All posts by Pratus's Mom

No Noodle Lasagna

I have had very little appetite ever since I became a single mother. I have to actually push myself to eat. I know this will change so I am not worried (much). Until then you may not see many posts of recipes. This one doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out but, making it the other day was O.M.G. AMAZING!!!!!! Every bite was filled with pure taste and made me grown with mmmmmmm YUM.

Simple No noodle Lasagna

  • 2 large zucchini – about 6-8 inches each

I really like using zucchini, cut in thin strips, in the place of noodles. With this recipe I took a minute to thinly slice and then place the slices on a few paper towels in case they needed to weep (ok, I lied, I’m not rich enough for paper towels, it was a rag).

zucchini-noodles-1

  • 1 lb. Lauras lean ground beef, 4% fat or like in my household a mixture of this ground beef and ground turkey
  • 1 cup minced veggies – I used minced carrot, celery, spinach and mushrooms (yes, I have children that cringe at mushrooms even though they are my favorite)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt *important try not to leave out the salt if you are using mushrooms.

cook in a skillet till no longer pink, then set aside.

In a pot sauté

  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup peppers diced- I used a my blend of red, green, orange, yellow and poblano
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 -2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil ****** fresh is always best*****
  • pinch of cayenne

until onions are translucent and your house smell like supper 🙂 My mom taught me that every meal should start with an onion.

  • Add 2 jars of those tomatoes you put up during the summer or if you don’t have that then 2 large cans of tomato sauce will work.

At this point you can add your meat mixture in and heat the whole thing until nice and hot. Taste it, is it good, does it need more salt, or garlic? You could take a break now and have a little lunch, maybe some miracle noodles and a bit of this wonderful sauce, yum.

  • part skim ricotta cheese 1-2 cups worth depending on how thick you like this layer.
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of choice

pyrex

I get out my big Pyrex pan and put a bit of sauce on the bottom (just enough to coat so nothing sticks). I layer my zucchini like noodles and spread ricotta over it. Then I spread about 1 cup of sauce over that. Layer again and if lucky again and again ending with sauce. This is where I bake mine at 350*F for about 30-40 min then place the 1-2 cups shredded cheese on top and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes. Please please please let cool for about 45 min. Lasagna is one of those dishes that get better as they cool and even better the next day.

lasagna-2a

Our household had ours with a caesar salad minus croutons. everyone walked away happy. No child thought I was serving only rabbit food or my usually yucky healthy food. If my kids had it their way they would eat pizza for every meal!

Caesar-Salad2

The Intertwined Bucket List

My family is totally amazing and often times crazy with their “do it or you should just go curl up and die” attitude.

When My Great Grandfather turned 90 we celebrated his life with a huge party. His health was not great and he was in a wheel chair. None of that stopped us from swinging him around the dance floor and I can still see the smile on his face from that day. But, what I remember most about my great grandparents is that they were so full of life. It has been about 10 years now since they have been gone and I still feel them impacting the way I do things.  The presence of their attitude has yet to leave me. Often I find myself smiling when I know I have done something the way one of them would have (it is kind of long running joke to be a little quirky like my great-grandfather).

The loss of such people in my large and extended families lives has really had a dramatic effect.  I hope one day that my children’s children’s children say such a thing about me.  It has members of my family exploring the planet, living out their passions, loving fully and of course marking things off that great and powerful “BUCKET LIST”.

FOR EXAMPLE

My 84-year-old great-uncle and ____ year old, gorgeous great-aunt (shhh, it is never polite to speak of a woman’s age). Have done more in these last few years than I have in my entire life and they are not stopping. Retirement is usually known for its lazy days, retirement homes with shuffleboard games, and dwindling pensions/social security to fund it all with. Not for my relatives! Instead of sitting back they decide to do a 5K run.Shoe print

It is not just that they have decided to do it that is so very inspiring.   (learn more about the 5K run here)

These two people have managed to put a bee in everyone’s bonnet (love that saying). This seemingly harmless 5k run has turned into a family event. It has motivated those of us that have forgotten to push ourselves into joining in on the excitement. The pride of supporting others, the strength of enduring and overcoming, the sheer adrenaline for encouraging others,  among other things has all started to snowball in this family. Plans are in the works to join in, little did I know placing a “fulfill bucket list” was going to be placed at the top of my own personal Bucket List.

