Tuesday, July 31, 2012

American Girl Doll Dress

 
My five year old loves her dolls and their clothes. She wanted to make a new dress for her 18" doll from her old and falling apart party dress. We found a pattern that would work in the book Sew Today's Fashions for 18-inch dolls.

We used the sewing maching for this project. I did all of the pinning and cutting out of the patterns. She operated the sewing machine. Together we completed this project in just a few days.





* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Leukemia - Depending on Others

When you have no razor to shave with.........
When the clothes you have to wear are your daughter`s and way too small, or bras are the emergency back-up ones when there are absolutely none left.........
When you are ready to run for the first time in three days and it is raining and you have no rain jacket......
When you ask the hospital staff for no white bread and they bring you only white bread...........
When your computer is at home................
When you want to eat and only have bread with meat spread...............
When you cannot go to the grocery store.............
When your daughter is in the hospital...........

This isn`t even about me. It`s about my daughter and I just want her to get better. That`s what we all want. In the mean time life is so different. I was raised to be fiercely independant and learned well. Now all of a sudden the numerous simple things I used to do for myself are impossible for me to do.

Everybody keeps saying how well we are dealing with this. I`m not so sure that is true. I haven`t said one nice word to my husband, my biggest supporter, in weeks.

I cry all the time. I`m scared. I don`t want to freak out everytime someone coughs or sneezes. My older kids are constantly being told to wash and sanitize their hands, clean-up, clean-up, clean-up. And we are only at the very beginning.

Sorry for dumping this all out there. I`m just having a really hard time with this today, but I`m going to try to stop crying for a while and maybe I can actually be nice to my husband today when he comes to visit. Things are getting better. Jemma`s fever is gone and she spent some time playing games and doing puzzles with her siblings yesterday. Hopefully there will only be a few days left like this and then maybe we can come to the hospital only for our planned visits and stays.

Six months of intensive treatment seems like a long time, but it is really pretty short in the grand scheme of time. In the short term I suppose I can deal with uncomfortable clothes and meat spread for dinner. At least I`m eating.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nettle Tea

Stinging Nettle has reached a new status in our home. It recently went from terrible weed which can cause lots of pain to tasty snack. Stinging nettle grows wild along the sides of trails, in gardens, and just about everywhere in our area of Germany. Brushing up against it causes small painful blisters. They sting! The stinging hurts badly for about 15 minutes and then becomes an annoying pain for the remainder of the day.

My son recently learned how to pick the leaves without getting stung.

The next step is to fold the leaf in half and press hard. According to him this removes the stingers.


He boiled them in water to make tea.

Then he ate the leaves both cooked and raw. I was lucky enough (forced) to try them too. We both thought they tasted like spinach. On the internet there are tons of nettle recipes. I'm sure we will be making nettle soup next.

Warning: if you try this be sure to double check all this information. I believe that after the plant flowers the lower leaves develop a chemical that is harmful to the kidneys and therefore only the top leaves of the plant should be consumed.

- Thanks Susan for getting this experiment underway.
Hearth & Soul Hop

Leukemia - How is Jemma? - Day 43


Jemma is currently doing pretty well. I was hoping to write tonight about Jemma and her siblings reconnecting after her long stay in the hospital and their long visit to Michigan. Unfortunately, I have a different story to tell. Saturday morning while driving home from a scheduled hospital visit, Jemma suddenly told me she was cold, and when I looked at her she was shivering violently. After pulling over briefly I headed straight back to the hospital. She was admitted with a 106 degree F, 41 degree C fever. I am in complete shock by how quickly her fever came on and rose incredibly high. Just 30 minutes prior we were released from the hospital and sent home.

Upon arriving back at the hospital no time was wasted in connecting Jemma's catheter. She received fluid, fever reduction medication, antibiotics, protein, and a blood transfusion. Her fever finally stabilized during the night and she felt much better the second day.

The results of her blood analysis showed that her immune system was down all the way to zero. She had bacteria in her body and nothing strong enough to fight it off. Five days of three 8 hour antibiotic doses via the iv plus two days of oral antibiotics are necessary to kill the infection. Because of the infection her chemotherapy was put on hold. It will resume when her blood has had some time to recover, perhaps on Wednesday. We are currently hoping to return home on Thursday. For me the experience this week has been super scary. She still has five full months of treatment to undergo with an immune system that will be weak at its best.

