When All I Want To Do Is Sing

Thyroid Ablation Aftermath

When All I Want To Do Is Sing

Okay, so on July 13, I had a Thyroid Ablation.  The procedure itself was easy.  All I had to do was swallow a capsule that contained radioactive iodine.  No big deal. The time leading up to the procedure, and the aftermath however, has been a bit rough.

I am not one to complain.  My daily routine has not changed whatsoever…well other than getting out of bed is an act of congress lately.  Carrying around a letter alerting officials that I am not a dirty bomb was a bit amusing, sure. Prior to the procedure, I was informed of a special diet.  Now, being a level 3 CKD patient with type one diabetes and high blood pressure, I already am on a pretty strict diet.  Oh, did I mention I really do not eat meat also? Anyways, so they told me I had to cut out all dairy, (that was easy, I do not really do dairy anyway) all bread, (again VERY easy, I do not like bread) anything with a certain red dye, (easy I do not do preprocessed GMO grossness) any sea salt, (are you kidding me? I do not use salt but SEA SALT? Okay fine, so no sea salt) sea food, (um…my one source of animal protein is now gone) and last but certainly no least, soy.  Yes, soy.  The one thing that is in virtually EVERYTHING. Soybean oil is soy.  Read anything you have in your pantry, go ahead, I will wait.  I can guarantee you one of these is probably on the list.  Mind you there were also many other things I could not have, but I decided I would only list the main ones here. You could have egg whites.  I do not like eggs.  My brain congers up dead baby chickens and well…It freaks me out! Nonetheless, I struggled and had egg white omelets with peppers and onions. Thankfully I could have Matzos.  I was living on Matzos with grape jelly. I use non dairy creamer in my coffee, so that was safe too, as was my seltzer.  Oh my water…..I had to stop drinking my spring water and switch to…distilled.  LOL  Thankfully I usually put a lemon in my water so it masked the taste.

This diet did a number on my digestion.  I shall save you the details.  Needless to say, I did not leave home for a while. Any time I did met with uncomfortable results. It seems the medicine I was on for Graves, which I had to stop for the procedure, and then of course permanently thereafter, was also a medicine that caused constipation.  Who knew? Not me, not even after 3 years of taking it.  I guess eating healthy had it’s perks in that respect. Sadly, however, stopping that medicine, combined with the diet to end all diets, my digestive tract was a volcano.  A very, very, angry volcano.  Your welcome, I am sure you wanted to know!

When the doctor gave me the capsule, he began to explain my post procedure orders.  No lemon at first.  But then drink a lot.  As much as I could stand.  Now with gastroperesis (very early stages) this is a task.  I can only consume so much before I feel like a balloon. Nonetheless, I did. I drank.  I sort of had to, I had an insatiable thirst.  My blood sugars remained normal thankfully, throughout this all. That is until day 4 post procedure. Now I do not mind eating off of plastic utensils, washing my laundry separate, flushing the toilet twice and all the other quirks that go along with being radioactive.  I do, however, hate that I was unable to hug or kiss my family.  I had to sleep alone.  (That always feels SO strange to me) I digress, I am straying from topic, so day four post procedure, my daughter had to have the second in a series of vaccines.  I am not one to miss her appointments.  Especially not sequential vaccines.  Although she is a trooper and will take a shot, they do hurt her and I am not a fan of my daughter having pain.  Within as much, we headed to her appointment.  Now why, for the love of God, this pediatrician opted to have ONE solitary waiting room for both healthy and sick kids is BEYOND me.  Perhaps it is a form of job security.  Who knows, for whatever reason it is, it makes me dread going.  We sat alone as far behind everyone as we could.  And waited.  And waited…..and waited.  I am not sure why they gave us a 10 AM appointment as we weren’t even called back until almost 11! All the while this child, well, I assume she was a child,  (I reiterate, we were at a pediatrician) but she had a tattoo on her back and looked like a young adult, was obviously EXTREMELY ill.  I began to shift in my seat. I knew my immune system was already compromised courtesy of that lovely radioactive capsule.  Then there was also my poor child, sitting next to me, who seems to catch any bug around.  By the time we finally managed to get the heck out of there and get to the car, we were virtually bathing in our Purell.  I even sanitized my face.  (I was never close to any child so I posed zero radioactive contamination dangers to those in the waiting room)Within 4 days, I was sick.  When I say sick, I mean, sick.  I had not had a cold, or whatever this was, this bad, ever. Nonetheless, my responsibilities do not care how sick I am.  There is no one else here to do reviews for me, homeschool my daughter, cook, clean, illustrate books, format books, and do all the commercial marketing.  So, I had to carry on like I was perfectly healthy.

