Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Sick" Minds

   "No, Grammie fine" were the words that my grandson Bradley said with great confidence yesterday when he told his mommy that he wanted to see me and she said I was not feeling well.  Apparently, in a 18 months old mind, Grammies never get sick. ;)  Oh how I wish it were so Bradley.  Grammie would have much rather spent the day playing with you and Isaiah than battling this crud.  I am just thankful that my stomach is better and is not viewing everything that I put into it as a dangerous foreign object that must be expelled immediately anymore.  I am lightheaded and stuffy today but the sledgehammer that was attacking my head for 24 hours straight is silent at the moment.  I'd rather spend my day in a fog rather than pain. ;)  It's funny how being sick makes you so thankful for the majority of the time you do have your health.

  When I am sick, I have a lot of time for my mind to just wander and sometimes I don't like where it takes me.  Yesterday was one of those days.  It took me down the path of hurt, frustration and yes, even anger.  Most of this was due to some very destructive Narcissists, who for one reason or another, are determined to hurt our friends and family.  I wish that we could escape them, but they are a fixture in our lives and will be for some time to come.  The damage that they have caused and continue to cause ranges from irritating to criminal and will impact future generations of those we love.  They have destroyed lives and divided families and caused harm that can never be repaired.  Their lies, deceit and outright meanness are mind boggling to any healthy and normal person. 

   If you have ever tried to reason with one of these people you know that it is futile.  They cannot "see" beyond themselves.  They honestly believe the world revolves around them and "owes" them.  Nothing is ever their fault and will refuse to acknowledge their part in anything, even when presented with concrete evidence and truth.  Not only will they slander the person who confronts them with the truth, but they will also lash out at anyone connected with that person.  They use "guilt" and "fear" as weapons to control those who they can and are not above using family members as pawns in their sick and twisted game.  
  Tragically, this becomes a sad cycle and unfortunately, the innocent children who are connected to these individuals, become victims of these Narcissists.  They may suffer from a wide array of mental health issues ranging from depression, not feeling "good enough", lack of empathy for others, detachment, and in some cases become a Narcissist themselves along with many other issues.  My heart aches for these children.  They are frequently isolated purposely from the those that love them, recognize what is going on and want to help them.  They are the most vulnerable victims because they cannot escape the Narcissist unless there is legal intervention to stop the abuse that these children suffer.  

   Narcissists want to be the center of attention at all times and want everyone to love them and will go to any lengths to feel that they are "top dog". What they do not seem to realize is that while they are hell bent on destroying others, that is exactly what they are doing to themselves.  They sadly will one day find themselves bitter and utterly alone and will still fail to realize that they brought it all upon themselves.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Late Night Ramblings

   Insomnia has once again decided to take up residence within my head.  I'm so very tired but just can't seem to sleep.  I've been averaging about 4 hours a night forgive me if my ramblings here do not make a whole lot of sense. ;)

   On my way to work today, the song "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago came on the radio and I found myself transported back in time to Jeff and my wedding day.  We were married on a clear, crisp and beautiful day in March 28 years ago.  Standing up at the alter, taking our vows, we were so nervous and yet excited about what our future together held for us.  We knew we wanted a family but had no idea how richly we would be blessed and the wonderful surprises that God had in store for us.
  Today my oldest son, Jaysn, turned 26 years old.  I remember how hard it was last year on his 25th birthday accepting that he was a quarter century old already.  Well here he is at 26 now and I, his mother, hit the half century mark on my last birthday in July.  This past year has seen many changes for our Jaysn.  He met a wonderful woman who shares his passion for Christ, enjoys playing video games and who "gets" his quirky and quick sense of humor.  We knew the first time we met Rachel that she was the one for him, and him for her.  It did not take long before they were engaged and then became husband and wife in August.  It has brought Jeff and I great joy to see our newlyweds so happy and for us to now have another sweet daughter to love.

   Today also marks 3 months since our youngest grandson Isaiah made his grand entrance into the world.  He has changed and grown so much in such a short amount of time.  He is the happiest baby and wakes up with a smile on his face. He definitely loves to "talk" and enjoys engaging in conversations already.  :)  Both our grandsons bring out the playful side of Jeff and I and have let us experience another kind of love that we never could have imagined.

