Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Cupcakes 

1 16oz can of solid pack pumpkin
1 box yellow cake mix
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce

Combine ingredients in a bowl and spoon into cupcake pan either lined with cupcake papers or greased. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until you can poke the top of the cupcake with a finger, and it bounces back. Cool completely and frost with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 lb. (or 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp cinnamon (can always add more)

Blend together, adding more cinnamon if so desired. Frost completely cooled cupcakes. Store in air tight container in the fridge.


Alli C

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Family Portraits

Yesterday, we had our family portrait made. The whole family. Mom, Dad, SIS (!), niece, nephew, Jackman, Hemi, Daddyman, and myself. That's 9 if you didn't count as you read. They turned out amazing. And what a blessing to have us all there.

Alli C

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Major Step Forward

Part of Jack's issues (sensory/aspergers) is that he is an EXTREMELY picky eater. He has a set list of things he will eat, and has had a hard time adding new items (he will occasionally drop an item, but not add). So, we talked with his OT about it, and she began exploring this with Jack. We figured out pretty quickly, that we need a little more help with this than she could provide, so we were referred to a psychologist who specializes in helping kids like Jack eat. We have been calling it Eating School.

She set up coping skills for him (which have worked WONDERS for him outside of Eating School), and set up rules that she follows (and now his OT follows to work on other foods). There is a reward system in place, and tons of positive reinforcement. He has done very well with this system, but only with his therapists. He has not been able to transfer it to eating at home.

This changed tonight. Tonight, Jack, Hemi, and I sat down and ate a real meal. No chicken nuggets, no pizza, no pancakes. The three of us had BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and mandarin oranges.


And there was no arguing, no anxiety, no refusal to eat. There was a lot of cheering on, and lot of discussion about it, but real food was consumed.

And it was GLORIOUS.

Jack has been eating BBQ chicken and corn as part of his Eating School and OT. He has claimed he liked it, but then hasn't eaten it at home. We have a list of preferred foods, sometimes food, and food we'd like him to eat. In order to get an item moved to the like column, he has to eat it at home 2 times. We are half way to getting BBQ chicken and corn to the like column. This is MAJOR. I feel like finally the hard work, and the endless appointments have paid off.

Another MAJOR, WONDERFUL milestone is that he actually tried mashed potatoes at home. He didn't need to try them at Eating School or with his OT first. He ate them with me. Four (4) very small bites, but 4 bites. To say that I am over the moon with excitement is an understatement. I have never been more proud of him. Hemi and I cheered him on, and clapped and high-fived when he swallowed a bite. And then I rewarded both of them with ice cream.

I feel like we have been chipping away at this brick wall, and finally, FINALLY, we have knocked a hole in it. We now have a reference point for when he doesn't want to eat these foods. He can no longer tell me that he can't do it, because we all know he can.

Alli C

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Almost) - From the Archives

My great-great grandmother, great grandmother, Dad, sis and myself (4 generations!)

Sis and Me - Atlantic Beach, NC 1983

Maria, me, Sis, and Cousin at my wedding 1999

Sis playing in the sand (Atlantic Beach, NC) 1980

Cousins, Me, Daddyman, and Sis circa 2000

I have been searching for photos of my sister for the last month or so, and finally scanned them in. WIll be creating a photo journal for her in the next few days.

Alli C

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Caring Heart and an Update

We FINALLY got approved for Medicaid services. We will be restarting therapies this week. YAY! It will be rough, as Jack has just started getting used to the new "routine". But if we don't push him to adjust to new situations, I feel he will not get better about it.

In the mean time, we had case management through our Medicaid, and lost it due to the loss of Medicaid. Case managers ensure that we are getting the services we are supposed to, and they also help us find resources within the community (they got us in touch with Rocking Horse Ranch in the fall, for Equine-Assisted Therapy). You may be thinking that since we were not receiving therapies through our Medicaid, we didn't really need case management. Not true. Even though the Respite we were receiving was funded through the state, we need case management to oversee the Respite. Since we were losing case management, we were also losing Respite. Also, there were openings for Developmental Therapies funded through the state that required a case manager.

I was heartbroken. Then, our Respite coordinator called someone she knew to see what could be done to help our situation. She knows Jack, and knows that the Respite has been beneficial for both of us.

