Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Do you remember Ferris Bueller's Day Off? It was one of those great movies where the main character gets in trouble, has fun, and (almost) everything is great in the end. I've seen this movie hundreds of time and I never get tired of it. When I try to get my teenage daughter to watch any of these movies I saw when I was a teenager, she thinks they are weird, not funny, and boring. I guess are kids are so used to non-stop action, animation, and humorous quips every other line that they can't appreciate a good movie....or was it just really bad and I don't want to believe it? All the John Hughes movies, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club...how can those not be good?

The Honda marketing team must like Ferris Bueller, too...they are using Matthew Broderick (who played Ferris Bueller), the same music, and trying to replicate the scenes from the movie, although it's updated. For instance, instead of hiding from his dad, Matthew Broderick is hiding from his agent. They both go to a museum. They both sing in parades. It's good fun, it's humorous and I love it! I don't particularly like the Honda CR-V, but I love the commercial. 

Maybe this will interest a new generation  to find out what happens in Ferris Bueller's Day off!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Goodbye Winter, Hello Valentine's

Now that I have finally packed away all the Christmas/Winter stuff, I can bring out my Valentine stuff. Is it just me or does everyone have a dozen or so boxes of Christmas stuff and nothing for Valentine's day?!! My kids love when I decorate the house with seasonal things and I usually try to pick up something every year to add to our collection. Valentine's Day decorations are slim around here...not sure why, but here's a few things I have...

Where these roses sit,  a tall Nutcracker and some penguins spent a short winter by candlelight...
We have hearts and wooden blocks that spell L O V E...

where a wreath, stockings and a dozen  small nutcrackers once stood...

The table beside the front door once held a sleigh full of Christmas potpourri and an Advent Calendar...

 Now, there is a wooden bowl full of sparkling Valentine hearts...

And an individual heart in each vase, declaring LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE.

Finally, we removed the glittery Christmas poinsettia leaves from our large vases by our Grandfather clock...

In it's place, are pastel flowers that are light and breezy...reminding me that Spring will indeed, be coming soon!

Do you have Valentine's decorations? Do your kids like to help to decorate?

