Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Last night while I was cooking dinner, Amber was doing something very dangerous, as it turns out. She was bouncing a ball! Somehow she tripped over her feet and fell down...splat! She hit her wrist on the retaining wall as well as the ground. Amber cried and Steve brought her in for an ice pack. She complained her tummy hurt but mostly seemed fine. No selling or bruises or scrapes. This morning she was having trouble playing the game boy because she wasn't using her left hand very well. Time to call the Doctor! Because Amber has sensory integration disorder, she doesn't feel pain in the same way most people do. In fact, she has had to learn to interpret a number of sensations that our brains just automatically do on their own. Pain and hunger being the biggies. Anyway, her wrist is fractured. She was put in a splint today and we are waiting to hear back from the Dr. about getting it casted. Fortunately, due to her lessened pain perception, she has very little discomfort and is doing fine.

I am learning so much about the Positive Parenting techniques. This is a great positive parenting blog that I came across. Kelly does such a great job of putting things into easy to understand and use perspectives! For today, I am working on connecting before correcting. Listening to my children, especially Tyler. He often has a lot to say around his misbehavior but usually is not permitted to say it all. Finally, encouraging the process all along the way with all the kids is something so easy to do and so good for all of us. Even if Ian has to go back and vacuum the floor 6 times, he needs to hear that the fact that he is doing the chore is appreciated. Does that make sense? What are your thoughts?
  • Connect Before Correct
  • Listen all the way through, uninterrupted.
  • Encourage the process rather than praise for the end result.
Our beef and pork is being delivered tomorrow afternoon! Finally! But you know it will have been worth the wait!!!  by the way, I love the changes Da-Le Ranch has made to their website...check it out!

Monday, November 28, 2011

If Only I Understood the Game

I was playing a game with Tyler and Amber this evening of Tyler's creation. It involved randomly moving your finger around on a tic tac toe board that had all the  X's and O's pre-placed. I lost every single turn. So did Amber. Tyler won. Bet you didn't see that coming! LOL! But isn't that just the way life is? Just when you think you have a handle on the game it changes!  If only I understood the game, I could win. Right?  What would "winning" actually be? Actually, I think I like not understanding the game after all!

So far, eating healthier is costing us less. I am thinking this is due, in part, to buying more foods in bulk and therefore making less trips to the grocery store. Also, junk food is expensive! "Real Food" is also expensive and mostly there are not coupons for it. I am talking about whole grains, beans, produce...the good stuff.  Cooking everything from scratch is certainly a lot more work but being able to take out all of that sodium, preservatives and dyes from our diet is worth it for me. I have the time and I love to cook so it is working for us thus far. When we were in Las Vegas and had to eat out, our bodies were really feeling it!  On that note, let me tell you about dinner....

LENTIL SOUP in the big crock pot
6 cans chicken broth
med onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped,
3 garlic cloves, chopped or whole
1 tsp thyme, 1 tbsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup V-8 juice
1 lb bag lentils
1 cup  finely chopped green beans, (or any other veggie you care to use)
4 oz dry alphabet pasta
1 cup chopped summer sausage (any sort of meat will do or leave out the meat)
water to fill the crock pot, about 6 cups
Crock pot on low about 8 hours.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
I expected to have a few bowls worth left over but there was only one bowl of soup to put away in the fridge!

In other new....Ian got a promotion in JROTC! He is now and "Airman"! Way to go Ian!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crock Pot Meatloaf

I just took a meatloaf out of my crock first try at cooking a meatloaf this way. It turned out perfectly!  I lined the crock pot with foil first so I could just lift it right out and it worked!

I still have one more pot of beans to cook in the crock pot and then I will have all the beans cooked and put up in the freezer. It cost me about $3.50, including electricity and freezer bags for what would have cost me over $20 in canned beans. It was super easy! I got the 5 pound bag of pinto beans for 1/2 price at Food 4 Less for only $2.00 and the 2 pounds of black beans were less than $1.

