Thursday, October 28, 2010

Negative Thoughts Flow Through

Over and over again, I have to deal with the same issue. There have been times that it just gets me down. It especially pops up around the holidays. And, it deals with family, which is a horrible thing to have to deal with. The main issues are communication and disrespect. I like it when people can actually talk about problems. I don't like when people play games to benefit themselves while hurting others. I confess, I did something years ago, where I called out a lie that was being perpetrated on a lot of us. The liar (for lack of a better term), being a divisive type, did not like this at all. My questioning what was said was the start of a lot of pain for myself. I was no longer looked at the same way. I was considered an outsider since I would not hide the truth. 

For years this bugged me. It added to my depression (which I was already dealing with). I accepted the blame and guilt they laid upon me. I was already large, but I blew up to a size 24 because I ate my feelings. I finally got tired of my large self. I asked my doctor for help. He sent me to Behavioral Health. It took a couple of years of therapy to realize it wasn't me. That did not change how they behaved, just that I knew it wasn't me. I was still taking on the guilt, however.

It has taken a couple more years of therapy to no longer take on the guilt (but it still rears its ugly head every once in a while). If they want/need to be this way, that is on them. It is no longer on me. During this second journey, I also found meditation and writing to be helpful. I learned more about myself. I was taking on the guilt because that was easiest for me and I wanted to help them. My taking on their problem, however, does not help anyone. My meditation practice has helped me to open my mind more. It has helped me to flow the negative through my brain and out. My writing helps me figure out my thoughts. Any negative thoughts that come in relating to this problem are sent away with a swift "not now."

Keep in mind I would love to have open discussions. I know I am strong enough to not take digs personally, that belongs to them. Unfortunately,I am finding open discussion is not what is wanted on the other side. I find it sad, but their normal. I certainly will not be pushing things right now. And, with the holiday season fast approaching, I can imagine there will be many negative thoughts that will flow through - I am not good enough, I am a bad mom, I have done this or that. They may scoot in, but I will scoot them right on out with my "not now."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pizza for Dinner!

Tonight was another cook with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. We made pizza with the recipe for crackers as the crust. It was fabulous!!

We have not had a thin crust pizza since having to go gluten-free (among other things) almost 3 years ago. The dough came together very well. It was actually a ball!!! You won't understand that if you aren't gluten free. Anyway, I was able to ROLL it out onto my preheated stones. I baked them a little longer than it said since I had toppings on them (pepperoni and cheese for the boys, olive oil, garlic, kalamata olives and Daiya for the girls. I also had tomato slices.). They baked up really well. So well, I actually want to make crackers from the recipe!!

They smelled so good we cut them without letting them cool and before I could get pics of the full pizzas. Here are remnants of the pizzas:

This is the one the daughter and I shared. Yes, I hogged all the olives!!

This is the boys. The hubby stole some olives.

These were really good pizzas. I got thumbs up all around!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Divisive Moments Will Not Unite US.

This morning I saw a post on Facebook about the Pledge of Allegiance not being said at a debate between Joe Walsh and Melissa Bean. You can watch the videos that are available on this page with some crap writing commentary (I will explain myself in a moment). Also, notice the comments below the videos.

This angers me, especially during an election year. The blog, the person/people doing the taping and the comments below the videos are divisive. It happens with both "conservatives" and "liberals." What we should be riled about, though, is that our country is going down the tubes because each "side" thinks the other is "against" whatever, like free speech for this particular incident. We are no longer the "United" States of America, we are divided. It is not because one group has created all of these problems, either. The mess we are in is a cumulation of administrations because stupidity and popularity gets voted into office. Then those very same popular stupids appoint other stupids through another popularity vote. There have been few cabinet members that actually have the experience and smarts to do their job correctly. Unfortunately, they get booted out with each succeeding administration. 

Lose the us vs. them mentality. Last I looked, patriotism does not make the laws, repeal the laws or settle on the "budget" (which is laughable and NOT caused by one administration but by the cumulative effects of pork barrel spending, inefficient investments, etc.). Cumulative effects. While being patriotic is nice, we have larger issues to deal with. 

I am neither a declared Republican nor a declared Democrat. I am considered Independent by the voting board since they don't allow "nothing." Educate yourself on the candidates (beyond a stupid, taped move such as this). What are the candidates saying and what is their record (does it match what they say?). One group is not better than the other and does not know better than the other. It is when the groups can come together in the middle that things can finally happen.

