Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crunchy Granola

I love granola. 
 I haven't had any for a very long time. 
 I love to eat it with yoghurt.
Today I am going to make some, and this is the recipe I am going to use.
I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen It most resembles the recipe I used to make, but I can't find  my recipe.  When it finally turns up, I will have to compare the two.

  • 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • ½ cups Chopped Pecans
  • ¾ cups Slivered Almonds
  • ¾ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoons Table Salt

Preparation Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Combine oats and nuts in a large bowl.
3. In a small, microwavable bowl, combine sugar, water, vanilla, and salt. Microwave on high 2-3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and the mixture resembles maple syrup.
4. Pour syrup over oats and stir until oats and nuts are coated.
5. Divide mixture among the two pans and spread into a thin, even layer.
6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a bit crispy.
(You can stir the mixture occasionally so that it browns more evenly and the nuts don’t burn. I also rotate my pans between oven racks a few times during the baking process.)
7. Let cool completely before storing in airtight containers or resealable bags.

Enjoy, I know I will!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are you a Cheater???

Yesterday I found a new blog that I really enjoy.  It is on my favorite blog list, but if you want to go and check it out, it is called Seven Cherubs

Today, Naomi did a post called

It really made me stop and think.  It actually made me think about something I already knew, but she has a wonderful way with words.
Samuel loves to play board games.  His favorites at the moment are Connect Four and Chess.  He will play other games as well, but he likes to he will try and cheat.  He then declares, very proudly I might add, that Sam has won!

Connect Four and Chess are different.
Samuel has his own rules.
Samuel plays them his own way.
If we try to intervene and play these games according to the written instructions, we are told,
"NO!  NO!!  NO!!!"
We are cheating at the game he has made up.

Sam is autistic.
Sam has autism.
I am still not sure what is considered the correct way to say it.
To me, the most important thing is that Samuel is MY little boy.
Because of the autism so much of his life revolves around therapy.
Revolves around helping him find his place in this world.

As Samuel's mother I try to join him in his world.
I try to see things as he does.
I try to play Samuel's games by his rules.
I try really hard not to cheat.

 The Connect Four pieces are placed in groups of 2 on the sofa and other places as well, but, typically they need to be on the sofa,
 Two Connect Four pieces are placed on each sofa cushion.  The pillows are placed behind each set of two.  Usually, there are two purple bears on the edge of each sofa cushion.
But, today, they are otherwise engaged......
 Today, the bears are hanging out on the clock.
Earlier this morning the purple bears were playing chess with the garden gnomes.
 Did you think I was lying???
I may cheat at my children's games and not play by their rules....
But, I don't lie!
Especially about garden gnomes!
Samuel hasn't quite grasped how to play chess yet.
But, he sets up the board perfectly.
I have no doubt that my 5-year-old will soon master the game of chess....
his rules or the rules according to the world around us I am not sure.

We need to listen to our children.  They have a lot to tell us.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Today has been a very good day so far and I don't foresee it turning into a bad day.
Sooo.......HAPPY MONDAY!
This morning we all woke-up wide-eyed and bushy tailed.
Well, some of us not so wide-eyed!
First thing this morning, Jessica headed off with her Dad and finally, finally, finally go her
Insert the sound of a heavenly choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus.
I drove Samuel to school.

After dropping Samuel off at Sydney's School for his camp, I met Jim and Jessica at the Westshore Mall.  It had been a very long time since we had taken Jessica anywhere with just us and her, so, today was the day!!  We had decided to go to the movies and see the last Harry Potter movie.
We all enjoyed the movie, all though, the claim that
was a little scary!!
Of course, I know that it refers to the series of movies and books, the battle between Harry and the guy who's name can't be spoken!
But, at first glance.......

Don't feel badly for Samuel, he had fun
Samuel played "Memory" with Miss Katelyn.  Samuel turned over matching "umbrellas" and then proceded to make an umbrella out of the memory blocks.
Samuel also designs microwave ovens in his spare time!
There is a little bit of trampoline jumping in his new Crocs.
A frog and a bumblebee!
For my Sharing Time at church on Sunday, I made play doh for all the Primary kids so they could build Temples like the Mormon pioneers.  For Family Home Evening, we are going to build our own temples with the left over play doh.  Then rice pudding for a snack.
A good Monday.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


For all the Harry Potter fans or those who feel a little different!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Silence......or lack of it!

A few days ago a friend posted this on their blog.......
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." ~Aldous Huxley
After reading that quote, I had one of those "AAAAAAAh" moments.
Because for several days before this quote was posted, I had been thinking about silence and contemplating turning it into a blog post of some sort! 
The trouble was......and still is to some extent.....I couldn't write my jumble of thoughts down in a way that I was happy with.  The thoughts wouldn't go away, so I will attempt to share my "wombat in the belfry" thoughts on the subject!

