Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Perfect Storm....and I'm not talking weather

As I surf around the internet tonight reading about so many things happening at one time, it became even more clear that we could very well be on the brink of another perfect storm. Anything could happen in regards to this election, but with all of these other situations going on one would be crazy NOT to prepare for "something".

First of all....the election.
Romney and Obama are running neck and neck. There are polls predicting Romney will take popular vote and Obama will take the electorate. Bring back any memories? With the early voting we are already hearing accusations of voter fraud. There are reports of the NAACP asking the UN to come in and monitor the election. We now have two states saying if the UN shows up they will be kicked out. On top of all of this there has been a boat load of threats against Romney, as well as, threats to fight and burn things down if Obama is not re-elected.

I'm no fan of Obama (can you tell?) BUT in regards to this Benghazi situation....we need to know the truth. It doesn't matter to me WHO is in the White House I want answers. This has been the biggest cover-up thanks to the media. Everyone is pointing to someone else, and all of the information is pointing back to Obama and his top administration. Do we want a Commander-in-Chief who turns his back on our people and let them die? This is not a sex act and a black dress in the Oval Office, these are lives. Of course most people may not be getting the information because the media is working so hard NOT to report it. I can honestly say that if this was a Republican President and all of this information was coming out I could not in good faith vote for him. The problem is.....we are supposed to vote in 5 days. If it does get out will it make a difference? When I think of some of the pro-Obama people that I wouldn't change their mind even if they watched him pull the trigger on someone.

This Frankenstorm blew up the East Coast and it has been devastating. A hurricane joined to a NorEastern (or whatever you call it) and you do have a Perfect Storm. Millions are without power. It's being compared to Katrina, but a huge difference in this storm is that these people aren't sitting outside trying to keep cool with no electricity....they are hunkering down trying to keep warm. They have winter temps up there with flooding, no electricity, absolute destruction and it's not like they have anywhere to go. The path of the storm has been extensive. How long before people start panicking over lack of electricity, gas or food/water?

So BAM, BAM, BAM.....3 major ingredients with a 5 day countdown for another Perfect Storm, but you can do something. PREPARE for yourself and your family by taking just a few simple steps in the next few days.

1) Top of gas tank. If you can't afford to fill up but one vehicle....fill that one up.

2) Clean your house and organize your pantry and medicine cabinets. While you are organizing your pantry stop and think if you had to shelter in place and cook meals for your family for 3 days would you have enough? What about a week? What if one of the kids get you have what you need without going to the store? By cleaning and organizing the house you get a clear idea of what you have to work with if you have to.

3) Save your 2 liter bottles and fill them with water

4) Get your prescriptions filled now

Last minute inexpensive items you can grab to increase your food supply:
Soup at the Dollar General (generic) is usually 2/$1
Dried Beans...check Dollar Tree and Freds to get them for $1
Rameen Noodles
Potted meat, Vienna Sausage and Tuna  .65 or less each
Generica canned veggies can be found for .50-.60 a can

Other things to consider
Go to Dollar Tree and grab cold medicines and fever reducers for the family
Candles or lantern oil
Pet food
Charcoal or extra propane

This is a short list, but this little bit could make a difference. It's not anything that will be wasted because if nothing happens you aren't out of anything. These are items that everyone uses. It would feel so much better to have extra and nothing happen than all hell break loose and kick yourself for not having it. I by no means have everything together the way I want because funds are just not available to prepare the way I would like, but you just do what you can do. Personal Responsibility. (There are 20,000 people stranded in NJ right now that are unable to get help because of flood waters. How many were personally responsible and how many are just waiting on someone to come save them?)

I hope and pray that the next few months come and go with nothing eventful and we can sing "It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood".....but if not then what? I intend to be as personally responsible for me and mine as I possible can.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When Your Child Breaks Your Heart...By Barbara Johnson

Anyone who has had the experience of raising a teenager can testify to the struggles of parenting. Some struggles are more extensive than others. For us, I would have gladly accepted the normal teenage stuff, but that was not was in store for us. I won't go into what we have been through, but I will say that I am a Mom with a broken heart.

I came across the book "When Your Child Breaks Your Heart....Help for Hurting Moms" by Barbara Johnson. It was free and I grabbed it. Not sure what the price is on it now, but I can guarantee whatever the price it was very much worth it. When I started reading it I had no idea that the reason her heart was broken was because her son was homosexual. Don't let that throw you, because no matter what the root of your hurt is, her story can still be helpful. I substituted the issues that we face for the issues they dealt with and it was like a warm embrace.

When you battle with a child extensively it damages so much of your inner soul, their soul and the family. There's so much second guessing and the estrangement from a child is one of the most brutal things other than death. In this book she gave voice to things that I felt, put words to these conflicting emotions that I experienced and helped me see things in a way that was a bit more clearer than the mud that has been in my eyes.

" I had lost a son, yet he was not in a grave - he was out there someplace. He was gone, yet he was my own son - living, breathing, moving around in a market or driving on the freeway, yet not wanting us to know where he was."

"It would be easier to go to a cemetery and place flowers on his grave than to realize we might never see him again. Could he cut himself off from us and live his new life as if he were not our son?"

"Will I ever be able to breathe again without this choking feeling? Will I always feel as if I have a sack over my head"

"Wherever he is, I want him to know my love has never stopped. It's pretty hard to let it flow, though, when you haven't seen someone you love in months."

