As the school year comes to a close, parents and students are putting together gifts for their teachers. Some people go simple and easy by doing gift cards or even just a card. While others do flowers and candy.
Since my kids have been in the mild special needs programs for preschool, these teachers and aides go above and beyond the typical. Therefore, I try to make my gift baskets as thoughtful and unique as I can. I also try not to go broke at the same time 😋
So, here are some simple Ideas of things to put in your gift baskets that won’t cost you a fortune and how my baskets turned out!
So before you start, decide on a theme. Whether that is a color theme or product theme.
Color theme – Everything in basket is one color
Product theme – All snacks or all picnic items. I’ve even done pamper baskets
Items – Cost and where to get them
$5 Tumblers – I usually go for bright summertime cups at either Michaels or Walmart
$1 Snacks and candy – As long as you pick and choose, the 99 cent store has some decent items
$1 Air fresheners – Target/Walmart
$1 Hand soap – Target/Walmart or even the 99 cent store
$1 Drinks – 99 cent store
$1 Face and Hair Masks – Target and Walmart
$1 Chapsticks – 99 cent stores
$5 Hand Towel Bundle – Target
Now for the bigger gift baskets, I did spend a little more for them.
$10 Cleaning Supplies – Target; I got all purpose cleaner, dish soap, and hand sanitizer for two baskets
$15 Shaving Supplies – Razor and shaving cream
So, if you don’t know what to get or do for your teacher, I hope some of these ideas and example are useful 😊
This past Saturday, I attended the Spring Tea at my church. It was a get together of about 500 women – we got to enjoy tea, brunch and a great message from the wife of our lead pastor.
Initially, I was nervous to go – I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know many people going to this event. However, I really wanted to be a part of this and get to hear the message of “Spiritual Ambition”.
Arrival and Mingling
On arrival, there were men leading everyone to the main auditorium to find their assigned table. Once I found my seat, I left my purse to wander and admire all the beautifully decorated tables. Each table had a different theme and was elaborately styled – I had to wander to each and take a picture. It felt like I was at a wedding expo, viewing all the different styles and themes you could choose from. I ran into a few of my friends and our pastor as well. I’ve know the pastor since I was about 4 years old so it’s like he is family.
Brunch and Some Humor
After about a half hour, the servers brought out brunch and tea for everyone. Pastor Mike came and spoke for a minute and prayed for us before we ate.
It was so enjoyable to just sit and be able to chat with other likeminded women. Then they played a few comical videos for entertainment. One of my favorites was a video about the difference between a man and woman’s brain.
After brunch was cleared away, Pastor Mikes wife – Carlynn – began to go into the message for the spring tea.
She started by explaining who Charles Spurgeon is and what he did with his life (I love him so I already knew so much). But then she started to tell us about his wife, Susannah, and all she had to endure during her lifetime. As busy of a man as Charles was, she rarely let that bother her because she knew he was doing what God wanted him to do, preach the Word to people. She was also bedridden for 20 years of her life! She didn’t let that stop her, she went on to help get Charles sermons published and out to other pastors through her charity called “The Book Fund”. In one year’s time, Susannah distributed 3, 058 theological books to impoverished pastors. Nine years later, she distributed 71,000 copies. When Susannah passed away in 1902, she had distributed throughout England a total number 199, 315 theological resources.
I found this story to be amazing and spiritually moving! It made mequestion “In what way could we, as Christians, use our lives for the expansion of the Gospel?”
So I pray,
May we each develop a drive and passion to share your Word and draw closer to You.
May You guide us and give us the tools to do Your Will.
Let us learn from Susannah, that even in brokenness and suffering, we use it to grow closer to Him and be able to open doors for others. Doors that wouldn’t be there without the suffering we faced. She always felt during her sufferings that Jesus Christ was “a very present help in trouble.”
I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this even and hope I was able to share some valuable information and inspire you to find what God has called you to do.
*This post was late due to a medical emergency. All is ok but didn’t get to update post until later.
If any of you are like me, you forget or procrastinate until the very last moment for everything. I love holidays but sometimes I wait until the last few days to get gifts or plan a day out. I also like to give unique, meaningful gifts – the ones that are never expected. So, I’ve created a short list of some last minute, special gift ideas for Mother’s Day.
