Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted,"
or "forbidden" in the title.~From Scooby-Doo

Oct 30, 2010

To Halloween...or NOT to Halloween!

I'm back from a year 'sabbatical' from blogging. In this past year I broke my leg, adopted 2 kids, helped my mom through her kidney transplant, visited family and friends and spent every day indoctrinating myself in the world of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). In January of this year my two adopted children were diagnosed with RAD and our lives have never been the same. More on this story later, but for now I am in a good place with a wonderful therapist, great private school (behavioral service oriented) and lots of resources and great, supportive people in my life...but not everyone! :D

The topic today is Halloween, which I will preface by saying I don't like it. Never have, don't see the benefit and while I do participate I could easily give it up with no regrets. Last year we had all our children participate in the Trick-or-Treat night, church party, Trunk-or-Treat and class parties. At the time it was out of control but I was helpless to control it.

This year, I am better equipped to handle this holiday and others. The Big Easy and I have decided to not have our two RAD kids participate in any Halloween festivities. I feel good about that. Why? Because I know, as their mom, that participating brings no benefit to their mental health and emotional security. I can feel people's judgment when I say they won't be attending the class party or going out with our 3 healthy kids around the neighborhood tonight. "How can you prevent them from having fun?", "It's an American Institution", "It's unfair that you let some of your kids do it and not all of them", "What kind of mother are you?"

Fortunately, I'm used to the last feeling/statement - and I'll tell you what kind of mother I am. I'm a mother who lives every day with 2 children who do not trust or love me. I am a mother who spends every ounce of our family's financial, emotional and spiritual resources to help these two kids get the help that they need to be successful in life. I'm the kind of mother who has long-term vision for all my children and while it may not seem 'fun' or 'fair' in the moment - I ponder how every decision I make for them will affect their lives as adults. I'm the mother who is caring for children who didn't have someone looking out for their best interests early on in life. I'm the mom who cleans up the pee, poop and listens to them yell/scream/cry at me when they don't get what they think they 'want'. I'm the mother who loves my children and will fight fiercely for them.

So, A&S will not be dressing up or trick-or-treating this year. Yes, it's not fun for them. It's not fair to the family that we don't all get to go out together. It's not fair to me or The Big Easy that one of us has to stay home and have an early night - but we see the greater good. And honestly...does anyone really believe that there will be emotional scarring for not getting oodles of candy? pretending to be someone you're not? or being scared out of your wits!? These 2 kids have had enough 'tricks' in their short life before joining our family that a lifetime of 'treats' will not cure that. What will cure it is consistency, love, affection, bonding, and trust in a Mom that will look out for their best interest and have vision for their future. I'm that kind of mom.

The Halloween Grinch!

Oct 4, 2009

We had a storm last week - and the temperatures dropped drastically...so we are left with a garden full of green tomatoes. Now, I love fried, green tomatoes but I can't cook that every night and doubt seriously it's that good for you. I ran across a recipe for green tomato relish on Farmgirl Fare and while I wasn't thoroughly convinced at the onset that it would be yummy...it definitely would save our hard work with the tomato plants. It turned out absolutely scrumptious! Eric was sad that I bottled it all and didn't save any out for him to eat last night with tortilla chips. So, if you have any green tomatoes lying around - you can whip up a batch and try it for yourself, you won't regret it!

Farmgirl Susan's No Sugar Green Tomato Relish

Makes about 3 pints
Recipe may be doubled; increase cooking time by 10-15 minutes

2 lb. green tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 lb. white or yellow onions, chopped
3/4 lb. sweet red peppers, cored and chopped
1/2 lb. tart cooking apples, such as 'Granny Smith', cored and chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup 5% acidic organic raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt
4 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded if desired, and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

Combine the tomatoes, onions, peppers, apples, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a large, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour.

Stir in the jalapenos, cilantro, and cumin and simmer for 5 more minutes. Carefully purée the mixture using a stick blender (I can't say enough good things about my KitchenAid Hand Blender—it's one of the best things I ever bought for the kitchen) or in a traditional countertop blender (in batches if necessary) until still somewhat chunky.

