Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Really? It's been 6 weeks since I last posted? Gosh. Life has been, well, full I guess.

What did I want to scream from the top of every mountain? Once again, Dill's preschool program was slashed from the school budget and I was told there was a 10%-15% chance of it being restored. The state money was cut and the schools district was $720 million dollars in the red. Dill's teacher actually told me if she was in my position she would get a lawyer. A lawyer? Why a lawyer? Well, because with preschool not being offered in our school district, the only placement left for Dill would be in a self-contained special education classroom. And not even the one at our school! That one was full. He could now be placed in any one of the schools located within the 227.2 square miles of our city. I cried. Then I cried some more. All of the accomplishments Dill had made over the past 2 years could potentially be wiped out just like that. I was devastated.

Immediately I called private preschools in our area to see if anyone had any openings for the fall. There was no way Dill could not be in some kind of school program in the fall. He had to have something. I needed him to have something. Of course this had to happen the last week that most schools were open. Many didn't have openings. Many didn't want him because of his diagnosis. They couldn't adequately provide for his needs they said. No problem. I'm glad they were upfront. I finally found one school that had openings and was willing to try him out. They also had an opening for Sweet Pickles too! The only problem was it was the afternoon session. Dill has OT twice a week in the afternoon. We tried to move OT around, but it didn't work. Now what?

The next day Daddy Pickles found out that the new mayor would be visiting his fire house. The perfect opportunity to tell the new mayor in person how he had to find money in the budget SOMEHOW to save preschool. Then I found out others weren't allowed in that day. Only the fire fighters on duty. That didn't stop me. I sat down and for 2 thoughtful hours composed a letter for Daddy Pickles to hand deliver to the mayor. Only, the mayor never showed up that day. I was so devastated. I ended up mailing the letter anyways figuring at least I tried. I was sure the letter would just be added to the pile of others that came in and nothing would be done about it.

A week later the state passed their budget and kept preschool funding, but slashed the amount drastically. Budgets would finally be available to principals, but they wouldn't say if preschool was saved for our city. The budgets were hand delivered to the principals on a Friday morning, but on Monday morning Dill's teacher still did not know the fate of her classroom. Monday afternoon I was invited to a volunteer appreciation luncheon at the school. It was supposed to be hosted by the principal, but she was called into a budget meeting so the secretary thanks us instead. Right at the end the principal showed up and thanked everyone for helping her through her first year as principal. Then she started walking around to the different tables saying thank you. Of course mine was the last table. I smiled and asked if she learned anything about preschool in her meeting and she said, "Let me sit down and tell you what I know." Hrmph. Must not be good news if she has to sit down.

I must tell you that I think our new principal is amazing. She has set high standards for the students at our school and a lot of them are excelling. Our last principal was, well, let's just say she had been a principal for waaaaaaaaaay too long and it was time for her to move on. I was on pins and needles waiting to hear what she had to say. She started by telling me that her budget was delivered late Friday morning and that many principals received phone calls from high ranking people in the finance department on Thursday night. These phone calls were to let the principals know that even though the city tried and tried, it just wasn't possible to keep the preschools up and running. When they received their budgets in the morning, the preschool line item would read ZERO. I tried my best to keep from crying. My brain was going 9 million miles an hour. What would happen to my Dill? What was I going to do? How could this be happening? She went on to tell me that very early Friday morning there was a meeting where they decided that no matter how great the budget deficit, they just could not cut preschool funding. They would find a way somehow to make it work. I just couldn't hold back anymore at that point. The floodgate of tears burst forth. Then she went on to say not only would Dill have preschool next year, she was moving his classroom in from the trailer in the parking lot into a huge classroom on the first floor in the main school building! More tears of joy. The woman probably thought I belonged in the loony bin. I wanted to hug her, but I didn't. I just thanked her profusely and walked out of the school and into my truck and cried some more.

Remember that letter I wrote to the mayor? Nah, I've blabbered on enough in this post. You'll just have to wait for another day.............

Monday, May 16, 2011

I have something that I want to scream from the top of the tallest buildings, but I have to wait until next Monday when it's "official." My son's teacher told me to lawyer up because I'm sure going to need one after the announcement is made official. After hearing that, I don't know if I can keep my mouth shut that long.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Love ERGO Baby Carriers!

