Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I have had the same half dozen things at the top of my To Do List for weeks... maybe more like months. 

I guess I should explain a little bit.  When my husband worked for his parents' business he had a little more freedom and he was able to take care of most of the insurance and medical paperwork and phone calls, etc.  Well, since he has been at his current job for the past year he does not have the same flexibility he had before.  So, those responsibilities have fallen to me. I'll admit something to you all.  I have not risen to the occasion...  I have cowered.

As some of you may know dealing with Medicaid and Insurance and the medical community is not always sunshine and roses.  Often there is a lot of jumping through hoops and filing lots of paperwork and making lots of tedious phone calls to people who claim to know what they're talking about and are supposed to be there to help you but seem to be as tired and frustrated and ignorant as I do.  Some days I have felt crippled by the anxiety about the impending phone calls and necessary hoops I will inevitably be jumping through.  Taking care of this paperwork and faxing it to this person, who will send it to so-and-so who will be calling me back with questions... its mentally and emotionally exhausting just thinking about it.

So I kept put things off.  Among other things, several phone calls needed to be made to get Christine scheduled for outpatient therapy since she aged out of First Steps and cannot continue to get therapy through them.  But I've been frustrated and disappointed and disrespected so many times that I just did not want to deal with it.  I didn't want another person to treat me like I'm stupid, or tell me that this service or that service is not covered.  I just feel like those phone calls suck the life out of me.  It puts me in a bad place emotionally.  Frankly, it often puts me in pit of depression that it takes days (or weeks) to work my way out of.

At some point I finally accepted that I could not put these off any longer.  But I knew I needed a plan to take care of the phone calls without them getting the best of me.  So I came up with a few things to help me do my best.

- Prioritize - 
I sat down and figured out which items on my list were most important.  There were a couple that I was able to rule out as unnecessary or at least something that legitimately could be put off for a later date.  The ones that needed to be addressed right away I moved to the top of the list.

- Get Organized -
I created a list of the phone numbers that I would be needing to call so that I could tackle them all at once instead of having to scramble to find this number or that one in between each phone call.

- Write It Down -
One of the things that I was afraid of was not knowing what to say or forgetting something that I meant to ask, etc.  So I wrote down a series of questions that I needed answered.

- Get and Early Start -
There were many days when I would try to get up the nerve to tackle my call list all day and finally feel ready to do it late in the afternoon when it was really too late to accomplish the task since business hours often end between 4 and 5pm.  Then that would give me another reason to put it off.

- Occupy the Kids -
When you have kids its often difficult to carry on a serious conversation while they are tugging at your legs or trying to get you to do this or that for them.  So, be proactive and find something to entertain your children for awhile so that you can make your phone calls uninterrupted.  I found that the best way for me to accomplish this was to put Joe and Christine down for naps and let Nate have some tablet time.  Ah... silence.  ;-)

- Rely on God -
While we should always do our best at whatever we do, we should find a balance and also realize that He is taking care of every detail.  Whatever our prayer is God has an answer.  Sometimes it may be "no", but if that is the case then its because He has something else (usually better) in mind for us.  Take a deep breath and know that our lives are in the hands of the One True God.  It is so freeing when we rest in that knowledge.

Here are a few other helpful posts on this topic:

Real Simple  -  How to Stop Procrastinating

Life Organizers  -  7 Easy Ways to Stop Procrastinating

Get Motivated Stay Motivated  -  How to Overcome Procrastination

Prolific Living  -  18 Radical Ways to Stop Procrastination

I know there is no perfect formula and every situation is different.  But I hope that these suggestions will help you tackle whatever it is that you're putting off.  Because the fear of something is almost always worse than the thing itself.

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.-  Proverbs 12:25

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gluten-free Resources

I will admit that I had a bit of sticker shock when I first started buying gluten-free items.  I knew they would be more than regular grocery items but I didn't realize how quickly it would add up!  I have been scouring the internet and reaching out to my gluten-free friends to find out how to go gluten-free without breaking the bank.

Here are a few resources that I have found helpful so far:

Online offers a nice variety of items and you can get additional discounts on frequently used items by using the subscribe and save option.

