Saturday, October 12, 2013

I wasn't sure I was ever going to use this blog again, but tonight I was reading it and it brought back some great memories of raising my kids. It was also fun to read about my personal and spiritual growth, especially during a time in my life when some not-good things were happening to me. I realize how strong I was then and how the Lord was blessing and sustaining me.

So much has happened since my last entry. Life is good, actually better in many, many ways.  Funny how something that seems so horrible can become a blessing and can wake you up. Reminds me of the country/western song "Thank God for unanswered prayers." Now, years later... I am a stronger, wiser, and happier woman. I am still going to school and will graduate in May. I have an internship that I love- working in Social Work, specifically the field of mental health.  It is hard to believe that I will have my Masters in approximately 18 months and can begin supervision to be a counselor.

My kids have grown so much and they are still the most important part of my life.  They are great kids, so resilient and fun to be with!  My parents and siblings have been such a blessing to us. They have stepped in to help me whenever I have asked for it, their love and support does not go unnoticed. I am also grateful for my friends. God has put so many strong and loving women in my life to support and strengthen me when I need the extra encouragement. Life is good!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My most helpful summer read...

Not quite a year ago I was diagnosed with ADD. I'm not ashamed of this disorder. I wish I didn't have it, but I wish a lot of things and that wouldn't be at the very top of my list. I can tell you that being diagnosed and starting medication has changed my life for the better, however, it doesn't just make the ADD go away entirely. I still struggle with certain things, but I'm learning to manage my symptoms by changing how I do things that haven't been working all these years. What medication has helped me do is be able to focus on lectures (I returned to school full-time at BSU). It is easier to concentrate when I study, and eliminate distractions. I can also sit still for longer than 30 minutes. I know that ADD is a controversial subject, and medication is a personal choice. Whether you take medication or not, an individual with ADD will have to learn additional skills to help them meet society's expectations.

I've read several books on the subject of ADD/ADHD. My favorite by far is this one:

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau.

The reason I LOVE this book is because it understands my challenges and gives me ideas tailored specifically for them.

So, why don't traditional planning/organizing ideas help me?

Well, one example is I have a problem with "prospective memory", that is the type of memory for tasks that need to be completed in the future. The problem is that when I file "return library books today" away in my brain, it doesn't get retrieved unless I have a visual reminder. So, I may remember the library books are due when I'm at home eating breakfast, but will not remember again until I see a book or get a notice in my email account. So, the idea shared in the book is to create a "Take Me With You" basket, which is simply a basket by the door. When I'm eating cereal and think, "I need to return the library books today" then I need to get up and place them in that basket immediately. It is an established daily habit to take things out of that basket each time I leave. The items would then go into a clear plastic bin on the passenger seat of my car (my errand box), where they will be visual reminders to run the errand.

Another example: I don't do well with calendars on the computer or my iphone. Even setting an alarm for reminders doesn't help. If I have a doctor appointment on Thursday at noon, I can't set a reminder for anytime other than an hour before the appointment or I may forget it. Out of sight, out of mind. The 60 minute warning works for me most of the time, even though at times it creates a bit of chaos making sure I get there on time because I wasn't really planning for the appointment until I got the reminder. So, I've learned that I MUST use a paper day planner. It is once again a visual tool that helps me to know what I have that day. I use one that shows all seven days on a two page spread and each day runs from 8am-9pm. It's a little old-fashioned and it's a bulky, big item to haul around, but it is what works!

So, yes, I can be forgetful. It can be very embarrassing at times and it can make others frustrated or angry. I don't like that and I'm encouraged in reading this book. I am loving all the ideas I've implemented so far! I'll be sharing a few of them in the near future. I've got my "command center" about done and I'm working on other things. It is a relief reading a book that seems tailor-made for me. I love that the authors understand my challenges and share ideas to help me better adapt. Even those without the challenge of ADD could benefit from it's simple ideas to get organized.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Self-Reliance and Money

I just finished this book... an interesting read. I learned quite a bit about investing. Not enough to be an expert, but enough to understand how Roths work, the different types, the limits and requirements. I learned about the basics of the Stock Market, banking, life insurance options, etc...

If you are a woman wanting to get more familiar with your money or how to grow your money, then this book can help. One of my favorite chapters was that about wills and trusts. I didn't know that trusts protect what you leave behind so the beneficiaries actually get what you leave without hassles and without paying a lot of money. Good stuff!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chicken Pillows with Gravy

I'm trying out some new recipes... desperate to be able to create a rotating menu for this fall. Preferably meals that the kids will eat (insert rolling eyes here).

I found a winner tonight. It's based off a recipe in the Girlfriends On The Go! Cookbook, called Chicken Pockets.

I've re-named them Chicken Pillows (so that my son will not associate them with Hot Pockets). This recipe includes the additional changes I made to the filling. I was in a hurry, so I used my Quick Pizza Crust as a substitute for the dough.


