Saturday, January 31, 2009

Enchiladas Con Pollo

There's something about cold weather that makes me want to stay home and cook! However, between working on leftovers and eating out a couple of times, I haven't gotten to make all of the recipes that I was planning on this week. I still plan to make them in the next few days. I won't give you a blow by blow of our daily meals, and I don't have all of the recipes written down. But in case anyone else likes finding new recipes to try, read on.

We have made the Absent Cook Stew twice now (only once this week), inspired by my second-cousin, Kim. We used her additions as well as mushrooms and a little sherry. Wayne really loves this recipe and is now finding more crock pot recipes to try.

Another night, I made Enchiladas Con Pollo from the Women of Great Taste cookbook (Junior League of Wichita). I love just about anything with green chilies!

Enchiladas Con Pollo
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 can (4 1/2 ounces) green chilies
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (I think I added 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
12 (8-inch) flour tortillas (At 10 tortillas, I ran out of filling and my pan was full, so I stopped there).
4 cups cooked, diced chicken breast
4 cups (16 ounces) grated Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (I didn't have these, but it would have been good)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch casserole dish. Melt butter, add flour, stir until smooth and cook for one minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Stir in sour cream, green chilies, salt and pepper. Pour half the sauce in the bottom of prepared pan. Soften tortillas in microwave for ten seconds. Combine chicken, 2 cups cheese and 1/2 cup onions. Place 1/2 cup of chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up and place in baking dish seam side down. (Good luck with not dropping a little of the filling on the way to the pan as I seemed to do with every one). Pour remaining sauce over top. Bake uncovered for 2o minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and onions. Bake for 5 minutes.
Serves 8-10.

Allergy update

We are still trying to figure out what Tyler is allergic to. I am very happy that we don't think he is allergic to flour, cheese or eggs!! (We tried eggs for breakfast this morning).

In my talking about wondering what it is, Tyler makes sure to tell me that it is a mystery that we'll never know.

Tonight, he told me,

"All the food I don't like makes me allergic. There's only one fing I don't like. Mix."

What in the world is Mix?

in his father's footsteps

Yesterday, Tyler walked by mannequins at the mall. He looked up, waved and said, "hello ladies."

Apparently that's how Wayne greeted women when he was a little guy.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Double Chocolate Dream Cookies

I made these cookies for the first time this week. The recipe is from my Nestle best-loved cookies cookbook. I made them because of Tyler's request for a "chocolate-chocolate cookie."

Double Chocolate Dream Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened (I used margarine)
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz pkg) Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets for 3 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tyler declared that they were very good, but especially good with "a bite of cookie, then a drink of milk, then another bite of cookie." I will definitely make these gooey, chocolaty cookies again!

I have some new recipes to try this week, so I may have more recipes on the way...

Friday, January 23, 2009

the Ty man

Today we looked at a couple of preschools. It was a little weird to be home again this week, though I'm not complaining! We've decided that if there is room, we'll send Tyler to Little Lambs preschool next year. It is based at a Mennonite Brethren church close to our house. We like the small class size, they are licensed with the state and most importantly, we felt very comfortable there. Hopefully, there will be room for him.

An allergy update...kind of. I was pretty sure that Tyler's incident earlier this week was an allergic reaction to penicillin. This evening, however, he broke out in hives again. YIKES! We'll have to start a methodical process of figuring out what the culprit is. I gave him Benadryl as soon as I noticed, so let's hope that preempts another incident like Monday's. I sure hope he's not allergic to eggs. They are his favorite food and they seem to be in so many things.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

new camera

Wayne has been playing around with his new camera this week. This is probably my favorite series of shots.


Pat wrestling with the boys last week.

Wayne trying out his new camera.


Saturday evening we had friends over for a Quelf party. (Quelf is a game I gave Wayne for Christmas - it's random and more fun with a group). We had a great time. The kids did a good job of playing nicely, which made it easier for us to play our silly game.

Scary hair...scary face!

Mummy Mark

Panic feels like a lot has happened since my last post.

It started in the afternoon with that red, swollen spot on Tyler's leg. He had a welt/hive on his back. As the evening went along, he complained of the back of his knees hurting, saying it was hard to walk. I thought at that point that he was probably tired from his trike ride to and from our close park and his playing and running at the other park.

