Sunday, August 30, 2015

New To Me - Low Sodium Diet

After being diagnosed with hypertension and still working on getting my numbers regulated I have discovered the painful truth of most of the food we put in our mouths. Processed food is evil!! There I said it. Most everything we consume unless it is whole foods are filled with sodium, sugar, and preservatives.
The worst culprits of being drenched with sodium are some items you would expect - like, chips, crackers, ramen noodles, flavored noodles and rice, but for me others like salad dressing and  sandwich meat (even the plain sandwich meat with no flavorings) still are loaded with sodium. Realistically you are mostly talking about plain meat, veggies, fruit, and low sodium products being on the menu from here out.

I have found a few snacks that are very low in sodium, but higher in sugar. Spice and sodium substitutes are available as well. I am still feeling my way through this new way of eating and drinking. Only decaf coffee and caffeine free soda (which is very little these days because I learned my lesson after getting dehydrated and replacing it with lots of water). 

This is definitely a work in progress and will be for quite a while. Once I found out that I was hypertensive it seems like other people (friends and family) are coming out of the wood work as also have high blood pressure. I went to my uncle's funeral yesterday and discovered two of my cousins have been recently diagnosed and one teenager's numbers are too high for his age. Living off of ramen noodles and soda will do a teenager in, so please be careful as to the amount of sodium you are taking in. It can truly be a killer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First Nature Study Walk

This year for my tutoring students I decided to use something premade for their nature journals. Simply Charlotte Mason came out with a new product that makes nature journaling so easy. Journaling a Year in Nature can be found through this link. I had the parents purchase one for each student and this week we were able to go on our first nature walk.

We skipped ahead to the Spiders and Insects page. We found cocoons for Walnut Caterpillars. So I had the kids do a page about them. I also sent home the other page to complete another Spider and Insect page with the challenge of the most unique, creative, and time consuming page receiving a prize. I believe they were excited about the challenge and I'm excited to see on Monday what they come back with.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

When It Rains It Pours - Medically Speaking That Is

The past few days have been kind of a world wind. Just when you think your on health is starting to get under control.....WHAM! Your blasted with more stuff. Saturday was my third trip to the ER in less than three weeks. This time with a racing heart rate and being winded which turned out to be dehydration from one of the high blood pressure medications (diuretic) We dropped that pill from the daily routine and another WHAM! this morning my blood pressure went through the roof. One clonidine later and sitting with a decent blood pressure and decent heart rate, but that could change at a moments notice.

Friday night my dad was put back in the hospital with a spiking temperature. Turns out sever bladder infection that has gone to the kidneys as well. They ended up having to culture the urine because two IV antibiotics had not started the process of healing. Today they got the results back and he is on the correct medication and will be in the hospital till Monday or Tuesday. The silver lining to this visit is that they are now getting all the paperwork together to move him over to the rehab facility as soon as a bed gets open and he will be there for at least a month which should give my mom a breather.

Saturday morning my mom's brother who has congestive heart failure collapsed and stopped breathing and is in yet another hospital 45 minutes away. He is in a coma with some brain damage. My mom is obviously upset about the possibility of losing her brother but also torn between two hospitals with her husband and brother. I of course did not tell her anything about my ER visit because she is already stressed to the max.

And last but not least I have another uncle that used to be married to my mother's sister and he is yet in another hospital facing surgery tomorrow to remove a tumor from his throat which had grown so big he couldn't eat or drink. They had to put in a trach and feeding tube until he was ready for the surgery.

The family is spread pretty thin now between three hospitals and I am at home unable to really visit anyone or help anyone while I am trying to get better myself. Please pray for me and my family as we all go through this hard time. Also I promise as soon as I feel more myself you will be getting many more homeschooling and education type posts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When School Has To Start

Sunday was D - Day with getting the school room ready. I had already put off starting school for a week due to my high blood pressure diagnosis and trying to get my medication regulated, but this Monday it really just needed to happen. Not only did I have 5 tutoring students waiting on me to get started, but I really needed some work to get my mind off everything. For the most part the week went off without a hitch.

I made curtains to go over all the sky lights to help with glare everything we wanted to watch something on the computer of TV.

All the desks were put in place.

And of course my new best friend.
All in all it was good to get back to it this week and I promise to have a more updated post very soon when I can actually catch a breath and get my thoughts more together. Thanks so much for being patient with me.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

So Where Did I go??

