Wordy Wednesday…ABC Mouse!


So today’s Wordy Wednesday post is not really an acronym, but ABC is kind of an abbreviation, right?  ABC Mouse is something my husband actually discovered one day when we were at my parent’s house.  The kids were watching Nick Jr., and there was a commercial for it during one of their favorite shows.  My husband looked it up and showed it to me and we were both impressed right away.

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It’s an on-line curriculum for PreK through Kindergarten that keeps track of your child’s progress.  That way, my younger son can get on and do things without “messing up” what my Kindergartener is already working on.  There is a huge variety of  topics from letters, numbers, music, nonfiction and fiction books the kids can read, virtual field trips, and on and on.  Seriously, there is more than I could ever list here. I love that it is a…

ImageTotally personalized for my child and I don’t have to keep track of anything.  There is a monthly subscription fee, but that fee covered both of my kids.  Right now, you can try it for free for one month to see if it is something you’d like to pay to continue.  We have really liked it.  Our annual membership is nearly up, and we will definitely be renewing.  I think it’s going to be great for my boys to have over the summer, to help keep their skills fresh.

Another cool option is the ABC Mouse app.

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It’s free, and has different music videos for each letter of the alphabet.  The kids earn tickets each time they watch a video and can “buy” videos with those tickets.  Both my boys love this.  I think the quality is great, half the time my husband and I find ourselves watching along with them.

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Definitely worth checking these out if you have kiddos in this age group.  I know that it’s common for kids on the spectrum to gravitate towards technology, so this is a good way to expose them to new things using an interest they already have.  Have a good one!

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Tip{py} Tuesday…Un-childproofing lunch


lunch

Okay, so I have written before about packing lunch for my kiddo on the autism spectrum who has just started kindergarten.  He is my first child to go to school, so I am definitely having a little trouble “letting go.”  I worry about stuff all day, some warranted, some probably a little crazy.  One thing that I was worried about is him having lunch and not being able to open stuff like granola bars and fruit snacks.  Sometimes those packages are so tough, I can hardly open them J

granola bar in wrapperfruit snack wrapper

So we have been working on him opening Ziploc bags and he has pretty much mastered it.  So, I have been opening the snacks that I think he will have a hard time opening and putting them in Ziploc bags for him.  That way I don’t have to worry about him just sitting there and having trouble with no one to help him.  So far so good, I haven’t gotten any troubling reports from the lunchroom.

granola bar in bagfruit snack in bag

I just figured if there was a small way to help his day go more smoothly when he is already working so hard and going through so many changes, I may as well.  🙂

Tricare and Therapy Thursdays – Rubber Bands on Steroids


It’s has been a busy, yet productive, week in our house! I love these weeks and the weather makes it so much more enjoyable since I did a lot of running around. Rain boots clash with most of my outfits 🙂 Im always loving this weather in paradise. Also this week Bug started back to school!

Grades 1-5 started back on the 12, but our little wee ones did some small transition days into the classroom this week and start back next week full time. I am smiling ear to ear!

Bug, like most ASD kids, thrive on structure and he was thrilled Tuesday when he got to go to school. He asked to go yesterday and had a rough day when I told him he has to wait another day.

But then my mommy mind started buzzing with new thoughts about making sure my little bug was taken care of when I’m not with him. New school year means a new teacher. And Bug has a IEP and has a few tools he gets in the classroom. I know he isn’t even back to school full time, but I didn’t see any of his tools there are Tuesday.

One of the great tools we employ at school and home is the exercise band. It sounds so simple because it is. It helps his focus so much. Sadly, the one at home broke, but they are only a few bucks at Walmart.

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The exercise band is a simple massive rubber band. They use them in physical therapy and for working out. They are easy to take with you, easy to install and easy to use.

Bugs OT simple tied one between the chair legs on his seat at home. The OT at school did the same on his desk chair. It simple provides the user with a other way to focus their physical energy on something without taking away from their learning environment.

There are different resistances which is great as your child grows. And when they snap (think rubber bands) they are easy to replace.