I not only felt "understood" by some author unknown to me, but I learned from her. I learned from her experience and from her journey. I love it that you can highlite and add notes on the Nook....I have passages highlited all over this book and notes galour.

If your struggling with loss....grab the book. You'll be glad you did.

It's a new beginning....finally some HOPE!!

Shortly after making my last post about our dyslexic struggle, I learned we would be moving to Louisiana. I have to say that this move has been a HUGE blessing in so many ways, but mainly because we are finally getting help for our son. Many things we experienced at the Vicksburg Warren School District, I am now finding were not so much issues with Dyslexia. I don't exactly know what to call what we experienced there, but I know that the affects on our son will be long lasting.

If I had a nickle for every time I was told "MS doesn't recognize Dyslexia" and have my concerns about my sons education dismissed I would be a very rich lady. For 4-5 years that is basically what I was told. After being told that continuously and DISMISSED, it becomes very clear that the interest in the child is not there. Why not try the approach of...."I understand your concerns about dyslexia. By law we can not provide accomodations based on dyslexia alone, but lets take a look at things and see what we CAN do to help." That never happened. So let me tell you what HAS happened since the move...

I had a lady call me from SPED right before school started. She saw the Dx of ADHD with the learning disability in Math and Reading that was in Brayden's file. She wanted to know my concerns and wanted to know about what the school did when I brought that in. She had not received any info on any further testing or anything. She was shocked to find that the reason she had no other paperwork was not because they had not sent it yet, but because they did nothing more. She was floored to find out that for 4-5 years no testing was done....nothing...he just drifted through struggling each year just to make it to the next grade. I told her our story and what we had done and what we had tried. I told her about how one of his teachers wanted him on meds, and our concerns about not using meds because of his reaction to them. I found out that it is not required to have him on meds for him to qualify for help. (YES....I actually had someone tell me before we moved that if we did not put him on meds we wouldn't be able to get any help for him.)

After going through his history from 2nd grade to present I thought the conversation would be over. It was far from over. She then wanted to know about him as a kid....his interests, what made him tick. To say I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. Other than his 2nd grade teacher and 6th grade teacher noone in the school system had ever showed an interest in him....not really. After finding out a little about his interest and his character she then contacted the school and put him on their radar. She said that she wanted to make sure that he was encouraged in his stregnths and interest. I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming.

They contacted me mid-term to have a meeting so we could set up a plan. Once again I went through his history and got asked all the same questions again only to hear gasps and sighs at my answers. Then the team wanted to know about his stregnths and interests. A plan was set up between them and I as to how we would proceed. They made suggestions to me on how I could help him better and they agreed on accomodations to start implementing. They plan to start guaging his progress or lack of so they know how to better help him. We are shooting for a 504 plan. They even suggested picking a class that he did well in and possibly placing him in an Honor's class in that subject in order to help boost his self-esteem and show him he is not a lost cause. I'm hoping that will be something that will come later.

I don't want to dwell on the bad, but it angers me so much that my child has had to suffer for the past 6 years. He never felt like he counted. He wasn't a kid that didn't care. The problem was that he DID care about school, but it became easier to shut down because noone else seemed to care. I don't have rose-colored glasses on....I know that there are problems in every school district, and I'm sure there are issues down here as well. I can honestly say though that it is like night and day from VWSD and here. I wish I could say that it was because of the state laws, but what I've seen so far the difference is geared more towards the capacity of the staff to care about those that learn differently and the efficiency of doing the job and not dropping the ball.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cheesy Beef Bites...Easy Sandwich...Big Batch

Love, Love, LOVE this sandwich!! It also makes up a lot, so it would be a great recipe to fix for casual company, kid sleepovers or just to freeze individually.

What you need:

1 lb of hamburger
1 pkg of french onion soup
2 tbsp of parsley flakes
1/4 c. of water
2 packs of hamburger buns (I got 12 sandwiches out of 1 lb of hamburger)
At least 2 c. shredded cheese (I didn't measure mine)

Before we get started let me first say that the original recipe called for french bread, but I found using hamburger buns to be better for us. This is a great recipe to use left over hamburger buns and hot dog's just a matter of preference.

While your hamburger meat is cooking, pull your bread of choice out. You want to "hollow-out" the thickest part of your bread which is the top portion on buns.

Once your hamburger meat is fully cooked, drain the grease. Then add the packet of French Onion Soup Mix, two tablespoons of parsley and 1/4 c. of water. Make sure the burner is on low and stir really good. Now all you do is fill the "hollowed out" portion of your bread with the meat mixture.

Then sprinkle with your choice of cheese....Monterrey is fabulous, but I only had cheddar/Monterrey mix

Wrap it nice and neatly......

Pop these babies in the oven for about 10 min on 350 degrees and ENJOY!!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meat for 19 meals for less than $60!!!

