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Noreen Claire

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Posts posted by Noreen Claire

  1. Rather than go full-keto (I also feel violent after completely giving up sugar/carbs for a few days), you can also read about intermittent fasting. I've personally found it much, much easier to implement. You can read anything by Dr. Jason Fung. I've lost 25+lbs since April and am hoping my insulin/cholesterol levels will be lower when I have them tested again in January.

  2. 1 hour ago, livetoread said:

    . They would love the south facing bookcase

    Sorry, it's a bookcase on the south wall, facing an interior north wall. It will get zero direct sunlight.


    Thank you, everyone, for the recommendations! I will do some research and maybe show him some pictures so he can tell me more of what he likes. Thanks again!

    • Like 1

  3. DS5 has asked for a plant for his bedroom for Christmas. It is the thing that he wants most of all, even more than a remote control car. I have a fairly brown thumb, so, I need recommendations for what kind of plant to get him. He will want to care for it himself. The options for a plant in his room are: 

    1. Hanging in an east-facing window, very close to a steam radiator.
    2. Hanging in a south-facing window with direct, unfiltered sunlight. (We live in New England, if that matters.)
    3. On a bookshelf on the south wall, with no direct sunlight.

    Please, can you recommend a small-ish, green plant, with or without flowers, that is relatively easy to care for and will thrive in one of those three locations?

  4. DS10 had been fairly asymptomatic from his PANDAS issues for (maybe) 18-24 months, but the last few months, since mid-summer, have been just frustrating. He's anxious and can be panicky, needing to be in the same room with me and checking often if I'm still there if we are in other rooms (like, if he's watching tv and I'm knitting in the living room). Plus, the repetitive motions and tics (that aren't so bad that other people notice them, but I am with him ALL DAY,  EVERY DAY, so I notice them, and he does, too).

    Any thing at all that can cause inflammation seems to set him off.  First it was a allergies, then a loose tooth that took forever to fall out, then an infected finger nail, and then another tooth! On top of it all, he's getting hormonal and has been growing like crazy (he's +/-95th percentile for height & weight) and grew FOUR shoe sizes this year. I've found antihistamines and Advil help when it's bad, plus I've been trying to get his daily vitamin and adding in vit D now that it's so damn dark. We're adding weights in, and he's prescribed himself more outside time and chores, because he knows that it helps.

    Thankfully, this is nowhere near as bad as it was when it was BAD (summer 3 years ago). Here's to hoping that it calms down again soon.

  5. I'm starting to think about Christmas gifts. DS7 has been coding/building/playing with my Dad once a week for a year, and he has varying amounts of experience with Scratch, Python, a Raspberry Pi,  and a Micro:bit. He is currently working through the 2nd Python course on I am considering a monthly subscription box from, which is having a sale through tomorrow. Does anyone have any experience with this specific subscription service? (I know it says it recommended for middle schoolers, but DS7 is obsessed and a very good reader.)

    My other option is to just buy him a book (he's borrowed dozens from the library, he probably has a favorite) and an electronics/robotics starter kit online. My Dad says that the Raspberry Pi they work with at his house belongs to DS7, so I could go with that or buy him a Micro:bit set-up to work with at home. Anyone have any recommendations for me? Thanks.

  6. 1 hour ago, vonfirmath said:

    When you go to grab it the second or third time, it's time to buy your own copy?

    I have done this with Lego titles and coding books for DS7. When he takes it home every.single.time we go to the library, it's time to buy!


    40 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

    My library recently came to the decision that they want to reduce the number of books so that there are more seating areas and you can see across the stacks.  I went in today and just about cried.  They started in the children's non-fiction.  Half empty shelves (down to 2 per case).  Hardly anything on topic.  There were 3 total books on the civil rights era left from an entire shelf-full. The board's reasoning is that you can always ask for what you need and they will interlibrary loan it, but oh!  So much is lost!
    I filled my arms with discarded books today and they are being rescued to my home library.

    This makes me want to cry! 


    19 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

    Next year I am giving  kids book budget every qtr and will let them decide. 

    This is a great idea! If I can ask, what ages are your kids and what ballpark do you think your book budgets will be? (Feel free to not answer my money question.)