I wish we, as a people, could see this. Remaining divisive means our country continues drowning. Stop nitpicking at things, such as this. Most places that host these do not allow video-taping and it was the moderator that stated the Pledge of Allegiance was not to be said (again, part of the forum). Neither candidate had a hand in that.Therefore, nether the Republican member, nor the Democrat member asked that the Pledge not be said. Stop the pettiness. Stop the blaming. Be a part of the solution. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tips For Dropping Your Child Off at School

If you are new to driving your child to school for drop off, I have a few tips:

1) Pull up just past the cross walk so that two people may drop off at the same time. Drop your child off, watch them cross the bus lane, then leave.

2) DO NOT stay parked there, watching them walk in to the school. They will be fine on their way in; see all the other teachers and volunteers on their way in, too?

3) DO NOT park at the crosswalk and walk your child in. Instead, park in a PARKING SPACE and walk your child in; though I am pretty sure 9, 10 and 11 year olds can walk themselves in if we are raising them right.

4) DO NOT talk on your cell phone (which is illegal while driving in MD, now) and smoke a cigarette while trying to get your child, their backpack and their instrument out of your van. Concentrate on your child and helping them. Maybe you should think about their health, as well as your own, and quit smoking.....

5) And, from my son: DO NOT yell "I love you, have a great day" while your son is getting out of the car and walking in the crosswalk. Apparently, that is embarrassing. Who knew?

6) Any younger siblings should be properly restrained in a car seat or booster. I know they are not yet tall enough or weigh enough to be sitting in that car without one! I will report you to the police since you sat there long enough for me to take down your license plate!!

Be safe and have a fabulous day!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Burrito Showdown

While shopping at my closest MOM’s Organic Market, I found gluten free/dairy free burritos. I was VERY excited. You see, rice flour tortillas are hard to bend into a burrito, so I have not had one in years. The kids were equally as excited! 

I found two brands: one from Glutenfreeda and one from Amy's.

Ingredients in the Glutenfreeda brand:

Ingredients in the Amy's brand:

Here is a pic of the two of them after they are microwaved and before they are cut open. The Glutenfreeda one is on the left. The Glutenfreeda burrito looks like it is wrapped in a "normal" looking tortilla. The Amy's wrap looks kind of like a sponge. 

When you cut them open, the Glutenfreeda's begin to fall apart while the Amy's stay together.



As far as taste goes, it seems Glutenfreeda's relies more on the spice from all of the peppers in it than it does anything else. I like heat, but I like flavor, too. This just does not have taste. Amy's has a lot of flavor. You can see actual beans and rice in it. Its spice is not overwhelming like in the Glutenfreeda one. I will definitely choose Amy's over Glutenfreeda's.

Lend a Hand

There is a little boy in our county who is suffering from brain cancer. As a result of the health care system being in shambles, his family has to pay a lot of money out of pocket. I still do not understand how insurance companies can decide a child is not good enough to invest in. But, that is me and not what this post is about.

His friends and family are hosting a bake sale down on the island at a famous (for our area) location. I do not know these people. It was put out as an event on Facebook and another friend shared it on her page. I contacted the people in charge to ask if I could bring some gluten-free/vegan baked goods for them to sell. They were so excited!! I actually feel like I should be honored, being able to help him.

Anyway, I have decided on the Dark Chocolate Muffins from the Flying Apron's Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book. I hope they go over well. I know the chocolate muffins are a family favorite. I just hope the family doesn't get to them!! LOL!!

If you can find a way to help those that are sick (not just cancer, but anything), please do. I do not mean buying something pink during "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" (which also is Domestic Violence Awareness Month). The pink is too commercialized. Volunteer somewhere if you are able. Donate money directly to those doing the research. If you know them, make some meals, clean their house, anything to give them more time in their life to enjoy something. I think "people" have been forgotten by insurance and large companies. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another "Corn" Maze

Today was a beautiful fall day. Sunny, minimal wind, and not cold. We needed to do something outside as a family. We were going to make the trek up the road an hour to see RED the Movie. But that was a lot of inside time. Instead, we opted for another "corn" maze. I say "corn" because it was actually a sorghum maze.

We went to Zekiah Farms in Charles County. They had two mazes: one was from shorter grown sorghum and the other, more intricate one, was taller sorghum that we could not see over.

We ended up walking in circles in the taller one, but it was a lot of fun!! And, once we were done with the mazes, we could visit the animals. I had a piggie try to eat my shoe.

