AsForMyHouse

Sep 272013
 

Cheese… Mmmmm! Yummy, dairy goodness.

So why are my daughter and I both desperately gluten-poisoned after eating a big cheese-y meal?

Having eliminated all the other ingredients beyond doubt, I was left starting at a package of Kraft cheese. A block of cheddar cheese, not slices, or shreds, or anything “fancy.”

Cheese shouldn’t have gluten in it. Cheese should be in the category of “naturally gluten-free.” Let’s see…

Ingredients: Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized nonfat milk and milkfat, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto [color]), natamycin (a natural mold inhibitor). Contains: Milk

Doesn’t sounds like gluten, does it?

So I called Kraft.

First, I got transferred from the regular Customer Service desk to a specialized department because I made the mistake of saying that I had had a bad reaction. And the woman at that department didn’t have lists of ingredients for given products, so was not actually set up to answer my question.

I grabbed the block of cheese and read her the ingredient list, and she confirmed that none of those ingredients were glutinous.

In the way of all the “good guys” big food companies these days, Kraft would have labeled anything that had wheat. And even anything that was “processed in a facility that produces things made with wheat.”

But gluten is not a “Major Allergen.”

They have no requirement to list any possible exposure to other potential problems, like rye, barley, malt, or oats.

And furthermore? They don’t care.

Really?

Well, that’s good to know.

All Kraft foods are now making an exodus from our home. There are other brands that do care about my health in this regard, not to mention the tasty option of making many of these products myself.

Sep 092013
 

Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued

An inspiring true story told through the engaging voice of Kim Meeder, Blind Hope reveals poignant life lessons Laurie experienced from her ailing, yet courageous canine friend. Despite the blindness of her dog—and her own heart—Laurie uncovered what she really needed most: authentic love, unconditional trust, and true acceptance, faults and all.

A lot of reviews of this book fault it because it is a faith-based story, and not an animal story, really – they find the cover photo and descriptions misleading. Perhaps that’s so, but since I received this book to review through a Christian publishing house, I knew what I was in for from the beginning, and this didn’t bother me.

I still didn’t adore the book, however.

Somehow the way it was written didn’t ring true to me. In a work of fiction, perhaps. But in a true story, to recall every instant of every conversation with the clarity to say, “I tucked my hair back behind my ear…” at that moment? Nothing wrong with artistic license, of course, but I can only express that I found the writing style a distraction from the message.

The message itself was a good one, but again, failed to engage me. It came across a tad preachy, a little too cliche, and a little too neatly all tied up in a bow. Real life just doesn’t work that way.

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Everyone who ranks this review at the Waterbrook Multnomah website has a chance to randomly win a free copy of the book — Note that you’re rating my review, and not rating the book in question. (Plus, I appreciate you letting them know that you appreciate me!)



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I received this product free from the publisher as part of their Blogging for Books review program; I was not compensated in any other way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Sep 062013
 

So, no, not “coming out of the closet” like that. ;)

More like this:

Hi, my name is Tiffany, and I have a debilitating chronic illness.

You’d be surprised how long it’s taken me to be able to say that.

Two years.

I’ve suffered from migraines since puberty, but they were manageable with medication, and very infrequent (ranging from once every couple of weeks, to a couple of periods of a year or more without an episode). But two years ago, things changed.

For two years now, I have had a debilitating headache every day.

Yeah, every single day.

Migraines frequently, but not daily. But on the other days very painful headaches, accompanied by vertigo, extreme fatigue, and other symptoms.

I am under the care of a neurologist who specializes in migraines. We’ve tried at least ten separate treatments so far, including Botox and a wide array of medications.

I have had an MRI, a sleep study, and a detailed eye exam. I know what foods and things are migraine triggers, and avoid them. I have tried chiropractic, massage, and other therapies.

We even moved out of our home and to a more sterile environment in a different neighborhood, in case toxins in the house were to blame.

For a long, long time, I expected it to get better. Every day I thought that even though things were slipping out of control with the housekeeping, the homeschooling, my marriage, my corporate worship, never mind my wishes to sew and garden… it would all get better, because surely tomorrow I’d feel better.

I no longer believe that.

I am still searching for a better treatment. I am still praying for relief.

But I am now able to see that, at this moment, this is simply my lot in life.

I may be able to whip up some butter from the milk we buy, but I cannot commit to a big and long-term project like soap making, or keeping the plants watered.

After trying an anti-depressant medication which was also supposed to be a good headache preventative, I realized how depressed I actually was. It didn’t help the headaches, but after much soul-searching, I am continuing to take it. Maybe this “boost” has helped me to take a more objective look at things, and explore ways to make things work.

