Saturday Sharing… A little bit of…

Everything! This week was a weird and off week. We had a massive snow storm. We got I think about 16 inches of snow. It drifted like mad because of winds so who knows how much actually. After the snow moved out this weird thing called a polar vortex moved right back in and we were looking at -16 temps with wind chill levels of -45. And just when we started to thaw out and thought our pipes had survived our water started making weird sounds. We panicked thinking for sure our pipes were frozen. But then we learned our city had a massive water main break. And no I didn't plan for that with bottled water. We had no water at all for most of the day. We finally got everyone back to school yesterday! 

So what I learned in this snow storm is I love my girls so very much! But I have been spoiled by the distractions that school provide. It is a break for all of us and I come home and enjoy them even more. Maybe it was the fact that our Christmas Vacation ended up being almost three weeks long. I am not sure. But by about Thursday we all were kind of grumpy with one another. But boy did we have so much fun this week. We were just running out of things to do and TV was getting boring. 

Trigeminal Neuralgia Sharing…

I realized this week that TN is not even recognized or diagnosed in most people until well after it is developed and the problem is a huge issue! My guy's path is like many others. Usually it is diagnosed as a sinus issue or a TMJ issue. We were the latter. But thankfully, Mayo Clinic is the leading expert on TN and really leading the charge and training doctors all over to deal with it. As well, the United States is one of the leading nations in treatment and most people who suffer but don't live in the US travel here for treatment. Almost all doctors that treat or do surgery on TN have been trained by a Mayo doctor. I know know that The Facial Pain Association is working very hard to raise money for TN and raise awareness. Their site has provided me with so much information and was actually given to me by our new neurologist's nurse. 

Teaching Sharing….

And to do a complete 180 on topics I wanted to share a few apps, websites that I love to use in my GPclassroom. Gradebook Pro is my favorite by far. What I like about Gradebook Pro is it is a back up to my computer gradebook. Now I do not keep my grades in there. I keep track of attendance, behavior and repeated missing homework assignments. I like it more for my calls to parents. That is kind of my thing. I constantly call parents to say the good, bad and ugly. I use gradebook pro to document, keep track and back up what my school supplied software already says. As well, I can control it more than the school supplied software. Now you can get free apps to do similiar functions but they were cumbersome to me. And most teachers can tell you cumbersome takes way too long. Therefore, I paid for this app. But it has paid me back tenfold! 

My second most used app is Showbie. My district actually just purchased Showbie Pro for us but I have been using it for awhile. I downloaded it last year and determined I would use it this year and I 20130204-213431 have. My district used My Big Campus but I find My Big Campus so inconsistent and aggravating. And everytime I think I will give it a chance it disappoints. Showbie allows me to share files with my students, allows them to turn in assignments and I can respond back to their papers by writing on it them, leaving them a voice file or just responding in a note. For an English teacher it is so valuable especially if you want to be digital. The nice thing to is that it has a web interface you can use when you need it. I prefer the Ipad version, but the web interface comes in handy at times. It will also share reminders with the students if needed. 

The close second to showbie is ITunes U. I have most whole class set up on Itunes U. This is so Itunesuvaluable because you can post all you need to and the kids have access and as long as they download while they have Wifi it is placed on their ipad and they will not need wifi to reference later. I can't always assume my students will have access to wifi, so this is SOOOOOO valuable. It also allows me to flip my classroom some. If you keep it under 50 students you can keep it private. Actually I have 140 students this semester but I split it up. I clump them together into two classes and able to keep it under 50. You can break it up anyway you want and are able to customize a lot! After researching I realized it has a web interface as well. They don't necessarily advertise that, but I prefer to download initially through there. I just googled and book marked "Itunes Course Manager" and never had a problem since. I also use it to send out reminders to my students. 

