New Arrivals At Carl Sandburg’s!

Z-girl holds the newborn kid at Carl Sandburg Barn

                                               Z-girl holds the newborn kid at Carl Sandburg Barn

It is Thursday and the day is beautiful. We have our day planned out and are driving to the post office. The phone rings and I answer. It is Janine from the Carl Sandburg barn. We have been on call for a few days and Janine is letting us know that a mama goat is in labor and the babies will be arriving soon. 

Z-Girl has been volunteering at Carl Sandburg National Historic Site for 2 years now and has been wanting to see a goat giving birth for some time. We missed the quadruplets the week before that Nellie gave birth too. Today is Addie’s turn. Addie is a three year old white Saanen. The Saanen, named for a valley in Switzerland, are a white gentle goats with upright ears. 

Carl Sandburg Goat

              Carl Sandburg Goat, Addie


Addie, we learn is a great mother to her babies but she had difficulties delivering her 12 pound buck baby last year and there is concern how she will do this year with her delivery. The guess is that this year she will deliver 2 babies (unless it is one Gi-Normous Big Headed Buck). The last 5 years the Sandburg Saanens have had difficult deliveries while the Nubians have birthed easily.

We arrive at 2:30pm, as quick as we can and are escorted to a private area where Addie is in much discomforted. Every now and then Addie gets up to walk a couple steps then plop down on the opposite side that she was on before. Time passes.

A call is made to see if she needs to be given a shot to help her along with having the babies. The vet says she is on the way and to wait on giving a shot until she gets there. The vet arrives and discovers there are 2 babies and that the babies are competing as to which one comes out first. Special care must be taken so the vet can help Addie have her babies and not hurt the babies or Addie. The vet quickly accesses the babies and pulls the first then the second out from inside Addie. A little buck (boy) and a girl (doe) have arrived. It is 4:15.

Z-girl get to hold a new born and help dry it off with a towel. Within 30 minutes of delivery the two kids are up and walking. The baby doe is the first to nurse then the little buck follows. The babies wag their tails and bleat for Addie’s attention. Each kid gets weighed and surprisingly both weigh the same 7.5 pounds each.

This event has thrilled both children. Z-girl wants to be a vet one day and has got a first hand look. A-man has hardly said a word through the whole process which is an amazing achievement for him. 

The quintuplets take a nap

                                                                   The quintuplets take a nap




My Daughter’s Heart Is Breaking

Through tears I type with tissue close at hand.

We are a pet loving family. My daughter more than the rest of the family loves her animals. She is 12 and wants to be a veterinarian someday. One can not have a pet without one day having the experience of losing that pet. Whether the pet runs away and get hit by a car, gets sick or just succumbs to old age, the death of a pet is part of life. We have had rabbits pass, there have been some frogs and fish die.  Every animal that left us hurt my daughter and the degree of hurt was based on how much love was invested.

We have 6 chickens, raised from chicks that were just a few days old. The chickens have become Z-girl’s and she has gladly taken up caring for them daily. She cleans the chicken house, feeds, waters, exercises them and knows the character and habits of each one. Occasionally one chicken will be mistreated by the group and Z-girl will bring it inside and care for it tending to the needs of her pet until it is well enough to return to the small flock.

Z-girl came to me a few days ago and mentioned that one of her larger red chickens, Lucy, had lost the color in her waddle and comb and that Lucy’s face was pale. Lucy was brought inside and put in a small crate to monitor and treat the best we could. My wife and I went to Google all we could about chicken illnesses. We talked with friends and received advice from what the malady might be. Z-girl can tell which chicken laid an egg by the shape and size of the egg. This applies even to chickens of the same size and breed. She knew Lucy had missed her time to lay an egg and we diagnosed the hen as being egg bound. Egg bound is when an egg is stuck inside the hen. There are ways to encourage the egg to come out.

Z-girl for the past few days has been giving Lucy warm baths, kind of a spa treatment to help the chicken relax to help encourage the laying of an egg. She has been hand feeding and watering. Z-girl has left her breakfast and dinner on the counter getting cold while she has comforted or assisted Lucy in some way.

Yesterday Lucy appeared to make some progress, eating and drinking. Lucy even seemed more energetic and even pooped some which was a good sign. This morning was not good though. Lucy is only able to lay down and try to sleep. Lucy cannot stand up on her own and it looks as though she will not be with us much longer.

We have not been untouched by death and it is not a new experience. Family members have passed, pets have gone but it is never easy. Z-girl’s heart is breaking as the loss of a friend comes nearer and mine is breaking as well. I see the hurt in my little girl’s eyes and am unable to “fix” the chicken, powerless to change the outcome. All I can do is wait and be here with Z-girl. I hug her then go get some tissue for her tears. I take some tissue too for my own tears. I know that me crying does not help the matter.

She asks me through tears “How come if my animals die it’s always raining?” I say “I don’t know sweetie.” We wait awhile and watch the sick chicken. I start to turn on the television then refrain. I don’t want Z-girl’s memory of the last moments with her pet to be joined with the noise of some TV show. Z-girl asks “Would her heart beat slower and slower?” I say “if she is dying, she will probably go slower and slower and just wind down.” It takes me several tries to get the whole sentence out. My nose is filled with tears and I have to keep reaching for more tissue. There is a bottle of Breathe Essential oil on the table. I put a few drops in my palm and inhale. It helps open my airway.

