Thursday, April 29, 2010

Feeling Guilty - Where did April Go?

April is Autism Awareness Month and I fully intended to do some great posts this month and here it is the end of April and not one single post.  How on earth did that happen?

On my blog it says that I have an unquenchable thirst for learning more about autism.  I decided to list all the books I've read on the topic.  It was easy to write down the first 50 and now one comes to me here and there, so I'll just continue to add them as I remember them.

My very first book was Son Rise by Barry Neil Kaufman.  Last year I reread it, just to see what originally caught my attention and interest in Autism.  Here's the list, starting with my first book followed by some of my favorites.

1)   Son Rise by Barry Neil Kaufman
2)   The Boy Who Loved Windows; Opening the Heart and Mind of a Child Threatened with Autism
3)   A Real Boy:  A True Story of Autism, Early Intervention and Recovery
4)   George & Sam:  Two Boys, One Family & Autism.
5)   Nobody Nowhere by Donna Williams
6)  Rex, A Mother her Autistic Chilod and the Music that Transformed their Lives by Cathleen Lewis
7)  To Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind:  Christian Parents Contend with Autism
8)  A Slant of Sun:  One Child's Courage
9)  Songs of the Gorilla Nation :  My Journey through Autism
10)  Son Rise:  The Miracle Continues
11)  Brains that work a Little Bit Differently:  Recent Discoveries about Common Brain Diversities.
12) Through the Glass Wall:  A Therapists Life Long Journey to Reach Children with Autism
13) Precious Treasure by Elizabeth Matthews
14) Autism:  Explaining the Enigma by Uta Frith
15) Awakening Ashley:  Mozart knocks Autism on it's Ear by Sharon Ruben
16) Our Life on the Run:  A Story of Running 50 Marathons in 50 States - A Family Quest
17) Not Even Wrong:  A Father's Journey into the Lost History of Autism by Paul Collins
18) Rules by Cynthia Lord
19)  Born on a Blue Day:  Inside the Extraordinary mind of an Autistic Savant:  A Memoir
20)  Gift from my Son:  Autism Redefined
21)  Send in the Idiots:  Stories from the other side of Autism
22)  Breaking Autism's Barriers:  A Father's Story by Bill Davis
23)  Sound of the Falling Snow: Stories of Recovery from Autism & Related Conditions
24)  Elijah's Cup:  A families Journey into the communtiy & culture of high functioning autism and   
Aspergers Syndrome.
25) Pivotal Response Treatments for Autism:  Communication Social and Academic
26) Souls Beneath Beyond Autism
27) Up High in the Trees - Kiara Brinkman
28) Understanding Autism for Dummies
29) Just this side of Normal:  Glimpses into Life with Autism by Elizabeth King Gerloach
30)  The Parting Class by Emilie Richards
31)  Finding Ben: A Mother's Journey Thourgh the Maze of Autism
32)  Spelling Love with an X: A Mother and Son and the Gene that binds them
33)  Beyond Silence:  My Life, the World and Autism by Tito Rajashi Mukhopadhyay
34)  A Wild Ride up the Cupboards:  A Novel
35)  Facing Autism: Giving Parents Reasons for Hope & Guidance for Help.
36)  Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Son's and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism
37)  Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Autism; Stories of Hope & Everyday Success.
38)  10 Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
39)  Engaing Autism: Using the Floortime Approach to Help Children Relate, Communicate and Think
40)  Louder than Words:  A Mother's Journey in Healing Austism by Jenny McCarthy
41)  Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope that Can Transform
42)  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.
43)  Unraveling the Mystery of Autism & PDD: A Mother's Story of Research and Recovery
44)  Let me Hear your Voice
45)  A Mind Apart:  Understanding Children with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome
46)  Making Peace with Autism:  One Family's Story of Struggle, Discovery & Unexpected Gifts.
47)  He's not Autistic but...How we pulled our son from the mouth of the Abyss
48)  1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising childre with Austism Spectrum Disorders
49)  Reasonable People:  A Memoir of Autism and Adoption:   On the Meaning of Family and the Politics of Neurological Difference.
50)  Somebody Somewhere:  Breaking Free from the World of Autism
51)  Targeting Autism:  What we Know, Don't Know and Can Do to Help Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
51)  The Empty Fortress
53)  Demystifying Autism Spectrum Disorders
54)  A Will of his Own:  Reflections on Parenting a Child with Autism
55)  Strange Son by Portia Iverson
56)  Eye Contact
57)  Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin
58)  Emergence: Labeled Autistic
59)  The Sound of a Micracle, A Child's Triumph Over Autism
60)  An Antropologist on Mars
61)  The Siege
62)  News From the Border:  A Mother's Memoir of Her Autistic Son
63)  Exiting Nirvana:  A Daughter's Life with Autism
64)  ??? More to Come

