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Friday, September 25, 2015

"shhhhh" isn't in the vocabulary

OK SO......(I know you have heard some of this before) My husband and I have been through some challenging times with a serious medical condition. My husband is a sick man with MRSA that infected his whole body. Previously he was hospitalized for two and a half months. Surviving two episodes of sepsis. He had chest surgery to drain infection away from his heart. He now has TIA's (mini strokes) and has endocarditis. His spine is permanently damaged. I currently administer home IV meds, and watch over my husband with bouts of hypertension. He continues to have CT scans, MRIs, blood tests and medical apts. We run for medical supplies twice a week, and go for picc dressing changing once a week. Besides all this, I home school six, we have five public students, a preschooler, therapy apts, piano, guitar lessons, sports, adult children and a grandchild - well long story short, we are constantly on the go! Yes like a taxi service too! So why am I sharing, why am I posting a selfie saying "shhhhh" BECAUSE my husband and I lost "us" until recently, and being quiet isn't in my vocabulary. We recognize we are survivors and we hope to keep it that way! We started to go out once a week. We are rekindling our marriage, our relationship! We might have 16 children, many with special needs. We might have a medical crisis. We might be extremely busy! But we live DAY BY DAY, one day at a time. We have hope. AND most importantly we have each other. SO I often surprise my husband with something....a note. A burger. A night out...... I can't stay quiet. I can't pretend that we don't have challenges. I did loose hope. I know too many people that are suffering, that don't share their life. Those people need to share like I do or at least find someone to confide in. There is no shame stating, "Help me" Now this isn't my plea for help because I'm conquering our trials. I'm sharing because I know there is others. In conclusion, I've always believed and have written that life isn't meant to be easy. Sometimes I question why us? Why them? Just 'why' in general. Then all of the sudden I keep hearing this little voice saying, "Why not?" In fact, I hate what has happened to my husband. I hate the fact that we struggle, that we are stressed with his recovery, worried about the "what If" if he relapses BUT (I'm smiling here) ....we take one day at a time. We are keeping our relationship alive and burning. My husband and I keep our family going and in the end - we have each other!

"Shhhhhh" isn't in my vocabulary. I post everywhere because I feel that our challenges are meant to be. Believe it or not, I was once a shy quiet individual and no one knew our business. I don't believe I'm here to be that person. I'm here to learn, experience and with that experience to share, support and hopefully make differences in others lives. It doesn't matter if it's about a messy situation such as the dreaded bathroom where blood has dried to the surface of our walls because of a menstruation situation. (Sanitized later of course) It doesn't matter if it's about behaviors where explaining prevention, repetition and routine is key or sharing what our consequences look like. It doesn't matter if it's about home school and public school. About adoption. Special needs. Mental illnesses and different diagnoses. It doesn't matter if it's about my husband and our relationship, and/or any medical scenario. I'm not here to be quiet. I'm here.... alive, surviving and eager to write, to publicly speak on our challenges because I truly believe 100% if we can, any one can get through life's difficulties one step at a time. I want to change lives and see differences in this world. I want those differences supported, and unconditionally loved. I want peace and understanding. I want people to speak. Too share. To open their hearts, to learn that we're not alone and we're all here for a purpose. We walk a path that's given to us, we need to find and use it. Mine is just this....I remove that quiet individual, that finger that shushes and I share the good, the bad and the ugly for hopefully positive differences. For you! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The hardest yet yummiest cabbage roll recipe to and experiment at your own risk! ;)

I just wrote a full paragraph on a topic that was too in depth then deleted it. Sometimes putting thoughts into words is difficult. SO for now I have changed my thought pattern. A few years back I had this "writing fit" I called it. I regrettably deleted over 200 posts on here. (Some really great posts I EVEN enjoyed) Many were my own recipes. After deleting that paragraph this morning I thought it's time to bring back the food! Sure I can write in depth thoughts when I'm in the mood but today lets make it light and easy? My award winning, yes - award winning cabbage rolls! These cabbage rolls I learned from two of my children's grandmother that past years ago. A sweet little German lady who I fondly remember teaching me the secrets of perfect cabbage rolls and now I'm going to share with you! These beauty's we are having tonight too! I make two types, meat and vegetarian. Of course I tweaked the recipe so it's not the exact recipe I learned. Here it is! 

Homemade Sweet n Sour Meat Cabbage rolls with oodles of garlic! Warning - you might flatulate! 

There is a lot of prep that goes into making cabbage rolls. It can be an all day process so give yourself enough time!

-Cut the core out of the cabbage and simmer in a pot of hot water. (To loosen the leaves) Set aside.(1 large cabbage) Please don't wrestle the cabbage, it shouldn't be a fight! 
-Cook your rice. Set aside. I use Basmati. (3 cups)
-Mix ground pork, ground beef, onions, garlic, salt/pepper and basil together. (4 pkgs ground beef, 4 pkgs ground pork, 1-2 onions and LOTS of garlic) Tip - you might want to wear gloves, I learned the hard way and was picking meat out of my finger nails for the rest of the day!  
"Note - everything I bake and cook is by feel, sight and/or taste (if I eat it) so my measurements aren't exact!" PS - don't get your gloves stuck in the cabbage roll!

