Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just Rolling Along....


You know, this thing!
Hi everybody! How's it going? School is still going well, Camden has adjusted to his new teacher. He is thriving in a smaller class with only 5 children. What is he doing now? He is flopping on Anna's bed, face first, kind of like that old school "drinking bird" you could put on the side of a drinking glass. He's laughing his head off too. Goofball!

He did something new yesterday, he brought me the bucket of large Lego's and wanted me to play with him. This bucket has been in our den for years and he has never taken an interest in them, pretend play is kind of hard for children with autism. We sat on the floor in the den and built a tower with them. Excellent use of fine motor skills, you can tell we have been through physical and occupational therapy before.

Anna has just finished her reading, thankyoujesus she only has 4 nights of reading to do and give a brief summary. Last year it was 5 nights of reading, give a summary, write down what you got from the reading, and what is a question you have about the reading. It about did us in last year, lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth, in addition to the other homework she had. Here's my .02 on homework: if she has homework to do, that's her monkey on her back and not mine. If she doesn't do it, she'll face the consequences and embarrasment and bad grades when she gets to school. If she needs help with math then starts arguing with us about "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!!" then nope, ain't nobody got time fo dat. It's all you, girlfriend. You need to pay better attention in class and bring home the textbook so we can at least figure out what the heck a "ray" is in geometry. We're trying to help but we will not tolerate being snarked at. The timer is set for 20 minutes, then after that you are done, no ipod, no goofing off the rest of the night. If she is working hard and really trying instead of procrastinating, then we will let her finish as long as there is no distractions and she isn't sneaking looks at her ipod or whatnot. We have come a long way since last year and yes parents, it does get better. Time management is a hard thing to learn.

I have a sore throat, the munchkins have not felt well the past week and I think I caught it from them. It is time to move the vaporizer from Anna's room into my bedroom tonight. Thank goodness for night time Alka Seltzer so I can get some decent sleep.

Even though I have a sore throat, I really want to bake some stuff since the weather has turned off just a touch cooler. I don't cook whenever I'm feeling under the weather in case it is a virus. I snagged some apples our Cooperative Extension was giving away at work, our local Apple Festival is next weekend, and I am going to eventually make an apple crisp. I will post it on here. I've made it before and it is really easy and so good.


I say ol' chap, it's time
for a spot of tea!
 Ugh, off to make something hot for my throat. I bought an electric water kettle at Aldi's today, we were hunting one up last December when we took a trip to Raleigh and figured we could use it in the hotel room if we got a hankering for mac and cheese or noodle soup. I couldn't find one anywhere! I grabbed this one today at Aldi's, it reminds me of my college days and heating up water for noodle soup or grits. It does heat up water faster than the kettle on the stove. It's tea and cookies time! That should make everyone feel better.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for reading!
Melissa

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to the Grind!




Greetings readers! School started here this past Monday and so far so good!

The biggest change this year is for Monkey Boy, he has a brand new, fresh out of college teacher. The teacher he had for 4 years transferred to another school closer to her home. He is in a class with 4 other students and the teacher assistants are the same ones from last year. Tim and I were a little concerned since the boy loves his routine and things staying the same. Plus, would his new teacher come back after the first day or would she get scared off (ha ha)! Lord knows Monkey Boy can be a handful, not to mention the other munchkins in the class.

According to the notes being sent home, he is doing great and doing really well with his iPad. We had to scale back on the iPad usage last year, it was like it would hype him up and he would get over stimulated. I'm so glad he is able to use it now. We use Proloquo2Go as his "touch to speak" app. Want more information about touch to speak apps and using the iPad for children with autism? Shoot me an e-mail mbsmith1234 at gmail dot com.

He also learned a new sign this week, the sign for rabbit. He was carrying around his Goodnight, Moon book and I made the sign for rabbit and had him to do it. He's now imitating the sign. This is great progress!

Anna started her second year at middle school. Her big change this year is trying out for the cross country team! Lawd help, somehow I got roped into being her training partner so we started walking/running on the local trail that runs through our downtown. It is 1.5 miles one way so we were logging 3 miles a night. I think I messed up my foot since my running shoes were too little now the top of my foot hurts, yeowch. I got some new running shoes and that helped, it is still sore through. ANYWAY, she likes XC and the girls on the team. I was talking with another mom whose daughter is on the team and she said it is a drama-free team, which is always a plus, and the season is short! I'm all for that!

