Sunday, October 17, 2010

So yummy!

Do you like Mexican food? Then you have to try this recipe!

Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream Sauce

For the Flautas:
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat finely shredded
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup shredded Cheddar/Monterey jack blend
1 lime, juiced
16 (5 to 6-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving

For the Avocado Cream:
1 very ripe avocado, halved, pitted and flesh removed (I used 2, 1 didn't seem enough)
1 (4-ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Special equipment: toothpicks

Fill a large pot with enough oil to reach 2 inches up the side of the pan. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reads 375 degrees F. To make the flautas: In a pan over medium heat melt butter and saute onions and jalapenos until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant, another 2 minutes. Add chicken and salsa; stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, cheese and lime juice. Let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Working with 4 tortillas at a time, spread a heaping spoonful along the middle of each tortilla. Roll tortilla tightly around the filling and secure with a toothpick. Using tongs, hold each flauta in hot oil until firm, then release to continue cooking. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt. Keep flautas warm in the oven on a sheet tray while assembling and cooking the remaining tortillas.

To make the Avocado Cream: In a serving bowl, mash avocado, sour cream and lime juice until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

To serve, arrange flautas on a platter of shredded lettuce and serve with Avocado Cream on the side.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I hate cancer!

Because of cancer I never knew my grandfathers.
My dad's dad passed away when my dad was only 8 years old.
My mom's dad passed away when I was 3. The only memory of my mom's dad is seeing him ill & being at his funeral.

However there are cancer survivors.
My mom's mom was a breast cancer survivor.
My brother was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 40. He too is a survivor!

Now my sister has colon cancer.
She just had surgery last week.
My hope is that she too will be a cancer survivor.

I will pray every day that she beats this cancer.
I will pray every day that I can do all that I can to help my family, my friends & all that I can to live healthier lives.

If I can make a difference in someone's health, in someone's life, if I can make a person stronger, if I can make a family healthier... I will try.

I will try to do what I can to help those seeking help & seeking answers.

To all my moms out there that have children with autism. I wish you all the success and the strength to keep presevering. I wish that you will find answers and solutions. I will pray for the progress of your child. I will pray for the happiness of your family. Keep trying! Don't give up. There is hope!

For those that want answers, for those needing solutions... I am here! I will help you!

There is not a greater gift than helping those in need. There is not a greater gift than improving lives.

If there is anything I can do, I will do what I can.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ready (Unit 10)

I am sad to see this term at an end. This has been my favorite term at Kaplan. Both of my professors were exceptional,this is the term where I have learned the most, and I feel matured the most as a student.

I can't believe I'll have my degree by the end of the year! However, I am tied as to how to use my degree. I don't know if I should search for a job at a hospital, practice or clinic using my office management degree. I don't know if I should try medical transcription or medical billing and coding at home. I feel I can be disciplined enough to work at home, as online classes have taught me that.

I guess I will have to weigh out the pros and cons when the time comes. I am hoping to find some flexibility using my degree. I just know that now that I do have the flexiblity, I dont want to lose it. I see how it has helpled my son by being able to take him to doctor appointments, therapy, karate, and swimming. My son is steadily progressing, and I'm not going to hinder his progress.

I just hope I will have a few options in the future that will allow me to use my degree and be there for my son. My son is what is most important.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

At the end... (unit 9)

I always hate the end of my terms. I am a baby, and I feel sad. It's like once you've made a connection with your classmates and teacher it's time to move on. However, I was so ready to move on away from Algebra!

I really can't get over how fast time has gone by. I can't believe it will be a year in June since I've been in school.

I really can't say enough about how I love my online classes. However, I believe this term is the one I enjoyed the most.

This term was the hardest for me, and not because it was hard as in difficult for me to understand. It was the hardest because I really had to put more time and more thought in both my classes this term.

I really can't believe all the countless articles I've read between the research in both my classes. However, it wasn't a headache for me. I thoroughly enjoyed all the research and reading.

I think I may have over-stressed with this term because I wanted to do so very well, and I wanted my papers to be the best I could possibly do.

I know there was so much more room for improvement, but I ran out of time.

I think that's another reason why this term was also so much harder for me. My son has swimming after school 4 days a week, and he has karate. Then there has been my doctor appointments, and his doctor appointments.

It was difficult, but I felt that this term I learned the most, I enjoyed it the most, and I also matured as a student the most.

I wonder which of my classmates I will have again...