Amber and I made a fast trip to Costco today, armed with a list. We zipped in, got almost everything on our list and got of there in record time. The place was packed with people...of course! Costco does not carry whole wheat flour as it turns out. I will have to pick some up at Sprouts on Wednesday. Sprouts has double-ad day on Wednesday, (this weeks and last weeks sale prices).

The Taco Braids turned out beautiful and delicious! I just made wheat dough in the bread machine and added 2 tbsp of taco seasoning in with the flour. I rolled out the dough, spread cooked ground meat (1/2 beef & 1/2 turkey), shredded cheese, re fried beans and salsa down the center 1/2. Then I cut the outside edges in strips and alternated pulling them across the filling. Let rise 30 min. Bake on 400 degrees for 30 minutes. The kids devoured it!

Steve brought me some beautiful flowers today. :)  I love that he does that for me! It is very nice to be appreciated!!

Emily has a friend that has a "ripstick". She has learned to ride it fairly well and has been teaching Amber and Tyler to ride it today too. It takes a lot of balance and coordination!

We are so very lucky to be living in San Diego, where it was a beautiful 84 degrees today! I hope you have enjoyed your Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I just wanted to share this link about Power Costs Of Typical Appliances . And here's another that is more specific about the appliance and cost.

I just put some carrot bread dough in the bread machine. I used the leftover baby carrots from dinner last night. I will let you know how it turns out. I have found that the kids will eat the "bread" better when it is in a roll shape. Does anyone else find this to be true in their family?

Fascinating Blender Fact! It takes 3 bags of microwave popcorn to make a movie snack for our family.

Costco shopping trip tomorrow! I need to get back to my list.

Cooking Day!

Here is the past week in a nutshell! Visiting my Mom and Step-Dad in Las Vegas for a few days over Thanksgiving with Steve, Tyler and Amber was a great time! They had many things around the house for Steve to help them with, we visited the Natural history Museum and a fabulous park, swam at the hotel pool and saw amazing flower displays at the Bellagio. Steve got to meet up with a long lost Cousin while we were there and I learned that my family tree went in a different direction than I had known before! I turned 46 while we were in Las Vegas!  Steve has been coming off of his anti-depressant so that was a challenge for sure. We skipped Thanksgiving altogether but will make up for it next weekend and maybe I will make myself a birthday cake to go along with it! Kyle and Emily stayed with Steve's parents while we were away and did just fine. Jacob and Ian were at their Uncle Joe's and came back well fed! Sarah will be in Colorado until Tuesday and was thrilled that it snowed there yesterday! Whew! Okay, I will take a breath now and move onto the kitchen!

Today I am doing lots of cooking and working on the menu for next week. Last night was a pork roast I had cooked and frozen, mashed potatoes, baby carrots, peas, green beans and homemade rolls. But that was the last of the meals in the freezer so starting again today.
Menu For The Week:
Saturday: Spaghetti with Italian Sausage links; pasta is "Ronzoni Garden Delight"; homemade rolls(honey wheat rolls with Italian seasoning in the dough).
Sunday: Taco Braid 
Monday: Lentil Soup
Tuesday: Pulled Pork; white rice; corn; carrots; salad
Wednesday: Hamburgers; baked beans; sweet potato and regular fries
Thursday: Chicken Parmesan served on "Ronzoni Garden Delight" noodles.
Friday: leftovers; salad
Saturday: Our Thanksgiving Dinner!!

At this moment you will find on the stove and in the crock pot, enough spaghetti sauce to make 4 meals. The crock pot has nice Italian sausage links in it. We will eat that tonight and I will add ground meat I have already cooked to what is left and freeze it. On the stove is a big pot or marinara sauce. 1/2 will be for chicken Parmesan. I will add ground meat I have already cooked to the other half and freeze it.  I have 5 pounds of pinto beans soaking and I will put them on to cook when I go to bed. Tomorrow I will freeze them in 1 pound portions to use in various meals. I am also making the dough for rolls and the taco braid for the week in the bread machine. I just make it on the dough setting, put each batch in a olive oiled Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. The night before I need it, I thaw it in the fridge. I take it out about an hour before I need it. On a floured board I put it into whatever shape I need, let it rise about 30 minutes then bake it!