Home Stories A2Z

Sunday, January 29, 2012

10 Fun Games For Kids

Since I posted yesterday about Jonah's favorite game, Scrambled States of America, I wondered what other great games were out there...ones that would be fun for the kids, as well as educational. I usually look for games that share an interest for one of my boys. That way, I am more assured that they will want to play, hopefully together! Here are some of the games that I found on Amazon's Toys & Games page that I would buy (or already have). Again, I am not being paid or sponsored for any of these games or websites. I have no affiliate agreement with any of them. Just talking mom to mom here...
  1. Rory's Story Cubes, by Gamewright: Players roll the dice, which has images on each side. By doing this, you can create stories, either playing by yourself or with others. This game encourages imagination, social skills and expand language skills. There's also Rory's Story Cubes - Actions which uses verbs to create a story. They can be used alone or with the original Story Cubes. I would think this would be great for Kindergarten-2nd grade to use for beginning sentences, to story writing. I will be seriously thinking about getting this game the next time we buy one. 
  2.  Scrambled States of America, by Gamewright: This is the game that I wrote about yesterday... here. I give this game major thumbs up...playing it is about the only time that I'm NOT the worstest mommy! heehee!
  3. Scrabble, by Hasbro: We also have this game and play it at least once a week. It's a classic, but still relevant. I have that it is a good way to learn spelling, especially for the ages of 7+, I would think. Young and old alike can play Scrabble for equal benefits....mainly, that it challenges your brain! We all need that from time to time!
  4. Clue the Classic Edition, by Winning Brain: I remember this game and the Classic Edition is slightly updated from when I was a child. If you don't know, this is a great mystery game in which players need attention to detail in order to figure out "who done it." It also uses deductive reasoning which older children would really benefit from. I also found Clue The Library Edition, which is a set designed to sit on your bookshelf like a regular book. For Harry Potter fans, they have created Clue - World of Harry Potter where a student has disappeared in Harry Potter's world. 
  5. Sequence, by Jax: This is a fun game with cards and chips where the player has to get 5 in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The player uses their own strategy to decide which cards/chips to place when in order to get their 5 in a row.  There is a multitude of different versions; some that use numbers, some use numbers, some use letters, and some even use states! There is Sequence for Kids, which uses pictures for younger kids, ages 3-6. Deluxe Sequence is available for those who want a larger board; and also the Jax Jumbo Sequence Tube Game, where you can roll the playing board up and store in the tube. Sequence Dice uses just the dice and the chips for the board and is on a smaller board. Another version for the younger kids is Sequence Letters, for kids ages 4-7 who are learning letters and the sounds. For learning about States and Capitals, there is Jax Sequence States and Capitals...not as much fun as Scrambled States of America, but it's a different way to learn the Capitals and the States shapes.
  6. For older kids, I found the Pocket Ungame - Teens Version , by TaliCor. It contains cards with thought-provoking questions, and has been endorsed by teachers, therapists, ministers that use this game to break the ice with teens and get them to talk. There is a Christian version, The Ungame - Christian Version, which can be used for kids 5 and up; and there is the original, Talicor The Ungame, which is also for ages 5 and up. This game has won several awards for being one of the best communication games out there. For games on the go, they also have made Pocket Ungame - All Ages VersionPocket Ungame - Kids VersionPocket Ungame - Families Version, and Pocket Ungame - Couples Version.
  7. For kids who love Lego's, there is Lego Creationary Game, by Lego. We got this game last year for Christmas and didn't really know what to expect. But I was surprised at how creative my boys were. This game comes with a select number of lego's in different shapes and colors, and a Lego dice that has a different building category on each side: vehicles, building, nature and things. The player draws a card with varying levels of difficulty and then tries to build what is on the card and the other players try to guess what it is. The game is very good at expanding the creativity of lego's, especially with kids who only know how to build a certain thing or don't know what to do with lego's.
  8. Younger kids, especially boys, might like Chutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad, by Hasbro. Very similar to the original Chutes and Ladders but includes the Super Hero Squad. Kids get the benefit of learning how to take turns, how to win or lose...but it has Super Hero's to keep fans interested.
  9. A new twist on an old game for younger kids is Super Mario Memory, by USAopoly. Played just like the original Original Memory, cards are flipped over one by one as the player tries to find a match. There are many variations, oaccording to popular characters: Memory Toy Story 3Pre-school Nature Memory GameMelissa & Doug Flip to Win Memory GameI Spy Memory Travel Game, and Memory Game - Disney Princess Edition just to name a few!
  10. For kids that have special needs, Thoughts and Feelings: A Sentence Completion Card Game, by Bright Spots can be used as a therapeutic tool for teachers, parents, and mental health professionals. It helps children to identify, process and work through issues that they might have caused by trauma, stress, grief, anger, depression and anxiety. I know that I would definitely get this as the mother of a son with Autism. Using words for feelings, or to describe what is going on in his mind is always a struggle, so I welcome anything that can help with that. And the fact that it's fun makes it even better!
So, there are just 10 fun games that I found...some that I already have, some that I would be willing to add to our collection. Kids love to play board games, especially with their parents, as a way to spend time together. I can't count how many times Jonah has told me that he hasn't spent enough time with me. But since we've been playing a game almost every night before bed, I haven't heard that complaint. Most of these games do not take a long time...maybe 30-45 minutes. Since Jonah reads on his own now, this has become a substitute for our reading time. It's a great way for him to master new skills and fulfill his competitive need.

Do you have favorite games? Is there a game that you really want?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scrambled States of America

I had gotten some interest over a picture I had posted on my personal Facebook page and Jonah's (my 7 yr. old) favorite game right now. It is called Scrambled States of America and is from Gamewright.
For Christmas, Jonah received a plethora of "States" themed gifts. He likes that kind of thing, so I thought he should learn while he's interested. Along with this game, there is a matching book and puzzle.

