Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days Dealing with Dementia and Alzheimer Disease

I have accepted a challenge from the Nesting Place to blog for a full month on one subject. Please join me as I document 31 days of dealing with the disease of Dementia/Alzheimer.  I am the main caregiver to my mother who will be 93 in December.  She was diagnosed with this disease at 88 years of age and has been living with me for the past 5 years. 

This will not be a sob story, although at times we may cry.  It will simply be a place where those of us who are caregivers can share our stories, vent our frustrations and know that we are not alone in this scary journey in which we find ourselves.

I am very blessed to have tremendous family and friends who assist me in the care of my mother.  I know that many of you do not have that luxury and how frustrating it can be to deal with this disease day in and day out.  We will be each others shoulder to cry on, sounding board, inspiration and strength.  Please join me each day as I document our day.

Mom still loves to socialize, drink her wine and laugh.  She is usually in pretty good spirits even if she doesn't have a clue who she is with. This is a great picture. Every time we go out to dinner Mom asks why she has white wine and we have red.  We respond that she doesn't like red wine.  She asks to try it and then she makes this face.  Sometimes she will do this 5 or 6 times during the meal but always at least once during every meal out.

Day 2-Mom Falls

Day 3-Happiness is Having your Hair done

Day 4-Memories of Mom

Day 5-Another day, another million times of being asked the same question

Day 6-Mom and Frank

Day 7-No Mom Monday

Day 8-ZZZzzzzz's

Day 9-The Morning Ritual

Day 10-I Can See Clearly Now

Day 11-An Available Resource

Day 12-And to All a Good Night

Day 13-Mom breaks her foot and I am losing my mind

Day 14-Good News

Day 15-Rough Night for Mom and Dawn

Day 16-Welcome to Wednesday

Day 17-A Good Day

Day 18-A Complete Turn Around

Day 20-Ooops

Day 21-Puppy Love

Day 22-Hey, There's a Puppy in Here

Day 23-BINGO

Day 24-Mom Renamed my Puppy

Day 24-Mom's Memories

Day 25-Our Weekend Off

Day 26-More Memories of Mom

Day 27-Scaring Great Grandma

Day 28-Celebrate Good Times

Day 29-In the Blink of an Eye

Yearning for Yoga

Kim is home so that means yoga is on for tonight.  She was flying last week so it has been 2 weeks since my last practice because, of course, I did NOTHING during the break.  Nothing yoga anyway.  I haven't been down to the basement since Frank's class Saturday so I think my day will be spent down there straightening up and working on some sewing.  Wellllllll.....Maybe I will make my grape jelly first....

Oh but wait....before the jelly, I need to go to the drug store and get Frank's prescription.  But before that I need to iron the linens and drop them off to the church on the way to the drugstore.  After the drugstore I have to stop by a parishioner's house and pick up her laundry to wash for her. Then when I get home I can start on the jelly and straighten the basement. Then I have to start dinner so we can eat at least an hour before I start contorting myself into all those poses.  My sewing may have to wait....we'll see.....Ohmmmmmm.....I really need my yoga.

I am very happy to report that I got everything on my list accomplished.  I got up early and ironed the linens, went to the church to drop them off and stayed for Mass.  After Mass, I hit the drugstore, circled around to pick up laundry, stopped at the grocery store and was home by 10 am.  Made my jelly and got the Lasagna ready to go in the oven.  Went into the basement, straightened it up, did some sewing, moved all the furniture in preparation for yoga and now I am sitting here with a glass of ice water and my computer and it is only 2 pm.  Wooohoooo.

I only used 2 quarts of the juice that Kurt gave me and ended up with all these
 beautiful jars of Grape Jelly using the recipe in this book
 They will look lovely in baskets with my other canned goods as Christmas gifts.
It was a good productive day and hopefully the start of a great week.  See you all tomorrow.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey

Oh my goodness.  You really need to click on this link so that you can see my turkeys getting revenge on my dog, Bella.  They spent the first month and a half of their life being chased and terrified by her and they are NOT going to take it any more.  This is the funniest thing!!!  I can't figure out how to post it onto this page so the best I could come up with is linking you to my fb page..Enjoy..

