Friday, December 21, 2012

Double Mint Mocha Fudge Brownies

First of all, Happy Holidays to everyone! :) We're winding down here, but I still have a LOT to do! Most of my holiday orders are done and shipped out, just a few more goodies to take care of and I'll be done! 

Anyway, before I get cracking, I wanted to share this so simple recipe. So, you can wow your family and friends too. I promise it's so easy and it will literally take just a few minutes to put together. 

Double Mint Mocha Fudge Brownies

1 box of Pillsbury Mocha Fudge Brownies
Peppermint extract
A bag of York Peppermint Patties
A bag of Andes Mint baking chips (or you can a package and chop them yourself)

*You could also a tiny bit of instant espresso powder if you want a bit stronger coffee flavor

Make the brownies according to the package directions. At the end add about 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract, depending upon your taste. Then add about a quarter to half the bag of the Andes mint baking chips. Mix together until just combined. 

Pour half of your mix into your baking dish, only half! Then lay out your peppermint patties over the top of the mix. You can make any pattern you wish to do, I myself am a mint lover, so I literally didn't leave any space between the patties.

When you're done, top with the rest of the brownie mix and bake according to the directions. Once you've removed it from the oven, sprinkle some more Andes mint baking chips and holiday appropriate sprinkles over the top. The heat will help melt and keep them in place. How much mint chips and sprinkles, is entirely your call. You could even frost it and then add these but, these brownies are so rich and delicious I've found that they never needed frosting. 

I hope you enjoy this easy go to recipe to make in a pinch for the family. From our house to yours, may your holidays be filled with love, laughter and years of memories!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Double Chocolate, Marshmallow Crackle Cookies

So, I know I don't post much to the blog anymore. Just don't have a lot of time but, as you know, I do my best to keep that FB page going! :) This one though just could not be shared in a note on my page, so you're not dreaming, I'm actually posting something on the blog! lol

Christmas to me or any holiday around this time of year is a big deal to me. I love them. To me it's more about family than who has what. I still love to drive around more than the boys do to look at lights and while I was lucky this year to be able to find a great sale at a house and bring in a lot more decorations, I usually can't afford to do a whole lot. The one tradition that holds true though, is that every year, I bake dozens upon dozens of goodies for friend, family and neighbors. Including the ladies out at my mom's retirement center!

Double Chocolate Marshmallow Crackle Cookies

This recipe was given to me by a friend and I sort of adapted it a bit. So, I hope you enjoy it and unlike me, have fresh baking soda to work with! :)

3 cps of flour
2/3 cp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 cp white sugar
1cp of brown sugar, packed
1 cp salted butter, softened
2 lrg eggs
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 cps of semisweet chocolate chips 
8 oz. of mini marshmallows, frozen

**My notes: 
For some reason, every now and again, this recipe mix ends up a little drier than it should be. I have no idea why but, all I do is either add another egg or at least 1/4 cp of water. I am unsure the exact measurements because as Rachel Ray always says, I "eyeballed it". And the last adaptation is that I always put more vanilla than the recipe calls for, so probably about another half to full tsp of vanilla went in. These will make it a much richer, drier cookie so if you find it drying out on you, because a few times I've had this problem, just add that water a little at a time.
For more of a "crackle" cookie effect, add a little less baking soda, and the cookie will not rise as big. Be careful though, because too little and you'll have a puddle of a cookie on your hands!
You'll need a small bowl or cup of powdered sugar to roll your cookie balls around in. 
Also keep those marshmallows frozen until just the moment you need them! 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
In one bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, soda and cocoa powder, whisk and set aside.
In a larger bowl blend sugars, and butter until you get a sort of grainy paste. Then add your eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Slowly add in your dry mix and chocolate chip and blend until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! This mix will be very stiff. So, don't panic. 

Grab abt. 4 - 5 marshmallows, though you can do less if you prefer, and take a nice rounded tbs of dough and wrap it around the marshmallows. No worries if you end up making them larger than the "normal" sized cookies because, they still turn out absolutely rich and delicious! 

Once you have your marshmallows covered by your cookie ball, roughly about 2 inches in diameter, just drop them in your bowl of powdered sugar and shake them around a bit, until they are nice and covered. Then you'll place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Parchment paper or even that non-stick foil works just as nicely. Make sure that they are roughly about 2 inches or so apart. and bake about 8 - 10 minutes. Again, remember your altitude does affect baking time.  

When your time is up, remove and let them sit on that pan for about 2 minutes before you remove to your cookie wrack or cool, flat surface. 

Here is where I stress something about baking or even cooking in general. If you remove something from the heat but, let it sit in the pan, or in this case on the cookie sheet, keep in mind that it is still cooking! So, don't hesitate when you go to pull them out and they look slightly under cooked  in the center or even a little light in color - this goes for all cookies too. So, if you leave them on the sheet, they will continue to bake just sitting there. If you were to leave them in the oven until all golden brown, you'll have over cooked them. 

Also, my last words of advice before I tell you to dive in, TEST this recipe out before the day you want to give it to someone! You'll learn what works and what doesn't, you can take out some cocoa powder or add the extra moisture, etc. if you have a practice run before you serve it to someone. 

Lastly, I do not have the calories, or carbs  in this cookie for us diabetics but, with the load of cocoa powder, chocolate chips and flour in this my advice would be to wait for the holiday and then if you've been good, you could treat yourself to JUST 1 SINGLE cookie! lol 

Hope you enjoy these, with a nice cup of mint tea, surrounded by family and friends! 
Happy Holidays! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thank You!

Alright so for those of you that used to follow this blog page regularly, you may have noticed that I've been on and off for a while now. Life has gone insane around me and I'm barely hanging on some days! For those of you who don't know, my mother and I helped remove custody of my nephews from my little sis until she can get some help. I like to say she fell into the family curse. One grandparent on each side of my family, along with both my mother and father were alcoholics. So, it was bound to hit one of us I suppose. Out of four of my mother's kiddos, two of us are still on the straight and narrow. Out of my father's 3 girls, there are still 2 of us, still doing good. :) So, I suppose things aren't too awful. Anyway, it's been hard, it is hard but, we're all hanging in there.

