Monday, December 31, 2012

Pinterest Sunday: Hershey Cake

So, if I am going to do the Pinterest thing and blog about it (see my last blog post) then I figure I should try to stick with doing it on the same day each week.  I mean, blog about it on the same day, not necessarily make the item that day. 

It just so happens that I did make one today, and it was a Hershey Chocolate Cake found here.  The recipe calls for dark cocoa, but I didn't have any.  After having a piece, I am OK with it being regular.  It was SO chocolatey!!  Even Bretton, who will eat as much cake as possible said it was very rich and didn't completely finish it. 

The recipe also calls for boiling water, but the person whose blog I got it from used coffee.  I used the coffee.  It came out great, and you couldn't taste the coffee.  The cake itself was moist, but not overly so.  The frosting was good, but had a distinct cocoa taste to it, so next time I make it I will be cutting down a bit on the cocoa in the frosting.  Otherwise, it was a fabulous recipe and definitely a great choice for someone who wants a rich chocolate "kick"! 

Oh, and I just made a 2 layer cake, which meant using the recipe as is, but doubled the frosting as most frosting recipes seem to not be enough.  This was *more* than enough when doubled, so I may not double it next time and see how much it really turns out to be.

I took pictures, but can't upload for some reason. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gotta Love Pinterest

I could spend all day on Pinterest.  Which is scary.  In many ways.  Like, wasting my time on there instead of doing things that need to be done or spending time with my family (not that I spend all day on it!).  Or making everything I find on there that I like.  That would lead to me being another 100+ pounds overweight and in debt from crafts! 

Since I love it so much, I thought I am going to try at least 1 thing a week from there.  Whether it be 1 meal, one dessert, one craft, one site to read, etc.  Then, I will try to post on here about what that one thing I chose was, why, how it turned out, etc.  I'm starting today.

The first Pinterest item up is this oh so lovely looking Hershey's Dark Chocolate cake.  My problem though, is that I didn't have any dark chocolate cocoa on hand, so I am just using regular.  We'll see how it turns out later.  I found the recipe here, but she found it on Hershey's site.

I'll report back later.  I need to go get the first half out of the oven!

Friday, December 28, 2012


Ephraim is doing well.  There are times where it seems like he has regressed in many areas, and we wonder when he is ever going to "get it"-- to learn the new things we are teaching him, but then in therapy sessions like today, we see it.  Progress.  The greatest part: we aren't the only ones seeing it.  His therapist said in the past few weeks he has seen great progress in Ephraim, especially in his communication.

Ephraim is still considered non-verbal, but he has started saying a few "words" here and there.  (If there is a beginning sound that relates to the item he wants/needs, it is considered a word.  Such as "ye", can mean that he said "yes", if in the correct context.)  He has said: more, eat, yes, no, and go, on a fairly regular basis.  A great sign that verbal language will probably occur at some point in the future.  This is exciting, but we also are aware that it might not happen, and so we aren't getting our hopes up.

E has also been signing a lot more lately as well.  He uses "more" on a consistent basis, as well as "eat" (for both eating and drinking) and "all done".  We are really trying to work on "help" as well, since often times he gets frustrated and needs help but has no way to tell us other than with negative behaviors.

He is really enjoying, and quite good at, basic puzzles, shape sorters, etc.  He has also increased his joint-attention by more than 50%!!  This alone is HUGE!  Joint-attention will help him in so many ways, both socially and academically.  His joint-attention with me is by far the best.  He will sit and look at me for 20-30 minutes sometimes.  He stares at me, laughs, plays with my facial features.  I use this to engage him in learning by asking things like: "That's mama's nose, now where's Ephraim's nose?"  "Where are my eyes?"  He has never been able to point to things, especially when asked, but he has started to point to facial features in the past week or so when we have good joint-attention.

One of the hardest things right now, learning wise, is PECS.  He really doesn't want to pick up the symbol, and when he does, he definitely doesn't want to release it! But, there is still improvement seen here too, and that is all we can ask for.  His therapist thinks that within a few weeks at school he will be ready to move onto phase 2, which means that he will have a pretty good handle on reaching for the symbol he wants (not the item), picking up the symbol, and releasing it into someone's hand, [with lots of prompting occurring] (phase 1).  Phase 2 is learning to get the symbol, wherever it may be, and take it to someone without prompting.   He hates being prompted, so hopefully he will like phase 2 better and take to it more quickly.

