Friday, December 28, 2012

Food Friday - Christmas Cookies

I know, I said Christmas cookies, but these can be enjoyed any old time you would like!  I give you permission.  :-)

Rich's grandmother always made Christmas cookies and he was really wanting some this year.  I couldn't find the recipe for them that I had been given.  :-(  So, I had to play and come up with something it is.  He really liked these, so I thought I would share.  Enjoy!


Christmas Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp apple cider
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup diced maraschino cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/4 cup sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Add the egg, extract, and apple cider.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on high for 3-4 minutes or until the dough is light and fluffy.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add the flour to the butter/sugar and mix on low until just combined.
  6. Fold in the cherries, chopped walnuts and chocolate.
  7. Drop 1 heaping tbsp of dough onto the cookie sheet, 1-2 inches apart.  Do not place more than 12 on a sheet, the cookies spread and need room!
  8. Dust each mound of dough with sugar.
  9. Bake 14-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Do not overbake!
  10. Remove and let cook on sheet for about 1 minute.  Remove to a wire rack to cool complete.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

I have a small business called Foggy Morning Sundries.  The soap that I make is the largest part of the business, but I have just recently started making loom knitted hats as well.

Today is Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support local small businesses, and I would love to help you with some unique gifts for the people on your lists.  Take a look at my Facebook page, Foggy Morning Sundries, but I will add some of my favorites here. Thanks!

This is great for any kiddo on your list.
This is for those with a sense of humor.
You won't want to eat these, but they smell divine!
I can't resist these puzzle pieces for autism awareness.

This is a great gift for the boys!

 Here are a couple of hats that I have made.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Project Lifesaver and Proud Mom

This weekend of October 21st was beautiful, but to tell the truth, we would have done this even if it hadn't been.  We participated in the Operation Jacob Reunion 5K Run/2K Fun Walk.

Five years ago, Jacob Allen was 18 and liked to go hiking with his parents.  On this specific day, they were hiking at Dolly Sods and Jacob got a little ahead of his parents and disappeared around a turn.  This shouldn't have been a big deal, but Jacob has autism and is non-verbal.  He was lost for 4 days when temperatures were down to about 40 degrees overnight.  Hundreds of people came from hours away to help in the search and on the fourth day Jacob was found lying in a clearing a little dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed.

This all happened around that time that we were getting a little suspicious about autism in Wesley and we went to church with this family, so I was glued to every piece of info that came out and I prayed my heart out that Jacob would be found in time.  Shortly after Jacob was found, he got a Project Lifesaver bracelet put on, so that if this should ever happen again, he would only be lost for a matter of hours at the most.

It was about a year later when Wesley figured out how to unlock the door on his own, and having no fear, decided to explore on his own. So, because of all we learned because of Jacob, we placed him in the program.  A deputy came to our house each month in full uniform, so he would not be afraid if they should need to find him, and changed the battery for the bracelet that he wore at all times on his ankle.  This bracelet has a radio transmitter inside it that uses a unique frequency for each person that the deputies can track if they should ever get lost.  This is used on anyone with autism, down syndrome, Alzheimer's, and other brain disorders.

This program probably saved me a couple gray hairs!  I had his transmitter frequency memorized, but thankfully, never had to use it.  However, I do remember twice that he pulled a disappearing act and while franticly looking for him, I continuously recited this number just so I didn't forget it in my panic.  Wesley has since stopped wandering and has become more verbal, so he no longer wears a Project Lifesaver bracelet.  But we have several friends who still need the bracelet, and we weren't going to pass up a chance to support such an important program! we went!

And we beat Miss Deb too! 

Originally, our whole family was going to participate in the 2K Fun Walk, but Nicholas decided that he was going to run the 5K.  He ran his very first 5K to benefit a program that had been essential in our peace of mind for years.  I am very proud of him!  He was the absolute last person to finish the run...and he even turned down a ride so he could finish.  But he was determined to do it and he did! 

He was pretty knocked out afterward though!  :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Food Friday!

I love my family and I love putting smiles on their faces.  With Wesley, there isn't a lot that I can make that will do this for all 3 of my guys, but this does it nicely!  They almost don't usually have a chance to harden before fingers start invading!

No Bake Cookies
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

Tip:  Some people have trouble with no bakes not setting up or being really crumbly.  The tip is to start timing when the mixture reaches a full rolling boil.  If you don't boil long enough, they won't set up and if you boil for too long they will be crumbly.  Hope that helps!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Food Friday!

I have been hankerin' (yes, I said it...there isn't a lot about me that says redneck, but there you go!) for breakfast for dinner (maybe we should call it brinner, what do you think?)  I am NOT usually a big breakfast food person.  I don't really like eggs at all and I can't stand milk.  But I have been loving things like biscuits and gravy, waffles, and pancakes for dinner (brinner).  Well, this week my husband was wanting some french toast and because I am not getting up early enough to fix it before the kids go to school, I thought we would have it for dinner!  I know, right?!  :-)

Anyway, I found a crispy french toast recipe that I thought I would try and share with you all.  So, you are welcome in advance!

