may slow him down. We don't have a pool for him to practice in, but I dropped him off in the bay and had him swim in Sunday. It's $45 plus a membership fee so I need to know he's committed to it before I sign him up.

We are taking a break from soccer this fall. The twins are not doing a sport until we work through some issues, and Jasmine is going to try girl's softball. She's had a couple of practices and seems to enjoy it. Softball is very low key in the fall. Spring is when it's the major sport, but with the neck surgery she won't be playing. It's sad, but we need to just get this surgery behind us. And she has some exciting plans for summer that I'll share once we are more certain about them. But it's awesome and I can't wait to see if it's really going to work out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010



Ready to go into surgery
All done. My poor boo bear.


Jasmine should be going into surgery any time now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday fun

With all the school issues, it seemed like we really hadn't had a lot of fun lately. I've been feeling like I'm doing more disciplining that playing. Probably because that's the way it is right now. So bright and early Saturday, I loaded the SUV and we went to the skateboard park. Unfortutaly, it started pouring as soon as we got there, and this is the only picture I took.

Jessica works the 12-6 shift on Saturdays so we are limited on what she can do with us.

With the Saturday work schedule making jet skiing impossible, we decided to head to the bay right after church Sunday. Ty was more thrilled than this--honest. He was just being nonchalant for the camera!

Jessica was texting a friend to see if she could join us, but she couldn't.

Adam in the new tube. I have to look to see who everyone is because we did have some friends join us, and the life jackets got passed around. It ended up with people in life jackets that weren't their own. Adam is wearing Ty's yellow life jacket.

Tyler kayaking (wearing Rick's life jacket)

Anthony kayaking (wearing Adam's life jacket)

Kaleb in the tube. No one could find his life jacket so he got a spare orange one.

Now Nicole is wearing Ty's life jacket! See what I mean?

Unfortunately, one of the little ones decided to
spend most of the day in time out and never did get to tube. She would get a mouthful of water, walk up to someone and spit it right on them. That didn't go over well. She went into areas she was told to stay clear of (for safety reasons), took other people's food off their plates and so on. So the fun didn't happen for her. Today she brought home a red from school (that's the lowest conduct grade) for being defiant, throwing things, spitting etc. and when the bus was pulling up but not yet stopped, I saw her get up and run down the aisle. No movie and popcorn tonight!
Back to jet skiing--A neighbor family joined us for about an hour and then it started pouring. We loaded the kayaks and jet ski in the rain, but we were all wet anyway. It was fun having them there even if it wasn't for long.
I also had Adam do a practice triathalon. I dropped him off out a ways and had him swim in. He had kayak escort of course in case of emergencies. Then he biked home and was suppose to run back but of course it was pouring by then. He was on his way back when we were driving home.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures after the ones I posted above : (
My camera was set in a damp, but not really wet spot. It had a severe allergic reaction and died! Really! It was quite dramatic. The viewer screen soaked up moisture and just died. We took a few pictures hoping it was just the viewer screen, but it wasn't. So my faithful Kodak easyshare z612 is no more. It served faithfully for three years, including four of the trips to Haiti. And of course it's not readily available anymore. Haven't even been able to find a new one online. Not sure about getting a "good condition" used one. I've ordered "like new" books to have them arrive scribbled in.
I hope to find one, though. I also bought a cheapy vivicamX029 for the beach and jet skiing. I know it won't take that great of pictures but for $60 I don't have to worry about a repeat of my beloved kodak's death. It would have been nice if it had at least come with an owner's manual. It comes in a sealed plastic package like all cheapy cameras rather than a box so it's not like the store can just give me one from another pack. I've contacted vivitar.
Well, that's all our news from the weekend. Jasmine is down pre oping in Gainesville right now for her surgery tomorrow. I'll try to post after her surgery. I'm also going to download Jessica's camera because she took some pictures after my camera died. I'm not sure what she has on hers though.

While I was typing that last paragraph, Kaleb's teacher called that he'd had a bad day today. She said he is usually very eager to come in and take part in the activities, but today he wouldn't stay in a center or keep his hands off of everyone. Hopefully he'll be back to himself tomorrow.