Make-Baby-Stuff.com is giving away an ERGO Baby Carrier. Click below for your chance to win! I used one with Sweet Pickles and I sure wish I would have had one with Dill. He never wanted to be put down!

Blogger Issues

I know Blogger has been having issues for a few days, but I have been having trouble for a while with Google Friend Connect. I can't follow any blogs through them. Every time I click on the follow button I am just brought right back to the same page. Has anyone else been having these issues too?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm participating in an ABC I Spy fabric swap at Flynn 'n Fabric. For now I have the letters C and M. I might switch out one of those letters for Q or X. Linnea is throwing in 20 extra I Spy squares for taking one of those challenging ones. Won't you come join us?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Help is Just a Click Away

What do awesome moms do when they can't find something for their kids? They find a way to create it themselves! Patty from Pancakes Gone Awry wants to start a LEGO Social Club for kids on the autism spectrum and others who have social developmental delays. She found an awesome LEGO Skills Club that is based on research through The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health. They will train her how to run the social group, but at the cost of $1000. She has applied for a grant from Pepsi Refresh to help defray the costs of starting the club. Let's help her out and vote. You can vote right here or click on the graphic above. I'm pretty sure you can vote daily for the entire month of May. Be sure to like her Facebook page as well! Thank you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I just linked up my weighted blanket tutorial to Sew Much Ado's We Did It! Wednesday. This is the first time I've linked up to something like this! I wish I had more time to sew so that I could link up more.

Monday, April 25, 2011


My weighted blanket tutorial was featured on ohdeedoh today! How fun. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is risen!

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beet juice frosting anyone?

Sweet Pickles will have his 3rd birthday in 9 days. He has requested a fire engine birthday cake. I'm going to attempt this one.

The only speed bump? How the heck am I going to make a red fire engine without using typical red food coloring? Dill Pickles and red dyes do not get along. I asked for suggestions the other day on Facebook and I received quite a few. Yesterday at the store I picked up pomegranate juice, strawberry juice, and beet juice. Let the frosting coloring and taste testing begin!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I came across an interesting blog today. It's called 100 Days of Real Food. We already try not to eat a lot of processed foods and of course food allergies keep us from eating many processed foods. I wonder if I can convince Daddy Pickles to give this a try. But does that mean I'll have to give up my Diet Pepsi? *gasp* I think that is one thing that I may not be able to live without!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weighted Blanket Tutorial

Finally! The long awaited weighted blanket tutorial.

Here are the materials needed for making your blanket. How much fabric and how many pounds of poly pellets depend on the size of your finished blanket. For this blanket I used:
2 1/2 yards of cotton fabric (top of blanket)
2 1/2 yards of muslin (inner fabric)
2 1/2 yards of flannel (back of blanket)
8 pounds of poly pellets

Wash your fabric in hot water and dry in the dryer. Iron fabric after drying.

Figure out the size of the pockets that will hold your poly pellets. This blanket was for a twin sized bed, so my final measurements were 40"x72". I like to have 2" around the edge of the blanket for seam allowances and ease of sewing. This left the available area for the pockets at 36"x68". Each pocket will end up being 6"x6" except for the top and bottom rows. These pockets will be 6"x7". I am not great with math so here is the fantabulous way I use to figure out each blanket.
Draw your grid on the muslin.
Lay the top fabric right side down and then lay your muslin on top with your grid facing up. Smooth out the two fabrics and pin, pin, pin!
Sew across the bottom of your blanket and then sew the up the columns. I like to start from the bottom and sew my way to the top to help prevent puckers.
Calculate the weight of poly pellets required in each pocket. This blanket weighed 8 pounds. I have a digital scale that measures in ounces and grams. I usually measure in grams because the math is a lot easier! Eight pounds is 3,636 grams. Divide by 66 pockets and you come up with 55 grams of poly pellets per pocket.
Measure 55 grams of poly pellets and pour them into the first column. Do this 5 more times until all of your columns are full.
Sew across the row closing your poly pellets into the pocket. Be sure to push all the poly pellets away from your sewing foot and needle. It is not fun when your needle hits a poly pellet. Continue weighing, filling and sewing across the rows until you reach the top of the blanket.
Lay your flannel right side up and place the blanket top side down onto your flannel. Be sure to smooth out the flannel as your lay the top down. This will prevent puckers and wrinkles.
Pin around the edges of the blanket leaving about 9" open on the bottom. This will allow you to right side out the blanket after sewing. Sew around the entire blanket and don't forget to leave the opening!
Right side out the blanket paying special attention to the corners. Sometimes I use the back of a spoon to poke them out.
Pin or iron around the outer edge of the blanket.
Sew around the edge of the blanket making sure you close the opening at the bottom of the blanket.
Viola! Your weighted blanket is complete! Snuggle up and sleep well!
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible!

