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Christmas Home Tour-Frugal Edition-Living Room

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

We got our 9 1/2 foot Christmas tree from a moving sale. It’s prelit, and may work just fine, but I can’t figure out how to connect them, so this year I used the Tree Dazzler. The children all “help” with the decorating, and then alter I go in and space out the ornaments and add the ribbons.

Our star is from Dollar General, as is the burlap and glitter wired ribbon. The red ribbon is from the Dollar Tree.

Under the tree you can see our fantastic collection of Christmas books.

Christmas home tour Christmas tree living room decor

Our mantel isn’t everything I want it to be this year. I’d like to make all matching Christmas stocking hooks, or have some that don’t show at all. These are all from Goodwill and they do for now.

My amaryllis is sadly just the one leaf, because someone broke off the bloom stem just as it was emerging from the bulb this year.

My dad brought the giant pine cones back front the redwood forest for me. The garland is a hand me down from my sister-in-law.

I’d like the candles tucked in among the garland so you can’t see them, but alas, kids. If you zoom in you can probably also see my half broken speaker and ziplock baggie with ornament hooks in it because I never got around to getting it back upstairs to the holiday closet.

I made the stockings without using a pattern and so I didn’t line them. That wasn’t the greatest of ideas. They all have pieces of cardboard inside them to make them hang straight-ish.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon ceramic vintage tree

The large ceramic Christmas tree I bought at an antique shop before they were popular, and therefore it was a steal. The smaller one was given to us by The Farmer’s mom, and was from her younger days.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

I found a plain inexpensive garland at Hobby lobby and hot glued the same non breakable many years old ornaments we have on the tree and berries to it. I can’t believe they can charge so much for fancy garland!

Twelve year old wrapped the banister with colored lights. I did have garland over the lights on the newel post, but I also have a three year old.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

Holiday pillows I have collected, which never stay on the couch, and a snoozing schnauzer

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

This is an inexpensive and easy DIY.

I keep my decorating to a manageable amount. Since this is the most decorations for Christmas I’ve put up in years, I felt compelled to record it!

What is your favorite decoration in your living room? Do you love pre-made or DIYs? How do you keep decorating fun and frugal? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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A Wonderfully Simple Christmas Craft

In between milk poured in a kitchen drawer and alphabet beads waterfalling down the stairs, we managed a Christmas craft today. Crafting amid the chaos calls for simple ideas! You’ll love this!

Materials:

  • a stencil—I used a Christmas tree I traced from a simple printable onto a shirt box and cut out.
  • Crayons or colored pencils (markers or paint, if you’re brave.) (I’m not)
  • Musical sheets—I bought an old hymnal at the library book sale for fifty cents.
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Tape

Procedure:

1. Tear some pages out of the hymnal.

2. For younger children or those needing help on fine motor skills, I taped the pages to the table and then the stencil on top to the table.Diy Christmas tree art Christmas Craft preschool elementary

3. I laid out only greens and yellow because I really wanted this to be a little matchy. Three still managed to be creative in her coloring choices though.

4. Let them color as many as they want.Easy simple Christmas tree preschool craft diy elementary art

5. I laid out yarn across my dining room table and taped the backs to the yarn across the title of the hymn.

6. Then Ten and I taped them to the wall. I had the idea to make a Christmas tree shape with several swags of these, but we ran out of oomphs.

7. Stand back and be proud.Easy simple Christmas tree preschool craft diy elementary art

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The Five Minute, Four Product Fresh Face!

I love to wear make up but I hate to spend time on it. I don’t understand how the YouTube vloggers and beauty bloggers can spend an hour on their make up! They look amazing, but then again, so do I.

Here’s what I use:

Fast makeup easy tutorial and   review concealer eyeliner Hard Candy lip gloss mascara NYX Maybelline MACMaybelline Coverstick Corrector Concealer in yellow to balance out the purple under my eyes (even without getting up earlier to spend an hour on my make up, I still don’t get enough sleep!)

This doubles as a concealer if I wanted to tone down the redness of a blemish or my often cold and frequently pink nose.

Fast makeup easy tutorial and   review concealer eyeliner Hard Candy lip gloss mascara NYX Maybelline MACNYX Jumbo Eye Liner in French Fries. This can be used as eyeshadow or liner depending on the look I’m going for. I just smear it on and blend with my finger.

