Sunday, March 30, 2014

Meals for April 6-7

I'm pretty excited about this menu.  These are either long time family favorites, or I've tried them out this week and they're new family favorites.  :)

Deliciously marinated grilled chicken $3.50/breast
     chicken breast marinated in a delicious marinade and then grilled

     (This is perfect to top Spinach Salad (below) or dice for tacos or warm and serve by itself!)

Spinach Salad: $6/serving
     spinach, craisins, pecans (optional), crispy jalapenos, pepperoncini peppers, feta cheese and a wonderfully creamy dressing

Southwest Cornbread Salad: Large: $10  Small: $8
     This salad is a light and refreshing salad with black beans, corn, salsa and cornbread.  I admit I first saw all the ingredients and found it intriguing.  My family absolutely LOVES it!

Greek Marinated Chicken: Large-$17   Small-$10
     chicken marinated in yogurt with fresh herbs and spices
     yummy to bake and serve warm or shred and add to below couscous

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad: Large-$7    Small-$5
     exactly as it sounds :)

Fruit Salad: $2.50/cup
     Fresh fruit in a light syrup

Dump Cake: $15 for pan
     fruit pie filling of your choice
        apple, peach, cherry, blueberry

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies: $5 for dozen

Snickerdoodles: $5 for dozen

Email me at by Friday at noon with  your order!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Finding a Support Group

I'm going to be writing a series of blog posts on various fostering topics.  This one is first, because it is dear to my heart, and because my fingers seem to itch to write about certain topics at certain times, not because it's really "first" in the process of fostering.

Finding a support group is critical.  I grew up with my mom founding the Down Syndrome Guild and taking a year position as president of the Dallas chapter of the ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens).  She had dinner with others moms of children with disabilities on a regular basis.  They would meet to discuss upcoming ARD meetings and how they were fighting for the educational rights of their child with a disability.  Angela and I went to a monthly "Sunshine Kids" Friday night hang out time.  It was parents' night out, but it was specifically for families of people with disabilities.  They had counselors that would talk to the siblings and fun crafts and activities and sports that all the kids could be a part of.  I realize this has nothing to do with support groups for fostering, but I'm starting this off because I grew up with "support groups" being a regular part of my childhood, though we didn't call them support groups.

During the licensing process for fostering, there is a LOT of mandatory trainings.  They would encourage you to find a support group.  Find other foster parents you can talk to and seek information from.  I always thought it was ridiculous since they never told you about any you could join.  I mean, how am I supposed to find a support group?  I'm a go-getter and don't give up if I'm looking for something.  I'm also a pretty out-going personality, so I was able to connect with several other foster moms.  However, you know there are people out there that NEED support groups and aren't a part of one.  I just think it makes sense for agencies to have a list of some options.  Or maybe even offer for their own foster parents to use their facilities and meet occasionally.  Anyway, I digress.

I had just moved to Plano and recently started attending The Village.  I asked around on Sunday mornings about foster parents and was put in contact with Kristi.  We have a secret Facebook group.  This means none of our friends can see on their timeline when we post in the group.  Only members can post and you have to be invited to be a member.  We ask each other about doctor and dentist recommendations.  We provide respite for each other.  We ask each other questions about how to handle certain behaviors.  We meet once a month at someone's home and every one talks non-stop with questions about court cases and certain judge's or case workers or agencies or behaviors or foods or allergies or trainings or fire marshal visits or home studies or.....and the list goes on.  It's awesome!

One day, I was in pretty desperate need of child care.  J had come, but I had to go to work for a few days and needed someone that could watch her.  Kristin called and said Arrow (our mutual agency) had told her I was looking for child care.  At the time, she was a foster mom (she's now a forever mom, woot-woot!) and she was willing to watch J for several days.  It was AMAZING because Kristin is a former OT and has 5 forever kids and J LOVED going to her house.  It was a huge blessing.  Well, Kristin is a member of a different church and they also have a support group and I got connected with them, too.  We also meet once a month.  It's way closer to home, so it's easier to make these meetings.  This group also offers trainings pretty regularly and family fun nights each month.  It's great!

Both of these groups have their own personality and both of them offer something different, and I absolutely adore ALL of the ladies I've come in contact with.  We help each other with meals, babysitting, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, a laugh and joyful yell when milestones are reached or court decided something that was truly for the good of the child.  We don't see each other daily, but we're in and out of each other's lives and provide knowledge, support, wisdom, connections and a plethora of resources to help each other walk this journey of fostering.

