Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Buns

I haven't quite mastered the heart of making yeast doughs the old fashion way.... yet.  I have however figured out how to use my bread machine to make the dough for pizza & cinnamon buns.  I thought I'd share how I make my cinnamon buns:

Combine the following in order, in the bowl of your bread machine.
  - 1 1/3 cups milk
  - 2 tbsp sugar
  - 2 tbsp butter
  - 1 1/4 cups wholewheat flour
  - 2 cups ap flour
  - 2 tsp. cinnamon
  - 1 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast

Set on the " dough" setting and let it do all the fussy work.....When dough is finished roll out onto a floured surface into a rectangle.  Long side should roughly be the length of your rolling pin.  Lightly spread soft butter over dough, sprinkle with cinnamon & raisins.  Slowly role from the long edge into a log.  Slice into 12 equal size pieces.  Place pieces into baking pans.  Bake at 350 for approx. 30 mins.  Time depends on your oven & the type of pan used.

My kids REALLY like it when I top them with this yummy glaze from our Better Homes & Garden baking book:

Maple Glaze:

Heat 3 tbsp butter in small sauce pan for about 7 -10 minutes or until light brown.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups icing sugar & 1/4 cup maple syrup.  If needed stir in a little milk to thin enough for drizzling.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So, How do you like your oatmeal?

Ana's a maple syrup with no milk.

Keisha like brown sugar & rice milk,

Liam like a bit a everything..a few raisins, brown sugar & milk,

Anthony like most things, is a pile it on kind of guy...brown sugar, lots of raisins, cinnamon & milk

and little old me....I'm a raisins, sprinkle of brown sugar & rice milk kind of girl !!

How about you ?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting back to it......


January 1992....the beginning of my journey into working within the fostering system.  My neighbor at the time & mentor Judy asked me to consider being her babysitter/respite provider.  Over the next 8 years I had the good fortune of working very closely with Judy and the special babies in her care.  She was very generous in sharing her knowledge and experiences.  By the time I was ready to open my own home up I had a pretty good handle on the system.

One of the many shared ideas Judy & I had was about  "Life Books".  Over the years, we have each evolved in our approached in how we make them.  Taking picture had long been a passion of mine.  Seeing how extra important it was to document " our babies" journey took a new importance when my K&A moved in at the age of 3.  I was their 7 th official foster home.  They had had numerous respite care placements & daycare's in addition to multiple short term stays with their birthmom & her family.  It is estimated that they had had approx. 40 different caregivers since birth.  They had nothing but the clothes they were wearing.  There were no photo's in their files.  Eventually, we received a few sad picture from their birthmom.  A previous support worker remembered receiving a picture of them when they were around 4months old.  This is the only nice picture that exists for their first 3 years of life.  Not one of their previous foster families had any photos of them to share.  No one wonder they felt like nothing !!!

Well to say that I'm passionate about scrapbooking/lifebooking/documenting is a understatement !!!  Since moving back to the island it seems to have moved to the back burner to some degree. Most likely because we've been grieving .....

So in a effort not to go stir crazy with all this time on my hands I've decided to get back to it by finishing up my nephews baby books and then onto the 2010 family album that is not even started !

Sunday, September 12, 2010

R E A L L Y .....

that's how you want to start your day ? 

You know it's going to be a tough day when more than one of your children open their eyes ready for a fight !!  Instead of waking to " Good mornings" I woke to " I HATE YOU, I HATE EVERYONE, door slam !!, That means you too MOM, door slam !!

Well then !!  I think it's another home day for us.....

Friday, September 10, 2010

I should be in heaven.....right?

The kids have officially all been in school for three days now......and I'm struggling to know what to do with myself.

I've lingered at the " littles" school each morning catching up with friends, being available as they transition & starting getting things lined up for Chesslakees's Healthy school program.  I'm on top of my housework, baking, cooking, canning etc.  Even the dreaded paper work has been managed.  Some how I'm still feeling blah !  I know, I know stop whinny right !!