(Autocorrect just changed my misspelled finger to dog, for some reason. I’m tempted to leave it. “blend with my dog”.)

Fast makeup easy tutorial and   review concealer eyeliner Hard Candy lip gloss mascara NYX Maybelline MACMAC lip primer. I have lots of fine lines now that I’m in my forties and any bright color I love bleeds into my upper lip if I skip this. Not the look I want. Bleeding bright red lipstick always reminds me of my sixth grade social studies teacher who reminded me of Miss Hannigan.

Fast makeup easy tutorial and   review concealer eyeliner Hard Candy lip gloss mascara NYX Maybelline MACHard Candy Wet Ever Lip Gloss in Famous

I love this color. It’s glossy and gorgeous even after several cups of coffee.

Fast makeup easy tutorial and   review concealer eyeliner Hard Candy lip gloss mascara NYX Maybelline MACNYX Worth the Hype Mascara. I’ve been happy with every NYX mascara I’ve tried. This, however, is my favorite. They last all day and most importantly don’t stink like a lot of mascaras. The brush is soft and doesn’t scrape my eyelashes and lids as many mascara wands have a tendency to do.

Is it possible to look good and finished in so few minutes with so few products? I think so, but decide for yourself! Fast makeup easy tutorial and   review concealer eyeliner Hard Candy lip gloss mascara NYX Maybelline MAC

How long do you spend on make up usually? What’s your favorite go-to product?

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The Incredibly Easy Way to Put on a Duvet Cover

I have always loved snuggling up in a down comforter, but I, like much of the middle class, want to also have a catalog type bed with too many pillows. This means a duvet cover.

Duvet covers are stupid. I have watched so many videos on the tortilla roll and rolled and rolled and re-rolled attempting the perfect spread of cover to comforter ratio. I have tugged and fluffed the down comforter inside the duvet cover until my arms figuratively fall off. It seems like every time the comforter falls off the bed it gets smooshed up to one side and you have to redo it or deal with a bunched up comforter inside the duvet cover.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

Who can deal with that? Not this girl. I love my bed like I love my mother! I just want to cozily crawl in and have it comfort me. I don’t want to mess around with messed up blankets.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

Finally I hit upon the perfect solution which always works! Always!

Here’s how to put the duvet cover perfectly on the comforter.

Just lay it on top like a sheet. Seriously. Presto change-o. You’re welcome.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

You can either put it on zipped, or tuck up the zipper.

Here’s what it looks like zipped.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

Now go snuggle in your cozy, comfy bed without having to fuss with the duvet cover ever, ever again.

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The Tree Dazzler: An Honest Review

I bought three boxes of the Tree Dazzler last year on clearance. Living under my rock, I had not ever heard of them. Based on the box, and the after Christmas price, I thought they were worth a go.

They didn’t take any time at all to install, as you just put the ring over the top of your tree.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree

The 64 bulbs on each set are guaranteed for a lifetime, which is impressive.

They’re meant for a 7 1/2 foot tree at the maximum. Ours is 9 or 9 1/2 feet, which I didn’t realize and is a bummer. I have to figure out what to do with the bottom gap.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree decorating

The lines connecting each bulb are really thick though, and while this protects them from getting tangled, they look ridiculous at the top of the tree where it’s so narrow.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree

You can’t even hide them behind the branches, and all the time we saved using this nifty gadget, was wasted trying to achieve hidden wires.

I am going to get some ribbon to make a garland and see if that can hide them. That part is a colossal drawback.

Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree kids decorating

The light bulbs themselves were quite a bit bigger than what I was used to. They remind me a bit of the vintage bulbs we used to have as a child. They also look like white ornaments so this isn’t necessarily a total drawback.

The top of our tree leans a bit, and we can’t tell if it’s due to our 160 year old farmhouse floor, our second hand tree, or the heaviness of the two Tree Dazzlers. I wanted to use all three but they were so heavy I was afraid our top section would topple off.

I like the options of the different light designs. They’re all pleasant.