Crispy Baked French Toast

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
8 slices of italian bread
1/4 cup butter
1/4 vegetable oil
Maple syrup

1. Beat 3 eggs together with  1 1/4 cup milk, 3/4 tsp sugar and 3/4 tsp vanilla extract in shallow bowl until well blended. Pour over bread and let sit for 30 minutes.

2. Beat 1 egg together with 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 tsp each of sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. (I forgot the cinnamon in the first batch.) Place panko in pie pan or shallow dish. Dip each bread slice into egg mixture, then coat both sides of bread slices with bread crumbs. Place on large wire rack.

3.  Add butter and oil into pan. Place pan in 400 degrees F. oven 1 to 2 minutes, or until butter melts. Remove pan from oven.

4. Place bread slices into pan, in single layer, turning over once to coat both sides of bread slices with butter mixture.

5. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes. Turn bread slices over and bake 10 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

These lasted no time what so ever and it was super simple to bake them.  The only thing I might do differently next time is to remember to put cinnamon in my first egg mixture and make a second pan!  These were too good!  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Day of Remembering and Love

'Candles' photo (c) 2009, L.C. N√łttaasen - license:
Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Unfortunately, I can participate in this somber event.

Fourteen years ago, I was 16 weeks along with my first child.  It was around this time that I felt the baby move for the first time.  I could not wait to hold this newly minted life in my arms.  I was eagerly and nervously counting down the days and dreaming about meeting my child for the first time.

But dreams sometimes turn to nightmares.  I got to see my son for the first time as they were wheeling him past to take him to a bigger hospital that could handle such a sick child.  You see, he did not start breathing on his own, he never woke up.  My baby held on for five days while we did everything to memorize every tiny detail.  We sang to him, rocked and cuddled him, opened the window so he could feel the fresh air, we baptized him and then we gave him permission to go.

My heart will never be the same.

I have been told that there is a reason that this happened.  I don't know what that reason might be, but I know that he taught me much in his five days in this world.

Dear Christian,
    Thank you for teaching me to never take your brothers for granted.  I snuggle them a little tighter.
    Thank you for teaching me that every life is precious.
    Thank you for preparing me to minister to other moms who have went through this horrible tragedy.
    Thank you for showing me that love can be so strong that it transcends pain and separation.
           You will never be forgotten.
                      Love, Mommy

If you have been touched by a loss like this, I would ask that you join in today.  At 7 pm where ever you are, please light a candle and keep it lit for at least an hour.  This will create a wave of light and love, starting on the east coast, it will extend over the hours across the country.  We all just want our babies to be remembered.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wanna change the world?

'Sweet Heart' photo (c) 2010, Felicia - license: The other day, I was having a conversation with my son about things that have happened in school.  He told me that he just wanted the teachers to simply say, "Good job."  Now, I try very hard to let my children know how proud I am of them...because I am unbelievable proud.  But that got me to thinking.  Isn't that what we all want?  We just want to be acknowledged.  We want our efforts to be noticed.  We want to be loved.

It all comes down to this, doesn't it?  We just need to be loved.

So many problems would vanish if we could just love each other the way we want to be loved.  Radical love is possible and it would change the world!  So, how about it?

Friday, January 6, 2012

This one is ALL Wesley

I've been telling Rich for a while that I needed to write an update for Wesley.  Well, yesterday was his 6th birthday, so what better time?  I went back to see when I updated about him last and I didn't realize that I had dropped the ball there!  The last big update you got about him was in Oct 2010.  At that time, he was just getting the whole counting thing...he had numbers 1-7...and he was astounding me with his shapes.  After months of trying to get blue and yellow, he finally had that then got red right off the bat.  He had just started his last year of preschool, although we didn't know that at the time.

With special needs children, you have the option of holding them back a year from starting kindergarten just to ensure that they are where they need to be.  We had always intended to take the extra year, we were certain that there was no way he was going to be ready to start on time.  There was also some sticky red tape involved with special needs and the labels and junk.  Before a child is 6, they can be in preschool under a Developmental Delayed label...they can't get the Autism label before they turn 6 according to the school system...even if they have all the outside diagnosis in the world!  Without that Autism label, they can't get services from the Autism teacher.  So, because Wesley's birthday isn't until January, he would have had to go half the school year with very little support.  This was NOT in his best interest.  Fortunately, they decided to change this and we could add autism as a secondary label in order to get the support.  (It's all mumbo jumbo to me, just tell me what you are going to do for my child!)  Anyway, this opened up the kindergarten option.

