Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 30

Wow- is this really the last day of this Gratitude Challenge? Around day fifteen I thought I'd never be able to blog EVERY day for 30 days. I have a lot to be thankful for but I am famous for half finishing stuff. (You can see that on an earlier post if you have been following.) But I am thankful I stuck this out.

Today I am also thankful for the Jesse tree! We have done this in the past and you can read that here. There is also a great FREE one online. You can find it HERE. You have to sign up for the daily email or a 'feed' to get the free PDF but it is worth it. It started yesterday but do two readings a day for a couple of days and you are caught up. If you have any problems email me or leave a comment and I'll see if I can walk you through it.

The 'flavor' of this one is different from ones in the past that we have done. It is less 'academic' and focuses on relationship. It talks about being expectant in this season. Each day has a reading, a devotional and an optional activity. There are paper ornaments at the end. I printed them on cardstock. I thought about laminating but didn't get that far. We are just going to paste them on the wall.. no branch. Keeping it simple. We are also listening to the readings online. You can do that FREE on Bible Gateway. (I'm thankful for free stuff on the internet too.)

On the note of being expectant, as this Jesse Tree Journey draws out, I am thankful for expectations... When I live in God's expectations, instead of my own, I live a more peaceful life. That is my own journey that I seem to be living out daily.

So thanks for reading all my gratitude posts. I toyed around with doing the December Garden of Learning's daily posts but I have two reviews due and another one that doesn't have a due date but I want to get out ASAP. (Diapering a Watermelon book.... it is really good and you don't need to have a baby to appreciate the book.) I will probably link up with her a time or two though! Oh- and it's CHRISTMAS!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 29

I had a blog post up for this earlier today and I decided to take it down. So just mentioning in case you already read it and are confused! It was too vague and impossible to explain without the details. So I'm a woman and I can change my mind. Simply today I am thankful for friends. Had a wonderful conversation with a friend today which helped me greatly. Also had dinner with someone I have known since college. We SAY we will get together every month but it ends up being like every six months- but we keep on getting together! That is the point. On Wednesday we are having a Bible study reunion. If I can swing it I might even get out for mom's night tomorrow night. Love my girlfriends!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 28

Today's post is about connections. I am thankful that Andrew makes them as I know that some kids (spectrum and not) have a hard time with that...so i recognize when Andrew makes them.

We were watching the original Charlie Brown movie yesterday; the one where he gets second in the National Spelling Bee. We only watched half way through because Andrew was so mad at Lucy. So when Charlie won the local spelling bee I thought best to turn it off. We adults talk about bullying being new but I do believe Lucy was one of the original bullies- as were many of CB's friends. Andrew was verklempt over it all. (My friend Jean was the first one to use that word a long time ago but I digress.) He was angry, mad as a hornet. Mark shared that he too used to get so mad when Lucy would continue to pull the football out from under CB. (I keep wondering why CB kept doing it..but again..I digress.)

This morning Andrew was STILL upset and I was glad that the show had 'disappeared' from the dvr as shows sometimes do. But I mentioned to him that sometimes I wonder what made Lucy so angry. Why was she always so mean? Did she have something happen to her that made her mean? Andrew's wheels were turning but I didn't know it. I was off that topic and had picked up a magazine. He said, "It's a Garthism." huh? "You know, like in The World According to Humphrey."

You see, in that book there is a boy named Garth. He becomes mean during the book. The teacher pulls him aside and asks what is going on and teases out of him that his mom is sick. Wow!

How many of us stop just long enough to really think about connections. (And about where other people's behavior comes from.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 27

Thankful for my sissy. We are 10 years apart and I moved out to college when she was about six years old. But over the years we have grown closer. I just wish she didn't always live in another state!! I miss her!

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 26

Aut-2B-Home asked if I had any good recipes. I have blogged our Thanksgiving menu over at my Settings Of Silver blog. You can click on over there for the recipes. Here is a quick 'self assessment' of our meal.

The turkey was great. I cooked it in a new roaster I bought for $20 at Walmart. It was over 13 lbs and cooked in under two hours. When I checked it (early) it was over 220F. Yet it was still really good. I suppose the thermometer could have been broken but I think buying a "happy turkey" was well worth it.