My son A-man calls from upstairs “Dad, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” I say “We are okay. Don’t come down.” A-man has Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) and Autism. I dread having to tell him that Z-girl’s chicken has died. A-man will try to console Z-girl but he processes differently. He will mention over and over throughout the day that “Your chicken died.” and then he will state that “But my frog is still alive. I have had him for a long time time now and he has not died.” He doesn’t do it to be mean it is just his way of dealing with it. Z-girl once had the same kind of frog and cared for it more consistently and with more love but her frog died while A-man’s has continued to live on with a vigor unseen in frogs before.

Lucy is not as warm as she was earlier and she closes her eyes more and more. I turn the heat up and wait. I am aware that life is a fragile, fleeting gift but it is hard to see my Z-girl grieving and now is just the beginning. When Lucy is gone there will be more. Z-girl will ask herself and me if there was anything she could have done differently and if she, Z-girl, was in some way at fault. It is human nature to ask those kinds of questions. 

Z-girl has Lucy wrapped in a towel and sits in a chair holding the hen in her lap. Z-girl strokes the feathers on Lucy’s head and Lucy gets stiller and stiller. The small bantam rooster is frequently crowing outside. Lucy opens her eyes and lifts her head toward the sound, cocking her head to the side and listening briefly. Lucy closes her eyes and puts her head against Z-girl’s chest. 

You were a good chicken Lucy

                                                                           You were a good chicken Lucy






doTERRA Essential Oils keep the doctor away

For A Healthier Life 100% Natural

          For A Healthier Life
               100% Natural

Today I will share some of the new things I have learned about doTERRA Essential Oils. The important thing with any essential oil is both that the product is both potent and pure.
The more potent an essential oil is, the better it works and the longer it lasts. I was taking some of the doTERRA oregano oil to help control my blood pressure. It was working well and I could see a steady decrease in both the Systolic and the Diastolic. I was feeling better and had less to worry about. Then one day the bottle was empty and I had not ordered another one. I went to the local health food store and looked for some oregano oil. One of the ladies that worked there acted unsure when I asked if it was strong. After a deer in the headlights look and reading the label the employee responded “yes it is very strong.” I purchased a bottle and brought it home. When I tried the oregano oil it had little taste and did not have the same effect. It did not take long and the newly purchased bottle was gone. My BP did not respond to the newly purchased oil and started going back up. I was sure glad when the new doTERRA oil came in the mail. That is what potency is about. There are no regulations to control what strength an essential oil is when sold to a consumer. Many oils are watered down and have impurities. All the doTERRA oils are “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”. CPTG is a new standard for essential oil purity and doTERRA ensures that the standard is met through 6 essential tests: 1. Gas Chromatography 2. Mass Spectronomy 3. Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) 4. Heavy Metal Testing 5. Organoleptic testing 6. Microbial testing. All the testing is done through independent laboratories and experts. doTERRA uses only 100% pure aromatic botanical extracts.

One of the first oils I learned about was On Guard.

Here are some of the uses that On Guard is good for:
1. Mix a TBSP with water and gargle for a sore throat

2. Mix 5 drops Oregano and 5 drops of On Guard in a capsule and take 3 times a day at the onset of a cold or flu. I have experienced this and it dramatically cuts down on healing time.

3. Put on soles of feet at night during cold and flu season to strengthen immune system. I thought my wife was crazy when she first did this but it really makes a big difference. I have also been sick when the whole family has not because I said “no to oil” a couple of times.

4. Add a few drops to water and rinse in mouth to speed healing of mouth sores and gingivitis.

5. Spray a mixture on hotel sheets and pillows. On Guard is like an antibiotic in a bottle and will kill germs of viruses.

6. Apply a drop to the gum to help the pain of a sore tooth.

7. Use a diffuser to kill germs and microbes that are airborne.

8. Wipe door knobs, surfaces, keyboards anything that may have germs on it to keep you and your family safe.

9. Mix with Frankencense, Oregano and On Guard and take at onset of flu to enhance immune system.

10. Swish On Guard in mouth with water to kill germs when you have been around someone that is sick.


If you worry about your families health a potent, pure, essential oil will take much of that worry away. It does not take long to notice that less trips to the doctor are being made, money is saved and most importantly your family is healthier/happier.


Click Below for more information 


doTERRA Essential Oils Certified PURE Therapeutic Grade


We Can Learn from People With PWS

A-man shows his charming side.

                                                                 We can Learn from people with PWS

I have been blogging about the pitfalls and hazards related to Prader-Willi Syndrome combined with Autism. PWS is frustrating and dangerous to those people that have the disease and the people that care for them. There aren’t many positive articles around relating to PWS.

My son A-man is an awesome salesman. I am writing this blog for a couple of reasons the first is to present a positive spin on a negative special need and the second is to make people aware of sales skills that could be used daily to enhance one’s life.

I have always said that even if we are not working at a sales job everyone is selling something every day. From the meal we eat to the direction we go on a destination it is a form of sales. An idea is presented in the best possible way in hopes the other party will choose to see things the way we do.