So I think I have mentioned that I've been in sticker shock over groceries down here...especially meat. I was honestly a bit discouraged over no double-coupons until I scored this tenderloin!! This thing was a monster and I only paid $15.29

Today I pulled this thing out of the refrigerator trying to decide exactly what I would do with it, and I am pleased to show you this:

I was able to pull a two roast: one I bagged and marinated with Italian Dressing and threw in onions, and the other I marinated with Mesquite Marinade and threw in onions. I then cut 3 meals worth of pork chops and bagged one with Lemon and Herb Marinade, one with Mesquite Marinade, and one just plain. (5 meals - $15.29)

I also did great with Hamburger meat. The one pound rolls at Rouse's was $3.49. I ran over to Save A Lot and they had two pound rolls for $5.49. I grabbed four rolls and divided them in half....bagged them up and threw them in the freezer. (8 meals - $21.96)

Save a Lot also had their pre-made hamburgers (8ct) bags for $3.99....grabbed two (2 meals - $7.98)

Chicken wasn't on sale but I needed so I grabbed two bags and I had one in the freezer. Each bag has eight pieces of boneless skinless breast and I cook six pieces. Three bags gives me four chicken meals. Each bag $5.99...(4 meals - $11.98)

So for a total of $57.21 I got meat to prepare 19 meals!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crockpot Italian Chicken

I got this recipe off of Pinterest and it is DIVINE!!!

6 chicken breasts
1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Cook on low for 4 hours. If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta.

I used the corkscrew rotini, but pick what you like. Throw some garlic bread in the oven and Whamo!!!

Easy Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

I almost made myself SICK off this stuff. It was soo easy to make and it makes a ton so you can freeze some of it for later.

What you need:

6 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 cans of cream of chicken
2 cans of rotel
1 large block of velveeta
1 box of angel hair pasta

I used my crockpot. Put the chicken, cream of chicken, rotel in crockpot to cook. I put mine in frozen on high for several hours. When the chicken is done and it's falling apart....cut up your velveeta and add. Once the cheese is melted this part is ready. I then cooked my pasta and added the contents to the cooked pasta. Now I realize that most people put this in the oven, but we didn't. We ate it as soon as we mixed the contents. Leftovers the next day were even better!!

If you want to freeze a portion of it then get some pans, line them with plastic wrap, put the spaghetti in cover with plastic and put in freezer. Give it about a day to freeze then remove it from freezer. Take out of dish, make sure it's wrapped well in plastic wrap then wrap it with aluminum foil and label.

Apple Dump Cake

I prefer stuff like this for breakfast with my coffee AS WELL AS DESSERT!!

This is what you need:

Yellow box cake
2 cans of apple pie filling
About two sticks of butter

Pour the apple filling in a dish
Pour dry cake mix over the top of the filling....make sure the little "rocks" are broken up
Take a stick of butter and start cutting small slabs of butter and covering all of the dry batter

Bake at 350

You can alter this recipe....instead of using apple pie filling....use a can of blueberry filling and a can of crushed pineapple. THIS is divine!!!

Egg Muffins

This is a great, quick way to cook ahead for breakfast and great for the family on the go.

What you'll need:

Muffin Pan
Shredded Cheese
Ham, Bacon, Sausage...your choice

Set oven on 350 degrees.
Scramble your eggs in a bowl
Lightly oil your muffin pan and fill each about half full.
You can then add cheese, meat or meats of your choice
You can also add other stuff like salsa....get creative

Put in the oven and bake until light golden brown. There'll be no doubt that they are ready. You can set these out to cool then put in the freezer so that you have them weeks in advance.

I put a ziploc bag full of these in the refrigerator and they were gone by mid week. I plan to make several bags of these to have in frig and freezer....especially when school starts

Meal plan for July 2012

This is my first attempt at a meal plan. I originally set out to make out a plan for two weeks, but I ended up having enough meals to cover a month. I started off by making a list of meals that I know my family likes, plus a few recipes I wanted to try that I found from pinterest.

This is what I came up with:

July 4th - Hamburger Helper Enchilada Flavor.....we won't do this one again
July 5th - Fried Cube Steak, homemade mashed potatoes and green beans
July 6th - Chicken Alfredo
July 7th - Nachos
July 8th - Fried Chicken, mac n cheese, and Baked beans
July 9th - Baked Potatos
July 10th - Chicken Spaghetti
July 11th - Tamale Casserole
July 12th - Egg, bacon and grits

July 13th - Pizza cups
July 14th - Cheesy Beef Sandwiches
July 15th - Pork Roast and Potatoes
July 16th - Hamburger Steak, rice and gravy and butterbeans
July 17th - Tatertot Casserole
July 18th - Teriyaki Chicken, rice a roni and corn
July 19th - Pancakes
July 20th - Burritoes with Mexican Rice
July 21st - Hamburgers and Fries
July 22nd - Crockpot Roast
July 23rd - spaghetti
July 24th - Dried Beef Chicken casserole
July 25th - Chili Cheese Fries
July 26th - Taco Rice Casserole

July 27th - Crockpot Cube Steak with rice
July 28th - Chicken Enchiladas

Now these are just meals for supper. I also planned for lunches by getting things like sandwich meat, chicken patties, chicken nuggets, rameen etc. I still have to work on lunches because my kids are not big sandwich eaters.

Breakfast consisted of egg muffins, cereal and poptarts. The egg muffins were a HUGE HIT....they are great for grab and go and I plan to make many, many more and freeze.

Once I made my list of meals I printed off a "weekly menu plan" that I added to my binder. I started putting the meals on the planning calendar. Now of course, I don't follow this plan to a T.....we may be in the mood for breakfast for supper one night instead of roast. The main idea is that I have planned the meals and each paycheck I can purchase what I KNOW I need for the meals until next payday. I can also allow myself to pick up a little extra here and there or buy ahead for the next two weeks if there is a sale.

