Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who DOES that?!!

As the mother of a child with Autism I find it reassuring to see these magnets on the back of vehicles as I drive around town.
It makes me feel less alone.
Like I am in a miniature army.
I have proudly displayed one on the back of my truck as a sign of support and commiseration.
Till it was stolen off the back of my truck.
At a McDonald's.
What kind of whack job steals something like that?
It's all the more distressing because you can't just go into a store and buy another one.
You have to buy these suckers off line.
Or at a conference.
I'm out of the support army for now.
Stupid sticky fingers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

State Fair

Over the years I have, by necessity, becoming excessively frugal (when I have to be).
One of my biggest money savers entertainment wise come fall is going to the Texas State Fair on a Wednesday.
You may say, "The biggest money saver would be not going."
To me, though, that is pretty much sacrilege.
Jerry and I started going to the Texas State Fair the month we got married and have made a point of going to it every year since.A tradition if you will.
A few years back (probably around the time we had Brogan) I discovered "money saver" days to attend the fair.Here is what I found - and they haven't changed the discounts in as many years as I've been using them:

Opening Day:
Bring a full 20 oz. Coca-Cola product for donation to the North Texas Food Bank containers at Fair admission gates and enter the State Fair for $4 per donation per person.

Dr Pepper $3 Tuesdays: Every Tuesday, bring an empty Dr Pepper can and enter for $3. Most rides (excluding the Thrillway, Texas Star and selected other attractions) are 5 coupons.

Dr Pepper $5 after 5 pm: Bring an empty Dr Pepper can to any State Fair admission gate after 5 p.m. and enter for $5.

Kroger “Three for $1″ each Wednesday: Admission is $1 for each visitor bringing 3 cans of food for area food banks.

Coke $4 Thursday: Bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of a Coca-Cola product and enter the Fair for $4 admission.

FREE Thursdays for Senior Citizens: HealthSpring and Mature Texan Magazine sponsor of Seniors Day. Senior Citizens 60 years and older get in to the State Fair FREE each Thursday.

FREE Thursday admission with a Cinemark Theater ticket stub.

Any Day—McDonald’s offers $4 off General Admission: with one of their State Fair coupons (available on tray liner or bag stuffer) any day of the Fair. A free child ticket (with purchase of general admission) coupon is also distributed by McDonald’s. Offer may not be combined with any other offer.

This year, being painfully poor, I chose to go on the Wednesday as we always have cans of food hanging about. Usually ones that I have purposely got on sale during the year at places like the dollar store for 3 for 99 cents with the thought of using them for state fair entrance.

Between the State Fair discount and a free student ticket Ms. R recieved at school we were able to enter the fair for $3.

Then as a family we decided the thing we would all enjoy as a treat was cotton candy.

We got really lucky when we were hunting for a parking spot and found one on an adjacent street for free.

Altogether, we were able to enjoy the State Fair for $7 this year.

Yay us!


Oh Texas, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways!
I love that I can take my kids to a FREE concert at an OUTDOOR venue and be basking in the sun.
In October.I love that it only takes us 20 minutes to get to venues such as Cowboys Football and Rangers Baseball.I love that we can go and enjoy a park in 73 degree weather the weekend before Halloween.

Friday, October 23, 2009


You know, the kind you put on pastas - not the kind you dip into after a particularly hard day.

I'm going to give you a few hints on how to get sauce that will turn out creamy and smooth.

As I am sure there has to be more than just me that has struggled with how to make a fabulous creamy sauce for years.

Or maybe I am and this post will be useless to everyone but me.

In that case ... move on.

Nothing to see here.

