Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Well I am only a day late.. I guess but what does Valentine's Day really have to do with anything? For me it was a day about reconnecting. I guess over all these pasts few months have been a lot about reconnecting. Reconnecting with myself, my spouse, my kids, my friends, my education and my goals and in some cases my reconnection with myself has led to a disconnecting with others.

My husband and I had been contemplating divorce in a very serious manner. So much so that we had seriously disconnected with each other and both thought that a new year would mean new lives for us both, apart from each other. I figured I would get over it and so would he. It is amazing what a few months can do to change your life.

Our marriage had been in a destructive mode for quite a few years and V-day has not been on the top of my list. Last year was pretty disastrous in that we had a very very traumatic incident that lead to a holiday get away to try to reconnect.. which didn't really work .. which then led to more disconnect. Neither of us saw how we could make a future with each other, truth be told I am not sure if either of us wanted to.

It's so hard to see the LOVE for another person when you feel blinded by pain and disappointment.

My husband came to me a few days ago, the day before Valentine's day, and told me that he has to remind himself why he loves me and appreciates me more because I am a great woman. At first I was a bit put out by this... I mean honestly I AM GREAT!!! Right? But then it made me smile and helped me connect with him even more, because I feel the same way about him. Its really easy for me to see the flaws in my husband and his varying short comings in life. I mean those ARE the things that make me wanna break his hand in 4 different places, makes me wanna have deeper understanding heartwarming conversations with him. I mean we are NOT newlyweds. This has become old and repetitive at times. But this time Valentine's day was rewarding.

My husband made an effort. The man sent me flowers while I was at my internship. It was a huge surprise and although i am not much of a flower gal the IDEA of his effort and his actions are what endured me to him even more. He DID instead of trying. It was not rocket sience nor was it a huge money deal but it was breath taking love on his part. I was so happy to acknowledge his effort and action and that has made my husband feel loved.

I am learning to LOVE him how he needs it which makes him want to love me in the manner in which I need it. This is defiantly a learning experience but I think I am looking forward to next years Valentine's day even more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

peaceful parenting: Doubleday's Vaccine Additive Offer

I saw this post on the website you found it on and thought it was a GREAT read and interesting...

peaceful parenting: Doubleday's Vaccine Additive Offer

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Agave Nector- A natural Sugar alternative.

Agave nector is a product that I have been using for a few years now. It is a great alternative to sugar and I have found nothing that I can not use it in. As a person who is watching their weight, intake of processed foods, and trying to cut out sugar I have found Agave to be a great additive to my food pantery.

The Glycemic index for Agave is between 30-39 and had about 60 Calories per Serving: A serving (1 tablespoon). depending on the brand. This is a great alternative for persons watching thier sugar intake or a diabetic.
I have used 2 brands of Agave,

and Madhava

 both of which I have no complaints about. I usually purchase which ever one is on sale when I go in. They are both found in my local gorcerie stores, whole foods, and health food stores.

To me they taste like a split between honey and maple syrup. I have used them for baking, in tea and coffee, and in cooking that has called for sugar and no one knows the difference. If you have never experienced agave I hope that this inspires you to go out and have a try and if you have tried it I hope that this makes you giggle that someone else knows the secret and is using the wonderful product.

Bread Success!!! Finally! And Recpie to share.

I finally found a bread machine recipe that WORKED. I am way excited, (if you had not caught on yet), this is my, ok I won't even try to count how many, attempts at making bread.

I guess I should start from the beginning. I once feel in love with a bread machine, that in the end I never used, and it finally founds it way to a garage sell. Well the tide turned and I found my way back to baking but decided I could do it myself, like by hand. Let's just say that I never quite got the hang of that. In fact to put it like my hubby did, The bread was only good in case a robber came into the home and we needed to defend ourselves. The poor robber might have ended up with a concussions.... now with that in mind I lost faith in my bread making skills.. for a VERY short period of time. One thing I can say about myself is that I am tenacious and when I have my mind set to make a change said change will be made. Bread not being purchased at the store any longer was my mission. Much to my families dislike there were many days there was NO bread in the house because I could not make it myself. Every now and again I would find bread that did not contain ingredients I could not pronounce and I would purchase them much to their pleasure but not often.

Then it happened I was "thrifting" which is my term for shopping at thrift stores, Goodwill's, and stores along those lines, when I found "it"! I bread machines!! Yeah baby! It was cheap and in working order and my quest to bake bread was renewed.

The issue from there was to find a whole wheat bread that the family would eat, that did not look to healthy and did not taste awful. Let's just say I failed a few times... Ok more than a few but I kept on going.

My first deal was finding flour that I felt was worth eating and after much searching I found my gold mine.

King Arthur Flour Company- 100% White Whole Wheat Flour

(I'll write about the flour in another post)

100% Whole Wheat Bread

The following recipe is one we worked out for the Zojirushi. It makes a firm, sweet loaf of golden bread. It shouldn't be hard adapting it to your own machine; all you need to know is what proportion of flour/liquid/yeast your machine functions best with. Take a look at the dough after it's kneaded for about 10 to 12 minutes or so; it should be smooth, not sticky (too little flour) or lumpy (too little liquid), forming a nice ball. If the dough looks good at this point, you're probably all set.

