June 29, 2015

An Adult Aspy: A Personal Summary

I'm so excited to introduce you to the author of this article. Lindsey is a very good friend of my family's (really, we consider her to be family). She volunteered to do a guest post on a topic I've been talking about more recently – autism. She herself has mild autism (often referred to as Asperger's Syndrome) so had been a great support with M2's diagnosis of mild-to-moderate autism. Here is her perspective as an adult who has dealt with Asperger's for over 30 years. Keep in mind, the way autism presents itself can vary from person to person. 

June 26, 2015

Get Kids Reading, Thinking and being Creative with DOT Magazine

I've mentioned before how important I find reading to be. Even before M2 was born, she had a bookcase stuffed with books. We have them all over the house. M2 already loves to read. She gets super excited when she has something new to read, especially if there are lots of colors. Even more so if it comes for her in the mail. Little kids just LOVE to get something addressed to them in the mailbox. When she's reading (well, us reading to her or her flipping through herself) something educational, I'm extra happy. With DOT magazine, M2 gets to read something fun with plenty of color to keep her attention and I'm happy that she's learning.

June 24, 2015

Wherein Life Throws Many Punches

The past few weeks life has changed around here. A lot. It's been one big change after another for our family. A new diagnosis for M2, a job change for A, opportunities that fell through for me and a new fence (about the only fun one on this list).

To start with, M2 got the diagnosis of mild-moderate autism. We'd been told by her current therapists that we should have her tested. At baby B's checkup, we mentioned to the doctor, who is also M2's doc, that we wanted to get her checked out per the therapists' recommendation. I was amazed when he said there was an appointment the next morning. We'd thought there would be a 6+ month wait.

June 23, 2015

Cute Headbands for Summer

M2 is very particular about how her hair gets put up. She doesn't like clips or hair ties. Headbands usually stay on for a bit but then even they end up being pulled off. Then I discovered The Light of Creation Etsy shop. The owner, Marina, makes all kinds of cute headbands. M2 got three that she's been wearing lately -- and she keeps them on!

June 15, 2015

"The Fat Kid" Tells All: The Teen Years (Part 2 in a Series)

My confessions of what it was like to be a fat teenager is the second part of my "The Fat Kid" Tells All series, the story of  my struggle with being over weight since childhood and my battle to lose that weight. The first part is The Formative Years and the third is The College Years. Since the last post, I'm happy to report that I've lost another 6lbs., bringing me to 100lbs. to lose to reach my goal weight.

By high school, the depression had gotten worse. Much worse. On the upside, by the spring semester of freshman year I decided it was time to take control of my weight. No longer did I want to not be able to wear the cute clothes other kids were wearing, feel like a sore thumb, be picked last in gym, not be able to even do much in gym or be embarrassed during swim class. I wasn't being bullied about my weight at school, but I didn't have many friends either. I blamed it all on my weight and thought losing it would help. Or, at least help my self esteem.

June 10, 2015

Easy Stuffed Peppers

In my quest to try new foods for dinner, I gave stuffed peppers a shot. I've always worried that they'd be too hard to make, so rather than look up a recipe, I thought up this way of making them. The peppers are so easy, so juicy and so good! Since you have meat, veggies and dairy together, one pepper can be the whole dinner.

If you want to add something as a side, rice goes great with this dish. We eat them without the rice since I'm working on cutting back on carbs and calories.

June 8, 2015

10 People You Encounter in Facebook Yard Sale Groups

Every house with kids is full of stuff. Dolls played with twice then tossed to the side. Random stuffed animals stuck under the couch never to be cared about again. Boosters, strollers, Boppys, Bumbos, and other gear galore. Clothes that looked so adorable yet were outgrown after being worn twice. That random thingamajig that promises it's the "must have, latest gadget for a newborn" that doesn't ever even get used. All of it sits taking up space in some closet you can't even fit anything else in because of all the kid junk. Then there's mom's stuff. Gadgets and gizmoes a-plenty, filling up the dark recesses of drawers. All the clothes you hoped to wear again post-baby that don't fit because your shape, weight, or both changed too much. They hang there doing nothing but mocking you, taunting you with the body of yore.
With all the stuff lying around, crowding you out of your house, Facebook yard sale groups are like a shining beacon. A promise of organized, cleaned-out closets, drawers, and rooms. A ray of hope to get some cash to help make paying those all-too-plentiful bills sting a little less this month.

Unlike your traditional yard sale, there's no hassle of putting stupid little tags on everything, no days spent trying to find tables to put all the stuff on, no hours spent in the hot blazing sun turning into a lobster as you hope people actually show up and buy stuff (and not pilfer anything). Just take a picture, slap a price on it, list the pick-up location, and voila!

If you've ever sold on these Facebook groups, you know that amidst the great people and easy sales lurks something more sinister. We've all dealt with it. We've all gotten annoyed and pissed at it. The Facebook Yard Sale Wreckers. These wreckers destroy the experience for everyone. They are most likely to employ these annoying tactics, which give them their names:

June 5, 2015

How to Have Great Looking Carpet with Kids and Pets

Having two kids and three cats makes it a real challenge keeping carpets clean. Something is always being spilled, puked up, or dumped. Crumbs get scattered, dirt get tracked in. The spots with the most foot traffic start to show wear. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into the room to find an array of spilled drinks, crumbs, and baby spit up. Throw potty training into the mix and I'm sure even grosser messes are on the horizon. I seriously need to take out stock in carpet cleaner, or, better yet, get the new Tigressà H20 carpet by Flooring America.

June 3, 2015

Best-Ever Homemade Buttermilk Wheat Bread

If you follow me on Facebook, you've heard me talking about my weekly bread-baking sessions. I also talk about it and have another recipe that's a bit different here. Rather than buying bread at the store, I've been making a few loaves in the bread machine each week. This homemade buttermilk bread is by far the best one I've made and it tastes so good. A and M2 love it. It's great with a dab of butter and is perfect for sandwiches (which is what we mainly use it for).

June 1, 2015

"The Fat Kid" Tells All: The Formative Years (Part 1 in a Series)

My weight isn't often something I talk about openly. Post-baby, I've been working really hard to lose all the baby weight and continue to lose beyond that. My goal, as of today, is to lose another 106 pounds. I want to get rid of this excess weight for so many reasons. To be healthier. To hopefully live longer. To be more comfortable, in my body and with myself. To set a good example for my kids. To be able to physically do more. To fit into clothes easier...especially ones that aren't in the women's section of the store (as, let's face it, they're often ugly, unflattering, and cost more). To save money on food because I won't be eating as much. To save money on clothes because, like I said, stuff in the women's section is far from cheap and forget finding good stuff in a thrift store above a size XL in my area.

I could simply post about my weight loss and healthy eating journey. But, instead, I'd like to start with how I got to this point. I want to be open and honest. To share what I've gone through as I've never talked about my struggle with being over weight. It's been a long one, too, dating back to first grade I'd say. Maybe even kindergarten. I'm starting this series not to make excuses for myself, or to garner sympathy, but to share with you what I've gone through. Nothing more. Nothing less.

My weight isn't something of which I'm proud. In fact, I'm quite ashamed and embarrassed by it. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying over weight people should be ashamed or embarrassed. They shouldn't. That's just how I personally feel, about myself only.) To be this open isn't something I find easy to do. Letting people read this is even harder. And thus begins my series, The "Fat Kid" Tells All.