Mommy Moment Monday…just for laughs!

Okay, here is a little something to get your week off with a little giggle. Have a great day!



Tip {py} Tuesday: Child-Proofing Christmas…And It’s Pretty!!!

I know that most people have their trees up and decorated by now, but this was too cool not to share.  Most parents probably remember decorating for Christmas for the first time after they have kids.  It’s like everything you take out to decorate has a flashing neon sign screaming, “DANGER!  So not baby-proof!”  The candles you used to use to warm up the living room?  Fire hazard.  The stockings hung by the chimney with care?  Baby could pull them down.  Tiny little ornaments you use in your advent calendar?  Choking hazard for sure.  But by far, the thing that freaked me out the most were those ghoulish ornament hooks.  My youngest puts everything in his mouth and the idea of him swallowing one of those suckers scares me to death.

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That’s why when I saw these ribbon ornament hangers at Lowe’s, I had to share.  They were 50 for $2.00 so they were reasonably priced, but would also be easy to make your own if you have ribbon on hand, or you wanted it to be a certain color or theme.  One of the best parts?  You put the ornaments away with the hangers on!  No untangling a mess of ornament hooks next year, they can go right back on the tree.

The hanger is just a length of ribbon tied into a loop with a small double knot.  The loop is made from any length of ribbon, mine were about 5 inches, depending on how long you want them to hang or if you want to do a bow or a knot.

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Once you have your ribbon loop tied to the desired length, simply thread it through the top of your ornament.

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Then pull the knotted end back through the other end of the loop and pull tight.

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*If you want your know to be on top of the ornament instead, just pull the loop side through the knotted side.

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Once your loop is pulled tight you are ready to hang your ornament!  No more worrying about your child swallowing one of those hooks like a fish!  Happy, happy holidays and a very Merry Christmas!

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Tip{py} Tuesday…Welcome Baskets!

I am almost fully recovered after Labor Day weekend!  We had a great time and were blessed enough to have 9 family members come for a visit!!!  We hung out by the pool, went hiking, grilling, sightseeing and it was so much fun.  My boys got to hang out out with their three cousins from my side, and all of my siblings and their spouses (6 peeps!) were able to come.  With my husband’s deployments, training, etc…he’s missed out on the last two family get-togethers, so I was so happy we were able to spend some QT together.

Something fun that I put together to help welcome our guests is something that I’ve dubbed a “welcome basket.”  It’s a small basket I put on their bed, usually on top of some clean towels, with some goodies when they arrive.


Ta-da! This soap isn’t the one from the farmer’s market I told you about, it’s just what I happened to have on hand to make the example 🙂

The welcome baskets this time around had a cup for the cousins to personalize so it was easier to keep track of, some local honey, some homemade soap I got at a farmer’s market, a washcloth, and some fresh rosemary from our backyard.  They weren’t expensive to put together and everyone talked about how much they loved them.  They cost about $5 a basket to put together.  I’ll be able to reuse the baskets for future guests and for different things around the house (napkins, etc…).  The baskets and cups I was able to get at the Dollar Store which definitely helped keep cost down.  Another great addition to the baskets would be extra soap, shampoo, etc… that we have from hotels we have stayed.  Just a little personal touch that was fun for me to put together while I was getting ready (and excited!) for everyone to come!

Now, I am going to put my feet up 🙂

Wordy Wednesday…DONSA!!! Woo-hoo!!!

We’re tackling another acronym this Wednesday and this one has to be one of my favorites!  DONSA…Day Of No Scheduled Activities!  Sometimes these are pretty predictable like the upcoming Monday we have off for Labor Day (some people will have duty on this day of course if they are deployed or depending on their MOS).  If you’re really super lucky maybe Friday this week is also a DONSA for you, making it a 4-day weekend!  If that’s true, seize the DONSA!  Go on an adventure, cook a great meal, try a new hobby!  Or, rest on the couch, order some pizza, and watch Bravo TV if that’s more your style 🙂  DONSA is what you make of it.  The main thing is, enjoy the extra free time with your family, extra time to skype or write to loved ones that may be far away, and generally just a chance to “refuel.”