I'll be adding to this list as I remember titles I've read.  Yes, I guess you could say that this is a lifetime interest and that it's unquenchable.  And quess what, for each book I've read I think there's about  ten more I haven't.  No end in sight, but I don't mind.  However, if God chooses to give us a cure, I'll be happy to choose another topic of interest.  That would be the happiest of endings.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blessed to Have Been There

The quality of the picture is poor, but I wanted you to see the sea of people both on the main floor and in the balcony.  People were turned away at every session, even though they had three huge overflow rooms with screens and they packed every available space, there was still not enough.

We had planned to tour downtown Holland and do some shopping and eat there, use the pool and hot tub and perhaps take in a museum in Grand Rapids.  Much to our dismay we had very little time for any of this.  The Holiday Inn was 1/2 hour away and we had to allow extra time for getting lost, which we did several times.  And you had to be there at least two hours before the session started in order to get a seat in the main auditorium.  The last night we arrived 2 1/2 hours early because we stayed in town and it was a good thing, because the people who arrived two hours early did not get in at all.  I felt so bad for them, what a disappointment that would have been.

We were all the way over to the left of the stage for three of the sessions, the last one we managed to get in the center but way in the back.  The music portion, by Matt Redman, was really awesome.

I've watched Joyce on TV before and read a couple of her books, so I knew I liked her style of teaching, but had no idea how much I'd be blessed by attending the conference.  I leaned more in 3 days than I've probably learned in the last three years.  My whole being felt tons lighter after just the first session.  We were filmed by the TV crew during the first session, I don't know if or when it will be televised or if it will be cut.  Joyce started her first session by giving an alter call before she even began teaching.  I've never in my life have seen anyone do it that way and was shocked at the response, there was over 300 people from that first alter call.  The two ladies I went with stood to receive Christ -- and that's when we were filmed.  I was oblivious!  Totally into the whole experience and had no idea what was going on. I had a solid red sweater on.  There were over 1,000 people total who received Christ at the Conference.

The battery on my camera died.  I wanted a picture of the beautiful bushes and my friend Maria.  We didn't have anyone to take the picture but us, so Lisa took the picture of us and then I took a picture of them.  We didn't get any of the three of us together.  And lo and behold my eyes are closed.  When will I ever learn to take extra batteries!

I'll post more on the conference at a later date.  I have company coming and spent the day whipping the house into shape.  Just let me say that if you ever have a chance to go to one of her conferences don't turn down the chance.  You'll be richly blessed, I surely was.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Going to a Conference

There's a Joyce Meyers Conference this weekend in Grand Rapids and a fellow co-worker invited me along on a girls weekend.I love to hear her speak and have read several of her books, but this is the first time to see her in person.    I will tell you all about the conference when I return.

I have found that people either really love her or they don't like her one bit.  She's very direct, opinionated and practical.  Another friend said everything she teaches is just common sense.   I was once accused of having book smarts, but no common sence, so maybe that's why I like her so much.

Feel free to leave your opinion of Joyce Meyer and her ministries in the comments.  Please do not leave your opinion of my common sence abilities in the comments, I'm scarred enough as it is.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm a Beginner Tightwad


This 3 inch thick book (I'm not exagerating) is full of wonderful ideas on how to save money, reuse, reduce and recycle.  I have read it from front to back and want to share a few idea with you.

My all time favorite so far that I have tried and will continue to use is her stain remover for clothes.

Stain Recipe
1 cup Clorox II powdered laundry detergent
1 cup Cascade dishwasing detergent - powdered.
5 gallons of hot water

Mix and add clothes and soak overnight.
Excellent on food stains.
Launder as usual after the soak.

I was picking things to buy from a friend and she going to throw out a dress that was badly stained.  I told her about the recipe and asked to take the dress, it would become my test item for the Stain recipe.  She told me that her mother could get out almost everything, but had no luck with this stain.  Well folks I tried it and half of the stain came out.  I was encouraged, and when a few days later I did another batch of stained items I tried the little dress again and guess what? It all came out.  I wish I had taken pictures.  It was amazing!