I put hydrocortisone cream on these spots, and it helped with the itching and a bit with the redness and pain. But, in the evening, we noticed his hands were swelling and a bit red. That's when he said, "my body is shutting down. What does it mean when my body is shutting down?" And, "I want the nurse to look at my bumps." So, I called the nurse-on-call who agreed with my assessment that he was having some sort of allergic reaction. I went out to get Benadryl. When I got home with it, I noticed that his left foot became swollen and it was painful for him to walk. We considered taking him to the emergency room, but at that point, it was getting late and Tyler was nodding off saying he didn't want to go anywhere. Wayne and I were both uneasy, and unsure what was the best thing to do.

By this point, I felt panicked. I had all kinds of worries running through my head. I put him to bed, and made my own bed on the floor next to his bed. (Of course, I couldn't sleep and did what I know not to do - I went to the Internet to check for symptoms). Throughout the night, with fears of necrosis or anaphylactic shock, I checked for breathing.

When I arrived at work, I requested keeping my cell phone on during our morning training. I started to explain what had been going on, and why I had gone to work (I had created the power point presentation for the morning's in-service and felt that I had no excuse not to go since Wayne was home with Tyler). But being a very understanding principal, she told me that I should go home. After getting my power point set up and explained, I did just that.

The ARNP who saw Tyler initially thought it could have been a strep rash. The strep test was tough for Tyler. Since she didn't get it the first time she put the swab in his throat, he was not about to make the same mistake again, and refused to open his mouth. She made me hold him down, she held his nose shut and poked around until she finally got it...and it was negative.

She said that he had not gotten a spider bite. She was skeptical that it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic he had just finished. She thought it must be an allergic reaction to something he ingested. However, we're a little skeptical about any foods he ate being the culprit. We did possibly "ingest" some fumes watching the playground renovation. Don't know if that could be it or not.

I did ask about whether I should have taken him to the emergency room - because I had been questioning myself all night and was in fear that we had caused irreparable damage by not taking him in. She said that it was probably best that we didn't take him in. She said that having some time and knowing that the Benadryl had helped gave her a more clear picture of what was going on. I wondered whether she said this just to make me feel better, but that didn't seem to fit her she seemed rather unconcerned with personal warmth.

So, basically, he had some sort of allergic reaction. We've kept giving him Benadryl and he is getting better. Thank goodness.

Here he is yesterday afternoon, lounging on the couch because his legs hurt to sit on them or stand too long.

I, myself, was so exhausted and relieved, that I took a long nap in the afternoon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

worm statue

I will probably post another day, when I have time to upload photos, about our fun weekend party with friends. But, for now, I just had to share something Tyler said today while I can still remember it.

We were by the lake at the park, and had been throwing sticks and rocks into the lake, trying to see how far we could throw. Tyler was digging in the dirt for more rocks. He picked something up and then tossed it away stating, "that looks like a worm statue." I wish you could have seen the look on Tyler's face when I explained that this was dog poop. For lack of words, he looked shocked. You can pretend I said something more mature or appropriate like feces...but I didn't. Then we both had a good laugh.

Anyway, for my boy who is constantly picking his lip, he had a hard time remembering to keep his hands off of his face. Then he had a bathroom emergency during which I discovered that he has some strange swollen spots on his legs.

I was worried, so we went home and put him straight into the bath. Apparently, he is now old enough that I need to be careful not to show my concern over his possible ailments. When I yelled for Wayne to come look at his legs, it sent Tyler into a tizzy. Ah well, he is calm now. We'll see what comes of his strange spots and contact with worm statues.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Our boy at 8 pm...


Tyler is still sick. Though his ears don't hurt, he says that we sound far away, and it is increasingly clear to us that it is hard for him to hear. Poor guy. Last night, he spent most of dinner time in time out. Later, Wayne and I discussed what happened, and Wayne really thought Tyler was not hearing my choices well and he thought that Tyler looked surprised as I carried him off to time it was not what he expected. I think this has happened often over the past week as we have thought more about it. Oops.

A classic example was tonight after supper. I told Tyler he could pull his chair over to help me make something. He said, "but I already spent all of my money." Ah well, I repeated myself more loudly, and he understood.

On another note, tonight, Tyler was working on a United States puzzle. He picked up the Colorado piece and asked, "is this Washington state?" I said, "no, it's Colorado, it goes here," pointing to the space. He said, "I know where it goes. I'm an expert...Mommy, what's an expert?"

Friday, January 9, 2009


Saturday night I was sure that Tyler had an ear infection, but after that night he had said his ears didn't hurt anymore and he was sleeping well. Since he's never had an ear infection, I was not sure, but figured that he was probably in the clear. A couple of days, I asked him to tug on his ears and he said that one of them hurt a little. But, he was not really acting like himself this week and by Wednesday evening, I was quite frustrated (to say the least) with how many times I had to repeat myself to Tyler. By bedtime, I finally thought to ask him about his ears. He reported that they did hurt "inside." You get where I'm going with this.