This game does require that the players can read...they will need to be able to read the States, the Capitals, and the Nicknames.

The cards might ask if you have a card for a state in which the Nickname starts with a certain letter.

Or, it might ask if the Capital on their card starts with a certain letter.

A Go the Distance! card requires that the player draw a new state card, place it down for everyone to see, and then each player must select a card from their hand, that would be the closet to that state. This means, the player has to look at the map and try to estimate distances.  Other cards ask things like how many syllables are in a state's name, or find the capital that has a certain number of letters. The cards vary and make the game more fun because you don't have the same task each time.

Currently, this is Jonah's favorite game and asks to play it almost every day. I really am glad that he likes the game and that he is starting to learn some about the states. In fact,  I have learned from this game...I don't think I ever learned nicknames for states and although I might know many Capitals, I certainly don't know them all. As a mom, I like that this game isn't a board game, it's just cards; it doesn't take an incredibly long time to play it; and it's a great way to sneak in a little bit of education while he's playing.

What are some of your kids favorite games?

BTW, I was not paid for this post. I just thought other mom's might be interested given all the questions I had from my picture on Facebook. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

  1. When I looked out the window this morning, it was raining but the sun was out. It was warmer this morning than it was in the middle of the day!
  2. It's time to put the boys to bed!
  3. Remind me yet again why I have kids? Today, Jonah spilled a whole glass of soda, didn't tell anyone, then ran off leaving my husband and myself to clean everything up!! GRRRR!!!
  4. Watching House Hunters International is something I love to do!  
  5. I'm ready to tell Winter goodbye.
  6. Beware of quiet when my boys are playing together.
  7. And as for the weekend, I am looking forward to relaxing!!
  8. Tomorrow my plans include taking down the rest of my Christmas stuff...yes, it's still up!!
  9. Sunday, I want to hopefully relax...especially since my mom is taking Jonah for the afternoon!
  10. I am thankful for my husband being home and taking care of me this week while I've been sick! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Touch - My Review

Last night, Fox aired the pilot episode of "Touch." The story-line follows Martin Bohm, a former journalist and current baggage handler; father of Jake, his non-verbal 11 year old son that is said to be autistic. Jake is not just fascinated with numbers, but explains in his voice-overs that his job is to "make the connections for those who need to find each other - the ones who lives need to touch."

This is an interesting concept, that everyone's lives are connected in some way and that this special child can see how they all connect. Carol Barbee (Executive Producer of "Touch") states "I hope that viewers will come away with an awareness for the effects that they have on people and a drive to do good work in the real world. I hope people understand the power of an individual, you have no idea the power of your reach on a daily basis or how many lives you touch."  I tend to like shows that get tied up with a nice, neat bow every episode and make you feel good. But surely, not every episode will be like that...right?

I have a son with Autism, but he is not exceptionally good with numbers and he is verbal. It would be very difficult and extremely different to have a child with Autism and not be able to know what was going on in his mind. My son's brain is somewhat of a mystery to me; I feel like I've done research, talked to professionals, and pay attention to him enough to know (somewhat) what he is feeling, what he is thinking, and what he might need. Now, I'm not saying that it's easy or that I'm always right, but I do have the benefit of having his verbal responses in the strategies that I try.

I have some questions about the boy being autistic...just because Jake is nonverbal, and has never spoken, does not necessarily mean he has Autism.  I have to assume that somewhere in his past, he was diagnosed based on what we see in the pilot.  I do hope that people do not get the idea that every child with Autism has some sort of gift that can save the world, though.  My son does not....although he's funny, he's smart, and very clever...but I am under no illusion that he's going to save the world.  While I am thankful that autism has been getting more air play in recent years, I have concerns that 'mythical' portrayals of autistic children possessing special abilities will be of greater disservice to those with the disorder and those of us that raise them....

