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On The Hunt

A blog about autism, life and the single mom

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Changes

So, over the weekend the fridge part of my refrigerator unit stopped getting air blown into it. When did I discover this? Saturday night, after I came home from visiting family. Of course, I had just gone grocery shopping earlier that day.

Needless to say it was a mad dash to get as much food into the freezer compartment, as well as over to my parent’s house where they fortunately have a second refrigerator in their garage. Continue reading “Changes”

Busy, Busy!

Things have been moving along, and it seems like the days are just flying by. My son was recently diagnosed as a level 2 autistic. It was nice to finally know what exactly I’m dealing with, and know that there will be a plan moving forward. We are meeting with his services coordinator later this week, which will give me a better idea what some of the information the psychologist gave us means. For example, the psychologist said he needs occupational therapy every day, but how many hours? Weekdays only? Or literally every day?

It will be nice to finally have a context for all my questions, as well as an education plan moving forward. His psychologist said she felt strongly that in time, he will be normal or at least in a place where his autism doesn’t effect him. I’m looking forward to the meeting with services coordinator, and also getting my son involved in different activities over the summer, like swim lessons. He will probably have to have private swim lessons because of his autism, but at least it will get him to try something different, in an environment that he loves.

I have FINALLY finished my laundry room, and the ceiling looks AMAZING! The room seems so much brighter and cheerful. I actually enjoy being in there to do laundry and crafts. Speaking of crafts, Father’s Day was Sunday, and Pinterest was flooded with great ideas for what to make dad. I found this really awesome project for my Dad’s poker room. So on Saturday, my sister and I made a run to the local Michael’s and picked up everything we needed…. Well, almost everything, but we’ll get to that.Image

So, after seeing this shadow box DIY project, I sent it to my sister. She and I came up with some ideas to make it more personal for our Dad and show him that we do pay attention. He loves football, and his favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, but try finding anything like that in the scrapbook section in California. We found a package of pre-cut football things for scrapbooking, and used double sided foam tape to adhere it to our 11×14 shadow box. We couldn’t find anything beer related, so we took a trip over to the paper, and grabbed silver and blue – our Dad drinks Coors, so we decided to make one. Then we found a mountain range back with the stickers, and some red and silver letters.

We found these cool silver letters for the main slogan, but this is where it gets fun… And by fun, I mean frustrating. So, in the original picture, the person used actual sticker letters. But my sister and I liked the silver, cardboard type letters with adhesive on the back. We both figured they would stick to the glass just like the other letters – Yeah, WRONG! I got the letters all lined up, and then peeled off the back and stuck them to the glass. I put a couple of heavy books carefully on the letters, then let it sit overnight hoping it would help the bond. When I got up in the morning and took the books off, I stood the shadow box up carefully and noticed right away that the letters weren’t staying. I quickly turned to Google, and discovered a glue that would work. It’s a bonding cement used in jewelry making. I ran back to Michael’s, bought the glue, and then came straight home.

I glued the letters on carefully after reading the directions several times. They are really straight forward, but it’s bonding cement, and I really didn’t feel like going to the hospital to get my fingers apart, or eye lid unglued. Once you take the cap off, the glue starts coming out, so be prepared and learn from me. Fortunately, I was at my dinning room table, so I just grabbed a napkin. I had also laid down newspaper, so things would’ve been OK, but I still feel like you should be warned.

Once the glue dried, I gave it a solid 4 hours because I was wrapping it and really didn’t feel like trying to get a letter off the tissue paper. Everything turned out perfect and our dad loved it! We are going to fill it up with can tabs instead of beer bottle caps because my dad prefers the cans over the bottles. It’ll give it yet another person touch 🙂

Below is a photo of the finished product! Have a happy Wednesday!

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Happy Wednesday!

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Wednesday! I have been very busy over the past few days.

On Saturday, I helped a friend and her brides maids pick out the makeup look they wanted me to do on them for the wedding the next day. It wasn’t supposed to rain, and yet, it poured down rain off and on during the ceremony and reception. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except it was an outdoor wedding, and there wasn’t a tent in sight. Generally, no one gets tents for outdoor weddings in Redding, California once it hits April, especially in a drought year, but this year it had to rain. Despite the damp weather, fun times were had by all, and I even caught the bouquet!

Monday, Tuesday and today were spent working in the yard and going over things that need to be done for the new bathroom. My contractor friend has been slammed with appointments these past few days, so I’m hoping he is able to come out tomorrow. I mostly need to know what he needs me to do in order to get the ball rolling. I’m hoping it only takes a month to get the new bathroom and wet bar in to the studio, but only time will tell.

During the evening, after I get my son to bed, I have been working on my next screenplay project. One of the producers editing my most recent screenplay is currently working on a production in LA, so meet once every few weeks to discuss the latest draft and changes that need to be made. I’m also hoping to get his take on my latest project.

In the meantime, I’m going to finish painting the soffit in my kitchen, as well as the ceiling in both my laundry room and kitchen. Then I’ll be able to shift gears to focus on the studio around the same time that project fully gets underway.

I hope everyone enjoys there evening and I’ll leave you with a few pictures I took over the weekend during the wedding!

Kitchen Update

So, my sister was supposed to come over and help me paint the ceilings in my laundry room and kitchen; however, she ended up getting a sinus infection and bronchitis. My son is 3 and autistic, so he loves to help and needs to be near me at all times. He makes painting interesting.

In light of my sister’s illness, I decided to do a small paint project in my kitchen that involved a paint sample of “Green Tea” from Valspar and a brush. Painting with a brush does take a little longer, but its worth it to not have my son tip over a paint tray.