My son is blessed with the gift of sales. I am not sure if the partial deletion of a gene makes him more charming or if it is just his nature but he has a way of making a strong presentation.

*A-man remembers names. Many people ask someone’s name then quickly forget it because they do not pay attention. The name is asked but the person asking is thinking too hard about what to say next and never remember the name in the first place. A-man has mastered the name recall game. Right after asking someone’s name A-man repeats it several times. He uses the person’s name name in a sentence. He remembers a specific detail and ties it to the person’s name. Later after the interaction is over A-man repeats the person’s name to himself. I realize there is some OCD at work here but I have learned to be more name sensitive as a result of A-man’s actions.

*A-man is not afraid to ask for the sale (close). Working in direct sales to the public for 12 years I have learned the most difficult thing to do for a salesman is to ask for someone to take the product home. If the presentation is perfect and the product is great but the salesperson does not ask the customer to “take it” many sales are lost. A-man is not afraid to ask people for things. I have watched as A-man meets someone, talks for awhile and asks for something. An example would be “Can you come to my baseball game?” His request is more often than not complied with. Even more difficult requests “can you make me this(insert crafty item)?” are happily accepted. We try to limit what he asks for but I have seen people scurry around trying to get him whatever just because he asked. There is a saying among salespeople “if you don’t ask you don’t get.” 

*A-man always follows up. A-man asked a favorite pediatrician about a year ago “Can we have lunch together sometime?” The Dr. replied “yes we can have lunch soon. I will call your dad and let him know when.” The call never came. A-man was not upset or let down, he simply reminds the kind Dr. every 3 months at med review what was promised and that “it has not happened yet.” The Dr. every time explains how he has been busy and will try to set up the event soon. The Dr. has good intentions but once a promise is made to A-man, he follows up with it until he receives an answer. Have you ever been interested in a product, given your contact info to a salesperson and never heard from that person again? Salespeople get tired, they lose focus and if it is not an immediate sale they forget to follow up. Not A-man he always follows up.

*A-man remembers details about people. A-man is genuinely interested in people and their lives. He is especially interested in people’s hurts and disappointments. He will see someone he has not seen in months and ask “how is your back doing? I remember you hurt it when you fell in the shower” or he will say “how is your cat? Is it feeling better?” By remembering details and being genuinely concerned in people’s lives he makes friends fast and the people look forward to seeing him again.

*A-man takes time to make people feel special. I get in too much of a hurry and focus on the task before me. “I have to get groceries. What’s next on the list?” is what I often think when I am at the store. Sometimes if I see someone I know in the distance I try to avoid the person so I can accomplish my task faster. A-man takes time for people. When we go to the store he engages with the butcher, the cashier, the manager and tries to meet a few new people along the way. He is the grocery store social networking king! He comments on what they spoke about the last time he saw the person. That is why he gets a surprise hat from the butcher, a new fish hook for his hat from the cashier and why the manager goes out of his way to ask A-man “How you doing buddy?” but does not ask me. I have caught myself discouraging him from talking to everyone. He has never met a stranger. Much of the time I am robbing another person of the blessing of speaking with A-man.


A-man has some habits that greatly enhance his sales presentations. He remembers names, asks for the sale, follows up, remembers details about people and makes people feel special. These are qualities for a great salesperson and much can be learned from someone with PWS and Autism. 

The Police are at the Door! A PWS Story


A PWS Story

                                                                       A PWS Story

Thanksgiving 2012 had been much better than anticipated. Holidays are troublesome for our son with Prader-Willi Sydrome (PWS) and autism. Those holidays that have a strong food component are extra stressful for our whole family. PWS brings many food perseverations and anxiety. This year A-man was doing well compared to other years. We even decided to push our luck and treat our family to a movie.

We hadn’t heard much about “The Life of PI” but based on a friend’s suggestion we went. It was a later showing and would bring us home well after the children’s typical bed time but it was such a rare treat to attend a movie and my wife and I thought it would be okay. A-man had taken a nap that day and Z-girl would be fine staying up an hour or two later than usual.

We had snacks at the theater which was A-man’s main concern, as we watched the movie. The “Life Of PI” movie had many CG (computer generated) special effects and my wife and I exchanged nervous glances throughout the movie as animals were portrayed killing and eating one another. The last part of the show was more worrisome as it ended with a twist. The movie suggested the scenes of the animals were actually meant to portray cannibalistic acts done on humans.

A-man still appeared more concerned with eating the last kernels of his popcorn. We drove home tired and silent for the most part. Z-girl understood it was just a pretend movie and A-man did not have questions, which was odd for him, but we arrived home and put the children to bed. We considered it a successful Thanksgiving. We were thankful there had been no major meltdowns or behaviors and that we made it through the movie, though we wondered at how appropriate it was. My wife and I stayed up and talked about how PWS had given us a break and had been easier on us than usual.

We slept well that night but early in the morning were awakened by the doorbell. I jumped out of bed thinking “who can be here at this time in the morning?” as I tugged a shirt on and raced to the door in my pajama bottoms and socks. I was greeted when I opened the door by two serious faced city policemen. The first one asked me my name and I said “yes it is my name.” He said “we have your son in our car.” as he gestured toward the police car in my driveway.  I said “That’s impossible I had to turn the alarm off in the hallway before I came to the door!” We have a hallway motion detector alarm that has drastically cut down on nightly food pillaging. The policeman motioned to the social worker standing beside the police car and she opened the door revealing none other than my A-man.