It all just make me realize that we are all so intertwined. One persons life fishes in and out of yours creating a web that makes you stronger. A give and take relationship if you will, that fuses you together and what you are left with is nothing short of amazing. I know I am so lucky to have the people in my life that constantly re-enforce such behaviors of love, care, devotion, compassion, understanding, support, nurturing, growth, learning, and just overall living a good life.

I am so proud of my family for doing what they do. Family is the tendrils that start us growing into who we become. I know not all family is traditional. Mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, whatever kind of people who establish those beginnings. As a parent I think about all of this so often. The kind of mom I am and what my background does for me or my children. People like my Great Aunt and Uncle remind me how I need to focus my energy into doing even those things I only think about.  How about you?

Have you positively helped build someone else’s web today? Have you thought about your Bucket List (I have 2, more on that another day) and what you could accomplish in your lifetime?

The first visit to daddies new place did not quite go as planned.

On Halloween day Pratus and I headed out to run some errands and I found myself not enjoying the company as much as I would have liked. Dropping this little guy off to daddy seemed like a sensible thing to me. I gave my hugs and kisses and off I went. I get back and find my child draped in daddies t-shirt and bouncing. He got himself wet, okay no big deal (mental note make sure daddy always has a change of clothes for each child). I said “wow looks like you boys have been having fun”. Daddy says, “Yeah we have been running and jumping, all while watching red box movies and eating chocolate”.

“Really Chocolate, just really”… these words slip from my mouth with complete and utter annoyance laced into each syllable.

Yes, it was Lindt Chili Dark Chocolate (picture above), Pratus has a very refined pallet for a child. You see Pratus and chocolate just don’t mix. He also has the same trouble with soda (if ever it was allowed for a child to take heroin it would look something like Pratus after chocolate or soda).

pratus soda
your thinking why is that in your house, well you see what happened was…

Now obviously I am the default parent for I knew this to be the absolute truth. I have had to deal with the onslaught to these man made Items more than enough times to have already made this valuable deduction. Daddy however, has not and with a roll of his eyes, I concluded that he thought I was being overly dramatic. I would like to say that this is the first time I have ever come across such doubt when dealing with food intolerances. It saddens me to tell you that not unlike having a more complicated child, I have had this same experience many many times. I don’t really get why it is so hard to believe that a food could cause behavior problems. We all know that too much sugar can make an otherwise quite child act out so, why is what I am saying make me sound like a raving lunatic?

ANYHOW

Halloween continued on with a very very very hyper child that struggled with boundaries. He was too hyper not to run ahead, too hyper to look before wanting to cross a road, too hyper and uncoordinated, not to trip over himself every few minutes, He was too hyper to really enjoy what was going on. Now you remember my last post how I talked about costumes. Well he was also too hyper to have as many qualms with attire (silver lining?) he didn’t actually let me put on a costume but, he was willing to carry around a plastic fireman’s helmet and say he was a fireman (progress in my eyes). Finally when we stopped to eat some chili, I noticed that he was starting to come down from this chocolate high he was on. Poor Pratus cried because his spoon was to big, to white, to small, to plastic, just too much for him. Good thing it was colder than a witches tit outside because that meant bigger brother Alanso was more than okay with going home. We all led Pratus home, No, that’s not right. It was more like following in the wake of a Tasmanian devil, you just did your best to stay close so you could apologize to those that got trampled. He was in our place faster than I could have imagined and was gobbling down candy before I could get the keys out of the lock. How this child got candy (I’m not 100% sure that one of those children who got in his way left with all their treats) no clue, I was so careful to shout ahead “NO CANDY, please!” I grabbed it away, offering up loving attention in its place. HA HA HA The little child was more like a snake, it was a sight to behold, I was tugging, he was holding firm, eating, crying, drooling sweet venom down his chin, screaming, kicking, and If I wasn’t mistaken his head came off at one point and rotated 360 degrees before he slumped back in the chair, defeated. I in no way felt I had won that battle, his whimpering was so sad. Brother tried to come comfort him and got a fat lip for his troubles. I ran and hid all forms of candy and offered him a few bites of food to try to combat the mass amount of sugar he just consumed. Amongst the sobs he ate and then he was out, as if a light switch had been filled in the off position.

sleep pratus
out like a light

All in all I can’t say that the chocolate was the catalyst to everything given that the day was filled with things that normally aren’t there. I still am sticking to my observation though that Pratus and chocolate do not go together!

pratus and mommy haloween
Pratus loves photo booth. I’ll take that smile anytime!

