Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Relaxation Techniques

I started a support group today to help with recovery. Today we learned about stress relief and I thought I'd share what I learned.

Breathing Exercises:

Technique #1

* Inhale for 4 counts
* Hold for 7 counts
* Slowly let breath out for 8 counts

Technique #2

* Breath in by first filling bottom of lungs, then fill all the way to the top
* Let your breath out slowly while visualizing your tension flying out of your body.

You should do breathing exercises 3 to 5 times a day. More if your stress or anxiety level is higher.

Muscle Relaxation:

Technique #1:

* Tense & Relax - Tense the muscle that has stress and then relax it. Do this 5 or 6 times or until it completely relaxes

Technique #2:

* Body Scan - Star at the tip of your toes and work up to the top of your head. Scan all of your muscles for stress. Be sure not to forget your jaw muscles. When you find a stressed muscle, use your thought process to relax it.

Technique #3:

* Do breathing exercise #2, then make yourself limp. To help your body do this try image a cat lounging in the sun, or butter melting into a biscuit, etc.

Calcium supplements may help to ease stress. (Please consult your doctor before starting any supplements).

We also talked a little bit about "safe places." An example would be, for me, I like to think of lying on the beach with sand between my toes, while I listen to the waves roll onto shore. My other "safe place" is when I think of lying in the tall grass on my grandma's (RIP) property. I imagine the wind rustling the grass. I can hear the birds and the insects fluttering around.
One of the women in the group shared her safe place. She visualizes herself on the moon. She fills all the craters with sand, so no monsters can jump out. What was interesting though, is she always has a magical backpack with her. This magical backpack allows her to have anything she needs at her disposal. If she needs a person or object she can take it out of the backpack. When she's done, she can put it right back away.
I thought that was a really great idea. One I never would have thought of.

I hope you enjoyed my post and I really hope you may be able to use some of the information. May you get relief from your stress or anxiety.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Rant For The Day ~ Dang Dog!

So, I just yelled at my youngest Labrador, Bogey. It went something like this:

"Bogey! NO, Bad Dog! Eating toilet paper is disgusting. You're so gross!"

The poor thing then dropped the toilet paper and hung his head in shame.

He has this addiction to toilet paper. Any kind of toilet paper. Toilet paper from the trash can, toilet paper the kids have dropped on their bathroom floor, whether it be used or not, rolled up toilet paper. He'll even eat it with the wrapper still on it!! I think I need to get him into a 12 step program because his habit can be very expensive.

He's just lucky I've never run out of it when I needed it most!

Do your animals have any weird or quirky obsessions? I'd love to hear about them.

Swim to Me by Betsy Carter ~ A Book Review

First of all, this was a nice, easy book to read. I really enjoyed it and look forward to ready more of Betsy Carter's books. I think she has only one other published right now by the name of "The Orange Blossom Special."

Delores Walker is a girl who grows up in a broken home. Life started out good for her, but shortly after the arrival of her little brother, things go downhill quickly. Her father, Roy, ends up leaving them, and never contacts them once he's gone.
Her mother, Gail, picks up an extra job to try to support Delores and her baby brother, Westie. Unfortunately, even with two jobs, money soon becomes scarce and her mom tells Delores she needs to get a job to help pay the bills and put food on the table.
Delores is a little put off by this. She'd like to continue high school and finish growing up first. Years ago her family had gone on vacation and saw some "mermaids." Although she's only 15 or 16 she is able to leave home and work as a mermaid. It takes a bit of cunning on her part, but she makes the dream come true.
The main part of the book is about how she grows up and comes of age far away from home in a completely different world than what she was raised in.

I'll let you discover that part of the book. I don't want to give everything away!

Here is a link to an Interview about the book: BookPage Interview

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Daughter Had Boobs!

My 3 year old daughter, Madison, has always had a fascination with boobs.

Why? I'm not sure.

Weird? Maybe.

