Sunday, January 31, 2010

If you are a night owl reading this

and would still like to get in on the necklace givaway, please do!  We won't be collecting the names until the morning when Rebecca is awake to do the drawing.  We'll probably do it mid-morning or so and post the results as soon as we are able to.

Thank you to all who have donated!



Friday, January 29, 2010

Necklace Giveaway - Ending soon!

There are a few more days left in the giveaway!  Please go to this post (or scroll down) to read more.

Thank you to those who have posted and donated.  We do appreciate it. 

Here is the necklace we are giving away.  It was made by Rebecca.

We are donating all the money given to Anya, an orphan in Eastern Europe who needs a family.  We chose her because she needed someone to help raise funds for her.  She has been listed for over a year and has very little in her sponsorship fund. 

For more  pictures and the details of the giveaway, please go visit the previous post.   The giveaway will end on Janu 31 and we will draw a winner on Feb 1st.

We have started getting some snow tonight and the children are so excited!  I do hope that we'll get more in the night and that there will be plenty to play in tomorrow!

I also wanted to share a few pictures from our museum trip yesterday.  I didn't get many.  It was a crowded day there.  Isaiah was so good about helping Eliana to enjoy the exhibits.  I thought is was really sweet and cute too.

The children really enjoyed seeing the fish.  I love that they have it down low for a better view for the kids.

No words needed.  Just too cute!

Thank you!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Hickory Chair - Co-op FIAR Volume 4

Just an update on some of our schooling.  We spent today at the museum with our FIAR group and then went to a local park for lunch.  It was a beautiful day and the children had a great time running around and playing while the Moms had time to talk.  I really enjoyed this time!

Last week, we had another wonderful co-op with our FIAR volume 4 group.  This time we were studying The Hickory Chair.  We started with reading the book (as usual) and then moved into learning about the eye.  So many interesting things to learn about the eye that I would never have thought to discuss or explore.  I love that my children are benefitting from the talents of my friends - and so happy they are willing to share.

They learned about the various colors of eyes - and what causes these different colorations.

They learned about how an eye works.  I wish you could have all heard the explanation as this mom is incredibly creative and interesting and really knows a lot about science topics!

After learning about how an eye functions, each child then made their own copy of an eye. 

I have to think that making this learning hands-on helps the children to really understand the parts of an eye and also to remember the various functions of each component. 

They each put in the iris and a lens.  There was the optic nerve running out of the back of the eye and the muscles on the outside of the eye.  This wasn't a kit either, but something put together by the above mentioned creative moms teaching the class.

Next was a fun game.  I love seeing how others teach using games as it helps to get my mind going as to ways I can do the same.  I think that several of mine are really going to need this type of instruction and I'm trying to learn all that I can.

First, the children were given a variety of animals to look at and talk about. 

Then they matched the animal with a picture of it's eye.  How cool is that?!

The last game was one using "blind sight" as in the story.  The children were put into pairs.  One child was blindfolded and the other helped to lead them around the house.  Their task was to find a color-coded strip.  These had been out in plain sight around the house during the morning and now they had to find them. 

It was a fun time learning about the eye and sight!

Rebecca also made up a fun activity for her brothers.  (The story in the book centers around a young boy who is blind and his grandmother hides notes for the family to find after she dies.  Each note begins ... "for my favorite" and describes something about that person.)  Rebecca hid notes in a couple of rooms in the house for her brothers to find.  You wouldn't know until you read the note whether or not the note was intended for you. 

For a challenge, they were blindfolded so that they would have to feel around for the notes.  This was really hard for them to do  - using their sense of touch instead of sight.

She added coins to the backs of the note for an extra incentive for finding them.  (The notes in the story led to a gift of the item in which the note was found.) 

I just thought this was a funny picture.  Joshua didn't appreciate where one of the notes was hidden (vaseline I apply to his dry hands at night). 

The boys wasted no time in putting their coins away (in a bank or a bank book). 

A fun activity totally thought up and planned by a thoughtful sister!  Thank you Rebecca.

Hope you enjoyed a peek at some of our fun with this book.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

JDRF Family Retreat Week-end

Last Friday afternoon, I left with 4 of our children to attend the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Family Retreat week-end.  It was just an hour from our home and the cost was quite a deal!  We stayed in the beautiful Grandover Resort

We arrived late afternoon after making a short stop at Target to buy snacks for the week -end for all of us.  First we signed in and registered for the classes we were interested in attending.  They had seminars for both children and adults.  I wasn't sure what Daniel would be interested in doing and honestly didn't really plan ahead well for him.  (Note to self:  take playdoh and wikki stix next year to keep him entertained quietly while sitting with me.) 