I’ve hired a neighborhood teenager to come over and read to my kids for an hour twice a week. It’s an easy job, so she’s not charging much. This is enabling us to keep on track with our schooling. Since we prefer a literature-based approach to learning, and since neither of the Littles is a fluent reader, this was where we were floundering.

Another neighborhood youth has volunteered to come over one or more times a week and help out. He’s not only helping with things like keeping the yard in shape, and washing the car, but he is taking the Littles along and having them work with him – and learn how to do these necessary household tasks.

The small expenditure this entails has been easy enough to work into our budget.

All I had to do was admit that I needed help.

Sep 062013
 


When I think of the times I’ve sewn a big ruffle onto the bottom of Jewel’s skirts…

Or passed on a skirt that might have been good for me “if only it was a little longer”.

Whew!

As a tall family, that is a constant battle.

I knew genius the moment I discovered Make Me Modest. :)

A mother and daughter team designed and created these amazing little numbers, which are thin and lightweight in the top portion, then add length in a great variety of colors and styles.

They’ve even got some new things working, like sleeve extenders!

Make Me Modest sent me an extender to review, made to my specifications. They were amazingly helpful and patient in figuring out how to accommodate all of my various questions and special requests.

The extender is amazing! The design is clever, the workmanship is excellent… Even the packaging was a treat to receive.

I did decide, after trying it on, that I had picked entirely the wrong extender for the skirt I wanted to extend. Ah, well. I’m definitely ordering a different one, and one for Jewel as well!

The good news for you is that I’m going to give away the extender I received!

Sadly, the lovely packaging is gone, but you will receive a like-new (tried on but never worn or washed), white, Eliza style extender, Size XL, made extra long to 36″, with extra coverage upwards (to account for a slit or kick-pleats in your skirt).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above-referenced product free from Make Me Modest for the purpose of a possible review on this blog. I will ship the prize directly to the winner at my own expense.

Winner will be contacted by email. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your costs will be the same but As For My House will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. We appreciate your support.

Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe may be good products/services for my readers.

I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sep 052013
 

We don’t go swimming much… Public beaches and water-parks are just too immodest for any of us to feel comfortable.

But I do want the children to learn to swim… For safety when they may be near water (fishing, boating, etc.), or even the occasional time we may want to go swimming – in a quiet “swimming hole,” at a friend’s house, who knows?

Read the rest of my Swim Headcovering Review from seasons past… Then come on back for a brand new giveaway!

What, back so soon? :)

I was delighted to discover Princess Modest Swimwear back at that time. An Israeli company, they provide modest swimwear with an eye towards traditional Jewish modesty requirements – including headcoverings.

I purchased one of their fabulous swimsuits in Aqua and Black, and ordered the headcovering to match. Basically, it’s an ordinary lycra swim cap with a black triangle “bandanna” of peachskin microfiber (the quick-drying stuff that men’s swim suits are often made of) sewn along one edge. You can then wrap and tie it in a variety of ways.

My only concern was one that is, while of course not “unique,” certainly one that most of you needn’t worry about – it’s One Size Fits All.

As I explained to someone recently (someone else who sold clothing items, who should have known better!), being tall makes a lot of difference in everything. Someone who is six feet tall is simply proportionately bigger in every respect than someone who is five feet tall. So, while of course everyone is shaped differently, overall the taller person will tend to have a bigger shoe size, a bigger wrist measurement for bracelets, and – yeah – a bigger hat size. (And on top of that I do have quite a bit of hair).

As I described in my original review, I decided to purchase it, with the clearly stated intention that I would take the chance, give the owner feedback on the fit either way, and pass it on to bless someone else if it turned out not to fit.

That’s where you come in. :)

BUY IT!

Order your own stylish Swim Head Covering directly from Princess Modest Swimwear.

At the moment they are on sale for $8 (normally $14), with Free Shipping in Israel, or $5 Shipping anywhere else in the world.

WIN IT!

One lucky As For My House reader will win their own Aqua/Black Swim Head Covering

This is the one that I ordered to check out. It has only been tried on, never worn out of the house or around water…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be contacted by email, and must respond within 48 hours, or a new winner will be selected. I will ship to your U.S. mailing address only. You may choose to pay the difference if you would like insurance, or shipping to anywhere else – Canada, Costa Rica, or wherever!

.

I purchased this item of my own initiative; I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Aug 272013
 

Welcome to the 400th Carnival of Homeschooling!
The Carnival of Chaos Edition

How do you homeschool though one child’s illness or injury? How do you homeschool through moving? Through your own chronic illness? Through grief or other turmoil?

