Breakfast Muffins

bmuffins

I’m a bad mom and occasionally use the electronic babysitter in the mornings… I’m not that much of a morning person and it takes me awhile to get moving if I’m home and not milking. If it’s a morning I’ve milked I normally need to have a little down time to recharge. So while little Henry takes his mid-morning nap, I may nod of a few minutes with him.

The elder tribe members are big fans of the Disney Jr channel. Instead of commercials they have nice little skits in between cartoons. One of these skits is dog, who happens to be a chef that speaks with a French accent. He cooks healthy snacks and instructs the kids how to make them as he goes. It’s like Rachel Ray meets Clifford in a way. The best of ways. He is kind of a cute little guy and most of the time his recipes sound pretty tasty for always being kid friendly, in prep and taste.

The other day one of these recipes caught Emma’s interest. The pooch made eggs in muffin tins. Emma is not a big egg person, despite the enormous flock of chickens she keeps, she would rather eat cereal. She is starting to be interested in helping me cook so we tried to remember the recipe this morning. Here is our adaptation!

Breakfast Muffins

  • 9-12 eggs, beaten (amount of eggs becomes less as you add more fillings. Lots of goodies=less eggs, fewer goodies=more eggs)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 slices of deli ham, sliced thin and pieces quartered
  • 2 small red potatoes, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4-3/4 cup of an assortment of chopped veggies for your liking. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees. Beat your eggs in a large bowl. Stir in veggies, potatoes, salt and pepper. Spray a non-stick muffin tin with cooking spray. Line the tins with the ham. 1 slice per muffin well. Arrange it similar to a cupcake liner. Ladle the egg mixture in to the ham lining. Top with the shredded cheese. Do not over fill the muffin tin as the eggs will puff when the bake. Bake the egg mixture for 20-25 minutes or until set.

These were a hit! Very simple to make and great to have little people help with. As the tribe gets older it’s been fun finding recipes they can help with. I have some great little sous chefs!

Sometimes Thank You Isn’t Enough

As many of you know, my dad is currently suffering encephalitis. Last Friday he was moved to a larger hospital in Akron after suffering from a grand mal seizure while they were weaning him off of his sedation. The doctors were concerned he was potentially having these seizures and they were missing them due to the heavy sedation he was under. They were doing periodic EEG’s, but if you aren’t having a seizure during the test, it won’t tell you if one has taken place.

The good news is after that scary incident and a few days at the larger hospital, Dad is now awake and coherent. While he is mildly confused from time to time, he is responsive and has his wits about him. These are all things to be VERY thankful for. The worse part about viral encephalitis is it is just like any virus in the fact that you can only do supportive care. While care didn’t change from hospital to hospital, enough time had elapsed to allow for some healing and thus the waking up.

While all of this was going on with Dad, Tom and I have been tending the farm. I have a good reason for my lack of blogging, I’ve been running around like a crazy woman (more than usual)! Our biggest task at hand was almost 100 acres of hay that needed to be chopped for haylage to feed the milk cows. We had four of us at the time doing everyday chores. Only 2 of us, not I, drive tractors. Only 1 of us has unloaded haylage before and this was also the only person who knew how to operate the tractor and chopper. If you haven’t noticed, we had encountered a dilemma.

Our next problem came when Tom went thru the haybine to make sure it was ready to go. It wasn’t that would have been to easy. It was broken bad enough it had to be sent off to be fixed. So now we had to tell my already stressed mom that the haybine was broken…

Tom and I were telling our pastor all of this one day while sitting in the ICU waiting room. The following day a fellow church member and neighboring dairy farmer called Tom and informed him that he would be there to help him chop. He didn’t ask, being a wise man, knowing that Tom would probably beat around the bush about accepting help. He just informed him he would be there. Some how he also miraculously knew that our haybine was broken and said he would be bringing his. He also lined up another

By the next day a whole team of men from our church had been assembled and a rough timeline of when this was all going to happen was laid out. I have to say while it was greatly appreciated, acts of kindness like this can be completely overwhelming and humbling.

