“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
A.A. Milne

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winnie the Pooh is a big bee for Halloween!!

His name is Caleb.  He is 23.  He is an adult living with Autism.  He's my son. 

The name of this blog is named after him.  He became obsessed with Winnie the Pooh around the age of 2.
Our lives really have been in the Hundred Acre Woods.  I'll write about it sometime--especially for those of you who have little knowledge of Autism and/or living with someone who has it or for those of you moms and dads that just came upon this blog and are looking for answers.

 However for today, I have no answers for you.  It is Halloween, and Caleb dressed up for work. He's the only one still living at home AND the only one in our family who still dresses up for Halloween. I complain (and loudly) every year that I still have to make stupid costumes.  I'm a "bah humbug" when it comes to Halloween.  I don't like the trick or treating, or dressing up, or eating and giving candy.  But for Caleb, who sees life through the eyes of a 5 year old, life is still simple, and fun. 

So Buzzzz and TRICK OR TREAT!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An "Uncooked Banana Pudding" kind of day!

Fall is usually the season for apples.  Applesauce, apple pie, carmel apples, apple betty, apples, apples, apples.  But I woke up and felt like bananas.

I'm a no-cook kind of cook.  I like to cook as long as it doesn't take too long and there isn't much of a mess. So this recipe suits me just fine.  Here's what you'll need:

8 ounces sour cream
1, 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1, 5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups milk (original recipe calls for whole milk but I found that even skim works)
1 16 ounce package vanilla wafer cookies
4 bananas , peeled and sliced
1 8x8 glass baking dish OR 2 quart round glass baking dish (I have a really old Pyrex that I use)

In large bowl combine sour cream, whipped topping, pudding mix and milk. Stir well by hand. In the bottom of your glass serving dish, put a layer of cookies, then a layer of pudding mixture, then a layer of bananas. Repeat until all ingredients are used.  Save out about 5 cookies and smash in a baggie until crumbs.  Sprinkle crumbs on top for decoration! Refrigerate until serving.  Makes about 8-10 servings.  

Fast, easy, and I promise they will all love it!!

Stay tuned for my next blog.  The closer we get to Christmas, the more Christmas crafts I'll be featuring.

Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I am part of the sandwich generation.  My kids are grown and my parents are aging.  Just when you think you are done raising your children, you find yourself making decisions for your parents. 

About 10 years ago, I began to notice a decline in not only my 72 year old mother's health but in her mental state.  My mother had always suffered from depression.  My earliest memories are of her crying in her bed.  In recent years, however, better anti-depressant medications had evened out some of her behaviors and the crying spells seemed to have been curtailed. 

There were little indicators at first.  She complained often of aches and pains .  She started frequenting doctors on weekly visits.  She had migraines, heart disease, fibromyalgia, and knee pain.  All were real and treated by doctors.  I don't mean to be callus, but I have to confess there were times when I just didn't pay attention to all her aches and pains.  Then she had breast cancer and a few years later, cervical cancer.  She survived them all--but not for the stronger. 

A few years ago, my husband and I both noticed an obvious change in her mental state.  She made odd remarks and often seemed confused.  She cried often to which the doctors upped her anxiety medications. She became forgetful and often could not remember words.  She blamed it on the meds.  But I wondered.  Nothing seemed to  really help. 

It perplexed me.  My father did not seem to notice her behavior nor did her friends.   Then 2 years ago , at my daughter's graduation from high school, her behavior could no longer be denied.  In the middle of an important day for my daughter and us, on the bleacher's of the football field, my mother threw a toddler temper tantrum.  We were sandwiched in the mass of people watching the graduation.  We could not get out.  And my mother began to announce loudly she was thirsty and she wanted a drink right now.  I was past annoyed.  I told her to be quiet that we would get a drink when the ceremony was over.  She protested for awhile longer but finally settled down.  Immediately after the graduation, I had my older adult son "take grandma home". I knew and my husband knew but helping my dad understand was at that point, useless.

I did not see my parents again until they came for Thanksgiving 2011.  What a nightmare that was!  My mother cried constantly, carried on, and was confused and dazed the entire weekend.  My father admitted her behavior had been declining steadily for months. When they left (and I was relieved) I told my father, he could not bring her back until he took her and got some help.  That was the hardest thing I had to ever do--forbid my father from my house--but I wanted to wake him up.  The next week, I called different agencies and tried to set up services for my father.  They called him but he still refused all help. 

