Jul 012005

Notes from Tammy

tammyHi everybody! It’s great to be able to touch base with you all after such a long time! Hope all’s well with you and yours.

I mentioned in my last email that I had been busy with my family… my youngest son, age 7, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder earlier this year. Kids with Bipolar have constant mood swings and lots of anger. The least little thing can set him off, even when he seems to be in a good mood. It’s like he’s on his “last nerve” all the time. There is no cure for Bipolar, and suicide rates for people (kids, teens and adults) with Bipolar is high. It can be helped by medicine, but that’s a trial-and-error process, as no medicine works consistently for everyone. Most kids end up on a combination of medicines to help them. And as their bodies grow, so does the way they deal with the medicine. So after a growth spurt, we could be back to square one with finding a medicine that works.

We knew he was having problems in 1st grade, and it kept getting worse as the year went on. So we did the rounds to see the pediatrician, child psychologist and a counselor. The school did academic testing, which verified he is only a few points away from qualifying for the gifted program. I spent a lot of time on the phone with all different people advocating for him. and TONS of time reading to learn more about Bipolar and kids. And lots of time at the school meeting with the teacher and principal about his bad behavior.

We started him on medicine and have had good results with it so far. He is more compliant and agreeable when asked to do things, which was always a reason for a melt-down, prior to the medicine. His 10 year old brother likes to aggravate him on purpose, which doesn’t help! The 10 year old also told me directly that his brother was getting all the attention by being bad, so he was going to be bad too, so he could get some attention. It was very “cut-and-dried” to his analytical way of thinking! Add to that a 12 year old girl who is the queen of drama queens, and you’ll understand why just getting through the day wears me out!

My kids were adopted, and they have the same birth mother. She was diagnosed with Bipolar as a teen so the chances of the kids having it at some point in their lives is very good. So far, the older two don’t show signs of it, but they still could. This is definitely a life-long journey for our family!

Bonus Recipes from Tammy

Through this all, I’ve been very glad to have 30 Day Gourmet and my freezer food!  At least that was one part of our lives that I didn’t have to worry about!  And I will admit that I had a “DUH!!!!” moment a few months ago about our Advantage Cooking Software too.  The only time I used the software was when I planned to cook for a month.  I never thought about using it for smaller cooking sessions, and I don’t know why.  But Shelley made a passing comment to me about using the software in an email that made me think about using it more.

Even if I’m not cooking for a month, I still use almost all 30 Day Gourmet recipes when cooking for my family.  So when I needed to get groceries for 2 weeks, and needed to include a couple recipes in that to supplement what I had in the freezer, I pulled up the software to use it.  Less than 5 minutes later, as my grocery list was printing, I said “DUH!!!  Why didn’t I think of that sooner??!?”

I tend to do “assembly” days instead of “cooking” days.  But I decided with all the heat and humidity we’ve been having, that I’d rather do a cooking day, and heat the oven and the house once, instead of heating it every few days to cook something.  Then I could use the stove top or microwave to heat the meals and really cut down on heating the house.  That turned out to be a great plan!  I made some family favorites…  BBQ Beef LoavesCreamy Italian NoodlesHomemade Cincinnati-style ChiliCrockpot Mac ‘n CheeseItalian Chicken, and Parsley Parmesan Chicken , as well as a couple pans of Granola Bars, which make great snacks on the go.

My neighbor happened to be in my house the day the Cincinnati-style Chili was cooking in the crock pot and she said “Wow!  Your house smells good!!  What are you making?!?”  Since I had a 6 quart crock-pot full, I invited them to dinner that night. They had never had anything like that before, but they all really liked it.  The 10 of us put a serious dent in that crock pot full!!

It’s been great to come home after running errands or doing stuff with the kids, and grab a bag of BBQ Beef Loaves and some Creamy Italian Noodles out of the freezer.  I let it sit for an hour or so while I get in the pool with the kids, and then a few minutes at the microwave and dinner is ready.  I may need to do this type of cooking day more often!!

Final Thoughts

Well, I guess that about sums it up for this month for me!  I hope you’re enjoying the new format of the News… we are!!  Click here to send me an email with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you all!
You all have been SO kind with emails of support for my family and I… I was so touched!  What a great community we have here!  Your prayers and words of encouragement are so appreciated… thank you!!!



Carol Santee

Carol is the co-author of the Big Book of Freezer Cooking and the author of 30 Day Gourmet’s Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites, Freezer Lunches To Go and Healthy Freezer Cooking eBooks. She is a computer information specialist and works for a computer software company.

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