She also recommended using full strength Breck shampoo as a stain remover.  It is suupose to remove blood/grass and grease.  This I haven't tried yet, because Meijer doesn't carry Breck and I'll have to go somewhere else to find it.

Other great ideas:

Save your cosmetic/compact brushes for your kids to use for paint brushes.  Have relatives save for you; spring cleaning time is a great time to mention this to them.

Highliter pens can be reused - remove the end plug and add water or water/food coloring.

Budget bubbles -  I like this idea because it calls for corn syrup instead of glycerin.  This recipe costs 18 cents per cup.

6 parts water
2 parts Joy dishwashing liquid
3/4 part corn syrup. 

Do you hate cooking beans for hours - Then try this method. Soak your beans overnight and then drain.  Freeze the beans in amounts you'll need for your favorite recipes.  When you cook them they will soften in about 20 minutes, because the water in the beans expands when frozen and breaks the celluloste strands that holds the cells together.  This is the same prinicple that occurs when you cook beans for hours.  And using dried beans will save on your grocery bill.

I thought this idea was really cool.  When  you do your spring cleaning use this little saying to remind you what to do with your mattress.  Spin in the Spring and Flip in the Fall.

Here's another tip I plan on trying.   One lady wrote in that she uses this method to increase her chances of winning prize drawings.  She swears it helps.  She folds her tickets several times in interesting ways to make them more susceptible to being drawn.  Her list of winnings was impressive.  I figure it can't hurt to try.

Does your family like the instant oatmeal for the convenience?  One woman solved that problem this way.
She mixed a large container with 5 parts oatmeal and 1 part brown sugar ( you can adjust this to your liking later) and then added cinnamon.  At night before she went to bed she mixed a bowl of oatmeal and milk.  You can add in extras if you like - nuts, raisons etc.  In the morning all you have to do is cook the oatmeal for 90 seconds.  Viola! you have: better nutrition, the convenience and you save money.  It's a winner.

I have more ideas I'll share in another post.  But if you can get your hands on her book all the better, because I'm sure diferent people pick up on different ideas that will help them be more frugal and green.

Join the tightwads!  Let's be frugal and save the environment.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Super Sweet Deal!

This is my coffee, the only kind I drink unless I'm totally desperate.  Meaning I'm sick I have no other choice and need something hot to drink.  To make a long story short, around 1985 I was a divorced mom of two working two jobs and going to college.  One morning I briefly fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road and it scared the bee-gee-bees out of me.  I decided I needed to start drinking caffiene and I tried a Coke first thing in the morning (Yuck) - it didn't do the trick and since I couldn't stomach real brewed coffee I tried this and I've been drinking it ever since.  General Foods Internation Coffee.  I love all the flavors except for Chai.  The new Lattes are divine and I used to even enjoy the chocolate flavors back in the good old days.

Back to the deal.
This coffee is marked $3.28 a can.
$3.28 X 8 = $26.24  YIKES!  Expensive stuff.
It was on sale for $2.89. $2.89 X 8 = $23.12  Still to high.
Minus $.75 coupons, which Meijer doesn't double, so I can use as many as I want in one transaction.
$2.14 X 8 = $17.12  Getting better.
Now Meijer had a Catalina deal - Catalinas are the coupons that spit out of the cash register when you check out.  If you buy 2 or 3 cans, you get $1.00 back to spend on your next shopping trip.  If you buy 4 you get a coupon for $4.00 off your next trip.  Well I've never seen it work like this before, but I received 2 - $1.00 coupons and a $4.00 for a total of $6.00 back.  I went twice ( not an extra trip for me - I went before and after taking care of GT, so I had to go right by the store) and repeated the deal.

Ready for this.

My total cost for 8 contatiners of my favorite cofffee cost me.


Super Sweet Deal.  Very impressive when you look at the original price of $26.24.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just Got The Call!

Audra just called around 4 pm my time with the news.  It's not 100% as some babies are not completetly cooperative.  Remember my prediction and why I'm swayed in that direction?   If you don't you could click here and be reminded.

It seems two of her sisters changed their mind near the end of the wait, I'm not sure if Meghan did or not, someone out there voted for a boy the first time around.  Were they right?  Should I have switched my vote too?

Here's a hint..................