So far, reviewers comments consist of the negative, like Maureen Ryan of Huffington Post, say "But 'Touch' isn't content to let its premise breathe; it hammers home its central points so frequently that I do not recommend that you drink every time you hear the words 'destiny,' 'dreams' or any iteration of the word  'connect.' It's common for pilots to restate their central themes frequently, but 'Touch' goes overboard in that regard."

There seem to be no rules with this story-line and each week the plot will spiral out from Jake, his father, and apparently the social worker, to the rest of the world. Danny Glover is the eccentric professor who explains the "Fibonacci Sequence" to Martin and explains that his child has a very special gift. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter comments that "the notion of a kid, say one with autism, seeing patterns in nature and the universe would make a lot of sense and why Tim Kring (creator of 'Touch' and also 'Heroes') mostly disavowing that in favor of 'Touch' being 'more of a mystical or spiritual idea' that also taps into both science and randomness is both an intriguing new tack."  

Did you watch the show? What are your thoughts?


While perusing Pinterest, as I often do, I came across a fun little thing to do in February. Freshly Simple was challenging a photo-a-day for the month of February and after looking at the list, it seemed like something do-able. I always feel like I don't have enough pictures...not enough of the kids, of the kids and myself, of my husband and me, and just of everyday life. So this could be a fun thing to do. February is a short month and by taking pictures I can document some things I rarely take pictures of.
Who else is in?

Valentine Inspiration

Since I have been sick this week, it has given me a chance to think about Valentine's Day. January is almost over and Valentine's Day will sneak up on us quickly! I have already bought some printed Valentine's for my daughter, but she'll probably make some as well. As for the boys, we'll have to decide whether or not to make them or buy them. Ethan doesn't like anything that he has to sign his name to, so we'll have to figure that one out.

Just for fun, here are some Valentine's things I have found on Pinterest:

Martha Stewart
Lisa Storms
74 LimeLane
one art mama
grace and ivy
grace and ivy
Martha Stewart
one charming party

 What kind of fun things have you found?

    Crazy About My Baybah

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Antics of an Autism Mom was kind enough to give me an award...The Versatile Blogger  award! Big thanks for that...especially since I'm fairly new to the blogging thing!

But, according to the rules:
Recipients of this award are asked to:

  1. Thank the person that nominated their blog for the award with a backlink to them. So Thank you!!! to The Antics of an Autism Mom! Autism moms stick together, don't we?!! :-)
  2. List seven things about themselves. (below)
  3. Award 15 newly discovered blogs with the award and notify them of the award. (even further below)
Isn't this fun?!!
So here are my seven things:
  1. I love chocolate. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is my favorite! 
  2. I played piano for 13 years.
  3. I have a degree in Interior Design and work at the International Home Furnishings Market twice a year (the only time I get paid all year!)
  4. I'm a sucker for reality tv...all of it!
  5. I actually like football...college, professional, doesn't matter!
  6. I love art...met my husband at an art museum. :-) and
  7. Recently, I lost 40 lbs...well, it took over a year, but it's lost and I haven't gained it back! I still have more to go, but I'm much better than I was!
Ok, now 15 newly discovered blogs:

Wordless Wednesday

No other words needed when Mommy is sick! :-)
From Jonah: My Mom is the best!!

The Outnumbered Mommy 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mom's Don't Get Sick Days

Today, I am sick...
I feel like I have been run over with a truck...
I don't feel like doing anything...no cleaning, no cooking, no laundry...
It's bad enough to have to do carpool and supervise homework...
All my energy is just zapped.
Chick-Fil-A Lemonade
But we all know that Mom's Don't Get Sick Days...

These are the things I like when I am sick...
Chick-Fil-A Chicken Soup

What do you like?

Monday, January 23, 2012


This week a new show will be coming on the Fox Network...it's called Touch. The show stars Kiefer Southerland as a single father, who is widowed, raising his son that he is unable to connect with. His son, Jake, never speaks, shows very little emotion, and doesn't not allow people to touch him...not even his dad. Jake is obsessed with numbers, much like a savant...writing long strings of them in piles of notebooks. He is also obsessed with cell phones. A social worker becomes involved, believing that this young boy needs care beyond what his father can give him. Unfortunately, Jake is placed in foster care, despite the pleas of his father.