Yesterday we're at my son's counseling appointment. His counselor is doing play therapy with him and has decided to include the entire family. So, all five of us are in the playroom with him (counselor) watching. We're playing with cars, helicopters, baby dolls - almost anything you can think of. It's awesome.
The dress-up clothes catch my eye. I spy 2 dresses, neither of which will fit me. Of course. So I grab the smaller of the two, a bright pink, sparkly dress. It has gloves and Boas to boot. It would have been perfect for the 80's prom night. I proceed to put the dress on my daughter. What I failed to notice is that the bodice of the dress has formed cups for breasts.
Immediately after getting this dress on, Maddy exclaims, " I have boobs!" We all tried not to laugh, but it was so unexpected. She ends up repeating this phrase 3 times during the session. After the 3rd time I make the mistake of asking her what she's going to do with them.

She says, matter-of-factly, "Shake them."

Is she my little chicken head? For sure.

God I love my kids. Life unscripted.

When I Get Rich....

I got a cute forward today. I don't usually pass them on, but this one made me laugh out loud like a crazy woman. In front of all the other parents at my children's school.

I decided when I get some money I'm gonna take all my friends and family somewhere real expensive. So, pack your bages....We're going to the GAS STATION!!



1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons flour(that's plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The
cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (This recipe can serve two people if you want to share!)

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from having chocolate cake at
any time of the day or night!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Missed My Son's Appt. Yesterday

Over the summer my son's ADHD Doctor had him on a med called Abilify. It is generally for people who are bi-polar, but they have found it works well to control mood swings and outbursts in children with ADHD. It worked fairly well over the summer. We had a few "fits," as we like to call them, but nothing major. No "throw yourself on the floor, crying, and screaming, and thrashing" in the middle of Wal-mart. She wanted to keep him on that med alone when he started school, to see if it would help him with everything there too. He has had fits at school. Last year they even had to take him in handcuffs to the hospital for his safety.

Well, it's working much better with the fits. If he gets overwhelmed in school, he just puts his head down on his desk until he feels better. So he's learning new coping skills, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, it's not doing anything to help with his attention span and most else that goes with his ADHD.

I called about a week after school started to get him an appointment as soon as possible. The next one he had scheduled wasn't until the end of October, and I felt this was too long to wait. They were able to make us an appointment for yesterday, but we missed it.

We showed up to the doctor's office all right. We just showed up 4 1/2 hours late!! Somehow I wrote down the time as being 2:30 pm, instead of 10 am. I'm not sure how I did that. I ended up having to take all 3 children out of school for this one appointment, that we didn't end up having. Ack!! Maybe I need yet another calendar?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adobo "A Filipino Favorite" Recipe

“A Filipino Favorite”


• 1 pound of pork, chicken (any cut, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or beef.
• 5 Cloves of Garlic
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 2 Tbsp. Peppercorns
• Salt to taste (I have found that I do not need to add extra salt)
• 1/3 C Vinegar
• 1/3 C Soy Sauce
• 5 Tbsp. Oil (You may use peanut, olive, vegetable, etc. – I usually use peanut)


Mix everything together in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it boils turn heat to Medium-Low. Let it cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I usually let it go for about an hour to make sure the meat is very tender, and the flavor has soaked in well. Serve with Jasmine Rice.
I also increase all ingredients by double or triple (not the meat) because it tastes wonderful over the rice.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Younger son having problems in Kindergarten already....

If anyone here has read my older posts, you might remember that my older son was diagnosed with ADHD. He had been taking medicine to help it for the past few years. It has made life much more bearable for him, and for the rest of the family.

My younger son, Michael, just started kindergarten this year. Already his teacher is noticing a huge problem with his lack of focus. He is having an extremely hard time with that. He also cannot seem to control his talking.

Right now they aren't asking for him to be evaluated for ADHD, but they are trying to work with him. They are using a lot of positive reinforcements trying to get him to settle down a bit. Hopefully he will get better and not worse.

I had ADHD as a child, and still have it as an adult, so I understand what my children are going through. I hope they are able to adapt sooner than later, so their school years won't be as rough as mine were.