The plugs are corpulent and oversized. Supposedly the Tree Dazzler is energy efficient so I don’t know why the plugs take up an entire power strip. Since my home is so old, electric outlets are much at the premium, so I’m not excited about this situation. Tree Dazzler review Christmas lights Christmas tree

Overall I can only rate the Tree Dazzler ⭐️⭐️/five stars.

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Easy and Inexpensive Christmas Centerpiece

Who loves Christmas as much as I do?

YOU!? Great. We can be friends then.

Cheap and easy diy Christmas centerpiece

I love all the seasons and holidays to be honest.

Decorating my mantel and house for every occasion (when I feel like it and have the energy) is my favorite. I go all out for autumn and Christmas which I love especially . Autumn fall table centerpiece

My log candle holder for fall-this is simply a fall garland wrapped around it.

I usually start decorating full on for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, but I have an autumn/winter mix going on for most of November. Hey, just like Iowa weather!

I wanted to share with you my super simple and cheap dining table decor.

I bought a piece of buffalo plaid flannel at Joann’s when it was 50% off so this cost me $6. I didn’t hem it or anything. I just folded it in half. When a kid bumped into my coffee (This is also our homeschool table. There are always kids and ALWAYS coffee!), I just flipped it over to the other side, and folded the selvedge edge under.

Yep. That’s how I do it.

My handsome husband drilled divets into an actual small log so I could put tealights into them when I was getting all hygge last winter. I can make this log work for all the seasons, but I love it most in the fall and winter!Buffalo plaid table runner Christmas centerpiece log candleholder diy

Dollar Tree decorative picks and a homemade log candleholder make for an inexpensive, lovely Christmas centerpiece.

The Dollar Tree has their Christmas decorations out now, which, even though I feel like Thanksgiving should have its day to shine, I’m not mad about, honestly.  I bought 6 decorative picks and bent them and bumped them until I was satisfied.Dollar tree Christmas decorative pick floral pine cone evergreen

This is what the Dollar Tree picks look like on their own.

I did have to take the flannel off and wipe under it and shake out all the crumbs, before replacing it. Don’t ask me how that happens.

There ya go. Minimal effort and minimal cost, which in my mind, equals perfect!

Christmas centerpiece decoration log pinecones Yule candleholder huge
My cozy Christmas centerpiece
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Books I Read in October

Frozen Charlotte Alex Bell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review frozen Charlotte

Perfect October book! Creepy and chilly. Sometimes YA can be trite and overdone, and there admittedly was a little of that in here. I loved the setting, Sophie, the fact that you didn’t know who or what to believe. Classic clean horror.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review fall of giants

Another phenomenal epic by one of my favorite authors. I didn’t give it 5 stars only because of personal reasons. I was getting so bogged down and it felt so depressing-it IS about a war and the characters’ five specific families and how they intersect with different aspects of WWI and each other. I had to take a long break in the middle to give my emotions a rest, but it wasn’t that difficult to pick it back up again thanks to Follett’s skilled plot lines.

I learned more from this single volume about WWI than in school. I love how Follett can take fictional characters and seamlessly weave them into real historical figures and events. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the many story lines seemed complicated and hard to follow at first, but Follett makes everything so impactful and intriguing it helps to keep track of everyone.

I kind of picked up this book on a whim, not realizing it is the first of a trilogy or how long it would be, but I am definitely glad I did!

The Humans Matt Haig ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the humans

I was laughing out loud from page 1 (or possibly page 2). Light hearted and entertaining, The Humans is also quite serious. I found myself wanting to read bits out loud to passers by and memorize segments to better integrate them into my real life. I’m still reeling from all the subsequent thoughts swirling in my mind. The alien perspective of humans was rich and heart warming. What really matters after all? The question we all ask ourselves and truly, already know the answer to, is explored beautifully. As long as you don’t mind on the surface, gratuitous, but oddly necessary F-bombs, read this book.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Brynn Greenwood. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review all the ugly and wonderful things

So many emotions continurally resound long after I stayed up late to find out what happened to our brave Wavy. Ugly and Wonderful is an apt title; as it is love story in an unusual way-a beautiful rendering of a horrible childhood. Prose I want to keep reading, honestly raw, the compassion and character development, and even the different points of view make this a book I really loved.

