Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturdays are for: Family Reunions!!

Last weekend, my husband's family got together for our annual Family Reunion.
In years past, it was a weekend long event.
All the families would pull into a campground sometime on Friday,
and the fun would go on through Sunday morning.
As the original sibling group from which this reunion has grown older,
it has become more difficult to pull off something as elaborate as that.
Subsequent generations don't live as close together.
So we've concentrated our gathering to a Saturday afternoon affair.
Once again, we all met at the Cleburne State Park.
This year we had two sets of twins come......cousins!
How much fun to catch up, play together, laugh together, snap pictures together,
and simply enjoy one another's company!!
We love our family!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Common, yet little spoken of, issues accompanying ADHD

It has been awhile since I've talked about ADHD at length.  This is a topic near and dear to my heart as two of my children have been officially diagnosed with this.
In the early part of 2010, I spent much time blogging about it, and what we were doing as a family to accommodate this learning/social difference. 
Because it has to be that.  
A whole family approach.
Especially if yours is a homeschooling family such as ours.
Recently, I believe the Lord has been quietly showing me some other issues that are at play as well since we began this journey nearly 7 years ago.
But in reality, it started at their birth.
It just took us this long to figure out what was really going on.
The following is a repost from one of my earlier blogs that has been edited to reflect the current ages of my children:

"Recently, I was talking with some friends in my church who also have ADHD children. I was asking them if they have seen similar things in their children that we have been dealing with for years. We have gotten so used to them, that we have just chalked them up to the quirks that every child possesses. But the more I saw the similarities in these other children, the more I began thinking that maybe these are characteristic of all children with ADHD.
So, I did an informal poll of some families on an ADHD forum that I'm casually involved with, and VOILA.....wouldn't ya know it......almost all of the responses I received said, "YES!! We struggle with almost every one of those!!" So I'm going to ask you, if you are a parent of an ADHD you see these things in your children? I can guarantee you that you will not find them in a formal list of "typical" symptoms that you will read in your Pediatrician's office nor online at any website that discusses this issue. I think that these are just things that you realize are there after YEARS of dealing with it. Here's the list:

Do your children:
  1. Have sleep issues? Whether they don't fall asleep quickly, or wouldn't be bothered if they stayed up all night, or wake up at weird times fully awake and wake you up or do stuff in their rooms?? How do you handle that??
  2. Prefer (almost crave) being outside? Do you have to bolt the door shut with extra locks to keep them from just going outside without your permission? Do they seem calmer when they come inside?
  3. Have an almost unusual love for animals. Like it consumes them?
  4. Have issues at almost every meal about what is put in front of them? Can you tell that certain textures bother them? Or certain smells or they way something looks? If it looks like something alive, can you tell they just won't eat it? How do you handle that?
  5. Think or at least verbalize that everyone "hates" them?
  6. Just say disrespectful things to you (or other adults) like a "knee-jerk" reaction even though they have been taught it is wrong, understand it is wrong, and seem to not really mean what they say?
  7. Enjoy time on the computer, but could take-or-leave the TV?? Would they stay on the computer as long as you would let them, but not in front of the TV?
  8. Have a special memory or sentiment attached to EVERY little thing they've ever owned? Is it hard for your child to throw stuff away?
  9. Rarely seem like he/she gets sick?? If everyone in our family is down with a bug and exhausted and needing to just be in bed and quiet, my son is still bouncing off the walls bugging us. If he does come down with something, it only lasts like 12 hours or less.....He has NEVER been on an antibiotic of any kind for anything....he's 14.
  10. Not need as much affection as your other children? I remember my oldest daughter always pushing away from me even as a baby at bedtime instead of being a snuggly one. To this day, she rarely comes to me for a hug or any kind of physical affection. My son tolerates discipline better if I pull him to me and talk softly, and wipe off the tears and rub his face, and hug him a little. But that's about it. He rarely approaches me, but will calm way down if I put my face close to him or hug him, etc.
  11. Seem to have a gift for creativity? Like just creating stuff out of nothing? For example, my daughter (ever to hate throwing things away) has gone through the neighbors trash on trash day, and pulled junk out to make "things" out of it. She used to constantly tie "things" to other "things". I couldn't keep socks in her drawers because she was always tying them up to make "rag dolls" she called them, or whatever else she needed to join stuff together. Drove me crazy!!! I'm hoping someday she will actually make something useful. I did enroll her at JoAnn Fabrics for a jewelry making class several years ago in which she excelled and  made beautiful pieces. But she didn't stick with that for long, of course, and kept leaving all her supplies out so all the younger siblings were messing with it. Now we're on to the next thing.
  12. Have issues with authority figures?  Particularly their relationship with their father?