Disclaimer: I am not an OT nor do I play one in the bloggy world. The standard formula for a weighted blanket is 10% of body weight plus 1 pound. Always check with your OT to determine the proper weight for your blanket.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'll take some oatmeal with a side of bacon please

Kids with autism and sensory issues thrive with structure and visual cues. Here are some visuals that we have around our house to help Dill Pickles. Of course Sweet Pickles benefits from them as well.
Dill has a bit of an obsession with bowling and golfing of any kind. Wii Sports has both and Dill would play all day if we let him. The boys are given 3 Wii cards a day. (Their real names are hidden under the moustaches.) They are clipped to our family bulletin board in the kitchen. When one of them want to play Wii, they must give me a Wii card. I set the timer for 20 minutes and when the timer goes ding the Wii is shut off. When all 3 cards are gone, Wii is done for the day. It took a few days for them to get used to the new routine. There was lots of crying and pleading for more time, but not any more. Now the boys fight over who gets to turn the Wii and TV off!
Breakfast used to be another struggle in the Pickles house. Dill likes to eat the same thing over and over for breakfast. Sometimes we run out. *GASP* What kind of mom runs out of something? :) In effort to get Dill to vary his menu a bit and avoid meltdowns when a preferred food is not available, I came up with this breakfast menu. I bought a cheap picture frame from Dollar Tree. Then in the Boardmaker program I made pictures of every possible thing Dill could have for breakfast. We have cereal, oatmeal, toast, breakfast bars, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, monkey milk and juice. I laminated the pictures and then put Velcro on the back. There is a long strip of Velcro on top of the plexiglass in the frame. I realize most people don't have access to Boardmaker. You can use clip art, Google some images or even take your own pictures. After dinner I present Dill with his breakfast options for the next day. He chooses what he wants and places the pictures on his menu. Sweet Pickles does the same. This has made breakfast a zillion times easier in the morning.

Monkey milk? I know you want to know what that's all about. Long ago when we were trying to transition Dill from Alimentum formula to rice milk, Dill wanted nothing to do with the rice milk. Out of desperation I bought Zoo Pals disposable cups. My mother-in-law had Zoo Pals paper plates and Dill loved them. He liked the monkey the most, so we put his milk in the monkey cup and called it monkey milk. Dill drank it like it was going out of style. Eventually it got kinda pricey so I found a create your own sippy cup. Daddy Pickles drew the same monkey on Dill's cup and then there was a permanent monkey milk cup. Two and a half years later the name still sticks. Whatever works, right?

Have you done anything creative to get your son or daughter to try something new?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I can't be the only mom in the world who gets excited about decorating their child's bedroom. It was time for Dill Pickles to move out of the crib and down the hall to his big boy bedroom. Of course I had the perfect bedroom planned out in my head. I searched in catalogs, stores, blogs and on-line to find the best themed bedroom for our little Dill. Finally- perfection found in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. I was able to find this set gently used on Craigslist. Excellent! It even came with a matching area rug. Daddy Pickles and I put together Dill's new furniture and washed his new blanket and sheets. I was so excited to see what Dill Pickles would think of his bedroom. He liked it I guess. Well, as much as a 17 month old can tell you they liked it.

Dill stayed in his crib for a while, but within a few months he was climbing out. Not just once or twice, but CONSTANTLY. We quickly converted the crib to a toddler bed and it worked for a while. Getting Dill Pickles to fall asleep was a big problem. Huge. Finally I resorted to rocking him to sleep. I had an infant and I was exhausted. I did what I needed to to to get him to sleep.

Then one night I thought I heard furniture moving. Seriously? Who is moving furniture? Daddy Pickles was at work and there was no way that Sweet Pickles was moving furniture. I opened the door to Dill's bedroom and found his crib, which was not on wheels, pushed all the way across his bedroom. For a while I had suspected that Dill had some issues, but everyone told me that he was just being a boy. Or as a special education teacher I had too much knowledge and I was making myself think that I was seeing things wrong with my child but really, he was fine.

