Friday, October 23, 2009

Wow, it really is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day!

As usual, it's the library's fault. It's the library's fault that my house is unorganized. It's the library's fault I don't greet my husband at the door with a pitcher of martinis, or whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing these days. Because the library feeds my reading addiction. Of all the nerve.

So, a few months ago I checked out a copy of Mother Earth News (I've blogged about just that activity before). That issue had a review of this book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I put the book on hold at the library, as I was intrigued. I used the Internet to perform the hold, as I am slothful and enjoy reserving books from the comfort of my unorganized home.

Yesterday I made the basic bread recipe. Today, I ate the first slices. Alone. With Nutella. Several of them, to be honest. I immediately decided that perhaps you, my adoring reader, had heard of this book but had not yet taken the time to investigate further. Well. Let's just say that the library copy will not do. I will be purchasing a copy. I gleefully look forward to the light whole wheat, oatmeal, and sunflower seed breakfast bread. And the pizza dough. And others.

It's super easy and tastes just like the fancy bread from the store. The expensive stuff. Crispy exterior, chewy yet light interior. I mean, look at the cute things. Are they not adorable? Do you not want to just EAT THEM UP. With very little effort you make enough dough for 4 small loaves, which you can make at any point in the next two weeks. Like you're really going to wait 14 days. Sure.

You know, I'm sick. I probably shouldn't share this bread with the rest of the family. That seems foolhardy, doesn't it? No need to risk further spreading illness.

Remember, buy through my blog to help support Heifer International! Thank you!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Book Club

Next month's selection: True Colors by Kristin Hannah. I knew that name seemed familiar; she also wrote Magic Hour.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The laffs, they are good for you

You know I can't be serious all the time. Here's a few of my favorite places to visit when I need a little break, every 2-3 minutes or so.
  • I won't shop there, but I sure will laugh at their customers. I looked through all 50+ pages the first day I found this gem. I herby present to you: The People of Walmart.
  • I love Etsy. I do. But there are some strange things out there. For actual sale. On the actual site. No joke. Really. It's Regretsy, man.
  • I'm a sucker for the old "good lord, people are stupid, oy" stories of Not Always Right.
  • And then there's the wacky Awkward Family Photos site. Really. Me likey.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Update on the Vantage Lite

The problem with being all subversive is that you then might obtain information that you perhaps didn't want. But let's start at the beginning. Ever read A Prayer for Owen Meany? It's not my favorite John Irving book (speaking of which, who borrowed and didn't return my copy of Cider House Rules?!). It's not even one of my top three. But the one thing that stays with you after reading it is the feeling that sometimes it takes years of things falling into place before you understand the journey.

The two most important things that fell into place for us and our path for getting Nea the help she needs for her apraxia are:

  • Meeting and learning from the wonderful parents in the monthly Windy City Apraxia group. I only attend 3-4 times a year, but I always learn a lot.
  • Reading Schuyler's Monster. That book has taught me how to never give up in the fight for the right services for my child.
Two weeks ago I learned from the kind parents of WCA that there is a counter that can be activated on Nea's talker. You can then download the information and see everything: time/date/which button pressed. I immediately realized the significance of this, of course. I called PRC directly to learn how that works. Since, you know, we've had no training yet. Let me clarify. No one on Nea's team, not her SLP (speech and language pathologist), not her special ed teacher, not her mainstream teacher, not her parents, have received one bit of training. After 7 weeks of school.

Doesn't this seem like something you read about in a "taxpayer's money being wasted" article? Something like "In other news, a $7500 device was supplied to a special education student, but it lies nearly unused, as no training was ever provided." Luckily! Luckily I am so clever. Remember how since I lost the battle for holding Nea back from Kindergarten this year, I asked for and received a 30-day IEP review meeting to discuss how the placement was working out for her? (link to that post) That meeting is this coming Tuesday.

You bet your sweet bippie I'll be asking how they plan to rectify the situation. Do we need an aide to work with Nea? I'm thinking we do.

I left a message for the special education facilitator this morning to see whether all the right people were invited. I briefly mentioned the lack of training to date. I wondered whether someone from the cooperative that supplies our schools with the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device should be attending our meeting. I very much look forward to solving this issue.

So, would you like to know how many buttons on Nea's talker are pressed in an average 6 hour school day? How many would you guess? I mean, obviously how many words you say per day will vary based on many things. There are scientists who study that sort of thing.
The answer, for Nea, is less than 20. In half her waking hours. Five days a week. Less than 20.

And sure, you could say that she verbally says a lot more. And she does. But how many is that in an average day at school? Seriously. She's the quietest kid in the room.

This isn't my most lucid blog post. I'm swinging between being angry and depressed. Which is probably good, since I need to be clear-headed and logical by Tuesday.

Making lemonade

Thank you, thank you for nominating me for the Lemonade Blog award! Shelley, aka Coaxing Words from Shea, was so kind. I will mull over my nominations and post them next week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Packing healthy lunches

Need some new ideas for packing school lunches? I like this Cindy's Porch chart. Just print it out and hang it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet. Maybe spend some time discussing options with your child, and crossing out any items that are unacceptable.

I finally couldn't take the "cheese cracker?" "cheese cracker?" "cheese cracker?" "cheese cracker?" 5 year old anymore, and my kids are now packing their own snacks into little reuseable containers. We did 3 containers for each kid yesterday, with "cheese crackers" (AARGH), pretzels, yogurt-covered raisins, graham crackers, sunflower seeds, and various other options. They got to pick which to mix and match. Now every morning after they have dressed, pottied, brushed teeth and hair, and put their pajamas on their beds, they may pick one of their ready-made snacks and put them in their backpacks.

I'm planning on having them do more helping with their lunches, too, starting very soon. Why should I get all the fun?