Well one last look at the Mama

And in case you're really bad at getting the hints..

At least they are almost positive it is, (or he is very good at hiding the family jewels).  Audra plans to have a 3D Ultrasound in a couple weeks, just to make sure.  Military personel and wives can get them for $40.  I think that's a deal.  The parents-to-be are very excited.  I'm waiting for the reaction of the other Grandma, who has three sons and was the only girl in her family.  Poor Thing!  She will be ecstatic and so will Great Grandma Silvia.

Congrats!  Audra & Rick.  They plan to name the baby before Rick deploys in 2 - 3 weeks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What will it be? And Way Back When #3

Tomorrow midday we are hoping to find our what daughter #4 is going to have. Will it be a girl or boy?  This is the little one in her previous ultrasound above.  The other Grandma said it reminded her of Linus, from the Peanuts cartoon.  If we are going by the poll almost everyone thinks it will be a girl.  She has one sister, Amanda who is now saying she's changed her mind and thinks it's a boy.  Speak now people or forever hold your peace.  What do you think it will be???  The anticipation of finding out is killing this Gramie.

Whichever it turns out to be I'm sure it will be a gorgeous child, just look at the parents. 

 Audra has the Miss America smile, & beautiful green eyes.  Rick's very handsone and has awesome eyes too.

Here's Audra's hospital picture.  Let's all say it together now  -"Awhhhhh".   She was 7 lbs 3 oz. of cuteness, my biggest baby. 

Audra at 8 months old

8 months with clothes on.

She's 18 months in this photo, which is when I finally weaned her from breastfeeding.  She was my fourth and last baby and I hated to give it up knowing there would never be another baby to nurse.

Boy or Girl her life will never be the same.  She'll always have the responsibility of raising this child.  I remember thinking as a young Mom, I'd have them to worry about and fend for until they were 18 and adults off on their own.  Yah right!  Suprise, you continue to worry about them, do things to help them and to mother them from afar or near if your lucky. 

GOD - Please bless them with a healthy baby and give Rick & Audra the wisdom to be good parents and make all the right decisions concerning it's future. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Switcher-Roo #2

Someone else in the family is moving.  This move will be within the same country, same state, same city, same county, and within a mile of where she lives now.

Any guesses?

This time it's Audra who is moving to a new bigger house on base, it's about a mile from where she is now.  This house is larger, has a better floor plan and a bigger yard.  She will be moving around May 18th, that's about two weeks after Rick is deployed.  Rick's Dad has volunteered to go down and help her move, which is a real blessing.  He's out of work right now, so it's easier for him since he doesn't have to get time off.  They had just painted the nursery in their existing house.  Oh Well, that's how it goes sometimes.

Keep them in your prayers as the next few weeks, they will be getting ready for Rick to leave.  His deployment ceremony is tomorrow and at the moment Audra is sick with vomiting & diarrhea. 

I'll try to remember to send everyone her new address, but if you are missed please ask, because I'm sure she would love to get mail.  Being pregnant and alone while your husband is gone fighting for our country is not an easy thing to do, let's encourage her.  And ask God to provide Rick a shield of protection and a safe return to his wife and child.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Switching it Up!

What's happening, you say.  Well a little switchero has taken place.   I wish I could say the housekeeping fairies showed up and switched everything in the two front bedrooms, and while they were at it they spring cleaned.   If you don't believe in fairy tales then can you believe it was me? 

Ashley has purchased her plane ticket to come home and she will be here with Daniela on June 3rd.  Yippee!  Hurrah! and all that Jazz.  I moved Ashley's belongings to the blue room and put Daniela's in Ashley's old room, because it's the smaller of the two.

She's coming home to go to Grad School, and will start taking classes in August.
Her old desk is ready.  Miguel doesn't have his Visa yet, so he will be staying behind and may be going back to school as well as teaching, while he waits on his paperwork to be processed.

Daniela's things are all washed and  in her closet too.  The lady Ashley nannied for gave her some of her girls things for the baby and I've collected more from a friend of mine who's little girl just turned a year old.
The boxes on the side is Gramie's crafting supplies, I had to store them somewhere.

Dear Hubby has patched the walls in the baby's room and after he sands it he will be painting.  We have three rooms tore up at the moment, so even though the blue room could use some paint it will have to wait a while.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another Photo Session

Sydney sure loves her little brother and it shows.  She has both arms wrapped around him.
Sydney is 3 and Griffin Sawyer is 5 months

They are looking more and more alike.  In fact, I hear they call the baby little Sydney at Day Care sometimes.

