Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Day, New Contest!

I entered another blogging contest,

Its the French's Cook-Off 2009!.

I love broccoli and cheddar bites, or spinach and artichoke bites (frozen foods, vegetarian of course, lol!) the dip suggestions on the back were too mayonnaise'y (yes, its a word in my own personal dictionary thankyouverymuch) so I improvised my own. Adjust for your own little tastebuds preferences, and enjoy!

2 tbsp horseradish mustard
1-2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh minced garlic (I've used powder or dried but its not as good)
1 tsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, taste-test it, and get to dippin. Smiley Faces

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Calmer Times

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh I crack myself up! Hey, calm usually goes hand in hand with normal, right? And normal is soooo completely overrated, so calm must be like totally beyond good. And I'll stick with that belief cause then I can continue to remain in the chaotic pandemonium that is our lives and be completely ignorant to any other way of life.

This week brings change-more metaphoric than anything. Not tangeable change, at least not yet; but change that has a level of enormity that my mind just can't seem to grasp. Okay so there's lots of things that can do that to me--why do the boys not know they miss the toilet? why does a certain 11 year old think entering preteen years allows screaming fits of mood swings that dwarf the toddler tantrums? why does the adult child not remember she's still a child-or remember she's an adult, whichever I'd prefer in any given moment? Okay, so as I often have done on my blog I digress. Which is why I've not blogged for some time because my mind is all over the place. I SWEAR I just heard a bunch of chuckles and "like that's anything new?" Be nice please, I'm very sensitive these days. Which actually does take me back to what I was talking about. The change arriving this week. No, not that change. Its just a formality really, I know that. Yet thinking ahead to saying to someone "I'm Div.....", ugh-see? I can't even type it. The kids are handling it all much better than I am. They have accepted it as it is and moved forward; have I mentioned how amazing my kids are? Oh wait I think I am contradicting myself cause I did mention some unflattering things just a few sentences ago. But maybe I wasn't talking about my kids, so there! Or maybe its part of what makes them normal kids. But normal is overrated. I said that, too, didn't I. YIKES! I'm going to stop typing now. Cause I know I'm pretty confused at this point and I'm the one typing it all. Questions? Um...ask someone who knows me to answer cause I'll digress. lol.

Recipes!

First is the pizza dough recipe, from http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/article/46/28295 The website has loads of tips and hints. It really is incredible and just as described: sweet and chewy inside and slightly crispy outside. I didn't use semolina flour but plan on using it next time--I can't imagine it tasting even better! Also, I used my bread machine. If you do, just put ingredients into the bread pan as your machine manufacturer recommends.

1 1/2 cups very warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
16 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) bread flour
3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt

you will also need:
a food processor
about a tablespoon of olive oil
a large bowl


Instructions: Makes 2 Medium Pizzas, Each Serving 2-3 People

Using your food processor, you can make a perfect pizza dough in under 5 minutes with hardly any mess to your kitchen. Of course, you could also mix the dough in a heavy duty stand mixer, in a bread machine, or by hand (although the latter would be serious workout).

Place very warm water, yeast and sugar in food processor and pulse once or twice to mix. While most recipes will tell you to use lukewarm water when making yeast dough, I find that by the time you take hot water, put it into a measuring cup and then into a food processor, it has cooled significantly. I always use water that is almost too hot to the touch, and have always had great luck with this dough. Let sit while you measure out the dry ingredients.

After 2-3 minutes you will see small bubbles forming in the liquid in the food processor, which indicates that your yeast is working. Dump in the dry ingredients and turn on the food processor. The machine will go all the work, including the kneading. After about a minute the dough should form into a ball going around in your food processor. Open the machine and take a look. If you think the dough is too wet, you can add a bit a flour, but know that too wet is better than too dry, and the dough will loose some of its stickiness as it rises.

Place about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Take the dough out of the food processor (putting a little olive oil on your hands will keep it from sticking) and form it into a ball. Place in the bowl and turn to lightly coat with the olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm, draft free place for about an hour or until doubled in size, before rolling out and baking. For a crust with a perfect pizzeria taste and texture, I recommend baking on a pizza stone in a very hot oven (500 - 550°F for about 10 -12 minutes.