Tom ran around for a day making sure everything, and I mean everything, was ready to go in efforts of avoiding any delays from our equipment not being ready. Tractors were fueled, the chopper was prepped, the blower on the silo was went thru and all of our silage wagons were out and ready to go.

Sunday night they began mowing hay and by mid-morning Wednesday everything was chopped and in the silo. Our silo was literally filled with the last load of haylage being the last load that would fit.

One of the fields being mowed.

One of the fields being mowed.

Chopping the haylage for feed.

Chopping the haylage for feed.

We can’t begin to thank all of these guys enough. The time, labor and use of their equipment was the only way we were able to get this done as quickly and as easily as we were.

I some how having a feeling a certain woman put them up to this and she deserves a huge thanks as well. Having a farming background herself she knew how detrimental it was that our feed was made and how hard it would be to do with our limited people. Our pastor is an amazing woman in her own right. Coincidentally (maybe not?) her name is Angel.

Interesting Suprise

Every great once in a while you look at the newspaper when you take it out of the box and you are surprised. This morning was one of those mornings. I pulled in to the farm drive at the lovely hour of 3:45 am and stopped at the paper box to get Grandpa’s Daily Record. He is a die-hard reader. We live in a rural community, not much happens and the fact that this man scours the paper daily like he does amazes me.

After parking the truck I scanned the headlines. The front page story popped right out at me. “Holmes, Wayne Health Department ID Encephalitis Case” , part of the article can be found online at the-daily-record.com but you have to be a paid subscriber to read the whole article. Well, well I thought someone has caught on! Then I read the article…

“There is an area near Shreve we are really concerned about,” said Holmes County Health Commissioner Dr. D.J. McFadden (Source: The Daily Record, Reporter Christine Pratt). Would you like to hear how “concerned” they are, from the actual person living this nightmare? We had 1, I repeat 1 phone call that lasted maybe 2 minutes. I was basically told they were calling to follow up because they had to. Yes, this is the concern I, who just spent almost 2 weeks in the hospital with my children, wanted to hear. Because they had to. There is a high level of concern…

The article goes on to say there will be no spraying because it is not effective. We should all just wear long sleeves, mosquito repellant should be used and say a few extra prayers before leaving your house (ok, I may have added that last part). I will say one thing, I’m glad the article was done, if nothing else, to bring awareness. Holmes county is the number 1 county in the state for cases of Lacrosse and our health department is so concerned that to help in preventing cases all they are doing is telling you to wear bug spray and long sleeves. There is a high level of concern…

So after reading this article I was a tad livid. I posted a nice little rant to my personal Facebook page and was not surprised to find I was not the only one who found this frustrating. Later today I will be contacting several state representatives. I figure if I wait until I get to the hospital to sit with my dad it will give me something to do. You know, his conversation skills aren’t real great right now while in a medically induced coma. Because he was bitten by a mosquito that didn’t get the memo you don’t bite people wearing bug spray.

Maybe people who work Holmes and Wayne county health departments should come visit him. Take a gander at the condition he’s in. Maybe they would like to look at the picture my husband snapped while our daughter was hooked to a ventilator from having an intense seizure that lasted 40 minutes before it could be stopped. Maybe they could have witnessed her being so scared she vomited after witnessing her one brother have a seizure not an hour after she returned home from a weeks stay at Akron Children’s. They should talk to Taylor to find out what great fun it is to lay in a crib in the ICU while you run a 104 degree temperature. Emma could tell them what it’s like to not put the right name with the right face when your little friends come to your 5th birthday party. Both Emma and Taylor could list all the fun side effects their anti-seizure medicine causes: upset stomach, irritability, anxiousness, insomnia. I could tell them how terrifying to watch a 7 month old baby lay limp while running a terrifyingly high temperature and be told as long as he is hydrated not to worry, then when he is on the mend have your 4 year old seize, once she is better and you’re home from the hospital ready to decompress, you then get to watch your 3 year old seize.

Oh wait the health department is concerned, they told you to wear bug spray and long sleeves. That’s right, it’s all under control.

Below are links where you can read about Emma, Taylor, Henry and my dad’s illnesses.