Things change for Martin, the dad, when he meets a specialist on children with special needs; a professor that is an expert on children who possess special gifts, such as with numbers. From this professor, Martin learns of Jake's gift...the hidden ability to see patterns in everyday life that connect every life on the planet. Jake tries to connect with his dad through the numbers, although Martin just cares about communicating with his son. But Jake uses these numbers to send his dad a message and Martin realizes that he needs to figure out what these numbers mean. Martin realizes that his quest to connect with his son will alter the destiny of all humanity.

I can't wait to see this show. There have been other shows that show characters that may or may not have Asperger's or Autism...but not all of the characters are developed well. I'm looking forward to see what they do with this young actor's character.

Will you guys be watching it?

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: A Mother's Perspective

Credit Warner Brothers
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tells the incredible story of how a young boy, Oskar, who relied on his father and their games and interactions to get through his life; the life he felt was very strange.  He admits that he's different, that doctors thought he might have Asperger's, but the test were inconclusive.

Portraying the Fears
He's scared of the subway, the train, people, crowds, yet his father had helped him find a way to adjust in the big city of New York by assigning him "reconnaissance missions" as a way to force him to talk to people.  One such adjustment tool was a tambourine that he would shake when he was nervous or scared on these missions.  The biggest of all missions, became finding the owner of a key that Oskar found after his father's death.  It was in a small envelope with the name "Black" written on it.  He was hoping that this key and the mission would bring him closer to his father.

Click to continue reading...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I am on the PTA Board and part of the Hospitality Committee at my boy's school. Every month, we try to give the teachers and staff members small gifts to show our appreciation for everything they do for our kids. I just finished making the gift bags for January and I thought I'd share them.

Tomorrow we are starting our 3rd quarter for the year. It gotten fairly cold, at least for North Carolina, so we decided that we would give each staff member a packet of hot chocolate mix, and 2 cookies. We wanted to package them in coffee cups, but were unable to secure a donor.

When we do things like this in the PTA, parent donations are vital. We had parents donate the cookies, and a couple of boxes of the hot chocolate mix. Luckily, we already had some hot chocolate mix and out of our small budget for Hospitality, we bought bags and labels to print.

The teachers and other staff members appreciate little tokens like this. We chose tomorrow to hand these gifts out because we want them to start the new quarter realizing how much the parents appreciate them. Most of the time, they don't care how things are packaged, whether or not they look designer, and they definitely don't expect parents to spend a lot of money of them. Just a little note of thanks every once in a while does wonders for a teachers outlook on the day.

Here are some more ideas for Teacher Appreciation if you'd like to use any. I'd love to see some of your ideas!

Mom Blogger's Society

I just posted over at Mom Blog Society about Ethan and his experiences with art and sensory bins. Check it out at Asperger's, Art, and Sensory Bins.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mabel's Labels Last Chance Coupon

The coupon that Mabel's Labels has offered my readers will expire in 2 days, on 1/23/2012. Be sure you check out their website and see if you can use these great labels.

I have posted about them here about how I have used them for my son that has food allergies. We have used them to let him know what is safe to eat and what isn't.

Mabel's Labels was kind enough to send me some examples of their labels so I could review them for you. Here is my post on how I decorated some of my daughter's things with my labels to show how great they are for clothing, shoes, and school items.

As you can see, these labels can be great use for spices, baking supplies, tags to date containers placed in the refrigerator or the freezer. The also have labels to place on all those cords we have now...to the computer, printer, phone, chargers, and so on. So, I have a special coupon for you if you'd like to order something from Mabel's Labels. The coupon code is FFSQ94, and it expires 1/23/2012, so hurry and get your order it! This coupon cannot be combined with other offers or promotions and has no value. Coupons may not be applied toward loot bag combos.\

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - My Review

Oskar Schell is a young boy that was let out of school just about the time school started on that "worst day." He walked home with his friends, stopping to buy a juicy juice. He ran in to his apartment building, exchanging barbs with the doorman and went up to his apartment. There was no one home at his apartment, he just did his regular routine, including playing the messages on his answering machine. He heard his dad's voice...not once, not twice, but 6 times. Oskar turned on the TV to see what was happening and he knew...he knew what it meant.