The 2 policemen, social worker, my wife, Z-girl, A-man and I sat in the living room. A-man had apparently woken up when it was still dark out. He had put clothes on but left his shoes and climbed out the window of his bedroom into the cold November morning. A-man then walked through some trees, falling a couple times, (by his admission) and getting scratched. He walked in the dark morning across a busy Black Friday road in cold bare feet. A-man had walked about ¼ mile to a house that had some children’s toys and a moped in front.  A-man loves mopeds and he claimed this was the draw though the children’s toys and the fact that he was freezing cold may have had some bearing on it as well.

There was a woman and man that took him in and called the police. There were also children there. At a later date I interviewed the woman to both thank her for taking care of my son and to find out as many details as possible as to why he may have run away. She explained to me that her boyfriend had stayed there as well until the police made an appearance. At that point the boyfriend left in a hurry. It may have been that he was late for work or that the police made him nervous (in our state no license is required to operate a moped and many people that have lost their driver’s license use mopeds or scooters as transportation).

The woman explained that she had offered food to A-man in the forms of Pizza, Mountain Dew, sugar cereal and Hostess type cakes. She stated that A-man had resisted at first and stated he had a peanut allergy but with her persistence A-man had agreed to eat what she offered to him. I am so thankful she kept him safe, though I cringe at the food choices and high reinforcement he was offered.

The police stated that A-man did not at first tell them where he lived and that A-man had at first said “A friend of mine that lives in Texas just dropped me off here.” and “I have been living in the woods in a tent.” The police finally were able to get a name and address from A-man. Social services were contacted as well and the social worker asked if A-man felt safe. He stated that he did not feel safe. That confused me as he was happy at home. The social worker stressed to A-man that she would find a safe house that he could live in. Due to the conversation and line of questioning from both the police and the social worker A-man, my son with Autism and Prader-Willi Syndrome was convinced he was moving to a new home and upon entering the house began to pack his clothes up and a few of his favorite toys. He brought a picture of himself out from his bedroom and handed it to then 10 year old Z-girl saying “this is so you can remember what I look like when I am gone.”  The woman that fed A-man, the police (he loves policemen) and the social worker were highly reinforcing for him.

Calls were made to doctors, friends and professionals and all had said A-man was in a loving, caring environment and that he was safe.

After the social worker and police left, it took A-man several hours to calm down. He kept trying to leave the house and go to his new house that the social worker had promised him. He finally took a nap. When he woke up a couple hours later it was as if nothing had happened and he was back to his smiling A-man self. We did not punish him. My wife and I were so scared after the fact and went over all the “What Ifs” for the following days. Our son had been AWOL for several hours and anything could have happened. He could have been hit by a car, gone to the wrong house, been abducted. Emotionally it tore at us. We had to keep going back to Things Could Have Happened BUT those things Did not happen and he was back safe with us.

I slept in his room the following nights even after a window alarm was installed. My wife and I would be watching television and she would start crying as she envisioned another “what if”. We imagined that somehow we had failed our son and hurt him in some way though the only hurt he had was a couple scratches from a tree. 

I have gone over everything a thousand times in my mind and still do not fully understand what caused him to run off into the night without shoes on. Some have suggested a bad dream or sleep walking. I believe the excitement over a food holiday coupled with the excitement of an inappropriate movie (for him) caused A-man to wake confused and he fled an imagined threat of some kind. What caused it is something I may never know but we have taken extra precautions to assure it does not happen again. Extra alarms have been added to the window and we do pay special attention to his mood when he goes to bed. If he is agitated at all we pay extra attention and check on him frequently.

Death by food seeking is a threat and it is something we are seriously aware of as parents of a young man with PWS. I wish we had some kind of alarm system in place prior to the incident. We now know better and are more aware. I write this to share a scary event that ended well for us and A-man. I write this to let you as parents know that you are not alone in the struggle with Prader Willi.

Above all I write this to help save the life of some child that is similar to A-man, some child that could slip out and be injured or worse. Please consider window alarms to help protect the person with PWS  that you care for. 


The Prader-Willi Syndrome Monster

Even the smallest items can be dangerous to a child with PWS

                                            Even the smallest items can be dangerous to a child with PWS


One of the biggest issues about Prader-Willi Syndrome that make it more dangerous, even more so than overeating, for our son is impulse control. Impulse control is a relentless monster that lurks every minute of the day waiting to hurt or injure. The following is about what the two words impulse control mean to the parents of a teenager with PWS and Autism.

Let’s start off with child proofing the entire house. This means anything that an 18 month old could get into and cause harm to property or person. That includes locks on medicines, cleaners, cabinets and consumables, things that a toddler might in some way get hurt by. Check that off the list. Now we are just getting started.