Henry- https://ofkidsandcows.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/my-poor-baby-henry/

Emma- https://ofkidsandcows.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/the-last-36-hours/

Taylor- https://ofkidsandcows.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/what-are-the-odds/

My Dad- https://ofkidsandcows.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/its-happening-again/

An update on my dad: They are trying to wean him off of the heavy sedation on to a lighter one in hopes that it will help him be responsive when he wakes up. This was very rough on him (and all involved) yesterday until they found the right cocktail to bring him down gradually. As of now he is still fairly unresponsive and won’t follow commands. Until he can follow commands he has to remain on the ventilator. They have started a feeding tube to provide nutrition. This morning he is having a second CAT scan to see if there are any clues as to why he is still not responding. Please continue your prayers and support for him, my mom and our entire family as we go thru this. I would hate to see anyone else go thru this awful nightmare.

A fund has been set up to help defray the kids medical expenses. It can be found at: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mcdonnell-family-medical-expense-fund/209427

Also thank you to Christina Pratt for writing the article and shedding some light on this issue. People need to be aware of what’s going on. If you live in the Lakeville/Big Prairie/Shreve area PLEASE be careful.

 

 

It’s Happening Again

We were told when the kids were in the hospital that adults do not commonly get Lacrosse. It is generally a disease that effects children under 16. Generally. The Lacrosse virus is very sporadic and generally only one member in a family is randomly effected. It is not a disease that effects multiple family member because it is not contagious person to person. Generally.

I have had some of you chasing me down on Facebook asking where I was, commenting on my blog that they have hoped all is well in my odd absence. I really do appreciate your concern. Life has been crazy lately. Let me explain where I’ve been.

The past few weeks my father has been running a low grade fever. Now being the stubborn, middle aged farmer he is, the doctor was continually put off. He had more important things to do. My mom was concerned he had mold poisoning. When the kids were in Akron he was in one of the silos working on it. The fever and cold like symptoms followed shortly thereafter. The only way my mom finally convinced him to go to the doctor was she was there waiting for an x-ray (a whole other story) and urgent care didn’t have a line to be seen. The doctor said he had a sinus infection, prescribed some antibiotics, Mom had her x-ray and home they went.

The next morning Dad was feeling worse instead of better. He went to the barn and milked. After milking he went home while and laid down to nap. Mom had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor as a follow up to her x-ray and was gone a for awhile over lunch. Dad woke up, realized he slept for almost 6 hours and headed over to the farm.

When he walked in to the milking parlor he looked miserable. I was talking to him and he just seemed off. Something was obviously wrong. Tom came in and after seeing him was worried he was having a stroke. He was trying to get Dad to sing The Happy Birthday song, Dad thinking he was just being sarcastic just laughed. After sitting there for awhile my dad went up to the house to see my grandpa. Upon coming back he was having a hard time completing sentences and getting the right words he wanted to say. Thank goodness we finally got him to go back home. Mom was home from her appointment and they left for the emergency room.

Once they got to the ER, the doctors began asking some background questions. Immediately the kids were brought up and a spinal tap was ordered. The next problem came when they realized Dad had lower back surgery and a significant amount of scar tissue. It took them three attempts to get fluid before it worked. Ouch. His results were back shortly and sure enough it was viral meningitis.

While this was all going on Dad was slowly slipping farther and farther away. By the time he was admitted and in a room he was pretty well mentally gone thanks to the encephalitis. The first few days at the hospital were rough. He was very uncomfortable. They were trying to keep him comfortable and resting with IV drugs being administered every so often. This was not helping him rest very well at all. Due to the encephalitis he also had become very hard to handle when he was awake. Although not really responsive or coherent he would fight the nurses and doctors when they would examine him.

Saturday night Dad had a rough evening, he kept coughing and acting like he was choking. No one was overly concerned because he would calm right down. My mom mentioned it to the doctors in the morning, after a brief exam he could find nothing wrong. This happened again Sunday night. My mom became a little more firm about something needing to be done. His nurse called in a second nurse, then a doctor was called in. He was immediately moved to the ICU. Dad had aspirated in to his lungs.

