Tag Archives: lee county

Oma’s Matzo Ball Soup!

9 Nov

P.S. on the Matzo thing…(my apologies for my wacky punctuation and grammar… I’m hiding right now. I don’t know why I can’t hide and use proper grammar, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it….)

 

Here, have a picture that has maybe just a wee bit to do with the rest of this post… It’s Alex (a very little Alex as I was holding him up while this picture was being taken and I haven’t been able to do that for a long long long time) and me at Oktoberfest here in Cape Coral at the German-American Social Club.  Only in the south would you find this wooden picture thing with the cleavage this covered up!  The hat is Alex’s.  It’s his first traditional German wool hat.  We try to add a pin to it every year, but we did not go to Oktoberfest this year due to scheduling and me being so damn sick.  I did find a little charm that says “Kunzelsau” which is where my grandparents lived and where I used to visit them when they were alive.  I found it on ebay and I have it in my pile of stuff to fix and make… I’m going to modify it into a small pin for his hat.  He does need a bigger hat now, but as it’s so hot here, I think we’ll just keep decorating the one he’s had since he was 2….

 

The recipe I started out with was this one:  Oma’s Fabulous Matzo Ball Soup.  I chose this one because I had nearly all of the ingredients and the “Oma” in the title gave me the warm fuzzies.  My mom is from Germany and Alex calls her “Oma” (my dad is Popi pronounced “pop E”… My mom claims she never spelled it this way.  Every time we see them we have the “Pope I” or “Pope Eye” discussion. Every. Single. Time.  I called my dad’s dad “Popi” when I was growing up and it is spelled “Popi” in the funny little captions my mom put in all of my baby albums.)… I called her parents “Oma and Opa” and my dad’s dad (my grandmother died the year before I was born) “Popi”.  So anyway.  The word Oma gives me warm fuzzies and makes me remember some of the foods my Oma made for me during summer visits to her house on the Kocher river in Kunzelsau, Germany.  She never made Matzo ball soup.  But she did make tasty treats like Pflaum kuchen served with Kartofle Suppe (potato soup)… Please don’t mind my spelling… I’m blogging in secret right now as if kiddo discovers I’m out of the shower I’m going to be his captive video game audience before I make him some dinner.    Oooh and she would make baked apples for my grandfather and a pitcher of cool vanilla sauce to drizzle over them.  She would give me a glass of the vanilla sauce to drink (it was like a thick but not frothy vanilla shake…and not too cold.. perfection)… Summer was one of the few times I was allowed to have such sweets and treats…. Ok… I’ll post how I modified the recipe in a little bit…  I’m also baking a cake tonight as a surprise for a belated 70th birthday for my dad, 8th birthday for Alex, and 36th birthday for me.  We haven’t been together as a family, with me feeling up to baking anything, in the past few months, so I figured that I’d make a baked cake inspired by icebox cake (Dad’s favorite)…  Ok. Off and running!

 

xo

Bek

My Happy Aspie

6 Oct

(That’s my Happy Aspie in his Happy Aspie t-shirt.  I have one of the shirts as well, but totally miscalculated the size I needed and now have a big gray t-shirt that could provide coverage should a hurricane strike and if post-hurricane FEMA runs out of tarps.  It’s bigger than big.  And I’m not some slip of a girl. I’ll be posting a link to these as soon as I have the link up and running.)

Anyway, Alex is HAPPY. Sorry for all of the caps, it’s not some weird acronym that means anything but happy, he is just that HAPPY!  I want to shout it again: HAPPY!!!  Ooops.  I think I just woke him up.  Shhhhhh.

I’ve delayed in telling all of you this, because I didn’t want to jinx it.

It has been almost 7 weeks that he has been happy, so I thought I could finally share as so many of you have offered shoulders, concern, kindness, and understanding over the years.

I reported, way back when, that his school was closing permanently.   It closed at the end of the Spring semester, leaving us without a school in August, and without a camp in between. We had no other options, and didn’t feel safe and secure putting him in a program for neurotypical kids with new instructers/camp counselors and I was all hopeful that I’d have more energy after my new RA meds kicked in.