Mashed potatoes were made simply with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and some chicken broth. They were tasty as was the gravy. I used Trader Joes pancake mix in the gravy. I had read yesterday while googling gravy that sweet rice flour works really well for flour. I will do that next time.

I loved the cornbread stuffing. I thought being cooked in the slow cooker it might be too moist but it wasn't. I would make this again. Everyone loved Shannon's stuffing too.

I am probably the only one that ate the cranberry sauce but it was great...and I'll make it next year and maybe sooner because I love it. My brother requested the stuff in the can. Next year I'll do that too.

Green beans were good but nothing special. Green bean casserole is good but I really didn't think that I could make that gfcf. The green beans were not really needed because I made the brussels sprouts. They were tasty- in my opinion. But they were different. Roasting brussels sprouts are great even with all the hullabaloo of the pecan vanilla butter and pomegranate arils. We DID make a good RDI exercise out of making the pecan butter and getting the arils out of the pomegranates. I truly loved this recipe. I think if you are in the mood to try something different, the flavor combinations are out of this world.

Mom's sweet potato casserole was great. It is the first time she made it and it was good. Not GFCF but I really am not sure that can be made GFCF. I was so thankful that she made it because it is a must have on Thanksgiving.

I didn't eat the rolls or Shannon's pies (because they are not gfcf) but she made them all by hand and with love! And I heard rave reviews. Oh I wish I could have tried them!!! The pumpkin pie was especially good. I hesitate to even try to make gfcf versions of something that is so good.

I made a sweet potato pie with a crumble topping. It was 'ok' but I was the only one who ate it.. still it was tasty. Next time I will just make me and Andrew a 'mini' version.

So today I am thankful for ...LEFTOVERS. I plan to make a version of this later- a turkey shepherds pie! I might have to make more mashed potatoes because there are precious few left of them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 25

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hard to see but this is my dad carving the turkey!! It was great. Fun times, good food.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 24

The sweet potatoes are in the oven for the pie. Last night I made the cornbread for the stuffing and cranberry sauce. Brother and family will be here in a few hours. Looking forward to a fun filled night of cooking, movie watching, Wii playing and just..whatever. (Notice, I did not mention the house was clean. Not horrid..but not clean. Thankful that even though my brother is quite neat and tidy, he loves me as I am :) ) Above is a picture from this summer. I WISH it were that warm today. But thankful for him and his whole family!

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 23

Today I am thankful for another year! I thought about not putting this on here but I truly am thankful for it! How can I put anything else?!

A few highlights:

-"HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! For your first gift, I will give you an extra snooze." (count to 3).. "OK. Lets go downstairs now." I tried to give him the sign for more..as in more sleep... but he didn't have his ears on and he says, "food? you want food? ok I will share my french toast with you!" (He never shares...and I guess this means I am making french toast for breakfast LOL.)

- My son informed me, after we had pulled the arils out of the pomegranates that he wants to make me a GIANT pomegranate jello mold for my birthday cake. I told him I'd love just the MOLD as I can't find a jello mold anywhere.

- Went and got the grey washed out of my hair and a new cut. Change is good.

- Andrew started his art therapy today. It went so-so but I love that he wants to share with me when we get out. It is a good thing.

- Did ya'll know there is a Sur La Table in Somerset??!! That is seriously dangerous. I got to spend an hour or so wandering the mall!

- Now going to curl up with some apple cider and watch some TV!

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 22

Today I am grateful for 'mulligans'...for do-overs. In a sense that is what being a Christian is about at least in part- it is the ultimate mulligan. You screw up, you ask for grace from Jesus our Savior, and guess what? He gives it to you! It wasn't always that way. Before He came and saved the world, there were offerings, sacrifices and work that had to be done in an effort to 'make up' what you had done. But not so anymore. He came and paid the price. The fact that we get our do-overs does something in our heart. We don't want to rush out and just do more wrong. We want to get to know Him better so that we become more like Him and have less of a need for the mulligan! We love more because we are loved.

