About Me


Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Mothers Day 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009
Daddy’s Girl
Yesterday the girls and I spent the day at my Mom’s having a play date with a neighbor. After dinner my Mom took Kayla to Borders while my Dad and I took Alysa to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. I had promised Kayla when we got home, even though it would be late she could have ice cream.

When I got home with the girls, J told me he was taking Kayla “out” for ice cream. He had packed her safe ice cream in a cooler and wisked her off to the little playground in our neighborhood (aka the LP) to have her ice cream while looking at the stars just the two of them.

Kayla was so excited and it made my heart melt. And lucky for me I remembered to hand J the camera as they walked out the door.

[p.s. And leave it to Alysa to pick Cold Stone's strawberry mango banana sorbet which I was told was 100% dairy-free.]

posted at 8:39 PM  

Saturday, August 29, 2009
So true my little chatterbox
Alysa came to me today and asked me what something was on my desk. It just so happened to be a glue stick that she was asking about. I told her it was glue and she then asked me if I would put some on her lips. I explained that it was glue and not chap stick and if I put it on her lips her lips would stick together. Here is our conversation from that point.

Me - "If I put it on your lips, they would stick together and you would not be able to talk anymore."

Alysa - "Oh no."

Me - "I know, it would be horrible. You love to talk, don't you?"

Alysa - "Yup."

Me - "Do you ever not talk?"

Alysa - After thinking for a few seconds, "I don't' talk when I'm asleep."

posted at 4:37 PM  

Friday, August 28, 2009
Rainy Day Activities

It's been a dreary day here clouds and rain all day. A perfect day to stay home. But any Mom knows staying home on a rainy day means having to entertain the kids while trying to be somewhat productive.

It's been a pajama day.

A little extra TV time day.

A day of cleaning the kitchen, laundry (aka the usual), and trying to play catch-up day.

A day I finished the instructions for Kayla's upcoming Kindergarten year which goes along with her safe snack boxes. I had to make a second one this year since she'll be in two classrooms this coming year.

A day I started shopping for a new VCR (mine is on its last legs) which has shown me there are no more inexpensive alternatives. They're all VCR/DVD combos. I don't need a DVD player, only a VCR.

A day I priced a DVR which I'd love but learned it won't fit into our budget right now. In the process I learned my Fios bundle period is ending next month. Which means my price will go up by $50. But...I could rebundle for only $10 more (no other option really) and this time I'll get Showtime and HD (even though I don't have an HD television). But the icing on the cake is I'll get Wifi on my laptop. And not Wifi in my home, but Wifi that goes with me wherever I go. I can go to the airport and get free Wifi access through Verizon. Talk about making my day!!!

I made pizza dough in the bread maker for dinner tonight.

I made some more Power Balls.

I took sugar cookie dough out of the freezer and made cookies with the girls.

I made Kayla's day by washing her new bathroom (bought on clearance last year for $5) and she's wearing it around the house.

And I'm hoping for a relaxing night tonight while possibly munching on a few of those cookies.

So it was a day of productivity and quality time with my girls. Sometimes rainy days aren't all bad.

posted at 3:58 PM  

Sunday, August 23, 2009
A day at Seaside
The girls got their first trip to the New Jersey shore and boardwalk today. We took the chance on the 40% chance of showers and met my parents down there. There were a few "sun showers" but other than that we lucked out as it didn't start to rain until we were leaving.

And thanks to Hurricane Bill who came by off the coast yesterday, the waves were pretty big. We spent the afternoon going on rides. I'll thank Hurricane Bill again for the remnants that came through yesterday for leaving the shore empty which meant no crowds and no lines.

I even got to enjoy a Kohr's orange cream twist ice cream cone with Alysa. YUM!


The big ferris wheel

The swinging whale

Bumper Cars

On the roller coaster

Kayla tried the "kiddie" go karts but didn't have the strength for the peddle and bottle necked everyone and had to get off. She took it well though.

They both loved the sand too - that is until they realized how hard sand is to clean off.

Alysa is the world's neatest ice cream eating 3 year old. She didn't get a drop on her. She's so careful with the dairy it makes my heart melt. And she won't touch anything until she's cleaned up afterwards either. But she was also SO excited, telling my Mom, "I ate lots of dairy dairy ice cream!"