Since the older kids are now back in Germany, and my husband had to work, they went to a friend's house. For them it was a bit of an extended vacation, but I'm sure this experience definitely had an impact. When we get home there will be many more discussions on the subject.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grand Marais, Michigan



Huge sandunes can be found in the city of Grand Marais, Michigan on the shore of Lake Superior. It's a fun jump down to the water and a strenuous climb back up.

This area of Michigan was once very important to the logging industry. Loggers would cut the trees and slide them down the dunes to the water.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes is a National Park located on Lake Michigan west of Traverse City. At the park there are two paths to reach Lake Michigan. One drops a steep 500 feet from the top ending at the lake. It's lots of fun going down and can be fun or not so fun coming back up depending on how fit you are. The other route is a less strenuous 2 mile walk up and down the dunes.

The dunes are covered with beach grass which is tall grass that grows in clumps.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Saw it on Vacation - Week 24 - July 27

What have you seen on Vacation? "I Saw it on Vacation" is a weekly link-up for kids and adults to learn about geography. Many of us have been to exciting places and seen unique things. Let us dream about future vacations while we learn more about our world!

Corn fields in Iowa, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, grizzly bears in Alaska…….monuments, landmarks, national parks, geographical features of any type are fair game. It doesn’t even really need to be a vacation. Your post could be about your local climate, or the traditions of your region. If the post shows photos of mountains and big horn sheep in Colorado, or explains hurricanes in the south it’s applicable. Just make sure it is kid-friendly and geography related.

Feel free to link-up a post you've already written and comment on the posts of others! Please link your post on the weekly I Saw it on Vacation blog-hop post and on the I Saw it on Vacation page. I’m excited to see what you have seen!
  • Link-up in two places;
    - Weekly I Saw it on Vacation blog-hop post below so we can see what’s new
    - I Saw it on Vacation Page – If you don’t see your territory send me a email so I can add it. jmommymom @ gmail . com
  • Follow me and I will follow back. Leave me a comment to let me know.
  • Link-up to your post or your main URL if your entire blog is dedicated to one place
  • Include a link back to this page in your post – You can grab the button below
  • Optional: Include the “I Saw it on Vacation” button on your side bar so others can join
  • Include the location and a short description of what you saw in your link up.
  • Check out what others have seen
THE LINK IS OPEN EACH WEEK FRIDAY-THURSDAY

If you would like to see what we have seen, check out German Living Topics, European Countries and European Living Topics on the side bar.
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Lake Como is shaped like an upside down letter Y and located in northern Italy. Cities on this lake are popular getaways for city dwellers. Life on lake villages is slow, and great for relaxation, biking and spending time in cafes. This local lady rushed out of her house when she saw the kids. She had some food she wanted to feed to the ducks and had the kids help her.

What have you seen?

Highhill Homeschool

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Leukemia - How is Jemma? - Day 39

Why do people jump out of planes? - Jemma asked this on our drive to the hospital after we saw a paraglider in the sky.

Yesterday Jemma and I spent the day and night at the hospital. It was a planned visit and the first day in Phase 1B of her treatment plan. I like planned visits much better. We had a very nice day and a sleepless night. Upon arriving her catheter was connected to the IV cart so she could be given fluids and chemo. She felt pretty good during the day so we spent the afternoon crafting in the hospital. I continued working on the hat Jemma designed while she did a paint by number kit and made a pom pom pig.




The reason we had to stay overnight was so her system could be flushed with fluid to begin the new treatment phase. Well they weren't kidding. During the night she usually wakes up once to use the bathroom. I knew she was receiving lots of fluid so I woke her up after she had been in bed for 2 hours. Too long! The bed was full of pee and she wasn't happy about it. After finally getting her back into bed I decided to wake her up after 1.5 hours. Too long! We quickly blew through all the spare underwear and clothing we brought to the hospital and I found that she needed to pee every 45 minutes. That doesn't leave much time for sleep. In total the bed was wet six times. Toward the morning I let her sleep naked for as long as she could. This lasted two hours. Not long after she woke up the nurse disconnected her catheter, she took a shower and we went home.

