September 30, 2015

Dear Know-it-All Mom: Yes, My Child Actually is Autistic

Since I told you my child is autistic, you've turned into Professor Sanctimommy McKnowItAll. While you pretend to be supportive, say you know all about and have experience with autism, and claim you're not judging, your backhanded, know-it-all comments have given you away.  Obviously, you don’t really understand that, like children, not all special needs are exactly the same. Especially when it comes to autism spectrum disorder.

Yes, my child is autistic

Sorry, not sorry, that you don't understand that symptoms aren't obvious 24/7 365 and that there are are some good hours or days among the bad. (Even though you claim to know all about ASD.) Kids don't have to constantly be raging terrors to have issues. It's a bigger picture kind of thing here, and you're not seeing the bigger picture. I also am under no obligation to give you all the details so you can (maybe) see that bigger picture. It is none of you damn business.

You may not see what the professionals and we, as her parents, see. That doesn't make you right. It means you aren't an expert or someone who knows what to look for. Unless you're around my child as often as I am or have a qualifying degree, stuff it.

September 28, 2015

Fall Craft Week and Fall Recipe Week Coming Soon

When fall comes around, I get the urge to start crafting and breaking out the cool-weather recipes. There are so many fun and educational crafts to do for autumn. The flavors of fall call to me as well -- spices, apples, pumpkin, cranberries and more wrapped up in hot, comfort-food dishes to delight the senses. This love for the season has inspired me to introduce something fun on the blog over the next month: Fall Craft Week and Fall Recipe Week!

September 23, 2015

Low Calorie & Low Sodium Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is a great fall and winter staple. Especially when it's healthy for you. The low sodium in this soup promotes heart health while the low calorie count helps to keep your weight under control. The recipe is also great for freezer meals, leftovers for the week and is budget friendly. It's even more budget friendly when you use leftovers from my Healthy Herb and Olive Oil Roasting Chicken recipe. Even if you're not a cook, the soup is simple to make. One bowl is hearty and filling.

September 21, 2015

Healthy Herb and Olive Oil Roasting Chicken

Whole roasting chickens are a dinner I love to cook because they're easy, smell delicious when cooking, there are so many ways to make them and you end up with plenty of leftovers for other meals or recipes. This version is a healthier take on whole chicken as it doesn't use the butter so many recipes call for. Instead, I use olive oil to keep the meat moist and to add in some healthy fat. The seasonings are simple to keep the chicken light and so the leftovers can easily be used in any other recipe you'd like. When I recently made it, I used the leftovers in chicken noodle soup -- a fall and winter staple in our house that tastes great, is simple to make and freezes great for future meals. The recipe for the soup is here! It's low calorie, low sodium AND easy to make.

September 16, 2015

How to Keep Your Baby Comfortable and Crib Mattress Dry

Having two kids, I've tried a number of crib mattress cover. The latest one I've tried is the best of the bunch. It's from the Amy Carinn Collection and has everything that a good mattress cover needs -- there is even one for pack 'n plays and mini cribs! The standard crib cover fits toddler beds, too. Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY and check out the coupon code at the bottom of the post!

September 14, 2015

Big & Chewy Butterscotch & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've mentioned many times over on the blog Facebook page how much I love to bake. It's creative, relaxing and shows the ones you love how much you care. (Sidenote: I don't bake or cook for people I don't like!) One of the staple recipes that remind me instantly of childhood is chocolate chip cookies. I can't help but picture a mom making cookies from scratch, baking them in the oven then surprising the kids with a special treat along with a cold glass of milk. A whole bunch of nostalgia crammed into one cookie, right there. My favorite cookies are one that are crisp on the outside then nice and chewy with gooey chips on the inside. Even better if it's one of those big, thick bakery-type cookies! That is exactly what this recipe is, with butterscotch chips to add a little flair. The recipe is M2 approved, by the way.