First of all, use a pot. Not a pan. I have the worst time with pans and sauces.
Then again, maybe that's just me.
Melt butter.
Slowly, whisking vigorously as you do so, add equal amount of flour as you did butter.
I let that melt together for about a minute to let the stuff all come to the same temperature.
At least that's the logic I have going on in my brain.
This is where using a pot comes in handy as you have a smaller surface area as you slowly add in ...
May I stress slowly?
Bit by slow bit at the beginning. Whisking away as you do.
I only add about a Tablespoon at at time in the beginning as I introduce the WARM milk.
Once again, my theory on having ingredients come together and play in harmony is the main character in my thought process in using warm milk that will frolic happily with my warm butter/flour.
After you have added whatever amount of milk the recipe calls for it's useful to have one of these.That way you can work on the rest of supper and keep her out of your hair all at the same time.
I have a firm belief that until the sauce comes to a boil, you need to stir it continually.
No word of a lie.
Probably a lie someone else engendered in me.
I blame them for my hook ups.
All of them.
Every single one.
Therefore, having an extra set of hand with my neurosis as they are, is very helpful.
Yep, by the time it has come to a boil she is really ready to get out from under my feet.
Feels like she's accomplished something.
She also got to wear the apron her Gramma Char made her, which makes the whole experience that much more wonderful.

That's pretty much it.
Small body.

Got it?
Get to work!

I am In Love

With my hair.
At least now.
Like the last week.
I haven't had one bad hair day.
This is what my hair looks like after a full day of ... you know, my life.

Looooove it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cheddar Ham Chowder

Good Golly, Miss Molly, this is DELICIOUS! My friend Sally has a food blog that I love stealing recipes from. There are usually pretty straight forward and ALWAYS right up my food loving alley. This recipe though, this recipe blew my socks away I was so surprised at how much I loved it.

2 1/2 cups water
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 flour
2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
16 oz frozen corn
1 1/2 cups cubed ham

Bring water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Set aside; do not drain. In second pan, melt butter; blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Put cheesy mixture in with veggies and broth; add corn and ham. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
Tastes even better the second day!

I'm Starting to Understand

I've met a lot of mothers of kids with Autism, Aspergers and other special needs in the last few years. Often I have found myself thinking,
"Holy Crap. That woman scares me. She is TOUGH."
I'm starting to understand what has made those women that way.
I bet the majority of them started out as sweet, accommodating, completely delightful women.
Then their kid started getting messed around with and
Their claws came out.
The fighting instinct was triggered.Things have been getting
with B-man at school.

"Badly" as in NOT what I agreed to.
As in NOT what was contractually signed.

I'm on the war path and it's not a pretty site.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Do

I have this hair stylist that I absolutely love.
He's the husband of B-man's teacher the last two years.
He always has great stories.
Gives the best head/neck massages.
And after he has done your hair a few times ...
you give him free reign and this happens.
He colored it.
Some color?
I'm "color deficient"
so I'm not ENTIRELY sure
what color it is.
But people keep telling me it
looks really good.
He whacked off an
and surprisingly
I love it.


Yesterday as I was trying to vacuum up my dining room I noticed that the stinking Cheerios were not getting sucked up.
This set the wheels to spinning.
Why oh why are you not sucking up the Cheerios, vacuum?
Why would you


me like this?

The only answer, according to me, was to tear the thing apart.I found the clogging culprit a few steps into the investigation.
Stinking kids toys.

I sometimes wonder if I am a little
in my cleaning zealousy
(yeah, that's not a word. I know.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Goal

The school campus my kids attend is between a public high school and a private Christian "all grade" school. This gives us the distinct opportunity to have high school kids from both schools involved in our campus in various ways.
I am at my kids school ... 4-6 hours a day on average.
Which means that I have been in many situations that I have been given a chance to interact, listen and observe "kids" from both of these different schools.

I have to tell you - I am really leaning towards starting savings accounts for my kids simply so they can attend the private school when they reach high school.

Just based on conversations I have had the privilege to over hear between the two groups has me leaning greatly towards it.

