Friday, March 27, 2009

Do you ever find yourself with an extra 4 dozen eggs in your fridge? No? Anyone? Well, I did. And, my fridge was seeming to be on the fritz, so yesterday was an Egg Bonanza around here.

For starters, I boiled 18 eggs. The plan was to make both egg salad and tuna salad (with eggs, of course) sandwiches for dinner and still have a few left over to use in salads the next day. I made the mistake of letting my husband help me make the tuna salad and there were no eggs left over. Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad he helped me. Usually the cooking is my thing, but he jumped right in last night, so who was I to turn down the help.

Then, I made Fudge Brownies. They are GREAT. Try them if you haven't already. And, they call for 4 eggs, so that is an added bonus.

Finally, I had already planned to make my husband one of his favorite desserts. But, since he helped me with dinner, he really deserved it.

Egg Custard Pie

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt & nutmeg

Beat eggs. Add sugar and butter - cream well. Add other ingredients and beat. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake 25-35 minutes longer, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Now, I'm down to just over a dozen eggs. I am much more comfortable with that. If my fridge does go out, that is much less to be using all at once.

What do you do when you find yourself with extra eggs that need to be used quickly?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Finally, A Diagnosis

I began to suspect something was not exactly on par with Nathan's development at about 2 and 1/2. Unfortunately, I listened to a family member who assured me that he would 'grow out of it.' We used all the excuses in the book. No, he doesn't talk, but that's because his sister talks for him. No, he's not delayed, his older sister was just really advanced. They told me that my husband was the same way when he was younger and he 'came around.' Looking back, I wish I would have followed my instincts, but hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it?

Hurricane Katrina came when Nathan was 2 and 1/2 and we ended up relocating to New Hampshire for awhile. That winter, Nathan had 5 ear infections. We all, including the doctor, chalked it up to the antibiotics not fully getting rid of it. They bumped him up to the strongest they could prescribe and it finally went away.

At his 3 year check up, I was determined not to 'wait and see' anymore when it came to my son. I asked the pediatrician about his development. I told her he wasn't talking and that I was concerned. He was also making strange fidgeting movements with his hands and wouldn't make much eye contact. He seemed to be more interested in the flashing lights and colors of the TV than in any person. He didn't drive toy cars, he lined them up and spinned the wheels. He lined everything up, in fact, and if you messed up the order, he would have a complete meltdown. This was about the time that it seemed like there was an explosion of autism diagnosis. It seemed everywhere you turned, the statistics were getting more and more grim. She told me about Early Intervention. She explained to me that someone would come to my home and place a poster board with pictures on it on our fridge and that Nathan would then be able to communicate with us by pointing to the pictures. I explained to her that he could already point to what he wanted, that wasn't the problem. We wanted him to SPEAK. Early Intervention just didn't work out.

We moved back to Louisiana and went back to our regular pediatrician. I brought my concerns to her at his 4 year check up. At that time, I had heard about the school board doing free speech screenings and they were in the process of evaluating him. I had also told them about my concerns about autism and they went ahead and gave him a full screening with OT, a nurse, a resource teacher, the speech therapist and the school psychologist. They were unable to give me a technical diagnosis, but they did recommend I bring their report to our doctor. Our pediatrician read over their report and agreed that we needed to look further into this. We were given a referral and put on a waiting list. We were told the waiting list was over a year. It just seemed like one roadblock after another at this point.

Luckily, this year Nathan got accepted into a private Head Start/Pre-K and they have given him all the resources he can get without the full diagnosis. He meets with OT once a week, Speech twice a week, Resource twice a week and he also receives Adaptive PE. They are the most amazing people. Nathan is a completely different child than he was when he started school. He speaks now, in full sentences, and he interacts with other children. He is so incredibly smart and now he is able to shine because now we can communicate with him.

We finally got an appointment for his evaluation on March 13th. It was an all day event but there was a sense of relief when it was over. I felt like we were making progress. The doctor called me on March 18th (only 5 days later!!!) and gave me her results over the phone.

I have known there was 'something' for over 2 years now, but hearing a doctor tell you that your child is autistic still feels like a kick in the stomach. I held it together for the hour I was on the phone with her, taking notes, asking questions, etc. But, when I hung up the phone, it was another story. I swore I wouldn't let the diagnosis devastate me, and it didn't, but I definitely shed some tears. It was a mixture of relief and 'what do I do now?' In one way, we had got the information we had been waiting so long for, but now we have to begin our new road. And, its a daunting one.

Nathan will turn 5 in the end of May. He will start Kindergarten next year. Now that we have this diagnosis, I can be sure the resources he receives will continue in the public school. We have seen such great improvements in him during this past year and look forward to the future and helping him in any way we can.

If you, or someone you know, has a child that has been recently diagnosed, I recommend going to Autism Speaks. I filled out their questionnaire and received my 100 Days Kit. It is full of great information. Every page I turn helps me understand what is going on more and more.

Tomorrow, I promise a more light-hearted, recipe filled post. Thanks for bearing with me!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Creamy Blueberry Pie

This is a recipe my neighbor shared with me. It never lasts long in my house. The good news is that it makes 2 pies, so if you sneak one into the freezer before everyone discovers it, you might get to eat some yourself!

