Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Recipe

Ready for this?

This weekend recipe is not even a recipe.  It's just 2 food items hidden from the rest of us that only David grabs to round out a snack or a meal to give it the ridiculous amount of calories required to keep his height/weight at the 50th percentile  (If he ever needs a feeding tube, we'll be sure we did All We Could.).  They are ~


Yup.  That's it.  Family size bags and boxes of Lays and Snickers to be had as a snack or after eating a more nutritious meal prepared by his mother ; )  And it is very difficult for this mother to keep her hands off those items, but this blog is about life with CF and that's life with CF.  They simply have to eat more and the rest of us do not.  We actually hear from time to time from the other children about how lucky David is to have CF and have all these great foods!  His responses have gone from innocently sharing to smugly grinning to the teen angst look  (his current reaction).

So when you just cannot bake another healthy bar or blend another vitamin smoothie, reach for the chips and candy and don't beat yourself up.  It's extra.  And try to keep your hands off.  Better yet, furnish your own stash of good, dark chocolate!  I'm with you there.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Felicitous Friday

Spotted among the potted plants ...

Noticed in front of the heater...

Found staring at the French doors ...

May your Friday be pleasant, homey, charming ~ felicitous!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


If someone ever asks, why have more children if there's a chance they won't be normal, try out this Sarah Palin statement  (Don't get excited.  It's not political.) : 

Normal?  Look around.  What's normal? 
(She answered something pretty close to this when asked about her cutie pie son with Down Syndrome.  I did not put it in quotes because I can't remember the particulars.)

I asked my husband to weigh in with his suggestion of a pithy answer and the first thing he did was to make a face.  Not eye-rolling ; that's my talent.  Sort of a wince with a half-shake.  Anyway.  Then he said  (And I do quote), "Plenty of people with high IQs and perfect health are criminals."  To which I would add ~ high IQs and perfect health are not exclusive conditions for a worthy, "normal" life.  The old Baltimore Catechism for children asks this, "Why did God make us?"  And the answer it gives is, "God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven."  Let's not be too hyper-spiritual here ; let's be honest, for this statement is wide open.  It doesn't mention how life can be painful, sorrowful, depressing, and difficult ; but there is also room for wisdom, love, peace, and kindness.  The everlasting happiness part comes in heaven, true, but there is certainly some here, as well. 

We are Star Wars fans here and a line from one of the books  (Did you know there were books?  Better than the movies, of course!)  has Anakin/Vader saying to his son as he lay dying in Luke's arms, "Luminous beings we are, Luke, not just this crude matter."   Made in the image of God, we are body, mind, soul.  Luminous.  Normal.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Peanut Butter Brownies

This is one of my go-to recipes.  So much that my friends here are probably tired of seeing this pan arrive when we get together!  The ingredients are usually on hand and it works with all sorts of flours and fats, from home-ground wheat or brown rice to plain old white flour from a bag ; and butter, margarine, or the Omega spreads like Smart Balance.

1 C  peanut butter
1/2 C  butter (or substitute)
2 C  brown sugar
3  eggs
1 t  vanilla
1 C  flour
1/2 t  salt
*Whatever kind of chocolate frosting you like (Letting a cup or so of chocolate chips melt a bit on the top, then spread over and let cool works fine in a pinch, too.)*

Set oven to 350 degrees and spray 13x9 pan.  Beat PB and butter.  Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat until fluffy and light.  Stir in flour and salt until well blended.  Spread in pan and bake for 30 minutes (Begin checking at 25 minutes!).

Lots of fat, peanut butter, and eggs make this calorie-rich and if whole grain flour is used, then with a cup of milk (or a shake) and an apple ~ what a snack!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I have discovered yet another thing to keep me from getting a decent night's sleep (along with nursing babies and fussy toddlers) and rendering me captive to caffeine for another 20 years : talkative teenagers.

Rees and I stayed up very late last night, talking and laughing and we had a great time (If you're reading this, R, I'll try not to embarrass you!).  Oh my goodness, that boy is funny!  My sides hurt from laughing quietly since everyone else was alseep.  I also learned some Very Important Things, like who's going to a birthday party next month, what songs a friend has on his ipod, and how the springs work in an air soft rifle.