The next app I like it is 'werdsmith' which is advertised as a writing studio. I think my students like Werdsmith to maneuver outside of the usual places like 'pages' on their ipad. This app I have used and enjoy. It has a share feature that allows them to email me their work. I only really use it in my creative writing course. We provide the students with old school composition notebooks, but some want an alternative electronic version of that. This is the best app I have found to do that. Now pages will work as well, but this has some other nicer features that allow them to be more creative. And since it is creative writing then why not? As well look at the adorable icon. That has every high schoolers interest immediately. No really it is just nice because it makes them feel like a writer. So many kids walk into my class and don't see themselves as writers. They often come in saying, "I am horrible at writing" or "I hate writing" and then they see all their writing in one place and realize they are writers. This app helps that and helps me to have it all in one spot! 

There of course are quite a few others, but this is already getting longer than I intended so there you go! 

Cooking Sharing…

With my guy's limited diet lately I have been exploring a new culinary world of soft foods. And since we are struggling to get calories into him even with added proteins I have been making pies like no one's business. I have always been a pie maker. But usually my signature pie is apple. I don't really do custards or puddings. But since we are talking limited diet I am learning how. His favorite and my favorite to make is sugar cream pie. It is a staple here in Indiana. But I have experimented and the absolute best pie I have found to make and the easiest was this one. It turns out so creamy and delicious. 

The second thing we made that I didn't expect my guy to like but he actually did was cheeseburger pie soup. I had a recipe from pinterest but I tweaked it to suit his needs. Basically you fry half a pound of hamburger. I did lean and then I ran it through the blender. You add in two cans of cheese soup ( I did campbells low fat). And add in two cups of milk. Toss in the hamburger and let it cook for about a half an hour and it is ready to serve. I also blended in three strips of lean bacon with the hamburger to make it bacon cheeseburger soup. 

I know neither of these recipes are the healthiest variety. And if I could add in greens and veggies to his diet I try. But he is so limited in his diet as in he is a meat and potatoes variety kind of man. I have gotten him to venture out with this new diet more than I expected him too. As well, when I can I sneak in stuff. Right now I am doing all of his cooking unless we have a pizza night or something. 

Oh and scrambled eggs are his best friend. I usually make them daily. 

Travel Sharing…

Before officially TN struck our home we were thinking about what we wanted to do this summer. Do we want to go on another family vacation? Do we want to send them on spring break (mine is a different time)? Do we want to do none of that and get new carpet and work on a few things for our house? Who knows what tomorrow will bring? We have all our plans on hold. We were thinking Outer Banks or that area this summer. We wanted some mountain driving and the beach. However, the girls were all really wanting to Mountains again. We just wanted affordable. Therefore we shall see. 

And on that note  I will wrap up my Saturday Sharing…


Do overs…

So Bloggy Mommy blog dare prompts are kinda meh for me. I am not feeling as inspired by some of them. Some of it is because they seem negative to me or negative things are popping up in my head. But also I just feel meh about em. I thought maybe I would reblog one of my good blogs from mommyrhetoric blog over at wordpress and I do believe folks that has inspired something in me. 

Some of the inspiration is wanting me to pack up and punch myself square in the face. The old me. She is kind of clueless. She is kind of unjaded. And more importantly…she is a survivor. But when I look at where my head was at and where it is I just think sometimes I want do overs. 

I captured these tiny moments where amazing things were happening that weren't so tiny. Maybe it was our first family vacation or a kiss snuck in when you thought no one was looking. When you are living those moments you don't realize how amazing they are. They feel normal, natural and just life like. 

But then four, five, six months later you look at them and you see happiness, love and pride and you think, "Dang, where was I?" Guess what dear blog readers, you are coming down memory lane with me. Something I think you will all appreciate. If not humor me and I will never know. 












These pics are proof that, "life is not measured in the amount of breaths you take, but in the moments that take your breath away" (George Strait). And if you need more proof I just remembered how to access my Flickr account that I have had since 2007. Yes…FLICKR…Go NOW!

Just Write: Notice the Changes?

I made an executive decision yesterday about my blogging my husbands health. I really know there is a story there to tell as a caregiver and wife and I need to create awareness. I need to expose this disease and get people to listen. I can do this because it is kind of what I do. However, until I figure out how to do that in a manner I am comfortable with. And in a way I  don't second guess the whole time by saying, "How much is too much?" I won't be blogging about it much. 