   With every passing year, time just seems to speed up.  Age and health issues have slowed down Jeff and my parents, some more  than others.  But through it all, I have to praise my father for working so hard to come back and surpass what was expected of him after his stroke.  His strength and determination, along with the love and support of my mom and a great team of therapists, that my father has shown amazes me.  My parents inspire me with their love for one another and the strong and unbreakable team that they are.  I am so proud of both of them and am blessed to be their daughter.  I hope that if Jeff and I ever face something like that, that we can do it as well as they have.  

   Sometimes I wish there was a pause or slow motion button I could press in the journey of life.  I want to be able to take in each precious moment and actually remember them all.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us and I don't want to miss a thing. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kapakahi (mixed up) Fall Post

  There is a chill in the air and Fall is definitely in full force here.  We have woken up to frost in the ground and iced over water dishes for the outside cat each morning.  The days are glorious with the cold start and then warming up a bit during the day.  The leaves provide the most beautiful display of colors and I love throwing on a cozy sweater and going out for walks to enjoy it all. :)

When the days get shorter and colder, Jeff and I crave comfort foods and so do my kids.  I have been busy making homemade mac and cheese to feed a crowd and then taking the leftover cheese sauce and making  broccoli cheese soup.  Venison stew, beef tips and homemade mashed potatoes have also found their way back onto the menu.  Fresh and crisp apple slices and popcorn have once again become the snack of choice.

Not only are the human family members enjoying this Fall weather, but so are the fur babies.  Daisy is often found curled up in a blanket and Molly is crawling under the covers at night to snuggle up in bed with me.  Gemma's new place of choice is the dog bed that she has commandeered as her own out on the porch.  Caesar is making the rounds from bedroom to bedroom, trying to find the perfect sleeping spot.

This season has brought us some unexpected and fun blessings.  We have been spent lots of time with my parents, first going to see them and then them coming over here for a quick visit to see all of us and spend time with some of their grandchildren and their great grandchildren.  Our time with our precious grandsons has been frequent and fun!  They are growing so quickly and we don't want to miss a minute of it!  Last week we got a phone call from one of Jeff's cousin in laws whom we had not heard from in years.  It was so good to reconnect, laugh and make plans to meet up and have some family time with them when they are back home for a visit.  Another dear friend, who is like a sister to Jeff and I and a second mother to our boys, was here this week packing up her household and moving a bunch of stuff to her new home in California.  We were able to help her with that and have a nice visit before she started the long drive back down there.  It was also good to reconnect with her sister and family who will be moving up here at the end of the month and to visit with her nephew who will be going to kindergarten at the school I sub at.

We are continuing the Food Stamp Spending Challenge and doing really well on it.  Jeff and I are still way below the the budget that would be allotted to us.  We were blessed with some free venison from our son, but even with including the monetary value of that, we have met the challenge and are enjoying some great comforting meals that for the most part are healthy too.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Family is Precious and Time is Fleeting

Great-Grandpa holding Isaiah, Tutu, Bradley and Caesar.


 My parents came over for a quick visit this weekend and got to spend lots of time with their great grandsons.  Chris and Heather came over for dinner of Friday night with the boys.  Saturday, we had both Bradley and Isaiah for the afternoon and then their mommy and daddy came for dinner again along with Jaysn and Rachel.  Jaysn and Rachel surprised Bradley with a huge dolphin balloon which he absolutely loved!  Bradley got on a bit of a happy and hyper streak there for awhile and "performed" for all of us...what a ham!  We all had a wonderful time together and I only took 2 pictures because we were just having way too much fun.

Great-Grandpa, Tutu and Isaiah

   The two that I did take though are of my parents with my grandsons, their great grandsons.  I was looking at them today after I uploaded them to my computer and it hit me that these precious family moments almost didn't happen.  Last year we came close to loosing my dad.  He is doing great now and we are so thankful to still have him with us.  Looking at the pictures of him holding Isaiah made me so aware that he almost missed meeting and getting to welcome the newest member of our family.  Watching him interacting and playing with Bradley and Bradley saying "Hi Grandpa" and giving him hugs warmed my heart.  He would have missed out on hearing his oldest great grandson's first words, seeing him go from walking to running all over the place and riding his bike.   Time just seems to get away from us and speeds up as the years march on.  I am treasuring the pictures and the memories that were made this weekend with 4 generations of our family together and especially of my parents enjoying their great grandchildren.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Both Bradley and Isaiah Spend the Day with Us (in pictures)

Food Stamp Challenge update 1

Pork meat loaf with sweet and sour sauce, rice and kim chee.