Now back to my kitchen......

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Shape Of Bread

I am sharing with you the recipe I have been using to make wheat bread in the bread machine. The original recipe came from, "Bread Machine Magic" but I made a few changes to it along the way.
It is interesting that the amount of bread the kids eat depends on the shape it is served in. When I cooked it as a loaf, they ate about 2/3 of the loaf but said they liked it. I made it into rolls and they loved it. It was gone in a flash and they were asking for more. The same thing when I made it as rolls but added basil and garlic to the dough. The other night I made it into bread sticks, spreading the tops with garlic butter before I baked them. They were eventually all eaten but not gobbled up like the rolls had been. Does the shape have anything to do with the flavor? What makes them more desirable when they are just rolls? Who knows! These are good for you and the kiddos love them so I will be making rolls to go with the Chicken Alfredo for dinner tonight!

Honey Wheat Rolls (bread machine)
1 1/8 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cu bread flour
3 tbsp wheat germ
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
Place ingredients into bread machine pan in order given. Select "dough" setting. When the dough is ready it will beep. Remove onto floured board and gently roll and stretch dough into rope. With a sharp knife cut into about 12 slices. Gently form each piece into a ball and place on a greased pan. They can be touching or apart. Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes. (I turn the oven on to warm for a couple minutes, turn it off then place the rolls in to rise.)
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Add 1 tsp basil or Italian seasoning mix and 1 tsp garlic powder with the flour.
This recipe works to make a loaf of bread.
Brush garlic butter on tops of dough just before baking.

Friday, November 18, 2011

School Pictures!

We had sticker shock when we saw how much Jacob's Senior pictures cost! The same company that took mine and Steve's senior pictures, Reyman Photography, is who took the photos for Scripps Ranch High Seniors.
We just got postcards to see the school pictures online for our kids at Kyle, Amber, Emily and Tyler had their pictures taken by and they were fantastic! There are about 8 shots of each kid. The pictures were taken outside and they did such a beautiful job. Another thing we love about this company is how very reasonable their prices are!

We are all getting ready this weekend to go separate directions for Thanksgiving. Steve, Tyler, Amber and I will be going to Las Vegas to visit my parents. This will be only the 2nd time the kids have seen their Grandparents. Ian and Jacob will be spending those same 4 days with their Uncle Joe in Lakeside. They seem to like the idea so far. Emily and Kyle will be spending the time with Steve's Parents, who are also in Scripps Ranch. Sarah will be in Thornton, Colorado with Elisa for 9 days. She is excited about seeing her friends and her sister and is hoping to see some snow!

I baked a couple of pumpkin pies today. I used the fresh pumpkin puree I made a week or so ago and froze. But that's not all! I cooked some butternut squash the other day and there was a good bit left over. Yup, into the pies it went! No one seemed to notice and I used up some leftovers.

By the way, here is my new oatmeal cookie recipe that I mentioned the other day.
Leanne's Oatmeal Cookies
 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup applesauce    
1 tbsp molasses
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar     
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
Combine with mixer.    
Now combine:
3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups quick oats
Mix wet and dry ingredients. Stir in some raisins or chocolate chips.
Bake 350   8-10 minutes.