Sometimes the ICU is viewed as a bad thing or a step back. In Dad’s case we’ve been assured by a few nurses that this is probably where he should have came immediately. Once in ICU he was sedated and placed on a ventilator. This is all to help him rest more effectively. All the infectious disease doctors have said the best way to heal encephalitis is rest, rest and more rest. They are going to try every morning to take the ventilator off. He was breathing on his own before the ventilator and is currently breathing over the ventilator as well. So there is no real worry he can’t breathe on his own, this is all just making it easier on his body. However, they won’t remove the ventilator until he is responsive and follow commands. It is a scary thing to see someone hooked to a vent, but Dad is much more peaceful right now.

They have assured us that the aspiration is small. Dad was also on antibiotics before he aspirated so hopefully this helps with keeping pneumonia under control.

Please keep my parents in your prayers and thoughts. When the kids were sick Tom and I had each other for support. Mom’s main support system is laying in bed, critically ill. The nice thing right now is Dad is currently in a local hospital. We have been able to go see him around milking and chores fairly easily. There is so much to do right now at the farm! We are really blessed to have 2 great kids working for us right now. This craziness can end anytime now!

So I haven’t ran away from the blogging world! I also have some great stuff planned for future blogs if I ever have the time. Ever wonder what happens when a cow becomes critically ill? Why dairy cows are skinnier than beef cows? Please be patient with me, I will keep everyone posted on my dad and hopefully, hopefully we just may get back to farm life one of these days!!!

Walking down the aisle at mine and Toms  wedding.

Walking down the aisle at mine and Toms wedding.

 

 

Follow Up’s at the Children’s Hospital

We left the house bright and early this morning to head to Akron for follow ups with the kids doctors. The first appointment, with the neurologist, was nice and early at 8:30. It was delight to get everyone out the door before 7 am to then encounter the end of rush hour once hitting Akron. Thank goodness the office was easy to find!

The kids behaved pretty in the neurology office. No melt downs, some antsyness, but we were in there for almost 2 hours. I think we were ALL starting to get antsy! Our appointment was with a nurse practitioner who was a very nice lady. She was great with the kids and explained stuff really well. I liked how she asked Emma and Taylor themselves how they were feeling. Sometimes it is easier to talk over 3 and 5 year olds than to them. Some days easier on the blood pressure too, but she was great.

They have decided to start weaning the kids off of their seizure medicine in hopes it lessens the side effects. Both kids are on Keppra and Vitamin B-6. While Keppra is a “clean” drug, meaning it does not work kidneys and other organs harder, it does not improve ones personality by any means! Emma’s dose is being reduced at night to hopefully help her insomnia. The thinking is by lessening the insomnia it will help improve her mood for the better by being more well rested, as well as less medicine. Taylor’s is being reduced in the morning in hopes it makes his irritability more tolerable. He has become very quick to throw a punch or kick when angered. That is not my sweet little T. I’m really hoping this works. If not they can keep lowering their doses little by little.

With lowering the doses comes some risk of seizures. Both kids were prescribed what is the equivalent to an epi-pen for seizures. They only need a dose if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes. I’m having a hard time believing I can let my kid seize for 5 minutes while remaining calm and not doing anything. It would be nice to not ever have to witness that.

The nurse practitioner mentioned that she couldn’t imagine seeing our medical bills. Then Tom told her we didn’t have insurance and were trying not to imagine how bad they were before they got here. She hunted down a social worker for us who is checking to see if we qualify for a few things, fingers crossed.

There were 2 hours to kill in between appointments. We headed to a Bob Evans to grab some brunch. It was good, the kids were iffy at best. They had been up since 6 and it was starting to show. We all survived and headed back to the hospital to meet with the infectious disease doctor. Since we arrived about 45 minutes early the kids and I grabbed a quick snooze in the car while Tom entertained himself playing solitaire on my iPad.

I was really worried after the nurse came to take vitals. Emma had a melt down on her. The worst part of these meltdowns are they scare Taylor. After the nurse left she came back around and was great with the doctor. It was the first time he had ever actually had her talk to him and they spent 6 days together in the hospital. I think he was pretty happy when he left.

