My 1 Million Row Challenge

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hard to be Cheerful

It is hard to be cheerful on a day like today that went through the blender called life with Eric. I had a nice leisurely day planned out a little knitting, getting caught up on some of my shows, errands and a quite lunch at Sweet Tomatoes.

10 am. the call came from the wheelchair clinic, silly me I thought that they were confirming his appointment for tomorrow morning, but no they had to see him today. They could see him at 10:30, now try making it to the high school and then to their office in mid town in 30 minutes, do they think I drive "Chitty-Chitty,Bang-Bang"? When I said I could not make that one they said that they had a 1:00 pm slot, that I could make and and even had time to cram lunch down in the parking lot before the appointment.

They were reluctant to help me get Eric from the chair, but I stood my ground and the tech finally figure he would not get the chair for the modifications till he helped get Eric out. That is when Eric's Mickey Button popped out. Eric has had a g-tube for over 7 years and this has not happened once. I did manage to get it back in, but had to change it when I got home. And then Eric managed to knock down my drink and there was that to clean up. At least the supply company was nice about it and could not believe that this has not happened before. Cross your fingers with me to hope everything will be OK till the spare button comes later in the week.

The new Sunflower Market at River and Orange Grove is very nice. We stopped by because I needed a little sane serenity dippity in my life to today. Did I mention that it was the grand opening today, definitely not sane but the staff was well trained and very nice. The Representatives from Harris Ranch Beef also gave a good tri-tip recipe. Use a salt and pepper rub. heat the grill to 350 cook the meat for 45 minutes turning every 5 minutes, Boy do those guys know how to cook a mean tri-tip roast.

The snow birds came out in droves for the grand opening and defiantly do not like to give the van accessible spaces to people with wheel chairs. There is nothing worse then waiting for a space and having a snow bird block access and practice hand jesters that they deserve time outs for. Where are their children when we need them?

Here to a quite evening. Sorry dad there was no way that this day was going to turn out "somewhere between great and fantastic" I really tried. Should I offer a bonus to Eric if he goes to sleep on time?

The comments and opinions in this blog are mine. I have not received compensation from Sunflower Market or Harris Ranch Beef.

Have an wonderful evening and enjoy your families.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Caught Between Two Worlds

My husband I and I were talking over dinner how we feel caught between the two worlds of parenting. We have come to the realization that we will never leave the diaper bag phase of our lives and yet we can not imagine what life would be like with out Eric. Yet at the same time we are going through the empty nest phase with our oldest Teri leaving for law school.

Each child has brought extreme joys and challenges to our marriage. Both of our children are so different they only way to know that they are siblings is by those gorgeous hazel eyes. We have managed to raise to the challenge of both children, lets just say that they both dropped off the pediatric developmental chart at 18 months of age but in opposite directions.

It is physically challenging to raise a disable child and the hours are long. The toll on the body is great. I love Eric's smile and gleeful chortle that seems to make it all worth while. Eric has taken us to places that we never would have imagined going to. He has gotten us special tours of places when we did not know that we needed to make reservations for a tour a year in advance in the first place. He has opened out lives to some of the best people on the planet. He has the knack of bring out the extremes in people either the best or worst, but mainly the best.

Teri on the other hand is the precocious child always asking, why, how, what. This can be harder then the challenge of the disabled child. While most of my friends were trying to keep their children from stuffing food into the VCR, Teri just had to know why when she put in tapes that looked the same on the outside gave her different stories, at 3 she just had to know how magnetic coding worked and how it was applied. We went through the same questioning with the solar system and volcanoes and just about any other subject. Her melt downs were usually because I could not explain how something like a laser worked. She did not like me to put her in time outs or to get in trouble so by the time she was in 1st grade she usually figured out on her own what she did wrong and anticipated what her punishment would be. She must have been one of the few children on the planet to utter the following phrase " leave me alone I in time out because I did____" with out being put in time out by an adult. So we taught Teri that you must look at a problem from all sides, that if you had 2 people in a room and could not come up with a least 3 view points that someone was asleep. This trend continued through out her life. I was at a speaking engagement once and had to excuse myself to take a call from Teri. Teri knew that I could not drive her home that day but called to see if she could go to a lecture on black holes with her friend and that her friend's mom would drive them home. It was the same day a highly anticipate CD was to be release and the malls were going to be packed. Some one had ask if she was asking to go get the CD, and I had to say no she wanted to go to a lecture on black holes. By the look on the persons face I could tell this was not a usual high school students reply, but it was typical Teri.

