My Happy Place

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  Florida. Sun. Sand. Palm Trees. Oh, and those little places called Disney & Universal. My son is down there now, and I have every intention of packing up to follow him as soon as is possible. (Unfortunately I’m no longer 19 and packing up to take off is a bit more complicated than it was for him). Now, before you go saying, “it’s your vacations that make it so relaxing.” It’s not about that. It’s about a sensation. An instinct. I’ve been there for other purposes. I’ve worked my ass off there for a week & never saw a single vacation destination. Never saw anything beyond the convention center. I still felt it. Recently Erik and I got to go down for his 50th birthday (for my 40th we took a trip around the state & visited a haunted spot. He got to drink around the world for 50 😉 ). We got to spend some time with our son after not seeing him for six months. Within minutes of seeing him, he was already annoying us with his antics, his puns, and snark. I loved every annoying minute.  He planned surprises for hubby. He planned out our perfect spot for the fireworks shows. He showed us where he lived, where he worked, and in general spent a lot of time with us. It was fabulous. Erik and I got to lay out in the sun. Go on a date. Relax. Talk about moving. Or not. When, or how. Enjoy the sun. Enjoy the parks. Discuss our next trip. Next time we go back will be at Christmas. This trip will be about a lot more than Disney. Of course, we will go for a couple of days…but we’ll do more. We’re going to take the girls to see more of Florida. Take Erik to see more of Florida. Because there’s more to life than the theme parks (though they are awesome). And if I ever hope to move there, I want to see it all.   Read more »

Butterbeer Cookies for the Win!

The past couple of years I’ve made Butterbeer fudge for Christmas to much acclaim among the family. It’s a huge hit to this geeking family. Then, a couple months ago when I was making cookies for the hubby, I started to wonder whether I could bake the deliciousness of Butterbeer into a cookie. I knew the basics, but wondered how I could add that flavor incorporated into a cookie. My first test run was pretty successful, but for a few things. So I played with it more, and came up with this recipe here. Needless to say, I have another huge hit on my hands around this house.  I could hardly keep enough around to get some good pictures of it. I’m not going to prattle on long, just let the recipe speak for itself. Enjoy! Print Butterbeer Cookies with Cream Soda Frosting Course Cookies, Dessert Servings 7 dozen Author Sarah Cass Ingredients Cookie 1 Cup Vanilla Chips Rough chopped if desired 1 Cup Butterscotch Chips Rough Chopped if Desired 1 Cup Coconut Oil Softened. If it's hard, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds (5-8) 2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar 2 Large Eggs 4 Tbs Vanilla Extract Yes, that is tablespoons 2 1/2 Tbs Unsulphered Molasses More or less to taste. Use mild or medium, but not dark, that's too bitter 3 1/2 Cups Flour 5 tsp Corn Starch 2 tsp Baking Soda Frosting 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil Softened. 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract 2 Tbs Cream Soda Syrup See instructions 4 Cups Confectioners Sugar Instructions Prep Work Make Cream Soda Syrup by placing a bottle of vanilla cream soda in sauce pan. Boil until reduced by at least half. I reduced it to 4 oz.  Once reduced, place in refrigerator until ready to use. If desired, roughly chop your chips. I did this because I wanted the flavor woven into the cookies more, but it does make them flatter. This is your choice. Cookies Mix together coconut oil and sugar.  Add vanilla and egg. Beat on med-high heat until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add molasses. Beat until incorporated.  Add flour, corn starch, baking soda, and mix until just combined. Add chips. Mix in by hand. Using 1 or 2 inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough onto cookie tray. I used a 1" because that's what I have, but 2" would be great, too.  The cook time will be slightly longer. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days.  This must be done to keep the cookies from spreading too much.  Pre-heat oven to 350. On parchment lined cookie tray, set out cookies about 2" apart. I managed to get 1 dozen on each sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes for 1" cookies (7 minutes was spot on for me). For 2" cookies, 8-10 minutes should be good.  Cool. Add frosting if desired. Frosting Add coconut oil, vanilla, and syrup to stand mixer. Mix well. Add in confectioners sugar until desired thickness. I made mine smooth enough to go through a bag. You can make it thicker and spread on with a knife if you want. The frosting seemed sweet to me so I added a splash of vanilla almond milk to cut it. This did the trick for me.  I hope your fam enjoys it as much as mine does!! Read more »

by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.

Unexpected Big Changes

Each of our kids is unique. They always have been. Denver was the “on point” kid every time. Every milestone, every clothing size, every single step was right on target. Right on projected ideals. He was always calm, always smart (though unwilling to put in the effort…got bored with school). He had dreams, and often got a single-minded view of them until he achieved them…i.e. He’s in Florida, working at Disney now. Molly is unique in her own way. She was delayed in many aspects, speech, occupational, physical…but we knew she was brilliant in there. We could tell at two, with the way she could take the pieces from 10 different board puzzles laid out on the floor and put them away in 2 minutes flat. She would literally read the words in books at the age of three…silent, but sure. She’s grown up to continue the trend of intelligence, doing even better now that she’s had appropriate therapies for her SPD issues. Loves school and craves the structure of her every day. Kennedy…she has always been a free spirit. Her imagination, though sometimes morbid, is brilliant and vivid. She sees life in such brilliant color, she is so sensitive, and caring, and crazy-talented in art. She loves to read, draw, color, and watch movies…but struggles in math. School, especially the cruel world of middle school, is rough on her sensitive heart. She hates sitting in a seat ALL Day long. When the school year started this year, Molly went back with eager abandon. Kennedy trudged there begrudgingly. Then, a few weeks ago Erik came to me with a thought.  He said, “I’ve been thinking that maybe Kennedy would do better home schooled.” Honestly, I sat and stared at him in shock.  I had approached the idea of home schooling when the girls were younger, and Denver was entering middle school. He’d bald-faced refused with such vehemence that I have never broached the subject again. Even more – several times over the summer I’d looked into one of the online public schools thinking it would be good for Kennedy. As one of her old friends had been withdrawn from school to attend one a couple of years ago, I’d been more and more curious. Her friend was doing so well under the different way of learning, and the conversations I’d had with his mom had made me intrigued. Still, knowing Erik’s aversion I’d always closed the tab in my browser saying, “Erik will never go for it.” Yet, here he was approaching me with the idea. The past month we have researched, gone over the possibility with Kennedy herself.  Kennedy was fully on board. Erik still had some reservations. We asked Molly if she would feel bad if her sister did school at home and she didn’t, to which she said, “Don’t you DARE take ME out of school! I don’t want to leave!” After we reassured her this was for Kennedy, and that she’d remain in regular school, she was good with it. We did some more research. Talked to my friend about her experience. Talked to the online school. Talked to each other at length. The fact that it is still a state-certified public school, with local teachers is a huge bonus. She’ll have some work each day to do at the computer.  She’ll be able to get credit for doing activities outside of the virtual classroom.  Her hours of PE are up to us & her how they are done. Different home activities will count. She’ll be able to take sign language for her foreign language. She’ll be able to do a full year of art without “special accomodations”. There are many clubs to join that are up her alley, and there is a local group of students that meet regularly for socializing and learning activities. It’s a much more creative way to learn. It’s a much more Kennedy way to learn. And the decision was made. Monday we start this new adventure. It was unexpected, but is exciting. So, off we goooooo!!!!!   Read more »