Busier that EVER!

Last night was “Music/Birthday” night in my special needs group. Our ‘leader’ (my ‘partner in crime’) was out sick with stomach flu; normally that would really make me nervous, as I’m definitely NOT a leader (just a really good ‘helper’). I went into the evening with great hopes and a great ‘helper’ (another lady in that church who has joined us as a helper). Along with her help we had four high schoolers who drop by to help when they can – SO glad they were there! We went through the evening – we start with singing the 14 various Christian songs they know (in fact, we sang each twice – to kill time!). During that time the church’s pastor popped his head in and just said: “WOW!” and left – our room was PACKED! It was a VERY busy evening – end count (and I might have missed 1-2 names on the attendance sheet) was: 48 students and who knows how many caregivers! The BIGGEST number we’ve EVER had – in our 23 years together! We had 8 wheelchairs (we usually have about 3). On a ‘normal’ music/birthday night our leader gets a big Costco sheet cake and I cut it to feed the multitudes; last night, because she was sick, her daughter delivered 30 store-bought cupcakes. I had early notice of this, so I bought another 24 cupcakes – we had TWO left at the end of the evening (and that’s only because some of our students don’t (or can’t) eat cake/sweets). I was AMAZED and in AWE – the Lord provided, we survived the night and all went away happy! WHEW!  I spoke to our leader today and she said she’s definitely going to have to speak with the church board about WHERE we can go (in the church) as we’re definitely OUTGROWING our room! There is one other room that’s a little larger, but it’s too far from the bathrooms for our kids (considering our wheelchairs). There’s the gym, BUT if we took over the gym, the other children’s programs that run there during the time we’re in our room would be kicked out and where would THEY go? I’m glad I don’t have to make those kinds of decisions! My thoughts go back to when I first started volunteering in this group: there were about 5-6 leaders and maybe as many ‘students’ – same room, very small numbers. I’m very grateful that the Lord has increased our numbers AND given us helpers to accomplish HIS mission for these handicapped/mentally-challenged individuals. We never know who we’re reaching with His message, but we are assured, through scripture, that His Word will not return void:

Isaiah 55:11

“So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

God has a purpose and a plan for each of us; I’m so very grateful He has put me in that room with those students – they are a blessing to me every Wednesday. I often wish the WORLD could see them through my eyes and realize that they are NOT an obstacle or an object of derision, to be made fun of – they ARE God’s creation. Whether they can see, speak, hear, walk – those are of no importance – even deaf & mute, they CAN teach us ALL something. For example, last night while I was praying outloud with/and for the group, I asked that the Lord help my friend/our leader Lois, to heal her and lift her up. One of our students stood up and said, very loudly: “I sure hope I don’t get sick! I don’t like to get sick!” That gave me the opportunity to tell the group that we ALL don’t like getting sick but we CAN ask the Lord for His help in healing us AND our loved ones! If you had been a little fly on the wall last night you would have heard, right after that: “I sure hope the Lord helps Lois to feel better! I want to pray for Lois! I LOVE Lois!” Our students are our blessings! They LOVE unconditionally, they speak their minds without boundaries (sometimes that can be very funny, too) and when you become their friend THEY WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER! How many other people in your life will do that? I’m sure the numbers are very small. That’s why, many years ago when my family left that church (for various changes/differences of opinions) I could NOT leave the group! They just WOULDN’T understand! Once you’re their friend, you are their friend FOREVER! I am also grateful to that church for allowing me to continue in that ministry, even though I do not attend their church. They know where my heart is.

Now I’ll get off my soapbox for the day –

Hoping you are all having a GREAT day! It’s 73 degrees outside, bright and sunny! In a short while I’ll hop into my car and go pick up my grandson from his bus stop. Dinner is enchiladas – quick to make and will serve us for more than one meal. Tomorrow I’ve signed up to attend a Ladie’s Dinner at church. (It used to be called the “Mother/Daughter Banquet” but they changed it to include ALL ladies – I’m glad, as I don’t have a daughter or a Mother!) With enchiladas in the fridge, I don’t have to worry about what ‘the guys’ will be eating for dinner!

(Was thinking of closing this post after my ‘soapbox’ comment, but I have way too many great sounding recipes to share, so here you go!)