Chocolate and Wine
Every mom loves chocolate and deserves wine, so why not give her both! I found this on Pinterest and loved the idea.
Erasable Message Board
This one is simple and cheap! Grab a picture frame from the dollar store and then you insert a blank paper and attach a dry eraser marker. You can write any message on it and change it whenever you want!
Mother’s Day in a Jar
Again, grab a huge jar from the dollar store and fill with some fun items like: nail polish, candy, chapstick, etc.
I am privileged to know so many wonderful parents that have children on the spectrum. I thought it would be interesting to ask parents of kids with autism and people with autism as well, to describe them using one word/phrase. What I got back from everyone was such an amazing array of descriptions 😊 I have listed 75 of the responses below.
Amazing and wonderful
Very emotional 😭 she is so extra
Cannot use one word to describe my two x although my no diagnosed husband could be described with the word ****head
One twin is wild and the other is special
Crazy, crafty, cheeky, lovely, snuggly, on the go 24/7 if he could
Compassionate and kind
Inspiring and fearless
Ray of sunshine
All of these responses melted my heart, made me laugh and were so honest. Thank you to all that gave me their response and this shows just how an autism diagnosis isn’t all that defines them. They are so much more and I am so blessed to have the children I have. This is my last post for Autism Awareness Month 💙💙💙
All kids can be picky eaters at one point or another, they want sweets over vegetables or don’t like pasta. On the other hand, parents of children on the spectrum know this is an understatement of their child’s eating habits and face daily challenges just getting their kids to eat.
Causes of Feeding Problems
There is an array of reasons a child on the spectrum won’t eat certain foods or refuses altogether. Some reasons include:
Oral Motor Skills – A child may have a jaw weakness that may prevent them from chewing his/her food. It can prevent proper chewing and processing of food.
Behavioral/Rigidity – Some kids with ASD have a form of OCD and get set in their ways when it comes to what they like to eat. This makes it difficult to introduce new foods or balance their diet.
Sensory Issues – If this is the case, they may avoid foods based on the smell, color, texture or even temperature.
Digestive Problems – If something causes stomach aches or acid reflux, a child may avoid it. By going to a gastroenterologist, parents can rule out digestive issues.
Lack of Self-Awareness – Some kids will over-eat or under-eat. They may eat until they vomit or eat a few things and stop not realizing they are still hungry.
My Own Challenges
I have two children on the spectrum and both have different issues when it comes to eating.
Leo – He is very sensory based and rigid when it comes to his eating. He smells everything he eats, even if it’s something he has had before. He can smell things I can’t even smell and we (our pediatrician and myself) believe he may have a higher sense of smell. For example, we made pancakes the other morning for breakfast and this time we added in a hint of cinnamon. The second we put the pancakes down in front of him, he started crying saying he didn’t like them. We took the plate back and added a plain pancake under the original. He literally took the top pancake off saying he didn’t like it and began eating the plain one. Also, he gets stuck in his way of having the same thing over and over again because it’s “safe,” he knows he likes it.
Lexi – She is behavioral, rigid and lacks some self awareness. We can trick her into eating something as long as she doesn’t know. One example, she will drink the kids Danimals yogurt but won’t eat a regular Yoplait yogurt. However, if I put the regular yogurt in the Danimals container, she will eat it. Just like Leo, she gets stuck in the habit of wanting the same things over and over again. Now with her lack of self awareness, we have to make sure she doesn’t just eat chicken nuggets all day long. She could have that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – no problems. Obviously that isn’t a great diet, so we have to tell her no and deal with a bit of a crying fit before she will accept something else.
Their diet is limited because of these issues and we try to balance it out as best we can with supplements. But the list of foods they will eat is pretty short for kids their age
Chicken Nuggets (Only Chick-fil-A or Dino Nuggets)
Nutella Sandwich (we are working on PBJ)
Mac n Cheese
Apples, bananas and strawberries (so thankful for this!)
Muffins (only chocolate)
Cookies (only chocolate or peanut butter)
Chips (only plain or cheese)
Ice cream (vanilla or chocolate)
Cake pops (they each have a specific one)
This is a Complete list of what they will eat!