Make Ahead
Make several pizza doughs ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (the dough develops an even better flavor this way). let rise once, punch down, and store on a zipper tops gallon bag in fridge until ready to use. Let dough come to room temperature before proceeding. You also let the dough rise and freeze it for future use. Thaw for a couple of days in the fridge or for about 4-6 hours on the counter. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

The next recipe is from "Frozen Assets" by Debra Taylor-Hough, its "Debi's Million Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies" and they are YUMMMY.

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps baking soda
4 cups flour
5 cups blended oatmeal*
24 ounces chocolate chips
1 8-ounce chocolate bar (grated)
3 cups chopped walnuts (optional, I didn't use them)
*First, measure oatmeal. Then blend into a fine powder in a mill or blender. (I used my blender first, then food processor--the processor worked WAY better.)

Directions:
Cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift together and then stir in salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour. Stir in blended oats. Mix in chips, grated chocolate bar and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

I didn't roll them, I used a cookie scoop, same effect I think. Also, bit tip from me--make sure you use a BIG bowl and a POWERFUL mixer. Cause otherwise you might have dough flying out of your too small bowl or your mixer might burn out. I'm just sayin'....lol

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Not" Back to School! (and a contest, too!)

As a homeschool mom I've always loved that little saying. We don't ever really stop homeschooling; our crazy schedule just keeps us going as the wind blows, lol! But I must admit I can't help myself when all the back-to-school-sales start raging around. Seriously, who can resist a brand new pack of Ticondaroga's, the pencils that write-like-liquid-that-have-that-lovely-woodsy-smell-when-you-open-the-pack not to mention getting them for $1 at Five Below? Okay yes, I admit my problem but I just keep embracing it anyway.
Remember this time of year you really don't have to pay over $1 for any basic school supplies, just be vigilant about watching the sale ads. You can check some here You can check some here.
Now don't do like I did last year and buy lots of supplies at incredible prices, hid them in "places the kids won't find and get into," and unfortunately I kept myself from them too cause this crazy mind could not remember where I hid everything! Hmmm, I need to remedy that this year. Beepers maybe? Flashing lights? Nope, that'll bring the scavengers to them too. Oooo, post-its! That's my new obsession, I suuuuuuuure like to flag stuff. Now if only I could find my post its..........
Happy Shopping! :^)

Wait...come back, I almost forgot! A contest through TwitterMoms! Sure could come in handy for back to school shopping:
Sprite is also giving you and all your blog readers a chance to win up to $100. Every 10 minutes until 8/31, Sprite is giving away up to $100 cash (as downloadable eCash from MasterCard or as a check reward redeemable at a network of retailers) – and they’re giving TwitterMoms members a special code to enter the sweepstakes. Just type in 100876829464 once you're registered to see if you’re an instant winner; it’s as easy as that! The code can only be used once per individual, but can be used by any number of individuals, so share the love and let your readers know! Maybe one of them will win, too! And you can play again by buying Sprite and entering the My Coke Rewards code. See Rules for more details.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ummmmmm.....

How do you pronounce SAHM?


Is it SAM?


Is it SAHuM?

The end. YEs, that's all. I was typing it into yet another profile application page and thought, for the umpteenbillionth time, really now, how do you "say" that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A great "Declaration"

This is a wonderful read for anyone, at any time. The timing of it, for me, was perfect.
*****************************************************************************
My Declaration of Self-Esteem by Virginia Satir (1975)


I AM ME
In all the world, there is no one else like me.

There are persons who have parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me.

Therefore, everything that comes from me is authentically mine, because I choose it.

I own everything about me:
My body, including everything it does;
My mind, including all its thoughts and ideas;
My eyes, including the images they behold;
My feelings, whatever they may be...Anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement;
My mouth, and all the words that come out of it,
Polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect;
My voice, loud or soft;
And all of my actions, whether they be to others or to myself.

I own my own fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, and my fears.

I know that there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know.
But as long as I am friendly to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for the solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me.
However I look and sound,
Whatever I say and do,
And whatever I think and feel at a given time is me.
This is authentic and represents where I am at that moment in time.

When I review later how I looked and sounded,
What I said and did, And how I thought and felt,
Some parts may turn out to be unfitting.
I can discard that which proved unfitting, and keep that which proved fitting,
And invent something new for that which I discarded

I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do.
I have tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive,
And to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.

I own me,
And therefore,
I can engineer me.