Creamy Blueberry Pie

2 cups blueberries - thaw and drain, if frozen
1 large tub of Cool Whip (FF, Lite or Regular all work well here)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
juice of half of a lemon
2 graham cracker pie crusts

Don't have any sweetened condensed milk on hand? Try this.

Mix together sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and Cool Whip in a large bowl. Fold in blueberries. Split filling between the graham cracker crusts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Lovely Weekend

A free weekend is hard to come by around here. Usually there is a ton of stuff to do and very little time to relax and enjoy family time. So, this weekend when we had nothing pressing to do, we made the most of it.

We had only one obligation: pick up our cow. Well, the beef anyway. We bought a cow from a local farmer and had to go and pick up the meat on Saturday morning. The pickup hours were between 7-10, so we still had plenty of day left for whatever else we wanted to do.

After bringing home the beef and unloading it, we took the kids out to lunch. They were very well behaved. During lunch, some friends of ours who we hadn't seen in a long time, called and invited us to dinner. They live in the country and have chickens, guinea hens, a cow and an adorable little dog. Of course, we said yes.

Before heading out to their house we stopped at a little antiques store that I had been wanting to check out. I went in looking for vintage Pyrex (which is a new obsession of mine) and found mountains of it. I left with 6 bowls and a lighter wallet, that's for sure.

The dinner was amazing. It was a beautiful day and they made a great fish fry. Thank you Bennetts. We had a great time.

Sunday, was a little more mellow. Ralph got up and mowed the yard and we had a barbecue with some of our new beef. It was great! We were happy about the purchase, even though it was a large one. The beef should last us over a year and it is good quality.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Cookies, Cookies, Everywhere

This is what happens to your laundry room when you are a Girl Scout leader and 'Cookie Time' rolls around.

I sure hope I don't need anything out of those freezers they are sitting on for a couple of weeks or so.

Want some???


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blueberry Pound Cake

Due to the abundance of blueberries left in my freezer from last years pickings, I am gonna try to use some up today. I am going to make a delicious Blueberry Pie that my neighbor gave me the recipe for (will share tomorrow) and also a Blueberry Pound Cake.

Blueberry Pound Cake

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups blueberries - well drained

Grease a 10 inch bread pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle pan with 1/4 cup sugar and set aside. Cream remaining 1 cup butter gradually adding remaining 3 cups of sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Mix well.
Combine 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating well until blended. Dredge blueberries with remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Stir to coat well. Fold blueberries into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

IMPORTANT: Cook cake in pan for AT LEAST 10 minutes before taking out so that the sugar has time to crystallize.

TIP: Dredging the blueberries with the flour before adding them to the batter keeps them from sinking to the bottom during baking.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Explanation for My Long Absence

The past several weeks have been very crazy for my family.

As I had mentioned before, my Mother in Law had been living with us since Thanksgiving. She went into the hospital about a month ago and has been there ever since. Its just one thing after another and so I have been fighting with her insurance the entire time. That, in itself, turned into a full time job for me.

In addition to this, I have had doctors appointments, dental visits, Girl Scout meetings, Cookie Sale and all the paperwork that goes along with it, and now a potential business opportunity for my husband that have been taking up the remainder of my waking hours. Let's not even discuss the current state of my house. Let's just say I cringe whenever someone comes over.

But, my main focus has been trying to be an advocate for my son. I have not previously discussed this here, but my son, Nathan, is going to be screened/evaluated for Autism on March 12th. We have been on a waiting list for almost a year for this appointment and were not expected to be seen until the end of the summer. Apparently I bugged them enough by calling every other week to check on our wait, and they moved us up. (They called me with the appointment the very same day my Mother in Law's insurance went through. It was one of my happiest days EVER!) I will talk more about Nathan later, but just knowing that he is FINALLY going to be seen is such a relief.

For now, you should know that I have missed posting and will be back to blogging on a regular, every day basis with lots of yummy recipes, green living trials and frugal tips beginning TOMORROW!!!!!

Have a GREAT day!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Just for Fun

Ok, tomorrow came and went, huh?? I've been a bit busy lately, which I PROMISE to post about in the morning. In the meantime, I've been catching up with some of my favorite bloggers and Bethany had this fun little activity on her site, so I thought I would join in.

The Rules:

Copy the questions below. Simply use the first letter of your name/nickname as your answer for each questions. You can’t use any answer twice and don’t use your own name for questions # 3 & 4. After you’re done, tag 10 people.

1. What is your name? Nicole
2. A four letter word: Nice
3. A boy’s name : Nathan
4. A girl’s name : Natalie
5. An occupation : Nurse
6. A color : Navy
7. Something you wear : Neck Tie
8. A type of food : Noodles
9. Something found in the bathroom : Neosporin
10. A place : Nashville
11. A reason for being late : Nail in your tire
12. Something you shout : No
13. A movie title : Notebook
14. Something you drink : Nectar Soda
15. A musical group : No Doubt
16. A street name : New Hampshire St
17. A type of car : Nova
18. A song title: Never Again
19. A verb : nearing

I'm going to skip tagging 10 people though. I'm just going to leave this open- if anyone else wants to participate, feel free!