So far we have been doing great on this challenge.  We spent an additional $3.60 up at the local family owned apple orchard right over the hill from us on Sunday.  We took our grandsons apple picking with us and Bradley sampled apples the entire time. :)  That brings our grand total out of pocket so far to $62.54.  I know that does not reflect the real cost of what we are eating due in part to the fact that we are also using things from our pantry and freezer that we already had on hand.  I have a dear friend that is also doing this challenge and she is amazing at breaking down the cost of all her meals...she just blows me away! 

Chicken/potato/corn soup, perfect for a chilly day and it made enough leftovers for 3 more meals.

I have been much more conscious of the cost of our meals and have been trying to only use things that we have on hand after our last grocery trip.  As you can see in the pictures, we have been using the flour, potatoes, celery, and ground pork for those meals.  I also still am making bread every other day.  I do usually cook enough so that there will be leftovers for either dinner another night or for lunch.  Breakfasts around here are usually cereal, oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, pancakes, or English muffins.  I do not eat eggs unless they are in baked goods so we do not go through them very quickly.  I will fix my husband an omelet every now and then though.  

Homemade pepperoni and green pepper pizza.  We also made homemade Canadian bacon. green pepper and pineapple pizza the same night and had lots of leftovers.

Our lunches are usually sandwiches or leftovers and some fruit.  Our dinner since we started this challenge have  been:
~homemade pizzas (pepperoni and green pepper, Canadian Bacon, green pepper and pineapple)
~homemade chicken/potato/corn soup
~pork meatloaf with sweet and sour sauce, rice, kim chee
~Italian sausage and sweet potato bake
~grilled burgers with all the fixings, French fries, carrot sticks, apples
~grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit

Snacks have been bananas, cheese, popcorn, cookies, toast, homemade croutons, apples.

So far, so good!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Food Stamp Challenge; Could You Do It?

A good friend of mine is doing a food stamp challenge this month and asked if anyone else would like to join in on it.  The rules are that you have to only spend the same amount that a family of the same size (and ages as yours) would get in food stamps for the month.  No pet food, paper products, etc. , just food.  Jeff and I decided to give join in.  

In order to see how much a couple, the same ages as we are would get in food stamps, we went here:$PP.htm
The link is currently down due to the government shut down but should be back up again when things are resolved.  I had checked previously and found that we would have $253.38 to spend.  Taking into account that we already have some things on hand, I have faith we can do this!  

Today Jeff and I went shopping and spent $58.94 after coupons on food alone.  Our coupon savings were $4.75 so that really did help out.  So, that leave our total for the rest of the month at $194.44.

Some of the ways we were able to stretch our money are by buying in the bulk bin area for flour, sugar and spices.  I make our bread every 2-3 days, so we go through lots of flour.  I also buy our yeast in the big bags that you can find at either Winco or Costco.  If I had to buy loaves of bread at the store, we would have to spend about $15 or more a week on that item alone.  My husband takes at least 2 sandwiches to work with him each night and also enjoys toast here at home.  Any leftover bread is made into homemade croutons when I make a fresh loaf of bread.  We use those to top soups, salads and we also just like to snack on them.

Some of the items we got today:
~whole wheat flour
~unbleached white flour
~2 pound block of cheese
~10 pound bag of potatoes
~ground pork
~pop corn
~turkey bacon
~pot stickers (I had a coupon for these making them really cheap and they help satisfy my craving for Chinese food and are quick to fix after a long day at work)
~a huge bottle of coffee creamer
~english muffins

We already have cereal on hand for quick breakfasts, assorted homemade soups, fruit and veggies along with some meat in the freezer and some canned and packaged goods on hand.  Our remaining fresh fruit are pears and apples that we picked at our local orchard for .40 a pound along with some plums that I had bought at the store a little over a week ago.

This afternoon I plan on making a menu based on what we have here at home to last us for at least 2 weeks.  This weekend, if the weather holds, we will be taking our grandsons up to the orchard with us and will be picking more apples to have on hand and get us through the end of the month.

Do you think you could do the food stamp challenge?  What would you use the extra money that you were able to save over your regular food budget for?  
Breakfast of turkey bacon, waffles, berries from the garden and homemade raspberry syrup.