This morning I will make more than one cup of coffee and wait for my eyes to cease burning but I feel super.  We'll do it again, I'm sure, because the house was quiet and noone interrupted ~ a rare treat around here.  And relationships are all that matter.

Hey, the water's boiling ; where's my cup?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I settled down in my worn out wingback chair in the thin, winter sunlight with our 14 month old, who wanted to nurse himself to sleep.  Usually, another child with "Mom's nursing and can't move" radar sidles up to me with a book to read, a math problem to solve, or some amazing scientific phenomenon to report.  This afternoon, however, I was curiously unapproached.  Not wanting to draw attention to myself, I glanced around as nonchalantly as possible.  All were happily occupied in various other corners.  I sunk down into the chair with a sigh  (a quiet one)  and looked down at the son in my lap. 

He was big now, his chubby legs hanging over my own onto the arm rest.  He still grasped my thumb just like his newborn days, though, and his eyelashes still glowed in golden half-moons on his round cheeks.  I stared at the boy as I did in those magical first hours and days after his birth and marvelled at him.  "Oh Joseph.  I don't stare at you nearly enough," I whispered.  He half-opened his eyes and looked sideways at me for a split second before the effort overtook him and he sank back down into that drowsy, nursing oblivion so dear to mothers.

A smile caught in my throat and I was overcome with the desire to hug him tightly and rock back and forth while breathing in his smell and whispering to him of my love.  He was sufficiently asleep to withstand such a dance and remain dreaming.

Babies are wonderful.  They sometimes make us stop doing important things like homeschool and housework, for a bit of time to do marvelous things like contemplate and connect.  Hug and dance, too.  Soon he would join his brothers and sister in our home's happy chaos, but for a few precious minutes we were tightly bonded again, with nothing else to do but be.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring ; right now, we are here, being.  And it is good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Sally Lunn Bread

Before I post this recipe, here's a shot of Rees' snack this evening (a pile of ham, 2 Snickers and a 24 ounce chocolate shake.  And my favored Vitamix) : creative, isn't he?!


2 eggs, plus enough water to equal 1 1/3 C
1 1/2 t  salt
2 T  sugar
1/3 C  softened butter
4 C  flour
1 1/2 t yeast

Put it in a bread machine or mix, knead, and bake by hand ; make regular loaves or rolls ~ however you make it and whatever shape it's in, this is soft and rich, with more calories than regular white bread.  Lots of butter and eggs do that!

Now, I usually grind my own grain and use that fiber/nutrient rich flour to make most of our baked goods, but sometimes, soft white bread hits the spot.

Why is it called "Sally Lunn"?  After the Englishwoman who created it in her tiny bakery in Bath, England.  It made its way to the Southern colonies and now here we are, enjoying it 'way up here! 
(*A bit of useless but interesting trivia!*)

Now to toast some to have with my evening tea!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Potty Watch

This afternoon found all of us except the baby huddled around printed pages, pointing, snorting, and laughing.  What was this literary masterpiece that captivated people from 4 to 41?  The One Step Ahead catalog. Every time this thing arrives in the mail, we know we are in for a treat of sarcastic proportions.  Scanning its collection of infant and toddler "must-haves" is an exercise in insanity, perpetuating the myth that it is so difficult and so expensive to raise children.  Read with us :

We found special shoes that emit a two-toned squeak so that the parent (or "caregiver", as they say) can be assured the child is learning the proper way to walk (heel to ball).  We never had those shoes, Mom, do we all walk wrong? asks my 9 year old.  However did people learn to walk correctly without the squeak? wonders the 16 year old with a roll of his eyes.  We found shoes billed as "Perfect for the daycare set ~ easy on and off".  Because we all know that kids who are home with their mothers and a gang of siblings have neither the need nor the desire to do things on their own since they're spoiled and anti-social (I think I may have laughed tea out my nose at that one.).  There were many manifestations of antibacterial liquids : pump gel, purse spray, mini wipes, dipping bottles, treated bibs and placemats, and even playground equipment. 