===========================

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

(cooked on grill)

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

12 C. torn Romaine lettuce

1 egg*

3 T. olive oil

1/4 C. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T. spicy brown mustard

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Spray cold grate of outdoor grill with nonstick

cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium heat.

Place chicken on grill; cover grill with lid. Grill

10 minutes or until no longer pink in centers

(165 degrees F.), turning after 5 minutes.

Cool chicken 10 minutes; cut into strips. Place

lettuce in large bowl; add chicken & mix lightly.

In small bowl,  mix egg, oil, lemon juice, garlic,

mustard, salt & pepper using wire whisk until

well blended. Pour over salad; toss to coat.

Serve immediately. Serves 6 (about 2 C. each)

TIP: You can also sprinkle salads with shredded

Parmesan cheese just before serving, if desired.

*You can also substitute 1/2 C. Egg Beaters instead

of raw egg

(NOTE: because of use of raw egg, discard any

leftover salad)

(recipe: readyseteat!)

———————————

Sauteed Tomatoes & Zucchini

 

1 T. cooking oil

4 small zucchini, sliced (about 4 C.)

1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add zucchini; cook 7 minutes or until tender,

stirring occasionally. Add undrained tomatoes,

salt & pepper; break up tomatoes with a spoon.

Cook 2 minutes more or until hot. Serves 4.

(recipe: readyseteat!)

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Easy Coconut Cream Pie

 

2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. vanilla instant pudding mix

2 C. cold milk

2 C. Cool Whip, thawed, divided

1 C. flake coconut, divided

1 graham cracker pie crust (6 oz)

Beat pudding mixes & milk in large bowl with whisk

2 minutes. Stir in 1 C. Cool Whip & 3/4 C. coconut;

pour into crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Toast

remaining coconut*, if desired. Top pie with remaining

Cool Whip & coconut. Makes 8 servings

*How to toast coconut:

Heat oven 350 degrees F. Spread coconut in shallow

baking pan. Bake 7-10 minutes or until lightly

browned, stirring frequently.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

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Four-Cheese Spinach Lasagna

 

2 C. chopped fresh broccoli

1 1/2 C. julienned carrots

1 C. sliced green onions

1/2 C. chopped sweet red pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1/2 C. flour

3 C. milk

1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed &

squeezed dry

1 1/2  C. (12 oz) cottage cheese

1 C. (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 C. shredded Swiss cheese

12 lasagna noodles, cooked & drained

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

In large skillet, saute vegetables & garlic in

oil until crisp-tender; remove from heat & set

aside. In small heavy saucepan, whisk flour &

milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook & stir

2 minutes then reduce heat. Stir in 1/4 C.

Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper; cook 1

minute longer or until cheese is melted. Remove

from heat; stir in spinach. Set 1 Cup aside.

In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, Mozzarella

& Swiss cheeses. Spread 1/2 C. spinach mixture in

a greased 9 X 13 baking pan. Layer bottom with

four noodles, half of cheese mixture, vegetables &

3/4 C. spinach mixture. Repeat layers; top with

remaining noodles, reserved spinach mixture &

remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover & bake

35 minutes. Uncover, bake 15 minutes longer or

until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Makes 12 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

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French Chicken Broccoli Supreme

1 lb. fresh broccoli, broken into pieces & steamed 2 minutes

3 C. cooked chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

3 C. grated Cheddar cheese, divided

1 tube Ritz crackers

1 stick melted butter

1 T. poppy seeds

Sauce:

 1/3 C. butter, melted

1/4 C. cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 C. COLD water

1/3 C. chicken broth

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 C. milk

1 1/2 C. Cheddar cheese (from above)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

In greased 9 X 13 pan, layer broccoli & chicken; set aside.

In saucepan, over medium heat, combine melted butter,

dissolved cornstarch, chicken broth, seasonings & milk.