I will miss you Professor Sullivan. I loved your class! Keep doing what you're doing! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I am absoluletly impressed and proud of my son! He truly has come such a long ways! It has been a drastic change in just the last 2 years. Before I use to worry so much about him. I would worry if he would grow up to be capable and to properly take care of himself. I would worry that he would have a hard time making friends. I would worry so much. I can remember when he was 8, and he took his IEP test. I was so saddened, worried, and depressed about it. His evaluation had him equivalent to that of a 4.5 year old!

Christian has drastically improved academically as well as his social skills. However, there is still much more room for improvement. We will keep working together on this. I never would have thought 3 years ago that he would come home with straight As on his report card, or that he would be able to do karate or swimming. My son amazes me! He is proof that anything is possible!

I love that he is so loving and appreciative. He has the kindest heart. He is so concerned about the welfare of others. I hope he will always remain with those beautiful qualities. However, I sincerely wish that there was more autism awareness, especially in the school systems. Educators as well as students need to be aware. One with autism interprets things differently than others. The last thing those beautiful children need are to be teased and bullied! They go through so much as it is! Anything that other kids do, a child with autism will have to try at least 3 times harder!

I've been on field trips with my son's class. I have witnessed first hand how ugly other kids can be. I witnessed a kid criticizing and bullying a friend of my son's. I couldn't do anything about it because I am just a parent volunteer. However, I did tell my son's teacher about what happened as soon as I could. My son did take up for his friend, and asked the kid nicely to leave him alone. My son then took his friend's hand, walked him away, and asked if he was all right.

My son has never understood why children want to be mean to others or why there is such a thing as bullying. I truly detest it. I really wished the school here practiced zero tolerance when it comes to bullying. I know they did in Houston...

There was even a problem with the PE teacher. My son had all As on his report card, but was given a B in PE. I asked my son's teacher, who gives a B in PE? She said, "I know. Christian, actually had the highest grade in my class." Then she out-right said, "The PE coach discriminates against my class." I was so burned up about it.

When my husband came home, he looked at my son's report card, and questioned what I had questioned to my son's teacher. I then told my husband what his teacher had said. My husband called the school the next day, he spoke to the PE teacher as well as the principal. My son has never gotten a B again in PE. He now gets As!

Sometimes, I guess we need to stand up and defend our children, be their advocate. My job, as my son's parent, is to do everything I can to prepare him for life, and I won't allow others to break down my son's spirit, or take away what he rightfully deserves!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

21 (Unit 7)

I wish there was no such things as guns. I wish people did not feel the need to carry guns. I wish the world was a place where they did not exist, a place where people were not fearful to the point to have to own a gun.

In my lifetime, nothing good has come from a gun. I guess if I were a victim, had to defend my family, and a gun protected our lives, then I would feel differently.

Twenty-one, it is an age of youth, when most are living life freely, a time when most people have pleasant memories. In Texas, it is a time when one can legally partake of alcohol.

Aaron, he was a good friend of mine in high school. There was a strong friendship of us 6 girls through-out high school. Then somewhere in our sophomore year, Aaron became apart of our 6-girl-group. We all sat together everyday for lunch in high school.

Aaron, was a soft-spoken guy. He was more on the shy side, then little by little he opened up more and more through-out our high school years. I guess we could have been snobby, ignored Aaron because he was a boy trying to get close to our group. Then again, I think that is why Aaron liked us. We weren't those kind of gals. We were smart, sweet, out-going, laughing all the time... after all 2 of us 6 gals were homecoming queen nominees. Aaron, was like a brother to us all.

One day, when I was 21, I get a phone call from my friend Jennifer. She tells me that Aaron died. Apparently, the story is that Aaron was cleaning a gun, not knowing that it was loaded, an accident that ended his young life. Aaron survived his parents, and his little brother.

Robert, he was my guy pal since I was 4. He was his own person, he never tried to belong, he just was. There are many childhood memories of him. Most of him being a typical boy, grossing out us girls, making us laugh hard, and him doing stupid stunts that caused bruising and stitches.
Another day, when I was 21, I get a phone call from my mother. Robert had died.

Then of course, there was Tessa. She was 21, she only had 2 more weeks until her 22nd birthday.

