Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Joining the Sandwich Generation

Yes, I have officially joined the "Sandwich Generation".  You do not receive a membership card, but you have the joy of caring for your young children and aging parents, while trying to have a career.  Who knew I would be making orthodontist appointments and seeking advice from attorneys that specialize in elder care at the same time?  I was not expecting it.  If you have been following my blog, you are aware that my 68 year old Mother has some medical issues.  I am able to report that after over four years of pleading with physicians for answers we are finally being pushed toward a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, because everything else has been ruled out.  Sadly my family has witnessed Mom's personality fading over the past 4 years.  Behavioral changes and personality changes caused us to seek answers. Mom has evolved from an extremely independent, outgoing individual who was involved socially in groups and activities to a withdrawn individual who is apathetic and lacks initiative to complete daily living tasks and lacks judgement to make decisions. There is no cure for frontotemporal dementia and progression can not be slowed. Frontotemporal dementia differs from Alzheimer's disease, as there is no true memory loss in the early stages of the disease, but instead changes in the personality, social skills, ability to concentrate and reasoning. These changes in personality are what make this disease so challenging and difficult.  Although my Mom has not been physically lost, emotionally and socially we will never enjoy the same connection and I mourn this loss.  I miss the hour long conversations about nothing, which Mom and I had almost daily, but I am enjoying my developing relationship with my Dad during this latest chapter in our lives.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Using Leftover Candy

I do not want to mislead you, but typically my household does not have leftover candy.  This Easter my Mom who has memory issues forgot that she had purchased candy for her granddaughters and purchased about triple the amount  she would normally give.  Grandma then gifted all of this candy, which I am guessing weighed about 15 pounds.  I love my dentist, but do not feel that I should completely fund her retirement.  I have hidden some of the candy, but wanted to use some of the candy.  My inspiration came from those Two Bite Brownies that are sold in the store.  We had about 3lbs of Hershey's Kisses so I decided to combine Peanut Blossom Cookies and Two Bite Brownies and came up with Chocolate Peanut Butter Tarts.  My motto is "cook once eat twice" so I doubled the recipe and made 8 1/2 dozen cookies in less than one hour, including prep, bake time and clean up. No one has time to be in the kitchen, so why not make the most of your time. Store a couple dozen in the freezer for later.

 This recipe is a great time saver because there is no shaping the dough into balls and the cookies are baked in the muffin tins, so if you have a few tins you can bake many cookies at once.

Place an upside down Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cookie, after 8 minutes of baking.  Then return the pans to the oven for 1 minute so the chocolate gets all melty and delicious.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tarts

Makes about 4 dozen

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 bag of Hershey's Kisses (unwrapped)

Cream shortening and peanut butter.  Gradually and sugar; cream well.  Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.  Add dry ingredients gradually into creamed mixture. Using small cookies scoop (2 teaspoon size), place dough into mini muffin tins.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven; press an upside down Kiss into each of the cookies; return to the oven for 1 minute. Remove from the oven and let cool until cookie is set. Remove cookies from tins and cool on wire racks.  Cookies are easier to remove if edge is golden brown. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

DIY Dryer Sheets

I started a new job two weeks ago and although it is great to be back, I am still adjusting to the schedule.  One of the problem areas is laundry, not that it was running perfectly before the new job.  My laundry room is know as the laundry dungeon.  Yes, it is in the basement and it's best feature is the laundry chute.  Actually, I do not think I would  ever want a first floor laundry.  Where would I hide all the dirty laundry and clothing that was hanging dry?   If you can make it through the laundry room that is piled with clothes, you will see the dryer. This is what the top of the dryer usually looks like.

 Most of the items were found in the dryer, money, Barbie clothing and Barbie shoes, unknown objects, stain removal guide, dryer lint (I am saving it for the fire starters), detergent, the Downey Fabric Softener Ball (that I always forget to put into the washer) and other laundry items.   I am currently out of dryer sheets.  Imagine my delight when I found something online for DIY dryer sheets that are reusable.

 Pour a cap full of liquid fabric softener into a bowl or rimmed plate.

 Take an old wash cloth and soak up the fabric softener.

Make sure the entire cloth is at least damp with fabric softener, but not dripping.

Hang until dry.

Add the dryer sheet to the dryer with the clean laundry.  It will last for several loads.  I recommend having several of these DIY Dryer Sheets on hand to store on top of your dryer with the other treasures..