Friday, August 2, 2013

The End of Summer Break

This is the last summer 2013 post for us.  School officially starts, baring any catastrophes, next Wednesday the 7th!

We've been working hard the last two weeks to prepare our house for another school year.  Over the past couple of years, we've been slowly transforming the old homework area to a school area.  It took time to see how we preferred to use the space, but by the time Amber graduates we will have it perfect.

The recent school area upheaval started because I wanted a larger dry erase board but couldn't figure out where to put it... and I wanted the walls painted.  Fred is quite a good painter, but is a procrastinator who doesn't like to completely finish our home projects.  After some whining (on my part) Fred agreed to paint the school area, and a trip through Michael's gave me the idea to use the wall section between the two doors as an entire dry-erase wall.

One wall painted (he tried to get away with just that wall)
Rollering the dry-erase epoxy. 
I was quite trepidatious about the dry erase epoxy painting, given the mixed reviews I read online.  We followed the directions to the letter and Fred rollered the wall perfectly. After an extended curing time, because I was still anxious, we tested the dry-erase wall.  It works like a charm!  There are some colors that don't erase as well as others, but those same markers don't erase well from our standard dry-erase board either.  Luckily, dry-erase board cleaner works on the wall too.

While I was complaining about Fred not finishing the wall painting, I realized I never had Amber's wall map laminated.  We've only had it a year, and it remained folded up and unused that entire year.  Feeling very hypocritical, I trekked the 5 miles to Fed Ex to have the wall map laminated and promptly hung it over Amber's desk.  My Degas print moved to an area closer to my desk, but less visible for me.

Then, Amber and I discussed how she could best use her desk space and what changes could make it it feel less cluttered.  After a few trials, we decided on a slightly altered desk arrangement.  The school books and binders for the next year have also been sorted, labeled, and put on the appropriate shelves.

We are as prepared as it's going to get!

Finished school area, complete with dry erase wall and laminated map!
Amber has been feeling poorly the last few weeks, and honestly she looks awful.  Two weeks ago the GI doctor called with a best guess diagnosis for Amber.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with constipation and gluten intolerance.  So basically, she's gluten intolerant, has constipation from possibly the gluten intolerance and / or another cause, and they don't know how to treat her.  Sigh. 

She's on twice a day laxatives for a month (half-way done), and then we will see from there.  She will have to take laxatives if the symptoms reoccur; possibly using them 5 days per month as a preventative measure.  Amber feels sick from the laxatives, has little energy, and looks horrible. We can't tell if it's doing anything for her besides making her food race through the intestines.  I guess we will find out in two weeks.

On a positive note, I nailed down flute lessons for Amber and she starts in late August.  I can't express how excited Amber is to start this new instrument.  She truly loves music and would play just about every instrument if she had time.

Summer reading is almost at an end for Amber too, and she's read several new series this summer by British author Allan Frewin Jones.  Amber started out with the Faerie Path series, moved on to Destiny's Path series (including the book only released in the UK), and finally the Six Crowns (Sundered Lands).  The first two were more her level, but the third series was for younger kids. The author has more books but they are not topics that are suitable for Amber.

When Amber ran out of books, I finally persuaded her to read my Harry Potter books.  For some reason she has been reluctant to read them, even though she's seen all the movies and played the LEGO games. However, once Amber started reading the Harry Potter books she hasn't been able to stop.  In 4 days she's managed to read 3 1/2 of the books and just might finish the series before school starts.

(Top-L)Another new LEGO set: The Council of Elrond.  Who wouldn't want a little piece of Rivendell?
(Top-R) Indoor swimming with a friend on a rainy day.  Amber is absolutely exhausted.
(Bottom-L) Devouring Harry Potter
(Bottom-R) Rosetta and Biscotti being friends, it was a good day.
I've been taking a break from my normal fun reading to read The Core by Leigh Bortins Even though we had already committed to using a classical education for Amber, I am finding new insights to our decision through this book.  I'd really like Fred to read The Core as well to help with some decisions coming up.  We are thinking about considering homeschooling Amber past 8th grade, but a serious family discussion need to happen about educational goals and the choice of high schools available.