Reaching Out to Silence

Reaching out to silence
The Son I love is not there
Trying to change a perception
Of who I am, but he doesn't care
I lost him; a hurt I can't share
I'd still die for him if I'd dare

The hopes and dreams
They are still mine
The love the memories
I can recall on a dime
He's been taken away
Some fault I take as mine
When you are a parent
You rarely believe in such times

For now I'll go
I'll hold to those to special times
When he was my little man
And time was mine

The Harbinger by Johnathan Cahn....A MUST read

As I was clicking around online I continued to see this book "The Harbinger" plastered everywhere. I remembered that I had downloaded it for free awhile back so I decided to check it out. There are no words to describe the impact this book made on me.

One might think it's just another "political" book, but it is so much more than anything you can imagine. Mr. Cahn shared a message regarding our Country and the state of our affairs through a narrative that grabbed me on the first page and didn't let go until the very end. At times I could not help myself from "thinking out loud" or expressing my emotions verbally. (This does not bode well with a sleeping husband!) By the time I reached the end, the hair was standing up on my arms and I sincerely believe that I held my breath for a chapter. As the book concluded I was left with a heavy heart for my country, fellow citizens, family and friends; but I was also confronted with questions regarding my own personal thoughts and faith. To say that this book has impacted my life and would be an understatement.

Of course, I am always recommending a book here and there, but I can honestly say... with no doubt.. that of all the books I have read in my life this would be the one I would strongly encourage everyone to read. I will never think of 9/11 the same. I will never look at the news the same. The book is worth every penny and then will NOT be disappointed.

The link for the Kindle edition

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Open Letter...

Dear Mr./Mrs. Legislator, Educator, Principal, Guidance Counselor or Anyone who will listen...

Do you have children, grandchildren, neices or nephews? Could you imagine picking them up from school and asking them about their day only to be met with downcast eyes or tears because once again they failed that test (very badly) that they studied so hard for? What about having to repeatedly try to convince he or she that they are not dumb or stupid? These are only mild scenarios compared to what we, parents of dyslexic children, go through here in MS.

Our children hold great promise, but their ambition has been quickly tainted by their inability to compete and/or perform in the classroom because they are unable to produce results in the way it is expected. Our kids can not participate adequatley in the classroom because they are not playing on an even playing field.

As parents we have called teachers, principals and guidance counselors asking for help only to be told "Mississippi doesn't recognize dyslexia as a learning disability....there's nothing we can do." Many times that is the end of the conversation. There are no offers of even helping us find help. We are left on our own to keep our children in the game, when they want nothing more than to give up.

If Mississippi is concerned about literacy, then we as a state should take a very proactive approach towards Literacy and early interventions involving all forms of Dyslexia. It is very unrealistic to expect our children to perform well on state mandated tests when they look at a one page vocabulary test and watch words and letters run all over the page. Should our children be punished with bad marks because they can't match twenty vocabulary words on paper, but if split up they can match five at a time? Should they be punished because they experience multi-sensory overload? Right now they are.

We are begging anyone who will listen....please help our children. If you are a legislator can you help us with the law? If you are an educator and you recognize signs of dyslexia can you educate a parent on avenues that they may take to get help? If you are a guidance counselor, principal or pyschometrist could you offer other avenues for a parent to explore in order to advocate for their child instead of just shutting them down with "MS doesn't recognize dyslexia...."

Our kids have a future and they have dreams. They should count.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mississippi, Dyslexia and What I Just Learned

For the past five years I have watched my son struggle with his studies and try to keep him from giving up. I have heard him say "I'm stupid." or "I'm dumb" more times than I can count. He refers to people who do well in school as "those smart people" while lumping himself in the group of "zeroes". I have comforted him when he got in the car to tell me he was one of two people left in the bleachers at the Award's Day Banquet. It didn't matter that he had won Science Fair or placed at District....he was still left in the stands....alone...with no award because he didn't hit that all A or A/B Honor Roll. No matter how hard I have tried to drill into his head that he IS smart and that he is NOT a just doesn't seem to take. When I explain to him that HIS 100% is good even if it's a C or D (depending on the class) he can't grasp it because it's not the 100% that is expected from whoever. Let's face it....everyone's 100% is different but my son has learned at an early age that it is not.

When he was young we knew that this child was more energetic than normal. In fact, there is no candy-coating it. He was WILD. No matter what we did he could not focus on anything more than a few seconds and he was wide open until he literally passed out.

When he got to kindegarden I repeatedly told his teacher that I was concerned because he "didn't get" the site words. He couldn't remember them. He wrote sloppy and backwards. We got to first grade and again it was a nightmare. He couldn't retain anything and again I was concerned, but I was again told it would work out. During this time we decided to have him tested at our own expense in order to speed up the process of getting him help. He was diagnosed with ADHD and I brought all of that paperwork back to the school and was led to believe we were heading down the right road.

Second grade.....we saw a little improvement because we tried medication as a last alternative, but this year there was so much more that he was responsible for. His spelling grade was anywhere between 0 to 17, with 17 being the highest. He couldn't read. I repeatedly talked to the teacher and begged for help. I asked her if his spelling words could be cut in half like the previous year. We got nowhere because she said, "I have half a class scoring the same and I can't do it for them." You would think that would tell you there was a problem?? But, hey, I'm just worried about my kid at this point.