God bless on this Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 21

Today I am thankful for my blogging friends. I was in the shower the other day (again that is where all good thinking happens) and was considering a blog post my friend Val had written. You can find it here. It is about her son and basically bullying that has happened to her son at school. I was thinking what a fabulous mom she is in how she handled it and also how she writes about what she REALLY feels and thinks on her blog. She gives practical info but weaves it effortlessly (at least to the reader) into real life. She is probably the first blog I really started reading and she is who inspired me to write my own. I also think that perhaps I like reading hers because I am so 'into' homeschooling and autism worlds that I forget there is this whole other area where we 'started' called deaf and hearing impaired. So, although I have lots of favorite blogs, hers will always be my 'most favorite-ist.' You can find Cochlear Kids here. So thankful to Val as well as the many other bloggers that I read.

Val also writes several columns for The Examiner that I always find helpful and insightful. You can find all that on her blog. The columns are not just for the hearing impaired....they include parenting, stay at home mom stuff, other disabilities... She has a book that I have read (see sidebar) about her life which was again helpful and heartwarming. Keep writing Val!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 20

I am thankful today for all the ways God reveals himself and how they all seem to be working together to point in the same direction. I just did a quick google search to see what the Internet said about how God reveals himself and of course there is much disagreement. So I thought I'd just list the way He has been working in my life and revealing Himself.

- Through other people: You know God means business and that you are hearing the right thing when you hear it from several people and when it points back to Jesus.

- Through the Holy Spirit: Most churches put a heavy emphasis on The Word and this is good but we can't forget that God is PERSONAL. He wants to speak to us individually. I especially know it is God when I FEEL something in my heart and I have also read it in The Word and also heard it from another person.

- Through The Bible: God reveals Himself through His Word. This is especially good when done through the lens and illumination of The Holy Spirit. I recently started to re-read and listen to the Gospel of Matthew. It is good sometimes to 'get' the word through different senses. You can find NIV audio Bible here. I am reading and listening.

- Through prayer: I think this goes along with the other ways that God works and reveals himself but when you pray for God to bring others, to bring illumination to His Word and to give you insight via the Holy Spirit, it really helps tie it all together. But it is an ongoing journey.

I am sure there are other ways but I am thankful today that God really has been working in all of these areas in my life to show me direction, healing, grace and love.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 19

Today I am thankful for my son's encouraging spirit. After a longish 45 minutes in class (another blog) we went to get a haircut. That is never a choice activity but Andrew got through it. Then we stopped by Aunt Cheryl's for a quick "hi" ..and then to MD's. The man at 'window #1" was making funny faces to him and Andrew was making them back. Then as we were driving away he yells, "Keep up the good work!!!" and gives him two thumbs up. He does this other places too, like at our co-op he will encourage the custodians in the same way. I just love that about him and so thankful for it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 18

I wrote this on Facebook yesterday but I have to put it here because it is just so funny and yet true.

My son said after having a tummy ache and then the runs. "I feel so much better. I'm so glad there are toilets." So today...we are thankful..for toilets.

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 17

Today...I am THANKFUL for the years I have NOT had to go to the Secretary of State office to get my license. Someone told me that in some states you have to go in every time you renew. In Michigan we can mostly renew by mail. I went it and there were probably 100 people in there. I am not kidding. I didn't stay. Then I went to the closest Walmart and it was a Super Walmart. We don't have many of those here and can I just say..I don't care for it. (I like it as much as I like Meijers and those of you that know me well know how much that is.) I went back to the SOS office just to 'see' if the line was shorter. It was, but not by much. And it was traffic time..so I am also thankful that I can be a SAHM and avoid traffic most of the time. I think I will try and go in the morning. (They should have speed lines for moms with special needs kids. Maybe I'll write our Secretary of State. Or I could just take Andrew with me..tee hee.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - Day 16

Today I am thankful for books on CD. I go to the library and browse the CDs. Then I see if they have the book to match. This is wonderful practice for Andrew to listen to other voices. Not to mention that it saves on my voice. In theory, I could be doing the dishes while he is listening but he likes me to sit right there..and that is working right along with our joint attention objective for RDI so that is fine. We are reading Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney. When listening to Humphrey, Andrew asked who was reading the book because he thought it was the same voice as someone who reads books on Between The Lions. I bet that is true!