Amber has been spending a lot of time working with our new kittens and Biscotti to help them all get along.  Some days it goes great and other days we wonder if Biscotti will ever be more than a domineering bigger cat.   Amber also helped bake more gluten-free goodies for the Heartland Humane Society bake sale this weekend.  It's something fun we can do to help the organization and it earns Amber hours for her Bronze award.

Amber also has been taking a break from knitting baby hats to knit kitty blankets.  We found out that Heartland actually needs more blankets for their kitten carriers and to give new adopters.  This was a perfect fit for Amber as she adores knitting. 

Delivering baked goodies for Heartland's bake sale
Knitting kitty blankets at home and at Grandma's. 
Finally, today is Amber's last day of sensory therapy!! It's been over a year, but we couldn't be more pleased with the progress she has made.

We have a fun weekend planned to end the summer break.  Our 17th wedding anniversary is tomorrow and our nephew's 6th birthday party is Sunday.  It's a party weekend!

Linking with:

 photo 79396fe0-1f8b-44f8-a90e-f8ca7bfa801e_zpsa74bcc3b.jpg


  1. I love the idea of a dry erase wall! We haven't grown out of our small board yet, but we may and we'd have no place to put a huge board. I'll be pondering that idea; thanks for sharing.

  2. WOW I never heard of the dry erase wall...that is awesome. What a blessed area for Amber to study and school in. Loving that green paint too....praying she feels better real soon!

  3. Love your homeschool room! I had no idea there was such a thing as dry erase paint. That's so cool! I'm sorry Amber has been feeling poorly again. Hope the meds help. She hasn't let it slow down her volunteer work though! Amber is a sweet heart!

    1. I didn't know there was dry erase paint / epoxy either until I saw it at Michael's. Fred knew though because they have some dry erase walls at work. Apparently, the ones at his work were not painted correctly because they work very poorly... or else we used a better kit.

  4. Ugg! The journey to figure out how to help a child is so long and hard sometimes. I am praying the doctors find the answer. The knitting blankets sounds wonderful. What a great way to give back. That must make her feel good. Have a great party weekend.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thanks, Dawn. She could use all the prayers we can manage. It was a good weekend though.

  5. your dry erase wall is so cool! schooling will be such fun this year. Hoping your daughter does well this fall and that you are able to get to the root the cause quickly.
    stopping by today from Collage Friday, and Happy Anniversary!

  6. Your schoolroom area is beautiful and so inviting! I love the idea of the dry-erase wall and have wanted to do something similar for a couple of years, but we are still a little nervous about trying it.

    Stopping by from HMJ - have a great week!

  7. We are in the process of moving our school room to accommodate my DD joining us. We have everything out of the room. Now I need to get everything arranged. One of the many items on my to do list is a giant dry erase board. I was going to with a shower board but I will have price that against the paint.

    1. I got the kit fairly cheaply at Michael's with a 40% off coupon. The base price was cheaper at the big hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) but with the 40% it was the best buy at Michael's. If you do get the paint, CHECK the serial number on the paint can inside the kit. The first number (after a letter) will be the year it was produced. You don't want it to be older than two years or else it won't work properly. That was the big mistake I read about from other people. Our kit was from '13, and we had no problems at all.

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog, Our Abundant Blessings!
    I love blog hops as it affords me an opportunity to meet new blogging friends! :)

    LOVE the dry erase board wall! I didn't realize there was a paint for that! We have a chalkboard/magnetic wall in our kitchen. I don't use it nearly as much as I thought I would. The dry erase would have been a better choice. ;)

    Will add your daughter and her health concerns to our prayer list.

    And way to go with her knitting and gifting those creations! I have a knifty knitter, but have yet to finish a project with it. ;)