On Monday the two older kids returned home loaded with treasures. Their new items coupled with the wonderful gifts Jemma received left me with the challenge of finding homes for everything. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday organizing and cleaning out the old to make room for the new. It was probably time we got rid of some of those toys for three year olds anyway. Now I'm feeling caught up and ready to return to the hospital the next four mornings in a row so Jemma can receive treatments. I'm also ready for summer. Hopefully there will be some time to play tennis and go on a few bike rides with the two older children.

Photobucket What Did They Say!?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning to Sew - Red Polka-Dot Dress

After several requests from my five year old, I agreed to help her sew a dress. She did surprisingly well with this challenging project.

I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric and she cut them out.

I did all the pinning and she sewed all the straight seams. This dress had several. After she got going she was able to make the machine go forward and backwards, as well as start and stop on her own.

Since the zipper and arms were a bit more of a challenge I sewed those parts. I also added the ribbons she chose. What impressed me most about this project was her ability to stick with it. It took about four days of work spread over a month of time.

This is my little girl that wants one of everything, so I am glad she was able to see and participate in the hard work it takes to make a dress.

To see more of our craft activities please visit our Craft Page.





This Post is Linked to: 
For the Kids Friday
Real Family Fun

Parenting and Unschooling

One of my friends here in Germany is new to homeschooling, but not new to parenting. Every time I talk to her I get new ideas about both. To me she seems to lean toward the unschooling method of homeschooling, so this topic has been on my mind. In the past I have read a lot about the unschooling method, and agree with much of the philosophy. Personally, I have not made the leap into unschooling with my family.

One of my favorite unschooling resources is the web site Joyfully Rejoycing. It actually covers parenting and unschooling topics and ties them together. I love the way the author writes about chores from the child's perspective and then goes on to explain how parents can get willing help from their children.

When my kids aren't in school they are unschooled right? It is so interesting to see what they will do with their time. My girls usually choose crafty activities while my son putters around drawing, making paper computers, learning to use the buttons on his keyboard, and exploring tools like Google sketch-up. I am very interested in these types of activities and even created Homeschool Hobbies and Handicrafts, a blog hop to showcase what kids choose to do with their time.

John Holt is considered the father of the unschooling method. He has written several books on the topic. Following the philosophy takes a lot of strength from the parents who do it, and I admire those who unschool successfully.



This post is linked to: 
Works for me Wednesday

 * I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recommended Books for a 7 year Old

A question I read on a lot of homeschool message boards is "Could you please recommend some books for my 7 year old to read." I rarely see this question asked for any other age. So I've been thinking about why that is. I believe it is because at the age of 7 many children are transitioning from picture books to chapter books. They're not quite ready for the challenging chapter books recommended in the higher grades, but ready for more than just short stories.

Both my older children, daughter and son, have passed through this phase. Here is my list of books they were able to read on their own while transitioning from picture books to chapter books.


There are many different books series which have been thoroughly enjoyed:

Animal Stories by Thornton W. Burgess - The Ambleside On-line curriculum uses the Animal Book and Bird Book by Thornton W Burgess as part of the science curriculums around years 1-3. These Animal Stories such as The Adventures of Buster Bear, are quite a bit easier, educational and very entertaining.
26 Fairmount Avenue Series by Tomie De Paola - This is a semi-autobiographical series of books and very good for the transition phase.
The Littles by John Peterson
Little House Chapter Books by Roger Lea MacBride (adapted) - This series is an extension of the Little House on the Praire books by Laura Ingles Wilder. The books follow her daughter Rose on her childhood adventures. I don't usually recommend adapted books, but these are good for children just beginning to read chapter books.
Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne - Although these are not my favorites, they do contain lots of historical and geographical information. The kids really like them.
Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole - This series is another which is on my ok list. Again the kids really seem to like them and the stories contain lots of science information.