Here is some video of them on the bummper cars and a car ride that whipped them pretty fast! They loved them.

Make photo slide shows at www.OneTrueMedia.com

posted at 8:44 PM  

Friday, August 21, 2009
My swimmer
My goal was to get Kayla swimming all on her own this summer. Not an easy task with a child who does not always embrace change or independence. With many things she needs some strong pushing encouragement. She had no interest in peddling her bike until I walked away and refused to push her anymore; or to pump herself on the swing until I taught her how walked away and made her "sink or swim"; or to independently go to the bathroom or dress herself until I refused to help her on the potty and dress her the month before she started preschool at the age of 3. Swimming on her own was no different. She was comfortable with the status quo of using her floaty vest. Lucky for me I have a swim vest where you can remove the flotations one by one. Yesterday I took her down to the last 2 floaties and then got her to take the vest off (at which time I took the last 2 floaties out of the vest). She took it upon herself to let go and swim in place however briefly. I jumped on that and gave her the added push encouragement she needed. She ended up getting annoyed with me yesterday as she usually does with my pushing encouragement and refused to even admit she swam on her own. But today, she put her vest on knowing full well there were no floaties in it and that gave her the confidence she needed to swim and practice more swimming and she improved greatly just in one afternoon. I am so very proud of her.

Make photo slide shows at www.OneTrueMedia.com

posted at 9:10 PM  

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Meet our new family members
Meet our new fish. We have 5 total - all little fish, much to J's disappointment.

The girls are super excited about the aquarium. And they've made it more exciting by bring a little of our friends who moved to California back into the house.


Green - Jeff
Yellow - Jen
Pink - Emma
*The other two fish are named Mommy and Daddy.

To make it more amusing, the girls have chairs by the tank and will just sit and watch them. This is the commentary J and I heard a couple of days ago.

“Mommy is chasing Jeff.”
“Now Jen is chasing Mommy.”

Apparently, Jen, is quite possessive over her Man!

I'm hoping Alysa won't make us get rid of the tank before we've had it for a week. She has a, let's say a stubborn or strong-willed streak. She gives me a run for my money and sometimes is just downright difficult. She's getting into the habit of putting her hands IN the tank and rearranging the scenery. I'm not one who is big on punishing both kids due to misbehavior on one of their parts. But there is a major danger factor here. It's a 10 gallon tank which J is estimating weighs at least 80 or so pounds plus it is, of course, glass. So I have told her if she does not STOP messing with the tank the fish will have to leave. She's been better today but she did move the box of supplies sitting on the shelf under the tank. She really pushes the limits that one.

Other than that - Kayla had her 5 year check-up yesterday and has dropped back down to the 25% which just means we'll monitor her weight gain. Even though she dropped though her BMI is 13.8 which puts her in the 10% for that and in the "healthy weight" category even if it is borderline. A "healthy" weight for her age is 32-40 pounds and she's 33 pounds. Otherwise she's a picture perfect 5 year old. She got 3 shots yesterday and was up last night with a 101.7 fever and still has a fever today. Hopefully it ends soon and doesn't last the full 72 hours. I need sleep tonight and so does she.

Speaking of weight, I'm even more in love with Children's Place now because of these. For the first time I got the slim jeans. They are only available on-line but boy do they make a difference. They actually FIT her and I will barely have to adjust the waist. I'm so excited to have jeans that fit her - now if they only made their other pants in slim...

posted at 5:55 PM  

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
That's what I call an entrance

posted at 9:43 PM  

Monday, August 17, 2009
R.I.P. Sister Fish
Sunday we lost our second Beta fish to the big porcelain bowl in our bathroom. Sister Fish (named because according to Kayla she is our first fish Freddy’s “sister”) died yesterday when she swam into the boat in her bowl and got stuck.

The girls are taking it OK. As soon as they flushed her down the toilet, they immediately asked to go out and get another fish.

J got our old octagonal tank down but unfortunately it has a crack. The base is in great condition, although a new tank won’t currently fit in our budget. But instead of getting another beta, J is taking them to get two goldfish. This way if we can get our hands on any other aquariums sitting around unused (hint-hint Dad) then we can just move the goldfish to the other tank with any other fish we get.