*Warning - if you are easily grossed out, proceed with caution*

His appointment Thursday morning, with Dr. Rachel Stucky (nice name!) confirmed an ear infection...and also excessive ear wax, which we have known about for quite some time. Wayne took Tyler to the appointment and relayed how well Tyler did while waiting for Dr. Stucky to clean out his ears. She was able to clean out enough on one side to see that he had an infection, but there was too much on the other side, so now we have to give him some ear drops to help clear it out. Get this - we will be putting stool softener in our son's ears. This should be interesting. :) Anyway, hopefully this will clear up his ear wax before his follow up appointment so the doctor can see to examine his ear.

On another note, Wayne has put his Christmas money to good use. His Nikon D40 arrived today. We are both quite excited to try it out and take some better quality pictures. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to post soon! Don't worry, no ear wax pictures are on the way.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Batman trivia

My lesson from Tyler for the day:

Who is Batman's friend?

"One of the robins."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Card

I didn't send out Christmas cards this anyone. So, if you're reading this, and you sent me a card or usually get a card from me, I am asking for forgiveness. In my Christmas card, I usually try to write a summary of life in our house over the past year. This is my first year of blogging, and I think because of it I had major writer's block whenever I thought about what to write. Anyway, this is my attempt at a virtual Christmas card. Yes, this is belated, and yes, a little lame. But we will press on! :)

* We went to Lawrence last winter and had our first overnight away from Tyler. As expected, leaving him was harder on me than on Tyler. But I really enjoyed it and we had a lot of fun! In fact, we may do it again this year.

* I recently completed my first full year at Greiffenstein Special Day School. (I began there November, 2007). Our students are all identified as emotionally disturbed. So, this leads to many funny, interesting and sometimes stressful days. We have small classrooms (3-8 children with at least 1 teacher and 2 paraprofessionals in each room). We have a structured schedule with minimal transitions, and, when needed, security staff and a timeout room. My position is as a clinical social worker/therapist. Basically, I do individual and group therapy, parent intakes, and whatever else is needed to provide support to teachers. I'm happy to have a wonderful, supportive staff who are great to work with, and have become great friends too.

*Our Mennonite social worker, Carol, taught me how to knit and crochet in the past year. I neglected this during the warmer months, but this December I expanded my repertoire slightly from having only completed a few scarves to also include baby hats and a few dish towels. I know, slowly people. But, I am quite in the groove right now. I've been a crocheting fool over the winter break!

*I enjoyed my first summer off in many years. I loved spending time at home (in Indiana) with family and friends. Tyler and I were also able to spend a week with Lynette and Mom in Florida. This is precious time since we don't get to see one another often. Especially since Lynette and Rusty moved back to Thailand this August.

*In June, my Grandpa David passed away. It was hard to see my Dad and his brothers mourn the loss of their Dad. I hope it's a long loooonnng time until we have to grieve the death of a parent. All of my coworkers who have lost a parent, still talk about missing them and loving them...just like I would think it would be.

*Of course, we have enjoyed Tyler this year. He is more independent, and verbal all the time. I love to spend time with my little guy! (And when he hits me out of nowhere, I love to send him to his Dad for a little wrestling time). He loves his friends and he has had his first sleepover this year. He loves dinosaurs, Cars cars, trains, reading, and riding his trike.

Well, I guess that will have to cover it for this year. Moon sand is being flung all over the kitchen floor, and I guess it's time to intervene.

Monday, January 5, 2009

End of the week

Friday, January 2, my cousin, Ian Miller, married Jubilee Tuinstra. The wedding was in Michigan, near Grand Rapids. We drove up with Mom and Dad.

Mom read quite a bit of Charlotte's Web to Tyler on the way, which he really enjoyed.

That morning, Tyler asked questions about getting married and the wedding. He was a little confused by it. In my explanation, I said that when two people love each other very much and want to live together forever, they get married. He thought it over and replied, "then I'm married to you, Mommy. I am marrying you because I love you and I want to live with you forever." I tried to explain some more, but then just let it go. Because it was so sweet, and really, he's 4. He'll understand soon. :)

Mom, Ian, Dad, Jubilee and ?

The reception

The cake. You can't see it well in my picture, but the cake topper is pine cones and 2 birds.