Next, to ensure safety of our 14 year old, we need to contain anything mechanical/electrical. These are things an 18 month old would not or could not operate. Knives, scissors, pliers, tools (even those without moving parts), finger nail clippers, nail files, disposable razors and most electrical items. You would not have these near a toddler but securing them from a toddler would be fairly easy. If the person is 5’7” and understands how to unlock things with a key it makes a big difference. Oh and we can’t forget matches, lighters, paper clips. Anything that could pose some kind of cutting, burning, pinching, destruction hazard must be considered. Look at every item in your home and think “is this thing capable of doing damage if used as what it was meant for?” or “is this thing capable of doing damage if used as what it is not intended for?”

Ok we are getting there but are not there yet. Next we need to secure band aids. Yes that is correct. The band aid can be put on too tightly if not closely supervised causing blood loss to the bandaged finger. Same thing can be said for ace bandages to an arm, a “pretend” bandage done with a belt, bandana or shoelace for that matter.

 Have you thought yet about Epson salt? It is great for a sprain or sore muscles but what happens when in the time span of less than a minute the box of salt is spirited off to a bedroom to begin filling of an Altoids tin or other containers? While not deadly in reasonable doses, what happens when someone intends on ingesting a box? 

The little silica packs that come in new items to keep moisture out have to be policed. Sugar packets from restaurants while not dangerous in a few packs could be unhealthy by the handfuls.

All food is of course of limits unless it is meal time. 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies can disappear in a hurry if a single lapse in supervision happens. The extra 6000 calories are scary enough but then there is severe constipation and possible intestinal blockage that can occur. I am not saying here that Girl Scout cookies are the cause of constipation but anything can be dangerous if a large enough amount is consumed at once. The quantity of food isn’t always the culprit either. Red 40 food coloring is in many items and in our son Red 40 heightens, hyperactivity, poor judgement and you guessed it worsens impulse control. As if knowing to avoid red 40 coloring is enough. Now it has new names to be aware of that include: Allura Red AC, Food red 17, C.I. 16035, E129 and I imagine several more by now. There is even a Wiki page that surprisingly mentions the health effects to children. wiki red 40

Did I mention peanuts? In the past my son’s body tried to stop breathing as a result of peanuts and required a shot with an EpiPen. Not only are the needles much larger than I would expect but it is also a mandatory ER visit once administered (though the difficulty of breathing would also merit the ER). It could be my boy has outgrown the allergy to some extent but it is not worth taking the chance just to try out a new food.

You may ask “is there anything in your house that is safe?” “How about water?” you may inquire, “surely the water is safe?” Every year our water is tested and the lab assures us our water is absolutely safe. Or is it? While the water is safe we have recently become aware that the amount of water being consumed could be, if unsupervised, a high enough amount to water down medicines or even cause injury. Put unsupervised cups on the list of dangerous items.

We have been so blessed having a mother, father and caring younger sister at home full time to have 3 sets of eyes on the situation to keep things safe but extra eyes aren’t always enough. Alarms have been installed to allow sleep at night so the refrigerator is not pillaged.

PWS proofing is much different than child proofing. Just when we delude ourselves into thinking we are a step ahead, the PWS monster shows up and proves us wrong. I know for certain there are extra Angels watching over our A-man and keeping him safe even though he makes poor decisions often. I also know that he is not the only one out there that this happens to. Parents reading this please share your experiences and what you have had to do to PWS your home and keep your child with PWS safe.

I love my child very much but sometimes hate the disease.

My friend Vanessa has PWS and she recently stated “Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it!”

Join the fight against the monster that tries to steal away our children. Join The fight against PWS. 

Pesto 3 Cheese Panini Sandwich

Click below to hear Chris about the Pesto 3 cheese Panini Sandwich


It is time for another Techdadz recipe. This vegetarian treat is quick, easy and oh so tasty. Lets start with some whole wheat soft sub roll bread. They key here is soft. Since this is a grilled sandwich a hard bread would get too crispy and would be difficult to chew. If you make this recipe, make sure to use a soft wheat or white bread.

Fresh yummy goodness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fresh yummy goodness

Next slice the bread and spread generously with pesto.

The pesto in this case is a store bought jar pesto containing Basil, Garlic, Romano Cheese and Olive Oil among the main ingredients.

Spread pesto on the sliced bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spread pesto on the sliced bread

Next lets add some Parmigano-Reggiano cheese. This is a hard cheese that has a nice dry flavor. It remind me of a dry white wine. I shredded it for this sandwich but sliced works just as well. The cheese melts nicely and has a robust flavor.


Parmigiano-Reggiano has a wonderful flavor and melts easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Parmigiano-Reggiano has a wonderful flavor and melts easily.

 Thin Sliced Provolone cheese covers the Parmigano-Reggiano . 

Pieces of Provolone cheese slice thin are added

                                                  Pieces of Provolone cheese sliced thin make an appearance.

A dusting of black pepper is added.

Black pepper joins the party.

                                                                              Black pepper joins the party.

I slice the pepper jack into triangles. It gives better coverage and studies show that triangles have more flavor.

Let's add some fresh provolone

                                                        Spicy Pepper Jack Cheese gives it a bit of a kick.

Triangles have been proven to taste better.

                                                               Triangles have been proven to taste better.

I small sandwich press grills the sandwiches to perfection.

                                                   A small sandwich press grills the sandwiches to perfection.