Andrea, from A Caring Heart case management (a local company) called, and I explained our situation. She listened to me, and was very supportive. Then, she gave our family a great gift. They offered us case management services FREE OF CHARGE. FREE. I was blown away. I cried and cried. Someone wanted to help Jack (and the rest of our family). Someone cared about something besides money.

I met Sabrina the next day, and we filled out the paperwork to get our case management switched to her company. She worked hard, and in less than a week, all of the paperwork was done and we had been approved for Developmental Therapies - 40 hours a month! We are searching for a worker and setting up goals to be met.

Jack is going to be so busy. OT and "Eating School" (he meets with a psychologist to help him try new foods - he gets extremely anxious about eating things not in his rotation) as well as Respite and Developmental Therapy. Which means, I am going to be driving a LOT. And sitting in waiting rooms a LOT. But I am thankful to do this so that Jack gets the help he needs.

I am so thankful to A Caring Heart for helping us, and working with us even though we couldn't pay. They do what they do for the right reasons.

Alli C

Monday, January 31, 2011

No more services

Today has been a major #fail. And it is more than just having a case of the Mondays. Before I get into what has made today especially bad, let me take you on a trip back in time.

A few years ago, right before the employment situation in the US fell off a cliff, Daddyman and I decided he should go back to school to get a Master of Accounting. He was unhappy in his job, was traveling 2 weeks out of the month, and we were all struggling with it. He had been searching for a job, but since he had an Economics degree, there wasn't much he could do in Accounting (even though he spent close to 10 years doing tax audits). I had just been laid off (it didn't seem like it was related to the economy, but looking back, it was the cusp of the great fall of the economy), and there were plenty of jobs being advertised in the area of the school Daddyman wanted to go to.

So we took a leap of faith, Daddyman quit his job, we moved, and he started school. Then I couldn't find a job in the area, and no one had health insurance. And I got sick and landed in the hospital for 5 days (mostly in ICU) after having emergency surgery (but that is a different story all together). So we applied for Medicaid. Daddyman and I didn't qualify as we had too much money in the bank (leftover from student loans that we were living on). The rules for kids are different, and the boys qualified.

Then Jack was diagnosed with Asperger's and Hemi gets diagnosed with a speech delay as well as low muscle tone. We get both boys the therapy that they need. Everything is going well.

Now to what is happening now:

Daddyman graduates and is unable to find a job. So we decide to withdraw Daddyman's 401k money from a job he had for 10 years so we can live. In the middle of that, we have our annual review to ensure the boys can keep their Medicaid. We report the funds we received from the 401k, and now (at least temporarily) the boys are disqualified from receiving Medicaid. The state is still determining if this we can begin again with Medicaid, but it does not look promising. The 401k money is counted as income. We are just unsure if it is counted as annual income, or income for one month. If it is income for one month, they will not be reinstated.

In the mean time, OT, ST, and Cognitive Therapy have been terminated. It seems as if we will still get Respite services, but I am not holding my breath (I really thought it was paid by Medicaid, not through a different State run program). Jack is on the waiting list for a special program that is not income based, and it is POSSIBLE that he could receive therapy through this program, but that is a little doubtful too.

I have been an absolute basket case ALL DAY. I was already in a bad mood (hormonally driven), and this has just about sent me over the edge. My kids can't get the services they need. I feel so helpless. I have no clue what to do now. My kids need help. I can help them some, as I have gone to therapy sessions with them, but they need professional help. And I don't have the resources to help them.

What do I do?

Alli C

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie

This recipe has been passed down through my grandmother, whom I called Sancy. She was an excellent cook, and I am honored that I have her recipes.

This is a Thanksgiving classic, and Sancy would always make it with the variation at the end. And she would serve Syllabub with it, which is basically whipped cream with sherry in it.

Sweet Potato Pie

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
¾ cup evaporated milk *
¼ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
10 inch pie shell, unbaked

Preheat oven to 400°. Beat together eggs, sugar, and sweet potatoes. Add milk, butter, and vanilla. Pour into pie shell, and bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325° and bake for 30 minutes more. When knife inserted comes out clean, the pie is done.

*¼ cup evaporated milk and ½ cup dry sherry may be substituted for ¾ cup evaporated milk.

Alli C