In reply to the above quote, someone posted, "What is silence?"
Good question!!!!
I posted the thought that I had straight after reading the quote.
 ".....after the loss of our little girl, the silence of grief was nearly overpowering in our home. When I sat and played the piano the silence was washed away and a little bit of my heart healed. That is what came into my mind after reading that quote. Music is a great healer."
Silence can be a very good thing, but it can also be a glaring reminder of something lost.  Sometimes the expression, "The silence was deafening," can be so very true.
I had the sheet music for "Jessica's Sonata #2" and I would sit at my piano and play it over and over again.  It just seemed to be the perfect piece of music to block out the crushing silence.  I could put expression....feeling into it.  I only play it occasionally now.  As much as I love this piece of music, it takes me back to a very sad, dark and.........silent time in my life.

Our home has always been fairly calm, organized and orderly.
Not silent.......peaceful would be a better word.
Joshua was away at college when Samuel was born and didn't get to see him until that Christmas.  I laughed when Joshua commented, "Our house isn't a quiet house anymore!"  No, it wasn't isn't wasn't.
I don't think it will ever be again!

I was trying to think of the last time our home was blessed with silence.
The wonderful, glorious sound of silence......
Not in recent memory.
Instead, we have had a house full of family and friends.
We have a little boy that is talking, singing, yelling, being contrary.
We have a big yellow dog whack, whack, whacking the furniture.....our legs....with his tail.
We have me screaming in terror as my daughter peels out of the church parking lot on two, wait, that is fodder for a different post.
At night we have silence.......kind of.

At night, I lay in bed listening to the silence of the house.
But, even then, there isn't really silence.
The thoughts swirling around in my head are to loud for there to be silence.
Even when we do have the silence of sleep descend, it is usually broken at midnight, or 2am or 4am, by the voice of a little boy saying in his little voice, "Daddy, move." or, "Hello Mummy."
Snoring.....I will say no more on than subject.......
Sometimes I think people need to learn when it would be a good idea for them to be silent.
Advice wasn't asked for, so don't give it.
Sometimes body language can scream volumes.
Sometimes we all need to be silent.
We need to listen.
Listen to what people are saying.
Sometimes people are silent.
Sometimes their silence speaks volumes.

I am not a fan of snow.
It can be very beautiful.
I do love the silence of snow.
When we lived in Minnesota and South Dakota I loved the early hours of the morning right after a snow storm.  The ground is covered with white and nothing has left its mark yet.
It is silent.
I sometimes crave for silence, but I don't think it is really the silence I want.
Maybe a bit of solitude?
Though.........maybe you have been listening to the same thing, whether it is talking or whatever, a little bit to long when it becomes intelligible, like the adults on "Charlie Brown".  Remember the "wha-wha, wha-wha?"
I think we all have these moments!!!

Ultimately, I take all the sounds of silence in my life, filter out the unwanted and put them under the "Wah wa Wah" catagory.
The sounds that make me happy are many....

One of the first songs I taught myself to play is "Sounds of Silence."
Seems appropriate to have it on my blog today.


Friday, July 8, 2011

I got my toes in the water.........

.......rear in the sand
Not a worry in the world, cold water in my hand.
Life is good today.  Life is good today.
Well....I did change some of the above lyrics to make it more friendly to my blog!
But, that pretty much sums up our day yesterday.
Yesterday was the only chance we had to go to the beach.
The day before we had decided to go to Fort Desoto beach.
When we woke-up, it was extremely overcast and the weather report said that rain was on its way.  We decided to risk it anyway!
After a quick run to the store for supplies......
getting everyone up and moving......
 packing a picnic lunch and a few snacks......
taking a few calls that were work related......
loading up the car........
should have slathered on some sunscreen right about this point of the morning!
We were off!!!!!

We passed through several minor rain showers on the way there, but once we arrived.......
This was pretty much how the parking lot looked - nearly empty
 The beach wasn't very busy either
 The beach filled up as the day went on, but it certainly couldn't be called "busy".
Not by Florida standards anyway!

We did all the usual beach things.
Built sand castles
Dug huge holes to China
Started to cover Jim in sand......but gave up
Ate lunch
Swam some more
Packed up, rinsed off
Ate an ice-cream
Drove home

We even had a skinny dipper make an appearance.
Unfortunately, it was Sam......or fortunately depending on how you look  saw look at it!!
Samuel obviously didn't read this sign.

There we were, swimming around, not a care in the world,
I saw Sam's swimsuit floating away with the current.
Sam was laughing hysterically as he flung his hat and started to take off his shirt.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to put swim trunks onto a squirming, wriggling 5-year-old while chest deep in the ocean????
Very difficult.
But, it is possible when the person doing the putting is determined enough and has the help of a Jessica!

It was a good day.
It reminded me of my childhood.
We spent nearly every summer day at the beach.
It is a good way to spend the summer.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Around and Around and Around we go! Where we'll stop.......nobody knows!!!

