Our Family

 

  Texting my son with special needs.  If you have followed our site for awhile you know my oldest son was born missing the left side of his heart. Yes he only has half a heart, he has HypoplasticLeft Heart Syndrome. He was very sick for the first 4 years of his life. We lived in and out of hospitals all over the northwest.  This boy is a fighter, over 14 surgeries he defied the odds and is still with us.  This week something special happened. He sent me a text message.hypoplastic-left-heart-syndrome-texting-my-son-with-special-needs-special-needs-children-each-child-reaches-milestones-at-differnt-rates-simple-joys

That being said he does struggle in some areas. Matthew is very small for his age, and he is also developmentally delayed.   He spends his school days in a special needs program. He is an 8th grader, but is still working at a 1st grade level.  We are so proud of the progress he has made. Sure he is not at the same pace as his peers.  But he is making progress and we celebrate each step forward he takes.

He learned that our cell phones have something called “texting” on them.  And if he looks up Uncle John or Granny’s name he can send them a message. Technically he is not suppose to text without asking. But often he sends a  2-3 word message that might say something like, “Football now” or “Come play”.  He sends a text once a month or so.  But I personally have never gotten a text from him before.

We do not text and drive!

We have a rule in our house, that we do not text and drive. So if I get a message while driving my 11 year old daughter will grab the phone and text for me. She has been doing this for years now.  So this week when I sent my husband a message and he was driving Matthew grabbed the phone and decided he would text for his Dad. This would be the first time he had done that. So I was not expecting him to reply.  This is how our conversation went.

hypoplastic-left-heart-syndrome-texting-my-son-with-special-needs-special-needs-children-each-child-reaches-milestones-at-differnt-rates-simple-joys

 

  Texting my son with special needs

Mom: How is it going

Son: My ibid (did) good

Mom : Is this Matthew or Dad

Son: Matter (Matthew) Dad Driving

Mom: Did you go to the doctor yet?

Son: Come home

Mom Ok love you

Son: Ok (then he sent me the score from last nights football game)

I was smiling ear to ear!

Now to most people this is not a big deal. In fact most people would focus on his bad spelling and lack of sentence structure.  But for me I was smiling ear to ear. This was the first time I had ever had a text conversation with my 14 year old son, and I could actually read it. I knew what he was trying to say. He was so proud of himself,  he was helping text so Daddy could just drive.  Just like his younger sister always does for Mom.

We find joy when any of our 5 children succeed. Yet somehow it seems a little more special when your child who has struggled and worked so hard takes another step forward.  Sure his 6 year old brother can do the same thing, maybe even a better job.  But that only makes this very first text to me so very sweet. I sure am proud of you buddy… and NO this does not mean you can now have your own phone. One step at a time, remember :).

If you would like to read more about Matthew and Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, feel free to read more about him on his heart page.

 

 

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What to Take on a Day Hike

Day hike in the outdoors can be a fun and relaxing activity for your family or friends. But the simple idea of a day hike can actually catch many people off guard if something happens. Don’t get stuck unprepared.

What to take on a day hike, Hiking tips. Summer activies with the family #Hike, #hiking

Going on a hike can be a fun and relaxing time for families and friends. There is nothing quite like heading to the trail and breathing in that fresh air. You should come prepared, though, in order to make sure you have a good of a time as you can! Just because it is just for the day or even an hour or two, many issues can come up causing a kink in the plans.  Here are some tips for taking what you need on a hike.

What to Take on a Hike

Water

Plenty of water for everyone. This may mean that everyone needs to carry their own, but it is vitally important that you stay hydrated when outdoors in the heat doing any exercise. Depending on how far or how long you intend to go, one bottle of water may not be enough. Pack accordingly. Even these little water filter straws can be a life saver in an emergency.

First Aid

A mini-first aid kit. You never know what will happen when you are outdoors. You don’t need to pack a bunch of things in your mini first aid kit, but be sure to pack some tweezers (for splinters), bandages in a couple different sizes, anti-bacterial ointment, an ace bandage, an instant ice pack, bug spray and bug bite treatment.

Suncreen

Sunscreen. This is especially important if you intend to be out for a while or your hike is long. You may sweat and although many sunscreens are now waterproof, you will still need to apply more as the day goes on just to be sure you are well covered. Even in the cooler fall and winter months you can get a sunburn.

Energy

High protein and high carb snacks. Things like cliff bars, shelf stable meat, jerky, cheese and crackers and granola bars are great for hikes. They are portable, don’t take up much room and give your body what it needs to keep going.

Map

A map of the area you are hiking. Even if you are very familiar with the trail, it is always a good idea to bring a map. You never know what can happen, so be prepared. And let someone know who isn’t going with you where you will be going, exactly. That way if you or someone you are with gets hurt and a search and rescue team has to come get you, they won’t be spending all of their time searching.