Dough (2 hour French bread):
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1/3 c. oil
2 cups very hot tap water
6 cups flour

Chicken Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1/2-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
5-6 slices of Canadian bacon, chopped
1/4 tsp. onion powder with parsley

Chicken Gravy:
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk

3 Tbsp. milk
1 - 2 cups Italian bread crumbs

Directions for the Dough: dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup water. In a large bowl, combine salt, oil, and 2 cups hot water. Mix in 3 cups flour. Add the yeast mixture. Mix in remaining 3 cups of flour. Punch down every 10 minutes for 50 minutes. If making Chicken Pockets, continue on to the next part of the recipe. If making French Bread, shape, and let rise until double. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Directions for the Chicken Pillows: Blend cream cheese and melted butter until smooth. Add the remaining filling ingredients. Roll out bread dough and cut into 3" squares. Place 1/2 cup of chicken mixture in the center of each square. Pull up the corners and seal the edges. Roll in the melt and then in bread crumbs. Let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with the chicken gravy (heated soup and milk).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Storytime Fun

Jared and I have read two books together recently. I LOVE that special time of reading out loud to him. Even though he's plenty big enough to read on his own, I enjoy sharing the adventures and spending the quiet moments with him.

I love Jared's sense of humor and that he dislikes cliff-hangers. It usually takes some convincing to begin a particular book, but once a few chapters in he is hooked and is often begging for longer reading sessions.

Caitlin is my bookworm. She has loved books from the beginning. She used to stack them so high in her doll buggy that they toppled over. She'd push them from room to room. Her prized possessions. She'd also line them up in rows, filling the family room floor with books. When it was reading time (an all day, off and on again event), I would tell her to pick a book and she'd pick ten.

Jared, is fussy. He judges books by their covers and nothing ever sounds worthy of his time. Usually I insist on a particular book, and he doesn't get excited about it until we are several pages in. SIGH.

Wednesday I took him to the library and he selected non-fiction books about animals. He taught me everything I'd want to know about penguins, LOL! I browsed the children's section of the library... looking at the picture books and remembering the fun I had reading those to the kids. I miss reading them their favorite stories. Caitlin's favorite was Dr. Seuss' ABC's. In fact she wore out her first copy and I had to buy another one because her book would fall apart when you opened it. I would read that book in a fun sing-song voice. She learned he letters before age 2 and she could read at age 3- 1/2. Jared, liked Brown Bear, Brown Bear (What do you see?). I had my favorites too. I'll have to make a separate post about them, there are too many.

Although Jared is plenty big enough and capable of reading on his own, I'm so glad I can still share this special time with him. Last night I was looking at his long big feet and thinking how much longer can it last? I'm totally going to take advantage of this summer and read lots more with him.

Our latest reads include:

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice is a fun filled adventure with action, humor, and mystery. It has cliff-hanging moments and characters that are realistically imperfect, but lovable. We are planning to start book 2 of this series tonight. (I believe that there are nine books in the series).

Room One by Andrew Clements

Room One is an entertaining read about a boy who loves playing detective. It is a great story that supports the importance of the character traits of honesty, trustworthy, compassion, kindness and responsibility. Good stuff.

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quick & easy pizza crust

I've been looking for a pizza crust that I can mix together and use right away without waiting for the dough to rise.

I found this recipe on it's called Valentino's Pizza Crust. It was quick, easy, and yummy.

Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

1 c. warm water (110 degrees F)
1 Tbsp. white sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Stir water, sugar, and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and the salt. Stir in the flour until well blended. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Pat dough into pan or on to a pizza stone using fingers dipped in olive oil. If desired sprinkle basil, thyme, or other seasonings on crust. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vegetable Curry

Here is a tasty vegetarian dish. I thought it had just the perfect amount of spice (heat), but adjust to your own liking. I usually order mild-medium when I eat out, and often just mild.

Vegetable Curry (Serve over rice)

4 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz. fresh green beans, cut into 1" pieces (**Next time I will replace these with cauliflower)
1 c. coarsely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 14 oz. can vegetable broth or chicken broth (I make mine using bullion cubes)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Hot cooked rice

Stove Top Method: (What I did) - Combine carrots, potatoes, garbanzo beans, green beans, onion and garlic into a medium to large saucepan. Add the curry powder, coriander, crushed red pepper, salt and cinnamon, mix well. Stir in broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and let simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add diced tomatoes and tapioca. Return to a simmer, stirring often as it thickens. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Slow-cooker Method: In a 3 1/2-5 quart slow cooker, combine carrots, potatoes, garbanzo beans, green beans, onion, garlic, tapioca, curry powder, coriander, crushed red pepper, salt, and cinnamon. Pour broth over all of it. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7-9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours. Stir in undrained tomatoes. Cover; let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.