One would believe that with 22 years of experience with these two children that we would be prepared for this stage of life. We feel like empty nester's yet we have one child that will need care for the rest of his life. We would love to travel but you should see the amount of gear that Eric travels with, let put it this way, we fill the van to overflowing and yet everyone but Eric, only has an overnight bag for the week.

If you are ahead of us on this curve of life please let me know how you manage to handle things, otherwise we will just muddle through like we have for the last 22 years.

Have a good day and enjoy your families.

A Must Read Book

One of my must read books is being made into a movie, but before it happens you should read "Eat, Pray, Love: One woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Elizabeth is a very engaging writer and takes us through her post-divorce journey to wholeness. In Italy it's about the food, her flat mate and Italian language classes and her Italian tutor.

In India Elizabeth goes to a remote Ashram to try to understand her life and soul. Elizabeth goes into what life is like at the Ashram and the people she meets. By the time she leaves India she is well on her way on her new post divorce life.

In Indonesia, Elizabeth learns she does have power over her own universe and life. Elizabeth also learns to love again.

This is a unique book and the people Elizabeth meets along the way are awesome and teach her little life lessons along the way. I urge you to read the book before the movie comes out. It will have you laughing and crying and wishing that you could meet these people and make them apart of your life.

I have included a link to Amazon.com if you would like to buy the book on line, and use this link on the upper right corner of my web page, I will get a small commission.

Read this wonderful book and enjoy your families.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Low Fat Green Beans Almondine

I try not to use a lot of extra fat in my cooking and have finally come up with a low fat version that my husband likes. You can not be totally fat free because the almonds have some fat, but you will find no other fat in this recipe. Since we eat a large amount of vegetables in our house I feel this is a recipe for 2 to 3 people, however I am sure that it will serve more if you don't cover half of your plate with vegetables.

I cheated and used my steamer. It was fast and easy to do and would be a great recipe to let the children help assemble.

1 pound of fresh green beans rinsed and trimmed
8 ounces of fresh whole mushrooms cleaned and quartered
1/2 cup of sliced almonds, the slivers work the best

Layer the steamer tray as follows: the bottom layers should be the green beans , then spread the mushrooms evenly over the green beans. Finally sprinkle the almond slivers evenly over the top. I set my steamer for 10 minutes. Your green beans almondine are now ready to serve. There will be a large burst of steam when you open the steamer so do not let the children do this.

My husband did note that after dinner it was hard to get all the almond slivers out of the steam tray, but because the dish tasted good I should make it again and he would clean the tray out.

I use an Aroma Steamer, and have included a link to Amazon.com for the rice cooker and steamer that I use.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cell Phone Courtesy

I would like to comment on cell phone courtesy for just a moment. We are told not to talk and drive, well I think it should also be applied to pushing a shopping cart.

This rant was brought about by more than several near misses at Costco today. Also by cell phone users blocking aisles while they are busy talking.

Please think about what you are doing.

Please think about what you are saying, we don't care what your ex wore to the party or whom they went with.

Please remember that is a small world, if it is meant to be a private conversation, have it at home where no one can ease drop.

Please don't glare at the person you just ran into with your shopping cart or worse yet car, because you can not walk, talk and drive at the same time. Multi tasking is very bad for you.

Please don't feel you have to talk on the phone all the way through a meal at a restaurant, we go out to have a good time and for some quite time. It's OK to answer the phone and then move outside to finish the call.

It is really OK to not answer a text message and talk to the people you are out with, after all you are out with them and not the people on the other end of the phone.

I know that this is an uber connected generation with children as young as 5 saying that their lives will be ruined with out the prerequisite cell phone. With cell phones, as with all things in life manners are a must.

If you disagree with this please remember the rules that my house lives by.
1. Mom is always right.
2. If mom is wrong see rule number 1.

My rule of thumb on this is to make this the type of world you would like to live in. We are all in this together. Have a wonderful day and enjoy your families.

My Art Fire Studio

I have been thinking about my Art Fire Studio http://www.tinyurl.com/handmadebysheri a lot lately. I still have not had one sale. So maybe it is time to take some things out and put others in.

For fall and winter I was thinking about adding some wool scarfs. I hope with the weather getting colder they might be useful in other parts of the country. I got a good deal on some nice bulky Cascade wool at a tag sale so I can do a bunch an list them for about $10.00 each and still make some money.

I was also thinking about a line of semi home made felted purses and tote bags. I would knit the blanks and the buyer can decorate and felt as they please. This will give the busy person a chance to say I made it myself.

So look for the changes to come soon. If there is something in my Studio that you like get ti now before i start de-listing items.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy your families.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Short poem

Fall's Here
The wind is
Playing with
The trees.