A Few Helpful Tips
Keep mealtimes calm and stress-free.Set a routine for mealtimes.Create a visual plan around mealtime.Teach rules about serving sizes.Look for signs of food intolerances.Look into supplements to fill in the gaps.
Well, I hope y’all enjoying reading through my own experience and tips. If this was new information, then I hope it helps you understand other that deal with this daily.
Thank you so much! Please feel free to post your comments or questions below!
For those of you who have children that are on the spectrum or know someone with autism, then you know the struggles and challenges that come with it. For those of you that don’t know or want to know more, I’m going to give you a sneak peak into our life and some of the things we experience.
What is a Long Term EEG?
My middle child, Lexi, was scheduled for a long term EEG this week. Long-term electroencephalographic monitoring (LTM) is used most frequently in the diagnosis and management of seizures and “spells,” but has also gained wider application in the evaluation of sleep disorders, cerebrovascular disease, psychiatric conditions, and movement disorders.
We were scheduled for a 48 hour LTM to rule out brain seizures since Lexi has staring or dazing spells. She can zone out for a few minutes and only physical touch will bring her out of it.
The Prep and Setup
We were scheduled for 1pm on Wednesday at CHOC in Mission Viejo. As we arrived, we are greeted and shown to our room on the Pediatric floor. Lexi was enjoying all the attention up until we walked into our room and saw the hospital bed; that’s when she sat on the floor pouting. Took a bit to get all her vitals and finally get her onto the bed. That’s when the technician came in to hook her up to the machine. We put a movie on and had her lay down so the tech could start working. It took 1.5 hours to get all the electrodes attached but surprisingly she did well. Once attached and wrapped to secure in place, we are giving all the instructions for our stay and I was given a tour of the rest of the floor.
Making it Through the 48 Hours
For the next 48 hours, it was a lot of fussing and trying to entertain with movies and games. She was brought meals 3 times a day and I was given a $10 food voucher each day for anything in the cafeteria. While in the room, there is a camera that records our whole stay to be able to go back over and review anything that came up irregular on the EEG. It was a long process but we made it through and on Friday late morning, we were given the all clear to be able to leave.
Finally Going Home
After the all clear, we had to wait for the tech to come in to start the removal of all the electrodes. They have to put a solution in her hair to dissolve the glue used to hold everything in place. It took about 30 minutes to get everything off and we were left with messy hair.
After quite a bit of washing and brushing, I got her hair up and get her dressed to head out. Due to policy, she had to be wheeled out of the hospital to the car in a wheelchair. However, Lexi was loving all the positive attention as we left.
My husband picked us up and we finally were done and going home to enjoy the rest of our Friday afternoon.
Thankfully, the results came back all good so we can check this off our list as an issue and move on! As much as it was a pain and tiresome, I’m glad we were able to get this done and not have to worry about any underlying issue.
Well, I hope this gave you a better insight to some of the issues parents with kids on the spectrum deal with and what the process is like. Let me know if you had a different experience or want more information in the comments!
What was I going to do for one hour of silence? I couldn’t read or write – its pitch-black inside. Would I be okay with this kind of isolation? My mind was racing with thoughts as I read over my confirmation email. When I was offered a free session, I signed up out of curiosity. That’s when the fear set in as to what that actually entails. People that know me, know I am claustrophobic and prefer social activities compared to isolated ones. However, I have been hearing more and more about these sensory deprivation spas but I have never tried them or known anyone that has done it before. With such a strong curiosity, I couldn’t resist.
What is Sensory Deprivation?
Sensory Deprivation, Floating, or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) – they are all the same thing but different names. It is scientifically proven to have mental and physical benefits. The water in a sensory deprivation tank is heated to match the temperature of your skin and its loaded with Epsom salt, providing buoyancy so you float. Some of the benefits of doing a float tank include:
Decrease in pain
Decreased stress and anxiety
Lowers blood pressure and cortisol
Improves concentration and imagination
Aids in relief of PTSD symptoms
I had scheduled my float for Sunday after church at FloatEasy in San Juan Capistrano. As I arrived, I was greeted and given a quick rundown of what to expect and was given a video to watch that gave thorough instructions for my float. Once I completed my registration forms and watching that video, I was shown to the Quiet Room. The Quiet Room is a place to relax for about 10 minutes before your float. There is a nice variety of tea to pick from and some interesting books you can read through, even a sketchbook if you feel like writing or drawing.
