Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Barbara

Today was Barbara's third birthday.

To make the day special, Grace and I took her out for some fine dining at Burger King where she received a golden crown and a wonderful cheeseburger meal.

We then took her to Target to pick out a toy. Boy was that a difficult choice. She settled on a Dora the Explorer playset that included a horsey.

Later, we had Hostess cupcakes and ice cream to end the birthday day.

Happy Birthday, Barbara!

Monday, February 25, 2008

What's Cookin' At Mama's Cafe?

I love to cook. I always have. I can remember way, way back when...when I use to pretend I had a cooking show. I was suppose to be washing dishes but what more fun it was to pretend I was Julia Child. Me there with the red cabinets and the contact paper covered counter top talking to my audience, my fans and all who had tuned into my show. How famous I was.

I can remember looking through all my Mom's cookbooks to pick out recipes I could make. It was especially fun when my Grandma and Grandpa were coming over. My Grandma was my inspiration. She was a fabulous cook. I still haven't found anyone that can make a banana cream pie like she could.

I also remember making cookies alot. My Dad use to say, "You need more practice." I thought for years he didn't like them but when I was engaged to be married, he took my husband-to-be aside and explained to him his evil plan. It was then that the cat was let out of the bag and I found out that my Dad just wanted me to bake them more often. What a stinker!

I've come a long way since way back then. I don't have a show or an audience and perhaps I only have a couple fans who request my homemade applesauce now and then but I still really enjoy putzing around the kitchen. Challenging recipes come easy to me from all the practice I've had and I am not intimidated or held to the law of measuring. I continue to be very passionate about cooking. My motto is: Never trust a skinny cook :-)

I also love to make meals for friends and those who need one due to something going on in their lives. I believe that God gave me this gift and I most passionately want to use it to bless others.

I had a dear friend recently give me a jing-a-ling on the telephone wanting to give me some meat out of her freezer. What a blessing that was! In the gift was some cube steak. I haven't cooked cube steak in a long time. What do you do with it? It's a cheaper/tougher cut of meat and my children balk at anything they have to chew too much. So this is what I came up with.

I pounded the life out of it until it was tender. Then, cut it up into strips. Sauted it in a pan with some seasonings and onion. And tada, we have cheese steak sandwiches. It was a hit with some of the kids. Others were not so thrilled. The majority was won over. That is a very good thing....since we have more in the freezer.

An added bonus was that we had leftovers which made for absolutely wonderful steak nachos. My twelve year old son was ecstatic. He is very passionate about food himself and I aim to please.

As a side note: when one is pounding the life out of meat, wear an apron, a hat, a face covering and watch out for flying meat. It is also very therapeutic. It's amazing what a little banging can do for your frustrations. Kara didn't care for that too much as she kept running in the kitchen yelling at me to 'stoppee'. Oh well....what works for one, doesn't always for another.

Until later, friends, from Mama's Kitchen.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Beaten, Fried and Scrambled

What an incredibly difficult few days we've had here. I cannot even describe to you what we've been through. I'll just say this, I was at the end of my rope and feeling very angry. So since my husband was on the phone, I quickly wrote down these two little words....

I'm leaving.

And then I walked out the door.

I just needed some air. I haven't been able to do much of anything because dealing with these issues at someone else's house is too much for me to handle so we've stayed close to home. I'm sure that hasn't helped my state of mind nor is this dreary February weather.

After I got in the car and was driving down the road, I realized a few things. The first thought that came to mind as I banged my head on the steering wheel is this....I can't even leave properly.

I got no money.

I got no gas.

And....I got no place to go.

So I drove around the neighborhood. My phone begins to ring and of course, it's my beloved. He asks me if I'm ok. Of course, I said yes. Then he asks me where I am. So I told him my sob story about having no money, no gas and no place to go and that I was just driving around the block in our neighborhood. He laughed and I laughed. Then he told me to come home and get some cash out of his wallet and go get a Mountain Dew. He loves me.

However, we had been invited to a friends house for dinner which we needed to leave for in fifteen minutes so I told him I was just coming home. I did feel better so I guess my trip to two streets over and around the block did some good. It ended up that only three of us went to my friends house. Barbara and Sharlene were in no shape to go spend some time at someone's house so Bob stayed home with them and I went.

If you are a foster parent or have ever foster parented, I have a new appreciation for what you do on a daily basis. And for you my friend, Shelly, I apologize profusely if I ever said to you "you just have to love them through it" or anything that resembled that I even understood what you were going through. Yes, you need to love them but now I really know what that means for a foster parent.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just What Do You All Think You Are Doing????

The phone has been an issue for me since I started having kids. Why is it that when a parent gets on the phone, the children have to be very, very loud, have every emergency under the sun that needs your immediate attention or does things that they clearly know is a no, no!