We finally got word this week about our side of beef we purchased from Da-Le Ranch
Because of the number of turkey orders they are dealing with this week, we wont get our 1/2 cow and 1/4 pig until December 3rd. This actually works out well for both my friend, Angie and for us afterall. I expect the meat will be amazing but I will be sure to let you know!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

10 Things Kids With Food Allergies Want You to Know Video

I was hoping this would just post on my page but I don't seem to be able to make it do that so you have to click the link. If you have school age children, you can be sure there is at least one child in their class that has food allergies. This was a great little video. Please take the time to take a look at it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nook Tablet

I bought one! I was stressing about spending so much money on myself for clearly a luxury item.  Being the typical Mom, I feel guilty if I buy myself new underwear, especially if they are not on clearance! The jeans I am wearing are from before my pregnancy with my 5 yr old son. To spend so much money on myself, let alone for something that was not a necessity is totally against my nature.  However, I am completely thrilled with this gadget so far! So, we have established that my spending money like this is not like me but you might also know that I am rather challenged technologically. It takes me months to adjust to a new phone and I still am not quite sure how to use the DVD player here. There is something so much less intimidating about a "touch screen" anything to me. I got the first Nook Tablet sold at my Barnes & Noble store. They had actually JUST gotten them in and were opening the box when Sarah and I arrived. There is another thing I never something electronic when it first comes out! Have I mentioned how much I love this thing?! 

As soon as I pull myself away from my new gadget long enough, I want to tell you all about my new oatmeal cookie recipe. Also, the more I read about the additives in our food, the more I want to go live on a farm and grow it all ourselves! More on that later as well!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Healthier Food Choices at The Blender

Here are some things I am doing to feed my family healthier food bit by bit!

Stater Bros. had Ronzoni brand Garden Delight pasta on sale for 99 cents, (regular $2.29) I emptied their shelf. This pasta is tri-colored and uses enough vegetables in it that a 4 oz serving of the pasta is a full serving of veggies! The kids loved it and there is no noticable tast or texture difference.

I made a big batch of "Healthier Flour Blend" (I modified the recipe from "The Sneaky Chef")  6 cups bread flour, 6 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup wheat bran. Just mix it, store it and use as you would flour, (I used bread flour since I am mostly using this in the bread machine).

I've made a few mixes from scratch to cut out the extra salt and preservatives. So far I have tried, taco seasoning, meat loaf seasoning, breading for things like chicken and pork chops. I have  a few more in the works. I will get those recipes posted for you soon.

We are using less meat and more beans and quinoa wherever I can. Also I am putting more vegetables into every meal.  For instance, in Mexican soup is an easy all in one meal that is easy to add to . I used 1/2 the chicken.  Added a can of black beans, a 1/2 cup of quinoa and twice the amount of veggies that I usually use. I also add 2/3 cup pureed veggies to the broth.

We do not drink any Kool-aid type drinks anymore. I make sweet tea nearly every day and have decreased the sugar significantly over the past 2 weeks.

No more potato type chips at out hours. I bought Sun Chips for school lunches. I also got some sweet potato chips at Costco that the kids have been eating up like crazy.

I can put pureed veggies in breads, muffins, cookies, pancakes and waffles, as well as wheat germ and no one seems to mind.

Also, I am trying to use much less soy that I did before. Soy sauce is fine for most but Tyler and Sarah are allergic to soy and there is so much sodium in it. Using less just makes more sense both with soy and soy sauce. I tried a mock soy sauce recipe that we liked well enough. It tastes nothing like soy so really it is just an alternative, not a substitute.

So, in a nutshell, this is where we are less sugar, less salt, less soy, avoid red dye #40 and yellow dye #5, less meat, more protein and more vegetables. Tell me some of your ideas!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I think that some people just don't understand about nut allergies

I have 3 kids with life threatening allergies to all tree nuts and peanuts. This means adjustments to everyone around them. We have no peanuts or nuts allowed at all in our home, not even for kids who are not allergic. The buzz word is "cross-contamination". Tyler and Amber have had to learn that even if someone brings cupcakes that their Mom baked at home and she is sure there are no nuts in them, they still can not eat them. They may have made peanut butter and toast on the counter. Cross-contamination. It isn't just that the allergic kids might itch or get watery eyes or a runny nose. They could die. If you know that there are children in your child's class or playgroup, or ball team, etc, that has a nut allergy, please be very respectful of that and please do not feel your rights are violated because no nuts are allowed there. It truly is life or death.