Today we went to the Glazer Children's Museum here in Tampa.
We had planned to go yesterday, but on the first Tuesday of the month they have $2 admission after 2pm.  I suspected it would be very, very busy - crowded to the maximum.  That is not a great thing when planning a trip out with Samuel.  Especially when it is a new place for him.
So, we decided to get there when it first opened today instead.
To quote Samuel,
"Good choice!"
 Even though it wasn't extremely crowded, it was still a little overwhelming to Sam.
For approximately the first hour, all he did was run around and around from one thing to another.  He stayed no more that 20 seconds at each thing.
The exceptions to this was the above exhibit.
It was a climbing station for the kids.  The idea being that your child is a drop of water going from one leaf to another.  Samuel absolutely loved this.......Jessica insisted on going and "helping" Samuel a few time.........

Samuel also stopped at the "Outback Cafe".
He was fascinated with the pretend pizza ovens.  You pressed a button and a light flickered on and off while your pretend pizza cooked.  We had to wait until the light stopped.
Right next door to the cafe was the fire station!
The fire truck had a siren and a wonderful flashing red light.
 This, however, is were we spent the bulk of our time.  Towards the end of our visit.
Samuel loved putting all the balls into the slot on the right and watching them shoot down the ramp.  All the balls were blue, except for one lone purple ball.  Guess which ball Samuel wanted every single time!!!
Yep, that purple ball.
It was kind of cool though.  Sam held the purple ball up to the blue balls and said, "Same......and different."
A few scuffles ensued when someone else happened to get the purple ball, but nothing to earth shattering!!!

I did have a "Ha to you lady" moment.
I was doing the 5 minute countdown, preparing Samuel to leave.
"5 minutes and then it is time to go home Sam."
"4 more minutes."
I was about at the, "3 more minutes" mark when a lady asked me if I truly expected that to work and with a laugh said, "Good luck with that!"  She had also witnessed some of the purple ball issues.
"2 more minutes."
"Only 1 more minute Sam."
"No more minutes Sam, time to go home."
With that, Samuel took my hand and we headed towards the door.
I couldn't resist looking back at the lady who made the above comment.  She did seem suitably impressed.........and boy was I glad that the count down worked today!!!

We had a good time at the museum and will most certainly be heading back.  Hopefully, next time Samuel will be more familiar with the surroundings and will want to try out some of the other exhibits.  We will never go on the $2 special days........even if I had typical kids I wouldn't do that I think!!
A great hands on museum.


Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th

No photos today. 
 It isn't that we haven't done anything that is photo worthy. 
 I just chose to not take the camera today. 
 I wanted to just concentrate on the moment. 

For a week we have been trying to decide what to do today.  There has been quite a bit of advertising for certain events.  Most of them look like they would be really fun and most end with a spectacular fireworks display. 
Which one to go to?
As usual, our conversations have ended with,
"How will Sam handle that?" 
 "Will the crowds be to much?" 
"Will it be to long?" 
 "Maybe next year."

We have had a very low key 4th of July and it has been great so far!

The Florida Aquarium has been advertising a 4th of July event starting at 3pm today.
We thought about it and decided not to go.
Instead, we went to the aquarium when it first opened this morning, 9:30am.
It was great.  Sam was able to run from exhibit to exhibit.  We were able to go into the different sections the wrong way and not worry about going against the flow of traffic.  Some we just kept looping back through over and over and over!  In fact, I think Sam only stopped and looked at one of the displays. 
 But, it didn't matter.  Samuel had a great time, and so did we!

There was a brief stop at the cafe for a chocolate milk and snack pack.
Then.........we were off again.

We finished the morning off in the splash area.
There was quite a bit of splashing......
there was also quite a bit of water cannon shooting........

On the way home Sam requested "fries" and like the marshmallow parents we are....
we complied!

Tonight we are having BBQ ribs, baked potatoes, salad, baked beans and peach cobbler.  For Family Home Evening we will be letting off some fireworks.

A good day.
A perfect day.
OK, so I lied, there is one picture!!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Captiva Island

For Spring Break this year, we went to Captiva Island.
We came back rejuvenated......relaxed.........tanned (Well, some of us)
and I was ready to go back the next week and do it all again!!
We didn't do anything spectacular.
We didn't go on a huge adventure each day.
But, it was one of the best holidays I have ever had.
I blogged about the first day of our trip here

Our first full day spent on Captiva Island, just happened to be Easter Sunday.
We usually dye Easter eggs, but we knew that we probably wouldn't have time on Saturday, we we bought plastic eggs for the Easter Bunny to hide this year.
As the eggs were found, they were deposited in this handy yellow bowl
Samuel on the hunt for Easter eggs
Jessica got in on the action as well
Baskets of goodies
Samuel made quite a haul, but Jessica wasn't left out!
Relaxing in the living room
Looking out at the pool - spent most of our time there!!
Eating an entire carton of ice-cream!!!
That is what vacations are for!!!!