2011-08-25

Book Review: 100 Days to Christmas

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I was provided a complimentary copy of the eBook 100 Days to Christmas by Jennifer Tankersley of ListPlanIt.Com for review purposes in exchange for my honest opinion and this blog post.

Let me preface my review by saying that I have followed Ms. Tankersley and her 100 Days to Christmas system since it began in 2008. I might be a bit biased, it is a system that works for me. In my past life, Christmas would be a chaotic frenzy of last minute shopping and wrapping gifts in the car on the way to various celebrations. Between the daily reminders from 100DaysToChristmas.Com and FlyLady Christmas Chaos is kept away.

The contents of the eBook will be very familiar to those that have utilized the 100 Days To Christmas forum in the past. Each page is another day, counting you from 100 days before down to the big day, Christmas Day.

Some of the days are “paperwork” days. Planning your budget, planning menus, etc. Other days are for shopping or other holiday activities.

I need the direction provided. I have three children with birthdays during the 100 Days before Christmas. Two of those children with birthdays in December (my middle child on the 10th of December and my oldest daughter on the 21st of December). Christmas is also immediately followed by a number of birthdays in our extended family and my youngest daughter’s birthday in mid-January.

I customize the plan a little by adding birthday preparation and planning activities. But with the help of 100 Days, it’s so easy to do!

Without the help of Ms. Tankersley and 100 Days to Christmas, I don’t know that I could pull it all off. Click HERE for a sample page.

I believe in the system so much, I became a ListPlanIt Affiliate (affiliate links are used in this post where possible). ListPlanIt has lists, charts, and printables for every possible need in life!

Come join 100 Days To Christmas on Facebook. Follow ListPlanIt on Twitter.

Your sanity during the holidays is worth $4.99, isn’t it??!! Don’t wait, pick this up now. The countdown officially begins on September 16!

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2011-08-22

Book Review: Healing Autism Naturally

Healing-Autism-Naturally-front-smallBeing some 15+ years into our journey with what we highly suspect to high functioning autism with little more than a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified),  I had high hopes of finding information in this book that I hadn’t already heard. So I was very eager to offer my services to Ms. Cash as a reviewer.
After reading Healing Autism Naturally by Becky Cash I came to the conclusion I must have had some great teachers, early childhood intervention people, doctors, and others in my corner. If you’re a veteran of this journey, this book will provide you a great overview or review of the tons of information thrown at you from other sources.
I found a few points of particular interest with regard to nutrition. I had the overwhelming feeling that I’d heard that information along the road somewhere but had forgotten it.
However, if you are new to the world of autism and have recently had a child diagnosed or if you even suspect this might be your child’s diagnosis, this book is a great place to start.
While parts of the book seemed like a huge advertisement for one of the many nutritional supplement companies out there, don’t let this discourage you. You can find supplements without the attachment to this company.
Mrs. Cash’s writing style is relaxed and easy to read, like reading letters from a distant friend. By the end of the book, you feel as though you know the Cash Family, at least a little bit. You also come away knowing you are not alone as the parent/s of an autistic child.

***NOTE: I was given a complimentary copy of Healing Autism Naturally by Becky Cash in exchange for this review. This review contains my honest opinion.

2011-08-18

County Fair: Day 2-7

Ok, so writing about our experiences as exhibitors at the County Fair each day didn’t happen. I admit, I’m not the most regular blogger, nor am I the most widely read blogger in the blogosphere either. LOL

Day 2: Monday. It was our first day to be benched. This meant almost 10 hours of sitting with the dogs in the dog barn. It went rather well. In the late afternoon the Cloverbuds showed their dogs in Showmanship and Obedience. This means it was Mary Ann’s turn to show Tyra. They did great! Obedience was going well, until Tyra heard her former owner’s voice (yes, she was there). After hearing the voice of her former owner, Tyra had great difficulty focusing on Mary Ann. Lesson learned.

Day 3: Tuesday. We actually did not need to be at the Fairgrounds at all! We went in the early evening to watch the Team and Brace obedience shows. We learned a lot. Mary Ann might be eligible to compete with Colby, Tyra, and/or Cheddar in Brace in a couple of years.

Team: 4 handlers with their dog so 4 people and 4 dogs follow the instructions of the caller/judge at the same time. It gets interesting when you have a dog that gets confused about which person is his/her handler.

Brace: 1 handler with 2 dogs. Handler gets his/her dogs to perform different commands following the instructions of caller/judge. The dogs are tethered together, so they must be of similar size and stature.

Both Teams and Brace for handlers and dogs that work together “off-leash”. In otherwords, very advanced. Not where we are yet.

Day 4: Wednesday. Bench Day & Agility Day. Cloverbuds put their dogs through the agility course before the others. Mary Ann and Tyra did very well. In fact, their run this day was probably the cleanest and best run the two of them have had to date. All Cloverbuds received beautiful ribbons and medals for their participation in the different shows.

