Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oven-Baked Squash Chips AND Refrigerator Dill Pickles


Wednesday's post will appear around 3:00 p.m. (I had registration at Roxie's school, and Josh has some guys coming over in a few minutes... and I'm not ready! Can you tell I'm a little flustered?)

See you at 3:00!

Good Tuesday morning!


Today, one day AFTER Memorial Day, I woke up, got dressed and dropped Roxie off at school at 8:00 a.m. I came home to find Josh up and dressed and heading to a yard job, and Austin packing and getting ready to leave for JSU. The Boy has three more days until he is finished with his Maymester.

Except for the heat, it does not feel very "summer-ish" today. Nope. Not one little bit.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'm going to share some leftover Railroad Park pics, tubing pics and nature pics as the post rambles on today. For newcomers, that means I didn't take a single "new" picture of anything yesterday. (But it was my last day of Summer, you see, and I had a huge to-do list.)

A little more Railroad Park...

And a little more tubing!

When Mikie's not trying to sling my children 100 feet into the air, it really is a good brother/sister bonding time. This picture was taken right before Mikie slung my children 100 feet into the air.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Speaking of lists, for those of you who are actually having a Summer, go to Six Sisters' Stuff on my sidebar today and get some good ideas from their post entitled "100 Things To Do With Kids This Summer."

I consider myself a "list" expert of sorts, and this one received my Stamp of Approval!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie and I decided to try to finish her summer shopping yesterday... and we did! That doesn't mean I/she won't buy one more item until September, but it does mean that the necessities are hanging in the closet, folded in the drawers and thrown over the back of her desk chair.

One down... me, Austin, Josh and Mikie to go!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Last week was a bad/sad/hard week at Faulkner Farms (circa 1842). Yep. There were tears, slamming doors, hurt feelings and a little hopelessness... And that was just me!

As always, those days and/or weeks remind me to live one day at a time. And here I am, one week later, and the bad/sad/hard week is a thing of the past.

That doesn't mean it was the last one we'll ever experience. It just means it doesn't last forever. No family is perfect. No one (except perhaps the Mom) expects things to go along swimmingly day after day after day. ("Swimmingly" is a summer word meaning "successfully, effortlessly and well." I'll try to use other "summer" words throughout the June, July and August posts. I know you are thrilled.)

That's not going to happen. Not here, not there, not anywhere.

I just wanted to remind you that although I don't post all of the "bad" stuff and I don't take pictures unless the kids are smiling (or sleeping), it doesn't mean it's perfect over here.

To the contrary, everything is very, VERY normal.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Josh's Journey - The High School Years - We're doing the "list" thing again. It is how my mind works best, but you already know that, don't you?

10th Grade

1. Josh started 10th grade with a full load... AP academic classes and extracurricular. He went to school from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

2. While working with the school counselors and administrators and the county officials, Josh's only "accommodations" involved being able to leave the classroom to wash and be checked out at a moment's notice. His work load was the same as his classmates.

3. It was during this time of our "new normal," Mike and I decided to change doctors. You may or may not know this, but great mental health doctors are not on every street corner, and at the time we found Josh's doctor, he wasn't listed under our insurance, but we didn't care. We had no doubt he was the doctor God wanted us to be with during the first three years of Josh's illness. Leaving him was a monumental decision and one of the most difficult things we have ever done.

4. Our search for a new doctor took us to a respected "group" of mental healthcare professionals... and while we thought we were receiving the help we needed, after two years it became apparent our "new" doctor didn't understand the severity of Josh's illness. It wasn't his fault.

The best part of Josh's illness being diagnosed at such an early age was his inability to "hide" it from us. People suffering from severe OCD are experts at hiding their illness. At 12 years of age, Josh wasn't an expert. He was just sick.

However, by the time 10th grade rolled around, Josh was tired of talking about OCD, and when asked most questions, he would answer with an obligatory, "Fine." Our "new" doctor assumed everything was under control after two years of treatment... and dismissed us.

Big, big mistake.

5. Josh worked his first job during the Thanksgiving and Christmas break. He worked at a local Christmas tree farm, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He only worked six weeks, but the physical labor had a positive influence on his illness. We were very hopeful he would be able to have a summer job when school ended.

6. We could travel as a family, but our vacations were short (three to four days max) and consisted of road trips... never more than three to five hours away. Josh was more than ready to be home by the time we had been somewhere two nights.

7. Josh continued to check in and out of school more and more often as the year progressed. By the time school ended, we saw his condition deteriorating, but he made it to the end of the year.

Once again, he was in the Top Twenty of his class and received a Physics award. He wasn't interested in sports. He was still interested in choir and guitar.

8. Josh did begin a job at the Chick where his cousin, Brad, worked. Working in a fast-food restaurant did not work well with Josh's OCD and after three months, he turned in his notice as it became more and more difficult for him to walk out the door to go to work.

NOTE - Some people view this as being lazy, but because we had been there from the beginning, we understood when Josh stood at a door and couldn't make one foot go in front of the other, it was much, much more than not "wanting" to go to work or school. He "couldn't" go to work or school.

As his parents, Mike and I found this to be one of the most frustrating aspects of Josh's illness. We couldn't effectively communicate to others the difference between "not wanting to" and "not being physically able to" complete a task.

Because Josh looked like a strong, healthy young man, people dismissed his mental illness as nonexistent or not relevant to a situation.

It did exist... and it was ALWAYS relevant to any and all situations... school, church, work, travel, friendships, etc., etc.

Tomorrow, we start 11th grade, and may I just say, it was not a good year! But we'll talk about that more tomorrow.

Oven-Baked Squash Chips

I actually made these last night. I'm not a big fan of the squash. The consistency bothers me more than the taste, but I'm always looking for a good, healthy way to put another vegetable on the table.

Since Mikie cooked out last night, we had barbecue chicken, grilled corn on the cob, fresh watermelon... and Squash Chips!

You will need the following:

1 yellow squash

1. Using a knife, slice the squash as thin as you can. This is the hardest and most important step, so take your time.

2. Spray a cookie sheet (or two) liberally with cooking spray. Line the squash slices up on the cookie sheets, but make sure they don’t touch.

3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

4. Sprinkle salt over the squash slices. BE CAREFUL during this step. The chips will shrink, and you don’t want to bite into a squash chip that tastes like ocean water. A little salt goes a long way!

5. Put the cookie sheets into the oven. Let the squash chips bake for 2 to 3 hours (check them at 2 hours and see how crisp they are). The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be. Patience pays off in this recipe!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

You will need the following:

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
2 cups hot water
2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear. Cool to room temperature.

2. Place cucumbers, garlic and dill in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour brine over cucumbers and turn to coat.

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring once or twice. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks.

What's that? Another way sneak/serve a vegetable with almost every meal? You bet!

Both the Squash Chips and Refrigerator Dill Pickles recipes came from Pinterest... my home away from home.

Have a tremendous Tuesday. I hope your day after Memorial Day didn't include dropping your kiddos off at school... and if it did, call me and we can "talk" about it! I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition and/or Party, Josh's Journey, more Randomness and maybe a couple of new pics. (I will not make any promises.)

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. You thought I forgot, didn't you? Here are my newest nature pics!

1 comment:

  1. What beautiful flower pictures you took!!
    And I most certainly did take the teens to school today.... and June 7th is my last day until the Fall. Happy Tuesday!!


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