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I created genius tonight!!!

So one of the students in the cohort ahead of my class has allergies to gluten & egg so I committed myself to making an allergy friendly cake for her and the handful of folks in my cohort that have ground nut, gluten and dairy allergies. There is a "pinning ceremony" tomorrow night for that class before they "launch" onto their last fieldwork experiences (20 weeks of unpaid fieldwork) before they take their national certification exams. (We all officially graduate together in June but some of us won't be done with our fieldworks yet.) ANYWAYS---> I refuse for her to bake her own "graduation cake", you know what I mean?!

I knew I had the skills since I cook GF/DF regularly and I have experimented with egg free for two other friends... but mixing it all into one recipe seemed like a "just right challenge" for my skill set. So this evening I set to making an apple, cranberry, walnut spice cake and cream cheese frosting while keeping it gluten, egg, dairy, and ground nut free.

On the very first try I came up with an amazing tasting cream cheese frosting that has almost perfect texture! I am so excited to spread it onto the cake once they are cool. I just hope there is enough... I am thinking for a layered cake I should have made two batches but finding more Daiya cream cheese at this time of night is near impossible! LOL

I am a GF/DF/EF genius! *licks the spoon*

Allergy Friendly "cream cheese frosting"

1/4 cup coconut oil (solid-room temp)
~11 oz. gluten-free/dairy free Daiya cream cheese (near room temperature)
1 tsp Orgran no egg (I suppose you can omit this but it seemed to help the texture a lot)
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (certified GF/CF), sifted
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
~ 1/2 - 1 tsp lemon juice

Blended and whipped until creamy! I am using this on apple cranberry walnut spice cake for an event tomorrow!!!
Oh Shit
I am going to say something that will likely earn me a lashing but... in a small way this government shutdown has been a bit of a small blessing. We as the voting public are able to see first hand where the money has been going, how our politicians have divided out bills and proposals and attached programs to funds that are woefully inappropriate for them. Every time I hear someone claim that the President has "shut off" something (like the Amber Alert program) I want to scream. No one individual shut down that service folks. It was shut down because it was attached to funds that are not considered essential; therefore it was shut down. Our country is based on the almighty dollar... had it been attached to funds that are considered essential, it likely would not have seen a single hour of darkness. Just like leisure programs attached to essential operations funds (like gyms in government buildings) were able to remain open through the shutdown. The way I see it we need to hold our politicians responsible for their actions, stop shuttling things around until their original intention is lost, stop "robbing peter to pay paul", stop shaving away protection clauses, and stop attaching nonsensical things to logical programs. You know?

Like the program that requires soldiers to pay a portion of their retirement check to their spouse after retirement if they were together for at least 10 years during their term of service. When this program was originally proposed it made sense. Women married soldiers and gave up their education and/or careers (sometimes left their home countries) to follow their soldier all over the earth. There was little chance for a woman to finish an education or hold a career of their own moving every couple of years; nor was it affordable to do either once children entered the picture. So it made sense that if a divorce occurred and the spouse had given their lives to the Army, they they too should be at least supported for a time until they can get on their feet and develop the education or the skills to provide for themselves and/or their children. In some part this type of need still occurs today. Here is the rub... when the program was originally put to vote it included protect clauses for the soldier. Say like the wife DID have her own money, career, and whatnot and she made more money than the soldier, there was a clause that would disallow that spouse to come after their ex-husband's retirement in those cases because the intent of the program was to support those who didn't have the means to support themselves. Makes sense, right? There was also a clause that stated if a ex-military wife chooses to remarry, then she loses her portion of the "retirement and benefits" she was afforded as an ex-military wife under their previous service member. Logical. However by the time this program made it out of the house and the senate it has been protections shaved away, misshapen, and the original intent completely lost. I have seen so many soldier's lose half their benefits to ex-spouses who make a ton of cash and they still go after "what is owed to them" leaving their ex-soldier to live on a couple of hundred a month (the amount leftover after their ex-spouses cut).

Its' stuff like this that just gets under my skin...

Feeling accomplished...

I cannot thank my family enough today... The ones that rallied up and helped regardless of how crappy they felt, stress they had, things to do, or how little sleep they had... They just busted ass in a big way! I love you and I am thankful.

WHat we accomplished today as a hardworking family unit...