Flash forward to today. In three days it will have been a month since I swallowed that radioactive capsule.  Right now my voice sounds like I am either the worlds worst transgender nightmare or I have swallowed a knife.  Talking hurts.  Laughing hurts. Crying, oh my gosh does that hurt. Remember, I have neuropathy and fibromyalgia and am on zero pain medications.  I never even had so much as an aspirin when I had my daughter.  My pain tolerance is pretty good.  So when I say it hurts, I mean it.

I never received any information about post ablation vocal issues.  I have googled it and have read a few things here and there,  Nothing definitive. Now, I am no professional singer.  I do however sing,  a lot. Correction, I did. I cannot now.  I certainly hope this is temporary because not being able to sing is quite depressing.  It is funny, as an artist with neuropathy, retinopathy, glaucoma and fibromyalgia you would think the fact I am losing sight and use of my hands would depress me.  They do not.  Yet losing my voice has.  Quite strange, even to me.  Perhaps it is because growing up, singing is what we did. Nana, my maternal grandmother, who helped raise me, sang, non-stop, and she always had me sing. Nana was the one who taught me vocal control.  I grew up watching The Sweet Adelines, as many family members were members there of, and my mother’s brother was a famous quartet member.  Not to mention my incredibly talented brother who sang for a living for many years. So, singing was the norm.  I raised my daughter this way.  Not being able to sing is really depressing.  It could always be worse and honestly I absolutely realize how trivial it is.  I am grateful to be alive. I know there is always a reason for everything and one day I will see the reason behind this.  For now however, I miss singing.

My voice was not great, but it was mine.  Here, have a listen.  This is old and poor sound quality! Again, I am no singer, but I sing.

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No-Nonsense Algebra From Math Essentials (A Review)

No-Nonsense Algebra

From

Math Essentials

 

Today, I am reviewing No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials.

Kira has always been a bit behind when it came to math.  Much like me, Kira tends to excel in English/Creative Writing, and math seems to always be a little bit harder.  This year, starting 8th grade, has changed that.  We were excited to receive No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials. It was wonderful to know it included video lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher.

With the curriculum I have set in place for Kira’s 8th grade lesson plan, we had Pre-Algebra set as the level Kira was ready to move forward with.  She also has been using online aides, and is well past pre-Algebra, and is amidst Algebra I. I knew that  No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials would be the perfect supplement to help affirm her lesson plans, and only strengthen Kira’s math skills.

The minute No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials arrived, Kira began to read it.  Mind you, this was after her school day had finished,  (Her father brings the mail in each day when he comes home) when she is normally reading for fun or, most likely, drawing. At first glance, Kira was EXTREMELY nervous. Kira expressed that these were all similar to the previous math problems that she was struggling with.  Nonetheless, Kira was excited for the opportunity to unlock the mystery that was Algebra!

We scheduled No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials into our daily lesson plan, as a supplement to the Pre-Algebra, as well as Kira’s online math lessons.

Each day, without fail, Kira went for the No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials first. This is always a good sign.  Kira set a personal goal of two lessons per day.  Mind you, I have a very lax homeschool style.  I do not force more than what is required legally, but Kira, however, sets personal goals. Providing they are never unrealistic, we allow her to do so.  It was wonderful to also know that it included video lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher.  However, Kira never needed to use them!

As of right now, Kira is up to lesson four of chapter four within  No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials.  Kira has expressed how excited she was to finally take end of chapter reviews and actually get all of the answers correct.  Compared to previously, this was quite an accomplishment and had helped build Kira’s own confidence in math!

The simple fact that  No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials  along with the video lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher, iterating that the student should work through each example on their own, is what made the difference for Kira.  Never before had any of our lesson plans suggested this.  I personally had never even thought of it myself.

Now, Kira says that math is fun, and getting easier for her! Her improved test scores throughout her regularly scheduled lesson plans serve as proof that No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials was the perfect supplement!

 

Kira and I both highly recommend No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials to any child struggling with math!

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 From Greek ‘n’ Stuff (A Review)

Reviewing

Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 

From

Greek ‘n’ Stuff

 

 

 

Today, I will be reviewing, Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 from Greek ‘n’ Stuff.

We were extremely excited to be a part of reviewing this product! The most Greek we knew was the word χιόνι (Snow) which is the name of one of our cats! Okay, so why did I name our white cat Snow, seems like a silly question, but why Greek? Well, that question is easy, I have been in love with everything Greek since I was a small child.  I have passed this love down to my daughter as well! We are so blessed to live a stones-throw away (55 minute drive) from a lovely Greek community. One of our favorite pastimes is driving down there to enjoy a Greek dinner.