    13 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

    When I used to put booklists together for my kids, I would do all the initial searching on Amazon, which does have the 'if you liked this, you'll like this other book', and it's actually reasonably good.  Also, Amazon lets you search by topic, not just author or title.  Then I would go with my list of titles and order from the library. 

    I do this, too! I search on Amazon and then request through interlibrary loan.

  7. How do you decide which books should live with you and which should live at the library?

    Example: I just finished reading aloud the last Vanderbeekers book to my boys. They loved all three books (the first and third made me cry!). I would love to own them, put them in the boys' bookcase BUT will they read them on their own? Would they be more likely to reread them if they were on the shelf? Or, should they just go into the memory hole of books & authors that we enjoy, and hopefully we will remember that when they are looking for another book to read? I feel this away about a bunch of other books, too, like certain graphic novel series that have been read & reread by multiple kids. I want to buy them all! 

    FWIW, we have +/-100 library books out of the library at all times, evenly split between 'school' books and 'free reading' picture books/novels/graphic novels, with usually a half-dozen for me. There are bookshelves in each bedroom, and the boys get books for Christmas, birthdays, and Easter. We have a bunch of kids books, but nowhere near as many as they read. I could not possibly afford to buy all of the books that my kids go through each week! But, how do you decide which books are KEEPERS, and which are not? (I have this same issue with audiobooks. UGH!)

    • Like 1

  8. 52 minutes ago, hellen said:

    If you lived in Boston, on January 3 your sunrise will come at 7:13am while sunset will be at 4:24pm.  Would a 3:24pm sunset be preferable?

    In Boston, if we stayed at DST hours, sunrise would be at 8:14am and sunset at 5:34pm. This would be much better! We were outside this afternoon, and the light dimmed and the temperature dropped starting around 4pm. It is just too early!

    I'm all for picking one and never changing again, but I would prefer DST hours to Standard Time.

    • Like 7

  9. 11 hours ago, Mom2mthj said:

    We just use copybook as well.  My son is a lefty and is 6yo.  We just started working on letter formation in K because he couldn’t seem to decide which hand he preferred prior to that time.  I really like the stabilo easystart pencils.  They have a comfortable grip that goes all the way down the pencil.  Stock comes and goes on amazon as stabilo doesn’t sell directly in the US.



    I second these pencils. We actually have both left- and right-handed versions for beginning writers in my house. The kids like them very much.

    • Like 1

  10. We are using Zaner-Bloser here. DS7 is a lefty. Even after going through the K book casually and the 1st grade book faithfully, he still prints most letters & numbers from bottom up and from right to left. He also has many reversals when printing. There was a while where everything he wrote was a mirror image of correct writing. We've recently started the 2C book, and he's really liking cursive. (DS10 is using the 5th grade book.) The only modification for a lefty is direction of paper slant. I remind him to keep his hand below his writing, and he does a good job. I'm hoping that the more he uses cursive, the better his printing will get.

  11. 14 minutes ago, Quill said:

    Isn’t this the kind of change people look to for PANDAS? I know next to nothing about PANDAS, except what I have read on here, though. I think maybe @Ktgrok is one of the parents on here who looked into or dealt with it. 

    We've been through PANDAS. This isn't it, though it *is* aggravating stuff that's always been just under the surface, like anxiety and tics. His last serious PANDAS flare was the final straw that convinced me to pull him from the public school, between 1st and 2nd grade. I really feel like this is hormone related. He's grown 2 clothing sizes and at least 4 shoe sizes since spring...

    • Like 1

  12. I need your best "been there, done that" advice for dealing with a kid who has been, up to this point, extremely bright, academically advanced, mostly patient, and quick with his schoolwork and who is now, suddenly, moody, crabby, and obviously hormonal in a way that effects his working memory, his patience, his frustration levels, his focus, and his ability to make good decisions.

    Currently, he is sent to bed between 8:30-9:00pm, but can read for a while in bed. He gets up at 7am. He eats pretty well, though I think he could use more protein and good fats. He doesn't eat tree nuts, eggs, or poultry products and he doesn't drink milk, though he does eat cheese and yogurt. He's has soccer 3x/week and cross country 2x/week, but they both end this week. Basketball starts soon, but will be only 2-3x/week. He does not have regular contact with kids his age outside of sports. 

    Give me your best tween-hormones-are-going-to-kill-us-both advice, please!