Bug is able to concentrate more on his school work or task at hand because he can spend his physical energy flicking the band with his feet; which keeps his hands and mind more focused.

Foodie Friday…Back to School with GFCF Bread!


I can’t believe it but it’s back to school time in our house!  My oldest starts Kindergarten on Monday, and I swear I’m having heart palpitations!  Well, not really but this is an exciting time with a lot of changes to our routine!  Both our boys are on the autism spectrum and have had them on a gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet for the last two years or so and have notices really positive results.  With back to school time comes the dilemma of what to do about lunches.  Most hot lunches don’t offer much in the way of GFCF choices so my kiddo will be packing.  Finding GFCF stuff can be hard but I have come up with some tried-and-true faves that I wanted to share.  Usually I’ll make him a sandwich, include some kind of fruit and veggie, a GF granola bar (Glutino is our favorite brand), something crunchy (veggie straws, GF pretzels, etc…), water and a fruit snack.  My guy has a pretty good appetite so I’m thankful for that.  When it comes to making his sandwich, I’ve had great luck using our bread maker and various mixes that our out there.

breadmaker

Ours is a Sensio brand, and I got it off Craigslist for $20, and it had barely been used. It’s so easy, and I love that I can give him fresh, yummy bread for his sandwich.

Here’s one of the mixes I like:

:gf bread mix

I just follow the directions on the back of the box for bread makers.  You can use the oven and a bread pan as well, but I find this to be easier and I don’t have to heat up my whole kitchen.  The box has everything you need except the wet ingredients, even the yeast!

baking directions

Just mix all the wet ingredients together (I use rice milk, 2 eggs plus 1 egg white, melted dairy-free spread, and apple cider vinegar) and put them in the bread pan in the machine.  Put the dry mix on top and make a little hole in the top to empty the yeast packet, almost so it looks like a little volcano:

bread ingredients

Then just select the 1.5 pound, white loaf, medium setting and that’s it!  The machine does the mixing, lets the bread rise, and the baking, all in about three hours!

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Yum!  Time to make some sandwiches!  Have a great weekend!  🙂

Goals, Not Grades, Matter in School


Mommy Mondays

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Within the next few weeks Bug will go back to school to start kindergarten testing. I am buying school supplies, stocking up on new clothes and plan on taking him shopping for a new lunch box of his choosing later this week. Having already completed Jr. kindergarten last year; I do expect this year to be easy for him. But instead of focusing on his grades and report cards; I’ve decided to focus on his goals. Bug is a smart little guy. His vocabulary seems to be building every day. But like him; last year was a learning experience for us all.

I came across this article a while back which taught me a new lesson about being a ASD parent. Its not the grades that matter at this point; its the goals. writes about how we should not put to much worth into report cards for our special needs children, but put stock in the environment and progress they are making.

My once mellow meek little boy was coming home on “yellows” and “reds” in his daily reports. Messages from the teacher always consisted of the words “rolling”, “floor”, and “lack of focus”. Well, that pretty much sums up most children with ASD. Short term attention spans, constantly moving bodies and a lack of focus. What I didn’t understand was why she kept making negative comments about it. He is diagnosed ASD and with that diagnosis is the understanding that he probably has some sort of attention deficient disorder (he will soon be tested to confirm). So instead of complaining about his behavior, why didn’t she help fix it?

It was only around spring break last year when I learned she was not following his IEP. Furthermore, his behavior was so bad it was effecting his grades and effecting his goals. “R” for regression started to show up on his progress reports and by the last day of school I was looking at a child that had made no noticeable progress in his academics the entire year. At his last IEP meeting we made the unanimous decision he needed to repeat kindergarten.

I think of kindergarten (and Jr. kindergarten) as a learning ground, not for math and science; but for learning how life works. You learn to wait your turn in line, how to share, how to take turns, and even how to ask for help. Progress shouldn’t be measured in A’s, B’s and C’s; it should be measured in “Mastered”, “Emerging” and “Progress”.