Monday, February 27, 2012

Parenting Paths ~ More Questions Than Answers

Do you ever have more questions than answers?  More doubts than confidence?  I have found myself in one of those places.  And not about little things like should I have the living room arranged this way or should I change this recipe.  No, my questions and doubts are about my sacred job of raising my children.  I am questioning our discipline, homeschooling, priorities, everything.  I laid in bed last night talking to my husband (my ever loving and encouraging husband), and I told him that I had no wisdom.  I had no more ideas.  What do you do when you come to the end of yourself?  I know the "correct" answer to that is "Look to God!"  He has the answers.  I know that, I do.  I have sought His face day in and day out.  I have sought the advice of godly people.  I have searched the Scriptures.  I have prayed, I have fasted, yet I still have this tremendous fear that I am losing my children.  And I don't know how to stop it.  Is there any worse fear than that?
This isn't about a fear of failing.  This is way beyond being superficial.  This is about the fear of watching my children choose to walk away from the Lord.  Or settle for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best.  I want my children to have this passionate, joyful, faith-filled walk with the Lord.  Wherever that may lead them.  If they grow to have families or if God calls them to stay single.  Whether that is working a mile down the road on the family farm, or moving around the world to serve as missionaries.  Whatever God's best for them is what I want.  But what if they reject it?
Now, I want to clarify that my kids are "good" kids.  Most people would look at them and think that they were going to "turn out" great.  They are loving, kind, sweet, funny, helpful children.  For the most part.  But there are days that I see a much different side to them.  There are days that I wonder if these are the same children.  Yesterday was one of those days.
Things always seem worse when they return from their biological father's home.  They have no real rules, no responsibilities and no limitations.  I will give a brief example of this from this last weekend's account.  Friday they didn't go to bed until midnight (at home it is 8:30 or 9:00 depending on when we get devos done) and Saturday it was 10pm.  They eat macaroni and cheese, pizza, Lucky Charms and peanut butter and jelly.  They watched 5 movies (only one of which I would allow in my home), played video games, played on the computer (unsupervised) and just played in general.  They did not brush their teeth once the entire weekend.  My daughter never changed her clothes.  She came home Sunday in what she was wearing Friday when she was picked up.  My son was never given his prescription medication.  They snacked on skittles and jello cups.  They picked on each other and were generally mean to each other.  They tattle on each other that neither one of them obeys my ex-husband or his wife.  But they tell me all about the video games that are over there (we don't have any) and the new toys and the fun shopping trips.  They come home and they are grouchy with each other and my husband and I (I blame some of this on the basic lack of sleep).  My son was horribly disrespectful to me yesterday.  They disobey, they yell and scream and even hit each other.  As thrilled as I am that they are home again, those days prove to be some of my weariest days.  And I hate that!  I want them to be welcomed into a home filled with joy and enthusiasm and for the rest of the day to be enjoyed together catching up.  Instead, they are welcomed warmly, but usually within half an hour I am having to correct behavior or play referee.
People have told me to simply talk to my ex-husband and wife.  We have.  Several times.  Nothing changes.  Some have told me to report them to Children's Services.  As far as Children's Services is concerned, my children are being well provided for in that home.  They are not being brutally abused, starved or neglected.  There are much more pressing cases.  So I am left with the aftermath.
We pray.  We absolutely bathe them in prayer while they are gone.  God can protect far beyond a mother's reach.  I understand that.  I cling to that.  I also understand that these are the consequences of a broken home.  I am not so foolish to believe that when sin creeps in it does not create chaos and pain even for those who are innocent.  God never promised to put His children in a bubble.  What I don't understand, is how on earth we combat this.  I do not have the privilege of making all the decisions regarding my children's care.  Every other weekend (or so), I turn all my rights, responsibilities, hopes, dreams, everything over to someone else to do as they see fit. My hands are tied and I have to patiently wait to see what stories I am told when they return.  I cannot fret myself with worry (I try to keep as busy as possible while they are away to help prevent this!).  I cannot follow after them and monitor every move.  I simply pray.  A lot.  And then I wait.  I always seem to be optimistic that when they return they will have not only had a good time, but that they will have had proper hygiene and nutrition, that they had not been exposed to inappropriate material via the TV or computer and that they will have been loving, kind and obedient and little examples of Christ while they were there.  That is my hope each time I see them pull into the drive.  Within the hour (sometimes within a few minutes), my hopes come crashing down and shatter into a thousand pieces.
So what am I to do?  I just keep plugging away, trying to do what is best, but what if my best isn't good enough?  I feel such a strong pull on my children's hearts.  Each week that goes by I feel as though they are slipping a little bit more from my grasp.  I try to be wise.  I try to be patient.  I try to be what I think God wants me to be.  But I fail.  Often.  Too often.  I grow weary.  I doubt.  I question.  I fret.  And none of that helps my children.
So, I write.  I share the struggles that we are going through all the while knowing that there will be those out there that shake their heads in disgust.  There will be those that have perfect children and they will only see the many, many mistakes I have made and they will thank the Lord that they are not me.  But to put up a blog filled with all the wonderful things about my little life and family without giving a glimpse of the real life struggles is borderline deceitful.  And, quite frankly, I am selfishly coveting prayers from anywhere I can get them.  So please, even if you are shaking your head in disgust, take a moment to pray for our little family.  Pray for the hearts and souls of my children.  Pray that my husband and I will have wisdom from the Lord as we desperately seek to do what is best.  Pray that God will direct us even today as we make decisions, both great and small.  Simply pray.  And when you are done praying for us (thank you), remember to pray for all those other families around you that may be going through some seriously tough struggles of their own.
Parenting is a tremendously high calling that can take you to both heights and depths unimaginable.  I am so thankful to have the only Perfect Parent available to me.  May He make our path clear and forgive my mistakes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Isabella's birthday project

