Tag Archives: autism

Screaming, Flying, Monkeys…

Kids are great! *forced smile*

No really, kids are amazing. I have 3 of my own & many whom I proudly “momma bear” even though they are not of my womb.

My oldest, “R”, is nearly 16 years old. He is on the autism spectrum, a sophomore in high school, loves video games, Godzilla, zombies, rock ‘n’ roll, goofy youtube videos, & those silly inflatable dancing guys that the used car dealerships use.

Next in line, “JON”, is almost 13. He won a fight with lymphoma a couple of years ago. He loves comic books, The Walking Dead, Mine Craft, riding his bike, Smosh videos on youtube, listening to music on his iPod, & comedy. Here’s one of his favorite’s (keep in mind that he’s 13, don’t judge):

This brings us to number 3…my screaming, often flying monkey…”CC” will be 3 at the end of April. She is adorable and loud and opinionated and funny and sweet and today, very, very 2!

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I like to think that I am a patient person.

I like to think that I am a good mother, a funny mother, I generally enjoy my children. We have fun together. But I have to admit…the toddler years can be hard! There are days when these funny little sweeties go from angel to freak show 30 seconds. These are the days when this mommy needs a time out!

I think that there are things that experienced moms often fail to convey to expecting or new moms. This is one of the areas where we, as women, fail each other!

This morning while my sweet baby girl was transforming into a possessed howler monkey because I was working at my laptop for 10 minutes while she was enjoying her favorite show on Sprout & I didn’t notice that her show was over and she was ready for lunch. Then we got calmed down with a small snack (because I really had to finish what I was doing before I could make lunch), when Daddy came home on his lunch break, one of the perks of working 5 minutes from home. She, naturally, was excited to see him! She was not very excited that he couldn’t spend his whole lunch hour (about 40 here) holding her due to the fact that he did need to eat. So…the screaming resumed!

ALRIGHT!!! Lunch time it is!!! We heated up some soup, put it in a bowl, sat her at the table, next to her Daddy, & enjoyed 5-8 minutes of relative quiet before Daddy had to prepare to leave the house to go back to the office.

This pattern continued while I attempted to complete a few other tasks, including a phone call (that was enjoyable with her wrapping herself around my legs & trying to stuff her head up my shirt!).

These are the things that we should be sharing with other women! (These & the scream I just heard from CC’s bedroom while typing! HA!) I don’t do the toddler years well, there I said it! It is H-A-R-D! While I’m being honest, let me talk about other things that we’re not supposed to say out loud…I am not good at potty training!! I have all of the tools & skills, I just suck at it! I am not patient! Once I know that a child KNOWS I lose my mind when they refuse to use the bathroom! Occasional accidents I can deal with, but let me give you a fun little example. CC is starting to recognize the feeling in her tummy pre-poop. She tells me that her tummy hurts, I ask her if she thinks she needs to go poop in the potty, she says yes. It’s a pretty good system! A couple of weeks ago, all signals were go…she’s sitting on the potty, I’m out in the hall, outside of the bathroom.

She says “Me all done!” She has only been in there a minute. I know she hasn’t gone yet. So I say, “I don’t think you’ve been in there long enough yet honey, why don’t you look at your book again?” She hops down, pulls up her leggings, hides behind the door & starts to close it.

I stop the door from closing, “What are you doing?”

“Me pooping!” I look at her pants behind her & sure enough, she has a lump in her pants!

“CC! You were already on the potty, honey! Why did you get down to poop?”

“Cuz that’s how big girls do it!”

“That is NOT how big girls do it!”

I lost my fricking mind! So, she went down for a nap…I had a cup of tea.

Ladies, you need to be able to lose your mind, put your child in a safe space (whether that’s a crib, swing, playpen, or gated safe room) & know that they will be fine more than 10 feet from you for as long as you need to find your mind again. And please find a friend that you can admit your imperfections to! None of us are perfect! The lady on the block whose home looks immaculate ALL OF THE TIME is hiding something crazy in a closet somewhere & probably needs someone to talk to too, I guarantee it!