We had the option of drawing blood on the kids again to be 100%, with out a doubt, positive to what the kids had. After talking with their doctor we did not do it. It wasn’t going to change the course of treatment. We were all worried it was going to send both kids in to a tizzy. Part of me wishes we had, but I think it was for the better that we didn’t.

After meeting with infectious disease, we talked to a financial counselor. For as amazing as the doctors and nurses are at Akron Children’s, they could work with these people. Teach them some social skills. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Finally we were all done with appointments for the day. Heading home we had to stop by the local pharmacy to refill prescriptions. The boys had both fallen asleep by this point in time. There is a nice lake we drive by on the way home. Don’t fear, we got to check it out very well because my car decided to die. Tom, Emma and I sat by the lake and waited for my dad to bring some oil and save us. The good news is, while waiting I happened to snap some cute pictures of Emma.

Standing on the dock

Standing on the dock

Toes in the water.

Toes in the water.

Once we came home we were greeted by our first hospital bill. My car has an appointment first thing in the morning at the shop. I am drinking an Angry Orchard because thank God it’s 5 o’clock here!

A medical fund has been set up to help defray the kids medical expenses. It can be found at  http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mcdonnell-family-medical-expense-fund/209427

To read about their journey with Lacrosse Encephalitis, it begins here: https://ofkidsandcows.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/the-last-36-hours/

Remember, I got all fancy and have a Facebook page these days, Check. It. Out.

 

Birthday Party Madness

It’s hard for me to believe that we just had Emma’s 5th birthday party! She won’t be 5 until Thursday, but Sunday was party day. We sent out invitations to all of our family plus the whole little girl troop she belongs to in pre-school. This was the first time she had come in contact with the whole troop since she was sick. I think she was a little nervous about that. Emma made it very aware in the morning before the party that she was worried about all the people. She asked me what she should do if she became scared. So her and I decided that she could just slip in to the house and watch cartoons, as the party was outside. To my knowledge she never did!

We had to run a few errands in the morning to get gate hinges for the new horse stall. The kids were beyond puzzled as to why their dad had built a brand new stall for Jack that he wasn’t allowed in. Taylor was determined, and I think he would have if we took our eye off him, to move Jack in to his new pen. One thing you have to give all of our kids, Taylor especially, is they stick to their guns. If that’s what they want to do, good luck convincing them otherwise. This can be both endearing and highly frustrating depending on the day.

We had made out with my mom to watch the kids in the afternoon so we could finish cleaning and preparing for the party, as well as pick up the oh so important birthday present. It was kind of a hard one to sneak in with out the kids seeing. So Tom and I went about finishing things, then off we went to get the BIG present!

Cami patiently waiting for the birthday girl!

Cami patiently waiting for the birthday girl!

The above palomino is the BIG present. For those of you who don’t follow me on a regular basis, this has been Emma’s request since about April. She wanted a palomino mare and a tea set. Well she got one but not the other. I think we picked the more desired choice to her!

We purchased Cami the morning of July 17th. Wow, how weird of me to remember a date we bought a horse right? We were on our way to the bank to get the cash to pay for Cami when Emma had her seizure and this whole fiasco began. When they told us Emma could have possibly memory loss from her seizure all I was thinking was please remember you wanted a palomino mare for your birthday! Don’t worry she did and told the one nurse ALL about it.

Finally 6 o’clock arrived and it was party time! Em was so excited to see all her friends from school. She immediately wanted to go show them Rainbow, her peewee showmanship calf. This was not a good idea because the horses live in the same barn and unbeknownst to her a palomino was eagerly waiting for her!

Emma and Rainbow. She has put a lot of hours in to that little calf!

Emma and Rainbow. She has put a lot of hours in to that little calf!

Tom chased her down to stop her and this made her beyond mad! Well in the mean time, our sweet little Taylor happened to see what was in the barn and about peed himself. Tom thankfully got him quiet soon enough before he just blurted it out. He came up to me whispering, “Mom, I have a secret. There’s a palomino in that barn!!”. Emma’s emotional instability came out and we had a little, ok moderate sized tantrum. So Tom and I had a parent pow-wow and decided to give the palomino then and there. Emma went from crying to hysterically laughing in seconds. Sadly I have no video because I was trying to console her while Tom got Cami out of the barn. Don’t worry, she didn’t waste much time to get on!