Funday Sunday

We have been waiting for over a month for today to arrive.....Last day of the Renaissance Festival and we will be there with great people and all decked out in our Renaissance Finery. 

We have been to the Renaissance Festival numerous times but we have never dressed for it before so this will be a new experience.  Frank is especially excited.....he went out last night to buy some hair for his Viking outfit and ended up with an entire new Viking outfit.  He looks hilarious.
My Viking!!
The whole motley crew!!
We had a great time even though it rained the entire time we were there.  We watched some skits, drank some wine, ate some food and did some shopping.  It was a funday Sunday.

One of my favorite stops while at the Festival is Fairy Secrets Candles.  These are amazing.  They are made entirely of lotion and when lit melt down into liquid form that can be poured out for an exquisite warm, comforting application.  They are great for massages without any oil stains on the sheets and soak deep into the skin for great moisturizing.  One jar lasts us the entire year.  And they smell wonderful!!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Midnight Visitor

Well okay, It's not really midnight it is only 9 pm but that is close to midnight in this household since we are normally in bed by 10 pm.  Anyway, this little guy was just hanging out on our doorwall and I couldn't resist sharing his visit with you.

I have never seen one of these little guys with the suction cup feet in real life.  I have seen like cartoon type drawings of them but I thought they were like tropical or something and this sure ain't the tropics LOL. He didn't seem to mind having his picture taken, and I took several of them.  I think this is the one that turned out the best....I'm not much of a photographer.

A is for Apples.

The other day we stopped by to see Kurt and he was canning grape juice.  He generously gave my 3 quarts already processed so I can make jelly without doing all the hard work.  Then he allowed me and  Frank to pick apples off his trees so it looks like it is applesauce time again.

It was pretty easy work, the trees are loaded.

Now comes the real work.

The ensemble, in which Frank is a member, is singing at the 4 pm Mass tonight.  I won't be going because the choir, in which we are both members, is singing at 9:30 Mass tomorrow.  So I will stay home and make my applesauce.  After Mass we are going out to dinner with John and Kirsten and their daughter in law's brother, Greg, who is in the Seminary here in Detroit and has the weekend off so he will spend it with them. After dinner we will have a game night.  I think we should play Apples to Apples, just to keep with my theme here!!

The finished product. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Shooting Saturday and Weekly Menu

Frank is giving another CPL (concealed pistol license) class today so I made a 15 Bean Soup in my Crockpot and a Sandwich Tray for the class for lunch.  I also found some Halloween colored chocolate chips and made them cookies for dessert.

Tomorrow we are dressing in costume and spending the day at the Renaissance Festival, should be a great time.

Posted below you will find my Weekly Menu.......Please come back each day for photos and recipes.  Have a great weekend!!

15 Bean Soup with Ham
Assorted Sandwiches
Halloween Cookies

Renaissance Festival

Meatless Monday
Grilled Vegetable Lasagna (recipe found in this book)

Date Night

Chicken Enchiladas

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
Potato Pancakes
Green Beans

Fish Friday
Newburg Pot Pie (Recipe found in Cuisine at Home, Issue #65)

Find more great menu ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

Wine Tasting Dinner with Friends

I  decided to have some friends over tonight for a wine tasting dinner.  My friend, Tamie, has just started discovering wines and was asking my opinion so I invited her over to try some different wines.  I then asked our friends, Linda and Greg Benda, to join us.  Linda and Greg are a wonderful, welcoming couple who love food and wine as much as we do and will be able to answer a lot of Tamie's questions.  So, needless to say, the shrimp pad thai is off the menu and a new menu is created for this special night

Wine Tasting Menu

Featuring Kendall-Jackson Winery

Spicy Citrus Shrimp-Sauvignon Blanc
The Shrimp and Beef Wellington Recipes came from Cuisine at Home, Issue 42.  I make some changes to the original recipes to please the palates of my household.  The Soup recipe is linked to and the Pasta recipe is from using chicken thighs instead of duck. The Sorbet is from a fun cookbook called Louisiana Entertains and the Carrots, Salad and Pie are my recipes. 
I enjoy having wine tasting parties.  Tonight we are trying several varietals from the same winery.  Sometimes we will have the same type of wine but from several different wineries.  And sometimes I will have different wineries and different varietals depending on my mood and the guests invited. I always try to make these dinners special for my guests.  I try to find neat little keepsakes for them to help them remember their experience.