A sample:

"What's a Doobie?"
Loooong pauses from all 6 kids sitting around the table.
Tentatively, "Is that one of the ways that black guys (their words not mine) like to get their hair cut?"
(No laughter, because no one else knows that the kid is TOTALLY off)
Another, sounding like they were trying to cut the confusion, "It must be. Or Scoobie Doobie Doo..."
Laughter then.

Being the "responsible" adult, I wasn't sure if I should interrupt the conversation, make them aware of my eavesdropping and tell them what it really it. Such dilemmas.

I've been out to lunch where kids from this particular school seem to frequent, casually listened to conversations off and on and never heard one of them say anything harsher than, "Oh my gosh."

The public school kids on the other hand ...
It's an entirely different matter.
Don't get me wrong.
We're in a great school district.
Top ranked.
Impressive focus on education and community involvement.

But let me tell you
those kids certainly know what a
Doobie is.
Let's not even go into the language they utter.

Starting Off Right

This Weirdoand This Silly Pantsboth landed on the Honor Roll this report card.

I'm not going to down play it, she's doing better than I anticipated.
I expect her to be on the A/B roll.
She has no excuses.
I am always here to help her with her work.
But she is also excelling in areas she was struggling with last year.
Areas I know she has had to put in extra work and thought on her own.

The boy?
Come on.
He's a stinking genius.
He'll be putting me to shame in no time.
If he's not kicking butt
taking names ...
I have to ask his teachers
what more we can do to challenge him.

Shepherd's Pie

Taken from the Food Network, Rachel Ray, infact.
My daughter is in love with her.
So I figured one of her recipes couldn't go wrong.
My only issue with this recipe?
There wasn't nearly enough.
I had a healthy serving ... then between Jerry and the girl the cleaned the dish.
An 8x8 dish.
And then they complained there wasn't more.
No kidding.
Next time I'll double it.

2 lbs Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T Sour Cream or softened Cream Cheese
1 lg Egg yolk
1/2 c Cream (I used Chicken Broth - I always have some on hand and it's "lighter")
Salt and Pepper
1 T Olive Oil
1 3/4 lbs Ground Beef or Lamb (Lamb? Really? ...)
1 Carrot, shredded (shredding is optional. I did it so it blended easily with the beef)
1 Onion, chopped
2 t Butter
2 T Flour
1 c Beef Stock or Broth
2 t Worcestershire (or more, depending on how "British" you want it to taste. Haha!)
1/2 c frozen Peas (I omitted these, as I am the only one who eats "green" food around here)
1 t Paprika
Parsley Leaves/Flakes
Shredded Cheese (I don't really consider it optional ... but you can)

Have all of your ingredients measured out before you start. I found once I got it going it all happened pretty quickly and it was easier to simply have it all waiting than have to scramble to measure stuff out.
Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream(broth). Add the cream (broth) mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are smooth.
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef/lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together for 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and veggies. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a casserole dish with meat and veggie mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6-8" from heat until potatoes are evenly browned and slightly crusty. Top casserole with cheese, melt. Sprinkle with parsley. (I forgot that part)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Second Grade, Anyone?

I don't distinctly remember what I learned in second grade (grade two for all my lovely Canadian followers). I remember my teacher, the school, the name of the boy I thought was cute, walking to my moms work after school, getting bruises on my arms as I swung on the monkey bars at recess ... but ask me what I learned ... nada.
However unsure I am of what I learned, I can say with almost a certainty that my daughters spelling words are a step beyond, above and then skyrockets into absurd what I was spelling in second grade ...