Stir well, continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Turn

heat down to Low, add 1 1/2 C. grated Cheddar cheese;

stir until melted. Pour over the chicken & broccoli & top

with 1 1/2 C. grated Cheddar cheese. Melt butter, add

poppy seeds & stir well. Crush Ritz crackers in large zip-

lock bag with a rolling pin. (do not crush too small). Add

cracker crumbs to melted butter & sprinkle over top of

cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until hot &

bubbly.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

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Ooey Gooey Turtle Cake

 

1 box yellow cake mix

1 large egg

1 stick margarine

2 (8 oz ea) pkgs cream cheese, softened

2 sticks unsalted butter

3 C. powdered sugar

4 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 C. chopped pecans

caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Base:

 

Blend cake mix, 1 egg & stick of melted margarine

ina bowl to form a thick dough. Place dough in

9 X 13 pan; press evenly onto bottom of pan; set

aside.

Filling:

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth

then add room temp. butter; cream together. Add eggs

& vanilla, then gradually add powdered sugar, one cup

at a time. Pour mixture over base in pan; spread

evenly. Sprinkle pecans on top. Place in center rack of

oven; bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Top should be golden

brown. Remove from oven & cool 30 minutes. Drizzle

top of cake generously with caramel sauce. Cake may

be served warm or cold. Refrigerate unused portions.

Serves 15-20

(recipe: Wendy – justapinch.com)

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That’s it for today – hope you have a GREAT day!

Hugs;

Pammie

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Published in: on May 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Having a Little Fun!

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Today was one I’ve been waiting for, now, for about a month; took our cat to the vet’s for another check up and he’s doing good! The vet’s report: “Looks like the food is doing him good!” They checked him out and reported that there was no obstruction and very few crystals, so I was just thrilled!  So thrilled, in fact, that I went on a mini-shopping spree! (Actually, it was more of a “treat Pammie” spree). Came home with three nice pairs of earrings (Big Lots: they were a set and very reasonable: $3.00), a new container for my knitting supplies in my ‘carry everywhere’ knitting bag (for scissors, tiny ruler, crochet hook) from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop (for $1) and my last little find: Almond Chocolate Biscotti on sale for $3 at our local drug store! Yep, I’m a ‘cheap treats’ person, but it made me happy, so all’s good!

Finished another afghan yesterday, #209, and am ‘on to bigger and better things’…(actually, just #210….grin).

Tonight’s dinner is homemade chicken noodle soup which I have to get making very soon, as I like to let the chicken get to the ‘fall off the bone’ stage before using it in the soup.  Was able to obtain a really (in my humble opinion) fantastic, yummy treat recipe and thought I’d share it with you. WARNING: It’s very rich, but VERY yummy!

Reese’s No-Bake Squares

2 1/2 C. powdered sugar

2 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs

1  1/3 C. peanut butter

1 C. melted butter

12 oz. chocolate chips, melted

Mix together powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Add peanut butter and melted butter; mix well.  Press into a 9 X 13 baking pan. Pour melted chocolate chips over top and spread around to cover top. Refrigate 15 minutes or so (NOT until hard), then cut into small squares.

=======================

My youngest came home from a youth outing, brought one of these home and shared it with me. Of course I IMMEDIATELY wanted the recipe … it was gooey (could have been because it was in his hot hands?), peanut buttery, and nicely chocolatey! I have another recipe similar to this one, but that one comes out about 1/4 inch thick; the above recipe comes out about 3/4 inches thick!  Believe me…it’s worth making them (forget the calories…they all fall off when you cut the squares! …. wink).

Going into this weekend I have a bridal shower tomorrow at church for two of our choir members who are also friends of ours (well…the groom has been like another one of my ‘kids’), so it ought to be a fun adventure! They’re planning a January wedding (Brrrrrrr!). Before I go to the shower I have to help youngest bake a pan of brownies, as he’s attending a Chili CookOff and the teens are required to make (or at least ‘help’ make a dessert…he chose brownies, as that’s HIS favorite dessert!).

It’s shaping up like a fun weekend; our weather’s been a bit ‘goofy’ but I’m happy…it’s been chilly (in the 30’s & 40’s) with some rain, some gloomy days, BUT….NO SNOW so far! (It was predicted that we were supposed to get ‘scattered flurries’ Weds & part of Thurs, but they didn’t appear…YAY!!!).

