Monday, September 27, 2010

crock-pot apple-sauce

Oooohhh yum . . . I LOVE this time of year - when Joe's Farm brings in its APPLES from the orchards.   I stopped and picked up some MacIntosh apples a few days ago.  These (imho) are the BEST baking and cooking apples.  Not mealy, not too sweet.

Here is what I threw in the crockpot this morning:

12 MacIntosh apples, peeled and cored
3 Tbsps lemon juice
1 dash allspice
2 teas cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I dont like my apple-sauce too sweet but if you want more sugar by all means!)

Cook on low 6-8 hrs.  Use a potato masher to mush to desired consistency.  YUM!!!

Our HSP Story (part Four)

So we were home from the hospital full of optimism, prescription meds and lots of 'you'll be fine' assurances.  Thaniel was a on a pretty strict regimen of rest, meds, rest, meds, sleep, meds, rest . . . you get the idea!

At this point Nathaniel could still not put weight on any of his joints and the Prednisone was making him giddy, hungry and cranky.  I spent a lot of my time distracting him, feeding him and carrying him about.  We had been home just 3-4 days when one night as I was tucking him into bed and noticed he felt quite warm.  'Don't worry about (from the sage husband) his body is just fighting this thing.' Little did we know the fight was far from over!

The next morning I got Hannah off to school and carried the boy down to the couch as had been our pattern for the past few days.  He was hungry but almost immediately after eating brought everything right back up.   Now being from the school of 'non-panicking' parenting I carried him back upstairs cleaned him up and put him in the bathroom.  He vomited a few more times and I could see he was thoroughly wiped out.  I tucked him into bed and re-viewed the HSP information.  Call the doctor it warned.  So I put in a call to Kaiser.

The advise nurse had NO IDEA what HSP was.  And since a majority of the kids who have it manage to escape complications - she really had no idea how to help.  "Its on the list of 'call the doctor for advise immediately' symptoms", I re-explained. She promised to send a message to our doctor and marked it urgent.  I called Eric and told him "I dont like this - I don't feel good about this at all. Come home".

About this time I heard a feeble 'Mom!?' from upstairs.  I went back to check on the boy-child and he was vomiting again.  "I need the bathroom 'he told me, pale and shaky.  A'nd Mom - I really messed the bed".  "Not to worry" I replied, thinking he meant the vomit.  I gathered him up and carried him to the bathroom - where I placed one end on the toilet and gave the other end a big bowl.  He was now 'emitting' from both ends. It was violent and scary. Poor baby!  Not wanting to stand there and watch I headed back to his bedroom to clean up the mess.

And here is where is went downhill very quickly.  I pulled back the blanket on his bed to find his sheets soaked in blood.  I ran back to check on him and his violent diarrhoea was blood!

I dialed the doctors office again - 'PLEASE HELP - I really, really need the doctor to call me back right now - I am scared'.  About this time Eric came home so up stairs I went again.  Thaniel was in a LOT of pain, complaining about his 'tummy'  and begging to be allowed back into bed. 

About then, the doctor's office finally called (2 full hours after my initial call). "Mrs. Toner? This is Dr. M's nurse - she told me to call you and tell you exactly this - hang up the phone, dial 911 and ask them to take him to Dorenbecher.  It sounds like a bowel intussusception  and it can be fatal."  THAT IS WHAT I WAITED TWO HOURS TO HEAR!!!???

Eric took the phone from me and dialed 911.  He quickly explained the situation and our doctors instructions.  They refused to take us to Dorenbecher.  'You live a mile from SWMC, we can take you there if you like' - they told him.  Forget that! Eric hung up.  We wrapped Thaniel up in a blanket, grabbed a bowl and raced him up the street to SWMC.

The staff very quickly assessed him and the doctor let us know that if he needed emergency surgery he should be a Dorenbecher (grrrr) He ordered the ambulance, and they got an IV started.  It was challenging because with the HSP all his blood vessels were breaking down and he bled out quite a bit just trying to get the line in.  The doctors and nurses were quick efficient and calm.  They also made no bones about how serious the situation was.  We were sent via ambulance from SWMC to Dorenbecher at a code 3 (lights and sirens all the way)

Here are some photos of him being loaded up into the ambulance, smiling at the lights and sirens and being unloaded on the other end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

making your own Tortillas

When we first moved to the States I had a nice mexican neighbor who taught me how to do these.  they are EASY but take time. And you need to be prepared to have flour all over the place - because making these can be MESSY.  I have altered the original recipe to suit my family's tastes and to include healthier whole wheat flour.  This recipe makes a lot of tortillas - so you can HALF this if you choose - though I find they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Simple Flour Tortillas
2 cups white flour
2 cups wheat flour
1&1/2 teas salt
2 teas baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1-1&1/4 cup Hot water
(extra flour for rolling)

Mix all dry ingredients and then crumble in shortening with a fork.  Add hot water a little at a time until dough becomes soft and pliable.  Knead a couple of times and then break  into 1-2 inch balls (depending on how large you want your tortillas).  Dust tops and bottoms with flour and then roll out as thin as you can make them with your rolling pin.

Heat skillet or cast iron pan on med-high. Cook tortillas 1-2min per side (I flip mine when I see bubbles start to form) Be careful not to over-cook these as they can quickly become cracker-like when overdone.  Place them immediately into a clean kitchen towel if eating right away or into a large freezer bag for storage.  TIP - Placing these into a large freezer bag while still hot will keep them steamy and pliable!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We got a PUPPY!!

I know, it seems random and odd - lol!