One day I said forget it all. There is something wrong with my kid and I am taking him for an evaluation. Dill Pickles and I went for a 15 minute screening at a private therapy clinic and within minutes of meeting him they assured me that I was not making things up and yes, there was more to it than just being a boy. Dill Pickles most definitely had major sensory issues.

So what does all of this have to do with the really cute Pottery Barn Kids toddler set I got on Craigslist for a steal? Have you ever seen a weighted blanket for sale in the PBK catalog? Me neither. The ones in therapy catalogs cost an arm and a leg and are usually made for institutional use at a school or therapy clinic. Know of any catalogs that sell a weighted blanket made out of fireman material? Didn't think so. I wanted what was best for my son, but I didn't want a blah blanket for his bedroom. He was going to be using it every night to sleep and I was going to see it every time I walked past his bedroom. What was I to do?

I called my mom. Isn't that what everyone does when they need help? My mom and I sat down and thought and tinkered. We drew and we calculated and here is the results of our labors.

Here it is- the very first weighted blanket I ever sewed. Well, with my mom's help of course. It doesn't match the rest his bedroom exactly, but at least it's not institutional blue or some other boring color. Since sewing this one nearly two years ago I have sewn countless others for friends, friends of their friends and for my son's teacher and classmates. I love sewing and I love sewing things that really help someone out. I've just finished sewing another weighted blanket for my friend's daughter. Want to sew your very own weighted blanket personalized for your child? A tutorial is coming soon. I promise. It's my first tut ever so I want to make sure I get everything right.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I can't wait for warmer weather. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Dill Pickles has been having a lot of trouble for the past week. Meltdowns over seemingly innocent things have become the norm lately. I couldn't figure out why, then I read this post at The SPD Blogger Network and it clicked. Hop on over and check it out. You might be in the same boat too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where have you been Mama Pickles? You know, I wonder that myself sometimes. The past few weeks have been filled with reading, thinking and sewing. And, oh yes, potty training hell. Sweet Pickles just doesn't seem to care that he has tinkle running down his leg and he certainly isn't phased when he walks around the house smelling the the elephant house at the zoo. He's going to be 3 in May and I just don't know what to do with him.

I've been doing a lot of reading trying to figure out what kind of education will be best for the Pickles family. I finished reading The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. It was amazing. Classical education is what I want for my children. Reading through this book made me realize how much knowledge I did not acquire while in elementary and high school. I've moved on to reading The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education by Leigh Bortins. I haven't gotten very far through this book because I have had a lot of sewing to do in the last few weeks, but more about that later. When I finish The Core I have Designing Your Own Classic Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education by Laura Berquist waiting at for me on my nightstand. As much as I want Dill Pickles to attend school with his peers, I just don't see that as a reality. Sadly I don't think our local Catholic schools will be tolerant of his sensory needs and I just don't feel comfortable with our local public schools beyond kindergarten. Daddy Pickles and I want to explore all of our options now so that when the times comes to make a decision, we will be well informed.

I have been busy sewing weighted blankets for everyone but my Dill! As my mom liked to say long ago when I was young, "The cobbler's children are always the ones without any shoes!" Dill's teacher has asked me to sew a weighted blanket for his classroom and two of his classmates wanted weighted blankets for their homes as well. Busy, busy, busy. I love sewing and I love that I can sew one for so much less than the expensive ones in the therapy catalogs. I'd like to think that mine are a lot prettier too! April is Autism Awareness month and I'm trying my best to put together a tutorial for making your own weighted blanket.

That's what I've been up to these days. How about you? What things in life have kept you busy?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

SPD Blogger Network and Soft: Clothing for All Children are having an awesome Spring Sensory Giveaway. Over $200 worth of amazing sensory items are being given away in a really cute Easter basket from Pottery Barn Kids. Check out these great prizes!