  • cleaned the kitchen of the stuff remaining for the night before (yuck folks... If it doesn't fit in the dishwasher hand wash it)
  • made a big breakfast and ate it together family style
  • cleaned the kitchen again
  • cleaned the circus room, organized it and set out all of my yoga/stretching gear
  • light stripping, cleaning, and re-shining the hardwood up in the play room
  • cleaned upstairs bathroom
  • vacuumed upstairs & basement
  • washed, dried, and folded more baskets of laundry than I could keep track of, had folks out their own duds away
  • served lunch to the family work crew & re cleaned the kitchen
  • had leftover night for dinner and re-cleaned the kitchen for the last damn time in one day
  • made ice cream for the family
  • spent close to an 8 hr workday on the landscaping
  • and caught up on some bills, correspondence, etc...

    All in all a very damn productive day. I will post pictures of the landscaping project tomorrow, I wish we had before pictures but I totally forgot to take them before everyone got to work today on the outside. We did get a significant amount of ivy, holly and blackberry cleaned out of the area where we need to gravel and (later) install a shed for all of the outdoor tools & equipment. We also pruned a ton of the trees on back side of the property by the MIL unit and cleaned out last years leaves that didn't get raked up on the MIL unit part of the property... Yup we finally discovered the "dead smell." The pathway to the back of the unit is now clear and read to be re-graveled too so I am really pleased with that. It was really rewarding to get the modular flooring uncovered from the ivy-that-eats-everything, break it down into manageable sections and get it properly stacked for future outdoor events too. I don't think I have seen that stuff since the concert we had two summers ago!

    Anyways, it is time to crash...have unloading at the yard to do in the morning before we can refill the back of Blue with the second load. Normally we take a day off in between big work days but with the rain returning we can't leave loads in the bed or piles out in the yard for very long. Otherwise they weigh a ton and we end up paying to dump water. I am really hoping that we can get all of this stuff done so we can get the parking areas regarded and re-graveled. Having to wait so long to start this project has really put us against a wall so to speak. Keeping our fingers crossed for sure.

  • MagickalMom
    Here is a version of the letter I sent with slight adjustments for personalization towards each particular representative, senator, congressman, etc... as luck would have it all of my representatives actually DO support the military, healthcare, and the interests of special education!


    Dear Elected Government Official,

    I am writing you today to ask you to support the funding of habilitation services within Medicaid. Habilitation is a critical service to help disabled kids and adults live as fully and independently as possible. Much of today’s focus is on rehabilitation which re-teaches the patient how to perform tasks or skills they previously possessed. However, habilitation helps the developmentally disabled to learn some of the most basic life skills, thus empowering them with the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest. Please, I implore you to include $7.2 million in your budget to fund habilitation in Medicaid. This may actually save money by helping patients maintain independence and by avoiding the administrative cost of two Medicaid benefit packages. If we don't fund habilitation, healthy adults in the Medicaid expansion would get these services, and the kids and disabled patients in the existing Medicaid program would not -- this seems unfair to me.

    I ask this not only as a future occupational therapy professional and constituent of your district but also as a military wife and mother. I can see from your long standing track record of supporting the military that you have likely seen firsthand how challenging our lives as a military family can be. Naturally, none of us ever expect that we will face the additional challenge of becoming parents of a child with special needs; so in true military tradition we have band together and adapted to every challenge ever presented to us as a family. However, I am not sure our success would have ever been possible without the habilitation our son has received throughout the years. More than a decade ago the little boy who began his therapeutic journey was unable to communicate, he could not tolerate being touched by anyone, and he could not even crawl; we feared that he would never reach some of the most basic developmental milestones. Today, thanks to the habilitation services offered by Speech & Language Pathology (SLP), Physical Therapy (PT), and Occupational Therapy (OT), our son excels in one of our state’s leading International Bachelorette high schools. As a matter of fact, most who meet him would never guess that he is 1:20 individuals in the U.S. who has Sensory Processing Disorder, or 1:110 who have Autism. Our son is just one of many individuals who are shining examples of the benefit of habilitation for those with developmental delays or disabilities. So please, tell your leadership and budget writers to include funding for habilitation in Medicaid.

    Thank you for your time and action on this matter!


    Thank you!


    Your Constituent

    What a nightmare...

    So my sleep has been less that stellar in the last few days because school is coming into finals (next week) and the bringing one quarter to close and preparing for the next will only be one week. Yeah for me. *insert sarcasm here* Anyways, I have been using the fitbit thingy and it tells me that I was in bed 11 hours but only slept 9 1/2 hrs... still 9+ hours is more than I typically get. So while my body is thanking me but my mind is still reeling from the drama that unfolded in the later hours of my sleep cycle.