So kiddo spent the summer at home, with us.  We just didn’t have any other options for him.  So it was a summer of nearly no activities, spent inside (it’s Florida. It’s brutally hot here and we are pasty folk).   I was fairly sick and in bed most of the time, trying to sleep and rest to get to my goal of doing one thing around the apartment, one thing with Alex, and one thing online everyday.  That may sound like a minimal amount of stuff but I am seriously begging for more spoons once I run out before mid afternoon hits.  The good news is that Enbrel has relieved a great deal of the pain from the RA, the bad news is all of my labs are screwed up and I’m still so fatigued that some days have me struggling to just pull enough covers back over to my side.  Kid and his dad spent most of the time either playing video games or locking horns, or a brutal combination of the two.  It was like no matter what, kid couldn’t get the benefit of the doubt or be understood and for some reason his dad’s understanding moved from accepting to denial.  I’m not going to say it is ever easy.  Kids with Asperger’s have Aspie/Autistic traits, but they are also still kids, and if they have been around typically developing/neurotypical peers, they may have picked up some habits, some attitudes that are less than desirable with the family.  Mostly though, it made me realize that while I have presented every possible source of material to his dad, given the prescribed “space to parent in his own style”, and I needed to intervene multiple times per day.  I started off exhausted and stressed and apparently my capacity for both was going to be stretched to the max.  There is a precarious balance, between being wife and being Mama and trying to get communication flowing freely and appropriately.  I have yet to find that balance, especially when I’m acting as sort of a berlitz go-between trying to translate Aspie into NT English and NT English into Aspie for two people who just could not get their messages across to each other, without hollering, crying, and stomping.   We survived.  I’m not sure we solved anything, but things have calmed since kiddo is at school, his dad is being much more mindful,  and my boy is hap-hap-happy.

What was that?  He is HAPPY.

We did something we swore we would never do while living in Florida (for many reasons).  We had him re-evaluated by the school district and we followed their recommendations.

They assigned him a school and a classroom.  He started school a couple of weeks late (long story). We went in the first day to see his classroom and meet his teacher.  They had computers, hermit crabs, a lego table, a smartboard, and a trampoline in the classroom!  He’s with 6 other kids, mostly boys, all with communication disorders.  I showed his teacher the inflatable wobble cushion we brought with us (really helpful for Alex at his old school) and started to explain and his teacher said “Oh good!  Here’s his desk.  You can put that right here.”   I didn’t even have to explain about how he needs to wiggle around in his seat to help him focus (yes, it is in his IEP, as well as other tools). The teacher knew this about my kid, about kids like him. They have a mini-trampoline in the classroom! He can jump on the trampoline to help with transitioning (which is what he does at home).  It was all amazing and felt like a whirlwind of fresh, cool, clean air swirling around us in those few minutes we spent in the classroom.

We went home.  We stopped at starbucks on the way back and it was strange. I don’t think we had been anywhere, sans kiddo, except for trips to the lab for blood draws every 4-6 weeks for me.  It was such an odd feeling.  We picked him up at the end of the day and he got in the car looking like he was about to burst into tears.  As we drove away from the school I asked him “how was your day at school?”  and he just bubbled over with glee.  He was trying not to cry when he got in the car because he was so happy and grateful that it was threatening to come bubbling out of his eyes, so he hid his feelings as well as he could and then BOOM!  It was like fireworks of joy and enthusiasm.  I felt like I could start thinking about compiling a list of of pros and cons so I can decide if it’s safe to breathe again maybe.  And then I will.  But it has been seven weeks.  Seven weeks and he has only reported a couple of issues, all related to the other kids in his class.  They all have communication disorders and are on the spectrum.  Naturally, they all drive each other a little bananas.  So we are working on strategies to deal with this, but for the most part, the daily notes from his teacher have been positive.

I know!  It’s so amazing fantastic wonderful that between this and allergies making my face feel like it’s been whacked by a frying pan, it’s surreal and almost trippy feeling. Am I hallucinating?  Was I dreaming?  I wonder this every single day, and everyday my kid runs into my room, jumps right on my bed, hugs my head so tight (he seriously wraps his arms around my head to hug me when I’m sleeping or in bed resting) and tells me he had another great day.

I’ve stopped pinching myself (the Enbrel makes me bruise and bleed very easily).

Anyway, just wanted to share.  Are you happily squeaking and hopping up and down like me?  (again, that could be the Enbrel.  It’s made from hamsters.  Really.)

Goodnight, my friends.

And Thank You.

xo

B

 

Autism & Testing 1-2-3…

21 Oct

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

This is from our local Autism Speaks’ Facebook page:
***Please note that the Care Mobile will also be at the Autism Speaks SWFL Walk Now for Autism on November 7 at Estero Community Park*****

The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, in partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida, will offer free monthly autism spectrum disorder screening for toddlers 18 months to 36 months of age.

The first screening will be held Nov. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, located in the Cape Coral Hospital parking lot. Additional screenings will be conducted monthly at different locations across Lee County.

It is estimated that one in every 150 children is diagnosed with some form of ASD, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.

That’s why parents are encouraged to bring their toddlers to the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile for a free screening. Clinicians will use the M-CHAT, with Denver Developmental Screening Tool to assess the toddlers. The screening is not intended to make a definitive ASD diagnosis, but rather to determine whether your child may be at risk and needs further evaluation.