Soft Seamless Sock 2-pack
Vestibular Wedge
Sensory Body Sock
Alex Toys Monster Bubbles
Alex Toys Sack Racing: Frog and Monkey
Squiglet Fidget Bracelets
One complete Springy Soft look for girls OR
One complete Springy Soft look for boys

Click here for your chance to win this wonderful prize pack! I know Dill Pickles will just love the Sensory Body Sock and I think I'll pass the soft seamless socks along to a friend. Dill doesn't seem to have trouble with seems, but her daughter really dislikes seems.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Can someone please wave a wand and make the sickies plaguing this family go away? Pretty please? Thank you. Much appreciated.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valetine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I started The Promise: How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to Send a Classroom of 1st Graders to College by Oral Lee Brown last Saturday and finished it Tuesday night. It was a book I just couldn't put down. I really enjoy reading about education a lot, especially administration and reform. When I was still teaching I used to read books on this subject all.the.time. I have a whole box of these books sitting somewhere in the garage. Daddy Pickles and I really should go dig those out.

Finishing The Promise makes me want to read How to Walk to School by Jacqueline Edelberg. I read a review of this book a while ago in some parent magazine and it has been on my list of books to read for over a year and a half now. (Side note, I just discovered that I lost my list of books to read when my computer crashed. I am so sad. I guess I'll just start a new one maybe in a post here so I can always have it available.) How to Walk to School is about a group of parents coming together to transform their failing neighborhood school. This book is available at my local library, but I think I'm going to check Paperbackswap.com for my own copy. I'm pretty sure this is a book I'd like to have on my shelf.

Until I get a copy of How to Walk to School, I started The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. I am curious about homeschooling. I always thought I would send my children to a Catholic school, but now I'm not so sure that it would be the best environment for Dill Pickles with his sensory issues. I guess I'm reading this book to learn more information about homeschooling. So far I am really into this book and I keep trying to find ways to sneak away and read it. I really am torn about what is going to be the best type of education for Dill. Hopefully this book will help me sort these things out a little better in my brain.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I asked Dill Pickles what he wanted for dinner last night and he said, "A big pizza like Mommy and Daddy's." Hmmmm......that can be a hard one since Dill has severe milk allergies. I've tried a few dairy free frozen pizzas and he didn't like them. We've made our own mini pizzas on English muffins and sandwich rounds. Dill didn't like those either. A big pizza sounded really yummy especially since I had a few DiGiorno pizzas in my freezer that were on sale last week. What was I going to do.

I thought and thought and then remembered that Michelle over at Just Add Whine posted a recipe for homemade pizza dough. She eats clean, like we're trying to do, so I figured her pizza crust had to be healthy. And delicious. I tweaked her recipe a little bit because I didn't have any white flour in the house. You can find her original recipe here.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 cup water
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast

Using the dough cycle on your bread machine, put ingredients according to how written. When dough cycle is complete, either roll or form with hands to desired shape. Bake on parchment lined pan for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Top with sauce and topping of your choice and then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

I made 6 small pizzas. Three were cheese and 3 were mozzarella flavored soy cheese. I thought they tasted delicious and they got a great big thumbs up from Daddy Pickles. Dill Pickles INHALED his pizza as did Sweet Pickles. I see this recipe being used a lot in the future. It was a lot easier to make than I thought and healthy to boot!

Soy Cheese Pizzas-I'm still trying to figure out how to make the cheese melt a little better.

Cheese Pizzas

Friday, February 4, 2011

What do you do when there's 20 inches of ice an snow on the ground and it's -5? You paint with ice of course!

Sweet Pickles is channeling his inner Picaso.

Dill Pickles is busy painting thundersnow.

Ice paint is not hard to make at all. I filled up our popsicle molds with warm water and a few drops of food coloring.
Place in the instant freezer provided by Mother Nature.

Viola! Ice paint.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I used to read a lot before I had kids. When I moved into my townhouse long before I met Daddy Pickles I was trying to cut corners so I never transferred my cable service. I read books instead. All.the.time. That's all I did. I got my news from the Internet, the radio, the newspaper or if there was something crazy insane going on, I walked across the courtyard to my friend's townhouse and watched her TV. I read tons after Daddy Pickles and I got married too. Then came the baby Pickles. My reading time went out the window.

I started reading more last year, especially when Sweet Pickles was in the hospital for so long. I needed something to do in the middle of the night when all the beeping monitors won't let you sleep. I polished off the whole Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Thanks to my sister Sheesh for letting me borrow them. I decided setting a reading goal for myself for the year might help me read more. At first I thought a book a month would be good. But then I thought about it. Twelve books in one year? That's pathetic. I used to read 12 books in 12 weeks. Twenty-four books a year sounded good; that's 2 books a month. Nah. Let's split the difference and say 18 books. Eighteen books seems like a doable goal. If I do more- super! I had better not do less.