Some of my reasons are really personal and I have no desire to publically air them. And some of the other reasons are that it leaves us both very vunerable. I feel the strongest urge to protect him. To protect his story and to protect my heart from reactions of others and from reliving what we are going through. Simply put, my plate is full, my focus is very much centered on this right now. I need a place where I can come and talk about something else.

As a public writer you air your business publically. With that comes the good and bad and usually I am willing to accept it considering I have blogged in some form or another for 13 years of my 17 years with my guy. Most of the time the cost was one I was willing to pay. But for some reason I am not with this. Not yet.

I know I will write his story and my own. I am just not sure of the medium or even what I want to say. The medium may only ever be for me. That doesn't mean it will be the one big part of my life that I never talk about here. I can't deny my reality. And this is most certainly it for now. But I can choose to talk about what I know I am comfortable with.  

The support I have gotten has been so amazing and brought me to my knees in tears many times. And from the most unlikely places. But there are also the down sides to publically writing and it is the comments people make intentionally or unintentionally that hurt. This isn't about calling them out; it is about saying my heart can't handle it. My heart is so full with love and worry right now I don't have time. I need peace. You wanna critcize me on my parenting, teaching, blogging I say, "Come at me bro, I can handle it!" But not on this. 

I just want to say thank you to you all for your concern and know I will keep you updated as best I can through facebook or Twitter @mommyrhetoric. I will share. I am honestly way more open about all of it on Twitter than Facebook. Mostly because my baby girls are not there. But warning now, sometimes it ain't pretty! And I will never ever lose that sense of just sharing my truth. That is the biggest lesson I feel like I am meant to teach in this world. To inspire, teach and create truth.  

Who touched the…

Who touched the darn thermostat? Good grief is it ever cold. So I live in Indiana. And Indiana got dumped on yesterday! We got a huge snow storm followed by blizzard conditions followed by some SNOW1sort of thing they are calling an artic blast. 

It is no secret that I hate cold weather. Or at least I don't think it is. People that live in colder climates confuse me. People that seek out colder climates for fun confuse me. I don't judge you. For me it is insane. I often wonder how I ended up in Indiana and then stayed here. 

Once it is cold enough where I gotta wear a jacket I get whiney. Then add in that it was -18 tonight and I have to do cold weather chores and eww. Today in my home that the thermostat is set on 72 I am wearing long underwear, jeans, three pairs of socks, a long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt. Brr. Admittedly some of that is because I am super lazy! I got tired of taking it all off to take the dog pee so I just left it on. 

It was especially special when I went outside this AM to dig myself out after the city plowed our street and in turn plowed a foot of snow at the end of my driveway. I feel like the snow is a huge freaking metaphor for what we are facing with my guy's TN. Every single step of that battle has had snow storms pushing my patience. And in turn the storms (or the snow) are on the receiving end of my frustration! 

This morning was no different. I bundled up. No actually my guy bundled me because I was so ridiculously layered that I couldn't finish the job. I get out there about all of a minute and I came back in because too much of my face was exposed and it was burning. So I wore my guy's TN mask for outside. Problem solved. I began to dig and neighbors took pity on me and helped out. My snot kept freezing and my tears in my eye balls felt like they were freezing. When I was trying to breathe it kept getting harder and harder because the moisture from my breath in the mask was freezing and then I couldn't catch my breath. I came in to blow my nose and ended up blowing snot all over my guys mask. 

It was a fine mess. But I survived and even built an igloo type thing for puppy to pee in so that she Pupwould be protected from the wind. Poor girl needed something because she looked at me like I was a crazy lady when I said, "Let's go pee!" The upside is two extra days off school for the snow and temps. Although I will pay for that. 

So for today's blog dare challenge prompt it is who touched the thermostat. Mother Nature I get it, you are peeved at something or someone. I am too and I am not sure who direct it to. But if it is at me I am telling you to bring it. I will win! Give me all you got I will win! 
The Blog Dare on Bloggy Moms

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Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

I did this (Made the eggrolls)


Yeah. (Made the fresh from scratch salsa)


Yeah. (From scratch pie and sugar  cream inside it)



The theme for today's BloggyMom's Blog Dare is yeah, yeah, yeah. The only connection I could honestly make is the massive amounts of food I have made for my family the last two weeks. However, here are some of favorites. All of them are from scratch with no boxed anything! 

