Monday, August 27, 2012

Autumn Cheque....

Oh, today dawned with glorious Autumn in the air...  snappy, misty...  brown leaves!  Wait, it's only August...  We in the Midwest wait to learn exactly how Mother Nature plans to play with our seasons...  Each one seems on a fast past to enter and whoosh away in record time.  Our spring began in late February, summer well underway in April.  The old timers (Shut up,  I know I'm one of those now, but I refuse to believe it) prophesy a long, hard, cold winter snap coming early and staying late.

My young students believe in the Farmer's Almanac because it rarely misses a big snow.  I rely on my Family Curse Knees to forecast a Noreaster and a bad snap...

Clearly we are ready for a change.  My sweet little Air Force Wife recent graduate currently weathers a huge Typhoon in Okinawa, and a dear friend in Florida has gathered provisions in case Isaac comes her way.  We had a quarter in of rain on Saturday!  It felt like a deluge and everyone around us was simply in awe...  Water comes from the sky?  Who'd a thunk it?  How long we have waited....

Yesterday I tried a yummy chicken wrap for my family.  The marinade was amazing..  I want to make it again and use the chicken in stir fry or pannini.

Sweet and Savory Chicken Wraps
Adjust the amount made to fit the number of chicken breasts.  I cooked four, but I butterflied them, so it was more like 8.

1/2 c. oil
1/2 c.  soy sauce
1/3 c. peanut butter
3 T. steak seasoning like SeasonAll or any salt-pepper combination
2 -3 shakes hot sauce

I put all that in a big zip lock bag and then scrunched in my chicken breasts.  I let them marinate in this in the refrigerator about 90 minutes.

Julienne a red or yellow pepper and marinate in a mixture of half honey and half cider vinegar.

Grill chicken breasts and allow to rest ten minutes before slicing thin.

Assemble Wraps in following order:

Layer of Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 1/2 slices Provolone Cheese
Drained, marinated Vegetables
2-3 t. Chow mein vegetables from a can, drained

Roll up and slice in half.  Secure with a toothpick.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A blessing for you

I would love to introduce you to one of my students, Antonio.  We have created a blog to share his amazing writings with his family and friends.  I believe my "blog family" will be blessed by this young man's talent, grace, and faith.  I include one of his posts here, but you may find the body of work with new posts regularly HERE.Antonio's blog

What is faith, and how does one acquire such faith? In most cases faith and the knowledge of it comes from experiences either from family, church community, or both. I feel my faith was a seed God himself planted within me when I was a very small child. He planted the seed so I could grow and develop a faith so strong it must be shared.

 In my heart, I am your typical 16 -year -old, but to the outside world I am very different. I was formally diagnosed with autism at the age of nine; however, I was treated for the disability since the age of four. I have a loving, caring, and diligent family who have always had my best interest at heart. Both of my parents are Catholic, as well as my grandparents and great-grandparents. The Catholic religion has always been important to my family, and that loyalty has seeped its way into my life as well.
I use the word seep because my Catholic faith found its way into my heart slowly, but on some level it has always been there. I can remember being a very young boy strapped in a stroller, thinking about God and who He was. I had never had a discussion with anyone about God because until the age of six no one knew I could communicate at all. However, throughout those silent years I communicated with God often. The time I spent trapped within my body with no communication outlet was the most frustrating period of my life. God helped me through those years. I relied on His attention to me to sustain some sense of order. I needed Him to remind me that everything would be alright and He would not leave me. I'm sure you are wondering how a 5-year-old could have a relationship with God. That is my point exactly. I believe God has been with me since birth to help me and guide me when my parents didn't know what to do.

And now so many years later my faith has grown even more. I now can communicate with the world through writing but still communicate with God always through my heart. Because of my disability, I have always been uncomfortable in groups, especially loud groups of people. Therefore, I try to avoid such events. Needless to say, I find myself alone most of the time. Because my days are not cluttered with socializing, video games, TV, or the like, I spend hours pondering. I believe the time I spend alone thinking about God and praying to Him has made my faith strong. I sit in my Sacred Heart Church or in the yard of my country home and wonder about the events of Jesus' life and compare them to my own. Our obstacles may be different, but obstacles exist just the same. When the obstacles in my life cause me to stumble, I rely on my faith to pull me through.

It is easy to have faith when the steps are easy and obstacle free. These stumbling blocks are what makes so-called believers doubt and lose their way. In my life, these obstacles have done the very opposite. Of course, I do not look forward to these barriers, but I do appreciate them. At these more difficult times my faith has been tested, and each time I have weathered the storm and grown stronger. I need these moments to help me grow spiritually.

Spirituality lives deep inside my soul. I think God has always had a purpose for me in this world, and I have always known the purpose would call me to share my faith with others. Isn't that what we as Catholics supposed to do-share our faith with others? Well, this is the one thing I have always been certain I could do well. Day to day activities are hard for me to complete. These same activities are taken for granted by 99% of the people in the world. I take nothing for granted, especially my faith. I continue to pray my faith will remain strong.

The faith I am talking about did not come from experience. This faith I have is within my heart. Faith drives me every day to be positive, patient, considerate, and courageous. It takes courage at times for me to keep moving forward when I am so uncertain about my future. But no matter what happens, I have my faith. This faith will lead me around or over all of those obstacles, eventually leading me to a place where I have no limitations. Until then, this seed of faith planted on the day of my baptism in Sacred Heart will guide me through.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wake up! Wake up!

Dearest Blog Checker:

Due to popular demand (well, maybe)  I am finally back at school, back to blogging, back to life as I'm much more familiar with!  I have spent the summer in a bit of a flurry.  Mom and I worked at cleaning and skirted the entire house with floor scrubbings, drawer clean-outs, and wild sorting and pitching.  Most of the time, we shuffled a bit of this to another (to be cleaned out later) drawer...

However, my lovely bedroom has begun to emerge as a place to at last ....  of all things...  sleep!  I have some nice fragrance oil burners, a sweeeeet coffee table arrangement, and lovely new PURPLE sheets my mother bought me for my birthday.....  couple that with sweet scented linen spray and soft music...  Well, you guessed it.  I made it so cozy I really didn't want to get up and out this morning...  Can you believe that?

However, my room at school is the most changed!  Really...  You cannot imagine the impact on young people when they walk in and discover 20 hardwired desktops lining their walls...  I think they might have to install a guard to keep them out!  haha...Well, I may be dreaming...  but hey, I like that kind of thing.

You haven't seen any pictures of our yard and flowers....  and you won't.  Our whole outdoors crisped and burned early this summer with the series of 108 degree days and the total lack of moisture...  We have received the total of 11/tenths of rain since April 23....  and it shows dismally in all our flowers, dying shrubs, trees, and soybean fields....  Summer 2012 was a bake oven, and more and more people are sharing my devotion to Autumn!!!  Converts abound as we hope for fall mists and long, lazy, rainy days.  Our fingers are still crossed for some semblance of a bean crop, but we aren't holding our breath...

My school year looks like a lot of fun, and my textbooks line the room waiting for new owners, new interpretations, and new life...  So, without further ado...  I bid you welcome back to Oatmeal and Whimsy, a nest for the soul...  Have a wonderful weekend!

Welcome Back from the School Fairy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to School....

 It is that time again.  My son and I hung posters  and worked in my classroom....   New this year are these 20 computers.  Technology rocks!

Teacher worshops the 13th, 14th, and 15th...  Kids come Thursday....