This movie tells the incredible story of how a young boy relied on his father and their games and interactions to get through his life; the life he felt was very strange. He admits that he's different, that doctors thought he might have Asperger's, but the tests were inconclusive. He's scared of the subway, the train, people, crowds, yet his father had helped him find a way to make his way in the big city of NY by giving him "reconnaissance missions" as a way to force him to talk to people. Oskar shook a tambourine when he was nervous or scared on these missions. The biggest of all missions, became finding the owner of a key that Oskar found after his father's death. It was in a small envelope with the name "Black" written on it. He was hoping that this key and the mission would bring him closer to his father.

As a mom of a child with Asperger's, this movie was very emotional to me. There is the aspect of a child losing a parent on 9/11, which is already heartbreaking, but the mannerisms and words that Oskar uses makes me visually replace him with my son....how would my son react; would he hurt in the same way; would he be able to go on? 

In my opinion, I felt the writer, director and cinematographer did a great job of showing what going through a tragedy like this would be like for a child with Asperger's. There are times that he spews out voluminous amounts of words....about his fears; about numbers and facts that he knows, based on the situations at hand or just in general; about things that he did on that terrible, awful day. Once he finds that key, he goes to an obsessive length to find every "Black" in the phone book, writes them all down, grouping them by boroughs, figuring out their map coordinates, and exactly how long it would take to see all of them. As I watched this, I found it amazing that this is how his brain works. It made me wonder if this is how MY son's brain works. The tantrums or meltdowns that Oskar had were mild in comparison to what my son and many other children with Asperger's or Autism have. But I thought it was technically correct to add those in to the movie, as a child with Asperger's would most definitely suffer with meltdowns after the death of a parent.

There were many ironic shots that I loved...there was a scene with Oskar sitting in his class at school, watching a wasp trying to get out of the window. At the same time, his father was in the top of the World Trade Center, trying to get out. There is a scene where Oskar takes "The Renter" (who is renting a room from his Grandmother) on one of his missions. The Renter, who is from Germany and we later find out was held in a concentration camp, gets scared when he sees a train rumbling over tracks. 

There were shots that showed the world through Oskar's eyes...running by the train, the way it looks when he walks through a crowd of people. The noise magnified. The sound of water dripping in the bathroom, how noise gets SO loud that he has to cover his ears with his hands. To me, this was a great way to show what Oskar was experiencing.

Before this movie was released nationally, there were many negative reviews on the young actor who portrays Oskar. I wrote about them previously...here. I was very upset about the way people described Oskar, such as "grating, excessively shrill, and someone you don't really want to spend two hours with." After seeing the movie, I still don't understand where they get these ideas from. Oskar's voice was not monotone; his voice had regular high and lows in his speech. It's obvious that he is very bright, numbers and counting seem to be his thing, and really had a small number of meltdowns, given what he was dealing with.

The website, Rotten Tomatoes, has a collection of both positive and negative reviews. Here are some of the negative:
Obviously, these reviewers have no knowledge of Asperger's and what a child with this disorder (not disease!) sounds like, acts like, or goes through in their life! The actor portraying Oskar does NOT have Asperger's, but he does a wonderful job (in my opinion!) imitating what a child would do. Also, this "isn't life wondrous" reviewer apparently did not watch the movie closely, because it's obvious that this boy is hurting...he even takes to pinching himself to make him stop hurting!