My upper kitchen cabinets both have soffits, but only one of those soffits is lath and plaster, the other is made of the same wood my cabinets are made out of. For the past few years I have dreamt of painting the soffit, putting up a quote I bought, and then painting the rest of the kitchen a nice cream color.  In a few years, I’ll have the cabinets stained a darker color, put in a new counter, install a tile floor, and have new appliances installed. For now, I just want it to not look like a depressing taupe/grey color.

I did the first coat of paint tonight, and it took about 20 minutes. I wasn’t too worried about taping the ceiling because that’s going to get a fresh coat of paint next week. I mostly taped the ceiling in the corners. Then took my paint brush and carefully laid down an even first coat. Tomorrow I’ll add a second coat and paint the underside of the soffit, and will probably add a second coat to the underside of the soffit as well.

I’m a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, as well as a freelance writer, and I have been asked to do a friend’s makeup for her wedding on Sunday, so Saturday we will be practicing. That means no painting or craft projects this weekend, because I am also expecting to get a screenplay back with a bunch of edits, which will make for a long third round of edits.

Anyway, enjoy the pics of the progress so far. I really love paint samples because they allow you to add a touch of color or drama to an area for under $5. Being on a budget and having to slowly decorate after you’ve saved the money can be a real drag sometimes, especially if it is taking months. So, the instant gratification I can get from adding color to a boring space helps me feel like I am making progress towards my decorating goal.

Unexpected Blessings

I was a reporter for a small newspaper for 4.5 years, and in December my position was eliminated. I was fortunate to receive a severance package, and a tax return after filing. However, after paying off a few things, and then catching us up on our bills, the money ran out.

One of the biggest projects I had wanted to add was a bathroom to one of our outbuildings that is currently a studio space I use for guests. It was my hope that we could rent it out for some additional income to help easy the burden. We fall short every month because my unemployment is around 60% of what my former income was, and even cutting out all the extras, we are still short by a few hundred dollars each month.

Our problem is we can pay the bills, and not eat. Or eat and not pay the bills. Because I own my house, if we go on any kind of public assistance, the government will either sue my ex-husband to get the money or put a lien against the house. My ex-husband doesn’t have to pay child support in exchange for my having sole legal/sole physical custody of my son. I call him on occasion when we need money to help us out, and he gives it to me.

Well, the other day I reached out to him to ask if he could pay for my son’s health insurance, and he agreed. We talked and caught up on each others lives, then we disconnected and I didn’t give it a second thought. He called last night, and offered to pay for the bathroom addition to the studio, and he said to not worry about paying him back. It was an amazing blessing, and is a huge relief lifted off my shoulders. I’ve been praying for a few months for help and direction, and it looks like my prayers have been answered.

I called a friend of the family who is a contractor, and he will be over this afternoon to look at the space and he’ll also get the permit for the new bathroom. For the first time since I lost my job, I know that things are going to work out in time, I just need to be patient and keep praying foe guidance as I walk through this new chapter in my life.

Banana Bread

So, I wanted to wrap up my laundry room project this week, but that wasn’t possible. My sister is supposed to be coming over tomorrow afternoon to watch my son so I can finish painting the ceiling. We’ll see if that happens. In the meantime, I thought I would post a banana bread recipe that I recently got from my grandmother and thought was amazing.

My grandmother recently bought Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Cookbook and had heard amazing things about the banana bread recipe, so she made it for Easter and it was AMAZING! So, I thought I’d try my hand at making it. She used yogurt and I used sour cream, both ways were equally delicious.

Recipe:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very rip bananas
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter bottom and sides of a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan; lightly coat with flour. (I used cooking spray and the bread came out of the pan just fine)
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, mash bananas with sour cream or yogurt until blended. In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer on high speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. (I threw the items all together and mixed it until smooth. Normally I follow the recipe, but my son wanted cookies too, so as a way to save time, I mixed it all at once and it was fine.)
3. Fold banana mixture into batter until blended. Lightly fold in dry ingredients and walnuts until just combined. Batter will be chunky. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen bread. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

I ended up baking my bread for about 1 hour 15 minutes, but my oven is also from 1957, so in a newer oven it could be closer to an hour. I also checked the bread periodically to make sure everything was going according to plan. I recommend using almost black bananas because they have really great flavor. I didn’t have any walnuts on hand, so I left them out.

I took pictures of the process, so enjoy! And if you use this recipe, please let me know what you think of it!

Good to be back!

I would like to apologize for taking an almost 2 month hiatus. My grandma got really sick at the end of February, and passed away at the beginning of March. Around that same time I learned my son is Autistic, so between both events, I hadn’t had time to really focus on anything else. But now things have settled down, and I’m back to blogging!

I’m very excited to post the final photos of my laundry room makeover. I’m almost done painting the ceiling, as well as the door and trim. I put up the Rubber Maid wire shelving system, and am finishing the last of the custom boxes I am making for the shelves. So, there will be plenty of posting with photos over the next few days!

Easter is tomorrow, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to jump on my laptop and bust out a quick post, but I’ll try! If not, Happy Easter to everyone!

Welcome!

Hello!

Thank you for stopping by and checking my blog. Over the course of the next week, I will be adding new posts daily about different projects I am working on around my house, as well as different events going on in the community, and fun places to check out.

As everyone becomes familiar with this blog, I hope to get reader feedback and comments, as well as suggestions for future posts or projects.

If you already have an idea, suggestion or comment, then leave it below or head over to the contact page to send it my way.

~Maghan

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