Kira was elated when her package arrived from  Greek ‘n’ StuffThe package contained the worktext book, the CD, the answer key and the flashcards, (which are in the worktext book) normally, the lesson is two letters per day at first, but as Kira is older, we did four letters per day.  There is a quiz available on the  Greek ‘n’ Stuff website to help you determine which level is best to start out with.  As Kira knew virtually nothing, we opted for  Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2.

The pace is easy to follow with one page a day.  30 lessons are included.  There are wonderful flashcards which Kira had an absolute blast memorizing.  This time, Kira decided to include her father in on the fun.  It became an evening routine.  Every night when he came home, before dinner Kira would hand him her flash cards and let him test her.  I think he, too, was learning some Greek! Kira says the repetition of the cards helped her immensely.

Each lesson is clear and concise.  Kira enjoyed herself immensely, learning a little more Greek each day!

There, thankfully, is a pronunciation CD.  Although the book does provide a phonic spelling, I still recommend the CD.

Now, Kira loves learning, especially a new language.  She has been studying Spanish for a few years now.  Within as much, I knew she would not have an issue trying to learn another language.  When I asked Kira about Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 from Greek ‘n’ Stuff, she boasted how much easier this lesson was compared to her other language lessons.  She touted that an actual text book as opposed to a strictly auditory lesson makes a world of difference.

Although Kira is certainly not ready for us to take that 55 minute drive and order her dinner completely in Greek just yet, she certainly is learning more Greek than I had ever imagined.  The fact that her father has helped is also an extra big bonus for me!

I look forward to getting Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 Set next.

Both Kira and I highly recommend Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 from Greek ‘n’ Stuff. This wonderful program will have your child speaking Greek in no time!

 

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Abbey

I would like you to meet Abbey. Abbey is the title character of a children’s fairytale book, where I am both the illustrator and the author! After years of illustrating for others, I have decided to work on the manuscripts I have had for years just gathering dust. Stay tuned for more! 📚 🎨 📚 🎨

Introducing Lucy

Introducing Lucy

I would like you to meet Lucy.

Lucy is a character in my debut children’s picture book where, for the first time, I am both the illustrator and the author.

After years of illustrating, editing, formatting, creating all of the advertising, all the social marketing, creating book trailers, and cover art for children’s books, I have  decided to go ahead and do the one part missing to a picture book’s creation, the authoring.  I had been approached to do so on several occasions over the past couple of years. Not to mention several friends constantly asking why I did not just make my own. Within as much, I decided to dust off the old manuscripts I have had sitting for years.

Although I took Creative Writing in high school, and have always loved to write and create stories, (especially for my daughter at bedtime when she was younger) I never considered making my own children’s book.

I have decided, why not.  If nothing else, I will have a hard copy of my own little story for my daughter, if no one else decides to buy it!

Stay tuned for more about “When Gray Was Blue“!

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit From ACTÍVA Products (A Review)

Reviewing

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit

From

ACTÍVA Products

 

 

 

Today, I will be reviewing, Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products. 

In the boxWhat is inside? The  Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit comes with two packages of the Rigid Wrap, an 8oz bag of CelluClay, and two photocopied sheets containing the Ridid Wrap general instructions and instructions for 12 projects.

Down side, upon first inspection, the CelluClay is full of holes, leaked all over everything. It all is powdery and gritty as a result.

CelluClay hole

can you read these

Also, I was a bit surprised by the photocopied sheets. They were virtually impossible to read. Thankfully, we also received an eBook,  ACTÍVA Products’ Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS, which is available to the public with the project ideas.  The eBook contains no instructions for the Rigid Wrap or the CelluClay either, however it suggests visiting their website for more information and help.

I could not manage to find the CelluClay instructions anywhere. Thankfully, Google was my aid, and I found this; https://youtu.be/2G0_oh1sRzA

 

Kira was quite excited to begin.  We craft a LOT in my home. As an artist,  crafting was the first thing I used to bond with my daughter.  I remember finger painting with her before she could fully walk. Thankfully, Kira seems to love crafting too! We have never used a plaster-coated gauze type product. We previously have used molding clay or Sculpey. The idea of creating and not having to bake was quite appealing to me! I let Kira read over the project ideas and decide what she wanted to do.

Kira loved the butterfly idea, however, she was not impressed with the template on the box. Instead, Kira decided to make her own.  I placed wax paper on a table for her to work at. I already knew by the condition the celluclay had left the box in that this would be messy. I cannot even imagine doing this with a child under the age of 10. Mind you, I am an OCD neat freak.

beginning

We had both the photocopied instructions and the ebook on hand as we began.