  13. DS5 was tested for an IEP due to speech articulation issues. He was also given the PPVT-5 (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test) and the EVT-3 (Expressive Vocabulary Test) to rule out other issues in communication. For both tests, the mean is 100 +/-15. on the PPVT, DS5 scored a 156 out of a max of 160; on the EVT he scored a 128.  We knew he had a great vocabulary and memory (he was my earliest talker), but the scores were much higher than I expected. 

    Currently, we are working on 'kindergarten' work for about 30 minutes, 3-4 times most weeks:

    • logic: Mind Benders level 1 (2 or 3 pages; We just started last week. He loves this.)
    • math: SM Essential Math Kindergarten  A (10-15 minutes, or until he's bored)
    • ZB Handwriting level K (I am trying to add in fine-motor and hand-strengthening activities to his day.)
    • OPGTR (1 lesson; We just started.)
    • (occasionally) Get Set for the Code B (He worked through A last year and enjoys the books, but we only do this if he asks.)
    • (tagging along with DS7) He listens along when I read SOTW1 and wants to answer the questions. 

    He listens to audiobooks (Harry Potter, Trumpet of the Swan, Beatrix Potter, etc.) during quiet time every day, for 2 hours. He asks everyone to read to him constantly, and spends lots of times 'reading' the pictures in his older brother's library books. What else can (should) I be doing with this child? Should I start to work with him on narrations? Short poetry memorizations? Just keep doing what we're doing? Leave him alone and let him be 5?  


  14. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your child's schedules with me. I can see that we are pretty typical, and that makes me a bit less worried.

    DS10's routine basically the same each day. He's up between 7-7:30am, and finishes breakfast by 8. He gets ready for the day and starts his assigned literature reading (about 30 min). He does the rest of his work in whatever order he pleases. He has an hour of math, an hour of history (M/R) science (T/F) or logic (W), an hour of foreign language (Latin & Portuguese), and about an hour for grammar, spelling, cursive, and writing (which is, ironically, done orally).  We break for lunch around 11:30 or 12:00, and he's always finished his work for the day between 1:00-2:00. On Wednesdays, we drop the grammar, etc and go to the library instead. We have quiet time until 3 or 4 (depending on the kids' moods). He has soccer 3x/week, cross country 2x/week, and a 30 min group piano class at the YMCA 1x/week. If I remember, he does some foreign language review and logic on the weekends, but it's not consistent. He's into bed at 8:30, but can read until 9:30 if he likes. During any free time he reads, listens to audio books, plays outside, helps his dad, or torments his little brothers. He is also an alter server at Saturday mass, and goes to CCD every other Sunday morning.

    I would love to get him private lessons for piano, but the money isn't there at the moment. I would really like to institute a 'morning time'-type hour, where we read poetry and Shakespeare and do memory work and whatnot, but I just can't figure out where to fit it in. The kids get 60-90 minutes of tv time after dinner most nights, and I *know* that I could do it then but I'm just too fried at that point. They are SO SO SO SO NOISY and, as I get older, I need more and more quiet time to decompress. 

    • Like 3

  15. I would like to tweak DS10's daily schedule. I feel like he's doing too much, but I also feel like we're missing things that could be important. Could you tell me a bit about your 5th grader's daily routine?

    For instance, what time do they get up? How much time do they spend on school work? How often do they get outside, and how much daily physical activity? Do they finish work at night/on the weekend? When do they do their assigned reading and/or free reading? When do they go to bed, and how much screen time do they get (outside of academic use)?

    Things overall are going well so far this year, but I feel like we're missing a few things that we've done in past years OR have always wanted to include (art, poetry and Shakespeare read-alouds, music appreciation and musical instruction, more outside time, etc). I'm just looking for ideas on how we could change it up a bit, and also give him some idea of what other 5th graders are doing at home. We don't have many homeschoolers around us at all, and even fewer that are either past 1st grade or not unschoolers. Plus, we've got some pre-puberty hormone moodiness and brain-fog at work, and he grew two clothes sizes and four shoe sizes since last fall, so that's fun...

  16. I make a baked mac and cheese that is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. It's usually part Velveeta, part cheddar, part something else (American or gruyere or Munster, whatever's on hand). It starts with a bechamel and finishes with buttered panko crumbs on top. Baked, then broiled just for a minute. It's delicious! Just ask my kids. 🤣

    • Like 3
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