And to ease your minds about how Sister is doing in the after-fish-life, Kayla has told us that, “Freddy and Sister are dead fish friends.”

posted at 12:45 PM  

Sunday, August 16, 2009
A busy weekend
Yesterday morning, I took the girls over to a strip mall in my town for their annual Touch a Truck event. It was our first time going and the girls had fun. There were tons of trucks, buses, cars and even a helicopter that they could look at, sit in and play with. It was brutally hot so we only stayed for an hour which worked for them because Alysa was freaking out over all the kids honking the various horns – my little on has very sensitive ears. I was never so thankful for my pool as I was this morning when came home and jumped right in.

Then yesterday afternoon we headed out for my food allergy support group’s first annual picnic. I’ll bet you’ll be shocked to hear I was the planner and organizer of said picnic. I know, that is so out of character for me. We had 8 families with about 35 people including 15 kids. Here is our list of allergens:

Tree Nuts
Chocolate - Cocoa Beans
Sesame Seed
Red Dye #40

My goal was to make the picnic 100% allergen-free which of course was no easy task. And not included are other allergens since my one friend’s son’s list of foods he can eat is smaller than what he can not. His includes things such as sunflower and safflower oils, etc. She was a huge help in coming up with a menu because what it boils down to is if her son can eat it, anyone can. We were initially going to go for some chicken hot dogs but since we are having the picnic at a public park and have no easy/safe way of cooking them, and the picnic is mid-afternoon, we figured snacks are more than enough for the kids and adults.

So here was our picnic menu:
Popcorn – air popped with canola oil and sea salt
Wegman’s Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
Rita’s Water Ice
Allergen-Free Candies

It was brutally hot but we lucked out with a gazebo and plenty of shade. The picnic was a great success and everyone had a great time. The best part was all the parents were relaxed and the kids could just eat and eat without worries.

Then last night, J and I headed to the shore for dinner with his boss and coworkers. The best part of this outing was we were treated by his boss.

Today we spent the horrendously hot day at Storybook Land for Kayla’s birthday. It rained on her b-day so it was our reschedule. I’m about done with being outside for a while but it was a good day.

posted at 7:27 PM  

Friday, August 14, 2009
This & that
Monday evening, J was ready for a late night swim and decided to let Kayla join him. She’s routinely up reading in her room until 10-10:30, so a 9:30pm swim wouldn’t be a huge deal. When she came downstairs, sneaking past Alysa’s room (who was fast asleep) she was beside herself with excitement. Her pure wonder and delight at the stars, the nighttime sounds and warmth of the water was infectious. A perfect time to live life and see the world through her eyes.

Then Wednesday my friend Jenn (the one who moved to California in May) and I were finely able to get it together and get the kids to sit down with the webcam. It was so great to see her and Emma and the kids were just beyond excited bouncing around, joking, making silly faces and showing each other toys. It did all of us good to see each other and now all the girls talk about is going to see Emma’s new house. I can tell there will be many more webcam chats in our future.

My back is on the mend thankfully and I even braved Kohl’s again to return a few things. Alysa was much better behaved thankfully and I even got her a new outfit which made her day. Considering she ends up with 99% hand-me-downs from Kayla and takes it all so well, I was glad to give her a new outfit to show Daddy.

They’re currently outside soaked from head to toe. J never took down the “ball pit” from Kayla’s party which is an inflatable kiddie pool filled with balls. They jumped in and of course it’s full of water from the rain. But that just made it all the more thrilling for them. Oh to be a kids again…

posted at 2:16 PM  

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Beanie Babies Anyone?
Years ago, J's brother (whom we no longer speak to) gave us bags of McDonald's Beanie Babies (he works for them). We threw them in the attic and promptly forgot about them. Since the girls love little stuffed animals, J decided to bring them down recently. Since I'm completely anal, I didn't want Kayla near them until the packages were all cleaned (even though, yes I'm sure all the dairy proteins are destroyed since they are from 2000). So yesterday I sat down and cleaned all the sealed packages. We have two full sets from that year which means we have 84, yes 84 baby beanie babies. Oh my! Since there is no way I will be dealing with 84 baby beanie babies scattered all over my house I let the girls pick out 4 each (it started at 2 each but apparently I'm a sucker), Kayla has insisted we mail one to her BFF Emma and the rest I will put up for sale on eBay.

Wish me luck since I also have to begin my sorting of clothes for eBay sale.