Anna has been showing some initiative in completing her homework without me having to light a fire under her and bug her to no end to do it. She's also making her lunch on her own in the evenings. This too is progress! We were in the depths of Homework H*#& last year and it was not fun, don't ever want to go there again. Next week starts the nightly reading and completing the reading log so we'll see if this independence lasts.

School is out for Labor Day and it is a government holiday so who knows what we will strike out and do. We are looking for a bed for Anna so maybe we will end up at IKEA. I'd love that! Forget shopping for clothes, I could wander around IKEA all day, so could Anna.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, it is supposed to be back in the 90's here. We may hit up the new splash pad that opened up.

XOXO,
Melissa

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Guess What Is Evil-According To Anna

Happy weekend everyone! We are going to a family reunion tonight and I am taking a break from cooking to share this funny story with you.

A few weeks ago, Anna went to Sunday night service with my parents and the sermon was about idolatry. The Pastor said "We must flee from idolatry, we as a nation have turned to idolatry and it is evil." Mom said Anna made a face and got all huffy and ill about it and had a mean face on. My Mom and Dad were like "????" Now Anna doesn't have posters up in her room of Bieber or 1D so idolatry isn't really an issue. They were wondering what in the world she was getting all jumped up about.

FLEE! I say FLEE!
After church, Mom asked Anna what was wrong and she said "I can't believe the Pastor said the Dollar Tree was evil and we should turn away from it!" Mom said "He was talking about IDOLATRY, having idols, not the Dollar Tree!" Bahaha!

Moral of The Story: clean out your ears! At least Anna was paying attention!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Latest Sewing Projects

Hi Readers! How's it going?

Speaking of going, that's about all we have been doing the last 2 weeks. Anna had drama camp 2 weeks ago, which was amazing, and the past week she had sewing camp in the morning and international cooking camp in the afternoon. Next up for this week is art camp for two afternoons then the next week is Recycling and Repurposing camp. Busy busy!

The theme of drama camp was "A Day in the Life of Drama". The instructors taught the kids how to audition, what stage directions mean, how to be a good audience member, and how to cooperate with the rest of the cast. During the audition workshop, all students had to introduce themselves and sing a song or dance. Now my child has about 800 songs on her iPod, she took chorus last year, and sings all the time. Did she sing a Broadway number like Defying Gravity or Hard Knock Life? NO! She gets up there and sings Happy Birthday! Goofball! She said sooooo many little girls sang "Let It Go" from Frozen. I bet!

This past week, sewing and cooking camp were in the same building where I work so that was convenient. In sewing class, they learned how to make a tissue holder and an apron. They cut fabric, wound their bobbin, threaded their machine, and learned what to do in case something goes wrong. I even learned something which was to gently let your presser foot down on the fabric and not flick the presser foot lever down hard. Ooops! The saying "you learn something new every day" is true!

Design From
Applique Market.com
Our latest sewing project here at home were these patch pocket t-shirts. When we were at the beach, we saw some at the Hallmark store at the mall for $26! I said, um no, I can do that for a heck of a lot cheaper. So when we got back home and $2 later, I had the bought the anchor design and merged in the letters from a monogram font I already had. Anna picked out the pocket fabric and thread for the design. These turned out great! Anna loves wearing them, which makes me happy she likes to wear something I made her. My department Director at work told me "It's not homemade, it's a 'custom piece'"! I like that.

I'm writing this while our supper is cooking (pizza) and the oven just dinged. I'll give a recap of cooking camp later this week and share a recipe of what Anna liked the best. Stay tuned!

Have a great week everyone!
XOXO,
Melissa

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blueberry Buckle For The Win!

So on Sunday I made a blueberry buckle, which is like a one layer cake with a cinnamon sugar topping. It was as good as it sounds! I had just taken it out of the oven when my parents dropped off Kangaroo Girl from Youth Group. Great timing! We demolished half of the pan, it was SO GOOD.