Clothing

Extra socks for everyone. The weather is an unpredictable force to be reckoned with and especially at higher elevations; a nice sunny day can suddenly become a rainy or even snowy one. Making sure you have dry socks to wear will be important not only for comfort but for safety and will keep the chance of blisters down to a minimum. Even though you are planning a day hike, bring something in case the the weather turns and it gets cold. Stay warm is a key factor to making it a great hike.

Protection

Sunglasses and lip balm. Just as important as taking care of your skin in the sun is taking care of your eyes and lips. It will be easier for you to see without glares and it will protect your eyes from harmful UVB rays. Also, it is easy to get dry lips when at higher elevations due to decreased hydration and wind.

Lighting

A flashlight or headlamp. While you may intend on going out just for the day and heading back before it gets dark, it is easy to get lost in time when hiking as you will probably be having a lot of fun. Take headlamps or flashlights for everyone in your party so getting back at dusk is much easier.

Weather

Cold weather clothing options. Even if it is warm now, it could turn cooler as you head higher up and as the day gets later. And if something wee to happen forcing you to be there into the night, warm clothing will be a must. Make sure to bring a jacket, hat and gloves so everyone stays warm and comfortable. Most important, have fun and enjoy making memories.

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How to make Butter – Homemade Butter in a Jar

How to make butter

It’s Matt. I made Butter in a Jar back when I was a kid at a youth activity. Making butter at home was very easy and just took some time. So the other day at the store I grabbed some Heavy Whipping Cream and planned a night with the kids to make show them how to make homemade butter. It is really easy and will provide some tasty and easily homemade butter!

How to make butter

home made butter in jar

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream – any amount 6 cups makes about 1 pound of butter
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon per pound of butter- optional, used for preserving butter
  • Jar – with lid, any size, baby food jars are great for kids to make it with

home made butter heavy whipping creamDirections:

Pour Heavy Whipping Cream into jars no more then 3/4 the way full. It is best to leave room for the shaking and turning action. Next begin shaking! And Shake and Shake. Some music to shake too makes it fun for the kids and helps pass time. Something with a fun and quick beat. The best way I figured to shake the jar was to hold it length wise in my hands with the lid in my palms and the base of the jar wedge in my forearms.

It takes about 5 minutes before you notice a thickening forming in the jar. This heaviness is the beginning of the fat changing and sticking together. At this point you really just have a thick whip cream in the jar. Keep shaking. At this point the jar edges will look like:
home made butter foam

 

As another 5-10 minutes pass you will notice the jar filling with the foamy cream.  It feels as if there is no room in the jar as the thick Heavy Cream is aerated even more with the shaking, but keep shaking. It will look like this:

 

home made butter cream

Keep shaking and don’t stop you are almost done when it gets thick. I have heard some add a large marble to the thick foam. But I don’t think it really matters. Just the pressure of the shaking will continue the fat to congeal together. Don’t worry if you don’t think the foam is “churning” or rotating in the jar, gravity and pressure is still working to form the butter.
Before you know it you will see the foam separate and a thin liquid forms in the jar. That thin liquid is buttermilk! The butter is in the last few moments of shaking. Keep shaking until the butter or mass inside is a consistent size.
home made butter buttermilk
At this point you can separate the buttermilk out and save it for biscuits or pancakes and other fun recipes. Then you can add the 1/2 teaspoon salt which is optional. Some say the taste is different, but the main reason is to preserve the butter. Now with the remaining butter you can place it in a small container for refrigeration and easy of using it. So congrats you just made you own butter!  Enjoy your work!
home made butter bowl
As the butter sets you may see drips of buttermilk on the butter. Just let it drip off and drain.
home made butter
DIY - Homemade butter in a jar
 