And considering that I didn't sleep AT ALL (no joke) last night due to my back pain I don't think I'll get much accomplished today.

posted at 11:02 AM  

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
What a day!!!
This has been a long week and it's only half over. I had an insanely busy week at work and worked late and from home Monday and Tuesday nights. This afternoon I ventured out to Kohl's to see if I could find some things that fit Kayla. She always needs the next size up in pants due to length but each year the waist gap gets bigger and bigger.

I did find a couple things that are borderline at Kohl's which I purchased with the hope that my alligator clip adjuster thingies would work well enough. And since I had a 20% off coupon I figured buy now and return later if needed. But even with those I was pretty bummed that I didn't find that much. To make the clothes thing worse, Alysa was a TERROR today. She is my shopper - loves to shop and is always so well behaved in the stores. Not today though. Oh man! She was in rare form. She was running away from me, pulling clothes off the rack and throwing them on the floor, hitting me, kicking me, pushing me and Kayla. In the dressing room she actually slapped me in the face! A couple times she hid or refused to come with me so I stood there and said she could stay. I never left her nor let her out of my sight, but Kayla freaked out thinking I'd leave her behind or she'd get lost. I kept telling Kayla I would NOT leave without her. I took away the only leverage I had (a toy fish she brought in with her) which she ended up losing the rest of the day. I'm telling you if she was older, she'd be grounded for the rest of the year. It was horrible and I just sucked it up and dealt with it b/c I was not coming back at another time.

When I was putting her in the car, she fought me the whole way and after her seat belt was on, I told her I was so mad at her but loved her. I then gave her a big kiss and I have to admit it made me laugh when that made her super mad! Serves her right.

Tonight, when J got home I took Kayla to Children's Place. I usually have luck there but for the summer I couldn't get her in any 4 bottoms. And now 4T pants are too short. Thankfully something went my way today and I hit the jackpot. All the 4's fit (although the jeans and kakhi's have to be adjusted in the waist). I was able to get quite a few outfits. Next stop will be Target, which usually works for her too at least to some extent. So depending how that goes I may be able to return some TCP things, but if not, at least I know I can get her pants that fit. And most of the stuff from Kohl's is going back. At least TCP is not insanely expensive, although it's more than I'd spend if I could get everything at Kohl's and Target. Oh well, such is the life of having a skinny minny. :)

At Children's Place, we were paying and Kayla said to me (pointing at a double stroller with 2 kids in it) that they dropped their goldfish. I looked over and sure enough I saw a goldfish on the floor. I then saw the whole bag on the floor. I'm pretty proud that Kayla's developing that eagle-food-eye. I had seen the stroller but she noticed the food before me. I made sure to tell her how proud I was too.

Now I'm off to bed as at TCP, Kayla fell and when I went to help her up I threw my back out. And I mean it's I can barely walk I have no idea how I'll get into my platform bed threw it out. It's bad. I think it's a night for Tylenol with Codeine.

posted at 8:52 PM  

Sunday, August 09, 2009
3 1/2 year old math
In so many ways Alysa is just your typical 3 year old - perfectly on schedule, not ahead nor behind. In other ways, she seems, to me at least, a head of her "age group". Or at least she's ahead of where Kayla was at her age - and Kayla was pretty "on target" or "in range".

The girls have spent this weekend at my parents' house giving me a blissful weekend to myself to relax and spend time with friends. I can't say I've been the most productive (which I'm sure I'll regret later this week), but I slept in, had two fun, girls' nights out and ate lots of dairy!

Friday on my way to drop the girls off, I had two errands to run first. When we left our house I told the girls I had to make two stops before we went to Nanny's. So we went to our first stop and as we were leaving I told them we had one more stop left. While driving, I had this surprising conversation with Alsya.

Alysa - "Mommy, we have 2 more stops left."
Me - "No, Alysa - we have 1 more stop. We had two stops, we went to one and have one left.
Alysa - "No Mommy, we have 2 left. We had three stops. Nanny's house is the third and we went to one so we have two left."
Me - "Wow. You're right Alysa."