VitaCost - also has a similar program: "set & save" that you can use for items you use often. Also if you click on my link you will get $10 off your first purchase of $30 or more.

Dakota Prairie - is another online store that has a good selection of gluten free items.  I have not yet ordered from there but have heard good things from friends.

Local (Indianapolis Area)
Angelo's Supermarket is a salvage food store that sells discounted food and other non-parishable items.

Aldi has had a couple of special buys that included gluten free baking mixes and gf frozen pancakes.  I hope to see more gf items from them in the future!

Kroger, Meijer and Walmart all have gluten-free sections but they are small and overpriced.

If you have any great gluten free resources to share please comment and let me know!  ;-)  I still have a lot to learn!

photo source

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wani's Summer Reading List...

I am a fiction reader at heart.  I love the excitement and frankly, the break from reality that I get when I read a good work of fiction.  When it comes to non-fiction I am notorious for not finishing books.  Its terrible, I know!  Its not that I don't like them.  I guess they just don't hold my attention as well as fiction does.  But I am working on it!  So I thought I would share with you all some of the books that I am either already working on or hope to read later in the summer.

No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage - already started it... months ago.  Its good I just keep losing it.  ;-)  Hoping to finish it off soon!

Different Dream Parenting by Jolene Philo - haven't started it yet but have heard good things about it.  I have a feeling that my heart needs to hear what this book has to say.

the good girl's guide to great sex by Sheila Gregoire - um, yeah... this one I'll probably flip through and read bits and pieces.  I follow Sheila's blog and she is great!

Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst - started it um, a year ago-ish... I know I need to finish it!  its hard not to focus on food when you've made a huge change (going gluten-free) recently.  Still, I know there are some great truths to be found in this book that could help me reign in my emotional eating and such. 

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp - have heard a lot of good things about this book both from friends and fellow bloggers.  I started it a couple of days ago and sobbed through the first chapter - both for the loss described by Ann in the book and for loss in my own life...  not a book to begin while pms-ing.  Just sayin'. 

Warrior (Dragons of Starlight series) by Bryan Davis - yes, this is young adult fiction.  So what.  The first book was good and I'm halfway through this one.  There are two more that I know of after this one but I'm not sure how committed I am.  I'll see after I'm done with this one.

Mirror Mirror Off the Wall by Kjersten Guyst - This is about one woman's year without mirrors.  I am interested to find out what she learned from her experiment.

Reached (Matched Trilogy book 3) by Ally Condie - loved the first two and am excited to read the conclusion of the series.

Misc Gluten Free Cookbooks (I've finding new stuff online and at the library all the time!)

Ebooks on the Kindle

I am a sucker for freebies so I have tons of books on the Kindle, more than I'll ever get around to reading... but here are a couple that I really do want to read soon.

Speechless: Finding God in My Son's Autism by Sandra Peoples - one mom's journey... I know this one will hit home with me. 

Teaching Kids to Clean by Dana White - tips for teaching your kids how to clean... what mom doesn't need this book?  Nate is taking on more responsibilities lately so this will be great!

So...  that is what I'm tackling this summer...  what are you going to be reading on the beach?  ;-)

Monday, June 17, 2013


What little boy doesn't love a superhero story?  One where the good guys are defeating the bad guys... its every boys' dream, right?  

Well, I'm sure we are not alone in restricting our son's tv and movie viewing based on content.  Nate is just about to turn eight years old and we do not feel that it is appropriate for him to be watching modern superhero movies. Basically, all the Marvel and DC  movies are a little too mature for young audiences and all earned the PG-13 rating. They are full of violence and even sexual content that we are not comfortable exposing our young son to yet.

In an effort to meet our son's need for super hero stories we went in search of some age appropriate shows and movies that he is able to enjoy now.  This article that has superhero movies listed by age appropriateness  was helpful, but I felt there were more out there than what it listed so I have made a list of my own.

Kid Safe Hero Shows/Movies - good for ages 4-8

Super Why

Veggie Tales Larry Boy
Veggie Tales League of Incredible Vegetables
The Rescuers
The Incredibles
Iron Giant
Batman the Movie (1966)
Next Avengers animated series
The SuperHero Squad Show

Naturally there is some action and cartoony violence but I believe all of these movies listed are either G or PG.  But you know your child so appropriateness may vary based on child and/or family.   Also, most of these titles are readily available for viewing on Netflix.