Afterwards, we hung out at the hotel with Dad's family. The next day, two of Dad's brothers (Nate and Ellis) and their families came over to Mom and Dad's for Saturday night. We stayed for lunch, then headed out for home on Saturday afternoon.
We stopped for the night in Des Moines. We were happy we decided to stop for the night because the roads had become icy. (And no small reason was that Wayne did all of the driving). Unfortunately, about 15 minutes before we got to the hotel, Tyler started sobbing, saying that his ear hurt. It was quite a night of trying to comfort him, soothe his pain (as he was generally irrational and inconsolable - that is saying something for a 4 year-old) with limited resources (hot towels on his ear and water - he refused medicine), and tried to get some sleep. He woke frequently but was easier to get back to sleep every time. Though we had a late start on Sunday, we still got in before 5 pm and had some time to get ourselves together for a week back into the routine. Strangely, though Tyler's still sick, his ear doesn't seem to be bothering him anymore. We're wondering whether it is/was swimmer's ear.
So, in just under 2 weeks, we've logged around 40 hours of drive time, gatherings with all 4 parents' families, 1 wedding, 4 different hotels, and 6 different beds.
Thanks for making it a great time of reconnecting and celebrating together!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas (& New Years) in Middlebury

Sunday night we arrived in Middlebury. We only got to town a little before my parents returned from their trip to Virginia to see Tim and Carrie's family. We enjoyed seeing their pictures from being together. They were very positive about their time together. I miss you guys!

On Monday, we enjoyed seeing Dave and Teneesa's new baby boy, Owen. Again, I failed to take pictures! He is quite a cutie. We enjoyed just getting caught up with them.Wayne was able to go along to help Dave pick out the fish and some supplies for Amelia's new fish tank. Tyler and Amelia enjoyed playing together.

Mom and Dad have both taken care of us at the office. I didn't get great news related to my carpal tunnel syndrome. In layman's terms, according to my Dad, my arms are "dead." I guess it was not a surprise, anyway.

Yesterday, I started out the day with a massage! That is definitely the way to start the day. Mom and Dad had to work Monday and Tuesday, and Dad worked Wednesday morning. But, we went bowling yesterday morning with Mom. In the afternoon, the men split wood and Brennan came over to play with Tyler. (Brennan is my cousin, Matt's, son). They had fun playing together. Here they are, playing baseball on the Wii.

We enjoyed time with family in the evening and even Skyped with Lynette and Rusty late last night. Tyler didn't go to sleep until 1 am, which we believe is a record for him. The latest night in his life so far! (Throughout the day, he has asked to take a nap). Today, we had our traditional waffle breakfast and opened Christmas presents. Tonight is fondue! Being home is quite nice!

Christmas in Tiskilwa & Decatur

Happy New Year! Fortunately, we've been having so much fun this past week, that I haven't had much time to blog. I will keep this short and sweet too, so we can get back to game playing!

Since my last post, Tyler and Wayne went wolf hunting and sledding again. (Sue and Isabel re-told a story that their father used to tell them, including a wolf. Tyler thought it would be fun to hunt for wolves after the cold of about 10 degrees...with flashlights...and declared that it was fun, though luckily they did not find any wolves). We enjoyed playing games, laughing, eating, relaxing and enjoying being together, and this has continued throughout our visits.
Christmas day, Dan (Wayne's cousin) & Julie and their children (Nick, Lynnae and Annie) joined us and Dave (Wayne's cousin) and Jane came later as well.

Here are Ted, Julie (being silly).
Tyler and Annie playing with a new Annie toy.

Tyler helping to pass out numbers for the gift exchange a.k.a. the Naughty Nutcracker.

Tyler posing (holding his new helicopter) with Annie.

Nick and Lynnae imitating the pose.

Dan, Lynnae, Annie, Julie and Nick

Ted and Sue

Dave and Jane

Bob sampling a beignet (donut) that Annie, Tyler and Lynnae were making for breakfast.

Lynnae and Annie were quite kind in allowing Tyler to help them make the beignets. Lynnae fried them, Tyler put them in the powdered sugar and shook them. Annie made sure they were covered well and got them out. I have a video of this that I'm having trouble loading. I'll keep trying, so it may be in a later post.

When it was time to go, Tyler was sad. He said that he had made a new friend (Annie) and Annie had made a new friend (him). He really liked her and was sad that he couldn't stay another day like she was.

Friday, the 26th, we headed to Decatur. It took longer than most years because of the poor road conditions on 80/94 pushing us to an alternate route. After a long drive, we were quite excited to arrive in Decatur to visit Wayne's grandparents, Wayne & Willa May and uncle Max. The next day, Rachel, Hollins and Caesar joined us too! I don't know how I managed, but I didn't take any pictures there! What is wrong with me? Anyway, we enjoyed spending a few days together relaxing and reconnecting.