 I found these cute little pumpkins on sale and used them as place cards.

 My table all set and ready to go.


I place a menu at each place setting so that everyone knows what they are being served and which wine is being poured to go with the dish.

Butternut Squash Soup

Orichiette with Spiced Chicken Ragu.
Individual Beef Wellington with Glazed Carrots.
Dinner was wonderful but all that wine tasting about did me in and I have to get up early tomorrow to get ready for Frank's CPL class so it is bedtime for me.  Good Night All, Sweet Dreams.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Then it was Thursday

I have some beautiful heads of cabbage from my CSA so today I am going to make some Stuffed Cabbages using my mother-in-laws recipe.  My MIL is pure Polish so needless to say she is a wonderful cook and has shared her memories and recipes with me.  For the first few years she would come over and we would make a day of cooking all her Polish recipes.  It was always a wonderful experience.  Mom Klik is nearing 90 now and while she is still very sharp she is unable to drive all this way so I don't get to see her as often as I would like.  Now we try to get together with her a few times a month for lunch or dinner and if we have a free day Frank will go get her and bring her here to spend the day with us.  Life changes....we adjust.....and we cherish the memories.

I am happy to share this memory with you.

Remove the core from your cabbage.
In a large bowl combine the meat, onions, eggs , rice, salt and pepper.
 Immerse Cabbage into boiling water.
The leaves will loosen and come right off when you pull on them with tongs.
Line your roaster with the largest leaves to prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking.
You need to cut off the top half of the rib at the bottom so that your leaf lays flat.
Once the leaf is mostly flat place a handful of meat mixture in the rounded bowl part of the leaf.
 Fold in the sides and roll as if you were making a burrito.
 After the first layer is in the roaster, pour half of the tomato soup over before add second layer.
Once the second layer is in place, pour the rest of the soup and half can of water over the entire thing.
Cover with more cabbage leaves to keep your rolls from burning.  These upper leaves will burn and char but will be removed before serving.
I will use these inner cores of the cabbage to make Sauerkraut.  Tutorial on that next week.
And Dinner is served.

Mom Klik's Stuffed Cabbage
1 large or 2 small heads of cabbage
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup cooked rice
1 small onion, diced
2 T. butter
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 eggs
1 family size can of Tomato Soup.

Remove core from cabbage and immerse head in boiling water.  As leaves loosen remove and set aside.  Once all the leaves have been removed and the inner core has no more leaves large enough to roll you can remove the core and set aside for another purpose. Use the largest leaves to line a roasting pan.  Trim the bottom rib of each remaining leaf so that the leaf can be laid flat.
Saute the onion in 2 T. butter until soft.
Combine meat, rice, onion, salt, pepper and eggs.  I use my hands to combine.
Place a handful of meat mixture onto each cabbage leaf and roll up as you would a burrito, and place into lined roaster. When the bottom of the roaster is covered, pour half the can of soup over the rolls and continue as above making a second layer.  Pour the remaining soup and half a can of water over the cabbage rolls and cover with any remaining leaves.  Bake at 350* for 2-3 hrs or until the cabbage is fork tender. Print Recipe

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stuck in the Middle with You

Wishing everyone a Wonderful Wednesday.  We had a nice date night last night.  My brother, Dick and his wife, Jackie, joined us and we rode our Harleys to dinner at a local bar that specializes in Buffalo meat.  It was a beautiful evening for a ride and while none of us had buffalo, except Frank in his chili, dinner was very good. 
We got home early because we don't like riding the bike in the dark and had some people stop to look at the car and they said they will be back today with the cash to purchase it so it was a very good night.

My friend, Midgie, who normally works the food pantry on the 4th Wednesdays of the month, is having foot surgery so I will be covering for her tonight.  Luckily, I had already planned a crockpot meal so all I need to do is get the veggies ready for the stir fry and give Frank a call on my way home to start the rice and veggies.