Some of the good reviews I have found are as follows:
  • Thomas Horn makes the film! The emotion he manages to evoke in a single scene is brilliant. He captivated me and had me living with him through the emotions. Jolene Mendez, Entertainment Spectrum and JoReviews
  • As a portrait of what happens to a family when its glue disappears, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close wrung a bucket of tears out of me. Kimberly Jones, Austin Chronicle (this is only one sentence of the review, the rest is slightly negative)
  • Horn delivers a star turn at as Oskar, a child trying to make sense of a tragedy that still baffles us. Rafer Guzman, Newsday (although I don't think it's possible to have a "touch" of Asperger's!)
There were not as many positive reviews to be found, but I take exception with what the majority of the reviewers claim as a negative...having 9/11 in the movie. In my opinion it works...because that shows the phone calls, the struggle of a child trying to make sense of the impossible, it plays on his fears of tall buildings, airplanes, noise, and without the fact that his father died on 9/11, many of the people helping him along the way would not be so willing to help a child.

I cried at least a box of tissues in this movie. Not only was it sentimental, and emotional, but it pulled at my heartstrings, thinking of my son being in that position. There were incredibly sad moments as well as some light-hearted ones, due to the things our wonderful kiddos with Asperger's say...not meaning to be funny, but they are!  

There is so much more I could say about this movie, but I'll save it until some more of you are able to see it. I don't want to give anything away that creates the basis of what makes this movie so great! (in my opinion) Let me know what you guys think after you've seen this movie!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

  1. When I look out the window this morning, I see brown trees, brown grass, and blah...looks cold and slightly cloudy. Spring, I need you!!
  2. Why my kids throw trash on the floor, and walk right past it doesn't make sense to me. (I mean, I'm not the neatest, I'm not a clean freak, but I don't throw things on the floor...and I do pick up after myself! It might take a day or two sometimes, but I do it eventually!)
  3. Remind me why I had kids again? Oh, that's right...because they're so loving and fun to be with. O__o  
  4. Yelling at my kids is something I love to do! NOT, but sometimes it's a necessary evil :-(
  5. Pepperoni is something we are always running out of. (I know, it's a little strange, but that's what Ethan eats!)
  6. Once, I found a book in my refrigerator. Sometimes, the things that go on in our house is simply a mystery! Was someone reading and decided to get a snack and left the book in there? Was it put there for safe keeping? I'll never know the answer...but we did get a laugh out of it!
  7. And as for the weekend, I'm looking forward to seeing a movie with my husband today.
  8. Tomorrow my plans include having a birthday party for my mom.
  9. Sunday, I want to make plans for the week and get caught up on paying bills, menu plans, and my cleaning schedule for the week.
  10. I am thankful for my mom, for watching my kids while my husband and I go see a movie.