If canning, return the puréed relish to a boil, then ladle the hot mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Store in a cool, dark place.
10 calories, 0g fat, 60mg sodium, 0g fiber, per Tablespoon

Sep 27, 2009

Produce Parade

Two years ago, I posted some of the more 'unusual' produce that sprang from our garden. You may remember this - aptly named "The carrot with a tail" (D'Art's idea):

Or the "octopus carrot" seen here:

So this year I'd like you to meet "Rick" and "Tony"
- they're rather 'snooty' as you can see:

This is their distant cousin "Jimmy" - he has quite the proboscis...

And can have quite the mean streak when pushed too far!

Bet you never see these in the supermarket aisle....'pear-shaped' cucumber
and its curvy sidekick!

Our one and only green pepper - looking down on our tomato harvest.

BUT - this was our first year growing melons!
We got crenshaw and cantaloupes that turned out really tasty!

The pumpkin vine, underneath the front window, took off and is producing 3, nice "Baby Bear" pumpkins. Perfect for pie-making.

And one lone little straggler who isn't going to make it to jack-o-lantern status or even a pie. Maybe he'll decorate the table or at the very least a neighbor's yard. Look out cul-de-sac!

Sep 26, 2009

Labor Day

The summer rushed right past me - woosh! Did anyone else feel the breeze!? We were busy with day trips, camps, a myriad of appointments for foster parenting, swim lessons, swimming, hanging with friends and just hanging out in general. School started and we were all glad to be back to our routines

Over Labor Day, we were lucky enough to have family come to visit. We spent our time doing nothing elaborate - but boy, was it rejuvenating! Our favorite event was an afternoon spent up in the mountains. It was just a group of us, some picnic supplies, long picnic benches, some card games, a wonderful breeze and lots of laughter. There is nothing finer to me!

Happy Labor Day 2009!

Jun 29, 2009

Home-made Hawaii

We were supposed to go to Hawaii last February. That was before we started doing foster care and had 5 kids to watch around sand and water (and the expenses to go along with it!). It would have been fun....the kids have often reminded us that they missed out!

Every once in a while a good idea pops in my head and I actually follow through with it - today was one of those days. I was pulling flowers off my pansy plants and there was quite a pile. I thought, "Wow, those could be strung together to make leis". "Nah, that would take too much time...the flowers are wilty...the girls will think it's dumb" was my self-talking response. Nevertheless, I sat down and decided to go with it! Here's the materials:

And here are the very happy recepients (well, the 2 out of 3 girls I can show you right now):

I pulled out the slip 'n slide, mini blow-up pool and the sprinkler for the trampoline. I filled up the little plastic sink with water and told them to have at it...we were having a Hawaiian STAYcation! We will grill for dinner and I'm playing Hawaiian music on Pandora.com. Now I'm off to make smoothies for the tourists!

This guy doesn't seem to be as convinced...maybe he needs some flowers in his hair!

P.S. We are moving from foster care towards adoption for the 2 kids in our care...we hope to have it completed by the end of summer. Updates to follow and lots of pictures when we're through! :D

Apr 13, 2009

Whoosh! There it is!

How does time go by so fast!?!?! Well, for me, it goes a little something like this... (a pictorial review of where the time went)

First, this girl had her 10th birthday:

Then you throw in a little of this:

And every day after school (when it wasn't SNOWING!) there was lots of this:


On St. Patrick's Day we couldn't find Shamrock Shakes so we ended up making our own and started a new family tradition like this:

Another little girl (my baby) had a princess blow-out birthday party like this:

And this past weekend my good hubster made sure the kids got to do this:

And then yesterday there were attempts to take nice Easter photos that ended up looking more like this:

That's where I've been for the past 2 months - how about you?

Feb 20, 2009


Thank Goodness it's Pay It Forward Friday!!!

A good friend (yes, you know who you are!) had a "Pay it Forward" challenge on her blog. I gladly raised my hand to receive a lovely gift from her and in return agreed to do the same right here! So...the first five folks to leave comments will get something handmade from me. I can't promise what it will be - maybe something sewn, scrapbooked, papered, baked, typed, printed, etc but it will definitely be from the heart! I CAN promise that it will be free of crayon marks and fingerprints from 5 little urchins that live within the four walls of our home!
The rules:
1. leave your comment with a link to your email if I don't already have it
2. you must agree to pay it forward by doing the same on your blog, or if you don't have a blog on Facebook or email
3. wait patiently for your handmade item
4. pay your own item forward!
Isn't the domino effect grand!? Happy paying!