Tag Archives: kids

Alzheimer’s Advent Calendar: Days 5 through 8

I am a bit behind in posting these. By about day 5, I was streamlining the process for Quinten. He is having so much trouble with these but there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he wants to do this for the kids. He is often frustrated (and doing a unique card for each kid was simply too much for him) but he is able to do at least 2 per day. We are up to day 18 (pics will be posted soon) so by Tuesday, we should have the rest of them completed and we can focus on letting him hand them out each night.

Day 5

Day 5. Chapstick and a small chocolate. Note from Dad: “I am thankful that you…”

Day 6

The lighting in my room sucks much of the time so the pictures sometimes turn out crappy. Day 6. Note from Dad: “You are smart.”

Day 7

Day 7. Hot chocolate packets and the note from Dad which says, “I am so thankful that I am your dad. Love, Dad”

Day 8

Day 8. Organic honey hard candies and the note from Dad. “You are handsome/beautiful.”

By now, you may be questioning/judging the amount of sugar in these packets–especially from someone who purports to be changing our diets to combat early onset Alzheimer’s. Again, it’s about balance. I have successfully, except for these presents, gotten rid of most of the sugar in our diet (the little bit that we do get mostly comes from the sugar in semi-sweet chocolate chips). And this whole idea is a way to give my kids something special this Christmas season. No matter how you spin it, their daddy has a terminal disease and is getting worse every day. They are dealing with so much right now and handing them baggies of carrot sticks just doesn’t send the message I want to send right now.


We can go back to our sugar-free lives in 2 weeks.


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December is here!

I love the Christmas season!! The tree is up, decorations are placed, and Christmas music is playing.

Today’s post is going to be a little different from what I normally post. I love blogging about our switch to a healthy diet and posting recipes that we are using to help Quinten combat Alzheimer’s. But first and foremost, I am a mom and caregiver. And as such, I spend a lot of time making our “good” time count. I work hard to make sure we are creating memories for the kids.

So, the other night an idea came to me that excited me so much I couldn’t sleep! Of course, it’s not working out quite as wonderfully as I’d imagined…but still….

The idea I came up with is something I’ve been calling The Alzheimer’s Advent Calendar. When the kids were little, we would purchase chocolate advent calendars from the Commissary. Of course, being the absolutely unorganized mom I am, the kids would often find them and devour all of the chocolate well before Christmas actually got here. My goal is always to have an Advent calendar. Maybe this year, it’ll actually work out. ;)My thought for this calendar is to have Quinten write out a card for each of the kids each night (5 times 24 is A LOT of cards!).

The first thing we did is head to Michael’s for crafting supplies. I found cheap little journals for $1.50 each after discovering my planned photo books were well over $10.

advent book

On each book, I found vinyl lettering for their names. I wish I’d gotten letters that were more pronounced since it’s hard to see the kids’ names.

And since each journal page was so flimsy, I am pasting a sheet of card stock into the books before attaching the notes from Quinten.

sample page

As you can see, Quinten  is having trouble with sentences.

With each book, I also added this:


Since we were on a roll, I decided to do a few more days’ worth.

Day two:

blog advent Day 2

These were boozy chocolates which are a tradition in our house. 🙂 They do resemble moose droppings in this picture though. 😉

Day 3

Day 3

Slim Jims. Yeah. Not healthy. But I am trying to live my life in balance (and not stress about every little thing) and this was something the kids traditionally liked. Funny thing though, they weren’t impressed by them AT ALL last night (one kid has figured out that nitrates are bad news for him and one of the girls was actually gagging after eating one) and requested the Paleo jerky that I’ve gotten before. I love that they are realizing these things on their own.

Day 4:

Day 4

This one is all wrapped up but inside is a Keurig cup. My kids love the Keurig coffees but we rarely have enough grocery money left over to justify a purchase since I can get a 5 pound bag of organic, free trade coffee from the health food store for a little more than the price of a box of the cups from Amazon. My sons who work early in the morning do buy their own so that they can have coffee before they leave for work. I am not sorry for raising coffee snobs. 😉

We’ve made up a couple more since then but I haven’t had a chance to retrieve them from my phone. I will post them as I am able to. Quinten is having a very, very hard time with these cards and I’m worried about the rest of the month. One of my kids has totally called me on the cards, saying that these are things that *I* would say instead of what Dad would and that he’s never gotten affirmation from Dad like that. 😦 So today, I am googling ‘words of affirmation for kids’ and printing out lists. I will then help Quinten choose the words he wants to say.

I am so, so sad that he is having such a hard time with this. I’ve been told that depending on where the damage from Alzheimer’s occurs, you will get different symptoms of the disease. For Quinten, it definitely is language and abstract thinking. It’s been such a long time since we’ve had a real conversation (probably pre-2008). This makes projects like this insanely difficult and makes important talks (like living will, etc.) difficult, if not impossible.