Peanut allergy kids ....this was a great post by another Mom with an allergic kiddo and the comments that followed were really telling.

Free Math Games!

This website was recommended by Kyle's teacher. I think it is going to be fun several of our kiddos!

The jalapeno bread machine bread was a success. I now have a use for the 12 cups or so of bread flour that has been infused with the essence of dill pickle! I still can't believe that big glass pickle jar held onto
THAT much pickle smell after several of soaking, cleaning and airing out!

Tyler, upon tossing some papers after school into the trunk along with everyone's backpacks, found some words to rhyme. He even put them into sing-song and repeated them over and over...."junk in the trunk, junk in the trunk, junk in the trunk"!

This picture is of Amber at school (Innovations Academy) with her 8th grade reading buddy :) I took it from her teacher's blog. I love that each of the teachers has a blog for their class and they are great about keeping them updated and posting pictures!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sensory Difficulties

Amber is really out of sync the past couple of days. This morning, going into school, she fell and cut her hand. She is fine but we need to work on her "sensory diet", (meaning a regular schedule of sensory activities throughout the day). Amber has SID, Sensory Integration Disorder. For those of you who don't know her story, here is the short version. Amber was placed in my home as an emergency placement foster baby. She was 13 months old, very under weight, no teeth, she couldn't even sit up herself and she was sick. She was exposed to meth before birth but the worst of it for her was her meth exposure  as a baby. Amber made no vocalizations at all for almost 2 months. No crying, no sound whatsoever and the Dr. felt she was either brain damaged or severely autistic. We taught her to sign and she learned very quickly and before we knew it she walking and talking. I carried her in a "pouch", did physical therapy and occupational therapy everyday, (she had therapists that came to our home and she went to Children's hospital twice a week) and play therapy once a week for over a year. She has no outward, obvious signs of the first year of her life now that she is 8 years old. Meth damages the nervous system so Amber's senses are all out of sync in her brain. Sometimes this is more evident than others and right now she is rather a mess! I know some of you have kiddos with SID and other Autism Spectrum disorders. Any suggestions on sensory input activities would be wonderful!

We found a place to send our abundance of Halloween candy! It is going to some Marines in Afghanistan. The kids worked on some pictures and letters to send along with it last night and no one is complaining about it so that's a plus!

My cookbook is coming along nicely. My menu planning is making life so much easier and the kids like being able to see what's coming up for dinner. I like not doing the "what am I going to cook for dinner" brain exercises every night! I have been making more things from total scratch and continuing to cut back on preservative/additives and sugar and add in more fresh fruits/veggies and grains.

Now I am off to Walter Anderson's Nursery in Poway to get some soil for Tyler's class planting cart. I asked the Scripps-Mesa Garden if they would take it on as a project. They declined to help other than to tell me that a good thing to plant in there would be California Poppies. That's ok though because you know I will love getting my hands in the dirt!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Say What?

"Get your head out of there!" (Mom to Tyler)
"I don't have a sheet on my bed", says Kyle. "Then put one on it", says Mom. Kyle then walks out to the garage. 
"Can I blow something up?" (Tyler with an airmattress pump)
Amber's friends ask Emily if it is true what Amber said. What did Amber say? She is 1/2 Werewolf. She has 10 dogs at home. Her family has a private jet.
"I do not have to get up for school. It is Sunday!" (Kyle to Dad) "Sorry, but it's Monday. Get up!" (Dad to Kyle)
"He is a pot-head." (Sarah talking about Johnny Appleseed who was being played by Martin Short)
"Get something good to eat." (Mom to kids just home from school) "Can I have candy?" (Emily)
"Time for dinner." (Mom to all) "Can I have candy?" (Tyler)
"Did you use soap?" (parent) "ummmmm. well." (pick a boy) At this point Jacob would likely chime in with, "in his defense, you didn't specifically say he had to. That implied he had a choice!"
"I forgot my lunch." (Dad)