big & chewy butterscotch & chocolate chip cookies

September 11, 2015

How to Keep Bugs Away While Enjoying the Outdoors

During the summer and fall (especially the fall) I love to spend time outside with M2 and B. We try to do outdoor family activities as well, such as peach and apple picking, fairs, zoos, parks, festivals and anything else fun we can think up. Even spending time outside in the backyard letting M2 run while I enjoy the mountain views from our deck is a relaxing way to enjoy the beautiful weather. What isn't relaxing is getting eaten alive by bugs! M2 and I are both the type of people who can be sitting so close to a citronella candle we're about to burst into flames yet STILL get covered in bug bites. Out in the grass, those annoying gnats follow us around trying to become one with our hair and faces. A gets driven up the wall by the bugs when he mows the lawn. Even more dangerous, all the bug bites can lead to cellulitis. I had a bad case of that a few months ago that landed me in the hospital on strong IV antibiotics then two weeks of a high dose of antibiotics. I could barely walk the pain was so bad. All from mosquito bites that broke open then got infected! If I'd known about and been using Zack & Nack's All-Natural Bug Spray then, I probably would have avoided the infection all together. Now, M2, A and I use it so we can enjoy the outdoors even more. (Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom!)

zack & nack's bug spray

September 9, 2015

Recognizing Autism Spectrum Disorder

Since I've started talking about M2's autism spectrum disorder (ASD) journey (read more here and here) I've had a number of people ask what her specific symptoms are. Even family and friends who don't have experience with autism, or who don't see her often, have asked. I think what the questions stem from is many parents really wondering, "How do you know? What is different so I can see if my kid is on the spectrum, too?" Autism hides from plain view. It isn't easy to spot like some other disabilities. ASD kids look like any other kid on the playground unless you know what you're looking for so it's a normal reaction to want to know how to recognize ASD. With how prevalent it is now, parents want to know how to tell if their own child may have it.
aa recognizing autism spectrum disorder ASD

Every single child and case is different. Some kids show symptoms others don't. Some may have many, some may only have a few. Any of the stereotypes you hear about are just that: stereotypes. With ASD, it's really a big picture kind of thing when it comes to autism. Since it's a spectrum, the severity varies greatly as well. Cases toward the high-functioning end may be harder to spot. There is simply no set-in-stone checklist to know for sure if your child has autism spectrum disorder. The best way to find out if your child does have autism spectrum disorder is to take them to see a developmental pediatrician. These are the experts who can give you answers, who know what is neurotypical and what isn't, who know when it's simply a quirk or something more. A and I suspected, but didn't know for sure, until we took M2 to the developmental pediatrician (read about what that was like here).

September 8, 2015

Learn What to Toss, What to Try and What to Buy with The Green Beauty Rules

Toxic-free beauty products have become increasingly popular in the last few years. More and more people want to know exactly what's in the products they're using on their and their children's bodies. The Green Beauty Rules by Paige Padgett is a new book on beauty to help you learn how to understand and find safe, chemical-free products.

September 6, 2015

Outdoor Fun Monkeying Around

M2, like most kids, loves to climb. Inside, she'll climb anything and everything from the couch and tables to the hutch and counters So A and I have come up with a way to direct her climbing outdoors with the Lil Monkey dome climber. That way, she can climb something she's supposed to and stays safe.

September 3, 2015

How to Help Kids Identify and Express Feelings

For children, identifying and expressing their emotions can be a frustrating struggle. In M2's case, having a speech delay and autism makes it even more difficult. (Read more about her diagnosis here.) Her emotions can go from happy and content to scared and screaming as she shakes in a little ball. A loud noise or an outcome she doesn't like (such as being told no) can send her into a rage. Flying off the handle screaming; shrieking; slamming into, hitting and kicking walls and doors and she melts down. Even getting too close to her can make it worse. Forget touching her, that'll really cause more problems. Hearing other kids having fits, crying or whining also sends her into sensory overload. She doesn't understand what she's feeling and can't identify it. There is no way for her to communicate with us how she's feeling as saying the words is impossible for her right now. The frustration and fear at not being able to understand or identify what she's feeling is often evident on her face.