Over the last year, my mother's health and mental state has continued to decline.  My father did come to visit one more time in June of this year but again it was a horrible visit.  My younger brother , who also came, both sat my dad down and told him, he must get help because he was compromising his own health trying to care for her. She could no longer make meals or eat unattended.  She had difficulty getting dressed.  She definitely could not hold a conversation.  And she was beginning to have trouble toileting herself. And often she got into her medications and took them without anyone's knowledge. Yet my father STILL refused help. 

They have been married almost 55 years.  I understand my father's reluctance. How do you put someone you love in a nursing home?  And yet she was no longer that person. 

Two weeks ago my father called me.  He asked me to come.  It took four days but we managed to admit my mother to a good nursing home close to my father's house. 

I talked to my father this morning.  He said my mother cries everyday and wants to come home.  She doesn't understand.  When I helped admit her to the home, she only had moments of clarity.  Yet some part of her knew enough, she wanted to be home.

Alzheimer's sucks. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

White Vinegar and Lemon Juice--the cheap girl's cleaner!

Where I live, hard water is a fact of life.  It corrodes everything.  The sinks, the dishwasher, the refrigerator water dispenser tray, faucets-well, you get the picture.  Hard water cleaners, though, can be quite costly to buy and use.  Some of the cleaners cost between $4 and $5 for one bottle.  Yikes!  Too much for this frugal gal. 

About 2 years ago, while watching an episode of "How Clean is your House" (you can find them on youtube based out of the UK), Aggie and Kim, the two cleaners, shared their cleaning secrets.  White vinegar and lemon juice.  That's it.  So I bought myself a sprayer and began to use it.  And I have to say , it works better than any commercial cleaner you could ever purchase. 

A large gallon bottle of white vinegar is about 3 dollars.  A large bottle of lemon juice is about the same price unless you get it at the dollar store like I did! You do the math.(Yeah, math was not my thing).

Everyday Cleaner/degreaser:

 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon Dawn liquid soap original (I only use Dawn --it has tons of uses itself), 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Mix and use.

This is the formula that has worked best for me but play with it and make your own formula that works for you and your family. I use it on everything--kitchen, bathroom, and even the floors.  (Check with your manufacturer to see if it is safe for your floors or test it in an innocuous spot). I have even used it to clean spots on carpets but again, test it before you use it. You can also use vinegar in dishwashers to take off water spots.  Again, check with the manufacturer to make sure it doesn't hurt your appliance. 

This morning I used vinegar to take off burnt spots on a pot.  I poured straight vinegar on the pan, let it soak about 30 minutes, and then scrubbed. The burnt on food came right off. 

White vinegar--the cheap girl's perfume!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just Begin it!

I've been wanting to start a blog for ages. It is always there in the back of my mind. Of course, like so many other women, moms, wives, daughters, sisters, etc... I had a million and one excuses.  It was always on my to do list.  A blog was just one of those that never got crossed off.

I am one of those people who has a bunch of ideas and projects that I'm going to get to tomorrow.  But like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, Tomorrow never comes.  I've started sewing projects, writing projects, and home repair projects.   A few I have actually finished.  However, in order to finish something, you actually have to begin it.

Pinterest seems to have fueled those never started and unfinished projects --at least for me.  I love Pinterest.  But to be honest, I've yet to do even one of those things I've pinned-- except for some cookies a few weeks back.

Then this morning, I woke up and decided.  I'm doing it.  I'm starting a blog.  It's not going to be a specific blog.  Not a blog about just recipes.  Not a blog about just sewing.  Not a blog about being a mom, or a DIYer, or being frugal or anything.  Just a blog.  I'm going to include in this blog stuff I am doing or am thinking about or am going to do.  I may even include a few bucket list items.

So stay tuned into this blog for recipes, sewing projects, diy projects, short stories, etc, etc, etc...Maybe you can take away something you can use.  Maybe you can't.  I will give you little glimpses as we both go.

In the words of Winnie the Pooh,  oh bother!!!!