Another reason I haven't been on much is because between a month in a cast from tearing all of my ligaments, some completely from my bone, and then a month learning to walk. I got a tad behind in homeschool preps. Yes, I homeschool my children, well just one kiddo really. When I began my preps though, I got whooping cough from the only whooping cough vaccinated nephew! Nice huh? Spent a month sicker than a dog, in and out of the hospital and that my friends, was THE best thing that has ever happened to me!

If you've followed this blog all the way through, once upon a time, I wrote a piece on how to loose some weight. I did so because I had gone from 300+ lbs. to just under 200lbs. I did it several ways but, mainly I was in the gym 6 days a week, back when I could afford to go. I was cross training and I loved it. I am one of those weird people who loves the morning after pain! Lets me know I have done something, you know? Anyway, almost 3yrs ago, I stopped going to the gym and my money had to go towards children's diet changes, new therapy ideas (i.e. occupational, physical and speech therapy at home), homeschool supplies, etc. I started eating the way I had prior to my oldest son being born and that's when it began. I started to feel the way I did before my youngest son was born and lost the motivation to go to the gym flat out! 

How did I feel before my son was born? Almost 2yrs before he was born, I noticed I suddenly felt tired all the time, I began to loose my hair, I felt depressed almost but, it wasn't that kind of thing right away, I just didn't want to go out anywhere. I began to have panic attacks, I would have horrible mood swings, I was getting sick all the time, etc. I could go on and on but, I will spare you instead and tell you that what it amounted to was metabolic disorder.

What is metabolic disorder? Here's a definition from Medline Plus:
Metabolism is the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. Food is made up of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Chemicals in your digestive system break the food parts down into sugars and acids, your body's fuel. Your body can use this fuel right away, or it can store the energy in your body tissues, such as your liver, muscles and body fat.
A metabolic disorder occurs when abnormal chemical reactions in your body disrupt this process. When this happens, you might have too much of some substances or too little of other ones that you need to stay healthy.
You can develop a metabolic disorder when some organs, such as your liver or pancreas, become diseased or do not function normally. Diabetes is an example.

So essentially, your body just kind of begins to loose it! When I landed in the hospital, my liver enzymes were high, my liver was even swollen! My white count was high, I had apparently had a UTI for some time and had been unaware of it. They took an A1c test and mine was something like 8.7. An A1c test is a blood test where they can determine a 3 month average for your blood sugars. Mine averaged out to something like 195. Which is high but, not too bad. Truthfully the only reason mine was so low is because I often skipped breakfast and would not eat until I was ready to pass out. In the hospital my blood sugars never dropped below 250 on my own the first week my sugars were in the 300s!!

It's been almost a month now and my sugars are still higher in the mornings than they'd like sometimes but, not too bad now overall. To date, (starting from 2 weeks ago) since starting diet and mild exercise since I have high triglycerides too, I've lost 10lbs! Ready to start pushing myself now and take on some more challenging things. Maybe start doing beginners steps towards how I used to exercise. I will say that I am not one for medications, I think we are a nation hooked on the pharmaceutical industry but, I also know that sometimes, things need to be done right now until you can get where you need to be. Case in point, I have one ADHD kid on meds and one not. Though to be fair, the one on meds, has more than just ADHD and I have cut his meds in half by a better diet, the other one is just the text book sensory processing disorder, auditory processing, ADHD kiddo...enough to loose 10lbs in a day if you follow him around! Anyway, I did some of this with the blood sugars and triglycerides with medications. I only take two right now, and if I can help it that will be all and hopefully, I can get rid of one of those in time. :)  I'd like to be rid of both but, because of genetics and the proof of having gestational diabetes twice, the doc says short of a miracle, I'll be on the diabetes meds for life. I was heartbroken but, so be it. I did this to myself and now I must pay the piper. In the mean time I can do what I need to do to get back on the right track for myself and for my boys. One because they need me here and two because of genetics and my having had gestational diabetes, they are now doubly at risk to get it as well. I wish they had told me then that something like half of women with gestational diabetes will go on to get it within 5 - 15yrs after the birth of their child, would've saved me a lot of issues! 

So, now I wear socks all the time, no more barefoot and that was like a death in the family for me! :) I love going barefoot. I take better care of me teeth, always have glucose tablets with me just in case, I carry my diabetic pouch with lancets, strips, logbook, etc. and you bet I carry a calorie/carb/fat counter book! Thank goodness for those because I am not always home when I need to eat. The one my dietitian gave me is called, The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2012. The website is here if you'd like to check that out as well. No, I was not asked to endorse that place nor book, it is simply the one I use but, I know that there are plenty of sites and books out there if you look. So, if you see a lot more healthy posts, or more posts about diabetes. This is why!

Anyway, I'm almost back up to perkily annoying on a daily basis. My neighbors once again like me, though they look at me as if I have two heads! :) It's been a HARD summer to say the least but, I've learned a lot and am getting more together and organized, so look out and thanks for hanging with me so far! You guys are really just a bunch of amazing individuals! I hope you know that and how much I've appreciated your support!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where's Waldo? Still here....barely! :)

I haven't posted in a long while but, have tried to keep the Facebook page active as much as I could. With trouble going on with my sister and trying to keep her from getting custody until she gets help, and then the whole month in a cast plus month of physical therapy and then getting the whooping cough thing, it's been a little hard.
The whooping cough thing was and still is probably the single worst experience I've had getting sick period. Most adults it barely phases but, me it dang near landed me in the hospital for a lengthy stay. I begged to be let out under strict orders of bed rest and the promise that my mother would be with me 24/7 to care and look after my boys so I could rest. Then the hospital staff went to work on why a month had past and the cough and lung congestion was bad. There is where my life will forever change.

First let me start off by saying it has been a rough decision on whether to share all of this with you. It is personal and there are a lot of misconceptions associated with this. I still hesitate to tell some folks because of this but, I tell my boys never be ashamed of who you are, no matter what tic, what you can or cannot do, what you can or cannot hear, what you comprehend or what you have don't know. Embrace what makes you, you and then make the world accept you or leave. It will be their loss for not having known you. So, here I go about to tell you all something that overall is no big thing but, is personal for me, for some reason.