Enjoy your weekend; stay warm, eat something YOU like (brownies/biscotti/bagel?) along with a nice, hot steaming cup of your favorite beverage….gotta stay cosy, remember?

Hugs;

Pammie

Sure Looks Like Fall!

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The leaves around here are now mostly on the ground; the weather has taken a decidedly chilly turn, with grey days filled with light winds and rain. That’s OK, it’s what’s supposed to happen right around now. Halloween, for us, was un-eventful; we live on a main road (45 mph speeds) so we don’t get trick-or-treaters, haven’t for many, many years.

The Harvest Party last week for my special needs group went very well; we had a roomfull of people (students/caregivers/parents) who seemed to really enjoy themselves. We went through a ton of chips & hot cheese, cider/pop and cookies. We had so much donated candy that each student went home with two small bags full! It was a busy, fun evening, for sure!

Tonight is our church’s “Ladies Fellowship” which consists of a light supper and devotional speaker. This time my alphabetical grouping (L-Z) is to bring a salad (the others, A-K)  are bringing dessert). I’m not a great ‘salad’ maker for parties, so I relied on a recipe found on-line:

Apple Cole Slaw

3 C. chopped cabbage

1 unpeeled red apple, cored & chopped

1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple, cored & chopped

1 carrot, grated

1/2 C. finely chopped red bell pepper

2 green onions, chopped

1/3 C. mayonnaise

1/3 C. brown sugar

1 T. lemon juice, or to taste

In large bowl, combine cabbage, apple, carrot, bell pepper and onions. In small bowl mix together mayonnaise, brown sugar and lemon juice. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Refrigerate for 1 hour and serve chilled.

=================

Note: You could also add chopped pecans, raisins, poppy seeds or mandarine orange segments.

—————————————————–

It’s been kind of ‘touch & go’ lately with our cat; another trip to the vets Friday for a re-check found that his urinary tract was blocked again (for the third time). I called my husband to ask just how to proceed. He said go ahead with another catheterization, but this is the last time. I fully understand; it’s been almost a month of vet checks and he isn’t really getting ‘over the hump’.  As I’ve said before, we can’t afford the major surgery for him if he blocks up again.  It’s a hard call to make, but sometimes you just have to do the ‘hard things’. We’re just watching and waiting at this point, hoping that somehow his system will finally clear itself.

Other than that, it’s been rather calm around here; finished afghan #208 Saturday and now working on 209. Visited the chiropractor today and my back is staying stable, which is a great thing-I’m not in pain. I’ve learned that, whether I like it or not, these visits are in my future regularly for me to maintain mobility and flexibility. Yep, I’m gettin’ older…sigh.

Enjoy your day;

Hugs;

Pam

Decisions & Answers

"Rikki"

"Rikki"

It’s been a week today that we discovered our cat’s urinary problems. This morning he ate & drank well and I was happy for a good night with him until I discovered that he hadn’t used the litter box or made the bath towel in the crate all wet, so I turned him over.  His underside was totally dry but there was a bit of blood, also.  This time I burst into tears, prayed and then stealed myself for the inevitable: euthenasia. I called my husband, talked to middle son and then called the vet to make the arrangements.  This would make the third time he’d totally blocked up in a week and the costs of the urethrectomy are way beyond our means right now.  Brought him in to the vets and asked if the vet could just confirm my suspicions before hand. Low and behold, the vet announced that his bladder was tiny! I was amazed and asked about the blood. The vet said that he’s been straining; apparently he’d emptied his bladder into the carrying crate! A quick shot to help reduce the inflamation on his bladder, a question about ‘should I start the medication to shrink the bladder now?’ (wait a day) and I was home with my cat again! Will wonders never cease?! The vet was very happy and said: “Looks like he hasn’t used up his 9 lives just yet!”  We have a great vets office; they’re very understanding about costs-he only charged me ‘cost’ for the shot today ($10) so we’re good-to-go for another day. It’s been Wed/Thur/Sat/Mon/Tues/ and now Weds. at the vets and I didn’t realize just how ‘ready’ I was to hear some GOOD news for a change! (He did warn me that we’re ‘not out of the woods yet’, but it’s a start.)

Enjoy your day; I know my family will, with our cat!

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 10:08 am  Comments (2)  
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