Some days, all we can get done is what we can get done. That’s more some times than others, and not always in the “planned” or “expected” fashion. Sometimes other family members can step in and lend a hand. Sometimes there are curriculum alternatives that can help in a given situation.

It’s the beauty of homeschooling. It can be with us wherever we are. It can succeed in chaos.

So, without further ado, I bring you, chaotically, the submissions for this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling!

Rebecca embraces chaos! In Give a Label a Hug over at Down a Rabbit Trail: Interest-Led Learning with a Charlotte Mason Flair she explains, “Even though I’m a second generation unschooler, I’ve not always been 100% comfortable with the label “unschooling”. Unschooling…yes. All in! The label…not so much. I didn’t realize till lately how much that hesitancy closed us off from finding more like minded people. :)

How about the chaos of moving across state lines, and dealing with a new set of homeschooling laws? Jennifer discusses What Are The Best and Worst States For Homeschooling Regulations? at Time4Learning Community Blog

Also at Time4Learning, Jamie help tame and label that chaos with her Guide to Homeschool Grading.

Horrifying chaos is possible. A.Hermitt offers Thoughts on another school shooting at Notes from a homeschooled mom.

Mindy presents some chaotic and entertaining craft ideas in First Day of Fall ~ Sept 22nd posted at Den School: Homeschooling Articles, Freebies, Reviews and Giveaways, as well as Do Homeschooled Kids Actually Like to Be Homeschooled?.

Kristen takes an an international view. “We are studying the world, one continent a year, for our homeschool social studies. I have written plans using library books and the internet, and I thought I would share the fruits of my labor with my little homies. Check out the first installment: LATIN AMERICA.” Visit A Little Homie: Homeschool Blog to check out her Free Latin America Homeschool Lesson Unit.

To have chaos or not have chaos? Julie Bogart discusses the pros and cons of lesson planning in To Lesson Plan or Not to Lesson Plan at A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief.

And Annie Kate shares her chaos-reducing pointers in Oops! Minimizing Planning Blind Spots at Tea Time With Annie Kate.

ebele (who has a lovely accent – you must go watch her video!) shares inspiration in My story: How I started college at 14 and finished at 18 + YOU are a gift posted at Street-side convos.

Rachael discusses the chaos of getting ready each year in Heading Back to School! Top Ten Ways to Prepare for the Fall ‘Mayhem’ over at DiAmOnDs In ThE rOuGh.

Melissa’s chaos involves using nutrition and homeschooling to mitigate our son’s ADHD without medication in Finding What Works for My Son: An Ongoing Journey at The Cork Board.

Transitioning to college is definitely chaos. Carter White presents 21 Blogs with Info You Need to Know Before Sending Your Kids Off to College posted at Babysitting.

Dave shares about learning to value the moment in the chaos in Stop The Clock at Home School Dad.

Is there a Snowden in my office? Did he know what my theme was going to be? Henry, of Why Homeschool (creator of the Carnival) shares how his life has gotten a bit more crazy, again, in Homeschooling and soccer.

The first image above is from Scientific American, and the second is from Funderstanding, sites about which I know nothing else.

* * * * * *

A huge THANK YOU to all of the bloggers who shared with us. As always, it has been a joy to read through them all while putting this together (I confess I don’t typically get to read through an entire carnival on other weeks!).

Please take a moment to post a link to the carnival on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter… help spread the word about homeschooling, and the carnival, and send some traffic to all these terrific folks!

And of course, good Carnival manners includes the hope that everyone will link their submitted post to this Carnival post, as well as possibly including one of the adorable COH Graphics. Thank you!

Don’t forget to send in your post for next week’s carnival! Just visit Why Homeschool for all the details, and email the info anytime before next Monday.

Until next time… Happy Homeschooling!

Aug 252013
 

So, let’s talk potty.

Not quite the usual topic of conversation around here, eh?

But eating healthy, living healthy, being healthy, and following God’s natural plan and order — that’s normal stuff.

So.. it turns out that our anatomy is designed to squat to eliminate.

This should come as no big surprise there to anyone who has had any exposure to natural childbirth; squatting is the best way to allow that baby to get out, too.

This was brought to mind for me again recently by Mommypotamus’ excellent article on pelvic floor issues and incontinence, Why You Need to Pee in the Shower.

But our “western civilization” toilets, for some reason, have been designed in a different position altogether. And it’s causing us to struggle with constipation, hemorrhoids, and a host of other complaints.

Until now, your only choice was pretty much to remove your toilet and create a squatting toilet similar to those common in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Latin America.