Our little bareback cow girl!

Our little bareback cow girl!

Cami was definitely the star of the show for quite some time! Emma’s little friends sat on her and I’m not sure who liked it more, them or Cami. Jack is a good boy but isn’t a “lovey dovey” horse. If you show up to feed him he’s happy. He really has little use for us other than food in his mind I think. I have a feeling some one else is not that way at all…

The party quieted down and we went about eating, opening gifts and having cake. All the little girls handed Emma gifts and helped open them. It was adorable! However, they descended upon these gifts like they all have been with my crazy tribe and cards went everywhere. I honestly am not sure who got Emma what… oh, well they had a blast! If you could have only heard the giggles!

Then it was cake time, some more play and then the party dispersed. It was a wild and crazy time! The kids had a blast hanging out in our barn and seeing all the animals. Taylor gave everyone a grand tour of our barn. From what I hear it was quite the thing to behold!

Emma's birthday cake. The kid has good taste, only Dairy Queen would do for that girl!

Emma’s birthday cake. The kid has good taste, only Dairy Queen would do for that girl!

 

The troop of girls from school. I think they're thicker than thieves but oh so adorable!

The troop of girls from school. I think they’re thicker than thieves but oh so adorable!

Emma was done with the party by the time everyone had left. All the people and excitement had her a little more overwhelmed than she wanted to admit I think. Her and I realized we never made s’mores during the party, which are her favorite sweet by far. If you’ve encountered this kids sweet tooth, that’s saying something! So we made a little impromptu fire and cooked some s’mores before going in for the night.

This morning she woke up around 7, came down stairs put her boots on and headed right out, in pouring rain, to the barn. Hopefully it stops raining tonight so she can ride sometime tomorrow!

This was the 3rd shot of this. She had to be standing just right for a photo op....

This was the 3rd shot of this. She had to be standing just right for a photo op….

A medical fund has been set up to help defray the kids medical expenses. It can be found at  http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mcdonnell-family-medical-expense-fund/209427

To read about their journey with Lacrosse Encephalitis, it begins here: https://ofkidsandcows.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/the-last-36-hours/

Remember, I got all fancy and have a Facebook page these days, Check. It. Out.

Booby Baby!

So some how I posted this to an old blog that I don’t use. I’m not quite sure what happened. This is reblogged, but it’s me 🙂

Of Kids and Cows

Did you know that this is World Breastfeeding Week and August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month? Well if you didn’t, now you do!

The whole tribe has breast fed for varying lengths of time and have all been weaned for different reasons. Emma ate non-stop. Literally. We struggled for almost 3 months with lots of blood, sweat and tears (ok not blood that came with Taylor). The day I put her on formula I felt like an immense burden was lifted off my shoulders.

Taylor took to nursing very easily and kept after it like a champ. He had teeth come in very early. It was quite a surprise to find teeth in his mouth one day when he was only 2 months old. He was even a little gentleman and didn’t use them for a long time. Right around 6 months old someone switched this little cutie out with…

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Deep Fried Green Beans

Looking for someone to make your veggies unhealthy for you? Look no further than this blog post! My massive weed patch, that was once upon a time ago my garden, has been producing a bounty of green beans. We all enjoy them but sometimes after awhile you have to start thinking outside of the box. I don’t too many people who don’t enjoy something fried to a crunchy golden brown. So I put two and two together. Viola fried green beans! A few easy steps and you can be enjoying them too.

Our washed/trimmed beans ready to go.

Our washed/trimmed beans ready to go.

The dredging essentials. Buttermilk and flour/breadcrumbs

The dredging essentials. Buttermilk and flour/breadcrumbs

I found some little fingers to do the messy work. Yes, it was as messy as you would think!

I found some little fingers to do the messy work. Yes, it was as messy as you would think!

Awaiting the fryer.

Awaiting the fryer.

The finished product!

The finished product!