I gave it four stars instead of five because since it IS so blunt in its descriptions of the life Wavy grew up in and lived, it couldn’t be recommended to all readers.

Breakdown B.A. Paris ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What a ride!

I loved Cass. I had my suspicions from the beginning which were justified of what was really happening to her, but I was still thrown for a loop. I was drawn into the story right away and wondered what I would do in the same situations. It’s a beautiful thing when I can relate to a protagonist so thoroughly. The energy in this book never stopped, even when all Cass was doing was sleeping.

It’s sad that books take so long to write when I want to devour good ones, like this one, in a single setting.

I need B.A. Paris to start writing faster because she’s my new favorite author.

The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Rules were never the point. It was finding out who you were meant to be.”

Once again Alice Hoffman delights in her poetic writing and crafting of a beautiful love story. Or, shall I say, several love stories. It would be hard to write a prequel to an iconic story, but of course she managed with aplomb. You love the Owenses, even when you think they’re screwing up their lives.

The Wife Between Us Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the wife between us

This book started out with a lot of potential-it’s hard to write what my experience was without giving away too much, but I’ll try. I was about 1/3 done when came across an Instagram review which told me what I had already assumed to be true, was actually the big twist. To put it a different way-I didn’t “get” the shocker at all because what I had thought to be true actually was true, but apparently most people think something different than I did.

Obviously that plot twist failed for me. I was still interested in the book though-I was loving the voice of the reader in the audio book, and I was still curious about how it would all turn out. I was impressed with the strength of the protagonist-she defined real courage to me. Even though she was terrified and sometimes opted to almost wallow in it and her depression, just like I would likely do, she still chose to do the hard, hard thing and face her fears.

I only gave it three stars though because there was a lot of repetition for which I couldn’t figure out a purpose. The extra twists toward the end seemed really contrived, the Epilogue especially! There was a subplot which happened in college that honestly didn’t seem to contribute to the story at all.

This book is above a shrug and a “meh” but you won’t miss anything if you don’t read it.


The Dinner by Herman Koch ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the dinner

** teensy spoiler alert **

 I hated this book and at the same time couldn’t put it down! The entire book takes place at dinner, which seems like it would be quite boring. Paul, however is an adroit storyteller. I begin to feel the same towards his brother as he does, and think Paul is the good guy. And then you learn more. This story line was intense and intriguing and despite having no action, except in flashbacks, it kept me riveted. It was so negative though, that despite how badly I wanted to tear through it, I didn’t have the stomach for it.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the last Mrs Parrish

I didn’t really enjoy the first half of the book because I hated the protagonist so much. Then when the protagonist changed halfway through, having just read The Wife Between Us, I knew almost exactly what was going to happen. I was really happy with the ending and how everything wrapped up. I enjoyed the book and it was well written.

Thank you to these wonderful Instagrammers for their pictures. Since I almost exclusively read library books, my pictures aren’t as perfect .

Which book do you want to add to your To Be Read list?

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What is it like having ADHD?

What is it like having ADHD?

Well, for starters, ADHD Awareness Month was October. I fully intended to post once a week about it.

I posted once.

Is it an ADHD move to drive to Illinois when you’re trying to get down town in your same state?

Is it an ADHD move to miss your exit and not notice for an hour?

Is it an ADHD move to be watching an ADD TED talk, and you remember you have to add some things to your phone’s calendar, and then you accidentally start reading about the ballet, and end up watching another video on your phone while you’re still watching the TED Talk on the TV?

Is it an ADHD move to carry the entire full toddler potty into the bathroom to clean out the little receptacle part, carry the receptacle part back into the living room and discover that enter potty as suddenly just disappeared??    You ask the kids frantically, “Where is the potty? Where  is the potty? Toddler just went!! How could the potty just disappear?!” You never find the potty, until your coffee kicks in, and you go into the bathroom and find the potty right where you left it.

Is it an ADHD move to lose a kid almost every place you go?

Is it an ADHD move to make screen shots of a bunch of your conversations with friends, intending to turn them into a blog post, and accidentally forget what you’re doing, and stop  screen shotting halfway through the conversation, so later you have no idea what you were going to do with that, or what the conversation was even about?