It was a late start day for Eric today, so it was warmer as we waited at the bus stop for the bus. The first sound Eric heard was the wind blowing through the trees, I think he liked the sound of it, because he was smiling. so the above poem is dedicated to Eric.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good-Bye Summer

Today is the first day off Autumn, a chill is in the air. It was under 80 degrees when I put Eric on the bus today, I stepped outside and had to run in to get a shawl for my shoulders. I am not one of those cold weather people, when it gets below 80 I cringe and below 70 well lets just say that I am counting the days to late spring and summer.

I know this is where the gaffes will start from those in colder climates where 80 degrees is a hot day, but I live in the desert and a slew of 100 degree plus days is what I love, It does not have to be record breaking shut down the airport hot, just above 100 is all I ask for.

For all you planning to visit Tucson this winter, I will be the one that has layers of clothing on, while those of you from colder climates will be walking around in shorts. Now really shorts in winter what are you thinking? I don't even wear shorts in summer.

So you will find me for the next 8 months or so cringing and under layers of clothing...maybe I should just hibernate for the fall and winter, but I don't think the house will run well with out me.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the first day of Fall.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tucson Wool Festival

It's that time of year again, Unique Designs by Kathy is hosting the 5th annual Tucson Wool Festival. The big day is Saturday, October 17, 2009, from 9 am to 3 pm. It is a great event for the entire family. The event is stroller and wheelchair friendly if you don't mind a bit of rough terrain and four wheeling it, I know because I have pushed 80 pounds of boy along with 180 pounds of wheelchair at past events.

Did I mention that the Tucson Wool Festival is FREE. This would be a good group outing for your group or school. Your can tour a real working ranch, Kathy gives a great tour and her animals are friendly. Kathy will have a prize drawing and I can not wait for the sheep to shawl event.

Kathy does a wonderful job of spinning yarn too. The yarn Kathy spun up and I knit into a shawl is still in use 4 1/2 years later. So be sure to check out Kathy's shop on the ranch for hand spun yarn, fibre to spin and very nice hand work done by Kathy too.

Kathy wrote out an elegant description, so in the interest of doing the event justice I will plagiarize her description of the event.

"Tour a working fiber farm and meet our llamas, angora goats, Shetland, Jacob, Border Leicester and Rambouillet sheep and angora rabbits. Their luxurious fibres are used in spinning, felting, weaving and knitting to create lovely and natural apparel and decorative work. Try your hand at a workshop or visit a selection of unique fiber artists from across the southwest. Of course, knitters and crocheters are welcome to lend a hand to the "Freeform Community sheep to shawl" event."

As of today there is still time to volunteer, call Kathy. Kathy also has some space left for vendors, to set up a vending spot for hand crafted items only, so if you spin, raise your own fibre animals or create your own hand made crafting supplies give Kathy a call at (520) 572-3758. or e-mail her at jmarckathy@aol.com or check out her web site at http://www.uniquedesignsbykathy.com

It is fairly easy to get to Kathy's ranch. From the I-10, Exit Cortaro Farms & travel east to Thornydale, north past Linda Vista to Palo Seco. This is a small dirt road just past some apartments. Turn left and the Ranch is first on the right. From Tucson if you are not taking the freeway take Ina to Thornydale and go north past Linda Vista to Palo Seco. Turn left and the ranch is on the right hand side. There is plenty of street parking, just be sure to pull all the way off the road.

This is a must go to event for fibre people and a good outing for children, there are not many working ranches left in Tucson. I hope to see you there.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Salute to Spinners Everywhere

I tried my hand at spinning yesterday at the guild meeting. I would like to say that I was a total flop. The only 2 things I was good at was breaking the yarn and over winding the yarn back into the batt. Hands that are good at knitting are not necessarily good at spinning. Although Helga was kind and said that it took a while to learn and when hands are flared with arthritis it is not a good time to start to learn to spin.

I would say with out a doubt that all the spinners jobs are safe, I will not be joining your ranks any time soon. I would love to say that I could sit and watch someone spin for hours, I find that very relaxing. You are all wonderful artists. Thank you all for reviving the hand spun yarn movement.

I hope that this does not exclude me from buying all the hand spun yarn I would like. I do like unique and one of a kind items.

Pina Colada Chicken

I have had a request for my Pina Colada Chicken. This is a fast and easy recipe and I always serve it on a bed of brown rice.