January brought Run Like A Mother: How to get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell. I loved this book. I started running last year and I stopped for various reasons. I can't wait to get running again.

I also read Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian. I read it for a book club I belong to. One of these days I'll actually make it to a meeting. I can't say it was one I would have picked up on my own, but it was interesting.

February so far is bringing The Promise: How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to Send a Classroom of 1st Graders to College by Oral Lee Brown. It's for book club and I'm picking it up from the library on Friday. Anything education interests me. I can't wait to start reading it.

I'm not sure what other book I will read when I finish The Promise. Diagnosing Jefferson by Norm Ledgin has been going back and forth from my dresser to my night stand for almost 5 years now. Maybe it's time I finally read it.

My sister Sheesh loaned me The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I loved the Percy Jackson series so I'm sure I'll like this book too. Geeze. I need more hours in my day.

How about you? Do you have any reading goals for the year? Have a great book I should add to my to be read list?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's cold outside. It's Saturday and we're out of ketchup. Heaven forbid you run out of ketchup in this house. Especially on a Saturday when Mama is home alone with the boys. I really had no desire to drag 2 boys to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon to get a lousy bottle of ketchup.

I dug through my recipe binder and found Tosca Reno's ketchup recipe I copied out of one of her books months ago. I always meant to make this, but never did. Now that I have finally made it, I don't think I am ever buying ketchup again. Is it really possible for ketchup to taste amazing? I mean, it's only a condiment after all. But wow. This stuff is good. The boys wanted to eat it out of the bowl with a spoon. I can't blame them. It really was that good. I saved and washed out our old ketchup bottle. From now on I think I'm going to make a double recipe so I can fill the bottle. And it's so cheap too! Here's Tosca's recipe with my tweaks in red.

1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Sucanant sugar (1 1/3 Tbsp Agave nectar)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves (I omitted because I didn't have it)
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

In a small bowl mix all ingredients together. Place in a tightly sealed glass container.

That's it. Easy peasy delicious! Try it and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I shocking got a ton of stuff crossed off my to do list in the past few days. Now just to find the time to blog about it all!

I have to say the thing am the most excited about crossing off is cutting and sending off my fabric to the boy themed I Spy Swap sponsored by Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. I have wanted to make an I Spy quilt FOREVER and this will give me the perfect opportunity to do so. I sent off 200 squares of 10 different fabrics and I will be getting 200 squares of 200 patterns of fabric in return! Now my new dilemma is do I make one big quilt for the boys to share, or do I make 2 small quilts each with 100 squares. Hmmm..........

Dill Pickles went with me to the post office to mail off the squares. He had a bit of a meltdown there because I was sending away "his" bowling pin fabric. Bowling is one of his newest obsessions and one of the fabrics I happened to pick up had bowling ball and bowling pins. Dill did not like that someone else was getting his bowling pins and demanded the post office lady return my package "right now right now!" I assured him that we could go to the store and buy some more fabric for him. He requested a bowling pillowcase. I told him will do. That brought the meltdown to a slight constant whine. Boys.

Friday, January 21, 2011

We're in for a big one this weekend ladies and gentleman. And no, I'm not talking about the most heated NFC championship game to be played in the last 70 years. I'm talking about a potty boot camp this weekend for Sweet Pickles.

Little Sweetie will be 3 in May and it still not potty trained. He knows you have to go on the potty. Every once and a while he will do it. He can put on and take off his clothes. He tells you after he's gone and done it and wants to be changed. But little Sweet Pickles seems to just care less. Carrie at This Mama Makes Stuff shared how she potty trained her little guy. Maybe potty bribed is more like it.

I'm not above bribing. She shared what motivated her son and I think it is the perfect motivator for Sweet Pickles: a wall of Hotwheels cars. Every time her son pooped in the potty, he got a Hotwheels car. Mama Pickles stocked up on cars when they were $0.49 just before Christmas and now we have a wall of Hotwheel cars just a waitin' for some poop in our bathroom.

I'll let you know next week how it's going. And maybe I'll even get a pic of our bribe, er, um, reward board up too. As long as I have the patience for my computer. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Wednesday so I guess that means I should have more confessions for you.

#1 I got on the scale the other day and almost fell of backwards and hit my head on the counter. I can't believe the number I saw. I am disgusted with myself. I am making an appointment with a nutritionist/dietitian mere minutes after getting the written orders from my doctor on Friday afternoon.