The Best Beef Stew Recipe

This stew takes about 3 hours to cook, and you need to use more than one pan. It is so worth it though. You will never choose a different stew recipe!


For beef:
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 lbs beef, cubed
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup fresh loosely packed parsley leaves
1 bay leaf

For Veggies:
2 cups carrots, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 large potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups diced onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil

The Rest:
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp flour

Step 1: Beef
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat the canola oil in an ovenproof pot on stove over medium heat. Blend flour, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat beef cubes. Brown coated cubes on all sides. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes. Add wine, stock, parsley leaves, and bay leaf. Remove pot from heat, cover, and bake in oven for 2 hours.

Step 2: The veggies
Combine all veggies, salt, and oil in a large bowl, then pour into a shallow roasting pan. Roast in oven alongside beef 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until veggies are tender.

Step 3: Almost there...
Saute bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Saute onion 5 minutes in bacon grease, then add sauteed bacon and tomato paste, and cook, stirring for 2 or 3 minutes.

Step 4: Throw it together
After the beef is done, stir in the bacon mixture, re-cover, and roast 30 minutes. Melt butter and saute mushrooms until browned, add salt and pepper. Remove beef and veggies from oven and set aside. Mix 3/4 cup liquid from the beef in with heavy cream; whisk in flour and stir mixture into stockpot. Put in mushrooms and veggies. Done!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My City Spends Less Than $1000 Per Child, Per School Year!

My kids are all in school this year. Luckily, they are all in the same school, too. I attended the first meeting of TAPS (Teacher and Parent Support) today. They help raise money for different things for the school, the teachers, and the students.

What I learned today is that the city I live in spends less that $1,000 per child, a year, for education. We are the lowest in the state. Our neighboring city to the north spends $4,000 a student per year. I was completely shocked. I know my state ranks around being the 48th or 49th state in education funding, for the country. But wow - less that a thousand dollars.

Right now they are trying to pass a bond issue and a mil levy override to support our city schools. This would raise the average tax payer's property taxes by about $12.08 a month. It seems like a lot, but is it really?

The bond is to put air conditioning in the remaining schools that do not currently have air conditioning. I find it unacceptable that our schools do not have air conditioning. We live in a semi-arid area, and it gets HOT during the beginning of the school year and then again towards the end. If we have 90 to 100 degree days, I would say our school really needs air conditioning.

The mil levy override covers a bunch of issues. It is to help restore visual and performing arts, equalize teacher pay, help pay for utility increases for air conditioning, and some other stuff to help out the schools.

There are many, many poor people in my city. The face is, that unless we provide more funding for better education, our children will not be able to grow up and bring themselves out of poverty. I know $12 a month is definitely worth making sure my children can grow to their potential.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Do you like Beef Stew?

I wrote a lens over on about a recipe a friend gave me. I tweaked it a bit, so it's more to my liking.

Take a peek and see what you think.

Beef Stew Recipe on



Framed Art Print


Buy at

Wow. So it's a whole new school year. We're going on our 3rd week of school where we live. We seem to start earlier than most places, but I don't think we end earlier.

My oldest one, Dylan, is in 4th grade this year. Once again he has an amazing teacher. I always worry what will happen because of his ADHD. She seems to completely understand, and she gives him the help or the space he needs to be successful.

My middle one, Michael, is in kindergarten this year. He has been going half days, but will start going all day tomorrow. So far he seems to like it. He seems a bit shy there, but is adjusting fast. He can't wait to start doing homework! Too bad that won't last.

Maddy started 3 year old pre-k. She is actually turning 4 this month, but she didn't make the cutoff to go in the older class. She absolutely loves school. I swear she is my little social butterfly. The first day, all the kids were scared, hanging on to their parents. She just went into the middle of the circle and started introducing herself to everyone, and of course, trying to get hugs.

So, I think we're off to a great start! Things were a bit shaky at first, with them not knowing what to expect, but they seem very settled and content.

Keep up the good work, kids!!! I love you!

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