To the hospital actually. Twice. Then to the doctor twice. Tons of medications later I'm still trying to regulate my blood pressure. It has been a bumpy and scary ride. My anxiety started kicking in with all the mucho high numbers I was seeing. Everything else at home stopped in its tracks. I've lost about 6 pounds probably in water weight from the diuretic. I had to push back my tutoring students one week and with fingers crossed I'm hoping we can start on Monday. Also had to push back Grace starting school at home, but she still needed to get to her two hybrid classes of geometry and chemistry twice a week and I'm relying on my mom for that. Friends are giving rides to volleyball practice. Hubby has stepped up to the plate in so many ways even though he has to commute 1 hour and 15 minutes both ways to work with super early hours. In other words we are all exhausted because getting it regulated has just exhausted me. I am definitely one of those folks that feels it when their pressure goes up over 100 on the bottom number. Tension in my back, neck, and headache and pressure in the head. I haven't felt this bad and weak since being pregnant.

Learning all the foods, drinks, and medicines to stay away from with high blood pressure is also a strong learning curve, especially when your doctor doesn't really clue you in. Without even thinking I was using nasal spray twice a day and it was pushing all my numbers up.

These guys were my constant companions. Always by my side keeping me company while trying to get better. I would still appreciate your prayers while I continue to get straight on my high blood pressure medication and keep my numbers down. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

TOS Review - Classical Conversations - The Conversation

Classical Conversations Review
In the homeschooling world there are many different methods used for educating your child. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and confusing, simply because of the plethora of methods currently available. In our home we have tried many including Charlotte Mason, Textbook, Literature Based, and some Classical. Over the years it has evolved into a more eclectic feel including all of the above. Early on in our homeschool adventure we even attended a Classical Private School for a couple of classes. More and more of my homeschooling friends have joined Classical Conversations groups in our area and rave about its benefits with their children. Recently I was given the opportunity to read and review The Conversation from Classical Conversations. I felt a little background information may be helpful to my readers in how I formed my opinion of the book.
Classical Conversations Review
Let's begin with "What is a classical education"? Classical education is explained and referred to by three main stages; Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. The Grammar Stage is basically memorizing all the rules for each subject. For example sounds of the words, capitals for cities, grammar rules, muscle groups, and so much more through songs and chants as well as good old fashioned memorizing and reciting. The Dialectic Stage takes learning a step further by having the student take the information that was learned and start comparing and sorting it. The third stage is call Rhetoric and by this point the student utilizes all the information they have learned to give speeches, debate subjects with teachers and classmates, participate in great discussions, and create presentations.
The Conversation by Leigh A. Bortins is a book dealing mainly with how to teach high schoolers in the Rhetoric Stage. The Conversation is the third installment completing a set of books geared toward teaching your child classically.
Leigh Bortins is not only the author of this book, but also the CEO and founder of Classical Conversations. She has a degree in Aerospace Engineering, completed a Doctoral program in Global Education, speaks on her own radio show, writes on a personal blog, and still has time to raise and educate her own family. This is one busy woman.
The Conversation is a 254 page book written to help guide parents through the process of educating a high school age student through a classical education. The book is divided into three main parts: High School at Home, The Rhetorical Arts, and Appendices. Part Two with Rhetorical Arts is the bulk and meat of the book. The section includes chapters on every subject; Reading, Speech and Debate, Writing, Science, Math, Government and Economics, History, Latin and Foreign Languages, and Fine Arts. Each subject/chapter describes how to teach it classically to a high school student in the rhetoric stage and shows plenty of examples of how the discussions and presentations would take place. The appendices contains conversation games to use with the student, common literary/rhetorical devices, with terms and definitions, resources, and a small section of parent responses about a classical education.
After reading the book in my opinion it is definitely geared toward families and parents that educate classically, but I was able to glimmer some nuggets of information that could be used in our homeschooling endeavors. I love learning new things and The Conversation definitely taught information and terms that were new to me. I have many friends that have chosen the route of teaching classically and have joined Classical Conversations. I plan on gifting this book to one of the families that has or will have a high school student soon as well as tell all the other families that there is a great book available to help them negotiate the classical high school path. The Conversation is a must read for all parents teaching classically to high school students.
The Conversation can be found at Classical Conversations. Be sure to see what other Crew Members thought after reading The Conversation.
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Classical Conversations Review
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Final Countdown

It is the final countdown in more ways than one. School for my tutoring students, Grace, and the Cooperative all starts in just one short week. I have planned out all the lessons for the first week for my tutoring students. Grace will only have a couple of subjects to start on Monday while her other classes begin on Tuesday, but Literature won't start till the end of the month. I have two drama classes to prepare for as well along with all the last minute administrative work that goes along with managing a fine arts cooperative.

This year should be very busy, but so much fun. Who doesn't love a shelf full of new curriculum. You know how money always burns a hole in your pocket - well, I think the same about new books.

I was also lucky enough to purchase some old computer sets for $20.00 each for my tutoring students. This will not be for internet usage. At the moment it will be for Mavis Beacon typing and Teaching Textbooks. A local school was selling many old items to buy new technology.
It is late and I have so much more to say, but knew I needed to check in. Longer post coming soon, especially about the first days of school and cooperative.