1 pound of Chicken breasts
1 large can of crushed Dole Pineapple in its own juice
1 can of Coconut milk ( you can use the light version if you like)
1 cup of Bakers Coconut
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
non stick cooking spray

In my heart shaped Le Creuset casserole dish, I spray the casserole dish and top with non stick cooking spray.

Rinse the chicken and place in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drain the Dole Pineapple into a glass. Pour the coconut milk over the chicken, then add the drained pineapple and sprinkle the coconut on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Clean the sink out with your favorite bleach cleaner.

Start the rice about 1 cup of cooked rice per person. Add ice to the drained juice and enjoy your treat.

Serve with salad

This recipe serves 4. There are no Vegan or Vegetarian options for this recipe.

I have not received compensation for either Bakers Coconut or the Dole corporation. As usual these are the brands I use.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Welch's Harvest of Help to Feed America

Welch's: Harvest of Help

This is an easy way to help other people, just click once a day. No need to register. just click.

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Parenting

A lot of people feel that they have to jump through a lot of hoops to make their child the perfect child, They try many different methods and buy tons of parenting books. Now I am not saying that some guidance is not necessary. But my children's first Pediatrician Dr. Fricker told me early on to pick only one book and not to be a slave to that book because each child is different. To that end I will not tell you what book that I have on my bookshelf, but will instead give my humble opinion on what you need to do as a parent to raise a happy healthy child.



The number one job of a parent is to raise happy children who find their own way to make the world a better place. No more, no less.



The first step in developing a happy child is for the child to know that they are wanted and are an important part of your life. The easiest way to get a smile from your child is to tell them that they were planned or in the case of an unexpected child is to tell them that it was part of Gd's plan and he pick the right parents for your child. With the adopted child this can be easier with the child being told that they are special because you picked them out.



The second step is to develop a sense of community for your child. Explaining that being part of that community involves rules and a certain set of standards. This does involve teaching a child that they can not have everything that they want and that no means no. This will lead to frustration on the part of the parent and child, with the child throwing the occasional temper tantrum. I let the tantrum run its course and then talked to my children when they were calmer.

Discipline comes in to the equation too. Discipline is a way to integrate a child into society, by teaching them what society excepts from them and what they can expect in return. Discipline does not mean that a belt has to be pulled out for each infraction. I found the best way to discipline my children is to walk up to them and whisper in their ear what they are doing wrong and in the case of my eldest is to ask her what corrective action she is going to take to resolve the problem. With my youngest he requires more direction so I tell him what I would like him to do.



Also it is important to realize that each child is different. Not every child will grow up to be the President of a large company or the United States, those jobs are very limited and not everyone is suited for those jobs. There are literally hundreds of different jobs that need to be done each day to make this world function and they all require different skill sets. It is your job as a parent to help your child find their own way. Some children might show artistic tendencies. While others excel in math or science. This is where you can let your child lead the way, and no it does not mean letting children abandon school. School teaches a very real set of skills that are necessary for your child to grow into a fully functioning adult.

The job of parenting is a very difficult one with no instruction manual is issued when the child is born. It is instead a learning experience for you and your child. Please feel free to ignore the latest study and go with your gut feelings. If in doubt ask someone you consider a great parent and ask your questions, but don't be surprised that after the basics are answered they often say you have to learn to go with the flow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rules of My House

OK so this is not the most novel blog title. Of course we all know the standard rules of the house:

Rule number

1: Mom is always right. Rule number 2: If mom happens to be wrong, please refer to rule number 1.



These rules are geared more toward people who come into my house to take care of my son. These rules are in no particular order, but are all equally important. They are all a result of past incidents that have occurred in our home.



1. Please do not rearrange my furniture, I put it where it is because I like it there. You have not come in as a decorator.

2. Please do not encourage bad behavior in my son. We really like decorum in the house, and good manners are a large part of that.

3. Please do not laugh at bad behavior in my son for you own amusement. If you want amusement go to a movie on your own time.

4. Unless you have a lot of prior experience with children like my son do not tell me I am doing my job wrong, or am not using his equipment right. The doctors and the therapists have the last word on how we do many of these things.

5. I have been doing this job for over 19 years, I think I know what I am doing by now. And No, I really don't care how other parents run their houses or take care of their children. My concern is my son.

6. It is fine to discuss religion with me, but you will not bring religion up with my son. He knows where we come from and that is all that is important to us as a family. Your job is to care for his body, we will take care of his soul.

7. If there is any eyrping or other bodily messes occurrence while you are working with my son, it is your job to clean it up. Please do not leave the mess for later, the next shift or I will have to clean it up.