I lost 3 friends that all shaped and touched my life. All lived such a short time of only 21 years. All by a gun. What are the odds of that happening to someone?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tessa (unit 6)

I had a friend that I cared about deeply, at the time I considered her a best friend. She was a very interesting, caring, soulful person, so full of life. She was one of those people that would walk into a room and all eyes would be upon her. She could instantaneoulsy light up a room. She gave the biggest bear hugs, at times she'd hug me so hard my back would pop. I met her when I was at my lows. I think I had post-partum depression after I had my son. However, I didn't know, I didn't know anything about post-partum depression. I did one day over hear my dad speak to my mom and say "I don't know what is wrong with my mija. She's not the same, she doesn't have that same spark in her eyes." I had lost all my pregnancy weight in 2 weeks. Then I got on the depo-provera shot. Which I blamed later for how I was feeling. It made me sleepy, it made me not care about my appearance, it made me very unmotivated, and it made me gain 26 lbs in 2 months! I use to tell people that I would never wish it on my worse enemy. So maybe it was the depo or post-partum depression, but it was something that later affected me after the depo-provera shot. Eventually, I managed to slowly come out of a fog. Then I met Tessa. She gave me my spark back.

Tessa was always a happy go-lucky gal. When she was a high school student she boldly went to Japan by herself to visit her aunt. When she graduated high school, she once again ventured off by herself to Hawaii. I believe she was a person that loved everyone, loved life, and wanted what it all had to offer. I know that she loved her mom and little sister very much. I know that she admired her mom for all her hard work as a single parent, and then even being a foster parent. I can remember how happy she was when her mom was able to adopt the children that she was a foster parent to.

Then little by little I saw my friend drift away. She began isolating herself from friends, she would still call me, but not as often. Then one day I went to visit her, and it saddened me. She seemed so different. She was not the same girl anymore, she seemed sad and depressed. Once she even cried on the shoulders of my husband and I. There was something deeply bothering her. I tried often to get her to tell me what was bothering her so bad, but she would just shake her head or say that it was nothing.

After several pep-talks, somehow she came out of this depression or at least she fooled us all. However, the last time I spoke to her, the last time I saw her, she seemed like she was back. She was very much looking forward to upcoming events. Before our conversation ended abruptly, she had pulled me to the side. She asked if she could speak to me about something important. She went from super excited and happy to so very serious. So right as she was about to tell me something that appeared to be serious and confidential, my husband came over to us, and said we had to go. It was time for us to get back home. Tessa begged if I could stay, that she had something to tell me. She offered to take me home, even though it was out of the way for her. However, our "serious" conversation never took place.

The next day, Tuesday, I tried calling her, no answer... I wish I had went to go visit her.

Wednesday, my husband saw Tessa at her work, he said that she seemed fine.

Thursday, my mother in law and a friend came to the house. My friend broke the news. She said that her boyfriend came home Wednesday night, and found her dead in her apartment. I couldn't even put together what I was being told... I was in shock, and then I screamed and cried. That was over 7 years ago.

There are details that I was later told about, but I won't go into it. Sometimes I question if it was suicide. Maybe it is just me that still cannot come to terms with what happened. Maybe it is denial that she would do that.

I wrote this for her 6 years ago.


Beautiful vivacious woman, so full of love
The one I am always thinking of
Everyday I can see your face
Your appearance of breath-taking grace

You visit me briefly in my dreams at night
Mostly in your favorite place of sun & light
Once again I can see that amazing spark in your eyes
When the dream ends my heart & soul cries

Your beautiful smile, the sound of your laughter, the smell of your hair
Is forever with me & it will always be there

You tell me goodbye & then hug me so tight
I begin to cry & you say, "Sweetie, everything is alright"
Then I know it is our time to part
Now I must hold you so close to my heart

The best times of my life were spent with you
Sometimes I can not believe this is all true
That you are not here with me today
And that you seem close, yet so far away

I miss you more than words can explain
It is a feeling beyond great pain
Yet you come to comfort me
And that together again it will be

I know when my lifetime on earth comes to an end
I will never say goodbye to you again, my friend

So I will sing out with joy of heart
That it is together again & not apart

I thank God that you were a part of my life, everyday...
That you changed my views & thinking in a profound way
You taught me to live freely & to not be afraid
Then after you left another change was made...

I learned to make everyday count, as a habit
To cherish each moment, seize it & grab it

I want to thank you for everything...
For all the love & joy you did bring

I am a better person because of you
Almost like a person made new

Most importantly I need you to know
How much I greatly love you so

So if I could do it all over again, you see...
I'd know for sure you knew how much you meant to me

Forgive me, for there is something I need to do
To say you are greatly missed & I love you

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Russian Roulette (Unit 5)

I am a parent that blames it on the vaccinations. Funny thing was, that was about the time when Cindy Crawford was all over the TV about not vaccinating her son. My mom kept telling me to look into it. I said, "Well, I could have a sick child or a child that will die because I didn't vaccinate." It's sad... vaccinations shouldn't be a russian roulette.