The trade off for him doing so well in some areas though, is that he regressing in other areas, and has more negative behaviors occur.  He also has more stereotypies (no that's not spelled wrong, and yes, it is a word), which we often have to stop, which is not an easy task.  His sleeping habits have gotten worse, but I beleive in time that will come back around.  We can only ask so much of him right now, he is is doing great, so we can't complain (too much- haha) about his sleep habits or negative behaviors.  We can only work on those as well and hope that as he gets older things will fall into place.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Life Changes

As the few of you who read my blog know, I am a busy person (probably not as busy as many, but busy enough) and we have had a lot of changes recently.  I haven't even thought about this blog-- though I wish I had.  I so want to keep up, but my life doesn't seem to allow me to.  When I do have a chance to write, I don't feel like it!

Anyway, one of the changes was our big move-- and hopefully last move!  My in-laws generously bought a house for us (we will "rent" until the mortgage is paid off) and we are now living much closer to Eric's job and in the school district where Bretton attends so he is now home with us for good!  Life is much easier in the way of transportation and getting places when you live closer to town!  The down side is we are now a 1/2 hour from our family, which is hard with the kids...

Another change, which leads into yet another change, is Ephraim is receiving in home services/therapy (which I might have mentioned before).  He really doesn't like it much, especially PECS, but he is getting better and doing well.  While in home services are great, I am unable to give him all the time and attention he truly needs and deserves.  With Lorelai also needing attention, I can't keep up on all the things that E needs in order to stay "in our world".  He really needs one on one as much as possible.  So, it was a super hard decision for us, but we have decided to send him to Woodfords Family Services.  He will start out 3 days a week, 6 hour days.  Eventually, we will move him up to full time.  The school is an hour away, and he will be riding with someone we don't yet know.  I think that is the hardest part for me.  But, others do it all the time, and I know that we have to do what we have to do in order to get him the best services possible.  This program is an ABA program with mostly children diagnosed with Autism attending.  On the days he isn't there, we will still have CDS come for in home services and we are going to be doing some in depth research on floor time therapy, as that is what I believe would be a better choice-- something very appropriate for his age.  We will incorporate that into his nightly routine.

Of course, Eric and I are both worried sick about sending him.  Not because we worry about him being cared for and learning, but because we have never sent him to preschool or daycare or anywhere really.  A few family members and friends have had him, but not on a regular basis.  Eric was with him for the first 1.5 years of his life and I have been with him since then.  Like many children with Autism, Ephraim doesn't mind being around other people when he is able to be in his own world, doing his own thing.  But, when you request for him to do something outside of his world, it is hard enough to be his parent whom he knows and trusts.  With other people, it isn't so easy.  If he doesn't know you at all, or only knows you as someone who makes him "do work" then it is very challenging. 

Obviously, the people at this place are trained in dealing with this, but when I think about him acting up, having a hard time responding to them, being resistant, wondering where his mommy is, etc:  it breaks my heart.  I know the first few days, maybe even weeks is going to be hard.  Especially since he may be confused as he will only be there every other week day.  He will  eventually go full time, but right now we want to see how he responds to it in general.  I don't honestly know if we are making the right decision by only doing part time or if we should just start right off full time.

At this point, Eric and I just hope that it works out for all of us, and that Ephraim can get into a good routine quickly.  We also hope that Eric can figure out what to do about work.  He works many evenings, which would mean he wouldn't see Ephraim much at all.  Ideally, he would like to have a set schedule with his guaranteed 30 hours, but that isn't going to happen.  As it is he is lucky to get 30 hours, but has to work whatever is available to get them.  Plus, he is starting to wish he was home and I was working!  Sheesh!  I always thought I wanted to be a SAHM.  Part of me still does, but I have to be honest: part of me feels overwhelmed and alone.  I sometimes wish I was working and that we had just put the kids into daycare.  Of course, of all the reasons that we decided that I would resign from my job and stay home was because E needed a lot of extra time, attention, and therapies that he wouldn't get at just any daycare center.  Don't get me wrong, I love being home, too!  I'm not sure if anyone would really understand, and I am sure I have been, and am being, judged for feeling this way, but it is what it is.

So, a week from today, E will start school.  I have to believe it is the best decision we can make for him for now.  Eric and I are going to wait it out a bit to see what happens, then make decisions regarding whether I should work part time, or just stay home with Lorelai.  We could certainly use the extra money.  If you want to call it extra.  Anything we bring home, now or in the future, goes to bills.  There is no such thing as extra money-- though we so wish there was. But that is another whole blog post, that I probably won't ever write.  Ha!

Lastly, I have started a small business of sorts.  If one can call it a business when one doesn't get much business at all!  Though, I have received a few orders and am thankful for those, I was really hoping that I could make enough money to help pay a bill or two so that we don't feel so strapped every month. :\  I'm going to attempt some new/more products in the coming month or so and if I still don't get much business, then I guess it is a flop.