In addition to the series books listed above, these books are great.
Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley - The book contains several short stories which are particularly good for girls. They follow the oh so innocent adventures of a Little British Girl. I remember one of them about when she ran a store for the afternoon and another about her new bedroom.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes - This is another story particularly suited for girls.
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - This is actually a series, but we have only read this book. 
Abel's Island by William Steig - This is charming tale of adventure and survival as related by a newly wed mouse.
The Big Wave by Pearl S Buck - Set in Japan this story deals with death and Tsunami.
Tornado by Betsy Byars - This is the story of a dog who is lost to another family during a tornado.
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman - Set in the middle ages, the prince and his Whipping boy go on an adventure together.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dagliesh - A growing child must cross the wilderness to complete an errand.
Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla - This book is an excellent example of a Living Book. Through story readers come away with an excellent understanding of life during Viking times.
The Last Little Cat by Meindert De Jong - This is the story of how a little cat finds a home.
Quake! Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 by Gail Langer Karwoski - This is the story of how a boy is seperated from his family during the earthquake, befriends another lost child, and eventually finds his family.





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This post is linked to: 
No Time for Flash Cards
Living and Learning at Home

Leukemia - How is Jemma? - Day 36

Well we are home now, but have been back to the hospital twice already since Friday. Hopefully we can make it a full day without returning tomorrow. Here's what happened. We were at home for about 24 hours when Jemma was climbing up to sit at the kitchen table and had a typical kid accident. She fell off the bench and bumped her elbow and her head. Both immediately swelled up. Remember she is not allowed to ride her bike as a precaution against accidents. Her blood may or may not be clotting properly due to the chemotherapy. It's possible she could have had excessive bleeding or blood clots. I was very concerned after this minor and normal fall. At home everything is different now than before. I phoned the hospital. They said we should come in right away. After examining Jemma and checking her blood we were allowed to return home. That was Saturday afternoon.

Sunday night after Jemma went to be she woke up at 22:30 and began throwing up. She threw up every 10 minutes for two hours, so we stayed the night in the hospital. In the morning she was fine and we were allowed to return home again. In the mean time, the other two kids were on their flight back to Germany. My husband went from the hospital to the airport and rested a few hours in the car.

Now it's Monday. We are all home and everyone is very tired.

****************************************************************************

My favorite question Jemma asked recently was: Is the wheat ripe at the Baltic Sea?

Getting bandages changed is usually not a favorite activity for Jemma. Therefore, I found it interesting that one of the first questions she asked in the morning after spending the night at home was "Do you think we should change my bandage now?" I told her we would wait until the next day when she took a shower. She was actually looking forward to this task. Over the past month she has been watching the doctors and nurses very closely when they do this and other medical tasks. Now she is ready to do it for herself. She is an extremely independent child. I thought for some time before she got Leukemia that she would have a career either as the boss of her own company, or as something to do with the medical profession. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Leukemia and Dancing

While in the hospital Jemma received a video of her dance class practicing their dances from her instructor. It is by far one of the best things she had in the hospital because it encouraged her to move. Each day I played the video and told Jemma I was trying to learn her routine. She usually would get up and practice too. However, once was enough. After that her energy was gone.

Now that we are at home she is still practicing and usually has the energy to do the dance a few times before her energy runs out.

As you can see from the picture most of Jemma's hair has fallen out. Her only concern with loosing her hair is that she may not be able to dance. She could care less about being bald. When the girls dance they wear wigs so they all look alike. The wigs are attached to the girls existing hair with bobbypins. Hence, no hair, no wig. - Now isn't that ironic.


She often talks about dance and has said she isn't sure she will be able to dance in the shows this year. In addition to the wig problem, she understands that she doesn't feel well enough to practice, and has made the connection to the future shows. I'm not sure she will dance this year either, and know if she does it will be a huge challenge.

 On another note, the older two kids should be on the plane right now. We can't wait to see them.

Tunnels in Switzerland


Switzerland is a country we haven't yet spent too much time in. We did however get to drive across the country. I have never been through so many tunnels in my life. One of them was 17 km long, and although there is a bit of disagreement between those who were counting, they counted about 30 tunnels between Italy and Germany across the country of Switzerland.

 
When we were not inside a tunnel the views were breathtaking. There were so many waterfalls cascading down the majestic Alps.
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