The melting cheese and grill lines show the sandwich is ready to eat.

                                        The melting cheese and grill lines show the sandwich is ready to eat.

The two buns filled will feed a family of 4 a healthy and delicious lunch.

                                        The two buns filled will feed a family of 4 a healthy and delicious lunch.

A few pickles for good measure and some orange juice complete this meal.

                                  A few pickles for good measure and some orange juice complete this meal.









PWS Public Meltdown

The serene Sandburg Barn is about to be less peaceful

                                                     The serene Sandburg Barn is about to be less peaceful

Meltdown:  1. Describes what happens when a person freaks out, cracks, loses control. Life – reality at large- becomes overwhelming. They just can’t deal with it all. The person may act out, withdraw, become emotional, run, aggressive etc.  

As a family we frequently go on long walks/hikes. It helps us feel better and helps A-man, my son with Prader Willi Syndrome, burn calories. We are able to talk, get fresh air and walking is good for stress….usually.

It is rare that A-man has a complete meltdown in public. My wife and I know the signs of a potential storm and are usually able to redirect or get to a less public area before the onset of a major tantrum. We are blessed because we can go to the grocery store, out to eat or to a food related event without major behaviors. Many families with a PWS member cannot do these things.

This week we were surprised in a big way. Spring is upon us and we decided to go to the Sandburg home, walk to the barn and have a visit with the goats that reside there. The drive there was peaceful, walking up the hill A-man held my hand part of the way and walked with his sister the other part. It was one of those “Kodak moments”. The children were getting along, no hint of a behavioral storm on the horizon.

We arrived at the barn everything was still going well. The goats we not out front as usual. This time the goats were in the back of the barn grazing. The first goat we saw was very pregnant. This Nubian was obviously expecting twins or maybe even triplets, her sides stretched out almost as wide as the goat was long. My wife commented, “I am surprised she can walk like that and she has about a month to go before she delivers.” We go to Sandburg’s often and are familiar with many of the animals there. Here is where the event started. A-man came over to the animal and started to pet it but was patting the expecting mother’s sides too hard. Mom said “go find another goat she doesn’t like that.” A-man had a wild look in his eye that is hard to explain but a parent knows the looks of their child. A-man went toward the next goat and it trotted a little away from him. Z-girl, my wife or I could approach and pet any of the goats but when A-man got near one it was if the animals sensed something and would try to avoid him. I have never seen the Sandburg herd act this way toward a person before.

It was at this time I noticed the three new arrivals visiting Sandburg’s, one a mom with a 3 year old daughter and one woman armed with a camera enter the pen. The little girl was dressed up and it was obviously picture day with the goats. A-man found a young goat and began to pet it but was being a little rough.

Mom and I said almost in unison “you are being too rough, get away from that goat.” It was as if an invisible switch was flipped. A-man left the side of the young goat looked us in the eye and said “What’s for lunch?” We replied, “We ate before we came here.” He responded louder “I SAID, WHAT ARE WE HAVING FOR LUNCH.” My wife looked at me and said “We need to get out of here.”

A-man went from calm with a wild look in his eye to irrational meltdown in about 4 seconds. I placed my hand on his lower back and begin walking toward the gate. A-man began yelling “DON’T TOUCH ME, GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME!!” I was aware of the women and child watching as I tried to get him out of the area. He yelled what curse words he has heard near the skate board park where we walk on different trail. What curse words he didn’t know, he made up words that sounded bad to him. The words almost sound comical now.

We were almost to the main gate as A-man yelled “Stupid dad shit” and the continued “Don’t touch me” while he tried to kick me. I was using a controlled walk with him at this time with his wrists low on either of his sides to prevent being pummeled. I noticed people far off but within eye sight stopping their walk to gape at what must surely be, a child abduction in progress. We arrived at the front of the barn. The whole thing seemed to last forever but had lasted only 5 minutes or less. I did notice the absence of my wife and daughter. Later I realized that the two of them had doubled back and we explaining to the women that A-man had autism.

I sat A-man down in front of the barn and stepped away 15 feet or so. No one was out front for once except the people far off staring in our direction. He sat with his head in his hands and was quiet. A couple came to the front gate and entered. I don’t think A-man saw them but he did offer a loud “Bless you, CREEP!” My wife was back and again said “we need to go.”

I asked A-man to get up and he did. Our family walked back to the car and drove home without further incident.  


The cause of this is still undetermined. This last week was especially stressful as A-man was seriously constipated and we had to do a Dr. prescribed “clean out” (liquid diet for a day with extra laxatives). We discovered 5 missing boxes of Girl Scout cookies had been taken and consumed in a day, which after the fact had scared and angered my wife and I (more angry at ourselves for not being more vigilant than with him).

There was also some additional stress in our home over a homeschool event that I am sure he picked up on. Everyone can have a bad day now and then. When someone with PWS and Autism has a bad day it can be a meltdown of volcanic proportions. I write this to encourage others that are caring for those with special needs. You are not alone.

Feel free to share your meltdown moments.    

Kids say the funniest things.

"You're not my little baby boss!"

                                       “You’re not my little baby boss!”


