Family

Our Summertime Recap

School has started and everyone is getting back into their routines. Sports games, after school activities and homework.

I am still clinging to our summertime weather right now, so we are still going to the beach almost every day but that will eventually stop. So in the meantime, I just wanted to recap my summer with the kids with pictures.

Our summer was fun and amazing as simple as it was. I packed the kids up every morning and got down to the beach by 8am for coffee with my mom at Bear Coast Coffee and then we would cross the train tracks to the beach and set up by the lifeguard tower. We would spend most of our morning all hanging out at the beach with my mom and youngest brother.

At around 2pm, we would pack up and head home. It was great because we missed most of the really busy times from about 1-4pm. Plus, it wore the kids out so we had early bedtimes all summer long.

I am 100% a summer person so I was super excited that I was able to handle getting the kids to the beach everyday by myself. It may be tough getting out with kids but it is definitely possible 😉

What did you do this summer?? 😊

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Family

Resolution Updates: Did I Stick to my New Year Goals?

Most people make new year resolutions but only 8% actually accomplish their goals. Since we are halfway through the year, I thought I’d see what I was able to accomplish thus far.


Workout

Last year , I didn’t do anything for fitness so I was hoping to add in at least walks to my daily routine. I have added walks to our daily lives and swimming a few times a week. As of now, I am on track to accomplish this one!

Eat Better

I went from frozen foods and quick, easy meals to more variety in my diet. I am definitely eating more greens and we make breakfast smoothies each morning with fruits and veggies. I have also cut out processed foods, not completely but like 90%.

Better Our Faith

We have gone to Sunday service every week unless we were deathly sick. I have been going to a women’s bible study and the kids go to a bible study once a week while I’m in my class. We have been more involved in the church too.

Write More/Read More

I don’t think I have written/read more but I think that’s because we have been getting out more as a family. So, I am okay with these not being accomplished.

Travel

We have gone to more local parks and beaches than before. So exploring our own backyard is the extent of our travels so far. I am hoping for more before the end of the year.

More Family Time vs Media Usage

By getting out more and doing more activities we have cut our media usage in half. We weren’t bad to begin with but now we really don’t spend any time watching tv or on our phones/ipads. It has really brought us together more as a family.

More Organization and Time Management

We put up an eight foot by six foot dry eraser board on our living room wall and have used it to organize things we need to get done. This has made it easier to tackle one task at a time together, rather than trying to deal with our “to-dos” separately.


 

Overall, I feel like my resolutions are a complete success at this point! I know I didn’t follow through with two of my goals but I’m ok with a 6/8.

Have you been able to keep your resolutions? Let me know!

Family

End of the School Year: Gift Baskets

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!


Themes

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 😊

Family

Spring Tea: Spiritual Ambition

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.

Me and Pastor Mike

My table


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.


The Message

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 me question “In what way could we, as Christians, use our lives for the expansion of the Gospel?”

So I pray,

Lord,

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.”

Amen.


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.

Cloe 💋

*This post was late due to a medical emergency. All is ok but didn’t get to update post until later.

Family

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

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.

Family

Autism Awareness Month: More than a Diagnosis

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.

  1. Amazing and wonderful
  2. Hilarious
  3. Very emotional 😭 she is so extra
  4. Crazy
  5. Passionate
  6. Caring
  7. Charm
  8. Lovable
  9. Cannot use one word to describe my two x although my no diagnosed husband could be described with the word ****head
  10. One twin is wild and the other is special
  11. Thoughtful
  12. Genius
  13. Sweetest
  14. Crazy, crafty, cheeky, lovely, snuggly, on the go 24/7 if he could
  15. Happy
  16. Intelligent
  17. Content
  18. Kindness
  19. Insightful
  20. Energized
  21. Gorgeous
  22. Explorer
  23. Awesome
  24. Perfection
  25. Unique
  26. Extraordinary
  27. Compassionate and kind
  28. Inspiring and fearless
  29. Creative
  30. Curious
  31. Messy
  32. Exciting
  33. Strong
  34. Outgoing
  35. Brilliant
  36. Worthy
  37. Fun
  38. Loving
  39. Special
  40. Empathetic
  41. Sociable
  42. Talented
  43. Intense
  44. Fascinating
  45. Bubbly
  46. Unstoppable
  47. Quirky
  48. Sunny
  49. Happy feet
  50. Focused
  51. Determined
  52. Handsome
  53. Advocate
  54. Wonderful
  55. Unpredictable
  56. Spirited
  57. Miracle warrior
  58. Giggles
  59. Friendly
  60. Innovative
  61. Encyclopedia
  62. Smart
  63. Truthful
  64. Comedian
  65. Tinker
  66. Strong willed
  67. Stubborn
  68. Exceptional
  1. Brave
  2. Adventurous
  3. Enthusiastic
  4. Quiet
  5. Ray of sunshine
  6. Animal lover
  7. Best friend

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 💙💙💙

Family

Autism Awareness Month: The Diet Challenges Of Children On The Spectrum

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

Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Pancakes

Lunch/Dinner

  • Chicken Nuggets (Only Chick-fil-A or Dino Nuggets)
  • Danimals Yogurt
  • Nutella Sandwich (we are working on PBJ)
  • Plain noodles
  • Mac n Cheese

Snacks/Treats

  • Apples, bananas and strawberries (so thankful for this!)
  • Muffins (only chocolate)
  • Cookies (only chocolate or peanut butter)
  • White rice
  • Chips (only plain or cheese)
  • Ice cream (vanilla or chocolate)
  • Cake pops (they each have a specific one)
  • Popcorn
  • Goldfish/Graham Crackers

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!

Cloe 💋

Advice/Tips, Family

Autism Awareness Month: Long Term EEG

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.

Lexi as we arrived at the hospital
Finally all attached and wrapped

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.

All dressed and ready to go

Little diva getting wheeled out

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!

Thank you and hope you enjoy your weekend!

Cloe 💙

Family

Sensory Deprivation: My Experience in a Float Therapy Spa

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:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Better sleep
  • Decrease in pain
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Lowers blood pressure and cortisol
  • Improves concentration and imagination
  • Aids in relief of PTSD symptoms

My Session

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.

The Quiet Room

 

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.

The Float Tank

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.

My Verdict

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.

Family

International Women’s Day – Marthe Cohn

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.

Happy International Women’s Day! 💋