Jonah has found "planking"...one of his many poses

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Needed or Needy

  • I have a fairly overwhelming life. I do not work outside the home, but I do volunteer work. I'm on the PTA board, and I provide all the staff members at my boys school with treats every month.
  • I have a teenager, and although she's a pretty good kid, it still takes lots of observance and talking to keep up with what is going on. Plus, she's very into piano and singing and has lessons every week. It's just more to put on my calendar.
  • I have a son with a variety of disorders: Asperger's, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and probably more that just haven't been fully proven yet. He takes lots of patience and energy; my brain has to constantly be going..remembering  what will help him to either calm down or not be so depressed and angry.
  • I have another son who suffers from "Lack of Attention" disorder. He's the youngest, our baby. But he was born into a family where one child does her own thing, she is praised for her extra activities that she does very well in, and overall behaves very well. He was also born with a brother that doesn't always like to play, he doesn't always want to talk, he doesn't always want to be around him. When his brother does want to play, it has to be his way...replaying scenes from tv shows, movies, videos, or even video games. It is frustrating for him, especially since he is still only 7 and really not able to fully understand. He just thinks everyone is against him. He was also born with severe allergies...environmental and food, plus a severe case of asthma. I am constantly listening for wheezing, looking for hives...sheesh!
  • I have a wonderful husband....who is gone all week. He comes home on Friday nights, and leaves again on Sundays afternoons. On the rare occasion that he has a week off of work, we either relaxing all week or just catching up on sleep, or we help my parents with whatever they need help with...computer work, housework, remodeling projects.
  • I have parents who luckily live very close, I see them daily usually...but they're not in the best of health. My dad has had multiple heart attacks, blood clots, he has trouble breathing, he can't stand up straight and uses a walker...but he has a great sense of humor, he does woodworking projects, and loves trains! My mom isn't as old as my dad, and although she looks like she's in great health, there's something underlying within her that isn't right...what that is, she hasn't told me. I just know it's there.
  • All of these people, these responsibilities come with more stuff: errands to run; doctor appointments to schedule, then attend, then follow up; more prescriptions to buy than you can believe; runs to the airport, runs to the grocery, runs to the drug store, runs to both schools, run to anywhere and everywhere! 
  • And don't forget my own responsibilities! There's laundry, dishes, vacuuming, paying bills, sweeping, dusting, laundry, laundry, laundry, clean bathrooms, clean kitchen, laundry...and so on, and so on. 
I'm not great at any of this. I have to have my own doctors, my own appointments, my own medication because there are days where all of this is simply too overwhelming. I try to get to the fitness center daily...not only is it a great stress reliever, but my parents also go there so it gives me a chance to check up on them. People ask me all the time how I do everything that I do...the answer is, I just do it. I love my kids, I'm a fierce protector, and the best advocate around. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my kids (except make them a snack  at 2am, and yes, I've been asked!) Over the years, I've learned tips and tricks...ways to make my life easier. I'm a lazy person, really. I have never really gone above and beyond. Actually, I never really thought it was possible for me to be like that in a positive way. The last (paying) job I had, I took initiative, tried to make changes, and instead it just created drama. So I just gave up.

A couple of years ago, I decided to volunteer at the boys school. I was a tutor to 3 little kids (2 from Burma, 1 from Pakistan), and all I had to do was to read with them. I would read a story, then they would read the story back to me. You see, most of these kids don't have anyone at home that speaks English, so in order to help them learn more English, I spent 30 minutes every week reading to these precious children. I know it doesn't sound like much, but there were some weeks that I looked forward to those reading sessions more than anything. It was where I felt appreciated and those little kids really liked me! Plus, I won an award for Volunteer of the year!

Sometimes at home, mom's can get overlooked, just doing their job and doing what is expected. Our family is so busy that sometimes appreciation goes by the wayside. It's not on purpose, but with so much going on, it's easy to get in mode of just getting things done and not realizing who helped you along the way. But maybe sometimes, as moms, we just have to recognize how many needs we are fulfilling....and then remind ourselves how great it is to be needed....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Braids

Here is one of the benefits of having a teenage daughter...she is (sometimes) my personal, at home hair-stylist! Look at these beautiful braids she did in my hair!!

Teenagers can be difficult at times, but when they take the time to do this for their mom...well, that's a pretty great teenager!! <3

My Mabel's Labels

Have you heard of Mabel's Labels? They are great to use for your kids, for the kitchen, for school...whatever you think of that might need a label!

I was chosen to be a BuzzMama for Mabel's Labels which is great because I actually USE this product! They sent me some new labels with my name on it and I took a couple of pictures to show you guys how great they are and how you can use them.

I put my stickers on some of my daughter's stuff so you can see how they look

For school, you can label pens, pencils, notebooks, wallets...they also have tags for your bag, lunchbox, pencil pouch, etc. 
You can label shoes, shirts..works great once they start gym and everything is thrown everywhere. These are laundry safe, no ironing, just peel and stick. They do have iron-on labels, if you prefer that.

I have used the labels before for my son that has food allergies, to remind him what is safe and what isn't. Their labels are great in the kitchen because they are dishwasher and microwave safe.
So, I have a special coupon for you if you'd like to order something from Mabel's Labels. The coupon code is FFSQ94, and it expires 1/23/2012, so hurry and get your order it! This coupon cannot be combined with other offers or promotions and has no value. Coupons may not be applied toward loot bag combos.\