Gag me with a microchip!

{May 23, 2009}   Fruit Kabobs

I’ve been trying to incorporate colorful, nutritious and fun foods into our daily lives.  The kids love fruit so kabobs are a big hit whenever they’re served. They’re ideal for picnics and parties or any time you want to dazzle family and friends. Here’s how to make them:
1. Pick a colorful variety of fruit.  Use fruit that’s fresh but firm, never over-ripe. Be creative, try what’s in season, experiment and find your own favorite combinations. Fruit ideas: apples, pears, pineapple, banana, mango, papaya, starfruit, and strawberries.
2. Wash, peel, and cut the fruit into similar size chunks and drizzle with lemon juice, or marinate fruit in a sauce (puree of same fruits youv’e grilled augmented with lemon juice), or go to the other extreme by using a spicy hoisin sauce, our favorite tho is to sprinkle fruit with brown sugar or cinnamon and drizzle with chocalate sauce.
3. Place 6-7 pieces on each skewer, alternating colors, shapes, and textures. Use smaller fruit like grapes or cherries on the ends of the kabobs and leave space at each end of the skewer for easy handling.
5.If you’re serving your kabobs fresh, stack them on top of each other on an oval platter or fan them out in a pretty circle on a round plate. (Keep them in a re-sealable plastic bag or plastic container until you are ready to serve them.)


* Sometimes its fun to grill them! Yummy.fruit kabob


{May 20, 2009}   Kissing money goodbye!
My 7 year old daughter L Kissing money goodbye! has been plagued with abdominal migraines for the last year and a half. Her symptoms are so debilatating. She has not only the classic migraine headache but also a severe nausea, cramping in her legs so bad she can’t walk at times, extreme sensitivity to light so she has to stay in the dark, and extreme sensitivity to noise (having 3 other sibilings doesn’t help that). It was such a difficult thing to even diagnose it took a year for her to get in to see a neurologist. That was in the end of December 08. Her neurologist put her on the medicine Topomax and it was amazing the difference it made. She was able to return to school and enjoy her childhood again instead of being miserable. Problem solved…or so I thought.

Last month a generic form of Topomax was released. So when she got her refill they filled it with that (insurance rules). I have no problem with generics if they do the same job, but this one didn’t. Her migraines are back. Everyday again! She mine as well not even take it. I took her back to the doctor and he said that he will mark “brand name necessary” on the prescription but my insurance won’t pay for it. That means I have to pay almost $300 a month now for her medicine. ON TOP OF paying for medical insurance! She is worth every penny don’t get me wrong. It is just a shame that even though it is medically necessary insurance companies don’t make exceptions. This is another reason why there should be major healthcare reform!

{May 19, 2009}   Summer Camp Struggle

summercampHow in the heck do they expect people to pay for summer camps? They are so expensive. If I only had one child it might be more reasonable but I have 4! To send my three oldest kids to a structured, academically oreintated camp this summer will cost $1500! I’m still not sure how I am going to be able to swing it but its an important experience that I think all american kids should go through. I missed out on summer camps and always secretly wished I could go. I don’t want my kids to be shorted on an experience due to the expense.
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to’ get rid’ of them for a week. I’ll miss them! But I want my kids to be as able to recieve structured, academically oriented activities during the summer as any other child. A number of recent studies document slight gains in middle-class children’s test scores during the summer months, while low-income children’s scores show declines of over two months of grade-level equivalency. As a result, low-income children’s reading skill levels fall approximately 3 months behind those of their middle-class peers over the summer a difference equal to about a third of the typical learning that takes place during a regular school year.
See “The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores,” by Harris Cooper, Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri.
Wealthy kids spend their summers enrolled in science,nature and art camps, punctuated with family vacations and the occasional trip abroad. Poor kids, by contrast, spend a disproportionate amount of time at home alone or in programs with minimal mental or physical enrichment. The difference in summer services offered to middle and low income communities is pretty striking!
So I’ll work extra hours, have yard sales, and figure out how to get them the best experience while keeping their academic skills up as well. I don’t really consider myself to be low-income but I am a single mom supporting four children and just above the income level to recieve any kind of financial assistance from any state agency. This leaves me at a disadvantage. To pay this I really have to struggle and it stresses out the house. I know I’m not the only one feeling this sting. My friend Jessica is a single mom of a 8 year old. She makes just above the line for help financially too. She has to leave her daughter home alone a lot because of expenses of childcare. And when summer comes she ends up quiting her job every year so she can stay home with her daughter. This is no way to live.

et cetera