I got my son vaccinated. He had fever, irritable, I called the doctor's office and they said it was normal. Then his fever got higher, he looked like he was in pain, so I brought him in that morning. The doctor felt his stomach, the doctor said he had a "blockage". They gave him an enema and my son passed a BM the size of my fist... it was so horrible and terrifying for him. I just felt so bad. From then on my baby boy was never the same.

He would stare off at the walls, couldn't take him out to dinner or anywhere that was too noisey. Haircuts... I had to cut his hair while he was sleeping. When he got older I had to sit him on my lap, restrain him by putting both my legs on top of his legs and hold down both his arms. Eventually that stopped when he was 4. I also had to cut his nails when he was sleeping. Then he became scared of other babies, then insects, then small animals. He always had digestive problems.

When he was three I put him in daycare. He told me he didn't like going there because the kids made him nervous because they were "climbing the walls". I thought he was like that because it was his first time in daycare. He was taken care of by my mom or a friend of the family prior to that. Next thing I know my son is biting his nails. Then he pulled out all his eyelashes in one eye at his daycare. That was enough.

Then I thought to put him in Primrose because it is more structured and disciplined like a school. Sure enough he did fine at Primrose.

There were things like I had to cut off all his shirt tags, and he always had to have socks on. He never wanted to be bare foot. I knew he was more behind than other kids. I would think back at what I was doing at his age. I couldn't get him to draw, write, or color. However his memorization was fantastic, and still is. He had a fascination with water, playing in the water, playing with toys in the water, and he would always line up his toys like his dinosaurs, motorcycles and cars.

I took my son to several doctors and none of then wanted to diagnose him. They all said to wait until kindergarten, which is exactly what I didn't want. He starts kindergarten, he starts acting out in class because he's frustrated and can't do things like the other kids. His school counselor suggested to get him tested. Then he was diagnosed with autism.

I felt so depressed. I was so sad for him. All a parent wants is what's best for their child. I just knew I had to do what I could to fight back at this thing that was interrupting my son's life.

I later learned to feed my son whole foods, organic foods, have him drink plenty of water, have him take probiotics, supplements with DHA, a good multivitamin. His foods must be free of dye, msg, and gluten. Why? Children with autism have high toxicity, their body for whatever reason is lacking the enzymes needed to rid the body of toxins. Since it is more difficult for my son's body to rid these toxins, it is important that his foods are free of such toxins especially mercury and pesticides. Water obviously helps to flush the toxins out. Probiotics helps to keep his digestive system happy, and also aids in ridding the toxins. DHA increases brain function and attention. His multivitamins are vegan, gluten free and hypoallergenic. Foods with dye, msg, and gluten irritate his digestive system, and make his symptoms worse. I recently learned about melatonin, many parents are using melatonin to rid the toxic metals from their child's body. It seems like everyday I'm learning more,and I can hardly keep up. The key is to use what works for your child. I guess I am doing the right thing because my son keeps steadily improving!

It wasn't until after my husband and I put Christian in a program provided by the school district here in Peoria Unified, that everything started to "click" for him little by little. He was no longer frustrated, he could understand, and loved school. Prior to that, his self-esteem was low, he was hard on himself, and he would call himself a "loser," and would say "I don't know why I can't understand. I don't know why I can't focus." It was like pulling teeth to try to get him to do homework. Now he comes home and gets his homework done first thing without me asking.

Now I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. He completed 3rd grade with perfect attendance, perfect conduct, he had 1 B and the rest As. I never thought I'd see any one of those, but he had all of them! My son has come a long ways in the last 2 and a half years. Now he does karate, he would not have been able to keep up with that 3 years ago.

My son is 10 now, and most people can't tell he has autism. I get so many compliments on his behavior, his manners, and people will tell me that he's mature for his age. My son is proof that anything is possible. Anything that other kids do, he has to try so much harder. He is my inspiration, I am so proud of him, and blessed to be his mother!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I was already blogging, but didn't really realize it... (unit 4)

I've used different sites to meet other moms that are facing challenges of finding correct treatment and assistance for their chidren with special needs.

I have found that the best help parents can give to their children is by our own research, and by finding out what other parents are doing to help their children.

For instance, I did not know 4 years ago that I could apply for social security disability for my son. However, many parents have been struggling to get this assistance or any extra assistance to help with the costs of therapy and treatments.

It is really horrible to find how many children are afflicted with autism, Aspergers, ADHD, and other neurological behavioral symptoms. Sadly, the common thread I am realizing is the toxicity of these children. All parents seem to be fighting toxins in their children by ridding their bodies of toxins through supplements, therapies, foods, and probiotics.