Oh boy, Halloween is almost here.

Thinking this post through has taken me some time. In the end, I really felt I wanted to, NO, HAD TO share my experiences with you.

Halloween in coming up and every year I dread this holiday.

My children have never just fell in that scope of normal when it comes to behavior. I would love to say that they are like every other child out there. For this mom this is far from the reality that is their childhood. My children have offered me challenges at every turn. Mostly in the way that they were going to be willing to confront the world. I do have those sweet, quiet children in my life, however, they often get overshadowed by those that demand more (Pratus is one such child). I have often felt like an outsider parent when it came to raising these children. For example: when I would go to play groups with other parents it always was a disaster. I saw how they would look at me with pity and yet with no idea how to help me. I sometimes wondered if they thought that my children’s behavior would be catchy as if it were a sickness. Then there were those that thought I was a passive parent that allowed my children to run amuck. Assuming my child was just undisciplined, was really difficult for me. Often I am overly demanding as a parent. I have been told I just need to relax and allow them to make mistakes. In my role as a parent to just let them make their mistakes had not been an option (now that I have teen I learning to do this more and more. I have found that it is actually a good thing and not something to fear as it was when they were small). I was/am organized. I think things through. I plan my trips to stores when I don’t have to take a child. I cook when I know they are self entertained, etc, etc, etc.  All with the express intent to keep them safe and happy as well as not torture the outside world with my so called little hellions. 

Halloween, The one day of the year where we throw the never ending teachings that, we never take candy from strangers, out the window. The one day of the year when bad guys can actually be good guys. The one day where scary is awesome, and we promote it instead of shielding our children from it. That one day of the year where we ignore bedtime organization, diets, germ practices, and so on. Have I said how I dread this holiday? I would very much love to just shut the curtains and pretend it isn’t happening. I just don’t feel that is fair or teaches the right message to my kids.

I stood my ground for years against people and what they think is best for my children. I have ignored the people who have told me that my child just needs a firm spanking, just because that is what worked for them in their time. I have put off people that said to me “well they are just going to have to learn how to act like everyone else”. SORRY NO, THEY AREN”T CATTLE. I have gone outside the box more times than I can count. All in the hopes of a cohesive life. No, not cohesive but, an amazing life. A life where they flourish and become people who can know that there isn’t only one way of doing things. 

Halloween is often a time filled with excessive stimuli. Often for some children it is just too much. Pratus last year couldn’t handle the costume. At 2.5 years old, he hated being dressed in much of anything, much less as a dragon. I thought it was cute until I saw his face and how much this cuteness upset him. He literally had a meltdown over this thing being on him. After a bit of unsuccessful cohersing and trying to convey my pleasure in seeing him as a dragon, I realized he was not going to budge and quickly stripped him of the cuteness. I was really disappointed, but what was worse was how horrible his behavior was after that. He was upset with me. He kept trying to get across how that made him feel, but at 2.5 it all comes out like a demon possession. In both our eyes that Halloween was not one for the happy scrapbooks.

dragon
As good as it got.  😦 only picture where you can’t see tears.

When I first encountered behavior from my children that seemed not like the norm, I jumped to the internet, friends, family, doctors.  Really anyone who I thought could tell me what this was and how to handle it. Doctors said medication helps. My friends were clueless as most had “normal” kids. My family was just as frustrated as I was and really wished I would just keep my kids at home. Then there was the internet and its fountain of information. The internet led me from one unknown to a vast wasteland of people who like me were clueless but, looking for answers. A few sites had some good ideas, but, nothing more than hypotheses, or studies that may be on the verge of something just not there yet, or just outright bullarky!  I remember wading through the mass amounts of crud and finding a few tidbits of actual useful information. It seemed that artificial colors, flavors and preservatives were for a lot of children’s catalysts to unwanted behavior. 

Halloween, a time for colorful treats and CANDY, CANDY, CANDY, CANDY.

I hit rock bottom with my kids when they were very little. I figured it was me, I was not a good parent because I couldn’t make them be like other kids.  I started to change their diets as a pitiful attempt to alter their unruly behavior. I had little faith that it would do anything but, I was desperate. I had no support for this back some 14 years ago. At that time it was medication or just understanding that you had a child with disabilities. It really seemed there was that fine line between a child who thought and acted differently and a child in a wheel chair with a debilitating physical/mental handicap. For years and I do mean years the diet I put them on was met with some of the most horrendous and judgmental views. I thank god that now it is trendy to feed your children “Organic” or  “all natural”. Back then it was truly a fight with everyone. How could I not allow my children to have treats like a “normal” child. There was that word again (as Forest Gump would say “normal is as normal does”). I wanted to just scream at people, “fine I accept I don’t have a normal child and yes, it is my fault”or “I’m sorry, by all mean give my child the cupcake as they are so deprived and it is just cruel”. 