People tell you all of the time to savor these precious years….they told me that with the boys too…I get it, I do…I savor the totally done with potty training, don’t need gates on the stair anymore years! I admit it! I hate touching bodily fluids, when that sweet baby girl can blow her own nose, I will not miss wiping it! I don’t miss wiping the boys’! There has never been a day when I’m wiping her snotty little (adorable) nose & thought “I miss when I had to pick boogers out of R’s nose”…NO! Thank God they grow out of certain stages! Potty training, 2’s, boogers, throwing unwanted food on my floor….get me past these years with whatever grace & dignity I have left, then I will savor the rest!

I don’t want to discourage any future mothers out there. Being a mother has honestly been the biggest joy of my life, & I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. I couldn’t imagine the person I would be if I hadn’t become a mother. But its okay to be honest about the days that we struggle. Its okay if everyday we don’t feel like we’re doing everything right. Its okay if some days you gotta put that screaming monkey in her (safe) cage (crib) & let her scream it out for a minute so that you don’t lose your mind. We’re all on the same team here.

Raising future adults is an important task. These are the people who will one day take care of us. If we don’t take care of ourselves while taking care of them, what does it teach them about valuing themselves. We learn by example.

I think CC’s finally asleep. I better eat some lunch before round 3 starts!

Have a wonderful day.

If you are out there reading this, & your day is anything like mine…stay strong, take a break, talk to who you can, & know that you are doing your best.

Shalom

What’s in the Fridge/Freezer Soup

Today was a cold one again! I don’t think that it got above 20 degrees! Clearly it’s a soup night!
Kinda perfect considering I have a leftover roasted chicken in my fridgerator with barely any meat on it (stock-ready, I call it). We’ll start there!

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For my Homemade Chicken Stock (sure to cure what ails you) your basic ingredients are:
Roasted organic chicken carcass
2 carrots, halved
2 ribs celery, halved
1 med-large onion (your favorite variety), quartered
1 bulb garlic, quartered
1-2 Tbsp whole peppercorns
2 whole bay leaves
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
A pinch of turmeric
1-2 tsp sea salt (depending on size of pot & how much water)
Splash of cooking sherry
(You can always add additional veggies if you have some that are close to turning as well. Peppers add wonderful flavor to stocks, as do cabbages. Root vegetables like beets do as well!)

If using a crockpot, put everything in, cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours, then set on low for 3-6 hours.  
(My crockpot cooks hotter than most. I usually cook on high for 2-3, then overnight on warm.) 
If cooking on the stove, bring it to a boil, then allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. Remember that the longer it cooks the more of the goodness come out into the broth. You don’t want it to reduce though. Be prepared to add water to it if needs be, just bring it back up to boil, then back down to simmer again.

Once its finished cooking, pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer reserving the broth in a large bowl or another pot. Allow the juice to drip out of the vegetables & carcass for a few minutes before you toss it aside.

Onto the rest of the soup…
I know I’m making a poultry-based soup, as I don’t eat much red meat & I’m making fresh chicken stock. I really hadn’t planned for soup today until I looked outside!

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This is the view from the door! I do not feel like going to the store…I guess it’s time for “What’s in the Fridge/Freezer Soup”
When I look out in the freezer to grab the chicken, assuming that I’ll be grabbing breasts, thighs, or a combination of both I see these, which I bought at Costco last week

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Chicken Andouille Sausages! Its on! Now the decision is noodles, rice, or barley? The traditionalist in me says beans & rice of course, or maybe barley instead of rice…but I have a 2 year old…rice in soup=messy mess. And I have an autistic teen who is picky about veggies, but if they are all in a dish together, he’ll eat them, so they really need to be in the soup…
I decided our dinner:

“Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup”

While the stock was cooking I gathered my ingredients,

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Egg noodles (after the picture was taken I measured about 4 cups, dry, into a bowl to be cooked once the stock was finished. You should always add them precooked or they will end up too mushy),

2 C frozen peas (you could use fresh too),

2 C carrots (sliced),

1/2 – 2/3 C some fresh parsley (chopped or minced to your liking),

salt & pepper,

1 Lbs + package Chicken Andouille Sausage

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I defrosted & cut up the sausage (these are already cooked, if you haven’t tried them you really should. All natural, gluten free, super tastey!)

