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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No-bake Oatmeal Cookies

In an effort to keep Mom busy today we made no-bake cookies. Along with having Alzheimer's, Mom's a diabetic, too, so I substitute diabetic sweetener for the sugar. Of course since Mom can’t use the stove, I melted the butter and mixed all the ingredients that needed to be brought to a boil. When it came time to add the peanut butter and oatmeal I let Mom mix that all together.

Her coordination isn’t what it used to be so it took her a little longer to mix than it normally would have. She had a hard time scooping the cookie mix from the pot and getting it to the waxed paper before it dripped off the spoon. Watching her made me realize how much Mom is progressing with this awful disease. She ended up using her fingers more than the spoon, but all turned out pretty good.

She was so excited when she put the last of the mix on the waxed paper. She said, “I guess I did okay.”

“You did more than okay, Mom,” I said. “These cookies look great.”

She enjoyed making the cookies and was so proud that she was able to do something she hadn't done in many years.

“So when can we eat them?” she asked. I couldn’t help but laugh and when I did, she started laughing too. “We can eat them, can’t we?” she asked, giggling.

I assured her that as soon as they set for a while we could have a few cookies. She was so cute sitting there waiting for them to ‘set’. She kept poking one with a spoon to see if they had hardened enough to pick up to eat.

We waited about 15 minutes and she picked one up and ate it. “They’re good. I’m full,” she said. Mom’s appetite is getting less and less. Her being full after just one small cookie is evidence of that. The sweet tooth she used to have isn’t even working anymore.

I baked a steak in country gravy in the oven along with an acorn squash for dinner. She said it was good, but she ate very little of that too. Twice Blessed wrote in her blog about how people with Alzheimer’s lose weight no matter how well you try to provide them nourishment. That is so true. I guess it's just another part of the brain being impaired that causes the appetite loss. This disease whittles away at the mind and body. Mom weighed 168 pounds in August when she was in the hospital; now she weighs 150. It's heartbreaking to watch our loved ones waste away each day.

I thought I’d share the recipe for those who don’t have it, and for those who may need another idea to add to the list of activities for their loved ones. So here it is.

No-bake Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick of butter
½ cup of milk
2 cups of sugar (can be substituted with diabetic sweetener for diabetics)
5 Tablespoons of cocoa

Cook until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.

Add and mix:
½ cup of peanut butter
3 cups of oatmeal

Mix together until smooth and creamy. With a teaspoon, spoon onto wax paper.
Wait 15 minutes and they’re ready to eat.

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Blogger nancy said...

thanks for the recipe, i tend to burn cookies when i bake so.....

i'm sorry you had to witness another incidence of your mom's decline. sometimes with the day to day activities we tend to overlook it but when they try something they havn't done in awhile it becomes so apparent.

you are a wonderful daughter joanne. hang in there!

11/18/2007 12:05 AM  
Blogger flintysooner said...

Oh my. I used to bake cookies and let dad help me. Then we would sit at the little table and eat them hot out of the oven. He loved cookies.

First my mother lost weight and then she gained. I tried everything and nothing worked. Dad lost a lot and I never could prevent that either.

11/18/2007 7:39 PM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

I know what you mean about the decline in abilities. It was always like a slap in the head to me when I saw this with Mom.

I am inspired by your patience and creative ideas for activities with your mom. You do so many wonderful things with and for her. You really are a terrific daughter, Joanne.

11/18/2007 8:55 PM  
Blogger rainbowheart said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Thanks for the recipe too. There is nothing no greater than help in the kitchen. Mama does the same thing too. She is having surgery today but told me that I "would be cooking chicken and dumpling for Thanksgiving", when we got home. Her mind has been sharp as a tack the past few days and I'm afraid when the put her to sleep for the surgery. Have a good week....

11/19/2007 8:44 AM  
Blogger cornbread hell said...

i love hearing about the sense of pride your mom expressed after helping with the cookies.

good job!

11/19/2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

LOL Nancy, we all know I burned cookies with my new cookie sheets. I think that's what made me think of the no-bakes. Seeing the vivid decline with something they haven't done in a while really does show how far they've advanced.

Terry, Mom and I used to eat them right out of the oven too! As far as the weight loss, I don't think there's anything any of us can do about that. It is what it is...part of the progression.

Betsy, you always inspired me with the activities you did with your mom. I thought between the coins and the angels you were doing a wonderful job. You did your mom proud and was a wonderful daughter.

rainbow, I'll keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers. Hope the surgery went well and all turns out okay. I'll pray the anesthesia doesn't make her mind worse.

Glad I could share the recipe.

Thanks cornbread. It was a great feeling to see her so proud of herself. Those are the times I want more of. ;)

11/19/2007 8:07 PM