It's even more imperative that the children be somewhat quiet now since we are also trying to run a business out of our home. Now, I ask you and I ask my children, is there any way that loud growly noises and loud screaming sounds emit professionalism in any way? And really, do they have to do it just at that moment when a customer calls or my beloved is on the phone? How do they get such perfect timing to line up so perfectly?

The rule is:

If the phone is ringing or there is a parent on it, children must remain quiet at all times unless someone is unconscious, bleeding or a bone is broken. Other than that, lips must be kept together so that no noise comes out or at least, if noise should escape it must not interrupt parents.

How funny is that? Do you really think that happens in my home? Not very often but we are working on it. So today, husband was on the phone, seven children decided at that moment to yell, scream, laugh loudly, growl and use high-pitched sing-songy voices so much so that parent number one could not hear customer on phone. So parent number two stepped in and took care of the situation:

Yep! That's them....all seven of them lined up with their noses on the door. Notice the youngest one...she's a bit rebellious. Who said she could peek when her nose is suppose to be elsewhere??!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our Final Decision

A few weeks ago, I posted on having to make a decision on whether or not to continue on with our caring for Barbara and Sharlene. I cannot begin to express to you how much we've agonized over this decision and how many tears I've shed. We've come to the conclusion to let them go.

Our youngest has been hysterical much of the time due to many injuries she's received from the two girls. I don't believe that they have been intended as malicious but are a result of a lack of previous structure, consistency and discipline in their lives leaving them with a lack of understanding of consequences. A 20 month old can't understand why the girls act the way they do. All she knows is that she's been hurt and who did it to her. If it keeps happening over and over again, it leaves trauma in it's wake. Her response is to scream and scream. If I even attempt to hold one of the girls in my lap, Kara responds like I've betrayed her and refuses to have anything to do with least, until she needs something.

We've finally been able to take the girls to counseling. I actually had an appointment for myself only to talk to the counselor. I've not been real impressed. So far she hasn't given me much to work with as far as handling the self-mutilation and the other issues that are present. She did confirm my feelings as far as them needing one on one care which I'm not really able to do since I have five of my own kids. She was recommending a psyche evaluation on them.

We sent in our notice a couple weeks ago to the social worker and have heard nothing from her since. We did finally find out today that she was called out of state on a family emergency. Her supervisor finally had someone call us to let us know that much. In the meantime, I found out that the social worker had canceled the girls' medicaid which is bad since I've been taking them to all these appointments. We called the person that we've been dealing with in our county and he's getting it reinstated effective tomorrow. This cross-county kinship foster care is very frustrating. The different counties just don't communicate with each other.

After talking with him and explaining what's been going on, he was amazed at what we've had to go through. He told us that the social worker was suppose to be setting up all this stuff for us and getting in touch with us. Instead we've been the one's jumping through hoops trying to get everything in order and trying to chase the social worker down to find out when visitation is and such. It's been so frustrating.

Our prayer is that the next home will be one that has the knowledge and capability to help with the special needs of the girls. They deserve to be cared for and loved on and given the chance to live happily. We also pray that it would be a Christian home where they will hear all about how very much Jesus loves them and will heal their hearts and minds.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


We had an appointment with the local school district for a speech/language evaluation for Sharlene. I was a little nervous going into it not for Sharlene but for myself. I haven't set foot inside a school since I hopped into my 1979 Ford Granada that needed a stick in the choke to keep it going up that hill to where the little brown building sat waiting for hundreds of hormone-filled teenagers to attend. I guess that isn't true. I did attend college but I don't put that in the same category. Why was I nervous? Because I homeschool...that's why.

I know, I know. I am legally allowed to homeschool and I shouldn't feel nervous. But I do. You hear all about people calling in the troops on some crazy homeschooling family that has apparently been abusing their children and nobody found out about it. I won't even go into those crazy public school families who have also been able to keep abuse under the table but that's for another post. I don't abuse my children. They are well cared for and loved to pieces. No, they are not in pieces but they know we are here for them. However, I do yell. Sometimes, more than I should....and that's when I know I need a venti.

As I sat there waiting for the lady that was to do the evaluation, I thought maybe I should come up with a creative answer if she started questioning me about where my own children attended school or some other question that needed to be answered. I decided to pray that God would give me wisdom if that should happen. What did happen instead was that we met a really nice lady that didn't over-intrude into our lives but focused on Sharlene's issues.

After her evaluation, she informed me that she needed to go over her notes and would get back to me on what would best meet Sharlene's needs but she did say that Sharlene was pretty severely in need of help and that the once a week speech therapy would not adequately supply that. What she did need was the five day a week class that the bus would come and pick up Sharlene for. She also recommended I take her to a neurologists because she also saw some things that were indicative of other problems.