When we were doing our RACK last December, the kids had a desire to continue our journey well beyond the Christmas season.  At that time, I told them about the Birthday Project.  In a nutshell, whatever year birthday a person is celebrating, that person does that number of random acts of kindness.  For Isabella this year, she is turning 7 so she did 7 acts of kindness.

We discussed all the different possibilities that we could do and she settled on doing something special for other kids.  We decided to go to the dollar store and buy little gifts appropriate for boys and girls of various ages.  Isabella had a blast picking out little items to give away.  We were all set to hit the town when Michael ended up in the hospital.  That created a quick change of plans!

So now two weeks later, we were finally ready to complete our mission!  I printed up cards similar to our RACK cards to give with each gift as a little explanation.

We wrapped a ribbon around each little item and attached our Birthday Project Card.  We had things like Play-Doh, coloring books and crayons, books, etc . . .

We added some little party blower things and put everything in a bag.  We were ready to go!

When we got to town we parked on the street so we could walk around to our various destinations.  Before we even got out of the car, I had Isabella pray that God direct us to the right people.  We then started by going to our local library.  There we found three kids working on the computers.  My daughter came down with a serious case of shyness.  We stepped outside of the library and I reminded her why we were doing this.  We then agreed that Michael would give the boy something, I would give a gift to one of the girls and Isabella would give a gift to the second girl.  Michael said that he would go first to make Isabella feel better (what an awesome big brother!).  So we gave the kids their gifts.  They were a little surprised and confused to say the least!  When we left the library, Isabella was flying high!  She simply loved it.  There was no stopping her now!  We continued on to the hardware store.  There we saw another girl with her dad.  Isabella had no problems going up to her to give her a gift.  We also saw a couple children in a coffee shop with their parents.  We then headed to the grocery store.  We only had little boy toys left, so Isabella said a quick prayer on the way into the store that God bring boys to us!  Sure enough, He did!  We found two different boys shopping with their parents.  No girls in sight!  If you added that all up, we actually gave out eight gifts.  We bought ten gifts just because we didn't know what ages the children would be or if they would be boys or girls.  We wanted to be prepared.  Isabella was so excited that I could not refuse to let her give out number 8!  :-)

Again, we have no idea how God will use these little gifts and cards.  I do know how it changes my children.  They get so excited to do for others.  They come up with some great ideas.  Michael is already planning out his birthday project for his 11th birthday in May.

As a side note, I had mentioned before about setting aside change throughout the year and also actively putting money in a "ministry" fund.  We have started that with the children as well.  On top of their tithe (you never want to take away from your local church), they take another 10% of any money they receive and put it in a ministry fund of their own.  They will be able to use this for things like RACK and Birthday Projects, but also if they learn of a specific need that they want to give to.  It will be interesting to see how God directs their little hearts when it comes to the spending of this money.