Medical consultants for the project stress that an early diagnosis can make a vast difference for toddlers and their families. They say early intensive behavioral intervention, or EIBI, can make an immense difference not just in the development of the child, but in their families as well.

The ASD screening is conducted by the Neurosciences Center at TCH, under the guidance of pediatric neurologist Jose Colon, MD, MPH, and pediatric psychiatrist Marianne Krouk, DO. The onsite screenings will be administered by an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, who has extensive training and experience in typical child development and developmental disorders.

A physician referral is not required. To schedule a screening, please call 239-985-3608.”

If you have any concerns, I’d make an appointment. For those who think that a pediatrician would have mentioned something during the annual checkup, I wouldn’t put all of my trust in that, though it is getting better. Remember, getting clarification and help for you and your child, is the best thing for your kid and their future, and the earlier, the better.

Just wanted to share….Hope this helps someone…
xo
Bek

LOVE School.

10 Mar

I just received a most delicious email!

Norman Love Confections (previously blogged about: Love. Norman Love.)  is offering chocolate cooking classes!

From the notice I received:”Expand your culinary horizon with a course taught by the world-renowned artisans of Norman Love Confections. You’ll learn expert culinary techniques and gain a lifetime’s worth of knowledge about your favorite ingredient and ours – chocolate.”

You too can learn to cast and handpaint chocolates (there is even a chocolate easter egg class at the end of March and the beginning of April), make ganache, create truffles, cookies, fondue or learn the subtleties of chocolate in it’s purest form (a must for dark chocolate fanatics) in a class based on Norman Love’s most recent release: BLACK (ultra premium dark chocolate, each unique piece in the collection features a different single origin cocoa as it’s foundation)

Download the course “menu” (pdf)

The class cost is $95 per person, the experience: delicious and priceless!

If interested, or if you have more questions, please call Lisa Mariani at 239-561-7215.

Norman Love Confections & the decadent chocolate salon is located off of Daniels Parkway, near Southwest Florida International Airport(RSW) in Ft. Myers, FL (mapquest/directions)

Everyone could use a little Love!  Don’t forget Easter(April 12, 2009) and Mother’s Day (May 10, 2009 in the US) are just around the corner… They do ship and everything arrives wonderfully fresh and beautiful!  I have ordered from them before and had them ship, and they did a beautiful job.  You can order via their website or by calling their toll-free number: 866.515.2121

You can, of course, find some sweet wearable treasures (crafted by this artisan) in my Etsy and SmashingDarling shops

xo

Bek

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STEAL THIS VOTE!

28 Oct

Steal-A-Vote

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

This is my absentee ballot return envelope return address. I saw on the news that some have lines for you to fill in your name and address…Ours are pre-printed and include such helpful information as:

My voting precinct, my full name, and of course my return address.

I was curious, though as to what the “non” meant… I had an idea, so I called our supervisor of election’s office today and spoke to a very nice lady who looked up my file and confirmed that my envelope does have my party affiliation on it… She added that many envelopes are turning up with “non” on them because it is a general election…

It takes me awhile to process information these days so I thanked her and got off the phone…I’m scratching my head over why they would put “non” instead of “NPA” which is the terminology used on the ballot…

Anyway, She sounded so reassuring, but at the same time, in the three years that I have lived here (in Florida) I have learned through experience that most rules, regulations, and general information are processed through some sort of a series of filters in a game of “telephone” like we played at the birthday parties of our youth…

Nobody actually reads the rules and regulations, and I think folks take for granted that things such as the idea of a secret ballot and keeping the system pure (I know, I know… but isn’t it up to every one of us to try?!?!?) so we get a real, true count.

So I’m blogging about this, and if you are in a place with preprinted addresses on your absentee ballot return envelope- is your party affiliation printed somewhere in there? What are you doing about it?
If you are in Lee County does it say anything other than “non” next to your precinct?

Broward County here in Florida is having this issue and people have spoken up…

From what I have been reading on other places that have this sort of thing, is that we, the citizens, are expected to trust our postal service and our postal workers, and anyone involved in the chain of getting the ballot to the point when and where it is counted…. I trust the postal worker who services our neighborhood, but honestly with the amount of corruption and the amount of passion people have about our government and the state of the union and how deeply they have been impacted just within the past year, I don’t trust anyone to handle this precious envelope and it’s contents if there is a party identifier on the outside.

It would be nice to see a Florida where things like this wouldn’t even need to be addressed. Maybe then our great nation would trust us again….

I would be more concerned if I had a specific party affiliation…But still, this seems like have any such information on the outside of the envelope regarding party, invites tampering and fraud…

What are your thoughts?

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