She totally blew me away with her math. And when I looked back at her she was sitting there with her index and middle finger up counting down our stops. The funniest part is when we got to the 2nd stop, she put her index finger down, got out of the car and walked all the way into the store with her middle finger up and on display!

posted at 2:59 PM  

Thursday, August 06, 2009
Happy 5th Birthday Kayla
Sweet Kayla,

Today you turn 5. I’m not quite sure how that has happened, but here it is. Six years ago at this time, I was thinking I might have to come to terms with never having a child and now here you are, my spunky 5 year old.

You continue to light up my days and make me laugh. I look at you now and see a big kid, gone is my baby girl. You continue to make me so proud in so many ways.
At times, it breaks my heart when I see you let down or left out of things because of your allergy, yet it makes me swell with pride when I watch how well you take it. Most of the time you take it better than me. You just accept that you can’t eat from the ice cream truck, yet it is still your “favorite truck”. You are accepting that your Sister can eat dairy and do not get upset when we can include her in an ice cream outing or some yummy looking treats at a party. You give your dolls and stuffed animals allergies. I know this is a way for you to process and cope, but you do it in a way that shows you accept this as it is. You hardly ever show sadness or anger, you just accept and move on. You are so grown up in ways I never would have imagined and it makes me one super proud Mommy.

You’ve had a lot of changes this year. You made your first best friend and watched her, [heartbreakingly] move away to California. You have adjusted, but talk about her often and miss her every day. You are no longer a preschooler, but now a Kindergartener and I love to watch your excitement grow each day. You’ve turned into a night owl staying up, some nights, later than me as you read in your room. Many nights as I’m getting into bed you come in to tuck me in. You’re beginning to read and have become quite the helper always telling me, “I can do it Mommy.”. You make your Daddy and me proud every day.

Today we will be in Storybook Land at the birthday girl’s request. I’m excited to have a fun day just me and the girls, although Daddy will be missed.

I love you Kayla and can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

posted at 4:48 AM  

Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Crabbing 2009
So the day after Kayla's party we woke up at 3:30 in the morning, got ourselves packed with coolers for lunch and water, snacks, epi pens, etc, woke the kids up and headed out the door at 4:30 am to head to the shore for some crabbing. The weather forecast was iffy but based on the 3:30 am radar we chanced it. Of course, shortly after leaving the house we headed INTO torrential downpours which lasted for the entire drive. We made it to the boat landing before my parents and sister and when they called to see what it was doing, I told them we were in a monsoon. I had followed the radar the whole way down on my iphone so at least I knew we were, at 5:30 am, at the outer edge of the storms. So by the time 6:00 rolled around and the boat place was open it was nothing but clear skies. It ended up being a fantastic morning on the water and even though it was still July and early for crabbing season, we caught 2 bushels of crabs that were both 3/4 of the way full.

All the kids had a blast and the only bummer was we needed 2 boats so the kids had to waive to their cousins across the water. But they were all too busy catching crabs anyway. Kayla didn't need time to warm up this year but she kept losing crabs off her line because she would keep pulling it up and would pull the crab out of the water before we could get the net to her. Alysa, on the other hand was a natural. She instinctively knew to STOP pulling her line up as soon as she saw she had a crab and wait for the net. Pretty amazing for a 3 1/2 year old. Although unfortunately when my Mom ever-so-brilliantly decided it would be a good idea to use pliers to fetch some bait that fell in the bushel with the crabs and got "bit" by a crab that all ended. My mom screamed and Alysa crumpled in fear. She would not go near the lines or traps again the rest of the day and freaked out every time we brought a new crab into the boat. She liked them much more once they were cooked. Hopefully she'll forget about that by next year.

It was a great day and we ended up sharing the crabs with neighbors and coworkers and still had a ton to eat. Mmmmm...Yum!

posted at 5:20 PM  

Saturday, August 01, 2009
Kayla's Party
July is over and my Sister is back home. We had a fun, jam-packed month with them and I am so sad to see them go. I have a ton of pictures from the month to share which I hope to get to over the course of this week, I’ll start off with Kayla’s birthday party. She turns 5 next week, but we moved her party to July in order to include my Sister and her family. And since my Sister (and kids), my Grandmother and my Aunt and family were all going to be here, we turned Kayla’s party into a mini family reunion inviting extended family who we don’t get to see often.

We did this year what we did last year – had the kid part at Pump It Up and then came back to the house for food and fun with family and some close friends. The added attendies obviously meant more food so it was extra nice to have my Sister there to help out with the prep work.