I am so grateful to be able to do this with my children.  It is so good for everyone in our family.  Although my husband cannot be with us when we do the majority of these things, he loves hearing the children tell him all about the people they ministered to during the day.  He also faithfully prays for these people as well.  He is so very supportive of our little ministry.  He is a truly great man!

So that is the story of Isabella's birthday project!  We are now counting down till May when it is Michael's turn.  The kids are very excited about my birthday in July.  They don't quite so how on earth we are going to do SO MANY random acts of kindness since I am going to be SO OLD!  Gotta love those kiddos!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Learning to Trust ~ Michael's hospital stay

It's been a week!  On Tuesday my son was playing in the back yard and accidentally stepped on a nail.  The rather rusty old nail went straight through his shoe and into his foot.  It bled quite a bit, but it eventually did stop.  I called his pediatrician and she advised me as to how to clean it out and she called in an antibiotic for him.  We started him on the antibiotic that night.  I thought it was pretty much a done deal.

Wednesday morning when he got up his foot was red and swollen.  He was complaining that the top of his foot was hurting.  I began to wonder if he had possibly broken a bone or sprained his foot when he stepped on the nail.  I called the pediatrician again and she recommended that we ice it and keep an eye on it.  She said that the antibiotic can take 24 hours to work and that there might be an infection brewing.  She said that I could bring Michael in to have her look at it, but I thought it would be better to wait and see how things went.

By Wednesday evening there had been no improvement and he couldn't walk on it at all.  I called a friend of ours that is a nurse and she told me to soak his foot in epsom salt and warm water.  We did that and it did temporarily relieve some of his pain.  I was encouraged that maybe Michael was on the mend.

Thursday morning when he got up there was still no improvement.  I knew right then that he had to be seen by a doctor.  I called our pediatrician and we were able to get in right after lunch.  The pediatrician came in and took one look at his foot and said that she was admitting him.  I was stunned.  I will say at this point that I love our pediatrician.  She was very matter-of-fact, but in a very calming way.  She gave me the information that I needed and stressed the importance of the situation, but in a very relaxed manner.  It wasn't until later that I realized how serious this all was.

Thankfully the hospital was only 4 miles away from her office.  We got to the hospital and got him registered.  He didn't exactly understand everything that was going on, but we thought that he would be in the hospital for one night and then he would go home.  We got him up to his room and somewhat settled in.  I was trying to make phone calls and take care of everything I could from the hospital.

Within an hour of our arrival he spiked a fever.  The doctor there at the hospital also discovered that he had a rash going all the way up his legs and on his stomach.  We eventually figured out that the rash was an allergic reaction to the first antibiotic he was on.  The fever was due to the infection beginning to spread.

At this point, I started to figure out how serious this all was.  The pediatrician was very honest with me about what we were looking at.  He quickly learned what the bacteria was that caused the infection.  It was pseudomonas.  Pseudomonas likes to hang out in the rubber of shoes.  Which typically isn't a problem.  But when a nail pierces the rubber and picks up a bunch of that bacteria and the punctures the foot and thrust all that nasty bacteria into the body, it becomes a big problem.  Pseudomonas is highly resistant to most antibiotics.  That is why the first antibiotic didn't do a thing to help.  Michael would have to go on two different very powerful antibiotics through an IV to combat the infection.  The doctor warned me that there could be other complications.

Then a podiatrist came in to see him.  She was such a dear lady.  She looked at his foot and ordered an x-ray and an MRI.  The x-ray was to check and see if the nail had broken the bone or possibly chipped the bone.  If the bone had been broken or chipped, there was a good chance that the infection had gotten into his bone.  If that was the case, it could become a chronic condition that Michael would have to deal with the rest of his life.  Not something that a mother wants to hear.  The MRI was ordered to check for any fluid/pus build up and to make sure that a piece of the rusty nail had not broken off in his foot.  If either of those things had happened, Michael would need to have surgery.  Due to the amount of swelling, the podiatrist seemed to think that she would have to do surgery just to drain the fluid.