#2 I haven't updated my personal family blog in 2.5 months, but I am too irritated with my computer to upload the pics to it. We still haven't been able to get it up and running back to where it should be and it takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. for the pics to load. Same reason for not posting here much either. I just have no patience for a slow computer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When I was a lot younger I listened to a radio station that had a bit called Confession Wednesday. I'm glad I don't remember any of them because I'm sure they were highly inappropriate for my age.

It's Wednesday. I have two confessions for you.

#1 I have a horrible Diet Pepsi habit. I'm talking like 5 or 6 cans a day. I keep trying to wean myself down, but haven't been successful yet. Maybe by putting it out there I can keep myself mroe accountable.

#2 The other day I found myself saying to my children, "I am not the entertainment director on a cruise ship. Go find something and play!" I just wanted 10 minutes alone. I felt bad about it later because as part of Dill Pickle's issues he isn't really capable of sustained play on his own for a good period of time. All I wanted was a few minutes of Mommy time. Is that so bad?

Monday, January 10, 2011

When there's a birthday in Dill Pickle's class, the kids are allowed to bring a pre-packaged store bought treat. Most of the time it is something that Dill is allergic to. His teacher has a mini fridge/freezer in the classroom and lets me put a few cupcakes or muffins in the freezer for him. This way he can still have a special treat when there's a birthday in the class and not feel left out.

I checked the birthday poster the other day when I dropped him off and I noticed there was a birthday over the weekend. The birthday girl would surely bring treats today so I figured I had better make something. I went to the fridge and the cabinet and saw that I didn't have the ingredients I thought I did, so I pulled out my recipe binder. In this binder I have all kinds of recipes- ones we love, ones to try out and ones that will never be made in this house again. I found this Fruit and Veggie Muffin recipe from Erin at $5 Dollar Dinners. I've never made it before and I had all the ingredients.

1 cup flour
3 T canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed or grated fruit or veggie ***See ideas below!
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar and mashed fruit or veggie. Whisk. Mix well.
3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until it forms into batter. Add nuts if you like.
4. Pour into muffin cups.
5. Mini muffins: Bake 8-10 minutes. Regular muffins: Bake 15-2o minutes. Tops will turn golden.
6. Cool on cooling rack and then serve to hungry little people!

***Fruits and Veggies: 1 cup mashed banana, 1 cup grated apple, 1 cup squash and 1 cup grated apple (double the recipe), 1 cup grated carrots (add 1/2 cup raisins if you like), 1 cup peeled and grated zucchini, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup bananas and 1 cup strawberries (double the recipe)…or 1 cup of any other veggie you like…just mash or grate them up!

I made these muffins with 1 cup grated carrot and 1/2 cup raisins and of course omitted the nuts. I also used 1 cup whole wheat flour even though she suggests 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat. We are trying to cut white stuff out of our diet so I don't have any white flour in the house. The muffins smelled heavenly while baking and they taste great too!

I like Erin's recipes because not only are they frugal, a lot of them are also dairy and soy free too! She is having a book signing for her new book The $5 Dollar Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook at a nearby Borders this week. I just might go.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The sickies have hit The Squishy Pickles. It started last Saturday morning with Dill Pickles. He woke up with a fever and was vomiting. All day. The vomiting subsided a bit Sunday, but then we were greeted with a lovely rash. Huh? What could he be having an allergic reaction to? He hasn't eaten anything since Friday at dinner and all he has been drinking if G2 Gatorade. Daddy Pickles and I decided a trip to the doctor was in order on Monday.

Scarlet Fever. When you hear it, makes you kinda go aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!! right? Run for the hills before you get some crazy illness from centuries ago!! Turns out Scarlet Fever isn't anything more than strep throat and a rash. Dill got a script for some antibiotics and the doc said "Don't worry about Sweet Pickles. Scarlet Fever only happens in those 3 and over." Wow. Glad we escaped that one by 4 months. But guess who started vomiting right when Mama and Daddy Pickles were ready to hit the sack that night? Little Sweetie. Back to the doctor the next day. Yep. Scarlet Fever. Guess we like to buck the rules around here.