Deep Fried Green Beans

  • 1 pound fresh, trimmed green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, I used regular 2% than added 1 tablespoon or so of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sale
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • oil for frying

Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a dutch oven, or heavy pot to 305-375 degrees. If making your own “buttermilk” combine the lemon juice and milk first to allow it some time to thicken. After your beans are washed and trimmed, dry them on paper towels. In a bowl or pie plate mix flour, bread crumbs and seasonings until combined. Dip the green beans in to the buttermilk then dredge with the flour/bread crumb mixture. Ideally I would repeat this step to ensure your had a good coating of breading. My breading hands were that of an almost 5 year old. By the time she was done it just looked like one big slurry, but it worked. Once oil is to temperature fry the beans in small batches. Drain the excess oil off of beans on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

I do have my Facebook page up and running. Big excitement! It can be found at Of Kids and Cows. Please Like, Share and Follow!

A medical fund has been set up to help defray the kids medical expenses. It can be found at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mcdonnell-family-medical-expense-fund/209427

Today Was A Good Day

Overall, today was a good day. It was our day off, yes we are farmers who try to get those. It began early with Emma getting up with the sun again. She’s been waking up between 5 and 6. This could normally be deterred by turning on cartoons and we all drift back to sleep. Well since our little medical episode she is so loud. Unintentional, but all the same, very loud. So by the time she snuggles in to bed literally the whole house is awake. Some don’t go back to sleep as easily as others. I put off getting our of bed until 7. Then we had reached the point of no return.

For some reason this morning getting her medicine in her was a battle again. It involved a full out tantrum and her going as far as to throw a glass of water. After forcing her to take it, she yelled at us a little more but eventually calmed down. We had our normal Sunday morning off scrounge for breakfast. This normally consist of  a wide assortment of leftovers. It’s great for 2 purposes. It cleans out our fridge and I don’t have to cook. Tom had to run over to the farm to help my dad with a busted water line in our dry cow barn. I hear it was a nice mess. So thankfully my mom stopped for a few minutes. I was rather frazzled after our morning tantrum and some back up was nice. She even loaded my dishwasher for me! I’m pretty sure we were fresh out of clean plates.

When Tom came home he took the kids outside to help him feed our assortment of animals. Emma and Taylor even gave Rainbow a bath! It’s so nice to see them getting back to their normal activities! This is the first day we’ve even really gotten Emma outside. For some reason she has wanted to stay indoors. It was so nice to see her get out and move.

Scrub a dub dub, Rainbow in the "tub".

Scrub a dub dub, Rainbow in the “tub”.

I enjoyed my nap while all this was going on. We had to run to town quick and get a bag of feed for Jack and the goats. The elder tribe members wanted McDonalds for lunch. So we stopped. I think we have become the biggest push overs in parenting known to man these days! Hopefully the kids don’t catch on to this.

After getting back from town Emma, Henry and I headed to our weed patch, I mean garden…. It is pretty hazardous right now. But the good news is we found some green beans to pick! Emma was a pro at picking last year. Though not as fast today she still picked almost a whole row on her own.

A bucket of green beans.

A bucket of green beans.

While we were scavenging thru the weeds in the garden we found this nice little fella amongst the weeds.

Our praying mantis. Sadly I wasn't that close, my weeds are really that big!

Our praying mantis. Sadly I wasn’t that close, my weeds are really that big!

A break was definitely in order after working in the garden. We headed up to our barn to hitch our favorite chubby pony. Poor Jack hasn’t been worked in almost a month with all the kids being sick. To say he was ready to go would be an understatement. While the tribe and I waited for Tom to hitch Jack, our little Henry ran in to a small problem.

"Help I'm circled!"

“Help I’m circled!”

"Hello is anyone else seeing this?"

“Hello is anyone else seeing this?”

Thankfully it didn’t take to much to hitch an anxious Jack and we were off for a long ride. After a ride that lasted over an hour we made it back home. Jack didn’t need to be told to turn in the drive to the barn, he willing turned on to the lane all on his own. I think almost a months rest has left some pony a tad out of shape!

This is the face of a pony who just came to terms with how out of shape he is.

This is the face of a pony who just came to terms with how out of shape he is.