I want to premise this though by saying two things though. One, I have been exceptionally tired the last few years. If you knew me personally, I'm one of those annoying morning people, I sing and dance in the middle of the store, for my boys and I don't care who is looking. I am annoying bubbly and there is always a silver lining. Over the last few years though, it would take everything I had to get up and clean or make meals. I was tired all the time, to the point I began to wonder if I was depressed. Even blogging and trying to keep FB up was beginning to get harder. The more stress I was under the worse I felt too. I used to workout vigorously 6 days a week - yes, one of those annoyingly perky people in the gym at 5am! :P If I couldn't afford the gym, I would work out 4x a day at home in 15 - 20 min. increments. I love it but, as I grew more tired, I lost the motivation to do anything, including walking.

Secondly, I had two pregnancies, both were different. One more difficult than the other but both similar in that I had gestational diabetes. I was told the first time that there would be a chance that I may get diabetes later in life, the first time. The second pregnancy I was told that having gestational diabetes meant that I would hands down, no bones about it, get diabetes at one point in my life. I was thinking, that like most of the population not until my 50s, 60s or 70s. What I have learned in this last week is that having it guaranteed I'd be diabetic within 5 - 10 yrs of the very first time I had oldest son is almost 8yrs old.

The reason I could not shake the whooping cough and am still fighting it, you guessed it I am diabetic. It's not the end of world really by a long shot but, the misconception I've faced in the last week alone is a bit disheartening. Because of my lack of energy, yes, I have put on a bit of weight and if you know anything about diabetes, high blood sugars are really not conducive in loosing weight, they're very good at adding those extra pounds though. So, to hear family members say, well you're diabetic because, you've put on weight is a tad annoying, not to mention a bit hurtful. It's true I've put on weight but, not for trying hard not too.

Talking to the doc, the diabetic nurse and the dietitian, they pulled my records from the last 5 yrs at least. What they found was that I've been spilling sugars in my urine at high levels for years now and that NO ONE told me! What they told me was devastating to me. That I would have to go on medications along with the diet to control my sugars. That they were going to start me on a small dose and in a week or two raise my dosage. Confident in my ability to control my sugars with my diet, as I had done it twice before, I asked him if I got it under control could I go off of the meds. He knows me well enough to know that I prefer to do things on my own, not even taking an Ibuprofen unless I can't deal with the pain. He grabbed my hands and told me that because I had had gestational diabetes, there was most likely no way that I could ever go off of meds. They could reduce the dosage but, in all likely hood, short of a miracle, I would take meds for the rest of life.

Alright, this is not a death sentence, I know this but, if you knew how I am, this was awful to hear. I actually broke down in tears. :P So, between the meds that I actually begged for to help with the pain of torn, stretched and ripped muscles in my back and sides, I've spent the week trying to quickly master the diet I knew how to do once before only with a lot more restrictions. It's been a little harder than I remember. lol I can hit the carb count but, way overshoot the fat, or vice versa. It's been worth it though, a few days in and I have a lot more energy than I have in years. Though that comes and goes. I have even celebrated not seeing a sugar level past 300 for at least a couple of days now and today I awoke to my first "fasting" level below 200! It was barely below but, it was a great feeling to see a 1 in that spot instead of a 2!

I am telling you all of this because well, I don't want you to think I've abandon you. I'm a little tired from the meds they have given to help the muscles and the ups and downs of blood sugar, plus that medication have made me a little up and down as well! :) The good news is that so far, no kidney damage, circulation is good, and though my eyes are of  concern, and will be checked once my sugars come down to a more stable, lower level, Which brings me to a third point, please don't tell someone that if they just loose a few pounds they're be fine or that because they're overweight, that is why they're diabetic. While this may hold true for some people it is not always the case. Like in mine, I got it because of genetics and because I had it unknowingly, I then put on the weight. The weight wasn't the cause of it. So, please be mindful of what you say and maybe learn a bit about it before you open your mouth.

Thirdly, though my friend Jessie never reads my blog, I want to thank her for all of her support through this. She has Type 1 Diabetes. Still she had 3 kids, even though she wasn't suppose to. She is on an insulin pump and has lost an eye even but, despite it all, she coached me through both pregnancies and now is helping me acclimate to being diabetic for life. She's a rock star! Also, my momma, who does read this sometimes. At 66yrs old, she dropped everything to come and take care of 2 special needs boys who even on ADHD meds and diet can run rings around someone half her age. Who is also type 2 and has agreed to go on this journey with me, eating right and exercising again. Which is a big deal for her. I really hope that you all have this kind of support in your lives and I want to thank you all for being here waiting on me. As soon as my muscles heal a bit better, the cough ceases to be so severe, I'll be back and better than ever!

Hugs to all of you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cool Summer Refreshment

Thanks for hanging with me while this whole family thing gets sorted out. It's been a rough go of things lately and it's not over yet. Anyway, onto cheerier subjects....well sort of.

Reaching midsummer almost, all I can think of is when does fall get here?! The heat wave and drought that has stretched across a lot of the U.S. has made a lot of us think that. Triple digit numbers for the highs of the days and days and days of it....I hate to say it but, I'm ready for snow! And we all can't do this...

Well, we could but, for some of us (me) it wouldn't be as cute as this!

Anyway, though we are blessed to have air here, when the power is going on and off...that's a whole other story, all I can think of, is ways to keep my boys hydrated and cool. So, here are some things that I have found across the internet and have even tried a few goodies myself. Some of these may contain food allergens, though most will not. You can always substitute ingredients in them though!

So, first off when we all think of our childhood days, lazing by the pool, we think of popsicles. Here are 3 treats that are not only delicious, but nice and healthy that are sure to cool you down.

This beauty is a Sugar Free Banana Popsicle from The Bubble Bean blog. The only allergen that I could think of in here was strawberries but, she says you can use cherries as well. I've never outright heard of a banana allergy but, as a latex allergic individual, you can imagine I avoid them. Still, this looks delicious!

Another yummy looking popsicle, is the all natural Strawberry Banana Popsicle. I imagine if your child is allergic to strawberries, you could again use cherries.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn't share Laurie's goody! Her High-C Herbal Pop is perfect for my herbal minded folk out there!

Popsicles not your thing? How about smoothies to keep you refreshed and hydrated? Here are 3 that you or your kiddos are sure to love.

On Laurie's heels, it's only fitting to share this Berry Green Smoothie, complete with Kefir.