Christopher and Colby had one of their best runs also! In fact, their run was so well executed, they got first place in their division! Blue ribbons and a medal were awarded.

Day 5: Thursday. Rally-O Day. Christopher was feeling a bit pessimistic. Unfortunately, Colby urinated before he and Christopher could even start the course. As we learned on Sunday, urinating in the ring means immediate disqualification. No problem. The problem we had with it was the way the judge handled it. I’m hoping she was rude with the kids because she was having a bad day or something.

Day 6: Friday. Bench Day. After being benched on Monday and Wednesday, we were all ready for the week to be over. All in all, everything went well.

Day 7: Saturday. Our only Fair-Free day that week! We did not go to the fairgrounds. We did not talk about the fairgrounds. We spent the day eating popcorn and watching movies.

All of our pictures are on the memory card, which is in the camera, which is in my husband’s car, and my husband is out-of-state on business. So, pictures will follow – eventually.

2011-08-08

County Fair: Day One

Yesterday was the first day of our County Fair. My two oldest children, Christopher and Mary Ann, joined 4-H with the Clever Dogs' Club.

Christopher was supposed to show his dog, Colby. Colby and Tyra were both groomed on Wednesday at a place we’ve gone a bunch of times. Wednesday evening was the pre-fair agility event. Colby wears a different collar for this than he does normally. He got a new collar with a metal buckle. So did Tyra. We were planning to use these new collars for the dogs’ bench time at the dog barn, so we left the collars on them to let them get used to them. Saturday afternoon, Colby wasn’t acting like himself. Saturday evening, Christopher was brushing Colby in preparation for Sunday morning’s show when he noticed Colby’s neck was swollen, hot, oozing, red, and very tender to the touch.

We suspect Colby had an allergic reaction to the nickel in the metal of the new buckle. We did some research into potential causes for Colby’s symptoms, it all pointed to “Hot Spots” and Allergic Reactions. Found more information that suggested treating with a small dose of Benedryl. Yep. Benedryl, the exact stuff I take for allergic reactions.

With all of this said, Christopher was unable to show Colby in Sunday’s Obedience Class and Showmanship Class. Collars, leads, etc. were causing Colby too much discomfort.

IMG_1168Christopher went into the Showmanship Ring first sporting a bad attitude and Tyra at the end of the showmanship lead. Once he started walking her around, he relaxed and smiled a little. The judge must have liked what she saw… Christopher and Tyra won 1st Place for Novice Class Showmanship!

This meant our day got a little longer – they were now eligible to compete for Grand Champion and Reserve Champion! Tears of joy for my boy and our 6 year old pup! While they did not win Grand or Reserve Champion, we are still so proud of them. They made it to that Ring! Very seldom, we heard, will a Novice win Grand or Reserve Champion. We suspect it might have something to do with Christopher’s lack of “Courtesy Turns”. We now know for next year! Knowledge is key!

TyraTyra did not do as well for Christopher in the Obedience Pre-Novice Class. They were almost finished with the exercise, they were given their final commands. As Tyra was preparing to sit, she decided she had to eliminate more. Automatic disqualification for elimination in the ring.

Tyra will be showing again today with Mary Ann as her handler. Cloverbud Showmanship and Cloverbud Obedience. Mary Ann is already practicing her “Courtesy Turns” and her winning smile!

Colby is scheduled to go to the veterinarian tomorrow.

CheddarNicholas, my middle child, is already looking forward to joining 4-H with the Clever Dogs’ Club in the near future with our new puppy, Cheddar!

Cheddar was born in April 2011. He joined our family on July 3, 2011. He’s old enough to start training for Obedience and Showmanship, but he has to wait until he is One Year Old to start practicing for Agility.

2011-08-01

4-H Pre-Fair

The day was bright, sunny, hot, and humid! Typical end of July weather in Michigan. My two oldest children attended their 4-H Club's Annual Pre-Fair Event on Sunday, July 31, 2011.

The Pre-Fair Event for this 4-H Dog Club is the equivalent of a dance recital dress rehearsal. This is where they test their dogs to find out what areas really need work during the next week before the big dog show at the county fair. (This means, next week I'll be bringing you tons of excitement from the fairgrounds!)

Due to an infection, one of our littles could not be in attendance at the Pre-Fair, so I stayed home with the three youngest while my husband braved the heat and the sun to watch the children do their stuff. He took some great photos for me! :)

Colby needs to work on his stance during showmanship. He caught on amazingly well to obedience and agility!

Tyra needs to work on everything but her showmanship stance! She's leary of the agility equipment. Mary Ann needs to gain some confidence and learn how to "be a pack leader" (as my hero Cesar Millan, would say). She'll learn - she's doing well as a Cloverbud!

I am so proud of both kids and both dogs!