Which brings me to what I originally wanted to write about. Somewhere in time, Dill Pickles got it into his little head that when you are sick, you need a pukey pot. Not a pukey bucket or even a pukey garbage can, a pukey pot. Of course it had to be my 8 quart Farberware soup pot. When there's puke flying everywhere, you're going to grab what you can to contain it, so I let him throw up in the pukey pot. I washed it out every time and then used a lysol wipe and also tossed it in the dishwasher and made sure to run the sanitize cycle.

I was ok with this for a while. Then we went through the latest round of illness and I decided that is was just wrong. Even though I sanitize the life out of it, I just can't let my kids go puking in a pot that I use to make chicken soup. Yuck. Gross. Awful to the extreme. So tonight while Dill Pickles was at basketball, Sweet Pickles and I hit the thrift store looking for a new pukey pot. No luck unless you want a 2 quart sauce pan. Somehow I don't see that making a good pukey pot. I will keep searching though and hopefully before the next round of illness hits The Squishy Pickles we will have a brand new pukey pot so Mama Pickles can use her pot to make some chicken soup.

How about you? Do you have a pukey pot?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I just read the funniest book I have read in a looooooong time. I was laughing out loud so much, Daddy Pickles came into the bedroom and asked me what I was smoking. When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, The Worrier, The Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer, & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be had me laughing so hard I cried. I marked passages to read to Daddy Pickles so I could show him that I'm not that loony. There are other moms out there who think and feel the *exact* same things as me. Gosh, there are so many stories in her book that I want to tell you about, but then I'd be afraid I'd spoil it for you. Run to your library and get this book. Now. You will need it. It will make you smile and be happy to be a mom. Amazon even has it for Kindle. I'm not an affiliate, I just want to make it easier for you to get to this book. Go. Now. Do it. Push all other books to the side of your nightstand and give this one a read.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Not a thrilling post, I know. But I learned the hard way that things on your hard drive don't last forever. My laptop crashed the weekend before Christmas and I was able to save a lot of stuff, but not all. So next year when I go looking for library books for December I can come right back here and know where it is.

A City Christmas Tree by Rebecca Bond
Christmas for Ten by Cathryn Falwell
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
What’s Coming for Christmas by Kate Banks
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro
The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola
Four Friends at Christmas by Tomie de Paola
Sharing Christmas by Kate Westerlund
The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
Little Owl and the Star by Mary Murphy
The Bakers Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shepard
The Friendly Beasts by Sharon McGinley
There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve by Pam Munoz Ryan
Mary, The Mother of Jesus by Tomie dePaola
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski
The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola
A Pinata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora
Joy to the World by Tomie dePaola
All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root
The Mighty Santa Fe by William H. Hooks

I'm not sure what our book theme will be for January. Last year I'm pretty sure it was snow. I don't know if I want to do that again or not. I guess I'll know when I hit the on-line card catalog and see what's available at my library. Wish me happy hunting!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My goodness. I didn't post a darn thing in December, huh? I guess that's what you get when you wait until the middle of November to start sewing a birthday present and 4 Christmas presents. Every year I say I am going to start sooner. Go back and check my posts if you don't believe me. :) And each year I don't. Hrmph. Maybe one of these years I'll learn my lesson.

I have ben composing lots of posts in my head; do those count for anything? I'd like to post about the awesome capes, shirts, crowns, masks and arm cuffs I sewed for Christmas for my sons and my nieces. I also need to get around to documenting the Christmas books we checked out of the library so I know for next time. I guess I'll need to get right on that because most are due tomorrow.

And I've also decided I just need to take time for me. I love Daddy Pickles and my little pickles with all my heart and soul, but I just need to make some time for Mama Pickles. My sister gave me the book Run Like A Mother for Christmas. I've only read the first chapter or two, but it is already kicking me in the butt to start running again. I ordered new running shoes yesterday because I'm sure my pair from February are just too worn out as they have become my daily shoe.

I'd also like to clean up our diet. Daddy Pickles and I keep trying to eat healthy food and we succeed it at for a little while. Then slowly, bit by bit, all the junk ends up in the house again. I have no willpower. I don't. No matter how hard I try, if it's there, I eat it. Daddy Pickles promised me that he will stick to it this time. We're starting off slowly. No more store bought cookies in the house. I'd like to move on to chips and the like next, but Daddy Pickles wants me to cut out my Diet Pepsi. I don't know about that. I don't drink coffee so that's my morning joe. Who knows. I guess we will just have to wait and see.