Sunday, November 29, 2015


I have to say that taking care of my mom has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced. Taking care of my children, home, husband is so natural.  Making decisions, caring for your parent is not.

My mom needs total care.  The only thing that she does is feed herself.  I wish that she would scoot her hips around a bit.  I fear that she will one day develop a bedsore. I or my moms caregiver have to shift her, clean her, dress her, change her depends, provide her food, drinks, medication, entertainment, get her out of bed....basically meet all her needs. 

Currently I am looking for her a new doctor since her current one does not accept more than one insurance so for some reason they don't file for the one that actually pays her bills. Making medical decisions for my mom is scary.  What if I make a bad decision?

I have learned a lot.  How to use a towel to help get her into the car. Her head is the biggest challenge, it just doesn't seem to fit in the car when trying to lift her and place her in there. 

I have learned how to get her services. She has a caregiver who comes in 20 hours a week and we all love her. This allows me the opportunity to get a break from feeding and changing my mom.  It allows me to just be her daughter, not her caregiver for a short period of time.

I have learned more about medical equipment and accommodations than I ever cared to know. Her insurance allows for one hospital bed overlay/mattress gel every 5 years. The one she received had an egg carton type pad with a mattress cover over top.  it has failed, she is in bed a majority of the time. It failed within the first year. I purchased this mattress cover so we will see how it does.  Preventing bedsores is high on our list.

I have also learned that I can't do it all.  At least once a month we pay her caregiver extra so that she can mom and baby sit while my husband and I go out on a date.  Sometimes we do this twice a month. I need a break at times. Every night before I go to bed I check on my mom.  I change her, give her a snack and make sure her favorites shows are on.  She is a night owl like me so is always up when I go to bed.

I have learned that sometimes it is the small things that make someone happy.  She requested a strawberry cake again this year for her birthday.  Yes, I used a boxed strawberry cake mix, sour cream frosting and a fresh strawberry on top.  A single candle with all her grandchildren around singing happy birthday (even Jason made it) made her very happy.

She loved the cake. Another year has passed and every year I wonder if she will be here for the next. She mentioned her sisters today and I talked to her a bit about them.  I told her that I would share her picture with them. I didn't tell her that one had passed away.  Sometimes I wonder if I should.  I feel as though I am keeping a secret.  Other days I feel that she really doesn't need to know and it would just be painful for her.  But it seems that life is that way, full of pain and joy. I am still torn on that subject.

Some days I miss having my mom to talk to about life. She can talk and express her needs but conversations with her is pretty basic.  Most days she does know who I am, I am pretty sure of that. I see older mothers and daughters out sharing a meal and talking or shopping together and I feel sadness that I lost that. I think that is why I frequently take my children out to eat to sit and talk. I love having good adult relationships with my kids.

Anyone else caring for a parent or struggling with how to help from miles away? Our society is really big on just putting them away in nursing homes, there are challenges with caring for them at home.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


We had a nice Thanksgiving day today. Jason commented that we had less people here today then we have had in a long time.  Joselin didn't make it because she went to Beaufort with her boyfriend. Kassi had to work so we sent her some food at work. Tasha and Ethan came after going to his family so they didn't eat much.

Besides my husband and I, at attendance were Sarah, Jason, the 5 littles, Benjamin's bio-aunt and her girlfriend, my mom and her caregiver, Tasha's family for dessert. Funny, what does it mean when 16 people is a small gathering.

The food was great and plentiful.

Anthony loves Thanksgiving, he loves to eat. I have got to cut his hair before he heads back to school.

I wonder how many more Thanksgivings we will have with my mom. She ate two platefuls.

We didn't go shopping tonight but did shop yesterday.  Benjamin found his rain boots. He loves shoes, all shoes; mine, the girls, John's, guests.  He loves them all.

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Officially adding Benjamin to our family was the biggest event of this year for us. Sitting at the table with family and friends is such a blessing and is something to be cherished.

For the first time I actually fell asleep on the couch today! It sure was a pleasant treat for me. I am exhausted and about to go and check on my mom and head to bed. I hope that any of you out there doing the late night shopping stay safe.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Benjamin's Bedroom

I have a few things I need to do in his bedroom but for the most part his bedroom is complete.

We repurposed that big piece of furniture from the girls room.  It was painted with zebra striping. The front has been wallpapered with Marvel Comics wallpaper. However, the sides need to be painted black but that is hard to do with Benjamin running around.

The wall sticker will eventually be replaced.  I haven't decided what to do with that wall yet. I am leaning towards pictures of everyone, Benjamin loves to look at all the pictures around the house.

He loves his little toddler bed.

There are two closets in the room so the second; the small one was changed into a reading nook, toy storage area.