Is it an ADHD move to write and schedule blog posts ahead of time, then be surprised when you see your blog automatically posted for you, then you read your article you completely forgot you wrote, and think, “Wow! That’s pretty good!” and still have no recollection of writing it?

Is it an ADHD move to lose literally everything?

I have no idea. This is just how my brain has always worked.

ADHD is more than the scatterbrained, distractibility moves one would typically associate with ADHD.

Is it an ADHD move to be so sensitive you can feel people walking, buildings moving, and air shifting? Is it an ADHD move to be able to smell things no one else seems to be able to? Is it an ADHD move to be aware of how your fingers feel different long after you’ve clipped your nails, or what your clothing feels like against your skin many hours after you’ve gotten dressed? Is it an ADHD move to be able to attend to several different conversations at once, even though you don’t want to, even though it’s extremely taxing for you? Is it an ADHD move to read every single sign you encounter, even when you try to block it out? Is it an ADHD move to get a migraine from going to IKEA?

Not always, but hypersensitivity is often a co-existing condition of ADHD.

Did you know there’s also often an emotional component with ADHD?

Is it an ADHD move to feel emotions so intensely people are often caught off guard?  Is it an ADHD move to be completely over the moon or entirely devastated? Is it an ADHD move to end up crying and screaming on the floor again, feeling powerless to stop the feeling? Is it an ADHD move for people to think you’re drunk when actually you’re just doing you?

For me, yes. ADHD doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will experience extreme emotions, but it’s been true for me.

Is it an ADHD move to set a kajillion alarms for something because you don’t want to be late again, and you still are? Is it an ADHD move to leave really early for an event and find you’re just on time? Is it an ADHD move to just throw in a load of laundry and clean the floor and put away the shoes and whatever else as you’re walking out the door? Is it an ADHD move to have to go back into the house for multiple forgotten items many times?

It definitely could be. Time presents itself differently for me than it does for a lot of people. Time management has usually been wait, wait, wait, ok NOW DO ALL THE THINGS!

Is it an ADHD move to miss a lot of social cues? Relationships are harder for people with ADHD. Is it an ADHD move to be able to listen or work better while you distract yourself with something else?

Is it an ADHD move for your train of thought to more closely resemble an Asian overpass?

Crazy Asian overpass intersection ADHD train of though
Photo credit http://news.southcn.com/

I know I have ADHD. This is my life. This is how I operate. Other people with ADHD might have different experiences or symptoms; this is how it is for me.

I hope you now understand a little more about what it’s like having ADHD.

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Cheap and Easy Kitchen Update

I live in a farm house built in 1850. It had an addition in 1901, and 2012. The kitchen was updated 1987! 1987!! My mother-in-law, bless her heart, sanded, stained, and varnished every one of these doors herself. It was a gigantic improvement over the from metal cabinets, a hole in the middle of the floor, wallpaper to these beautiful oak cabinets 40 years ago, but everything is showing its age. It’s challenging for farmers to update what seems “good enough”. It is also hard to realize that 1987 was truly a lifetime ago! I’ve been wanting change in the kitchen for a really long time, but as a stay at home mom and Classical Conversations director, I don’t bring in much money. I also have next to no home improvement skills and very little interest in learning them at this point in my life.

kitchen DIY before update kitchen backsplash cabinets
Look at my tiny puppers in February 2018! She’s almost a year old now!

After a lot of thought, I realized that one of the things that bugged me the most was the cabinets over the peninsula. They blocked the way of talking to anyone on the other side of the counter. They blocked the  natural light coming in the  sliding glass door. They are dark wood, making the entire room look darker.

It occurred to me, maybe I would like it better if I just took off the doors! Then I can see the light and the people. I can handle unscrewing things, even if I’m not super great at it. I can never seem to make the electric screwdriver work, so I unscrewed all the doors by hand. I had already KonMari-ed a lot of my kitchen junk, so I was able to put pretty things in the now open cabinets.

 

Cheap and easy kitchen update diy backsplash cabinet
Some of my grandmother’s and mother-in-law’s vintage Pyrex is now on display.

