02 September 2015

Homeschool Field Trip - Weston Red Barn

Can you tell it was sunny?  Look at those squint-y faces!
 Yes, the apples are ready to be picked!  We got some buckets and ran out to the orchard.  It's pretty sunny and hot, so I suppose the crowds haven't figured out that it's time yet.  We had the place to ourselves (except for the workers).

More info on their website here if you're interested.

Bringing apples up the hill.

A partial view of one of the orchards.

These chickens were loose and foraging.

A view of the barn from the orchard.

There's a cute country gift shop inside.  Right now they are selling "cider slushies" as well.

Peaches are ripe!

31 August 2015

Beginner's Bible: Wild About Creation

Bright, happy animals and colourful scenes abound throughout the book.  Your 4 to 8-year-old will appreciate the easy-to-do tracing and matching activities and have fun with the stickers.  Like most workbooks for younger children, there are also colouring activities, a maze and a find-the-difference included.

What you see here is the cover, but inside is very much like the cover.  Very friendly, cheerful, easy-to-do for children on their own.  "Stocking stuffer" is so over-used, but it could be that or a party favour or better still?  A travelling book.  Something to keep a little person occupied and learning at the same time. 

No deep or controversial theology is included in the text of the book.  It's pretty much about how God made everything, things were happy and great, and in the last two pages?  Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (pictured as a pomegranate!) and were banished.  I'd recommend this series as a small gift for children.  Woodjie loves his and has yet to do any of the activities.  He's still looking at the pictures and admiring the animals. 

Incidentally, this has been a hard book to review.  Woodjie wants his book back.  I always want to weigh what the target audience thinks of the book, so I can't hide it before the review.  This one's a mega-hit. 

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Iowa Open 2015

Emperor got to meet GM Alexander Yermolinsky.  He is a big fan of his "Every Russian Schoolboy Knows" show on the ICC.

Rose, ready for round one in the Rated Beginner Open.

I got to meet blogger Bethany Carson!

24 August 2015

The Good Knight Dala Horse in Lindsborg, Kansas.

The Good Knight Dala horse was unveiled outside the Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess in Lindsborg, Kansas, on Saturday. Emperor's design was chosen for the horse, so his name is on the plaque.
Here he is with GM Timur Gareev.

Nearby Dala horse.

There are now 33 Dala horses in the town...

While we were there, we browsed an art gallery and I brought this jellyfish home.

Ask an Autism Expert

Woodjie DID name them, I s'pose.
 I've been asked to do a post about helpful resources for helping autistic people.  This is one of those times I wish I had "the answers."  I have lots of helpful suggestions, and I'll pop a few here, but every child is different and the saying goes that if you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism.

I have four diagnosed children, and two who are, shall we say, eccentric.  So I can tell you each child needs something different from parents, and when you're dealing with an older child, the best way to know what that is is to ask him.  It's such an obvious answer that often we forget it!

Something we've been having trouble with. 
Lately we've been having trouble with Woodjie pulling out whole clumps of hair and he has bald patches all over.  He picks the hair off his body and his eyelashes.  He twists his skin as well, so sometimes he looks like an abused child.  In speaking to him, he is not sure why he is doing this, and he does want to stop.  That tells me it's not a discipline issue at all.  We have had a behaviour therapist in and we've been to the doctor.  Between the two we have various routines and things that help (such as a weighted vest schedule) and medication.  But he still does it sometimes.

It's odd to say, but the best help I've found has been the willingness to leave what isn't working.  Doctor isn't listening?  Buh-bye.  School won't work nicely with your child?  Homeschool.  And so on.  Sounds simple, but you know it isn't. 

But I also can't stick with what's not helpful, or with people who I don't think are on my child's side.  I've found bridges I thought would last through the ages are presently nothing but char.  And that has to be ok.  I've got to do my best job, even though sometimes it's not good enough - most parents feel that way some days, I'm sure. 

To parents facing a new diagnosis, I'd tell them that autism is not your enemy.  It's a difference and you have to work with it, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.  I never thought my kid's super-white skin was a bad thing, but I must make allowances for it if we're to go outside.  Not doing so is poor parenting.
Woodjie loves Pokemon.

It sort of sucks that we moms of autistics have to make so many allowances in this world so that our children can function.  It sucks even worse for our kids.  You're going to find all kinds of crazy stuff - and crazy and resentful people - in this world and most especially when you are dealing with something like autism.  My best advice after "listening to your child?"  Is to find friends.  Which is hard.  It is hard, hard, hard.  They pop up in unexpected places, though.  One place I've found friends - and even local friends - is the internet.

You found me, right?
Edited to add Woodjie's vest (back of chair) and Woobie cloth (foreground).  He also has a brush and we curry the kid like a pony.  Hey, whatever works, right?

I'll leave you with a few links I presently find helpful.  Feel free to comment with things that you find work for you.

ASAN - The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Sisterhood of the Autism Mothers and a Few Great Dads - facebook group

Autism Blogs Directory - site has not been maintained lately, but a good starting point to find other autism-related blogs.

The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene.  A particularly good resource for parents of "difficult" children.

19 August 2015


How quickly we take our blessings for granted!  Every little happiness we receive from God should inspire us to be grateful and mindful of others who don't have as much. 

Thankfulness has to be one of the more difficult virtues to cultivate in young children.  I chose to review Eileen Spinelli's Thankful book because the coming season is a time where we're slowing down and counting our blessings. 

Thankful is a prose-y poem meant to be read slowly and savoured with the accompanying illustrations on each two-line page.  You'll find as you go along that simple, usual things can inspire gratitude.

Archie Preston's artwork will make this the sort of book you'll want to display on top of your bookshelf during the fall season for children to "discover." I think the style is very much like Quentin Blake's.  You'll enjoy how the pictures and the words compliment one another.

It's a nice sized hardback with glossy pages and a good quality.  There aren't very many pages, making this a suitable bedtime book for younger children up through about age eight.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

18 August 2015


Rose had to work 13 weeks for this brand new dolly.  I figure the kids earn about $2 worth of prizes each week, and they can buy stuff at the store and save it until it's earned.