The recipe is from Katie at Made To Be A Momma.com Following is the recipe, directly from her website:

For the Cake:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Instructions:
1.Combine the sugar, shortening, egg, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.
2.Fold in the blueberries.
3.Pour the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
4. Combine the topping ingredients of sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter until crumbly.
5. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the cake.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Notes:
*If you use frozen berries your cake mixture will get quite cold and form into a large "ball" when transferring to a pan. Just use a spatula or your hand to push the cake mixture to fill the pan.
*We also found that the cake mixture fits into an 8 in. x 11 in. pan just fine as well. Makes the cake pieces thicker. Just adjust baking time if needed.
This one is going in my recipe box. The cinnamon sugar topping was so good! We ate it with ice cream.

Have a great day readers and thanks for reading!
XOXO,
Melissa

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Tim has done an amazing job with our small raised garden. Our tomatoes and peppers went gangbusters this year. Last year, not so much due to tons of rain, everything was washed out. This year, everyone else's garden has busted out all over with produce and our neighbor left us a bag of tomatoes and cucumbers on our porch. What to do with all this bounty?

What my kitchen counter looks like!
Photo by Lynn Ketchum via the
Oregon State Univ. Extension Website
I don't can fresh foods so we have to eat it up somehow. I stumbled across a recipe for cucumber and tomato salad. I can put this together and have it chilling in the fridge while I make the rest of dinner.

Basically, you dice up as much peeled cucumber and tomatoes as you want and combine in a bowl. Pour some Italian dressing over it and refrigerate while you finish making supper. It goes well by itself or you can eat it with saltines or like a pico de gallo with pita chips. It is not as labor intensive as making bowls of salads and it comes together quick and keeps for a few days in the fridge.


Photo by Karry Hosford from the
My Recipes.com Website
 Not my photo, plus I don't add red onions (I don't do onions, ick). You'll find I will rarely add an original photo since it takes so long for me to upload it and get it how I want it on the blog. Much easier to grab a photo already on the web and it looks better too!

We have a ton of blueberries to use up and I'm going to make a blueberry buckle today. I'll post that recipe if it turns out. It seems easy enough.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! Thanks for reading!

XOXO,
Melissa

Starting Over with Blogging

Greetings readers! Life got crazy and recently I read through this blog. I loved looking back and seeing what we did when the kids were younger, it was like a life snapshot. I haven't blogged since May, 2013 and I feel like I missed out on documenting our lives with a visual diary. So therefore, I'm back!

I hope to get back in the swing of things and post about our daily life so Kangaroo Girl and Monkey Boy can look back and see what we did. Isn't technology great? I wish I could look back on my life when I was a kid and see photos and read my mom's take on events and daily happenings.

So without further ado, let's catch up, shall we? The saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same" rings true. I'm still sewing, still love my Lilly clothes and am always hunting for a bargain. Still love coffee and sweets and baking. Monkey Boy is still monkeyish and Kangaroo Girl thinks she is a teenager. Tim still puts up with all our shenanigans!

But what has changed is I'm more streamlined in my life. I work full time in a different job (promotion, woot!) which some days has been quite the challenge as I had to learn a new set of skills with a higher degree of accuracy and accountability. It has been draining but a great learning experience and it has taught me so much in dealing with change and more responsibility. I'd come home from work and immediately shift into Home Mode with all the usual cooking dinner, laundry, help with homework, keep Monkey Boy settled, lay out clothes for the next day, figure out the next day's dinner, plan lunch errands, etc. etc. Blogging took a back seat. So did intensive meal planning, putting together perfect outfits for work, book club, reading magazines, and tv watching. I was WORN SLAP OUT by the time bedtime came around.

After the dust would settle and if I had any energy left, I would wind down at night and read blogs on the iPad. But what I noticed was more and more people left blogging for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Now I love me some Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest (I'm not on Twitter) but I missed reading everyone's blogs. Kangaroo Girl would say to me "Mom, you haven't blogged in XX months!" then I saw her looking at this blog page yesterday, seeing if it was updated. I decided to start up the ol' blog again since I don't want her and Monkey Boy to miss out on remembering what was going on in our everyday life.

 I always liked this blog since you can't pigeonhole it as a shopping blog with affiliate links, a blog about our struggles with autism, raising an almost teenager, a travel blog, a recipe blog, or a random thoughts blog with snippets about my day, kind of like Twitter in blog form. It is what it is! You won't see shopping links, requests to follow me on Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook (I'm pretty boring and read other people's posts more than I post), or one kind of topic. It is multi-faceted, just like me!

Old friends, thanks for sticking with me and a big welcome to any new readers!

Recipe to follow!
XOXO,
Melissa