Kira really enjoyed the fact that I let her do EVERYTHING herself. I wanted her to fully learn how to pay attention to instructions!

Per the instructions, drying time depends on thickness and environment. Kira only made two thin layers. After 4-5 hours it was finally dry…or so we thought.  There were no instructions of what to do with the excess around the edges! Kira tried to cut them.  This was DISASTEROUS. Her beautiful work began to rip and tear!

Poor Kira was quite upset.  Now I knew she had not fully followed the instructions, but I was not saying a word.  This was a lesson for her.  Kira loves to assume and think she knows everything some times.  I will ask her something, and before I am even finished asking, she will assume the question and answer. Usually, she is not answering what I was amidst asking at all. The byproduct of being smart is also assuming you know more than what you actually know. I felt that  Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products would be a wonderful way for Kira to learn to pace and pay attention and STOP assuming. 

So it was back to the drawing board.  Kira had to start all over again. Her template was ruined too.  Having learned her first try was failure, this time around, Kira reread the general instructions for the Rigid Wrap.  Low and behold, she did not do a weave/opposite pattern between her layers.  Kira had laid each layer identical!

This time around, knowing about the edges, we decided she could fold them over the template.  Not exactly ideal, but it worked!

Kira was extremely happy! This time we let it dry over night, just in case.  (For faster drying, there is an option to microwave or use oven. However, as I wanted to keep this as child friendly as possible, we opted to use the air-dry method. ) The next morning, it was fully dry! Kira decided to do a little scrunching to make the face and body. Once it fully dried, she applied acrylic paint.  Kira seemed a bit miffed that the paint seemed to soak in, even though she was not using water. I would suggest using a primer before painting your craft, just in case. We used level 3 acrylics which are thicker than normal. I was surprised to see it soak this paint up.  Three coats, and poor Kira still saw white spots!

Final Product!

I asked Kira for her honest opinion of Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products.  She said, “It is a LOT of fun to use and I love how you do not have to bake it like Sculpey, because that takes forever.  However, there are disadvantages, although it is easy to use, it is quite messy and takes time to dry”.

Bare in mind, we have only done this one small project.  I have plans for us to make several more, which I of course will share with you all once they are completed.  When I watched the video (link above), I envisioned all the amazing crafts I can create. I personally have never used this type of a product and I absolutely love it. It is a wonderful way for kids to have messy fun! As always, with any project that requires scissors, I highly recommend an adult supervise. The box boasts that it is safe and non-toxic. An extra plus! The eBook ideas are absolutely wonderful. Kira has already picked out several she would like to try.

I have a special mask idea in mind for the upcoming Dia De Los Muertos. I absolutely love the drape molding idea and believe I can make a wonderful mask using a paper plate template! I also am trying to mentally sort a way to create a dragon and a fairy in a full 3D form.  Once completed I will post these.

Kira and I both highly recommend Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products. 

 

 

 

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A Review of the movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near

Reviewing

 The movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near

Today, I will be reviewing, The movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near.

I was quite excited when I learned that Mapelle Films‘ movie Trust Fund  producer/cinematographer is Isaac Alongi, who just so happened to be home schooled! I am always excited to learn of home school success stories.

My daughter was EXTREMELY excited because there was a book that accompanies the movie.

The movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films is a modern day parable to the prodigal son. It takes the bible tale and spins it in a fantastical modern view.

I personally found the movie sad. Perhaps as a parent raising a teenage girl in a society that can seem all too selfish is why.  I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for the main characters and their tribulations, albeit extremely unrealistic. The movie drew me in quickly to the classic tale of the older and younger sibling and the oh-too doting father. Unfortunately, the incredulous circumstances, however, left me feeling this was closer to a Disney Fairytale Princess story. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the movie.  I must admit parts had me wondering just how long the movie was.  It seemed a bit drawn out at times, yet other times seemed to somehow skip over details. Bare in mind, this story is geared towards teenage girls, I am certainly no teenager! My opinion means nothing, my daughter’s is the important one.

The accompanying book,  Love Was Near, is a wonderful tool to delve further behind the movie and the main character’s plight and innermost views/thoughts. It contains a way for young girls to further explore their own choices in difficult scenarios. There is even a download study guide to further explore into the movie’s theme.

When I asked my daughter Kira for her honest opinion about the movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near,  she said this,

“Although it is not the type of movie I would normally watch, as  I like action movies with fantasy, I actually really liked the movie and the way it is a parable for the prodigal son, which is actually my favorite parable to read! The story line is so true to young adults nowadays and I believe it can teach us all a valuable lesson! The book was a perfect companion for the movie.  Although, I think they need a better editor because the grammar and punctuation were atrocious!”

 

 

 

 

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