Friday, December 30, 2011

Taking down the tree

Our favorite doc is always talking about "Theory of Mind". It refers to the fact that an individual is incapable of seeing a point of view other than his own.

To me that implies that my son does not, cannot care about other people's feelings. That's hard for a mom to accept. I want my son to grow into a loving, caring young man. His handicap may not allow that to happen.

I felt it so strongly this Christmas season. I got some nasty bug and was sick for the two weeks surrounding Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, we went to our favorite tree lot and chose a fresh tree. As a family, we narrowed it down to a few, but allowed Kyle to make the final decision.Kyle was happy to drag the tree to the checkout then returned to his book in the car. Then I watched as my dear husband meticulously tied it to the roof of the car.

We rearranged the living room at least three times trying to place the tree this year. Since last year, we acquired a very large TV, so finding a pleasant arrangement presented quite a challenge. It was cozy to say the least!

We did not decorate it right away, but got busy in the holiday fuss at our respective jobs. Then I got sick. By the time we decorated, it was getting pretty dried out.

But decorate we finally did. I'm not proud of how that came about. I was feeling sorry for myself since I was sick. Neither of my guys stepped forward and took care of the things that I usually did. So, when the tree did not get decorated, I accused them both of not caring.

With this of course, they both sprang into action. My hubby helped to locate all the trimmings and light the tree and my son helped me place the ornaments. On our tree, each item has a story. Some are items each of my three children have made. Some were gifts from my students or other special people. Some are antique glass ornaments that belonged to my grandmother, others were found at a yard sale and matched my grandma's. A couple represent milestones, such as a brass cut-out of the church we were married in. Only a few are store bought, just because I thought they were pretty.

So now, on my last day of vacation, I am taking them all down. Hubby is at work and Kyle is still asleep, so I can take each item off the tree, reminisce and tuck it safely away until next year. Kyle has promise to help right away next year. Does he really care? or is the prospect of not putting up a tree just not acceptable to him? I may never know. But doc has said that aspies "can" learn to overcome other aspects of their condition. I pray my son will learn see life through other people's eyes.

He is up now. So, we will see if I can get him to help me carry the tree outside willingly :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas "Nom - Noms"

Silly name, I know. But that is what my son calls exceptionally good food. It can be anything from a new dinner dish to a decadent dessert. So, to share our holiday food adventures, it seems a fitting title.

For Christmas Eve, I wanted something simple but special. Nutritious finger food without a lot of clean up. So, I made my very first "Wood Fired Pizza". I watched Alton Brown make one so I had to give it a try.

Now we try to stay with organic foods as much as possible, but to make this easy, I purchased a ball of dough from the bakery department. Not organic, but it does not contain the worst of the additives that we try to avoid. I also used some of the sauce from a jar of organic spaghetti sauce. Fresh organic bell peppers and mushrooms and all natural shredded mozzarella for the top and I was ready to go to the grill.

Yes, I did say grill. I don't own a fancy wood fire oven in my back yard. I do have an old charcoal grill and an endless supply of oak from our trees. I rolled out the dough, oiled the grill and used a cookie sheet as a peel. I cooked the dough on one side then turned it and added my toppings.

I did end up finishing it under the broiler of my oven. When I cooked the first side, I left the lid up so I could watch it cook. I closed it for the second side, but my fire had burned way down. Next time, I will close the lid both times for more even cooking.

Simple ingredients, but SO tasty with the flavor of the oak. The only other suggestion my guys made for next time was to buy 2 balls of dough :)

Christmas morning I made my Hawaiian Banana Bread. In a blender, puree 2 ripe bananas, 1 stick of butter and 2 eggs. In a large bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour in the banana mixture from the blender and mix until just combined. You can bake these in muffins cups for about 12-15 minutes at 350 F, or grease and flour a bread pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Today's batch was plain, but it's also good with dark chocolate chips.

Since it was just the three of us, I kept dinner simple this year. I was disappointed at the selection of hams at the markets I shopped at. They were either glazed, spiral cut or both. I finally settled on a smoked, but uncured spiral cut ham. I followed the directions to heat it and made my own glaze from canned organic pineapple, cloves and local honey. I cooked it in a covered roasting pan, then uncovered it for the last 15 minutes. I made my own scalloped potatoes, steamed organic broccoli and reheated us each a roll we brought home from dinner out 2 nights back. Homemade chocolate cake and frosting brought our meal to a close.

Back to the kitchen for me. This is my bake day since we are having Christmas with more family this week. If you are reading my rants, allow me to close by wishing you and yours a
Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

In His love,