Sydney thinks I'm funny....but Griffin he's not sure.

These are my grandchildren, just two of the five and boy is my heart full of love for each and every one of them.  Soon my old heart will need to grow and stretch some more, because I have two more little ones on the way that will eventually have this crazy Gramie taking tons of pictures of them too.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Tea Party Lunch

I wanted to do something special with Sydney our last day together before I came home to Michigan and she went back to preschool.  I put Sydney's apron on her and set her up at the sink to wash the toy dishes from her kitchen set.  She enjoyed the whole process, from gathering them up hauling them to the sink, washing, rinsing and setting the table.

She invited Jockah (her favorite dolly) to join us.  Notice the flower arrangement in the middle of the table, we didn't think Mommy would mind if we borrowed it for our Tea Party.  Sydney poured the water into the goblets.  I poured the tea into our cups.

We dined on pepperoni & cheese slices on crackers, sweet pickles, hot dogs & dip ( you know the red stuff made from tomatoes), apples & peanut butter, fishy crackers, pretzels sticks and soft cheese and yogurt.  It was a very yummy lunch.  Sydney said the cheese looked like marshmellows on the sticks.

Following the luncheon I suprised Sydney with this desert.
These little cones came from Ikea, they are made from a crock-like material. I filled them with icecream and dipped them in sprinkles. 

I was hoping she'd remember one was for me.   She did. 

The fun ended the next day when I headed to the airport, but never fear I have my Kodak memories and a heart full of love.  Sydney didn't want to give me a kiss good-bye and Mom & Dad were upset with her about that, but not me.  The night before, in the middle of the night she'd wrapped her arm around my neck and given me a tight hug.  Not big deal you say, but you need to get the whole picture.  I sleep with head gear much like a wrestler wears to keep my mouth shut at night.  This forces me to breathe through my nose which is covered by a mask forcing air into my air passages.  I have sleep apnea and must sleep with this contraption on every night.  I've been called Alf and an alien and a few other equally scary looking things, but my granddaughter saw past all that and hugged me anyway...because she loves me unconditionally.  And I just love being her Gramie. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When you are trying

When you are trying to get that perfect shot, sometimes it just doesn't happen the way you imagined it would.

And sometime it does, and that's what makes you want to take more and more!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday with Twins

Saturday I spent the day at Becky's house helping out a bit with her twins.  Zoe & Bryce are 5 weeks old now, these are not current photos.  Sorry Folks, I tried, I really did.  I remembered my camera, took extra batteries and the charger even, but when the time came to take the photos I discovered I had no photo card.  Ugh!  My camera does have intermal memory, but I've never figured out how to download them off of it.  Soooo, no new pictures.  If you know me, you know how disappointed I was.  Now I'll just have to go back, isn't that a shame.

I took lunch over and we visited.  Also Becky managed to take a shower and a one hour nap.  I did her dishes for her.  Her hubby said if you get a shower and nap it's a good day.  I think Becky enjoyed just having someone to talk with while she nursed the babies and I enjoyed rocking, singing, burping, jiggling and snuggling with the twins.

Zoe is teensy tiny, but fiesty.  Bryce is laid back and a snuggler.  Becky is calm cool and collected as usual, but a little sleep deprived.  I'm looking forward to going back again, it's a good 45 minute drive, so I have to have at least half a day free in order to make it worth while.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The ankle bone's connected to the shin bone

... the ankle bone's connected to the shin bone, the shin bone's connected to the knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone...


And................this leg's connected to this little guy.

This has gotta be the cutest picture I took of Griffin Sawyer.  There's just something about a dimpled elbow, a dimpled chin, big eyes and a big hat.  What a winning combination.

"Shocker!  Gramie has the camera again."

Now I'm going through withdrawls, no cute subjects to take pictures of.
Not until June anyway, then I will have a little flower girl at a wedding and a Harry Potter Look-A-Like to give me plenty of photography practice.   The next month I hope to have pregnant sisters pose for me.  Yes, I have another chance to perfect my work with two daughters pregnant at the same time.   And if all that's not exciting enough my granddaughter is coming from Mexico to stay for awhile.   I have so much to look forward to.

Thanks, Griffin for being such a good baby model.