*I just had to throw in this one from today. Cashier at Walmart said to Mom, "Thank you. Have a nice life." I just do not know what to make of that. Did she just break up with me?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food Dyes and Soy

In my quest to feed my family healthier food I have been looking at lots of other Mom's blogs. I kept seeing where people were avoiding soy so I dug into that a bit. Why? Wow! Soy is bad stuff, especially for children. Sarah and Tyler are allergic to it although small amounts do not cause a reaction. It full of natural estrogen, which one site claimed was akin to giving birth control pills to our kids! That is just the beginning! I was very surprised to learn that the food I believed to be such a "super food" is actually bad for us. The Asians did not eat it in any form but fermented until recent history because they believed it to be toxic...and for good reason.

As if that were not enough, I am now learning that yellow dye #5 is known to cause hyperactivity in children as well as red dye #40. When I read about this issues with red dye #40 some months ago, I immediately took Tyler off of it. The results were quick and amazing! If he should get a small amount of red dye now the results are quick and amazing! It makes him extremely hyper and aggressive. His eyes dart rapidly about and he will be the first to say he does not like how he feels. We are still having some issues with him having a constant need to move and an inability to sit still at all. I am going to take the yellow dye #5 out of his diet immediately and I will let you know if we see any changes. It makes me angry to learn that this as well as other very serious reactions to these dyes are known and yet we continue to allow them to be put into our food! Several other countries actually ban these! I learned about the yellow dye today when I was looking into some potential dietary helps for autism.  Taking MSG, artificial sweeteners and Red dye #40 out of the diet has shown to help some autistic children so it is worth trying in our home.

Take a look at Fruit Roll-Ups. They now have a "Simply Fruit" Fruit Roll-Up. The original is full of sugar and artificial color and flavor. The fruit version uses things like purple carrots and beets for color and flavor. I would buy the Fruit ones for Tyler and then whatever for the rest but more of the "regular" stuff for anyone! All the Halloween candy is going out the door, except for the chocolate, of course!

This picture is from Tyler's classroom blog. This is Kyle working as Tyler's reading buddy at school.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin and Rain

We got a good bit of rain and it was actually a little cold last night! I said to Steve something about my having a glass of wine in my hand and the sound of the rain, etc. But because our bed is in the living room, lighting a fire in the fireplace would mean a fire in our bed. (I know...don't say it). He responds, "There is an app for that!", picks up his phone and sure enough, we had a roaring fire! Beautiful!

Sunshine today but they say the rain is coming back tomorrow.

I have been cooking some pumpkins whole to use in some of my attempts at eating healthier around here. I was somehow very surprised that the white pumpkin and nice orange meat. I don't know what I expected but that was not it.The seeds were bigger than the other pumpkins. Tyler, when eating them after they were roasted made an interesting observation. He said that the seed had it's own cemetery, which we figured out meant coffin. Hmmm. Anyway... I made 2 pies with it today and there is still enough pureed pumpkin to make 4 more! Although, it won't all be going into pies. Some will be hiding in the spaghetti sauce or find it's way into pancakes or muffins!

*To cook a whole pumpkin, wash it. Set it on a baking pan. Stab it a few times and put it in the oven. 350 for about 2 hours. Cool completely then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds then scoop out the meat. I pureed it in the food processor but you can also use a potato rice to mash it. Let it sit for 30 min, pour off the water and you are ready to go! Mix up 3 cups pumpkin, 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 2 cans evaporated milk, 4 eggs, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups of sugar and a tsp of vanilla. Pour into 2 9" pie shells. Bake 15 min on 400 then 45-55 min on 350. (Hint: cover the edges of the crust with foil until the last 10 minutes).  This link has so much great pumpkin pie making tips as well as lots of other useful info!

Yesterday I made some great little fried snacks with zucchini. Ian said that I should sell them at Jack-In-The-Box! A very high compliment indeed!

Jacob has been working the lights for the Scripps Ranch High School play, "Cheaper By The Dozen" the past few days. Ian and Emily went to see a performance last night and enjoyed it very much! Tonight is the last performance.

