Thursday, September 29, 2011

Road Trippin' Part Three

As we left the ghost town of Grafton, Don and I decided to pay a quick visit to the old cemetary.

We tried to read the gravestones, but some of them were so weather worn that they were illegible.

Severe flooding and Indian attacks are two major reasons Grafton was abandoned and left a ghost town. However, according to the information Don and I read on the following plaque, Diphtheria and Scarlet Fever also took a toll on town inhabitants.

I find it interesting that two girls, ages 13 and 14, died because a
swing broke. I sure would like to know the story behind that accident, especially since it happened in February.

If you would like to learn more about the ghost town of Grafton, go to

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Road Trippin' Part Two

After Don, Cody and I left Zion National Park, we drove to a nearby ghost town named Grafton.

As you can see in the photo below, unless a person is aware of Grafton and specifically looking for the turn off, the sign would be easy to miss.

Soon after turning onto the side road, we crossed over this historic single-track iron bridge.

Then we spotted a much older sign, half hidden amid the tall grass.

We had to drive passed multiple security cameras, but finally came upon the completely fenced in ghost town. Just inside the gate, was an information plaque.

There was also a box to donate money for preservation, if so desired.

 In this picture, Don is trying to help Cody drop a dollar in the donation box. You can see that Cody is grumpy because we made him get out of the car.

This is the old school/ church that has been restored.

Cody is forcing a smile and I am nervous thanks to 
a huge lizard lurking around the step.

This photo, taken inside Grafton, is looking east toward Zion National Park.

After we left Grafton, we visited the town's graveyard. I will post more about our experience there in Road Trippin' Part Three.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Road Trippin' Part One

Feeling a bit stir crazy over the week-end, Don, Cody and I took off in our 2012 Nissan Altima (see this post)...

and did a little sight seeing. Well, that's not exactly true. Don and I went sight seeing. Cody went sight listening (an oxymoron of sorts).

Cody is a great traveller, as long as the radio is tuned into a classic rock station and we don't make him get out of the car.

We went to Zion National Park. If you have never been there, you must put it on your bucket list. Zion National Park is in southern Utah, approximately 85 miles from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, 157 miles from Las Vegas and 115 miles from Lake Powell.

The weather was warm and beautiful (high 80's) and, with the exception of Cody grumbling when we made him get out of the car, it was an enjoyable drive.

Below are a few of the pictures we snapped...

Check out the heart shaped cloud, captured completely by accident.

Zion has two tunnels. This is the entrance to the small tunnel.

Inside the small tunnel.

Inside this rock mountain is a 1.1 mile long tunnel.
You can see one of the windows about mid photo.

Here is a zoomed in shot of the window.

This is the entrance to the mile long tunnel. It was Cody's favorite part of the trip. He insisted on riding with his window down so he could hear the echo.

After we left the park, we drove to a ghost town of sorts, but you're going to have to wait and read about that in Road Trippin' Part Two. :)

If you want to know more about Zion National Park, click here. If you would like to see gorgeous, breathtaking photos of the park, do a google image search. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Caramel Popcorn Recipe

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 quarts popped popcorn

Combine first 5 ingredients and cook to a soft ball stage. Pour over popcorn. Stir/Toss gently.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Glee...Sesame Street Style

I have only watched Glee a couple of times but enough to see the humor in this clip. Sesame Street writers and puppeteers are a hoot. :)

My favorite part is when the gay puppet says "Gorgeous!"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Calorie Cycling

I found the following information about Calorie Cycling on Moms Who Think. Has anybody tried this diet technique and if so, did it work for you? Please let me know in the comment section.

"Dieting sometimes consists of eating a set amount of calories per day and even sometimes has a set amount per meal. When we have set calorie amounts our bodies get used to the amount of calories we take in on a daily basis. You will start out losing weight but eventually you will hit a plateau and begin to stay at the same weight.

When we take in the same amount of calories every day the body realizes this and our metabolism starts to slow down and we burn less. Your body thinks you’re starving so it will stop burning as many calories and will start storing calories. When you change your calories from a high amount to a low amount on a regular basis, your body does not know what to expect and therefore you are constantly burning calories. This method of weight loss is called calorie cycling.

The basic premise to calorie cycling is that you cycle your calories; tricking your metabolism into thinking you are not dieting. This method can keep your metabolism from slowing down and can help you continue to lose weight at a steady pace.