But for now, I will gladly help Quinten complete this for the kids. He may not have ever said these things to the kids (as evidenced by one child’s comments), but I know at one point he definitely did feel these things. And maybe my kids won’t appreciate the finished Advent book now but I do hope they will someday. And I hope that they can see past the hurt and realize that this horrible disease took Dad from them–it wasn’t Dad *choosing* to be this way towards them. And most of all, I do hope they know they are loved.

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Whole30 fail

The title says it all: I failed my first Whole 30. After completing a whole week of super-strict paleo eating, I am forced to abandon my efforts. As a family whose main source of income is now Social Security due to Quinten’s disability, I simply cannot afford to do a whole 30 days of super-strict paleo. It simply isn’t possible and my nearly bare refrigerator testifies to that. The fact that I still have a week before I am able to shop again means that I will have to add in whole grains to our diet in order to keep my kids full. We won’t starve, but it certainly won’t be paleo.

I’m disappointed but it is what it is. I am happy with the 5 pound weight loss and I hope that I’ll be able to do another 7 days of Whole30 soon. Maybe a week of Whole30 every month will be better for the budget than doing a whole 30 Whole30.

It is likely that I would have had to quit Whole30 anyway. For the last 3 days, I’ve been in a horrible brain fog and found it increasingly difficult to care for Quinten and the rest of the family. I couldn’t sleep and was tired for the entire day. I didn’t have enough energy to do much of anything during the day and the last fully compliant day was spent with constant anxiety attacks, extreme brain fog/buzzing in my head, and what must have been what hot flashes feel like along with waves of nausea. I think most of the symptoms were probably due to not eating enough but we’ll see the next time I try this.

Even though I wasn’t able to complete a Whole30, I did learn some things. The biggest was just how much we relied on junk food for snacks and just how much my girls were addicted to snacking instead of filling up during meals. I also learned how much sugar was in our diet prior to this. I hope to keep sugar out and change the kids’ snacking habits as a result.

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Grocery shopping

It’s been surface o’ the sun hot here this week with temps over 100. I miss the years where “breaking 100” was a big news story. My baby air conditioners are working hard to cool the house off but by the evening it is HOT in the house.

To go along with the sucky weather, none of my plans have worked out like I’d hoped. As a result, there is no menu plan this week. Despite that fact, I still needed to go shopping.


My first stop was Sam’s. For fruits and veggies left in the house, I had some peaches, green beans, and beets my mom canned and brought to me when she was here in May and some shriveled up apples. Sam’s was a necessity.

I felt so much better about things once my fridge was once again full.

Because it’s been over 100 degrees and I’m half an hour from the nearest grocery store, I shopped at Sam’s then drove my precious produce home. The next two days were also spent driving to town to pick up Target items (day 2) and other grocery items which couldn’t be purchased at Sam’s (day 3).

Yesterday was day 3 of my marathon grocery shopping trip but before we started on that, we *finally* took our oldest son out to lunch to celebrate his graduation from votech.

He graduated in May but then the following weekend, our youngest son graduated from high school and we had family here for the next week. After that, I had to prepare to do my internship. Internship and more craziness occupied June. I feel so bad that he had to wait for 2 months.

He chose to go to Longhorn Steakhouse.  I’ve only eaten there once before and quickly learned that I hate their mayonnaise-laden Caesar salad. It’s seriously the nastiest Caesar I’ve ever had. This time, however, I had their steak and bleu salad which was really good. The guys had sandwiches and seemed to like them. I especially enjoyed talking to my son about the two interviews he had this week. As an Aspie, he struggles with communication and interviews don’t seem to go as well as he wanted. We definitely are keeping our fingers crossed for him to get one of these jobs. They provide benefits which is something that he definitely needs. I am so proud of him for the determination he’s shown in looking for a job.

After we had lunch, we finished up our grocery shopping for the day. I picked up my co-op order of free range chicken, smoked salmon, and sauerkraut, threw that in the cooler and stopped by the hardware store to order roofing materials. I am *positive* the clerks who deal with me making these types of decisions now just love me. I hope I got everything we need and I hope that I am not placing too much on my boys in asking them (along with some of their friends) to reroof my house.

I dropped my son and the co-op order off at the house and got back into the car to do the final grocery shopping. My plan had been to grab a couple of rotisserie chickens from the store but when we got there, there was one nasty-looking chicken in the warmer. Plan B was gluten-free chicken hot dogs. With the hot dogs, I served a feta and spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette. The pic will have to do for now until I can get the recipe typed up.

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