This one, Veganluscious Blueberry Smoothie, is perfect for my little guy because it doesn't involve strawberries and he's a blueberry junkie! He asks for blueberries with everything. It's also from the Gluten Free Goddess so you know it's good! 
Another good one but, I can never seem to get a picture of it before my little minion drinks it all is Go Dairy Free's Berry Banana Breakfast Smoothy. We don't always use the spinach. Or even the cinnamon and a lot of the time, I don't have Flax on hand so you guessed it, we go without that as well! It's still amazingly delicious no matter how it's made!

Now onto the most overlooked idea of all....flavored WATER!  No sugars, no preservatives, no chemicals, actual nutritious fruit and good old H2O.
This one from The Yummy Life, is the one being passed all around Pinterest. The article is full of great ideas Raspberry Lime to All Citrus water. Tons of good info and ideas here for you.

Sue's Nutrition Buzz also has a fantastic post on flavored water. Including how to add other nutrients or vitamins if you choose to do so.

Another great idea I nabbed from my friend Ida's page! Who got it from her friend Laura's FB page. :P
FRUIT WATER: 1 each of the following fruits: apple, lemon, orange, pear, 4 large strawberries, a handful of raspberries, a handful of mint leaves, 1 half-gallon of water. Cut large slices or thin wedges of each fruit; place them in a large glass pitcher and add water. Refrigerate 2 hours and serve in tall glasses for a delicious and refreshing drink!

If these don't entice you in the least bit...I'm afraid the unbearable heat has taken it's toll on your brain already and the only remedy is to enjoy one of these tasty treats! So, sit back with a glass of flavored water, a popsicle or smoothie of your choice with a million fans blowing on you and enjoy the summer sun....while you dream of a cooler fall! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not Your Typical Child Tuesday #7

Again, to all of you that follow my FB page, thanks for being so supportive and hanging on while my family went through this stressful time. It's not over yet but, at least we have respite for a couple of months! Anyway, I can't think of better way to kick back into blog mode than another "Not Your Typical Child Tuesday"! :)

If you couldn't guess by last weeks post, I am going to talk about Tourette Syndrome today. If you think you know all about it and it's not in your life, then you don't know a thing! For example, the stereotypical misconception of TS is that you have coprolalia (yelling curse words) is actually rare in people with TS and that the percentage of people with coprolalia is something like LESS than 10%?! Did you also know that even though when TV shows or news shows mention TS, we typically think of adults but, that a majority of people with TS are children?!

Tourette Syndrome affects something between 1 and 10 students per 1000. Which sounds like pretty good odds your child or family won't have it but, since my son has been diagnosed, I actually see a lot of people that I can honestly say would fit the diagnostic criteria for having TS and they don't know they have it! TS can be so mild that a varying amount of adults have had it a majority of their life and not know it nor have their 'tics' get fully noticed by family or the public or they get misdiagnosed even. In fact, most females with TS will often get diagnosed with OCD!

TS affects boys 3x more often than girls and is prevalent in the Caucasian population versus any other. There are some genetic components as well in developing TS. It has been known to run in families but, a lot of the time, it appears for no reason. There are certain familial traits that often seem to be present in families though that many a researcher finds interesting when TS finally manifests. For example, OCD is hugely prevalent in families of a child with TS. Though again, it's not always that way but, a large enough number of things like this seem to happen and it has caught researchers' attention. Another main focus is the dopamine and serotonin levels and receptors in the brain. The theories go that either the receptors are hypersensitive or that the person with TS over or under produces those chemicals in the brain. They have even found that mutations involving the SLITRK1 gene have been identified in a small number of people with Tourette syndrome. SLITRK is responsible for providing instructions for making a protein that is active in the brain. They believe that the SLITRK1 protein might plays a role in the development of nerve cells, including the growth of specialized extensions (axons and dendrites) that allow each nerve cell to communicate with nearby cells. It is unclear how mutations in the SLITRK1 gene can lead to this disorder.

So, what do we take from this? TS is a neurobiological disorder that usually presents with tics. Tics being involuntary, rapid, repetitive movements or vocal outburts. Tics will wax and wane but, be present for at least one year. Tics often change and go away or change and reappear. For example, they may have a blinking tic that stays with them and a sniffing tic that changes to a humming, etc. Some tics reappear intermittently and others may only appear once. There is no rhyme or reason for it. Tics vary from person to person in severity and duration. Some kids may have days, weeks or months with no outright noticeable tics, while others will never have a tic free day. Some kiddos may have severe enough TS on an upswing that they cannot walk, talk, or eat normal! For some other kiddos that severity of tics may be an everyday thing!

Children with TS typically have a normal range of IQs, meaning just like the normal nuero-typical children, they have a normal intelligence and some have high IQs. They are in every way as normal as your son, your daughter or you neighbor's children. They may have other issues though, called comorbid disorders, like ADHD, OCD, Sensory Processing Disorder, ODD, Asperger's, etc. It is these accompanying disorders that often times gives the child some trouble, be it with school, attention, behavior, etc. To make matters worse, children and adults with TS often times have episodes we as parents typically call rages. These are never pleasant for anyone involved. They often times on an upswing or if their TS is severe, are exhausted by their constant body motion and it's painful. As a parent, there is nothing more painful than to watch on in helplessness.

There is so much more to say on TS but, I will save it for another post! :)

Thanks again for joining me for another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday and thanks again for hanging with me while we went through this difficult time in our family. Your support was seriously amazing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Not Your Typical Child #6

This Not Your Typical Child Tuesday is another one that is personal to our home. Probably THE most personal one for me to share yet. Mainly because of the HUGE misconceptions associated with this disorder and the obstacles that my son will have to overcome. It is the one thing that still feels very raw on a bad day, as many a mother of a child with TS will agree. Today begins a month long awareness campaign for Tourette Syndrome Awareness in the U.S. So today, we begin to tackle Tourette Syndrome.

I can't really talk about Tourette Syndrome without introducing you to one of the loves of my life, my son DW. So, instead of giving you the stone cold facts and statistics, I will show you the personal side to TS in my life today. Please take a moment and get to know my son.

Here's his little brother's video he helped make dedicated to his big brother: 


Before you judge, before you joke, make sure you know what you're talking about first. These are just two of the faces affected by TS. There are millions more faces just like this affected by it. Take some time this month to get to know more about TS and destroy the myths and stigma that surrounds it.