Recipe type: Condiments
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • Heavy Whipping Cream - any amount 6 cups makes about 1 pound of butter
  • Salt - ½ teaspoon per pound of butter- optional, used for preserving butter
  • Jar - with lid, any size, baby food jars are great for kids to make it with
  • home made butter heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Pour Heavy Whipping Cream into jars no more then ¾ the way full. It is best to leave room for the shaking and turning action. Next begin shaking! And Shake and Shake. Some music to shake too makes it fun for the kids and helps pass time. Something with a fun and quick beat. The best way I figured to shake the jar was to hold it length wise in my hands with the lid in my palms and the base of the jar wedge in my forearms.
  2. It takes about 5 minutes before you notice a thickening forming in the jar. This heaviness is the beginning of the fat changing and sticking together. At this point you really just have a thick whip cream in the jar. Keep shaking. At this point the jar edges will look like:
  3. home made butter foam
  4. As another 5-10 minutes pass you will notice the jar filling with the foamy cream. It feels as if there is no room in the jar as the thick Heavy Cream is aerated even more with the shaking, but keep shaking.
  5. Keep shaking and don't stop you are almost done when it gets thick. I have heard some add a large marble to the thick foam. But I don't think it really matters. Just the pressure of the shaking will continue the fat to congeal together. Don't worry if you don't think the foam is "churning" or rotating in the jar, gravity and pressure is still working to form the butter.
  6. Before you know it you will see the foam separate and a thin liquid forms in the jar. That thin liquid is buttermilk! The butter is in the last few moments of shaking. Keep shaking until the butter or mass inside is a consistent size.
  7. home made butter buttermilk
  8. At this point you can separate the buttermilk out and save it for biscuits or pancakes and other fun recipes. Then you can add the ½ teaspoon salt which is optional. Some say the taste is different, but the main reason is to preserve the butter. Now with the remaining butter you can place it in a small container for refrigeration and easy of using it. So congrats you just made you own butter! Enjoy your work!
  9. home made butter bowl
  10. As the butter sets you may see drips of buttermilk on the butter. Just let it drip off and drain.

If you enjoyed making your own butter, then you will enjoy making your own cheese!

DIY Make your own Cheese

 

 

IDEAS ON USING & PRESERVING APPLES

 

 

 

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How to make Freezer Corn – Sweet Corn Recipe

How to make freezer corn, Easy Sweet corn recipe for begingers so easy anyone can make it, garden cooking made easy, A Thrifty Mom.com How to make Freezer Corn – Sweet Corn Recipe

I had a friend ask me how to make Freezer Corn so I thought I would share this post again. As you can tell by the photos this post was written and first published several years back.  Look how cute and little my kids are 🙂 But I did update it with some better images of the finished product, feel free to pin them!

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Growing up in large family, my Mom made sure we knew how to take our produce and can or freeze it.  So I learned how to make freezer corn at a young age.  In doing this we were able to save hundreds of dollars a year.  My Dad is a farmer, he normally grows  corn that is called field corn, which grows VERY tall.  It is grown to chop up, stalks and all to feed to our dairy cows.  But my Dad also grows a few large rows of sweet corn, which my whole family looks forward to every year.  If you have ever had fresh tender sweet corn picked right from the field, it is so yummy.  Nothing like what you buy from the store.

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This year my Dad picked me a large sack of corn.  It is now time for me to teach my little ones how to make freezer corn, just as my parents taught me.  So we shucked the corn out on the lawn, to keep the mess outside.  My kids were such good little helpers!  They got the giggles every time one of the ears of corn had lots of corn silk, they would say ” yuck I got a hairy one”

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After about 30 mins we were able to bring the cleaned corn back into the house to get it ready to cook.

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In a large pot bring you water up to a boil, then add in your corn.  In my pot I was able to do about 10 at a time.  The corn is cold so it will take a minutes for the water to start to boil again, after it comes back to a boil cook it for 3-5 minutes.

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After 3-5 mins, take out of the pot and  put in a sink full of ice water.  This will cool the corn down and let you handle it better.

020

After a few minutes in the ice water, take out and put on a towel to drain the water off.

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Take your knife and run it down the corn cob and cut all the corn off.

018

I then take about 2 1/2 cups of corn, and put it into a quart sized freezer bag.  Try to get out as much of the air as you can, then seal it closed.  They will need to lay flat till they are cooled to room temp. At this point you just need to write the date on it and stack it in your freezer.  I was able to get 21 bags of corn.  This is one of my families favorites, and we look forward to eating it over the next year!

When you get ready to cook it, take it out of the freezer. You can thaw it in the refrigerator the day before, but I do not normally think ahead like that. So I cook it a glass container with a lid on high for 5-7 minutes.  I season it with butter, salt and pepper and sometimes a little bbq sauce.

Update* Now that my family has grown, I put 4 cups into a gallon freezer bag.  This is enough for a side for a larger family.

022It did take some work, but it was FREE and well worth the time. Hope you take the time to try this out, not that you know how to make freezer corn.

Watch our recorded Live Facebook video on How to Make Freezer Corn

How to make freezer corn, Easy Sweet corn recipe for begingers so easy anyone can make it, garden cooking made easy, A Thrifty Mom.com

Also make sure you check out our Sweet Corn Cheesy Potato Chowder Recipe – So easy to make, from start to eating in less then 20 mins!

Sweet-Corn-and-Potato-Cheesy-Chowder-Easy-20-minute-dinner-recipe-soup-recipes-fresh-corn-recipes-easy-dinner-ideas-fast-soup-recipes-

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