Just like last year, Pump It Up was amazing with regard to Kayla’s allergy. They used all brand new, sealed packages of juice, water, paper products, etc. They volunteered to do all the extra cleaning for us (benches, tables, birthday child chair, etc) so we could remain in the room with Kayla. We had a total of 25 kids there (next year we will begin scaling down how many she’s allowed to have) and they all had a blast! Kayla was just beside herself on her day and I barely saw her the entire time. All I kept seeing was blurs of yellow running around the room and on the equipment. Once we left and headed home it was no different – she was so busy playing and swimming that it wasn’t until right before bed she told me she never got to eat dinner. Ha! She never listens to me about eating during the parties. She was happy with a yogurt and then went to bed. The kids also seemed to enjoy the dessert and the fruit in the party room. The dessert – now this leads me to the cake fiasco.

The cake – where do I begin? A year or so ago I found a cake book on clearance. It’s a book on how to make all different shaped cakes. Since I make all of theirs myself I bought it. In there, Kayla found a 3-dimensional castle cake that she just fell in love with.

She found this cake about 6 months ago and has never waivered from it. I had decided to make this cake for the kid party and instead of making a second cake or even cupcakes for the house, I decided to make a Cookie Pizza that I saw from Allergy Moms. Unfortunately when I went to start assembling the cake, it was so hot in my house from the oven being on all day it melted and took the cake with it. The more I tried to add to it or salvage it, the more it fell apart and the closer I got to the edge. I even tried refrigerating it and the icing. No luck – it fell apart more in the fridge. Cooking for 50+ people was so stressful for me this year (more so than prior years) and I was on the verge of cracking by the time J got home. I had this cake that wasn’t working all I wanted to do was salvage it for Kayla – it’s what she’s talked about nonstop for months with regard to her party. When J got home, he tried to move it to the freezer and it just completely fell apart. I was crushed and so was Kayla. She even told me it wasn’t OK to not have her castle cake.

In the end she took it well and I moved the cookie pizza to Pump It Up and had cupcakes at the house. I had extra cake batter and had made cupcakes with it earlier and still had some in the freezer (I always have them on hand) so thankfully I didn’t have to bake anymore. I put some candy flowers on them that I had left over from other cakes I have made. The candy flowers made Kayla happy. I have to say the cookie pizza came out really well though – so I was glad something did.

So at Pump It Up I stuck with the cookie pizza and a fruit platter.

And here are the cupcakes I made last minute.

Also at her party was a child with a strawberry allergy (easy, I just left strawberries off the fruit platter) and two kids with peanut/tree nut allergies. One is my girlfriend’s daughter and the other is a child from her class. He is who broke my heart. I had talked to his Mom earlier and e-mailed her the information on the dessert. After talking to me she was fine with him eating what I was serving, but she warned me he may not want to. And he did not. He even refused to eat the fruit. I just felt awful for him. I may know that what I served is safe, but I totally understand him not trusting that. I would never and could never feel offended even if it was his Mom who didn’t want him to eat it. Heaven knows I can’t say I would in their shoes. But he has gone into anaphylactic shock and remembers it so it’s sad that he has that fear. It is the kind of things we struggle to balance – a healthy fear with being as normal as possible. I also never want a child to feel left out at our parties. Whenever I can I want to accommodate as much as possible, especially for the kids. But on the other hand, I applaud him for taking responsibility and advocating for himself and staying true to his comfort zone.

Here is my menu (with recipes) for the party at our house:

Ruffles Potato Chips

Onion Dip
Tofutti Better than Sour Cream
Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Tostidos Scoop Chips

Watermelon Salsa
2 ½ cups chopped watermelon
1 can black beans (drained)
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped ( be sure to use gloves
3 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix together and refrigerate


Buffalo Wings
Five pound bag of frozen wings (can use fresh, if preferred)
2 bottles Red Hot
2 sticks of butter

Broil or grill wings until cooked. Put in large roasting pan, add hot sauce (found in the isle with Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce), for each bottle of red hot use one stick of butter. Simply slice butter in pats and throw in. Bake for 1-1 ½ hours, until sauce cooks down a little. The wings are actually better if made the day before, or even several days before and frozen. Just bake to heat. The more you bake them the better they are.