A-man (14), my son has, Prader-Willi Syndrome and Autism. He did not talk until he was about 3.5 years old. My wife and I joke that he started at 3.5 and hasn’t stopped since. A-man hears things differently sometimes and has his own way of pronouncing certain words. Many we target and correct during our homeschooling. Some of the words and phrases he has created are humorous. We look back to when he first started talking and laugh about some of the words and combinations of words he used to say. Some of the sayings have stuck around and become special ways of describing things inside the walls of our house. 

Zoe (12), has come up with a few of her own funny sayings and words over the years.

The following are a few of the memorable words and phrases the two have used over the years.

Crap it in half: verb, food related 1. To break something in half with your hands (a cracker, cookie, piece of cheese) “Could you crap the cookie in half so we can share it?” Synonyms: break, split, fracture, crack in half.

Peasant: adjective, bodily function 1. Causing discomfort, unhappiness, revulsion or something that is disagreeable. A distressing, nasty, awful dreadful event. Example: When one burps loud in public instead of excuse me they would say “Wow that was a peasant.” Can also be used to describe an obnoxious gift. “I farted near that man and left him a peasant.” Similar to unpleasant or a present.

Warm: noun, underground creature 1. A warm is a tube-shaped, segmented animal commonly found living in soil, that feeds on live and dead organic matter. Its digestive system runs through the length of its body. It conducts respiration through its skin. As in “Look daddy I found a warm when I was digging.” Worm

Hanitizer: noun, cleaner 1. A supplement or alternative to washing one’s hands with soap and water. “After I petted the goat at Sandburg’s I had to put hanitizer on so my hands wouldn’t be dirty. Hand sanitizer.

Bampire: noun, monster 1. be careful when you go to Transylvania that a Bampire doesn’t bite you! Vampire

Special Sprouts: noun, food 1. A cultivar in the Gemmifera group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. “I will eat special sprouts but they are not my favorite.” Brussels Sprouts.

Little Baby Boss: saying 1. To boss around without the authority to do so usually one sibling to another. “You are not my little baby boss!” OR “Stop telling me what to do, you are not my little bitty baby boss!”

Passed on/Passed away: verb, 1. to fall asleep, faint “I was talking to Mrs. Smith and she passed on when she saw the cut on my hand.” “She was lightheaded then she passed away.” to pass out temporarily 

Don’t you think that kids say the funniest things? What are some of the cute things you and your family have created? Let me know. Thanks.




A humorous zombie short story.

A humorous zombie short story.

I do a little writing and publishing on Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. It is nice to have the extra monthly income from ebooks. Uploading the books is easy and the work is done one time but once it is done the royalties keep coming in. It is similar to working an hour at a job then getting paid over and over for that same hour of work. The books sell and people do not return them for a refund so I consider the writings to be a success. The following short story is different from what I usually write. Typically the book would have something to do with stop motion animation, building with Lego or homeschooling. The following fiction resulted from a silly idea I had and mentioned to my daughter. The original title was Grandma’s head. Z-girl would from time to time say “Daddy, tell me about Grandma’s head.” She would always have a mischievous smile. It was partly due to fascination about the story and partly about the one on one time with dad that drew her in. 

This story is fun and is fiction. If the idea of a zombie is disturbing to you then maybe reading this is not a good idea. There is no gore or horror and my sensitive 12 year did not find it disturbing. If you are brave enough to proceed please let me know what you think. Thanks! Tech Dad


People have measured time in all kinds of different ways down through the years. For me, I have always ignored the tick-tock rhythm of the clock in favor of the creaks and groans of the home where I have spent the majority of my life.

This little slice of Massachusetts is where my grandparents have lived, off and on, for 60 years. I was always drawn to this place, both because of the love that I felt while I was there, as well as the funny-faced man’s head in the bell jar, on top of the mantle. The decorations and knick knacks surrounding him have changed through the years, but he seemed to be at his happiest when the decorative urn, which has been there for the better part of 15 years, was placed there.

The funny looks he gives when someone enters the room have always made me smile, but that multiplied when I brought my kids to this place and saw that they loved him, too. They always just took his presence for granted, but I knew the day was going to come when they wanted to know more about the head in the jar, and it seems as though that day has now finally arrived…………

I look from my kids to the jar, and back again, thinking how best to start the story their question has opened up. “Who’s the man in the jar, daddy,” seems like a simple enough question, but how to explain it to them? My guess is that only the truth will do, so that’s how I start.

“Well, before I get to the man, I think you two should know a little bit about where we live.”

“Aw, daddy, that’s boring,” they shriek in unison.

“I promise it won’t be. I know you two like stories that are weird and a little creepy, so this will fit the bill perfectly.”

They seem to accept this statement as the truth, as both of them go a little wide-eyed as soon as the words cross my lips. “I guess this whole thing starts with the day that your great Grandma and great Grandpa Baxter got married. My Grandma’s father was a pretty wealthy man, and he decided that this house would make a nice wedding present for his little girl and the man she was going to marry.”

The house groaned loudly, as if protesting the corniness of this particular part of the tale. The kids seemed to sense this though, giggling at the noise that sounded exactly like an ill-concealed fart.