They had cornhole games available to play. A hayride, if we wanted. A great store where I picked up a beautiful hubbard squash. I even asked the owner if they sold the sorghum and she told me to come back after next weekend so I get some. We had a fabulous time!! So, I had my hubby take another picture:

Make sure you get out and have some fun!! This time of year is great (during the day, anyway! LOL!!)!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Voted Today!

I voted today! My son asked for what? I explained it was a Congressional and a Gubernatorial year along with the County Commissioners and Board of Education, locally. Maryland was smart enough to enact early voting starting this year. Today was the first day. I took advantage.

I love to go vote. I could not vote in the Presidential election the year I turned 18. I turned 18 just a measly 2 1/2 weeks after that. I had to do absentee ballots for the next two years since I was in college. My first Presidential election was after I graduated from college and was working at Colonial Williamsburg. I voted in the Denbigh section of Newport News, Virginia.

It is an exhilarating feeling to vote. I get as much information about each candidate as I can. Here in Maryland we only have elections every other year. I am not declared Republican or Democrat so I can not vote in the Primaries here, either. I get one chance every other year to make my voice heard! Ever since we moved here, I have voted out the County Commissioners when it is their time to be elected (unfortunately, others do not have the same idea). As far as other voting goes, I check out their current/prior activities, their voting record (if they have one), what they say they stand for (and compare to their record), and how negative their ads were. This helps me decide who I am going to vote for. I do not vote by party. I vote by the person.

That is why I love to vote. I was all giddy going to the polling station again this year and I have been able to vote for more than half of my life. Make sure you get out and vote!!

I Feel Like a Celebrity!!!

I was a guest poster on one of my favorite blogs, "Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom". It is so much fun to be able to connect with other people who have similar food issues. We share our successes and our failures. We share if processed foods have been reformulated (like the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte). We also share fabulous foodie cookbooks where we may not have to make a single substitution for a meal. Because of our commonalities, we become friends without ever seeing each other. This is how I feel about a lot of my gluten-free friends I have made through Twitter, first, then Facebook second. Thank you to all for the support you freely give!!

Here is my guest post. Caution: the pictures are full of awesomesauce!! You may drool on your keyboard!!!

Thank you, Heidi, for letting me post to your blog!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lamb for dinner!

I needed to start dinner early, using the crockpot, since we would be getting flu shots after school. The schools will only offering the Flu Mist during the school day which we can not have. I didn't want to have to worry about scrambling to make dinner when we got home since you never know how long it will take.

I had no idea what to make. Not much available in the fridge and pantry. I HATE going to the grocery store (though, as a plus, for every $100 you spend, you get 10 cents off per gallon of gas at a local station). So, after dropping the boy off at school, I braced myself for the grocery store. And, I still did not know what I was making. I was moseying around the vegetables and noticed the already de-tipped and washed green beans were on sale as a BOGO!! Score! I saw a recipe for fried green beans similar to those at various restaurants and I wanted to try to make them. But, that didn't seem efficient since I did not know when we would be home. Still keeping them. They don't have to be "fried".

Scooted around to the seafood area where nothing seemed to be out yet. I also knew my regular fishmonger would not be open yet. Bummer. Oh wait, some packaged catfish nuggets, also on sale!! NOM! Now I will confess that I enjoy watching Man V. Food. I find it funny. But, I also find some of the food, and how it is prepared, intriguing. The guy ate a whole bunch of fried catfish last night. I know I can come up with a coating for it!! Hmmm, may not have time for that, either, but I have tomorrow night's dinner decided! Woot!!

I wandered along the meat area until I got to the organic section. They had lamb on sale. All sorts of lamb. I have not had lamb since we lived in Sicily and I made mint-coated chops. I found some suitable for a stew. I have golden beets in the fridge, potatoes in the pantry and an onion. I think this would work!!! Woohoo!! Time to pay! Wait, does the boy need milk? Don't know and not worried about it. He can drink my Chocolate Almond Milk if he needs something.

I got home with my scores and put most away while pulling out the beets, potatoes and onions. I also need a couple spices and some flour for coating. I started with putting some tapioca flour in a gallon sized bag and added sea salt and pepper. What spices? Sniffed around. I've done mint before, but I did not want mint in a stew with those vegetables. Coriander (from Bahrain, no less) and sage became my selections. I put some of each into the flour bag. I added the lamb pieces and shook up the bag.

I heated a cast iron skillet with some olive oil in it. When it got hot, I placed some of the lamb pieces into the skillet to brown on both sides. I had to do it twice. Then I put the lamb into the crockpot and added the thinly sliced onion to the skillet until they turned translucent. I put the cooked onions on top of the lamb meat then duped what was left in the bag on top of it all. I placed the beets and potatoes in the crockpot as well. Then I added some water and a couple bouillon cubes by Rapunzel. Left it on high for a few hours then turned it to low when I left the house to get the kidlings.