But now, there’s a great, inexpensive, non-home-damaging option! (Click the graphic to visit their website)

Want a visual on the anatomical issues (non-graphic, in all senses of the word)? Check out Squatty Potty’s video:

Visit Squatty Potty to find out more, or order yours.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your costs will be the same but As For My House will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. We appreciate your support.

Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe may be good products/services for my readers.

I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aug 242013
 


Previously, I wrote my thoughts on the Snugg iPad case.

Now we’re taking it on the road, with the Snugg iPad 2 Car Headrest Mount Holder.

Some of the things that we felt were drawbacks have nothing to do with this particular product, rather than with this type of product in general. For instance:

  • Having the iPad mounted on the seat makes for great viewing for one child, but not so good viewing for their seat-mate. When they hold the iPad, they achieve a much more neutral position. (Obviously, this is only a factor if you have more than one potential viewer)
  • Unless you have headphones for the viewer(s), you will be playing sound directly behind the ear of the front-seat passenger. Grrr!

As far as this particular apparatus, it is specifically designed to work with the Snugg case, and does a great job of holding it securely. It is easy to mount and remove, and we had no issues with its functionality on our recent road trip.

I also had considerable frustration in dealing with the Snugg folks from the time we agreed to do the reviews to the time (now) when our business with each other is complete. Presumably as a retail customer you would never have to deal with that set of folks, so whether that’s a concern is up to you.

Given the functional limitations mentioned above, for our specific situation, as well as my concerns with having the iPad in the Snugg case to begin with, I do not this we will continue to use this product.

Your mileage may vary!

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Disclosure: I received one or more complimentary products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my website and/or in social media. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe may be good products/services for my readers. I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jul 242013
 

Our friends at Shabby Apple would like to give one of you a dress – this one, in fact! Isn’t that nice of them?

They are promoting their line of vintage clothing (vintage inspired, to be precise), and hope this giveaway will pique your interest.

Are you piqued? :)

Feel free to browse around their site to your heart’s content…

And to enter the drawing, just use the handy-dandy Rafflecoptor entry for below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shabby Apple is providing the prize for this giveaway, will ship directly to the winner, and is solely responsible for its fulfillment.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your costs will be the same but As For My House will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. We appreciate your support.

Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe may be good products/services for my readers.

I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jul 222013
 

At times in our wild journey of the last decade, we’ve had a substantial amount of our household stuffed in a storage unit.

It only made sense, when we were roving in our RV, but knew we’d be setting up housekeeping again within a year or two.

But what makes sense when it’s longer?

Things have shifted in such a way that we are more seriously considering taking an overseas contract job. This would likely be for a period of five years, and could extend to ten.

When you get to thinking about the cost of renting a storage unit for ten years, the perspective on everything changes. The cost to store something for ten years just about can’t help but being more than the cost of shipping it overseas, then back home again, don’t you think?

Not to mention that in long a span things will degrade and decay, no matter how carefully stored. And hey, what if the storage center goes out of business while you’re an ocean away?

Before a move like that, you’d obviously go through and pare down your belongings to a bare minimum. But really, in this case, that needs to be even bare-er.

The cost to store something for ten years just about can’t help but being more than the cost of shipping it overseas, then back home again, don’t you think?

We are book lovers. That will be the first hurdle.

We’ve pared down the books over and over again… And I still can’t even shelve them all on seven full sized bookcases (and that doesn’t even include the kids’ books!). But really. Surely, in some cases, if I was ever going to read them, I would have by now, right? And I could always get another copy if I really decide I need it later? I keep telling myself that…

But something I can’t even conceive of is what to do about our vehicles.

Nick and Wolf drive old beaters, which we would simply sell in advance of our departure. But that’s only half the story.

Wolf also has a classic Volvo. It’s a derelict, non-driveable old monster at this point, but he does hope to have it driveable within the next year. Still, is it worth it to ship over there? He certainly doesn’t want to get rid of it…

My vehicle is another situation entirely. You might consider it unremarkable – a 1999 Suburban. Surely we could sell it off and obtain a comparable vehicle when we return. Yeah. The trouble is, there are a number of features about the vehicle which have been changed, and in some cases discontinued, in later models (and other makes) leaving it uniquely suited to our needs and preferences.

So then what? How do you store a vehicle for that long?

Surely it involves either draining all the fluids and putting it up on blocks, or finding someone to store it and drive it periodically.

In either case, ten years is (once again) a long commitment. Aside from the cost, even. What if the storage facility goes out of business, or the person has a change in their life situation?

Any advice?