I decided to ask her about Barbara. I've been concerned about her because she swallows her food whole. I've been observing how she eats and from what I can tell she uses her tongue instead of her teeth to mash up the food or she plain just gulps it down in it's whole format. She also has stuck her hand in the flame on my stove and didn't cry, dropped a wooden puzzle on her foot and again, didn't cry, and some other behavior issues that are much like robotic responses instead of something she might be really feeling. We've had a doctor, the therapist and now the speech pathologist tell me that I needed to get both girls in.

Have you ever had one of those moments when out of the blue, you break down and cry. I hate it when that happens. It comes too quickly to be stopped and there you and vulnerable before a person you don't even know. It happened at this very appointment. Ugghh! As I sat there trying to explain briefly the situation, the lady was very encouraging and said some very nice things to me which made me feel better....even as far as to say I was a saint for taking on this. I wouldn't say that about me AT ALL. I'm just an ordinary person trying to do what God has called me to do for today. But I did appreciate her words.

So we made the neurologist appointment. The soonest we can get in is the end of this month. Sigh. I hate waiting. I want answers and I don't like to wait for them. All in God's timing, right?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Growing Up...

Each one of my children has a strong will. With five, I thought my chances of having at least one that would be somewhat easy-going, pliable or even flexible with the flow of life wouldn't be too far fetched. But as I sit here and think about it, they just get stronger and stronger right on down the line. Makes me think that one should seriously consider our next move on adding or not to add another little peanut to our household.

Our youngest has found the love of dressing or undressing herself, putting shoes on and taking them off. She's done this for quite some time but has always been willing to allow help when she gets in a pickle or should I say tangled in the shirt.

She loves to change her clothes fifty times a day and is not at all concerned whether they came from her drawer or from the dirty clothes basket. It doesn't even have to be hers. She loves to put on whatever she finds.

After breakfast the other day, I got her clothes out to put on her. I was met with a very cute pouty face. I can only assume it was because she was not at all happy that I had taken her shirt off and was wanting to help her put the clean one on. So I let her be while I sat and watched.

She finished taking off the rest of her pajama's and began putting on her clothes for the new day. It was all I could do to keep my hands from helping her when she was struggling and struggling to get her shirt on. You know, it's difficult to get your arms in the right holes....and it's even more challenging to get it on so the cute little bunny that is suppose to be on the front is indeed on the front.

Then she went to the pants. She put them on and took them off four times and yet, her cute little legs would only go together in one side of the pants. Visualize a little toddler with her little pink bunny shirt on backwards with her legs in one pant leg trying to walk over to me. She still wouldn't let me help her. Out comes her pointy finger along with the words, no, no, no. She decided that she was fine with the shirt but got frustrated with the whole pants thing. She wasn't going to give in and let me help though. She would just have to do without pants and off she scampered to play.....happy to be so independent.

Monday, February 04, 2008


We had our first counseling appointment for Sharlene and Barbara today. After months of waiting, we finally were able to get them in.

The counselor was more hopeful than the last one who did the initial evaluation. However, it's just going to take a long, long time to build up trust between the girls and their counselor to even get to the place where they can be helped especially since they are so young.

We also had visitation today. The girls did alright coming home. No fits, no screaming, no kicking the seat. They even were calm during dinner and bedtime. Somebody was praying for us :-)

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Book Meme

I've been tagged once again and since I've been known to procrastinate until I forget, I thought I'd get this one posted before the thought leaves my brain never to be found again. And for those who have tagged me in the past and I did not comply....please forgive me!! I had ever intention to do so until some crisis took me away. Perhaps I am lost at sea??!

Anyway, here's the rules:

Book Meme Rules
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

The book that I found closest to me that was not underneath all my piles on my desk was this:

"Your Road Map For Success" by John C. Maxwell.

Page 123:

(It's a chapter on facing your fears)

The husband was sound asleep until his wife jabbed him in the ribs, saying, Burt, wake up. I hear a burglar downstairs. Burt, wake up!

Okay, okay, said Burt as he sat up on the edge of his bed and searched for his slippers for what seemed like the ten-thousandth time. I'm up. He grabbed his robe and stumbled groggily out into the hall and down the stairs.

When he reached the bottom step, he found himself staring into the barrel of a gun. Hold it right there, buddy, a voice said firmly from behind a ski mask. Show me where your valuables are.

Burt did. When the burglar had his bag full and was getting ready to leave, Burt said, Wait. Before you go, could you go up and meet my wife? She's been expecting you every night for more than thirty years.

I don't think I know any other bloggers that haven't been tagged already. So if you are one of my fans who don't blog, maybe you could share yours in my comments. I'd love to read them.