Mother of Nine…. None of which are mine!!!!

Nothing equals brutal happiness like having a family and taking care of kids. There is joy, anger, sadness, and pure WTF moments.  I technically have nine boys. They are all middle school and high school…. Now before you think that I was a very buy young woman… please know that none of those boys are mine. I have no children of my own.  I work for an organization called Mooseheart. I am a live in family teacher…. for those of you not up on the “Mooseheart Speak” that basically means that I live in the home with the kids. All of the kids come for ‘at risk’ backgrounds. I spend my days taking care of them, helping them with their studies, taking them to doctors appointment, and teaching them family values, social skills, academic skills, and independent living skills. I work 24 hours a day 5 days a week…. and my job is a rewarding one…. though, like any job, it has its pros and cons, and its ups and downs.

So I would say that out of everything…. the most brutal part of my job comes at dinner time. Feeding nine preteens and MealTimeteenagers takes a lot of work. For more complicated meals I have to start cooking around 3:00 if not earlier. They eat a TON of food, and there are days that it feels like they have bottomless pits for stomachs. Most of the time the love what I make for dinner…. but there are times when they come home after I have been cooking for hours and I hear… “Uh…. What is that smell???” At that point I see red! and I have to keep myself from getting angry! At that point they earn a consequence for not showing sensitivity to others. Some of you may be like “What!? How do you do that!!!???” Mooseheart lingo makes it all possible.  There are a total of 182 skills we try to teach the kids. From following instructions to how to answer the telephone. When they do something right they earn points which allows them to buy privileges.. like video game time. When they do something wrong they loose points. So a teaching interactions for showing sensitivity to others would go something like this…. “Hey…Joe… I understand that maybe you find the smell of dinner unpleasant… but right now you are not showing sensitivity to others because you did not take my feelings into consideration before you criticized dinner. For not showing sensitivity to others you have earned -6,000 points. Its Important to show sensitivity to others so in the future they will consider your feelings…. Does that make sense?”  So that is how we teach the kids in Mooseheart land.!  Anyhow…. back to eating… They eat… Tons.

Tonight we had lasagna and salad with chicken. This was an instance where they loved dinner and ate all of it.! Which makes me happy since I cooked for hours! So though making dinner for nine boys is a brutal job…. someone has to  do it…. and the smiles and laughter we have over meals definitely makes it worth it!

Lasagna Salad 

Poison Apples

I LOVE Halloween!  There are so many cool things you can do craft and cooking wise.

Today I decided to put on “Snow White: A Tale of Horror” and make some eerie Poison Apples! (If you haven’t seen that movie, its pretty awesome.)

So these were super easy to make, and came out pretty awesome looking.

You Will Need:

1 1/4  cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon of salt (or less) (Optional)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 -2 cups special dark chocolate chips (Depending on how rich you want it)

5-10 drips of black food coloring (optional)

5 of your favorite apples (I used Honey Crisp apples and they were beautiful and tasted AMAZING!)

What You Need To Do:

1. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan.

2. Allow the sugar mixture to settle on the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium / medium high heat and let the sugar to dissolve. Continue to heat until the sugar mixture starts to turn to a golden color. Shake the pan occasionally to redistribute the sugar on the bottom of the pan. This will help to brown the sugar evenly and keeps it smooth and creamy in the heating process. (You can stir the mixture before it heats up with a wooden spoon but not too much. The sugar has to stay in contact with the heat on the bottom of the pan to brown and dissolve completely.)

3. As soon as the sugar turns a golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream into the hot sugar mixture. Adding the cream causes the mixture to bubble up and transform into caramel. Stir to combine until the sauce is creamy and evenly golden throughout. Cook the sauce on low heat for one more minute, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, add the vanilla, Chocolate, salt (optional) and stir well with whisk.

5. Skewer the apples to prepare for dipping, and dip them into the chocolate caramel sauce. Evenly turn the apple in the sauce until evenly coated.

6. Place apples on parchment or wax paper and let dry for 2-3 hours (the chocolate will become solid– allowing them to be wrapped easily).