I am me
and

I AM OKAY.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just a Tuesday and lovin' it! (actually its Wednesday)

I hesitated blogging yesterday because I was waiting for some profound words to come to me. Well, here I am...on Wednesday cause nuttin profound has hit but I still wanted to blog anyway. I'm so glad I don't do that to myself as much anymore--the whole perfectionism/shut down stuff. Pointless, dumb, gobbledegook! Oh man I just love that word, don't you love that word "gobbledegook"? It was in my text reading this week, and the reading was for and about technical writing! I am going to be an excellent technical writer if I can use words like poppycock and hogwash and gobbledegook. Okay, so maybe, just maybe, the authors were saying *not* to use those things, and so maybe I won't be a technical writer.

Back to yesterday. Actually, lets go back to the weekend, shall we? Okay actually we'll have to go back to last Tuesday. Yes, actually. I actually like that word, actually, too. And I am actually hyper. Oh I do crack myself up!

I believe I will have to try and type later because I am just too funny for my more mature bladder to handle right now. And if I don't run to the potty right now, there will be a mess of gobbledegook all over the floor, actually. Happy thoughts for you to start your day! laughing smiley Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gone Private

For the time being, I've set this to private. Sorry if anyone gets duplicate "invites", it was complicated and its early in the morning. ;) And by the way Mr. Weatherman, where is the sun??

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ambient Lenses and tears...

To start this off, I have to say that I am supposed to be doing my final weekly assignment for class. I stumbled across a reading that relates to Zachary; perhaps stumbled is a poor word choice. It does seem that when given the choice of a topic to research, I have tended to favor all things autism. I want to understand, I want to feel, I want to grab hold of it and KNOW the ins and outs beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have no desire to change who Zachary is, I've expressed that many times. My desire is to clear a path for him to enable an easier result of happiness and joy. I do feel we are on that path, however it still has underbrush and overhangs needing to be cleared.
I had to choose a skill most people do not have but could benefit from mastering, and use persuasive writing to explain to my instructor the benefits of mastering this skill. I've been tossing ideas around and finally settled on one late last night: The Balance Beam.
Zachary was taking a homeschool gymnastics class locally and was doing amazingly well, thanks to Coach Keith's incredible insight into the "whole-body/mind" connection with gymnastics. Several months into gymnastics Zachary began vision therapy. Dr. Gallop explained in specific but understandable detail why it was so hard for Z to balance, and pointed out his balled up fists and toes. (this is a repeat for those that followed along the early vision therapy appointments) I felt, and still do feel, truly blessed to have people like this in our lives! People like these two men and others over the years (past and present) that have understood my passion to understand Z's perspective as well as help him find the previously mentioned rhetorical path.
Back to the Balance Beam. During a particular exercise in vision therapy on the low beam it is imperative to keep the body tall and look straight ahead into the full mirror, to remain on the beam. The patient wears progressively more distorted lenses; instinctively Zachary will try to watch his feet or hunch down, or both. Dr. Steve reminds him (at times over and over and over....) to look in the mirror. I've watched this, and it is amazing to see the balance he has when he looks up. It wasn't until very recently that I made my own 'real life' connection to this. Coach Keith was suggesting an eye exam for a friend's daughter, who had a fear of the beam. His words were very matter of fact--essentially, if a person's vision is distorted in some way, they lose sense of the space around them, and feel the need to stay low to maintain the only kind of balance they know. (read here LIGHTBULB MOMENT FOR ME!) Keith's and Dr. Gallop's words all came together at once in a rush. Zachary feels off balance in most things, that is why he begins to yawn and stretch and fidget when trying to read (especially if without his glasses), or bounces during a new activity, or even hums when feeling nervous. His world is off balance for him, so he does what he feels he needs to do to recenter himself, low and huddled back into himself. I was reading an article titled "Ambient Lenses for Autism and PDD" (Melvin Kaplan,Latitudes ; Apr97, Vol. 2 Issue 6, p9, 1p), and again I made connections that rushed through me, yet this time also left me in tears. It is a short articlethat discusses a young boy presenting with very similar symptoms that Z presents with; it goes on to describe the initial vision therapy appointment and the ball on the string exercise (see my post http://whyyesiamcrazyandlovinit.blogspot.com/2008/07/vision-therapy.html for that amazing moment) This short article explains what Ambient Vision is: it is the vision that is related to body posture, movement, and the "perception of self-motion". (Melvin Kaplan, Latitudes; Apr97, Vol. 2 Issue 6, p9, 1p) This perception of self-motion is Z's humming, bouncing, fidgeting, hand flapping, I believe. I'm at a loss for words at this moment, as I'm being flooded by emotion yet again. Things have been so clouded for him but those clouds are lifting, I see it, I physically feel it. I am poised to enter a new level of clarity with not only Z's issues, but life in general. My own ambient vision has been skewed, I am only at this moment grasping the concept and grabbing hold of it, for myself as well.

