How I Failed at Gifted Advocacy

My son is about to turn 13 and I have been failing at gifted advocacy for about 10 of those years.

“Wait, did you just say failing?”

Yes. Yes I did.

Since I only have a handful of years to continue failing him, I thought I’d share with you all the ways I went wrong.

I didn’t start early enough.

B taught himself to read at 2.5. By the time he was in preschool he was pretty much reading chapter books independently. For some reason I didn’t want to mention this to his teachers in fear of “showing off” or something.  I guess I thought they would figure it out on their own. Once I realized they didn’t (which was over a year later), I did mention something and he was placed in a grade up reading group.


I empowered my son to speak up when he wasn’t satisfied with his education.

I didn’t want to become “one of those parents” who thinks their kids need to be pushed into MORE so when B had a complaint about school we role played how he could approach his teachers with the problem.

This sounds like a good idea right?

It failed. EVERY. TIME.

I’m not going to get into details of how my son was treated when he tried to advocate for himself but I’m here to tell you that it’s not a good idea.  If I could do it over again, I would BE THAT PARENT over and over again.


I used too much WD 40.

It’s hard to believe that I wasn’t the squeakiest wheel but I’m here to tell you that I wasn’t and in turn missed out on opportunities that were given to the squeakiest.

I’ve since thrown all the cans away.


I didn’t get actionable items in writing.

I can’t tell you how many hours we had meetings with well-intended educators, to collaborate on paths we can take to support B in his educational journey. These educators have come up with excellent ideas worth executing. We were so on board we would leave these meetings feeling GREAT.

::a month passes by::

Nothing happens. Not. One. Thing.

With nothing in writing I had nothing to follow up on except words in air.


I assumed being involved would allow me to have all the knowledge I would need.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am 80% more informed about our local education programs than the average person but that 20% I don’t know sometimes has the information I need.

This may all make me sound angry and bitter but I am not. Our educational journey has not always been a smooth road but it’s been our road.

Our number one success in advocacy is listening TO our child. What does he say about school, what works for him, what does he want. What are his goals?

When we combine listening to our child with efforts to advocate for him, we aren’t failing. We are parents.

Cremeschnitte- A recipe deconstructed

I am a lover of Pinterest and this recipe was one that caught my eye. I first made it about 4 years ago and to say it went over well would be an understatement.

Is it sort of a pain in the ass to make? Yes.

Is it worth every pain?  Also yes.

This is the one dessert I make that makes people loose their shiznits. Yes, all their shiznits.

A photo posted by Jen TheNextMartha (@thenextmartha) on

I have no idea if the original recipe is an authentic German dessert but I have a friend who’s husband is German and he seemed to think it was. Having been a pretty decent baker in my full gluten days, I read the recipe and realized that it left out some information and I have modified it a bit over the years.

I highly recommend you read the recipe more than 1x before you make it.

The filling can be made a day before but I like to make the puff pastry and assemble it the day of.


Puff Pastry– I use store bought sheets but knock yourselves out making it from scratch if you want. I won’t be posting about that here.


Heavy Whipping Cream: 14 oz

2.5 cups milk (I use 2%)

2/3 cup sugar

2  3.4 oz boxes of vanilla instant pudding

1 envelope of gelatin

2 lg eggs

1 Tbs pure vanilla

1 Tbs Rum (I use Capt Morgan)

9.5 oz room temperature butter (Room temperature IS IMPORTANT)

Making the Filling:

Place 1 cup of milk and both box pudding mixes into a mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer, hand mixer or whisk to mix items until blended well. Add eggs one at a time until it’s well blended. Let this sit in bowl while you do next step.

Put 1½ cup milk with 5 oz sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Once milk and sugar mixture are boiling,  scoop a small amount of the pudding mixture and place in the boiling milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Continue doing this until pudding mixture is combined with boiling milk mixture. Once combined I add 1 packet of gelatin by sprinkling it lightly over mixture and using a whisk to mix in. If you put too much at a time, you will get lumps. Just lightly dust it with gelatin and whisk in.

Add vanilla and rum, whisk in.

Once pudding thickens, take it off the heat and pour it through a fine strainer over a 9×13 dish or I have also poured it into a jelly roll pan. You want to cool this mixture down completely. Cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a “skin” on top. Put this into the fridge and stir the mixture every 15 minutes or until fully cooled.

Make sure you replace the plastic wrap each time you stir to prevent a top skin from forming.

You want this mixture completely cooled or it will melt the butter in your next step and that is NOT what you want.

In a mixing bowl, whisk butter until it gets fluffy. Fold it into cooled pudding mixture.

For this step I have the pudding mixture in a mixing bowl with the flat beater blade. While mixer is set on LOW I add butter a little at a time until JUST blended. I keep adding butter until it’s all mixed in. Do not over mix. Do not use a hand blender with “whisk” attachments. Hand fold in butter if needed.

Take heavy whipping cream and whip until there are strong peaks. I add a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to it. FOLD whipped cream into pudding/butter mixture.

Fold, fold, fold, fold until well blended.

Puff Pastry:

I cut my puff pastry into the size squares I want before I bake it. I find cutting it after smooshes it too much.  Follow package instructions for baking.

Take puff pastry square and cut in half width wise. Place bottom piece on plate. Fill with filling, top with the top puff pastry piece. Dust whole thing with powdered sugar.



While I can’t eat it with puff pastry anymore, I do enjoy eating it with these Schar cookies. You can also make it into a trifle with them.

Wrap gifts like you’re Insane. Or like me.

I often think of how I’m going to wrap a gift before I even buy it.

Backwards? Maybe.

I remember wrapping my gifts as a kid in newspaper just so they could be different than what was already under the tree.

I’ve been known to take up to a month to cast plaster molds and then hand paint the pieces to be placed on the gift box wrapping. Insane? Come along.

Kids in my life are getting older and starting to manage their own money for things they want. While I don’t mind giving cash as a gift, wrapping it becomes a challenge…THAT I WILL ACCEPT.

Last year I gave cash as a tree farm.

tree farm

I made paper boxes and then glued on those paper trees. There was $1 in each box which is much more fun, for me, to give knowing they have to open 25 boxes to get them.

The lights going across the top is one of those light up necklaces because OF COURSE I NEEDED LIGHTS THAT TURNED ON.

Sorry. I just get a little passionate about my presentation.

Gift cards can also pose a challenge. For some.


I don’t wrap every gift in this manner because I have to do other things like eat and breath air but I do love to challenge myself to come up with different ways to give the most mundane gifts.

If you’re looking for others ways to give cash, I came across this post that I think has some clever ways too.