I feel like I should just get over it.  I'm super fortunate to be able to parent full time, raise my own children, & not be running around like a crazy person ( like a majority of moms).  This is not something that has just been handed to me either.  I've worked hard to set our lives up this way.  To maintain being debt free, well with the exception of our mortgage.  This has taken hard work & sacrifices.  So why can't I just sit back and enjoy it ?  Shouldn't I be sitting back with a good book or something and soaking up all this peaceful " Shannon" time that's now a byproduct of all that hard work & sacrifice?  Blahhhh...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carrot Apricot Bread

Today, along with the laundry & phone calls I decided to whip up a couple of these.  One to be sliced up for the kids lunches & the other for a friend who needing to increase her iron intake.  Did you know the dried apricots are a super source of iron?

Carrot Apricot Bread

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup ap flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup apple sauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup veg. oil
2/3 cup diced dried apricots

Bake at 350 for approx. 45 - 50 mins.

Split dough into 2 loaf pans for best results.  If you'd like to switch it up into dessert just drizzle with a little apple glaze.

Apple glaze

1 cup icing sugar
4 tsp apple juice

* before drizzling, poke the top of each loaf all over with a toothpick for best results.

Hope you give it a's super good according to Anthony & Liam !!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

...... and Ana finally sleeps !

 When she was little sleep came easy to her.  Around her turning five that slowly started to change.  Restlessness, anxiety & night terrors started to cycle through.  Over the last several weeks she's moved herself back into my bed...which I'm totally fine with as long as she does her best to respect my space & things.  Most nights she's not falling asleep without me curling up with her. 7: 42pm she didn't wait for me.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Off they went.....

Today was the official first day of school here in B.C.  They only went for 2 hours though ( 10:30 - 12:30).  Our morning started off a little iffy.  K&A where over the top silly hyper.  Liam woke nervous with a " tummy ache" and Ana's mood flitted from one extreme to another right up to our arriving in the school parking lot !  However once everyone got settled it was all good.  I think they are all going to have a great year.  Ana & Liam's classes are all set.  As I mentioned previously we won't know what's up with K&A's class until the end of the week.  I have some strong opinions with how Sunset handles their first week.  The kids basically just play & hang out the whole week while the staff figures out how they want to set things up !!!  That's a huge hunk of teaching time just thrown out the window if you ask me. I've heard their reasons ( new students,changes over the summer yay yay ) I just don't agree.  There are 1000's of schools out there that are able to get it together for the first day.  As the momma to a house hold of children with special needs & school "designation" I just plain think it's irresponsible ! 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mommy, Why don't you just go to the store?

Today it's raining and I'm baking & canning some more.  I was asked a couple of time why I didn't just go to the store.  Well.....

1. Because I'm capable of making my own food....

2. Because I think it's healthier for us....

3. Because it's cheaper...which means more money to do other things....

4. Because it makes me feel good....

5. Because it's more environmentally friendly.....

6. Did I mention that it's way cheaper?

( Bread & Butter Pickles)

I most certainly won't be considered a medical expert in the big scheme of things. However, when it come to my kids I'd like to think I'm pretty tuned in.  I have seen what the fumes from commercial cleaners, food preservatives ( MSG, nitrates), commercial food dyes and what I consider " fake " food has on them.  Sudden mood changes, increased rages, rashes, swelling of the tongue, change in sleep patterns.....The reality is that they each are unique in how their prenatal exposure has effected their brain, muscle and nervous system.  The one thing they have in common is that when "crap" goes in..... their bodies rebel !!!  That's a huge motivation to keep improving how I do things around here.

( Ana decided we just had to used the " fancy" muffin liners)

7.  Because I Love You and your health is the most important thing in this world !!!!

 ( Pickles, Chewy Ginger cookies & Chocolate Zucchini cake/muffins)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

2 days and counting....

