Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From an email my Mom-in-law sent - some great tips - especially love the one using conditioner for shaving!
Love Janene


Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to

pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.

If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.

It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.

Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.

It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelettes rich add a couple of

spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt chocolate mint patties

in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste

of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Reheat Pizza

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm.

This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs

Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

Reheating refrigerated bread

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water.

The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper weeds away

Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass

Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

Flexible vacuum

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling

Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and.. ta da!... static is gone.

Measuring Cups

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup.

Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Foggy Windshield?

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car.

When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

Reopening envelope

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.


Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.

It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

Get Rid of Ants

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can'tdigest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!


The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something else; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material... I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well ...the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit.You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ..well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months.He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!

How about that!!

Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that.

So, I thought I'd share!

Note: I went to my dryer and tested my screen by running water on it. The water ran through a little bit but mostly collected all the water in the mesh screen. I washed it with warm soapy water and a nylon brush and I had it done in 30 seconds. Then when I rinsed it. the water ran right through the screen! There wasn't any puddling at all! That repairman knew what he was talking about!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Progress Update: Apr / May 2009

There has been end of level testing at school and as I mentioned, the goal for 3rd grade in our district is oral reading of 110 words. The other day, she was tested again and reached 108 words per minute!!!

We are so excited for her. Kelsey has shown strength of character and self-control that is admirable and hardly seen even in adults.

She seems to be wanting to read more, but only the books she wants to read! She won't even open just any book just to read (like my other children, who even read instruction manuals :)), but if she has a book that interests her, she loves to read it - at her own pace, but at least she's reading!

She still loves to get Books on CD from the library and listens to stories as she goes to sleep at night.

Will get her end of level results as the school year comes to a close. Excited for her. She has LOVED multiplication! Initially we were concerned about it as apparently it's harder for dyslexic children to know them and understand, but she was taught by her amazing 3rd grade teacher in songs and she knows them and is self-confident in this area.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Progress Report for Kelsey! Mar 2009

Kelsey's teacher just let me know her oral reading is now at 91 words per minute! With no mistakes! Her goal is 110 so we're very pleased and excited and hopefully in the next 2 months can make it. She is very proud of herself and seeing these huge steps in progress is motivational! Keep it up, Kelsey!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dyslexia Programme

Well, it's been a while since I updated my blog and would like to tell you what we have done. When we started, we had no idea what would work, clearly it would be trial and error. Well, the traditional treatment of dyslexia is quite bleak and I am a positive person and made a positive decision that we would try everything we could to beat this! I got Kelsey on board and she was prepared to do the 'hard work' and have this disability not inhibit her! I was determined to make sure school was still a positive experience and not something she dreaded as it's many years to waste 'hating' school because you're not coping with

One of the first things we did was get the teachers on board - give them the information and copies of the reports we had from her testing. It was a great comprehensive report and volunteered a lot of information - which was very helpful! So the teachers looked at what resources they had and then have helped from their side - they have been incredible!

We then took her to see a kinesiologist who treats people through vitamins, minerals and natural herbs (H-erbs NOT ERBS :)) and she also uses iridology to diagnose. She saw that there was a spot on her frontal lobes causing the dyslexia and has given her a mix of these herbs and vitamins to break it down (she did tell me what it is but for the life of me I cannot remember - hence the 'spot'). She also gave her a program to do every day - brain gym - simple crossing over exercises - crossing over meaning using left and right sides of the brain to recreate brain neural paths.

This lead me to remember what I had learned from Carolyn Copeland about Sensory Integration (SOI) - see this website for some information - it is informative! See to see what the equipment looks like. But I was interested in this many years ago and had done a home course with her when she was doing her masters in South Africa and I bought the equipment - just to enhance the functioning of my children's bodies and brains. Well, with the brain gym exercises recommended, I remembered my training and managed to get my balance board from South Africa (thanks to a great friend who brought it over) and we began these balance board exercises every morning (well every weekday morning). They incorporate using a pendulum ball, a beanbag and a stick. The balance board takes the effects of gravity away and by having to keep your balance while doing the crossing over (left/right brains again) exercises, you open the flow of cerebral fluid and neural pathways are opened up. I guess that's VERY basic and not sure I've even explained it properly with my limited training, but this has been effective.

Another thing that we did was to eliminate sugar, regular milk and cheese out her diet. This was also recommended by the kinesiologist. And I remember in my SOI training I was taught that sugar inhibits the messages being passed from one neuron to the next. So this made complete sense to me. I know there is not much conclusive evidence that sugar does this, but anything was worth trying if it helped! So we went off sugar and it's really hard especially around Halloween, Christmas and Easter! But Kelsey has been amazing and has shown such strength of character, she is absolutely amazing! I use xylitol, honey, agave, pure maple syrup and stevia as sweeteners and substitutes in baking and cooking. I figured out that if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar - you can substitute it with 1/2 cup of xylitol and 1/2 cup honey. People cannot tell there is any difference! For icing sugar substitute (powdered sugar for the Americans) I found a recipe and adapted it a bit: equal quantities of corn flour (corn starch), milk powder and xylitol - blend it all together in a liquidizer to make it fine powder - then add to any recipe that calls for it.

I cannot say that it has been any one of these things that has helped - I feel a combination has been effective. She started 3rd grade at reading level 2 and 4 months - she is now 7 months into 3rd grade, reading at level 3 and 7 months! Her spelling application in her writing is still very phonetical, but we have seen huge leaps forward in progress! She is encouraged and motivated by these results and has seen the monotonous routine every day has paid off - and she is more intrinsically motivated to do them on her own accord. Her teacher told her that she must continue to do whatever she is doing as it's working.