Homemade Sweet n Sour Vege Cabbage rolls YES with oodles of garlic! Garlic IS my favorite ingredient for everything including over popcorn! It keeps us healthy and flatuating! Not sure if that's even a word, so I adopted it! 

-Follow above directions. Cut the core out of the cabbage and simmer in a pot of hot water, sound familiar? (1 cabbage) In fact, do what I did and de-core both cabbages at the same time ( I have four hands) cook (6 cups of rice) "at the same time" and separate for both meat and vegetarian dishes. Now, if I would have written that in the first place......a whole lot of space would have been saved in this post! Confused yet? I completely am! Anyhow moving a long....for the three cups of rice mix - 

-no meat, GARLIC, onions (1-2) salt/pepper, basil, green onions, halved cherry tomatoes (20) red pepper (1) grated cheddar cheese and in fact indulge - I'm honestly a human garbage can, so experiment and add what you want! The funnest fact about cooking is experimentation! My first dish when I was a child was a layered casserole consisting of ground meat on the bottom, soaked then baked slices of vinegar potatoes was the next layer topped with Kraft dinner and peas! I still remember my mom saying how yummy it was! However I think she was being nice to me! 

Now.....we have the loosened cabbages from simmering in hot water. Peel the leaves and place aside. We have both meat and vegetarian mixtures ready and waiting to be rolled, um SO ROLL! The trick with these famous cabbage rolls is the sauce! Isn't sauces the best!? 

The homemade sweet n sour sauce!  

If I haven't lost you yet the sweet n sour sauce is the key! mmm mmm yay to sauces.....SO....

We have a lot of cabbage rolls here. So after they're rolled and placed into their nestling spots (pans) mix a large batch of sauce consisting of 4, 8oz cans of tomato sauce. Add vinegar (1 cup) brown sugar (1 cup) GARLIC and salt/pepper to taste. OK - so you have to taste the sauce. You want it tangy but sweet. If it's lacking something, add more of the above ingredients. Again, experimentation is great but just a little at a time. Don't get too excited dumping in too much vinegar or something! Now pour your sauce over all your cabbage rolls! Bake for an hour at 350. Serve with sour cream, and grated cheddar cheese! Heck, serve with anything! If your children or husband don't like cabbage, tell them it's lettuce! Problem solved! 

I realize this must of been the hardest recipe to follow (if you continued to read) So just come back to it, re-read it until you're dreaming of cabbage rolls, then experiment on a beautiful crisp fall day! What could go wrong except for this weird recipe post!? To conclude I do blame my father for my quirky weird sense of humor. AND I think our little man (seen below) agrees! OR maybe he's going to run away yelling, "No dinner Mom! No dinner!" Either way, Bon Appetite!  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Then I ran

It's been a challenging week. Our public school children started, our home schooled children started and our days begin at 6:30 am regardless if we slept the night before or not. We had a disease specialist appointment that confirmed my husband's spine is permanently damaged and relapsing is high. His life has drastically changed. Our future unknown. I administer his IV meds (Daptomycin) while flushing out his picc line daily. I support when he's having bouts of extreme tiredness. Yesterday I was baking six batches of apple crisp, making two dinners (so I'm relieved for one dinner the next day) while ending up scrubbing two ovens after the spill over. I started to feel miserable. I spread my five loads of laundry out, and I started making school lunches while watching my husband sleep thinking.... this has to get better. Don't get me wrong, its better then what it once was and we're alive chugging along taking it day by day BUT (the big but) just sometimes everything is questionable. Isn't it? I don't think I am the only one wondering about what life will look like in the future, and knowing this helps because it's a daily reminder that we're not alone. Now while changing the subject slightly, I managed a night out with my sister. We went and watched "A walk in the woods" with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. It was about two friends rekindling their relationship while taking a hike along the Appalachian trail, which stretches more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. Robert Redford needed to experience living while choosing hiking to do it. It was a great movie. Funny. Enlightening. A movie that I can personally relate too. After Robert's attempt to hike the trail, he arrived home inspired to write. I won't say no more as I recommend this movie to any one feeling like I do sometimes. Honestly - the outdoors IS the answer, especially when you're feeling exhausted and confined indoors. I awoke routinely at 6:30 am, I dished out breakfast and sent five of our children to the bus stop. I watched the sunrise. (The above picture is taken through our living room window) I heard once that every one should watch the sun rise because it is suppose to bring energy to your day. A rejuvenation. I believe this. Then I ran. I ran two kilometers. (Yes only two) It's another start. As I ran I was thinking about writing. Thinking about that half marathon. Thinking about future hiking trips. Thinking about everything that rejuvenates my soul. It became once again, a new day. Are you in need of change? Look outward, and take one step in front of the other. Only you can change your own life. Changing your attitude. Owning your moments. Those are my changed thoughts for today....while leaving fresh apple crisps in the fridge with dinner made and two shinny like new ovens.