Just a few more sleeps until the kids head back to school.  Liam is starting grade one this year....which mean all of my little darlings will be in full time school.  At first glance it would appear that I have it made !  The reality is that " yes", I will potentially be able to finish a conversation with a friend, eat at least one meal while it's hot, maintain some semblance of order around the house and maybe just maybe go to the washroom with out the door flying open !

For a brief second I have considered finding a part time job to earn a little more cash for all these projects I'm dreaming up.  The reality is that I need and want to be available to my kids while their at school.  I don't know of an employer who would be okay with me being called away to help my kids work through a rage or a difficult transition.  I'm having a hard time totally celebrating them returning to school.  It will be nice to have a little calm time for myself but on the other hand I know that it's going to be a really emotional draining week/month for them as they transition back into the swing of things.

At this point I'm feeling at ease with their potential classroom placements.  Ana will be with Mrs. Quigley for a second year.  This will be huge for her.  One less relationship for her to navigate through.  Liam is going to be with Ms. Janveau.  He's going to have a great year !  We won't find out until the end of the week which teacher K&A will have for certain.  However, at this point I'm feeling okay with both options.  It appears that Anthony will be getting his wish for separate classes.  They've had the same class for the last three years.  He's pleased to be getting a little space from his sis.  Don't get me wrong he loves her.  These two have shared a great deal in their almost 13 years.  The reality is that it's not always easy to be her brother.  She relies on him a great deal to help her navigate through this " school thing".  Developmentally the gap is growing between them.  He's coming to understand her limitations.  He's struggling a bit with watching out for her and navigating his own  way through all the normal social dynamics going on at this stage of life.

I realized that I haven't blogged about my garden much this summer.  Between the crazy weather and our being away for most of July it hasn't been that successful.  The cherry tomatoes & lettuce have done well.  Everything else has done okay.  We've had enough bean for a couple of meals at this point.  If the weather stays mild through out September we should get a few more meals worth of bean, chard and parsnips.  I'm thinking of switching things up a bit next year.  If we travel it's going to be closer to the end of summer.

It looks like it's a go for the trainers job for the Foster Parent Assoc.  However, not until the new year !  I'm looking forward to continuing on with our " Healthy Kids" program at Ana & Liam's school.  I've been stocking " Urban Homesteading" blogs for days lately.  I'm eager to make this little yard of mine more productive.  The reality is that I'm certain that I won't be bored for long.  I'm committed to improving my "self care" by walking a little more,  carving out a little more quiet time in my week, listening to my body more and ignoring those nagging " sugar" cravings.  I'm looking forward to working on creating more towards our " Homemade" Christmas.  Each year I get a little bit closer !!

Oh !! Mr. Fish

why do you intimidate me so ?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Redirection, Distraction, Satisfaction, back to Redirection.....

Well that pretty much some things up around here these last few days.  Four more day until we head back to school.  I've had a chance to chat with both schools and caught up with a few of our teachers.  Would really LOVE to hear back from the school board regarding K & A's new designation.  Left several messages back in response.....left another one this response....errrr!

I've been doing a whole lots of keeping them busy these last few days.  We've been:

playing with friends,

reading lots of books in an effort to help some short people's withdrawl from being plugged in so much,

running, walking, climbing what ever it takes to burn off all kinds of crazy energy. I wish the pool had stayed open just one more week !

Blackberry jamming, Blackberry coblering, Blackberry pancaking,

I'd like to say that all my efforts have maintain a happy peaceful home...well not so much !  Everyone is ramping up despite all my efforts.  This week we visited with both Danielle ( child & youth mental health) & Dr. Lund ( ped.).  Lots of support planning and a little med tweeking.  Here's hoping next week won't be a total dissaster. 

Found out today that the kids PAA ( post adoption assistance) will cover some added medical expenses coming up.  It all helps !  So thankful to my mom and her savvy shopping skill...the kids are all set for the Fall.  Was able to sign Anthony up for Junior Rangers...he's so pleased. Let's hope this group works out for him.  Despite this difficult period, I'm looking forward to the Fall.  Getting back into my school kitchen with the kids....all kinds of good ideas flowing.