In order to calorie cycle, you’ll want to change the amount of calories you take in on a daily basis. One day you might take in 2,000 calories, then the next day 1,000, and then 1,500 the third day.
Some people who swear by calorie cycling take it to the next level by changing calorie intake from meal to meal, or calorie shifting. Shifting your calories or cycling them is supposed to cause your metabolic rate to stay high and constantly work; giving you continuous weight loss.

In order to do calorie cycling you need to eat at least four meals a day. You should not snack and every meal needs to have a different calorie count. It is suggested that if you are going to use this method of dieting, you should start out by changing your calories from day to day then eventually change your calories from meal to meal."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

Katelyn and I had a conversation this afternoon about artists and I mentioned how different her dad's taste in art is than mine. Where Don enjoys oil paintings of landscapes and such, I take great pleasure in viewing abstract art.

One thing lead to another and soon we were discussing Vincent van Gogh and how unappreciated he was in his lifetime. Then I asked Katelyn if she had ever heard Don McLean's song Starry Starry Night. When she said she hadn't, I knew I had to pull it up on YouTube for her. The lyrics of this song paint a precise picture (no pun intended) of Vincent's short, anguished life.

This Kinda Makes Me Wanna Gag...

New Dad Goes on All-Breast-Milk Diet - ABC News

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remember Mr. Stupid?

One thing is certain around our house. We never know what is going to come out of Cody's mouth.

Tonight, as Cody was getting into his pajamas, he randomly said, "Remember Mr. Stupid?" I tried to think of all the men in Cody's life that he would possibly be calling stupid until Cody added, "...and his dog named Kitty?"

That's when it occurred to me! Cody was talking about a book we had when our kids were younger titled 'The Stupids Step Out'. There was an entire series of books written by Harry G. Allen, Jr. about a family whose last name was Stupid. Some people didn't appreciate the humor in these books, but our family loved them. (Kinda like some of the parents at Casey's preschool umpteen years ago, who thought letting your child watch Power Rangers was going to make them violent individuals, but that's off the subject. Sorry.)

Anyhow... If you have a sense of humor, go to and check these books out.


And if not? Well, maybe you should consider lightening up a bit?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cody, his Overprotective Drama Queen Sister and the Duck Pond

My daughter came home from college this afternoon anxious to engage in the following conversation:

Katelyn- "I just saw Cody at the duck pond. He was standing all alone."

Me- "I am sure there were people watching him." (He was with his day program.)

Katelyn- "There was a group huddled over by the bench. NOWHERE NEAR CODY."

Short pause

Katelyn- "He's blind! Don't they know he could wander off into the sea?"

This is the point where I start laughing. In her exaggerated drama, the pond suddenly became the sea.

Katelyn- "What was he wearing?"

Me- "Jeans and a blue Aeropostale shirt with white lettering."

Katelyn-  "Well, for one thing, he should be in shorts. You shouldn't dress him in jeans yet. It's hot. He's probably sweating bullets with the sun beating on his head." (It might be 80 degrees, at the most.)

Me- still laughing


Katelyn- "Nobody even offered him a seat."

Do you suppose she is a little protective of her older brother?

And the really funny part is, when Cody came home and I asked him about the duck pond, he said, "We didn't go to the duck pond. We went bowling."

Poor Katelyn. She worried herself sick over nothing. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wicked Witch Halloween Decor

If you love decorating your home for Halloween and want to see a clever idea, click on this link... Just Drink a Coke.: The Wicked Witch of the Midwest! You will be glad you did. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Don't Take Advantage of My Child Because He is Blind

Cody walked into the house this afternoon, after being at his day program all day, and said, "I only had a sandwich and chips." Knowing full well what he was talking about, I unzipped his lunch box to see if the OREOS I packed for him this morning were still there. I saw nothing 
but an empty water bottle and his ice pack, so I said "Cody, what happened to the OREOS I packed for you?" and in the saddest voice, he told me, "Scott ate them." (Scott is another client at the day program.)

At this point, I was livid. Cody asks me to pack OREOS every day, but because I want him to eat as much of a variety as his autism allows, I only put OREOS in his lunch box one or two times a week. I know he really looks forward to eating them.

It makes no difference to me if the person stealing Cody's food has disabilities or not. Maybe is should, but it doesn't. It's not right to take advantage of Cody just because he can't see. The thing is, I know this was not the first time this particular client has taken food off of Cody's plate. What I wonder is where are the workers when this stuff is going on and how many other people are taking Cody's food because he can't see to defend himself? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Smell My Feet

Look what I found at Big Lots yesterday.