During this whole time, Michael was such a champ.  He was nervous, but brave.  By the time we got down to the MRI it was 9:00pm.  We were told the MRI would take about an hour because the doctor wanted a contrast and non-contrast MRI.  This is when things started to get hard.  Michael was getting very tired.  He had already been through a lot.  A new tetanus shot, blood drawn, getting the IV started, the antibiotics being pumped into him burned a bit, getting an x-ray and all the information he was learning about what all was wrong.  Then they put him in this MRI machine and tell him he can't move while he goes into this tube and this machine makes all these crazy loud noises.  They gave him headphones to listen to music and they allowed me to stay in the room with him (with earplugs).  As he was laying there, I saw the tears start to well up in his eyes.  This was by far the hardest part of this journey.  He was in pain (they had to pretty much strap his poor, swollen foot down), he couldn't move, he was exhausted and scared and he couldn't communicate with me.  Between the noise of the machine and my earplugs and his headphones, there was no way we could talk to each other.  I kissed his forehead and gently rubbed his head.  I wiped away the couple of tears that slipped down his cheek.  I tried so hard to keep the smile on my face and to let him know that I was there.  Even now as I write this, the tears well up in my eyes.  Not being able to ease his pain or fears or even give him some words of encouragement was so very hard.

We finished with the MRI and headed back to his room.  It was after 10:00pm at this point.  The nurses got a bed set up for me in Michael's room and we tried to get some sleep.  Michael was horribly uncomfortable and his foot was still in pain.  The wonderful nurses did all they could to help him.  The antibiotic burned and stung as it went in so it was very hard for Michael to sleep.  He finally did get to sleep around midnight.  I fell asleep somewhere between 12:30 and 1:00am I am guessing.  The nurses had to come in every couple of hours to change out his IV and antibiotics and check on his foot.  Between that and Michael's very restless sleep, I hardly slept that night.

When morning did come, we started to see some improvement in Michael's foot.  The swelling was still there, but some of the redness was fading.  We also received word that there was no bone damage and that the MRI was clear.  His lab work also came back and it was good as well.  This was all very encouraging.  No surgery needed and the infection had not gotten into the bone yet!  I was anticipating that we would be released in a couple hours.  However, when the podiatrist came in that morning, she made it very clear that she was not comfortable sending Michael home yet.  The hospital pediatrician came in later and expressed the same thought.  They wanted Michael to stay another night and continue the antibiotic.

By this time I was beginning to really miss the rest of my family.  Although I had called and talked to my daughter a couple times, she was having a hard time being without me.  That made it harder on me to be there.  Not to mention how much I was missing my husband.  I wanted to see him so very badly.  I had not seen him since Thursday at lunch.  Since we were going to be staying another night, we made arrangements for my husband, daughter and my parents to come up that evening to visit.  I was so grateful for that visit.  My husband and I were able to go to the cafeteria to get some dinner and just talk for a little bit.  It was so encouraging to Michael to be able to see everyone as well, especially his little sister.  Soon enough the two of them were laughing together and I know that it really lifted Michael's spirits.

Michael continued to improve little by little.  We were told that we would be able to go home Saturday.  I thought we were in the clear.  Saturday morning came and I started getting instructions about what needed to be done at home.  They had mentioned to me before about the type of antibiotics that Michael would need to be on, but it wasn't until that morning that I got the full grasp of it.  The only antibiotics that would combat this infection were very powerful.  They also carried some risk.  Especially for a child.  One of the antibiotics was typically not even given to children.  It could stunt a growing child's growth.  It could also mess up the joints of the child as well.  Not your typical side effects.  I had two different doctors come in and talk to me at great length about the possible complications.  I felt like I had to decide to poison my child in order to get him well. It was made clear though, that any other antibiotic would not be strong enough to kill the infection.  The infection would then continue to spread and we could be back to square one, but worse.  It could get into his bones and he might need surgery.  Ugh.  I agreed to the antibiotic regimen that they doctors were recommending.  Then one of the nurses there spent over an hour trying to find a pharmacy that carried this antibiotic and that would agree to fill it for a child (what does that tell you when the pharmacist doesn't even want to fill the Rx?).

We were finally discharged from the hospital and on our way home.  I picked up the prescriptions for Michael and we began the 10 day regimen.  The one antibiotic has to be taken every 8 hours.  Based on the schedule that Michael had in the hospital, that means I have to get him up in the middle of the night to give him his medicine.  While waiting for Michael to finish his first dose of medicine at home, I started reading all the information given to us about these antibiotics.  It was a bit nerve wracking.  I have never read so many warnings about medications.