Now I need to get this inspired to write my paper..............

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another lapbook finished, FINALLY

This is Mallory's much anticipated, long awaited, oh-my-LORD-Mommy's-getting-irritated Art Appreciation Lapbook. A full 4 months in the making. Without further ado:





This is the front cover...its one of her favorite paintings, by Renoir; we happen to have a copy of it made by a friend of my Aunt Martha's. For years I thought it was supposed to be Aunt Martha and a couple of her sisters. One day at our co-op in Maine, they were working with art cards, and one got flipped over and there it was-- The Daughters of Catulle Mend├Ęs. I was shaking, thinking OH MY GOSH WE HAVE A RENOIR IN OUR HOUSE!! Within an hour, I found out that no, we didn't, it was a copy done by her friend, and the original is at the Met in NY.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some dry mix recipes

I love these, and should use others more often! I haven't bought bisquick in a long time, this recipe for pancake mix is fantastic. If you let it sit about 10 minutes after you make the batter, you get extra fluffy, light pancakes! Make sure you use really fresh baking powder.

FOR THE MIX:
12 cups flour
4 cups dry instant powdered milk
3/4 cup baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
I use a huge tupperware container, so that it seals really well, and there's room to shake it to mix. You can use ziploc bags, but you'd need a 2 gallon size to give it some good shaking.
FOR THE BATTER:
1 1/2 cups of the mix
1 cup water
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil
I do usually double the recipe, I guess the original recipe yields about 10 pancakes maybe--definitely not enough for our family, lol!

The other recipe for today is taco seasoning; I've tried several over the years, and most used corn starch and flour, so I was skeptical about this one, but it came out great, everyone loved it. I can't attest to the taste (the whole no meat thing) but it smelled delicious, and actually blended much much better than the packaged stuff.

Mix together:
6 tsp. chili powder
5 tsp. paprika
4 1/2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
I used all of it for about 2 lbs of meat. Next time I'll probably at least double the recipe, and store it in a small glass jar. The original recipe said about 7 tsp. equals 1 package of taco seasoning. (don't forget the 3/4 cup water, bring to a boil, then let it simmer for about 8 minutes).

Now....anyone have a really great homemade milk bath recipe? Or a good recommendation for lavender oil? Actually, I do have a good milk bath recipe, I just need to find a good lavender scent to add to it, something that actually smells like lavender. Mmmmm, lavender; I can't wait to order plants for this year. I wonder how big my lavender plant is in Maine, I hated leaving it. And my rose bush in Georgia, and rose bushes in Florida. I'm babbling. I don't have a blog--its a babblog....

*********************
Update September 16, 2013
Didn't take me this long to find the lavender oil, but I forgot I had posted about looking for some. Auro Cacia, info HERE is wonderful!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

The new consumer "protection" (or is it...attack...) laws

I'm writing about this HUGE issue looming in the very near future, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). It was quietly passed into law this past summer, and will go into effect February 10, 2009, a date dubbed "National Bankruptcy Day". This law, as written, is as vague as can be, and has the potential to take down hundreds and thousands of small and home-based businesses all over the country. In a time of such fragile economic times, this is one of the worst things that could happen; I can practically hear the sound of families' hopes and dreams across America being virtually flushed down the toilet by this law.
A clarification was released on, I believe, January 8th, that claimed to exempt resellers (thrift shops, consignment, and again, all the homebased resellers--homeschoolers make up a HUGE market of book/school supplies/used clothing/etc buyers and sellers). As written:
CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children's Product Safety Laws
Taking Effect in February
Guidance Intended for Resellers of Children's Products, Thrift and
Consignment Stores
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In February 2009, new requirements of the Consumer
Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) take effect. Manufacturers, importers and retailers are expected to comply with the new Congressionally-mandated laws. Beginning February 10, 2009, children's products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Certain children's products
manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more that 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.