For 1 1/2 lb. bread machine

1 1/4 cups water (I used all Milk)

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil (I used Olive oil)

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup ( I used Agave Nectar)

3 to 3 1/2 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour (I used 3 1/2 cups White whole wheat flour)

1/4 cup sunflower, sesame or flax seeds, or a combination (optional) ( I used 2 tab flax seed meal)

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (omitted as I did not have any on hand)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast ( I used 2 tp)

Put all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order listed. Program for basic white bread, and press Start.

I was beyond pleased to see this loaf in my bread machine. It is moist and soft, the texture is wonderful and all of my kids and hubby have eaten it and enjoyed. I feel great about feeding it to them and this will become our staple bread! Woooohoooo for not giving in! Success tastes so wonderful.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Challenges of Parenthood

The hubby and I have been over the years blessed with our middle child who is to put it lightly a handful and a half. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and has some "issues", which is putting it nicely.

A little background. The hubby and I married each other with kid-lets under our belts. I had one and I was a divorcee. He had a few but one to which he had full custody and lived with him full time. This said child is whom I consider to be our middle child. I met and married my husband before middle child was 5 years old so in the scheme of things I am the momma. I have been there sense the first day of kindergarden and beyond. Said middle child began school with a bang and has been on a roller coaster ever sense. In fact the fist weeks of kindergarden included a call from the office asking us to come in and discuss his disruptive behaviors. Speaking out of turn, singing loudly, dancing, talking over others, not waiting for his turn, answering when not called on, and on and on.

Being that I had already had a son who was 1 year ahead of said middle child I knew that some drastic measures needed to be taken and without them we would be doomed.

Our middle child had issues with to many people trying to parent in IMHO.  He had paternal grandmother and grandfather (Grammy and Granddad) who spent a large of amount of time raising him and loving him, as my husband was their son and they were his support system.  Then there was the maternal grandmother who equally loved this child and wanted to keep as much contact with him despite his bio mothers lack of commitment and involvement. The maternal grandmother demanded every other weekend visitations that his bio-mom was suppose to have. Now let me say that all of these stupid shenanigans arraignments had been made and had transpired long before I came onto the seen and much to my disappointment continued much longer after wards as well, despite my firm belief that this was a bunch of BS err against it. 

Either way I felt and feel that our sons issues stem in part from instability and who knows what kind of exposures as an unborn and infant. Either way as he progressed in school he only experienced a shit-load more and more difficulties. It got to the point that when he was in 2nd grade, at 8 year old, the teachers suggested that he be tested for ADD and ADHD as they felt he was in need of some serious help. His behaviors had escalated to the point that I was being called at least once a day to the school regarding his behavior and he was failing in school due to his inability to complete assignments. It got so bad that if I put homework in his backpack completed by the time he reached class he could not find them! 

He would be unable to tell us where the work had gone and thus he would fall behind, which only frustrated him more as he was pressed to make up the work. Needless to say this pattern was beyond frustrating to all involved and most importantly to him. 

None of this helped when said middle child also had bonding issue with me. In fact in the 2nd grade I was called into the classroom after class by his teacher. She had asked middle child to draw a picture of the people who lived in his home. He had drawn a picture of his dad, our eldest son, his Grammy and Grand dad but had omitted me, grand parents did not and do not live with us. When asked about his mother and why there was no mother in the picture, as the teacher saw me daily, he refused to respond or draw me. This of course alarmed his teacher enough to bring it to my attention and to ask for clarification. I had no insight to give but he did. He told us that he did not draw me because he wanted me to go away and he wanted the people in his picture to all live together in a house. 

Even today middle child and I have what I would describe as a distant relationship, I have learned to live with it as has he. I have given him his space and have reinforced the love I feel for him while NOT pressing myself upon him. I am his main care taker. I go to all school meetings, parent teacher conferences, school activities, Dr appointments, therapy appointments, football, basketball and baseball games he has ever played. I have cared for him when he is sick and been there to keep him well. I love this child despite the fact that I did not birth him from my body.

Yet at time I feel challenged and pressed with the weight of loving a child that is frustrating and often destructive. Who despite our best intentions and wishes seems to be failing at almost every avenue in his life. Today I made an appointment for middle child to be seen again with pediatric psychiatry. Yesterday he was suspended from school and has been struggling immensely with his academics, still.

I have found myself tied with the feelings of wanting him to be "normal" capable  and feeling a sense of failure as a parent. As any parent we have the simple desire to see our child succeed in life, yet we find it almost impossible to make that happen.  Middle child has been medicated, exercised, given rewards, things taken away, therapy, tutoring and more and more over the years but to no permeant and successful end. 

I am not at my wits end but I am at the end of dreaming that somehow this will go away and he will just gain skills and mature out of this. He will not. Instead as parents we are huddling together to formulate a new game plan. Our first plan of action is therapy again, from there we will adjust as need be.

As we stoop in our huddle we chant and clasp hands. READY! SET! HUT HUT!!! We are off to our first of many plays wishing for a touch down or at least to gain some yards. 

Wish us luck because we are trying to pull of the play of a life time.