Through this there have been two very prominent thoughts in my mind.  The first is regarding families that deal with so much worse than a bacterial infection and a couple of nights in the hospital.  Families that have children with chronic illnesses or injuries that are so much more severe.  I was acutely aware of how blessed I was to be in the hospital for a very temporary stay.  I was also acutely aware of the little things that I can take for granted.  One thing that was very hard for Michael was that he was pretty much bed bound.  Anyone that knows my son knows that he is a kid that is always on the go.  When he finally was given permission to go for a "walk" in his wheelchair, he was only allowed to go on his floor.  No going down the elevator and getting some fresh air outside or even just perusing the hospital.  We made so many laps around that floor and we stopped at every window so he could see a different view from his room.  In the floor lounge, there were great big windows and for a moment the sun was shining brightly through them.  I was able to position Michael so that the sun shone on his face.  That gave me such joy for my little boy to feel the warmth of the sun.  He sat there for several minutes just soaking it up.  I can't imagine those that are stuck in the hospital for weeks or even months.

Another little thing that I missed was just being able to take a "proper" shower.  I was so grateful to take any shower at all and for the toiletries that the nursing staff provided for me.  However, there is nothing quite like taking a lukewarm shower and trying to wash my hair with "hand and body soap".  :-/  I am thinking that we will add this to our RACK list or for one of our Birthday Project ideas.  What a simple joy we could bring to a family that has found themselves unexpectedly staying at the hospital by making up little travel size toiletry gifts with "real" shampoo, soap, conditioner, deodorant and so on.  The staff there also had tons of movies for kids to watch in their rooms, but what about coloring books and crayons?  Or books that they could read or from which they could be read to?  I understand that they have to be very cautious about transferring germs (they have to sanitize the movies before they can go back on the shelf) so keeping books and crayons on hand is simply not practical.  But they could be given as gifts just to keep.  We were so blessed that someone had donated a new Jenga game that the staff just gave us.  Michael was thrilled to have something different to do and it was his to keep!  What a blessing!

The other thought that kept going over in my head through all of this was simply to trust God.  Again, we have gone through nothing like other families have and I don't want to even compare our situation to others.  But there was definitely something God was teaching me through this.  I am a girl that tends to worry.  A lot.  About everything.  All the time.  Seriously.  It's bad.  So dealing with this hospital stay has tempted me to push my worry into overdrive.  Especially regarding the medications Michael is now on.  However, I have been reading "Trusting God" by Jerry Bridges.  It's not an easy book to read, but very needed.  Through all of this with my son, God has soothed my heart and reassured me that He is in control.  So what if my son is 3 inches shorter than he would have been if he had not taken this medication?  What if he does face joint deterioration or rupture?  What if this does cause all sorts of serious complications for his liver?  Will any of that catch God by surprise?  Not at all.  When I was trying to make the decision about the antibiotic regimen that the doctors wanted to put Michael on, I could feel the anxiety begin to rise within me.  Then I remembered (through the Holy Spirit) that God was in control.  That this wasn't about me holding my son's future in my hands.  God is holding Michael's future.  God knows exactly how tall my son will be as an adult, regardless of medication.  God is the one that sustains Michael's little body and is intricately involved in every little cell of his being.  If God wanted to allow one (or more) of Michael's joints to rupture, it would happen, with or without these antibiotics.  All of this is completely and fully in God's ever capable hands.  It is foolish of me to think that I in anyway can alter God's plans for Michael's future.  God saw to it that we got to the hospital at the exact time needed.  Right as the allergic reaction began and Michael's fever spiked.  That was no accident.  All of this is by His design.

So, I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.  I will seek God's face and try to make wise decisions for my children, but ultimately, God is in control.  I will give Michael these medications without fear or guilt, because I know that God is bigger than any warning label.  I know that I can trust Him more than any physician and more than myself.  That is my little lesson learned for this week.  And it is one I am sure I will continue to learn for many years to come.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook February 4, 2012

Outside my window... it is getting dark outside.  It seems so much later than it is.

I am thinking... that I am exhausted.  It's been a long week.

I am thankful... that my son is home from the hospital and it looks like he will be okay.  I am also so very grateful for a team of doctor's that worked together to take care for my son.