The Blog Dare on Bloggy Moms

She just keeps rolling.

Yesterday I started hearing about this monster storm coming directly at me. I realized I had plans Saturday to celebrate a birthday and Christmas with a dear friend and her little girl. I realized said storm and date I wouldn't miss meant I had to brave my local walmart on the day the news announced the end of the world was coming. That is a whole nother post for another time. 

Anyway, I did my motherly duty and went to do my bi-weekly grocery shopping trip and while doing it noticed I was incredibly hungry. And even worse realized I had not eaten all day. Minus some caffiene occasionally to keep me going I realized it was 7:30 and I had ingested nothing. 

I decided the lack of calories for the day may allow me to splurge a little and I purchased stuff to make my wholemade from scratch eggrolls. A task I do about once or twice a year because honestly it is a job! Finally around 8:30 I got around to making them and knew it would be a while before eating. And yes I realize it is way too late to be eating but I was starving folks. 

Well I set up shop to do this task and I realized I had a very intrigued helper. My #2 loves to help me cook. She especially loves it when it is foods we don't normally eat. Egg rolls are kinda of my thing. I eat them when my guy is out or when I am worrying about no one else but me. No one else really even considers them. Who knows why, but I figure more for me to stock my freezer with! 

So with a sous chef by my side we walked through every step of the egg roll making process. I Eggroll1explained why we were doing what we were doing and let her run the show. For starters I brown a high quality sausage. I prefer just a salt and pepper variety. I ended up running sausage through blender for my guy to have it in a recipe for later and I actually think it made the end product eggroll better because I prefer smaller pieces of sausage. 

Then make sure you blot out as much grease as you can from the sausage. The less grease the better. Then you toss in a full package of cole slaw into the pan you browned the sausage in. No dressing, just the cabbage and carrots. You can cut your own and add in more veggies. I prefer the package because it is easy. Toss the sausage in with the cole slaw mix. Add in 2-3 TBSP of soy sauce. You can add more or less or none at all. This is totally a preference. Let it cook down and steam. It should go down about 50% and that is the indicator it is done. 

Then place it into a bowl and get your egg roll wrappers out. I usually find these by tofu and what not in my grocery store. I get a small bowl of water to help seal the eggrolls. Then this is where things I think got tricky for #2. She was scared. I kept impressing upon her you cannot go wrong here. The one main goal is that you have no open areas where the stuff inside can sneak outside. So it has to be a tight roll. The package tells you how to roll, but I have done this for so many years I have adapted it. It doesn't matter your method but the tighter the roll the more pleased you will be with the texture inside. As I told #2 you want to have soft and yummy (not greasy and crispy) inside. I warn you now. This will make a lot. The more you stuff inside an egg roll the less you will have. I usually stuff them with about 2-3 TBSP of stuff. 

Then from here you must decide if you are a fryer or a ovener. I think both methods work great and have similiar results. Usually for me it is about time. If I have more time I will bake. If you do that try a 350 degree oven and then you need to spray with Pam or paint with olive oil or vegetable Eggroll2oil. I would say about 20-25 minutes. But I always watch and just make sure they are crispy on the outside like an egg rolls should be. 

If you are fryer there are also two methods. You can shallow fry or deep fry. I prefer shallow. The deeper makes the oil seep in and is ruins texture and it is just meh. The shallow fry though you must keep an eye on it. I turn heat up and wait till it is warm enough that the egg roll talks back when you put it in pan. Usually keep it on each side for about a 1 to 1 and half minutes. 

You can serve with just plain soy sauce, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce or even hot sauce. You are only limited by your own imagination. You can also substitute the sausage for chicken, pulled pork, steak or shrimp. You can also go totally vegetarian with straight slaw. 

I always end up with extras to freeze. So make sure you either freeze them on a tray apart from one another or wrap them individually to freeze. They will stick and you will not like the result. So take Eggroll3 my advice and save yourself a headache. 

The best part of this whole eggroll experience is that my baby girl got to cook it with me and she tried them. My other two and my guy don't even try them. She at least tried them. And guess what….SHE LOVED THEM! 


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