We scheduled a meeting and looking back I'm thinking that maybe this was a TST meeting? It consisted of the Principal, Psychommetrist, his teacher, other teachers and myself. Now remember, I work for the school district but have no clue what TST is, how it works.....nothing! I thought I was going to get help from my son in this meeting, but boy was I wrong. In hindsight I wish I had taken someone with me as a witness. After listening to my concerns they looked at test scores, which were not good. I told them that I really thought he may be dyslexic, but I was quickly told that MS didn't recognize Dyslexia as a reading disability and even if I DID get a diagnosis they would not make any accomodations for him based on that diagnosis. At that point the Principal, being very frustrated said.....AND I QUOTE "I don't know anything else to do other than put him back in first grade!" I absolutely thought I was going die. I could not believe what I was hearing. They seemed so frustrated and "out-done" with my baby like he was a burden! I quickly told her that would kill his self esteem. She very quickly told me....and again I quote..."You need to decide what's more important, his self esteem or his achievement!" After much discussion they decided that they would have him tutored with first graders and just see what happened. I left there in tears and went straight to Central Office and asked to have him moved to another school. After telling them we would sale our home and get an apartment in the other school zone we got our transfer. Imagine our suprise when they pulled him the first day at his new school and said he had strong dyslexic tendancies and was placed in the Texas Scottish Rites Program!! What we found out was that this program was only offered at certain schools so we were lucky we got him transferred to a school that had it. I still wonder why they did not tell me in that meeting that this program was available since I very clearly brought up the issue of dyslexia? The Psychometrist had to know it was there!

When we got our transfer, we were very fortunate to get a fine teacher who sat down with us and set goals for our child. We agreed that we had every intention of holding him back and that we would all focus on progress and not grades. When he started 2nd grade he read on a Pre-K level. At the end of the year he was on a 1st grade level. He gave up time during the summer to go to Knowledge College and again showed a lot of improvement. With a lot of hard work he finished Texas Scottish Rites but in third grade we hit another pothole. The medication that he was taking had built up in his system and he was no longer able to take it. Because of an underlying health issue we were afraid to try anything else so we went with no meds. He struggled and fought through 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. Home life was a nightmare. It's hard to get a kid motivated when he thinks he's dumb. When he does give it all he has and still fails....he sees no point in trying.

So now we are in 6th grade and worried sick about him. No idea how he will make it in Junior High, but I will say that this has by far been his best year as far as teachers. I am in no way knocking any of his past teachers, because they have all been good, but this year he has a teacher who "gets him." She sees his struggle and seems to know how he ticks. She recognizes that HIS 100% is not the same as the kid sitting in front of him. When we get excited over a C she understands that we aren't's because that C for him is the equivalent of an A on everyone elses playing field.

I have been working at the same school my children attend for the past two years. I just found out about the 504 Plan and we were so excited that we may have found a way to level the playing field for him. We have his diagnosis for ADHD and with that we are hoping that some accomodations can be made that may inadvertantly help with his Dyslexia. Maybe by doing this he can go into the classroom and finally have an educational experience that is the equivalent of running across a field instead of trying to run wide open up a cliff. Thank God I wasn't holding my breath because I wouldv'e died.....I was told that the diagnosis in his file is no longer acceptable because it's too old so we have to start all over, fork out more money to go back to the Doctors and get re-diagnosed. Frustration is not even touching what I'm feeling right now.

So here we are.....back to square one. I'm frustrated beyond tears, but I can't show it. Not to him. I have to be his rock. He has to know that his Mama BELIEVES that he can get a fair shake because if his Mama doesn't believe why should he?

There are some serious questions and issues that need to be addressed. I want to know why I went through the expense of having him tested and getting the diagnosis if it wasn't used. I was told that they don't just automatically do something with an ADHD diagnosis. If that's the case why did I go get it and bring it to them to get help? If I needed to once again ask for help with the diagnosis in hand, why didn't someone tell me? All the times that I spent on the phone talking to the teachers.....did it count for anything? Why wasn't the 504 Plan suggested? I'm also concerned with the fact that we can no longer afford tutors to work through TST interventions so the kids are being buddied up with another student for tutoring. Has anyone stopped to think what this does to some of the kids? I understand that it has worked in some instances, but I can very confidently say that my 6th grader would have been humiliated beyond words. I am very grateful that he is able to work with an adult but what about the other kids? And the ones who aren't they take it serious working with another kid? If parents are to get involved they need to know what avenues are available. If the law allows different options then parents need to be made aware when they are struggling with their kid. A kid shouldn't have to fail to get help. We need EARLY intervention BEFORE they fail.

I recently called the MSDOE and found out that the statement "Mississippi does not recognize Dyslexia" is not a completely accurate statement. Our state does recognize it, but it does not recognize it as a criteria for a 504 Plan etc. Most kids who have Dyslexia also have another condition that DOES qualify them for a plan such as ADD or ADHD. I also found out that the state has grant money specifically to help school districts work with dyslexia. All we have to do is apply and that money has been available since around 1995....4 years before our son was even born!!! So why are we not trying to get this funding? If we want our kids to score high on all of these tests then they have to be able to read them. If the words are running together or running all over a one page vocabulary test, or if a one page test causes a sensory overload.....those test booklets are going to be a nightmare. Our kids need to be given the skills to cope and learn to work with what they have so that they can excel. They deserve that opportunity.

I won't stop fighting for my son. I believe in him and I know he is smart. I hope that because he has experienced what it's like to have a teacher believe in him that it will help keep him in the game. I hope that it will be enough. At the rate things are going we may not get help until it's too late. I don't want that for him. I want him to enjoy his childhood and education is a major part of his childhood.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our loss...