7. Pour the extra sauce into a jar and enjoy another day with ice cream… (well that is what I am going to do)

This keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or so. But I think it will be consumed before it can go bad.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Back to Business

Ok… So I feel like I have wallowed in self-pitty for long enough. I have been home now for two weeks, and I have cried probably every day for those two weeks… Sometimes tears of depression about being away from Indonesia and my friends. Other times tears of frustration and pain because it hurts to move even a little. There were even tears for the unknown because I have no idea where I will end up after my surgery. I landed myself in the emergency room this past weekend because the pain became so unbearable and I had no pain meds to help me out. Ibuprofen just isn’t doing a damn thing and I couldn’t get an appointment to meet with the surgeon until June 1st. So its just time to manage the pain until I can get to that appointment.

Emergency Room

So even though I should be resting, I need to keep myself busy! Keep my mind occupied so that I don’t play the “What-If” game.

For mothers day, I decided to make this awesome Samoa Bundt Cake recipe I found through my Pintrest addiction (if you are not on pintrest, check it out and start pinning away. I seem to pin recipes like nobody’s business). So Samoa Girl Scout cookies are my absolute favorite! So I knew when I saw this cake that is was a must try! It looks just like a GIANT Samoa cookie!!!! I am not the best at decorating cakes, but even if it wasn’t the prettiest cake, the taste was out of this world! I am talking… so good, it makes you wanna slap somebody. It was a hit with everyone, and there were willing volunteers to take the remaining cake with them when they left the gathering.

Samoa Cake

I have also started knitting again. Since I am laying down 99% of the time, it is good to keep my hands busy. My grandparents have been kind enough to set up a pretty awesome TV in my room, and my mother has supplied me with a BlueRay DVD player, so I can’t complain at all. I have spent days watching TV and knitting. I am currently working on “Man Knits”.. I don’t have a man in my life… but I do have friends. So I will be gifting. I discovered Stephen West the other day, and instantly fell in love with all of his work. If you are a knitter or know someone who knits check him out. So I ordered his book (it came in today… It kind of felt like Christmas), “West Knits- Book Three” and started this slouchy hat (Dustland Hat Pattern). Its a pretty awesome pattern, and is knitting up quite quickly. I am making it for my devastatingly handsome friend, Travis. I hope he likes it… or at least to take a few pictures of himself wearing it. So Finished project pictures are soon to come.

Dustland Hat

So I had a little bout with dehydration. I was only drinking one bottle of water a day, because I went from being in the heat 24/7 to being in the air conditioning and resting all the time.. So the need to drink didn’t really register. So a few problems came from that. Now I am drinking plenty of fluids. I had a few spill issues from drinking in a lying position (as you can well imagine) so my lovely mother took me to the Disney store so that I could pick up a much needed lidded cup. It is a known fact (well if its not, it should be) that Disney makes everyone feel better. Even if you are 28 years old. Anyhow… they are coming out with a new Disney movie, and a new Disney princess! She is from Scotland! How awesome is that. Her red hair and freckles instantly won me over. The movie is ‘Brave’ and I can’t wait to go to the movies and see it. SO anyhow, I found a ‘Brave’ lidded cup and left the Disney store with a huge smile on my face. And I am not ashamed to say that is has been well used since I have gotten it, and it does make me feel better every time that I look at it. (Don’t judge).

‘Brave’ Cup

I also got a new camera… by got I mean stole from my mother. haha. It is a Nikon D3000 DSLR. Its pretty nice. I am learning how to use it. I just purchased a cute book called “Beyond Snapshots” to give me a little bit of help on taking pictures that will rock your socks off. So I will be playing with that and posting my progress pictures (hopefully).

So though I have been a little down in the dumps about everything that is going on, I know that things are going to be ok. How do I know this. Because my mother took me out to P.F. Changs for some amazing Chinese food and my fortune cookie told me so! It might be grasping at straws, buy hey, it works for me.

My Fortune

So the Indonesian pictures and updates are on hold, but with luck I will be back there soon and filling you in on all of the wonders there. Until then, stick with me. I will try to keep my posts interesting!