If you're not in a foster parent support group, I strongly encourage you to find one.  If you don't know of one, start one yourself!  Open your home.  Start a Facebook group.  Invite others that are at any stage of the process to join you.  Help each other out!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Want a new ____? What's wrong with the old?

Lotions?  Soaps?  Candles?  Conditioner?  Mousse?  Leave-in conditioner?  Eye shadow or liner?

I could go on and on.  I have bottles with one squirt used, bottles that are half empty, and bottles with only one or two uses left.  I have bottles that are still sealed.  These are bottles I forgot were there, so new bottles were purchased.  I have bottles I received as teacher gifts and bottles I bought myself.  I have eye liner pencils that are perfectly fine except when I needed it, I couldn't find my sharpener, so I bought a new pencil instead.  I have samples of products I would not have ever purchased myself.  I have multiples of one scent or brand because they were buy 2 get 1 free, you know!

I really do try to not spend excess money.  I buy economical brands or choose carefully if I'm going to decide to pay more money for a finer quality item.  As a teacher, lotions, fun soaps and candles are an easy, cute and fairly inexpensive gift, so they're very popular.  I used to keep the Christmas scented soaps in my Christmas decoration boxes to pull out next year since they weren't even half used...except I received more the next year, and then what?  As of right now, I have twisted peppermint, holly berry wreath, and winter candy apple soaps going at the kitchen sink and bathrooms.  They're almost finished and I can't wait, because I've already purchased fresh new spring scents that are sitting lonely under my kitchen sink just waiting to brighten the room with their lively colors and smile inducing smells.

I reached in my bathroom cabinet today for a bottle of lotion and stayed my hand because of how many there were.  I don't use lotion all the time, but I think there are currently 5 containers in some stage of use in my bathroom cabinet.  I'm positive there are more in my car and one under the sink in the half bath downstairs.  Throwing perfectly good items away is ridiculous.  Purchasing new scents just because they smell good is equally ridiculous.  My goal is to start using what I have regularly.  Lotion is good for my skin.  I need to be using it.  One person can only wash her hands so many times, so the soap takes time, but soon, very soon, I will be able to throw away and bring out the new.  Candles will be burning because they create welcome smells.  I'm out of my regular conditioner, but I have another bottle of a seldom-used conditioner that I will be using in it's place instead of buying a new bottle of my regular.  Perfectly good items need used.

I'm not allowing myself to buy one single item in any of these categories until I have made sure I don't have something else that will work equally well, even if it's not my favorite.  Being a good steward of finances means exactly that...not spending money when I don't have to.  We all have ways we'd rather spend our money.  I'm trying to get into grad school.  I'd really like to buy a house some day.  Yes, soaps and conditioners and concealer isn't expensive.  I get that.  But every $5 and $10 adds up and if more money can go in savings, then there is more in a down payment account later!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Next Week's Meals

Thanks to everyone who is ordering!

I'm learning a lot and enjoying this immensely!  I love hearing your feedback!  Repeat customers are the best!

I'm getting in the groove and am now able to post menus a little more in advance.  This gives you time to order and me time to plan and grocery shop! :)

Next Week's Meals:  These will be available for pick up March 30 or delivery March 31.  Please click here to order via my new order form!  I will email you a confirmation email with your order total within 24 hours of your order!

Dinner Entrees:

Teriyaki Pork Sandwiches (I provide the pork goodness.  You provide the bread.)
     Small: $10     Large: $15

Salsa Chicken Casserole
     Small: $15     Large: $17

Breakfast Entrees:

Breakfast Casserole (Sausage)
     Small: $10      Large: $15

Blueberry Muffins

Chili Roasted Potatoes
     Small: $4     Large: $7

Lemon Squares
     Pan: $7

     Pan $5

    Small feeds 2-4 people.
    Large feeds 4-6 people

Please place orders by Friday at noon.  You can place an order by submitting this short and easy form!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Menu #2

Want some yummy meals that can stay in your freezer for awhile and pop in the oven whenever you're having a crazy day and need a ready-made meal?

The Logistics:
We can schedule a time for you to pick up or I can deliver for a $4 fee.