Kyle is spending the night with his Grandparents. He left with a gigantic duffel bag! Turns out it was filled with Transformers! His super silliness was missed tonight!

The remaining crew, Sarah, Ian, Emily, Amber and Tyler played some games this afternoon. "Don't Break The Ice" way a favorite of Tyler's. The others, including Steve,  had a great time with "Scene It Junior". At some point they stopped playing the board game part and just tried to answer the questions.  Fun stuff, partly because it was SO dated!

Don't forget to Fall Back!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Healthier Eating

Since I am the one who feed the troops here, they have no choice but to be included when I say, "We are going to start eating healthier!" By this I mean, less sugar, more whole grains and most importantly, less preservatives and salt. We have a kiddos with autism spectrum disorders and kiddos with food allergies and sensitivities and behavior issues get the idea. So watch here and see how this goes. Of course we have to get through the Halloween Candy, Thanksgiving Goodies and Christmas Yummies so our progress may be slow until New Years!

I did some shopping the other day at Costco...spent $300, YIKES! Buying in bulk. Yes, I really did buy the 25 pound bag of bread flour. Now that I have the freezers, this is the way to go for us. Smart & Final is nearby and is also a great resource of us. I especially love the gallon size jug of hand soap!

Buying our meat from the farm was a great way to start off our healthier eating, although it hasn't arrived yet. Next I have made several "master mixes" and intend to make more. This way I have more control over the ingredients. I made taco seasoning, meat loaf mix and "shake", (shake chicken or pork chop in it and pan fry). Next up is Rice-a-roni and Bisquick.  At the moment I have a whole pumpkin in the oven. I will let you know how that goes.

Electric Bill! Our electric bill dropped $40! That is about 10 days of changes so I cant wait to see what next month will look like. We changed the heating elements on the electric stove, got a new washer and dryer and made a rule that everyone is downstairs, (therefore, no lights or computers on upstairs), at 6:30pm.  I also started using the electric skillet and crock pot more. We added a small freezer and next month there will be another freezer added in.  What can you do to "use less"?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sunny in San Diego

We have such beautiful weather here in San Diego! 85 degrees and sunny today. It was snowing again back  in Thornton Colorado...nope, I don't miss it even a little bit! Yet.

I tried a crock pot brownie recipe fail. Very disappointing. I will be the first to admit that I am an awesome cook but a terrible baker. From now on, the baking will mostly be left to Sarah. The house smells heavenly but the end product was just awful!

I think the mess surrounding my paperwork with Innovations Academy for Tyler's home school days is finally cleaned up! I meet with someone who knows a thing or two on Monday. In the meantime, Tyler and I continue to have an awesome time with this whole part-time homeschooling thing.

There is a book called, "The Out-Of-Sync Child"  by Carol Kranowitz. It's a great book for parents and teachers dealing with kiddos with sensory disorders. She has written a chapter book, "To the boys and girls who feel that being in the world is a struggle and want to know why." We are reading it aloud in our living room, 10 minutes every night. Sensory put this gem out. So far we are enjoying it and seeing some of every one of us in it's story.

Amber and Emily in matching jammies!

The Santa Ana winds bring odd behavior from children. Steve helped with an incident at the elementary school he works at today. All the kids are just off and LOUD today. I remember when I was teaching pre-k that windy days seemed to bring out the wild in kiddos. Tyler has been especially active and loud. Amber has had more than the usual sensory meltdowns. Kyle feels he needs to be in charge of Amber and Tyler today and that hasn't gone well, as you can imagine. Ian randomly and suddenly leaped off the sofa and into Kyle's face when everyone was watching TV. Sarah, Jacob and Emily are especially....buoyant and ...silly. You should've seen this group trying to figure out what to watch on TV together while wasn't pretty. Steve finally suggested they all go read books instead and it was funny how quickly they made a decision! Everyone is just a bit off all over the place today.