I normally use this teriyaki sauce but when I went shopping they had a new flavor so I am going to try this and we will see if we like it as well.
Well, it is unanimous....In the future we will probably marinade and bake or grill the chicken rather than put it in the slow cooker.  The flavor was okay but the chicken was overcooked.  Perhaps if I had only put it on low for 4 hrs it would have been better.  I'm not sure but the recipe is below if you want to play with it and see if you have more success than I.  Good Luck!

Teriyaki Chicken (Island Style)

4 Chicken Legs, skinned
4 Chicken Thighs, skinned
1 c. Teriyaki Sauce, Island Style
1 can Pineapple Chunks, drained

Place all items in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hrs. Print Recipe

Excited about Autumn

I love the Fall....I think I have mentioned this numerous times but........I just LOVE the fall. 

Got up early this morning to a sunshiney crisp Autumn day and even though I swore I was going to wait until October to start decorating for Halloween, I couldn't....I put out all my Fall Favorites along with my Halloween Goodies. After Halloween the ghosts, goblins and witches will be traded in for turkeys and pilgrims!!
I ran out of room. I either need a larger counter or less stuff!!!
I made these pumpkins last fall with an idea that I got from Martha Stewart (I think) or maybe Joann Fabrics....I can't remember...but they turned out wonderful and were easy peasy.  I just started with fake pumpkins that I bought after Halloween when they were 70% off at Joann's, painted them with metallic paint and decorated them with fall foliage, ribbons, flowers, etc. 
Happy Hauntings Everyone!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Delightful Date Night

We had a wonderful time with old family friends last night.  Mom seemed to enjoy herself and it was very nice catching up.  They loved my Chicken Marsala but the big hit of the evening were Frank's Glazed Carrots.  So I am going to have him share his recipe but unfortunately I did not take any pics to share.

Glazed Carrots

1 small package of baby carrots
3 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Butter
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients into a sauté pan.  Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn to low and simmer until carrots start to brown and are tender.  Once the carrots start to brown watch carefully because they burn quickly.  Total cook time is around 15 min.
Print Recipe

This morning we have to go pick up our truck from the service station (I think we are single handedly keeping that place running) and then I am running up to the Church to grab the altar linens as it is my week to launder them.  I also hope to make and can the Pear-Jalapeno Jelly that I did not get to yesterday.  

For date night tonight we are going for probably the last motorcycle ride of the season with Dick and Jackie.  We will grab dinner somewhere and enjoy great company.  Hope you all have a wonderful evening with those you love.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Madness

It is going to be a busy day today.  I have half a bushel of tomatoes that I will be turning into Marinara Sauce and canning, a pile of pears that I will be turning into pear and jalapeno jelly and company coming for dinner.  I am also hoping to get started on another Christmas project but we'll see how that goes.  First things first.....on to my sauce.
6 quarts and some extra for in the freezer. 
I ran out of lids so I put the extra quart of sauce into 2 pint freezer containers and the pears will have to wait until tomorrow.
Pulled two chickens out of the freezer.  I will use the breasts for tonight's dinner of Chicken Marsala. The legs and thighs will be used for Wednesday night's dinner of Teriyaki Chicken and of course, the backs, wings, bones and scraps will be used for this weeks chicken broth.
After my chicken bones and scraps were done being turned into broth, I removed any chicken left on them and ended up with enough to put in the freezer for Chicken Enchiladas next week.
This meal tonight is one of Frank's all time favorites and whenever you ask what he wants for dinner you can pretty much be sure that this will be his reply.