Tonight I have finally decided to sit down and write down my thoughts about what has happened to our family over the weekend. We just returned from Rusty's house and I was relieved to see how well he was holding up. I don't think that I could be as strong, but I guess you never know how strong you are until you face something. We, as Sandersons, come from a strong stock.

Look at Mamaw many children and grandchildren and even g-grandchildren did she bury before she went home to gather them all in her arms? Through her grief she always held her head high and handled it with a quiet grace. I saw that tonight with my cousins. We have all faced our difficulties as we have grown up and raised our children. There are so many people in our family that I can think of that I would like to be like. I wish so badly that my children had the priviledge of growing up like we did....all together.... so that they could enjoy and lean on each other in the future.

I watched John John's Step-Dad speak to Channel 16 news last night and I have never met the man, but he handled the interview with a stregnth and dignity that should make us all proud as a family. I know that it had to have been hard on him answering the was very visible. God Bless him for handling it the way he did. Who would want to talk to the media at this time? I wouldn't....he did and it allowed that burden to be lifted from Rusty and Debra's shoulders.

They say that something positive can come from horrible experiences. I can't say that I can see anything positive coming from this. It was senseless and unneccessary. Parents and Grandparents shouldn't have to bury their babies. I truly pray that justice....HARD served.

I can say that once again I'm so proud of my family. It's just another example of how truly special our family is. 2nd, 3rd cousins....means nothing.....a cousin is a cousin. Aunt, Great Aunt....means Aunt is an Aunt. Saw you last week....last year....or 10 yrs ago....doesn't matter. I still love you like I saw you yesterday. And when something happens we all come matter the distance or the time apart.

For me, I remember a precious little boy named John John playing in the yard with Adam and my son Chris....all full of mischief and each one 100% boy. I know that Mamaw and Papaw Great were waiting on him with open arms and although we all hurt.....all is well with him.

RIP John will always be loved and never forgotten.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Clinton/Jackson Area Thrift and Flea Markets

This list is a work in progress and as I get more information and visit these places I plan to update the list. I hope this helps for you guys who want to plan a "pickin trip".  If you find a spot not listed or if you have visited a spot and have feedback please leave comments for us.
Clinton, MS

Clinton Flea Market
316A Clinton Blvd
Open Tues - Fri 10:00am - 5:00pm and Sat. 1:00 - 5:00
They have a FB page!/Clintonfleamarket?sk=wall

The Butter Churn
25 Lakeview Dr. Clinton, MS
Opened Mon - Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm
They have FB page!/pages/The-Butter-Churn/166452963365868?sk=wall

Leake Street Collection
201 West Leake Street Clinton, MS
Opened Mon - Sat 10:00am - 6:00pm
This looks to be an antique/collectible type shop. They accept major credit cards and offers layaways.
They have FB!/pages/Leake-Street-Collection/164425490271642?sk=wall

When Pigs Fly202 W. Leake St. Clinton, MS
Opened Tues - Sat. 10:00am - 5:00pm
They have a FB page!/pages/When-Pigs-Fly/120426176544?sk=wall

Florence, MS

49 South Antiques and Flea Market
3977 Hwy 49 South
Open Tues - Sat 10:00 - 6:00 and on Sun. 1:00 - 5:00
60 Vendors.....Looks like lots of fun!!

Magnolia Flea Market
3967 Hwy 49 South
Open Wed - Sat 10:00 - 5:00 and on Sun 1:00 - 5:00

Pearl, MS

Granny's Attic
450 N. Bierdeman Rd. (Pearl Plaza) Pearl, MS
Opened Mon - Sat from 12:00 - 5:00
6000 sq ft of shopping!

Flowood, MS

The Flea Market, Mississippi Trade Days
200 Gulf South Dr. (Corner of Flowood and Gulf South)
Opened Sat 9:00 - 5:00 and on Sun. from 12:00 - 5:00

Jackson, MS

NUTS - Neat Used Things for Sale
114 Millsaps Ave Jackson, MS
Opened Fri. 9:30 - 5:30 and Sat 10:00 - 4:00

Monday, February 20, 2012

Furniture, Paint and Me....Oh Dear!

I've been so motivated (and obviously totally naive of my own abilities) after looking at "Pinterest". I decided that I was going to give Kayla Grace's room a makeover and planned it with the website. I figured since we are moving in a few days and we were off would be the perfect time to paint. I mean how hard could it be??

We took off to town and came home armed with 15 cans of white spray paint. I was doing the spray paint dance....Kayla Grace was making up songs about painting furniture. We were so excited. We even got Brayden in on all the fun and he helped us move all the furniture outside. I am now reporting that after fighting with two kids who wanted to "help" (the fun ended quickly), after knocking the sprayer off of 2 cans of paint while trying to open them, and after having gobs of paint run down the furniture I have succesfully ruined her bedroom suit.

I quickly realized that I was doing something wrong when there were lots of beads of white rolling down the sides. Figured I was too close and fixed it only to find that my dear son decided to help and one side of her dresser is nothing but lines and beads. She decided to get in on the action and help "fix" the beads with a paint brush which now leaves us beads and streaks on top of bubbles from God knows where.