8. You might be working with my son, but You are a guest in my house, please show some courtesy towards my family.

9. This is not a zoo please do not feel you have to stare at us for hours on end.

10 My purse is not your personal ATM, If you need money go to your employer or family.

11. If you get your self into debt it is not my responsibility to get you out of debt.

12. My house is not your shopping mall, If you need makeup, kitchen items, religious articles, or anything else, ask your parents, or go shopping.

13. If you decide to skip your mood altering prescription drugs, please feel free to skip work that day, I really don't need to deal with your break from reality or anger management issues.

14. Please do not treat my son like a brick. He may not be able to talk to or see you, but he has feelings and a great sense of humor.

15. If you are sick Please, Please, Please do not come to work. When you get my son sick, it leads to long days and nights caring for a sick son. I have noticed that in the past you have not volunteered to stay up all night with him.

On the other hand there are things I don't mind at all.

1. You may fold and put away my sons laundry any time you want.

2. You may straighten and dust his room any time you want.

3. If his shelves are in a jumble please feel free to organize them, this is not one of my strong points.

4. You may talk to him all you like, he really will listen. Did I mention he has a great sense of humor and likes girls and music.

5. The following things always need to be done, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, straighting his bathroom.

Please do not miss construe this to mean that we don't like you, the opposite is true. Just remember that your place of business is our home and refuge. That we like everyone else, likes down time and family time.

Thank you for reading my rant. Please feel free to pass this along to other families who use care givers on a regular basis.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy your families.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Version of Chili

This is my lazy version of chili, this recipe is easy to do. If however; your are a chili fan who will go to great lengths to find the perfect chili, this recipe is not for you. In other words if your are a chili purest go to the next recipe. For the rest of the world this is an easy dish to prepare.

2 pounds of stew meat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1-28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes in its own juice
1 cup of water
2 teaspoons of The Spice Hunter Salt Free Chili Powder Blend
2-16 ounces cans of kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 pound of frozen white corn
Non stick cooking spray

In a large Le Creuset pot, spray the bottom and sides with the non stick cooking spray. Add the stew meat, salt and pepper and brown the meat over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add the canned tomatoes, water, chili powder, drained beans and the pound of frozen white corn. Bring to a slow boil and then turn the flame to medium low and simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, the longer the better. Check to pot every 15 to 20 minutes to stir and make sure that you have enough chili broth so that the chili does not burn. After one hour of cooking tasted the chili broth and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Serve with warm corn bread. It is not our custom, but you may add cheese to the top of the chili after it has been ladled into the bowl.

I have also made this recipe with diced chicken or turkey, for poultry I would cut the chili powder in half.

I have not made this recipe to accommodate vegans or vegetarians.

If your store does not carry The Spice Hunter Salt Free Chili powder blend go to www.thespicehunter.com for where to buy locally. Amazon does carry The Spice Hunter Chili Powder but it does come in a six pack.

I am not being paid to promote The Spice Hunter Salt Free Chili Blend. This just happens to be the one that my family likes. Like wise I am not being paid to promote the Le Creuset Pots, I just love them and wish I could afford a full set.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Improvising a Casserole Dish

It occurred to me yesterday when I was on the phone with Teri that a lot of people born in the last 25 years or so have not had mandatory cooking classes in middle school or high school, so I though I would write about improvising if you don't have the called for casserole dish.

To improvise a casserole pan is one of the easiest things to do. Most of you basic cooking sets will come with either a rectangular or square cake pan or a bread pan. And you should have aluminum foil as on of your kitchen basics.

Line your pan with the foil, shinny side down. added your ingredients and seal your pan with another layer of foil shinny side down. Make sure that your seal is very tight or you might run out of cooking liquids and end up with a very dry or burnt dish.

For metal pans you can use the the temperature called for in the recipe. For glass baking pans DO NOT put the oven temperature above 325 degrees Fahrenheit and give it a longer time to cook.

If you have any specific question on improvising just leave a note in the comment section and I will address the issue to the best of my abilities.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy your families.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Memory of Jarrad

In memory of Eric's friend Jarrad I will be donating 10% of all sales from http://www.tinyurl.com/handmadebysheri to the Tucson JCC Special Needs program till 9/8/2009.

Both Jarrad and Eric have enjoyed the Tucson JCC Special Needs Programs through out the years. I can think of no better way to honor Jarrad then to make a donation in his memory to a program that he loved so much.

If you would like to make a donation in Jarrad's honor you can send a check to:

Tucson JCC
Special Needs Programing
3800 East River Road
Tucson Arizona, 85718

This is a non-profit group and government funding has been reduced for special needs programing this year due to state budget constraints.