Another thing I wasn’t very fond of was the paint  or outlet covers behind the sink and counter area. It was always dirty even when I had just cleaned it.  On Amazon, I found some press on tiles that supposedly you can cut through with scissors. I thought this seemed like a project I could handle. As it turned out, you CAN cut through the tiles, which come in a 12×12 block made of 1/2 inch squares of reflective abalone shell like material, IF you cut between the tiles. I soon discovered however, that my measurements come in the middle of the individual squares. When you try to cut through the actual tile, it shatters into a million pieces and is extremely challenging to cut at any rate.

I persevered although, it took me for freaking ever and confirmed why I really hate DIY home improvement projects.

Cheap and easy kitchen update diy backsplash cabinet
In the middle of the epic (for me) tiling project

I’m really happy with how it turned out though. Even if I couldn’t finish it by myself, even if there are lots of mistakes and crooked areas, and even if it took a lot longer than I hoped, I would recommend the tiles. I would also recommend these simple little changes to update an older kitchen. What do you think?

kitchen sink back splash window silver outlet covers hanging pans
All neat and tidy. For the moment.
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Homeschooling and Special Needs

My oldest son has pretty profound dyslexia. I had known he was struggling with reading, of course, but early on,  I attributed it to his being a boy, and much more active. than the norm.  He had tantrums during reading lessons, but so had one of his older sisters, and I thought he was just frustrated on a regular level. After much prayer, debate, and counsel, I realized it was more than that.

I learned of the Barton Method from a friend, and was grateful to learn we had a center in the Quad Cities.

I literally had to drag him into one of his first sessions, which, looking back, was not one of my best parenting moves. At the time, I felt so helpless. He felt so scared and overwhelmed. We were lost.

To my astonishment, he had to start at the most remedial level. He wasn’t understanding ANY reading or phonics at all. I had been helping him a lot more than I realized when we were reading together, and he’s so bright, he compensated  so beautifully that I didn’t know how acute his disability is.

I’ve seen him be brave. To continue to show up every week, and try his best, despite his fear, despite all the previous failures, despite my not handling everything right, despite how enormously challenging it is for him, is courage.

He’s grown immensely. A couple years ago, he wouldn’t sound out anything, and didn’t even want to do copy work because it was so hard for him. When he wrote “pirs” on the grocery list, it was a victory of the highest order. You’d better believe I bought him an entire bag of pears, and he didn’t even have to share them.

Giant lengthy tantrums used to happen on the regular, partly due to his frustrations with what he viewed as his inability to “do it right”, and partly due to his innate emotional dysregulation. They’ve largely stopped. I see this as a result of the tutoring, which has shown him how very much he’s capable of, and helped him realize he isn’t doing anything wrong. We’re helping his brain grow and giving him tools to be successful in spite of his disabilties.

Another struggle he has is ADHD, which is highly misunderstood, and highly misdiagnosed. Before our own family’s experiences with it, I didn’t even really think it was real for most kids, and adults, who were on medication for it. I thought it was because of the structure of schools, and expecting children, especially boys, to go against their very natures for so long. I still do think this is part of it, but I now know that ADHD brains are just wired very differently and their natures are completely divergent from a “normal” brain. ADDitude Mag has helped me immensely as I journey this new territory, in understanding how his brain functions.

Having a child with special needs and being a homeschooling mama who loves him more than breath is an extraordinarily difficult thing. I want to push him to be his best, as I do all my children. At the same time, I want to be cognizant of his contrastive abilities. I want him to thrive and yet it’s hard to know where the line of too much pressure lies.

All last year, he went  to school in the mornings to get one on one help from the special ed teacher in reading and writing. He was getting the Barton Method tutoring twice a week. We realized that he really was not benefiting as much from the reading recovery special education and would have had to adjust to a new teacher, so we pulled him from the public school program.

Now he strictly gets Barton Method tutoring two mornings a week. We do Classical Conversations and read alouds for the bulk of our curriculum. All of these things work amazingly in concert to play to his strengths while we bulwark the inherent challenges of dyslexia and ADHD.

Having a child with special needs is never easy, and homeschooling is inherently challenging. Combining the two can seem insurmountable. We’ve used our resources and contracted out some of our learning. God gives us strength every day, His faithfulness is great and His mercies renew. We all face tests of our abilities and resolve, but especially when we confront them together and we have support, we can do hard things.