It only took 20 minutes for us to get our flu shots. But, I already had dinner ready. And it was REALLY good. The hubs said my "winging it" meals usually fall to the really good category. Only a few times have I had the "what do you want on your pizza" results. I may actually keep checking for lamb on sale and branch out to try other cuts and recipes. I was very happy with my stew results. Plus, just the crockpot needed cleaning! I win!

I'm getting itchy!!!!

And my asthma has kicked in. Yes, it is definitely Fall and getting colder. While some parts of Fall are great: the squashes, the changing leaves, Halloween; other parts, for me are not so great: colder weather. Anything below 70 degrees, my body looks at it as an allergen and tries to fight it. I have what is called Cold-Induced Urticaria. The gist is I am allergic to cold and get hives because of the allergy.

I was diagnosed YEARS ago, when I was about 9 years old and had red bumps after swimming in pool filled from a cold mountain spring. I remember my mom laying out a blanket in the sun at our campsite so I could warm up. Hot showers do not help so much with this.

As I have aged, it has gotten worse. My asthma kicks in when it gets just "cool". I actually have the risk of anaphylaxis if I am not careful. Over the summer, I have to worry if the pool will be warm or cold. Generally, the day after it has rained, the pool is colder. I loved this past summer with all the 100 degree days. I do not have issues with breathing in the heat and humidity.

However, this past winter was torture for me. I HATE snow (and now you know why!!)! We had at least three times the normal amount of snowfall for our area. We actually got more than our normal amount in our first blizzard on December 22, 2009. We had two more blizzards after that! I had to shovel that snow (almost two feet each time) since the hubs was on travel for work. I have never been skiing or snow tubing, either. The cold gets to me through the ski pants and layers that I wear.

I often wondered why I was the lucky one to get cold induced urticaria. Then, in March 2008 I was given the answer. I have Celiac Disease. It is an auto-immune disease. Cold induced urticaria seems to hitch a ride with those who have an auto-immune disease. Not everyone, just the lucky ones! *sarcasm*

So, the next time someone says "I hate cold weather" or "I hate snow", there may be more to it. They may have a medical reason for not liking the cold. I joke and say I'm just a wuss, but my cold allergy is serious. I hate the cold!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good Kitteh

My kitteh caught a baby mouse one morning. Thank you kitteh!

The Table Scoots

Today was my day to work in my son's school SPOT shop. I do it every other week for a couple hours about one day a week (sometimes two days, but I'll get into that). The kids get SPOTs for good behavior. Their mascot is the leopard, hence the term "SPOT." These "SPOTs" are part of the Positive Behavioral Implementation System (PBIS). There are four lunch shifts and we try to get through all the kids in one day so we don't have to do it the next.

We are stuffed into a closet that stores air filters and us. People donate items to be sold at the shop. Sometimes we get some great items, sometimes just decent items. Today I felt like we were donated right out of that closet. We have a long table the holds various boxes, baskets and containers of goodies, all priced differently in case a kid does not have a lot of SPOTs. The long table scoots. A lot. To the wall behind it. With me between the wall and the table.

First lunch shift has the youngest kids. They are excited to spend their SPOTs. They are ALL eager to be at the table at the same time. Some of them have reached their adult size, I am convinced!! The table scoots. These youngest kids can not make a decision. I mean they will stand there and drool for the entire time if we don not tell them their time is up. Seriously! The table scoots. More kids come up to look and some have a lot of SPOTs so then can look in the larger item boxes. The table scoots. I announce if someone squashes me they will not be allowed to shop the rest of the school year. It eases and I can move the table forward. We need to move these kids along or we will never get through them all. Make decisions and go!

The second lunch shift is a mix of the youngest and some older kids. I think this one has become the worst. They don't listen as well. The table scoots. They all try to pile into the tiny closet! Some want to haggle over prices. Some can not do basic math to figure out how many of one item they can get with their SPOTs. If they can't figure it out, I don't let them get the item. The table scoots. Someone really wants a stuffed animal! The table scoots. I announce that whoever squashes me will not shop for the rest of the school year. At least these kids can make faster decisions; well, the older ones anyway. Come on kids, you are doing geat, make your decisions and go!