Once the stock has finished cooking & is straining, cook your pasta to al dente. Strain as well, reserving a little of the water just in case you need to add a little liquid to your pot.
Pour the stock back into the pot. Add the sausage, carrots, peas, & parsley.

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Then add the noodles bring to a low boil season to taste with salt & pepper. Cook until carrots are tender (about 20-30 min depending on how thick you sliced them).  If your stock is too concentrated or there is not enough liquid add hot water you reserved from your pasta.

Of course you can make anything for your “What’s in the Fridge Soup,” but this turned out pretty awesome, so I thought I’d share!

Have a wonderful night!

Frozen Waffles

My 15 year old son has asperger’s. One thing about our awesome kids is that they tend to get stuck in their routines–now this isn’t a bad thing, routine is good for them, too. I tell you this because today is the first day back to school after the longest holiday break I can recall…EVER! If we didn’t have what my son needs to eat for breakfast on school mornings, there is no guarantee how his day may have gone.

Waffles are amazing! We love carbs in my house, I wish we didn’t, but we do! Ryan has had waffles with peanut butter on them nearly every school morning for as long as he can remember. Mostly because it’s only recently that I’ve been able to get him to eat oatmeal & I don’t always have time to make eggs. My requirement has always been nut-butter. Pancakes or waffles are just cake, unless you add protein to them…then they become the conveyor in which the protein travels to your gob!  Much like bread for tuna fish or chips for bean dip! Plus, there’s the rule of 3’s…a meal requires a minimum of 3 food groups, you add peanut butter to your waffle, then all you need to do is drink a glass of juice or milk & technically you can tell mom that you’re not breaking the “3 rule.” Less than 3 food groups is a snack, no matter how well intended, or which groups you choose.

The problem with frozen waffles (which are super convenient) begins a few years before boys get into their tween years. They now eat a minimum of 2. If you’re buying “buttermilk” or “homestyle” (probably spending between $2-$3 a box unless they’re on sale) they are mostly fluff & not filling at all & the average boy in this age group could probably eat the whole box (of 8-12) if he was being honest with you. If you are buying the “natural” ones (probably closer to $4 for a box of 6-8 not on sale) they may or may not like the taste & because there are fewer in the box you will go through them faster, (It is also near impossible to find the “natural” brands in bulk stores, like Costco, in many areas, so you have no choice but to buy the small boxes.

The other problem for a gal like me is all of the excess packaging. Luckily, the outer packaging is cardboard (for most brands) which is easy enough to recycle. However after living in NW Montana for 6 years, I am well aware that not everyone lives where recycling is easy to do. The bags inside the cardboard box, however, are often not marked, so most folks, including myself, don’t know, without a lot of research whether they can be recycled or not.

My final issue was the space that the Costco-sized box of waffles was taking up in our freezer. (I don’t have a problem mentioning Costco by name in my blog, because I do most of our shopping there. They shouldn’t be upset that I no longer buy their waffles, they get plenty of our support.) We don’t have a large freezer, we have a small chest freezer & a tiny freezer in the top of our refrigerator.  Being able to save room in our freezer for meats, leftovers, soups, sauces, & some easy-to-heat stuff for the teens is much appreciated!

On to my solution!

13"L x 7"W x 3"D Rubbermaid container fits perfectly in bottom of fridge!
13″L x 7″W x 3″D Rubbermaid container fits perfectly in bottom of fridge!