While movies and shows are great for entertainment purposes there is no substitute for the one true hero in our lives.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for all of humanity.  More than any "superhero" could ever do.  What a wonderful example we have been given of true selflessness.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  -  Luke 19:10

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Man of Steel Review and Giveaway

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the soon to be released Man of Steel movie.  I took a girlfriend with me and we made a night of it.  We felt pretty special when we got to skip the long line and saw our reserved press seats!  Good times!

I really enjoyed the first half of the movie.  In the spirit of the Dark Knight movies, Man of Steel did a good job of taking the cartoony-ness out of Superman.  While I understand that a huge amount of time couldn't be spent on Kripton's history,  I did feel like it moved so quickly that I didn't have a chance to develop any attachment to the people or care about the planet.  It jumped from the past to present day very quickly leaving me with a lot of questions but the flash backs to Clark's childhood answered most of those.  I appreciated getting a glimpse into how Clark learned to hone his super powers.  Kevin Costner and Diane Lane did well as Clark's loving earthly parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent.

The second half of the movie felt a little bit forced.  It seemed like the writers left the room and the graphics guys threw all their CGI ideas into the rest of the movie.  It was overdone.  One action sequence after another, leaving the whole city in shambles.  I kept thinking "ok, now their going to move on..." and I was wrong... over and over again.  Don't get me wrong... the CGI stuff was well done.  It was just too much.

One of the things that I like best about the movie was the dynamic between Clark and Lois.  I was very pleased with the casting of these two characters in particular.  Henry Cavill was good as the brooding Clark Kent/Superman (thought I think he's giving himself premature wrinkles from the permanent furrow in his brow), and Amy Adams was excellent as the truth seeking Lois Lane.  And personally I like that there are not secrets between them in this twist on the Superman storyline.  I always hated that Clark kept his identity from Lois in previous versions.  So for the sake of their relationship (maybe in future movies?), I like that there is an openness there that hasn't been done before.  Plus, she's supposed to be a prize winning reporter, how dumb could she be to not figure out who Clark is?  So its good to see her portrayed in a way that shows Lois' intelligence and skill as a journalist and doesn't make her look stupid.

So, overall, it was a fun take on the whole Superman story.  The content was reasonable.  While there was the typical superhero violence it wasn't overly bloody and there was no sexual content.  There is definite potential for future movies there.  If they make another Superman movie with Henry Cavill I'd go see it.

So now for the fun part!  I am giving away an Official Man of Steel tshirt (pictured above on me... glamorous, I know ;-)  and key chain to one lucky reader!  The giveaway ends on July 4th!  Man of Steel opens on July 14th!!  Check it out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Passport to Summer Fun

Last year we did a "craft camp" with a few families from our homeschool group and church.  We had a great time but were limited to the number of people that we could include because we took turns meeting in each other's homes.  This year we decided to try something a little different so that we could invite more friends to join us in our summer fun!
I was inspired by this Simply Homemade post and Heather @ WellCreatedLife's Summer Passport Printable.  I loved the passport to fun idea and I liked the ability to involve more of our friends in our summer activities.  I proceeded to create a facebook group for the purposes of planning our group's summer activities.  Here is the idea:
This group is for the purpose of sharing activities together this summer. People will take turns planning (and posting) events and whoever can come can come.
We will kick things off with a craft day so the kids can make their own "passports" and then us moms can help them put "stamps" in them as we do different activities throughout the summer.
Here are just a few ideas of things that we could do:
hiking, VBS, swimming, zoo day, camping, beach day, road trip, bike ride, blueberry picking, library programs, fishing... and so much more!
Feel free to start planning events when you're ready! I'm looking forward to getting together with you all soon!
If you are looking for something less involved here are a couple of great summer fun printables:
HelloBee's Summer Fun List
Ami's Summer Bucket List Printable
JoyEverAfter's Summer Fun Circles
Many more on Pinterest

Looking forward to lots of good times with our friends this summer!  What fun activities will your summer plans include?