Thanks for joining me again for another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Favorite Blog Friday #5

This week's favorite blog Friday is, The Morristribe!

Welcome to one of the most enthusiastic blogs I've come across when it comes to teaching and learning to homestead. One of the things I do when I come across a new blog is read their "About" page. What struck me about Kelly's page:
It wasn’t until 18 years ago that I made the correlation between “time” and “stuff”.  To acquire more “stuff”, you must continually give up parts of your “life”.  Almost overnight, my enthusiasm about my career and  current way of life began to diminish.

She's absolutely right of course. This began her transformation into a one income family and a new way of life. What I love most about her blog, is she's more than willing to share what she's learned with her readers in order to make their lives a little simpler.

Her series on How to Get Started Homesteading, is a great place to start for beginners. It covers things from getting to know your farming community, how to get good soil, to easy crops to grow and composting! She often times has a great series like the ones on homesteading. She recently had one of my favorites from any blog, on the Depression. It was a reminder of all that my grandparents had been through and why I do what I do for my family.

She even has articles on how to be a bit more self sufficient and even some on getting out of debt. If none of these interest you, Kelly has a ton of great things in the recipe department. Here is the link to her recipe section. She even has some really good posts on stuff that has to do with kids. Which includes things like motivating your kiddos, how to make chores more fun and even a little something on "the talk"! She even has a video series for the newbies, called A Year on Homestead.
Together, she sells them for only $9.99 or individually for between $2.99 - $4.99. So, it's not going to break the bank if you want to buy them all at once or one at a time!

Another bonus that Kelly does is her Homesteader Blog Carnival. A great linky party that showcases everyone's best in homesteading and sustainable living.

There are so many great things on Kelly's blog that I honestly don't know where to begin! She has giveaways regularly and on her FB page, shares all of these goodies plus a little bit more! So, grab a glass of your favorite summer time beverage (it's almost 90 degrees here today!) and give Kelly's blog a minute or ten! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crocheted Luggage Tags

I'm one of those weird people that can have all sorts of friends. An eclectic mix really from rednecks to very posh and proper people. Though I will admit that none of them really hang out together but, they all still speak to me and why is beyond me sometimes. I'm a goofy chic and well, sometimes have not a lot in common with them but, got to love people who love you! :)

Anyway, I have friends that have a lifestyle nothing like mine like this family friend and his extended family who travel the world offering medical help to various countries, not missionaries or part of a doctor group. My doctor even, not part of a bigger group, takes yearly trips to Sudan to help out there. They just do it on their own out of the goodness of their hearts. Which makes them good people in my book.

I don't have the money to do something so neat but, my family helps these guys out in any way that we can and one of the ways I'm going to share with you now. As I've mentioned before, I'm not the crocheter in the family so, the directions I share come from my mom. So, if you've got a question, by all means ask and I'll ask her to clarify! :)

This photo does not show the colors correctly for some reason but, the left one is a teal color, the middle is black and the right is blue. There is also a red, orange, yellow and green one not pictured here. 

Why luggage tags? Well, these people who travel to different countries love them because a) they are original and you won't see them often. So, you can find these easier in a crowded airport. Another reason, b) you can color code your luggage! One color is medical supplies, one color is your son's, one is yours, and another color maybe your father's, etc. This way, you don't have to go through every single suitcase to figure out what is where!

1 - 6oz. skein o worsted weight yarn (Makes 20 tags)
Size G crochet hook
Metal key chain rings

So, here goes transcription of the luggage tag directions: 
Leaving approximately 3" tail, chain 12.
Single crochet (sc) in the second chain from hook and each chain around putting 3sc in the last chain stitch.
Continue sc in chain around to beginning.
Slip stitch in the first sc, chain 12.
Lay metal ring on the last 2 chain.
2 sc in 2nd chain fro hook (going through the center of key ring and down into chain stitch, picking up your yarn to complete sc by bringing it through both the chain stitch and the key ring, then finish sc)
2 sc in third chain as previously done.
Then, sc in remaining chain stitches.
Slip stitch in previous slip stitch of main body, joining both pieces securely.
Sc around, sc up side to top of side.
Chain 1 and turn. Sc in each, sc down side, 3sc corner, sc across bottom.
sc in corner, sc back up other side.
Slip stitch to fasten and leaving approximately 21/2 - 3 inch tail. Cut yarn.
Weave the tail back in to hide.

Remember, she translated these from memory and had no official pattern to work with. She is known for just making up crotched patterns! Though I do know if you "google" crochetedd luggage tags, you find a bunch. I think this is a great idea in general though, how easy it would be to keep family members luggage separate and how easy to find your luggage amongst the sea of other bags out there!

It's just a neat idea that you can use for tons of other things besides your airplane luggage. You can use it for things like a day out at the zoo to tell the difference among your children's lunch pails, or what bags have the goodies and what has the extra pull ups, clothes and medicines, etc. The applications for things like this are really unending and extremely helpful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not Your Typical Child Tuesday #5

Today's Not Your Typical Child Tuesday is about children with APD or Auditory Processing Disorder.

What is APD? APD is a neurological condition that affect the area of the brain or central nervous system that processes the spoken language. It's basically responsible for not only auditory information but, memory, attention and language, among other things that are also controlled by this region of the brain. This can make it difficult for a kiddo to filter out background noise or to understand what is being spoken to them,  not have the best short term memory, and good attention. It is often mistaken for ADHD! Most importantly, you'll find that they have rather good hearing.

While those with ADHD may not listen well and have a difficulty in understanding or remembering verbal information given, their actual neurological processing of the verbal input is still intact. It is the ADHD affecting the ability to follow direction. Not a neurological issue affecting the child.

There was an excerpt from a news video that showed how APD affects some people. I wrote it down so that I could express to family friends what my little guys' problem might sound like to him and here is the transcript: Laddle Rat Rotten Hut: Once pawn term, dare worsted  laddle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner laddle cortage. Honor itch offer lodge dock florist. 
This translates to : Little Red Riding Hood: Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived with her mother in a little cottage.....