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge - day 15

Today I am thankful for our wonderful trip to the dentist to get a cavity filled. I am thankful that God provided to keep Andrew calm. I am thankful that the RDI we have done for the past year has paid off because I was able to use 'RDI principles' to keep him calm while we were there. Andrew couldn't even see the video while the dentist was doing the filling because of the equipment he had in Andrew's mouth. Andrew just sat there listening to our voices while I rubbed his hand. No pre-med. No laughing gas... just Jesus. I felt very calm too and I KNOW that was Jesus.

He also asked when we were done, "What were you like when you were young?" He basically wanted to know how the dentist became a dentist. Was he always a dentist? I remember being in fifth grade and our teacher saying, "I do have a life outside of being a teacher. I don't just fly up into the sky and come down to teach you every day." I thought that 'connection' for Andrew was very cool.

A PS on this post.. Later in the day we were talking about the appointment and Andrew said a few really cool things I really just want to get down and journal in this post.

Andrew mentioned that he just closed his eyes and felt sleepy during the appointment. I think only God could do that. God is the perfect Xanax.

They put that little 'balloon' thing in your mouth to keep the tooth dry. Andrew says, "That's genius! I didn't have to touch any of the stuff with my tongue and I didn't have to see the blood." (But he didn't get to watch the video.) Way to look on the bright side kid.

Corps of Re-Discovery- a TOS review

I had the opportunity to review a product from Corps of Re-Discovery. I did not get to choose what I would review and I received ---drumroll---- a Fringe Purse!!! At the writing of this blog the purse is on sale for $11.99 (regular 14.99.) I laughed, I cried, I put it on the shelf. Mama don't sew. And for my male 10 year old sometimes resistant controlling student.. well- a PURSE??? How was I going to talk us him into doing this project??

Finally I dragged it out and took it out of the package. Looked easy enough. I am, shall we say, sewing challenged. I am not a detail oriented gal. I figured this would be a very good test for someone who isn't inclined to these sorts of things. I either lost the needle or there was not one included but a friend came to the rescue with a Montassori blunt needle that worked really well. This way no thimble was needed. Andrew said that the needle felt like a stylist for his DSi. I included a close up here of this needle.

I decided to 'frame and scaffold' this project for Andrew. I knew there was no way I could be a good guide for him from top to bottom so I started it myself and then brought him in throughout the process on and off. When I mentioned, "Andrew we are going to learn to stitch," his response was, "Are we going to be surgeons?" (Where does he get this stuff? I'm not making it up!)

The directions were quite clear although I was not 100% on what a square knot or running stitch was. There was a small diagram on the side which I believe is a running stitch. You have to stitch up the purse one way and then go back the other way filling in the spaces. The person who helped me is pictured on this post but he asked not to be named as it would be embarassing so I will only show his hands to protect his identity. I was quite surprised at how well he did on the first pass of stitching up the purse. On the way back I had to really force the needle through and I think it would have been frustrating for him. (Again, I was using a thick blunt needle and not the one that was included in the kit.)

At his writing we are still working away at this. I think any 10 year old girl (or boy) could do this easily without any help from mom in a few hours. I called my own mom in an effort to get a picture of some of the unfinished projects I have begun. It occurred to me that Corps of Re-Discovery might not like a picture of one of my old crafts I haven't finished in their review so I made a separate post about it. You can read that here. But I truly think we will finish this in short order..but we are taking our time. Here is a picture of the finished product..as it will eventually be.


I do highly recommend doing this even if you are not 'inclined' to this sort of thing. 99% of the population is more 'sewing inclined' than I am. (Have I mentioned that my dear husband has sewn a button and 'fixed' Andrew's pants from time to time.) I will probably order additional other projects from the company. They are a great way to do 'real' things as opposed to just lacing cards or something like that. There are a ton of 'pioneer' items on the website that could be great gifts to order NOW to make for Christmas for others, or to buy for stocking stuffers. It does not appear that they are all crafts either. Lots of very interesting stuff. You can click on the banner at the top and bottom of this post to see OTHER ITEMS reviewed by this same company.

As part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew of reviewers, I was given a complimentary fringe purse from Corps of Re-Discovery. I am not compensated for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.
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