And he is actually a 14mth old ENORMOUS 60+lb Treeing Walker Coon-hound.  Not much of a puppy to the naked eye .  . .

he is a poorly behaved, full of mischief, chew on ANYTHING, get in trouble the minute you turn your back, steal food off the counter, bark UNENDINGLY at the kitties, steal your dirty socks, follow his nose rather than your comands, PUPPY.

BUT he is also loving, sweet, protective, kiss you when he wakes up, greets you at the door as if you set the moon, hide his nose when you are mad at him, lean on you for love, roll over to have his belly rubbed - big BABY.

oh, and his breed is approved for Autism spectrum kids.  And he LOVES Nathaniel and Hannah.  Is eager to please, smart and a big sweetheart.

Even Eric loves him . . . .

meet Sherlock!

Our HSP Story (part three)

So when we last left off  . . .

Nathaniel was a swollen, bruised and bloodied mess but resting on, antibiotics (for the Strep), anti-nauseates (to stop the vomiting) and Prednisone (to combat the bleeding in his stomach).

Slowly over the next several hours the doctors and nurses kept close watch on him.  They weaned him from the anti-nauseates and low and behold the vomiting had stopped.  Now to test it with food.  "HALF a popcicle", the Doctor said and we'll see what happens.  It stayed down!  A couple hours later - some jello.  That stayed down too!

The last vestige was for him to be able to "eliminate" on his own.  On his own was funny to me because his joints were so swollen and painful he need assistance getting from the bed to the toilet and because he was hooked up to an IV he also needed assistance moving that into the bathroom too.  But eventually we managed.

I have since said that this hospital stay would have been GREAT fodder for directing WIT which I had completed the previous summer.  For the first 12hrs of Thaniel's stay on the children's ward he was so fragile that they put him in isolation.  This meant no visitors and any Doctors and Nurses entering his room were required to be in gown, glove and mask before touching him.  Also his input and "output" were measured to ensure kidney function - I spent half my time quoting WIT - "time to measure this emesis" ha ha ha.

We spent time watching movies and letting Than sleep.  Taking pictures between (and during) rounds and waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally around supper time the next day  - everyone agreed he was stable enough to go home and REST.  We were instructed to keep him in bed as much as possible, watch closely for any further signs of bleeding and were given a prescription for anti-nauseates, something to coat his stomach since it was so irritated and raw and the steriod Prednisone.  He would also need to be checked by his family physician every 2-3 days.

My dear friend Suze was a Phenomenal help to us in those few days - she picked up Hannah and took her home to feed her and let her sleep over.  She enlisted the help of another good friend Amanda and they (with Hannah's help) came into our home and SCRUBBED the bathrooms, kitchen, living room, Nathaniel's bedroom - anywhere a germ could find my little guy - so that he would be coming home to a safe germ-free environment.  Suze brought me a change of clothes and a toothbrush, said she would sit with Nathaniel and ushered me into the hospital room's bathroom for a shower.  She brought Nathaniel games, books and her son to visit.  She was an angel.  A bossy, lovely, thoughtful angel.  MANY people offered to help and brought gifts of games and toys and food to us at this time - I cant even list everyone on here and I am so grateful to each of them - Suzanne though - did not ask what I needed she simply brought her best and gave it freely.

It was scary taking Nathaniel home in such a fragile state - I felt as if we should keep him in hospital longer.  Surely the doctors would take better care of him than I would?  I did not know if I was up to the task of caring for someone so sick - what if he became violently ill again?  The hospital staff assured us we were more than capable and that they would be there if we needed them.  We wrapped Thaniel up in far too many blankets, carefully loaded him in the car, drove slowly home and carried him in to the sofa.  My next thought - ok now what???

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


On Saturday Nathaniel and I visited the Farmers Market and I picked up and bunch of beets - which are in season and gorgeous right now!  A couple of nights ago we had steamed beet greens (yum) and today I decided to make borscht (beet soup)

This is traditionally made with beef but I decided to try a vegetarian version.  This is not a traditional recipe but rather a combination of what tasted good to me and what I had in the house.  The result was a creamy, fulfilling, sweet tasting soup with lots of body and a gorgeous bright burgundy colour.  Enjoy!!

Dorinda's Borscht:
1 tbs olive oil
4 large Beets peeled & chopped
1 onion diced
2 large carrots coined
1 pkg, shredded cabbage
3 small potatoes diced

1 teas. minced garlic
4 cups water
1 envelope dry onion soup mix

2 tbs. course salt
1 teas dill
1/2 teas cayenne pepper
2 cans sliced beets (with the juice)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fat free cream

Sauté the onions, cabbage & carrots until soft (about 7mins).  Add beets, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, spices and water.  Bring to a boil and then keep at a low boil for at least 20min.  Turn stove down to low and simmer 1-2hr or until you are ready to eat!  At this time I used my immersion blender to blend the soup to a creamy  thick texture.  You may choose to leave your soup chunky if that is what you prefer.  About half and hour before serving mix in the cream. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 13, 2010

returning to the land of Blogging

It's been an enormously busy, emotional and challenging year!  Lots of things have been happening and I am taking some time to return to the things that bring me joy.  And YES, this blog is one of them.

I confess I have occasionally stopped by to catch up on everyone else's blogs but just couldn't muster up the energy (or TIME) to put into words all the things that were going on.

One of the biggest things was Nathaniel getting so very sick this year.  I have parts one and two of that story blogged along with some boring information on the disease itself.  Part three is rattling around in my brain but it may be a while before I get it all down.

In the meantime I will try to catch up  on family happenings, post recipe successes and failures, fill you in on on my theatrical ventures and wax philosphical when ever the opportunity presents itself.