So, what does this mean per say? It means that for example, when I call my son's name a dozen or more times and he doesn't answer. He's not being mean or stubborn or bad! It means that if there is a TV or radio on or too many kids or the wind is even too loud, I have to get in front of him and often times touch him to let him know he's being spoken to. He cannot pick my voice out or anyone else's for that matter from the background noise. In our home it meant that "elephant" really means elephant and ambulance or that "I fry" was french fry for a couple of years now. It means in the case of my nephew that "a dog supervision" is understood as "adult supervision". It means that even though I show my son something, I understand that he may not recall it a whole 30 seconds later!  In class they my have trouble understanding what they're hearing or simply have trouble hearing with the noise of other kiddos in class. They may be distracted by every little sound or sounds that you or I may not really even hear because, we've learned to process it, as background noise!
Basically for our household, it means that just because my child uses a word and even pronounces it correctly, it is understood by me that a) this may or may not be the object he is referring to. b) That he may not always have the right word or be able to communicate properly at all times, especially when he's excited or angry. c) That even though I tell him the name of something, even a dozen times in a minute, he may not recall a single thing and or even come close to being able to say it d) he may not be able to tell where sound is coming from, i.e. if he hears noise above him, he may think it's come from in front of him and e) that I will often have to stop doing everything and get in front of him (almost always touch him) to convey that I am talking to him.

Signs of APD? Does your child mishear a word or phrase often? Or have trouble following directions? Do they seem to not hear you when background noise is around? Do they have difficulty remembering what you've just told them or have an issue using the right word or finding the right word to use period? There are a hundred different things to go by but, they can also be present in another disorder or two. The best way to check is to work with an experienced ST or SLP (speech language pathologist) and an audiologist. Together than can tell you whether your child might have it. APD is not typically diagnosed before the age of 7 years old but, if your child shows some pronounced signs of APD, like my little guy does, most SLPs will work with your child because the earlier you start therapy for it, the better off your child will be. Here is a GREAT article that goes further in depth on the signs and symptoms.

What causes APD? No one really knows. There are a few regression disorders where it is automatically recognized but, in general for most kiddos, though there are many theories, there is no known reason why they have it.

Support: There are a lot of great places online to find support if you or loved one have APD. There is the Auditory Processing Disorder Network and even a FANTASTIC page on FB if that is where you're comfortable called, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Support. It is a "closed group" and you must ask to join but, they are some incredible people in there, teens with APD, parents of children with APD and an adult or two with APD! Super supportive people with some great deal of experience and ideas to share. They made a HUGE difference in our lives without speech therapy!
If you're just up to reading about APD, there are some great blogs or posts on the subject, like this one over at Life 360. Or this one on ways to help improve your child's memory. The NY Times even had an article on it when Rosie O'Donnell began to educate the world on it. Here's an article on suggestions for helping an older kiddo with APD. Here is a fantastic blog post from an adult, on having APD. If the internet is not your thing, one of the most recommended books out there for APD is The Sound of Hope.

There is also another great book called When the Brain Can't Hear.
With a lot of work with a speech therapist and some work at home, these kids can make huge strides! So, be patient and don't give up hope! They'll come into their own and still become some amazing people!

Thanks for joining me on another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday! Now back to your regularly scheduled program.... 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Favorite Blog Friday #4

This week's favorite blog is Frugally Sustainable. 

Andrea caught my attention for a lot of reasons. First let her explain her world in her own words: 

 Frugally Sustainable is the story of our family’s transition out of a consumer culture into the brave world of sustainability. It’s about focusing on what’s important amidst uncertain times. It’s about returning to forgotten skills, reviving old wisdom, creating something amazing, and finding happiness.

Andrea does an amazing job of covering all aspects of being self sufficient and "frugally sustainable" from homeschooling, taking care of the home, sewing and the like, nutrition and natural life, including various herbs like:

Or Calendula

She covers things like homesteading, complete with information on chickens and even preparedness too. She has a ton of posts on natural remedies too. Things like a calming spray, to help get you through things like the holidays, or an herbal detangler, lip balms and even an itch relief stick! She even covers quite a few beauty related items as well, if that's your cup of tea!

One of my favorite things about her blog is Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways. 

I'll be honest here, I normally shy away from a lot of linky parties because, I mean I have two little ones in tow! I don't have time to look into every single blog and try and run my own on top of the life I have off of here. That being said, there are a few blogs that I will literally sit down and go through most, if not all of the links and this is one of them! Andrea features a few goodies and then leaves the link up open for everyone to  add their links. There is usually some great stuff on there!

If there's not enough stuff to keep you occupied here, she also has a FB page to peruse through as well. Not only does she pass along some really good information and ideas there, she is also just amazing at passing on follower or reader questions! I can't tell you how many new things I've learned by just reading the replies to some of the questions there.

So, if you're interested in becoming more sustainable, more self sufficient, take some time to check Andrea out. She's got a lot of information to share for sure! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Not Your Typical Child Tuesday #4

Today I'm going to tackle what to some, is a controversial topic. Today, I'm taking on ADHD head on. Now, I know some of us don't understand why this is controversial and truth be told, it shouldn't be at all but, there are those out there who don't understand it and therefor chalk it up to bad parenting, or kids just being kids, or kids being bad kids even. So, in an attempt to understand this disorder, I'm going to delve into the world of ADHD.

What is ADHD?  ADHD is a neurobiological disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention and often time hyperactivty. While everyone is spacey at one time or another or has a hard time sitting still, those with ADHD or ADD can't seem to focus on a daily and consistent basis. They not only can't seem to focus on a task or two or ten, they can't seem to sit still for very long. This problem is on a daily basis and effects their daily lives. Most often, children with ADHD also have something called Executive Function Disorder. This is why they have problems, analyzing, planning, organizing, scheduling or not only completing tasks but unable to meet deadlines in life. That said, often children with EFD will often get misdiagnosed with ADD. Which is simply the inattentive type of ADHD without hyperactivity. Though, children with ADHD or ADD may well have both! Most noticeably those with EFD when put on stimulant meds, will not have symptom improvement.

How do you know when a child has ADHD?
Well first, thing you need to know is the difference in the types of ADHD. One being true ADHD and the other being ADD.