Under the new law, children's products with more than 600 ppm total lead cannot lawfully be sold in the United States on or after February 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date. The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.

The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children's products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children's products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not
required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.

The new safety law does not require resellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are
likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.

As I wrote in response to someone on an email loop I'm with:
Here's the problem with the update, I put stars before and after the section that is still much to vague:
The new safety law does not require resellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold.
*****However, resellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits
could face civil and/or criminal penalties
.***********

So, in one paragraph, they exempt resellers and then go ahead and say they can still be responsible. There are entirely too many producst covered by this law, plus the lowered lead levels which many many producst WILL NOT COMPLY with that are at resale stores, people's personal resales etc.
There have been many calls placed to all forms of government, tv, radio, newspaper, and internet agencies; yet we've yet to see this as a "big" story. There is the beginning of a class action lawsuit being started to attempt to stop the law from rolling into effect. Of course lead laws need to be changed regarding childrens' products--and allowing China to get away with all they have is insanity; this, however, is going after the heart and soul of the USA. This is so potentially devastating to our nation. Contact your news teams, newspapers, congressmen, senators...here's some contact information given by one of the owners of Hands of A Child (thanks Kimm)

Contact your congressperson here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Contact your senator here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Contact the media here:FOX email: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,77538,00.htmlPhone: 1-888-369-4762
CNN email: http://edition.cnn.com/feedback/Phone: 404-827-1500
MSNBC email: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18616878/Phone: 212-664-4444
CNBC email: info@cnbc.comPhone: 201-735-2622
ABC email: netaudr@abc.comPhone: 212-456-7777
CBS email: http://www.cbs.com/info/user_services/fb_global_form.phpPhone: 212-975-4321
PBS - The News Hour with Jim Lehrer: newshour@pbs.orgPhone: 703-739-5000

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hands Of A Child Kit Pack Sale!

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM IN THE HANDS OF A CHILD

January 12, 2009

Dear Valued Customers,

Due to the new CPSIA law In the Hands of a Child, for the time being, is discounting our Kit Pack inventory in order to lessen our possible loss in the event that an exemption is not granted.

While we are still praying for this situation to work out for all small businesses we feel that it is in our best interest to lessen our possible loss. And what better way than to pass the savings on to you, our wonderful customers, who are praying with us through this difficult situation!!

Please help us clear our shelves and enjoy a 35% savings on all Kit Packs!! Savings will be automatic! Spread the word and help us empty the shelves!!

This sale will continue until our Kit Pack inventory has been exhausted, so purchases will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

Once they are gone, they are gone!

Click Here to Shop Now!

In the event the law is modified, In the Hands of a Child reserves the right to bring back Kit Packs in the future at full price without any discount, implied or expressed, during this sale.

Cannot be combined with any other offer, special, discount, coupon or sale.
Super Member discount DOES NOT apply to this sale.
Tax and Shipping not included in calculating discount price.
Not valid toward prior purchases.
No rainchecks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Homeschooling and the "S" word...

So the S word has been coming up as a topic on some loops again. Its the dreaded....dare I say it...socialization topic. !GASP! How is it that I can hear how good the kids are, what wonderful conversationalists they can be, how smart they are, and then "but are they socialized?". Excuuuuuuuuse me? Sounds like a question about a pet. What a cute puppy, so calm, and so well behaved--but is he socialized? Yes, we actually do get out of the house. And yes, the kids actually do things with other--can you believe it--children. I know a lot of people ask this question simply because its what they've heard other people ask about homeschoolers and they're trying to make conversation. Inisder's tip here: ITS NOT A GOOD CONVERSATION STARTER! lol, but seriously, if you stop and think about the question, its pretty insulting.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sick, sick, and more sick...

Okay, can I just say, YUUUUUUUUUK! So obviously I'm saying it and not really asking if I can say it. Starting the day after Christmas, this house has had so much bodily fluid expulsion we might could be able to market out to Nickelodeon for slime at a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeal cheap rate. Go ahead, say it--EW. Before I get any more disgusting, I'll stop. I guess we'll be seeing people again around, say, March?