By this point in time we had been outside quite awhile. Emma started to complain of a headache and grew irritable very quickly. I headed in with her and Henry. I wandered my kitchen trying to decide what to make for supper. Tonight was honestly the first night I have cooked in over 3 weeks. Between hospital food and the awesome women we attend church with, my culinary skill have gone unused. After settling on green beans with bacon and potatoes and some sweet corn I had helpers wander in.

My bean snippers

My bean snippers

Not to shabby looking for my long break!

Not to shabby looking for my long break!

The boys took baths after dinner. The littlest tribesman had potatoes and corn covering 2/3 of his face, he is too little to argue with me about personal hygiene. The next one needs wrote down somewhere, Taylor VOLUNTEERED to bathe. This has never happened before. Emma started to get anxious after dinner again so I didn’t push my luck. Evening medicine was a battle with her, but she did eventually take it on her own. I’m so glad Taylor willingly takes his!

Things calmed down and I began to tidy up the kitchen. This included taking a few scraps to our resident juvies. One decided it was a great idea to see what the house had to offer. Thankfully I got her cut off in time. There’s currently an ongoing joke with another agvocate and I that the chickens just want to come in and watch Frozen. Let me tell ya, this was the closest one!

This is a determined little bird.

This is a determined little bird.

I’m kicking around starting an Of Kids and Cows Facebook page, so be on the look out! Nothing like being able to see more of the craziness around this farm!

A fund has been setup to help defray some of the kids medical expenses. It can be found here: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mcdonnell-family-medical-expense-fund/209427

 

I Feel Like I Need To Explain

I need to write this post because Emma cannot. When Emma suffered from lengthy seizures caused by her LaCrosse encephalitis it caused damage on both sides of her brain, more on the left side than the right side. She thankfully didn’t lose many motor skills but she becomes confused easily and has a hard time processing things.

Dealing with Emma on a daily basis is difficult. I know she’ll get better and I know she can’t help it. However this does not make it any less frustrating to deal with. To go from a happy bubbly almost 5 year old to a kid trying to deal with this messy hand she was suddenly dealt is scary for her. She often lashes out because she doesn’t know what else to do.

When asking Emma questions she often doesn’t answer. I think she’s having problems processing things, mainly options and choices presented to her. We don’t have an appointment with the neurologist for 10 more days, this gives me lots of time to compile a list of questions. I’m definitely getting more the longer we are all home.

If faced with stress right now she either shuts down or enters a massive tantrum comparable to that of a toddler. Normally during this time she doesn’t want touched and eventually falls asleep. We had one of these episodes over taking her medicine this morning. It started innocently enough. Her and Taylor are on the same medicines, an anti seizure medicine and vitamin B-6 to help heal their brains and limit irritability. Taylor gets his vitamin in the morning while Emma gets hers in the evening. I brought his in to the living room in a medicine cup and Emma’s in the syringe. The plan was to let Taylor drink his, then squirt Emma’s into the cup for her to drink. She saw the syringe and went in to a tizzy. This lasted for an hour of yelling, kicking and screaming before she some what calmed down.

Emma also isn’t talking to that many people right now. She acts very backwards around adults, wether she knows you or not. Her normal “bubble” she has of not wanting touched has grown. Her pediatrician said this is most likely from the massive headaches she is still suffering from. These can last for months yet.

I’m writing this now because lots of you will come in contact with her soon. Between her birthday party and hopefully a stop or two at the up coming county fairs, which she loves. I want people to be aware of what exactly she’s dealing with. These aren’t tantrums because she isn’t getting her way, they’re tantrums she can’t help. So please if you see Emma while she’s out and about be patient, she means well. It will come eventually but she has a long road. Unfortunately she was hit much harder than Taylor and has a lot more to deal with. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I believe right now this is hitting home more than ever.

I don’t want people to get the wrong impression by this post and be hesitant to approach her. She is happy Emma 70% of the time. But if you see her having problems I want you to know why. Please give her the time, patience and understanding she needs.

A fund has been set up to help defray some of the medical costs from the kids being sick, it can be found at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mcdonnell-family-medical-expense-fund/209427