The door knob does have a child safety knob on it (duck taped together so he can't take it apart). He has been known to escape out the cat door, can get in the bathtub and start the water, can open the front door and many other things so we cannot allow him to get up and wander the house alone. It would be a huge safety hazard for him.

He loves to lounge in his bean bag chair and yes that carpet is as crazy as it looks.

Sometimes his bed serves as exercise equipment.

He has multiple play areas and his sisters sometimes play with him in his room.

He is a sneaky one, found his sisters emergency flashlight and figured out how to turn it on. Distraction allowed us to get it back.

He really enjoys his space. When he is mad at me he will run up the stairs screaming to his bedroom to calm himself. After a few minutes of screaming he will start playing and then come back downstairs with a good attitude.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Although he shared generously, I never got my shake back.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tissue Paper Bowls

We popped our balloons tonight.  One thing we realized, the bowls that had been sitting longer had problems with the balloons sticking to the bowls.  Sarah's balloon, that she started yesterday, came out easily. We were able to peel the balloons off the ones that stuck.

The bowls have multiple purposes

As I look at these pictures I can see such happiness in Emma.  She is loving homeschooling.

After the popping of the balloons everyone decided that they wanted to do one, 
to include guests at the house.


We have been working on an art project for class.  Tissue paper bowls.

Tasha came by and started one. Last night Sarah came home for the weekend and she started one too. Art projects sitting around are just too tempting.

The girls are putting on one more coat today and we are popping them tonight.

Since Benjamin no longer stays in his crib it has been removed and I have been rearranging his bedroom. This picture made me realize that it was time to cut that long curl in the back.

Yes, I kept it.

No great harm done. My military husband thinks that it is time for a big boy haircut, I am not ready for that yet!

Changing from a crib to a toddler bed can be exhausting. The first 5 days he woke up in the middle of the night and I had to sit with him until he went back to sleep. Last night he slept all night! I sure was happy about that.

Anyone interested in seeing Benjamin's bedroom?

Friday, November 20, 2015


Our household goes through a lot of food.  I have to go to the store about every other day because of milk and fresh meat. If I buy meat and put it in the freezer it never seems to make it out of there.

I don't mind cooking but I am tired of deciding what to cook. I will call my husband and ask him what he wants for dinner.  Anything he wants I will make for him.  Most of the time he says he doesn't care. Not much help there. Sometimes I feel as though I cook the same things over and over. I miss having Sarah around, she is great for looking up new recipes online for us to try out.

Since the weather has gotten somewhat cooler I made lasagna the other night.

I tried a new crockpot off the internet last night. It was a simple recipe that will be made again.  My husband and most of the kids went back for seconds.

Mushroom soup, packet of onion soup, cubed steak and I added fresh mushrooms.  So simple and tasty. he meat was so tender....

Stuffed mushrooms from the internet.

As the kids have gotten older we allow them to make their own plates. Emma is our pickiest eater so we watch her snack intake during the day.

Benjamin is a great eater. He no longer likes to eat in his booster seat!

I am not sure how big this pot is but it is huge.  We have to fill it.

Sometimes I dish out soups and such and let the kids pick a bowl.  Emma and Michelle are challenged with anything remotely high and hot. Chicken and dumplings

Italian meatball soup

Roast that has cooked all day in gravy in the crockpot.  In the morning a sear the meat and use the oils to make a gravy that is put in the crockpot. One of the families favorites.

We try to keep fresh fruits in the house.  Sometimes it is challenging and very expensive.

Fresh peach cobbler, very good.

Often on Sundays we have friends over to share a meal.

Desserts from facebook are fun to try. I wasn't a big fan of this oversized ice cream sandwich.  The proportions seem off to me.

On my wish list is a double oven.  The single, undersized wall oven we have is not sufficient.  We are always looking for creative ways to cook everything. I also own the largest skillet and pots that I could find.  My stove top isn't big enough either!

When I cook I have extras. Kids and friends stop by and we are always able to feed them.  Sometimes we have food left over but not enough for a second meal.  Normally I cook for a few days and then we have dig-up night. Typically that is when all the food that is left over is eaten.

Our food budget is huge, well over $1000/month. I try to buy when stuff is on sale but out here in the boonies I am limited. I was excited that Walmart had vegetables on sale for 50 cent a can, so I bought several cases worth. I will stock up when I find a good sale. I should do more couponing but I don't have the time. I also don't have any store around me that doubles coupons. I would have to go into town to really get the coupon/sales benefit. I don't have time for that either.

Besides not eating, does anyone have a way you save on food?

Anyone else tire of meal planning? I am always looking for quick, easy meal ideas. If anyone wants to share a great recipe please do so.