ADD kiddos, tend to not pay close attention to things, have difficulty sustaining attention to most anything and often make careless mistakes. They don't seem to listen, struggle with following directions, have struggles organizing, most often will not do anything that requires a sustained mental effort, forget or get distracted easily. For example, my boys' half brother has a classic case of ADD. He will do fine in class but, when asked what his homework is, he could not remember. On his way out of the school for the day, when most kiddos are throwing coats on and running out the door, the teacher would report that he would be zoned out, coat half on, stopped and staring at nothing or the wall. His teacher would report that in class he'd seem to get it but, later at home when it was time for homework, he could not manage to figure out how the teacher, just hours earlier could get A+B=C. This behavior was not sporadic but, a consistent DAILY thing that impacted and still does every area of his life. Most teachers were frustrated by him because for all intents and purposes he was a good kid but, seemingly easily distracted. One year, a teacher wanted to put him in a cubicle in the hallway so that he would be less distracted! Because of things like this, he was gradually soloed out as "that bad kid" and began to loose friends. At 13 yrs old when he comes to visit the boys, if he is asked to do something requiring more than two step directions, he still cannot do it. If asked to clean a room, he can't do it. Instead, he'll stand there staring at the mess. You literally have to tell him to pick up one item at a time, ie. just pick up the Legos, just pick up the transformers, etc. He struggles daily with this and it has cost him friends, respect of his peers and teachers and with one more year of middle school, he's on the verge of flunking out!! All because the school system refused to help or acknowledge his issue, nor do some other people in his life but, that is for a different discussion! ; )

ADHD kiddos are the hyperactive and impulsive ones! They're the ones that will either keep you young or kill you! :P Just teasing! Seriously though, ADHD kiddos cannot seem to sit still...EVER! If they're not getting up and down or running, etc. they can't seem to not fidget. They can't seem to commit to quiet activities, sometimes talk EXCESSIVELY! They often run or climb a lot, never able to connect that if you climb on a bookcase and they've been told to get down because it will fall and they'll get hurt, that the bookcase will fall and they will get hurt! Even after they've fallen from the bookcase and broke an arm, you may catch them climbing to the top shelf in their closet! They seem to run on some kind of motor or caffeine line that you know nothing about. Taking turns and waiting to talk are just not in their manners bank, no matter how many ways you've tried to teach them these basic skills. If the thought of anything crossed their mind, their brain is unable to restrain the action and impulsively they respond, react or do without being able to think it through.

What are the causes of ADHD? 
We don't really know what causes ADHD. It's more prevalent in boys than girls, which as most know, means that there is a genetic component. Which is backed up by families like my boys. In my family, two of my cousins on my mom's side have ADHD, several relatives on my father's side also had ADHD, my little sis has ADHD and growing up, I had ADD - hence the occasional remarks about having the attention span of a gnat! :P The boys older, half brother has ADD as well. So, if you were using a family like my sons', it's quite obvious there has to be a genetic component. There are even some studies that show, like a lot of other things, prematurity can also have something to do with whether a child might have ADHD. To this day though, there is no confirmed real thing that they can nail down as to why some have it and some don't. There are a lot of theories about where it comes from and even contributing risk factors but, no concrete evidence. 

They can say though, that most likely the culprits of ADHD are neurotransmitters. Most likely the chemical neurotransmitter, Dopamine. Dopamine is mostly the chemical in the body responsible for keeping the attention centers of the brain stimulated. So, without a proper level of Dopamine, a person's attention span is compromised. There are also studies on the actual structure of the brain of boys with ADHD. They tend to have more symmetrical brains in shape. With 3 structures in their brains that are smaller than a neurotypical boy of the same ages. They were the prefrontal cortex (believed to be command central of the brain), the caudate nucleus and the globus pallidus, which both help translate those commands from the prefrontal cortex into an action or actions. There is even evidence that shows not only are the structure slightly different but, that the brain uses those areas differently than a neurotypical child. By doing brain scans, they've noticed that ADHD boys have abnormal increases in the frontal lobe and the striatal areas below it. These parts help with voluntary actions! So, if you follow that evidence through, ADHD boys, despite the appearance, are working harder to control their impulses than a neurotypical child is!

How do you treat ADHD? There are a plethora of answers for this. Like many other treatments for anything, what works for one, may not work for another. Depending upon your insurance issues, belief systems and money, the answers vary.
Diets are a natural thing to try and in all honesty work for a lot of people! Things like the 
Feingold Diet, worked well for my sister and her boys. There is a lot of research out there for this side of symptom/disorder treatment, just Google! If you're going to try this though, may I recommend: The Kid-Friendly ADHD and Autism Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet by Pamela Compart and Dana Laake.
I want to start off saying that don't let the Autism word scare you in any way! Once you start researching, you'll find that Autism and other things like ADHD have a lot in common. Secondly, though I whole heartedly,  recommend this book, I was not asked to review nor have any affiliation with anyone that has anything to do with the writing or printing of the book. So, trust me when I tell you that it is a great, eye opening book for anyone researching food and ANY of your child's neurobiological issues. Once you've given it a healthy once over, you'll never look at food the same way, ever.
If you're not into the diet and food related options for treatments, you can always try some kind of occupational therapy. Yes, I said OT! You'd be surprised to know that occupational therapists can employ a whole host of methods at their fingertips to help ADHD kiddos from "normal" OT practices, to Interactive Metranome, and cranial sacral therapy. Here is where I get to vouch for something that I was not paid to talk about nor asked to. Cranial Sacral sounds all hippy like but, it works and it works well for one of my boys. On the days he sees his OT and she does this for him, he actually takes a nap, holds still, listens, nor is he up and down on the emotional roller coaster. This doesn't seem to effect my other boy though, so remember what works for one kiddo may not work for another. 

Another thing you could consider would be some kind of therapy. The earlier you get in to see someone, the earlier you child can learn behavior that is positive and helpful for themselves. They can do psychotherapy, behavioral therapy - including CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), social skills training, parent retraining, etc. In my experience though not every counselor, psychologist or therapist is a good fit for a family. Some cling to older mentalities, some to a very hands off approach to dealing with various issues. I once had a therapist tell me to physically hold my son in timeout when he'd earned his way there....that is THE biggest no no for my oldest guy. He never did like to be held much and even though I told the guy that holding him, results in the "fight of flight" reaction, he still recommended that I try this. Needless to say, I never went back to him after that! Don't be afraid to try different professionals until you find one that fits! You have to have a great team, that communicates well to make this work. 