The third and fourth lunch shifts, I can breathe. These are the middle and oldest kids, but they have everything right. They line up like they should. They have their SPOTs counted before coming into the store. They listen. If the table scoots one time, I only need to say it once and the whole rest of the lunch shift just KNOWS! I enjoy helping out these kids. Maybe it's because I have already dealt with uber-excited kids. Or, maybe it's because I survived another day and did not get squashed as the table scoots.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Soup, It's What's for Dinner

I am Celiac, which means I need to avoid gluten (wheat, barley, rye and I also have to avoid oats). I also have to avoid dairy products; not the lactose, but casein. I enjoy cooking and baking. When new cookbooks come out that address my issues come out, I want them!!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win one such cookbook. It is called gluten-free girl and the chef and it is by Shauna and Daniel Ahern. I follow Shauna on Facebook as Gluten-Free Girl. She had this fantastic idea for all of us followers to make one recipe out of the book each week. This week's assignment was the Pumpkin Soup.

I roasted the pumpkins and their seeds in the morning since I needed to take the son to the doctor around lunch time. I got all of the rest of the ingredients together after the appointment. I made a few substitutions of vegetable broth, plain coconut creamer and Earth Balance Vegan sticks. But, everything else was the same. It was quite easy to make and smelled really good.

This was really good!! You blend the ingredients once they are softened so you have this great texture going on. It sticks to the spoon so you know it is going to stay with you for a while. We did eat it with the seeds as garnishment in the soup, but I think I prefer to just eat the seeds as a side. The kids liked this soup as well. It is a really good warm-you-up soup, but not as heavy as chili.I think I will add some extra nutmeg as I serve it next time. There will be a next time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ESPN College Game Day is Sexist

I LOVE football. All kinds of football. I am pretty good with the language of football as well. I am FEMALE!

I just saw a commercial for College Game Day where only men are watching the show. There are a few females but they are otherwise occupied and not watching the program. I LOVE watching College Game Day. I feel like I wait forever for it to came back around after the Championship Game. The information they give about all the teams is decent. Their picks are usually off. And, I seriously can not stand Lee Corso when he does his pick at the location they are filming.

However, my favorite part of College Game Day is what I like to call "Whack-A-Cheerleader." Have you noticed that cheerleaders pop up behind "the guys" throughout the morning? They look like the moles in "Whack-A-Mole." Now, the last few years, I would just go up to the television and smack it when a cheerleader would pop up. This year, I am high tech - a Nerf Maverick Rev-6 dart gun.

Have you seen this baby? It only olds six darts, but they are the suction cup variety! Perfect for taking my Whack-A-Cheerleader game to a new level. I get to aim and shoot. Sometimes I miss and get a surprise. Sometimes I am spot-on, like when I got Bobby Bowden the second he stepped off the bus. Oh yes! Drooling just thinking about this coming Saturday morning!!

So, ESPN, are you trying to keep females from your shows? I think you need to balance out your commercials a little better and maybe skew some towards your female audience. After all, "YES, i'm a woman; YES, i know the game; YES, i watch ESPN." If you don't know what I just wrote, you're not a woman who loves the game!

Wow! Figuring It All Out!

This is so much harder than my previous blog site. I guess once I figure out the look, I will feel better. I am having to figure out all this code stuff. Why couldn't hubs have his degree already?? I guess it isn't that bad. If anyone has any tips to help me set up, I would greatly appreciate it!!

I have son home from school today with a congested head and fever. He will be seeing the doctor today. I mean, I actually managed to get him in at the military clinic on the same day I called and it was 8:30 am when I called!! How cool is that? I am hoping the fever is because of the congestion and he doesn't have something else.

Lastly, today, I am making the pumpkin soup from gluten-free girl and the chef. Shauna had a great idea on Facebook for all of us to make the same recipe and compare notes. I can't wait! I love pumpkin! Gotta go roast the pumpkins before son't appointment!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Feel Old

Have you had an experience where someone obviously younger than yourself makes an utterly vapid comment? You just shake your head and walk away. That is what was happening while I was trying out another blogging site. I found it very young. I could not find other bloggers to follow because they did not interest me. Then today, one of the bloggers was asked a very serious question. Her answer was bad. I mean, I am all for giving people hope, but this answer was beyond bad. It had to do with the military and a possibility of getting kicked out. I realized, I knew what the answer was because my husband has been in the Navy 20 years in exactly one week. Then, the cursing that goes on totally floored me. Don't they realize prospective employers do internet searches? I found I was enjoying writing my stories out for others and my family was enjoying reading them. I want to continue that but in a different environment. Anyone want to go for a walk?