Today's favored item, however, was a potty-shaped, potty training watch.  This programmable thing beeps every 30, 60, or 90 minutes to remind distracted toddlers to try to go potty.  My 13 year old, to whom potty humor is still a viable form of entertainment, loved this.  Being a homeschooling mother, I took the opportunity to make sure the children understood the complexities of potty training (recognition, motion, appropriate measures, etc) in my most solemn voice.  So, said the aforementioned son with a naughty twinkle in his eye, It's possible for a man to never learn that body stuff if the watch constantly reminded him when he was little to get up and try, huh?  The possibilities of a grownup in conference whose beeping watch prompted an excuse to colleagues to Gotta try the potty was just too much ;  we dissolved into giggles as the hypothetical examples of adults tethered to potty watches grew more and more fantastic.  Our old couch rocked and rolled for 20 minutes.

I've been trying to end this post with some sort of moral illustrated by this afternoon's antics, but all I can come up with is more sarcasm and tea-spilling.  Perhaps I could use a beeping watch as a reminder to cultivate a more sweet and genteel spirit. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

From Rees

Hello Blog,

I have an announcement to make. 
I have a job.
Courtesy clerk at Fred Meyer, which means I do all the little jobs noone else wants to do.
I'm really very excited but I don't like to use exclamation points.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Granola

Yes, we are granola-crunchers around here!  I put this concoction together a few years ago after looking up info on the good Omega fats (don't remember which number is the good one), antioxidants, and digestive herbs.  There are all sorts of other foods that fit into these categories, I know.  These are the ones that we liked in granola!

    *A combination of walnuts, almonds, coconut (the dry stuff in the health food bins, not the wet stuff in the
       bag), oatmeal, and seeds (flax and sunflower).  The more variety, the more nutrition.



Mix the dry and the wet ingredients separately, then mix all together.  Put into the largest pan with sides you have (10x15 is good ; 9x13 is fine but you have to pull it out and toss it more often) and put in a 300 degree oven.  Pull it out and stir it several times for about 45 minutes, to allow the mixture to toast evenly.  When done, spread it all out on the counter, or the kids' plastic placemats, to cool.

I use this in almost any recipe that calls for nuts, over yogurt and ice cream, and of course, as cereal with milk.  Although in Rees' case, with half and half!

He does not like dried fruit in granola (weird, huh?) but cranberries and blueberries are vitamin powerhouses, as well as looking very pretty!  If your kids aren't weird (!), add them when the mixture is completely cooled.

Go ahead ; be a granola-cruncher!

Allison Grace

Friday, February 4, 2011

So Cool

Two seconds earlier, this photo would have captured little Joseph who had climbed up on the bench, throwing his arm around Rees' neck and pulling him to himself, all man-like.  As soon as I came around the corner with the camera, however, he let go and posed as you see.  Pretty darn cute anyway, and Rees' smile is huge and genuine!

All the kids love him.  Maybe because he's the eldest.  Maybe because he's nice.  They think he is just so cool.  Unbelievably, they think he's cool because of CF.  He gets fantastic bedtime snacks : a shake, a candy bar, Ramen noodles ~ all three, every night.  When he needs to hook up IV meds through a PICC, they are green with envy.  And when he needs to stay at the hospital for a week or two, they can barely conceal their jealous outrage.  He has a TV and video games right in his own room.  He gets whatever food he wants delivered six times a day.  I have to construct a chart to plan who gets to spend what days at the hospital, making sure that noone gets gypped in time there (Sheesh.).  CF is perfectly normal and as much as I want to scream, "No, No, No ~ it's bad ; his lungs are stiffening up ; he can't join the Marines . . .", I keep quiet.  They'll figure it out soon enough.

Because really, these things are true for everyone ~ exam scores, finances, physical issues all dictate future programs, future jobs, future anythings.  People have all sorts of limitations  (Bloom where you are planted and all that, right?).  My kids think I have a terrible cross to bear in my need for glasses or contacts!  Rees is trying to make some decisions about his own future, grappling with his own limitations and capitalizing on his talents and desires (and his parents' money!).  Just like any sixteen year old.

Having a gang of kids has made this abundantly clear ~ CF is just one set of issues.  Not mine ; I've got my own, thankyouverymuch.  His.  And your child's, dear Reader.  We all have our own to deal with and to make decisions around.  Some of what lies around the corner we know ; some we don't.  Life.  It's good.