Then we checked into the hotel.  The boys enjoyed exploring the room.  The bathrobes and closet were both a lot of fun for them.  LOL

We ate dinner in a large ballroom.  I had not taken all of our diabetes supplies (like a scale and carb counting book) as I had been told that there would be carb counts there.  There was a list, but it was not complete, so I found myself guessing at some things.  I also asked a couple of the moms around me for some help as we were all in the same boat.

During the dinner we listened to a speaker - the man who founded the website Children with Diabetes.  He talked about diabetes and things that made people more successful in managing it.  (One of the factors were people who checked in the middle of the night - we do.)  He talked about statistics and the improvements that have been made.  (The lifespan for a Type 1 diabetic used to be 15 years shorter and that has been cut in half and is shrinking even more with good managment!)  He was very interesting and Joshua listed this as one of his favorite things of the week-end.

After dinner, we explored the hotel a little more.  We went to the game room and enjoyed some foosball.

We went by the pool, but it was VERY crowded and most of the kids (all but one) wanted to pass on going in.  So we went up to the room and watched some of America's Funniest Home Videos and then went to sleep.  Rebecca and I worked on our Bible study before finally going to sleep too.

The morning started early with a loud alarm (that amazingly only woke up some of us as we tried to figure out how to cut it off).  We went to breakfast.  All of the meals were served buffet style which is nice.  We ate in the same large ballroom.  We shared a table on Fri night with a family that arrived just prior to the speaker starting so we didn't get to talk.  We shared breakfast with a family that was reading the newspaper - so again, no conversation. 

There were two morning seminars.  Rebecca graciously agreed to give up going to some of the teen sessions in order to help Daniel.  For the first seminar, Joshua and Isaiah went into a kids session together.  They played some games and seemed to have a good time.  Rebecca, Daniel and I went to a session put on by The Diabetic Chef.  It was set up like a cooking show and was a lot of fun to watch.  (Rebecca and I both enjoy watching the cooking channel, but don't get to do it often as we dont' have cable.) 

His goals were to create healthy foods that also really tasted good.  He was trained as a chef - and found out he was a Type 1 diabetic during this training.  He has several cookbooks out and we bought both of them.  I'm looking forward to trying some things out!  We spent some time talking with he and his wife at the end of the day and they were both super nice.  You can check out his website by clicking on his name above.   

For the second session of the morning, Rebecca went into a young child's room with Daniel while I went to a seminar on adherance.  Yeah, I wasn't really sure what it would be on either.  She talked about ways to help your children stay the course of managing their diabetes.  Some of the information was really good and some if it I didn't necessarily agree with either - but know that is because I approach life from a different view than some people (in terms of relationships with children).  One of the statistics that she gave I found very interesting.  She said that 40 percent of parents have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at diagnosis of a child with diabetes.  She said that there was no other chronic illness were this was also true.  In some ways, a sad thing to hear.  in other ways, really validating of how very stressful this disease is to people.

Next was lunch.  We put our things down at a table and went to get our food.  When we returned, we found a family sharing our table and this time we were able to talk.  Turned out that they lived in the same city and also had a boy Joshua's age with Type 1.  I told them we hadn't met anyone yet (boy Joshua's age) and was excited to talk with them.  We had a good conversation with them (they even knew the surgeon that operated on Eliana's heart), but no further contact. 

After lunch, Joshua told me that he didn't want to go to the kids sessions anymore.  Isaiah went without him and Joshua came with me.  We attended a meeting of people from our area of the state.  They talked about a variety of topics, but something I heard a lot of was that people felt disconnected and so did their children.  This mirrors our experience too.  There is a mentor program set up through JDRF which we have tried several times to get involved in and have just fallen through the cracks - repeatedly.  I'll keep trying though. 

The last session was one on research for me and an active/exercise one for all of the children.  I only stayed through part of it because a worker brought Joshua to me saying he felt low.  They had not checked him (because I had his kit), but had given him a juice box.  We decided to leave the session and go talk to some of the pump representatives.  This was a good time to try out the pumps (pushing the buttons) and see how they worked.  All the reps were really nice and gave us good info.

It seems that *everyone* is on the pump.  We saw lots of pumps this week-end and I never saw anyone giving shots (though I'm sure there were others there too).  Joshua is getting more interested and excited about getting on the pump and we'll follow up with that now.

That was the end of the day.  We arrived home in time for dinner.  It was a fun trip and we got some good information.  I wish we had been able to connect with a family that we could have had more contact with once we got home.  Perhaps that will come with time too.  Or maybe, like me, Joshua can find a friend that he can talk with online instead of in person.  We'll see.  I know God has good plans for us.



PS  If you haven't yet - please check out the giveaway on the post just below this one!  Thank you to those who have donated via chip-in and also through sending a check.  Please remember to let me know if you are sending a check so I can add you to the drawing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beautiful Necklace Giveaway

All of us have things that move our hearts and spur us to act.  All of us have passions and things we feel like we need to do.  Since having Eliana and learning about the plight of orphans with Down syndrome, I've felt called to make a difference.  For our family, that has mostly involved lots of prayers and donating our money.  This month, we thought we would try something different. 