Large: Feeds 4-6
Small: Feeds 2-4

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Large $16
Small $12

Spicy Pulled Pork
Large $17
Small $13

Deliciously Marinated Chicken Breasts (Perfect for Baking or Grilling)
$3.50 per breast

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
$6/large loaf

Standard Items:
Brownies: $5 per pan or $0.50 each

Blueberry muffins: $5 per dozen or $0.50 each

Monday, March 03, 2014

I've always had good skin. (ducks to avoid the Clearasil bottle)

I've always had good skin.  I know.  You hate me.  I'm sorry. :(

My skin is pretty dry, so moisturizer, GOOD chapstic and lotion are necessities.  But other than that, I've never had to do much with my skin.  I've never had major breakouts.  I've never dealt with acne.  I rarely had zits as a teenager.  I didn't even wash my face regularly until about 2 or 3 years ago.

I'm now thinking ahead for the future and want to be sure I'm taking care of my skin.  Are there any women out there with pretty good skin that are maybe 10-20 years older than me that have recommendations?  Of a skin care regimen or maybe even a particular product?

And before the hate builds too much, I have horrible feet and literally cannot wear a heel.  Cute shoes have been dead to me for several years.  Shoe shopping is a HATED activity because I can never find anything that fits that I can wear to work or the fancy wedding or even just out to dinner that isn't flat out ugly or kills my feet.  I have other issues, too, but I'll stop with the feet.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Want some easy meals?

I enjoy cooking.  You need food for your family.  I think I have a win-win.  =)

I'm planning to start small.  I will offer the below items for the below prices.  You can come pick it up Sunday afternoon or we can arrange a meeting place.  I can also bring them to work with me Monday morning.  I will begin Sunday, March 15.  At this time, this is my menu, but it may change or grow in the future.

These will all work to freeze or cook and serve immediately.

Chicken Spaghetti:
4-6 people: $12
2-4 people: $6

Russet Potatoes and Sausage
4-6 people: $7
2-4 people: $5

Beef Chili
4-6 people $10
2-4 people $5

Blueberry Muffins
0.50 each or $5 for a dozen

0.50 each

Preparing for Grief

A friend of mine asked me to write something.  I told her I'd have to have a little more direction than "something." ;)

The first thing that came to her mind was "Preparing for Grief."  Well, you can tell we were already talking about foster parenting, specifically a child leaving.  She has an open door to think of other topics later, but for now this is her request.

The topic has mulled in my mind for a couple of weeks now, as topics are wont to do.

How does one prepare for grief?

How did I prepare for grief?

Is grief different for different things?

As I'm thinking of these questions and my one personal and recent walk through grief: the thoughts that crashed in my brain as a mosaic of words and images included me covering my face with hands while tears were leaking through.  Racing for the trash can and hurling up everything that was in my stomach while trying desperately to get my hair out of my face.  Needing, desperately needing, to talk to Mom on the phone and hear the partnership of anguish that can only come from pouring so much love into someone else and realizing that someone, through no decision of ours, or hers, was about to walk away.  It meant stepping out of my pain and picking her up from after school care and acting 100% normally for the next 4 days.  Smiling, hugging, hearing stories of her day, helping with homework, reading stories together, cooking dinner, negotiating the length of time playing at the park, practicing her bicycle riding and convincing her to try a new vegetable. It meant I was constantly praying for the best way to let her know.  Where?  When?  What words?  It meant doing what was best for her.  Smiling, speaking softly, answering questions, sometimes the same one repeatedly.  It meant packing and smiling and giggling and laughing and reading stories and rocking in the rocking chair a little longer at night.  It meant holding her after she fell asleep and letting myself cry, but eventually realizing I needed to put her to bed and finish the final details of packing so all of her well-loved things would go with her.

It meant allowing myself to cry.  It meant crying so hard that once again I needed to race for something to empty my stomach.  It meant telling close friends and asking for mountains of prayer, but not making it public.  Not just yet.  It meant going to school on Valentine's Day knowing she was here for just a short time more.  It meant a dear friend saying, "I'm not going to hug you right now, but I'm here for you."  because she knew a hug was the worst thing in that moment.

The thoughts that jumbled together in answers to those questions were a collage of emotions.

I prepared for grief by loving her to the very best of my ability to the very last moment she was in my life.  I allowed myself to cry, to mourn the upcoming loss.  I didn't keep it secret, but I did keep it off social media until she had actually left.

I knew the phone call would come some day.  I even knew it was a possibility to come that day.  I was truly surprised that was the decision, but I hadn't been living in denial.  I had been living life, making decisions as if she would continue to be with me, but also knowing she might not.

Preparing for grief.  I'm not sure I did it well, but I'm also not sure I could have...or would have...done it any differently.