These aren't the EXCEL students words - these are a sample of every students spelling words.
I know the reason I object to some of these words is because a small part of me is saying, "But they're just babies, some of them can't even pronounce "amendment" or "constitution"."
Alright, so that may not be entirely true. Ms. R can tell you what what the Constitution is, who the president is and that everyone is free to choose their own religion. Was I even aware their was a leader to my country, or what country I lived in when I was in second grade? I mean ... I hope so. But I'm highly doubtful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Catch a Clue

This year my kids school was all about figuring out which "mediums" the kids were "smart" in. I am not too entirely sure why. It's not like they divided up the different types of "smarts" into various classes or changed the way they were teaching. Or really used the information at all, except for an art project ...
I was kind of surprised to discover both my kids learn the best through not only music but art. I would have assumed that for the boy. But the girl? Really? Hmmm. Alright, if you say so psycho babble test.
The piece of "art" Ms. R brought home with this assignment was cute. She'd put a lot of time and effort into it. I could tell - there were hardly any erased lines to been seen. Look the piece over and see if you can tell what her father found

a lot upsetting.
When he first saw it he asked me about the lack of well ... him in the picture and I shrugged. Honestly, it didn't really surprise me. He's kind of a phantom figure in our lives. He lives with us ... but isn't ever really there. My lack of concern over his appearance in the family portrait made him a little madder, it would seem.

Cause next he went to the girl and asked,
"Why aren't I in this picture?"
She hummed and hawwed for waaaay too long and then with a question in her voice replied,
"I forgot? Oh! No! I know. I ran out of time."
Like, oh yeah! That's what happened. I didn't forget I have a dad. All of the sudden, right at the end ... some how I ran out of time. But still had time to put a butterfly and stars in the square with my "dream". Ooookay, baby.

He asked her a couple more times over the next week.

He never got a satisfactory answer.

Poor guy.

Monday, October 5, 2009


On one of my favorite wasting-time-when-I-should-be-doing-something-else blogs she issued a challenge to post our favorite portraits. I didn't really want to join another "group" or post pictures into a random group where people I know don't really frequent.
So I'm taking the "assignment" and going to post my favorite pictures from the last ... several years - here. I had a bunch of my nieces and nephews that I contemplated posting too ... But I'm not sure how my sister or sister in law would feel about that.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Optimism. Fail.

In general, I'd say I was a "the glass is half full" type of gal.
I like imagining that there is a good side to every situation
and person
and place.
If at all possible.

Today Ms. R came up with a situation I just had no positives for.

She loves having other kids around.

She'd go over to play at someones house or have someone over to out house every day if she could.

However, in a big city it's not like a child can just skip over to a friends house.
Not when they are at least 2 miles away and across busy intersections.
Or in after school care because both their parents work to keep up with the cost of city living.

There are no positives in this situation.

"Gee, but aren't you glad you get to play with your brother and I everyday?" Oh, Yay. Mom.

I looked back on my childhood and thought of how easy it was for the kids in my small home town to just walk/ride on over to friends houses. Even if the friend lived, "All the way on the other side of town" that was still only a 10 block distance.

I wonder what I am depriving my kids of by living in an area such as this.
So far from family with very few "friend" interaction opportunities after school.

Potato Tuna Cassrole

YES, this one I DID make! (Dawn)
With our food supply widdling down to the bare basics I have been trying to mix things up a bit and using stuff I wouldn't regularly put together at all.

3 T butter
1/2 c onions, cut how ever you like
3 T flour
1 t salt
1 t pepper
2 c milk
10 oz tuna, drained
4 c diced bite size potatoes, skin on
1 garlic clove, minced
Handful or so of cheese
Two or Three slices of crumbled up bacon

Heat butter in saucepan. Saute onions and garlic about 5 minutes. Then blend in the flour and milk with a whisk, add salt, pepper and stir over medium heat until thickened. Stir in drained tuna. Put diced potatoes in greased 2 qt casserole dish and stir in tuna mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hr. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits (no, trust me!). Return to oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
I'm guesstimating at the times for the oven. I made mine in my NuWave. Because bacon has such a strong flavor, you can't even taste the tuna. I almost convinced the boy he liked it. The girl was on the fence. Jerry and I liked it, though.


For those of you who read this and aren't a
Facebook member -
My phone's been disconnected.
So don't try to call me.
I'll let you know when/if that status changes.