I gave up....frustrated...tired...aggravated....grabbed the dog and took a nap. It will go in her room as is....even with some brown spots showing through. Mama says we should strip it but HA!! not happening in the near future. We will just start our own style....funky furniture.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

List of Thrift Shops in Vicksburg

On your mark....get set.....GO!!! Now let's see who gets the best deals!!!!

Thrift Stores in Vicksburg

A good place to start would be Washington Street down near the Waterfront. You can just park your car and walk the Main Street.

Frankly Scarlett
Located at 1102 Washington St. Open M-F 10:00 - 5:00 and Sat 10:00-3:00
Specializes in recycled fashion.....LOVE THAT!!!!
FB page!/franklyscarlettshop?sk=info

River Chicks
When you get done at Frankly Scarlett walk right down to River Chicks. LOVE this place. I found several items for my daughter's room. It's a larger size store with lots to see so be sure to take your time. I went in two days in a row and saw stuff I didn't see the day before. Not only is this a Consignment/Thrift store but it's also listed as one of the haunted places in Vicksburg is also known for that. Be sure to ask the sweet lady at the counter about it.
FB page!/profile.php?id=100002226845551&sk=wall They don't really have anything listed about what they are selling right now but there is info on the building etc.

You Choose
1300 Washington Street
Opened Tues - Sat. 10:00 - 5:00
This is one spot you don't want to miss. I recently went in with the kids in tow and my little girl picked out the sweetest ottoman type chair. She is determined that we go back and get it and redo her room so it will match!!! This is a nice little store and the people who run it are even nicer.

Peterson' Art & Antiques
1400 Washington Street
I'm sure their hours of operation are Mon - Sat. They have a pretty large store with a mix of new and old. Very much worth stopping in and taking a "look and see"

River City Rescue
Now this one is on Washinton St but it is NOT walking distance
3705 Washington St.
Before I got my Nook I used to go in here and buy books all the time. They have their own little library set up in the back and organized like nothing I've ever seen in a thrift shop. Through the back doors they have furniture and larger items. I happened to be in there when a practically brand new sofa and chaise lounge came through the door but somebody bought it before I could! They pick up a lot of things that people clean out and garage sale left overs.

Fanny's Finds
2106 Cherry Street
Hours are Mon - Sat 9:00am - 5:00pm
This is another place to start. My friend and I stopped in the other day and had the pleasure of meeting Miss Fanny and she really made us some deals. There were lots of unique furniture pieces as well as great pieces for a gameroom for the preteen/teenager. Can't wait to stop back in and see what is new.

So Yesterday
Located near Blockbuster on Pemberton Blvd down from the mall. Actually located next door to the nail shop. Large shop with lots to look at. I'm not completely sure of their hours of operation yet but I've only noticed them being closed on Sunday.

Consignor's Boutique
3525 Halls Ferry Rd. Located next door to Fred's
Not sure of hours but I believe that they are opened Tues-Sat.
Nice size store with a little bit of everything

Aunt Wendy's Thrift Shop
Located at the fork of Halls Ferry and Fisher Ferry next to the gas station. In the little strip located next to the liquor store. Walked in there the other day and right off the bat I saw a metal PEACE sign. I didn't get to really look around because I had my daughter and we were just killing a few minutes between the kids activities but these ladies were really nice.

Love at Second Sight Consignments
Located at 520 Hwy 80
Hours of Operation Wed-Sat 10:00am - 4:00pm
I have stopped in here several times and Miss Connie Hall is as nice as they come. She has lots of goodies and right now she has a TON of gowns just in time for the "formal" time of the year!

D's Swap Shop
Located at 2461 Hwy 80
Hours of Operation M-F 10:00-5:00 and Sat. 9:00-5:00
I LOVE MISS D's. I can not emphasize how important this stop is on your thrift adventure. It's right down the road from Love at Second Sight. There is the "store" up front and then you go through a little door into a warehouse out back. LOTS of goodies here.
FB page!/pages/Ds-Swap-Shop/193115037378316?sk=wall

Fantastic Finds
1370 Culkin Road
Hours are Thurs - Sat 10:00am - 6:00pm
This shop specializes in children's clothing resale as well as new items. Great little spot to stop in and shop. I have found lots of goodies here. They also have a FB page

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Recent Kroger RACK UP!!...and How I Did It

So I haven't been couponing or serious grocery shopping for a while. And it was time so let me share with you what I got and HOW I got it. I'm still ecstatic!!!

Total was $320.05
Paid $149.03
Saved $171.02

This is what I got:

1 - Bread
1 - Hot Dog Buns
5 - Jars of Ragu
1 - Box of pasta
10 - Packs of floured Tortillas
10 - Jars of Salsa
15 - Boxes of Cereal (Post Shredded Wheat, Coco Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles)
4 - Cans of Hunts Tomato Paste
6 - Cans of Chili
29 - Bowls of Kraft Mac n Cheese and Velveeta Shells and Cheese
1 - Large canister of coffee creamer
5 - Cans of Skintimate Shaving Gel
1 - 2 pk of Secret Deoderant
2 - Speed Sticks
1 - Ban Deoderant
1 - Degree Deoderant
6 - Cans of Dog Food (got $1 off catalina from this)
5 - Tubs of Helluva Good Dip
2 - packs of Kraft Singles
1 - bowl of I can't believe it's not butter
1 - pack of sandwich meat
2 - packs of hot dogs
1 - bag boneless skinless chicken
1 - Tide Detergent
1 - All Detergent
1 - Kroger Brand dishwashing tabs
5 - Bags of Goldfish
1 - Large pack of TP
3 - Kroger brand 2 ltr cokes
1 - 12 pk Kroger brand diet coke
1 - 20 oz Mountain Dew
1 - small bag of Doritoes
2 - Boxes of Kroger brand crackers

I think thats all.......