Above is my tiny fridge/freezer, well the leftmost 1/3 of it. The bottom shelf is between 3.5 & 4 inches high, so random little things end up down there like half bags of frozen berries & single popsicles that have lost their way. This box I found is PERFECT! It is a Rubbermaid brand & it said “freezer safe” on the packaging. It is a little more than 3-inches high, about 13-inches long (so I can still put a thing or two behind it if needed), & just over 7-inches across.

about 13 inches longabout 3 inches deep

It came in a 2-pack for less than $4, if I’m remembering correctly. The container being clear was important to me too so that at a glance I could peek in & see if we were getting low. One thing about my son, he announces that we’re “running low” of something when he’s leaving the last of something. So he should be saying “we’re out” not knowing if shopping is occurring that day…awesome.

Begin with your favorite waffle mix. I usually use Krusteaz because it is so simple & I trust the ingredients. I have been hunting for a homemade mix recipe that doesn’t involve adding eggs. If anyone comes across something, I’m a fan of DIY when it comes to mixes and things, please pass it along!

Krusteaz Pancake Mixwaffle directions

I use the instructions on the package, then I double it. I think that it important to give the kids some extra fiber & protein to get them through their mornings at school, so in addition to the water & oil I add about 4 Tablespoons of Oat Bran, 3-4 Tablespoons of Powdered Peanut Butter (you can find it at most health food stores). Then I add Cinnamon to taste, I tend to not measure it just sprinkle it until it looks & smells how I like. (Some say that you shouldn’t waste things on children…I think that the only way that their pallets will develop is if you cook for them with flavors that real people enjoy. Children after all, are real people…give them the cinnamon!)

Oatbran, Cinnamon, Powdered Peanut Butter
Oat bran, Cinnamon, Powdered Peanut Butter
to save cleanup time, I use my 8-cup pyrex measuring cup to mix & scoop out of. No sense cleaning a bowl & measuring cup!
to save cleanup time, I use my 8-cup pyrex measuring cup to mix & scoop out of. No sense cleaning a bowl & measuring cup!

When you remove the waffles from the waffle iron, it is important that they cool completely  before you put them in the container.  Otherwise, the extra moisture in the container will cause freezer burn. If they are completely cooled, they won’t stick together & won’t have excess frost related issues while in the freezer.

let them cool completely, on a rack, before putting them into the container.
let them cool completely, on a rack, before putting them into the container.

  Once they are completely cooled I put them between layers of parchment paper in the Rubbermaid container. (Make sure that there is a layer on the top & bottom of the container as well. If food never touches the container, you don’t have to wash it in between batches!)

I put 2 per layer, with parchment paper in between.
I put 2 per layer, with parchment paper in between.

This makes about 25 waffles. If you buy the Krusteaz bag (above) at Costco, it will cost you less than $6.00 & make you between 112 & 118 waffles or pancakes. That means that it costs around $0.18 per waffle, (That is assuming I did my math right, of course!) Only my 15yr old eats waffles, most days, & he only eats them on school days. All of this considered, in about 40 minutes, for less than $6 (plus a little oat bran, a little cinnamon, & a little peanut butter powder), I made breakfast for my 15yr old for every school day from now until the end of the 1st week of February.

Not bad for the 1st day back from a Holiday Break!

Happy New Year Everyone!

NEW BLOG!!!

Okay…I’m a little excited about this one.

I have decided to start a new blog completely devoted to all of the tips, tricks, recipes, & beautiful quirky things that make our family work. (And, to be honest, some of the things that I’ve tried, that DIDN’T!)

I have a personal blog that I mostly used to vent about my concerns about 1 child’s autism, another child’s cancer, my divorce from my former husband & the occasional creative writing attempt.

I also have a home based business page (which I will often share with you)  here on wordpress, kNowMoreMT.wordpress.com. I make natural cleaning products & often get asked about tips & tricks (& my recipes!).

I figured, maybe it was time to start a non-business page where I could talk about those tips, recipes (the ones I can share, anyway), food, reusing, recycling, & how, as a family we have learned to love through it all.

I hope that you will stay tuned through this journey with me!