In the kitchen... there is a simple dinner in the crockpot provided by my mom.

I am wearing... jeans and a gray sweatshirt and my glasses.

I am creating... absolutely nothing.  All things crafts and baking have been put on hold temporarily.

I am going... absolutely nowhere!  We just got home and I want to stay put!

I am wondering... how these medications will affect my son.

I am reading... Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

I am hoping... that we can all get good sleep tonight!

I am looking forward to... enjoying the sweet fellowship in church tomorrow morning.  So many have been praying for us, it will be so good to see them tomorrow.

I am learning... to trust in God and to enjoy more of the simple joys.

Around the house... it's a bit of a mess.  There is a lot to do, but somehow, I'm not all that concerned about it!

I am pondering... the grace of God.

A favorite quote for today... "This taste like a bear bum!" ~ Michael referring to one of his medications.

One of my favorite things... is my daughter's laughter and my son's sense of humor.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
- to catch up on cleaning
- to keep up on Michael's medication (even those crazy middle of the night doses!)
- to get back into schooling the children
- to watch Michael continue to heal!

A peek into my day... kiddos laughing even while big brother lays in a hospital bed.

To do your own daybook or to read other daybook entries click below.
The Simple Woman's Daybook

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mama Mia! Italian Meatballs

During our January Challenge I discovered that I simply could not afford pre-made frozen meatballs.  I was determined to find a meatball recipe that I actually liked so I could make a big batch and freeze them for myself.

I wanted to have a recipe for Italian style meatballs and a traditional meatball recipe.  The traditional style recipe came as a lightbulb moment.  Another blogger mentioned that she simply used her meatloaf recipe for her meatballs.  Ta-da!  I love (and my family loves) my meatloaf.  It is a recipe handed down to me by my mother.  This is one of those rare recipes that I don't tweak when I make it.  I have tried tweaking it over the years, but I always come back to the original.

For the Italian meatball recipe, after some serious trial and error, I found my meatball! The pictures and directions below are for the Italian meatballs.  I will include the recipe for my "meatloaf" meatball at the end.


2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons Nature's Seasoning Salt
½ teaspoon ground fennel
3 tablespoons minced onion
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Mix all ingredients together except for the olive oil.  The best way to mix this is definitely with your hands.  You want the mixture incorporated very well.  No one wants a meatball that has a big bite of fennel!  Plus, it's just fun to mix this kind of thing with your hands.  I remember growing up I loved it when my mom made meatloaf because she would let me be the one to mix it.  I thought it was so cool and gross to feel the meat and slimy eggs squeeze between my fingers.  It was quite the thrill!  And yes, I have passed that on to my daughter!

2.  Next you need to roll the balls.  I like big meatballs.  Meatballs the size of my fist would make me happy.  But realistically, I rolled these to a bit bigger than a golf ball size but not quite as big as a clementine.  Still, nice, good sized meatballs.  Make sure that when you roll them that are packed fairly tight.  You don't want them to fall apart or crumble when you try to pick them up.

3.  Use the oil to coat your baking sheet or dish.  This will help to keep the meatballs from becoming stuck to the pan.

4.  Place your rolled meatballs on the oiled pan.  You can place them close, but not so close that they are touching.

4.  Bake the meatballs at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.  You may have to adjust the time based on the size of the meatball.  Just make sure they are baked through when you take them out.  A good way to test this is to take the biggest, juiciest meatball and cut it open.  If there isn't any pink, you're good!  Then of course, since you only want to serve the best and prettiest to your family, you will need to dispose of this now broken meatball.  In you mouth.  Slowly.  Oh, the sacrifices we make for our families!

5.  When the meatballs came out, they had more grease sitting around them than I would like to see in my arteries, so once they cooled enough to touch, I transferred them to a paper towel lined cookie sheet.  This soaked up a lot of the extra grease.

6.  Finally we move to the freezing.  Once the meatballs are cooled, place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Again, make sure they are not touching.  Stick them in the freezer until they are frozen through.  Then throw them in a ziploc bag and you're done!  Ready to use meatballs whenever you want.  To use them, throw them in with your favorite sauce or dish and just heat until heated through.  So simple.  They are great to use in crockpots.

Mom's Meatloaf Meatballs
2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon basil
1 Tablespoon parsley
Dash of pepper

Follow the same steps as the Italian Meatballs!