Most of everything that I bought in large quantity has a long expiration date and will not go bad anytime soon.

So this is how I did this trip:

I went to my favorite website and pulled up what would be on sale. I did this on Sunday because the lady that runs the site lives in an area where they run their Kroger sales from Sunday to Sunday. Ours runs from Wednesday to Wednesday so by pulling it up on Sunday it gives you a jump on getting your coupons together.

I went through the list of things that would be on sale and wrote down or highlited everything that I thought I would want to get. I didn't have alot of coupons b/c I have been slacking. I went to eBAY and typed in each coupon that I was looking for to see if there were any available for "BUY IT NOW".

Example: Ragu coupons.....If it came up I sorted it by price and I picked the one I wanted but before I purchased it I would look at the seller other items to see if they had other coupons I needed so I could get as many as I could from one seller.

I continued this process until I was able to collect a pretty nice size pile. I may have spent a total of $15 on coupons BUT a friend of mine went in with me so you can split that price in half.

I ordered them on Sunday night and they came in on Wed and Thurs. I organized them and grouped like coupons in groups of 5 and placed in my binder because our Kroger will only take 5 of the same coupon in a transaction.

When I got to the store I grabbed two buggies and I had two envelopes labeled buggy one and buggy two. If I wanted more than 5 of one item that I had a coupon for then I put 5 in one buggy and 5 in the other. That way I could make two transactions. This also helped me to keep my Mega Sale items straight.

With the Mega Sale you have to buy 10 of the participating items and you can mix match. You just have to be sure that you have increments of 10 on those items or you will not get the sale price.

Before I went to the store I had my list of Mega Sale items from that I had coupons for and I had mapped out how many of each item I would get. I had a list for Buggy 1 and Buggy 2 list. There were some price discrepancies like on mustard so I decided not to get it. I had planned to get 5 of them so I just found 5 other Mega Sale items (fillers) to put in its place so my increments would work out.

I have to say this was the MOST STRESSFUL trip I have ever made. I had both kids with me and I was trying to show my friend how to do it. We only had 45 minutes to do it because Kayla Grace had to go to Cheerleading. So we were on short time restraint and both kids were acting like fools....throwing stuff in the buggies and arguing. I thought I would either hyperventilate before we got out of there or they would call the paddywagon for the crazy lady screaming down the aisles at her children. But we did it. My friend did just about as well or better than me and she just might be hooked.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Lottery....What if??

I have spent the majority of my day glued to a show on TLC about how winning the lottery has changed people's lives. It was amazing to see how most of these people dealt with their new-found security. If you had asked me a couple of years ago what I would do if "my ship came in"......I would have had a vision of me and several friends/relatives going on huge shopping sprees, vacations and throwing caution to the wind. I'm happy to say that I think I would be much more responsible and frugal EVEN IF it was a large sum of money.

The first thing on my list would be a home of my own. Until we no longer had one and became "renters" I could not fully appreciate the priviledge of owning our own home. It's our number one goal for this year and I think about it constantly. In saying that....if money was no option....would it change what I looked for in a home? Yes and No....I can't see myself going and looking for some 1/2 million dollar home. I'd be happy to purchase one that I have recently found that is $109,000 and adding a sunroom and getting some professional landscaping. I might consider spending up to $150,000 but I really think I would have a hard time doing it even if I had a million!

My second item on the list would be to pay off my car....yes I'd keep that Kia Optima and get it detailed. I'd then buy my husband a truck and it would be paid for in the clear.

Third on the list would be setting money aside for the kids college and a contribution to Church.

Those would be my priorities. The difference would be put back and maybe invested. I may splurge on some new furniture and vacation but I just don't see myself going hog-wild like I might have done before. There's no doubt that depending on the amount I'd probably give a few gifts....but I can promise  I would not be one of the ones that was broke in a few years. I'd still get up and probably rush to work huffing and puffing trying not to be late. I'd still clip my coupons and look for bargains.

After living high on the hog and then getting knocked down to the slop, it's a lesson that doesn't leave you. So bring on that ship.....I'm ready!

Monday, January 16, 2012

On the edge thriller....Sick by Brett Battles

Nook Link

Smashwords Link

The best advice that I can give you before sitting down with this book is:
1) Grab your snacks before hand
2) Make sure to take a potty break b/c you won't want to put this down in order to go

This book grabbed me from the very first sentence. Who has not had one of those moments in the middle of the night when your child cries out for you? You drag out of bed and ramble to their room, and in OUR perfect world, we pat them on the back or give them a sip of water and they go back to sleep. If the Ash's thought they lived in a perfect world, that idea was quickly shattered with that whimper from their oldest daughter down the hall. If there was any doubt that "they weren't in Kansas anymore" the point was quickly driven home when men dressed in bio-hazard suits busted through the doors instead of EMT's dispatched from 911!!

By the time I got to Chapter 2 my breathing became rapid and I could not tap my Nook quick enough to turn the page. There was not a spot in the book where things slowed down or tensions calmed. I can honestly say this book wore me out. As the story came to an end I was so excited to find that this book was only the beginning....."Exit 9" is the next story in this nail-biting saga. I can't wait!!