At this time, Wesley was still fairly behind neuro-typical (NT) peers, so we were still pretty sure he wasn't going to start.  There are so many other things to think about as well.  Wesley is a big kid, so he's already the biggest kid in the class, if we hold him back another year so that he's a year older than everyone else, he's going to be that much bigger!  We didn't want him to have another reason for being picked on in later years.  This one decision was so would affect the rest of his life!  Who are we to make a decision like that when we are but faulty humans??  We really struggled with this...if you couldn't tell.  :-)  In the end, Wesley learned like a champ for the rest of the year!  He could identify and reorder numbers 1-20, he knew all of his capital letters and some lower case ones.  He knew lots of shapes!  His speech was growing rapidly!  He took some of my arguments out of our hands.  He would be going to kindergarten!

Of course, the worrying didn't stop.  Wesley really has to struggle to learn new how was he going to keep up in kindergarten when they are learning letter sounds.  It took MONTHS to get two simple colors down...while he's working on getting the idea of letter sounds, aren't the other children going to zoom past him?  We had our IEP (individual education plan) meeting in June and put together some goals to work on for the year.  Letter sounds, counting and identifying numbers to 50, naming and identifying vocabulary using pictures, upper and lowercase letters, writing his name, sounding out words, and some beginning math.  I was a little concerned about some of these goals.  But these will all seem like typical goals for you, but there are also a couple that won't be so typical.  Initialing and sustaining play with peers for 10 minutes, and answering simple WH questions (who, what, where, why).  It really is amazing some of the things that you take for granted with an NT child...I never had to teach Nick how to play!

Anyway, I was pleased and nervous about starting kindergarten.  Then we found out that he was to have Mr. Whaley for his kindergarten teacher...he's been in the room right next to Wesley from the beginning, so he knew Wesley well.  I was very happy about this...and then we also learned that Ms Penny from preschool was changing positions and would be Wesley's aide for the classroom!  This was turning out wonderfully!!  Wesley did well over the summer continuing to learn and polish up some skills, so he had a little jump on his classmates come fall.

Wesley's personality has been showing through so much more too.  He's learning to communicate better so that makes it easier.  He's such a funny kid!  He's currently obsessed with Mario right now.  Everything Mario!  He has a knit hat with Mario on it that he likes to can be 70 degrees out and he wants "Mario."  I am loving the communication...things that I didn't know he could say keep coming out of his mouth.  He's being able to tell me things that he wants that I don't know that I would have been able to get otherwise.  A couple weeks ago, I was getting him dressed and out of nowhere he says, "How about, BELT!"  I had to make him say it a couple of times because this was a new word for me!  But he wanted to wear a belt!  I just happened to have one that fit too.  Nick never really wore one, but his daddy does.  Now, he has to have a belt on almost every day.  I shudder to think of all the fits that might have been thrown about a belt (without me having any clue what the fit was about) had he not been able to tell me what he wanted!  This is one of those moments that will stick in my head.

Wesley is doing fairly well with potty training, still refuses to go anywhere but home and grandparents house and I have to remind him...especially when he's playing video games.  Wesley brings home 2 books to read every night and at first, I thought he was just memorizing the books from school until I tested it a little.  My baby boy is READING!!!!

We had another IEP meeting in December to go over the testing that was done to determine his eligibility for services due to the fact that he was turning 6...more red tape stuff.  Anyway, of course he's eligible, so we went over the goals again while we were there.  Wesley has mastered some of his goals!  He's gotten all of his letter sounds!  He's sounding out words and is reading age appropriate books!  Mr Whaley said that he is actually nicely ahead of lots of his NT students!  Just what a mom wants to hear!!  :-)  So, we need to tweak the IEP to add some harder stuff!  He's going to be starting addition and subtraction, counting by fives and tens, and we've moved on the comprehension with his reading.

My big baby boy is doing fantastically!  I am really impressed at anyone who has made it through this entire post, but there was so much to put in here!  I am sure I am missing stuff, but I promise not to take so much time before updating about him again.  Thank you so much for caring.  Having Wesley has shown me the meaning of it taking a village to raise a child.

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Word

If you had just one word to sum up your goals for 2012, what would it be?  I was faced with this question last night as I strolled through the book of faces.  I was perplexed, what would it be?  I have certain goals in mind, but what word would I choose? Was I being too ambitious?  I usually am when thinking of New Year's Resolutions.  Within a month, I have forgotten what it was or it was just too hard to begin with.

So, I read a few other people's posts about their One Word.  That still didn't help.  Then suddenly and from out of nowhere, it hit me.  Moderation.  I seem to be an all or nothing gal with lots of things.  FlyLady says it's the perfectionist inside me.  If I can't do it perfectly, then I'm not going to do it at all.  I am that way with so many things in my life.  Going to the gym, cleaning, get the idea.  So, this is my word, I am going to strive for moderation this year.  (BTW, here is a fantastic blog post on this....CLICK HERE.)

I am going to need help with this.  Please, would you help me?

"A reasonable man needs only to practice moderation to find happiness." - Johann von Goethe