I asked my husband to cut the ground stake off and add chains, so I can hang her in place of my 'Welcome' sign when October rolls around.

Isn't she cute?!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Thought Provoking Afternoon

It has been 10 years since September 11, 2001 and there is a feeling of reverence in the air. I intended to write an "11 Things" post, as I have on the 11th day of each month this year, but decided against it, knowing that anything I had to say would be insignificant in comparison to commemorating the anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers.

This afternoon, I went to a special 9/11 Tribute that was part of a Documentary Film Festival. My daughter had an assignment for one of her college classes to attend,
interview students about their opinions and find out if any of them were directly affected by the attacks.

As we watched the films, 'Never Happen Here: The Whitehorse 9/11 Story' and 'Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero', I was glad that my daughter invited me to go with her. Both films were exceptionally thought provoking. 

Never Happen Here: The Whitehorse Story intrigued me the most. The film talked about Whitehorse, a remote town in Canada, and how their peace was shattered on 9/11, when a "hijacked" 747, escorted by U.S and Canadian fighter jets, was instructed to land there.

I'm sure it's because my husband works at an airport as a first responder and I am an employee at a public school, but as this town's emergency responders were called out, their schools evacuated and thousands of parents raced in panic to find their children, I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion for the people of this otherwise quiet community.

If given the opportunity, I would highly recommend that you watch both of these films.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remember September 12th?

None of us will forget the horror of September 11, 2001. Like many of you, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing that morning.

Of course we remember the victims of that fateful day which forever changed our lives, but I think it might be a good idea to recollect the events and feelings that followed the day after, on September 12th.

Americans came together that day like I had never seen before. We were in shock. We were mourning. We were afraid. We were angry, but we put aside our differences and believed in one another. We were proud to be Americans and we bonded.

Everywhere we looked, the American flag was displayed. It flew in front of homes and businesses. It flew on school flagpoles and government buildings and streets. It flew proudly from car antennas. There were even stickers of the Red, White and Blue displayed on vehicle bumpers and windows.

There was an intense feeling of patriotism in the air as American citizens rallied to defend the country they loved so dearly.

This weekend, as we remember the tragic events of September 11th, let us not forget that we, as a nation, stood strong and united on September 12th.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Watch Out for the Flames!

The following Blog on Fire Award was kindly given to me by Lizbeth at Four Sea Stars. If you haven't visited her blog, you really should. She tells it as it is and I love that about her.

Now I must tell you 7 things about me that you don't already know, then pass the award along. (By the way, if you have a blog and I am aware of it, you should be getting nervous about now.)

Here goes...

1) Once I walked around Las Vegas with an ice pack on my boob. Wanna know why? Faithfully read my blog and I may tell you someday. ;)

2) You might as well stick me in a gown from the renaissance era and put a tiara on my head, than ask me to wear a necklace or earrings. It isn't going to happen.

3) I have a time capsule I cannot open until the year 2014. (That seemed soo far away when I was putting it together.)

4) I use to worship Stevie Nicks until I saw her this year on NBC's The Voice. Now that she's freakin' old, not so much.

5) I have a love/hate relationship with thunderstorms.

6) I prefer pink carnations over roses.

7) I hate going to potlucks because there are always freeloaders and/or people who don't bring their fair share of food.

There you have it. Seven things that you didn't need to know about me, but learned anyway.

Now, without further adieu (I have to pat myself on the back. I did spell check and actually spelled adieu right!), I shall pass the Blog on Fire Award on to...

Apples and Autobots - An enjoyable blog written by a middle school teacher and mother of four, two of which are on the autism spectrum.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears - These amazing parents home schooled there autistic son, but have enrolled him in public high school this year. Read this blog and support the ups and downs this family will inevitably face.

Adventures in Oz - Head on over and meet Annie. She's an extremely talented lady and my very dear friend.

The Fragile X Files - Mark and Bonnie blog about their three children, with a special emphasis on their twin boys that have Fragile X Syndrome. If you don't know what Fragile X Syndrome is, their blog would be a great place to learn.

Carolina Heart Strings - Two friends, one in South Carolina and one in North Carolina. These women discuss a hodge podge of subjects, including autism.