Place the chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
I use a meat mallet but you can use a rolling pin or a heavy pan if you don't have a mallet.
Pound chicken to about a 1/4" thickness.  I then cut each piece in half before continuing.
After dredging the chicken, brown both sides in the butter and olive oil mixture.  You will probably have to do it in batches.  Place aside as they are browned.
After the chicken is browned, sauté the onions and mushrooms in the same pan.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and then add the chicken broth.
Return the chicken to the pan, nestling it into the onions and mushrooms, you can layer the chicken at this point.  Cover and Simmer for 10-15 min.
Chicken Marsala

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 c. Flour
1/2 t. Salt
1/8 t. Pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 T. butter
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c. diced onions
1/2 c.  Dry Marsala Wine
1/2 c. Chicken Broth
Pound chicken breasts with a meat mallet to about 1/2 inch thick.  Mix flour and seasonings in a shallow dish.  Dredge chicken breasts lightly in the flour.  Melt butter and Olive Oil in a large Saute Pan until hot but not smoking.  Brown floured chicken breasts on both sides, remove from pan and set aside.  In the same pan, add onions and mushrooms (add more butter or oil if needed) and sauté until onions are soft and mushrooms are releasing their juices.  Leaving the onions and mushrooms in the pan, add the Marsala Wine, scraping any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Cook for a few minutes until wine is reduced by half. Add Chicken Broth to pan and stir to combine.  Return Chicken  to pan with any collected juices and immerse into the broth, wine and mushroom mixture. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Print Recipe

Weekend Wrap-up and Revised Weekly Menu

What a great and busy weekend we had and it doesn't look as if it is slowing down for the week either.  While at the wedding last night we learned that a dear family friend was remaining in town until Tuesday so we are having her and a friend of hers for dinner tonight.  This means that I am revising my Weekly Menu because it just doesn't seem right to serve company a Meatless Monday meal of Tomato Panini and Corn on the Cob.  Also, since I changed Monday's menu I will also need to change Wednesday's menu so that I can use up the rest of the chicken that I take out for today.  A couple of weeks ago I had Chicken Marsala on the menu (one of  Frank's favorite meals) but had to remove it and replace it with Chicken Stir-Fry.  So I am adding that to this weeks menu so here we go.......

Revised Weekly Menu

Chicken Marsala
Fettuccine Alfredo
Glazed Carrots
Apple Crumb Pie

Date Night

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken
Steamed Rice
Stir-fry Vegetables

Stuffed Cabbage
Mashed Potatoes

Fish Friday
Shrimp Pad Thai

Please join me each day as I post photos and printable recipes.  You can also find great recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

Apple Crumb Pie

Preheat oven to 400*

1 Pie Crust
5 cups of Apples, cored, peeled and cut into 8ths. (I use 3 different types of apples, 2 of each usually equals 5 cups.
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Place crust into deep dish pie pan.  Toss apples with cinnamon and sugar.  Pour into crust.

3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
6 T. butter, cut into tablespoon portions

Pulse flour, sugar and butter in food processor until crumbly.  Pour over apples.  Bake for 35-40 min or until apples are tender.  If the topping is getting too brown you can cover with foil while it finishes baking.  Print Recipe

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Soaring through Sunday

What a perfect, gorgeous day!!!  Mom is very happy because Amy is coming to stay with her.  Mom has never once asked "Who is Amy?" She is always just very excited every time she is told that she is going to see her and I never dare tell her if I am seeing Amy without her.  The one time I did, she thought it was Nancy's fault that she couldn't go with me and boy did Nancy have a rough day!!!!!!
When Amy was born she and Mom bonded instantly. Amy's first smile was for her Grandma and they have remained close throughout the years.  She is the only grandchild that is consistently remembered, heck Mom doesn't even remember her own kids half of the time but she never forgets her Amy!  This makes me very happy because now we can fly to Mackinac Island with John and Kirs and I won't spend one moment worrying about how Mom is doing.

And we are off....John and Kirsten are ready for the ride.

Some trees are getting their Fall colors but not many.

I just thought this was a beautiful shot.
Our destination, the furthest island.

The "Big Mac" in the distance.  The world's largest suspension bridge connecting our upper and lower peninsulas.
It was drizzling when we arrived but we won't let that dampen our spirits.

Our taxi arrives.
 (There are no motorized vehicles on the Island)

And our visit begins.
It was a wonderful day with wonderful friends.  We walked for miles, did some shopping and ate a lot!!  Of course, we also bought fudge because no trip to Mackinac Island would be complete without that.