Here is a picture of my son from a Veteran’s Day parade last year.  I figured it could work for Labor Day too 🙂

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Have a great upcoming Labor Day everyone, whatever your DONSA 🙂

Celebrating July 4th With Autistic Children

We have tried for the past 3 years to celebrate and more importantly, enjoy July 4th. As a military family I find it excruciatingly important to celebrate and educate our kids about our country’s heritage and the significance of their daddy being apart of a force that protects his children’s freedoms and those of the American people. But for three years in a row our children have spent it screaming and crying in the fetal position afraid of the crowds and fireworks.

The first year we were still living in the base hotel (took us 58 days to get a house!). We went to the celebrations and quickly realized we lost a kid. The large crowds, nosies and movement sent Bug into a daze and he wandered off before we knew it. We regrouped and headed back for the hotel to see the fireworks. Thank gosh we did. The first three fireworks were shot off. At first Bug we excited because it looked like Star Wars to him. Soon it was clear that the excitement phase passed when we looked over and saw him crouching down, rocking and holding his knees. Diva had been crying at the first blast and that was the end of the fireworks show for us.

The second year we were lucky enough to be in our new home on post. But ironically enough we were located the exact distance on the opposite side of the field as we were living in the hotel. Because of the issues the previous year; we skipped the celebrated and just waited for the fireworks. Our kids are a year older; surely they would enjoy them now. –> oh how a naive thought that was.

Last year Hubs was deployed. With our track record and new born, I was not about to attempt that again.

I was planning on staying home again this year. Comfortable with my decision I have been planning a few activities for us to do. However, those just got put on hold because Hubs announced we are going to the Fourth of July celebration after all. Hmm, maybe that year of deployment erased few brain cells. Maybe it’s his hopefulness that his children have grown and changed. Maybe it’s the realist in me that already knows how this will end. I wager we spend a hour there waiting of the band to come on (anyone know One Republic?!) before Hubs throws in the towel. Nevertheless, I want to make it as successful as I can. I ran across this article from Autismwonderland and thought it was a perfect addition to this post.

I also wanted to add a few things we plan on doing in addition to this articles suggestions-

Go Early. We plan out day around the kids naps. I won’t lie, it’s so we get a nap too. They tend to need a rest in the early afternoon, which is great because during the summer it is the hottest part of the day. I suggest leaving early to start your day. Most kids, including ours, get up early. Take advantage of it for once. Get up and get going. Ours get up around 6AM. By 8, we are usually fed and clothed. We usually eat a snack around 10 and lunch at 11/12. By 2 we are all ready to head home and call it a day.

Breaks. We live close enough that we can walk to the celebration, hang out for a while and ride a few rides and eat some yummy foods and then go home for a break before walking back for the concert. If you aren’t able to go home in between I highly suggest you go to the car, find a curb or a spot under a tree. I promise you the kids will last longer if you can provide their little minds with a sensory break. Our kids tend to archive sensory overload fast. Giving their brains a breather will help with calmer minds and bodies.

Backup. I always carry my iPhone on me. Don’t we all? On there I have a movie for the kids and a few apps to help them focus and relax during our breaks or moments of high anxiety. On longer outings I also bring with us backup. Which includes leappad2, leapfrog explorer, two iPhone 3GS and iPad. Yes, it seems like a lot, but you can never be too prepared. Especially if your planning a long day.

Food. The natives get restless fast and we have found food helps us keep going longer. But don’t leave yourself out! I used to always pack tons of snacks for the kids and I would wind up eating fruit snacks. Not my idea of a snack. We love prepackaged peanut butter crackers, squeezable applesauce and juice boxes. We always make sure to pack a water bottle for each member.

The last thing is to remember the limits of your kids and make sure they set the limits. Don’t set your expectations to high. Yes, I would love to stay for the concert and fireworks. But realistically I know our kids will be too tired, over stimulated and too much sensory input to expect them to sit through a loud crowed concert and then fireworks.