Halloween, makes me cringe, but, this year I have seen some hope. With so many more children out there with allergies or people deciding to eat differently, trick or treating can be hard. This year they have this new thing where a house that has non-candy treats puts up a teal pumpkin (read more about it here). I think that is great, a little hard to see in the dark but, great.

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Teal pumpkin project

Now I am in a whole new world, yet back to the same old adage “your child is not NORMAL”. Pratus thinks differently and acts accordingly. To most a child that skins his knee and then cries is acting normally in a normal situation. When my son skins his knee and has a fit over it people see it as acting abnormally to a normal situation. However, for Pratus he is acting normally to an abnormal situation. He becomes angry and aggressive. At 3 he is mad at the ground for hurting him and mad at himself for being hurt. He struggle to come to me to be comforted. For him a bandaid is just another thing that just doesn’t work. The feel of it is not comforting. So here I am, a mom that just wants to make her child’s boo boo go away. The problem is that I just don’t know how to do it. 

Halloween, Oh how I would love to enjoy your simple fun in a grown up way. I would love to stand side by side with another mom watching our children run up to houses, thier little faces flush with excitement, their little costumes cute and picture worthy. I would love to see candy filling our house with sweetness. I would love to take my teens to a haunted house or even attend a party. That will not be the case for this mom. I will be sending off my teens with the child that can handle it, meaning I stay behind for the child that can’t.

So many people lose out when households have to adjust to situations. I know I am not the only person that has had to make adjustments or allotments for someone. There are just are times where it never becomes easier to accept. 

Halloween, you are one holiday that will have to wait to be celebrated the way you deserve to be. Until then, oh how you cause me so much frustration. I just can’t focus the blame on the child so, you will have to take the brunt of it. Maybe next year we will have learned how to co-mingle until then….BOO! on you.boo font

pirate
Alanso, during his phase for the love for all things pirate.
spooky kid
Sabrina being spooky
kids costumes
Sabrina, Trenton and Dawson the younger years.
chicken
My little sweet chicken Alanso. This is his final year in his favorite costume, I can’t wait to see it go 🙂

When life gives you lemons, turn them into apples and…

Make yummy sweet alchoholic drinks!!!!

Seriously, life has a way of twisting and turning in the most unexpected ways.  This last week I have been up and down, running from one end of town to another and signing my name on documents more times that I can count. So much of my energy has been take up with things that need to get done that there are times when I had to stop and remind myself to just breath. This week I decided also to get myself organized. Not to have any more pity parties (remember I have just recently become a single mother) and to just get stuff done.

I always felt that this kind of thinking was the very stuff that made me feel accomplished and over all just good. I got myself a binder some plastic protective sleeves, some notecards, some deviders, paper and some halfway decent pens. I was supper excited to put my family together an organizer so that we can keep a colective tally on our lives. I so hate kaos but, with 5 kids it seems unavoidable. I was attempting to make things a little less kaotic. Did you know that there are like a million pins on pentrest that are all about keeping organation binders for your family? I did not, for about 5 seconds I thought I was being original, HA HA HA. There are print offs on budgeting, meal planning, kids activities for rainy days, vacination schedules, date nights, calendars, and on and on and on. I was floored. What a very marvolous thing, of course this isn’t a new idea, duh. There have been moms out there trying to keep things to a dull roar in their homes for centuries. Maybe not in a binder per say but,  looking back in history you see some amazingly organized women that accomplish so much and a lot of them with very little.  The whole thing has me extremely proud of my gender! Yes, I know men too can be organized.  I have just not really ran in the same circles as any of them.

One of the things I want to do with my organizer is to print off recipes for things that I have made and loved! Things that I may not make except around holidays and such. For example: I ran accross a recipe for an Apple Pie Sangria: posted by “The Cookie Rookie” that I have just got to try. Just from the ingredients I know this it going to be a favorite. I very much have enjoyed this blog post not only for the yummy ADULT beverage that she posted but, the dog in the photos is hilarious. Let me know if you got the sence that the dog was the true main star of some of the photos.

