Comfort Food

Bread PuddingFebruary is a hard month for me. Five years ago, I spent eight months taking care of my mother as she died. She spent thirty days in ICU and the step down unit. I didn’t realize she was dying. I figured it out on the twelfth, took her home on Valentine’s Day, and she passed early in the morning of the sixteenth.

Normally, if I have Peps* and chocolate, I am good. This time of year, Peps* and chocolate are not enough. Today I made my mother’s bread pudding. It was what I needed.

I would love to share the recipe with you, but this pudding never had a recipe. I do not think it was ever made the same way twice. My mother would make it for breakfast on shopping days. What was in it depended on what was in the house before she went shopping. She started with eggs. She used all the eggs, up to six, she had left. They were beaten with a whisk. Up to a half cup of butter, softened,was beaten in, She added up to a three quarters of a cup of white or brown sugar. Some days it was a combination of brown and white, and often less than half a cup. She used up to three cups of raw milk, cow and/or goat milk. I have no place to get raw milk, so I replace a half cup of the milk with heavy cream. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract were added. Sometimes, she would throw in raisins or currants. Whatever bread was left was ripped into small pieces and placed in a butter casserole dish. The egg mixture was poured over the bread pieces and a fork used to make sure all of the bread absorbed the liquid.

My mother put it into a 350 degree oven and baked it until it was done, forty-five to sixty minutes. She served it with milk, cinnamon sugar, jam, or syrup depending on what she had left. Once in a great while, she would make a bit of whip cream.

I am sitting watching the snow, eating a bowl of bread pudding. My kitchen smells like my mother’s kitchen did and, for this moment, I have peace.

 

 

Family Traditions

Mali

My sister and her family arrived from North Carolina in time for Christmas Dinner. Our matching pajamas have become a family tradition. We were blessed with six inches of premium snowman making snow. So far, we have had three game nights, a beautiful snowman built, gone to a movie, and went roller skating. Skiing is on for tomorrow for the older kids. Bowling and the city are still on our to do list. Everyone has been busy. GB fell asleep waiting for her bath tonight.

Happy Holidays to All. May you enjoy your family’s traditions, whatever they are, who ever they are with.

This Trip to Michigan

The last time I visited Michigan, it was unpleasant. J was off his meds and that had the entire family in chaos. I set clear boundaries with J that he would not see GB until he was in treatment. As out of control as he was, GB had no interest in interacting with him and  told him so.

About six weeks ago, Joel applied to a new program, that was based on DBT. The psychiatrist and therapist work closely together and there is also group work involved. J likes the program.

In the four days we have been here, my son has been stable, responsible, and enjoyable. My grandchildren are happy and relaxed. J and GB have spent time together having real conversations. GB and X have a connection that is enjoyable to watch.

Hope is still having major struggles and difficulty with daily life,  even with her world very small.  We leave tomorrow morning, early enough to meet a friend 20 minutes north of Detroit. I am happy I came to visit.

Birthday Fun

Hope and my grandson, X, have birthdays a day apart. Today, we celebrated. Everyone went bowling (I just watched). We went out to lunch at a good Mexican place. We ended at an aecade where the kids collected coupons and chose “prizes. Back at J’s, they played video games until cake time. Hope and X each had their own distinctive cake. X has enjoyed us being here.

 

 

It is Wednesday

My sister and her family left this morning. Organizing and cleaning are the order of the day. I loved having my sister here, even when we agree to disagree. My 19 year old autistic nephew did well. He only needed to be separated from everyone a couple of times. MK did well. My 14 year old nephew with ADHD and a mood disorder really struggled. He clashes with GB always, but this visit he had difficulty self-regulating most of the visit. Hope continued to struggle, no surprise, but GB spent the last four days at the edge of tears. Lots of little things, all out of her control. She just can’t go with the flow. It might not have mattered what we did this year… I think this holiday was destined to be a struggle.

The guys’ pajamas had pockets. I think we might all get guy pajamas next year.

Seeing Santa

Hope spent the last three days within touching distance. However, I made an exception for our visit to Santa. I let Hope visit Santa by herself. It was interesting watching her trying to convince Santa how good she has been. 



GB, on the other hand just wanted to get it the visit over. 


Everybody enjoyed the beautiful lights in Santa’s park.



A Giving Part of Christmas

Today we worked on Jordan’s wishes. Jordan is an autistic boy who played baseball with GB. He has spent a lot of time in hospitals. Several years ago, he decided to make gift bags and distribute them at local hospitals. The first year he gathered enough donations to give out 80 gift bags. Each year he received more donations and needed help. This year Jordan has enough for 620 bags!


The girls and I picked up enough things to make 50 bags. We got to do the bags for the babies. Each girl took a gift bag and put a baby hat, an ornament, a bookmark, and a deck of cards (for the babies’ parents) in it. They used shiny, pink twist ties to close each bag and taped a “Jordan’s Wish” tag on each of them. Mali made three bags with MK’s help. He was very good at putting in things in the bag- he wasn’t as good at leaving them there! Everybody had a good time, although GB struggled a bit with control issues. This tradition is a keeper!


We sang Christmas carols and the girls kept track of how many bags they had done. All 50 bags are done and it is time for homemade hot chocolate.