2 lbs frozen meatballs (I bought chop meat and made meatballs with bread crumbs)
1 jar or can of sauerkraut
1 can (15 oz) whole cranberry sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar.

Mix sauerkraut, cranberries, and brown sugar in crockpot. Put meatballs in and stir. Cook on high for 4 hours and then low for an hour or two.

Main Dishes:

Honey Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
¼ cup light soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp dark sesame oil

Make a lengthwise cut down center of each tenderloin to within a quarter of an inch of the opposite side; press to open. Combine soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a shallow dish; add tenderloins. Cover or seal and chill 3 hours….turning occasionally. Stir together brown sugar, honey and oil. Grill tenderloins, covered with grill lid, over medium high heat (350-400 degrees) for 20 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160 degrees, turning occasionally and basting with the honey mixture.

Yields 6 servings.

Spare Ribs
[Tony Roma’s pre-cooked ribs – ssshhh don’t tell]

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup lite soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained with juice reserved
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook chicken thighs just until evenly browned on all sides. Place thighs in a slow cooker.
In a bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, ginger, and reserved pineapple juice. Pour into the slow cooker.
Cover, and cook 4 hours on High. Stir in pineapple tidbits just before serving.
Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Remove thighs from slow cooker. Blend the cornstarch mixture into remaining sauce in the slow cooker to thicken. Serve sauce over the chicken.

Hot Dogs/Hamburgers

Potato Salad
5 lbs. potatoes – wash and boil potatoes with skins on. When done, let cool. Take off skin – cut into cubes. Two stalks of celery – chopped, ½ medium onion (optional) – chopped…add to potatoes. Mix potatoes with salt, pepper, & Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Boil 6 eggs – let cool in cold water. Peel, dice and add to potatoes. Can sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Pasta Salad
2 boxes spiral pasta
2 cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
2 pkgs grape tomatoes
2 jars olives
12oz jar Dijon mustard
1½ C balsamic vinegar

Mix cooked pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes and olives together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, wisk together Dijon mustard and vinegar. Add a tad of olive oil to get desired consistency.

Cupcakes (Cherrybrook Kitchen cake mix)

Rice Pudding
¾ C Uncooked Rice
1 qt. Soy or Rice Milk (plain) – [do NOT recommend rice milk]
¾ C Sugar OR ½ C Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla (optional)
Dash Cinnamon (optional)
½ C Raisins (optional)

Fill a large pot with water and add rice. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain. Put rice back in the pot. Add soy or rice milk and sweetener. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally. Allow to boil slowly, continue to stir occasionally for aprox 30-40 minutes until the pudding darkens and thickens. Add raisins if desired and stir another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and/or cinnamon, if desired.

Cheese-less Danish
2 pkgs. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 - 8 oz. pkgs. Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan. Lay out 1 pkg of the crescent rolls without separating them. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Spread cream cheese mixture on the crescent rolls. Lay 2nd pkg. of rolls on top, pressing edges and ridges until closed. Spread top with egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes til brown. Watch carefully.

1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
milk to desired consistency (adding by tablespoon)

Mix ingredients together. Drizzle on top of pastry. Chill before cutting.

You’ll note Rice Pudding is crossed off. My cousin (18 years old) is allergic to soy (I found this out in June) so I tried to make as many dishes soy free as possible (very difficult to do with a dairy allergy). In doing so I attempted to make rice pudding with rice milk (the recipe I have actually calls for soy or rice milk). This failed miserable because the rice milk is so thin and watery that it never thickened, so that was my first dessert disaster of the day.

I’ll also mention that my daughter is probably the only kid on the planet that did NOT open any of her gifts the day of her party. She was so busy she didn’t remember to do so until just before bed. Now normally I wouldn’t worry about bedtimes the day of her party, but since we were getting up at 3:30am Sunday to go crabbing I needed to get them in bed and it was already past her bedtime. Luckily she was OK with opening them after crabbing. We all know it goes beyond ripping wrapping paper off – there are boxes to open, new toys to try out, etc. And it worked out because Maddy was upset she wasn’t going to be there while Kayla opened them.

And for the best part - here are some pictures from the day

So now I must get back on track and catch up with all of you. I apologize for my absence. August, although still a busy month, will be much less so than July. I also have a bunch more pictures from July to get up. We had a lot of fun and made some great memories with their cousins!

posted at 9:43 AM  


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