That's it. I'll pick on nominate the rest of you another time. I can almost guarantee it. :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rectangles and Relationships

I have always thought of myself as a "mama bear" type of mother, but today, Cody proved me otherwise.

On Saturdays, I allow Cody to watch GSN while I'm cleaning the house and whatnot. He loves all of the game shows...Deal or No Deal, Match Game, Password, Family Feud, Lingo, Catch 21, etc. Today was no exception. Cody sat comfortably in the recliner with the television on, while I baked some cookies and cleaned the kitchen.

After I finished and turned on the dishwasher, I sat down on the sofa with Katelyn's laptop, hoping to catch up on my favorite blogs. As my mind slowed down enough to tune into the television, I looked up to see some kind of dating program on the screen. I picked up the remote and said to Cody, "What's this? We don't want to watch this. Let's find something else." I then turned the channel to 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' on the Food Network and tried to settle into reading a few posts. That's when Cody interrupted me and said, "It's called Rectangles and Relationships and Iiii like it." Sure you do, I thought to myself (insert eye roll here) as I went back to GSN to see what the heck the game show is really called. (In case you don't already know, instead of being direct, Cody converses in clues.)

I learned two things.

#1 The game is called 'Love Triangles', not Rectangles and Relationships.

#2 Cody wouldn't have responded the way he did, if he hadn't watched the show a few times!

This undoubtedly explains why Cody has been obsessed with using the word "sex" lately, which brings me back to my original point.

I think my protective mother skills have gone to shit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

National Food Holidays for the Month of September

I came across the following list today and can't help but wonder who comes up with this stuff? An even better question might be, who really cares? Is there anybody out there who actually adheres to lists like this? I couldn't do it. Many of the foods honored this month make me gag (especially numbers 6, 9 and 27). However, I'm seriously contemplating observing National Cream Filled Donut Day on September 14th!

September 1: National Cherry Popover Day
September 2: National Blueberry Popsicle Day
September 3: National Welsh Rarebit Day
September 3: Afternoon Tea Day
September 4: National Macadamia Nut Day
September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day
September 6: National Coffee Ice Cream Day
September 7: National Acorn Squash Day
September 8: National Date Nut Bread Day
September 9: Wienerschnitzel Day
September 10: TV Dinner Day
September 11: National Hot Cross Bun Day
September 12: National Chocolate Milkshake Day
September 13: National Peanut Day
September 13: Snack A Pickle Time
September 14: National Cream Filled Donut Day
September 14: Eat a Hoagie Day
September 15: National Linguine Day
September 16: National Guacamole Day
September 16: Mexican Independence Day
September 17: National Apple Dumpling Day
September 18: National Cheeseburger Day
September 19: National Butterscotch Pudding Day
September 20: National Rum Punch
September 21: International Banana Festival
September 21: National Pecan Cookie Day
September 22: National Ice Cream Cone Day
September 23: National White Chocolate Day
September 24: National Cherries Jubilee Day
September 25: Crab Meat Newburg Day
September 26: National Pancake Day
September 27: National Chocolate Milk Day
September 27: National Corned Beef Hash Day
September 28: Strawberry Cream Pie Day
September 28: Drink Beer Day
September 29: National Coffee Day
September 30: National Hot Mulled Cider Day

If it were up to me to decide food holidays for September, my list would look like this...

1: DQ Peanut Buster Parfait Day
2: National Orange Chicken Day
3: Drink a Coke Day
4: National Chips and Pico de Gallo Day
5: National Take Your Mom to Olive Garden Day
6: Barbecue Chicken Day
7: National Cinnamon Roll Day
8: Eat a Caramel Apple Day
9: National Seafood Day
10: Milk Chocolate Day
11: Eat Cold Cereal so your Mom Doesn't have to Cook Day
12: National Potato Chips and Dip Day
13: National Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting Day
14: National Cream Filled Donut Day (I'm keeping this one.)
15: Cheese Ball and Crackers Day
16: Eat a Steak Day
17: Cotton Candy Day
18: National Onion Rings Day
19: KFC Day
20: Egg Foo Yong Day
21: National Divinity Day
22: Drink a Coke Day (It's my list. I can do this twice if I want.)
23: Barbecue Ribs Day
24: National Corn on the Cob Day
25: National Orange Juice Day
26: Brownies and Milk Day
27: National Movie Theater Popcorn Day
28: National Chili Relleno Day
29: Scones and Honey Butter Day
30: National Molasses Cookie Day
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