I've been doing a lot more reading about ADHD here recently, and came upon the term "neurologically impaired" when referring to this issue along with several other different brain differences. It makes sense to me that learning that ADHD is a REAL issue, a REAL differential in the structure and function of their brains, that these other things that are so sensory in nature would naturally be a problem.
But I never really like the term "handicapped" or "impaired". You see, I serve a BIG God. I believe in and live for a God who loves each of my children and created each one of them with a special purpose and design. Each one of them has God's fingerprints on them, just in different ways. They each have their own unique "mark of ownership."   I don't believe they are "impaired" or "handicapped". Challenged maybe, but aren't we all? I prefer to look at the great things each of my children has the potential to reach, not the things that could potentially hold them back. These issues my children live with also come with amazing gifts not given to everyone else. So what if my child is not going to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee? So what, if my child is not going to be an academic star? So what, if my child will NEVER or RARELY get a 100% on her math test? Does that mean God can't use him or her? I believe the answer to that question is unequivocally, "NO!"  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

**This is a repost from the archives that definitely needs revisiting!**

Here, once again, I'm sharing one of my mom's recipes. This is a recipe that I've only ever seen my mother make and have never had it ever, anywh
ere other than at home. It deserves to be shared with the world.
While I was growing up my parents had a ginormous garden every year. It was something like a full acre.......for my parents and my sister and I. During the peak of the growing season we had tons of zucchini. (Who doesn't have tons of zucchini when they plant's like a weed that just proliferates everywhere!) So in an effort to use it all up and get the most benefit from all this bounty of zucchini, my mom would experiment with all kinds of recipes. We would have things like zucchini lasagna (NOT one of my favorites), zucchini pie (like a quiche), zucchini relish (think like pickle relish),  zucchini bread (FAVORITE), stir-fried zucchini, and then other recipes would have zucchini added to it. For instance, zucchini would come floating up in veggie soups, it was added to spaghetti sauce, and then this recipe which I am about to share with you would surface. This is by far my MOST favorite way to use zucchini. I'm not sure if my mother created this recipe on her own, or fudged with an existing recipe, or got it from somebody else......but it's something I think only my Mom would try. I LOVED it. My children and husband don't even realize it has this lovely vegetable in it, and they inhale it almost as soon as it's out of the oven. Very moist because of the added zucchini and lovely flavor!! You've got to just try it to believe it!! DELISH!!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. oil
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour milk (or buttermilk)
2 1/2 c. flour
4 Tbs. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. chocolate chips (or more to your liking)
1/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 325' and grease your 9 x13" baking pan.
 Cream together the butter,
oil, and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, milk and beat well.
 Sift together the flour, cocoa,
baking soda and powder, spices, and salt.
 Blend into liquid ingredients. Fold in the shredded zucchini. 
 Pour into your prepared 9 x 13" pan.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over all.
 (I always omit the nuts due to allergies.)

Bake at 325' for 40 - 45 minutes. Let cool before slicing and eating. 
 If you can stand the amazing aroma.

(Can you see the little pieces of zucchini anymore? They magically blend in!!)


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Women's Wellness Wednesday: 7 easy steps to a healthier diet!

I was super pumped when I found this list!
It's all right there.
In a fun, bright, ready-made list you could print out and take with you to the grocery store.
Stop buying products with these 7 ingredients in them.
When I determined what would be on my personal "list-to-avoid," these same things were on my list.
Read about it here.
If you're interested in eating healthier, cleaner, less processed, right here is where to start.
Go through your pantry and frig and look at every nutrition label.
If you find these ingredients on the label, set it aside.
I'm willing to bet you'll be astonished at how much garbage is in your pantry.
I was!!!
And I thought I knew a lot about nutrition from my "nutrition" courses in college!
High fructose corn syrup is in nearly everything these days!!
Breads, ice cream, cereal, sweetened beverages, jelly, graham crackers......basically
all the kid-friendly food!

Even if you don't need a specialized diet like one that is gluten-free, or dairy-free, or low-sodium, this is the perfect place to start cleaning up what you put in this one body you have been given and should be managing well!!

(click on the above image to make it larger)

Lexi's 19th Birthday

Several weeks ago, our family enjoyed celebrating our first-born's
19th birthday.  Say what?!

As our children age, they make their own plans for their birthdays now.
I kinda like that.  Way less work and planning for the Mom.
But it makes it harder for the rest of us to catch them
in time to do our own celebrating with them.
We were able to talk this girl into going out to lunch with us
as a family before she drove off for an afternoon of fun with her friends!