Rebecca has made a beautiful necklace to use in hopes of raising some money for Anya.  I know, the title says Giveaway.  You don't have to donate anything in order to be eligible to win.  We are hoping though that some of you will be encouraged to give just a little (or a more) in order to help this sweet girl find a family.

This is Anya.

We want to give her a chance to live in a loving home.  The cost of adoption holds back many families.  By helping to raise money for a grant for her, we hope this might encourage a family to step forward to make her their daughter.  Won't you help us? 

Here is the necklace from several views.  I also wanted to show it on different backgrounds as well as some close-ups.   The lights sometimes reflects and catches it in different ways.  It is silver though it can appear gold in the photos.  Isn't it lovely!

Here are the rules:

1.  You will be entered into the drawing 1 time for each $5 donation you make.  The minimum donation using chip-in is $10.  If you want to make a donation smaller than $10, please mail a check to the following address:

Reece's Rainbow

PO Box 4024

Gaithersburg, MD 20885

The reason for this is that the paypal fees for donations under $10 is 30 percent!  We want as much money as possible going to help Anya and not paid as fees!  If you do mail a check, would you let me know so that I can enter your name in the drawing?

2.  If you share this giveaway on your blog or facebook page, you will get an entry for that too.  Just post a comment here letting me know what you have done that so I can enter your name.

3.  The giveaway will be open until January 31 at midnight! 

That's it.  Please help spread the word and prayerfully consider making a donation.  There is a chip in on the right side of my blog in the sidebar.  Thank you!

If you have questions about this, please post them.  This is my first time doing this and I've probably missed something big. 

If I'm slow in answering, I"ll get back to you as soon as I can.  I will be taking some of the children this week-end to a Family Diabetes Retreat while Roger is home with the rest of them.  We are excited about this opportunity and I'll share more when we return.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snowflake Bentley Co-op

We love our co-op!  Do I say that each time I post about it?  I'm so thankful to be a part of it!  Each time is so much fun!!!  This time is was my turn to co-teach. 

We started with reading the story and then moved to a storytelling game.

We took words from the story and put them on index cards.  Each card had three words on it. 

Each child drew a card and was asked to use at least one (but could use all) of the words on the card.  One child started the story and then we went in a circle with each child adding a bit more to the story.  It was a very creative one - with twists and turns that didn't always please the group.  lol  It was fun to hear what they came up with and how they used their words.

The next activity was an art project.  We did block prints.  Each child was given a square of florist foam in which to carve a picture or design. 

They used a pencil to draw their designs.  What I forgot to tell them was that their print would be the reverse of what they had drawn (my test design was symmetrical).  Some of them figured this out when they tried to write words.

I loved seeing the variety of designs.  Once the design was deep enough, they were ready to paint.

They painted the block with white tempera paint and the pressed the block to the paper.

Sometimes they needed to have more or less paint to get a good print. 

We then took a break for a snack and then another art project.  This time we focused on the photography lesson.  We didn't use cameras though, we used the sun!  Thankfully we had a beautifully sunny day!  This is the type of solar paper we used in case you were interested.

Each child selected some things that they wanted to use - tools, foam shapes, items from nature, etc.  Once this was decided we went into the sun to place the items on the solar paper. 

We had the children shade their papers until they had completely layed out their items.

Then they waited a few minutes as the sun began to fade the paper.  You can see in this picture that the one on the right has been in the sun longer.

After several minutes, they then took the items off of the solar paper and then submerged it into water.  Notice how the color has begun to darken again.

These are Daniel's prints after they have dried and darkened.  Pretty neat, huh?

Our next activity was a game on snow facts.  We thought it would be a fun way to see what they knew as well as to teach them some new things.  Here is how the game was made.  I found some images of the actual pictures Snowflake Bentley took of snowflakes and printed two of them.  One was the base of the game and the other became the pieces.

For the pieces, they were cut in half.  One half had a question on it and the other half the answer. 

Each child was given an answer.  Several were true/false, several were numbers and several were places so that hopefully none of the answers was too obvious.  When a question was asked, the children tried to guess the correct answer.  They were able to see if they were right by seeing if the picture on the back of their card matched the picture on the back of the question.

It's a simple way to learn some facts and an easy way to review things at home.  Hopefully I'll remember to use this technique again.

We ended with a snowball fight - paper - since we clearly had none of the real stuff!

A fun day.  I love learning in a hands-on way and I'm motivated to do some projects for co-op that I might not have the energy to do on my own.  I think it's a great opportunity for me as well as for my children.  Thank you friends for a fun day!  Looking forward to the next one!