I am finding that it has to do with the child's inability to rid toxins, lacking certain enzymes, and mostly the inability to rid metal toxins.

Some parents like me, feel strongly that vaccinations played a huge role. After my son received his one year vaccination, he wasn't the same again. I would say 9 out of 10 parents know the day when their child was not the same little boy or girl, but instead was taken by the ugly effects of mercury preservaties that was administered through a vaccine.

Many people will disagree, but how can you disagree with a parent that saw drastic changes in their child after vaccinations? Nobody knows why some children get it and some don't. However, the scary ugly truth is that the number of chilren that will get autism is 1 out 110, and if you have a son the chances are 1 out of 70. The number of children with autism is steadily increasing.

I strongly advise parents to read up on autism before you plan on being a parent, and definitely before you vaccinate. Parents need to know symptoms. The sooner your child is diagnosed, the sooner you can treat symptoms and provide therapy. Therefore, better enabling your child to live a "normal" life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New to Blogging

First of all, I love being an online student! I was concerned at first and overwhelmed. I later learned how much more I enjoy it than traditional classes. The benefit of no commute meaning not having to be in traffic, saving money on gas, and most importantly I'm able to use my time more efficiently. If I choose to go out of town or visit my family for two months in Houston, I can do that and still be in school, which I have done!

I feel like I am learning more as an online student than when I was in traditonal classes. You can't beat the flexibility of being an online student! The anonymity is fine. However, I am a very social person. I am somewhat new to Arizona, so I could have used traditional school to maybe make new friends, and that is the only downside to online classes for me. Which that is fine, it just means I'll have to be more creative on how to meet new people and make new friends.

I believe that blogging as we are, sharing our thoughts, our lives, our families is a definite way to bring us closer as a class. I've learned much about my classmates, their concerns, their sorrow, their obstacles, and most of all the strength in them that I truly admire in them. It would be nice if we all continued to blog on here after this term to keep in touch. Although, there is the infamous facebook that we could also use to keep in touch.

At first I felt uneasy blogging, but I am getting a feel for this. I never thought of or realized how many people are blogging about their lives on the internet.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I think that's everyone!

Well, I believe I have added everyone from class on my reader's list. If any of you notice I missed someone, please let me know.

I was thinking, I bet we could make a discussion group for single, married, dating, with children, employed, unemployed, and then by what career we are pursuing.

What do you think? Is it too much?

Anyhow, I am getting bored with facebook! I only got on facebook last year because my best gal pal got off myspace where I was on, and created a profile on facebook. She kept telling me how much better facebook is.

Myspace became to overwhelming anyhow...

Facebook was better a year ago, now it's not the same with all the changes. I just like to read and see what everyone is doing since most my friends or all my close friends live in Texas where I am from. I love where I live, love the beauty and weather, but there is truly no place like home. I'll put up with the yucky scorching heat and humidity during Houston's summers, and the cold rainy winters along with the joint pain that comes with it to be with the rest of my family and friends again.

Don't get me wrong, moving to Peoria, Arizona or Phoenix has been a blessing. It has been a positive move for all of us. Try as I may to make friends here, it's just not the same. Although, maybe I'm just stubborn, and I think my friends in Texas are so much better. They weren't just friends though. They were there for me through good and bad, tears of pain and joy, many days of fun and laughter. We always said, "it's not where you're at, but who you're with." My closer circle of friends we called the "la familia" or the "famdamily."

I always had a shoulder to lean on, a friend to confide in, there was always an invitation for get-togethers on the weekends and even during the week. I already had my group of friends I would do things with my son and their children. I had a hook up for everything, eating spots, clubs, limos, wrecker, electrical, ac/heating, etc. As a matter of fact when I visited my parents last summer, their air condition went out. A friend of mine replaced a part, and only charged my parents for the cost of the part, which was $70. Yep, those are the kinds of friends I have.

So does anyone here have any advice for how to adjust to a new move or maybe when is it time to head back home?

Monday, February 8, 2010

I have no idea why I've titled my blog what to do...

This shall be quite interesting to see how blogging works out for me...

Yes, it does feel quite strange having a blog page, typing in words, not knowing to whom I am typing them to or who all can view my blog.

Right now my life is pretty mellow so there isn't too much excitement to write or type about. If anything I can go on and on writing about my son. I believe if I lived in Houston where I am from instead of the Phoenix, Arizona area I would have tons to write about.

I have friends in Houston that use to tease that if I wrote a book about my life it would be a saga. I'm not sure if that is good or bad! :)