I am NOT going to show you photos of my binder. It is totally sad in comparison to what people have been able to create, some much so It might as well be called an art form. I will however show you a picture of of an Apple Pie Sangria. 🙂

pie Does that not look delish to you?

Pilates workout

Pilates is one of those amazing workouts that once you start you feel the results the very next day. It is great no matter what you weigh, be it small, tall, old or young. Each excersize can be modified if you have pains or like me a hurt foot. You can do it for a few minutes or as long as you want, you can stop and start there is no need to keep it up for a certain period of time.

The goal of Pilates is not to get your heart rate up and to make you sweat. It is to engage as many muscles in your body at one time. It will make you work, but with such low repetitions you don’t feel over worked. Muscles you never even knew weren’t being flexed get flexed. I can attest to what amazing things happen when you can control the muscles in your body. Lets just say all men and women should do Pilates because when it comes to the bedroom you really notice. Pilates is my all-time favorite workout, I always feel good doing it_______HOLD IT, STOP_____side note here:

I have not always found it a good feeling to see my body so up close and personal But that had nothing to do with the workout but my own self image. Coming to love one’s self is not easy. I think a lot of people suffer from not being able to love themselves when they take a real truthful look in the mirror. We grow up and there are things (such as having babies, age, weight, life in general) that permanently mars that youthful skin. Someone once talked openly about how they never would allow photos to be taken of themselves because they hated how they looked. She never wanted a reminder of it and feared people would see her the way she say herself. It was the saddest article I had ever read. I sobbed for her pain and realized it was because I have been there and still struggle to not be there. Things can’t change until we change them. Things won’t be accepted unless we accept them. I really think the AA has it right with their mantra of: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Post it on a wall, write it on a mirror, live it, teach it! 

mirror face 

People often put off working out because it is too hard. Going to the gym takes time and money. Those info commercials for the ultimate device that will sculpt the perfect body for you are a joke. Running and all those fat burning workouts are a one timer for so many Because in the end they leave feeling wore out and disappointed at the sheer amount of work it took. Not to mention how they feel the next day. NO THANKS! If you’re not already fit those workouts are just torturer. Pilates works on strengthening muscles all over your body to allow you to do things. Example: I tore a muscle by simply stretching and coughing at the same time when I was pregnant with Pratus. I was terrified I’d end up not being able to go into labor because of the pain. My body was tired, stretched to the limits, the muscles were not toned and struggled to hold all the pressure that was placed on them.

Pilates invented by Joseph Pilates works on building up your core muscles as its main objective. I know for me that once I feel strong on the inside I feel strong everywhere. I am working with a few every inexpensive things in own space with nothing more than a camping mat (it’s what I had on hand). 1) A book; the Pilates Body By Brooke Siler (got mine at a second-hand sale for $0.50)  2) Youtube video; Pilates 30 Minutes Exercises Full Workout Doing at Home!

The very first piece of Pilates I learned.

TheHundredhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO4vb678un8

Sage and fall treats

sage and pratus
Sage and Baby Pratus

sage tree3sage leaves

It is that time of the year when all I want to do is bake warm yummy comfort foods. If I could do them with anybody it would be with my moms cousin Sage.

Every year I swoon over all the pictures of baked goods she makes. Apple Pies, pumpkin bread, cookies, cakes, you name it she seems to be enjoying them. In the future I hope to share many of her recipes.

My single serving healthy delicious Apple crisp 

  • 1 small organic apple pealed, sliced and tossed with 1/8 t lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 to 1 whole packet stevia in the raw

Mix these items well and place in an oven safe custard cup or ramekin.

Topping

  • 1 Tablespoon gluten-free old fashion oats (you could also just do more almond meal if you are going Paleo)
  • 1 Tablespoon Almond meal (or almond flour same thing)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter (yes you could replace it with melted coconut oil)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Truvia brown sugar

Mix in a bowl with a fork until crumbly and sprinkle on top of apple mix. Bake in 350*F oven for about 25 min or until apples are to the firmness you desire. Cool a bit and enjoy

This recipe is under 250 calories verses regular apple crisp is over 370 calories for the same size serving.

sage apples
Feebee checking out the Apples from Apple Charley’s in New Boston MI

I would love visiting Apple Charley’s apple orchard every year. There is nothing better than picking your own apples to work up an appetite for this desert.