Then I was shown to my own private room for my float. As the excitement in me was overwhelming, I had to first take a quick shower to get any excess oil off my hair and skin. Before climbing into my pod, I put earplugs in to keep the salt water out of my ears. Then, stepping carefully into the tank, I lower myself to sit in the comfortably warm water. I didn’t feel like it was going to be possible to float – my butt was firmly placed as I sat there for a second, playing with the light and music buttons. However, as I slowly tilted back – bop! – I was completely and effortlessly floating.
As I lay floating, I couldn’t figure out what I was to do with my hands – arms to my side, arms across my stomach, arms above my head. I finally settled on my arms above my head and started listening to the soft rasp of my inhales and exhales. I played around with lights completely off and on, finally deciding to keep a faint light on since the endless black was a bit frightening. With my eyes closed, it felt as if I was drifting through space – nothingness around me, just the calm of my breathing.
At some point I must have fallen asleep or in that stage of drifting off, as I started having mini dreams and then I’d wake a bit and think. This went on for a while and I did eventually think they forgot about me and hours had passed. What must have been my last 10 minutes or so, I stretched and enjoyed playing around with the weightlessness.
The music and lights came back on, bringing me back to reality and signaling the end of my float session. I was so relaxed and energized, it was a bit sad that the experience was over. Climbing out and heading to my shower, I felt like my body was heavier than normal – probably from being weightless for so long. In contrast to my pre-shower, I relished in the hot water and enjoyed just feeling it wash over me.
Finally leaving my peaceful, private room, I head to the Vanity room to blow dry my hair, apply lotion and make myself presentable. Once done, I headed back to the Quiet Room to enjoy tea and some writing before heading back into the world.
After being so stressed about going, this was probably one of the most enjoyable self-care experiences. I am not one to go get nails done or a facial or massage but this! I would definitely do this again. It has now been five days since my float and I still feel more relaxed than I have ever been. I haven’t gotten a headache, I have zero back pain, and I feel like my mind is more clear, making my days easier. I will be going again and am excited for all the benefits I have already been able to see.
This past Sunday evening, I had the privilege to attend a lecture, given by an incredible woman – Marthe Cohn. Not only did she live through the Nazis occupation of France, but she was a spy for the French Army. Being fluent in German, she assumed the identity of a German nurse and claimed she was searching for her missing fiancee. She told her daring story of spying on the Germans. At learning valuable information, she walked through the night, in the snow, to get the information to the French. She was able to prevent the ambush the Germans had planned in the Black Forest.
After the war, she was given many awards. Some of which included:
Croix de Guerre, 1945
Médaille militaire, 1999
Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, 2002
Woman of Valor, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, 2002
Medal of the Nation’s Gratitude, 2006
The Cross of the Order of Merit, Germany’s Highest Honor
I bought and read her book before going to see her and it is just an amazing story to read. For anyone interested it is: “Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany.”
I feel it is important for people to remember what happen all those years ago and to pay their respects to the people that fought for what was right. Marthe Cohn is a remarkable woman and people should hear her story.
I hope this inspires you to read her book and spend some time reflecting on the brave women in history that fought for others.
Everyone has been doing the 10 year challenge on social media this past week. I don’t feel like a picture of 2009 self vs 2019 self does justice of all that has changed in my life over the past 10 years. I figured a bit more detail would really show how much life for me has evolved.
I was going to college, taking GE
I was single
I was working at a restaurant as a server
Enjoyed staying out late
Living at home
Shy and trying to find myself
I have 3 Associates Degrees, still working on my BA and eventually my MA
I’m married with three wonderful little ones
I am currently a stay at home mom
Enjoy my early evenings
Looking to buy our first house
Confident in who I am
I am so happy with how my life has gone. In these past 10 years, I have married the funniest, most loyal man and had three crazy and sweet kids. There is nothing I would change. The good, the bad; it all made me the person I am today and I would love it all again if it meant being right where I am now.