Lastly, and as a last resort, there is always medication. I will not say with or without medication is best because, as I've said a hundred times, not every child is the same. Some are further down the rabbit hole than others and some are more defiant than others. It's a hit a miss kind of thing. I will say that medication should be broached as a last resort though. It's too easy to take the smooth road, then to take the bull by the horns because going it without and even sometimes with meds, is NOT easy. If you are going to do meds though, here's my two cents:
  • I recommend asking and researching which ones are the safest first. With the new drugs out there being pushed to docs they'll most likely throw you on the newest one or two that they get but, sadly enough, Riddalin is still the safest starting point in a lot of cases - though not always. 
  • Keep an eye on side effects too. One medication worked well for a lot of kiddos, mine was no exception but, like his cousin, that medication caused stomach pain in both boys. 
  • If you're in it for the quick fix, think again. While some medications seem to produce a noticeable result for some families within a day or two, sometimes it takes up to 2 whole weeks for the medications to build up enough to be noticeable. 
  • Keep an eye on mood swings. One very popular medication right now seems to cause this issue in a lot of kiddos, my nephews and my son again are no exception. One nephew was removed from it, the other can tolerate it in small doses.
  • If a doc recommends medication, you have every right to say, "let me sleep on it" or flat out no! Don't let them run you over. Remember, this is your child, you are the parent and the pediatrician works FOR you!
The advice I give you here comes from experiences and as a mother who does do medications for one child and is able to opt for more natural treatments for the other. Honestly, after all these years and experiences with medications, if I could go for fully natural remedies for my oldest son, I would in a heartbeat. You'll understand in a later Tuesday post why I had to take that route. Just keep in mind during your research or dealings with various docs, that you have to do what is right for your family. If you opt for natural treatments, don't let your family or friends make you feel like you made the wrong choice. If you opted for meds, don't let anyone else make you feel as if you took the easy way out. For most of us, it was not an easy choice by any means. I cried for days when I found no other way out for my son. 

That being said, for those that don't know, medication is not the easy way out. If you do take more than one medication, it is tricky to find the right balance for your child. Not to mention too that as they age so does their body chemistry and so the perfect balance no longer works or they build up a tolerance to the is a merry-go-round for sure. AND the mother that chose to medicate, also still chooses a way to help treat her child, be it OT, therapy and/or food! So, here again, NOT the easy way out! My oldest does take medications, goes to OT, has therapy and has a diet that I found worked wonders for him. With all this in place, he went from 7 medications down to 4! Which is still a lot of medications and again, I'll explain why in another post but, suffice to say, he does not have just ADHD. The point though that all of these ways to treat ADHD have been employed and in conjunction with one another have worked well for him. Again, while my youngest son with just diet, and so far occupational therapy has done well! So, no matter what avenue you choose or if you're a split family like ours, remember to keep your options open, keep an open mind to other families who've chosen to do things differently and don't be afraid to challenge your doc if need be. They are not the be all end all on the subject of YOUR CHILD! 

If you're just reading this to learn, I say again, quit giving that kid and his mom the stink eye in the grocery store! Sometimes a fit is just a fit and other times, it's what you don't see under the layers that is real problem, not bad parenting or bad children. So, stink eyes off and learn to be a bit more open minded! :) 

Thanks for joining me for another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday! Now back to your regularly scheduled program....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Simple Sunday #4

What's simple today? Fruit, well more specifically, apples

Not my best picture I've posted but, my son wanted to snap the shot and I could've let him do it, erase it and take a prettier one but, it was special because he took it. :)

Why are apples simple? Well, I get the boys' produce from Whole Foods. Yes, it is expensive but, I have my reasons for spending the extra cash to do this. My favorite, absolute favorite thing to do, is to walk in and head straight to the apples and take a deep breath in. Nothing but that sweet, woodsy apple smell fills my lungs. It makes me happy and makes me think of the times I climbed trees as a kid or stood on the wheel well of grandpa William's tractor and picked the apples low enough for me to reach as he drove through his orchard. It reminds me of the times we all cramped around in the basement, making applesauce for us kiddies and apple cider (usually the special kind) for the adults.

Aside from my trips down memory lane, apples are just great anyway! What better way to make some little kid's day than to hand them a plate with an smile made from apple slices. There is no baking required to enjoy one, there are tons of different flavors to experience and enjoy and the variety of colors are just pretty in general.

Who says apple cider tea isn't delicious or apple cider for that matter? Who doesn't love an apple pie or a good glass of apple juice? Apples are good with cinnamon, yogurt, certain meats, wines, beers, and even other fruits and veggies. Not to mention the nutritional value of a good apple and no processing required really. Anything that you can bake, you can throw an apple in! You don't have to take out a loan to buy apples, even in bulk and they're a great sweet treat when you need a snack. You can even use them in crafts and homeschool lessons!

This is a much older picture of my oldest son. He was 2 in this picture and I kid you not, spent an hour eating this apple. What makes it even more special, this was his very 1st whole apple! He was so cute eating it! 

There's so many good things to love about apples, most especially the sweet little smiles that they elicit when little boys or girls see them stacked on the plate, all sliced and ready to go!

So, sit back, grab a glass of whatever you enjoy and snack on an apple, and make today a simpler time with the family!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Favorite Blog Friday #3

This week's Favorite Blog Friday is Gail's My Repurposed Life. Why is this a blog you should visit? A lot of different reasons! Gail is so inspiring, she finds all these great "trash items" and remakes them into new, exciting things. Living a blue collar life is all about making do with what you have but, it doesn't mean that you have to live in the uggies! Gail shows us all how to redo, remake and reuse what you've already got or found. One persons trash is another persons treasure! Gail has used doors to make benches, not just headboards but, has built an entire bed with them!! Would you believe that this trunk was a door orginally?! Here's how she did it! 

She has even redone and made various tables like these:

If tables don't interest you, how about:

Shelves? This is too cute! If aesthetics are not your thing, practicality will win you over! She does that too! :)  She can show you how to make drawers,

Or inspire you with neat things, like these cupboards!

When you peruse her blog and FB page, you'll be filled with lots of inspiring ideas but, just in case you need more she even hosts a regular linky party called Catch Can! Here's this week's link to it. If you've got some down time, grab a glass and go through with pen in paper in hand to write down all the neat things she'll inspire you to do!