I joined them in the laughter before going on with the story. “Grandma and Grandpa moved in here on their wedding day, spending most of the first couple of years decorating the place to look just the way they liked it. They must have liked it a lot, because there were never any big changes after that, save for the gentleman on the shelf over there,” I said, pointing at the jar.

The kids swiveled round to look and burst into a fit of laughter again as the head in the jar stuck out his tongue at them.

“Your great grandparents were always active with the church, so when they were given the opportunity to go to Africa as missionaries for a year, they jumped at the chance. Your Grandpa Joe was just a baby back then, so they thought it would be the perfect time to go, before he got grown and had to head off to school. Anyways, while they were in Africa, there was a, well, an accident.”

The kids leaned forward as though joined at the hip, “What kind of accident, daddy.”

“There was a very sick man in the village where they stayed, and as my grandpa was tending to him, the man bit him.”

I paused, waiting for my little ones to ask a question, but they both just stared at me with their mouths carved in a tight “O” formation.

“The people in the village became scared of grandpa when they heard about the bite and he couldn’t understand why. They had loved and trusted him before then, but that all changed with the bite. The reason why became pretty obvious the day after the accident, because that was when grandpa started to get sick. He broke out in a fever and started raving. He had to be chained down, as he tried to bite every single person that got close to him.”

That little detail seemed to break the reverie. “Why would he do that, daddy,” Katy asked. Danny gave her a nudge that told her to shut up and let me finish the story.

“The truth of the matter was that he wasn’t really sick, he was actually dead.”

Now it was Danny’s turn to speak, an expression of confusion on his face, “How can he be dead and biting? Was he a zombie?”

“That’s exactly what he was, son. The man that had bitten him was undead, too, and the villagers simply didn’t know what to do with him. They had tried cutting of his head after he bit grandpa, but the head just kept on moving and trying to bite. The villagers thought they might have better luck with grandpa, so they went to do the same thing with him.”

“What did great Grandma Baxter do?” they both shrieked.

“There was nothing they could do, “I said. “The church people came and took her away from that place, bringing her back here where she would be safe and sound. A few months later, while grandma was still grieving, a parcel arrived. It was covered in hundreds of exotic looking stamps, all of which had miniature little African scenes painted on them. When she opened it, she saw the jar with the head in it and a note from the doctor at the village.”

“What was in the note?” Katy asked.

“The doctor said that he believed a couple as in love as my Grandma and Grandpa should be together forever, which was why he was sending Grandpa’s head home. You have to remember that this was all in the days before customs was the way it was now, so no-one really paid any real attention to a package sent from Africa to the US.”

“So you’re telling us that the head in the jar belongs to great Grandpa Baxter?”

“Yep, Grandma loved seeing his face every day, even when it wasn’t attached, to the man she loved so much. She would spend hours and hours each day talking to him, telling him about what had happened to her and Grandpa Joe that day. He would make those funny faces you guys loved, which made her feel as though he was reacting to the stories she told.”

“So what happened to great Grandma Baxter, daddy? Did she always stay sad?”

My heart broke a little that they would ask that question, as I had hoped the story would end at that point. I had come this far now, so I guessed it was okay to go all the way.

“Grandma Baxter was sad, and that was her downfall, kids. It used to drive my grandma nuts just how wild and messy grandpa’s moustache always was, but she loved trying to straighten out those wild hairs by patting them down. It gave her an excuse to touch the face of the man she loved so very much. Well, one day she came downstairs and saw how messy that moustache was, so she took the lid off the jar and reached in to fix it up. That was when she got bit.”

Danny and Katy gasped, words seemingly escaping them at that very moment.

“My poor old grandma got sick and passed away shortly thereafter. Your Grandpa Joe was really sick too at that point, so it was left up to me to look after the house and make sure everything was in order. Part of that was going through all the old boxes in the attic. When I was looking through that stuff, I came across the box with all the stamps in it. Hidden underneath one of the flaps at the bottom was a big bag of powder with another note attached.”

“What was in that note, daddy, and what was the powder? Was it magic?”

“It could have saved Grandma Baxter’s life if she had seen it.  The powder was supposed to be placed in a separate container and put beside the jar with grandpa’s head. If it was there, he wouldn’t bite. That old doctor had finally figured out the cure to the biting, but grandma never saw it.”

“So, is that what’s in that big old urn right beside the funny head, then? Danny asked

He scrunched up his face when I nodded before asking, “Then why does the urn say Grandma Baxter on it?”

“Come with me, “I said,

I stood up and reached under the urn to find what it was I needed. The small key fit snugly in the palm of my hand, staying there until we reached the door that led to the basement. I slid the key in and turned it, the rusted lock screeching in protest. I flicked a light switch to my right and a dull glow filled the space beneath our feet.

“What’s down there? Katy asked, a little frightened tremor finding its way into her words.

“Nothing to be afraid of,” I replied.

We set off down the stairs, the kids hanging onto the bottom of my shirt, either for balance or out of fear. I couldn’t tell.

As we reached the bottom, the rattling of chains, accompanied by a snarl, filled the room. I could feel the kids flinch, so I reached back to console them with a reassuring pat.

“What is it, daddy,” they asked as the thing stumbled out of the shadows.

“Say hello to your great Grandma Baxter, kids. Just don’t get too close, though. I’m not sure just how far that powder reaches.”