Proverbs 17:22 - "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Getting to Know Gluten-Free

We're on a learning curve here as we are beginning our gluten-free lifestyle. I kind of went crazy when I found some great deals on gf products but I know I need to be learning to incorporate less processed stuff into our diet. Its hard to completely change the way you work in the kitchen. I naively thought I'd just be able to swap flours in most of my recipes and it doesn't look like that is how it works. But we're looking forward to finding our new "normal" eventually. Hoping God makes it clear that this is what our family needs.

I have been trying to be creative with our meals to keep us from missing the usual meals so much.  I was inspired by Money Saving Mom and Musings of a Housewife to post our menu for our first couple of weeks of being gluten-free.

frozen gluten-free pancakes
gluten-free cereal
scrambled omelets (we like spinach, bacon and cheese)
fresh pancakes

fruit, cheese and Nut Thin crackers
yogurt and fruit
leftover bean & cheese taquitos
bbq pulled pork baked potatoes

School lunches for Joe were a little challenging at first but I was inspired by this post which was incredibly helpful - not all gluten-free but still full of great ideas.
gf pancakes, yogurt & banana
half pb sandwich on tapioca gf bread, applesauce cup, piece of cheese

Isaac's work lunches were mostly leftovers and re-purposed leftovers.

Currently our snacks don't look much different than our lunches (only smaller portions) but its slowly beginning to change as I am finding more gf recipes that we like.
gf crackers & cheese
gf granola bars

homemade taquitos (for the filling I used pulled pork, black beans, chopped bell peppers & Mojo marinade - but Nate hates that so he got bean and cheese ones)
BBQ pulled pork nachos (thank goodness Sweet Baby Ray's is gluten-free!)
stir fry with coconut rice
jumbo baked potatoes
homemade pizza (used a gf pizza crust mix)
fried sausage and potatoes

Freezer Cooking
gf pancakes - I have used a couple of different recipes
gf banana coconut muffins (used this recipe but substituted gf flour)
gf taquitos
egg casserole

Well, I feel like we're still getting comfortable with this gluten-free thing.  I am devoting a lot more time and energy into planning and preparing our meals.  Not to mention spending a lot more money at the grocery store.  I'm still scouring the web for ideas and recipes often. 

photo source

Monday, June 03, 2013

End of the School-Year...

Its that time of year...  when every mom (whether homeschooling or not) is slowly reaching melt down.  Its been a long hard year and lets face it, we're at the end of our rope.  I loved Jen's post expressing her end-of-the-school-year-angst.  She said: We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks.  I totally agree!  I have been counting down the days until we can say "summertime is here"!

We started the school year using (and liking) Heart of Dakota.  But by Christmas break Nate and I were both a little bored.  We have been supplementing through the spring semester and doing a lot of "unschooling" things.  I have researched and settled on a curriculum that we've been trying out for next year.  We are going to be using Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool.  Basically its one mom's attempt at putting her children’s school assignments online.  She uses almost exclusively free online resources. She is sharing it to make it available to other families as well. While it helped her family's school days run very smoothly, the grander goal is to help other families, especially anyone feeling like they couldn’t homeschool because of time or money pressures. 

Joe completed his kindergarten life skills class. He has made some really good progress this year, especially gaining strength in his legs and getting better at walking with his walker.  I have really appreciated the efforts his teacher has made to include and challenge Joe in her class. Yay for being in Miss Sarah's class again next year!

Christine was approved for CSHCS to help supplement her medical and therapy expenses.  She adjusted well to the MWF developmental preschool for the last month of the school year.  All the therapists and teachers love her.  I mean, how could they not?  She is the cutest!

We're looking forward to having a laid back summer.  I feel like our life is so scheduled sometimes... all the drop-offs and pick-ups, the therapies and doctor's appointments...  summer will be a refreshing slower pace.  But frankly, I am glad that our school system is on a modified calendar and summer break is only June and July.  To be completely honest, its difficult to have all my kids all the time.  I hate to pull the special needs card but I'll do it.  It is seriously hard to have two kids who require so much from me.  I'll miss the bit of a break I get from having Joe in school.  It makes outings more challenging when I'm juggling Joe and Christine on top of all the other stuff life throws at me...  but the break from routine is good for all of us and we have some fun things planned this summer that will help pass the time on the long summer days.