Please feel free to ask any questions you'd like if I haven't explained things adaquately! I get accused of not explaining things properly!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Symptoms of Dyslexia

Does not need to have all of these symptoms, most children have some of them.
• Student’s performance in academic tasks is often inconsistent
• There are frequent letter/ number reversals, rotations, and/or transpositions in reading, writing and/or spelling.
• Student is unable to read satisfactorily in spite of adequate intelligence. Student has unusual difficulty with spelling (beyond the weekly list).
• Student may have auditory discrimination problems, sometimes confusing similar speech sounds.
• Student has unusual difficult with handwriting.
• Student may have difficulty remembering how to make letter shapes.
• Student has difficulty copying accurately from near or far point or both.
• Student’s written work does not reflect his or her potential
• Student has difficult completing written assignments.
• Student is unable to recite the alphabet correctly in sequence (without singing or chanting).
• Student’s recall ability is poor, especially for words and names.
• Student has difficulty remembering and following directions.
• Student has difficulty expressing him/herself clearly and fluently.
• Student lacks organization skills.
• Student may lose assignments and papers frequently
• Student has difficulty starting assigned independent activities.
• Student shows some directional confusion: left/right; before/after; under/over.
• Student shows no established preference for right or left hand in writing. Student is either overly active and disturbing or unusually passive and withdrawn most of the time.
• Student’s attention span is short.
• Discrepancy between intellectual potential and actual achievement Student may have high anxiety in testing situations.
• Student may have difficulty with the passage of time.
• Student may have low self-esteem.
• Student has average or above average intelligence who may have unusual difficulty in reading, writing, spelling.
• Student may exhibit highly creative thinking and reasoning while performing poorly with written language tasks.
• Student excels in three-dimensional activities as sports, music, art, drama, math, cooking, mechanics, woodshop but meets with frustration hi the classroom.
• Student has an unusual pencil grip.
• Student is weak in phonics, especially vowels.
• Student is lacking in phonological awareness; cannot isolate individual sounds in words.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dyslexia - My perspective

Well, I thought that I would blog about my experience with Dyslexia. Maybe someone will benefit from the different things I have experienced and tried out.....

My daughter, Kelsey, was having a few (not bad) hassles at school - nothing great, but I knew she was struggling a bit - especially with her fluency in reading. She has always been a sharp little girl, very considerate, kind, helpful, sensitive! She loves to help and has great initiative. She is also athletic and from a young age has had great control over her muscles and her body weight to strength ratio is very high! Meaning she is tough and strong! She loves all sport and is fearless while playing.

Anyway, she went to 1st Grade in South Africa and her teacher said she was one of her top students (thanks to a SUPERB preschool/day mom who taught her to read and write from 3 1/2 years old). She was amazing! When we moved to the USA, she went to 1st grade again as her birthday fell in the later part of the year and children her age only started 1st grade with her. We thought this would be a good thing so she can get an ear for the accent and different vowel sounds.

Well, she seemed to struggle with recognizing some of the sounds, especially the a's and u's - then the e's and i's. her reading was still not fluent and she reversed some of her letters from time to time. 2nd grade she progressed well, her mathematics is always great and there's no problems there, just her sight reading and fluency again. She was asked by her teacher to reread books over again to get used to the words. She would read 'for' for 'of' etc. I later learnt that this is a classic symptom of dyslexia along with the reversing....

She really did fine at school so there was no real bells ringing, and when she finished 2nd grade, having got mostly 100% on her spelling tests but her writing stories and applying those spelling rules left much to be desired. She spells very phonetically. She still reversed her 'b' and 'd' and then her 'p' and '9'. I knew there was something up as by 3rd grade the natural reversing should stop.

I decided to have her tested for dyslexia, as if she had it, then we could then move forward from there - if not, then we'd try something else. She loves school and I did not want for her to stop that love and have a bad experience because she wasn't coping and then end up hating it. She's there for 6 hours a day and 12 years of her life - a long time not to enjoy something. So for me it was essential I get to the route of her problems to ensure a positive experience.

I found a Dyslexia Centre not too far from where we live and set up an appointment. We were there for 2 hours where Kelsey had a positive experience. They were kind and reassuring. They tested her IQ to reading to spelling etc. Basically, she has a high IQ and that is why she was doing 'fine' at school - she was compensating. But all the tests are based on an average IQ of 100 - so against that she was doing fine, but for her OWN ability, she was way under - hence a lot of room for improvement. I also got a 9 page full written report back from them with a folder and copy for the school and another for her teacher. Impressive. There were a number of resources they gave me to help her and insisted she not attend 'Resource' at school as they do not help dyslexic children.

On my own, I did some other research and with my background training in Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Nutrition, as well as being a teacher and doing a short course on Sensory Integration, I used all these things together to come up with a ‘program’ for her.We’ve been doing this program for 3 months now and have already seen a marked improvement – her oral reading going from 52 words a minute to over 80. This still needs to improve but this was great for Kelsey as her program has required a lot of will power and strength of character which she has valiantly shown. The results motivated her and she could see it was worthwhile. She is now a lot more intrinsically motivated and I need only remind her from day to day.

I'll post another post about the symptoms and the program we are doing......