    In a nutshell...

    • The Army never reinstates TA and rebelprivateer is unable to finish his 4 yr degree so he can apply to UW Master's level PA program (2 yrs)

    • The Army won't let him stay on AD past next year without PCSing somewhere else, and without us because of my job, dragonzzilla's need for stability, and the house (that we're only 1+ yrs into)

    • J chooses to retire and applies for UW's Bachelor's PA program (in Tacoma - 4 yrs long) but does not get in the first try and can't find work as a paramedic and it kills his spirit and he flounders.

    • Meanwhile, our health insurance on the retiree's plan SUCKS and they stop covering DJ and all of his health and support services stop.

    • D ends up not succeeding at the college he chooses, he can't keep a job, and he flounders.... which crushes me and his dad

    • bkf114 isn't able to find work, his folks get really sick, and he leaves and moves back home to WV take care of them full time because his siblings in WV won't.

    • We lose the house, move into a small apartment, swimming in the debt we acquired while J was on active duty, and I am supporting the family on my sad income as an OTA (compared to the joint income we hope to have if all plans go well)

    The upside is that I graduate school and find a job... but I hate it because I had to take the first job offered because of all of the above stuff... and the shitty part is I was dumb and took a job with a contract (to help pay off my school debt) and when my dream job comes along I can't take it b/c I am locked into my contract with said shitty job).

    I hate my brain sometimes! *trying to shake off the all too real fears*

    Remembering the Fallen: SSG Joe A Gage

    More than a decade ago this really loud and energetic family moved into the other half of our duplex in NCO housing at Ft. Campbell, KY. Joe, Samantha, and their son Mikey became quick friends of our very own energetic family and together was caused all sorts of trouble in our housing area. Doing the unheard of things like neighborhood BBQs, midnight bonfires with smores, and a bit of paintball and airsoft mayham in the dark. Who wouldn't when your house backs up to some woods and the only life to be seen from the back yard (for at least half a mile in either direction) was the neighboring deer population (ok, well far off in the distance in one direction you could see outside of the fence-line but you could only see a... never mind... one of those establishments you typically see near bases)?!

    Anyways, our families were pretty tight despite coming from completely different backgrounds. Their son used to come hang out with ours during the day whenever Sam had to be somewhere and Joe was either deployed or at work. It sucked moving away from them but we kept touch after arriving at JBLM. Then we got the news... while we were moving into our base housing here in WA Joe had given the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. We were all crushed and we so badly wished that our PCS had been just a few months later, then we could have been there for Sam and Mikey. You know what though... true to military form Sam made it through... her and Mikey both have grown, changed and become such amazing people in the last six years. We're so proud of them and happy for them and today we all take pause to remember Joe. A good soldier, the one to make everyone laugh when the chips are down, a father, and a husband.

    Thank you for your service and your sacrifice, SSG Joseph Alan Gage & Family

    It was real nice to see he is not forgotten by the men and women he served with either: Soldiers & Families Remember the Fallen

    The search continues...

    Fix It Plez
    BINGO!!! Finally found a Fridge that will work... though finding it locally is turning out to be a bitch. Looks like we might have to go online retailer, wait for it to get shipped here and install it ourselves.

    Do you know how damn hard it is to find a All-Fridge that has either a left hinge or reversible doors that fit into a hole in the wall only 31" wide and 29" deep?!?!

    Its also a good thing Tacoma Power offers free recycling and a credit on our utility bill because we will soon have two fridges to haul away. Recycle my Appliance Please

    OK, back to homework.. if anyone can find this thing for us locally let me know! Otherwise I am gonna have to find a cheap online retailer who won't kill us in the shipping and tax. Thankfully with Columbus day weekend here maybe we can get lucky on a free shipping or financing or something like that?!?!!

    Shit! Fridge is dead again...

    Oh Shit
    Brian cut a hole through the rock that thinks its supposed to be sheet rock... yeah whatever... whatever new fridge we get can be higher, but no wider or deeper than what we already have (which is DAMN small) and the new fridge can't go anywhere else and still be a functional kitchen... damn it.

    I WANT MY DADDY!!!! He can fix anything!

    The hole in the wall is only
    29" deep,
    33" wide (maybe if we do some more demo), the fridge in there now is 31"
    and we can go high as maybe 76"

    to put it anywhere else in the kitchen we would be blocking a vent of some kind and it would have to be even shallower because of door opening clearance... yeah we have a small damn kitchen. People think its larger than it is because the fridge is in the wall.

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